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Chad Rubel
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Do you love food and eating food but hate the idea of undocumented immigration? As Full Frontal with Samantha Bee points out, if you feel this way, you will starve pretty quickly. Samantha Bee, a documented immigrant herself (she's from Canada) guides us through a path of undocumented immigrants in kitchens. We stop in Philadelphia where Cristina Martinez runs a popular barbacoa restaurant. Martinez is undocumented but was willing to go on camera. (Bee talked later to other undocumented restaurant employees who didn't want their identity revealed.) Martinez explains in Spanish that she came to the United States to escape her abusive now ex-husband. Bee also incorporates fellow immigrant Padma Lakshmi, host of Top Chef. Lakshmi talked about the importance of immigrants to restaurants and how they want the same things everyone else wants. Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Balance of Food
Looking for a silver lining in a potential Doug Ford win in Ontario, I wondered if marijuana tourism in Ontario would be easier under a PC government. After all, the Liberals plan was so harsh that only 40 Ontario Cannabis Store locations would be open by the end of 2018. The long-term goal was 150 locations in a province that stretches from Minnesota to New York state on a U.S. map. The good news, relatively speaking, is that the Ford Government will have private retail outlets as well as online purchasing. The bad news, especially for tourists, is that those private retail stores won't open until April 1, 2019. Marijuana tourists traveling to Ontario before April 1 have virtually 0 options. You can't order marijuana online since you don't live in Canada. You can't buy it legally. If you know someone who lives in the province, you could have them buy for you, provided all parties involved are 19 or older. You also need to be in a situation where you can partake, which is most likely a house where smoking is allowed. Ontario's restrictions still hamper tourists since you can't consume marijuana in public. October 17 will be significant for those who live in Ontario, not so much if you don't. Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Canadian Crossing
ESPN2 has the last scheduled CFL game on U.S. TV until September 30. The U.S. channel features the Montréal trip to Edmonton as the late game in the Saturday split doubleheader. The CFL is taking a break from Thursday Night Football; Friday starts out with Winnipeg hosting Ottawa. The Argos play their usual Saturday afternoon home game welcoming the BC Lions. Calgary travels to Saskatchewan for a rare Sunday night game. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats draw some extra free time in the August heat. Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Canadian Crossing
College basketball is an American phenomena with plenty of Canadian fans. Some Canadians will get to see American college basketball up close as Duke University will play in Canada. The Blue Devils will take on Ryerson University on Wednesday and the University of Toronto on Friday at the Paramount Fine Foods Centre in Mississauga. The tour wraps up with Duke taking on McGill University at Place Bell in the Montréal suburb of Laval, Quebec. Duke features the top recruit as ranked by the ESPN Recruiting Nation in Canadian native R.J. Barrett. Canadian Dan Shulman, the lead college basketball announcer for ESPN, will call the games with his ESPN partner Jay Bilas. In Canada, TSN4 will carry Wednesday's game. TSN2 will carry Friday's game. Sunday's game will be on TSN 1/4/5 as well as RDS2. ESPN+ will carry all the games in the United States. Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Canadian Crossing
One Canadian export that can't be touched by tariffs is the values of human rights. In the 2015 federal election, Justin Trudeau spoke often about Canada's role in the world, where it had been and where it should be. The Liberals won government in great part because of that approach and thought process. The tweet above isn't anything new that Canada has said since that election. The specifics are new about the arrests. Canada's ties to Badawi stem from her brother, Raif, who has also been arrested for similar reasons. Raif Badawi’s wife, Ensaf Haidar, and their three children have been living in Quebec since 2015. Haidar and her children became Canadian citizens on Canada Day 2018. Saudi Arabia is a bully, a childish bully. The response to the tweet seemed excessive, even by 2018 standards for childishness. Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Canadian Crossing
Samantha Bee used to point out the idiocy of governments being in charge of selling alcohol when she was on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Most of the American audience was likely clueless as to what she was talking about. The idea of the government setting the price of beer sounds odd to a journalist who has studied Canada for more than a decade. Going into the 2018 Ontario election, the minimum price for a can or bottle of beer was $1.25. If you live in Ontario, you likely aren't finding too many beers at $1.25. Craft sodas are more expensive than a $1.25 price for beer. Doug Ford decided that the $1.25 minimum was too high and campaigned on buck-a-beer: $1 for the cost of a beer. Perhaps not a surprise, but the strategy worked. Sometimes politics is about things that won't actually matter but sound good. Ontario News Now sounds good but actually does matter. The name Ontario News Now sounds real and might even look real if you are buzzed on buck-a-beer. Ontario News Now is not a real news organisation, just an extension of the Ford Government. The creation of a fake news network is sadly not the surprise: the surprise is that Ontario taxpayers are paying to produce the videos. Continue reading
Posted Aug 10, 2018 at Canadian Crossing
ESPN2 stays up late Thursday with the BC Lions welcoming Edmonton to Vancouver. This is another 3 game week. Friday Night Football has the Tiger-Cats traveling to Winnipeg. Saturday features the Highway 417 battle with the Alouettes in the nation's capital. Toronto, Calgary, and Saskatchewan get to enjoy the warm weather. Continue reading
Posted Aug 9, 2018 at Canadian Crossing
The 2018 Toronto International Film Festival has announced its Rising Stars. Each year, TIFF picks 4 young Canadian stars in the making. Rising Stars can be briefly in the limelight and others can stand the test of time. Tatiana Maslany, Sarah Gadon, and Evelyne Brochu are examples of the latter. Michaela Kurimsky makes her feature acting debut in Firecrackers, which is on the 2018 TIFF menu. Jess Salgueiro is in Mouthpiece from Patricia Rozema and was in Mary Goes Round from 2017 TIFF. Devery Jacobs was in Rhymes For Young Ghouls and The Sun At Midnight. Lamar Johnson is in The Hate U Give, which debuts at TIFF 2018. Continue reading
Posted Aug 8, 2018 at Canadian Crossing
The Canadian portion of the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival will have Canadian films from a few familiar names such as Denys Arcand, Patricia Rozema, Jennifer Baichwal, Don McKellar, and Thom Fitzgerald. That list now includes Xavier Dolan. The world will finally get to see the much anticipated film The Death and Life of John F. Donovan in its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. Xavier Dolan is not giving up on Quebec for future films The new Dolan film stars Kit Harington, Susan Sarandon, Kathy Bates, and Thandie Newton as well as familiar Canadian faces such as Emily Hampshire, Jacob Tremblay, Sarah Gadon, and Ari Millen. Jessica Chastain was originally cast but her part was cut from the film. This will be the first Dolan film to debut at TIFF. Dolan's track record is to debut at the Cannes Film Festival. That festival offered a slot to the newest film for the 2018 festival but Dolan declined the offer. The only other Dolan film not to debut at Cannes was Tom at the Farm (Tom à la ferme), which debuted at the Venice International Film Festival. Continue reading
Posted Aug 7, 2018 at Canadian Crossing
If you need a long-shelf life for your regular milk, you might be excited that you are seeing expiration dates longer into the future. We are seeing this especially in organic milk. However, those longer shelf-lives come as a result of the milk going through the process of ultra high temperature (UHT) or being ultra-pasteurized. Are the advantages of organic milk being compromised by being UHT? I learned the different pasteurization techniques via Alton Brown on an episode of Good Eats. The conventional process is 145°F for 30 minutes. Brown referenced HTST pasteurization (high temperature/short time), which is 161°F for 15 seconds. UHT is 280°F for 2 seconds and then cooled quickly. Brown noted that low and slow is the way to go because it produces better flavor and body. Continue reading
Posted Aug 3, 2018 at Balance of Food
The Heritage portfolio in Justin Trudeau's cabinet switched hands from Mélanie Joly to Pablo Rodríguez. Cabinet shuffles are normal in a parliamentary system. This cabinet shuffle anticipates next year's federal election. While Joly is in her first term as a MP, Rodríguez (seen above being sworn in as Heritage Minister) was in Parliament from 2004-2011. Joly is now the Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie. With a summer transition, we don't expect to hear much from Rodríguez before Parliament reconvenes in the fall. Continue reading
Posted Aug 3, 2018 at Canadian Crossing
ESPN2 stays out east for rare all-East matchups so far this season. The U.S. channel picks off the Ottawa-Toronto that starts off the Thursday Night Football doubleheader. ESPN2 also has Friday Night Football aka the Johnny Manziel Bowl from La Belle Province. TSN handles the west as Saskatchewan plays its second West game in a row, this time in Edmonton on Thursday. The BC Lions travel to Calgary for an early evening game on Saturday. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers get a chance to rest on the long weekend. Continue reading
Posted Aug 2, 2018 at Canadian Crossing
We don't usually get too much Canadian advertising bounty from the Rogers Sportsnet feed of Toronto Blue Jays games. Most of the ads are for non-Canadian entities and self-serving Rogers promos. The small amount we got in the 2018 MLB Extra Innings free preview is worth sharing. Continue reading
Posted Aug 1, 2018 at Canadian Crossing
Scarlett Johansson dropped out of playing a transgender man in an upcoming film, the latest in a series of misguided casting decisions. Johansson, an honourary Canadian for her brief marriage to Ryan Reynolds, was criticized for her role in the Hollywood remake of the Japanese anime Ghost in the Shell where her character was originally written as Asian. Emma Stone gave us a portrayal of someone who was part-Asian in the very forgettable Aloha film. These are some of many examples where Hollywood was blind and deaf to underrepresented populations. Transgendered actors should be heavily considered to play transgendered roles. They should also be considered for non-transgendered roles. Continue reading
Posted Jul 31, 2018 at Canadian Crossing
Vladimir Guerrero gave a speech entirely in Spanish that lasted less than 4 minutes to show his appreciation for being elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday. Los Angeles Angels broadcaster Jose Mota translated Guerrero's words thanking "Canada and Montréal for the first opportunity to be a big league player." Tim Raines (2017); Andre Dawson (2010); and Gary Carter (2003) are in the Baseball Hall of Fame as primary Montréal Expos players in the Hall. Guerrero is going into the Hall as an Angel, perhaps spurred by the 2004 American League Most Valuable Player award. Guerrero started his career with the Expos in 1996 and played there until 2003. Guerrero hit .323 with 234 of his 449 HR; 702 of his 1496 RBI; 123 of his 181 SB as a member of the Expos. Guerrero made the cut in his second year of eligibility with 392 of 422 votes for a 92.9% percentage. Players only need 75% to get into the Hall. Continue reading
Posted Jul 30, 2018 at Canadian Crossing
The Filmmakers, the series that explores classic Canadian films before showing the film, is back for Season 2 on CBC starting Saturday night. Johanna Schneller and Amanda Parris are back as hosts of The Filmmakers. Season 2 will focus on women filmmakers. Season 2 will only have 8 films instead of the 11 films featured in Season 1. In the 2017 version, 4 of the 11 filmmakers were female: Sarah Polley, Mina Shum, Deepa Mehta, and Jennifer Baichwal. Shum is the only repeat director in Season 2. Continue reading
Posted Jul 27, 2018 at Canadian Crossing
ESPN2 brings us the front half of another Saturday split doubleheader with only the second all-East game this season with the Ottawa RedBlacks in Hamilton. The RedBlacks were the last team to get on U.S. television this season. Edmonton makes the trip to Montréal and Johnny Manziel for Thursday Night Football. The Toronto Argonauts and Winnipeg Blue Bombers have the revenge game in Winnipeg for Friday Night Football. The Calgary Stampeders travel to Regina in the Saturday nightcap. The BC Lions don't want a break but get one anyway. Continue reading
Posted Jul 26, 2018 at Canadian Crossing
Burden of Truth, starring Kristin Kreuk as a corporate attorney who goes back to her hometown of Millwood, makes its CW debut tonight. Season 1 ran on CBC last winter and Season 2 will run this winter in Canada. Kreuk is no stranger to the CW audience having appeared in Smallville and Beauty and the Beast. Burden of Truth also stars Peter Mooney; Alex Carter; Star Slade; Sara Thompson; Meegwun Fairbrother; Jessica Matten; and Anwen O’Driscoll. Continue reading
Posted Jul 25, 2018 at Canadian Crossing
Toronto gets a lot of grief from other parts of Canada, as most countries do with the most populous city in the country. When I encounter people who have never been to Canada, I tell them Toronto is a good gateway city to learn about Canada. Toronto is a resilient city. The city survived the SARS epidemic of 2003, the 2009 garbage strike, and the entire time Rob Ford served on the city council and as mayor of Toronto. The city might become the secondary Amazon HQ site, the only Canadian city still in the running. Toronto does have a high crime rate by Canadian standards though a lot lower than major U.S. cities. The increase in shootings, especially in atypical areas for shootings such as a shooting in Kensington Market and Sunday's night shooting in the Danforth neighbourhood, has made people nervous. This uptake should also include the van driver who deliberately mowed down pedestrians in Willowdale in April. Continue reading
Posted Jul 24, 2018 at Canadian Crossing
"Bonjour. Je m'appelle Johnny Manziel." Johnny Manziel will have to learn a new playbook and a new language. Unlike in Hamilton, Manziel will get to play in the CFL in Montréal. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats traded Manziel along with offensive linemen Tony Washington and Landon Rice to the Alouettes for defensive end Jamaal Westerman, wide receiver Chris Williams and 1st-round draft picks in 2020 and 2021. The deal puts Manziel in a larger market with more off-the-field temptation. Montréal doesn't have as much help for blocking though Washington and Rice will help. Manziel does have a relationship with Montréal head coach Mike Sherman for their days at Texas A&M where Sherman recruited Manziel. Continue reading
Posted Jul 23, 2018 at Canadian Crossing
The Toronto Blue Jays begin the second half with a 43-52 mark, 23½ games behind the Boston Red Sox in the American League East Division. The Blue Jays are a robust 16 games ahead of Baltimore, the cellar dweller in the division. Toronto is only 1 under .500 at home at 24-25, but 19-27 in the United States. The team is 14-25 within the American League East. The Jays have 4 sluggers in double digits in home runs. Justin Smoak leads the way with 16 HR 52 RBI though Yangervis Solarte has 16 HR and 48 RBI. Teoscar Hernandez has 15 HR and Kendrys Morales has hit 11 HR. Steve Pearce has the highest batting average for Toronto at .291 though he was traded to Boston. The highest batting average for a player with 300 or more AB is Hernandez with a .257 average. Continue reading
Posted Jul 20, 2018 at Canadian Crossing
ESPN2 carries the split Saturday night CFL doubleheader where the Toronto Argonauts get a late Saturday afternoon timeslot with Winnipeg in town. CFL fans can grab a nice dinner before the late game with the the Montréal Alouettes in Calgary. The revenge game of the Saskatchewan Roughriders in Hamilton is also on Thursday Night Football. Both teams are coming off a bye, which should prove intriguing. The BC Lions travel deep to Ottawa for Friday Night Football. Edmonton gets to enjoy the really long days of sunshine. Continue reading
Posted Jul 19, 2018 at Canadian Crossing
Drake's new release Scorpion is on the charts and off the charts. Drake got 7 songs in the Top 10, a record (5) previously held by The Beatles. All 25 tracks from Scorpion were in Billboard's Hot 100 charts. Scorpion also generated a record-setting 745.9 million on-demand audio streams in the U.S. in its first week. Billboard notes that Drake now has a record-tying streak of 8 straight #1 songs, tying Kanye West, Eminem, and The Beatles. All of Drake's full-length releases have hit #1. Drake, Justin Bieber, and the Weeknd have shown that Canadian artists can cross over easily to the United States. Arcade Fire and Sarah McLachlan are Canadian exceptions in other music genres. Music has always been easier as a music form to cross over the 49th parallel unlike TV and film. Then again, a lot of Canadian artists never penetrate that invisible wall. Drake hasn't left behind his Canadian roots. He remains a huge Toronto Raptors superfan. Continue reading
Posted Jul 18, 2018 at Canadian Crossing
J.A. Happ will be the lone representative for the Toronto Blue Jays at the 2018 All-Star Game at Nationals Park in Washington. The left-handed hurler has been on the trading block, so be thankful he will still be in a Blue Jays uniform tonight. Happ is 10-6 for the Blue Jays with a 4.29 ERA and 121 K. Joey Votto is the only Canadian player on either squad. Votto will make his 6th All-Star appearance and 2nd in a row. Votto is hitting .289 with 99 hits but thanks in great part to his 73 walks drawn, Votto's OBP is .422. The Reds slugger has 99 hits. Continue reading
Posted Jul 17, 2018 at Canadian Crossing
When we think of summer dining, the temptation is a grill and plenty of meat, buns, and condiments. Eating like summer means enjoying the bounty of the gardens and farmers markets. You can alternate between fruits and vegetables. Prepare a huge salad. Present 3-4 fruits on a large plate and have your loved ones take their share. Make those fruits and vegetables the stars of your summer dinners. Eat fresh and local and outdoors, even if that is on the patio or the front porch. Continue reading
Posted Jul 17, 2018 at Balance of Food