Canadian Slang That Confuses Americans

Caesar

Caesar

Be careful if you order a Caesar from an American bartender; you might wind up with a salad. A Bloody Mary is the closest equivalent for our friends south of the border, but it’s just not the same.

Canadian tuxedo

A blue denim jacket when worn with a pair of blue jeans? That’s a Canadian tuxedo and we’re proud of it! Even our American friends love it: remember Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears at the 2001 American Music Awards?

Freezies

Freeze pops? We call ’em freezies! Which one is your favourite? Blue, red, orange, purple…

KD

Canadians love Kraft Dinner — so much so that we’ve shortened the only-in-Canada mac-and-cheese to two letters that will mystify Americans who don’t have any idea what you’re talking about.

Parkade

Only in Canada is a parking garage called a parkade. Now to remember where we parked…

Hydro bill

Americans pay their utility bills or electric bills, Canadians pay hydro bills. And that hydro bill can be expensive, because Canadian cities have some of the worst winters.

Toboggan

Americans like to go sledding in the winter, but Canadians will always prefer tobogganing.

Timbit

The Tim Hortons’ Timbit has become utterly ingrained in Canadian culture. In the U.S.? Not so much. For our American friends: it’s a doughnut hole!

Tap

Americans turn on the faucet, but a Canadian gets water out of the tap.

Serviette

Why use a napkin when you can use something as fancy-sounding as a serviette?

Pencil Crayons

Pencil crayons

Pencil crayons are a distinctly Canadian term for coloured pencils.

Dart

Canadian slang for a cigarette, as in, “I’m heading out behind the dumpster to go have a dart.”

Dinged

In the U.S., cars get dinged. In Canada, it’s our wallets, as in, “I got dinged 90 bucks for that speeding ticket.”

Elastics

Rubber bands? In Canada we call them elastics.

Gong show

To Americans, “Gong Show” is an intentionally awful talent show hosted by a heavily disguised (and proudly Canadian!) Mike Myers. For us, the term “gong show” (sometimes shortened to “gonger”) is slang for anything that goes off the rails, a wild, crazy or just plain chaotic event.

Hang a Larry or Roger

Where an American in a car’s passenger seat would tell the driver to take a left, a Canadian would say to hang a Larry (or a Roger for a right turn).

Homo milk

Every Canadian knows that this is short for homogenized milk.  Evangelical American Christians need not worry.

Housecoat

The item of clothing Americans refer to as a bathrobe or (if they’re classy) a dressing gown is known to Canadians by its true name: the housecoat.

Chinook

An American might recognize the word as referring to a species of salmon or a type of Canadian military helicopter, but only a true Canadian knows a Chinook is an unseasonably warm wind that rises over the Rockies and heats up as it descends.

Champagne birthday

Americans are often surprised to learn that a champagne birthday refers to the date when you celebrate the birthday that equates to the date of your birth, such as celebrating your 28th birthday on the 28th of May.

Toque

A knit hat. Worn by everyone in winter and by hipsters over the summer.

Stag

A bachelor party. The female equivalent: stagette.

Keener

A brown-noser.

The letter Z

Americans pronounce it zee. Canadians pronounce it zed, much to the detriment of the “Alphabet Song.”

Knapsack

A backpack.

Washroom

Americans call it the ‘men’s room’ or ‘ladies’ room.’

Eavestroughs

Rain gutters. Our term sounds way cooler, eh?

Garburator

A garbage disposal unit found beneath a kitchen sink.

Runners

Any kind of athletic footwear.

Mickey

A 13-ounce (give or take) bottle of hard alcohol.

Gitch or gotch

A very classy term for men’s underwear.

Chocolate bar

Americans call it a candy bar, which seems weird. To us, gummy worms are candy, ya know?

Processed cheese

American Cheese. Make your own joke here.

Humidex

Measurement used to gauge the combined effect of heat and humidity.

Two-four

A case of 24 beers. Cans or bottles: your choice!

Klick

Slang term for ‘kilometer.’

Chesterfield

A couch or sofa.

Kerfuffle

A scuffle or commotion, typically resulting from conflicting views.

Deke

To physically outmaneuver an opponent. Typically in hockey.

Pogie

Derived from slang from our Scottish friends, “pogie” means being on welfare or social assistance.

Molson muscle

A beer belly.

Head’r

To leave. Head out. Duck out. Get out of there. “The meatloaf was superb, mom, but we’ve gotta head’r.”

Snowbird

Typically, this means a retired Canadian who travels south for the winter. Usually to tacky parts of Florida or Arizona.

Rotten Ronnie’s / McDicks

Terms of ‘endearment’ for McDonald’s.

Booze can

An after-hours bar. They’re typically illegal, so shhhhh. Don’t tell your American friends.

Thongs

No, we’re not talking g-strings. Thongs are the casual style of footwear that you wear to the beach, the pool or the gym’s communal showers. Might still be known as flip-flops.

Give’r!

To really, truly go for it. All out. Pedal to the metal.

Loonie and toonie

The perfectly reasonable-sounding names of our one and two-dollar coins.

Soaker or booter

When you step in a puddle or snow bank and the water penetrates your poor unsuspecting shoes.

Double-double

A coffee with two milk and two sugar. Often ordered at Tim Horton’s.

If any of these confuse any Americans, don’t feel badly. Some of them are age-specific, or regional, and confuse the rest of us Canucks, too.

The Need For Myths

Fairy Tale

Myths are stories of our search through the ages for truth, for meaning, for significance. We all need to tell our story and to understand our story. We all need to understand death and to cope with death, and we all need help in our passages from birth to life and then to death.

It may really not be possible to do away with myths. The myth is as much a part of the human need as the allure of it. Even when one does not want to, there will come a time when a person feels the need for a story. This inner need expresses itself as a search, or as a desire. It may come early in life or it may come late. Nevertheless, a person who thinks, is bound to realize a sense of emptiness. Nothing but a story could fill it. All a person would want or hope for is to find a good story, and then, live it.

Finding one’s myth

This is where one person differs from another. It’s easy to understand. What isn’t easy to understand is always, why one person chooses one story to understand his reality, while someone else chooses another. It is to be understood that: Till the time a person finds the story – the myth – that satisfyingly explains his existence and gives purpose to his mind, his soul, the power within is still not released. It is looking for its expression. The myth provides the expression. Only then, when one goes deep into his personal myth, is it no longer just a story, but life itself. Myths are clues to the spiritual potentialities of the human life.

Every culture ought to provide a satisfying myth to the people it holds – one might say – captive. Yes, cultures hold at least some persons captive, while the vast majority are simply organized by it. This is what we understand to be a society. Is that not true? The exceptional individuals of society – the artists, the searchers, the thinkers, and the visionaries – if they succeed in finding their creativity-unlocking-myth, will then become the heroes and the leaders. They may even one day become legends that others recall with some fondness and some fear.

Offerings To Propitiate The Gods

Gods Our genial host, just back from an anger management class

Not that the lovely couple who we went to visit were actual Gods, but they had long since achieved that status with me.  Hell, anyone who doesn’t complain about my presence is nice.  Those who have the occasional kind word for or about me are saints.  And those who invite me into their home for an extended visit, are surely Gods.  Since we had to drive 500 miles of paved highways to meet them, they truly are The Gods Of Asphalt.

SDC10018A FEW of the son’s collection of skulls

3-D printers have become affordable for the average geek.  A son-in-law of the daughter’s friend acquired one, and started fooling around learning its secrets.  First, my son was given the larger, softball-sized skull.  It’s thermo-optic.  If sufficiently warmed, it changes from grey to white.  Later, the golf ball-sized, darker grey one was added.  They are all low-density plastic, and float like corks.

SDC10015

SDC10014

The son’s two skulls at the back – the two Voodoo, “Impeach Trump” skulls, going to DC, in front

My limited etiquette knowledge only told me that a Hostess gift was good manners – and one for the host might also be a good idea.  Our handsome host instructed me not to spend much money, and assured me that it was our presence that they valued, not presents.  Still…. a few gewgaws to demonstrate Canadian my twisted culture.

One of the pair collects skulls, like my son does.  I obtained another couple of the smaller ones.  I leave it to you to guess which one is the blood-thirsty spouse.

SDC10010

SDC10011Amethyst is supposed to foster peace and tranquility.  After adding skulls to the home of a skull-collector, and an ex-tank-driver, I felt that we needed all the tranquility we could get.  Since our host is Plus-sized, and his diminutive bride has trouble seeing over a garden hose, I brought a large chunk, and a smaller piece.

The best, darkest, amethyst now comes from Brazil, because most of the good stuff has been removed from mines just north of Lake Superior, in Ontario.  The daughter visited an online friend up there, a couple of winters ago.  She had just returned from a saved-for summer trip before we set out.  It is possible to walk the shores and occasionally find a good piece that a retreating glacier dug up, so these pieces were from both us, and from her.

SDC10007In return for throwing me a fabulous online birthday party, I once promised our hostess a 55-gallon drum of fresh, pure, Canadian maple syrup.  Of course, like most promises that men make to women, I wasn’t able to delivery anything that big.  Still, since our hosts had been so sweet to us, I felt compelled to bring along 2 liters (half a gallon for the non-metric Americans) of freshly-squeezed, Mennonite Maple Juice for them.  If you hear of an IHOP or Denny’s in the DC area going bankrupt, it’s because they aren’t going out for Sunday brunch till this is gone.

Actually, years of residence in New Hampshire has made her a bit of a syrup snob.  Like Florida has laws that translate, “Don’t f**k with the citrus, especially oranges.” Vermont also has strict rules against messing with the maples.  She would have requested some Maple syrup; but felt that it might be illegal to export.  Nobody asked me about maple syrup at the border, and she was thrilled to get the real stuff, cooking everyone blueberry pancakes the first morning.

SDC10650I told this little old guy that it was really important to me, and go out and squeeze his Maplest tree for my kind hosts.  He said that he would be happy to….  or maybe it was, ‘crazy English’…. something like that.  Coming up soon, a post about all the great stuff we brought back – aside from treasured memories, and happy hearts.

spacehounds-of-ipc

Since I have re-read them all over the last two years, and because our host is a great classic Sci-Fi fan, I offered him copies of every E.E. (Doc) Smith book that I possess, 24 out of the 25 that he wrote. Always a fan of Robert A. Heinlein’s works, I felt that he might appreciate obtaining copies of the seminal Space-Opera novels written by Heinlein’s mentor.

While I regard them as inexpensive paperbacks, many printed before he was born, he recognised their rarity, difficulty of obtaining, and the fact that they were collector’s items.  I usually don’t mind being kissed, just not by him.  Their value to me is that someone who really appreciates them, now possesses them. He said that he didn’t even know what order to read them in….and then found that I had obsessively boxed them up in chronological order.

Our deepest, sincere thanks to BrainRants and H E Ellis, two of the Titans of the blogosphere.

WOW #27

Bagpipes

Today, we look at my Scottish heritage from the outside. The Word Of the Week is

Doodlesack

Doodlesack, a respelling of German Dudelsack “bagpipe,” literally “bagpipe sack,” is a rare word in English. The German word is, or seems to be, a derivative of dudeln “to tootle” (unless the verb is a derivative of the noun). Even in German Dudelsack appears not to be a native word but is likely to be a borrowing from a Slavic language, e.g., Polish and Czech dudy “bagpipe.” Doodlesack entered English in the mid-19th century.

I can’t blow my brains out.  I may huff and puff on my blog site, but the last time I could extinguish all the candles on my birthday cake, I was about 9 years old.  I love the soul-stirring skirl of the pipes, but I couldn’t inflate a set of bagpipes.  Even just picking one up is like wrestling a spastic squid.

Bagpipe music is not for everyone. Like kimchi, it’s an acquired taste that not all people acquire.  At a cultural festival in the park, when a piper stopped playing, a little old lady approached him and said, “If you stop squeezing that cat so hard, it will stop screeching.”

Click here if you’d like to see and hear AC/DC’s ‘Thunderstruck’ played on a set of flame throwing bagpipes.  A British couple got, what they thought were, really cheap tickets to a Red Hot Chilli Peppers concert.  They flew to Dublin to see a show by “The Red Hot Chilli Pipers“, a cover band that does all the Pepper tunes on bagpipes.

I read a Scottish adventure/mystery story one time, where the hero was a piper. He was practicing, standing on a rocky crag above a deep, fast, mountain river, when a sniper shot at him.  He tumbled into the raging waters and, although the shooter watched for a long, long time, he never surfaced…. until the next chapter.  Scottish pipers have lungs as big as their bagpipes.  He held his breath for almost 4 minutes.

My hometown had a well-established, and forgiving, Scottish Presbyterian Church. Shortly after World War II, a series of Scottish preachers immigrated to Canada.  Each would be placed in our town for a few years, until he’d learned the social ways and lost most of his Scottish burr, and then another would come out to replace him.

The Presbyterian Manse was directly across the street from my house. As a small boy, three ministers in a row brought their bagpipes with them.  On the upper floor, there was a double-wide, 40-foot-long hallway, with 10 foot ceilings.  When they had successfully composed the week’s sermon, each would celebrate by striding the hall while playing the bagpipes.

As soon as I would hear the first skirl, I would rush over, (I was allowed to) let myself in, and sit, out of the way, in absolute awe at the close-up sound of the pipes. Sadly now, the only time I seem to hear bagpipes, is at a funeral, if someone important dies.  ‘Amazing Grace’ is a lovely song, but I pine for ‘Scotland the Bra’e.’

Doodlesack indeed!!?  Making fun of my cultural music and instrument??!  That’s as bad as me making fun of rap music….no, wait, that’s justified.  Rap – so that Negroes with otherwise absolutely no talent, can make outrageous amounts of money.

Stop back again in a couple of days, when my rants aren’t quite so outrageous.

Dazed And Confused Op-Ed

Extra Extra

PRAY! BUT TO WHOM?

Re: ‘Pray for everyone in Florida-Sept. 11

Who would not want to respond to the heartfelt cry from Florida Gov. Rick Scott? It calls to us again in this harrowing description of Irma’s relentless advances, indeed a terrifying and devastating onslaught.

Pray! But to whom?

The U.S. Supreme Court has banned prayer in schools. In Canada, courts found that the use of The Lord’s Prayer in schools infringed on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Defining the above rulings, as has been done, to mean that teaching religion in school is illegal, teaching about religion in school is legal, has excited argument rather than agreement.

Veteran education journalist Linda K. Wertheimer has written a book, “Faith Ed: Teaching About Religion in an Age of Intolerance.” She explores the diversity of cultures and religions as they meet in the classrooms and community, with many stories of teacher-pupil episodes, as well as parents getting involved.  Pray! But To Whom?  That’s a book I plan to read.

Cora Wright

Cambridge

***

Pray Where?

Cora Wright’s Sept. 16 letter confuses and disappoints. “Pray! But To Whom?”  Doesn’t she know?  A clergyman could direct her.

Perhaps she could pray to an English teacher, who would help her differentiate between ‘where’, and ‘to whom.’ She expends much ink and angst, listing public places where the Christian religion may not be monopolistically imposed on the multicultural population.  She fails to mention her chosen place of worship, the privacy of her home, or the sanctity of her own mind.

As for whom she may pray to, in these locations she is free to pray to God, or Yahweh or Allah or Zeus or Odin, or The Flying Spaghetti Monster. It doesn’t really matter.  The observed results are all indistinguishable from random chance.

Yours truly

Grumpy Old (logical, freethinker) Archon

***

Aside from my negating arguments above, here in Ontario, in schools run by the Catholic School Board, teaching religion is still legal, although this unique privilege is being considered for cancellation. Catholic schools accept non-Catholic students (to increase their declining enrollment-generated Government grants), but they, and even Catholic students, are allowed to opt out of religious studies.

In both the American, and Canadian rulings, what has been banned is the exclusive use of Christian prayers, to the omission of all other religions.

While her letter seems to show her as open-minded, she puts a lot of energy into the Christian faith.  She may be surprised and disappointed when she finds that Wertheimer’s book doesn’t treat Christianity as an only child.

***

Someone else had a Word to say.

Pray? What For?

Re: Trump’s National Day of Prayer

If we are to believe our religious friends, everything that happens is the handiwork of their all-powerful God. If this were true, it would be logical to assume that Hurricanes Harvey and Irma were the creations of their omnipotent and loving God.

With this in mind, I find it difficult to understand the declaration by Donald Trump of a National Day of Prayer, following Hurricane Harvey. It is a mystery to me what the prayers are meant to accomplish.  The devastation and destruction having already occurred to lives and property, it seems illogical to appeal through prayer to the very entity that created these hurricanes, guided their paths, and allowed said devastation and destruction to happen.

It is noteworthy that Trump did not declare a second National Day of Prayer following Hurricane Irma. Perhaps he was not impressed with God’s response to the first one.  😳

 

Flash Fiction #137

God's Dice

PHOTO PROMPT© CEAyr

CONNECT THE DOTS

Steeped in the all-permeating Christian culture of the early Twentieth Century, Albert Einstein is said to have claimed that, “God does not play dice with the Universe.”

No less religious, but perhaps more pragmatic, Stephen Hawking insists that, “Of course God plays dice with the Universe. Just sometimes He throws them where we can’t see them.”

I don’t think that I’ve found evidence of God playing dice, but this might be proof of a minor god, or a giant, playing dominoes.  (Not ordering Domino’s – all gods and giants eat at Papa John’s or Pizza Hut.)  Is that a double six?

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Noble Savage

Indian

I recently read an American Thanksgiving-related post about the candy-coating of the Pilgrims/First Thanksgiving story, bemoaning the ill-treatment of the Indians (We’re indigenous – and it’s not India.), by the White Man.

They robbed graves, stole our land, enslaved us, murdered our children, forced their Christian religion upon us and gave us smallpox.”

I already question, and have problems with most of these claims, but the argument is adversarial.  If the Whites are portrayed as ‘Bad’, then the Indians must be ‘Good.’  I simply do not believe that.

The stereotype of the Red Man as friend to Earth, steward of Mother Nature’s glories, is bullshit.  This tale comes from White Man’s Guilt and media, and has been eagerly accepted and rebroadcast by the Natives.

Some years ago, there was a ‘Give A Hoot, Don’t Pollute’ TV ad, showing a bag of garbage being flung from a car onto a highway, and a proud Indian, complete with feather, weeping at the spoliation of the pristine landscape.  Problem was, the ‘Indian’ was really an Italian actor.

When the white man arrived, the Indians didn’t own the land.  They had freehold use of it by right of occupation or right of conquest.  This was the law of the land at that time.  The Whites didn’t steal it.  When they took it, they did it exactly as the Indians had been doing for centuries.

A tribe of Indians would settle in a fertile area, and begin to rape Mother Nature.  It might take several years, but, like a colony of army ants, they would strip it clean.  They would over-hunt and over-fish, until there were no deer, moose, bear, geese or fish.  Population would go up and available food would diminish, until children and old folks were starving, then they would pack up their teepees, and move to (literally) greener pastures.

If there was another tribe where they wanted to resettle, war would break out.  Men, women and children would be tortured and slaughtered, till one group or the other moved on.  The Hurons ousted the Eries.  The Iroquois forced the Hurons out, and they all took slaves from those they conquered.

In exchange for smallpox, the Indians gave the Whites syphilis, a disease unknown in Europe at that time.

Preserving culture and heritage is a great thing, but the world will move on, with, or without you.  My small hometown abutted an Indian reservation.  Back when there were still manufacturing jobs in Southern Ontario, we had four small factories in town.  Indians with sufficient pride and initiative got jobs in them, to purchase food, clothing, TVs and cars.

This was not a matter of ‘the White Man’s way’ versus ‘the Indian way.’  This was “The Canadian Way!”  Those who didn’t take jobs didn’t dress in buckskins, and hunt and fish, or gather roots and berries from the forest.  They sat around in dirty, worn clothing, on the front stoops of decaying hovels that Mississippi Negroes wouldn’t live in, waiting for their next Government cheque, so that they could buy booze.  They weren’t enslaved, or prevented from working, and most of them weren’t Christian.

One proud young Indian joined the Canadian Army, and served in Cyprus, keeping Greeks and Turks from each others’ throats.  He felt he’d like to come back to retire, and began building a house.  Every time he came home on leave, he and his friends and family worked on it, first an excavation and foundation, then framing and roof, later, walls, plumbing and wiring.

After about three years, he came home, and entered his little jewel.  While he had been away, a bunch of the stay-at-home thugs had broken into it and partied – hard! – several times!  They had built a campfire on his unprotected living room rug, burning a hole in the floor, to the basement.  At least they didn’t burn it down.

Beer bottles were smashed.  Broken glass was everywhere.  Holes had been kicked in the wall boards.  There was a large pile of excrement in one corner, but it had been smeared, by hand, on most of the walls.  He threw up his hands, said, “I don’t want to live here anymore.” and never came back.

A mile offshore in Lake Huron, there was a particularly rich area where fish fed.  For years, 3 or 4 fishing boats went out every day, set nets, and brought back hundreds of pounds of fresh fish to sell.  Finally the white man completely fished out this ‘mud hole.’

When the White Man signed a treaty with the Indians, a clause was included allowing them to hunt and fish.  Since fish boats didn’t exist here 200 years ago, it seems clear that the intent was for personal or family use.  The Indians drove a loophole in the contract.  A group of them bought one of the now-retired boats, and proceeded to scrape up the last few surviving fish.

The history of European immigration does not always show the White Man in the best of light, but a close look reveals that the Indians are neither the heroes nor the victims that many would have them be.  Because of population pressure, white men did wholesale, what Indians did retail.