May 07, 2007

And now . . . this - May 7, 2007

Tim Hortons is working for the Russkies!

A tale of paranoia run amok. Someday we'll look back at this and laugh.

Ah, heck, why wait?

An odd-looking Canadian quarter with a bright red flower was the culprit behind a false espionage warning from the U.S. Defense Department about mysterious coins with radio frequency transmitters, The Associated Press has learned.

The harmless "poppy quarter" was so unfamiliar to suspicious U.S. army contractors travelling in Canada that they filed confidential espionage accounts about them. The worried contractors described the coins as "filled with something man-made that looked like nano-technology," according to once-classified U.S. government reports and e-mails obtained by the AP.

The silver-coloured 25-cent piece features the red image of a poppy, Canada's flower of remembrance, inlaid over a maple leaf. The unorthodox quarter is identical to the coins pictured and described as suspicious in the contractors' accounts.

[Full Story]

Back in 2004, Tim Hortons outlets had the exclusive right to distribute these commemorative coins. Does this mean Canada's favourite donut chain is working to subvert American interests?

I just looked, and I've got two poppy quarters in my desk drawer. Hoo boy, I've got to be careful what I say now. And what about that pink-ribbon breast-cancer quarter from last year? Is it sending pictures of my decidedly untidy bedroom to CSIS?

Did it occur to these American contractors to just check with the mint, rather than subject their quarters to a battery of ridiculous tests? Nanotechnology indeed.

Meanwhile, in other coin news:

I'll have one $1,000,000 with pepperoni and extra cheese

Today's dubious achievement: Canada has minted the world's largest coin:

Got change for a million? Canada does: the world's biggest pure gold coin at 200 pounds.

Already, three buyers have shelled out for one of the 1 million Canadian dollar coins introduced last week.

The Royal Canadian mint made the coins, 20 inches in diameter and 1 inch thick , mostly to seize the bragging rights from Austria, which had the record with a 70-pound, 15-inch wide coin.

"They're not doing this because there is huge demand for 100-kilo gold coins," Bret Evans, editor of Canadian Coin News said Saturday. "They're doing it because it gives them some bragging rights in having the largest purest gold coin in the world."

[Full Story]

By my calculations, based on today's price of gold, the actual value of this "one million dollar" coin is actually $2,435,740.56 CDN. And you thought pennies were expensive to mint . . .