Archive for the ‘Canada’ Category

Sorry for not posting in a while. Work has been busy. Extremely so.

Just got back from the Olympics on Sunday. I’ll try posting some pictures later on.

This image I got from the Slog. My friend witnessed similar behavior in Vancouver. She told me she saw a Canadian heckling Joe Biden about health care. This seems odd. No doubt a fan getting a little too enthusiastic about the US/Canada hockey game, which by the way was fabulous, we won.

But again this sign is in very poor taste. Would I point a cardboard sign at a television camera for a station in Saudi Arabia that says “At least I can drive.” Very poor sportsmanship displayed here, but I suppose tempers can get flared in these sorts of situations. Especially when you LOSE. Not that I care about WINNING. No, not at all.

Update: Okay, here’s some funny links I found via Ron Judd’s Olympic blog in the Seattle Times.

Piss off America. Oh and you lost the war of 1812.

Canada should just cheat.

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Natalie MacMaster

Please enjoy some Scottish fiddle music.

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My previous Homeland Security post was a hit, so why not post this.

A Canadian who asked a U.S. border inspector to say please got a face full of pepper spray instead.

The 54-year-old resident of Coquitlam, British Columbia, Desiderio Fortunato, says he thought the guard who told him to turn off his engine was rude and asked him to say please.

Fortunato told The Bellingham Herald he was stunned and blinded Monday as he was sprayed, pulled out of the car and handcuffed. He was detained about 3 hours.

THE thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge.

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Whistler Village

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In search of poutine

We’re going to Whistler Canada this weekend to go skiing. All reports show that the skiing is terrible right now, but there may be snow Friday night. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Regardless, I’m looking forward to poutine.

Poutine is the national comfort food of Quebec. It’s french fries with gravy and cheese curds melted on top. Poutine is also rather fashionable in Seattle these days though I haven’t been able to find any to my liking. In Montreal, the gravy used for poutine is of veal or beef stock. Last time I was at Whistler, the gravy seemed to be made with chicken or turkey stock. I’m sure it’s sacriligious that I prefer the turkey gravy to the beef, but there it is.

Here is Seattle you can find poutine at Skillet. I have to admit that I’m not very partial to their variety, but my husband loves it.

Photo of poutine via terri_tu’s Photostream.

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Via BoingBoing.

The International Olympic Committee has trademarked a line from the Canadian national anthem, “with glowing hearts,” and is threatening to sue anyone who uses the line in Canada, as part of the Vancouver Games.

This is par for the course. The IOC is a corrupt, bullying, greedy, hypocritical organization that uses trademark laws to limit the free speech and commerce of people who have the misfortune to attend or live near the games — for example, in Athens, they forced people to take off or cover up t-shirts that had logos for companies that hadn’t paid to sponsor the Olympics; and in Washington, they attacked decades-old businesses named after nearby Mount Olympia.

Read about The Olympic Mountains and the IOC here.

. VANOC would only challenge the commercial use of the mottoes if a business began using them to create a specific, unauthorized commercial association with the 2010 Winter Games, said the statement.

O Canada is over 100 years old and, according to the Department of Canadian Heritage, is in the public domain so may be used without permission from the government.

The committee is so serious about protecting the Olympic brand it managed to get a landmark piece of legislation passed in the House of Commons last year that made using certain phrases related to the Games a violation of law.

The list includes the number 2010 and the word “winter,” phrases that normally couldn’t be trademarked because they are so general.

The least they could do is copywrite something they actually wrote.

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Those scary Canadians

As if John McCain insulting Spain wasn’t enough, Sarah Palin’s interview with Katie Couric shows her equating her neighbor Canada with Russia.

Couric: You’ve cited Alaska’s proximity to Russia as part of your foreign policy experience. What did you mean by that?

Palin: That Alaska has a very narrow maritime border between a foreign country, Russia, and on our other side, the land– boundary that we have with– Canada. It– it’s funny that a comment like that was– kind of made to– cari– I don’t know, you know? Reporters–

Couric: Mock?

PALIN: Yeah, mocked, I guess that’s the word, yeah.

COURIC: Explain to me why that enhances your foreign policy credentials.

PALIN: Well, it certainly does because our– our next door neighbors are foreign countries. They’re in the state that I am the executive of. And there in Russia–

As a Washington state resident, I too am next to Canada. In fact there are a lot of states right next to Canada. It reeks of “I don’t much but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.”

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An interesting commercial from 1995 on a number of levels. First of all why is famous dancer Alexander Godunov from the Bolshoi Ballet selling Canadian beer? Perhaps Godunov was more of a household name in Canada? His acting career in America certainly didn’t make him a household name although he was famous for those who knew him from the American Ballet Theater.

I also find it interesting that The Smiths are playing in the background. I love “How Soon Is Now”.

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Vincent Moon

Being a fan of The Arcade Fire, I was interested to read about this new filmmaker who learned his trade from working with his favorite band. Here’s an example of his work. It’s a long video but worth it once it gets going.

Under the name Vincent Moon, he’s gone from a fan begging for tickets to an in-demand filmmaker who has revolutionized music video.

His films are stripped down, intimate videotaped performances — shot in one take, often of an act simply strolling down a street or playing in a parking lot. More than a hundred musicians — from Arcade Fire to R.E.M. — have flocked to work with him on the so-dubbed “Take-Away Shows,” part of the Web site La Blogotheque.

Following the demise of the televised music video, Saura’s videos show a new marriage of music and film that replaces the artifice of big budget music videos with the raw simplicity of performance.

You can watch all of Vincent Moon’s videos here — not on MTV.

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More opportunities to see our Greatest Living Actor. Click the picture for the link.

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Before it’s too late. He’s turning into William Shatner. Please, someone free him from Shatner’s clutches before the transformation is complete.

1. Long before he ever met William Shatner, he was a sexy man.

2. He had just begun playing Alan Shore on The Practice which would later turn into Boston Legal.

3. Side by side, it’s not looking good for Spader.

4. Once again, it’s not looking good.

5. This is what we must stop.

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Since starting my own blog, I’ve had less time to comment on other blogs I read. The Stranger has for a long time been one of my guilty pleasures, but I can never seem to get any satisfaction from any of the threads. No matter how hard I try, my comments are always taken in a bad way and I get this bitchy vitriol directed back at me. That is if my comment is even noticed.

Take for instance, this very compelling topic posted by Dan Savage. He posts a quote from the Washington Post on a half white, half Asian actor playing Barack Obama.

Debate over that question has been pinging around the Internet since [Fred] Armisen, a veteran cast member, donned darker makeup to portray the Democratic candidate for the first time Saturday. Armisen played Obama opposite Amy Poehler’s Hillary Clinton in a sketch satirizing the supposedly cushy treatment his candidacy has received from the media.

Then he completes his post with:

Have we reached a point where someone that isn’t black can play a black character, or impersonate a black politician, without stooping to crude racist caricature? I think we have.

I’ve been aware of this topic since the controversy over Jonathan Price playing a Vietnamese Pimp in Miss Saigon. If memory serves, Actors Equity was quite upset that an English transport was going to play this part instead of an American, and a white one at that.

I put this comment on The Stranger in answer to Dan’s question. I wasn’t referring to Saturday Night Live and I haven’t even seen the skit.

I frown on it, just because they are plenty of ethnic and mixed-race actors out there that aren’t being used because their parts are being stolen by white actors. Charleton Heston in A Touch of Evil, Angelina Jolie in A Mighty Heart, Ashley Judd in Frida. You can’t tell me there are no other actors that could have taken these parts.

The onslaught begins:

@1 there’s no actors that could have done it as well? couldn’t have drawn an audience for the price the studio paid to finance the movie? who gives a fuck?

Fred Armistan is a mixed-race actor, D. But not the right mix, it seems, for some.

For every non-“ethnic” actor who plays an “ethnic” part, there are fifty “ethnic” actors playing Hamlet or Macbeth or Henry V, somewhere in the country. “Stolen” my hairy Hungarian ass.

For every one black movie star of today, I can probably name 6-8 white stars.” Given that blacks are 12% of the total population, this seems reasonable. Is there some reason that you feel that blacks should be overrepresented in the entertainment industry?

I stand by my comment. There are very few times when a non-white actor plays a character that isn’t specifically non-white and I suppose as a person of mixed-race who has gotten rejected for Southern women roles, English roles, etc. it seems unfair that someone can don makeup to play an ethnic role.

I would like to say it’s getting better though. Famously, no lines were changed when Morgan Freedman took on the Irish role of Red in The Shawshank Redemption. Even as Asian characters become modern and very American in movies, like Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle, their race is very much a part of their character. Like many Asian Americans, I just want to be me. I don’t live every second thinking about my race, so I don’t see why I would have to portray that in film.

The film Double Happiness with Sandra Oh really captures this. If only they had better clips on YouTube. Like where Sandra Oh is playing Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire in her bedroom. Another scene, she goes to an audition and the first thing the auditors ask is can she do an accent. She launches in to a French accent and the auditors are visibly confused. The next scene we see is her playing a waitress with a thick Chinese accent. Here’s a good scene nonetheless. Rent the movie.

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Living close enough to the border with Canada, I often reflect on our similarities and differences. I love driving into Canada from Washington. You immediately feel the effect of smooth roads and less garbage.

Vancouver is in many ways superior to Seattle. It’s more cosmopolitan and is greatly more international. A few years ago, I went to Vancouver to buy fabric for my wedding dress. I was told the Indian fabric stores were a great bargain. Sure enough, my fabric cost a fraction of what it would cost in the States, but I was more impressed by the fact that I felt like I had been transported to India. While I was thumbing through the cloth, I was vaguely aware of this voice droning on and on. I thought it was the radio, but it turns out it was the owner of the store with a head set microphone calling out the bargains at the moment. It was almost like a trade show.

As much as I love Vancouver, I got to say the Puget Sound in Seattle is prettier. Not cleaner mind you, but prettier. When you fly into Seattle the snakes of the lakes is something to behold. As much as I love running around Stanley park, the view of the Oympic Mountains at Myrtle Edwards Park in my opinion is more beautiful.

But it’s not a contest, I’d love to live in both places.

Here’s a great quiz called “How Canadian Are You?” I wonder if you can guess which letter is meant to imply an American.

1. Your spouse comes home to find you in bed with someone else, and you’re not taking measurements for a new bedspread. You:

  1. shoot either your spouse or your bedmate,
  2. try to come up with a persuasive although false excuse
  3. tearfully beg repentance
  4. demand sovereign sexual status with continuation of transfer payments for condom purchases

2. You are driving legally through an intersection when a car running a red light smashes into your car and leaves you with incapacitating injuries. You:

  1. have the other driver shot
  2. sue the other driver
  3. negotiate damages with the other driver
  4. negotiate changes to the Highway Act acknowledging the other driver’s right to opt out of observing traffic lights

3. A friend asks you for money. You:

  1. pull a gun and shoot him/her
  2. rebuke him/her energetically
  3. give him/her some money
  4. promise him/her distinct friend status

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Since training manuals actually have a practical purpose, they tend to be a whole lot more honest than official speak.

Take for instance a Canadian training manual for their diplomats:

A training manual for Canadian diplomats lists the United States as a country where prisoners risk torture and abuse, citing interrogation techniques such as stripping prisoners, blindfolding and sleep deprivation.

It also names Israel, Afghanistan, China, Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Syria as places where inmates could face torture.

Or how about this Arab Cultural Awareness training manual produced by the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence for the U.S. Army. Too bad the Bush Administration didn’t read it since they were telling us that the Iraqis would greet us with arms wide open.

Successful Negotiation Suggestions

  • Use Policies of Inclusion: Consult and involve in negotiations all the power brokers that have the ability to affect your project.
  • Xenophobia: Be prepared for some distrust of foreigners.
  • Historically, Middle Easterners perceive foreigners in the
    Middle East as invaders or exploiters.
  • Bartering: Expect Bartering- Expect an Arab to ask for what
    he wants rather than merely what he needs. Work towards a
    satisfactory medium.
  • Personal Provisions: Some Arabs may ask for provisions
    that appear self-serving. Personal rewards are a normal part
    of negotiation in the Arab world.
  • Commitment: Do not put your guests / hosts in a position to
    commit to a firm ‘yes’ or ‘no’ in front of other Arabs. Social
    pressure could compel your guest/host to agree to a commitment he has no intention of keeping.
  • Long Range Planning: Never accept a firm commitment
    farther than a week out at face value. Arab culture and the
    concept of fatalism are not conducive to long range planning
    and require at least a confirmation in the week prior to the
    planned event.
  • Compliance: To compel an Arab to keep a commitment in
    which he appears not to be keeping, attempt an indirect
    approach first before direct confrontation. Having a peer
    gently remind him of his commitment, could prevent him from
    feeling an affront to his honor. Keep verbal commitments or
    risk reinforcing the perception that “America never keeps its

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