It Pays to Be Boring…. Sometimes


Jean : Welcome to Canada bro.
Obama : Wazzup sis ?
Jean : Nothing much but I’m damn cold and my ass is freezing.
Obama : Yo, wazzup with the Raptors? They got their butts whipped all over the place. You think I can play for them?
Jean : You bet your purple butt. They need a bail out too πŸ™‚Β Β 

Okay, those are my concocted words but it certainly looked like U.S. President Barack Obama and Canadian Governor General Michaelle Jean enjoyed each other’s company. Obama and Jean sort of epitomize the changing face of leadership in North America, the difference being that while Obama was elected, Jean , an immigrant from Haiti, was selected by the Canadian Prime Minister and subsequently appointed by the Queen of England. While the presidential job wields tremendous power, the governor general’s role although defined as de facto head of state, is ceremonial more than anything.

Barack’s visit to Ottawa, the capital city of Canada last Feb 19 was brief, about 7 hours, but it cost the country some $2M in security related expenses. Manholes were bolted down, choppers were hovering in the air, plainclothes officers checked in at nearby hotels in droves to provide the president added protection. The tight security did not dispel Obama’s plan to visit the nearby Bayward Market to sample Obamatail, a donut named in his honor. He also bought simple gifts to his family – a key chain for his daughter and scarf for his wife. And yes, he paid in Canadian dollar currency. In the end, Obama showed is truly one of us – an ordinary guy who loves to play street basketball and that’s what endears him with ordinary folks like myself. He doesn’t exude moronic qualities like George W.Bush and consistent with tradition, he chose to visit his boring neighbors in the north first. Bush visited Mexico first and that was because he wasn’t keen to meet a Liberal prime minister.


I always tell my wife that if she wants a dose of boring news casting, to try the BBC (British Broadcasting Corp) first , then a Canadian news channel next πŸ™‚ Β If Canadians are a boring bunch I am mystified at how funny men Jim Carey, Mike Myers, Dan Akroyd, Howie Mandel, Martin Short can be in fact Canadians. Prior to Obama’s visit to Canada, the country was once again on the US media’s radar, and it matters not if Americans think that moose roam the backyards of its motels and people ride dogsleds to watch a hockey game, something had to be written about the country. This Newsweek article talked about what Barack would likely find in his northern neighbor’s domain. He will certainly find that people are still polite and boring, and nothing has changed much – not a single bank needed to be bailed out, homes aren’t foreclosed by the thousands. Some of the comments by Americans were hilarious, like Canada is just like a colder Honduras and Canadians are no more than Mexicans on ice. Comedian Jon Stewart compared Obama’s visit as a diplomatic equivalent of a “pre-season tune up game ” πŸ™‚ At the end of the day though, our banks are still profitable and many of us still own our homes and that’s what counts. I guess it pays to be boring… sometimes.



p1000334Have you been with people to a dinner buffet and all they would only care to touch are the lowly chicken balls and fries? Last week, at a sit down luncheon with two other people, while I savored a mahi-mahi on wild rice and another feasted on a 6 oz. steak, the lone girl in the group opted for something terribly neutral – a club sandwich. Being the wife of a chef, I found her inflexibility rather strange. She nearly puked when I joked about the balut, how to eat the boiled duck fetus properly. At the risk of ruining her lunch, I stopped talking about the Pinoy extreme cuisine πŸ™‚ She was no different from from some Caucasian colleagues of mine who grimace at the sight of glorious dumplings being served at a Chinese dim-sum. Many people are flat out inflexible when it comes to choices for the palate. Does this fixation reflect on a person’s cultural maturity ? Don’t we all dig exciting shows such as Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations and Andrew Zimmer’s Bizzare Food ?

I’m pretty flexible with my palate. As they say, variety is the spice of life and that applies with food too, methinks. Me and my wife occasionally trek to Gerrard St. East’s Little India section and sample Indian and Pakistani cuisine at their cheap but amazing restaurants. While my wife is still biased towards rice-based food, I’m completely adventurous, as long as you don’t make me the eat raw eyes of a seal πŸ™‚ I can live without rice for a year – that’s for sure. My wife who is the ultimate rice queen I know couldn’t πŸ™‚ Living in a very cosmopolitan city littered with all sorts of restaurants specializing in cuisines from all over the world, I’m a bit surprised with colleagues who can’t seemingly depart from their meat and potato diet. In a global economy, shouldn’t our palate become global too ? Every meal at my house isn’t always a rice plate, spoon and fork experience. Every now and then my daughter blurts out ” Can I have some English food this time ? ” πŸ™‚


46 Responses

  1. […] about Jon Stewart as of February 28, 2009 It Pays to Be Boring…. Sometimes – 02/28/2009 Jean : Welcome to Canada bro. Obama : Wazzup sis ? Jean : Nothing […]

  2. i also like obama because he looks normal LOL i find the past president so typical and stiff.
    as for canadians being boring, i don’t know about that. i love michael buble! btw, how is racism in canada?
    if you ask my tongue, i am one stiff, unflexible, flaccid eater LOL i am a picky eater, like ihaven’t grown a bit since my childhood palate LOL

    • Prinsesa – he definitely looks normal πŸ™‚ just like you and me and that’s a good thing, when ordinary people can be given a chance to be great .

      Canadians are a little bit more subdued people, generally quite polite in fact. Racism can’t be eradicated but as fas as I know, Canada is the only country on the planet that has a Multiculturalism Act enshrined in its constitution.

      I gather then that I won’t be able to invite you to my kind of lunch πŸ˜‰ else we have to go to a very neutral restaurant πŸ™‚

  3. Obama had a short visit but was received well in Canada. I love the look of the Obamatail πŸ™‚

    I’m pretty flexible with my tongue but i’m grossed out with weird looking food. Yuck, those wine with snakes and lizards could kill me 😦

    • Irrealis – darn, they only serve that Obamatail to the skaters at the frozen Rideau River in Ottawa I think πŸ™‚ I love to sample it too.

      I can imagine you fainting over those weird drinks hehehe πŸ™‚

  4. The made up conversation made sense. =) With regard to dining choices and triggers’ flexibility, Filipinos are indeed in the honor roll. Modesty aside, we’re generally like wild grass that will survive anywhere.

    For sometime, I was independent of rice meals. I don’t know what happened that it’s a staple for me again. I can imagine the chef’s wife’s reaction while you were giving Balut 101. =)

    • Witsandnuts – I agree. When it isn’t the time of plenty, people’s tongues have to undergo a bit of adjustment .

      I still like rice bit won’t die without it πŸ™‚ As for the chef’s wife, she is finicky to the max. She told us she sustained herself on french fries the last time they spent a week at a Carribean resort. I guess there are people who are “madiri-in” at anything that they don’t personally cook 😯

  5. ako, recently, global food kinakain ko. hehe ;p

  6. He is the exact opposite of Bush! But unlike Erap, who only pretends to be “maka-masa”, his a little bit center-left.

    That’s the general perception of Canadians, boring, yet you got a lot of funny men. BTW, but you forgot the late John Candy.

    As for news, I’d rather watch BBC than CNN. They may be boring but at least their neutral and show both side of the news. Unlike CNN which is controlled by the US government. I think that’s the reason Al Jazera (in English) was created. To show the other side of the conflict of the Iraq War.

    As for food. Some people are just not apt to it (exotic food). They say the French are the best cook. But that’s debatable. It all depends whose eating what. Their menu may look “picture pretty” but will it satisfy my appetite?

    • Blogusvox – Erap was terribly liked by the ordinary masa, but he was also terribly dull-headed, if not a blank bullet, unlike Obama who is articulate, highly educated and very intelligent πŸ™‚

      Oh yes, I forgot the late John Candy- thanks for the reminder.

      BBC is one channel you would love to watch if you want a sound bite on the elevator news monitor πŸ™‚ Lots of information, lots of data but my brain can only hold so much. A bit of charm, light hearted moments always perks me up and zipper-like, stiff upper lip announcers don’t cut it for me πŸ™‚ Sure enough, BBC tells the news like it is in a straightforward but rather unglamorous way πŸ™‚

      Absolutely right – it doesn’t matter how good it looks if you don’t fancy it. I try to be accommodating with all kinds of cuisine as long as they are cooked properly πŸ™‚ Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Italian, Mexican, Jamaican, Indian and all the fusion foods of East-West appeals to me. Here, our fast food malls reflect the international cuisine I just mentioned. You get to sample a bit of everything πŸ™‚

  7. It does pay to be boring. Although I also have an adventurous side, I temper it with a dose of conservatism just to make sure that things don’t get out of hand. I’ve been to both Montreal and Toronto and I must say that in both instances, I enjoyed the company of French-Canadians and Canadians. They made for very polite and pleasant company.

    I enjoyed my visits to Canada and yes, I do agree with you that I’ll pick the BBC and the CBC over CNN, MSNBC and FOX anytime. I want my news delivered to me in a straightforward manner and devoid of any slants either to the left of the right.

    • Panaderos – they say too much with anything is poison 😯 Obviously no guts no glory but again, have nothing no glory doesn’t work too 😐 Agree – a balanced approach is always best.

      There are times when you just want to know what’s going on so tuning to the boring BBC is one thing you can do. Other than that, watching news with a bit of entertainment also helps and I think US channels are great in this respect πŸ™‚ Come to think of it, the US had made a bit of showbiz on their news casting. People nowadays watch anchorpersons Katie Kouric or Tom Brokaw for who they are, how they deliver the news. There is definitely a hint of entertainment there.

  8. […] bookmarks tagged moronic It Pays to Be Boring…. Sometimes saved by 8 others     ktetis bookmarked on 03/01/09 | […]

  9. Not too many people knew Canadian F18’s were dispatched during Obama’s visit as one Russian warplane entered the country’s airspace during the quick visit. US and Canada downplayed the incident but am sure there’s some stern warning to Putin and his minions.

    Mike Weir is also Canadian, Eddie Coffey is also Canuck, maybe the only celebrity (if he is) I’ve met and bought his CD directly from him. He is one of Canada’s Balladeer. Not sure if his daughter, Heather a songwriter made it big.

    BBC and CSPAN are definitely the best and Jim Lehrer’s evening news at PBS. Hillbellies, the Klan, and the rednecks congregates where Fox News is, they just can’t get enough of it, hehe…

    Just stay away from buffet, well maybe once a year is okay.

    • TrueBlue – yes, it was downplayed a bit so as not to cause panic. There is a Canadian Air Force base in Kingston, Ontario which is very close to Ottawa and I’m sure there were F18’s on standby when Obama came for the visit. THere was actually a command center created by the RCMP ( aka Canadian FBI) only for Obama’s visit.

      BBC is okay but just so dry and even the background music is depressing πŸ™‚ We have our CPAC here, an equivalent of your CSPAN for those die hard fans of politics and government. CNN is still OK but FOX has some controversial personalities on their news dept πŸ˜‰

  10. The Yanks may joke about their neighbor to the north, but the Canucks are the ones having the last hearty laugh as the US economy continues to spiral downwards…

    As for my palate, well… as long as it is edible and does not have eight legs sticking out of its body, I’m game. πŸ˜€

    • Sngl – the ribbling is all done in jest πŸ™‚ The fact remains however that this recession also affects Canada in light of the fact that it is the biggest trading partner of the US. Some 1.5 billion dollars of trade flows DAILY between Canada and the U.S. Now that is a huge trade relationship. US buys more from Canada so if the US suffers we suffer too.

      I’m sure you are pretty flexible with your palate having done reviews of the restaurants in town πŸ˜‰ I’m too but no yet in Anthony Bourdain or Andrew Zimmer’s league πŸ˜†

  11. i wont mind being bored… just put me in a nice place lol.

    • Lawstude – well said pal. I won’t mind getting bored living in a lonely house by the lake and the woods where I can fish and hunt. It’ll be nicer if it’s beside a golf course too πŸ˜‰

  12. “In the end, Obama showed is truly one of us – an ordinary guy who loves to play street basketball and that’s what endears him with ordinary folks like myself. “>>> one good thing that he needs to maintain. thanks for updating us of his performance and latest visits.

    • Dong – Obama will be the first president to install a basketball court in the White House’s backyard. The other night he was at the Washington Wizards game. I won’t be surprised if he plays hoops with his idol Michael Jordan in his backyard πŸ˜‰ He also got an authographed shoe of Shaq – size 23 would you believe πŸ˜†

  13. It is a bit like the brain cells… when you don’t use them they die. I guess it is the same with taste… if you were not exposed as a baby to different kind of foods you will probably not like them either when you are an adult.

    • Sidney – grassroots folks are the more inflexible type I guess but I know of urban raised people who can’t depart from food their mothers fed them πŸ˜‰ This lady, wife of a chef I was referring to lives 2 hours away from the city where she commutes daily , pretty much the place where she was born and raised. Not sure what her chef husband cooks for her – gourmet fries for the most part I suppose πŸ™‚

  14. i may not that flexible but i’ll try to be polite. there was these contestants in fear factor who had a hard time eating balut but can gobble roaches. ewww.

    • Bing -as for being polite, it is much to be desired. There are people who feel that eating food that is alien to their palate will kill them 😯

      As for roaches over balut, that boggles my mind too. Now that makes me think that the balut’s physical appearance must be really gross πŸ˜†

  15. As for the U.S. banks, that’s what happens when there is too little government regulation. The lesson is, never trust the public sector to police itself.

    What?? Shaq’s shoes is size 23? That’s the foot of a giant !

    I’m pretty flexible myself. I see Chinese and Jap food as harmless, although not a fan of raw stuff.

    • Natez1- that’s a lesson for history now, that you can’t be too trusting of the private sector to police itself 😯

      I bet you Shaq’s shoes are made to order πŸ™‚

      I’m not a fan of raw stuff too but I can take sushi easily.

  16. It pays to be boring…sometimes…but not with food! Why go to a buffet if you’re not ready to try out stuff? Where’s the fun in that?

    I can eat pretty much anything, but ordinarily I veer away from pork and beef.

    It’s because of you that I’ve been learning some Canadian stuff, when Canada used to be just a name. People there ride dog sleds? Cool!

    • Kat – absolutely. it is wasting money going to a buffet and going for pizza and fries, unless you’re paying for kiddie rate πŸ™‚

      I’m trying to temper my craving for pork and beef myself believe me but I can’t seem to pass up on bbq spare ribs πŸ˜‰ If there’s bbq spare ribs I couldn’t resist sampling at least one πŸ™‚

      I had zilch knowledge of Canada until I came to live in this country. THat’s the consequence of living beside a great country like America. Yes, there are dog sleds here but they are in the near arctic, in the land of the Innuits πŸ™‚

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  18. I used to be set in my ways of eating and that is because I haven’t been around growing up. But meeting the man who would be my husband had opened the doors to culinary alleyways. I love that he is adventurous and not afraid of any cuisine, yet at the same time quesy and would not touch fish eyeballs (love ’em). Through our gastronomic adventures, I have learned that there is more to life than soy sauce and vinegar, and I am forever grateful.

    • Ewok – the fact that you have left the country and went all over the place requires that you at least sample the cuisines of the world. Nowadays our cities are multicultural so there’s no need to visit a country to sample their dishes πŸ™‚ In your case marrying a non-Pinoy would almost require the both of you to embrace each other’s cuisine πŸ˜‰

      I saw a couple of Caucasian kids eating plain rice sprinkled with soy sauce at the a Chinese food court here. Now that would be the Asian equivalent of fries and catsup , wouldn’t it ? πŸ˜†

  19. If you really want a dose or (really) boring news casting, watch the Swiss news. πŸ™‚

    I’m not really so finicky with food, but I’m not that flexible either. I don’t eat dinuguan, paksiw na isda, lamang loob, sisig, any liver-based meal, balut, etc. But when I’m in another country, I do try out the local cuisine; it’s part of traveling.

    • Jayred – I bet German news will be more boring πŸ™‚

      I’m not a fan of paksiw na isda since I was a kid but I am a fan of liver based food – pate’ and of course the salsa ng lechon. Funny because I became a veggie lover only when I was in college. I’m a salad/antipasto fanatic too 😯

  20. Obama will be the first president to install a basketball court in the White House’s backyard. >>> so cool!

    • Dong – cool indeed. And imagine, all he needs to do is call Michael Jordan to play hoops with him when he feels like hehe πŸ™‚

  21. it does pay to be boring and uninteresting… they tend to take you seriously… really…

    • Jeff – hehe, I don’t know about that πŸ˜‰ Perhaps you mean an uninteresting, no nonsense guy who is a straight shooter and means what he says, it could probably work πŸ™‚

  22. i was smiling at the caption.haha

    ‘Canadians are a boring bunch I am mystified at how funny men Jim Carey, Mike Myers, Dan Akroyd, Howie Mandel, Martin Short can be in fact Canadians. ‘

    lol again. :p

    • Flamedevil – you must have heard the news that Michaelle Jean urdged Obama to take care of Haiti, the country where she was originally born. I guess she and Obama clicked the very first time they met πŸ™‚

      Very true – it is amazing that the best funny men in the business came from a boring country lol πŸ˜†

  23. pres obama is a man of the regular folks. he’s well-liked, highly educated and very good with words. gotta love his eloquence.

    i haven’t been to canada yet but i’ve worked with canadians in the past and they’re cool people.

    • mari – Obama is very eloquent – I totally agree. He has that knack of being great at articulating his ideas 😎

      Let’s just say that they are a bit more subdued and humble but we also have a share of crazy ones πŸ™‚

  24. as to news casting, i still prefer BBC – however boring others deem it to be. until now, i can’t stand our version of news casting. that’s why i prefer to read online. not CNN even, masyadong tabloid style. maingay. πŸ™‚

    • Ipanema – have you ever seen the Canadian CBC ? It’s just a tad livelier than BBC, not too tabloid-ish but still borderline boring, the major difference being that the announcers speak with a North American accent πŸ™‚ I think the Yanks had gotten into the personality thing, where their TV announcers are paid atrociously high hence becoming showbiz celebs.

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