Migrant Girl Named Ana Franco Begins Keeping A Diary In US Detention Centre

This satirical piece isn’t messing around. Too close to the mark to be funny, the analogy Out and Abouter is using gets an important message across effectively and chillingly.

The Out And Abouter

migrantdetentionReminiscent of nothing in particular, and certainly not the most poignant, resolute, triumphant, and tragic story written in the 20th century, a young girl in a detention centre in Clint, Texas has begun keeping a diary. And her name is Ana Franco. 

“It’s just my diary,” Ana says through an interpreter, brushing a strand of hair away from her face as she writes under the bright fluorescent lights, which stay on all day and all night. Her penmanship is neat, her lines are straight. Her gaze, when she looks up, is direct.

“El Diario De Ana Franco?” the girl says, shrugging, when asked if she has a name for this private memoir. She seems unaware that a book by that name already exists. And, perhaps thankfully, incognizant of the scale of tragedy that lies in it being written again. 

“Well first off, where did she get a pen and…

View original post 249 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Strange Persistence of First Languages

This is a long read, but a fascinating one in many ways. It also provides a strong argument for those of you who are lucky enough to speak more than one language: be sure to speak to your children in your non-English language from a very, very early age; that’s when it gets imprinted. You will be giving them a gift.

Musings and Wonderings

The Strange Persistence of First Languages
After my father died, my journey of rediscovery began with the Czech language.
NOVEMBER 5, 2015

Several years ago, my father died as he had done most things throughout his life: without preparation and without consulting anyone. He simply went to bed one night, yielded his brain to a monstrous blood clot, and was found the next morning lying amidst the sheets like his own stone monument.

It was hard for me not to take my father’s abrupt exit as a rebuke. For years, he’d been begging me to visit him in the Czech Republic, where I’d been born and where he’d gone back to live in 1992. Each year, I delayed. I was in that part of my life when the marriage-grad-school-children-career-divorce current was sweeping me along with breath-sucking force, and a leisurely trip to the…

View original post 3,408 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Breaking: Canada Not Sorry – The Out and Abouter

The Out and Abouter, my favourite satirist, may have moved to the UK, but his heart is still in Canada, celebrating the Toronto Raptors’ magical winning of the NBA Championship! As he says, “No, we’re not sorry!”

CHURONNO – As they took to madly celebrating their first basketball championship, the remote northern nation of Canada (pronounced KAAN-AH-DAH) has immediately made one thing absolutely clear: This time, they are not sorry.

With the Game 6 final score of 114-110 still fresh and warm, not yet having taken up its special place in the walk-in freezer of Canadian history, the home-and-native-landers threw their arms in the air and let out a collective, prolonged, guttural rebel yell. One that echoed from rocky coast to rocky coast, to frozen coast, to border hedge, and served notice that they’re here. They’re sincere. And they’re proud. […]

Read his full, funny non-apology at this link: Breaking: Canada Not Sorry — The Out And Abouter

Quote | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Why you should visit Canada’s Maritime provinces

The simplest explanation to why you should come visit our part of the world, tucked away in the northeast corner of North America, is because it is simply the best. But then again, I’m biased!

Every place has a story to tell, and the stories of the three Maritime provinces – New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island – revolve around their own mix of history, beautiful landscapes, and the sea – and, of course, seafood. I should add that our region is also known for its “down home” welcome. There aren’t so many of us as in bigger places, so we have a bit more time to get to know you!

Lobster, a go-to treat in all three provinces.


This is not only a place where our indigenous peoples have lived for at least 500 generations, and where the Loyalists – those colonists who remained loyal to the King – arrived in droves during and in the aftermath of the Revolutionary War in the States, it is also the place where peaceful, neutral French settlers had lived for 150 years prior to the arrival of the pre-Loyalist British in the 1750s. The Maritimes is the homeland of the Acadians, these days especially in New Brunswick. The horrific expulsion of the Acadians by the British, sometimes referred to as the Deportations, was immortalized by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s epic poem Evangeline. These forced expulsions sent this French-speaking population far and wide, with many Acadians being sent to Louisiana – hence the word Cajun, a derivative of Acadian. But many Acadians hid out in remote parts of the Maritimes, and many others eventually returned from far-flung places. New Brunswick is now the only officially bilingual province in Canada, a recognition that fully 30+% of our province’s population is French-speaking Acadian. Acadian history, culture, and traditions are celebrated throughout the Maritimes, along with the proud traditions of the Scots, Irish, First Nations, and more recent arrivals. Continue reading

Posted in History and Politics, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

How to Plan the BEST Overnight Trip to St. Andrews, New Brunswick — East Coast Mermaid

I promised I was going to start a series of blog posts describing what a special place Atlantic Canada is to come on your vacation. My first stop on this virtual tour will be my home province of New Brunswick, nestled between the state of Maine to the west, Nova Scotia to the east, and Quebec to the north. Perfect location! In thinking about what we’ll do with our grandkids when they visit in a few weeks for their annual Atlantic Canada vacation, I came across this lovely description of a visit to St. Andrews-by-the-sea, where we are always sure to take visiting family. A favourite for all ages. And we have in mind an overnight visit this time, just as East Coast Mermaid suggests. Along with the many treats she describes within, such as amazing whale watching and Kingsbrae Gardens, there’s also an aquarium to visit, wonderful restaurants with fresh seafood, and an charming overall environment. Welcome to your first stop on your New Brunswick tour.


Want to know what one of the BEST parts about living in Atlantic Canada in the summer is? When everyone you know seems to be talking about how the whales this year are just ALL over the Bay of Fundy – you can easily book a last minute day or overnight trip to get in […]

via How to Plan the BEST Overnight Trip to St. Andrews, New Brunswick — East Coast Mermaid

Quote | Posted on by | 5 Comments

Mount Everest just the world’s latest victim of tourist hordes

Thought-provoking article by Kelly McParland in the National Post (May 29, 2019) follows in full, for starters.

‘Once, you travelled the world to see the world. Now, you travel to shoot the perfect selfie.

Tourists look at the view across the Grand Canal from the Rialto bridge on Sept. 9, 2011, in Venice, Italy.
Ian Gavan/Getty Images

It might seem odd to equate a torturous climb in life-threatening conditions to the world’s highest peak with mass tourism, but that’s what the trek to the top of Mt. Everest has become.

A blind man climbed it. Disabled people have climbed it. An Australian paraplegic with a wheelchair did it. A 69-year-old double amputee from China reached the summit. An 84-year-old British grandmother vowed to at least make it to the base camp, and succeeded.

Like so many others who have headed off to Nepal, Edna Northrup chose to make the climb in her ninth decade to prove a point. “Sometimes, people have a dream and they don’t pursue it at all,” she told Oprah Winfrey. “But there’s always time to pursue it in some form.”

Yeah, pursuing the dream. This year so many people from so many places decided to pursue their dream that the deadly narrow ridge leading to the top was turned into a high-level parking lot, with climbers shuffling along, inches apart, in an “anxiety-inducing conga line in the death zone,” as one observer put it. Out of oxygen, people heading down pushed and shoved to get past climbers on the way up. The tiny space at the peak became a jostling crowd of selfie-takers. Ten people have died in the process. If your dream is to stand in line in frigid temperatures so you can snap a selfie in a crowd of several dozen strangers, why not just lock yourself in a meat locker with the midnight crew of an abattoir?

This year so many people from so many places decided to pursue their dream that the deadly narrow ridge leading to the top was turned into a high-level parking lot.

But that’s what mass tourism has become. Many of the world’s most beautiful locations have become assembly points for crowds of selfie-taking travellers, elbowing away at one another as they seek enough space to get their face in the lens of their camera. You see them tumbling off the buses, phones already on selfie sticks, the world reduced to a backdrop for an endless series of pictures off themselves.

Venice is so overwhelmed by the tourist hordes it introduced a $15 entry fee for short-stay visitors from cruise ships, and last year installed gates so police can shut off approaches to popular sites when the crush becomes too dangerous. A $750 fine will be levied against tourists who jump in the canals or lounge around on monuments, effectively admitting the city has become one giant overcrowded museum rather than a place to live.

Medieval defence walls surrounding the historical city of Dubrovnik, one of the main tourist destinations on Croatia’s Adriatic coast. ELVIS BARUKCIC/AFP/Getty Images

Venice gets an estimated 20-30 million visitors a year. Amsterdam, with about 17.5million, is so jammed the Netherlands national tourist board stopped advertising it as a tourist destination and warned popular gathering spots to better control their customers or face “alternative measures.” Dubrovnik, the ancient Croatian city featured in Game of Thrones, has been so overwhelmed by fans of the series the city started rationing cruise ship visits and put a cap on the number of people allowed into its historic core.

Dubrovnik felt it had to act after UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) warned it could lose its status as a world heritage site, a danger also facing locations in Macedonia and Montenegro. But UNESCO’s designation is part of the problem, as tourism authorities and travel firms use UNESCO recognition as a heavy marketing tool to keep the crowds coming. Dubrovnik, with a population of just 40,000, was swamped by more than a million visitors in 2016, as cruise ships parallel-parked and airlines introduced daily flights.

Tourist publications and fawning travel writers continue to hail the “heart-snaring beauty” of cities like Dubrovnik and Venice, accompanied by gorgeous professional photos carefully devoid of crowds, while residents flee the noise and trash. The historic centre of Prague, another UNESCO site, can be so jammed with mass groups trailing obediently after guides that the bridge leading to the old town becomes all but impassable. Hallstatt, a beautiful village on an Austrian lake that’s also on the UNESCO list, requires visitors to de-bus at lots outside town and walk into a central area that is all but deserted of actual Hallstattians, other than those selling T-shirts, souvenirs or snacks. Guides now advise seeing Toledo, one of Spain’s most beautiful towns, early in the morning before the buses breach its ancient walls.

The UNESCO curse is such that residents of Quebec City’s old town used recent consultations on the city’s world heritage status to complain that overcrowding is driving out markets and services, and causing residents to flee. Meanwhile the port authority is hoping to double visits by cruise passengers by 2025.

Quebec’s situation reflects the global problem: mass tourism produces jobs and taxes while devouring the locations themselves. Local politicians pledge caution while eagerly gobbling up the revenue. History and atmosphere fall victim to compromises made for parking spaces and fast-food outlets.

It used to be you travelled the world to see the world. Now you travel to shoot the perfect selfie in the perfect location. The world’s highest peak is just another sorry victim.’


A sobering picture painted by journalist Kelly McParland. But … in my next post I’ll provide you with tantalizing suggestions for travel in a place that has history, culture, the beauty of nature in abundance, a warm welcome, and no long lines of people. See the oldest European settlements in North America, starting with early Viking habitations. Learn about our indigenous and Acadian history as well as that of our early British settlers. Listen to toe-tapping Maritime fiddle music. Eat all the lobster and PEI oysters you want. Enjoy the thrill of whale watching. Visit our World Heritage sites. All with the friendliest of down-home hospitality, as brilliantly portrayed in Come From Away. Yes, right here in Atlantic Canada. More soon about these uncrowded treasures just waiting to be explored.   Stay tuned.

The beautiful town of St. Andrew’s-by-the-sea, New Brunswick.
Photo credit: Canadian Geographic

Posted in Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Dear Journalists of Canada: Start Reporting Climate Change as an Emergency

Musings and Wonderings

A five-point plan for mainstream media to cover fewer royal babies and more of our unfolding catastrophe.

By Sean Holman 28 May 2019 | TheTyee.caSean Holman covered B.C. politics for 10 years and is now a journalism professor at Mount Royal University in Calgary. He produced Whipped, a documentary on the corrosive effects of party discipline, and is now writing a book on the history of freedom of information in Canada.

Karyn Pugliese, president, Canadian Association of Journalists
Martin O’Hanlon, president, CWA Canada
Fiona Conway, president, Radio Television Digital News Association
John Hinds, president and chief executive officer, News Media Canada
Jerry Dias, national president…

View original post 1,424 more words

Posted in History and Politics, Just wondering | Tagged , | Leave a comment