Apr 27, 2010

The Battle of York - this day in history

April 27th, 1813. Cannons thundered across the little town of York, and North America was at war with itself. Two new countries with citizens from the same families, same language.
Ask President Madison, the forth President of the United States, why he did it. He’d probably say that it was a golden opportunity to grab a continent while kicking the English out for good. And the English had their hands full across the ocean with a little Frenchman named Napoleon. So why not make a grab? But provoking neighbours to the north is never a good idea. Especially neighbours with their hands on the best Army and Navy in the world. So the War of 1812 became a hard driven war of battles and skirmishes that the United States had never bargained for with the British in their North American stronghold of Canada.

April 27th, was a battle; a skirmish at the quiet little Capital of Upper Canada, York.
American troops sailed by frigate and landed by long boat along the North Shore of Lake Ontario. They then marched along the shore toward the town and Fort York. In the scuffle that ensued, the Commander of the British Garrison at Fort York ordered a retreat, meaning, “Get out of town, fast. The Americans are coming.” But before they marched, or ran out of town, he left orders to blow-up the gun powder stone-house at the Fort. 
As American Soldiers and Marines advanced on the Fort, the gunpowder blew and rocks from the ammunition stone-house flew in all directions, showering rocks, carnage and mayhem, killing many- including American Brigadier General Zebulon Pike, who incidentally, Pikes Peak Mountain in Colorado is named after.
The Americans were so angry at the loss of troops and good officers that when they entered the little town, they sacked the place and burned down the Government House; the Capital.
Of course sometime later in retaliation for torching Canada’s Capital, the British marched on Washington, D.C., and burned the President's Mansion. To quickly cover the blacken scars, it was decided that the mansion should be painted white and from there after it became known as the White House.
All this because of the burning of the little town of York.
The War of 1812 and 1813 claimed too many lives and spread across both nations, ending at the Battle of New Orleans. Neither country lost territory in the war and Canada was saved.

The United States and Canada eventually became the best of friends, and President Madison? Well, he became an American hero, but not for the war of 1812. In most history books it’s a forgotten war because the USA were defeated in their expansionist ambitions. But Madison went on to forge the United States Constitution and today he’s remembered for that.
But what happened to that little town of York? Well, today it’s known to the world as the City of Toronto: A native Indian name meaning meeting place.
Toronto is Canada's largest city and is still host to invading Americans each year. But now, in peace, on vacation.

"I believe that in four weeks from the time a declaration of war is heard on our frontier, the whole of Upper Canada and a part of Lower Canada will be in our power."
- Representative John C. Calhoun

Run Lola Run (favorite films)

I recently re-watched the German "Art house" film "Run Lola Run." 
From the opening credits where a swinging pendulum sets the pace, we hear a clock ticking, the beat of the music starts, and this movie never stops with its frenetic and frantic pace. It's a visual cacophony of different and exciting images that run at you around every corner to build in your brain faster and faster until the end of the movie. Phew. Then your heart is still racing from the experience and you want to see it again. 
Run Lola Run is three films in one. Yet, it's the same film time and time again. But it's vastly different in that only the characters are the same. The story hits you repeatedly and builds without repetition. Each time Lola runs past someone on the street, you learn something new; sometimes funny and perhaps quirky about that person, and all within a few seconds, so that by the end of the film, it has been a complete encounter. 
The basic story is that she is running to stop her boy friend from committing a crime. I'm sure I lost pounds just watching this girl run. She's beautiful and compelling. She's also hip and fit with red hair flying in the wind. A tight blue top reveals a white bra underneath, and her tight green pants flair at the bottom over black boots; definitely not running shoes. 
This is a film like no other. It's so original that I would recommend it to literally anybody who is willing to suspend his or her belief in a linear world. 
Run Lola Run is in German with subtitles, but you hardly need to read much dialogue before the images tell you the story. 

Written and Directed by Tom Tykwer

Starring: Franka Potente as Lola and Moritz Bleibtreu as Manni her boyfriend

"The secret is just to keep moving."
-Franka Potente

Critic Quote:
"It delivers everything great foreign films should - action, sex, compelling characters, clever filmmaking, it's unpretentious (a requirement for me) and it has a story you can follow. I can't rave about this film enough - this is passionate filmmaking at it's best. One of the best foreign films, heck, one of the best films I have seen."
- Chris Gore