Tuesday 30 April 2019

Sporadic Blogging in May

My blogging will be noticeably spotty and much more sporadic in May because I'll be in class full-time at ELLA (Edmonton Lifelong Learners Association). This year I'm taking three courses:

"Drawing for Beginners"

Perhaps it has been years since you picked up a pencil to draw or maybe you believed you were only capable of drawing the classic stick figure. Do not let this stop you! This course breaks everything down for you sequentially and provides a step-by-step instruction that is easy for you to understand. With guidance you will learn where to start and develop your drawing and keep it in proportion. You will learn how to “see” and how to shade your drawing with a variety of mediums.Be prepared to be totally amazed at your acquired skill.

"Jesus and Buddha: Historical Origins"

Focusing on the quest for the historical Jesus and the parallel quest for the historical Buddha, this course will explore the differences and similarities. Also, exploration of the parallel sayings of Jesus and Buddha on compassion, wisdom, materialism, the inner life, liberation and the future; and the question: Was Jesus a Buddhist monk?

"Maps & Cartography"

Maps are influential documents. The power of their message has a great effect on their audience. Whether creating a map or reading one, the one question that should always be asked is “What is the map’s purpose?” This course will look at three distinctive map themes: War and Empire, Literary Maps, and Maps of Canada. How and why maps are used for geopolitical and strategic purposes, as well as communication tools, will be looked at in week one. Week two will look at maps and literature and how they mix observation and fantasy. Week three will look at Canadian history through its maps.

Going to ELLA is much more fun than classes were in my university days -- no notes, no homework, no studying! But if you sit in the back row, you can still goof off with the other slackers!

Friday 26 April 2019

"Sweet Canada" Iconic Desserts

Canada Post has just issued a new booklet of stamps celebrating iconic desserts unique to Canada. I love them -- both the desserts and the stamps! I even love how the stamp booklet looks like a recipe card, LOL!

For the benefit of non-Canadian readers, here are descriptions of the five desserts near and dear to our hearts --

1. Sugar Pie

This is a traditional Quebec dessert made with brown sugar or maple syrup. It's a very old dessert brought to New France (1534-1763) by French colonists. I've eaten it only once in my life about 40 years ago when a Quebecoise friend made it for me in Manitoba. It is tooth-achingly sweet, as the name implies.

2. Butter Tart

Apparently butter tarts were created in Ontario in the 1800s by African-America ex-slaves who had escaped to Canada to gain their freedom. Butter tarts are essentially pecan pie filling without pecans (since these do not grow in Canada as they did in the Deep South). Today, it is an ongoing taste controversy in this country whether "true" butter tarts should be plain or contain raisins or even (*gasp*) walnuts. I'm not a purist though -- I'll eat any kind!

3. Saskatoon Pie

A western Canadian (and personal) favourite! Although saskatoon berries are now commercially farmed, when I was a kid you could only get them by going out on the prairies and picking them yourself off a wild saskatoon bush. It's hard to describe their unique flavour to anyone who has never eaten them, but I'll try -- saskatoons are sort of like intense, tart, very small, gritty kind of blueberries.

As Canada Post states, "A staple for Indigenous peoples and early settlers, the berries are high in fibre, protein and antioxidants." The name comes from a Cree word which was also used for the city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

I love having saskatoon pie every summer -- what a treat!

4. Nanaimo Bars

Canada Post's comprehensive synopsis states: "The Nanaimo Bar, a no-bake dessert bar, is named after the city of Nanaimo, on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. A crumb crust of chocolatey coconut is topped with rich, creamy custard and covered with a layer of melted chocolate." When I was a kid, every mom and grandma in Canada knew how to make Nanaimo Bars. I'm sure they still do. I must confess, though, that Nanaimo Bars have never been a personal favorite of mine because I don't like coconut. I know, I know, "picky eater."

5. Blueberry Grunt

This is a traditional East Coast dessert beloved of Maritimers. It's believed to be an early adaptation of English steamed pudding. Blueberry Grunt "gets the name from the sound it makes as the blueberries bubble and steam under a dumpling topping." This is the only one of the featured desserts that I have not personally eaten. Perhaps someday when I'm back in the Maritimes again, I will find it on a restaurant menu. Or maybe I'll run into a Newfoundlander here in Alberta who will make me some!

Okay, reader participation time!

If you have had any or all of these desserts,
which one is your favourite?

Or, if you've never had any of them,
which would you like to try?

Wednesday 24 April 2019

Musical Puns and Word Play

Be prepared to groan! But that's a good thing! Isn't it?

Tuesday 16 April 2019

Tin Foil Hat Grand Prize Winner!

Congratulations to
Stacy of MagicLoveCrow!

Her magnificent tin foil creation has
flown away with the grand prize!
Well done, Stacy!

Thank you to everyone who entered!
I appreciate your time, effort and good humour
which made this contest a success!

Award packages will be mailed soon!

Friday 12 April 2019

Tin Foil Hat Awards!

The Tin Foil Hat Contest received nine submissions from daring and creative bloggers -- thank you to everyone who entered! And, by an amazing coincidence, each entry won the award for its own particular category!

Now, for your viewing pleasure, here are the entries in the order in which they were received --

#1 -- Queen of the Nile Award

Shirley of BootsandBraids channels her inner Cleopatra to ward off aliens and the government! Move outta her way, Elizabeth Taylor, and bow to the new Queen!

# 2 -- Bravest of Brave Patriots Award

Liz Hinds, who blogs from the U.K. in Finding Life Hard?, wants you to "please note I have cunningly combined a rebound aerial with the traditional Welsh symbol of a leek." I'm very glad she has clarified this.

#3 -- Birds of a Feather Award

Stacy of MagicLoveCrow usually works in paint and canvas to create her signature crow art but this time she has done it in tin foil! And as she notes, "it takes some creativity and talent to keep these hats together! LOL!"

#4 -- Leather! Lights! Tin Foil! Award

Bill Lisleman of A Few Clowns Short has bravely risked electrocution by combining LED lights and tin foil in his entry. As he notes, "my eyebrows are well protected."

#5 -- The Tin Foil Tudor Award

Wendy of Inadequate Materials writes: "Since my ding-dong of a cat, Anakin has somehow managed to end up with an autoimmune disorder that causes him to scratch his face off, he lives permanently in a cone of shame--AKA the Elizabethan collar. And the idea for my tin foil hat was born! Here's the dashing Tudor gentleman in his tin foil collar and hat. He was surprisingly cooperative for this, confirming once and for all the calming properties of tin foil head wear."

Forsooth, Sir Anakin, your conspiratorial kitty-cat thoughts are now safe from the Crown!

# 6 -- Quoth the Buddha "Nevermore" Award

Thanks to Ol'Buzzard of Ol'Buzzard's World View, the Buddha's transcendent thoughts are now even more inscrutable due to his new tin foil hat.

And Edgar Allan Poe's dark musings are similarly protected. No more tell-tale brain for him!

#7 -- Wide Brim Easter Realness Award

Mistress Maddie of A Day With The Mistress Borghese says not only does this grand chapeau prevent the government from reading any evil thoughts but "I also think I am getting free premium channels right now with all the frills upon the top."

#8 -- Beware the Internet Award

Jim of The Road to Parnassus reminds everyone that "the all-important Computer Tin Foil Hat . . . is guaranteed to protect the user from all kinds of subversive websites and blogs out there. However, note that it is not guaranteed in reverse, because nothing will stop Google from plundering your most intimate secrets. A real tip: Do cover the camera lens on your laptop--don't forget that the camera can be turned on remotely (so can the microphone) and spy on you." Yikes!

#9 -- Pussy Riot Award

Fundy Blue of Standing into Danger has improved the Pussy Hat for protesters everywhere by now shielding their thoughts from police state detection and control! Incidentally, she's also strategically seeking Her Royal Highness the Cat's endorsement for votes.

Who Should Be
The Grand Prize Winner?

Each award winner (i.e. everyone!) is going to receive a small prize to congratulate them for their creativity. I'll be in touch with each of you shortly for your mailing addresses.

But one contestant will also be the Grand Prize Winner and will receive a special grand prize package for their efforts!

It's up to YOU, faithful readers, to choose the best tin foil hat of all! One vote per reader and please vote only for one contestant.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Comment moderation is on. Your votes will not be published. But if you want to say anything in addition to your vote, please do so in a SEPARATE COMMENT so it can be published.

Voting will be open until midnight on Monday April 15, 2019.


Wednesday 10 April 2019

Shiver Me Tin Foil!

Arrr, me swabs and ruffians, this be Long John SILVER
tellin' ye that the Tin Foil Hat Contest
now be closed for further entries.

I swear by me tin foil hat and eye patch
that all the received entries are marvelous,
shiny wonders of creation!

Be sure to come back here on Friday to see them all and
to vote for your choice as Grand Prize Winner!

Now begone with ye
before me knives get itchy
for conspiracy mayhem!

[Photo by Me Rare One, exclusive piratical maid of photography]