Some Housekeeping Duties

I thought I’d answer publicly some questions I received from blog related contacts. Chas Martin writes: “I don’t know when or if you’ll ever get a chance to see Bowling for Columbine, but I’d be quite interested in your thoughts on the film if/when you see it. I suspect a lot of Canadians will think it romanticises Canada a bit too much, but personally I thought Moore took a fairly brilliant approach to finding the real difference between the two countries. Canada seems so much more … exotic … to me now. He put into words things I have felt when I’ve visited Canada (which so far is limited to just the Montreal and Eastern Townships areas) but couldn’t articulate.”

Well, I am eager to see this movie for myself. I’ve been a fan of Michael Moore’s work since Roger and Me, and this movie looks like his best work yet. Yes, I’ve heard some concern that Canada is being excessively romanticized in this movie, but not much. Michael Moore has admitted that he’s using Canada as a straight man in his critique of America, and whatever he’s put into the movie, we’ll respect as a matter of art.

As for Canadians not locking their doors, this doesn’t include Torontonians. My home city is Canada’s answer for New York. I love it, but from it I’ve taken into myself the habit of always locking my doors as a matter of course. The only place I’ve encountered where the doors aren’t locked was in Vermillion, South Dakota, U.S.A. They still tease me for walking up to the front door in the middle of a blizzard, ringing the doorbell and waiting.

Oh, and then there was the time in Ames, Iowa, where we had arrived at 2 a.m. to attend my sister-in-law’s wedding. We were supposed to bunk at a house belonging to a friend of Wendy’s, but because we had arrived so late (due to the Travel Day From Hell), we were told to just walk in and sleep in the living room. The house would be dark, but the front door unlocked.

Nope. Sorry. That was too weird for me. We went and found a Howard Johnson’s instead.

I have also heard that the heart of this movie is the fact that Canada supposedly has as many guns per capita as the United States, but that we have a fraction of gun-related deaths. I believe this statistic, while accurate, may be misleading. We may have a similar number of guns, but we don’t have similar numbers of the same type of guns. Our guns tend to go out and get venison. The guns on some American shelves go out and get venison purée.

I will say this: if an uzi is an important component of your hunting gear, you are a bad hunter. You have always been a bad hunter. Please put the gun down now and step out of your hunting gear before somebody gets hurt.

Laura Ragsdale writes: “I am a fairly new visitor to your blog. I enjoy it very much. Since astronomy has appeared several times this week in your blog, I thought you would enjoy this picture that my husband, Clint, found. He visits this site almost daily because the pictures are so wonderful. Anyway, this one was exceptional. It deserved to be admired. I just thought you and Erin might like it.”

We do indeed. And now I send it out to my readers to admire. Thanks, Laura!

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