Monthly Archives: September 2012

Goals? What Goals? (English Premier League disgrace)

Why care about getting it right? We’re the damn Premier League!

Everton lost (nay, was robbed of) two points today, drawing Newcastle United 2-2.  Brutal to give up the late tying goal just after taking the lead again, but Newcastle’s Demba Ba is a force to be reckoned with.

Still, shamefully missed calls (one on a faux offside call on a Fellaini goal, then on the above uncalled goal for Victor Anichebe).  It is absolutely disgraceful for the English Premier League.  This kind of thing has been going on for years.  So, guys, you have had years to consider it and still do nothing.

Take the NHL, with a video-goal judge at every game in touch with the goals office in Toronto.  More games per week, more goals per game than the EPL, yet it is handled.  Even in a call such as the missed Anichebe goal, in the NHL context, the video goal judge would have reviewed and then communicated to the referee at the next stoppage of play that there was indeed a goal.

Bloody hell.


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Grog Shops of Halifax: a History

If I ever owned a tavern in Halifax, I’d want to call it The Grog Shop, but I doubt that name would get licensed; I seem to recall a rule about purveyors of booze not supposed to make it sound like they were purveying booze.  Anyway… here’s a trip through time to give you an idea of what a pub crawl would have been like in the city’s early days.

I have a map of early Halifax (it’s titled “Map of Halifax: 1749-1830” and was prepared and drawn by George T. Bates (I’m not sure when, but it was some time after 1950).

Among other things of historical interest, the map shows the sites of the first 30 liquor licenses in Halifax plus some other notable establishments.  John Shippey received the first license on July 17, 1749 – the year the city was founded by the British.  It doesn’t list a name of his establishment, but it was located on Lower Water Street, just south of Salter Street (or, roughly, where the parking lot of the Keith’s Brewery is now).  It says that “On Aug 24, 1750, married Sarah Allen, a widow.  Family totaled 7 (2 males, 3 females over 16, and 2 boys under 16) in the 1752 Census.  Other record is scanty”.  Shippey’s name lives on.

William Crafts received license no.2 on the same date as Shippey’s, but had it cancelled on December 27, 1749.  Wild Christmas party?  This was located on Barrington Street, just north of Blowers Street on the harbour side of Barrington.  I think that’s where the old Mason’s building is now.

John Williams received license no.3, just two days after Shippey and Crafts.  No info, but Bates mentions that there were 3 men with this name among the first settlers.  (As every school kid knows, or knew, there were 2,547 of them, and they arrived on board ships with names like Alexander, Baltimore, London, Fair Lady, Winchelsea and Merry Jacks.)  His establishment was located on Albemarle Street – up off Duke Street toward Citadel Hill; north of Duke St, I’d say between where Market Street is now and Brunswick Street.

License no.4 was issued to John Aubony on July 21, 1749.  In May of 1753, Aubony is shown as owning “The Mairmaid Tavern” near ‘the Beach’ (there was a beach?), i.e. Water Street.

Richard Wenman received the fifth license on July 28, 1749.  His establishment was located on Bedford Row between George and Duke Streets.  According to Bates’ research, Wenman married a widow named Ann Pike on July 21, 1751.  Their daughter Susanna married the Hon. Benjamin Green, MLA for Halifax (1765-1770).  Wenman died on September 28, 1751, aged 70.

John Willis received licence no.6 on August 11, 1749.  It was also on Abermarle Street, up near John Williams’ place.  Bates seems to indicate that Willis’ licence was associated with The Great Pontack.  Located at the northwest corner of Duke and Bedford Row, The Great Pontack, notes Bates, was the best known of Halifax inns, and was built by the Hon. John Butler before 1754, when it first gained notoriety, and remained at the center of Halifax social life and entertainment for the next 30 years.  Bates: It’s name appears constantly in the records of this period of Halifax’s history.

On August 21, 1749, licence no.7 was given to the one and only Ewnosh Auchmuty.  His name does not appear again, so he might be Eunice.  One John Auchmuty died October 31, 1750; spooky.  Alas, there are no Auchmuty’s in the Halifax phone book today.  The Auchmuty establishment was located between Argyle Street and Barrington Street on Buckingham Street, which no longer exists (the Scotia Square shopping/office complex would be there now).

Jean (or Jane) Gibbons received licence no.8 on August 1, 1749.  I see the city clerk was getting his dates and licences out of order; what do you expect with so many taverns around town?  Gibbons appears to be the first woman to operate a drinking establishment in Halifax.  She was located down on Lower Water Street, just south of Shippey’s place along the Keith’s Brewery property.  There was a well just outside her front door.  She was a widow, and she married Edward Lush on October 26, 1749.  Lush died on April 24, 1753.  On Tuesday, December 18, 1753, following a night of “Mirth”, she was seized with a “Fitt” and literally died laughing two hours later.

Esther Addington received licence no.9 on August 22, 1749.  The location of her establishment is not noted, and Bates notes that she was not mentioned again in records.

Licence no.10 was granted to Samuel Blagrave on August 22, 1749.  Blagrave’s establishment was located on Bedford Row between Prince and George Streets.

Within 8 months of the city’s founding, its 30th liquor licence was granted.  The demand was obviously there.  We won’t put all the blame on the city’s first citizens; after all, it was a British garrison and naval port.

Some other establishments of note include:

* the Jerusalem Coffee House which was built as a residence by the Hon. Thomas Saul in 1753.  It was later occupied by the Hon. Alex Brymer.  It was let out as a coffee house by around 1789 and was kept by Wyndham Madden.  It was destroyed by fire in 1837.  I think it was located around where the Law Courts are now.

* at the Blowers Street end of Argyle Street, William Piggott was granted a licence to operate a coffee house with a billiard table on April 8, 1751.  It apparently moved in 1753 to Granville Street, near the “Sign of the Black Bull and Butcher”.  Captain Piggott operated “The Duke of Cumberland’s Head” for about 20 years after which it may have been called the Wolfe Inn.  Here would be an example of where the establishment goes by the description of the image of its street sign (what came first, the name or the sign?).

[first posted to The Campblog on July 30, 2005]

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Filed under Canada, Halifax, History, Nova Scotia, Wine & Spirits

The Few

a Spitfire flies past US Navy destroyer Winston S. Churchill (DDG-81); a wonderfully cool shot

Seventy-two years ago, brave heroes were taking to the skies to fend off the brutal German attacks.  Following great sacrifice, in winning the Battle of Britain, they forced Hitler to abandon his plans to invade Britain.  Without them, Hitler would have taken the Isles.  He would have turned his full attention on Russia.  There would never been a D-Day.  Europe would never have been liberated.  Quite likely, Nazi Germany would have eventually developed an atomic bomb.  Today’s world would be (in Charles Krauthammer’s words) dark, tortured, unrecognizable.

[Posted in 2004] Watched the 1969 film, “Battle of Britain” yesterday.  Great story, great cast.  Laurence Olivier, Ralph Richardson, Robert Shaw, Michael Caine, Christopher Plummer, Trevor Howard and Susannah York.  Even a young Ian “Lovejoy” McShane.  [It’s also stands as a lament to the great British film studios of not that long ago.]

I liked it, it seemed like a pretty good telling of the epic battle.  The aerial shots were great, for the most part (naturally, the special effects were very ‘1969’).  Some beautiful shots though.  The film also correctly emphasizes the use of the system of spotters and coordinated information relay that helped get the Spitfires in the air as quickly as possible to attack the invaders.  There’s a stirring scene at the end of the film, a series of scenes really — a major aerial battle, with the British defenders sparring with the attacking Luftwaffe; a grim but stirring aerial ballet wonderfully put to music (William Walton’s “Battle in the Air”).

A nice tribute at the end of the film, showing the nationalities of the airmen who made up ‘the Few’.  The Poles, Czechs, Canadians and other non-RAF groups were allowed to participate once the situation seemed desperate.

Origin  (Pilots/Killed in Action)
RAF & other Commonwealth (1822/339)
Fleet Air Arm (56/9)
Australia (21/14)
New Zealand (73/11)
Canada (88/20) [note, I think I read on Wiki somewhere there were 112 Cdns involved]
South Africa (21/9)
Southern Rhodesia (2/0)
Ireland (8/0)
United States of America (7/1)
Poland (141/29)
Czech (86/8)
Belgian (26/6)
Free France (13/0)
Israel (1/0)
TOTALS (2365/446)

The film ends, oddly to me, with a quote from Churchill on the screen: his ‘end of the beginning’ quote.  Not only is it misquoted, it is misplaced, as he said those words over two years later after the 8th Army’s victory over Rommel in North Africa.  Churchill’s ‘the Few’ quote is featured at the beginning of the film; without reference to Churchill, but I suppose that it’s obvious.  From his address in the House of Commons, August 20, 1940, I include the preceding words:

The gratitude of every home in our Island, in our Empire, and indeed throughout the world, except in the abodes of the guilty, goes out to the British airmen who, undaunted by odds, unwearied in their constant challenge and mortal danger, are turning the tide of the World War by their prowess and by their devotion.  Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.

As in just about every one of Churchill’s speeches from this period, the lines that have leapt into the realm of the classic are accompanied by so many other stirring words that go unremembered.  As classic as these lines are — the few, their finest hour, we shall fight on the beaches — the speeches and addresses from which they come are themselves classic and deserve to be remembered and cherished for the role they played in allowing Britain to fight on.

For instance, other lines from the August 20, 1940 speech include:

Two or three years are not a long time, even in our short, precarious lives.  They are nothing in the history of the nation, and when we are doing the finest thing in the world, and have the honor to be the sole champion of the liberties of all Europe, we must not grudge these years or weary as we toil and struggle through them.  It does not follow that our energies in future years will be exclusively confined to defending ourselves and our possessions.  Many opportunities may lie open to amphibious power, and we must be ready to take advantage of them.  One of the ways to bring this war to a speedy end is to convince the enemy, not by words, but by deeds, that we have both the will and the means, not only to go on indefinitely, but to strike heavy and unexpected blows.  The road to victory may not be so long as we expect.  But we have no right to count upon this.  Be it long or short, rough or smooth, we mean to reach our journey’s end…


I do not think it would be wise at this moment, while the battle rages and the war is still perhaps only in its earlier stage, to embark on elaborate speculations about the future shape which should be given to Europe or the new securities which must be arranged to spare mankind the miseries of the third World War.  The ground is not new, it has been frequently traversed and explored, and many ideas are held about it in common by all good men, and all free men.

I include this part because it speaks to Churchill’s prescience once again; I think his prescience comes, at least in part, from his being such an astute historian.  Anyway, here we are, the Battle of Britain has barely been won and he’s already discussing the security arrangements required to prevent a third world war.  Indeed, later in this speech, he basically spells out NATO.

The speech concludes,

Undoubtedly this process means that these two great organizations of the English-speaking democracies, the British Empire and the United States, will have to be somewhat mixed up together in some of their affairs for mutual and general benefit.  For my own part, looking out upon the future, I do not view the process with any misgivings.  I could not stop it if I wished; no one can stop it.  Like the Mississippi, it just keeps rolling along.  Let it roll.  Let it roll on full flood, inexorable, irresistible, benignant, to broader lands and better days.

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Cavendish foxes

During our visit to Prince Edward Island in late August, we saw plenty of red fox.  But this one looked like he had some hyena mix in him (or maybe dog?); I’m sure it’s just normal.  No hyena running around loose on the Island.  Don’t mean to alarm anyone…

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Temples of Freedom and Honour (a September 11th remembrance)

These cruel, wanton, indiscriminate bombings of London are, of course, a part of Hitler’s invasion plans.  He hopes by killing large numbers of civilians and women and children that he will terrorize and cow the people of this mighty imperial city, and make them a burden and anxiety to the government and thus distract our attention unduly from the ferocious onslaught he is preparing.

Little does he know the spirit of the British nation or the tough fiber of the Londoners, whose forebears played a leading part in the establishment of parliamentary institutions and who have been bred to value freedom far above their lives.

This wicked man, the repository and embodiment of many forms of soul-destroying hatreds, this monstrous product of former wrongs and shames has now resolved to try to break our famous island race by a process of indiscriminate slaughter and destruction.

What he has done is to kindle a fire in British hearts here and all over the world which will glow long after all traces of the conflagrations he has caused in London have been removed.

He has lighted a fire which will burn with a steady and consuming flame until the last vestiges of Nazi tyranny have been burned out of Europe and until the Old World and the New can join hands to rebuild the temples of man’s freedom and man’s honor upon foundations which will not soon or easily be overthrown.

— Winston Churchill (September 11, 1940)

I’ll never forget.  I was so glad to have been able to speak with my future wife, even though we were in different cities.  I had to go to my brother’s place, just to see the kids and play with them.

Forever remembrance to those who were lost, and condolences always to the loved ones left behind.

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Dying embers of the day

Dying embers of the day. Sunset at the Cliffs at Cavendish, Prince Edward Island, Canada. Late August, 2012. Mike Campbell photo.

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New Christmas gift tradition (Hugo winner)

I’m establishing a new Christmas gift tradition for my 6 year old son, that each Christmas he gives me that year’s Hugo winner for best science-fiction novel.

Unlike my poor Dad who received countless Old Spice gift packs, this will be a nice, interesting gift.  I can prooobably avoid learning who the winners or even nominees are going into Christmas, so it will probably even be a surprise most times.

But, the best novel winner at this year’s Hugo Awards was Jo Walton’s “Among Others”.  Thanks, Ewan!!


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