Silver Jet references


"...Clayquot Sound to Cape Spear"

Two of the most distant points in Canada, a span quite literally stretching from coast to coast. Clayquot Sound is found on the Pacific Coast of British Columbia, and is noted for it's kilometres of pristine old-growth forest, beautiful coast line and abundant wildlife. It has been home to Indigenous peoples for centuries, and remains one of Canada's largest natural rainforests. In 1993, the Sound became a flash point for environmentalists as over 800 protesters were arrested for blocking logging roads in the area.

Cape Spear is the most eastern point in North America, home to the oldest lighthouse in Canada, and one of the nations most visited national historic sites. It was also the only point on Canadian land to have been directly attacked by the Nazi's during the Second World War. Two German U-boats struck the coast of Cape Spear with a pair of torpedo's in 1942, but no serious damage was sustained. The Cape had become a fortified point at the beginning of the war, when 10-inch guns were installed to protect the entrance into St. John's Harbour.

Not too far from Cape Spear is Martin Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador. In October of 1943, Martin Bay became the only part of Canada to be invaded by the German's when a submarine landed and set up an automatic weather station.

The only other known point of WWII action in Canada occured when a Japanese submarine shelled the lighthouse at Estevan Point, British Columbia on June, 20 1942.

"...let us now praise famous men"

Thanks to John Mazerolle for pointing this out: from the fine folks at Wikipedia; "Let Us Now Praise Famous Men is a book with text by American writer James Agee and photographs by American photographer Walker Evans first published in 1941 in the United States. The title is from a passage in Ecclesiasticus that begins, "Let us now praise famous men, and our fathers that begat us."

"...When a car like Big Ben
It's radio dopplerin' '...and for all you Gregory Peck fans."

Operation "Big Ben" was an attempt to track German V2 rockets with advanced mobile radar technology during the Second World War. The rockets were code named "Big Ben" because of the famous clock which was at the heart of Hitler's targets in London. "Doppler radar refers to the principle the Austrian scientist Christian Doppler discovered in 1842. Doppler worked out his ideas using sound waves, long before radio, much less radar, was invented." It is a form of forecasting which measures the frequency change in radio waves, and is widely used by National weather services and local television stations when they routinely botch forecasts and send us to the beach on rainy days.
Hip Head Chris Loblaw adds: "I think that the Doppler reference in "Silver jet" is more about the Doppler Effect where sound being emitted from a moving source changes as the source approaches the listener, going from a higher pitch as it approaches the listener, to a lower pitch as it moves away from the listener."

Gregory Peck made nearly 60 films in a career which spanned six decades. In addition to legendary rolls in "Cape Fear," "To Kill A Mockingbird," and "Moby Dick," Peck also successfully produced broadcasts of The Academy Awards, and provided the best voice work in a documentary loaded with the greatest of voice work: "Ken Burn's Baseball." 

"...As if the wolves of Northumberland themselves
Were rumoured to be en route"

In 1904, the residents of the Northumberland county town of Hexham, England were terrorized by a murderous wolf, or so they believed. The wild Northumberland wolf took the blame for a series of odd animal mutilations and livestock massacres that seriously hampered the areas agricultural capabilities. A posse was formed, armed and ready to capture the vile creature that so many had claimed to have seen slinking away from various farms in the night.

Celebrity hound dogs were brought in for the hunt, but the wolf could not be found. Panic settled in amongst the towns folk. Eventually, as more and more wolves were hunted to prevent another super-wolf from emerging, the livestock attacks diminished along with the hysteria. In reality, a group of wolves was most likely to blame rather than one mythological beast.

From an excellent and now defunct Northumberland Wolves webstory: "This period seemed to see an unprecedented level of weirdness gripping Great Britain. Strange lights were following Mary Jones, founder of a hysterical religious revival in Wales, elaborate accounts of which appeared in the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, the Occult Review, and the Liverpool Echo.

Fort recorded many other reports of strangeness around this time including, "teleportations in a butcher shop, mysterious rappings on a door of a house in Crewe, and of a young woman in the house who was said to have dropped dead." There were also reports of "mysterious fires" over this period; "neighbours broke in, and found the body of the occupant, Barbara Bell, aged 77, on the floor. Her body was burned, as if for a long time it had been in the midst of intense flames."

Was the country in the thrall of the paranormal, or were these reports the death throes of a common imagination both irrational and prosaic? Literacy was increasing exponentially at this time, supposedly strangling the ignorant and superstitious beliefs of the British working classes; rationality and civility were qualities which all could, and should, aspire to. The Wolf, then, must have seemed to embody everything the progressive and self-improving Victorians deemed wild, contrary and distasteful."

Northumberland is also a county in between Kingston and Toronto near Lake Ontario. For years the community has been debating whether or not to increase the amount of wolves hunted in the area each year. Some argue in favour of conservation, while others feel the amount of wolves in the area are a threat to livestock and children, and should be culled. They maintain that "the present number of wolves in Ontario is approximately 8,850. If this number is accurate then Ontario continues to have more wolves than any other state, province or territory in North America"

"...Yer an archipelago, a satellite a green star."

Fun with

Archipelago: A large group or chain of Islands (like the Arctic Archipelago).

Satellite: An object launched to orbit Earth or another celestial body. (Like Alouette 1, which made Canada the third nation in space).

Green Star: J.G. Hagen devised a colour chart for amateur astronomers to help them identify the distance and substance of stars based on their colour. How they appear in a telescope tells a lot about a star, in fact a whole complicated lot. Green stars are felt by many experts to be an optical illusion, and a Professor Frink-esque debate rages over whether or not they actually exist. Hagen did not include green in his colour chart. 

Hip Head Harley Duck suggests that the references in this song to Hot Spurs and Northumberland could be drawn from Shakespeare, as both are characters in The Henriad.