La Bataille Annulée


So the full-scale re-enactment of the Battle of the Plains of Abraham (aka “the Battle of Quebec”) has been cancelled. As most know it had originally been planned to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the decisive British victory over the French-Canadian forces in 1759 outside the walls of Quebec City.

Organizers of the event, the National Battlefields Commission, capitulated to a well coordinated campaign of public outrage from radical Quebec nationalists that included personal “death threats” and promises of violent disruptions. Patrick Bourgeois, leader of Le Reseau de Resistance du Quebecois said he was “very proud of that.” Whatever.

It’s somewhat difficult to see how anyone could be “insulted” by a recreation of an historical event, but then perhaps being English, I’m somewhat biased. Still, I wouldn’t be in the least bit offended by a recreation of the Battle of Hastings (such as the one pictured below from an event at Battle Abbey, Sussex in October of last year). In that confrontation it’s remembered that the “English” (Anglo-Saxons) were defeated by the “French” (Normans) resulting in the eventual conquest of Britain.

Battle of Hastings Recreation - 2008

Impolitical expresses a sentiment that’s probably not altogether uncommon in connection with such events:

And then there’s just the whole silliness of putting on these kinds of events. What the attraction is in watching adults in costumes reenacting such violence, put me down as a big question mark.

I’ve never been involved in one of these things or even seen one for that matter, but I would imagine they’re probably quite entertaining to watch, and even more so to participate as one of the “re-enactors.” The following video is of a recreation of the 1707 Battle of Almansa that was staged near Albecete in southeastern Spain to commemorate its 300th anniversary.

Looks like fun to me.

Just as an historical footnote, Almansa was one of the most decisive engagements of the War of the Spanish Succession. It has been described as “probably the only battle in history in which the British forces were commanded by a Frenchman, the French by a Briton.” The Franco–Spanish army under the Duke of Berwick soundly defeated the allied forces of Portugal, Britain, and the United Provinces led by the Earl of Galway, reclaiming most of eastern Spain for the Bourbons.

Beautiful Unaffordable B.C.


It’s probably something that will come as no surprise whatsoever to residents of Vancouver and Victoria to learn that they’re amongst the “least affordable” cities in the world.

According to the latest Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey, Vancouver ranked fourth, behind Australia’s Sunshine coast, which was listed as the world’s least affordable place to live. Honolulu, Hawaii ranked second, while Australia’s Gold Coast came in third.

The New York-based Demographia survey, the fifth annual edition, was compiled from third-quarter data in 265 metropolitan markets around the world.

All of Canada’s “severely unaffordable” markets are located in British Columbia, with Victoria ranked number seven, Kelowna at 19 and Abbotsford at 25.

The survey found 87 “affordable” markets, with 77 in the U.S. and ten in Canada. Canada’s most affordable housing market is in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Other affordable markets are the hellholes of Thunder Bay, ranked 12th, and Windsor, ranked 17th.

“Douchebag” Lawsuit Dismissed

While we’re on the subject of defamation, a lawsuit brought by three women whose photos appeared in the book Hot Chicks with Douchebags was dismissed the other week by a New Jersey judge.

Superior Court Judge Menelaos Toskos ruled that author Jay Louis’s 2008 book was “replete with obvious attempts at satirical humor,” and that the inclusion of the women’s photographs were “used for humorous social commentary.” Toskos, who reported that he “carefully scrutinized” the Simon & Schuster title, pointed to several passages showing that the book was obviously satirical.

“For example,” Toskos wrote, “how can a person reasonably believe that in 1981 archaeologist Renee Emile Bellaqua uncovered in a cave in Gali Israel a highly controversial Third Century religious scroll suggesting that the “douchey/hotty” coupling was a troublesome facet in early social religious structures?” The 60-year-old jurist also questioned whether a reasonable person could “believe that Jean-Paul Sartre stated ‘man is condemned to be douchey because once thrown into the world he is responsible for every douchey thing that he does.’”

Smoking Gun has the complete opinion which is quite amusing.

Just a Thought


If every contributor to non-Conservative political parties (22,292 according to 2007 figures, so the number is approximate) was to give $5 each, that would cover off the cost of mounting a legal case on behalf of author Tom Zytaruk against the Conservative Party of Canada for libel, slander, defamation of character and whatever other charges may be deemed appropriate.

Now, if only there was a lawyer in the land with no particular love for Conservatives, an unabashed Liberal partisan even, who would be willing to work on a pro bono basis; you know, perhaps somebody young, looking to gain notoriety and make a reputation for himself… If only I could think of someone fitting that description…