Category Archives: Canada

Traveling Man: Would You Like Some Snow With Your Snow?

Today’s Music: Lyle Lovett – Here I Am21
Days Til Spring: 21

(After you’ve read this, check out the great thing Zoe is doing for Merbear. If you can help out, even by just spreading the word, that would be fantastic!)

When last we left our intrepid idiot (and his much smarter wife, they had left the cold winter of Montreal for…well…the cold winter of Ottawa.

We took this trip without renting a car. We walked all over, and used public transportation when we needed it. To get from Montreal to Ottowa, we took a Greyhound. Not too expensive, free wifi, and plenty of legroom. I slept through the ride down grey bleary highways.
So how did I know we actually arrived in Ottawa when we disembarked? Because only the big city bus terminals have this in the mens room:

Would a smaller city have such nice accouterments?

Would a smaller city have such nice accouterments?

Having established our location, it was time to get our winter on!
Actually, it was time for that whether we wanted it or not. On the cab ride from the bus depot to the hotel, the driver flew over slush and snow filled roads at normal driving speeds. I was terrified, but he was moving normally in traffic.

Like Montreal, Ottawa also celebrates the snow with its own Winter Festival. In a park across the street from us, there was a snow carving competition. Some of the entries were simply breathtaking.

Ice bowlers are HUGE in Canada!

Ice bowlers are HUGE in Canada!



Under The Reef.

Under The Reef.

This is my desktop background now.

This is my desktop background now.

Having gotten our bearings, we wandered over to Byward Market for lunch. The Market is a huge open air mall/flea market. Vendors sell prepared food, produce, trinkets, and there are street performers everywhere. We went into a seafood restaurant.
A couple getting up as we were leaving said they were headed home to Montreal (small world!) and gave us the rest of their gift card.

Because Canadians really are that nice.

The next day bloomed bright and sunny. After a quick breakfast (without Canadian bacon – because seriously, that isn’t bacon), we set out on the day’s adventures.
My wife had one thing on her mind. I had one thing on my mind.
Despite them being two different things, we were lucky that we could do them both in the same place: The Rideau Canal.
The Canal cuts through Ottawa, and is used these days mostly for pleasure boats. Except in winter when it freezes.
And is opened for Ice Skating!!!

Only graceful skaters in this pic. So no, not me.

Only graceful skaters in this pic.
So no, not me.

We’d heard about this on a summer trip up to Ottawa to meet Charles DeLint, and it had been on our list ever since.
And something my wife discovered that she soon introduced me to – Beaver Tails!
These delicious flat, long pastries can only be described as…well…delicious. And sticky.
Grab as many napkins as you can, it still won’t be enough. But the mess will be worth it!

So simple. So delicious. So Canadian.

So simple. So delicious. So Canadian.

With that out of the way, we were off to the highlight of the trip – John Hiatt and Lyle Lovett on stage together!
The two of them have been doing this tour for years. 2 guys, 2 acoustic guitars. On several songs, they backed each other up, both singing and playing. In between songs, they told stories, explained the songs, even played with the audience a bit.

The pale blob on the right is John. The paler blob is Lyle.

The pale blob on the right is John. The paler blob is Lyle.

We’ve seen them both separately and loved them, but together was even better. There were no revelations during the show or transcendental moments, but watching two old pros slip on their songs like comfortable old bathrobes was easily worth the ticket.

This is from a show they did at the end of last year, but it gives the feel of the show.

So after a long weekend of freezing cold, lots of snow, strange food and great music, it was tie to go home. Or so we thought.
Returning to the hotel after breakfast the next day to get to the airport hours early for an international flight, it turns out the flight was cancelled.
Because of snow.
In New York.

Yes, the hotel staff laughed at us.
But they also had room for us to stay the extra night, gave us the numbers we needed to call to find a flight for the next day, and told us where to go for an excellent dinner.
And then laughed at us some more.

So we caught a 6 am flight and landed back in NYC. I was at my desk my ten am, and asleep in my chair by two pm.
My boss let me go home at 4 pm.

And I went promptly to sleep, to dream of gravy, pastry, music and sooo much snow.

Thank you Canada. I had a blast. Can’t wait to see you again!

Canada always makes me feel right at home.

Canada always makes me feel right at home.

Travelin’ Man – Stupid Is More Than Just A Word

Today’s Music: Christopher Cross – Ride Like The Wind
Days Til Spring: 30

It started with an innocent conversation between me and my wife (The Most Wonderful Girl In The Universe).
Me: Hey honey, want to go to Canada in February?
TMWGITU: *thinks* Who’s playing?
(She knows me so well! And we’ve had this conversation before. A lot.)
Me: John Hiatt and Lyle Lovett. Acoustic! On stage at the same time!
TMWGITU: *sighing* Ok.

So my wife (who rarely thinks just a concert is reason enough for crossing an international border) planned a long weekend for us in Canada – two days in Montreal, two in Ottawa. Fortunately, when it was time for the trip, NYC was on the verge of a heat wave – 40 Fahrenheit! – so, in fine stupid fashion, off we went to Canada!

Montreal in winter was stunning! After checking into our room, we walked over to Old Montreal to get our very first (so we thought) Poutine.
Poutine is a local delicacy of french fries smothered in gravy and cheese curd. One of the options at the place we went was to get it with smoked meat.

The French on the soda bottle is how you know I'm in Montreal.

The French on the soda bottle is how you know I’m in Montreal.

We were in time for their Fête des Neiges, an annual celebration of snow, held on a small island in the Saint Lawrence river. We took the subway to get there, and I added yet another rail pass to the collection (which sadly consists of only New York, London and Montreal).

The festival was a massive party – Ferris wheel, zip line from the museum, live child foozball.
Yes, you read that right.

At last! A use for kids I approve of!

At last! A use for kids I approve of!

After that (and a great night’s sleep), we headed out the next morning to the top of Montreal to get bagels.
Back near the beginning of the twentieth century, Old World Jews migrated to Canada. Among the traditions, rituals and foods they brought with them were bagels.
I’m from NYC, born and bred. So after my wife told me how famous Montreal bagels were, and people around the hotel raved about them, I had to check them out. The big difference between Montreal bagels and real bagels (yeah, I said it) is that Montreal bagels are boiled in water with honey added. If I hadn’t known it was honey, I wouldn’t quite have been able to identify what was wrong with them. Lucky me.

It kinda looks like a bagel.  But the resemblance ends there.

It kinda looks like a bagel.
But the resemblance ends there.

To be fair, we did go to the two oldest, most famous bakeries to try the bagels.
I’ll stick with an NYC. Preferably with a schmear.

Part two will cover Ottawa, because otherwise, this post would be very long.
So until then, enjoy this view of a ferris wheel rising from the snow.
Ferris Wheel
And some random guys playing hockey on a rink in the projects. Because Canada.

Friday Foolishness – Cookout Edition

Today’s Music: Love And Rockets – So Alive

Round and round we go, where it stops, no one knows. But it does leave plenty of time (amid the frustrations) to read blogs! Here’s some of what I saw…
Jots From A Small Apartment is continuing to make great art. I Saw Bob Dylan In A Speedo is livin’ life, and Sharp Little Pencil started posting again after her move, with a fun, beautiful poem.
Oh, and some time at the beginning of next week, AFrankAngle, having done the themed “Time The Musical”, not once, not twice, but three times(!), will return with the fourth installment! When it posts, you can find it here, along with all his other great writings.

Thanks all, for a great week of reading, and the promise of greatness to come!
Last week, Our poll wasn’t so much greatness as it was inane. Which is exactly what aim for around here. We asked about that technological marvel, the hospital bed, should do. And how it could be made even more…technologically marvelous. Your answers made me wonder what you could all do if you had medical degrees! Here’s what you said. (As always, my comments are on life support in italics.)

do the Orgasmatron thang from the old Woody Allen film -~Miss R
(Just make sure the IV has extra fluids…)
Yes they should, but would anyone be interested? 🙂 Andro
(I’d only be interested if it came with a demerol stash!)
Change nappies and make the sandwiches, but not at the same time 😦 Andro
(Just make sure whoever restocks the bed is very very careful of what goes in which bin!)
show me boobies!!! – Revis
(Ok, but the ones in hospital beds are not near as attractive with tubes coming out of them.)
(Or oozing…)

Have apps. They’ll be iBeds before long – mark my words. Grippy
(So my doctor disappeared because he was using Apple Maps?)
Send you home lickety-split-ly. Elyse 54.5
(It was the splits that put me in the hospital in the first place!)
Get to 70 in 4 seconds. Duh! (Stacy)
(A hospital bed that ages you that fast doesn’t sound like an improvement…))
refigured so they can be pulled behind a ski boat.
(On the spot aid for those inevitable “Chasing Loch Ness Monster” accidents!)
Eggs over easy with Canadian bacon. (SilkPurseProductions)
(Keep up that diet, and you’ll need a hospital bed.)
Resemble something close to being comfortable–Addie
(I thought the discomfort let you know you were healing?)
…stop Tea-Party members from breeding. JOTS
(So a hospital bed with lights so they have to look at each other?)
Teleport the sick person to the future where they will instantly be cured. JOTS
(Dammit KJ! I’m a doctor, not a – oh…nevermind.)
have auto download of El Guapo’s blog for my laptop! Benzeknees
(Hospitals block my blog as a virus.)
hug you healthy and give you nice dreams starring unicorns. NBI
(I see the words, but it reads as “give better drugs”…)
accept a quarter so the bed can vibrate. That will get the pulse moving. WG
(Wait – so that dingy room downtown I…heard of…was a hospital???)
be a trebucet. patients will hurl themselves onto unsuspecting medical staff WG
fly, like a magic carpet. thematticuskingdom
(That’s not the bed. It’s the drugs.)
Vibrate. Red.
(No, that’s just a phone the last patient left behind.)
Armrests and a cup holder!
(Woah – Yugo doesn’t share that technology with just anyone!)
Vibrate…Wheee (SnB)
(Someone is still high from the anesthetic…)
…go home with you, cus after all – you’ve paid for it! Alex A
(I can think of better souvenirs. Like the money I spent…)
Interviewing private nurses for extra duties. Wink wink, say no more. Andro
(The privacy curtains are a separate feature.)
Double up as an F1 car so that I can not only watch, but take part in the race at Silverstone Andro
(Are IV tubes fire resistant?)
shut off the noises from the ward and cocoon you to sleep MyBeautifulThings
(Wait – you don’t like the inconsistent pinging of beeps and alrams throught the night???))
Scratch that one part of your back you just can’t reach. Twindaddy
(As long as it isn’t the part where the sun don’t shine!)
administer GOOD drugs – Rutabaga
(After a certain point, even the cheap stuff works!)
Have a hole so you can go #1 & #2 without getting up! says, brickhousechick🙂
(Oh, people do that anyway.)
Bear Jameson whiskey gifts … thanks unknown (Frank)
(Sounds like you’re self medicating…)

Congratulations to WG for this weeks winning answer! And from the offered choices, the most popular was Have a built in fridge. Stocked with edible food.. Because Mystery Meatloaf is rarely good. Despite them saying it’s good for you.

That Star Spamgled Banner still waves.

That Star Spamgled Banner still waves.

This week, the world prepares to celebrate the 4th of Jul-
Not the whole world enjoys it? I mean, besides England…
Oh…ok…So this week, the United States prepares to celebrate the 4th of July, a holiday that is all about the birth of this nation, and its traditions. So this week, we’re asking how you’ll spend it.
Answer as often as you like, but do it before 2359 EST, 3 July,because that’s when this one ends.
And if you leave an “Other” answer, leave a way to identify you,and I’ll link back next week.

And until next week, enjoy these.
First, a classic!

And because one is never enough…

Have a great week, and I’ll see you when the clock spins ’round again.

Friday Foolishness – Breaking News Edition

Today’s Music: Jimmy Buffett – Coconut Telegraph

One day. That’s how long it lasted. We got home from Portland on Sunday morning. By the end of Monday (a day of work, chores and responsibilities), I was exhausted and drained again.
I need another vacation.
Fortunately, mini-breaks were provided in the form of blog posts!
Kayjai gave a great guide on how to tell if you’re too old for a hangover. Stacie put up her first political post about her buddy Paul Ryan, filled with great points!
For all of us working on our novel, Red put up a great opportunity. Bumba cut my liquor bill in half by explaining the meaning of life.
And No Blog Intended gave me a Sunshine Award! Probably because I’m a seething cauldron of nuclear explosiveness.
Well, maybe not. But if you aren’t reading her stuff, dude, you’re missing out.

Thanks to them and all the rest of you. It’s good to know that whenever I need a break from the real world crazies, I can always turn to you guys.

And after that, we can turn to what you said in last weeks poll. We asked how your autobiography should start.. Y’all have some interesting stories to tell! And apparently, several of you are Guapos too!
So here are your opening lines. As always, my comments are literary in italics.

All I ever wanted, in my unique oddball sort of crazy way, was to fit in. Lizzie
(Second line: And then I found wordpress!)
They call me Glumpy Shaver. Linda V
(Ah, but do they call you that to your face?)
[Dueling Banjos, at least the first 27 measures] – liveclay
(I hope that’s the only part of the biography that resembles Deliverance!)
Regrets, i have none, we did what we needed to do. John Phillips
(Soon to be a major motion picture, starring Jason Statham, Jean Claude Van-Damme, and Danny Devito as “Hoss”)
Last night I pooped my pants in public… again. Quirky
(Please tell me there won’t be a scratch and sniff edition.)
Just because they wouldn’t let me fly the last space shuttle, it didn’t mean …(Kanerva, I guess…)
Kanerva submitted the space shuttle comment!
(What an odd way to start a biography…)
You know you are in trouble when…Red
(It would be a much shorter book if it were “I was not in trouble when…”)
I’m almost ready to change my domain name to:
(I hope a dyslexic dog doesn’t beat you to it!)
You must be bored if you’re reading this.-lily
(Your book can replace SkyMall magazine!)
As soon as they pulled the donkey off of me, the midgets started doing crack. Hotspur
(A televangelist autobiography!)
I got your autobiography right here. Brain Tomahawk
(Don’t the edges of the bookcovers hurt stuffed in there?)
Bipolarmuse is the 1st of my personalities, allow me 2 introduce u 2 the others.
(Darryl and your other personality Darryl? (anyone??))
long long ago in a galaxy far far away…(SnB)
(Your story takes place in New Jersey in the ’80s?)
I’m really not as crazy as they say (Elyse 54.5)
(If you have to defend it…)
Oh God. *Sigh* What was I thinking?
(My autobiography has a distinct lack of thinking.)
It was the best of Guapos, it was the worst of Guapos – calahan
(, it was the Guapo of wisdom, it was the Guapo of (wait for it…) FOOLISHNESS!!! Dickens has nothing on us!)
ab·nor·mal/abˈnôrməl/ Adjective: Deviating from what is normal or usual, typical (Stay Abnormal, I’m guessing…)
(Is this Funks autobiography? Or Wagnalls?)
I wse a loleny byo? butimbeautiful
(Sounds like a great story, but fire your proofreader!)
I was born a poor black child.
(Subtitled: Steve Martin’s lesser known but cooler twin)
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was Kayjai time! KJ
(Pre-order now, and get free Hammer pants!)
There once was a man named Guapo (Frank)
(I get the feeling there’s going to be guano in this story too…)

Congratulations to Kanerva for winning this week’s poll! And from the offered choices, the most popular was It was a dark and stormy night. Because I guess a lot of readers live in the Pacific Northwest. Or London. So congratulations to everyone!

Which brings us around to this week. Blogger extraordinaire, President of Canadia, and all-around cool person, KJ is traveling to the land of sun and margaritas. That’s right, Florida will be hosting her and her entourage for a visit! So besides asking you all to be on your best behavior and carefully inventorying your drinking supplies, we want to ask you, what will be the big news from her visit? Jet skiing on along the beach? Annexing Disney World? Going for a delightful run with the alligators? You tell us.
Pick a headline, or report your own. But report soon, because this one closes at 2359 EST on Thursday, 23 August.
(As always, if you leave an “Other” answer with a way to ID you, I’ll link back to you next week.)

I hope you and yours have a great time, Kayjai!
And for all the rest of us – until she gets back – I leave you with these.

Last week’s “They Call Mr Tibbs” choice got me thinking about classic movies. Here’s the last scene of Casablanca, which I think stands up well against all the other classic scenes in that film.

And second, an excellent clip from Inherit The Wind, based on the Scopes Monkey Trial.

Have a great weekend, y’all. Next week, I’ll be putting up the bungee jump post, possibly with video, definitely with pictures.
And man, does my hair look magnificent!

Friday Foolishness – Kelvin edition

Today’s Music: AC/DC – Rock ‘n Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution
Note on Today’s Music: In a recent post, L&L said I should go with songs I like. She’s absolutely right. This one, the lyric at 2:48 – 2:50, says it all for me. I like the rest of the song too.

Well, that was unexpected. Almost didn’t make it here this week. Fortunately, there was some sleeping going on by others that let me grab enough time to cobble this together. So the planets aligned, and here we are, on another glorious Friday!
And despite having no time to post (yesterday’s took several days to write and still felt hurried), I did manage to get some good reading in.
Thypolar’s daughter did really well at the National American Miss competition.
Edward Hotspur is continuing his exploration of 80s music with a poll on the Best Band of the 80s. Smaktakula Came Out in support of gay folks . Probably about as supportive as he’ll ever get, and we sincerely approve! And Pudding Girl nominated me for a One Lovely Blog Award. If you aren’t reading her, you should really take a minute to check her out.
Thanks to them and everyone else for the great reads this week.
I’m looking forward to catching up on the stuff I missed as soon as I get a chance.
But no time for that now. Because we have to go over last weeks adventure!

A bit more explosive than I meant…

Last week, in the midst of a plethora (ok, two) national festivitudes, we jumped on the spirited bandwagon and asked how you’d celebrate. Or specifically, asked you to finish the thought I Want To Blow Up…
And boy, did you guys not disappoint! Here’s what you said. (As always, my comments sparkle in italics):

Certain Passive Aggressive persons, very aggressively. GingerHasSnaapped
(Don’t sugarcoat it, Ginger. Tell us how you really feel.)
The entire cast of Jersey Shore! (wordsandotherthings)
real good. John Phillips

(I’d agree. It’s through the roof!)

Ted Nugent, just because I think the world would be a better place. Live Clay
(Okay, but do it in a quarantined environment, in case cat scratch fever is an airborne disease…)
In communist Russia, up blows YOU! – Hotspur
(Sure, until it collapses under Gorbachev’s forehead tattoo…)
Donald Trump’s hair to see if it moves. Lvernon
(Could we blow up Donald Trump instead and just donate his hair to science? Or the circus?)
Gallagher (for those poor watermelons) Carrie Cannibalistic Nerd
(Revenge is sweet! And has a thick rind.)
the flag. Our flag, your flag, all flags. I just hate them. butimbeautiful
(Sounds like you’re waving the white flag.)
because blowing down isn’t as much fun. sandylikeabeach
(Up and down are relative to how you’re… nevermind.)
another kiddie pool that I can keep pee-free for me: Jenn Worrell
(Aren’t “kiddie pool” and “pee-free” mutually exclusive?)
the penguin on top of the TV. –cowgirliz
(Wouldn’t it be smarter to blow up the penguin in a big empty field instead?)
doll! blow up doll. deluxe please. Lizzie C.
(Doesn’t deluxe come with anchovi- Ohhhh. nevermind.)
My husband! 😛
(But then who would you have to blame stuff on?)
I cannot answer this question without legal representation (Elyse 54.5)
(Surely the statute of limitations has run out on that by now…)
my television provider…asshats! ugh…KJ
(You could make it a pay-per-view special!)

Congratulations to Nicole Marie for this weeks winning answer! And from the offered choices, the most popular was Can’t we all just get along?!? Everyone who voted for that needs to start running the world. Now.

And once y’all are ensconced in your new positions of power, let’s consider this week.

Nope. Don’t need air conditioning. But let”s not talk about the heating bill…

It’s been hot. Fry an egg on your bald neighbor’s head hot.
Well, maybe not that bad (and I don’t suggest trying it)(But if you do take pictures!!!)
But pretty darn hot.
So how do you do it, folks? How do you keep your temperatures from running too hot?
That’s the question of this week’s poll. Answer honestly, answer often. But answer soon. Because this one closes at 2359 EST on Thursday, 19 July.
And if you leave a way to identify you in your “other” answer, I’ll link back to you next week when we (hopefully) do this all again.

And to keep you entertained until next time, I thought we’d stick with the theme of great comedians.
First off, Jonathan Winters

And to finish up, Lucille Ball.

Have a great week everyone! See you ’round the sphere.