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Special Report: U.S. Drinking Water Spiked With Maple Syrup!

By Wendell Quan Fun

canadians are well aware that their actors, musicians, and athletes have successfully invaded the United States. We have even heard stories of ignorant Americans accepting Canadian Tire money as legitimate currency (just tell them the old Scottish guy on the bills is the King of Canada). As a result, some of our "cash" is circulating throughout banks all over the United States.

Americans still consider Canada as the unofficial Fifty-First State. Meanwhile, the United States is enjoying the fruits of a culture that have well-established roots in Canadian soil. AM radio, which was developed in Canada, has allowed the U.S. to produce their own kings (and queens) of the airwaves. People all over the States have been playing a particular computer game based on a form of Patience created in the Great White North. Finally, an American named Clarence Birdseye could not have introduced frozen food to the U.S. without first visiting Newfoundland. All you Canucks out there should know that your country has influenced America's culture to a greater extent than they will ever realize.

AM (amplitude modulation) radio was invented in Canada by Reginald Fessenden in 1904. He was the first person to successfully transmit signals through the air and later became the first person to transmit a human voice using radio waves. The first broadcast in history consisted of Fessenden playing his violin and reading a passage from the Bible. Howard Stern would not be as popular as he is today if he was not first broadcasted over the airwaves of WNBC. If it were not for Fessenden's brilliant invention, WNBC would not have existed and Howard Stern would not be able to broadcast his sense of humour and entertain millions of people in the United States. AM radio made legendary baseball announcer Harry Caray available to American fans. He broadcasted Cardinals games for twenty-five years and later did play-by-play for the White Sox and the Cubs. Today, he is remembered in the Baseball Hall of Fame as a legend and in Chicago as a celebrity. AM has also made Jim Rome (sports radio talk show) and Ernie Harwell (recently retired Detroit Tigers' announcer) popular in several regions of the United States, just to name a couple of American radio celebrities.

Every copy of every version of Windows contains the card game called Solitaire. Since Microsoft Windows is the most popular operating system in the world (and probably the U.S. as well), it is safe to say that the majority of computers in American households have Solitaire on them. In order to understand this piece, please note that the name "Solitaire" refers to a very large family of card games. The particular form of solitaire that Microsoft has distributed with Windows was actually created in Canada during the Gold Rush. The true name of "Windows Solitaire" is "Klondike". Ever since Klondike was introduced to American computer users, it has become a very popular game. Older people especially continue to play it today while teenagers have started to look at RPGs and first-person shooters. Even stereotypes claim that cubicle workers secretly play Solitaire and minimize the game's Window when their bosses pass by. I get the impression that Solitaire (or Klondike, now that you know the correct name) is still popular because Microsoft continues to distribute it with every new version of Windows. Even Windows XP still carries it when it has the capabilities to handle much more complex games. Klondike has become standard on home computers in American households.

Frozen meat products such as "TV Dinners" and hamburger patties have become a part of American culture. People in the U.S. can thank their very own Clarence Birdseye for introducing frozen beef and poultry to his fellow countrymen. However, Americans do not know that Birdseye had to visit Newfoundland to find out that meat can be preserved by freezing it. According to Jack Mingo, the American author of "How the Cadillac Got Its Fins", Birdseye tried some meat that was frozen by Canadian aboriginals and realized that it tasted fresh (compared to preserved meat in his homeland). When Clarence Birdseye went back to the States, he sold "his" idea to General Foods for $22 million. This large company advertised and sold frozen food to Americans and inspired the Swanson brothers to create and market "TV Dinners". We all know how popular these meals are today (they have been in grocery stores since 1952).

Although the United States might find it hard to admit, their culture has been significantly influenced by their Canadian neighbours. They probably think that AM radios, frozen food and Windows Solitaire are all American inventions. Now they know the truth. America's drinking water has been contaminated with maple syrup, and that is good. It makes their daily routines a little sweeter.

Wendell Quan Fun graduated from Monsignor Johnson in Etobicoke and currently studies at U of T.

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