Archive for June, 2008

Canadian Days: Canada Day

Since this is a blog on Canadian concerns, and tomorrow is Canada Day, I suppose I should make a post about something Canada day related. Something…


…uh…yeah…Canada Day…


The thing is, I tend to shy away from nationally and spiritually sanctioned holidays. Not that there is anything wrong with them, but  I celebrate being a human everyday, and I live in Canada every day–lately– and all is good every day, and I celebrate that goodness.

Through my blog I try to celebrate all things Canadian in my own little way on a regular basis, so why put so much effort into one single day of celebration? Besides, the usual community celebrations are, typically, quite dull and a waste of time,and taxpayers money. Yes, that’s my opinion, and you should enjoy your time in whatever way you choose to spend it, which may include joining a community Canada Day celebration. I hope you have fun.

As for me, I’m going to spend it either cycling around Toronto, or sleeping most of the day before getting up and teasing my cat. Either way it’s going to be a good day.

What are you doing for Canada Day?

June 30, 2008 at 9:36 pm 4 comments

Canadian Heroes: Storm Troopers

I recently read an article about the upcoming movie, Passchendaele, which discusses Canadian involvement in World War I. In this article Canadian troops were referred to as Storm Troopers. I thought this was pretty cool, but I had never heard of our soldiers being referred to in this way previously. Time for some research.

From Captain J.B. Paulin in a speech given at the Empire Club of Canada, Toronto, Ontario, on May 23, 1918.

“The officer to whom I previously referred said, “There seems to be a fear back here in Canada that the Germans are going to make a frontal attack upon the Canadians, but the Canadians at the Front are afraid they won’t (laughter) and,” he continued, “they will get the biggest reception they ever got and pay the biggest price”; and it is interesting to us to know that the only part of the line that the Canadians fought for so strenuously arid won which is still in the hands of the Allies, is that which is being held by the Canadians themselves. (Applause.) They are called “The storm troops of the British Empire” by the Kaiser, and his own “storm troops” are the biggest men of his various divisions; and when he speaks of the Canadians as being the “storm troops,” it means that in his estimation, they are the best troops of the British Empire. I think the Kaiser has come more nearly to the truth there than he has ever done in anything else.”

Very well, Mr. Kaiser. Take that!

Peaceful Canadians, pffff. Show us a Kaiser that needs some butt whooping and let us at him.

(I was going to post a picture of Star Wars Storm Troopers, but decided that a picture of Princess Leah would be more appropriate.)

June 25, 2008 at 11:20 pm 17 comments

Canadian Illustrated: Alpha Flight

This past weekend I went through some items I had put in storage in Toronto while I lived in the States. Included in the stash were my old comics. Yay. It is by no means an impressive collection, but it contains many great memories from childhood.

There were three main titles that I collected, all of them distributed by Marvel Comics. First was Iron Man, which makes it strange that I have yet to see the movie which is based on the comic. I’d like to see the movie, but Iron Man just isn’t a priority any more. He’ll have to make do without my support. I’m sure he’ll manage.

Second was Power Man and Iron Fist. This comic gave you two heroes for your money, which made it extra economical. This comic teamed a street-savvy, super-strong black hero with impenetrable skin, and a mystically trained martial arts expert who could channel super-amazing power into his fist and knock people silly. Power Man was one of the first – if not the first – black superhero to receive his own title. Iron Fist joined him later and they became a duo. I loved Iron Fist’s uniform – green and yellow.

The third was a super hero team consisting of Canadian heroes called Alpha Flight. Alpha Flight began their run late in my comic collecting life, and so I only have the first ten issues, plus, for reasons unknown, the 27th issue. Alpha Flight consisted of a diverse array of characters from across Canada who represented the major regions of the country: almost as if someone had planned it that way so that no area was left out and everyone felt included: a very Canadian ideal.

Here’s a list of the team as they appeared in the first edition:

(Back: Sasquatch. Middle from Left to Right: North Star, Snowbird, Shaman, Guardian, Aurora. Front: Puck, Marrina. Picture found on

Guardian: The leader of the team. He wore a red and white suit. He himself didn’t have any superpowers but the suit gave him the ability to fly and shoot cool beams of death at enemies. He was also pretty smart. Eventually he died, and was replaced by his super-skinny wife. Super skinny? I believe that being that skinny must be a super power.

Snowbird: Part god, part human and all babe. The offspring of an Inuit god and a man, Considering that her mother was an Inuit god, Snowbird’s human guise was very blonde and caucasian looking. No matter, she was pretty cool, and one of my favourite characters.

Puck: The diminutive Puck didn’t let his size stop him from kicking ass. Fast and strong, Puck was also smart. Lots of good stuff was packed into this small package.

Sasquatch: What Canadian superhero team would be complete without a Sasquatch? Not Alpha Flight. Sasquatch was a man who could change into a giant, furry, killing machine, when needed. He was kind of like the Hulk, except he could control the beast within, at least at the beginning, and maintained his human consciousness while in beast form.

Aurora and Northstar: These two superheroes were twins that had been separated at birth–mutant twins. They were able to fly at great speed and were able to blind opponents with a burst of intense light when the joined hands. Aurora was a woman, while Northstar used his powers to become a skiing champion and eventually it was discovered that he was gay.

Marina: Born from an alien egg imprinted with human DNA, Marina was an aquatic creature who could fly through the air on a spout of water, if necessary.

Shaman: Doctor by day, shaman by…well, whenever he needed to be Shaman. A native-mystic, Shaman used arcane forces to subdue the enemies of Canada.

Interesting group. Having read a couple of the comics since re-finding my collection, I realize, though, that the group was missing some very important characters. Below I list superheroes who should have been a part of the Alpha Flight team if comic book writers had any sense.

The Moose: The Moose not only looks like a moose, but he is, actually, a moose. The Moose has no special abilities other than the fact that he is a moose, and moose are very large, aggressive animals. The rest of the team don’t really like working with The Moose because, being an animal, The Moose has difficulty distinguishing between friend and enemy. The Moose will often attack anything around him that moves, making life difficult on fellow Alpha Flight members. Unfortunately he is not potty trained.

Silver Blade: The Silver Blade wears hockey equipment and a special pair of skates. The skates are equipped with time-distorting, gravity-ignoring abilities (it’s not sure whether it is through technology or magic that the skates work), and allow The Silver Blade the ability to skate over any surface, including maple syrup. The Silver Blade’s goal as a superhero is to capture fifty criminals in a single season.

The Minister: The Minister is an atypical superhero, as she eschews the typical, sexy female hero suit and chooses to wear business attire and a sensible pair of pumps. The Minister spends most of her time skulking around hallways and culling favour from Canadian citizens, without actually putting much effort into making the nation ‘safe’ or ‘secure’ from evil. She talks a good game, though, and everyone believes that The Minister is at the forefront of the fight against super criminals, even though she hasn’t been personally responsible for the capture of a single one.

Captain Beer Store: Captain Beer Store hails from Ontario. He started out as a Beer Store worker, but through a freak accident when a bolt of lightning charged with radioactive particles from the planet Nucleokill hit a case of Lakeport Ale that Captain Beer Store was carrying which caused his genetic material to mutate into the superhero that he is today. Captain Beer Store sports a gigantic beer-belly, which he uses to subdue evil doers by belly-bumping them into submission. Captain Beer Store also has the ability to out drink anyone, and will often challenge his enemies to a beer drinking competition: he has yet to lose.

Miss Toronto: Miss Toronto wears whatever the latest fashion is, while using her natural “talents” to good effect. What are her natural talents? Haughty self-loathing covered up by an air of aggressive superiority. Miss Toronto hates everyone, but also wants to be seen as a good person, therefor she only engages criminals in battle when there are members of the press or a large number of citizens with camera phones around.

What other superheroes do you think should be a member of Alpha Flight?

June 24, 2008 at 7:15 pm 1 comment

Canadian Hero: The Bluenose has a Poop Deck

In the early part of the 1900’s Canada needed a hero.  We needed something amazing, fantastic, something the world would remember forever, or at least until something better came along.   Our wish was about to come true:  Enter the Bluenose.


(The Bluenose has been immortalized on this Canadian stamp, as well as on the Canadian dime.)

After an embarrassing defeat to the dastardly Americans in the 1920 International Fisherman’s Race a group of Nova Scotians screamed, “No more! Never again shall we lose to those dastardly Americans. Now bring us some whiskey.”

They drank that whiskey. Oh, yes, they drank it all. Then they put on blond wigs and dressed up as leprechauns.

(Why do Nova Scotians put on blond wigs and dress like leprechauns when they get drunk? Because they are Nova Scotians.)

After sobering-up they decided to build a new ship that would rival anything the world had to offer in terms of speed and coolness. The new ship would not only be fast, it would also be buoyant. This was a very good idea for a sailing vessel. Seriously, do you know how many ships end up not floating? It’s embarrassing.

(The Bluenose was able to float, unlike this Canadian cruise ship.)

They named this ship, a fishing schooner, the Bluenose, after a nickname for Nova Scotians. During the next 17 years no other ship was able to beat her in a race. Americans were so pissed-off they hired the grandson of John Wilkes Booth to assassinate the Bluenose. Luckily Booth Jr. went out drinking with a bunch of Nova Scotians dressed up as leprechauns the night before he made an attempt on the Bluenoses’ life, so the bullet missed.

The Bluenose wasn’t just used for races, it was also a working ship. She caught various sea creatures, such as scallops, fish, and mermaids.

(When the fishermen of the Bluenose caught mermaids, they didn’t throw them back. Photo from The Mertailor.)

As with all Canadian heroes the Bluenoses’ ending is rather anti-climatic. In 1938 she was sold out of country and became a tramp schooner in the Caribbean. In 1946 she wrecked off the coast of Haiti.

The Bluenose has left an amazing legacy behind her. In 1963 a replica, the Bluenose II was built. She is still sailing, and is currently a ward of Nova Scotia and serves as a goodwill ambassador. An image of the Bluenose is found on the Canadian dime, and some say that this enables the dime to float. The Bluenose and her captain, Angus J. Walters, are both in the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame. Millions of people around the world still admire her and fondly remember her.

June 17, 2008 at 11:02 am 7 comments

I Love The World

Apart from the New Model Army song of the same name, I do love the world.

I love the coincidences and synchronicities that the world brings us, too.

I was browsing the archives over at Journey Into Original Wisdom, when I found this simple, to the point, but poignant post:

“If the very reference points used to describe reality are wrong, then every argument about reality after that is wrong.

Without looking at the foundations, you can’t see that it is cracked.”

I think this sums up what I was trying to say in Canadian Economy: When Is Enough, Enough.

Brevity? What’s that?

June 16, 2008 at 6:19 pm 2 comments

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