Monday, June 28, 2010

Paul, Babe, Rex and Tyson

Monday, 28 June 2010 - The 49th parallel is really the ultimate line in the sand. If you are above it... Canadian. If you are below it... American. Yet centuries ago that line really didn't have secured border crossings.  It is why so many things that are Canadian are touted or revered as American. Let's be honest, the marketing machine has always been larger on the south side of the line. Of course there is basketball, which was really a Canadian PE teacher's way of getting some tallish boys to get a bit of exercise. But it became an American classic.  Indeed we have only one NBA team in Canada (well, two once... but let's not draw too much attention to the Grizzlies).

Let's talk folklore. Paul Bunyan... now there was a tall boy. Like all good folklore, it is passed from generation to generation over camp fires, sleepovers, and boyscout camp. The tales of Paul Bunyan originated in Quebec during the Papineau Rebellion. In the original lore, Paul Bonjean (sounds "Bonyenne") was a great, bearded lumberjack that helped the lumberjacks of the Two Mountains area of Quebec fight against the British. He was hailed as the great defender of the people. The stories got told over and over and with each telling of the tale, a little embellished. I suspect that after a couple of cross-border camping trips, the tales just fell under the spell of that same US marketing machine... and so grew Paul Bunyan's stature as American folklore.  Tales of Paul Bunyan make it into the written literature in 1910, by an American journalist named James MacGillvary.  In time, Mr. Bunyan has become responsible for scooping out the Great Lakes in order to give his ginormous ox a beverage.  His footprints are responsible for the 10,000 lakes in Minnesota.  He dug out the Grand Canyon by dragging his big ass axe behind him, and built Mount Hood by piling rocks on to a campfire to put it out. I'm sure his trusty blue ox - the larger than normal "Babe" was a sidekick, and companion in all his adventures and hard work.

With the wonders of all Mr. Bunyan's work, and his sheer size, I'm surprised that there is only one day to celebrate the man.  Given to day is Paul Bunyan Day, you might want to celebrate with a Keg Size. Infact, everything you do today, you should go large. Maybe that is why when Tyson and Hollyfield took to the ring on this day in 1997, Mikey bit off a chunk of Evander's ear. If you are going to have a meal, a heavyweight champion is as good as super sizing the fries.

PS... Happy Birthday Rex.  You might not be blue, and you probably couldn't dig out a channel of earth the size of the grand canyon, but you carried home the croissants this morning and that makes you my trusty side kick.

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