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Sunday Newsletter 2000-25Su.
December 17, 2000.
It's getting a lot closer to Christmas now. As I mentioned before, we three "wise men" at FactsCanada.ca will be issuing a newsletter on December 24. This should be out in the early morning hours, Pacific Time. I plan to devote the entire issue to Christmas stories, traditions and maybe even some statistical comments for you, our avid reader. In this issue, however, I am only going to tease you with a couple of Christmas articles, the remainder being filled with the type of articles to which you have become accustomed.
== TABLE OF CONTENTS ==
= Christmas appeal
= Question of the week
= Biography -- Wilf Carter
= Geek report
= Agricultural humour
= 'Tis the season -- Giveaway announcement
= Place names
= Geographical changes of the non-seismic kind
= Quote of the week
= Seasonal recipe
= Answer to this week's question
== CHRISTMAS APPEAL ==
It's time get off our "duffs" and get out there and do something "Christmassy". This may include completing your shopping list or, in my case, starting it. Perhaps you want to send a cheque down to a local charity for those not so lucky as to have a computer, a family, a dinner, or even a Christmas. Locally, a choice could be the Union Gospel Mission. For less than $2.00, or about half a cup of latte at Starbucks, the mission will serve up a hot meal to someone who needs it on Christmas day. Even if you usually don't do this type of thing, this is the time of year to feel the rewards of whatever you can spare. This year I am sending down $59.10 which will provide dinner for thirty people. Remember your school days? That's approximately the size of one of your classes, and you are buying everyone dinner and more. You are providing hope, no matter how fleeting.
This preface to the newsletter is not meant as advertising or to try and make people feel guilty. I am merely letting everyone know how easy it is to experience some of that special Christmas feeling that seems to come out only during this festive season, by sharing something that most of us can readily spare. It's obviously not practical for us to drive around picking up strangers and bringing them home for dinner but, through certain intermediaries, the same thing can be accomplished.
If you intend to contribute here or elsewhere, please remember the date -- contributions mailed now won't make it in time for Christmas.
The Union Gospel Mission needs help to serve hot meals or provide essential services to hungry, homeless, or hurting people in the Vancouver area this Christmas season. You can charge your gift to your credit card via telephone at 1-604-891-5682, or outside the lower mainland at 1-888-347-HOPE. Those wishing more information on the Union Gospel Mission can check out their Web site at this link.
== QUESTION OF THE WEEK ==
The unfortunate death of Pierre Elliot Trudeau recently had me wondering about a particular Trudeau family question that nagged at me. It has something to do with this time of the year.
What significance do the birth of his children have to the Christmas season?
Answer can be found near the bottom.
== BIOGRAPHY ==
Wilf Carter (Wilfred Arthur Charles Carter).
Regardless of whether you remember him as "Montana Slim", "The Golden Balladeer" or simply as Wilf Carter, this gentleman certainly personified the early days of the "Country and Western" music genre. He also inspired many others to follow his lead in their pursuit of the title bestowed on Wilf by his fans of Canada's premiere "C. & W." singer.
Born on December 18, 1904, in Port Hilford, Nova Scotia, Carter was first inspired, at the age of ten, by the singing and yodelling of a performer known as "The Yodeling Fool". Carter left the Maritimes in 1923 and ventured west to Calgary, Alberta, becoming a cowboy and part-time entertainer. The year 1930 brought him great exposure as he made his radio debut on a broadcast at CFCN radio in Calgary. A couple of years later he was singing as a trail rider for the CPR (Canadian Pacific Railway) on their Canadian Rocky line. The CPR was so impressed with his performances that Carter was invited to perform on the maiden voyage of the vessel "SS Empress" out of Great Britain in 1933.
While on his way to the "Empress", he stopped off at a small studio in Montreal and recorded two songs for RCA Victor: "My Swiss Moonlight Lullaby" and "The Capture of Albert Johnson". These songs both became big hits, and his popularity in the United States began to rise. Radio re-broadcasts of his songs from the CBC network, on such American giants as CBS and NBC (both radio networks at the time), garnered him the nickname "Montana Slim".
In 1940 Carter was involved in a serious car accident, which left him unable to perform for almost a decade. Eventually he resumed his live concert work in 1949 at the tender age of 45.
Throughout the 1950s his touring show was one of Canada's most popular attractions, with his appearances involving his daughters Carol and Sheila as back up singers and dancers. Carter even dubbed his tours "The Family Show With the Folks you Know".
In 1961 Carter published his autobiography, "The Yodeling Cowboy, Montana Slim from Nova Scotia". Three years later, at the age of sixty, he was invited to perform for the first time at the Calgary Stampede. It was the officers and directors of this event who dubbed him the "Balladeer of the Golden West".
In the 1980s, Carter was still performing, writing songs and recording for RCA records. They released a two-record, fiftieth anniversary salute to him, calling him the "Father of Country and Western Music in Canada". Other accolades he received include an induction into the Songwriters' Hall of Fame in Nashville, RCA's award for over forty years of accumulated sales, the "Martin Guitar Entertainer of the Year Award" for 1981, as well as the honour of being inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1984. In 1989 the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame followed suit with an induction into their hall.
Carter undertook his final tour at 87 years of age in 1991, bidding farewell to Canadians with a cross-country tour. He died in Scottsdale, Arizona, on December 5, 1996, two weeks shy of his 92nd birthday, and only a scant five years after finishing his last tour.
There are some photographs of Wilf at this link.
== GEEK REPORT ==
We're super late today, but I think it is worth it. Have a look at the Web site -- it has vastly improved over that loud, bright red and white design. We have more work to do -- mostly on the technical side, but we also have a talented artist working on a logo for FactsCanada.ca. (Here's a hint: it's not me!) Since I have lost some sleep over the last 48 hours, I almost guarantee mistakes. If you find any, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org . Thanks very much.
One of the things we are launching today is free, Web-based e-mail that is private, permanent and globally accessible. If such a service appeals to you, and you'd like to show your love of Canada (not to mention your support for FactsCanada.ca) see the information on our home page at this link. This service is fast, unlike some other supposedly hot mail services out there.
Finally, I promised last week I'd tell you what I learned about the remaining free Internet service providers out there. Three looked promising, but in the end I could only sign up for NetZero. dotNow! looked promising, but they were overwhelmed by the sudden demand. It took me almost a week to finally manage to download their set-up file. Even after I installed it, I was unable to connect. I haven't had time to contact their support department about it, but I will report anything I learn. The third is not worth mentioning, as they never bothered to respond to my enquiries.
I have a big problem with NetZero -- it's bad enough that I have to put up with a banner ad in my face at all times, but that's the price I pay for "free" access. However, they force their customers to use their mail servers, and as your e-mail messages pass through their mail servers, they tack advertising on the end of your message! This even if you are using an e-mail account not provided by them, and for which I (in my case) am paying good money to someone else. This was unacceptable to me, so I have resorted to paying for Internet access. Look Communications (formerly Internet Direct) has a great deal on at the moment: pay $9.95 per month for three months of unlimited access, then pick one of their several plans to switch to at the end of the three months. I'm hoping that Telus will have taken John's advice by then and got up off their "duffs" and done something about getting ADSL to Richmond.
== TRADITIONS ==
Mandarin oranges have been a tradition for British Columbian's since the first shipment of these small, seedless citrus fruits arrived from Japan around 1884. Legend has it that they were intended as a reminder of home for Japanese people living in the province, but they have long since been adopted by non-Japanese residents and are now as much a part of the Christmas season as candy canes, carols, wreaths, even Santa Claus himself.
Mandarins are grown in other places as well, including Morocco, Korea and China. However, the Japanese variety remains most popular in BC, making Canada the largest market for Japanese mandarins in the world. Mandarin season lasts from mid-November until the end of December.
Did I say Korea when mentioning four of the origins of the Mandarin? Yes I did. Korea has been called "the land of the morning calm". The Cheju mandarin is similar to Japan's because it originally came from Japan. The taste is slightly different though due to climatic and soil differences, and its fresh, natural taste has been trademarked "morning calm". The Cheju name comes from the island of Chejudo, located on the southernmost point of the Korean peninsula, and is Korea's largest island.
IGA Canada, Canada Safeway, Overwaitea and Save-On are but a few of the chains who began merchandising this Korean fruit alongside its Japanese cousin over a decade ago, the result being a growth in sales of almost 500 percent in the first three years.
Next time you are in a store that features this delicacy, give it a try. In addition to a different taste you won't beat the price, as most are retailed at nearly half the price of their Japanese counterpart. Don't get me wrong, I love Japanese mandarins as well. As a matter of fact, my first purchase of this product this year was a box of each. So break with tradition a bit if you wish, and experience some of the differences.
== AGRICULTURAL HUMOUR ==
Why did the Newfie plant Cheerios?
Because he wanted to grow doughnuts!
Think about it for a moment. If you still don't get it, then I've failed to provide you the smile you deserve.
== 'TIS THE SEASON ==
FactsCanada.ca has another giveaway for you this week. To ensure that you receive your gift from us by Christmas, or at least by the end of the year, we need to ask everyone to submit their request for a gift before 10:00 pm, Tuesday, December 19th. If, for some reason, you read this after that date, go ahead and submit a request anyway. Santa might not have given everything away yet, but he probably won't be able to ensure delivery before Christmas. He has a busy schedule, you know.
This time there is no need to answer any of my brain pain-inspiring questions. All you need to do is send your request for your free gift to email@example.com . Santa Claus will use the highly technical procedure of drawing names out of a hat, so you don't even have to be the first one to respond. He will even try to send specific gifts to those winners that request them. Winners' details will be announced in our Christmas eve issue.
These simple gifts are as follows:
- one laminated wall map of Canada,
- two Canadian landscape calendars for 2001, and
- one copy of "Herstory 2001: The Canadian Woman's Calendar".
This last item is a unique gift for the women out there, or for those men who want to give it to a cherished one. This date book (or desk calendar) provides pictures, stories and accomplishments of Canadian women, with calendar pages that will help the winner plan the details of her hectic daily life. When she previewed it, Margaret Atwood, one of Canada's premiere authors, said, "I thought 'Herstory 2001' was just great. Hope you do another next year." (Ms. Atwood's biography can be read by visiting our Web site at this link.)
So send in those requests and Santa will do his best to see that the winners receive their gifts as soon as possible.
== PLACE NAMES ==
Often incorrectly called "Hudson's Bay" (for reasons that will become clear below), this is an immense inland sea that penetrates deep into north-eastern Canada. It is virtually land-locked, but is joined to the Arctic Ocean to the north by Foxe Channel and the Fury and Hecla Strait, and it is linked to the Atlantic Ocean on the east by the Hudson Strait. At its northern gap, Baffin Island lies transversely to the entrance of the bay. Southampton, Coats and Mansel Islands are also positioned at its entrance.
This 637 000-square-kilometre bay was named for the explorer Henry Hudson, who probed and scouted its entire region in the early 1600s. This included his winter stay in James Bay, where most of his crew abandoned him and seven others on Charlton Island (just off the shores of Ontario and Quebec) in 1611. The fates of Hudson and his crew have never been established, but the creation of the Hudson's Bay Company in 1670 in London was a tribute this man. Still in existence today, the Hudson's Bay Company (more commonly known simply as "The Bay") is the oldest merchandising company in the world.
It was 1900 when the Geographic Board eliminated the possessive form of "Hudson" and lopped off the "'s", making it simply Hudson Bay. Attempts to rename the bay throughout the 1900s as "Canada Sea" have not been widely accepted.
== GEOGRAPHICAL CHANGES OF THE NON-SEISMIC KIND ==
On December 8, 2000, the British Columbia Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks decided to eliminate the word "squaw" from all British Columbia place names under the jurisdiction of the BC government. This decision responds to requests from First Nations groups and is supported by the BC Human Rights Commission. The policy of the provincial government is to rescind or replace offensive or insulting place names.
There are 11 place names under provincial jurisdiction that contain the word, three of which are named after a species of fish common to BC waters that has been renamed "pikeminnow" by fish scientists.
Under BC's geographical naming practices, consultations will be undertaken with First Nations, local residents, historical societies, park and forestry personnel, and maritime and search and rescue organizations before decisions are made on the new place names. Preference will be given to other traditional names or names in local use.
Saskatchewan, Alberta, Prince Edward Island and the Yukon are among Canadian jurisdictions that have already rescinded "squaw" names from their geographical features. Dozens of American states have also taken this step.
The following names have been eliminated:
- Squaw Creek -- Flows into Lockhart Creek, near Creston.
- Squaw Creek -- Flows into the Flathead River, near Fernie.
- Squawfish Lake -- Near McLeod Lake, north of Prince George.
- Squaw Lake -- In Crooked River Provincial Park, north of Prince George.
- Squaw Mountain -- Southeast of Tumbler Ridge in the Peace River Land District.
- Squawfish Lake -- South of Manson Creek and west of Mackenzie.
- Squaw Fish Lake -- In the Nechako Reservoir area near Tetachuck Lake, 100 kilometres south of Fraser Lake.
- Squaw Island -- On Milbanke Sound, northwest of Bella Bella.
- Squaw Creek -- Flows into the Little Eagle River, east of Dease Lake.
- Squaw Creek -- Flows north across the BC and Yukon boundary into the Tatshenshini River.
- Squaw Range -- Straddles the BC and Yukon boundary in the great bend of the Tatshenshini River.
In my "ITP Nelson" Canadian dictionary, the word "squaw" is defined as; "Noun -- Offensive. 1. An Aboriginal woman especially a wife or 2. A woman or wife."
== QUOTE OF THE WEEK ==
"Perhaps what Christmas is all about is to help us rediscover the child in all of us, the fact that we have hearts and are capable of loving." --Jean Vanier, spiritual leader, worker with the handicapped, and former governor general of Canada.
== SEASONAL RECIPE ==
Here is a recipe guaranteed to please all who delve into alcoholic libations, and food containing such, during this festive time.
Coconut Supreme Truffle.
4-6 cups of confectionery sugar.
1-3 cups of Irish Cream liqueur, depending on desired effect.
10 oz of coconut.
1 lb commercial chocolate candy coating.
If you use more than one cup of Irish Cream, then sugar and coconut should be increased proportionately to retain consistency.
Measure sugar into a medium bowl. Add Irish Cream and stir until well mixed. Add coconut and stir to coat all. Loosely cover and chill in freezer. If it is still too mushy to work with upon removal from the freezer, add more confectionery sugar and chill some more. Roll into bite-sized balls and return to the freezer. Melting small parts of the commercial chocolate candy coating, dip each ball in the chocolate. Dry on cookie sheets lined with wax paper. Store in between layers of waxed paper or in paper candy cups in tins or airtight containers.
Don't go out for a drive after consuming more than a few of these, for obvious reasons, or you may pull an illegal reading if caught in a drinking and driving road block. The officer will run you in for sure if you try telling the truth, that being that you *ate* yourself drunk!
== ANSWER TO THIS WEEK'S QUESTION ==
Of the three sons born to Pierre and Margaret Trudeau (née Sinclair, now Kemper), two where born on Christmas day.
Their children where born Justin, Sacha and Michel or "Misha". The first two, Justin and Sacha, where born on Christmas day. Michel, who was born in October, died in a skiing accident in 1998 near Rossland, British Columbia.
== PREVIEW ==
Mike is operating under the "just in time" method of article inventory management, so you'll know what sort of Christmas surprise is in store for you in this Friday's Feature as soon as you read it.
Well, that's it for this week. Have a pleasant week fulfiling your Christmas obligations, duties and pleasantries. Please also remember that Christmas is a time to provide, care and nurture. Let's cultivate this feeling and disregard our own needs for a short time. Look around you -- things probably are not that bad. Your reward can be in your giving, regardless of whether this giving is of money or time, or by simply joining in the spirit and passing it along. Even the "Scroogiest" of persons will eventually break down. Until next week, best of the season to all of you!
== LINKS AND RESOURCES ==
FactsCanada.ca -- http://www.factscanada.ca
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