TO AMERICAN EXPATS FROM FORMER U.S. AMBASSADORS TO CANADA – “YOUR VOTE CAN COUNT”.

Representative JOHN LEWIS, who passed away in July, understood that voting rights were the key to civil rights and equality for the global community – the entire world. In his final letter he wrote: “Voting and participating in the democratic process are key. The vote is the most powerful nonviolent change agent you have in a democratic society. You must use it because it is not guaranteed. You can lose it.” Within Canada there are 65,000 members of the American demographic. Globally there are approximately 6.5-million eligible U.S. voters living outside the country.  Only 5% of Americans living in Canada, voted in the 2016 U.S. election, but in the past their votes have made a real difference. If you no longer live in America, you can still vote. If you’ve never lived in the U.S., but have American parents, your vote will count. Some states may allow voting by e-mail; others by postal mail. Fill out the ballot and send it back a.s.a.p.The deadline for voting by Americans is quite short. Register and request your ballot early at this address –  http://www.VoteFromAbroad.org – volunteers will offer 24/7 support, and walk you through specific guidelines.Former Ambassadors to Canada who participated in the Globe and Mail article – Bruce Heyman (2014-17), Gordon Giffin (1997-2001), Vicki Heyman and Patti Giffin served alongside Bruce and Gordon in Ottawa.

FRIENDS WERE ENJOYING THEIR AFTERNOON COFFEE WHEN A STINK BUG SAT DOWN CLOSE BY

Fortunately Jo had her camera in hand, and took the above photo of Mr. Stink.  Jo’s partner, George, said “Stink Bugs are an invasive species and that’s one of them. It’s a bit smaller than my thumbnail. We get quite a few in our back yard and most of them are very small. Does it stink? Only if you squash it, which we didn’t.”When a Stink Bug invasion took place in TORONTO’s Annex over two years ago, Metro News columnist and resident of that neighbourhood, JOHANNA SCHNELLER, said: “They emit this really disgusting smell, like rotten leaves. It’s pungent, it lingers in the air.” SQUASHING ONE – Ms. Schneller didn’t think much of them until she squashed one.  Her disposal method – get a wad of paper towel, squish the bug (don’t open your hand), then swiftly flush it down the toilet.JO said – “Famous last words – I’m going to hit one of those to see what it smells like.”  DAVE said “It’s a flying skunk.”  ROSS said “Don’t flush paper towels down the toilet, Stink Bugs or no Stink Bugs.  It will clog your drains.  Toilet paper is best.”

A TORONTO TEACHER WRITES TO THE GLOBE ABOUT HER NERVOUSNESS RETURNING TO SCHOOL

LISA WOLFMAN’s letter to the Globe and Mail – ‘INSIDE THE BOX’ was to the point, and I read it at least three times. She wrote: “I am slated to be in a portable classroom with 26 students in a split class of grades 4 and 5. It will be impossible to put 26 desks at two metres apart. My board’s policy says that portable classroom doors are to remain locked at all times, and COVID-19 protocol is for fans to remain turned off to prevent possible spread.” <PS – THAT IS NOT Ms. Wolfman above.> “Imagine what it’s going to be like wearing a face mask for 300 minutes a day in these conditions. I cannot. If the Ontario government still feels it is unsafe for all Members of Parliament to return to Queen’s Park, how can it be safe for 26 children and one teacher to be confined to such a small space.” – Lisa Wolfman, Toronto, Globe and Mail, August 22/2020

THE PSYCHOLOGICAL STATE OF WAITING FOR TAKEOFF – IN “PASSENGERS” BY JOHN SCHABEL

These days we’d all probably be wearing masks. In the 1990’s JOHN SCHABEL set up his camera, equipped with a telephoto lens, on overpasses near New York’s airports.  Peering into the cabin windows of aircraft awaiting takeoff, he found miniature studies of human beings about to be catapulted into space.  We’ve all been there.

MY SISTER IN NOVA SCOTIA HAS WRITTEN A POEM ABOUT – OF ALL THINGS – COVID-19

‘COVID-19’ by SHARON SMITH
May this quarantine be over soon,
‘Cause I’m getting as big as the moon.
My hair is growing long and grey,
I’m hoping the salons will open in May.
Trump suggested Lysol would do the trick,
If upon you this virus decides to stick.
I didn’t follow his advice to the letter (not at all) ,
Figured wine would taste so much better.
Have a safe and happy day, 
and keep the coronavirus at bay!

TOM POWER, HOST OF CBC RADIO’S ‘Q’ PROGRAM HAS TAKEN UP RUNNING AND SEEMS TO LIKE IT

Native Newfoundlander, TOM POWER, is now a runner. He spoke about this to Gayle MacDonald of the Globe and Mail. “It’s a shock to my family and friends, but I’ve started running. I’m doing it out of sheer anxiety about my immune system. The life of a radio host isn’t the healthiest. We sit all the time, and I love chips. I run in the bike lane, facing away so I can see if bikes are coming and jump back if need be. I’ve been seeing alleys and streets around my neighborhood that I’ve never seen before, all because I want to be respectful and stay away from people.” <PHOTO – Toronto Star>

LONG HAUL TRUCKERS ARE UNSUNG HEROES ON BOTH SIDES OF THE CANADA/UNITED STATES BORDER

In this COVID-19 pandemic, long haul truck drivers are depended upon to deliver the goods – feeding millions on both sides of the 5,500-mile US/Canada border. <PHOTO ABOVE – Richard Buchan, Canadian Press> American trucker DARRELL WOOLSEY, 52, sums up the challenge he and fellow drivers face.“I live in something smaller than a jail cell all the time. I hear other people complaining, and I’m like, get over it. There’s lots of us living like this, all the time, coronavirus or not.” He adds “It’s in the middle of the night that things feel a little more ‘Mad Maxy’,”On the Canadian side of the border it’s much the same, with the often exception of this country’s long, uninhabited and under serviced stretches of highway. There’s a reason Canada is nicknamed ‘Big Lonely’. No doubt many truckers would certainly understand that.  <BELOW – Queen Elizabeth Way, Globe and Mail photo>

RUNNING IS “THE PERFECT SPORT FOR A PANDEMIC” SAYS ‘SPORTS SUNDAY’ IN THE NEW YORK TIMES

As one who has run for 36 years, I can vouch for the goodness of my one and only sport. As The NY Times puts it “Forget the gym. While the coronavirus brings life to a near standstill, people are discovering, or rediscovering, one of the most basic exercises – running. It has a built-in form of social distancing, and its participants can take in picturesque sights.”As a regular runner you become addicted to the simple act of putting one foot in front of the other, because when you’re running hard that’s all you can think about. Just get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Get to the next repetition, to the next tree, to the next breath.”Running in TORONTO, I found a route with only two traffic light intersections, went out every evening by myself, winter and summer, wore the best running shoes I could find, sweated like crazy, solved problems while running, and felt great afterwards. Advice – build up very gradually; don’t overdo it; stretch first; good runners (running shoes) are essential.

QUOTES FROM TWO UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO STUDENTS WHO’VE TRADED RURAL FOR URBAN

THOMAS WILDEBOER, from Grand Valley, Ontario, population 3,000, is a first year student studying physical and mathematical sciences – “Many people who live in rural areas have a lot of bad ideas about city living but the adjustment really isn’t difficult,” he wrote. “I started to feel at home pretty quickly. Your walking distance is away from a lot of stuff, but the TTC can get you places. If all else fails, Uber is an option. In rural areas, driving for hours to run errands is common.” Wildeboer has found that one of the best things about living in the city is fast internet. <DINA DONG/THE VARSITY; JUSTIN TUNG/FLICKR>DEAN HILER, a third year student, is studying earth systems, geographic information systems, and history and philosophy of science. “I’m from Watervliet, Michigan, which is a town of about 1,600 people (and falling). Diversity adds this intangible quality to life that is often indirect and minor, but because it affects everything, it’s actually a huge part of your life and you don’t realize you were missing it or value it until you have it,” he wrote. “The perspective I get from being enveloped in (Toronto’s) diversity has allowed me to redefine myself using a much larger dictionary.” <PHOTO – SAMANTHA YAO/THE VARSITY; DINA DONG/THE VARSITY>