Steve Chapman doesn't like your state flag. And he thinks you should do something about it:
The Oklahoma flag is one of many that seemingly were all created by the same designer on a rush order. They bring to mind Henry Ford's line that you could get a Model T in any color you wanted, as long as it was black.
Like more than a dozen others, it's a variation on a humdrum theme: A blue background with something obscure, cluttered, and gold in the center. If you climbed up a flagpole in Lansing and replaced the Michigan ensign with that of Louisiana, New York, Virginia, or Nebraska, I promise, it would be months before anyone noticed.
Oklahoma stands out slightly more only because, like Montana, Oregon, and Kansas, it prominently features the state name. Idaho goes them one better by doing it twice.
Given that most flags fly almost exclusively in their home state, including a name disparages the mental acuity of residents. It implies that without a prompt, some people would forget where they live.
On a distinctive, well-designed flag, the name is unnecessary. Imagine Old Glory with the name of the country prancing across it. Or Canada's maple leaf. Or Israel's Star of David.
The only good thing to be said about the popular blue-bedsheet style is that it assures a state flag will be forgettable instead of just plain homely. Maryland's clashing juxtaposition of black, gold, red, and white shapes could have been used to extract information from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. The image of George Washington on the Washington flag brings to mind a Presidents Day sale.
Canada's selection of provincial and territorial flags are a bit better, in the sense of being distinctive and evocative:
Original image from Craig Marlatt's website.
Ontario and Manitoba, of course, are far too similar (both being variants of the Canadian Red Ensign), and Alberta's flag isn't much of an improvement, but once you've seen the flags of B.C., N.B., N.S., Nunavut, P.E.I., or Quebec, you're not likely to mistake them again.
Finally got the Red Ensign up in front of the house. Just took a bit longer than I'd planned (like too many other projects around the house, now that I think about it).
At Home in Hespeler has just joined the Red Ensign Brigade. Welcome aboard!
Please welcome Akaash Maharaj, the newest member of the Red Ensign Brigade. He's been blogging recently about his adventures in 19th-century cavalry exercises . . . tent pegging.
I was roused for competition just after half-past five in the morning, by a mullah belting out prayers from a minaret facing my hotel room. Somehow, the world equestrian skill-at-arms championships just keep getting more surreal.
The hotel lobby was a sartorial riot of anachronism and multiculturalism: riders from around the world; sporting breeches and polished spurs; variously adorned with circlets, gilt armbands, and theatric turbans; carrying swords, sabres, and lances. Well, Willow, I don't think we're in Parkdale anymore...
The first day was given over to individual competition with the lance. In the morning, each horse and rider pair would attempt to skewer a course of ground targets, which dwindled in width from 6cm to 3cm. In the afternoon, we would also attempt to thread our weapons through elevated targets, rings of 6cm diameters suspended at the height of a man's eye.
Of course the Canadian Red Ensign should fly at the April 9 commemorations of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, alongside the Royal Standard of Canada, the Maple Leaf, the Union Jack and the French tricouleur. And of course the Red Ensign should fly in perpetuity at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial. The Maple Leaf is not the battle flag of a Canadian revolution. When Canada adopted the 1965 flag, Canadians did not abrogate their history.
The Red Ensign, along with the Union Jack, was the flag Canadians fought under during the First World War, and indeed the Second World War, and it deserves a place of continuing honour in this country and on its historic battlefields. To do otherwise would serve only, as the Dominion Institute's Rudyard Griffiths aptly put it, to "airbrush our history." The 1965 flag is in a sense a product of the heroic Battle of Vimy Ridge in 1917, since the sacrifices of Canadian soldiers during the Great War were integral to the full achievement of Canadian independence, codified in the Statute of Westminster, 1931.
Is it a bad sign that I automatically assumed that the G&M would be against flying the Red Ensign?
Knock me down with a feather.
Thanks go to the prime minister for indicating his desire that the Red Ensign will indeed be flown at the ceremonies at Vimy Ridge:
Mr. Harper told his cabinet ministers yesterday that he wanted both the Red Ensign and the Maple Leaf hoisted in Vimy, France, at the 90th anniversary of the First World War battle, sources close to the Prime Minister said.
"He said, 'The Red Ensign of 1917 will fly over Vimy,' " one source told The Globe.
The decision was hailed as a victory by veterans' groups and advocates, who have been lobbying Ottawa to have the historical ensign displayed over the Canadian National Vimy Memorial.
H/T to Taylor & Company for the Globe link.
This is a cause I fully support:
It's the flag the Canadians carried into battle when they captured Vimy Ridge in 1917. And it's the flag that should be flying when thousands assemble at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial next month for the unveiling of the restored monument to mark the 90th anniversary of the battle, say members of a campaign to get the Red Ensign to Vimy Ridge for the ceremony.
The Red Ensign was there in 1936 when the monument was unveiled for the first time.
Ottawa resident John Heyes, a retired public servant, has been lobbying to have a version of the historic flag taken to France for the April 9 ceremony.
Mr. Heyes and Bill Bishop, a maintenance worker in Maple Ridge, B.C., who has written hundreds of letters advocating a stronger presence for the old flag, don't expect the Maple Leaf, which Canada adopted as its flag 42 years ago, to take a back seat to the Red Ensign — they think both should be flown.
Call me naive, but I'd always assumed that the Red Ensign would be flown at the ceremony . . . but respect for history has never been a strong point for Canadian governments before.
H/T to Damian for bringing it to my attention.
Update 22 March: Thank you, Stephen Harper.
I'd like to extend a welcome to OfficiallyScrewed, the latest blog to join the Red Ensign Brigade.
Ed Minchau has set up a new blog aggregator for the Red Ensign Brigade: http://redensign.blogspot.com/. It's only got a few recent posts up right now, but it will pick up new posts from all the members of the Brigade going forward.
Temujin has published the latest Red Ensign Standard over at West Coast Chaos. Go and see what the rest of the Red Ensign Brigade has been posting about recently.
Remember, if you're interested in joining the Red Ensign Brigade, you can contact me or any of the bloggers in the unit.
This is the 44th Raising of the Red Ensign. This issue is by submission only, and not all bloggers in the Brigade have submitted items for this round-up. The Standard is a biweekly (except during the summer months) round-up of interesting posts from the members of the Red Ensign Brigade. If you are interested in joining the Brigade, leave a comment on this post or send an email to "Quotulatiousness AT gmail dot com".
The next Red Ensign Standard will be hosted at Gen X at 40.
The Red Ensign Brigade
First up are the good folks down at The London Fog, who have a few items to call to your attention. First, an article called And the ration lines grow longer still, Bigotry and Hatred in Action, Approved by the Ministry of Fairness, and Trudeau Becomes Prime Minister (in that last post, does anyone else see similarities between Trudeau and Putin?).
Next up, Temujin, of West Coast Chaos offers these links: A nice place to visit . . ., contrasting the Beirut of a few weeks ago and now, and The Spirit of Northern British Columbia, some images of the rare Kermode, or Spirit, bear.
As if, in the cosmic scheme of things, the "Public" truly gives a flying flip in this regard. My guess is, Major Davies, if you were to poll the public as they filter through the doors, they'd be aghast at your attitude.
I'm sure there are rules and regulations to be followed. I have no doubt of that. I used to be a US Army paid military historian with staff responsibility for what amounts to a regimental museum here in the US.
And I would have found a way to get that Medal back to the guy whose name is on the back of it. I might have had to do a little fundraising to go to the extreme of actually sending someone with it, to bring it back, but I would have moved heaven and earth to get that Medal (in this case, a Victoria Cross awarded to a Gurkha soldier) back to its named recipient.
It's a shame that horsewhipping blackguards is no longer socially acceptable.
Ruth, at Rootleweb, was busy posting about the situation in Lebanon and the repercussions here in Canada: Anti-Israeli Media and Harper Bashing, Anti-Israeli Media: More Proof, CAF Issues 'Statement', Harper's Plane, and Lebanese Canadians Thank Harper.
Alan at Gen X at 40 sent these links: Make Your Own Cause, Another Constitutional Thing for Steve, All Star, and Mongolian Blue Bums (that last link should probably carry a warning for those of weak constitutions).
Alan has also
foolishly nobly offered to host the next Red Ensign Standard.
The Red Ensign Brigade Reserve
Previous Red Ensign Standards
Previous standards have been hosted at the following blogs (thanks to Shane at The High Places for doing the legwork):
I'll be posting the next edition of the Red Ensign Standard later this weekend, so if you have anything you'd like me to highlight, send me the URL.
Glenda hosts the most recent version of the Red Ensign Standard, this being the 43rd edition. Glenda is interested in genealogy, so several of the highlighted posts in this collection deal with things genealogical.
The latest and greatest posts of the last two weeks (at least of blogs within the Red Ensign Brigade) have been collected together as Red Ensign Standard 42.
What are you waiting here for? Go see what else the Brigade has been writing about!
Ray, the Raging Kraut, has once again taken on the task of raising the Red Ensign Standard. This is his third time (someone else should be carrying some of the weight, wouldn't you say?), and a fine job he's done. Go see what the other bloggers in the Brigade have been writing about over the last couple of weeks.
Chris Taylor hosts this edition of the Red Ensign Standard:
Welcome to the fortieth edition of the Red Ensign Standard. When this group was founded back in June of 2004, the enterprise seemed more than a little quixotic. Canada’s collective memory of her rich heritage and worthy deeds had grown ever more distant and neglected by successive governments. The Liberal Party was lethargic master of the land for eleven years, and seemingly redefined Canadian identity in a pastiche of tired old clichés: medicare, beer-commercial jingoism and ritual observation of a thirty-two-year old hockey game. Our founder and former member inspired us to look beyond that — to see our country’s epic history, full of industry, courage and triumph.
Go and investigate what the rest of the Brigade has been posting about for the past couple of weeks.
The Red Ensign Standard, mark 39, has been posted at Dust My Broom. Go see what the rest of the Brigade has been busy writing about during the past two weeks.
I think the Red Ensign Brigade could do with its own version of the Haka (Flash required).
Keith has posted the 38th Red Ensign Standard at Minority of One. Go see what the brigade has been posting about during my absence.
The latest round-up of activity within the Brigade has been posted at West Coast Chaos. Go see what has been occupying the other members of the unit over the last two weeks.
Apparently "dead" doesn't really mean dead . . . sometimes they're just resting.
"Welcome back to the fight,"
Rick Ray. "This time, I'm sure our side will" win draw score carry on uh, do something noble.
The Standard has been raised at the Phantom Observer. Go see what the members of the Brigade have been writing about over the last few weeks.
. . . to link to the latest Red Ensign Standard!
What kind of brigade commander am I, that I can miss posting a link to the main roundup of Red Ensign Brigade activities?
Darcey is asking the other member of the Red Ensign Brigade what their predictions are for the federal election. I'd already posted my guess, but I thought it'd be interesting to gather up the predictions and keep them near the top of the page until the final returns are in, purely to add to the embarrassment factor when we all turn out to have missed the obvious NDP sweep to a majority:
|Damian "Babbling" Brooks
|Temujin (West Coast Chaos)
|Alan McLeod (Gen X at 40)
|Shane Edwards (The High Places)
|Keith (Minority of One)
|John Murney (John Murney's Blog)
|Mark Steyn SteynOnCanada (not a Red Ensign blogger)
|Damian Penny Daimnation(not a Red Ensign blogger)
|Andrew Coyne AndrewCoyne.com (not a Red Ensign blogger)
|Brian Free Advice (not a Red Ensign blogger)
I'll add to the list as other Red Ensign bloggers post or email their own predictions.
Update 22 January: Keith, Shane, and Alan all provided predictions for tomorrow's election.
Update 23 January: I've added in Damian Penny's, Mark Steyn's and Andrew Coyne's predictions.
The latest version of the Red Ensign Standard has been raised at The High Places. See what the rest of the Brigade has been blogging about since Standard 33 was raised.
This is the thirty-third Raising of the Red Ensign. Unlike previous Standards, this issue is by submission only, and not all bloggers in the Brigade have submitted items for this round-up. It's still early running in the federal election, and several Red Ensign bloggers are doing local reporting in their ridings. Most of us, however, are not paying as much attention to the political scene (in this we're like most Canadians: let the electioneering get seriously underway in January!)
The Red Ensign Brigade
Damian, of Babbling Brooks, thought his best post recently was this one. He also posted a few comments on military affairs. He was also shocked, shocked, to find himself on the receiving end of a CBC-lanche.
Castle Argghhh! has, as always, been a hotbed of discussion, including the proposed handgun ban. We can see what happens when Alan (of GenX@40) engineers some thread drift, and also have some fun. John also asks for your aid in getting the vote out for the weblog awards.
Alan, at Gen X at 40, takes full advantage of the malaise to grab as much attention for himself as possible, including posts on the softwood war, a "Bizarre Central Euro Xmas thingie", and the non-issue issue — the debt. He also submits a final link on speculations from an asymmetrical world.
Shane, at The High Places, has some thoughts on the separation of Union and State (or lack thereof), the Liberal party's moves to institutionalize our children, and on the "conservative" resistance to supporting families with children.
Glenda, at Just Between Us Girls, posted two links about the closure of the Domtar mill in Cornwall and the PM's visit to the riding. She also points out that Stephen Harper's same-sex marriage announcement was not off message.
Ed, at robot guy,
goes off his medication encourages Canadians, in particular those that live in Ontario, to vote for the Liberal party. Yes, you read that correctly. Ed has also been monitoring the private space development arena (an area near and dear to my heart), including some positive developments. Orbital Recovery signed their first contract for a
satellite-servicing mission, and Virgin Galactic has chosen the spaceport in La Cruces, New Mexico, as the launch site for their suborbital-joyride passenger service. He points out the financial trouble for NASA posed by the Vision for Space Exploration, and presents a solution that will save money, hopefully prevent the loss of more shuttles, save the Vision for Space Exploration, and perhaps ultimately save NASA from itself.
Ruth, at RootleWeb, discussed the whole notion of family, examined sexual politics and criminality, asked the relevant question "what is a billion?", and a series of posts examining what are the parameters of acceptable violence.
Tipper, at Tipperography, has found real life too busy for blogging and has decided to leave the unit (at least temporarily).
Temujin, at West Coast Chaos offers the thoughts of his occasional co-blogger, Pei Yusei, who came out of the woodwork to discuss the blockbuster hockey trade that occured . . . but not the 'blockbuster' you may be thinking of.
This Standard is linked at the TTLB Ubercarnival.
The Red Ensign Brigade Reserve
Previous Red Ensign Standards
Previous standards have been hosted at the following blogs (thanks to Shane at The High Places for doing the legwork):
Alan has posted the latest Red Ensign Standard at Gen X at 40. Go see what the Brigade has been posting about this past couple of weeks.
I just realized that I forgot to mention that I'd succeeded to the command of the Red Ensign Brigade, following Ray, the Raging Kraut, and Nick "Ghost of a Flea" Packwood, the founder of the Brigade. Unfortunately, I didn't get the cool uniform to match the new rank, so I'm having to make do with online images for the moment:
This is the modern shoulder-flap insignia of a Canadian Brigadier General.
This is the older insignia, based on the British Army's insignia for a Brigadier (the older title didn't include the word "General"). As a traditionalist, I'm more partial to the historical version.
Of course, I'll also have to get the little flag-holders attached to the front and rear bumper of the Quotemobile, to fly the appropriate flags . . .
Ruth has raised the 31st edition of the Red Ensign Standard. Go and read what the other members of the Brigade have been writing about for the past few weeks.
Previous Red Ensign Standards
Previous standards have been hosted at the following blogs (thanks to Shane at The High Places for doing the legwork):
This is the thirtieth Raising of the Red Ensign. I am honoured and humbled to be part of this fine group of bloggers. I was not an original member of the Brigade, but I certainly thought it was high time that it was created. Our founder, Nick Packwood, is no longer active in the unit, but I like to think that we're still true to his original idea.
Unlike most of the members, I'm not a conservative, although we certainly have plenty of common ground. I'm one of the libertarians within the Brigade, so some of the things that get most of our membership agitated are of marginal interest to me and some of the things that get me angry are similarly of only marginal concern to the rest of the Brigade. We get along okay, in spite of that.
The Red Ensign was Canada's unofficial flag until the adoption of the Maple Leaf as the official Canadian National flag. The flag debate was bitter, as the unofficial flag was especially disliked in Quebec (then, as for much of Canadian history, a power base of the Liberal party) and strongly supported in Ontario's rural heartland (at that time, strongly Conservative). Rather than trusting the decision to a referendum (as proposed by Conservative leader John Diefenbaker), Prime Minister Lester Pearson formed a parliamentary committee to decide the issue. The committee unanimously endorsed the Maple Leaf flag, which was derived in part from the traditional flag of the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario. It became the offical flag of Canada by parliamentary act and Royal Assent, and was officially flown for the first time on 15 February, 1965.
The land the Maple Leaf first flew over was, in many ways, a much freer and more democratic society than the Canada of today. Canadians in those days did not automatically turn to the government to solve problems in every sphere of life. Government had its place, and that place was generally agreed to be the defence of the realm, maintaining the peace, running the judicial system, and international affairs. The vast increase in the size and power of the federal government started in the same period as the new flag was adopted, so that modern Canadians seem to feel that the government should be — and always has been — fully involved in every activity of life in Canada. The Federal government, for all its faults, was (especially compared to today) squeaky clean: ministers would resign at the mere hint of mismanagement within their departments . . . unlike today, where the RCMP has to be in the aisle waving handcuffs before a tainted minister even considers stepping down from office.
The Canada of the Red Ensign was far from perfect: plenty of social and economic injustices existed, but generally the situation was good for most Canadians. The economy was relatively unencumbered with government controls, the judicial system was widely believed to be working well, and the country was a magnet for immigration. I take the liberty of quoting our founder:
I am proud to say this is one of a handful of countries in the whole world where you can arrive, work hard and send your kids to school in the hope of a better life. No matter your accent or appearance you will be Canadian.
Somewhere along the way, Canada has lost some of the attributes that helped to make it a great country. Red Ensign bloggers hope we can get back that essence. Sometimes the past is worth fighting for, too.
With no further blathering from me, here is the round-up of the last two weeks of Brigade posts.
The Red Ensign Brigade
Angry in the Great White North (which won 3 top-of-category awards at the SDA Blog Awards) may be one of the most prolific bloggers around: he always has something new on the blog. He takes side in the Newfoundland flag debate, tries to decipher the gruesome reality of Canadian healthcare, and tries to game the search engines with his entry on Orgies at teen proms!
Our foreign correspondant in China, asiapundit, offers some insight into the Benjamin Joffe-Walt case and a round-up of other links on the situation. He also provides an interesting discussion of possible changes in China's economic policies.
Sadly, Damian, of Babbling Brooks, has also decided to close up shop and pay more attention to life outside his blog . . . but he did briefly post to clear up any misunderstanding over l'affaire Kinsella.
In a refreshing change from the usual story, bluetory.ca has just come back to active blogging. He reports on labour negotiations, machinations within the NDP caucus, and a bit of Alberta-boosting from south of the border.
Andrew, at bound by gravity, is another blogger who posts plenty of content (he recently won the coveted "Best Blogging Tory" category of the Small Dead Blog Awards. He's looked at Canada's DART unit, was the first to note the return to blogging of Occam's Carbuncle, and Canada's slide down the corruption tables. Bill, a guest blogger, took some time to argue against allowing Intelligent Design to be taught in the schools.
I can always get my fix of military affairs and gun pron at Castle Argghhh!. But the folks at the Castle don't feel limited by those narrow categories. Recent posts have included a caption contest, poetry, amusing quotations (a topic near and dear to my heart), and the burden of teaching.
Selecting a few representative posts from Dust My Broom is quite a challenge: it's a high-frequency blog. Among the many posts were: fact checking, addressing economic illiteracy, an adventure with a canoe, and government provision of unsafe drinking water.
James, at Hammer Into Anvil, despairs of his fellow Canadians' toleration of corrupt officials (especially David Dingwall), but finds some consolation in the fact that science has finally delivered on the promise of stink-proof underwear.
Shane, at High Place, has some fun with 1950's stereotypes, comments on blog survey results, and tries to get bloggers more politically involved (I wouldn't have thought that last idea was necessary, given how political bloggers can get).
One of the most recent members of the Brigade is Blair, at Italics Mine. He'll be happy to know that even though he "pinched a nerve practicing the secret handshake" and was therefore "unable to attend the fundraiser", we've changed the date so he can attend. Aren't we nice? Blair also found that 124% of Columbians agree that Hillary should be the next President.
Ryan, at King's Perspective, is hopeful about the recent German election results, discusses a recent call to action from Quebec, and passed along his best wishes to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
Kate, at The Last Amazon, provides some insight into Toronto's schizophrenic addiction policies, takes aim at a monstrous breakdown of government responsibility, looks at the effects of the Bambi cult, and feels somehow cramped by an overly protective family.
The group blog called The London Fog specializes in pointing out the stupidities of the municipal, provincial, and (like shooting fish in a barrel) federal governments. Talk about picking a blogging area that will never lack for material! Of course, there's always room for specific London, Ontario posts too.
mkbraaten.com is facing the challenge of keeping track of all the current scandals, passes judgement on Edmonton's latest tornado-damaged building, and reads the signs on the wall on the Gomery Report.
Jason, at Musing, was out of town at a conference at which he managed to pick up a souvenir flu bug, which kept him away from blogging pretty much all of last week. He did manage to find time since then to post about the Toledo riots and inequality before the law for the "elites" and the rest of us.
The other most recent member of the Brigade is RootleWeb, and sets a fine example by volunteering to host the next Standard. Recently, she's discussed changing Dutch attitudes, the Dingwall affair, and Saddam Hussein's trial.
Stephen Taylor - CPC is hopeful that the Tories are starting to address real issues, does a bit of poll analysis, and runs a caption contest.
Chris, at Taylor and Company, chronicles the rise and decline of the Smurfovik Collective, discovers that, in the music world, time still marches on, and offers some key hints to a contingent of slobbering fanboys.
Tipper, at Tipperography, does some fine analysis on why one- or two-dimensional political quizes cannot capture the fine distinctions between individuals' real-world philosophies. This was one of my favourite posts in the Brigade over the last couple of weeks. Tipper does a very good job of illustrating why "either/or" questions work well for computers, but poorly for human beings. She also had some good news which will unfortunately have the side-effect of reducing her time to blog.
Update, 25 October: Now listed at the TTLB ÜberCarnival.
The Red Ensign Brigade Reserve
Previous Red Ensign Standards
The 29th edition of the Raising of the Red Ensign is now up at Robot Guy. Go see what interesting posts you've been missing on the other Red Ensign Brigade blogs over the last few weeks.
The 30th edition will be here, if'n the crick don't rise, on the 24th of October.
I'm very sorry to see that Damian "Babbling" Brooks has decided to shutter his blog, at least for the time being. Damian has been one of the staunchest members of the Red Ensign Brigade, and was certainly one of the most interesting characters in the unit. I can understand blog-fatigue (it gets most of us in the end), but as Chris Taylor recently proved . . . it can be beaten.
I'm definitely going to miss Damian's writing, his sense of humour, and his total inability to hold his drink. (There, see if that last jab won't bring him out of the woodwork again!)
Kate at The Last Amazon has raised the 28th edition of the Red Ensign Standard. Go see what the other members of the Brigade have been up to lately.
After receiving further orders from Karl Rove, I can now publish a few more photos from the VRWC blogstravaganza on Friday.
Actually, my preference for taking non-flash photos is the real problem: the Nikon Coolpix 4300 just doesn't have enough light-sensitivity to take hand-held shots without a flash in low-light conditions. I strongly prefer taking non-flash shots because I don't want people to have to interrupt their conversations (or heated arguments) either to pose for a shot or to recover from the unexpected burst of light.
David Warren (who is actively avoiding opening a blog) and Mike Brock (On the Attack). Mike is busy live-blogging the gathering on his Blackberry. Or Blueberry. Some sort of fruity electronic device, anyway. Either way, apparently, I was "disturbing" him.
Commandante Bob, showing the same mysterious hand gesture which appears in almost every photo of him. On the right (how appropriate), Paul Tuns looks at one of Greg Staples' photos of the event. Greg will live to post again, as he graciously did not post the eye-searingly scary photo of me. Good call, Greg!
Kathy Shaidle won the prize for the best T-shirt of the evening. And again on the right, Greg Staples, "Commandante Hand Gesture", and Paul Tuns get further Rovian instructions.
My apologies to the folks whose images I don't identify . . . I am perhaps the worst person in the world for remembering names correctly. No slight is intended, and I'm happy to make corrections as needed!
Just a few shots, before I crawl off to detox:
Some, but not all of the participants at the Bishop and Belcher. Apparently this will be the last time that the VRWC will be able to use the old B&B . . . the pub will be closing next month, according to scuttlebut around the bar. I think we'll miss the old place . . .
Update 29 August: More photos (and links) here.
Update: "Damian"'s title changed at his huffy request.
Damian "Babbling" Brooks is looking for suggestions for the next VRWC pub crawl:
Anyhow, once we'd gotten past catching up, talking work, shaking our heads in unison over the latest transgressions of The Grope and Flail and Pravda Canada, and dispassionately discussing the artistic merits of Jessica Simpson's These Boots video, the topic of a beer-up was raised. And Nicholas, it doesn't matter if you're swilling wine, it's still called a beer-up — but I digress.
Yes, he does digress . . . but we must forgive him.
As usual, I'll do my best to infiltrate any VRWC gathering and bring back photographic evidence. Name a place and time!
Robot Guy hosts the latest raising of the Red Ensign. Go see what other member of the Red Ensign Brigade have been writing about for the past two weeks.
Two days into the new week, two new members of the Brigade: today's new member is 905 Tory.
Welcome to the unit, soldier!
I'd like to extend a warm welcome to the latest member of the Red Ensign Brigade, Left Handed Right. Shane has already posted his "why I joined the Brigade" explanation that many brigade members save until it's their turn to host the bi-weekly Red Ensign Standard.
Go about. [The Queen] uses that phrase in Christmas messages — being pleased to see people going about their business and, if I took note of it at all, I would have thought it aloof.
But I just came in from the bank and the bakery at noon in crowds going about. I like going about. Much of what I write here is about my going about, either travels of my mind or on my feet. When, however, the Nazis flattened great-grannie's home by shovelling parachute bombs from Henkels for 72 hours straight over her Scottish city, they were really saying "don't go about". When those teens I taught in Poland after the fall of the Wall were under martial law in the 80s when they were in elementary school, they were being taught "don't think you can just go about." These few jerks today in London said the same thing.
I am far madder now than I thought I would be. I still plan to have a holiday in the States, be in public every day, not hide or even pray to be saved from such events. I am going to go about. So today, you go about, too.
Alan McLeod, "Go About", Gen X at 40, 2005-07-07
The twenty-fifth Raising of the Red Ensign is being hosted by our current fearless leader, Raging Kraut. Go see what other Red Ensign Brigade bloggers have been up to for the last two weeks.
A Chick Named Marzi has hoisted the 24th edition of the Red Ensign Standard. Go read what other members of the unit have been writing about for the last couple of weeks: I assure you there are many worthwhile posts to be discovered there.
Please welcome our newest Brigade member, Conservative Hipster.
Another day, another new Red Ensign Brigade member. Today's newest member is mkbraaten.com. Welcome to the finest unit in the Canadian blogosphere!
Please welcome the newest member of the Red Ensign Brigade, Robot Guy.
He has some interesting thoughts on the book tag thing. He nearly scared me off by including some formulae in the post, but fortunately the words started up soon afterwards, so I think it's safe to read that post.
Damian Brooks marks the anniversary of the D-Day landings with some personal insights:
I went to school and came away different, but they went to war. I lost classmates to training accidents, to car accidents, to suicide. They lost comrades to bullets, bombs, and shrapnel, in terrible numbers, day in and day out, for months on end. The stresses my classmates and I endured engendered a lasting camaraderie. How much greater the stresses placed on our veterans, and how much deeper the currents of uncommon experience that draw them together, even now.
After 13 weeks of recruit training, I cried when I saw my family again. Our Normandy veterans left family, country, and safety behind for years; they crossed an ocean; they killed and faced death. They liberated a continent, and in so doing, they changed the course of history. One wonders how they adjusted to some of the inescapably mundane elements of civilian life so shortly after engaging in such a momentous military undertaking.
When you've been forced to decide what is worth dying for at age 21, how does that affect what you believe is worth living for at age 22, or 42, or 82? We are rapidly losing the ability to ask that question of our Normandy veterans, as the natural ends of their lives loom closer with each passing day. Very shortly now, all we will have left is their legacy, an unmatched record of public service in both war and peace.
My brief military service was all spent in Canada, in the Militia. The unit I belonged to had few battle honours from the Second World War, as they had been chosen to provide headquarter guard detachments of platoon and company size to Canadian divisions. We envied the recruits of other units in our brigade which had more glorious recent histories, but the costs of gaining that glory was rarely in our minds. Canada provided a disproportional share of the military effort on D-Day — one of the two best-known battles Canadians took a leading role in — and they paid the costs in blood.
The latest edition of the Raising of the Red Ensign has been posted by Temujin at West Coast Chaos. See what the other active bloggers in the Brigade have been up to lately.
Chris Taylor is forming a Red Ensign Squadron.
I sent this link to Jon, merely to confirm all the nasty suspicions he harbours about us expatriate Brits.
He responded with a quote from the article, "Slag off, ya barmy punter," and implied that that would make a good name for a blog. Followed about five seconds later with "Actually, add an 'Eh?' to the end of that, and it's a Red Ensign blog."
The Monarchist has produced a linkulacious post to supplement last week's initial hoist of the Red Ensign. This time, he's divided the links into broad categories, which is good on two levels: it allows readers who focus on one or two specific areas to find links they'll be interested in, and it departs from the strict alphabetization which usually means readers are suffering from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome before they ever get as far the letter "Q"!
I'd like to welcome Chris Taylor, blogger-in-chief at Taylor and Company, back to the ranks of active bloggers. Chris took a few months off, but clearly the lure of blogging was too strong for him to ignore.
As for me, I've been laid low with an unseasonal cold for the last few days, which partly explains the lack of blog entries. I'm feeling almost human again, so I hope to resume normal activity levels tomorrow. I'm sorry I missed my 10,000th visitor sometime yesterday . . . although how I'd have celebrated such a non-event, I'm not sure.
First, a belated welcome to our newest member, Canadianna.
Second, a pointer to what would have been the XXIInd Raising of the Red Ensign, over at The Monarchist. He has chosen to demonstrate his total revulsion for the political shenanigans in Ottawa last week by breaking with Brigade tradition and not linking to the best posts of the other blogs in the Brigade.
While I respect the Monarchist's decision, I hope it's not something that future hosts of the Standard will feel the need to emulate. I don't generally get a lot of my traffic from the Standard posts, so this isn't really a big deal for me either way.
Temujin, at West Coast Chaos, promises a more traditional Standard in two weeks' time.
Happy Victoria Day, the day we honour an old queen by giving her not a moment's thought. A year or two back, some professor thought we should change Victoria Day to Heritage Day to "strengthen our heritage." We strengthen our heritage by obliterating it, apparently. True, there exist many confused persons who believe Victoria Day is Stock's gran'ma, but that's no reason not to stand up for the old gal. She was our first wholly constitutional monarch, and thus a critical figure at a critical time: She embodies the principle of peaceful evolution that distinguishes the Britannic world from ... well, pretty much everywhere else, come to think of it.
Mark Steyn, "Victoria Day", The National Post, 2002-05-20
If you're a Canadian blogger and you'd like to have your blog listed in the AGWN table, drop Angry a line at "angry.in.t.o at gmail dot com" letting him know your blog name, URL, and confirming that you're already registered in the TTLB listing.
For his next trick, Angry is promising that the numerical ranking will become a hyperlink to each blog's TTLB details page.
Thanks for the cool new toy, Angry!
Unlike a lot of bloggers from the right side of the political spectrum, The Phantom Observer takes a calm, rational view of the Belinda Stronach situation.
What's wrong with the man???
Welcome to Blue Perspective, the newest recruit to the Brigade.
Please welcome the newest member of the Red Ensign Brigade, Grandinite. I think we'll need to enlarge the officers' mess soon . . .
The twenty-first raising of the Red Ensign has been well and truly managed by the good folks at The London Fog. Go and see what the rest of the Brigade has been doing for the past two weeks!
Welcome to Rhetoricking with Myself, the newest member of the Red Ensign Brigade. Good to see you here in the officers' mess, youngster! Mine'll be a Chateau Lafite-Rothschild 1996.
Damian Brooks has taken issue with a post by the founder of the Red Ensign Brigade, Nick Packwood, Brigadier Emeritus:
Nick Packwood earned my respect and admiration by founding the Red Ensign Brigade and penning the Winston Review. It pains me to say he has squandered that respect by drawing an odious comparison between Canadian Conservative Party supporters such as myself who don't feel SSM is worth a single-issue vote, and Germans who looked the other way while Jews were being dragged away to Auschwitz and Birkenau.
The post Damian objects to is this one, and I have to say that I don't quite follow Damian's reasoning. Nick is passionate about many things, SSM being a current, but not particularly exclusive issue for him:
I do not know how many times I have been told by otherwise sensible people that gay marriage is unimportant and that I am wrong to be worried by the populism and the pandering that is the new face of conservatism in the United States and Canada. I am sick of being chastised for drawing attention to the would be theocrats among my fellow Christians when those doing the chastising so evidently believe their own freedoms are not at risk. But I suppose it seems a small thing to trade away someone else's liberty. They are wrong and they should know better.
Not that there is any surprise in citizens of Western democracies looking the other way when someone else's rights are at stake. After all, that is what we have all been doing in our trade with mainland China and our military support for the Saudis and every other compromise of someone else's freedom in the name of national sovereignty or convenience or utter indifference. When we discount the freedom of others it is all too easy to forget to safeguard our own.
Unless I'm misreading the original post, Nick is talking about a bigger issue than just same-sex marriage: the idea that rights are given and taken at the convenience of the current government. This is something I've referred to in previous posts, and at risk of boring my reader I should point out that American citizens have their rights recognized by the United States Constitution, while Canadian subjects have only those rights granted by the government, and the government has a put-you-in-jail-free card in the infamous Notwithstanding clause of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Most of the time, and for most people, this difference doesn't matter: in the vast majority of cases, Canadians are practically as free as Americans (and for gay Canadians, even more so: they can contract to marry in most Canadian jurisdictions and have their marriage contract upheld in law). But the difference does matter. Rights that can be taken away at a whim (or a change in government) are not rights — they are temporary privileges granted to favoured groups or individuals.
Update: In the comments to this post, Ben "Tiger in Winter" Sharma provided me with the necessary clue I'd missed last night while composing this entry: Nick had linked to something which made the connection Damian took issue with.
The newest member of the Brigade is The Raging Ranter. Welcome to the unit! Mine'll be a Chateau Margaux '99
Update: A Chick Named Marzi has also hoisted the Red Ensign today.
The 20th Edition of the Red Ensign Standard has been raised at canadiancomment. Go see what the other members of the Red Ensign Brigade have been blogging about for the last two weeks!
Andrew has a talent for picking up apposite quotations. He demonstrates it wonderfully here.
Sue has raised the Red Ensign Standard 19. With all the postings from all the members of the Brigade, this is nothing like an easy task. Thanks for taking this on, Sue!
The publication ban on testimony at the Gomery inquiry may be set aside at 2:00 this afternoon. Or not. Angry in the Great White North has more:
If he lifts the ban, expect a furious melee as the media rushes out massive stories to bring everyone up to speed. Then impromptu news conferences from the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, leaders of the major parties, senior cabinet ministers, junior cabinet ministers, backbenchers, and the guy who waters the plants at the House of Commons. Action and reaction in rapid succession for at least 24 hours, including the stuff we haven't heard yet since Captain Ed's source has decided to keep quiet for a spell. Then the pollsters will hit the streets, and polling results will dominate the news. Finally, as the public opinion trends become clear, one way or the other, the question of elections will be debated.
Also expect a massive drop in traffic to blogs.
That last part has already happened at a lot of blogs already. My traffic peaked on Tuesday, at approximately five times normal, dropped off to just over twice normal yesterday, and appears to be running about 30% higher than normal now. I'm hoping, of course, that the 30% is new regular readers, but that won't be clear until next week at the earliest.
Babbling Brooks just called me his "favourite Wine-Swilling, Quote-Spouting, Lazy-Ex-Reservist blogger". This is just a tad too far: you can accuse me of a lot of failings (goodness knows the selections are wide and varied), but I do not swill my wine. Unless it's that sweet crap they used to sell to underaged drinkers in Ontario back in the 70's and 80's . . . and even then only to pigs I didn't like.
Tipper has done a great job of raising the Red Ensign for the XVIIIth time (eighteenth, for those of you not happy with Roman numerals).
A sadder development is that one of our members has decided to quit blogging and take down his site. Chris Taylor's Taylor and Company has shuttered the blog window and stolen off into the night. I sincerely hope it's just temporary!
The newest member of the Brigade is The Monarchist. Welcome to the unit!
The mess is getting a bit crowded, but I'm sure you'll be able to fight your way to the bar eventually. Mine'll be a Petrus '92, if you don't mind.
In what is almost certainly the slowest response time in the Brigade, I point your attention to Rue's 17th Raising of the Red Ensign.
Great job, Rue!
The newest member of the Brigade is The Unwinding Road. Mine's a Chateau Haut-Brion '96, thanks!
A belated welcome to the latest member of the Red Ensign Brigade, Turning 30 and a half. As you'll undoubtedly have been told by other members, it's the responsibility of the newly joined officer to pick up the tabs for drinks in the Brigade Mess. I'll have a J.L. Chave Hermitage '80, if you don't mind. . .
Damian Penny finally got his driveway shovelled out, and posted some photos of the blogger bash last Friday. In my fine tradition, I managed to stay out of his photos better than he managed to stay out of mine!
The 16th Raising of the Red Ensign is now up at The Phantom Observer.
Mr. Chris Taylor, who hides behind the slogan "Purveyors of Fine Invective and Poor PDA Photography", displays why he's a far better photographer than yours truly, here, here, here, here, here, and here.
Bastard. We hates him. How dare he show us up!
Well, what little I remember of last night was quite good: lots of people, lots of conversation, only a few broken glasses waved around as weapons, and no permanent casualties. For a get-together of the VRWC and VLWC, that's a pretty good record.
Once again, I tried to get photos, but you'll pretty quickly realize that as a photographer, I'm a pretty good stevedore. Digital cameras are very cool, but they're still not the be-all and end-all for low-light images (I prefer to avoid using the flash, because it is so distracting for everyone around me).
The advance party was led by Chris Taylor, who staked out a position at the bar.
I was the fourth person to join the bunch, followed by Damian "Babbling" Brooks.
That gave us enough bodies to claim space downstairs, so we decamped basement-ward. The advance party agreed to fortify ourselves with some food before the Vast [RW | LW] Conspiracies arrived, only to be joined by either late-advance-party or early-main-body arrivals Greg Staples and Mike Brock.
By this point, I'd lost track of who arrived when, and even who was already there (this was a bigger gathering than last time, and I know I didn't get a chance to talk with more than half the attendees). Anthony snuck in at some point:
Conspiracies were furthered in darkened corners:
Guests of honour did their level best to avoid being in photos:
The Green Baron impersonated Stephen Harper:
And the odd, non-blogger turned up:
I had to leave early, due to the weather, and still managed to get caught behind a phalanx of snowploughs, so that a 45 minute trip ended up being just over two hours. This is part of the reason for this posting showing up so late. . .
Update, 27 February: Michael was hanging around in the opposite end of the room for much of the night, and gives his highly colourful account of what was said and done over there.
A belated welcome to Angry in the Great White North, our newest member of the Brigade. And if you come in angry, just wait until you get your first bar tab from the Brigade Mess; I'll have a Chateau Palmer '66 if you don't mind. . .
Bob MacDonald gives a brief historical tour of the horror show that was the national flag debate, 1964-65:
When you recall the highly emotional, dragged-out debates 40 years ago that finally produced Canada's Maple Leaf flag, it seems fitting that its main colour is blood red.
Today anyone under 40 has little or no knowledge of the furious battles that seesawed through Parliament and across the nation prior to the decision-making months of 1964-1965.
But for anyone older, few can forget the turmoil and even French-English racial overtones that surrounded the debate. And right up to the end, the bitter battle continued until the Liberal government of Lester Pearson imposed closure to cut off debate and force a final vote.
With the Maple Leaf flag approval vote sewed up — with three Quebec Conservative MPs backing it — Pearson appealed to the opposing John Diefenbaker-led Conservatives to make the vote unanimous.
"Surely the honourable gentlemen opposite do not wish to be put on record as voting against a design which is going to be our national flag."
"Oh, nuts!" replied Waldo Monteith, a Tory MP who had sat on a 15-member all-party committee that had chosen the flag. Monteith had fought long and hard for the Red Ensign.
And so the Maple Leaf flag was approved by a 163-78 vote of the Commons at 2:15 a.m. on Dec. 15, 1964. It was first raised on Parliament Hill two months later on Feb. 15, 1965.
Striving Against Opposition hosts the most recent Raising of the Red Ensign. What was once a quick whip-around to a handful of affiliated websites has quickly become a monumental challenge: thanks for taking this on, Chris!
Welcome to Rempelia Prime, the newest member of the Red Ensign Brigade. I'll have a Chateau Lafite Rothschild '62, if you please, Peter.
Welcome to the latest recruit to the brigade, Abraca-Pocus!. Rue, by long-standing tradition, the junior officer in the mess buys the first round. I think I finished off the last of the '59 Chateau Margaux when John the Mad joined the unit, so I'll have to put up with a '61 Petrus this time, please. . .
In addition to the terrible photos I took, there was at least one person there who stayed sober enough to take some good quality photos:
This is the good twin and this is the evil twin. Or is it the other way around? Is there a good twin?
Down at the other end of the table, serious thoughts were being thunked.
And the infamous Chris Taylor, still plotting, while Alan McLeod pretends he didn't just eat the whole thing.
These photos contributed by Wanda of "Photo Rampage in T.O."
Welcome to our most recent member, The Meatriarchy, now occupying a new URL.
Nathan has raised the Red Ensign again, providing a sample of some of the best posts from the Brigade over the last couple of weeks. Excellent work, Nathan!
Last week, Ray demonstrated his patented method for eliminating spam commenters:
Last night, at an undisclosed location, a sinister group of bloggers gathered to lay plots, drink copious quantities of beer, and be generally a huge pain to the wait staff. I smuggled a camera in, cunningly disguised as a PDA, and took some surreptitious photos to be used in evidence:
Also in attendance was Damian "Babbling" Brooks, who managed to avoid being in most of the photos:
At some point, my careful concealment of the camera was at risk:
To feed the throngs, entire herds of animals were slaughtered:
And the alcohol started to take effect:
Just before the raid, it became apparent that I was not the only spy in the group:
The topics of discussion ranged far and wide, including digressions from Damian on graphic novels, from the Raging Kraut on his soi-disant bloodless coup, and from Alan on Kingston and how it rocks. Chris Taylor was his usual reserved self, clearly taking mental notes for his own devious purposes.
This was a birthday party, not a blogger meeting. You could tell it wasn't a blogger meeting because NO ONE WAS SPEAKING ELVISH OR KLINGON, and several of the people there weren't virgins.
Steve H., "Cracking on Crackers", Hog On Ice, 2005-01-21
No one is truly an adult in the nanny state. We are all mewling, suckling babes, requiring constant care and supervision, lest we poison ourselves on freedom or some other noxious substance, or suffocate in the complexities of the big bad world.
Alan of "Occam's Carbuncle", 2005-01-21
Oh, and Brooksie, lad? You trying to horn in on my territory? Do we need to arrange for pistols at dawn? ;-)
As I've occasionally posted, I'm still trying to figure out both my traffic patterns and my linking policies. I do try to provide direct links to those blogs which link to me, and I was depending on the TTLB Ecosystem report to find when new links appeared (I only get trackback pings from other MovableType blogs, not blogs using other software). Over the past day or so, I was finding — yet again — links disappearing from the TTLB list.
This time, I thought I'd better check to see what was going on. A couple of Brigade members have been inactive for long enough that they're no longer being counted by the TTLB stats, even if they still have static links on their pages. Some of them have ceased to link to any of the other Brigade members (probably because they were using the old blogrolling script).
What's most frustrating is finding that active blogs are still linking to me, but are not showing up in the TTLB lists at all. (I know: NZ Bear provides the service at no charge, so who the heck am I to complain?) So, if you're currently linking to Quotulatiousness and I'm not reciprocating, please let me know and I'll fix that!
Welcome to Striving Against Opposition, the newest member of the Red Ensign Brigade.
It's been a while; I was getting thirsty. Cheers, Chris!
The feared godfather of Maritime blogging, Damian Penny, will be met on the beaches by the local chapter of the VRWC, supported by the Toronto battalion of the Red Ensign Brigade.
As a humanitarian gesture, I have already issued warnings that "photos" will be taken and may even be published, in violation of the Geneva, Islamabad, and Canberra conventions.
In his introduction, he commits a great quote which I can't avoid reproducing here:
While Mr. Trudeau was exactly right in saying "the state has no business in the bedrooms of the nation" he, alas, felt the state had plenty of business everywhere else. Survey the conventional wisdom in the Canadian media, or even when talking to the average Joe in the street, you'd be under the impression that things were always and forever meant to be this way — a nation that values socialist health care above just about anything else, espouses squishy multilateral foreign policy and derives national identify only through contrasting its social programs with its more imposing southern neighbour.
Jason has done a bang-up job of collecting some of the most interesting and topical posts from the 40+ members of the brigade in the 12th Raising of the Red Ensign. Great job, Jason!
So, what are you all waiting here for? Go! Go!
Welcome to John the Mad, our latest Red Ensign Blogger. Mine'll be a Chateau Margaux '59 please, John, there's a good chap!
Damian Brooks has performed a great job of gathering together memorable and interesting quotes from the 40+ members of the brigade. Go and sample some of the other brigade members' blogs (we're far from being cookie-cutter ideologues).
Two years ago, I was accused of being a racist. This was long before I started blogging, so it had nothing to do with the Brigade . . . it was in person, at work. I was walking down the hall towards the coffee room, when a an employee from a different department asked me how I could wear such an offensive symbol.
Didn't I know that this symbol was the universal symbol of hatred, racism, and intolerance? Could I possibly not be aware of this? Was I blind, stupid, or both?
Didn't I know that in England, they hoisted this flag over every site where racist attacks took place?
To cap it all off, my accuser was colour-blind. He thought the colours were green on white.
Update: Okay, the flag is the flag of England (not the United Kingdom, which also includes the Cross of St. Andrew and the Cross of St. Patrick). The shirt I was wearing was a World Cup 2002 shirt with the Cross of St. George prominently displayed over a soccer ball and the World Cup logo. And, duh, I was wearing it because I was supporting the English team (Canada not having qualified for the World Cup. Again.)
Paul at Ravishing Light hosts the most recent Raising. Go and see what the vastly more talented members of the Brigade are up to. . .
Welcome to Chriscam, the latest member of the Red Ensign Brigade.
Chris is a favourite destination for web traffic from France:
So in looking at my web statistics recently (i.e. about 5 minutes ago) I've noticed that a significant portion of my traffic (let's say 15%) is coming from....wait for it....drumroll please....france! Yes. It's true. I'm sorry to say that they seem obsessed with me. Je le trouve curieux parce que je déteste les français. Oui. J'ai employé un 'f' minuscule. Je l'ai employé parce que les français sont yellow goat fuckers. But that's okay. Maybe I can brainwash them to my way of thinking. Not immediately. No, not all at once to be sure. But slowly, deliberately. I will bring them around to my point of view. Either that or piss them off entirely. Either way I win.
We're going to be drinking in shifts soon! Our latest recruit is All things Canadian. Glad to have you on board!
Brigadier Packwood, aka "the Flea" has finally broken down and admitted it all:
I am certain Flea-readers everywhere will understand when I write that this blog is and always has been for gay men only. Not only a little bit take-one-for-the-team gay but fully 100% friends-of-Dorothy gay. Gay, gay, gay! All images of women shown here should be understood for their camp fabulousness and all objectification of these images by straight men or lesbian women is strictly forbidden. Not a little bit forbidden but Taliban-throw-you-down-the-well/CRTC-keep-it-off-the-tv/Andrea-Dworkin-pornography-is-rape forbidden. Your publisher, having practiced techniques of Tibetan mind control, is an exception and feels nothing but an aesthetic appreciation for any images shown here including those of Kylie Minogue's perfect bottom. My intransigent pursuit of Kylie-media is a vocation and not cheap thrill-seeking of any kind. So if you are not a 100% gay man, or somewhere else on the Kinsey-scale but studying Tibetan mind control, you should only squint sideways at any pictures you see here until you have determined they are not of Kylie Minogue. Sexual objectification of men on the other hand, and especially the Flea, is to be fully encouraged and is best expressed through large financial donations, lavish presents or whatever it takes to get me onto Glenn Reynold's blogroll (and I mean whatever it takes).
Thank you, sir. I'm sure it took a lot of courage to say that. I think I can speak for
all both of Quotulatiousness' readers when I say "we understand".
West Coast Chaos has raised the Red Ensign on his site. Welcome to the unit, soldier!
Anthroblogogy - on the brink of civilization, or off the edge . . . is the latest blog to hoist the Red Ensign, adding to our already significant number of non-Canadian members.
Dust My Broom is hosting the latest raising of the Red Ensign. Interesting, quirky, characteristic, and otherwise hard-to-categorize topics covering a huge range of issues at various Brigade members' blogs. Go, go!
Welcome Nathan's Updates from Seoul to the Red Ensign Brigade. Nathan is a Canadian working as an English teacher in South Korea, so I guess we can exempt him from the traditional purchase of the first round in the officer's mess until he's next back in Canada.
. . .but it flies proudly there. Andrew has pulled together the 8th Raising of the Red Ensign at Bound By Gravity.
Last night (and early this morning) was the first gathering of the Toronto-area blogging community that I was able to attend. I took my digital camera along, in hopes of being able to match faces to well-known names, but my poor photography skills let me down (as the photos below will attest). If you think these reduced-in-size images are bad, I can assure you that resizing them improved them!
Damian "Keep your hands off my beer" Brooks was the advance scout, locating the bar and holding it in position until reinforcements arrived. I was the next arrival, and by Damian's timing it took just under eight minutes for us to move the conversation into the political realm. Typical bloody bloggers, say I.
Nick "Ghost of a Flea" Packwood and Mike "on the attack" Brock were next in the door, and after that I lost track of who was arriving. Eventually, the space Bob Tarantino had reserved became free and we moved as a straggling mob downstairs. I finally remembered that I wanted to take a few photos at that point. Ben "Tiger in Winter" and Mike Brock were the first victims of the digital fuzzification process:
My next targets of opportunity were both trying to add a touch of dignity to the proceedings: Nick Packwood and Chris Taylor.
To my utter shame, I can't remember the names of these two gentlemen, although I had long and involved conversations with both of them over the evening. I can only plead youth and ignorance plus a side order of memory loss Nick kindly provided me with the essential information; this is Michael Kelemen (of Canadian Headhunter) and Rick McGinnis:
The lady below isn't a blogger, but somehow can tolerate 'em in medium-large quantities. Beside her is Mike Brock:
The next photo shows what appears to be an occupational hazard for bloggers: hair loss!
From left to right, Chris Taylor, Nick Packwood, Bob "Let it bleed", and Damian Brooks.
Finally, as the evening wore down to the wee small hours of the night, a tiny remnant of bloggers were left solving the world's problems by the fireplace:
Apologies are offered to all my victims here, and do feel free to correct my errors or add missing information, please!
The Brigade is getting mighty large . . . perhaps Brigadier Packwood needs to start measuring up his epaulettes for Major-General's insignia soon.
The newest junior officer in the mess is Dust My Broom.
Welcome to the unit, soldier!
Welcome to the latest blog to hoist the Red Ensign, Rightjab.
Update 26 October: Shudder. I ignorantly mis-spelled Doxology in the original posting and only just noticed the error now. Eeeek! The way I originally spelled it was a throw-away line in a Heinlein novel (Friday, if I remember correctly). Many apologies to Rebecca for the mistake.
Myrick, our Singapore-based Brigade member has raised the Red Ensign again. Go and check out some of the best blogging from our (mostly) Canadian blog-base. The non-Canadian blogging is equally good.
From his introduction:
I love Canada, but I worry about its future. Because I express my concerns, I am sometimes called un-Canadian.
I love multiculturalism and diversity. Homogeneity is boring. But I worry that political correctness, often carried out in the name of multiculturalism, is crushing the diversity of opinion that is required for a functional society.
I love America, although not blindly. Nevertheless, this also seems to be a crime against mainstream Canadian values.
I believe that advocates of Canada's favorite shibboleth, the health-care system, are promoting the indirect murder of citizens by preventing them from getting medical attention. It is not often immediately available from Canada's overcrowded system. Private-sector health care could take the pressure off a strained system . . . but under the Canadian way it is better to have people die.
Brigade Commander Nicholas Packwood has the latest Winston Review up for your instruction and eddification.
What are you doing still here? Go!
Welcome to the latest recruit to the Brigade: Stephen Taylor, who bills himself as the "Conservative Party of Canada Pundit".
Welcome to the best unit in the 'sphere! Junior officers buy the first round in the mess, Stephen.
If you have been following the recent unpleasantness (no, not the last Canadian election, though you would be right to call it that), you'll know that Warren Kinsella has been threatening legal action against certain bloggers. One of those victims of legal intimidation tactics, Damian Brooks, is one of the Red Ensign bloggers. He posted a blog entry which was quite outspoken and Kinsella took offence.
Rather than doing what most bloggers would do (and Kinsella has his own blog, to which I'm carefully not linking), retaliate in your own blog to the perceived attack, Kinsella chose to brandish his weapons of mass (legal) destruction. Damian, being a wise chap in spite of his perhaps over-enthusiastic original posting, realized that even if he won a court case, the costs would be ruinous. He removed the posting from his blog.
I know about as much about the law as a pig knows about music, so it's not particularly useful for me to comment on the legal aspects of the case, but it did strike me as odd that Kinsella immediately reached for the biggest stick in his arsenal. This post at Samizdata suggests the real reason for his actions:
By the sound of it, there is very little that the blogosphere can do to make this Warren Kinsella person think better of his threats, although I would love to be proved wrong about that. Even by the standards of regular party politicians, he sounds like a fairly unpleasant character. All bloggers can do is publicise that he has made the threats, which I think he will be very happy about. He may be nasty but he is not stupid. He wants to be known as a political bully, if only to sell his book about how to be a political bully.
Bill, at Bound By Gravity has joined the Red Ensign Brigade. Welcome to the unit, recruit!
Brigadier Packwood: "You can't leave us hanging like that... did you find the missing weapons?"
Eventually, the missing weapons turned up. Our little search party had nothing to do with the success of the mission. Partly because of the presence of an SAS patrol on base at the time.
The British army had a field engineer squadron encamped about a kilometer from where our course tent line was located. Their official mission was to re-build a wartime bridge somewhere on the Mattawa Plain. The odd thing was that every time we wandered past their position, they were rather noticeably sitting around, drinking beer, and being obviously unmilitary. Very weird, given the much more professional impression we all had of the Brits.
One day during my brief two-week training course, our little convoy of communications vehicles was ambushed by chaps in British pattern camo. One second we were driving along like good little toy soldiers, the next, every vehicle in the convoy had been sprayed with (simulated) automatic weapons fire, had a thunderflash (or other explosive simulator) blow up under the truck, and each member of the vehicle crew got "counted coup".
For "field engineers", these guys were incredibly good: we didn't see them before the ambush and within less than a minute we didn't see where they'd gone. I don't know whether they were just freelancing, or if we were mistaken for the real target of their ambush, but it convinced us not to mess with 'em.
A couple of weeks later, the prime minister of the day was grilled in Parliament about the rumours that the SAS were training in Canada. Even back then, this was supposed to be a bad thing: the eeeeevil SAS were not supposed to be welcome here in peace-loving Soviet Canuckistan, you see. . .
For some reason, the brigade has a vocal contingent demanding photographic evidence of our past (teenage) sins. I've managed to lose or destroy most of the images from that time period, but here's one that somehow survived:
That was me, circa 1979, somewhere in CFB Petawawa. We were pulled out of our TQ2 Radio Operator field exercise and set to wander the woods looking for some missing weapons. A friend of mine from the Highland Fusiliers happened to have his camera along, so he took a few pictures. One of 'em ended up being published in a DND publication of some sort (details get hazy after all these
Of course, thanks to nearly 100-hours of outage, I'm almost the last poster to point there, but what can I do?
The good news is that closing comments on the old blog entries that attract spam comments does seem to slow down the number of such postings. The bad news is that it only slows it down; I'm still banning about an IP address a day for spam postings.
On the off-chance that you get a notification that your IP has been banned, send me an email at "nrusson AT rogers DOT com" and I'll unban it for you (this offer is void for known spammers, of course).
Welcome to new brigade member Canadian Comment. Dana and Bob offer their prescriptions to the world for what ails it.
He's added me to his blogroll and until just now, I hadn't realized it. I'll quickly add him to my blogroll and pretend he's been there all along. Yeah, that's the ticket. . .
Welcome aboard . . . and BTW nice ad you've got running on the site right now!
Incidentally, while you're there, convey my apologies to Ben for my being an idiot: I've been linking to the wrong address to his blog from Quotulatiousness for nearly a month. You'd think I would have noticed that the link didn't work about the third or fourth time I tried it, wouldn't you?
I try to maintain my reciprocal linkages a bit more carefully than that. Usually. Honest.
The fourth raising of the Red Ensign is being celebrated at BumfOnline. Go ye and partake of all that wonderful bloggy goodness, y'hear?
Visitors since 17 August, 2004