Archive for the History Category

August 3rd: This Day in History.

Posted in History, People with tags , , , , , on August 3, 2010 by Jordan

August 3rd has featured some remarkable events and proven a significant date throughout history.  Here at The Whole Ball of Wax we  obsess over historical events and wish to share some of our favourites from August 3rd.

On August 3, 1492 Christopher Columbus commenced his expedition to find a water route to Asia from Palos de la Frontera, Spain.  This was of course the journey that saw Columbus accidently stumble across Central America.

On August 3, 1914 Germany declared war on France.

On August 3, 1934 Adolf Hitler became the supreme leader of Germany when he joined the offices of President and Chancellor into Fuhrer.  Two years later on this same day American Jesse Owns won the mens 100 m dash at the Berlin Olympics only to have Hitler himself refuse to present the gold medal to the African American Owens who defeated Germany’s Ralph Metcalfe.

On August 3, 1949 the National Basketball Association (NBA) was founded.

Despite the historical importance of all these events my personal favouirite has to be August 3, 1984 when a baby was born in an Alberta hospital nose first wearing Oakley sunglasses and wearing a fine Swiss timepiece.  The newborn was also sweating profusely.

Happy Birthday Hub!  You have the distinction of  sharing this date of birth with CFL great and future Ottawa Roughrider Jesse Lumsden!

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I’m Staying With My Boys

Posted in History, Television with tags , , on July 25, 2010 by Jordan

For those who have taken an interest in THE PACIFIC I suggest reading I’m Staying With My Boys: The Heroic Life of Sgt. John Basilone, USMC by Jim Proser.  This biography tells the story of Sgt. John Basilone who is one of the three main characters portrayed in THE PACIFIC.  The biography is written in the first person as if Proser is John Basilon himself.  Proser’s extensive research does an excellent job of capturing the mood and mindset of Basilon throughout his life right up to the moment he died on Iwo Jima.  This is a fine read for anyone looking to obtain more details about events portrayed in THE PACIFIC or the Pacific theater of war in general.  I typically hate reading books for pleasure but I thoroughly enjoyed this biography of one of the most decorated U. S. Marines of all time.

God Save the Queen

Posted in History, Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 2, 2010 by Jordan

With the Queen in the middle of her 22nd official visit to Canada I have found myself caught up in the Royal hoopla.  She made her first visit to Nova Scotia in 16 years and I even caught a glimpse of her majesty through binoculars as she sailed pasted my office building amidst the international fleet review. I could tell it was her because she was the only person on the ship wearing white and her hat had a big white flower on it.  Also, I could easily tell which person was Stephen Harper because his onion loaf coif danced rather majestically as it was tossed about by the sea breeze.

I’m not sure why but I have always been an advocate for the royals and for the Queen’s role as the Head of State for Canada.  I look at the Queen and I see the epitome of elegance and grace.  She’s a complete geezer yet she sucked it up when the rain came in sideways upon her arrival to Halifax, she didn’t hesitate to walk through a soggy field to look at teepees, nor did she waver when taught how to play a native game that looked ridiculous.  She rarely smiles but always says the right things that make Canadians feel good about themselves and to top it all off she looked radiant in her red dress and white hat on Canada Day.

Despite all this there is a less flattering side to the Queen the goes unnoticed.  There is no way the Queen has lived her 84 years without having explosive diarrhea and had an occasion where she barely made it to the “crappie” without pooping herself.  I’m sure she’s even had the odd poop that has left her out of breath and whipping beads of sweat off her forehead, opening windows and spraying Glade Summer Breeze in the air.  There is also no way she hasn’t had a fart that goes drastically up in pitch as it concludes.  She’s probably been so sick she puked her guts out and popped blood vessels in her face. She has probably flossed her teeth and been in need of a blood transfusion afterwards because her gums bled so badly.  She probably shaves her armpits and has had her upper lip waxed (maybe not the upper lip… she’s not French after all).  She’s probably had B.O. at least once.  I guarantee she’s had food stuck in her teeth and no one told her.  She has pretty fancy clothes but I’ll bet she has picked lint out of her belly button and sweaty fuzz from between her toes.  Maybe the Queen has an outty and doesn’t get belly button lint… I don’t know I’m not a doctor.

The list of unflattering things the Queen has done in her life is probably as big as her annual spending habits.  The point is, no matter how elegant and graceful a person is and no matter how high that person is placed on a pedestal by society, everyone has to take a shit at some point in their life and it probably doesn’t smell like freshly baked cinnamon buns.

Happy Canada Day!

Posted in History, Politics on July 2, 2010 by Jordan

I just wanted to take this opportunity to wish everyone a happy belated Canada Day.  My Canada Day was fairly uneventful but I did manage to take in the very average fireworks that the city of Halifax fired off on the water front.  The fireworks were so riveting they caused my heart rate to accelerate by one beat per minute throughout their duration. Despite this run of the mill fireworks display, Canada is 143 years old and a hell of a country that we should all be grateful to live in.  The exception of course is when police officers beat the crap out of you for no apparent reason when you happen to be in Toronto when it is hosting the G20 Summit.  Other then that, it’s a hell of a country!

Excellent Adventures

Posted in History with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 2, 2010 by Jordan

The chorus to Rod Stewart’s song “Ooh La La” goes,

I wish – that – I knew what I know now when I was younger

I wish – that – I knew what I know now when I was stronger

I’m not very old so I don’t often find myself longing to go back to grade 6 so that I can demonstrate the unreal math skills I obtained in high school.  Nor do I long to go back to novice hockey and be the only player on the team that knows where to stand on a 1-2-2 forecheck.  What I do long for is to go back in time with the technologies the world has today.

Think about this!

You’re fighting against the British in the Battle of Waterloo and all the British dummies line up in a stupid line 50 paces away from you (like the idiots all soldiers seemed to be back in the day).  Then, before the British have time drop to one knee and listen for the “fire” command, you pull out a XM312 .50 cal machine gun (I assume this is a sweet gun… Wikipedia told me so) and you mow down the entire British army before any of them have time to say, “Blow Me” (look up the British meaning).  You then become Napoleon’s best friend who you later kill with your XM312 .50 cal machine gun and become the ruler of France!

Or

You travel back to the 1910s and are playing hockey for the Toronto Blueshirts.  However, you take all the best gear with you and modern training methods and systems.  You finish the 12 game season with 537 shots on net and 534 goals because lets face it goalies had no idea what they were doing back in the day and all players appeared to be in slow motion.  Which is funny because if you watch old WWI videos it looks like all the soldiers are marching at an incredibly fast pace.  So, if hockey players look like they are skating slowly they must hardly be moving.

Finally

You’re living in Portugal in the 15th century and competing with Spain for sea and trading supremacy.  The king of Portugal is looking for some more territory to expand the Portuguese Empire and obtain much needed resources.  The king is displeased with the explorers he has commissioned to find this new land because they can’t seem to figure out how to not sail in circles.  You go to the king with your private jet and tell him you’ll find new land 5000 kms away and be back by dinner.  He says, “No way!”  You do it, and marry 534 Portuguese Princesses (One for each goal you scored in the 1912 NHL hockey season) and live happily ever after with your private jet in the 15th century.

Lest We Forget

Posted in History, Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 10, 2010 by Jordan

April 9, 1917 is a date that will remain entrenched in Canadian history forever.  It is the date that many Canadians consider the birth of Canada as a nation.  It is the date that four Canadian Divisions went over the top and led the allied offensive at Vimy Ridge in the First World War.  It was a successful offensive that many military and war historians consider the turning point of the Great War.

I studied history in school, wrote an essay on Canada’s success at Vimy and taught a lesson to a grade eleven class on how the events at Vimy Ridge contributed to Canada’s distinction as a nation and independence from Britain.  However, it wasn’t until a colleague of mine came into my office yesterday and wished me a Happy Canada Day that I first remember the anniversary of Vimy Ridge and second, took time to remember the great sacrifices men younger than myself made some 93 years ago to help preserve the freedoms so many of us take for granted today.  It made me think and question why such influential Canadian moments are not celebrated and remembered throughout Canada more prominently.

While reading an article in the Globe and Mail last night I was pleased to find out that there was actually a rather extensive ceremony at the National War Memorial in Ottawa yesterday commemorating the Battle of Vimy Ridge. However, that same article mentioned that absence of John “Jack” Babcock, the last living veteran of the conflict, who died on February 18 at the age of 109.  With so many of our great veterans passing away, I feel their great efforts have become more and more distant from our present thoughts.  Consequently, it is becoming more and more important that we do not forget the freedoms we have bestowed upon us and we do not forget the men and women who gave up so much in both World Wars to ensure we had the opportunity to live the lives we do today.  Remember battles like Vimy, Passchendaele, the Somme, Dieppe and Normandy because it the existence of these battles that we remember on Remembrance Day.

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