Thursday 29 January 2015

The Battle of New Orleans

Although the War of 1812 came to an end with the Treaty of Ghent signed on December 24, 1814, it took a while for that news to reach North America from Europe. Consequently, continued skirmishes and attacks between the British and Americans occurred until mid-February 1815, when word of the peace treaty finally arrived.

The most famous of these late-breaking hostilities was the Battle of New Orleans on January 8, 1815. Heavily outnumbered American soldiers and militia under Major-General Andrew Jackson ("Old Hickory") defeated the British who attacked the Louisiana city both by land and sea. The victory boosted Jackson's profile and reputation, ultimately helping to propel him to the White House as president in 1829.

I mentioned before that the most famous song to come out of the War of 1812 is the American national anthem. The second most famous song is the 1959 hit "The Battle of New Orleans" by Johnny Horton. Who doesn't remember that catchy banjo-and-martial-drumbeat music with its down-home lyrics?

            We fired our guns and the British kept a'comin.
            There wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago.
            We fired once more and they began to runnin' on
            Down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

            Yeah, they ran through the briars and they ran through the brambles
            And they ran through the bushes where a rabbit couldn't go.
            They ran so fast that the hounds couldn't catch 'em
            Down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

I can't embed it from YouTube for copyright reasons but click here for a fun little video of the song.

So this post concludes my series on the War of 1812 -- thanks for persevering with me over the past couple of years! And may I just say to our American neighbours -- I'm glad everything ended well and we're all friends now, but please don't invade Canada again, eh? Just come as tourists and spend your money here instead. The loonie is low right now so you'll get an extra good deal!

Monday 26 January 2015

Happy Australia Day!

On Australia's National Day, I just want to take a quick moment to salute our Commonwealth cousins who live Down Under. So, up here in the Great White North, what do we REALLY know about Australia?

First of all, they talk funnier than us Canuckians, EH?

And EVERYTHING in their part of the world is dangerous and deadly.

But Australians always keep their, shall we say, WHIMSICAL sense of humour --

So now, what are the three main things that immediately leap to mind about Australia? Yes, you're right --




[caption by

But seriously, Australia is SO much more than our tired stereotypes about it! I sincerely hope to visit Australia one day and see this magnificent country for myself. Until then . . .


Sunday 25 January 2015

It's Robbie Burns Day!

Och aye, lassies and laddies, 'tis time once again to celebrate the birthday of Scotland's greatest poet. So in the spirit of the Bard hisself, here's my wee annual collection of Scottish LOLs to tickle yer haggis.

It goes without saying that EVERYBODY is Scottish on Robbie Burns Day --

And it's the one day of the year that men can safely wear a skirt in even the most macho of cultures --

Now, WHY are Scots such badasses? Surely the answer is obvious. It's their take-no-prisoners approach to life --

A few months ago, Scotland held a referendum on independence from the U.K. Let's just say the results were not QUITE as expected.

Well, at least they saved the Union Jack.

The referendum demonstrated that there's always hard lessons to be learned in this life.

Now be off with ye or I swear to God I'll start singing "Ye Banks and Braes o' Bonnie Doon" in my best fake Scottish accent. And none of us wants that.

Friday 16 January 2015

Lost, Naked and Afraid in IKEA

I spent more time at IKEA this autumn than any person in their right mind ought to. But I did finally decide on the book shelves and sideboard that I needed for my apartment. For the first time in my life, though, I had IKEA deliver and assemble the furniture for me. My days of personally wrasslin' with an allen key are SO over.

You can get damn near anything at IKEA, it's true.

I must have walked a million miles inside that bloody store. The sheer size of it is the main reason I never go to IKEA unless I absolutely have to.

Their furniture looks good even though it's not solid wood. Or solid anything, really.

But putting it together? No wonder people want to murder someone once they've finished assembling IKEA furniture . . . .

Even Santa's gone IKEA. Saves him a bundle on labour costs.

Wednesday 14 January 2015

Starry, Starry Night

One of my favourite songs has always been Don McLean's 1972 hit Vincent (Starry, Starry Night). And Van Gogh's masterpiece "Starry Night" has always been my favourite of his paintings.

So okay now, in contrast to McLean's sensitive and profound meditation on Van Gogh's life, here's some internet LOLs on the same subject!

It's probably a good thing that Vincent didn't live today because modern pop culture might have affected his painting style.

Not everyone's a fan of his though.

While Grumpy Cat may do a good Vincent imitation . . . look at THIS awesome Vincent cosplay!

And this!

Though I suspect their parents had more than a hand in it!

Monday 12 January 2015

Brassiere Purse

Ladies, do you ever carry things in your bra? I mean apart from The Girls. If I don't have a purse with me or have no pockets in my clothes, I will often carry my keys in my "brassiere purse." No big deal, right?

But then I saw this gif and my life changed.

Now I want a bazooka in my bra too! Wouldn't it be great? Imagine all the scenarios in which someone pisses you off and you could just whip that bazooka out of your over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder and KABOOM!

Steal my parking space at the mall? Cut ahead of me in line? Block the grocery aisle with your cart?

Go ahead, punk.




* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

Legal Disclaimer -- No, no, no, no. Violence never solves anything. This post should not be taken as advocating the weaponization of brassieres. All disputes should be settled by peaceful means. Bras should only ever be used for good, not evil. And if it's cat-related good, then so much the better.

Friday 9 January 2015

How to Make Shakespeare Popular Again

Poor old Bill. Who's interested in his plays anymore?

No one can understand Shakespearean language these days. So there's no point in trying to be hip about it. Rap lyrics, for example, just aren't the same when rendered in ye olde Englysshe.

Nor does it work the other way. Shakespeare in text-speak, for example, loses something in the translation.

Sometimes staging an old Shakespearean play in a modern setting can enjoy a bit of success, like this Canadian version of Romeo and Juliet --

But the BEST way to make Shakespeare popular again is to stick Tom Hiddleston in a nice tight pair of jeans and have him play Coriolanus. No matter what incomprehensible Shakespearean folderol comes out of his mouth, the enraptured audience will understand what's really being said --

Yeah, baby, yeah, that's the ticket.

Wednesday 7 January 2015

My Sins Revealed

Oh, don't get your hopes up -- it's a meme about BOOKS that I saw last month over at Tammy Theriault's blog and that I thought might be fun to do.

WRATH: With which author do you have a love/hate relationship?

For obvious reasons, I'd have to say Herman Melville at the moment, that long-winded circuitous bastard.

GLUTTONY: What book have you devoured over and over again with no shame?

I re-read The Lord of the Rings three times. I'm pretty sure I re-read Watership Down at least as many times, if not more. Alas, these days I have no time to re-read any books. I do have time, however, to fart around on the internet for hours. Hmmm.

GREED: What is your most inexpensive book?

Is this a cagey way of asking if I've ever stolen a book? No, I never have. I'm a good girl, you know.

ENVY: What book would you like to receive most as a gift?

A Shakespeare First Folio so I could sell it for a gazillion bucks. What?

LUST: What attributes do you find attractive in a male or female character?

I don't tend to lust after written characters but once they're portrayed by movie heart throbs, then my interest is piqued. Guess I'm just shallow that way. Of course, all of you already know of my inexplicable fascination with Mr. Darcy/Colin Firth which for years has been causing The Lesbian Nation to demand the return of my membership card. So I won't elaborate further.

SLOTH: What books have you neglected to read due to laziness?

Don't think I can't hear you all saying "Moby-Dick" in unison, you Judgy McJudges.

PRIDE: What books do you talk about most in order to sound like an intellectual reader?

I guess mentioning the latest issue of Marvel's comic book Loki, Agent of Asgard isn't going to cut it, eh? You're all friggin snobs, you know that?

Monday 5 January 2015

Smoking is Classy Alright

I remember these tacky donkey cigarette dispensers from back in the bad old days when I was a smoker! How about you?

P.S. -- Don't look, Oma Linda! Don't look!

Thursday 1 January 2015

This Year I MEAN It, Goddammit

Long-time readers of this blog know of my epic battle with the huge white whale of a book, Moby-Dick. I started reading it in 2009 and have slowly, oh so slowly, been making my way through it in fits and starts ever since. My 2013 New Year's Resolution was to finish it but alas, nothing resulted but failure, utter failure, that year. And in 2014 as well. But THIS year, by gawd, it will be different!

At the moment, I am at Chapter 123. There's only 13 more chapters to go! Queequeg has carved his tattoo replicas onto his custom-built coffin. Captain Ahab has finished making his special harpoon with which to kill the great white whale. The Pequod is hot on Moby-Dick's trail but is currently in the midst of a terrible typhoon. The action is finally starting!

And I have a new incentive to finish the book quickly. There's a movie coming out in March called In the Heart of the Sea concerning the real-life whaling disaster in the early 1800s which inspired Melville to write Moby-Dick. I am not going to go to that movie unless I've finished Moby-Dick. And I lurves me some Chris Hemsworth who is starring in it so that is a powerful motivation to get my rear in gear and finish those last 13 chapters!

Happy New Year, everyone! Wish me luck. No, not luck -- perseverance.