Canadian Railway Superhero

Okay, today we’ve got the construction of a railroad across Canada. They need to blow up some stuff with nitro, a highly volatile explosive, and nobody white wants that kind of risk. WHAT IS A CANADA TO DO? Wait, I know! Chinese! An immigrant worker steps up to take the risk for some danger pay and, even when the nitro blows up on him and the insensitive guy with the awesome beard says “Well, get another one”, the Chinese worker stumbles back out to happily try again! The piece ends with the man telling the story to his (I assume) grandchildren, mentioning the sheer volume of Chinese workers who died making the railroad, because they were less than he.

It’s like, sure, a lot of Chinese workers died to make the railroad, but hey, our friend here, who we’ve come to know and like, is fine, so it is all good! It turns out that this guy is like Bruce Willis in Unbreakable and he used his super durability to make the money needed to pay boat, got his wife to Canada, and started making progeny so he could tell his story. The tragic numbers of people who died doesn’t seem so bad when we look back with a survivor. In a way, this is a true fact of history. All tragedy is less terrible as time goes on, a lesson Canada needed to know. That is what we’re supposed to take from this one, right?

Anyway, to the review. Let us see now. This spot has a message of respect for a minority group and it includes an explosion and one of Canada’s apparent first superhuman citizens. All told I think I can give this one Four and a Half Pieces of PDR’s Reviewing System Cake. Is it racist that I really like the style protagonist’s hairstyle in the his youth? I’ll get out here just in case.

Why Are People Whizzin’ On My Fountain?

Those who know Halifax will know the Commons, a pleasant park-area-deal just minutes from my apartment. It’s a nice place. In the Commons there’s this fountain that, for no actually justifiable reason, I have been referring to as “my fountain” for years. Sometimes I like to relax by sitting near it.

Anyway, three times this year I have seen teen-agers urinating in the bushes around my fountain. Unmitigated savagery. Now I don’t like to mock people who go to the washroom a lot or anything. I know that not everyone has the superhuman bladder that I have and I just don’t know what it is like to need to pee that badly. I can’t relate. But here is the thing: There is a washroom in the Commons! They just built a whole building to hold toilets and such right there in the park it a couple years ago! It’s PLAINLY VISIBLE from the area where the fountain is. If these teen-agers are unable to walk a distance that takes less than a minute because their bladders are so useless, maybe they shouldn’t leave the house. Or at least invest in some device that allows for one to avoid the need for public urination. On MY fountain!

What is the world coming to?

In other news, when I woke up this morning I remembered the dream I’d had so I wrote about it to Marq. Now I’ll copy and paste that here to fill up the rest of this post: I had a dream where I wasn’t me, I was some woman who worked in a hospital. Then a non-specific apocalypse happened and I, and at least three other hospital workers all became undead (we called ourselves zombies, but we had no zombie-mindlessness or cravings) and we kept the hospital open for survivors who needed help (there were many). At some point a woman who looked a lot like me came in to the hospital and it turned out it was on of my ancestors who happened to be a vampire. We got caught up and she didn’t drink my blood because I was dead. Then she had to leave town for whatever reason.

And let me add something I forgot to mention in that account: There was a point where I was totally jamming my wrist in the face of my vampire ancestor to see if she could smell the blood. She couldn’t.

Manglefinger: The End

You may recall that I had some finger damage a while back. Yesterday was the two week checkup of my finger after the sutures came out on the fifteenth. I’m told that the healing is going quite well. Nobody used the term “superhuman healing factor” but I can read between the lines.

Anyway, I’ve taken some more photos. My purpose here is to document PDR after all. Once again, I advise people who are sensitive to what busted-up-fingers may look like to not click on the links. What more can I do?

So the first photo shows what I got the day the sutures came out. At this point I had gone nine days without being able to clean the finger, which was less than ideal considering that I had injured it in machinery that was, as ought to be expected, not exactly sterile. But apart from just the filth we also have the dead fingernail sewn back into place to promote the growth of its replacement adding to the overall ugliness of the finger. Add to all of this the actual wound, of course. The sutures were taken out because all the cuts were now closed, but the swelling still had the wounds bulging with redness. The verdict? Obviously this is nowhere near as bad as my previous viewing of the finger, which was when the finger-fill that was hanging out of those wounds was being shoved back in so that they could sew it up, but this finger would not win any beauty contests for fingers. And not just because such contests don’t exist*.

The second photo was taken today! Much nicer! The finger has rejoined the rest of its fellows in the routine of regular washing, the dead nail has gone off to wherever it was needed most, and the swelling is down remarkably. At the time off the previous photo it took me four Band-Aids to adequately cover everything. Now I’m down to one. The picture isn’t great, so it can be hard to see the scarring on the underside, but mostly my verdict this time is that this is a finger that looks like a finger.

Anyway, though I thought this was to be the last of my visits, they actually want me go back for yet another look-see in six weeks’ time. Whatever, alright. I will point out, though, that the first time that I lost a fingernail in a machine at work (without the addition of a broken bone, admittedly) I didn’t even go back for one checkup, so all of this feels unnecessary to my untrained eyes. But in the end, I would like to thank the doctors at the QEII who spent some time out of their busy days dealing with my dumb injury and they were all nice as they did it. Thanks, people!

*If, in fact, beauty contests for fingers do exist, please try to make sure I never find out. Because that would be depressingly stupid.

But the post goes on! I wanted to mention, since I brought it up above, the term “Healing factor” annoys me. As a reader of comics and a fan of superheroes, I have come across this term many times in my life and I don’t care for it. I can accept saying that one has an “enhanced healing factor” or, as I did a “superhuman healing factor” but that isn’t the way it is used (As seen in this, frankly not good, Wikipedia page). The ability to heal isn’t a superpower. It’s the degree at which characters like Deadpool or Wolverine do their healing that is actually important, so shouldn’t that degree be a part of the description of their powers?

Oh! And since I’m going off on this tangent about superpowers, I might as well bring up some thoughts on Superman. If Superman were facing a villain who had telekinesis or some equivalent ability, would that villain then be able to use his power to make Superman’s bones move? And if so, would the villain then be able to force Superman’s powerful Kryptonian bones through his powerful Kryptonian flesh? I would assume that the strength of each of these would be similar to that of a human bone and flesh, and we know that a bone can pop through that stuff. Now, I like Superman, so don’t consider this me thinking of ways for villains to hurt him. This is me warning him of the potential threat of villains using his own femur to reverse-stab its way out of his body. Watch out Superman!

Who are THESE guys too?

I have, in the past, put more thought than is necessary into the topic of superheroes who were probably just created, used, and forgotten by their creators. The previous ones were used to decorate a box of tissues, but today’s offering is a couple of superheroes even more mercantile: They’re from ads.

Working, as I do, in the industry of putting paper with ads on it into people’s homes, I occasionally pay attention to those ads. Basically this is only when they have superheroes in them… Anyway, over the couple years since that last post, I’ve bothered to take two of these superhero-using ads home and I will now introduce you all to those heroes.

(I won’t be showing what the ads were for, though. I’m not getting paid, why should I?)

First up:

Totally not Superman

This man is basically Superman. Anyone can see this. This is Superman, but blonde. And he has a different symbol. A fiery symbol. This guy is depicted lifting the world (though this is probably metaphorical. Or at least a model world. I’m ruling out that he is giant. I won’t allow it.) he probably has Superhuman strength on a Superman level. He can also clearly fly. It would be easy to assume that this guy has your basic Superman Powers powerset.

Except fire is apparently enough of a recurring for this guy that it is his chest insignia. This implies he has more than just heat vision. This could come in the form of fire-breath replacing the ice breath of superman, but I’m going to assume more. I’m guessing this guy has full pyrokinesis. So what we have here is this guy who can fly, is super strong, can probably go really fast, and can generate and control fires. Sounds like a pretty heavy hitter to me.


Schlub superhero from advertisement

This second guy looks less stereotypically like a superhero. Your typical superhuman guardian has a strong square jaw and impossibly muscular physique, but this guy, owing perhaps to the cartoony style he has been rendered in, looks like more of a goof. The smile isn’t helping. It’s also worth noting that this guy is the first of the ones I’ve discussed so far who is actively pitching the product he was designed to pitch, instead of just looking superheroic on an advertisement. This guy is actively looking the reader in the eye and pointing to say: “Check out this deal here. Maybe you’d like it?”

Schlub superhero from advertisement

I get the feeling of a normal man in a costume from this guy. Just some athletic man who wore a costume to try to improve his community by crimefighting. But in a world with guys who can fly and shoot fire, maybe this guy finds it a hard job, as he would. And because of that it isn’t quite so insane that this guy would have to resort to taking advertising jobs. He probably also does exhibition shows at carnivals and public service announcements where he tells kids not to talk to strangers. He’s the workaday hero who can’t help much, but does everything he can to help. But I bet there is some drawbacks. He’s bound to feel some resentment, and I doubt he personally enjoys every ad that he has to do. But bills need to be paid, even for a man in a cape.

So there we go. Two more superheroes who I am probably the only person who has ever discussed them on the Internet. I win again.

I don’t maple leaf it!

This one is interesting. We’ve got dapper John Matheson standing in a dark void, struggling over how to convince Canada to agree on a flag. That is pretty much the entirety of the thing. His speech in the void. We’re told, in the end, that Canada does eventually agree, but that is just an afterthought. And it is weird, if you think about it too much. Which is exactly what I do.

At first we could suppose that he’s just having a soliloquy in the Flag Committee Room, but it isn’t so. John is talking to someone in that void. It’s possible that he is talking to us, via a breaking of the fourth wall, but he says when the other politicians walk in “I was just talking about you” and I doubt he’d have said that if he was talking to himself. This indicates that either his special awareness of the medium is already common knowledge, or there actually is someone in the void with him. In either case, he then demonstrates another magic ability: Whichever flag he is thinking of forms from the ether just by saying “this” and making a simple gesture of his head for the benefit of the person he was speaking with. What I’m saying is John Matheson was probably a wizard. In real life.

Also, he’s doing an awful lot of walking around in the void. Just saying.

Anyway, to business. I have made a big deal about the ability to quote them being the biggest factor in my liking of a Heritage Moment, but this one kinda goes against the grain. A few lines are pretty good (“But blue is not an official Canadian color*” and “Prime minister AND Mr. Diefenbaker…”), but really they don’t stand alone as well as examples from, say, the Superman minute. Does this work against this one? I’m going to go with “no”. You know why? Because this whole monologue is so strong that if I had the mental capacity, I would commit this whole commercial to memory and quote it in its entirety whenever I felt like it. And that would be sweet.

Apart from quotability, I have to say that looking at all the Alternate Earth Canada Flags is kinda fun. I bet this was one of the cheapest and easiest Heritage Minutes to make, but it does not suffer for it. And looking back at this from my present times, I can add that the “I wonder, I wonder” also reminds me of the Lost Skeleton of Cadavra, which is another plus for this Canada History Commercial. I am fully willing to give this one Five out of Six Pieces of PDR’s Reviewing System cake. It’s simple, magical, and I like it.

*And yes, I’m still gonna spell “color” the way I prefer even though the speaker would have spelled it another way. This is how the Nation of PDR rolls.