Snopes.com: Canada’s Connection to Debunking Internet Nonsense

 

Snopes.com

As we all know, for all the wonders that the Internet has to offer, it also makes available its fair share of misinformation.  This is most often seen in the ridiculous stories and urban legends that periodically make their way across the Web and into our e-mail inboxes.  As a measure of the craftiness with which many such tales are constructed, occasionally even major media outlets are fooled by false stories circulating across the Internet.   I expect that many readers when confronted with a dubious story that just doesn’t quite make sense do what I do, which is to go to Snopes.com (www.snopes.com) and see if the matter has been debunked or validated,

The Snopes site, which has been doing its thing for about the past 15 or so years, is entertaining to peruse even if you are not then trying to sort fact from fiction.  So, it’s fitting, that Snopes — like much of  the entertainment industry below the 49th parallel, which, unbeknownst to many Americans, is actually stealthily populated by an inordinate number of Canadians — is run by a husband and wife team, one of whom, Barbara Mikkelson, is a Canadian citizen.  I like the idea that one of the best Web sites devoted to setting the record straight on Internet nonsense is animated, at least in good measure, by the down to earth Canadian sensibility.

Sounding Canadian

Thanks to a friend who just called my attention to a recent tongue-in-cheek article that I missed from the February 7, 2010 Atlanta Journal-Constitution by Jill Vejnoska on “How to Sound Canadian”.    Among the finer points offered is this one on the proper usage of the much-used expression “eh”:

Eh? So, this one deserves its own category, eh? It’s got to be an exaggeration, eh? But Canadians really do say it a lot, eh? Pronounced like “hey,” without the h, it’s tacked onto the end of sentences to pose a real or rhetorical question, emphasize a key point or just to make Canadians sound more articulate than us “y’know?”-ing Americans. Extra style points awarded from the judges if the sentence starts with “So.” As in: “So, trying to be more Canadian is difficult, but rewarding, eh?”

So, now you’re speaking Canadian, eh?

Full article may be accessed at www.ajc.com (no direct link).

Like Minnesota — Only Bigger?

Down here below the 49th parallel (north) we’re likely to learn a whole lot more about Canada this month as an incidental effect of the attention focused on the Vancouver Winter Olympics.  And to truly appreciate the country, you have to get a sense of the affable Canadian sense of humor.  In that spirit Bruce Headlam, a Canadian who is the Media Editor of The New York Times penned a humorous piece appearing in today’s Times entitled “Crib Notes on Canada, From a Canadian”, which pokes good-natured fun at his fellow countryman.  Among his observations that prompt a hearty chuckle, Headlam offers a list of notable dates in Canadian history, including this one:

“1867: Almost a century after America declares its independence from Great Britain through the bloody crucible of revolution, Canada declares its sovereignty after filling out the necessary paperwork.”

Enjoy the rest of the article here:  http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/14/weekinreview/14headlam.html

The Children of Fogo Island

I just finished watching a short documentary, The Children of Fogo Island, that consists mainly of observing children going about their daily play activities on this major island off the northern coast of Newfoundland.   Directed by Colin Low in 1967 in cooperation with the National Film Board of Canada, the film dispenses with narration in favor of a simple and melodic music track, which gives the black and white images an elegiac feel.  Aside from the nostalgia that the film evokes, there is also a sense of sadness in contemplating the tenuous hold on survival managed by the people living on this outport island.  Several years ago I had the good fortune to meet a businessman about my age in St. John’s, Newfoundland who had grown up on Fogo Island and who still held great affection for the place.  He spoke wistfully about his childhood there and how so many young people have left  due to their inability to make a living in that remote place.  This film brings me back to that conversation as well as the simpler times of a generation or so ago — which all children amazingly reinvent in their own way.

Link to video:  http://www.nfb.ca/film/children_of_fogo_island

An Appreciation for Canada

Over the past twenty years or so I’ve had the pleasure of traveling to Canada for both business and pleasure and during that time I’ve gained a deep appreciation for many aspects of Canadian culture and its people.  For such a wonderful land, Canada is frequently misperceived or underappreciated immediately south of its border.  I’ve been thinking for a while about setting up a blog to share various musings of mine on things Canadian.  So, on the eve of the opening  of the Vancouver Winter Olympics, I commence with occasional observations on a place for which I count myself an honorary countryman.

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