Thursday, November 13, 2008

Cross-border blogging...(an introduction)

WARNING/AVERTISSEMENT: This is not "just another knitting blog". The fainthearted may wish to click the back button on their browser now.... but please note that this blog has the potential to foster understanding between different nations and otherwise change your life forever!!!

Beware, though, and don't believe everything you read...NOTHING is safe (or sacred...) in the 49th Dimension!!!

For some background and lots of amusing pics, click

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Gold and Canada

Oh Golly!!!

I somehow overlooked the Queen!!! I guess I realized she was on the money, but yeah. Thanks for the lesson in politics. I now have to work on finding the Ogre a job at a high paying and evil pharmaceutical company. Woohoo!!

Speaking of gold teeth, I was scoping the fam's dental work at the birthday party. My uncle said he was hoping that it wouldn't be wasted by being disposed of upon his death. I responded with a hearty "Hell NO! I'm going to put my knee on your forehead and pull that gold out!"

Oh. Am also a fan of The Guess Who. Does that give or take away points?

Friday, March 14, 2008

wannabe or real Canajan?

Dear Holly:

you can absolutely be Canadian, I think (hey, JJ has only been here from Scotland for 15 years and he's managed... although he does still talk a bit funny, he does manage to say "truck" rather than "lorry" and "elevator" rather than "lift". It was so funny when we went to London in December when he slipped back into the Britisher stuff, thoguh...)

You're definetely along the right track, as I see it.

(a) you have ties close to the border.

(b) you love Timmy's

(c) you love Fluevogs (also Canajan!!)

(d) you're willing to use the "u" (and may I correct you if you write "color" on your blog instead of "colour"?

(e) you use Celsius. Good on ya!! And why haven't they switched, anyway? The medical field is obviously the smart field...

(f) if you have any gold, instead of silve, sell it here now. Apparertly it's going for $1,000/ounce. I tried to hold JJ down earlier this evening and extract his gold fillings, but there was nothing to be seen and he said they all fell out a long time ago and he doesn't know where they are (I suspect they're stashed, and will be conducting a search).

(g) re the government thing: frankly, if you can make any sense of these American primaries (I'm a fairly well educated person, but can't get any clue about how your system runs!) you can get the Canadian structure. Here's my prelimimary stab at "Canadian Government for Pigs"...or a "civics lesson" as you call it in the US.. but warning, there is probably a better summary here:

- in Canada, we have a Queen.

- However, the Queen does not live here. She is represented by someone called the Governor General.

- In each province (which is like a state - there are ten provinces in Canada, and also three "territories", but that is a subject for the next lesson...) she is also represented by other people called "Lieutenant Governors" (and in Canada, like in Britain, you pronounce this as "Leftenant".

- because we have a Queen, we do not have a President. Instead, the leader of the country is actually only the top person of the political party that is currently in power - called the "Prime Minister". The current Prime Minister is called Stephen wanker Harper.

(Mr. Harper is the guy on the right, in case you were wondering.).

- We have four major political parties in Canada - the Conservatives (who are in power right now for the whole country), the Liberals (who are in power right now in Ontario, the province where I live), the New Democratic Party (who were pinko commies until quite recently) and the Bloc Quebecois (a separatist French-Canadian party). In any given election, there are also other parties who show up, such as the Rhinos...

... and the Natural Law Party, also known as the Transcendental Meditation Party...

... but they don't really get too far, sadly enough.

- We do not have federal elections every 4 years. Our system is a bit different in that the federal government can actually sit for five years... unless another party forces an election more quickly because of a problem in government - if there is what is called a "vote of non-confidence" with regard to a specific policy, then we have to have an election

This means that we have more elections than you have in the US, probably. It doesn't mean necessarily that they are effective. The province I live in recently changed this system so now there are standard elections every four years - unless there is a huge problem, in which case an election can be called earlier. No one has yet figured out the rules for this, though.

- When we have elections, we do not vote for a party, but for the person representing the party. However, they do not put on the ballots which party is represented by which person - they just put down the names of the people who are running. The voter is expected to know this information when they come to vote. I'm not sure how well this works, actually.

- In Canada, like in the US, we have three levels of government: federal, provincial (state) and municipal (city). The relationship between the three is governed by the British North America Act of 1867. This Act created a division of responsibility between the federal goverments and the provincial governments (and by the way, at the time there were only four provinces!!) and then put the provincial governments in charge of municipal issues. The Act is a bit outdated, and this can cause some fights and problems.

So, Holly - is this enough info to pass the citizenship requirements? (JJ managed to pass without studying! But then he is also a British subject, which makes life a bit easier when you're in Canada, sadly enough). It's harder and harder to get into Canada these days, mind you, so act promptly. :-) I would sponsor you, but we'd have to be related or married... a problem since you're married to the Ogre. Plus I'd have to guarantee you $100/month, which would cut into my yarn spending... but if you work out the other wrinkles, I'd consider that!



Oh, I think this can work!

Dear Kristina!!

I think I can be Canadian! With your pointers and my family's already close proximity to the border and love of Timmy's I really think this could be a go!

(a) I can start throwing u's into things. Not a problem here. I already spell grey the non Murcan way, because well, it looks prettier.

(b) Learn Celsius? I have to work on my Fahrenheit! I have been using Celsius since 1982 when I was told that we were switching. I've been holding my breath ever since. It's a good thing I work in the medical field (when I work.)

(c) Our dollar is weak, so we praise how clever your Canadian currency is. I'm thinking of selling some silver up there soon.

(d) Yeah, the whole government thing. That will take some getting used to. But I'm used to posting edu-ma-cational propagada around the house "for the Pigs." So, if we go North, we'll just have the Learn Your Prime Ministers! Poster instead of the Learn Your Presidents! Poster.

You know, I took French in high school, so I can ask where the bibliotecha is. That may be all I've got, but it's something.

I think the family could pull this off. Now, I just have to work on the Ogre...

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Canajan, eh?

Holly, for what it's worth I designate you as an honorary Canajan. However, in order to pass the official test, you'll have to know a few things:

(a) it's coloUr, not color. And any -or ending, you should probably stick in a "u" before just to be safe. If you're called on it, you can just pretend to be British.

(b) you will have to learn celsius temperatures. We have been metric here since 1976. The only reason I put fahrenheit on my blog is because I look it up on the internet because I'm trying to be American-friendly.

(c) you will have to adjust to paying a lot more for has than you do now.

(d) if you want the list of the Canadian prime ministers, just contact me before the test.

And - here's another example of our upcoming Toronto underground - Museum station!

This is the subway station I had to use when going to law school (when I couldn't rollerblade there!) - and let me tell you, it was far more grim then.

And - you can tell the Ogre that pretty much everyone in Canada speaks English. Certainly, pretty much everyone in Montreal speaks English. As for Toronto... anglophone central. I can teach you all the French you need to know. I managed to get by in Paris speaking only French to everyone but JJ and his son... and funnily enough, I got this weird feedback from almost everyone that "are you from Ireland"? In french!!! Imagine... a greek-canadian with a bunch of scoto-brits in France being asked by French people in French, "Are you irish?". Sigh.

It's a weird thing - you've never heard my voice. Most new people I meet here ask me if I'm from down east, meaning Atlantic Canada, meaning a quasi-irish accent. This has happened from the time I came to Toronto... well before I was involved with the corrupt Scottish/Irish JJ. I really don't get it. My first language was Greek, my second (at 3 or so) English and I never met an honest-to-god Irish person until my 20s when I moved to Toronto. Nor have I ever been to the east coast of Canada.

You know what? I've never met you either, but I imagine that you and I both sound the same when we talk. It's the 49th dimesion, after all :-). I should actually get you to phone me and test this theory...

I love that you want to be Canajan. It's still the best identity in North America, I think, despite all my bitching. :-)



Newfoundland Rocks! I had no Idea

Dear Kristina!

Thank you so much for the good information! I had no idea that you poor Canadians went through the same mess and the info about Newfoundland.

I am sort of a slouch when it comes to, oh, you know, geography, and such. Like when I told the Ogre I wanted to move to Montreal. I went on, and on about all the cool features of the city. Ok, it was during a blizzard, and I was really impressed with the whole underground city thing!

You brilliant Canadians! Oh, your public transit and how you deal with the Great White North!!

The Ogre, being the Ogre, had to break my heart and say "You know they speak French there, right?"

I speak flawless French! I mean, I speak flawless Spanish! Ok, I speak flawless English. Uh, I speak American English in such a manner that I sound like I live in Canada!!! Can I please, please be Canadian?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

more daylight!

Dear Holly:

Yes, we too go through the confusion, fatigue and ridiculousness caused by Daylight Savings Time. I suspect that our reliance on this stupid principle from the south has more to do with TV schedules than everyone else, frankly. Why the hell else create a situation where we have to live in the dark all winter.

And they wonder why most suicides happen in winter??? Hello!!!

So, I've taken advantage of the sleepness to reblock old knitting projects:

...ride back and forth on the subway to finish this scarf (because I promised myself I would only knit it in public): nourishing and healthy foods:

(this is the French name, by the way. It's "Oreo Loaded" in English. I prefer the French name - gotta love living in a bilingual country!!!)

... and drinking Tim Horton's finest by the litre.

So, those are my tips to you, my friend to the south... although I do agree with your theory - one little Canadian glitch though, in Newfoundland they are already half an hour off the time (that is, their time zone is 1/2 hour removed from that of Eastern Canada! When it is 8:00 in Halifax it is 8:30 in St Johns. And you think America is the butt of all the jokes?!? LOL).

And - just start gearing up now, as next year I think they're changing the time by two hours, no?


Take it easy,