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Kinsella – Not Your Average Town

Greetings from Kinsella, Alberta!


Here it is!

Have you ever played ordinary bingo?  Yes?  Well, that’s probably because you’ve never been to Kinsella, Alberta, home of the extraordinary.

What else are you going to do on a Tuesday in Kinsella?

While most septuagenarians in rural towns play standard bingo, the prairie vanguards of Kinsella play Satellite Bingo (see photo, right)!  Here’s how it works:  everyone goes over to Jim and Nancy’s on Tuesday.  They’re the only ones in town who have satellite TV.  Most people assume Jim and Nancy actually own a satellite in space.  Those people are wrong.

Someone picks a numbered ball out of a cage, and if you can guess what channel corresponds to that number (eg. Fishing Network, Bowling Network, Home Quilting Network, etc…) then you get to watch that channel until the next ball comes up.  Sure Jim and Nancy always win (they own the only TV guide in town too), but most people are just happy to be out of the house, and in front of the only 27″ TV in existence (as far as they know.)


"Watch your t's, bro, slow down"


Bingo isn’t the only thing they do differently in Kinsella.  Local resident Hal Thompson decided he was going to make up his own unit to measure speed, called, predictably, “the Thompson”.  It’s based on how fast he thinks he can run.  15 years ago, the forward-thinking town council adopted the Thompson as their official measure of speed, and put it on their signs.  The typical speed limit is 32t.  Of course,  nobody really knows how fast 32t is, but it doesn’t matter, because nobody owns a car.


"Now boarding: nobody!"


Also pictured here is the failed Kinsella Airport.  They had hoped the motto, “If you build it, they will come” would hold true for airports.  It certainly didn’t.  Now it is home to the annual North American Commercial Building Squatters Association Conference.  The town collects zero dollars from it.  Obviously.

People here are friendly and accommodating, especially if you’re not a minority.

FAMOUS PEOPLE FROM KINSELLA (other than Jim and Nancy):

-W.P. Kinsella, celebrated Canadian author (only in town during a brief 3-day kidnapping ordeal to celebrate the opening of the airport.  They built it, and no one came, so they let him go back home to Edmonton.)

-Janeen Darvishire, famous for an appearance on the Russian reality show, “So You Think You Can Grow Cucumbers”

-Frank Sinatra, woodworker with the same name as Frank Sinatra.

Loving life on the prairies!


Hughenden – City of Hidden Beauty

Hello from Hughenden!

Here it is!

Nestled in the South-Eastern region of Alberta, rising above the landscape like a blade of quack grass rises slightly above a lawn of ordinary grass, is a gem of a town called Hughenden.  Founded in 1743 by a trio of Franciscan monks, Hugh Chapeau, Ennis Mault, and, (as legend has it) the world’s only sentient Denver Omelette, Hughenden derived its name from their three first names combined, HughEnDen.

We're open. No, really, we're open!!!!

Current population -12 (everyone is out of town at the moment), the main industry of Hughenden is custom windows and doors made entirely from plywood.  Unfortunately, when the first (and only) restaurant in town had completely made over their storefront with these unique plywood fixtures, business ground to a halt, with all visitors to the joint restaurant/confectionary assuming it was closed permanently.  Can you say, “refund?”

Now, Hughenden’s best public attraction is the town library/used book store/internet cafe/public restroom/plumbing supply store/volunteer police force recruiting centre/school/daycare/photo booth/laundromat/liquor store/un-authorized AMA branch/town hall/museum/kennel/jail.  It’s at Ted’s house (not pictured for legal reasons).

"Well, if we sell all the books, we won't have to keep the library open!"

If you’re wondering where all the residents of Hughenden are, look no further than the next town down the highway.  Each summer the whole town goes on a field trip to a better town so they have something to talk about for the rest of the year.


-John Davis, inventor of the spiciest pepperoni stick ever made.

-Tad Grenwich, bronze medal, adult tricycle 500M trials, 1972 World Championships of Unexpected Transportation.

-Hal Hefford, pretty good guy.

Anyway, I miss you all back home, I’ll write again when I get to the next exciting town.


Killam – A Cartographer’s Dream

Hello from Killam!

Here it is!

I know you’ve heard a lot about Killam, in movies, in Broadway musicals, and especially in 19th Century Russian literature, but prepare to forget everything you THOUGHT you knew about Killam.

It's important to enjoy the little things, like big ice cream cones.

Dubbed the “Ice Cream Capital”, Killam is actually more well-known for sorbets and other flavoured ice products, but in 1865, the original Killam Chamber of Commerce (a guy named Doug) decided (correctly) that dairy desserts looked better on road-side signage, and the decision has stuck.

Killam is now home to the Culinary Institute of Conical Dessert Accessories, specializing in the art and science of edible serving device preparation.  You might not be familiar with the Institute (student population 3), but you might be familiar with the Waffle Cone.  Well, so are they!  It wasn’t invented there, but it represents an entire semester of learning.  Fill your boots, foodies!

The town motto, confusingly, is “Drive safely, avoid accidents, Killam”.  (See town sign in picture, above.)  For over a century, it was, “Drive safely, avoid accidents, kill’em”, and residents loved it a lot.  When vehicular homicide was made illegal in 1946, they changed the name of their town from “Staplertown” to “Killam” so they could continue to use the motto at ceremonies, sporting events, and in singing the civic anthem “Killam Well, Killam All”.  Not just a catchy town motto, this phrase now serves as a reminder to NOT hit people with cars.  According to town’s statistical records, since 1946, there has never been a single vehicular accident in Killam (not counting accidents involving a man named Jeff, Geoff, Jef, Geff, etc…) which would place it easily in the Guiness Book of World Records, if the book included dumb records like that.

Killam was also the first town in the Western world to have the map of their entire town painted on the side of the biggest building in town (see picture, below).  This process is known as “pulling a Killam” and means a short-sighted, ill-advised waste of money on public art, because towns change size, and the sides of buildings don’t, generally.  Killam however, will never face this problem.


TRIVIA TIME: The building that the map was painted on... ISN'T ON THE MAP!

-Sandra Jacobavich, flute player in Augusto Pinochet’s personal traveling woodwind quintet, The Augustinotes (1974-1975).

-Fiona Reading, the first person from Killam to learn what reading is, and how it could be used in today’s society for the betterment of humanity (1983).

-The world’s 9th tallest three-legged cow on record, named Harvey (two-term Mayor of Killam, 1965-1976).

Well, I guess it’s back to the tour bus now, I hope the weather back home is mild.

Best regards imaginable,


Update from Cairo, Day 2

Day two, and the mood here is getting quite intense…. in a GOOD WAY!

Democstasy in action

I thought the city would only be interesting during the day, when the regular 9-5 protesters came out. Boy was I in for a shock. Every night in the club section of Cairo you can find protest raves just about everywhere you go. Sure the music is a little too, err… you know… Eastern for my taste, but man the beat keeps you dancing all night. And nobody’s on drugs here, just the natural ecstasy that comes from defending a wonderful politician against the vicious barbs of radical hate-mongers. BOOM! Blat! BOOM! Blat! BOOM! Blat! WAIIIILLLLLLLIIIAAAAAAAA—– HAAAASSHHHTAAACCHHHHHHH—- FAAALLLIIIIAAAAMAAAACCHCHHHH—- That’s my favourite new song. I think it’s something about murdering dogs or women or something.

Anyway, I’ve had a lot of chances to meet the “locals” of Egypt, and I tell you they are just people like you and me. This here is a picture of David, he’s from Egypt. I used my new camera phone I got on the street. Man, the prices you can find here on everything are just out of this world. It’s probably because they don’t have all the stupid taxes we have back home. Could you imagine paying $40 for a totally real iPone in Canada?

He's just a guy, you can tell by the tie.

I thought David was a strange name for an Egyptian guy at first, because it’s from the Bible and stuff, but apparently they not only have the bible here, but lots of parts actually TOOK PLACE HERE! Holy cow! Anyway, this isn’t actually THE David from the Bible, and also he’s not a giant like David the Goliath. I should read that story again sometime.

David sells pipe welding equipment, which means he’s just as boring as any other white guy from Canada. But he’s not even white! David has multiple wives probably, but I didn’t ask him about that because I’m trying to be more ethnically sensitive on this trip. Sometimes people get offended when you point out how their cultures are wrong. He does have 3 pictures of children on his desk, and I asked if they were triplets, and he said no, the girl is several years older than the two boys.

The only food you can eat around here is something called Halal.

Food of choice for the Egyptians.

It tastes totally different everywhere you go, but you really can’t go wrong just ordering the Halal, trust me. I might see if they have bacon Halal tomorrow for lunch, I’ve just been craving bacon since I came over here, but being a bunch of health nuts over here, they don’t seem to be that into the stuff. GOOD FOR YOU, EGYPT!

Off to bed now, my ears are still ringing from all the rave music. Those crazy kids.

All my love back home, I can’t wait to show you some cd’s I burned at this rave. IN A FIRE!!!! GET IT?!!!!!

Update from Cairo, Day 1

Fighting the anti-government swine one rock at a time.

This is me in Cairo, day one. Flew over the pyramids on my way in, not much to look at when you’re above, just looks like a bunch of squares drawn in the ground with an X in the middle. Could this have been the plan all along? Historians will tell you no, and that’s why I don’t read books.

nothing special

Two lines away from making the little house, you fail.

Got a quick rundown on what was going on politically as soon as I landed by an angry Arabic-speaking taxi driver. Oh no wait, sorry, that was on my way to the airport.

Picked up a newspaper when I landed, watched the news for a bit, and found out that the old president Hosni Mubarek (Mubarek is the last name of 37% of Egyptians believe it or not) was doing JUST FINE. In fact, it seemed from the media that Mr. Hosni was as popular and stabilizing as ever, so I quickly sided with the pro-Mubarek camp, and made friends with a bunch of police officers. I knew I was on the right side because the police are always right.

Anyway, I headed downtown, but first stopped at the Al-Walimar (yes, Walmart is in Egypt too) to find some gear to fit in a little better. I already had the beard, which was lucky, but I needed a man-purse to carry my stuff around town (see above), and also needed some armor for the conflict. Luckily they did have man-bags, but all I could find for body-protection was a bucket. Actually, because of hording, all that they had left were man-bags and buckets (bunch of homophobes.) I couldn’t tell if they had lots of buckets left because Egyptians LOVE their buckets, or because nobody EVER buys buckets, but it turned out to be the right choice, once I made some clever adjustments that the wife recommended. Splitting the bucket down the middle, you see, gives it a lever to open and close like the old medieval helmets.

I think I came pretty close

I soon found my way downtown (“just take me to where all the shit is happening”) and tipped the guy what I thought was an appropriate amount of Egyptian currency, but considering the guy starting crying and massaging my feet and showering me with roses, I may have miscalculated. Anyhoo, lesson learned.

Once at the battlefield, I found my fellow pro-Mubarekians, and engaged myself in what seemed to be the world’s worst game of dodgeball, played with rocks, and if you hit someone, they aren’t out, they just shoot tear-gas at your face. SOME GAME YOU GOT GOING HERE, EGYPT!

After a long day of throwing stuff, I retreated to my hotel, the Al-Bestwestern, but they gave me two double beds instead of the single King-size that I had CLEARLY REQUESTED OVER SKYPE… ugh…. anyway, this is real life politics and stuff, so I won’t complain. It’s just good to help out.

More news as it happens, all my love to Canada,