Well, it's Canada Day, and I assume we're all excited . . . right? Well, maybe not, but we United Statesers should recognize the cultural contributions of our neighbor to the north for at least one day of the year.
So, here are a few facts about Canada I extracted from an article in today's Dallas Morning news:
D'oh! The Simpsons are Canadian
No really, it's true. Last year Matt Groening, the comic genius behind The Simpsons, told the audience at the Just for Laughs comedy festival that his dad, Homer the inspiration for the other Homer was born in Canada. Pressed on the issue, he said, "That would make Homer Simpson a Canadian. I hope Canadians won't hold it against the show now that they know."
We Americans just assumed Homer was one of us, because he sure acts like us. But no. Without the Great White North, there would be no Itchy, no Scratchy, no witty Bartisms on the chalkboard. Oh sure, now you're happy there's a Canada.
The Great One
Mythical beings we have known: Thor, god of thunder; Zeus, god of all gods; and Gretz, god of hockey.
Wayne Gretzky, who retired from the sport in 1999, was a legend long before then. As fellow Canadian Mike Myers might say, "We're not worthy!" Named by ESPN as the fifth-greatest North American athlete of the 20th century, he's married to ex-actress Janet Jones (The Flamingo Kid, Staying Alive, Police Academy 5). They have five kids, and he has a restaurant, Wayne Gretzky's. The Web site boasts of "10 great year's in Toronto," proving that Canadian restaurants named after hockey stars have apostrophe issues.
They have milk in a bag
Sure, Canadian dairy companies offer milk in cartons and jugs, but they also decided it might be fun to sell milk in these baggies, not unlike little cow udders. Seems fresher that way, doesn't it? Other cool culinary treats include poutine french fries drenched in gravy and cheese curds (eww) along with ketchup-flavored potato chips and BeaverTails. According to the official BeaverTail Web site, it's a "a wickedly delicious, fresh, hot, pastry treat shaped like the water-slapping end of ... a Beaver!!!" Whee!
Cheque. We lique that word.
We also like "centre," "colour" and other Canadian words that possess that French twist of sophistication. And as for what the BBC once called "Canada's national tic," it's pronounced "eh," not "aye." Enough said on that subject.
Truth, justice and the Canadian way?
Sorry, NYC, but you're not Metropolis.
In a big blow to the all-American ego, it seems that Joe Shuster, co-creator of Superman, was born in Toronto and modeled Clark Kent's place of employment after The Toronto Star. (It was even called The Daily Star, not The Daily Planet, in early strips.) This means Metropolis is really gasp! Toronto. But don't worry, Americans probably invented Kryptonite. That sounds like something we'd do.
Canada helps keep us active, alive and perky
Among the inventions that we wouldn't have without those capable Canadians: basketball (thought up by James Naismith, a Canadian P.E. teacher, in 1891); Ski-doos (a Quebec man patented it in 1959); insulin (Sir Frederick G. Banting co-invented it in 1922); and the modern zipper (devised by Gideon Sundback in 1913. American Whitcomb L. Judson gets much of the credit, but his version was faulty). Then there was Charles Fenerty, who back in 1838 invented what we like to call newsprint. And last but not at all least the "WonderBra Push Up Plunge Bra" was invented in 1963 by Canadian designer Louise Poirier. The world is a better place.
It's a real body of water in Manitoba. And apparently it's not pronounceable, or at least it isn't to the countless Canadians contacted for this story. So the next time you're passing through Manitoba, don't attempt to impress the locals by enunciating every syllable, as you will seem insane or drunk. But go ahead, try to say the name aloud now. You know you want to.
Other cool place names: Ξle Kuchistiniwamiskahikan in Quebec, and Mount Jimmy Simpson in Banff. (Although Bad Food Mountain was once submitted for consideration, the Geographical Names Board of Canada rejected it as "trite." Alas.)
So, is anyone not in Canada doing anything to celebrate Canada Day? (I figure we'll ask the Canadian's tommorow when they get back from their day off.)