Tim Belford: Short Takes On Life
Tim Belford
Tim Belford
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Tim Belford is host of Quebec A.M. -- CBC Radio's popular English- language morning show (91.7 FM, 6-9, Mon.-Fri). He also is said to know a thing or three about wine.

Posted 08.22.05
Quebec City


Bond. James Bond, that's who…

One of my favorite characters in the James Bond movies is Q. He's the guy who runs the department that comes up with all the neat, nasty stuff like exploding pens and magnetic watches with built-in buzz saws.

Just when Bond is about to meet an untimely and usually unpleasant demise he whips out a stick of Wrigley's chewing gum and blows open the steel door to the gas chamber.

Or he turns his fedora into a six-foot inflatable life raft and rides the crest of the tidal wave to freedom.

Now, most of us just take this with our tongue firmly in cheek and dismiss it as the product of the writer's fertile imagination.

But not the real spooks out there.

The CIA, MI6, the KGB or whatever the Russians are called nowadays, and probably CSIS all have Q's of their own who take all this spy stuff really seriously.

Recently it came out that the Brits were working on a number of interesting items.

For example, the toffee foam.

Apparently, it involved a special gun that fired a treacley substance that immobilized the would be Dr. Nos of the world.

It was abandoned, however, when the Queen's spies realized it also blocked people's airways leaving them dead or at the very least unavailable for questioning.

Another brilliant idea was a backpack full of water and an industrial-sized super soaker.

It was designed for crowd control.

Unfortunately, every time the user pressed the trigger the pressure from the hose set him on his backside.

Better still was an attempt to literally 'out fox' the enemy.

Noting that foxes have a superior sense of smell, some bright light decided to train them as sniffer foxes.

Like sniffer dogs but with bushier tails.

The problem here is that the foxes were fond of biting their trainers.

Besides, all came to naught when the foxes managed to chew their way out of their cages and headed back to the wild.

Presumably they'd rather spend their lives being chased by a pack of hounds and the chinless members of the aristocracy.

The Brits have also been watching too much Wimbledon.

At one point they apparently developed a souped-up version of the gun that fires tennis balls on the practice court.

It fired a tennis ball like an enraged Pete Sampras - just short of being lethal.

The problem was, although it had Sampras' speed, it also had the accuracy of my backhand.

For Canada's part, not much is know about CSIS' efforts in the world of spy toys.

There is a rumor that Canada's subterfuge specialists, taking their lead from a former prime minister, are working on an Inuit soap stone carving that turns into a handy black jack.

And I have it on good authority that at this moment they are also training caribou to be used in crowd control. Sort of like a northern version of Australia's famous sheep dogs.

But those are both unconfirmed. And, like any good spy, if I told you my source I'd have to kill you.