Archive for February, 2008
I got in a fight one time with a really big guy, and he said, ‘I’m going to mop the floor with your face.’ I said, ‘You’ll be sorry.’ He said, ‘Oh, yeah? Why?’ I said, ‘Well, you won’t be able to get into the corners very well.’
I recently finished — finally — the Dummies Guide to Canadian History. I recommend it highly, if anyone is interested in polishing up on their history of the Great White North. It’s quick, to the point, easy to read, and doesn’t leave a bad aftertaste.
One of the most interesting characters from Canadian history, as described in the book, was Amor de Cosmos.
(photo from The Canadian Encyclopedia. Sweet beard!)
He was born in Windsor, NS., in 1825 as William Alexander Smith . Hearing rumors about gold in California, he decided to move to the West Coast 1851. When he arrived in California and discovered that gold wasn’t just floating downriver and that you actually had to dredge for it, he decided to switch his focus and took up photography . It is rumored that he invented the concept of using photography to take pictures of naked people, and so was born the California porn industry that has, today, grown into a billion-dollar industry. It might be that Amor de Cosmos is the Father of porn.
(Is this an Amor de Cosmos original? Could be.)
Of course you won’t find any of this information in history books. At least not history books that discuss actual history and that are worried about ‘facts’ and ‘truth’. Boring history, I like to call it.
While in California he petitioned the Government to change his name from William to Amor. A bold move! Another rumor circulated that he made the name change in an attempt to avoid the Yakuza who had just settled in California and were trying to muscle their way into the 1800’s porn industry. Boring history will tell you that he changed it because of his love for the universe. It’s also rumored that he’s the Father of the New Age movement in California.
Amos de Cosmos fathered a lot of things.
Tiring of beach parties and the California sex-scene, he moved on to wetter climes and took up residence back in British North America when he settled in Victoria on Vancouver Island in 1859.
In Victoria he founded a newspaper, The Daily British Colonist. It can be said, accurately, that he is the Father of the Daily British Colonist. Whoopie.
A proponent of social progress, and an all around nice guy, he decided to throw his hat into the political ring and became a member of the Legislative Assembly of Vancouver Island in 1863. He had two main goals: the Union of Vancouver Island and British Columbia (at this time two separate colonies), and the entry of British Columbia into confederation with the rest of Canada. Through his work on these goals he is known as one of the Fathers of Confederation. That’s true.
So who was Amor de Cosmos, really? Politician? Adventurer? All around good-timey guy? All of the above, friend, all of the above.
Amor de Cosmos is the first entry into the Canadian Fermentation Hall of Fame. Well done, Amor. You are a true Canadian Hero!
Came across this interesting, and (potentially) scary, article today. It states that on February 14 Armed Forces Commanders from both the U.S.A and Canada signed an agreement that allows the armed forces from one nation to assist the other nation during times of domestic civil emergencies.
I have mixed feelings about this. First, the public hasn’t been informed of this important decision in any particularly broad way. This to me indicates that those involved in the decision realize the hot-potato that this new policy is to each nations sovereignty.
On the other hand, I’m pro the dismantling of national borders in a way that benefits all people affected. Of course I mean this in a purely idealistic way, in that I believe that governments and individuals will be responsible and not abuse open borders. My ideally theoretical world isn’t perfect, I can admit, but anything that potentially helps to negate further extreme nationalism is good.
On the one hand this may be nothing, an innocuous decision that benefits both nations during times of emergency. On the other hand it may be an early blow in the constant pursuit of Manifest Destiny.
Who has more to lose from a Canadian/American union? This is easily answered by determining which county has the bigger population, more cultural influence, larger military, need for Manifest Destiny, Republicans and Mormons.
Here are some names that were actually suggested for the country we now know as Canada. These were recommended at the time of Confederation when four provinces–Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia–agreed to consolidate into a single political entity. Thanks goodness Canada won out.
Everytime I look at you I go blind
Everytime I look at you I go blind
In the morning I get up
And I try to feel alive but I can’t
I don’t know what it is
Something in me just won’t give it a chance
I think it’s just that I feel more confused by the deal
Love has shown me
Little child did you know that there’s light
And it’s gonna shine right through your eyes
What do you think that life is like
Everytime I look at you I go blind
Somewhere over there
There’s a purpose there’s a care for free
In me there’s nobody
No one plan no one stand to be free
I think it’s that because I have seen all the fuss
And it’s no big deal
Hold me hold me
‘Cause I wanna get high and higher
’54-40 or fight’ was a slogan that gained popularity during the 1844 American election of James Polk. Birthed from the American concept of Manifest Destiny, 54-40 or fight was the battle cry of Yankee aggressors who demanded that the American border be placed at the the latitude after which it was named, which happened to be the border with the–at that time–Russian territory of Alaska.
Basically, Americans wanted the whole ball of wax, even though they had no real claim to it. Success would have blocked Canadian expansion to the Pacific coast.
(image from About.com.)
Previously the area known as Oregon Territory was jointly owned by American and British interest, with Americans having very little representation in any region north of Columbia River, which is located at roughly the 45th parallel. The Hudson Bay Company, on the other hand, had a presence in the area and had a greater claim to it than Americans did.
Eventually the compromise position of drawing the border at the 49th parallel was reached, with Canada retaining Vancouver Island, part of which falls south of this border, due to the presence of an already established fort on the southern end of the island.
Personally, I think this is a shame. Britain/Canada should have held fast an kept the North West for itself. How amazingly awesome would it be if Washington and Oregon were both Canadian provinces. Oregon seemed to me to be fairly similar to Canadian perspectives anyway, and the North West has a very distinctive culture that ignores the border. I propose that Canada adopts the NW as honorary Canadians.
54-40 is also the name of a Canadian band, from Vancouver. They formed in the early 80’s and may still be around for all I know.
The above image is of the band’s ‘Green’ album. My greatest memory of this album comes from high-school when I listened to it all night while finishing an essay because I was leaving for a trip to Quebec City’s Winter Carnival the next day. It was advertised as a ski trip, but no one did any skiing.
Drinking? Sure. Carousing? Absolutely. Skiing? Not so much.
One song from the album, I Go Blind, later became a hit in America after Hootie and the Blowfish stole it and represented it to popular American consumption in pretty much the exact same way it was played by 54-40. Really what Hootie should have done is just taken the track from the 54-40 album and slapped it on their own. Why bother recording it whe it’s EXACTLY THE SAME anyway?
I propose we ban Hootie and the Blowfish from ever crossing the 49th parallel ever again.
I just watched a half-hour of American Idol. I spent the next five-minutes punching myself in the groin to purge the memory of the show from my brain. It didn’t work. Now my groin hurts and American Idol memories will forever be in my mind.