Thoughts on culture, education, and having been a Canadian in the US
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Posts from — December 2004

New Harry Potter on the way

Earlier tonight I received the following note from Rowling’s Canadian publisher, Raincoast Books:

December 20, 2004

Today on her website, J.K. Rowling wished fans a Merry Christmas and a

Happy New Year.

She also announced that Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Book 6 in

the Harry Potter series) is completed and an official announcement from

the publishers will be available within 24 hours.

To read the news and solve the clues, visit J.K. Rowling’s official


Strangely, given that we’re talking about Harry Potter, I’ve found no corroborating stories online nor have I yet found anything on Rowling’s site….

Is this a scoop?

UPDATE: Here’s the first story I’ve seen backing this up. The date should be announced later today.

December 21, 2004   Comments Off on New Harry Potter on the way

Hardware Devices >> iPods at the Gate: Campus Technology

Having recently acquired an iPod, I can really see how it would be a great tool for teaching. I particularly like the idea of being able to use it in my courses to allow the students to hear poets reading their work or to hear excerpts from some of the plays I usually teach.

iPods at the Gate:

article from Campus Technology.

MSNBC – College Life 2.0:

How Technology Is Changing the College Experience

December 9, 2004   Comments Off on Hardware Devices >> iPods at the Gate: Campus Technology

George W. Bush’s visit to Canada redux

Here are just a few of the stories about Bush’s recent visit to Canada. Bush did his best to make himself better liked in Canada, going so far as to thank those Canadians who waved at his motorcade with all five fingers. I was not among them.

The Globe and Mail: Poll underlines differences between U.S., Canada:

These poll results will surprise many Americans, I think.

The Globe and Mail: Banned beef and borders dominate talks :

There were many issues on the table, most notably the continuing and completely unnecessary ban on Canadian beef. Bush made light of this, noting that he had dined on Alberta beef and was still feeling fine. NOT the way to make friends here…

Online NewsHour: President Bush Visits Canada — December 1, 2004:

“I realize, and many Americans realize, that it’s not always easy to sleep next to the elephant. As a member of Canada’s parliament said in the 1960s, “the United States is our friend whether we like it or not.” (Laughter and applause) When all is said and done, we are friends, and we like it.” – George W. Bush

The transcript of this panel discussion on Canada-US relations is particularly interesting.

The New York Times: Bush, Visiting Canada, Aims to Smooth Ruffled Relations:

OTTAWA, Nov. 30 – President Bush on Tuesday thanked Canadians who waved a welcome to him “with all five fingers” on his first official visit to their country, but he also appeared defensive at a time when he was expected to reach out and try to repair the rift over the war in Iraq. (NY TIMES)

The Globe and Mail: Fun with George and Laura:

“After dining on seared Maritime scallops, breast of roasted squab, flambéed bananas and “Josh’s beaver tails” — a specialty of 24 Sussex chef Joshua Drache — Mrs. Bush presented Mrs. Martin with a White House bag full of her favourite books.

They included one from former White House pastry chef Roland Mesnier called Dessert University, which provides “essential lessons” on dessert-making.” – Bush shows his funny side:

“Tongue firmly in cheek, President George W. Bush paid tribute today to his mythical Canadian supporter, Jean Poutine.”

I have to admit that Bush’s self-deprecating humour while in Canada almost made me like the guy, at least for a minute or two.

David Frum’s Diary on National Review Online:

“Bush’s visit was a diplomatic triumph, from the failure of Canada’s small but vociferous anti-American minority to turn out in the cold streets of Ottawa to the new tone taken by prime minister Paul Martin – and perhaps above all to the laughter and cheers of the president’s audiences.”

Well, maybe from Bush’s point of view it was a triumph. Frum raises some good points here about Canada, as much as I really dislike the guy’s politics.

December 9, 2004   Comments Off on George W. Bush’s visit to Canada redux

NPR : Creating Literature in Native Languages

NPR : Creating Literature in Native Languages

A 5 minute interview with Kenyan writer Ngugi wa Thiong’o about the importance of creating literature in small languages in order to preserve world cultures. Well-worth listening to.

December 9, 2004   Comments Off on NPR : Creating Literature in Native Languages

Montreal massacre victims to be remembered

Every year on December 6, I mark the anniversary of the Montreal Massacre by taking a moment of silence in class after reading the names of the murdered women. Talking to my students, the vast majority of whom have never heard of the events of 15 years ago even though it happened only about 90 minutes from here, I cannot help but compare the lives of the murdered women with those of my female students.

This story from the Globe and Mail reminds us of the lives behind each of these names.

Every year, in memorial ceremonies across the country, Genevieve Bergeron’s name is heard first when the list of the victims of Canada’s worst mass shooting is read.

The tragedy of her death overshadows her life for most Canadians. They’re seldom told she was a loving, inspirational sister, a top student, a gifted musician and a talented athlete.

I particularly like what Catherine Bergeron says about how we should remember her sister:

Catherine Bergeron acknowledges the gun law is part of her sister’s legacy but it’s not the only way she wants her to be remembered.

“I would like Canadians to remember her and the other 13 women, not to be sad but to go on in life in a better way,” she said.

“Think more about other human beings and be more open. More tolerant too.”

I hope we can all find some time in our classes on Monday, December 6 to remember the following young women in this way:

Victims of the Montreal Massacre at l’École Polytechnique on December 6, 1989

Geneviève Bergeron

Hélène Colgan

Nathalie Croteau

Barbara Daigneault

Anne-Marie Edward

Maud Haviernick

Barbara Klucznik Widajewicz

Maryse Laganière

Maryse Leclair

Anne-Marie Lemay

Sonia Pelletier

Michèle Richard

Annie St-Arneault

Annie Turcotte

In Canada, December 6 is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada. Established in 1991 by the Parliament of Canada, this day coincides with the sad anniversary of the death of fourteen young women who were tragically killed on December 6, 1989 at l’École Polytechnique in Montréal because of their gender.

December 4, 2004   Comments Off on Montreal massacre victims to be remembered

Need I say more?

“Paul and I share a great vision for the future, two prosperous, independent nations joined together by the return of NHL hockey.” George W. Bush, Dec. 1, 2004

December 3, 2004   Comments Off on Need I say more?