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text 2016-04-27 19:12
10 Books to Help You Be Canadian - Just in Case ... You know!

I don’t have a horse in the race but I have been watching with equal parts amusement and trepidation what is going on in the U.S. presidential election.  I’ve also heard much chatter from famous and not-so famous folks about moving to Canada if Mr. Trump is successful in his bid for office.  Having swept five primaries in the Eastern states Mr. Trump has thrown down the gauntlet …

When you get here and you feel ready to go “oot and aboot” (which we DO NOT really say) I’d love to meet you at Timmies for a double double.  Then I can explain some things such as why the air hurts your face in January?  Why, if you pay for your $1.98 purchase with a Toonie you will not get any change back?  And just exactly how many calories there are in Poutine (LOTS)!  Aside from those important things, being your friendly neighbour (YES – we put the letter ‘u’ in strange places in words - curse you American spell-check) to the north I thought I’d help out with the learning curve.  So, here’s a list of books and other things that may make your transition from ‘merican to canajun a little easier.
Just one more thing ... I’m sorry (yes, it’s true, we do apologize often and for no reason) even I cannot explain why books cost more in Canada than in the U.S.
Canajun, Eh?
This is basically an American to Canadian word and phrase book.  You should probably carry it around with you for the first little while, as it will help explain some of the differences in our English.  Examples such as knowing how to pronounce “Tronno” will keep you from getting embarrassed because if you pronounce the second ‘t’ in Toronto … well … it’s a dead giveaway that you are not from here.  It will also help you out with common acronyms such as “Arsee-Empee” (R.C.M.P.) – Dudley Do-Right et.al.
Only in Canada You Say
This is an excellent companion book to Canajun, Eh?  Ask any Canadian about a distinctly Canadian form of English, and most will offer an enthusiastic Bob-and-Doug-McKenzie 'eh' in response. A passionate few might also bring up the colour vs. color debate or our pronunciations of 'out' and 'about'. And some may point to the ubiquitous Canadian toque as evidence of a language that is all our own. If this is your idea of Canadian English, then it might surprise you that Katherine Barber, Editor-in-Chief of the best-selling Canadian Oxford Dictionary and author of the best-selling Six Words You Never Knew Had Something to Do With Pigs, has written a new book filled with nothing but made-in-Canada vocabulary. Only in Canada You Say highlights more than 1,200 words and phrases that are unique to our neck of the woods. Did you know, for example, that every time you ask for Gravol at the drug store, you're using a word that is unknown anywhere else? That those tasty butter tarts your mother used to make don't exist beyond our borders? Or that there are three distinctly Canadian sex words? And jokes about living in the Great White North aside, it is still pretty interesting to discover that there are 17 Canadian words for ice! 

Pogey, Poutine and Warm, Furry Beavers

A frenetic celebration of all things Canucky … the sort of result you might get if you pumped Dave Barry full of maple syrup and Moosehead, then left him tied up in a sack for a week with Ron James and the Littlest Hobo.  If none of that makes any sense then I guess you need to check out the book?

Canadian History for Dummies by Will Ferguson
This just proves that contrary to popular belief and the opinion of all grade seven students in the Canadian school system Canadian History can be fun!
Truthfully, almost anything by Will Ferguson that you can get your hands on will help your transition.
Mr. Fergusons was born in the former fur-trading post of Vermilion (population 840) in Northern Canada.  After some traveling and marriage Mr. Ferguson and his wife moved to Prince Edward Island where Mr. Ferguson found work with a local travel company selling Ann of Green Gables tours to Japanese tourists.  (Really … if that doesn’t qualify you as an expert on all things Canadian I don’t know what does?) 
Will Ferguson's publishing debut, Why I Hate Canadians, was released in September 1997, and went on to sell over 50,000 copies.
The follow-up, How to Be a Canadian, written with his brother Ian, has now sold 200,000 copies and won the CBA Libris Award for Non-Fiction Book of the Year.
In 2002, Will Ferguson was shortlisted twice for the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour: once for Happiness(aka. "Generica") and again for How to Be a Canadian.  There are only five books on the final shortlist, and this was the first time in the history of the Leacock Award that an author had been nominated twice in the same year. (Happiness went on to win.)
In 2005, he won his second Leacock Award for Beauty Tips from Moose Jaw. He was also awarded the Pierre Berton Award by Canada’s National History Society.
Speaking of Pierre Berton, anyone wanting to take a more serious approach to learning about The Great White North should most definitely invest in a personal library of Mr. Berton’s books. 
Pierre Berton spent his early newspaper career in Vancouver, where at 21 he was the youngest city editor on any Canadian daily. He moved to Toronto in 1947, and at the age of 31 was named managing editor of Maclean's magazine. In 1957, he became a key member of the CBC's public affairs flagship program, Close-Up, and a permanent panelist on Front Page Challenge. He joined The Toronto Star as associate editor and columnist in 1958, leaving in 1962 to commence The Pierre Berton Show, which ran until 1973.
His books include “My Country” in which Mr. Berton brings the past alive with true stories of mystery and romance, tragedy and heroism, from the piracy of Bill Johnston, scourge of the St. Lawrence, to the weird saga of Brother XII and his mystic cult on Vancouver Island.
“Niagara” which is full of heroes and villains, eccentrics and daredevils, scientists, and power brokers, Niagara has a contemporary resonance: how a great natural wonder created both the industrial heartland of southern Ontario and the worst pollution on the continent.
“The Invasion of Canada” … to America's leaders in 1812, an invasion of Canada seemed to be "a mere matter of marching," as Thomas Jefferson confidently predicted. How could a nation of 8 million fail to subdue a struggling colony of 300,000? Yet, when the campaign of 1812 ended, the only Americans left on Canadian soil were prisoners of war.
Should you not want to immigrate to Canada you might consider reading the Canada Party Manifesto, “America, But Better”.  As the American election increasingly resembles a production of CATS performed by actual cats, U.S. citizens are looking for a new leader. That leader is Canada, and they want your vote for president of the United States. Since launching their viral video campaign in January, the Canada Party has been covered around the world, including CNN, BBC, the Huffington Post, and German State Television. America, but Better: the Canada Party Manifesto, balances the doctrine of American exceptionalism with a dose of Canadian humility and common sense to secure Canada as the new leader of the free world, by proxy. Their promises: One gay couple will be allowed to marry for every straight couple that gets divorced. The phrase "job creators" will be changed to "job creationists," and they will be given seven days to actually create some.  Corporations will still be people, but if they can't provide a birth certificate they will be legally obligated to care for your lawn. Corners will be installed in the Oval Office, and timeouts given to congressmen who can't play nice. Devoted to restoring America to its former glory, the Canada Party will soon have the whole world chanting, "Yes We Canada."
 If reading isn’t your style you can always resort to film. 
The recent documentary style movie “Being Canadian” takes you on a tour of well-known and out-of-the-way places with some of Canada’s iconic celebrities … you know, those folks that will be making their back across the border should … well you know!
And, of course, “Men With Brooms”, this movie will not only teach you what you need to know about curling (sort of) but also what to do if you end up trapped in the middle of a colony (yes, that’s what a group of beavers is called – you’re welcome) and how to get the Canadian girl of your dreams (if you are Paul Gross that is).
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review 2015-01-12 02:00
Sunday Night Playlist - Movie Review: Gone Girl


So, I'm trying this out as a bit of an experiment.  I usually have a Sunday Night Playlist feature on my mainstay blog dedicated to music reviews, but I decided that since I'm dedicating the time and energy to doing media reviews of all walks, might as well add movie reviews to the playlist feature as well.


So, "Gone Girl" starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike will be released this week on DVD, and I had a chance to see it because I bought the film off Google Play using a gift card.  The film also stars Neil Patrick Harris and Tyler Perry, and was directed by David Fincher.


I was very surprised by how well the film version of this novel turned out to be.  I knew what I was in for since reading the book, but for the direction and how the actors brought the script to life, I was impressed.  The mood set by the tone of the film, the lighting, and the film's score was very well done.  I kinda had a good laugh at seeing Ben Affleck because I couldn't think of another actor who could get into Nick Dunne's character as well as he did.  Rosamund Pike played Amy to a tee, and beautifully translated the role from diary entries to the subsequent "twists" (though upon seeing the film, I couldn't help but think that Emily Van Camp probably could've also played Amy in the film as well, just for how my mind kept thinking of "Revenge" in some modes while watching the movie.)


I think Neil Patrick Harris and Tyler Perry captured their respective roles as well too - Harris playing Amy's former, obsessive lover and Perry capturing the role of the lawyer that defends Nick when he's accused of Amy's murder.  For the overarching sequencing of the movie - it did well with the play by play - switching between the present and past in a way that was easy to see how the tension built up over time, to the point of the "WTF?" ending.    I think this was a book that was indeed one that could translate well to film just from reading Flynn's original narrative, but for the sum of its parts - I'd definitely rewatch this adaptation, and would recommend it.


Overall score: 4.5/5 stars

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photo 2014-12-14 15:02
25 Famous Movies That You Might Not Know Were Based on Books
Nothing Lasts Forever (The book that inspired the movie Die Hard) - Roderick Thorp


Fast Times at Ridgemont High was actually an exposé, Nothing Lasts Forever (Die Hard) was a sequel to another adaption starring Frank Sinatra and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was the fourth book of a five book series. Check out these and other adaptations from books via Buzz Feed.

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url 2014-08-16 17:45
Great Movie Scenes in Libraries

From Bookriot.com 


(bonus link: Favorite Movies Starring Bookstores. Is it weird that I always wanted that sweater/dress thing that Audrey Hepburn wears in her first scenes of Funny Face?)


Audrey in Funny Face

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review 2014-06-27 00:09
Amazing Story of a Trek to Freedom
The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom - Slavomir Rawicz

Opening Line: “It was about nine o’clock one bleak November day that the key rattles in the heavy lock of my cell in the Lubyanka Prison and the two broad-shouldered guards marched purposely in.”


Wow what an amazing story, epic is I guess more the word I’m looking for. I read this after watching the movie The Way Back and as is usually the case the book is much better, vastly different yet obviously maintaining the gist of the year long trek across an entire continent to freedom. As a point of interest (or not) Colin Farrell’s tattooed gang character does not exist in the book. Anyways…



Slavomir Rawicz wrote this memoir in 1959 as a form of therapy to escape the memories that still haunted him. It has lost nothing with time however and remains one of the most incredible journeys of strength, endurance and human spirit you’ll ever read.


Its 1941 and “Slav” has just spent two years in a Soviet prison. After multiple beatings and interrogations at the hands of the sadistic prison guard “the Bull” he is eventually found guilty of espionage (?) and sentenced to 25 years forced labour in a Siberian work camp. (These sections were actually some of the most brutal in the whole book)


 Thus begins his journey. Transferred during the dead of winter Slav somehow survives the 3000 mile cattle car train ride and subsequent chain gang death march into inner Siberia and camp 303 in Yakutsk After enduring starvation, cold, illness and brutality he and six other prisoners escape.


Together they cross an entire continent on foot with nothing more than an axe, a knife, a weeks worth of food and an unbreakable will to live. Covering some of the most inhospitable conditions on earth they travel out of Siberia and through China, across the Gobi dessert into Tibet and finally over the Himalayas and into British India. This is where the epic part comes in because their journey is so brutal, so filled with despair and suffering its at times unbelievable and also impossible to put down.




The LONG WALK is written very factually and Slav doesn’t ever tell us how he feels, he just gives a meticulous account of what is taking place. However for this type of storytelling it was perfect. Included in this 1997 version is an afterwards with some of the readers most persistent questions answered. What Slav’s life was like after The Long Walk, What happened to the other men? Did he ever see them again?


This is a story I won’t ever forget and I highly recommend. I mean they walked from Siberia to India, just think about that for a second.

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