Canadian Expatriates: The Expat Blog: May 2006

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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

    Thursday, May 25, 2006

    Look Waaaaay Up!
    by Expat

    From September of 1958 until March of 1985, Bob Homme touched generations of Canadian children in his role as "The Friendly Giant".

    Friendly, along with Jerome the Giraffe; Rusty the sarcastic rooster; and Jazz Cats, Angie and Fiddle, became an integral part of childhood in Canada. It is somewhat ironic then, that this Canadian cultural icon was actually an American who began his career in children's entertainment on the southern side of the 49th.

    The original format for "The Friendly Giant" began on Madison, Wisconsin's WHA-AM radio in 1953. Following the success of the radio program, the show was moved to the University of Wisconsin’s WHA-TV, where it took on its familiar 15 minute format. The show found an audience outside of Wisconsin when it was picked up by educational television stations throughout the United States and was exported to Canada’s CBC, where it found a loyal following of preschoolers. In the late 1960s, “The Friendly Giant” met his demise on American television when the program was cancelled in order to make way for the faster paced "Sesame Street". It was then that Homme moved his family and his show north to Canada and the CBC.

    In 1984, "The Friendly Giant" was cancelled after the federal government made a round of deep budget cuts at the CBC. Although the show was no longer in production, Homme and his puppet pals lived on in reruns and in the hearts of three generations of Canadians. On November 2, 1998, Homme recieved Canada's highest civilian honour - he was invested into the Order of Canada.

    Below you will find some clips from a true Canadian idol, "The Friendly Giant".

    Beginning theme:

    A young giant:

    End Theme:

    Don't even think about taking the rocking chair. I already have dibs on it!

    Friday, May 19, 2006

    Gourmet Faux Pas
    by Expat

    Grilled chicken breast, spinach linguine served al dente, and peppercorn white sauce; coupled with a side salad of spring greens, roasted almonds, and a light raspberry vinaigrette.

    "What do you think of supper?" I asked.

    "Um. It is good," came the somewhat hesitant reply.

    I could tell that my husband was holding something back.

    "Seriously, what do you think? You can be honest. I won't be hurt," I lied.

    I really was not expecting this negative review of my cooking.

    "Well... I am a little confused as to why there is biscuit gravy on my noodles."

    Stunned silence was quickly followed by a search of the internet for recipes.

    The dude was right.

    White sauce is, in fact, served as biscuit gravy in the south.

    We finished the meal amid a gastronomical haze of confusion and appreciation of yet another cultural difference.

    Tuesday, May 16, 2006

    Canuck Phone Home
    by Expat

    Phone calls to the Motherland just became free for Stateside Canucks!
    Skype, a division of eBay in Northern California, announced that its SkypeOut service would be free in the United States and Canada through the end of the year as a promotion intended to lure new users.

    Skype calls from computer-to-computer have been free since the service was launched slightly more than two years ago, but SkypeOut calls routed from computers to land-line or mobile telephones came with fees.

    "Millions of consumers around the world are flocking to Skype every month, and we believe free SkypeOut calling will rapidly accelerate Skype adoption in the US and Canada," said Henry Gomez, general manager of Skype North America.

    "We're very excited to be bringing Skype's convenience and voice quality to so many people for free."
    Expats living outside of the United States need not feel left out of the deal. Although international calls from computer to landline (SkypeOut) are not free, they are relatively cheap, while calls made via computer to computer (Skype) are free.

    For more information on Skype and SkypeOut, see the Skype website.

    Saturday, May 13, 2006

    Hinterland Who's Who
    by Expat

    The Coalition for the Preservation of Memories of the Motherland ™™ proudly presents Canada's longest running series of public service announcements - Hinterland Who's Who!

    Once again, you can be lulled into a frenzy for nature by the distinctive flute refrain and deadpan narration of John Livingston in these clips from the Hinterland Who's Who video and sound clip library.

    In 2003, Environment Canada resurrected production of the series and began producing two versions - one, similar to the original 1960s public service ads; and another, marketed towards a younger audience. Those clips can be found in the library as well. Also be sure to check out the section on spoofs, particularly TSN's Granite Land Who's Who!

    Fans of, the now defunct, Double Exposure can listen to a clip of Political Hinterland Who's Who in Real Audio from The Current's website. Just download the clip here and fast forward it to the 26 minute mark to hear about the 1993 federal election in which Canada's Red-Faced Tories were reduced to a single mating pair.

    Tip o' the toque to Alex.

    Thursday, May 11, 2006

    Something Wicked This Way Swims
    by Expat

    British Columbia's legendary lake creature is about to make its cinematic debut in a mockumentary entitled,"The Beast of Bottomless Lake"!

    According to Provost Pictures' website, the movie, which is scheduled to begin filming this fall, will feature the following storyline:
    [A] group of academics seek to unveil the legendary lake serpent, the Ogopogo. But it is the demons of their so-called leader, Paul Moran and the mismatched team-members that filmmaker Ernie, focuses on with his additional documentary camera — a spy camera — to record the teams 'private' moments.

    After the failed promise of a stay at a luxurious resort, they find themselves billeted in Paul's loopy parents' basement. The hi-tech sled on loan from the Royal Commission on the Loch Ness is lost overboard on its maiden voyage. They have to share their research vessel with a sombre wedding party with (literally) shocking results and a day trip leaves one team member in jail on drug charges. With every turn, they get further from their goal and closer to a breakdown. The team is ripped apart.

    Paul pulls everything back together with a surprise video of the creature itself. A press conference is quickly organized but little do they realize that this night holds no fame and fortune — only anger and humiliating betrayal that makes the rest of their expedition to Lake Okanagan seem like summer vacation.
    A short teaser of the mockumentary can be found here.

    Further Reading
    Canada's Loch Ness Monster: Ogopogo
    Monsters, Myths, and Mystery: Great Canadian Legends
    Close Encounters of the Canadian Kind
    Big Foot and Other Beasts: A Field Guide to Unproven Animals

    Monday, May 08, 2006

    Blogger's Nightmare
    by Expat

    Gentle readers, you may rest assured that the visual assault of broken image tags is not intentional!

    My ISP, who also happens to host some of the template images for this blog, upgraded "technical platforms" and has encountered a number of issues since the change. Their transition work is expected to continue until the end of next week, so, unfortunately, the aesthetic quality of this website will be in flux until (a) my ISP has completed their upgrade or (b) I can scare up some copies of the missing images and change the template.

    Sorry for any searing of the cornea that this fugly blog may have caused.

    Log Driver's Waltz
    by Expat

    How is that for a jaunt down Memory Lane?

    Friday, May 05, 2006

    A Taste of Home
    by Expat

    Famished for some news and information from the Motherland?

    CBC Radio is providing podcasts of the best regional stories from the past seven days in a featured entitled "This Week":

  • Alberta This Week

  • British Columbia This Week

  • Newfoundland & Labrador This Week

  • Manitoba This Week

  • Maritimes This Week

  • The North This Week

  • Ontario This Week

  • Quebec This Week

  • Saskatchewan This Week

  • Toronto This Week

  • For those who have been craving radio programs of a more national flavour, such as Quirks & Quarks, you can likely find your program here, CBC Radio Podcasts.

    Wednesday, May 03, 2006

    Eagle Fever
    by Expat

    There is some sad news for those who have been watching a pair of nesting British Columbian eagles via the "Eagle Eye" internet webcam.

    Yesterday, CBC News reported that:
    There are now serious doubts that any eaglets will hatch from the nest on Hornby Island that has created worldwide "eagle fever" on the internet.

    Doug Carrick, who set up a webcam in the nest in his neighbour's backyard, said one of the two eggs has disappeared and the other is overdue to hatch.

    Carrick, 73, said he presumes the eaglet in the missing egg is dead, or the egg could have been infertile from the beginning.

    He told CBC News Online that the second egg should hatch soon if the chick is to have any chance of survival.

    "We'll know in a day or two. There should be some peck holes in the shell now, but I can't see any. There's only a slender chance."
    The rest of the article can be found here, B.C. Eagle Egg Given 'Slender' Chance of Survival.

    Like many others, I have become a frequent visitor to the "Eagle Eye Cam". It has been absolutely incredible to watch these two magnificent birds as they go about their daily routines of sitting on the nest, cleaning the nest, and switching duties. Their patience has been unyielding as they wait for their, now overdue, egg to hatch. Although the eagles look peaceful as they sit on the nest and go about their routines, there is always a cautious awareness of the danger that such large birds of prey impose.

    I have managed to get the Yank hooked on viewing the webcam as well. It is a rare experience for anyone to get such an intimate look at the nesting habits of the bald eagle, but it holds a greater degree of intrigue for him being that the birds are his national symbol.

    Today, we were watching the nesting eagles and talking about how the website had been receiving over 10 million hits per day when we were interrupted by the sound of a chain saw coming from the computer speakers. The eagle that was sitting on the nest looked distressed, as if to query whether it was his tree that was being cut down, but he was not about to abandon his duty. Instead, the other eagle came swooping up towards the nest and landed. The birds then switched places, tenderly passing the egg from one to the other. Then, the eagle that had initially been sitting on the egg took off, flying towards the source of the chainsaw noise. Shortly thereafter, a great deal of screeching could be heard above the roar of the chainsaw followed by an eerie silence and then a victorious screech.

    My husband looked at me.

    "What do you think just happened?" he asked.

    "Oh, I have a bit of an idea," came my reply.

    “The foolish think the Eagle weak, and easy to bring to heel.
    The Eagle's wings are silken, but its claws are made of steel.”
    - Sidney Sheldon

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