Monday, September 23, 2013

I saw this on Facebook this morning and said, "Yep!":

Things are somehow different in Canada…

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Do you have all of your ducks in a row?

The other day, we were doing some volunteer work downtown and I was partnered with a man from South Korea.  Joshua had been in Canada approximately four years and taught the English as a Second Language (ESL) coarse to local immigrants.

Someone came into the room and asked about our progress.  "Have you got all your ducks in row?" he asked.

Without even thinking, I replied, "Yep, we are good to go!"

After a few minutes, Joshua asked, "What does this mean, 'ducks in a row'?"

I hadn't really thought about this before, but the question forced me to think of the actually meaning, the origin of the meaning and how strange that it must sound to those unfamiliar with the phrase.

So, we have a Southerner teaching a South Korean how to speak Canadian English. Funny, eh?

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Janie's Got a Gun (Part 2)...

We had dinner with some friends and a couple said that their son was now dating a young lady from Texas. When they were going to meet her, they decided that they had better temper their speech, " talking about politics, nor the NRA..."

I said, "You shouldn't be talking bad about the NRA anyway."

To which the woman replied, "Well, I am a full-fledged Communist so you can go ahead an start hating me..."

I was kind of taken aback by all of this, so as they continued their conversation and catching up, I was trying to digest all of the info. "How could a 'communist' be a Christian..." I thought.

Then out of the blue, the woman used the illustration of how you have to lead your aim on a duck before you shoot it.

I said, "Wait a minute! How do you shoot a duck without a gun?" (I was even ignoring the fact that she assumed that everyone should know how to hunt ducks.) "How can you talk bad about the NRA if you are a duck hunter?"

She smiled and said that her dad had taught her to duck hunt.

Color me "confused" with all of that liberal thinking.

We did inform her about Duck Dynasty and Duck Commander, though.  Maybe she can get a sense of why other people might use guns.

Saturday, April 6, 2013


My mother-in-law interrupted her reading one day to ask a question, "What does it mean when someone says they attended homecoming?" This question caught me a bit off-guard, and truly got me thinking about how different Americans and Canadians really are.

I posted this situation on Facebook explaining that "homecoming" normally referred to a high school football game, although we had a homecoming basketball game at the small college I attended and had a homecoming at different churches that I have attended. Homecoming gets in name because it would be the one game of the year where the alumni would try to return to see their high school team play.

The game would be preceded by a Homecoming Parade. This consist of each class and a lot of the clubs at the high school designing and building a float for the parade.  The community organizations may be involved (volunteer fire departments, etc.). A highlight would be the high school marching band (one of the few times that the actually got to "march"). Toward the end would be the Homecoming Court, with each of the young ladies riding in a nice car. (I remember the Corvette convertibles), and the last being in the Homecoming Queen.

 At the game, the Homecoming Queen would be crowned and the band would normally have a special half-time show.

The game would be followed by the Homecoming Dance. This is normally the biggest (and sometimes only) fall dance.

When I posted to Facebook, one of Canadian friends quickly replied that she knew what I was talking about.  Then, a few minutes later posted that she was not familiar with a Homecoming Parade (they didn't have those), nor a marching band (they didn't have those), but they did have a dance and a game.

I also have a friend from college who happens to be Indonesian.  After graduation, he got a job and married an American girl.  He has a daughter and had gone through the whole "homecoming" experience and fully agreed with me on Facebook.

Yes, if you are not American, then you are not American and cannot really be familiar with the American experience.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Politics? What about politics?

Finally an American has come up with a concise description of what Canadian politics is all about...

A Canadian Electoral Primer -

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Doctor, doctor, give me the news (part 2)...

In a previous post, Doctor, doctor, give me the news..., I discussed the difference in attitudes toward heath care (and health insurance) between Canada (specifically Kelowna, B.C.) and where we are from in Tennessee. Today, Castanet posted a story about the local hospital's ER department: ER at KGH gets failing grade.

This is really a disgrace. Back in Kingsport, TN, we had our choice of privately run hospitals and they were well maintained because of the competition.  Maybe they need that here.

I am guessing that the next article will be about how much better health care is in Canada than the United States.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Whites from WV (and other addicts)...

Last Friday, I stopped by a local drug and alcohol "recovery house" for men. I talked to a couple of new comers, and one in particular seemed to get it.  Cam was a thirty-three year old guy that talks too much, and while this usually frustrates me, it was clear that he finally understood a problem with his life.  With just a couple of days being sober, his thinking had seemed to clear up a bit.

"You know, I would do something crazy and because I was drunk, I would say to myself, 'Well, that was weird. Why did I do that?'  Now as I think about it, I think, 'Man, that was insane. My thinking was really screwed up.'" he told me.

The following Monday I stopped by to see one of the other guys, and when Cam saw me.  He seemed to want to ride me a bit about my accent.

"I want to talk like you. What do I have to do to get that accent?"

I told him that I grew up in West Virginia, but had lived in Tennessee. "Most of my accent probably comes from Logan County, WV where I spent my early years," I replied.

When he heard "West Virginia," he seized upon another opportunity to raze me a bit more and probably was trying to gain the upper hand a bit (addicts are manipulators).

He said, "Yeah, I know about West Virginia. I saw that movie The Wild & Wonderful Whites of West Virginia. Have you seen that movie? Those people are crazy!"

I had not seen the movie, but I did catch the name "White" as he was explaining what the movie was about.

"Yes, they are just crazy. They do the most outrageous things! And they think it is just 'normal' and that there is nothing wrong with their thinking."

Jesco White, the Dancing Outlaw
Jesco White
I replied, "Ah yes, but aren't they like every guy here? Aren't they like you and me? All addicts need to getting their thinking straightened up."

He walked off thinking about what I had said and probably wishing that he hadn't spoken to me. Maybe he hadn't gotten it as much as I had thought.

UPDATE: When I was looking for a link to the movie, I discovered that Jesco White had died. Jesco White (a.k.a. The Dancing Outlaw) was the more famous (infamous?) of the family and had made an appearance on the Roseanne TV series.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Pink Shirt Day

This week in Canada (February 27th) was Pink Shirt Day.  Pink Shirt Day is used to promote awareness of those that bully and the effects of bullying.  The anti-bullying day is "celebrated" by everyone wearing a pink shirt to work or school. There are parades (demonstrations?) and speeches.

I don't really understand all of it.  What is actually accomplished by all this?  Has one bully stopped?I understand the cancer awareness days: money is raised. There is no money raised to prevent bullying.

I talked to a pastor friend of mine that evening. He and I both had experienced bullying growing up. He was a preacher's kid and wore glasses, which made him the brunt of jokes and target of the bullies. I was was the new kid (since we moved several times) and I was a bit book smart.  Both us expressed that we experienced a bit of fear at the hand of bullies.

Solutions? It seemed to us that society (Canadian and American), is trying to emasculate little boys. Sometime boys need to fight. The guy that is being bullied needs learn to stand up, while the bully needs to learn a lesson. A lot of times, after a good fight, the boys end up being the best of friends.

I am not saying that this is the solution in every case. With our societies, the fathers have bowed out of their relationships with their kids. Mothers ofter work outside of the house (necessarily) and are not seeing what their kids are going through. As a result, there is no parental guidance, or at least as much as is needed.  In the perfect world, things would be different.

We are not in a perfect world....

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

What the heck is a "serviette"?

We are not in Tennessee anymore... napkin vs serviette
Shortly after I had arrived here in British Columbia, I heard another word that I was not familiar with: serviette.  It was in the context of "I asked for a serviette and the waitress looked at me like I was crazy."  Followed by, "Those crazy Americans, don't they know a napkin belongs on a baby's bum?"

I did a bit of research on the web on the difference between "serviette" and "napkin" and learned a few things.

The origin of both words is French.  "Nap" means "a table covering" and "kin" means "small".

"Serviette" is used exclusively in Canada and the U.K. and "napkin" is used in all English speaking countries (including Canada and the U.K.).

Someone from the U.K. said that a person's "class" could be determined by which word they used. If a person used the word "serviette", then he was likely "working class".

Someone from Canada said that she thought the a "serviette" was paper, and the cloth version was a "napkin" (which may explain the previous).

You have got to love our differences!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Sounds like Timothy McVeigh to me...

Today on the news was a story about the RCMP investigating an 11th floor apartment in Vancouver area. They found drugs, money, weapons, and dynamite and had to evacuate the building. The dynamite was in a crystallized state, rendering the explosives "unstable".

Maybe we should have stricter "gun control" laws up here. Oh wait...

This is not something that you are likely to see in Tennessee.

Reference: Burnaby RCMP evacuate apartment building after dynamite, bombs found; drugs and weapons also seized 

Update #1

On this evening's news, there was a story about the RCMP arresting a young man with a cache of weapons.
In total, 13 rifles and handguns were seized along with more than 2000 rounds of ammunition. 
Police say 20 bullet clips had been illegally modified to hold up to 30 rounds. 
"Anyone who has a supply of firearms of this nature, it's certainly very serious when these circumstances come to light," says RCMP Constable Kris Clark. 
David Michael Toneff, 33, is charged with 25 gun offenses.
Reference: Disturbing firearms seizures in Kelowna

Update #2

There was also a report of a homicide that was originally thought to be a car accident.  A couple had presumably driven their car into a condo, but upon investigation, it is thought that the couple were dead at the time of impact. A male was seen living the scene of the accident.

Reference: West Kelowna double murder

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Doctor, doctor, give me the news...

There is a definite difference in the mindset of Canadians versus Americans concerning health insurance and health care. It can be illustrated by the following:

Before we moved to Canada, we heard of a couple that lived in my in-laws' complex that was visiting Hawaii. The husband had a heart attack and required triple-bypass surgery. The doctors told them that it would cost $40,000 to cover the surgery and the hospital stay. Rather than pay for it out-of-pocket, the couple decided to return to Canada, where they had health insurance, and get the surgery there. They returned, and after waiting the normal six months, had the surgery and recovered nicely.

Please note that this decision was not based on what they could afford. The husband passed away about one year ago, and the wife has made several trips back to Hawaii to visit family since that time. The decision was made because that is what they do here: government health insurance is supposed to take care of this.

Since we have moved, there are three stories that I think are of value concerning health care. To begin, one of the hospitals in Victoria has been having problems having enough rooms for patients. At one point, they were housing patients in the Tim Hortons coffee shop.

The second story involves an elderly lady. She was recently in the hospital in Kelowna for approximately one month.  Within that time frame, she was in four different wards and one of those wards was the maternity ward. (It should be noted that males and females are housed on the same ward.  Private rooms are limited, but are available at extra cost.)

The third story involves expectant mothers who live outside of well populated areas. The hospital in Tofino no longer delivers babies and expectant mothers are expected to drive to Nanaimo, 1 1/2 hours away, to have their babies delivered. This is because of doctor shortage. (To be fair, this is probably the case in a lot of rural areas in the U.S. However, Tofino is  tourist attraction.)

In the eastern part of Tennessee, the hospital situation was completely different.  In Johnson City alone, there are two major hospitals and a new teaching hospital at ETSU. This doesn't even include the medical centers in the Johnson City area. And this does not include the hospitals in Kingsport and Bristol.  Here in Kelowna, we only have one hospital.

We certainly aren't in Tennessee anymore...

Monday, February 11, 2013

Update On "Janie's Got a Gun..."

On this mornings post, Janie's Got a Gun..., I told of the RCMP looking for someone in the neighborhood. It turns out that the RCMP was looking for two armed suspects who robbed a convenient store at gun-point, one block away. Further details explained that the suspects had handguns (wait, I thought that they were illegal up here) and that they were not caught.

Maybe they need more "gun control" laws up here.

Janie's Got a Gun...

Last night, the family heard a police (that is, the RCMP) siren yelping every 5 minutes or so. Upon inspection, we decided that they suspected someone had broken through the fence to the complex across the road. While we didn't really think that it posed any danger, we did lock the doors and secured the windows.

Later, as we prepared for bed, the subject was again brought up. Here we were, three fairly defenseless people, trying to figure out just how to defend ourselves just in case someone did break in.

"I have a baseball bat in the bedroom that [my father-in-law got]!"

"You guys both have canes! Don has spikes on the bottom of his [used for gripping the ice]!"

Granted that we were joking, but can you imagine being alone, elderly, and the only thing that you had to defend yourself against an armed intruder was a baseball bat?

One thing that can be said is that if we were in Tennessee, we wouldn't have to worry about defending ourselves.


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Don't Tread On Me...

My wife and I were talking the other day about one major difference in the United States and Canada: Everyone in the U.S. knows someone who has served in the military (and possibly died) in Iraq, Afghanistan or Vietnam.  In Canada, few even know someone in the military, much less know someone who has died in war.

I reviewed the people that I knew.

Vietnam: I remember a childhood friend, Scott Gentry, who lost his older brother in Vietnam. (This is probably the first that I heard of Vietnam). In addition, I have 3 uncles on my mother's side that served in Vietnam: two in the USAF and one in the US Army (with two Purple Hearts).

Iraq: I friend's son from church served in Iraq. I remember the prayers that went up for his safety.

When I graduated from high school in 1975, some went to college, some went to work, but quite a few went to the military.

May God bless the military from the US and Canada for their service.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

You Might Be a Redneck if...

 You might be a redneck if more than one living relative is named after a Southern Civil War general.  -- Jeff Foxworthy

Jeff Foxworthy popularized the expression "You might be a redneck if..." and then he would follow it by a situation with which all rednecks (and Southerners) could relate. It would be funny because EVERYONE had been it the situation before and would not realize that this was a common experience.  "I have an uncle just like that." we could say to ourselves.

The ability to laugh at oneself does not seem to come easy to Canadians, or at least those in B.C.  I am not sure why this is, but it may have something to do with an insecurity of always being in the shadow of the United States.  Here, you can not crack an "Eh?" joke about Canada without someone immediately becoming offended.

"Well, at least that is better that sounding like some hick from the South. They add at least one extra syllable to every word. I know that they are that dumb, because you should see some of the e-mails that I get."

On the other hand, I have a Canadian son-in-law who hunts, fishes, drives a pick-up, etc., etc., etc.  He will gladly associate himself with us "rednecks".

For those Canadians reading this, I come from the eastern part of Tennessee, but have lived in West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina, and my accent does sound quite Southern. I may sound like a "hick" to some, but the places I have lived have more population than the English speaking part of Canada. I have three college degrees from three different colleges or universities.  From where I used to live in East Tennessee, I could drive to three different major medical centers (Vanderbilt, University of Virginia and Duke) and I was with driving distance of University of Tennessee (known for the "body farm" made famous by the CSI television series).

To get them to lighten up, maybe I should start a "You might be a Canuck if..." comedy routine.  I could become famous!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Arses and Ash Fault

I remember the first time that I heard the word "arse", I thought that someone had made a typo. Some Brit had made a comment about someone, and I knew by the context that he meant "ass".  Just in case I misunderstood, I looked up the word on the "internet". (I think at the time I was on AOL bulletin board system.) Sure enough, I got the definition for "arse" and it was no typo!

I hadn't thought of this for sometime. Being here in Canada, I almost feel like I am in the U.S. (or "the States" as Canadians call it. After all, I can watch American Idol - I must be in the U.S.).  The other day, one of the guys at Freedom's Door asked me to move my car. We had evidently been parking perpendicular to the street in violation of city ordinances. The inspector had come by and threating to write everyone a ticket.  "He was being such an arse about it!" Something clicked and I remembered the incident years earlier. Why are the Brits such an influence over Canada... still... rather than the U.S.?

Which leads to completely different questions. Why is A-S-P-H-A-L-T pronounced "ash fault", rather than the American way, "ass fault"? And why, if you have to have a reference to a guy's butt in the word, do the the Canadians not pronounce it "arse fault" or "bum fault"?

These are serious questions to ponder.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


Cardinal - We are not in Tennessee anymore...
My wife loves cardinals. I really didn't know this until the past few weeks. She has a sweatshirt that she bought back in West Virginia when we first married 14 years ago. (The cardinal is the state bird of West Virginia, as well as many other states). Lou is very particular about her clothing. She wants it to be at a good price and durable. She has gotten her money's worth out of the sweatshirt - she still wears it after 14 years, and it still looks nice.

Just before Christmas, Lou got another sweatshirt. She paid considerably more for it and made mention of it several times after she bought it. I didn't notice until a couple of days ago, it also has cardinals on the front of it.

The cardinal isn't native to British Columbia. I think this is one of the things that Lou misses about Tennessee.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Donkey Basketball...

"I have been all over 'the States' and the only people that are different are the Southerners. My son lives in San Diego, and he says that it is just like living in Canada. I used to live across from Buffalo, NY and there is very little difference. We even TALK THE SAME. Now we are not like the Southerns."
This a claim that my friend John had made last week. Of course, I laughed at him (to myself). Canadians, generally speaking, call Americans "arrogant" as they are telling us how to vote, what to think and all the problems with our Constitution (think '2nd Amendment' here).

Sunday, I saw my friend John again. I had to tell him the story about Lou and I going across the border on Friday.  A local high school was having a fund raiser... a donkey basketball game. I had asked Lou if she had ever been to one, and she replied, "I don't even know what that is!" I continued by saying to John that I can go across the border, just two hours from our house, and talk about barbeque (pork OR beef), homecoming football games, donkey basketball, etc., but none of my friends in Canada have ever had that experience or even know what I am talking about. Then I asked him if he had ever heard of donkey basketball. (If you are Canadian, remember that YouTube and Google are your friends). Needless to say, he didn't know.

John then proceeded to tell me a story of his visit to Georgia. He went into a bar and struck a conversation with one of the local residents. After a bit, the local asked him where he was from. "You don't even sound like a Yankee!" (John explained that he meant, "northerner"... LOL). John explained to him that he was a north of "Yankee".

I guess Canadians aren't as much like Yankees as they think that they are.

My kid can beat up your kid...

I followed a car this morning with a bumper sticker that read, "My kid can beat up your honor roll student." I think that they take their hockey too seriously up here.

On that same note, it seems to me that the ones that are so vocal about "gun control" are the same ones that are the avid hockey fans. Coincidence?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Animal protection and Avalanches

Watching news this evening (you can really get insight to the area by watching the local news)... Two stories that you would never see in Tennessee, nor anywhere else in the US:

The first story dealt with a woman who was a self-appointed animal rescuer. She had started two thrift stores that helped her fund her exploits and was looking for "authority" (by people signing a petition) from the BC government to seize animals that it deemed to be mistreated.

The second story dealt with people who were undergoing training to use the modern equipment (locators, etc) in case of an avalanche in a remote area.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

An American living in Canada

Three years ago, my wife and I moved to BC, Canada to help care for her parents. I knew that there were differences, but I never realized how much Canadians truly believe that they are just like Americans, or at least that they "know" what it is like to be an American.

I am starting this blog to highlight the differences. I don't do this to make fun, offend, or insult anyone (American or Canadian), but to celebrate our differences.

BTW, my mother-in-law is offended that people in "the States" would call themselves "Americans" since Canadians and Mexicans are from North America. I had thought about it before, and I can only blame the Brits. They were the first ones to call us Americans.

Anyway, I plan to do this with a little bit of humor (humour??), mostly laughing at myself. A BIG difference in Americans (or at least, Southerners) and Canadians is the ability to laugh at yourself. If you say, "Eh?" to a Canadian, he is libel to get insulted. In contrast, a Southerner would love to hear your "You might be a redneck if..." joke.