Sunday, April 30, 2006

Eating Raul: The Offal Truth About Argentinian Cuisine

A couple of Baby Chandons at the "Jim Morrison Club Bar" in Cordoba and the courage was there.

Down the street from the hotel was a traditional parrilla steakhouse. La Parrilla de Raúl, in fact. The words came out of Sheena's mouth: "Dos parrillas completos".

Seven cuts of meat. Served over about a 45 minute period. All you can eat salad bar too. 18 pesos each (about 7 bucks).

What we think was sliced pork came out first, with a lovey bearnaise type of sauce.

Then came a mixed plate of blood sausage, chorizo and what we have since identified as chinchulines (chitlins, for my Americano readers). We had made a pact to at least try one bite of anything put in front of us. My one bite only was the blood sausauge. Icky texture, though a deep flavour that was unique to anything else I have eaten. The chitlins were fun. Crispy grilled with a nice crunch... with a pate-like creamy goo that squirted out of the end.

Some kind of organ meat, not really sure what it was. Kind of grey and mushy. Then a wonderfully crunchy almost caramelized flank steak, bit of rib...with the piece de resistance an unbearably salty piece of roasted tripe. All washed down by another lovely Mendoza Malbec.

Agreed we would do it again before leaving Argentina. Might get up the nerve this time to try it at a roadside truckstop that the locals seem to like...outdoor wood grill, picnic tables in somebody's driveway. For about 8 pesos.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Off the Beaten Path? Or Off the Path, Beaten?

The problem with travelling frequently for business is that one often just wants to stay home. Or at the other end of the spectrum, to do unusual things in odd places. Sheena often falls into the latter category.

Car Racing, Music Festivals and Wine Tasting have been the dominant vacation themes in recent years. It is items 1 and 3 that led me to Argentina.

The World Rally Championships is nominally centred in Cordoba, but the real action is held 1-2 hours away in the small stunning though decaying holiday hotspots of the 1920s up in the Punilla Valley. From the very brief reading I've done, sounds like this area was the South American version of Banff, delivering well-heeled travelers on nationally funded rail systems. As the trains die, so do towns and tourist economies.

The race stages took us through towns such as La Falda and

the astoundingly charming La Cumbre (which was a perfectly fire grilled beef, chicken and veggie lunch )....

cooked by THAT guy... talk about sizzle and lots of wood, eh?

Took in 2.5 stages of Day One of the race. End result? Sunburn, windburn, dust burn. Probably walked about 10 miles in total from 8am to 6pm. Remain astounded at the complete anarchy of the roads, highways, and sidewalks.

And those are just the dogs....Don't get me started on the cars.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Cheap Eats and Foreign Smokes

Dinner tonight in Cordoba at La Imprenta, a wine/arts/literary bar not far from the weekend's hotel. Everything you ever heard about Argentinian beef is true. Two lomos (tenderloins) with lovely braised veggies in a red wine reduction for 25 pesos each (converts to a grand total for 2 people - barely 20 bucks, with tip). Included a lovely house Malbec, mineral water and a couple of Quilmes.

Yesterday we contemplated doing La Parilla but chickened out when we saw that the full serve bbq included not only tripe and kidneys but cow brains. Hmm.. maybe just a little too BSE-shy, us Canadians.

So instead, we just did big ole hunks of beef at Viejo Balcón, overlooking the river. And it is also true that none of the good steakhouses open before 8pm. We arrived around 9, and were the third table to be seated. By 11, the joint was full. No garnish, no veggies. Some fritas on the side only because we asked. Barely any spice. Just meat, perfectly, wonderfully grilled. And nobody asked how we wanted it done.

Sheena's travel discovery: Hellman's also makes Ketchup. Yep. Who woulda thunk it.

Cigarettes in Argentina cost about a buck a pack. Not joking. Imports like the now universal Marlboros a bit more, but my adventurous travelling companion insisted on trying a local brand. So he got these. Still never got an answer as to whether they tasted more like sweaty short men or underpants.

Don't Drive for Me, Argentina

Day Four. First internet access since Monday afternoon.

Nick Phytter and I are down here for the World Rally Championships in Cordoba... a seven hour drive north-west of Buenos Aires. Getting from the airport to our first hotel in BA was an experience in itself. There are no rules of the road here. And clearly no such thing as a Drive Clean program. The streets are filled with classic old Fords, Citroens, Fiats and Peugeots. The national bird is clearly the Ford Falcon.

Please note Buck Rogers tail lights

Got a nasty look from the local guy in Rosario (3 hours NW of BA) taking this picture, until he realized that we were tourists and happily answered questions about his '79 Citroen station wagon.

Sheena and El Chaperone have now discovered the level beyond white-knuckle driving. It is 'red-knuckle' driving. This term so named because it is very easy to chew ones knuckles to a bloody pulp upon realization that there are cities in the nether parts of the world with over a million inhabitants, living in downtowns that don't have any stoplights or even stop signs. Self-regulating flow, I suppose. And effective population control too.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Sheena's Life is 85.7142857% Fulfilled

6/7 Completed.
Just notched South America on the the bedpost. 4 hour layover in Sao Paulo en Route to Buenos Aires. Almost 10 hours direct from Toronto. And I'm with a nic-fitter.

Desperately beautiful race car driver in the Varig VIP Lounge wearing his Lucky Strike getup. Googling to try to figure out his name.

Trying to convince the nic-fitter that licking hottie driver's shirt won't do him any good.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Hey Baby, What's Your Sign?

RUN! to your local LCBO and grab as many of the D'Arenberg Hermit Crabs as you can fit in your old kit bag. Found a few stacks at Royal York & Bloor W. this weekend. $15.95, which is a fricking amazing price. God love government run likker-stores, eh? I know for a fact its priced in the $20US range because I've paid that trying to create a little stash North of 49.

The Crab got Sheena through some long lonely stressful nights during her extended stay in Australia a couple of years ago. If she would have had a blog back then it would have been called "The 'Bane of My Existence"...

I'm a whore for anything D'arenberg, and had my first oenological orgasm with a 1999 Dead Arm Shiraz. I've been a somewhat rabid collector ever since.

The Hermit Crab is a viognier/marsanne blend. The Viognier is the dominant grape - emparting a floral fruity nose. Less over the top than a Gewurtz, tropical without the sweetness. Kind of like eating lychees while rolling around naked in a field of daisies.

Where to Eat When You Miss Your Mommy

Tucked away a few blocks north of the Dundas W Bloor subway stop is Back to The Garden. Sheena loves this place. It is cozy, friendly, genuinely pleasant and without a whiff of pretension.

Sheena always sits in the same place. The table right under the 'Specials' board because it's next to the fireplace and always warm.

Back to the Garden is apparently noted for their Burger menu (and it is VERY extensive. (I laughed out loud the first time I saw the "Down Under" burger, with its beets and fried egg toppings. Everyone knows Aussies like their fried eggs on burgers, but only people who've been there realize the extent of their beetroot addiction. Go into a Sandwich shop and people ask for it like we ask for tomato).

I never have a burger, though. I stick to the ever-changing specials list.

Last night I had the roast turkey special. Beautiful tender white meat, slathered in a very tasty gravy. Mashed patates, bit o'salad with carrots grated instead of sliced. It's a comfort food joint. Liver & onions, lasagna, meat loaf, perogies, schnitzels... you get the idea.

Wine and beer list is terrible, but who cares. Gotta go there for the atmosphere and nap-inducing homecooked meals.

Say HI to John, the proprietor. Ask him how his kitty is.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Oh Thank Heaven!

My first 7-11 Taquito was consumed in the fall of 2000 in Riverside California. Paying homage to fallen Canadian
driving star Greg Moore who was killed at the Fontana Superspeedway on Halloween '99, my race buddy and I proceeded to ingratiate ourselves with local tailgaters at the track parking lot and several hours later got a wicked case of the fast-food munchies.

Cheap, greasy, cheesy and hot off the grill. A girl couldn't ask for anything better. Needless to say, an addiction and fascination was born.

I speak of this today because Sheena tasted the new-ish Potato Skin Taquito at a local Toronto 'Sev this morning for breakfast. A little drier than the currently favoured Monterey Jack, but certainly better than the too-sour Buffalo Wing and well, frankly.. ANYthing is better than the gooey white gross-out concoction they call the Jalapeno Cream Cheese taquito. It is patently unfair to put the Craplepno ones in the same food category as the others.

Now, one can buy frozen packs of taquitos in some of the big-box grocery stores. Sheena is not sure which ones, because she doesn't do that sort of thing. And even at some of the urban American 'Sevs can you find it in your depanneurds freezer. But I think part of the magic of the taquito is buying it lukewarm off the rollers, flavoured by its legally mandated 8 hour day soaking up the grease slicks of last night's Big Bite Smokey Dog.

The puzzling thing is the utter lack of taquito product discussion on the official corporate 7-11 site. Two hits. That's it. For shame, Sheena says. Taquitos are God's nightcap after a long pubcrawl. A decent base breakfast for the morning after. Sometimes, on a good weekend...both.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Shawarma Nutsi

Sheena's Farewell to Ottawa - Part 3

Marroush International Shawarma can be found below ground level on the Elgin Street strip. In the same complex housing the Bull Dog Pub and the rotating disco-bar formerly known as Nescaleros, Inferno, Sin,
etc etc etc. (Sheena knows the proprietor and hey.. if you ever need to get your hand on ten grand real quick, just rub his head...)

But never mind that crap. Marroush is the real story here.

All beef shawarma, bit of sauce, lettuce, tomato and hot peppers. No pickles no onions "no F**'n turnips". (But Sheena you might say.. there's no "f" in "turnips").

Now I stink like garlic. And I have a flight in 2 hours. I will breathe noxious fumes on the cabbie (who will not notice). The Security screeners, the flight attendants and gate agents. I will be black-marked for future travel. ("Smells Mediterranean.. mark her SSSS!!).

But it's all worth it. Most satisfying dinner. Especially if you like to sniff your fingers later in the evening.

The only downside is that the Marroush Shawarma has a mind of its own. The Shawarma's natural instinct is to break free of its wrapping. A bowl underneath and napkins required for rookies.

Now some wimp-ass shawarmas I've tried in the 416 wrap up in wax paper. Marroush is the old school tin foil. Meaning one must unwrap properly and endeavour to keep the right balance of lettuce restraint and foil just out of cavity filling bite range.

Ouch, baby.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Confessional

Stop #2 on Sheena's Farewell to Ottawa Tour.

(That's Joe, btw in the picture -->>).

Oh, how Pub Italia shall be missed!
200 Beers, great Italian food, decent Scotch and wine list. Decor must surely violate at least one Papal Encyclical.

Doing a group outing? Book the Confessional. Room for up to 10 people, if you're friendly. Comes with own closing gate and a red light switch to tell your waitress when service is needed.

New addition last year is the Abbey, featuring a selection of Belgian beers perhaps rivaled only by Vineyards in the Byward Market.

Really can't do better than Pub Italia as an apres-travail local. Sheena will miss it as much in the coming months as she did back in 2002, when she was forced to avoid it for 8 consecutive weeks because of the night of the "Incident".

Note to my readers: Little American blondes travelling on expense accounts for the first time in their lives really ought not suck back a half-dozen 10% Belgian Chocolate Christmas Beers in less than an hour...

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Oh Yeah, Baby... You Got Great Legs...

Tonight's Hot News Story is the Harper government's announcement that the age of sexual consent in Canada will be raised from 14 up to 16.

Wow, 16 years. Sheena moved to Ontario 16 years ago. Looking around the apartment, I realize that lots of my things are now old enough to have sex.

My kitchen table and matching chairs.

My Harlequin cassette tape. My Salvador Dali framed poster from the Montreal Musee des Beaux Arts. The black and pink quilt I use only for guests.

Gross. Now I'm going to wonder what goes on when I leave the house in the morning.

Mahalo, Aloha Room...

Attention Ottawa Visitors and Residents!

If you're sick of the Parliament Hill tours, bored to tears by Rideau Canal skating, or looking to meet people who don't have 'junior policy wonk' on their business cards, think about this place.

Next door to Ottawa's original Barrymore's Musical hall on one of the scruffier parts of Bank Street, the Aloha rooms brings a goofy charm not often found in the National Capital Region. First stop on Sheena's "Farewell to Ottawa" tour with some friends last night.

News alert! New Beer on tap. Yes, my friends, the one and only PBR is now available! As we walked in, I exclaimed "OMG! PBR!" and the bartender looked up, "Yes Ma'am". And started pouring. Unfortunately, it wasn't a buck, like it was at the Cowgirl Hall of Fame and BBQ in Santa Fe. (Be afraid, BTW, when the bar staff at a Cowgirl restaurant dresses up like pirates. It means it's PBARRRRRRGH nite...matey). Nice to see that this 100% taste-free beer has not bumped lovely local Heritage Brewing off the taps. Diversity is important.

Nightly cocktail specials run the gamut from the goofy (Blue Smurfs) to the avante garde (lemon balm raspberry mojitos). Glasses never match, and look like they came from someone's garage sale patio set. Last night was the "Endless Summer" with orange juice, Malibu Rum and Baileys. Um... PBR, thanks.

Decor must be seen to be believed. Black velvet Doberman paintings looking longingly at Fat Elvis. Graffiti surfboard. Various macramed lamps and faux fishnet.

Music equally as eclectic and unpredicatble. Playlist ranges from Littlest Hobo theme songs to the Legendary ShackShakers. Vinyl vinyl vinyl.

So sit back in the refurbished barber chair, or perhaps the old seat from the Montreal Forum. Put your feet back and pretend that you can hear your friend talking. Just nod, and smile and they'll do the same for you.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Sheena's Wine Tips for New Parents


TOM Cruise has claimed he will eat the PLACENTA after fiancée Katie Holmes has their baby.

The actor, 43 — who wants her to give birth in silence according to his Scientology cult rules — said: “I’m gonna eat the placenta, too.

“I thought that would be good. Very nutritious. I’m going to eat the cord and the placenta right there.”

But when a GQ magazine interviewer said it would be a big meal, Cruise replied: “OK, maybe I won’t.”

I dunno. Maybe with a malolactating Chardonnay?

Monday, April 17, 2006


Leaving Ottawa means Sheena will be losing her favourite TV station. CCTV Channel 69, to be precise. Channel 69 is the view into my apartment lobby. It's grey and grainy and silent. The foreground is a big fern, a row of bright lamps and the planter just outside the door.

Channel 69 became part of my viewing habit last year, when I had a relative bunking with me for a few months. After living alone for a couple of years, was nice to have evening conversations with someone with a similar world perspective. Often we'd sit, have a bite to eat, crack open a merlot, or sometimes a six-pack and write our own screenplays. Part soap opera, part comedy, a dash of improv all rolled into one. We seriously toyed with the idea of producing our own little series, same time, same day, same channel. See if anyone would notice. Maybe use big cue cards like the old silent movies.

Highlights were often the guys who'd be standing at the intercom ringer. Buzzing, buzzing, buzzing. Not getting let in. Getting really pissed off. Agitated. We'd make up stories about why his girlfriend isn't letting him in. Alternating between ugly Lavalife blind date that she chickened out of after viewing Channel 69, or maybe he was a stalker, preying on random suites. We'd yell at the screen if somebody left the door open behind them and he got in without authorization. Jump up to make sure our door was deadbolted. Then we'd keep flipping back to the channel all night. See if any cop cars in front of the building.

We'd speculate on what the delivery guys had in their bags. If it was top-drawer pizza like Lorenzo's I'd tell my brother go take him out and grab his tip money for good measure. Late night video was particularly heeeelarious. The drunk and tired fumbling for lost keys. University students pawing each other over, as though they couldn't wait to rip off their clothes before they got upstairs.

Sometimes it would just be someone sitting on the bench. Waiting. (Memorable night "HEY! New couch in the lobby! Cool!). We'd watch them read the paper. Look up at the wall. Sometimes dig for booger gold.

Thinking nobody would notice.

Happy Birthday Canada's Constitution!

Find a way to work the word "Notwithstanding" into your conversations today.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Resurrection and Remembrance

The Event: The Toronto debut of "Winnipeg Babysitter".
The Venue: the Workman Theatre, at the Queen Street CAMH, formerly known as the Provincial Lunatic Asylum.

Sheena had a gut feeling that the stars had properly aligned.

Winnipeg artist and video archivist Daniel Barrow presented his fascinating production last night to an appreciative crowd, many of whom were clearly reliving and unlocking repressed adolescent memories coloured by the dusty schmaltz and frozen inhibitions of the Prairie capital.

For my readers who grew up unscathed by local cable access television, it may be difficult to appreciate the gem that Barrow has constructed. About three years ago, Sheena got into a debate with another former Winnipegger over the musical duo "The Cosmopolitans". In an attempt to one-up my competitor, I phoned Shaw Cable in Winnipeg, asking if any of the old Cablevision footage from the 1980s existed. The answer was No. Much of it was no longer readable and had been destroyed. Enter Daniel Barrow, who has stepped up to rescue the cultural treasures we now realize that Winnipeg citizens lovingly bootlegged on new-fangled VHS machines in basements and rec rooms across the R2K.

Barrow has spliced together highlights and lowlights from a wide range of the better known cable access shows primarily from the 80s and early 90s. The presentation style is simple yet effective: Video clips on the main theatre screen, with Barrow's hand crafted liner notes on an overhead projector to the side. Less instrusive and more respectful of the images than voice-over, and the hand-turned transparency pages provided an appropriate edge of the personal, the unrehearsed, the home-grown to complement the ad-hoc television we were there to see.

"Metal Inquisition", featuring thrash sock puppet musical interludes. Live performances by Winnipeg punk pioneers The Stretch Marks on "Alternative Rockstand". "Math with Marty", aiming only to entertain and teach the children. "Survival Man", a parody of the survivalist movement that taps perfectly into the mid-80s "If You Love This Planet" zeitgeist when we all believed nuclear war was inevitable. Survival featured a 20-something cast that would go on to rock North American film and television (Greg Klymkiew, Kyle McCulloch, Guy Maddin).

The best remembered show was the Pollock and Pollock Gossip hour. Odd and disturbing brother & sister team Ron and Nathalie created controversy even beyond the Manitoba borders with their antics, and perhaps helped local cable programming jump the shark when they were cancelled under the guise of excessive breast bounce. A subsequent Human Rights complaint propelled Nathalie into the political sphere, including a run for Mayor on more than one occasion. Sheena was not aware of Nifty Nat's anticipation of the Jerry Springerization of talk TV until last night, when Barrow's explanatory notes delved into an infamous Jenny Jones episode in which Nathalie beat up a couple of strippers. One of the most hilarious and train wreckish segments included Donnie Lalonde singing "At the Hop" with Ron & Nat. Apparently the Pollocks had found the former WBC boxing champ talking on a payphone and dragged him over to the studio for an interview.

But Sheena was really there to see if the Cosmopolitans were able to be rescued from the trash heap. They were. Barrow's handling of the drum and organ duo of Marion Clemens and Louise Wynberg was poignant and respectful. They were a kitschy joke in my household, but there was always an odd fascination. Why would two middle aged women dedicate their lives to the delivery of goofy old standards to an audience surely composed of only shut-ins and basement stoners?

The Cosmopolitan back story nearly moved me to tears. They were band-mates, friends, and life partners. They came to Canada to escape social persecution when they attempted to live as a couple in their homeland. They struggled but ultimately carved a place in Winnipeg society with their community service and music. They pushed envelopes back then. Not only with their life choices but by mixing Led Zeppelin and the Beatles in with the polka standards they loved best.

The audience last night laughed throughout the production. But Sheena felt a touch of sadness. The show was possible only because of the efforts made to unearth the homemade copies of the shows destroyed by the channel owners. I commented not long ago that I likened the bloggers of today to the cable access shows of yesteryear. Loads of crap put out there for no reason but to get some public attention, mixed together with genuine talent looking for a break, sprinkled with rubber-necking oddities that couldn't be imagined by the best professional comedic minds.

The ultimate irony of the information age in which we live is that it is all so fleeting and ephemeral. The electronic digital media we've all raced to adopt is transitory and unfit for long term preservation. Who is protecting the gems of the online world? Who will archive the idiot-savant brilliance of the blogosphere? Who will allow the Gen-X'ers to remember their MySpace goofiness as they hit middle age? Will Daniel Barrow have to sift through our basement backup disks in 20 years to allow us to relive these moments?


Saturday, April 15, 2006

In Vino Cinéma Vérité

Ok, Ok, so I'm about a year behind the times. But Sheena finally saw wine documentary Mondovino last night on the Documentary Channel. (On again April 15 and 16 at 8pm Eastern).

It was a good film. Poked a few well-deserving holes in the veneer of exclusivity of the wine industry. The mystique of Bordeaux evaporates pretty quickly when watching ignorant passive winery owners rely on high priced consultants who give them 15 minutes of their time before moving on to the next sucker... er client. Or the rich Napa retirees opening a winery, relying on the same slickster when the consultant doesn't even remember their names. Yet their entire investment rides on his whims.

There was an element of imbalance: putting an Americans/Bad vs. Europeans/Good cast on the message. No doubt the juggernaut of Robert Mondavi has altered the marketing and branding of Old World Wines, but this oversimplifies the issue. French merchants - who are bottlers, not growers - such as accused fraudster/con man Georges Duboeuf have been ruining palates for years with the sad Koolaid offerings bundled as Beaujoulais Nouveau.

Sheena believes that the negative aspect of Americanization of the wine industry has less to do desire of conglomerates to buy local estates in Italy or France, but the McDonaldization of the palate. Canadians and Americans grow up drinking milk. Coke. Supersized Mountain Dews. Ironically, the only passionate American in Mondovino was a wrong-side of the tracks Brooklyn distributor who freely admitted to never having touched wine in his early adulthood.

The cartoon labeled wines such as Little Penguin, Cat's Pee, Yellowtail appeal to the young adult crowd raised on buying habits based on image appeal.

Wines that are easy quaffing, comfortably woody, recognizably labeled are safe for the evolving tastebud. The sound-bite generation has no interest in a bottle of wine that needs to be cellared longer than their first marriage is likely to last.

I suppose critics of Mondovino find it easy to laud it or dismiss it by attempting to frame it in the globalization debate. This strikes me as too easy a target. It gets the consumer off the hook. Message to me is simple: if you respect the local producer, then support the small family estates; hate the marketing PR global machine so make the effort to put your money where your mouth is.

That's why I risk my health tasting crap novelties like a New Mexico Pistachio Wine. Because the guy behind the counter is so thrilled he's ready to pee himself. Because it came from his land, his labour, and his wife designed the label. I may vomit in the parking lot after the fact, at least he's bucking the trend and trying to make an impact in the increasingly undifferentiated world of wine.

In Vino Veritas

Tony Aspler
Jonathan Alsop
Mike Steinberger (

Friday, April 14, 2006


Easter can be a problematic holiday for those souls trying to juggle multiple timezones and local stat holidays. To this day Sheena has never understood the method by which the dates are calculated. Only that it has something to do with full moons, vernal equinox and the length of a bunny rabbit's shadow. Americans don't get this as an official holiday, meaning that it is a stress day for some Canadians trying to reconcile an appropriate balance of "off day don't check email" and "but the deadline is close of business on Friday".

So, in keeping with my half Ukrainian heritage, let us just say that "Easter Blows".

The tradition of "Pysanka (Ukrainian Easter Egg Painting) predates the Christian tradition by centuries. Symbolizing fertility, rebirth, life from dormancy, it evolved into a natural symbol of spring and resurrection as Christianity was adopted in the Ukraine 988 AD.

The entire process of cleaning, designing and dyeing the eggs is a lengthy and involved process. Success requires attention to detail, precision and a light touch in order to not break the delicate shells. The multi-layered colourful patterns are achieved by covering the egg with thin wax lines, dyeing it in progressively darker shades, and applying the next pattern phase by protecting the lighter sections with the wax threads.

Now Sheena has done this with moderate success. What most of the online sites don't tell you, however, is that it all starts with a blown-out egg. Pinpricks at both ends, and a gentle but steady blow will in fact force the yolky contents out through the teeny-tiny opening.

Unsuccessful egg-blowing, caused by a weakened shell, or careless technique, can be somewhat embarassing.

For Sheena, her first pysanky-making experience was thus predicated by the issue of knowingly putting her lips on the too-be-blown egg. "But where do eggs come from". "A chicken's bum". "Ewww. Grosss". "Don't worry, they're washed".

Of course the world's most famous Pysanky resides in Vegreville, Alberta. I remember look up at it, in awe. Wondering. Who had the strength and force in their lungs to blow hard enough to clean out that egg? Still have never discovered the answer to that question. But I figure there's a good chance it was one of these guys.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Chair Recognizes that Sheena is on the Floor

Today's Headline announcing the new Canadian Federal Accountability Act reminded me of one of those cultural sensitivity lessons you're supposed to know in the business world. No, not about handing your business card with both hands to a Hong Kong client, not even how to avoid wearing your "ROOTS" sweatshirt in Brisbane.

The press in Canada made a big deal over the Conservative government following through on a campaign promise to introduce stronger anti-corruption measures and extend Access to Information coverage to Crown Corporations.

Yes, Stephen Harper "tabled" the new legislation. Meaning he laid it out for discussion, put it on the top ten list, gave it mad props. You see, Americans use the term "tabled" exactly the reverse. When a US associate uses that term, it means they've put it on the back burner, shelved it, saved it for a rainy day. I fear that not enough border crossers are clear on this nuance. Even online reference tools are no help, with both idioms listed. Way to sit on the fence,

Sheena can only imagine that this cannot help the current NAFTA softwood lumber dispute. Negotiations must be like living in George Costanza's oppositeville. One can only worry. Many tables today are in fact made of BC pine.