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Monthly Archives: October 2012

The saga of the recent discovery of E.coli-tainted beef products as evidenced by 11 victims in 3 provinces and at this present time, already included one in Hongkong and one in  Newfoundland continues to grow with no definite resolution yet. Canada only has 2-3 huge meat processing centers responsible for processing and distributing meat all over the country. One of them is the XL Foods Inc.in Brooks,Alberta where it all happened.

The social and political implications are obvious here with the Agricultural Minister being held blame for it and the sudden fear of even touching beef products(steak,roast,etc) from this Alberta center. The timing to warn the Canadian public was delayed by 2 weeks within last month by the CDC(Center for Disease Control) for no clear reason yet the US which imported the beef from Alberta was informed 2 weeks earlier. Huh????? What have the meat inspectors got to say about this?! That Canadians aren’t good enough to be informed early about this and the Americans are? We’re not chopped liver(no pun intended) ,you know.

Possible litigations may follow. Latest update is that the parents of a 5 year old boy had recovered after ingesting cooked yet tainted ground beef in a recent barbecue. It was first discovered when he woke up in the middle of the night in great pain and blood was found in his underpants. His parents reportedly will join in the litigation process to teach the culprits a lesson and not to get away with it.

This unfortunate  situation regarding tainted beef is still ongoing until the entire issues are  hopefully fully  clarified and resolved for the sake of public safety and not at the expense of political expediency.

What to do in the meantime?

Unless you’re a pure vegan or do not take beef for religious/health reasons, avoid eating beef for the meantime until this whole thing blows over.

But knowing human nature,some can’t live without eating beef so one has to take prudent steps so as to skirt this issue.

Inquire where your beef source is from . If the restaurant/fastfood place can’t fully answer your inquiry to your satisfaction,take your business elsewhere. If at a grocery or even local farmer’s market, do the same too. You can’t afford to get timid with them because it’s your health at stake!

If you do buy beef from a reliable source and will be cooking it, cook it well-done. For those folks who love the taste of rare or medium-rare steaks, you can indulge if you’re very confident that your meat source is safe.

Make sure also  that you observe all precautions in the kitchen like frequent handwashing everytime you handle raw meat and not using the same chopping board,kitchen utensils,plates,etc. when cooking the meat to prevent any possible Salmonella outbreak.

Bon apetit but with a cautious eye in this case!

Josie

The recent news coverage regarding an apparent speedskating sabotage at the World Team Championship in Warsaw in March 2011 was just surreal to me. Allegedly,the Korean-American short track speedskater named Simon Cho had bent the skate blades of Canadian speedskater Olivier Jean, a recent Winter Olympics bronze medalist, upon orders from his Korean-American skating coach named Jae Su Chun. Simon Cho claimed that he couldn’t refuse his coach out of Korean culture where one respects and obeys one’s elders.His coach strongly denied this serious allegation and with his lawyers is going to pit this in court as a matter of “he said,he said”.

Simon Cho made a public apology for which Olivier Jean accepted.

The skate blade bending( happened after the US Team was already eliminated from that Warsaw competition  ) was out of retaliation perceived by this coach for being upset with Team USA’s recent loss in the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. This coach reportedly believed that Team Canada had something to do with it as part of an imagined conspiracy theory. Olivier Jean wasn’t the prime target but since he was with Team Canada and was competing with Simon Cho in this Warsaw competition , that he naturally became a convenient victim.

As a result of this skate blade bending,the Canadian team were unable to compete for gold,finishing instead to bronze medal position.

This unfortunate incident only came to light  at a recent inquiry into the actions of that same  coach Jae-Su Chun that he allegedly physically abused his own skaters.

The Skating Federation vowed a quick suspension and subsequent penalties to follow.

Winning anything can really open doors for anyone  whether financiallyor socially but if it’s done through cheating and manipulation, one’s reputation  and credibility will be permanently destroyed thus reducing or halting  any future lucrative opportunities as well as being a sign of poor sportsmanship.

Please take note! It’s not worth it. It’s not the be all and end all of success.

Success can be achieved in many ways .

Josie

Every 2nd Monday of October, it’s Thanksgiving Day here in Canada. At the same day, it’s also Columbus Day in the U.S. Take note that Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. is celebrated every 2nd to the last Thursday of November.

Columbus Day is observing  the event when a European gent/explorer named Christopher Columbus who discovered the American continent. I think though that the Americans observe this more nowadays as another long weekend meant to be enjoyed further.

Thanksgiving Day in Canada has some similarities like the American Thanksgiving Day in terms of the cuisine…turkey,pumpkin pie,cranberry pie,stuffing,etc. and serves as a special occasion for family and friends to gather together to share in a hearty feast as well as to catch up with one another.

The differences lie obviously aside from the dates, in terms of its purpose. Canadians celebrate it to give thanks for a good harvest. This is reflected in the cuisine being served as products of that great harvest.The Americans celebrate it to reflect on their history of being Pilgrims who came to the Americas being considered the New World to start a new life away from England.They came by way of that now famous ship called the Mayflower.They also came during the time of the great harvest season which again shows why there’s a similarity of cuisine being served on both those Thanksgiving Days.

In current times, the American Thanksgiving has added more jazz and pizazz to this auspicious day. There’s a Thanksgiving parade,the most famous one held in front of the Macy’s Department Store in New York City(called Macy’sThanksgiving Day Parade) and after being turkeyed out, the next day Friday, they’ll troop very early the next morning to avail of big sales in the stores thus heralding the start of the Christmas shopping season. They call this as Black Friday when the stores expect to be “in the black” meaning that their sales sheets would produce great year-end profits from  until the end of the calendar year.

Whatever and however we celebrate it, we all must count  and be thankful for our life’s blessings  and remain hopeful for our future.

Happy Thanksgiving,everyone!

Josie

With the recent release of the iphone5 and in this ever expanding high-tech world of ours as well as increasing mobility of the citizenry, I can’t help but think of the somewhat diminishing relevancy of the landline phone..

Gone are the days that the only way a phone can be mobile is through a walkie-talkie. Calling a phone through a phone booth is second best but even now, phone booths are slowly becoming few and far between. To prove my point, go through any airport in the world and observe that long lines at the phone booth are quite rare now and almost every passenger you see around is either talking to a cell phone or holding such a devise at least. To get to an airport phone booth, I have to walk a good distance to be near one!

A landline phone just stays put in your domain. It only moves around when you take off the plug and move it to another part of your house,office,etc. where it gets replugged in its new location. It can’t take pictures like a cellphone camera and will only take messages through an answering machine which is slowly I think, becoming  an endangered specie too. The iphone has a big upgrade..even has a gal Friday named Siri who even acts almost as a female Albert Einstein.

Current cellphones or smartphones as they’re called now,even have computer features so you can even Google or watch an online show at the palm of your hand. Phones are now getting smaller and flatter than a pancake for easier handling and transport. They don’t look like car batteries anymore. Ah, the signs of progress! Let your fingers do the walking as they say and I don’t mean just the phonebook,mind you!

I still believe that were it not for the landline phone’s existence, improvisations of it in terms of function and appearance, the gradual emergence of the high-tech phones wouldn’t have been possible. Learning from the landline phone’s strengths and weaknesses had made it possible for inventive minds to explore new frontiers.

A landline phone for me still means that I’m constantly  connected at one place and ever reachable and that it constantly stays around like a faithful dog, ever ready to take in a call from anybody wanting to chat with me about anything under the sun. On a practical basis, in case of a power outage, you can still use a landline phone to call out unlike a cordless phone that will not work under such circumstance. Also there’s no battery or charger to worry about here. With a cellphone, you have to make sure it’s fully charged all the time in case you need to use it during  the power outage or any emergency whatsoever.

If the phone’s inventor Alexander Graham Bell was still alive, I wonder what he would have thought about his invention’s ever constant evolution? He probably would have been amazed especially with the now existing phone apps.

The world is getting smaller,mon ami and we’re all practically just a call away from one another.

Bonjour!

Josie

Last night, Justin Pierre James Trudeau, the 40 year old son of the late former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau and a reelected Member of Parliament of Papineau( a riding in Montreal,Quebec), had announced his candidacy to run for the Liberal Party leadership position which would be a stepping stone to run for the Prime Ministership of Canada. It’s a big step for a former college professor and a known social activist and environmentalist with a huge youth following as evidenced by his Twitter account(100,000+) , considered a rock star in the Liberal Party and a media  darling.

He reminded me of John F. Kennedy,Jr., the late son of the late US President John F.Kennedy. Both young men were born during their respective fathers’ terms in office. One would think that they were born as princes to their king fathers as potential political heirs. Both are telegenic and had married beautiful women who both have made a name for themselves in society. Both men have settled into their respective roles in society apart from their departed fathers’ roles in politics except for Justin Trudeau who 4 years ago ventured into and won the MP position in Papineau, a heavily-leaning Bloc Quebecois riding, even winning reelection last year.

While JFK ,Jr.’s untimely demise from a plane crash in 1999 had stopped whatever potential political life he may have, Justin Trudeau appears to be determined to shore up his political profile further with his announcement for the  Liberal Party leadership last night.

It’s true that not much has been known of his stance in certain political issues while being an MP but I think that he’ll try to  be more forthcoming and specific as to what his political platform will be in the coming days. In this way, all Canadians will get to know him much better in terms of what he can do for Canada. I’m sure that from now on until the next leadership or federal election, his every word and action in and outside  Parliament Hill will be observed,parsed and scrutinized. In this high-tech age, being high-profile is both  a given and an understatement.

Frankly, I see it as his time to shine. If not now, then when? With his famous surname and his entry into politics, it was inevitable that he will follow his father’s footsteps someday. Yet as I look at how his life had been from his early years until now, my guess is that he’ll try to carve his own political path and distinguish himself from his late father in terms of not being  his father’s political clone even if the Liberal Party also happens to be the same political party that his father ran with.

To his credit, he has been known as a very hard-working MP in his riding ,always going about his duties with a hands-on approach and getting actively involved in his riding’s activities.

Yes, he knows that he’s Pierre Elliot Trudeau’s son and is proud of it but he will be  his own man. That will be his message to the voters.

When he gave that very moving eulogy at his father’s funeral in 2000, I already saw shades of his future political potential which is why last night’s announcement was no surprise to me.

Good luck,Monsieur Trudeau! This will be a very interesting race.

Josie

October is finally here for us all. If you have German roots in your family tree, you’ll know that October is  a special month for you because it’ll mean the celebration of Oktoberfest, extolling the joys of beer. A lot of music,dancing , partying and feasting on German treats like bratwurst(a type of sausage),sauerkraut,pumperknickel bread,etc. are ongoing.

Though Oktoberfest doesn’t have a particular color theme like the Irish(using the color green) when celebrating St. Patrick’s Day every March 17, both festivites focus on having a good time partying and serving beer and other alcoholic drinks is one way to facilitate bonds of goodwill with one another. It opens up as an invitation to group together in good times.

I’m a teetotaller for heath reasons  so I’m not an expert on the fine points of drinking beer or liquor  nor extemporize on their  fine qualities either. A sommelier , I’m not.

But looking at this from a sociocultural standpoint, it just goes to show you that man is a social animal and wants to live life to the fullest.

I drink to that!(with my juice)

Salut,as the Italians say! And as the song goes…”Roll out the barrel, roll out the barrel of fun…”

Josie