Sunday, 12 July 2015

A Vigil for Conrad the Raccoon

One thing virtually every major city has in common is rodents of one form or another, scavenging her back alley's and dumpsters, looking for some delectables that you and I  decided were no longer good enough for us to consume.

Now, I'm not going to go off on a rant about how the (good) food we waste would probably feed most of the hungry and the homeless in our society, even if I believe that to be true (Sorry, I had to get that little jab in there).

But now that I got that off my chest, what do you do when you discover a dead raccoon on a sidewalk in the downtown corridor of a major city? (No, making a donation of it to the Food Bank is the wrong answer. Likewise, so is making a hat).

Well I guess the real answer to that question depends upon whether or not the city's animal services are quick to respond to the gradually rotting and potentially rabbis infected carcass lying there on its metropolitan doorstep. One would hope that they would, but if they don't, if for some reason they've got better things to do than protect the health of its citizens, you can always turn to social media and tweet about it, and maybe to make your point, start a sidewalk vigil for the poor rodent.

Such was the outcome recently in Toronto. Despite the requests to the city to deal with the problem, even by city councillors themselves tweeting about it, sources say that the deceased animal lay on the sidewalk for about twelve hours before being carried off to its final resting place.

As the events unfolded, we learned from the hashtag #DeadRaccoonTO that the raccoon's name was Conrad. Soon a framed picture of Conrad was placed beside his corpse. There were flowers and cards and signed tributes. As dusk began to fall, even candles were added to the memorial; a fitting tribute, no doubt, to a fallen denizen of the city's dumpster corridors.

It was really quite a beautiful impromptu send off for Conrad. It couldn't have been any better if they had planned it that way.

My hat goes off to the citizens of my old stomping grounds, the good folks of Toronto, for such an eloquent memorial to Conrad. You make all Canadians proud, including this one.

As for the city's animal services department, consider yourselves, well, "Roasted." Let's just hope that no medical side effects of your timely response linger on in those who stopped by to pay tribute.

RIP, Conrad.


Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Happy Birthday, North America

Today my country of Canada celebrates its birthday. In three day's time our closest neighbour and ally will celebrate their birthday.

I debated on whether or not to share the image on the left, for fear that it might offend some. I hope it does not, but if it does, please accept my humble apology; no offence was intended. I saw simply a humorous caricature that in my way of thinking, simply depicts how closely intertwined we really are as countries. Besides, if you've followed this blog before, you know that in many ways, it's built on my twisted sense of humour.

But seriously, the Canadian/American Free Trade Agreement of 1988, and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) of 1994 which included Mexico, means that, among other things, there are many Canadian companies today that are subsidiaries of larger American corporations. Cross border transportation of goods is huge. The fact is, we do a lot of business together and as such have a genuine vested interest in each other's well being.

In the same way, many Canadians call the USA home; some permanently, and others simply during some of the colder months of the year. Likewise I know Americans who have opted to live permanently in Canada. Many of us Canadians follow American sports and identify our allegiances to specific teams (Go Seahawks!). Of course we also have our favourite CFL teams too (Go Eskimos!) whose jerseys are worn by several American football players on the field as well. We have a lot in common.

Like most Canadians, I'm thankful for the neighbours I have to the south and have come to count many of them among my dearest friends. Thanks, USA, for having our backs in times of both war and peace.

So having said that, Happy Birthday to all of us. It is my hope and prayer that all of our celebrations of July 1st and 4th are fun and safe. Peace and Blessings to all.

Cartoon Source: Unknown (via Facebook)
Flags Source: