Canadian Expatriates: The Expat Blog: July 2005

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An Invitation from Foreign Affairs Canada [-]

Canadian Expatriates, its contributors, and readers have been invited by Foreign Affairs Canada to participate in a series of eDiscussions. The current topic is “Showcasing Canadian Culture and Know-How Abroad”.

We are asked to consider the following questions:

  • What role does Canadian culture and know-how play in our foreign policy?

  • How might the government best promote Canadian talent and expertise in the world?

    The eDiscussion runs from April 4 to May 6, 2005. At its conclusion, a summary of the discussion will be sent to senior policy planners.

    The Expat admin team encourages its readers to join in the eDiscussion at the Canadian International Policy website.

    Posted by Admin

  • Call for Contributors [-]

    The administration team is currently searching for Canadian expatriates who would be interested in contributing to the Expat Blog. The subject matter is wide open, but must remain family friendly.

    If you are interested in joining our blogging team, please send an email our way!

    Thank you!

    Posted by Admin

    Friday, July 29, 2005

    Enjoy the Weekend!
    by Expat

    Stop to Smell the Flowers

    You're only here for a short visit.
    Don't hurry, don't worry, and stop to smell the flowers along the way.
    - Walter Hagen

    Expat Talkback:
    What are your weekend plans?

    Friday Fun Day
    by Expat

    I am proud to boast that I had a perfect score on Canucklehead's quiz of the day!

    Check me out on the high score board! Woot!!!

    Those wishing to challenge me can do so here, Canucklehead Daily Quiz.

    If you have a dull moment today and are hankering for some curling, be sure to check out Puppy Curling*. Beware though, the computer cheats!

    Oh, and if you have a sick sense of humour, swing past Kitten Cannon*. Just don't blame me if you get offended.**

    * No animals were injured in the creation of this post.
    ** Seriously, don't blame me. :p ***
    *** Tip o' the hat to Mitch for Kitten Cannon!

    Thursday, July 28, 2005

    Big Day for Bigfoot
    by Expat

    Today is a pivotal day for Bigfoot enthusiasts everywhere.

    The University of Alberta is expected to release the results of the DNA tests that were conducted on a clump of suspected sasquatch hair. The hair was collected by residents of the Yukon community of Teslin shortly after their most recent Bigfoot sighting.

    A picture of the patch of hair can be found here, Results from "Sasquatch" Tests Expected Today.

    In the News:
    BBC: In Search of Bigfoot

    A Lesson in Bureaucracy
    by Expat

    Once upon a time the Canadian Government had a vast scrap yard in the middle of nowhere.

    The Government said, "Someone may steal from the scrap yard at night." So they created a night watchman position and hired a person (bilingual, naturally) for the job.

    Then the Government said, "How can the watchman do his job without instruction?" So they created a Planning Department and hired two people; one person to write the job description and one person to do time studies.

    Then the Government said, "How will we know the night watchman is performing the tasks correctly?" So they created a Quality Control department and hired two people; one to do the studies and one to write the reports.

    Then the Government said, "How are these people going to get paid?" So they created the following positions: a Time Keeper and a Payroll Officer; then hired two more people to assist.

    Then the Government said, "Who will be accountable for all of these people?" So they created an Administrative Section and hired three people: an Administrative Officer, an Assistant Administrative Officer and a Legal Secretary.

    Then the Government said, "We have had this organization in operation for only one year and we are $18,000 over budget; we must cutback our overall costs."

    So they laid off the night watchman.

    Okay, I admit it!
    There isn't an original thought in this post. It was yanked from the 'net.
    I did make up the title though! :p

    Wednesday, July 27, 2005

    How American Are You?
    by Expat

    Uncle Sam

    After blaming the Expatriate Fudge Factor (props to Matt for coining the term!) for my less than perfect performance on The Ultimate Canadian Test, I thought that I would test myself to see if assimilation has taken ahold of me and stripped me of my Canuckitude.

    My results? 46% American.

    You can test yourself here, How American Are You.

    Once again, tip o' the hat - err toque - to Andy!

    by Expat

    A few things arose out of the Ultimate Canadian Test that need to be addressed!

    First, we will tackle Mudpuppy's question about the top secret toonie joke. If you are a staunch monarchist and lover of Queen Elizabeth II, please avert your eyes!

    Hugely enormous coin to aid in visualization of the secret toonie joke.

    Can you find all of the animals on a toonie?
    • There is a very obvious polar bear on the front of the coin.
    • Now hold the coin bear side up and vertical. Now cover the bear's head with your thumb and his hind quarters become a T-Rex head.
    • Next hold the coin bear side up and upside down. Cover the bear's body with your thumb, leaving only his legs showing. You should see three penguins.
    • Finally flip the coin over and you will see an old cow.

    Because Flippy did so well on the aforementioned quiz, Canadians everywhere (well, mostly me and some chick named Jennifer) are offering her honourary Canadian citizenship. All that is required is filling out this simple questionnaire and then
    you will join the select group of Honourary Canadians! You will also have you very own Honourary Canadian Citizenship Certificate™ available for you to link to from your website... You will amaze and amuse your friends with your new accent, complete strangers will seek you out for your opinion on Canadian politics, your neighbours will borrow your snowshoes and never return them, you can use negative numbers when referring to the temperature and your knowledge of the metric system will stun your family!
    Congratulations Flippy! To celebrate this momentous day, I offer you this rocking good video as a gift.

    Finally, Lala was questioning her Canadian-ness when she realized that she did not know what a "bunnyhug" was. She can certainly be forgiven though, because according to this site, "bunnyhug" is a purely Saskatchewan term for a hooded sweatshirt.

    Here are some other things about Saskatchewan from a popular (yet ridiculously mean-spirited) email forward:

    Welcome to Saskatchewan (In a Most Unwelcoming Way!)

    1. That slope-shouldered farm boy you are snickering at did more work before breakfast than you will do all week at the gym.

    2. It's called a "gravel road." No matter how slow you drive, you're going to get dust on your BMW. I have a 4-wheel drive because I need it. Now drive or get it out of the way.

    3. We all started hunting and fishing when we were nine-years-old. Yeah, we saw Bambi die. We got over it.

    4. Any references to "grain fed" when talking about our women will get your butt kicked ...By our women.

    5. Pull your pants up, and turn your hat around. You look like an idiot.

    6. If that cell phone rings while a bunch of mallards are making their final approach, we will shoot it. You might hope you don't have it up to your ear at the time.

    7. No, there's no "Vegetarian Special" on the menu. Order steak. Order it rare. Or, you can order the Chef's Salad and pick off the two pounds of ham and turkey.

    8. Yeah, we have sweet tea. It comes unsweetened in a glass with two packets of sugar and a long spoon.

    9. You bring Coke into my house you better bring rye along, and some ice.

    10. So you have a sixty-thousand-dollar car. We're real impressed. We have quarter-million-dollar combines that we use two weeks a year.

    11. Let's get this straight. We may have one stoplight in town, but we stop when it's red. We may even stop when it's yellow.

    12. Our women hunt, fish, and drive trucks - because they want to. So, you're a feminist. Isn't that cute.

    13. Yeah, we eat trout, Northern pike, walleye, and perch, too. If you really want sushi and caviar, it's available at the bait shop.

    14. They are pigs and cows. That's what they smell like. Get over it. Don't like it? Highways #1 and #16 go two ways - get on one of them.

    15. The "Opener" refers to the first days of fishing and deer season. They are religious holidays. You can get breakfast at the church.

    16. So what if every person in every pick-up waves? It's called being friendly. Understand the concept?

    17. Yeah, we have golf courses. Don't hit into the water hazards. It spooks the fish. And stay out of the woods. It'll spook the deer.

    Please enjoy your stay. Eh.

    Oh yeah, one more thing.

    to Matt for all of his Tim Hortons' tauntings.


    Tuesday, July 26, 2005

    Take Cover
    by Expat


    "Toto, I've got a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore."

    Wildlife CSI
    by Expat

    Remember that clump of hair that Teslin residents salvaged from the bushes after their most recent Bigfoot sighting?

    Well, it is off to the University of Alberta for DNA testing.

    Results are expected to be in on Thursday. Stay tuned for details.

    Expats in the News: Sean Watts
    by Expat

    July 2nd marked the grand opening of Toronto native Sean Watts' Korean business venture "Watt's on Tap", a combination bar and school that offers food from around the world and an opportunity for locals to practise their English.

    To read more about Watts' struggles and success, see Canadian Opens Korea's First Foreign-Owned Bar.

    The World's First UFO Landing Pad
    by Expat

    The small Yukon community of Teslin may have gained international attention through its frequent sasquatch sightings, but the town of St.Paul, Alberta is hoping to gain attention of a different kind - intergalactic.

    To celebrate Canada's centennial anniversary in 1968, the small Alberta town decided to commemorate its past by looking towards its future. As a tribute to the centenary, St.Paul chose to build the world's first UFO landing pad. The pad is composed of concrete and reinforced steel, and weighs in at 130 tons. The pad's backstop features a mosaic map of Canada, made up of tiny stones provided by each province. All of the country's provincial and territorial flags fly high above the landing pad, waiting to welcome its first extraterrestrial visitors. A time capsule was also included in the construction of the backstop and is to be opened on June 3, 2067. A dedication plaque near the landing pad states the following:
    Republic of St. Paul (Stargate Alpha). The area under the world’s first UFO Landing Pad was designated international by the Town of St. Paul as a symbol of our faith that mankind will maintain the outer universe free from national wars and strife. That future travel in space will be safe for all intergalactic beings. All visitors from Earth or otherwise are welcome to this territory and to the Town of St. Paul.
    In 1996, an interpretive centre was added to the site, featuring photographs and videos of alleged UFO sightings. The exhibit also includes displays on crop circles, cattle mutilations, and other unexplained phenomenon. The site's UFO Data Centre is working to document UFO sightings and abductions, and encourages all who have had a close encounter to call their hotline at 1-888-SEE-UFOS.

    As of yet, there have been no intergalactic visitors to the site, but the landing pad has attracted tourists from around the globe. Notable guests include Queen Elizabeth II and Mother Theresa.

    For More Information:
    CBC Archives: An Invitation that is Out of this World
    CBC Archives: Still Waiting for Martians: St.Paul 31 Years Later
    St.Paul & District Chamber of Commerce: UFO Landing Pad Facts
    UFOs: Is There a Middle Ground Between Skepticism and Belief?

    Monday, July 25, 2005

    How Canadian Are You?
    by Expat

    Take The Ultimate Canadian Test to find out!

    I am "Very Canadian" with 90% Canada-speak and 91% Canadian-ness!
    (I blame assimilation for my short comings.)

    Tip o' the hat to Andy!

    Today in History
    by Expat

    On this day in 1874 Canada's most patriotic song, The Maple Leaf Forever, was performed for the first time at a foundation stone laying ceremony for the Christian Baptist Church in Newmarket, Ontario.

    Written in October of 1867 by Alexander Muir, the lyrics to The Maple Leaf Forever served as a last minute entry in the Caledonian Society of Montreal's patriotic poetry contest. The poem won second prize but went on to become one of English Canada's most patriotic songs when Muir later composed music for his anthem. In 1997, a "politically sensitive" version of the song was written by Vladimir Radian. Lyrics to both versions can be found here.

    Collections Canada's Virtual Gramophone has a few recordings of the song, including performances by Tenor Edward Johnson and Robert Price.

    Recipe Corner: Butter Tarts
    by Expat

    Butter tarts were a staple of pioneer cooking in Canada, a favourite sweet of Sir John A. Macdonald's, and are one of the few recipes considered to be genuinely Canadian. There is a great deal of debate over the origins of the butter tart and whether a butter tart should be firm or runny; contain raisins, currants, or none. For more on this debate see the late Peter Gzowski's Morningside interview on butter tarts.

    The following recipe is from The Complete Canadian Living Cookbook and consists of a few variations of the butter tart:

    Gooey Butter Tarts

    1/2 cup packed brown sugar
    1/2 cup light corn syrup
    1 egg
    2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 teaspoon vinegar
    Pinch of salt
    1/4 cup currants, raisins, chopped pecans or shredded coconut (optional)

    Prepare pastry.

    While dough chills, in bowl, whisk together brown sugar, corn syrup, egg, butter, vanilla, vinegar and salt for filling. Set aside.

    Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

    Roll out pastry on lightly floured surface to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut out 12 circles using a 4-inch round cookie cutter, re-rolling scraps if necessary. Press into standard 12-cup muffin pan.

    Divide currants, raisins, pecans or coconut evenly among shells, if using. Spoon in filling until 3/4 full.

    Bake in preheated oven 12 minutes or until filling is puffed and bubbly and pastry is golden. Let pan stand on rack 1 minute., Run metal spatula around tarts to loosen; carefully slide spatula under tarts and transfer to rack to cool. Makes 12.


    1 1/2 cups flour
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 cup (1/2 stick) cold butter, cubed
    1/4 cup solid vegetable shortening, cubed
    1 egg yolk
    1 teaspoon vinegar
    Ice water

    In large bowl, combine flour with salt. With pastry blender or two knives, cut in butter and shortening until mixture is in fine crumbs.

    In separate bowl, whisk egg yolk and vinegar. Add enough ice water to make 1/3 cup liquid. Sprinkle over flour mixture, stirring briskly with fork until pastry holds together. Gather dough; press into disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour or until chilled.


    Drizzled Gooey Butter Tarts: Drizzle cooled tarts with 2 ounces semisweet or white chocolate, melted.

    Not-So-Gooey Butter Tarts: In filling, increase brown sugar to 3/4 cup and decrease corn syrup to 1/4 cup.

    Chocolate Butter Tarts: In pastry, reduce flour to 11/4 cups and sift into bowl with 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder. In filling, place small chunks of bittersweet chocolate in bottom of pastry shells instead of currants, raisins, pecans or coconut.

    Expat Talkback
    Raisins or no raisins?
    Gooey or not?

    Friday, July 22, 2005

    by Expat


    Have a great weekend!

    by Expat

    Q. What do you get when you cross a man, a horse, and a Tim Hortons?

    A. Nova Scotia's Coffee Cowboy.

    An Open Invitation
    by Expat

    To the (not-so) anonymous tagger, "Hey Hey":

    I appreciate the feedback that you left on the tagboard and I will take it into consideration. However, the best way to aid in the future direction of the site, is to get involved and become a contributor! As such, I wish to extend the following invitation to both you and all of our readers.

    The administration team is continuing its search for Canadian expatriates interested in contributing to The Expat Blog. The subject matter is broad, but must remain family friendly. Topics may include (but are in no way limited to) your experiences with emigrating, your Canadian viewpoint on current events and world politics, or your observations of life abroad.

    If you are interested in joining our blogging team or simply have ideas for future content, please send an email and we can discuss this further.

    PS. Hey Hey, I think that "Enough with the Tim Hortons" would have been a more appropriate message to leave. I have written so much more about Tim's than I ever have written about ketchup chips. In fact, my preoccupation with Tim Hortons is almost embarrassing.

    Thursday, July 21, 2005

    Wishing, Hoping, and Praying...
    by Expat

    That the Tim-mobile will someday roll into town, bringing with it that glorious elixir of the soul otherwise known as a "Double Double".

    May the Tim-Mobile be complete with drive through service and a vast array of Tim Bits.

    Ten Observations from an Expat Canuck
    by Expat

    1. Garburator, bunny hug, chesterfield, Robertson (as in the screwdriver), homo milk, and Kraft Dinner are all Canadian terms.

    2. Oddly enough, KD does not exist in the US. Here, it is called Kraft Macaroni & Cheese.

    3. In Saskatchewan, the land is so flat that you can see your dog run away for days. In Illinois, the corn obstructs your view.

    4. Canadian Tire money is not legal tender in the US.

    5. A temperature of 106°F / 41.11°C with 100% humidity interferes greatly with one's personal hygiene.

    6. Google Earth is a great way to see how much the old homestead has changed since moving here. (If you haven't downloaded Google Earth yet, do it! You won't be disappointed. Also give Google Moon a shot and be sure to zoom in to see the detail.)

    7. Barbeque and grilling are two distinctly different (and delicious) entities.

    8. There are very few things that will send to Canada and stinks, which makes shopping for Christmas, birthday, and wedding gifts somewhat challenging.

    9. It might be tough to read the miles on a Canadian speedometer, but that is still no excuse for speeding (or so I have been told).

    10. Don't ever wear your "I am Canadian" t-shirt to your hearing in US court. Not ever. The same thing goes for wearing "Canadian Girls Kick Ass" t-shirts to your local bar. "Hug a Canadian Today" t-shirts, on the otherhand, are appropriate for all occasions.

    Previous Observations:
    March 15
    May 9

    Wednesday, July 20, 2005

    Trading Grain for Corn
    by Expat

    The Motherland:

    Land of Grain

    The Adoptive Land:

    Land of Corn

    Sasquatch Sighting Continues to Cause a Stir
    by Expat

    Crushed flowers, snapped branches, a tuft of hair with downy underwool, and an eight foot tall figure wandering past a window. Does it all add up to a Sasquatch sighting in the small Yukon community of Teslin?

    Well nobody really knows, but residents did send that tuft of hair to Philip Merchant of the Yukon Environment Department for testing. According to the Ottawa Citizen, these are Merchant's intitial findings:
    The hair isn't hollow, ruling out moose and caribou. It's too long to be horse, and the sample also includes a downy underfur, which rules out humans -- and perhaps other two-footed creatures.

    "Underwool is a bovid, cervid thing in mammals, then we probably can rule out primate," said Mr. Merchant, a wildlife technician. "But I don't know. Are sasquatches primates?"

    That leaves a few options: grizzly bear, muskox and bison.
    Merchant is planning on running a few more tests on the hair, but says that it will be impossible to ascertain the origin of the creature without DNA testing and the Yukon government is reluctant to spend taxpayer's money on a search for a mythological creature.

    There is no word on whether a fund for Sasquatch DNA testing has been set up for private donations - but one can safely assume that it is coming.

    Expat Talkback:
    Have you ever had an close encounter of the third kind? UFOs, ghosts, Ogopogo, Bigfoot, or otherwise?

    Tuesday, July 19, 2005

    Yet Another Reason...
    by Expat

    For Americans to fear Canada and this one isn't even mad cow related!

    (err... well not exactly related!)

    Canuck Care Package
    by Expat

    I received a care package in the mail last week from a good friend and fellow expat Canuck. She is fortunate enough to live in Seattle so she can make it home to British Columbia for frequent visits. Opening the box, I was delighted to find Old Dutch Chips in both Dill Pickle and Ketchup, a container full of Sour Soothers, a couple of boxes of Smarties, and a couple of Coffee Crisp bars.

    I feel truly spoiled. Thanks T-girl! :)

    Seeing the familiar packaging brought back such a rush of childhood memories. I remember taking a detour to the local gas station on my way to elementary school to buy Sour Soothers and Belly Buttons. The Belly Buttons were tiny round gummies covered in sour sugar. I remember three or four of us pooling our change together to buy three hundred of the candies which were priced at a penny a piece. We stood there counting them one by one, wasting time until we were late for school. Now that I am an adult, I am amazed that the store clerk had so much patience with us!

    I can only remember two major chip companies from my childhood - Old Dutch with the windmill on the package and Hostess with the goblinesque Munchies. As odd as this sounds (and it does sound odd), I remember putting the empty chip bags onto a cookie sheet and baking them. When they were pulled out of the oven, they had shrunk to about 15% of their original size and were hard plastic. All of the detail was still there though, it was just minaturized. I am not sure what the purpose of the entire activity was - perhaps making keychains or something of that nature.

    When I saw the boxes of Smarties, I immediately got the Smartie song in my head:
    When you eat your Smarties,
    Do you eat the red ones last?
    Do you suck them very slowly,
    Or crunch them very fast?
    Eat that candy-coated chocolate,
    But tell me when I ask,
    When you eat your Smarties,
    Do you eat the red ones last?
    Growing up, I truly believed that there was a skill to eating Smarties. Heck, I still do. That is the power of marketing! To eat Smarties properly, you have to pour all of the candies out of the box and sort them out into their proper colour groups. Then you may ensue with eating them, but it must be in the correct order. First brown, followed by blue, then purple, next is pink, followed by green, chased by yellow, then orange, and finally red. Red is always last.

    Smarties do exist in the US. You can usually find them at Halloween, but they are entirely different from the Canuck version. Rather than being milk chocolate covered in a sweet candy coating, they are a sweet and sour powder formed into pill shapes and piled up together into a roll. In short, they are what Canadians would call Rockets.

    Coffee Crisp, on the other hand, can be found in the States. Thanks to a great tip from Mudpuppy, I learned that Cost Plus World Market does have some Canadian chocolate on the shelves. They also carry some British made chocolate that is found in Canada as well. Prices generally vary between $1 to $1.75. If you can believe it, the $1.75 was for a Crunchie bar. That is $2.13 Canabuck for one chocolate bar. Mama mia!

    Seeing as this has been quite an odd post all the way around, I will close with a song to bring all of the displaced Canucks a little closer to home:

    I am Canadian.

    Monday, July 18, 2005

    Expat Sighting: Ketchup Chips
    by Expat

    Perhaps one of the most frequent laments of the expat, is one of dietary significance. Where can a Canadian living abroad find the gastronomical delights of the Motherland? It certainly is not easy. That is why when there is a sighting of a beloved Canuck food, it is cause for celebration!

    Yesterday, as I ventured into the local Squall-Mart (so called because of the choir of raucous cries from every child under the age of ten), I was delighted to see a giant display of ketchup chips! Some may remember that last year Pringles briefly entered the ketchup chip market, but the cans were clearly marked "only for a limit period of time". In other words, the plan was to remind all of the ketchup chip deprived U.S. based Canucks of what they were missing, and then pull the product, thereby leaving a gaping hole in the market.

    This time is different (or at least I hope so!). These chips are made by a Pennsylvania company called Herr's who have teamed up with the good folks over at Heinz. From the look of Herr's website, they are into unusual flavours such as Bacon & Horseradish (!) and Steak & Worcestershire (!!). Not feeling terribly adventurous, we limited ourselves to buying multiple bags of ketchup chips (multiple due to the horrendous Pringles trauma of last year). The chips were priced just short of a dollar for a 5 once bag, which is a steal of a deal according to the prices that are listed on the Herr's website.

    The chips are not too greasy and their rippled surface packs a decent amount of crunch. I am sorry to report, however, that they are really lacking in the ketchup powder arena. Eating ketchup chips should leave one with a red stained tongue matched by red stained fingers, and if you are lucky, there should be a few chips in the bag that are so covered with ketchup powder that they stain your clothing when you accidentally drop them onto your shirt. In short, people should be able to tell that you have eaten ketchup chips, days after you have had the last chip. These chips, unfortunately, are entirely too naked to commit any degree of decent staining action.

    Still, finding ketchup chips in our neck of the woods is an incredible feat and there is always hope that *maybe* Herr's will adjust their recipe so as to stain the clothing of their eager customers in the future.

    Coiffure Crisis
    by Expat

    As the long term effects of the US ban on Canadian beef and the now subsequent lifting of that ban are debated, two Saskatchewan farmers are looking at things from a slightly different angle - peering out from behind their thick masses of hair.

    Two years ago, Jay Fitzpatrick and Miles Anderson vowed not to cut their locks until Canadian beef was once again crossing the US border freely. Now with the ban on live cattle lifted, both are looking forward to sitting down in the barber chair. However, both men are holding off on the scissors until July 27th when Montana judge Richard Cebull will decide whether a permanent ban is warranted.

    Other ranchers are taking the same wait and see attitude. "Nothing's over until it's over and until the final word and some of the cattle start going across the border," said Doreen Claiter, who has a ranch northeast of Calgary. "It was just like March 6. Up until that point you were thinking the border would open and then, Wham!"

    For that very reason, the two fuzzy farmers are waiting for proof before they mow their manes. "Until the cattle start going across the border, I think that will be the indicator," Fitzpatrick says. "When that first cattle liner goes across the line, I think that's her. Off she goes."

    Chronology of Key Events in the Mad Cow Crisis

    Sunday, July 17, 2005

    Canadian Expats Unite
    by Expat

    If only we had thought of this sooner...

    Friday, July 15, 2005

    by Expat


    Inuit Legend Barbie: Sex Appeal Over Cultural Accuracy
    by Expat

    Over the years the Barbie conglomerate has been under pressure to create dolls reflecting more cultural diversity. For decades, diversity in Barbie dolls had been limited to clothing, hair colour, and complexion, while the dolls' facial features remained the same. The general thought on the matter was that Mattel, Barbie's manufacturer, was reluctant to confront racial diversity head on. That notion was dispelled when the Dolls of the World Collection was released, featuring a wide array of ethnicities, reflected both in costume and the doll itself. Finally ethnicity was no longer restrained by the very European features of the standard issue doll.

    It is, therefore, disappointing that the newest addition to the Barbie line, Inuit Legend Barbie, shows a return to those European features and lacks the authentic costumes of some of its multicultural counterparts. Designed by Christy Marcus, a fashion student at Ryerson, the Canadian exclusive doll features a white dress, trimmed in fur, with an Inuit print inspired overskirt. The doll's dark hair is just below shoulder length, parted to the side and braided. Underneath her long skirts, the doll is wearing white pumps.

    The idea of an Inuit Barbie was excellent and it is unfortunate that Marcus, who designed the doll as an homage to her Inuk grandmother, fell so far from the mark. One can only assume that layers of caribou hide trousers, a pair of seal skin kamiks, mittens, and a hooded parka with a pouch on the back for an infant, while traditionally accurate, would not have oozed the sex appeal necessary to make the Barbie cut.

    Even in Canada's frozen North, sex appeal is still Barbie's primary concern above all else.

    Thursday, July 14, 2005

    The Danger of Living in Canada
    by Expat

    Bigfoot Strikes Again
    by Expat

    Does lightening strike twice? The residents of the small Yukon community of Teslin will tell you yes - only the "lightening" happens to be a giant sasquatch.

    Last year, the CBC reported that Marion Sheldon and Gus Jules were driving down the side of the highway on an all-terrain vehicle on the evening of June 5, 2004, when they saw the fabled creature cross the Alaska highway in two giant steps. The sighting occurred at a construction zone near the Teslin airport. The entire article can be found here, Yukon Villagers Believe They Saw Bigfoot.

    Today, WordNetDaily is reporting that Bigfoot has, once again, been sighted in Teslin. This time by nine people who saw the creature pass in front of a house window and then later near an abandoned car. The following are eye witness accounts of the sighting:
    "He ran through the backyard, and that's when I seen him. You could see a big, black thing go by, and you couldn't see no head or nothing. So, I figured it was somebody messing around."

    "We weren't gonna tell anybody at first 'cause we thought everybody was gonna look at us and say we're all snakin' out or we're crazy. It wasn't too much fun explaining it at first, but once everybody starts believing us, it's not so bad. They wanted to see the track, they wanted to see the pictures, they wanted to see the hair and stuff like that. ... I wouldn't want to run into him in a dark, back alley or anything like that. Geez, it stands over ten feet tall, [it would] probably tear my head off or something."
    In an effort to prove that they are not "snakin' out", the witnesses sent a patch of hair to a conservation officer in Whitehorse for DNA identification.

    There is no word on how scientists plan to match the patch of hair to the legendary creature.

    For Fun:
    Sasquatch Militia
    Geographic Database of Sasquatch Sightings & Reports
    Bigfoot and Other Beasts: A Field Guide to Unproven Animals

    Living in America
    by Expat


    - Hello, eh?

    - Hey! I don't think that Mr.DressUp could kick Mr.Rogers' ass anymore.

    - Are you for real? DressUp could totally take Rogers. No question.

    - You know how Mr.Rogers wore those sweaters all the time?

    - Sure.

    - It was to hide all the tattoos that he got while he was a Navy SEAL.

    - What?!?

    Poor American. He knows not of what he speaks.

    Wednesday, July 13, 2005

    Could it be?
    by Expat

    Wild Weather
    by Expat

    Growing up on the Canadian Prairies, we had our share of wild weather. Nothing, however, would compare to what I was to face when I moved into Tornado Alley.

    Exactly one year ago today, the skies grew dark, the rain came down, and all went still. That is when an F4 tornado struck our area turning this manufacturing plant into nothing more than a field of debris and mangled vehicles.

    The Manufacturing Plant

    The violent tornado was tracked for 9.6 miles, reaching F4 intensity along a one mile stretch that included the above pictured plant. Approximately 140 people were working in the plant at the time, but all made it safely into the concrete encased bathrooms which also served as storm shelters.

    F4 Tornado Strikes Plant

    By the time the tornado moved on, the plant was completely demolished. Steel beams and metal siding were strewn everywhere. The earth lay scarred by the flying debris and the five foot tall cornstalks in the surrounding fields were now broken, bearing witness to the quarter mile wide path of the tornado. Insulation from the plant was wrapped around the broken stumps of once tall trees. During the tornado, a powerline snapped and scored the earth with a foot deep crevasse. The magnitude of the destruction was difficult to fathom.

    Field of Debris

    The employees' cars were a mangled wreck. Many of the vehicles had been thrown into the building. Those cars that remained in the parking lot, were now little more than scrap metal. All of the cars' windows were gone, either having been broken by the pressure of the tornado or by the flying debris. Seeing the baby seats still safely strapped into the back of the wrecked cars was beyond surreal.

    Mangled Wreck

    From the plant, the tornado moved on to completely demolish four farm houses over a mile away. It also demolished the exterior walls of two brick houses. Later the residents of one of the homes would return to spray paint "Jesus has once again saved us from the storm" in red across what used to be the interior wall of their bedroom, a testament to their faith and survival.

    Remarkably, not a single person lost their life to the tornado, which was on the ground for an incredible 23 minutes.

    More on Tornadoes:
    Deadly Skies: Canada's Most Destructive Tornadoes
    Game: Tornado Tear Up
    Tornado Safety
    Tornado Myths

    Hitler's Sketches to be Auctioned
    by Expat

    On July 19th, four sketches by Adolph Hitler are to be privately auctioned in Montreal. The sketches were made in charcoal, colored pencil and ink and are architectural in nature. Also up for auction are two Christmas cards which are dated 1935 and 1938, and bear Hitler's personal seal and signature.

    When asked about the morality of the auction, the auctioneer responded, ""I am simply doing my duty, which is to transmit history to other people and to preserve objects that are important for humanity."

    The Canadian Jewish Congress is calling the auction offensive and states, "This is the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and the end of Hitler's regime, and there are still ... 15,000 in Canada who will be legitimately outraged by this desecration of the memory of what they suffered and of those who died."

    The complete story can be found here.

    I personally believe that it is important to preserve history, warts and all; however, I don't think that an auction is the way to go about it. An auction's sole purpose is to produce a profit and there is no way to ensure how the items will be used by the buyer, or who the buyer actually is. Many historic artifacts have been lost by way of auctions.

    If the motivation behind the auction truly is to preserve these sketches and cards as the auctioneer states, the items should be donated to a museum where they would be properly displayed and put into the context of the bigger picture and used to educate the public on both Hitler and the Holocaust.

    "The Holocaust was not just a Jewish experience. It is an experience of great importance to the whole world,"
    - UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan

    "Those who can not remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
    - George Santayana

    The man who will be taking bids on several sketches and postcards by Adolf Hitler at a local auction later this month said he hates the Nazi dictator and all tyrants as much as anyone, but he is merely doing his job.

    Read the rest of the article here.

    Expat Talkback:
    What is your opinion of the auction?

    Life Below Stairs
    by Expat

    Little has been written about Canada's nineteenth century domestic servants. Many servants were too busy with household tasks to document their own lives, while others were illiterate and unable to write their own accounts. Those of the upper classes saw little importance in documenting the lives of "mere" servants, making for very few primary accounts of what a servant's life actually entailed.

    The June/July edition of Canada's premier history magazine, the Beaver, features a fascinating article about Quebec's servants in the nineteenth century. In the article, author Louisa Blair pieces together the history of these forgotten workers. You can find the article here, "Life Below Stairs".

    Tuesday, July 12, 2005

    A Harry Situation
    by Expat

    If you are a Harry Potter fan, Coquitlam, British Columbia was the place to be last Thursday!

    Fourteen copies of the new Harry Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, were inadvertently sold from Coquitlam's Great Canadian Superstore by an employee who was unaware of the security surrounding the book. The sale sparked the books publisher, Raincoast Books, to seek a court injunction that forbids copying or disclosing any part of the book before 12:01 a.m. on July 16, the day of the book's formal release.

    Store management is now scrambling to locate the books, offering those customers who bought them to return the books in exchange for an autographed book plate and a T-shirt.

    For more on this story see's Book Store Jumps the Gun.

    For Fun:
    The Harry Potter obsession quiz.
    Test your knowledge of Pottermania.
    Make a frugal Harry Potter Costume.
    Which Harry Potter character are you most likely to date?

    July 13th Update:
    Harry Potter Book Accidentally Sold in New York

    Congrats Winnipeg!
    by Expat

    Congratulations to the good people of Winnipeg for, once again, being crowned "The Ultimate Slurpee Consumptors of the World" - this time on the historic occasion of Slurpees 40th anniversary!

    This past year, Winnipeg's 800,000 citizens consumed nearly half a million Slurpees, beating out the folks of Detroit for top spot. That makes it six years running that 'Peggers have won the glorious title of Slurpee capital of the world.

    Man, half a million Slurpees could produce one hella brain freeze!

    Frozen Fun Facts:
    • The frozen, carbonated beverage was first invented in 1959 by a Kansas hamburger stand owner. Using an automobile air conditioner, he created a sophisticated piece of equipment that would freeze a carbonated soft drink and serve it in a sherbet-like form that could be sipped through a straw.
    • More than 40 percent of all Slurpee drinks are sold during the sunny summer months of June, July and August.
    • 7-Eleven sells enough Slurpee drinks each year to fill up 12 Olympic swimming pools.
    • 7-Eleven coined the word BrainFreeze in 1994 to communicate the somewhat painful joy drinking a Slurpee drink brings.
    • Since its introduction in 1965, more than 6 billion Slurpee drinks have been sold, just about enough for every single person on the planet to have slurped.
    • Today, more than 13 million Slurpee drinks are consumed every month.

    Monday, July 11, 2005

    by Expat

    Canada Trip is Lesson in Poor Protest

    Since when are these types of behaviours acceptable?

    Tragedy in the Skies
    by Expat

    My intention today was to blog about the 35th anniversary of the Snowbirds, but that has been overshadowed by yesterday's tragedy that occurred at CFB 15 Wing near Moose Jaw.

    As an eager audience looked on, two bi-planes crashed and exploded during the Saskatchewan Centennial 2005 Air Show. The accident occurred at approximately 4:20pm, 15 minutes into the 30 minute dare devil flying show, entitled "Masters of Disaster". The civilian pilots, Jimmy Franklin and Bobby Younkin, were both members of the X-Team and were both air show veterans. At the time of the crash, they were performing a daring manoeuvre simulating a WWI dogfight.

    For more information on the crash, please see Air show tragedy: Two pilots die in fiery mid-air crash Sunday in Moose Jaw.

    The cruel irony of the crash was that this air show was the home show in a season dedicated to Captain Miles Selby, the Snowbird pilot who lost his life in a training accident on Dec. 10, 2004.

    I grew up attending the air shows at CFB 15 Wing and touring the Snowbirds exhibit at Moose Jaw's Western Development Museum. I suppose that one could say that I have always been a fan of the Snowbirds. Last year, my husband had the honour of working at an air show in a neighbouring town to our midwestern home. As he was performing his duties, one of the Blue Angels approached him. After nearly a decade, this fellow still recognized my husband as his buddy from their early naval careers. As the two caught up, it was revealed that they had both been married since they last saw each other, which led to the "how we met" stories. Learning that I was from Canada, my husband's friend began telling us about the shows in which the Blue Angels had worked alongside the Snowbirds. I beamed with pride as he sheepishly exclaimed, "The Snowbirds are better than us!". Later in the day, we marveled at the X-Team as they simulated a WWI dogfight. As the bi-planes flew towards each other, I prayed under my breath that the pilots would remain safe. At the last minute, one plane pulled up and the other pulled down, narrowly missing each other.

    Canadian Expatriates extends its heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of Mr.Franklin and Mr.Younkin.

    TELK has an eye witness account of the accident.
    CBC's image gallery of the accident.

    Friday, July 08, 2005

    What Do Canucks Have to be Proud of?
    by Expat

    1. Smarties
    2. Crispy Crunch, Coffee Crisp
    3. The size of our footballs fields and one less down
    4. Baseball is Canadian
    5. Lacrosse is Canadian

    6. Hockey is Canadian
    7. Basketball is Canadian
    8. Apple pie is Canadian
    9. Mr. Dress-up kicks Mr. Rogers ass. (How we all would like to watch that episode of Celeb Boxing!)
    10. Tim Hortons kicks Krispy Kreme's ass (into OBLIVION!)

    11. In the war of 1812, started by America, Canadians pushed the Americans back...past their 'White House'. Then we burned it...and most of Washington, under the command of William Lyon MaKenzie King who was insane and hammered all the time. We got bored because they ran away, so we came home and partied...Go figure..
    12. Canada has the largest French population that never surrendered to Germany.
    13. We have the largest English population that never ever surrendered or withdrew during any war to anyone. anywhere. EVER.
    14. Our civil war was fought in a bar and it lasted a little over an hour.
    15. The only person who was arrested in our civil war was an American mercenary, who slept in and missed the whole thing... but showed up just in time to get caught.

    16. We knew plaid was cool far before Seattle caught on.
    17. The Hudsons Bay Company once owned over 10% of the earth's surface and is still around as the worlds oldest company.
    18. The average dog sled team can kill and devour a full grown human in under 3 minutes.
    19. We still know what to do with all the parts of a buffalo.
    20. We don't marry our kin-folk.

    21. We invented ski-doos, jet-skis (sea-doos), velcro, zippers, insulin, penicillin, zambonis, the telephone and short wave radios that save countless lives each year.
    22. We ALL have frozen our tongues to something metal and lived to tell about it.
    23. A Canadian invented Superman.
    24. We have coloured money. (Oh yeah we do!)
    25. Our beer advertisments kick ass BUT MOST IMPORTANT!
    24. The handles on our beer cases are big enough to fit your hands with mitts on. OOOoohhhhh Canada!!
    25. Our elections only take one day.

    For other lists see, You Know You That You Are Canadian If... and this list of Canadian Inventions.

    The above posted list is a forward. Any inaccuracies can be posted in the comment section and the appropriate changes to the list will be made.

    Hat tip to Mudpuppy for passing this list along!

    Thursday, July 07, 2005

    Thoughts and Prayers
    by Expat

    In the shadow of the recent terrorist attacks in Britain, Canadian Expatriates extends condolences to the victims of the London bombings and their families.

    We hope that our Canadian friends who are blogging from London are safe.

    Click here for PM Tony Blair's official statement.
    Click here for statements by Canada's leaders.

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