Thursday, June 30, 2016
Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Friday, June 24, 2016
For one, no one calls these people Indians anymore. The U.S. has also ditched this misleading description in favor of the term Native Americans which is still not the best term since these people were living on the land long before Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci sailed around the southern part of the continent. Why does he get to be part of their identity? The term Aboriginal makes more sense, as it means "having existed in a region from the beginning." In Canada, they are also sometimes referred to as Indigenous people and are made up of 3 groups: the First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.
Agreeing on proper terminology is the first step. Acknowledging past injustices and addressing present-day ramifications is the next step, and Canada seems to be doing this. In 1996, the Canadian government established June 21 as National Aboriginal Day, an annual holiday marked by festivals, cultural events, and awareness campaigns. The U.S. has no such holiday (Thanksgiving doesn't count), although Seattle (yay!) did officially rename Columbus Day as Indigenous People's Day.
Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Tuesday, June 21, 2016
I had to Google the ingredients because for the life of me I can't figure out the flavor. This funny review from a website called Serious Eats says that All Dressed chips are a flavor mixture of barbecue sauce, sour cream & onion, salt & vinegar, and ketchup.
Suffice it to say, they're intense.
Thursday, June 16, 2016
We first noticed black squirrels when we went camping in British Columbia 3 years ago. There may be some in the U.S. but I've never lived in an area that had them before. The ones I'm used to are gray or reddish brown. Canada has those too, but the black ones outnumber them. At least they do in Toronto.
I remember the day our moving truck arrived a moving guy overheard us marvelling at a black squirrel on the porch and asked, "You've never seen a squirrel before?" He was surprised when we told him that black ones were new to us.
Now? They're no big deal. There everywhere and we cross paths with them several times a day. I think I'm going to miss them when we move.
Tuesday, June 14, 2016
When I was a teacher I had it all planned out - how I would barricade the door, hide my students in the art supply closet, and how I would be a hero or die trying. I've wondered what picture of me the news would use in their memorial to the victims, what paragraph they would write to sum up my life, and how soon everyone would forget the event and move on to the next one.
Americans accept that gun massacres are inevitable. We train for them with lock-downs and active-shooter drills. Some people stock up on guns and ammo and arm themselves while they fantasize about being the the good guy with the gun. Studies have shown though that when there are more guns in society there are more accidents, suicides, and murders. Go figure. This is what guns are designed to do.
Walking around the Bestival music festival in Toronto on Sunday I felt free. It was a beautiful sunny day, everyone was dancing and smiling and enjoying the music together and I couldn't help but think of the people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando the night before. They too were dancing and smiling with their friends in a place where they felt welcome and accepted... until someone with an assault rifle decided to start shooting.
It could happen in Canada, but it doesn't, at least not often and not to the extent that it happens in the U.S. Why? Canadians have guns. The difference is that their government, in an effort to protect its citizens, has commonsense laws to regulate the availability and distribution of firearms.
... and that's where Americans who love guns start getting angry. Americans, I've found (at least the ultra-conservative ones) are much angrier in general than their conservative counterparts in Canada, especially when it comes to paying taxes, allowing government-sponsored health care, and accepting people of differing faiths and skin colors and sexual orientations. The mere mention of "government," "laws," and "regulate" starts to feel like an infringement on "freedom" to some, even if it results in saving the lives of thousands of others.
In order to purchase a firearm in Canada a citizen must take a gun safety class, pass the Canadian Firearms Safety Courses, apply for a license and pay a fee ($200 - $350), wait a few weeks to receive the license in the mail, and renew it every 5 years. Source: http://www.howtogetagun.ca/
These seem like simple safeguards, right? Other notable differences are that it's illegal to conceal carry in Canada and there is a lengthy list of specific handguns and high powered assault rifles that are are prohibited. Do these restrictions piss off some gun lovers? Yes. But they live with it and as a result, fewer people die.