Thursday, October 04, 2007

On The Origin Of . . .


What if those people in Kansas are right and evolution never happened? If they are, I sure hope evolution happens soon.

On the left, we see an art student's rendition of the ancient Giant Beaver -- 14 feet of tree-chewing, dam-building terror which roamed the Earth in long-forgotten ages.

We don't have a lot of information about the life-cycle and personal preferences of the ancient Giant Beaver, but we know the geographic range for this beast extended at one time as far south a Florida. Early Americans chased the creatures northward into the ancient Kingdom known as "Canadon", where the tiny descendants of this ancient terror of the forest dwell unto this very day and have even found a home on our frosty northern neighbor's money.

It always comes back to money, doesn't it?

Yesterday afternoon I bought a comic. Joss Whedon's latest Buffy comic, to be precise. It cost $2.99. Without telling you how much I remember comics costing when I was a kid, I'll tell you that the $2.99 I was happy to pay sat on the cover next to a "/" and on the other side of that was a bit that said, "$3.99CAN".

I'm used to seeing that type of pricing structure on books and magazines. Somewhere in one of my emotional darker places a little part of me always giggles a bit at the misfortune of our snow-coated, moose-hugging friends who have to pay at least a dollar extra for everything.

But now, the monopoly-colored beaver-dollar is worth at least what our own dollar is worth. Canadians are getting screwed by this pricing structure more than ever.

The price for electronic media like games is as much as $10 more in the braille-friendly loonie even with the depressed value of our own currency. Is this part of some conspiracy to hobble the Canadian Video Game Olympics team? Would the plots of the entertainment industry against "le dollar" impact American media geeks in general and (more importantly) me specifically?

Probably not. Canada is another county. A country filled (if media reports are to be believed) with bears and elk and tiny degenerate inferior beavers forever stunted by their life in the ever-present snow.

As such, Canada (and Canadians) are simultaneously above the Great Lakes and beneath the threshold for concern.

But why do we keep them around? I mean, aside from the amusement factor what has Canada done for us lately?

A quick visit to Wikipedia answers this quite simply:

Oil. Canada has a lot of it and only a few billion tons of fresh lumber stands between us and all that goodness.

That is why we play nice with Canada even though all the good actors already moved here. Our publishing industry buys bulk paper from Canada, prints stuff on it, then charges Canadians extra to buy it back. This can result in either a slow bleed of their economy or the eventual total illiteracy of an entire nation.

And either way, they become much more agreeable to our drilling for oil in the land they have already cleared for us.

What does concern me is the inevitable return of the beaver. Warmer climates in the south could bring about their former gigantism. We must be ready, my friends. Remain vigilant. Always travel with a buddy. Never leave the house with wood.

Eyes ever northward-


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