At the club last night two stories from Alberta’s past. One is simple: the definition of virgin in Red Deer in the 1930’s was “a girl who could run faster than her uncle”. No change there then.
The other concerned the wife of a former President of the University of Alberta, Mrs. Newton (her husband was President from 1941-1950). She detested smoking and would, today, have banned it from any location anywhere. She caught a female student smoking outside one of the lecture halls. She said to her “I would rather be caught having sex in public than smoking in public”. The student looked at her very coolly and said “so would I, but I only have five minutes between classes – so it’s a cigarette…want one ?”
Richard Siebaniuk spoke of the four founder cultures of the US and their continuing influence on US culture, politics and society. His basic argument is that the US is currently dominated by the “British border” culture (Berwick on Tweed and the Scottish lowlands), which is violent, an eye for an eye and always anxious. While he took a long time over his story – he spoke for close to two hours (a club no-no) – he contrasted this culture with the Quaker and Plymouth Brethren culture. The talk was based largely on Paul Johnson (see his paper in the New Criterion at http://www.newcriterion.com/archive/21/jun03/johnson.htm ) and a Professor Fisher.
Not much discussion, though Richard is obviously anti-Bush. Norbert, our brilliant engineer, is pro-Bush – they had a little spat. But, despite the erudite talk, we were all anxious to get home.
Lynne’s observation that the Everyday Italian chef we watch on television (Giada De Laurentiis) is “too thin” to be taken seriously (plus “her breasts don’t move when she whisks eggs”) reminds me of my grandfathers maxim (he was a French chef, trained in Paris, born in Neville) “never trust a thin chef”. Watching her as I write this, she is making things which should make her breasts move as much as Nigella Lawson’s or Mario Batali! For someone running a catering business, she needs more sausages.
Speaking of which …