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Americans and their guns at the Canadian border. · 9 August 2017 by colin newell

Dopey Americans bring guns over the border

Americans love their guns… so… much…
And as an article on Vice.Com
reveals: “Peter Thorn, a lawyer from Hampton, New Brunswick, told the Canadian Press Americans continue to sneak their guns into Canada with “alarming frequency during the summer months.”

Gun seizures at the border have increased over the last few years, with 671 guns seized in 2015 and 413 seized in the first half of 2016. But why? I have an idea. Americans don’t think they are visiting Canada – they figure that they are visiting a place. It is different than the place that they live in – a subtly different place. Sorta similar to the place that they live but slightly different. You know, like the difference between New York and Los Angeles or Chicago… just less crazy violent.

Here are some of my thoughts:

While travelling with University of Victoria student recruiters in Washington and Oregon between 2000 and 2003, it was not uncommon for potential recruits and their parents to ask about which wing of the U.S. military offered ROTC at our Canadian schools – and students would often enquire “which region we were in” to determine where we were in the competitive cheerleading squad standings.

When our reps pointed out that Canada was an independent country that flew their own flag and had their own “Prime minister”, we were almost always greeted with puzzled expressions and gasps of disbelief.

Most of the time, they had zero idea of where Canada was on a map – but their parents were steering their kids to Canada – particularly after 9/11 – Here… Canada… North of 49… because they felt that their kids would be “safe”.

Safe from gunshot wounds likely but not really safer from terrorism, lightning strikes, lottery wins and sky falling pianos.

Canucks and Americans differ: Canadians look outward and seek to embrace diversity. America seeks to assimilate and create uniformity. Neither concept is superior to the other but it can, in part, explain some of the unique challenges when Americans come for a visit.

So – when you do come for a visit, brothers and sisters of America: Leave your guns, bullets, fear and paranoia at home. And maybe look at a map… at least occasionally.

Thank you from you peace loving Northern neighbours and often apologizers. No really, thank you!

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Chicken, Sausage and Oyster Jambalaya · 17 July 2017 by colin newell

Oyster Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya

I have a weak spot for Cajun cooking and my occasional forays into this wonderful regional cuisine from Louisiana almost always includes variations on Gumbo or Jambalaya.

These dishes scale up nicely so if you have the pots and the ingredients, you can whip up double and triple batches and feed your entire neighbourhood!

Here is a spin on Jambalaya that borrows from a Creole gumbo recipe that I have kicking around.

For reference, here is my gumbo recipe and my other Oyster Jambalaya – Enjoy!

Meat
1 1/2 lbs Chicken breast cut into bit sized pieces.
12 oz hot Italian Sausage, Andouille or Chorizo – whatever is on hand

Produce
1 tsp Basil, dried
1 cup Bell pepper
1 cup Celery
2 cups Swiss chard – chiffonade
2 cloves Garlic
2 cup Onion
1 Parsley, Fresh
1 tsp Thyme, dried
1 14.5-oz can Tomatoes, with juice

Canned or prepped Goods
4 1/2 cup Chicken broth
1 6-oz can Tomato paste

Condiments
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Pasta & Grains
2 1/2 cup White Basmati rice

Baking & Spices
1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper
3/4 tsp Pepper
1 1/2 tsp Salt

Oils & Vinegars
2 tbsp Canola Oil

Instructions

In a large pot, or Dutch oven, add 1 tablespoon oil, the sausage, ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper. Cook for 15 minutes.
Remove sausage and place on platter – cut into bite size pieces when cool.

Add chicken to cooking pot and cook over medium heat for 8-10 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper.

Remove chicken from the pot and set aside.

Drizzle another tablespoon of Canola oil into the pot and then add onion, celery and bell pepper. Cook for 6-8 minutes, or until vegetables are almost tender or translucent. Add garlic and saute for an additional 2 minutes.

Place chicken and sausage back into the pot.

In a small bowl combine remaining 1 teaspoon salt, ½ tsp pepper, thyme, basil and cayenne pepper. Toss to combine.
Add seasoning mix, Worcestershire, tomato paste, and diced tomatoes to the meat and veg. Stir to combine.

Next, place rice and 4 ½ cup broth in the pot. Stir to completely combine. Over medium heat, wait for the ingredients to come to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let jambalaya simmer for 15 minutes. Added chopped oysters and Swiss chard. Simmer for another 10-15 minutes.

Check on the jambalaya at the 25-30 minute mark and see if it needs additional liquid. Stir occasionally to avoid burning on the bottom of the pot.

Once rice is completely cooked, serve immediately with fresh parsley and enjoy!

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Reader's Digest Canada rant chapter two - seniors under siege · 27 June 2017 by colin newell

Canada Readers Digest Rant 2009 Seniors hassled

or click here for the mp3 if you cannot see the above widget.


This is a reboot of one of my favourite blogs (and rants) from gasp 2009! Enjoy.

I spoke with a rep from Canada Post today…
and he said (from his post office in the Oak Bay village)…

“We get 10 to 15 citizens that come into this little post office every day of business that are returning materials to Reader’s Digest!”

10 to 15 folks. Every day. Most of them seniors. From one Post Office!

I have been on the phone to Reader’s Digest canada twice in the last week and I get the following scripted dialogue from their service partners…

“It is not the policy of Reader’s Digest Canada to send people unsolicited materials or products.”

Okay then. What the heck is happening when 10 to 15 citizens are appearing at each Canadian post office daily?
Here is my theory.
Canadians, by the droves, are returning “pieces of mail from Reader’s Digest Canada” that, according to Reader’s Digest, are no-obligation entry forms for their $500,000 sweepstakes.

What our Canadian seniors are failing to do is read the fine print.

Because with every “win $500,000 now” sweepstakes shills is, very likely, a piece of fine print that states – in exchange for your no obligation entry into the Reader’s Digest $500,000 contest, you agree to purchase X quantity of books at market value.

Market value huh? I am looking at a $700 invoice for my dear old aunt. She has a stack of books on her Reader’s Digest mail strewn coffee table – that she claims that she did not order. So what happened? I suspect that she did not read the fine print… over and over and over again.

Today I returned a 4-CD set of elevator music to Reader’s Digest Canada that one could, arguably, buy at Shoppers Drug Mart for $22.
Reader’s Digest cost: $79

Is Reader’s Digest breaking any Canadian laws? In short, no.
Are they doing anything unethical? That is out there for debate.

I think we are going to be hearing way more about this Reader’s Digest Canada issue.

Because the bottom line, for me, is:
Protect our seniors from scam artists… whomever they might be.

Have a listen!

or click here for the mp3 if you cannot see the above widget.


Colin Newell gets mad when our elderly are exploited in any way. And when he gets angry, he gets blogging!

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And now a moment of shameless self promotion · 23 May 2017 by colin newell

The highlight of 2007, for me, was recording a CD worth of music… something I have always wanted to do. I grew up in a house that had a fair amount of music in it – A Heinztman piano from the 19th century was a household fixture and I started playing it when I was 6 or 7. After a couple of years worth of lessons, a guitar started to seem way cooler – and easier to pack around too. That was in the mid-Seventies.

Godin Jazz Guitars 2013

By the mid-eighties I was playing around with a small collection of garage and jukebox bands. In the late eighties, I had a hand in on producing a couple of small folk acts – one such project netted about 4000 units sold – which was not bad for a self-published recording completed on a budget less than $500 in a borrowed studio in a University radio station.

Fast forward to 2017 and I am working on a few musical things with a few people. Here is a snippet featuring Kala ukulele, Cort acoustic guitars, stand up bass, drums and Piano…

Track 1 – You can’t always get what you want –

Track 1 – If you cannot see the audio player above, click here for the mp3 download.

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Talking coffee health studies with Natasha Hall of NewsTalk 800 CJAD Montreal · 26 April 2017 by colin newell

Podcast – Talking coffee with Natasha Hall of CJAD 800 NewsTalk – Montreal –

CJAD 800 NewsTalk Montreal

We were talking coffee with Natasha Hall of NewsTak 800 – Montreal on the topic of those seemingly endless health studies on the dire (or wonderful) effects of caffeine and coffee (in general) on your body!

This podcast (interview) is around 14 minutes long – so strap yourself in.

I average around 20 radio, TV or newspaper interviews annually and this was one of the better ones – a lot of these radio hosts are affable, enthusiastic and well read before they undertake an interview – honored to chat on the subject of my passion. Coffee. Love it.

Podcast – If you cannot see the audio player above, click here for the mp3 download.

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