If you’ve spent a decent amount of time with anyone from Ireland, you are likely well aware that they’re a straight-up bunch of lads and lassies. Unless there’s good craic to be had, or a bar stool to keep warm, the Irish just don’t have time to beat around the bush. Maybe it’s the ever-present threat of rain, or the need to get to the punchline before someone else comes out with a better joke. Who knows? Either way, the Irish get to the point and they do it quickly.
While it’s a little difficult to validate such a sweeping claim (and one that I make with love, to be clear), here are a few contrasting examples to clarify my point: Continue reading →
Each November, Canadians take a day to reflect on and remember the sacrifices of those who fought for our freedom. Known as Remembrance Day, many (but not all) Canadians are given a day off work/school on November 11th to participate in the events held to commemorate our military veterans. If November 11 falls on a weekend (as it does this year), some employers and schools provide a day off in lieu on the Monday after the 11th.
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A few months ago I wrote about having the great fortune to discover that Heritage Minutes are available for viewing online. Canadians of almost any age will remember this series of history videos that began airing on television in 1991. Each Minute depicts a significant moment, person or event that influenced Canadian history and they left many a viewer (including yours truly) transfixed back in the day.
If you didn’t grow up watching Heritage Minutes, you likely a) are not Canadian and b) have no idea that history can be interesting enough to make you anticipate commercial breaks. If either of those options apply to you, dear reader, I am truly sorry. While I can’t help you with the first issue, you should check out this post to resolve the second issue. I’ll wait for you to come back…
…okay, now that we’re all on the same page about history commercials being cool, you should brace yourself because Continue reading →
Have you ever said a word one too many times in a row, and it totally lost all meaning? Meaning. Meeening. MeNING. Miiiinuuunggg. Ugh.
It’s jarring when that happens because you sort of lose the run of yourself for a second. The familiar word becomes foreign, your tongue seems to have a mind of its own, and your brain suddenly switches to a language you don’t know. You know what I mean?
It’s also unnerving when you really think about a word you’ve mindlessly repeated for years. For instance, have you every really thought about the name of the place you grew up? I mean really thought about it? On the one hand, the name means so much more than the actual word. But on the other hand the word is really quite meaningless, right? Weird.
I’m pondering this random topic because of a great post I recently stumbled on that takes Saskatchewan town names and turns them into a story. That doesn’t really make much sense without some context, so you should probably take a few minutes to read Shanomi’s “A Prairie Thing” post for yourself before I continue…
Okay, now that you’ve done the assigned homework, I must say that Shanomi’s post has me thinking about my home province of Alberta in a totally different way. While some of the town names I grew up around have always sounded ridiculous (Lacombe, for example, never fails to bring to mind a French hairdresser’s tools), her post really made me think about all the towns I’m most familiar with. So, in the spirit of Shanomi’s post, allow me to introduce a few of Alberta’s unique places.
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Every culture has its own distinct foods that you long for if you’ve been away from home for too many days. Some are intricate dishes, perfected over thousands of years. Others are comparatively new on the food scene, but become beloved cultural fixtures in short order. And many meals, regardless of how long they’ve been around for, take a little faith for the first-timer to try. For instance, as I mentioned in this post, Canadians down thousands of Caesars each year. The uninitiated, however, need a little convincing to get past the whole tomato juice mixed with clam juice thing before they can truly appreciate Canada’s beloved hangover cure. As for me, I rarely order a Caesar at home. But travelling for any extended period of time never fails to make me start craving one.
Image by acme via Flickr
In terms of cravings though, my urge to down a Caesar is nothing compared to the itch I get for a good plate of poutine if I haven’t had any for a few weeks. If you are one of those unfortunate souls who has never sampled this nectar of the gods, I’m sorry to tell you that your life is incomplete. Continue reading →