Thursday, October 16, 2008

Weird Canada Redux

I was reading the news this morning when I came across this little tidbit. Some employees of La Ronde (our big amusement park here in Montréal) were burning the pyrotechnics left over from the fireworks competition that is held each summer at La Ronde. To do this safely, they carry the fireworks to the huge parking lot and burn them in a closed concrete bunker that only has a small air hole in its top. Everything went as planned until one of the rockets touched off and flew out of the hole. Not only did it rise high into the air, but it landed 30 meters away in the bed of the truck used to carry the pyrotechnics. To make things even worse, the back of the truck was still full of fireworks. The workers seeing how things were going from bad to worse ran like hell and were not hurt in the ensuing conflagration. The resulting explosion sent bits and pieces flying up to 60 meters away. Martin Roy, the spokesman for La Ronde, stated that "It was an accident due to really bad luck, and they would resume the destruction of the pyrotechnics as soon as possible." Hopefully they'll have enough trucks to get the job finished...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Weird Canada II

As we all know Canadians have a reputation of being a staid, calm, rather bland people not given to the craziness of our neighbours. A kind of suburban type of people. But let it not be said that we are completely without wackiness. In July of 2007, I wrote a blog about strange happenings in the Great White North, and like all good blogs, here is the sequel.
In the spirit of full disclosure the information contained herein is from the latest Bathroom Reader, "Uncle John's Unsinkable Bathroom Reader". For those of you who love to read miscellaneous tidbits of interesting factoids, these are the books for you. Go have a look, there is something for everyone...;o)


In 2007 the Edmonton Sun interviewed a 70-year-old woman identified only as "Maggie" who claimed she devoured the Edmonton Sun every day literally. For the previous seven years, she'd cut the newspaper into strips and eaten it because, she said, it "tastes good." The woman decided to come forward after doctors removed a massive ball of paper that was lodged in her oesophagus.


In 2007 Christopher Emmorey tried to rob a bank in Peterborough, Ontario. Instead of asking a teller for all the money, for some reason Emmorey demanded just $5,000. The teller replied that she had only $200 on hand, adding that because he wasn't a customer of that bank, he'd have to pay a $5 withdrawal fee. Emmorey waited white the clerk did the paperwork which he signed and gave him $195. He was arrested an hour later.


In 2002 a group of softball players met in a Calgary park for a late night game. At the next field over, a group of croquet players were also playing a late night game. A few hours later, six players from both groups were in the hospital (two were seriously injured) the result of a brawl over which sport was the "manliest."


La Fromagerie Boivin, one of Quebec's largest cheese manufacturers, dropped about a ton of cheese into the Saguenay River in 2004. They thought that aging the cheese underwater for twelve months would give it extra moisture and improve its taste and texture. Did it work? We may never know. In October 2005, the cheesemaker announced that despite the use of thousands of dollars in high tech locating equipment, divers were unable to find the 2,000 pounds of lost cheese.


Lane Jensen, an Alberta tattoo artist, has a tattoo of a large breasted cowgirl on his left leg. In 2007 he decided his cowgirl didn't look buxom enough. So his tattoo got "breast" implants dime sized bags of silicone inserted into his leg under the tattoo. Two weeks later, Jensen lost a liter of lymphatic fluid from his leg his body had rejected the implants. "I guess my girl wasn't meant to have 3 D breasts," he said.


In 2007 a 15 year old in Hamilton, Ontario, was sledding one night and decided he wanted to tag a local bridge with some graffiti. He left his gloves and cell phone in the sled and rappelled down the side of the bridge. Suddenly the rope shifted and the boy panicked. He tried to scurry back up but somehow ended up hanging by his feet, upside down. As he tried to wiggle free, his shirt came off. And it was February. And it was 5'F. He was there for two hours before someone finally heard his screams for help and saved him.


Keep It Simple, a bar in Edmonton, was in danger of being closed in 2003 when officials found out it was not abiding by the citywide smoking ban. The only place smoking is legal is in liquor licensed bars. But Keep It Simple is a bar for recovering alcoholics it doesn't serve alcohol. It does allow smoking, which helps many alcoholics not to drink. But because it didn't have a liquor license, it was illegal for people to smoke there. So in order to let its non drinking customers smoke, Keep It Simple applied for and received a liquor license, which it doesn't use, because it doesn't sell liquor.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Fall has fallen

I went walking tonight and autumn is in the air. The temperature is around 10 degrees Celsius, a nice crisp temperature, with the scent of fallen leaves and the slight tang of wood smoke from someone's fireplace. This is the first evening this year where this has happened, we seem to have had a much prolonged summer. It's as if summer had been moved over from it's usual place.
It's funny how each season seems to have its own way of impinging on our senses. In spring its the smell of growing things and damp earth, in summer the smell of freshly mowed grass and the feeling of twilight on the patio as things cool off, in autumn the smell of fallen leaves as they crunch under foot, crisp temperatures and the golden light on fresh sunny days and in winter the silence of softly falling snow, the air cold like a good champagne and the creak of boots walking in the new fallen snow. I think I would have great difficulty living in a place where there are no seasons, it would seem to be a bit boring don't you know.