The Weinblog goes north

I had previously been in Canada two times in my life.

The first was to Montreal, Quebec in 2011 for bachelor party. But given that I was one of 17 people on that trip, all of whom had to juggle our work schedules just to make it work, it was a short stay.

We were in and out in just over 36 hours, and were only concerned with doing bachelor party things rather than actually exploring the city and sightseeing. I was also 24 at the time and didn’t really care about that stuff.

The second time was even shorter. It was Labor Day weekend 2014 during a trip to Buffalo. Upon visiting Niagara Falls, we hopped over the border (not literally — we went through Customs) to get to the Ontario side. We only stayed for a couple of hours.

So I was due to return. For one, given the mass shootings, police mistrust and chaotic elections in the U.S. and the endless drug and gang wars in Mexico, Canada has pretty much become the Shangri-La of North America.

Downtown Montreal

The Vieux-Port de Montreal.

It was also a sensible time to make the trip given the political landscape down here, in case I needed to scout out a place to live in preparation for a Trump presidency.

Thus, return to Montreal I did. The motivation for the trip was to attend the Osheaga Music Festival, one of the country’s premier musical events. I went with three friends because we all universally liked the festival’s three headliners: the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Lana Del Rey and Radiohead.

It’s pretty impossible not to like Montreal. The city is large but extremely clean and navigable, with a fairly simple subway system and very nice people. It has a very modern look but also its fair share of ancient architecture.

More than half of its citizens are bilingual — speaking both French and English — and I can’t emphasize this enough: the women are beautiful.

If you do visit Montreal anytime soon, prepare for three things — you will be drinking Tim Hortons coffee instead of Dunkin’ Donuts, you will probably be thrown off by the country’s absence of the penny, and the default beer is not a Budweiser, but a Molson.

Osheaga

Yours truly.

And the only French you really need to know is bonjour (hello) and merci (thank you).

And as a well-documented festival goer, I could not have been more impressed with Osheaga. Like the city, it was vast but accessible. With several stages peppered around the spacious festival grounds, not too many people were in the same place at once (with the exception of the headliners).

There was plenty of interesting activities, artsy structures, scenic views, food trucks and other forms of entertainment to keep you occupied if you felt like taking a break from the music, which also featured some great undercard acts like the Lumineers, Haim, Silversun Pickups and the Wombats. Disclosure did not make it, which meant absolutely nothing to me.

And did I mention?

The women were gorgeous.

God bless the north.

Canadian flag

Canada is on fire, and I’m pretty sure it’s all our fault

Well, nature has already begun rejecting the idea of Donald Trump as a serious presidential candidate, as evidenced by what’s been happening in western Canada the last several days.

A wildfire that began earlier this month is raging through northeastern Alberta, forcing some 100,000 people to evacuate. A drier-than-normal season with little snow has contributed to the surging flames, of which many people attribute to the effects of climate change. As many as 1,600 homes have been destroyed.

Tens of thousands of Canadians unfortunately got a dose of one of everybody’s favorite hypothetical ultimatums — if your house was about to burn down, what would you rescue?  If you answered your cat and your Harry Potter books, and you’re female, then please send me an email so we can meet.

Canada fire.JPG

But it’s the biggest evacuation in the petroleum-rich province’s history. And in a sinister twist of fate, among those refugees are families who recently were resettled from war-torn Syria.

Imagine waiting years to finally leave one calamitous situation, only to be settled in a place that months later becomes inhabitable. And you all thought you had bad luck?

It’s the country’s biggest disaster yet under the fledgling leadership of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who, until now, was best known for doing yoga in his office and posing with adorable animals. But even I’ll admit, as a heterosexual male, he looks pretty damn good doing it (#datwavyhairdoe).

In all seriousness, this whole thing is pretty terrifying. The pictures are shocking. People’s lives are now in shambles.

And I’m convinced that this is nature’s way of punishing us for voting for Donald Trump. The timing is too impeccable to think otherwise.

So on behalf of America, allow me to apologize to Canadians. I’m sorry. I didn’t vote for the man, and I’m trying to use what little voice I possess to encourage people to follow my lead, but I still feel at least partially responsible as a resident of this nation.

I’d ask what’s next in Mother Nature’s onslaught against us, but I literally just read right now that tornadoes are ravaging Okalahoma.

This is real. We should all be fearful every day until Donald Trump is disposed of. We have unearthed some unnatural force that is now wreaking havoc upon us.

Everyone thought our demise would be nuclear war. Or disease. Turns out it was Donald Trump.

I’m honestly not surprised. Mercury transit.jpg

On a brighter note (literally! Haha, get it? Oh wait, I haven’t gotten to the punch line yet…. hold on) Mercury made its rare transit across the sun today (get the joke now? “Brighter?” You see?), making it visible from Earth, which is something that only happens 13 times a century. And it made for a lot of pretty pictures.

Given the political landscape, I half expected Mercury to veer off course and be sucked into the giant fireball we know as the sun, but thankfully, that did not happen.

Fortunately, the consequences of our actions have not extended beyond our planet.

For now.

I’m looking at you, Neptune. If any planet is going down, it’s you. You never had a chance.

#PrayForNeptune

Memo to American voters: Do what Canada just did

Canadian voters ousted their conservative prime minister on Monday and put in a Liberal. The election wasn’t even close.

The victor is 43-year-old Justin Trudeau, son of popular Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, and the loser was Stephen Harper — the guy John Oliver ran a brief but furious campaign against Sunday night — who was in office since 2006.

Harper pushed the typical conservative agenda: cutting taxes, shrinking government, toughening security, etc. Trudeau, who has worked as a snowboard instructor, high school teacher and nightclub bouncer, is the second youngest person to ever hold the post.

Canadians don’t directly vote for prime minister. Instead, they vote for hundreds of members of parliament, each of whom represent a party. The leader of the party with the most MPs gets the seat.

Justin TrodeauThink of it as the majority of U.S. Representatives we elect in Congress determining the president. Democratic majority equals Democratic president, and vise versa.

But anyway, the Liberal party romped in Canada. They jumped from 36 seats to 184, good for almost 40 percent and the majority. Conservative seats dropped from 159 to 99. And then there was a third party that no one cares about.

In a fun side note, one Conservative who twice ran for parliament and lost was caught pissing in a mug on camera in a home that he was supposed to be doing work in.

Canadians deserve to be applauded for recognizing a need and then acting on it. They tried out a Conservative, weren’t happy, and then went in the complete opposite direction. And this is coming from a country that doesn’t even have fixed term limits.

It shows that just because people tend to vote one way out of principle, it doesn’t mean they have to keep doing it.

If you don’t like what you’re hearing from the Republican side on the debate — then don’t freaking vote for them. It’s that simple. Learn from Canada.

Remember the South park song? Blame Canada? Well, let’s think the opposite. Let’s commend Canada!

Actually, it doesn’t quite have the same ring to it. And it’s too good of a song to change.

But Trudeau actually cares about the environment and plans to legalize marijuana, which could have an enormous impact on not only the United States government’s actions on the drug, but the entire world’s.

America — elections are not black and white. You don’t have to preemptively choose a side. Just pick the candidate who is actually sane, and who has ideas and policies that actually make sense.

Because do we really want to say that Canadians are smarter than us?

I don’t know about you, but that’s not what I’m all aboot.