Sunday, December 30, 2007
It includes some priceless quotes from students, including one guy from Mississauga who swears and says "ballsack".
A good -- short -- read.
The Halifax Locals page discussing the closure of the most hated bar in the HRM -- possibly the entire east coast -- amongst the discerning crowds. Locals is great for the breaking news aspect of any story, and a funny read in general.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Every year, I watch the World Junior Hockey Championships. Every year, they run Gatorade commercials -- featuring teenagers who are prohibited from being paid for their valuable commercial contribution -- that feature "Gatorade Scientists", talking about the importance of hydration.
Water is better. Noooooooooo, Gatorade is better. Water sucks, it really really sucks. Tackling fuel.
Friday, December 21, 2007
Statcounter has taught me that most of the hits on my blog are coming from people searching out words in Inuktitut. I pick up what I can, but listening to me is dangerous.
I offer you this example:
My brother-in-common-law was ready to slap me for a particularly bad bit of Inuktitut. Over time, he has gone from listing the reasons he has to shoot me to listing the reasons he has NOT to shoot me, so that is progress.
The word for uncle is OOH-NACK. The word for poop is AAH-NACK. I was telling my step-son to go see his Uncle, and his girls kept laughing at me as he grew more frustrated. I was calling him Poop instead of Uncle. The kids thought it was great, he was less amused.
Iqaluit means "place of many fishes". The southern audience says it ICK-CAL-EH-WIT. The Inuit is more like ICK-QUAL-AH-WEET. You need to get your guttural Inuktitut Q in there.
The southern way of saying it means "a shitty, dirty, asshole". It is a butt possessed by someone with very poor personal hygeine. Subtle difference in pronounciation, but a big deal in how you say things.
So, I present you this, all you Googlers out there:
This is what the Department of Culture, Language, Elders and Youth sends you too, so I'm going to go with them.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
At the Stephane Dion press conference here in Iqaluit, I was still suffering from the flu. Inflatable Elvis was suffering from a cold. A prominent CBC reporter was on crutches due to a dancing related injury, and Dion himself was fighting a cold. He got his cold from travelling from Bali to the Arctic, so no pity here.
Monday, December 17, 2007
This week (as in most weeks) there was a report in the Georgetown Court news of yet another breech of probation”. Looking the word “breech” up in answers.com yields this
(#1) definition: Breech, The lower rear portion of the human trunk; the buttocks.
Since this is a family publication, I won’t develop this thought further. Sufficient to say, spell check can’t do all the work.
Good work Tom, and good on The Graphic for running the letter.
(NOTE: I had to edit this psot twice, both times to remove a teh. When is teh going to become an acceptable way or writing the?)
DDR is a great game for a party. You have to step on a pad on the floor, in time with the music. The more you get into the dancing, the easier it is to keep rhythm.
This year was a little more extensive. Seven kids, 10 grown-ups, and a lot of food. B made her first ever turkey, everyone had fun, and we had Port Town Ghosts and Baffin Blog join Elvis at our little apartment.
Baffin Blog works at an elementary school, so it must have been like work for him, albeit with slightly more booze.
-- All four bloggers (myself included) completing our turn at Dance Dance Revolution. Baffin Blog nailed "Let's Dance" by David Bowie, and Elvis killed "Girls Just Want to Have Fun"by Cyndi Lauper... when he said that his I-Tunes shuffle was thinking for itself, he may have been on to something.
-- Our first family holiday turkey, and she nailed it. Perfect turkey.
-- My step-son walking into the middle of the party, sticking his hands in the front of his pants like Al Bundy and loudly exclaiming "OK, who wants to play Yahtzee." He made Elvis laugh so hard that the boy thought he was laughing AT him, not with. I saved the upcoming rage by suggesting that Elvis would play Connect Four with him, and a best-of-seven insued.
-- Three grown white men trying in vain to calm a crying 20 month old, whose Mom was downstairs having a cigarette. We failed.
-- Getting Inflatable Elvis with a joke I had been waiting weeks to make. He brought us a pepper grinder for a Christmas gift a few weeks ago, a lovely gift which we really needed. He also put a card in it, which he left blank by mistake. We love the blank card, it makes us smile, and is displayed front and centre in our place. I waited weeks until I had a room full of people to tell him that he had left it blank. Timing is everything.
-- My two-month old son enjoying being passed from aunt to aunt like a joint at a Dead show. He slept so well that night.
-- One child liking my cookies so much that he asked to take some home with him. I gave him a dozen.
-- My television X-mass tree, featuring Simpsons and Star Wars ornaments. We had Sponge Bob as a star, causing my step-son to accurately point out, "You should have bought Patrick... he's a starfish." When they are right...
-- By sister-in-common-law staying over with her three kids for a sleepover. The next morning, I was awoken by the smoke detector going off. I awake, dazed, and ready to be aggravated. I couldn't, she got up earlier than us, fed the combined children, did our dishes, and she was making turkey stock from the leftovers, which set off the alarm. Anyone who does our dishes while we sleep can burn the damn place down in my opinion.
-- Having a real Christmas party, kids and all. Kids are a part of X-mass, and the Fiesta wouldn't have been the same without them.
See you all next year.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
After the second commercial break:
The story was about Hunter Tootoo calling for a spring election, due to the NBCC fiasco, and I pulled two neat tricks. First off, I started by saying David Simailak's resignation caused a "domino effect".
Cue the dominos. I got out the dominos I got last year for Christmas and lined them up on the counter, knocked them over, and Jimmie slowed it down to slow-motion. Theres your domino effect.
At the end of the story, I did my bit on camera. I am developing a thing for props. I like to have something in my hands when I am talking to the all seeing electronic eye. In this case, it was cards.
I referred to the next election date as still being a "guessing game" and had three cards in front of me. Then I said, "Keep your eye on the black card".
As I explained some facts -- Feb 2009 is the last date an election can be held, the MLA's return to session in Feb 2008, and the most likely times for any election in Nunavut are spring or fall -- I moved the cards around, Three Card Monty style, while delivering that little speech.
At the end, I say, "But it is anybody's guess" and flip the cards... all three are red. The visual point, no one can accurately predict the date of the next election. Cut to a suitably smug looking me at my desk with my close.
So, I got to play dominos and three card monty on air... not too shabby. I am also available for weddings and Bah Mitzvahs.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
There is also some Inuit content in the movie. Not to spoil too much, but Fry ends up searching the Arctic for his lost friend the narwhal. He is joined by two Inuit guys, named Anatarjuat and Bapu.
Captain: We've spotted 208 narwhals, and none of them was yours.
Anatarjuat: But they were all edible, and I'm getting tired of sausage.
Simpsons' and Futurama creator Matt Groening has a soft spot for Inuit people. If you saw the Simpsons Movie, you know that already. When he travels to Alaska, Homer Simpson is guided by an Inuit lady, who throat sings with him and causes him to hallucinate the answer to all his problems. Later, she appears in the Northern Lights, and points the direction he should travel in with her oversized breasts.
Also, Homer ends up in a bar in Alaska called Eski-Moes, which got the biggest laugh of the night when I saw it in the Astro Theatre here in Iqaluit. He is also playing the video game Grand Theft Walrus.
Which brings me back to my "Inconvenient Truth" idea. I'm writing my year ender (Year in review story), which is allowed to be light and comedic, to a point. I want to mention Sheila Watt-Cloutier being dumped from the Nobel Prize ticket -- which Gore eventually won -- but I don't want to be too heavy handed about it.
I wrote to all the Al Gore connected press people I could find, and sent them the following note. I want that Futurama commercial for my year ender. The letter follows, and if I get it, I'll let you know.
I've sent out some strange letters requesting interviews and the like over time, but this is the first one for an animated spokesperson:
My name is Kent Driscoll and I am a reporter for the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network in Canada – based in Iqaluit Nunavut, the home of climate change -- and I report on APTN National News. The reason I am contacting you is that I am doing our year end item (a review of all the news that happened here in Nunavut in the last year).
Al Gore getting the Nobel Peace Prize nod drew attention here, because Iqaluit, Nunavut based environmental activist Shelia Watt-Cloutier was originally nominated along with Gore for the prize. Her getting dropped from the ticket was a news story here.
Our year end items are supposed to be light and slightly comedic, and here is what I want to do.
When I introduce the fact that Gore was nominated and Watt-Cloutier was not, I would like to use the commercial for “An Inconvenient Truth” featuring the Futurarama cast (I have it on DVD). We would show the animated version of Gore with Bender, and use a suitably funny clip from Bender.
Then I would voice over, “Watt-Cloutier was much more diplomatic than Bender” and cut to her clip saying “As long as the topic was nominated, everyone wins.”
If you could forward this to the right person, or direct me to them, that would be fantastic. I need to know who controls the rights for that particular commercial. It would allow me to point to Gore winning the nod over an aboriginal person, but the use of humour would show that Watt-Cloutier accepted the snub with dignity and focus on the issue.
Plus, Futurama has two reoccurring Inuit characters, and an Inuit shaman was used as a character in The Simpsons’ Movie (Eski-Moes got the biggest laugh of the night here in Iqaluit). Matt Groening owes us one.
Thanks in advance, and I look forward to hearing from you.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Here are the three parts in my three-part feature for APTN National News, titled "Justice delayed." Part one today, I'll edit and add parts two and three as they come up.
I received unprecendented cooperation from the Justice department, and I even have a judge in there. Anyone who has ever tried to interview a judge before knows, they just don't talk to reporters all that often.
Also, the next time I suggest a three-part anything that includes two lawyers, one judge, and a civil servant, kick me square in the nuts. They answer fine, they all just answer long.
Part One: Waiting for court (after the first commercial break)
Part Two: Standing room only at jail (before the first commercial):
Part Three: Things are different here (last item of the show):
Friday, November 23, 2007
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
I usually avoid commentary. Since I'm a journalist, it usually behooves me to keep my virtual mouth quiet. This case, I couldn't resist.
One of the first things they teach you in J-school, localize a national story.
Remember that scene from The Paper, with Michael Keaton (second worst Batman ever).
"Disaster here, no one from New York. Disaster there, no one from New York. "
The shooting death of Const. Doug Scott had a very tenous PEI connection. His partner in Kimmirut was a fill-in officer from PEI, so the Guardian ran a story about another officer from Charlottetown that had served in Kimmirut. For the record, he quite liked it.
In the comments page, someone wrote in with this thoughtful commentary on policing in Nunavut:
Andy from Ch'town, PEI writes: It comes down to money. And since the
territories are a federal jurisdiction, then the feds have to throw more money
for policing at the territories.
What you are suggesting in post #1 is to have a level of policing service
in Arctic Canada similar to what we have in southern Canada.... numerous police
officers within a reasonably short response time to calls for assistance.
This isn't currently the case in Nunavut and other places, so the feds
would have to practically quadruple the number of officers up there.
In addition to the obvious benefits for officer safety, this would tie in
nicely for sovereignty purposes too. After all, next to the Innu and the
Canadian Rangers, the RCMP have the 2nd biggest presence across that region.
The Canadian Forces with southern softies make their laughable snowmobile
trip every summer across the icepack but that doesn't really count, unless you
believe everything you read in the vaunted Globe & Mail of course....
quadruple RCMP in Arctic = increased officer safety + better sovereignty =
Andy from Ch'town struck me as a bit of a know-nothing-know-it-all, leading me to write my first ever post in the comments of the Guardian website. Enjoy:
Kent Driscoll from Iqaluit, NU writes:
Post 2, here is where you are wrong.
And since the territories are a federal jurisdiction, then the feds
have to throw more money for policing at the territories.
Yes and no. Nunavut has our own government, and pays for our own RCMP
presence. Since there is no deal on devolution struck with the feds, we receive
money from the federal government. If the feds would cut a resource revenue
sharing deal with Nunavut, the minerals under 1/5th of Canada's landmass would
easily cover more RCMP, along with adequate housing, healthcare, and a host of
What you are suggesting in post #1 is to have a level of policing
service in Arctic Canada similar to what we have in southern Canada.... numerous
police officers within a reasonably short response time to calls for assistance.
Kimmirut has 2 officers for a population of 400, a 1 to 200 ratio. You
won't find that anywhere in southern Canada.
After all, next to the Innu and the Canadian Rangers
Inuit, not Innu.
The Canadian Forces with southern softies make their laughable
The last trip across the icepack was a group of Canadian Rangers, not
southern softies. It was far from laughable, they covered a route that hadn't
been covered in 30 years, and they did it. The navy are frequent visitors, but
you won't catch any of the southern forces on the land without Rangers.
quadruple RCMP in Arctic = increased officer safety + better
sovereignty = no brainer
A Band-aid solution. Try this formula on for size.
Cut a resource revenue
sharing deal with Nunavut = adequate social funding + a corresponding reduction
in crime = no brainer.
Sovereignty is people. Let the Inuit people here be the
sovereignty. Give them control of the resources, so they can afford to build a
Canadian presence here, instead of dumping more money into cops the people don't
really need. All of this has little to do with poor Douglas Scott, but it is
worth pointing out to a southern audience that the long term fix for Arctic
soverignty is to allow the people of Nunavut to exploit their own resource
revenue, to build a sustainable economy and society. Anything less is just a
short term answer.
You can teach an Islander to read, but you can't make them think... jerks.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Friday, November 2, 2007
I've been working as a reporter for two and a half years in Nunavut, and now when I show up with Jimmie, I actually get respect from people. You can hear the wheels turning in their heads, "Well, he's working with Jimmie, maybe he isn't full of shit".
Tignish has a reputation for toughness even amongst people from PEI. To steal one of my brother's favourite stories:
We were walking outside of the bar in Charlottetown, and I heard a guy shout, "I'm going to punch the next son of a bitch from Tignish that I sees."
Brenton, being the social sort, asks the guy, "Where are you from."
'Tignish," roared back the angry man.
I lived "Up West" -- Western PEI is "Up West", Eastern PEI is "Down East" -- for two years, and have learned that the Tignish tough guys are usually more bark than bite. Small town for sure, but good hearted sort. That guy who wanted to fight another Tignisher, he would have probably given the guy a drive home after... he would have been driving his pick-up 140 up Route 2 drunk as hell, but he would have never left a fellow Tignisher alone in Charlottetown.
So, from today's Guardian -- it covers PEI like the dew -- the story of a Tignish Halloween. Halloween violence is a tradition in those parts.
Thrown asphalt injures RCMP officer
Object thrown at police vehicles in Tignish
TIGNISH — A member of the RCMP was taken to hospital for treatment of a deep cut to his head when a chunk of asphalt was thrown through the window of the police car he was in during a wild Halloween incident Wednesday night in Tignish.
Several large groups of people were responsible for throwing rocks and bottles at the police vehicles and officers throughout the night, resulting in extensive damage to three police vehicles, said Sgt. J.A. George, NCO in charge of Prince District Operations.
Thirteen young people, ranging in ages from 16 to 21, were arrested for various breaches of the peace as the West Prince detachment of the RCMP had a very busy Halloween night throughout the entire area, said George.
Police spokesperson S-Sgt. Jay McInnis said Thursday that the injured officer was treated and later released from hospital after getting a number of stitches.“He’ll be fine,” said Jay.
Police are hopeful that charges will be laid for the assault on the officer, but admit it will be a difficult investigation because the people throwing bottles, rocks and asphalt all wore dark clothing and masks.
In Tignish, police, town maintenance staff and the fire department were kept busy responding to nuisance fires and complaints of damage to town property.Police had not received any reports of rocks or bottles being thrown at other vehicles travelling in Tignish, “which leads to the conclusion that those carrying out these cowardly acts were targeting the police,” said George.
“The RCMP was disappointed in the reaction from the young people involved in these large crowds and have been in contact with the Tignish council to help identify community strategies that will help to curb these cowardly and dangerous acts in the future. Hopefully this will address an embarrassing and shameful incident for the majority of citizens of Tignish.”
This poster and attached story garnered me a nomination in the OCNA (Ontario Community Newspaper Association) awards. I lost to a story about apple juice.... it was a good story.
Seal of disapproval
Iqaluit (Mar 20/06) - It took a high-profile rock star with an agenda to bring out the edge in Murray Angus.
In response to Paul and Heather McCartney's trip to Prince Edward Island - to oppose Newfoundland's annual seal harvest - Angus brought the double barrels of irony and humour to the fight.
The McCartneys used the trip to protest against the annual harvest of seals on Canada's east coast. Angus feels they are ignoring the importance of the seal to Inuit.
"There is a presumption that people make, that the southern ways are the best. People in the south need to learn some humility and show respect," said Angus, who is an instructor at Nunavut Sivuniksavut (NS) in Ottawa.
Angus emphasized that the poster was not a school project, but simply a personal one. He has received requests from Newfoundland, Greenland and the Yukon for copies.
The poster poses the question: Is killing a wild seal less humane than raising a cow in a closed pen to keep its meat tender?
Tommy Akulukjuk, an NS student, posed for the poster, and isn't shy on humour.
First, he requests that this reporter refer to him as "Sir Tommy Akulukjuk" in this story, so that he is on equal footing with Sir Paul McCartney. He also wisecracks that he would like to see "Inuitmania" spread worldwide, so that he would have as much say as the outspoken musician.
"At first, I was pretty angry. It gave me a new perspective on famous people," said Akulukjuk.
"I think humour can be a weapon for us in this. It is like racism and American comedians. They use it to say a lot."
For Angus, the inspiration for the poster comes from an incident years ago, when Brigitte Bardot made the same trip to the ice floe.
"It was an idea I had 15 years ago, and when I saw the pics of the McCartneys, I thought it was like Bardot in the 1970s. With e-mail, it doesn't take long for this kind of thing to spread," said Angus.
As for Akulukjuk, he'll be looking at the Beatles in a different light. "I think I'll listen to the John Lennon songs from now on," said Akulukjuk.
Former Nunavut commissioner Peter Irniq said the rock star may have killed the baby seal. "You know how birds abandon their eggs after humans have touched them?" Irniq said.
"It's that funny human smell. Seals are only able to find their babies from their smell, among other seals on the ice. Paul and Heather touched the seal, we all saw it on TV. The mother probably abandoned the baby seal. It's probably dead by now.
"That is why, when we are out seal hunting through the seal holes in the spring time, we sometimes put 'things,' smelly things, like gerry cans, so that when the seal sees it, it will abandon the seal hole. That way, it's easier to catch the seals."
I call this one the "Live and Dead animal show"
and this one is from my trip to Eureka and Resolute, courtesy of the Canadian Rangers, the only military group in Canada to elect their leaders:
Thursday, November 1, 2007
What he didn't know, I had no choice. Does that look like a face you could bargain with?
Then, I have a new cellphone with camera and video. Expect lots more.