Not so funny money
I entered Canada with four dollars in coinage, which was sufficient to get me from Stanfield International to downtown Halifax. On my way to dinner on that first night, I first had the chance to withdraw money from an ATM. I noted both a different look and a different feel than the last time I'd visited the country, which was in turn not the same as when I first crossed the northern border. Not only did the Frontier Series change entirely the designs on the reverse of all five banknotes, it changed the very material from which the notes are manufactured, from paper to polymer. I loved the way the money felt in my hand - without any particularly logical justification for it, they felt very twenty-first century, almost futuristic. I loved how they were so easily distinguishable from each other by color, as they have for as long as the Bank of Canada has issued them, and which the Federal Reserve only added a hint of not even a decade and a half ago. I loved how the reverses of the notes depicted more than various historic buildings and scenes in Washington and Philadelphia. And to think, we've only changed the basic design of the notes twice since 1934, when the Bank of Canada started issuing theirs, and the one and the two are essentially unchanged since then? Speaking of the one-dollar and two-dollar bills - that is, money that Canada that doesn't issue anymore - that brings me to the penny. It's now been four years since Canada made the sane and sensible decision (under a Conservative government, no less) to eliminate the penny, denominating all cash transactions to the nearest five cents. Over the years, I've accumulated eight Canadian pennies, primarily as change given here in the States - one of which was minted in 1942 and bears the likeness of George VI. Unfortunately, either Justin Trudeau didn't bring the matter up to the President, or the matter was lost on the latter, particularly as he has lately been committing the extra-statutory, extra-Constitutional, and arguably impeachable offenses of firing Tomahawks into a country against whom we have not declared hostilities, and dismissing those subordinates (read: FBI directors) who are charged with and faithfully executing the same oath he took. Alas, I'm off track - the currency of the United States is out of date, and needs an update, post haste.
Catchy - hold on, Can-con?
My rented Volvo sped east on Trans-Canada 104 past Antigonish and toward the Canso Causeway, and I'd adapted to the adaptive cruise control. With no podcast episodes left to play, I'd tuned the car's radio to 101.5 The Hawk, and a song came on that I'd not heard before,
As I started writing this post, I went looking and I found the song: "Yearbook (Which One Were You)" - Sarah Melody. Listening to it again brought me back doubly... not only back to that highway in Nova Scotia last September, but also back to my own senior year of high school - which, as I recently passed my thirty-sixth birthday, was literally half my life ago. I can imagine no better statement of the power of music - particularly deployed at the right time and in the right place.
THIS! IS... an unusual request, and and unusual execution
As I Tweeted out my departure from the Charlottetown Inn and Conference Centre, I was met with a request from my most esteemed colleague Andy. He knew (as did I) that a Patriots preview show would bump the following day's airing of Jeopardy! way early - in fact, an hour earlier than in central Alabama, where usually the game airs first in the United States. While I was then primarily concerned with getting myself first to Gateway Village and then across the bridge and back to Halifax, I thought for certain that my checkout time would match the end of the episode's airing (11:00 Atlantic). I was thus pleased to note upon checking into the Quality Inn near the airport that I would not have to check out until noon the next day - whereupon I asked Andy if I could still be of service. He said I could, and in response to me, told me what he'd need from me for his customary recap blog post.
Both before and after I enjoyed libations in the hotel bar, I asked myself a question along the lines of the one the Stan asked Joanna so long ago - that is, what do you think of someone who just does the bare minimum? Fortunately, Andy and I are not adversaries - well, at least insofar as the matter of America's Favorite Quiz Show. I resolved myself to obtain as much of the program as I could. And when 10:30 rolled around, I was ready. Without the self-imposed distraction of live-Tweeting during the game, I charted every clue, and as soon as the game was done, I emailed a full recap of the game to Andy, with one exception - the correct Final Jeopardy! response. At almost the same moment he found it, I realized I had not included it and amended my recap - as I was driving down Highway 102 toward Halifax.
Writing about this thirty-eight weeks after the fact, it seems clear to me that the exceptional performance I put up in the September 16 game, still the best of the season to date in regular play, was purely a function of getting good categories, as opposed to being locked in. Apart from the internal fist-pumping at my personal performance, I took particular pride in seeing my name appended to the stats on that game.
Once again, what next?
Just about a month ago, I booked the flights and accommodations for the Next Canadian Vacation. In less than three weeks I fly to Calgary for a few days in Alberta, with a stretch through Banff and Jasper much as my family took back in 1999. That's followed by a red-eye to Halifax, setting up a Canada Day weekend back in the Maritimes. And these plans most definitely include time on Cape Breton; while The Washington Post may have brought its credibility into question with the PropOrNot and Burlington Electric fiascoes, its recent article on CBI renewed my love of that wonderful place. The fight for the Republic proceeds apace - but having a wonderfully governed constitutional monarchy within easy reach is a thought that provides much solace.