These are a few of my favorite things. Which probably explains why I’ve never been described as ‘svelte.’

October 15, 2009

zebrasI’m back in New Zealand after four weeks of visiting friends and family in North America. The journey allowed me to compare what I like best about Canada, the U.S. and my new homeland.

What I like best about Canada:

Hockey Night in Canada

Lemon-cranberry scones at Starbucks

Chocolate-covered jujubes

Real maple syrup

My mom’s cookies

Ricky’s pancakes

What I like the most about America:

The home of Starbucks

Las Vegas

Cherry Coke

Krispy Creme

Wondrously inventive junk food (see photo)

HBO (because censorship can suck my * beep *)

What I like best about New Zealand:

O’Ryan’s Sour Cream and Onion chips


Ice cream

Kiwis’ “Bugger the lot of you” attitude


I’m standing at the sink in a public washroom in Vancouver International Airport.

I hear a woman speak behind me: “This isn’t the ladies’ room, is it?”

I glance over my shoulder at the elderly woman standing just inside the doorway, make a point of staring at the row of urinals lining the wall, and then turn back to her and shake my head.

“Didn’t think so,” she says.


I’m going through the security check at the same airport. The young lady ahead of me in line doffs her coat and sweater, as per regulations, and sends them through the X-ray machine in one of those plastic containers. Clad now in little more than a singlet, she makes her way through the metal detector to wait while her her carry-on luggage and clothes are scanned.

As I come up beside her, I glance at the fellow sitting behind the X-ray machine, the fellow who is in charge of spotting such nasty little surprises as weapons and explosives. I’m watching because I’m curious to note if anything in my carry-on causes him concern.

Except he’s not actually examining the contents of my camera bag or computer satchel. In fact, he’s not paying attention to the screen at all. Instead, he’s checking out the singlet-clad sweet young thing beside me.

Nice to know that boobs will always rank higher than the personal safety of airline passengers.


I’m waiting at the baggage carousel at Auckland airport. The beagle in charge of sniffing out illegal goods is making the rounds and soon has his snout buried in the carry-on bag of a fellow standing next to me. While the dog handler takes a quick look in the bag, the fellow — by his accent, a fellow Canadian — explains the only food he is bringing into the country consists of  homemade cookies and Christmas cake.

A few minutes later and the beagle is now suddenly very interested in my bag. I, too, explain that I’m bringing back homemade cookies. The handler is momentarily confused, thinking for a second that she has already been through my belongings. In the meantime, the other fellow and I exchange knowing smiles, the one that  says, “Ah, so you’ve been to see your mom as well.”


After asking me to guard the cookies with my life, lest the beagle gobble them right down, the handler pulls out my package of Strawberry Twizzlers, holding it between two fingers as if leery of soiling her hands.

As difficult as it is to believe, I have never found any authentic Twizzlers in New Zealand. How do Kiwis live with themselves, knowing they are missing out on a treat that consists primarily of assorted chemicals, additives and edible petroleum by-products? Hopeless bumpkins, the lot of them.


Seen on a T-shirt: Watch midget porn. You’ll look HUGE.


Please buy my book at That way I can afford to buy more Twizzlers. Or Zebras. Whatever’s on sale, really.


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