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Letters to the editor, March 21, 2013 

These are the letters and comments from the print edition



It is treat, when in the US, to be able to order a burger medium or even medium-rare! But I guess in Nova Scotia, it's always the civil servants looking out for us ("Pink matter" by Simon Thibault, Feature, March 20)! We are, after all, maybe the only place in the world where adults can't downhill ski without a helmet for "our safety"! Maybe we should wear them all the time in case we fall down!

Have none of our burger joints heard of steak tartar, a French treat: ground raw prime beef with seasonings?

If the "officials" and the burger sellers are so concerned about Nova Scotians eating anything but overdone burgers, why do they not grind up fresh cheap steak meat daily and then be able to serve burgers like steak--- rare, med-rare, medium, et cetera? Even better still, why not fresh ground rib or tenderloin steaks? Looks like none of them are doing it.

I do it at home with a grinder--- best burgers in the world---why don't they all do it? —Matt McPherson, Halifax

I recently spent some time in Spain and Portugal, looking forward to enjoying Iberian dishes. I soon found myself eating hamburgers, as I could order them "bloody in the middle." Steak tartar with an raw egg broken into a depression on the minced beef was also available. Can't wait for barbecue season. —G. Boyce, Dartmouth


After a long winter, nothing lifts the spirits like spotting those first glorious signs of spring: crocuses breaking through frosty soil, robin redbreasts back from their winter retreats and, of course, the return of the Tufted Summer Tramps to their Spring Garden Road roost.

As an avid urban naturalist, I wait with eager anticipation for the annual migration of Tufted Summer Tramps to mark the beginning of the festive summer begging season. And yesterday I was lucky enough to have my first sightings---following a few telltale hitchhikers' backpacks, I was first led to a dreadlocked banjo player by the Spring Garden library, then to a nearby pair of unwashed travellers splayed on the sidewalk by Pizza Corner playing a morose duet of accordion and musical saw.

These were of the Tufted Summer Tramp sub-species "vagrantus cacophonus" who seek drinking money by busking with varying degrees of melodic ability. Lacking even that humble level of talent, the other sub-species "vagrantus spare-changius" elicit drinking money by showcasing either a pitiful dog companion or their wit, with cardboard signs like Need Money for Drugz.

Every spring flocks of these fragrant souls rustle themselves out of their winter stupors in Toronto, Vancouver and other affluent Canadian cities to make the long migration to the economically challenged Maritimes for the opportunity to mate, panhandle and drink in graveyards. Thanks to Maritimers' cross-Canada reputation as gullible---er, generous---folk we can always expect a fresh flock of Tufted Summer Tramps to roll into town each spring.

But after a carefree summer of fattening up with our charity, understocked foodbanks and underfunded homeless shelters, Tufted Summer Tramps must sadly obey nature's call and drift back to western Canada for the winter, lest they be forced to actually take a job. So enjoy them while you can, because they're definitely enjoying you! —Helen Mujuru, Halifax


Jacob Boon did an excellent job of telling the story of how Haligonians beat those who deprive them of their daily booze ("Try a little temperance," Feature, March 14). This city suffered long from the heritage of Presbyterianism. Those who subscribed to this religion did not mind people sinning---just enjoying it.

During World War Two, there were plenty of places where officers could drink, but nowhere soldiers, sailors and airmen could go for a quiet pint. Dolly McEuen met this need by starting the Ajax Club. The congregation of Fort Massey United Church pressured the government to cancel the club's license. It was little wonder that servicemen took revenge on the city---and pillaged the booze outlets---during the VE Day riots. —Jim Lotz, Halifax

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