it's the little things

Here's my favorite thing about Canada so far. Every time I turn on the TV, "Kids In The Hall" is on!

I'm really not watching TV outside of baseball, but sometimes in the afternoon, feeling spacey and in need of a break, I flip it on. And there's Mark McKinney and Dave Foley and Scott Thompson to the rescue! You can sometimes find KITH re-runs on American TV, but not as often.

We also saw "Royal Canadian Air Farce" for the first time. Air Farce is a sketch comedy show, in the Saturday Night Live or MAD TV vein. I've been hearing about it for about as long as I've been blogging. It was pretty funny, not hilarious, but it spent a lot of time making fun of the W & Co, and we loved that. It's very political, with a definite anti-war, anti-empire, anti-big money point of view.

The first episode we saw was kind of flat, but sketch comedy is often uneven, and you can't judge it properly on one take. The second episode was definitely funnier, and I'll continue to watch if I run into it.

Here's something else I really like: the two-dollar coin. There are one-dollar and two-dollar coins here, as in many countries. The two-dollar coin has a different kind of metal in the center, so it's very recognizable.


It's so convenient - although it took a while to lose that feeling that I was being shorted when given change. If you've spent $17.25 and you pay with a $20 bill, your change is all coin. I would think, where's the bills, then look down in my hand, and take a few seconds to realize it was all there. I'm just losing that feeling now.

I haven't been able to call it a toonie yet. The dollar coin is called a loonie, because there's a picture of a loon (the bird) on one side.


And from there we get toonie, a two-dollar loonie. I hear people use these silly names all the time. Maybe when I can finally bring myself to say them, I'll be officially Canadian.

I'm kidding, you know. Kids In The Hall is only my second favorite thing about Canada. Sex toys in Shoppers Drug Mart is better.


James Redekop said...

The Royal Canadian Air Farce is a venerable Canadian institution, but I think they worked much better as a radio show (which they were originally) than a TV show. I grew up on them making fun of Canadian (and American) politics. I remember one wonderful radio show where the entire half-hour revolved around a revolt in the Liberal party, with Jean Chretien trying to assassinate Piere Trudeau.

Another favourite bit:

Aide: Mr. President, Brian Mulroney is on the line.
Reagan: Didn't we just have the Presidential limo washed yesterday?
Aide: No, sir, he's the Prime Minister of Canada.
Reagan: Canada? Do we own them?
Aide: Yes, sir, but they run it.

Liam J said...

They also tried calling the Tooney the Dublooney; but that went over like a lead dubloon. :)

laura k said...

Two funny comments. :)

melusina said...

Dubloon would have been hilarious!

The one dollar coin almost looks like a penny in that picture. I assume it is big enough that you wouldn't confuse it for one?

I actually hate the 1 and 2 euro coins, mainly because I have always been lazy about using change. My husband and I will get weighed down by these coins (once to nearly 30 euros worth!) before we get smart and use them for take-out. Of course, in the end, finding a bunch of these in your pocket is MUCH more fun (ie. lucrative) than finding a bunch of quarters. I always used to get excited by multiple quarters in my lean college years.

I haven't seen KITH in a LONG time. So funny!

laura k said...

The one dollar coin almost looks like a penny in that picture. I assume it is big enough that you wouldn't confuse it for one?

Much bigger and heavier, and it's a bronze color, not copper. It doesn't look anything like a penny IRL.

Anonymous said...

When the twoonie came out there were reports that the middle part of the coin could be knocked out. They must have quickly fixed the problem because I spent hours with my friends at school trying to pop that part out without much success.

Air Farce has seen better days, but one of my favourite radio sketeches was the one where they had the Progressive Conservatives, who were then in power, hold a telethon for the national debt. John Crosbie (a Newfoundland Member of Parliment) was repeatedly asked to give out the phone number, something that made him increasingly exasperated because he took as a sign that people were forgetting what it was in the first place.

Crosbie: What's wrong with you mainlanders. It's 555-DEBT. Write it down, why don't you.

To get people to donate, Joe Clark offered to throw a pie at Michael Wilson who was then the finace minister. The phones only started ringing when Clark promised to add a brick to the pie.

Wrye said...

They were a radio show for decades before coming to TV, I think. I'll try to dig up some history, LG. And a lot of people really wanted to call the twonie a doubloon, but it just didn't stick. twonie rhymes with loonie, and there you go. It's like Douglas Coupland's trying to get this decade labelled "the Ones". Hasn't quite come off.

Reminds me of when I was in Japan:

Japanese Friends: So, the year 2000 is "two thousand"...2001 is "two thousand one", right?

Me: Yup.

JF: And at some point, the years will be called "twenty-something", right? 2016 will be "twenty sixteen".

Me: Yup.

JF: When will the change happen?

Me: No one knows.

JF: What?!

Me:It hasn't happened yet and has never happened before, really.

JF: What!!!! Isn't there some kind of rule?

Me: Nope.

JF: *boggled*

James Redekop said...

Here's a photo of Canadian circulation coins to scale. Sorry about the quality, it's all I could find in half-a-minute's searching. :)

teflonjedi said...

So, is it "toonies" or "twonies"? The coin was introduced after I left...

laura k said...

In print, people write "toonie". But since it's pronounced the same way, I imagine you get both spellings.

Anonymous said...

Actually the center bit of the toonie is still very easy to punch out... you just can't do it now by dropping it.

Just take a punch and a hammer...

Of course it is illegal to damage currency in any way shape or form.


barefoot hiker said...

I remember when the dollar coin was introduced in 1986. Initially, the reverse was supposed to carry the traditional design Canadian "silver" dollars (which haven't contained an atom of silver since 1968) had: two voyageurs paddling a canoe. The story goes that the dyes for striking the coins were lost in the mail (presumably between Ottawa and Winnipeg). Since the possibility existed they'd been intercepted and thus counterfeiting became a risk, the plan was scrapped and the Mint elected to use another design -- the one with the loon on it.

I remember how lame everyone thought the design was back then. But for some reason, it never encountered the kind of stiff resistence that the introduction of a dollar coin seems to encounter in the States. People just shrugged and went with it. Then, a few years later when they retired the $2 bill in favour of the bi-metal coin, people groaned about the weight of coins they'd have to carry around, but, again, it was just adopted.

I remember people having a debate in the editorial pages of the Toronto Star about what to call the new coin. Since the term "loonie" was already well-established, people figured it would be some variation on that theme. The big issue was which of the two candidates Canadians would embrace: toonie or dubloon (double loon, get it?). I always hated the term "dubloon". First of all, it feels like a tacked-on, foreign reference. Secondly, it's slightly more work to say, and I think that's a popular stike against any term in contention. Finally, there's more resonant distance between loonie and dubloon than between loonie and toonie... the latter pair are much, much more complementary than the former. I was gratified when "toonie" became established.

There's been some talk of replacing the $5 bill with a coin, though I gather the Mint has shelved the idea, at least for the time being. I can't imagine what we'd call that thing.

barefoot hiker said...

Funniest thing I ever remember by the Royal Canadian Air Farce was a skit in which Luba Goy put on a fat suit and bounced around stage as a parody of Rita McNeil called "Eat a Big Meal". Apparently they did it when they were sure she wasn't going to be around the studio. I didn't actually see the skit myself, but a co-worker told me about it the next day, and even in the recounting, it was hilarious.

laura k said...

There's been some talk of replacing the $5 bill with a coin, though I gather the Mint has shelved the idea, at least for the time being. I can't imagine what we'd call that thing.

Fivoonie just doesn't cut it.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget sex toys in Wal-Mart ... the real 'shocker' of it all for all the family and (ahem) 'Christian' living groups. In Shoppers, not as surprising as a family-oriented department store - be interesting to watch the criticism as these products are introduced to the shelves.

Amateur said...

Oh, I'm late to this party but I once heard a bad joke that the two dollar coin should be called the "moonie" ... 'cause it has the Queen on the front with a bear behind.

laura k said...

the Queen on the front with a bear behind.


Never late to this party. :-)

Unknown said...

Just found your blog today - love it! I've already been calling the coins toonies and loonies but I can't get myself to say EH! I've only been here for 1.5 years.

I think that is what truely says you are canadian when you resort to saying EH at the end of your sentence... Or Bob's your uncle...

So funny if you've never visited Canada really...

laura k said...

Hi Expat Traveler, welcome to wmtc! I use "eh" all the time, no problem there! Loonie and toonie, though, not sure I'll ever be ready for that...