Friday, April 02, 2004


Hello from Ottawa, where there is still ice on the Rideau Canal. You couldn't exactly skate on it, but the ice still has not completely broken up yet. There is still snow in the low spots. Brrr. I am at a meeting at Carleton University, and I had to laugh when I saw students (slaves to fashion) in capri pants, tube tops and flip-flops. Even walking around in the under-ground tunnels it's cold!

It's good to be back in Canada and see the familiar Mac's Milk and Tim Hortons, to smell the DuMauriers and the Pizza-Pizza, and yes, even to listen to Gord Miller ramble on about the Stanley Cup. While much is still the same over twenty years after I left, there are differences. The Toronto Raptors? The Ottawa Senators? Well, at least the Leafs still suck. I am still disturbed when I hear a line-up without Inge Hammerstrom and Borje Salming.

Ottawa seems to be coming into its own, and growing out of being the sleepy hamlet chosen Solomonically by Queen Victoria to quell the debate about where to locate Canada's Capital city. While I suspect it will always be under the shadow of Toronto and Montreal for urban chic and sophisitication, it does have its charms. One of the bigger charms is the Canadian Museum of Civilization, which I love to visit whenever I can. This time, in a whirlwind 90 minute visit before I was whisked off to the airport, I was able to see a Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit. I was interested not only because of their historical significance, but because I currently happen to be ploughing my way through several books about the Nag Hammadi Library, a similar (but much younger) set of papyri found hidden in jars. More on the Library and what caused me to dig out these books from my basement after over a decade in another post.

Ah Canada. In the U.S., we have dear Nancy Reagan and her astrologers. In Canada, the mediums are sometimes closer to the seat of power. Sometimes they are the seat of power - Prime Minister Mackenzie King used to consult with the ghosts of his dog Pat and of his mother about policy issues. They lived in his closet. Mercifully, the public didn't find out much about this and several other of his rather odd habits until after he had passed away.

And then there's The Dief. Having a sense of humour about your leaders is always a good thing. Especially when they allow it, and when they give you such good material to work with.