Sunday, September 13, 2009

Today In History: Melodramatic Checkouts...

On this date in 1759, British General James Wolfe died in what was apparently an extremely picturesque fashion on the Plains of Abraham before the gates of Quebec, thereby missing out on the post-victory kegger and two-and-a-half centuries of bilingual street signs.

There is no truth to the rumor that the dude in the mohawk in the left foreground is pondering Wolfe's last words, which allegedly were " God, if I'd known what they were going to put on the french fries, we'd have just got back on the boats..."


Wolfwood said...

Whoa, whoa, whoa...

I'm no fan of Canada, but I'll give them credit for using barbecue sauce on their fries. An excellent idea!

LL said...

I know -- I know -- but Montreal is still a cool city.

reflectoscope said...

Barbeque sauce? Man, we're talking about squeeky cheese and beef gravy! Poutine, its worth the heart attack!

Also, the ballet in Montreal is beyond compare. Particularly on St. Catherine St. *cough*


staghounds said...

Barbecue sauce (KC honey and brown sugar for choice) is the presumptive condiment, and ts great on those good thick homemade fried pot8os.

That is a lovely picture. And there must have really been something about General Wolfe, he seems to have been one of those people everyone who met loved.

And did you know that the future Earl St. Vincent, as a very young lieutenant, was in charge of finding and piloting the fleet, up the river?

staghounds said...

Finding the route, that is. Many many hours with the lead line and a tremendous responsibility.

pdb said...

In normal countries, losing the decisive battle in an existential war means you learn English, have your leaders killed, and get converted to Christianity. You don't get to keep your lame-ass culture.

In Canada, the desire to be 'nice' and 'fair' to the losers means the issue gets dragged out for nigh on two hundred years and attains ridiculous levels of faggotry.

There's something to be said for the clean, painful, but one-time break.

Ruzhyo said...

I like the part of the story where Wolfe, mortally wounded and apparently in a coma, snaps awake after hearing a subordinate declare "Look at them run." After being assured that it is the French who are on the run, he orders their retreat cut off at the river, declares how satisfied he is with the battle's outcome, lapses back into his coma and expires.

Ed Foster said...

reflectoscope, you are cold! How best to describe some of the more colorful (colourful?)aspects of the area around St. Catherine St? Best let them use their imagination.

And poutin, God bless it, my mouth waters at the thought. It's not cold enough yet to do the annual tour to the Montreal Underground, that happens after deer season, but I am looking forward to it.

Has anybody ever figured out a better definition of efficient empire than one which grows rich while it's subject peoples do most of the fighting and dieing? Wolfe was an Irishman whose Grandfather had his ass kicked at the battle of the Boyne, then adopted English and Episcopalianism to keep his property in the new order.

Grandpop Wolfe (formerly McPhelim) was beaten by an army that was heavily Scottish, with a healthy levening of Germans from north German lands also owned by the Hanoverians on the British throne. For reference, the German National Anthem is actually an Episcopalian hymn.

Grandson Wolfe made his bones at Culloden, leading an Irish and Hanoverian army to crush the last gasp of Stuart loyalism and Scottish independence.

On the plains of Abraham, with an army that was, beside some ill used American colonials, mostly Irish, Scot, and... wait for it, Hanoverian Germans, he defeated a "French" army of Irishmen and Bretons, led by the Marquis De Montcalme, the grandson of an Irish mercenary in the Brigade Irlandaise.

During the 1700's, the tiny island of Harris sent 10,000 men into British military service. Virtually every man of 5 generations.

When Scotland had been bled dry, it was Ireland's turn. During the Napoleonic wars, 30% of British regiments were recruited in Ireland, another 15% (the so-called scratch regiments, Duke of Whatsis's own etc.) were recruited in the all Irish slums and stews of Britain's cities.

The established County Regiments were 30% Irish born, another 10% Brit born of Irish parents. Among Scottish regiments, the figure rose to 60% Irish. Until 1900, one did not have to be Scottish to join a Highland unit, only 6 feet tall and a Gaelic speaker.

Do we see a pattern here? Even when you lose you win, because you reduce the number of potential rebels while keeping the survivors loyal to, if not you, at least your paymaster. Perhaps America needs a Foriegn Legion.

Steve Skubinna said...

Cheese curds and gravy. Jeez, Louise... compare poutine to chile cheese fries and you see encapsulated the difference between Canuckistan and the Yew Ess of Ay.

Just a whiff of jalapeno would kill a Quebecois. But what can you expect of a people who's greatest aspiration is to be second class French?

Anonymous said...

"And did you know that the future Earl St. Vincent, as a very young lieutenant, was in charge of finding and piloting the fleet, up the river?"

That was before Earl St. Vincent went on to star in Airwolf? Man, those Canadians are always taking our acting gigs.

Shootin' Buddy

jetfxr69 said...

Ahhhh, the indomitable Stringfellow Hawke...

Was that a Bell 212?

And, back on topic, the Plains of Abraham was a fantastic place to visit.

staghounds said...

I laugh!

Actually we DO have a foreign legion, it's just dispersed throughout our services rather than kept distinct.

Unless you think about how the services' otherness makes all its members foreign-

"America is at war."

"No, the Marines are at war. America is at the mall."

Also- we've seen West paintmohawk dude's grandfather before.

And after, when his paleface grandson joined the navy.

But no, that wasn't dramatic enough- we need another take. Is that Tam's great great great great grandmother? In the black with the hat of course.

And this is my most dramatic checkout picture candidate.

Tam said...

I was going to suggest the painting of the dude dying at the Battle of Jersey, myself...

What's with West's fascination with kneeling foreground ponderers?

staghounds said...

Sciencegirl suggests

a crucifixion

and another,

and then loops it back to barbecue. Though she says "That last one is ten minutes early.

The Jersey one still wins for my eye.