PATRICK MCVAY

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My Musings

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Dreamy

I think I will never see a White Christmas again unless I move to Mount Everest. An exaggeration, of course. I am a citizen of Canada and could easily move north if I need snow on Christmas. I think I'd have to move pretty far north, however. Maybe the Yukon. The city of Whitehorse got a few flakes on Christmas Day, I am led to believe. This seems like a reliable enough destination.

As I plan my move to Whitehorse, I notice that it will take 61 hours to drive there from my current home in Massachusetts. I'm not sure my 2007 Mazda 3 has 61 hours of tread left its tires, and that isn't even factoring in that rural Canadian roads are notorious for being poorly kept. One may note the large potholes encountered enroute to the frigid (but White Christmas-y) Yukon destination and report them to Canada, but Canada is busy trying to settle down it's enfant terrible, Quebec, which is levying extra fees on out-of-province college students in an apparent effort to rid itself of higher-ed scourges, such as McGill University. Complain anyway! What is the gas tax for if not to fix the road to the Yukon? Your call will be answered by a pleasant government official, who will note your complaint and, in a few years, maybe after McGill uproots itself and moves to Whitehorse, someone will come to repair those potholes.

You'd think that Whitehorse, located some 1,500 miles north of Seattle, would have limitless cheap real estate for McGill to gobble up when it joins me in the Yukon, but it turns out that the real estate isn't very cheap after all. A three bedroom, three bath attached home on a postage stamp lot will run you more than half a million dollars. That's the cost of doing business in a region that is home to large mammals, such as Grizzly Bears. As McGill will require a lot of space for its 30,000 undergraduates, you can expect that the cost of building a bear-free campus in Whitehorse will be passed along to the higher-ed consumer.

OK, maybe becoming a Yukoner isn't the perfect solution to my White Christmas quest, but you have to admit that it's intriguing. I've been dreaming of a White Christmas for so long that it's beginning to feel a lot like a waste of my dreaming energy. Maybe next year we'll get snow in New England at the end of December. 

(Yeah. Keep Dreaming.) 

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No, Canada!

Firesmoke Time to quit smoking, Canada

On and off in these pages, I've been known to allege that my children are Canadians. I don't mean they act like Canadians by being overly friendly, drinking maple syrup, and wearing toques, but they nevertheless had what seemed to be an airtight legal entitlement to live and work in the 51st state, given that their grandma was Quebecois.

Mais non!

Despite the fact that my kids were born (or "borned" as we little kids often said back in the 1960s) prior to the laws changing in 2009 and were bona fide citizens when they emerged into our cold world, they are not grandfathered under previous law. Changes in 2009 that eliminated citizenship being conveyed by a grandparent unless you had already applied for "proof of citizenship" (i.e., not citizenship per se, just proof that you are a citizen, which at the time they were) means that our friendly northern neighbors will bar these two from entering their smoldering country if/when the next US Civil War gets approved.
On the plus side, they won't be expected to doggedly defend any ice that still exists up there in the Canada parts of the arctic region, if ice continues to exist, which is not a given.

As if to put an exclamation point on the denial of their citizenship, Canada is blowing smoke at us Americans, preventing us from playing bad tennis outside thanks to terrible air quality. It's like they're trying to push us away from their border, or mimic the Vatican by sending messages via smoke signal. Sacre Bleu!

This issue is something short of tragic, I suppose. We are not Ukrainian refugees, or Sudanese trying to escape civil war. But with the US south sweltering, our government and society divided, and all those guns floating around, having an escape hatch would be great. (As would the tuition relief they would see if they managed to get into McGill.)

I'd like to say that we're going to protest the government's decision by boycotting Canada altogether, but the fact is that just last week we went to The Shaw Festival in the town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, with our tails between our legs, and yes, we had a really nice time. I guess there are reasons to be north of the border beyond escaping our heat, guns, and the US Supreme Court.   






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Ballooney

News that China floated a balloon over our great nation to spy on us makes me think that we have become a super paranoid country. Seriously, a balloon? Slowly meandering across the country like a retiree on a pontoon boat?

I thought China had long ago figured out how to send satellites into orbit to spy on us.

Meanwhile, my other country of citizenship (Canada) was apparently asleep when the illegal balloon rocketed across the sky at the speed of, well, a balloon. Canada probably figured that there wasn't much about the north's vast supply of snow that China didn't already know, so just let the portly orb float on by.

Balloon surveillance sounds like nonsense. It's intelligence gathering of yesteryear, or maybe yestercentury. Didn't Benjamin Franklin send balloons into the air in Philadelphia to spy on New Jersey? I think Napoléon used them as well. That the evil balloon was first discovered over Montana makes me wonder if China is spying on our skiers, hoping to gain an edge before the next winter Olympics.

I haven't yet read a word to explain what the real danger was of allowing the puffy floating object to continue on its way, but maybe I'll learn more after the bits and pieces are retrieved from the "relatively shallow waters" of the Atlantic Ocean.

Meanwhile, scientists say that area birds were heard tweeting and cawing in pitches much higher than what is normal for them, after the helium was released from the bubble, causing their bird friends to laugh uncontrollably.

Add "take a hot air balloon ride" to the list of things I must do before I'm shot out of the sky. 

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Traveling Companions

Tomatoes-that-made-it-from-Boston-to-Canada-and-bac_20220821-032320_1 Resilient

I'm not sure where these handsome little tomatoes were grown (maybe Canada?), but I can testify that they were purchased in West Roxbury, MA some 10 or 12 days prior to the publishing of this post. 

Since that fateful moment, they have voyaged far and wide and still appear to be in excellent shape. Even after a tense border crossing during which I chose not to declare their existence (nerve-wracking), then traveling through complicated Quebecer country in the heat and the rain, these little fellers appear entirely unscathed. Part of that is luck: I was well fed and didn't need to consume them. 

I will be honored to accompany these gutsy fruit back to their home, where I will proceed to consume them with olive oil and salt.

Next time you're traveling, consider for a moment the resilient grape tomato. 

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Daily Haiku

 

Cats oft’ void their guts.

They cough out fur balls. They puke.  

We tread carefully.  

 

College Tuition

We dig ourselves a deep hole

Need a second job.

 

Now that I’m sixty

People think I’m a wise man

Probably, I’m not

 

I’m in my Fifties

But tomorrow I’m Sixty

Will need a sports car

 

My PCP Says

“Keep doin’ what yer doin’”

Prob’ly I should not

 

It’s St. Patrick’s Day

We eat beef that has been corned

Whatever that means

 

Robots and A.I.

I will make use of these soon

To do my taxes

 

Strange Oscar night end

Pacino failed to mention

Best pic nominees

 

Who’s this Katie Britt?

Scary. Wierd. We could have used

A Trigger Warning

 

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