Archive for canada


I rejoice at the news the train from Vancouver, BC to Seattle is set to start running again in September. That train has meant the world to me. It brings me to my loved ones in Washington State and then home again to my beguiling paradise.

Here’s a little piece I wrote on that train ten years ago on my iPhone blog:

A morning Amtrak conversation

Old fellow: “Same person’s been in that bathroom for five minutes!”

His wife: “What makes you think it’s the same person?”

Fellow: “It has to be!”

Wife: “No dear, it doesn’t have to be.”

Me: “How long have you two been married?”

Fellow: “60 years!”

Wife: “50 years, dear.”

Car 6 explodes in laughter. It’s going to be a fine trip to Olympia!

neighbour today

Canadian export

This alarms me.

Norm Macdonald

A marvellous Canadian who cracked me up every single time.

The Washington Post has a fine obituary, with lots of links to edifying and profoundly funny stories.

Canada Day

The faculty email-listserv at my university has been roaring the last day or so, prompted by an ad sent out by the campus bookstore: “Canada Day Sale – 25% off Canada-Made Items!” The ad – since taken down – was at best grossly tone-deaf, given the recent discoveries of several hundred unmarked graves of indigenous children on the grounds of former “residential schools” run by the Canadian government and the Catholic Church.

My colleagues’ emails have ranged from plaintive to strident to illuminating to defensive. And a couple of the usual trolls have shown up. Overall, I have found the spectacle more edifying than irritating. Many of my colleagues have used this occasion to do what they do: teach.

My own feelings today are mournful.