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Canada Part Seven / Le Canada Partie Sept (Ninja Edition)

August 20, 2009

My 11:15 am return flight from Toronto to LaGuardia was canceled; since I had planned a five-hour gap between when my flight was scheduled to arrive in NYC and when I needed to be somewhere, I blithely stood in the check-in line, reading a book, relatively unconcerned.

When I got up to the desk, however, I was told that, while TO -> LGA flights do in fact leave more or less on the hour, I couldn’t be booked on any of the flights before 3:45.  This was not acceptable.  I politely but firmly explained that I had to be at work, and that if I did not get there, the amount of money I would lose would be greater than the entire cost of the flight.  I made numerous suggestions for how I might be satisfied.  A supervisor was called.  Just before he arrived, I realized I was wearing a t-shirt that said, “I kissed a ninja because I’m sexy and I do what I want.”


Fortunately, I was wearing it under a rather smart trenchcoat, which I duly wrapped and buttoned before the arrival of the man who ultimately hit a lot of buttons and put me on the 2:15.

La Fin

Canada Part Six / Le Canada Partie Six (Symbol Edition)

August 19, 2009


Translation: If your child is wearing a wheelchair hat, hold both his hands throughout your trip to the bathroom.

Canada Part Five / Le Canada Partie Cinq (Diction Edition)

August 18, 2009


If the service is “impeccable,” you can just stop there.  You don’t need to specify that it is also attentive and courteous. The idea is included.

Similarly, you don’t need to say that someone is “The hottest person in the world and also pleasing to the eye”; you can safely truncate “I murdered and injured him.”

Canada Part Four / Le Canada Partie Quatre

August 17, 2009

On previous trips to Kuwait, Argentina, and Sweden, I’ve posted photos of exotic things I’ve eaten. The thing to eat in Canada is poutine, fries with cheese curds and gravy. If you’ve ever had your hash browns at Denny’s “doubled, covered, and smothered,” you get the idea.

I walked down Queen St West to Poutini’s to eat this:


Salty. Tasty cheese. But basically: gravy fries. I ate about the top half of this, until the cheese was gone, and gave up. Others seemed to be treating this as a complete meal, which is wholly unhealthful.


At The Queen & Beaver (Canada, having been founded by unrepentant Loyalists/Tories, has plenty of British-style pubs and restaurants), I ordered a beef and kidney suet pie, topped with oysters. (“Kidney suet” is the hard fat from around the kidneys of beef or mutton). The suet was worked into the crust of this pie, which was then steamed.


It was predictably unpleasant. The British love to take the worst parts of animals and fail to mix them with any produce whatsoever. Steamed fat-pastry is not a good use of fat, pastry, or steaming.

Later, I went to La Palette and had escargot, and bison ribs with heirloom tomatoes. The escargot were hiding under mushroom caps, as though they had traded in their original shells for Alice-and-Wonderland style ones.

French-Canadians 1, English-Canadians 0.

Canada Part Three / Le Canada Partie Trois

August 16, 2009

After seeing Kensington Market and lots and lots of Queen Street West, where I purchased clever cloting and ate poutine, I went north to Yorkville, which is very posh indeed.


It’s good to know that Canadians can be just as shallow as Americans. In Yorkville, you can buy $1200 pumps and get laser resurfacing on any part of your person.


Many boutiques are housed in adorable Victorian houses. Dolce and Gabbana needed two. Here’s Dolce on one side of the street…


…and Gabbana on the other. Cute!

Canada Part Two / Le Canada Partie Deux

August 15, 2009

I went to Dr. Sketchy’s Toronto and hung out with impresario Brett.


Secret Sketchy Agent Jen.


I was drawing a model posing in a raincoat with a broken umbrella. It was too hard to draw the model’s head, so I drew a robot one instead.

Canada Part One / Le Canada Partie Un

August 14, 2009

I went to Toronto.  It’s kind of hard to explain why, but it’s all part of my master plan.

Toronto is a very short flight from New York, but you still have to go through Customs, of course.  When I arrived in Canada, a Customs officer asked why I was here.  ”Tourism?” I said.  ”Really?” he said.  ”Have a little more pride in your city!” I wanted to say, but didn’t.

I read in a local newspaper that Toronto is harboring a US fugitive — a female US soldier who didn’t want to go to Iraq.  Her asylum application was being reviewed; she claimed that if she returned to the US, she feared being “tortured in prison.”  This struck me as a bit melodramatic.  But, you know, it wasn’t her fault she was drafted … oh, wait.

Canadians recycle like motherfuckers.  Seriously, every street corner has a recycling station.  And I think there must be serious quotas on how much trash you can throw out at home, since the public trash cans all have little tiny holes you have to poke your trash through, and signs warning against dumping household waste. I went to a comedy show at the Rivoli, and heard jokes about a recent trash strike.


This sad strip club was right near my hotel. I say sad because, um: TOURISTS WELCOME! $4.99 ADMISSION SPECIAL. Whoa.


These Canadians really love hockey.


It is very weird for a New Yorker to exit a subway car, go up the stairs, and find that THE BUS IS IN THE STATION. Actually, it is a streetcar (it runs above ground on a track). I am not sure why a city would need both buses and streetcars, but it has them.


Toronto is a new city. Whenever you think you see a cool, old building, it’s actually a moderately new building based on the idea that an old building would have been nicer. Here is a Gothic revival church from the mid-1800s.


A friend from Facebook, Star, showed me around Kensington Market, which is relatively well-represented by this photo. I have never been anywhere to which Indians have not exported a bunch of crinkly long skirts for the local bohemians.

Here are some things that are out of business in Toronto:


You’d think that Canadians would spring for “polite” takeout, but apparently not.

Sad Voltaire! We have no time for you. Perhaps there is a thriving Diderot gallery on the other side of town instead.