Saturday, February 16, 2008

Earl J. Woods, Liberal Candidate for Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville

This post is off my normal subject of life in the UK. This is a post about a good friend of mine who is running in the Alberta provincial election on March 3rd. Earl J. Woods is running in the riding of Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville, which just happens to be the same riding as Ed Stelmach, the current premiere of Alberta. The current premiere is a member of the Conservative Party, who have been in power in Alberta for over 30 years. So, considering this, Earl needs all the help he can get to have a chance in this election.

My politics don't play a part in this really. I haven't lived in Alberta for a long time now. What plays a part is the fact that I know Earl is a sincere fellow who believes in what he says and follows through on his convictions. More praise for a politician would be difficult for me to give. Earl's reasons for why he wants change in Alberta are personal, yet experiences that many have shared as well.

If you live in the Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville riding, I urge you to vote for Earl J. Woods on March 3, 2008.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Fat Tuesday

Today, in case the less religious amongst you doesn't know, is Shrove Tuesday. Also known as Pancake Tuesday or Pancake Day in the UK; Mardi Gras in New Orleans and most of South America; Fasching, Fastnacht or Karneval in Germany. Basically, it's the last day before Lent, the last day you can really party and eat up before setting down to 40 days of fasting. The reason for the pancakes is to use up all your eggs, one of the foods traditionally avoided during Lent. The Germans don't have pancakes, they eat Krapfen, which are basically jelly doughnuts. The Germans also have Krapfen on offer for several weeks to months before Shrove Tuesday, which can be a killer if you have a sweet tooth and are trying to watch your weight.

Other than making pancakes and there usually being a pancake race in some towns, nothing really happens in the UK for this day. On the other hand, in Germany people dress up in costumes (fancy-dress for the Brits) and in parts of the country it's an official holiday. Cologne and Mannheim, to name two of the more famous places. In Munich, it is sort of a semi-holiday. Lots of businesses and shops close for the day, or close at noon, but many others stay open. It's simply a matter of chance, as far as I can tell. Along with eating up their eggs in the Krapfen, the Germans also like to do a fair amount of drinking at Fasching. I have many memories, some strong, some very vague, of partying and drinking from around noon until late at the Viktualienmarkt in Munich. Really, considering the enormity of the hangovers, the Wednesday after should be the holiday, not the Tuesday.

We combined a bit of both German and British culture for Shrove Tuesday. We had the pancakes, in the form of crêpes. And we had the alcohol, in the form of a healthy dose of Grand Marnier in the Crêpes Suzette sauce. Lena just had scrambled eggs, no Grand Marnier. Just in case you were worried.