Hometown Hero? (Tommy Chong)

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by KanMan, Feb 10, 2009.

  1. http://www.calgaryherald.com/Sports/Hometown+Hero/1268820/story.html

    CN AB: Hometown Hero?
    URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v09/n156/a05.html
    Newshawk: CMAP http://www.mapinc.org/cmap
    Votes: 0
    Webpage: http://drugsense.org/url/jyICDljY
    Pubdate: Mon, 09 Feb 2009
    Source: Calgary Herald (CN AB)
    Copyright: 2009 Canwest Publishing Inc.
    Contact: http://www.canada.com/calgaryherald/letters.html
    Website: http://www.canada.com/calgaryherald/
    Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/66
    Author: Nick Lewis
    Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/people/tommy+chong

    Follow Our Mission To Have A Calgary Landmark Named After Stoner Icon Tommy Chong
    The Cheech & Chong light up Canada tour appears Friday at the Jubilee Auditorium.
    Tickets are sold out.
    And why not?
    Why not reward the world's most famous pot-smoking high-school dropout by naming a street in Calgary after him? He's Tommy Chong! And love him or hate him, you know who he is without searching Wikipedia! Can you say that about James Macleod? John Laurie? Cornelius 17th Avenue? I think not.
    Although he was born in Edmonton and came to fame in Vancouver, comedian-actor-musician Tommy Chong spent most of his formative years in Calgary. Face it Calgary, you made Tommy Chong who he is. Don't shy away now.
    Chong is a counterculture hero and a champion to those who believe in the decriminalization of marijuana. Along with partner Cheech Marin, he popularized the comedy album and invented the now-ubiquitous stoner comedy genre in movies such as Up In Smoke ( 1978 ) and Nice Dreams ( 1981 ).
    Does Tommy Chong deserve a street named after him? Should something in Calgary be named after him? Let us know what you think on our website.
    Today he continues to entertain audiences with his standup comedy act. In fact, he may be the most influential and popular pop-culture figure the city ever produced. Which is why he deserves a street in his hometown named after him.
    Naming public assets after Albertans who weren't Mounties or politicians isn't unheard of. There's Wayne Gretzky Drive in Edmonton, Terri Clark Park in Medicine Hat and George Fox Trail in Cochrane. Surely Tommy Chong carries enough stature to get a street in Calgary named after him, right? In fact, we asked Chong himself about the idea and, flattered, he suggested a back alley in China-town, since that's where he spent so much time during those formative years.
    So I ask Robert Jim, the president of the Sien Lok Society, which preserves Chinese Canadian heritage in Calgary.
    "Are you serious?" he asks.
    "Well, I'm somewhat serious," I say. "But Tommy is an international figure and I'm wondering what you think about Calgarians naming a street in Chinatown after him."
    "I guess it's really for the community to decide, not me," he says. "It's a bland, politically correct answer, I know, but part of the problem is I don't know him. I know of him through his movies, but that's about it."
    "Is it a valid suggestion though?" I ask.
    "Um, generally, it would be a good idea," he says diplomatically. "We should name streets after prominent Calgarians, but it should be based on the merits of what they've done for the city."
    I can't say I know of anything Tommy's done for the city of Calgary, but he's always been good to Calgarians and always made mention of his childhood here.
    I ask Ald. Druh Farrell, whose ward includes Chinatown, what she thinks about one of the back alleys in her district renamed "Tommy Chong Lane."
    "Well, we're trying to clean up our back laneways downtown," she says with her tongue in cheek, "so perhaps we should run it by him and see what he thinks about leaving it the way it is."
    It was time to try the mayor for some straight answers. If anyone could get this initiative started, it would be him.
    But after a couple of phone messages over a few days, the mayor's assistant called me back to let me know that Dave Bronconnier does not wish to comment.
    "He doesn't know him,"Marc Henry says.
    "But surely he knows OF him," I say. "He's internationally renowned. The mayor probably knows him about as well as he knows Jarome Iginla."
    "No, he knows Jarome Iginla," Henry says.
    Er, OK, that was going nowhere. Besides, Chong was kicked out of Calgary in 1958 by then mayor Don MacKay, so there's be no reason to believe The Man was off his back.
    Time for Stage 2.
    Since nobody seems ready to jump on the street-naming bandwagon just yet, I thought I'd try a different route. Would Crescent Heights High School be willing to rename its library after its most famous alumni?
    Um, maybe.
    The trouble with Crescent Heights, which has been operating since 1915, is that it has a number of famous alumni, including former Alberta premier Ralph Klein, rock musicians Tegan and Sara, and country singer Paul Brandt, which doesn't make Chong stand out as much. Heck, the school's first principal was William Aberhart, who went on to become premier of Alberta ( and then have another Calgary school named after him ).
    While the school's current principal, Arvin Rajan, is gracious and congenial, I quickly learn that he really has no say in the matter. The naming and renaming of facilities falls under the board of trustees jurisdiction at the Calgary Board of Education.
    "I don't think we've ever named a library," says Calgary Board of Education spokeswoman Joanne Lamont, "but if we did, it would fall to the board of trustees."
    I don't get the impression they'd be willing to assemble to discuss this initiative, so I decide to move on to Stage 3.
    Can I get a hotdog in Calgary named after Tommy Chong?
    The answer? Heck yeah!
    Jon Truch at Tubby Dog ( 1022 17 Avenue S. W. ) is a gentleman and a patron of the arts who is totally willing to name a dog at his store after our favourite Calgarian.
    "No problem," he says. "Just ask Tommy what he likes on his hotdog and we'll make it happen."
    Why can't bureaucracy work this well at the municipal level?
    Chong's publicist Stacey laughs when she hears the idea. "It's funny that you guys want to name a hotdog after Tommy in Calgary," she says. "They just named a hotdog in L. A. after him as well. What is it with Tommy and hotdogs?"
    So it turns out what Chong likes best on his hotdog, apparently, is mustard. Not the fancy Dijon kind, just good ol' squeeze bottle mustard. And that's it.
    Not surprisingly, mustard is the most popular condiment on a ho dog - --32 per cent of people polled by the National Sausage and Hot Dog Council chose it as their favourite topping.
    "Mustard is the best way to eat your hotdog,"Truch agrees.
    So beginning Thursday, you can grab yourself an officially endorsed Tommy Chong Hot Dog at Tubby Dog, and honour the man that put Calgary on the cultural map.
    Well, its weed at least.
  2. Holy crap, is that ever hard to read.

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