DCMontreal: Blowing the Whistle on Society

Eclectic social commentary with a chuckle and maybe a sting in the tail

Welcome To Montreal Casey Kasem!

Well, there is a rumour that his wife, Jean, misunderstood the concept of a ‘Bucket list’, figuring it meant things to do after kicking the bucket, not before.

The strange saga of radio personality Casey Kasem’s illness and subsequent death continues. You may recall that while the legendary host of American Top 40 was very ill, his family undertook an epic squabble over access to him. Then when he finally, one could say mercifully, succumbed to his malady, his body went missing.

Well I’m pleased to say he has turned up right here in Montreal. A funeral director has confirmed that Kasem’s remains are here. But why?

Casey Kasem

Casey Kasem in 2003 (AP/Eric Jamison, File)

Well, there is a rumour that his wife, Jean, misunderstood the concept of a ‘Bucket list’, figuring it meant things to do after kicking the bucket, not before. It seems Casey always wanted to visit Montreal and take in the Just for Laughs festival, currently underway here.

While this can’t be confirmed as the reason for the radio personality’s arrival here, some in other potential destinations are not taking any chances. The media reports that officials at Mount Everest; Uluru, Australia; Buckingham Palace, and various sky-diving and river-rafting companies around the world are preparing themselves for an unusual package delivery. There is also word that Disney has doubled security around the Mickey Mouse costumes in an effort to avoid the “Open Casket in Mouse Outfit” selfies.

Meanwhile Montreal radio executives are hoping that, even in his current condition, Kasem can inject some life into local radio.

Me DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

Waitstaff: Suggestions From a Patron’s Viewpoint

TablesYou often come across articles about how to be a good restaurant, bar or cafe customer, usually written from the point of view of waitstaff – as waiters and waitresses are now referred to. Invariably one of the focal points will be the absolute need to tip and what constitutes an appropriate tip; the proper way to get your wait-staffer’s attention and so on.

Tipping used to be done on the QT, a little backhander, some palm grease, a bit of a cash bonus tactfully passed from customer to waiter, doorman or cabbie, all in an effort To Insure Promptness, hence Tip.

Let me start by stating unequivocally that I am an exceptionally polite person, and I have been told on numerous occasions that I am an above average tipper, even if I dislike the current system where I, the restaurant patron, have to directly pay, via tips, a significant portion of wait staff salaries because restaurant owners can employ them at below average minimum wage.

Tipping used to be done on the QT, a little backhander, some palm grease, a bit of a cash bonus tactfully passed from customer to waiter, doorman or cabbie, all in an effort To Insure Promptness – hence Tip. Now not only is it right out there, but it is expected, in fact in many establishments it is already calculated into your bill. While I don’t like the system, and would prefer one whereby restaurant owners paid waitstaff a decent wage to begin with, and tips were relegated to their old role as bonuses, I would never hold that against a waiter or waitress by withholding their tip. I understand they work very hard and rely on tips, and they didn’t create the system.

But enough about tipping, let’s take a look at things from the opposite end of the telescope. Now that we know how to be good patrons, here are some ideas, I won’t say tips, on how to be an even better waiter or waitress.

MenuPlease, there’s no need to introduce yourself.

“Hi! I’m Becky/Sam, and I’ll be your waiter/waitress tonight.” Becky/Sam, I don’t want to be mean, but we’re not going to be friends – and if we already are, I know your name. I’m going to politely order food, you’re going to professionally bring it, I’m going to enjoy it and pay. We can accomplish all of this without knowing each others name.

With all due respect, I don’t care what you like.

Please don’t say things such as “What I really like is the pork chop with basil stuffing”. That’s fine, why don’t you go have one. I’m not in the least interested in what you like or how you like it. In a similar vein, when I inform you of my selection, please don’t say “Good choice” as though I were a child having just mastered shoelace tying.

Did I mention I am polite?

As a polite person, during the course of our interaction I will, no doubt on several occasions, say ‘Thank you’. There are but a few proper replies, among them ‘you’re welcome’ and ‘my pleasure’. ‘Un-huh’, ‘Sure’, ‘Not a problem’,  and ‘okie dokie’ should be avoided!

How you choose to divvy up the tables and chores is entirely your business. As far as we are concerned, all wait staff should be attentive to all customers. It will all work out in the end.

Please don’t impose the inner workings of the restaurant on me

While the phrase “It’s not my section” has become a joke, there are still some waitstaff who don’t get it. When we customers enter a restaurant, we enter the entire monolithic establishment, not one or another section thereof. How you choose to divvy up the tables and chores is entirely your business. As far as we patrons are concerned, all wait staff should be attentive to all customers. It will work out in the end.

Please don’t impose the inner workings of the restaurant on me – part two

Every now and then I like to drop in for a beer or two on my way home from work. Sometimes the waiter or waitress will, mere moments after bringing me my beer, reappear with an unrequested bill and payment machine. Have I been thrown out, am I barred, cut off, did I take a nap on the bar?  They inform me that they have finished their shift and are leaving. So? Have a nice evening. Oh, I get it, you want me to pay and tip you for the beer(s) you brought me, then your replacement will start another tab. Why don’t you just let the bill run, I’ll pay your replacement when I leave, and you can get your portion of the tip from him or her next time you see them? But I guess it’s easier to download this bit of payroll administration to the customer.

As a polite person, during the course of our interaction I will, no doubt on several occasions, say ‘Thank you’. There are but a few proper replies, among them ‘you’re welcome’ and ‘my pleasure’. ‘Un-huh’, ‘Sure’, ‘Not a problem’,  and ‘okie dokie’ should be avoided!

Please don’t hover, but don’t disappear either

Once things have arrived, within a few moments the customary check to see if everything is fine is much appreciated. Assuming all is well, there’s no need for you to hover, but by the same token, please don’t disappear, as I will no doubt need your services again. Strike a balance between being available and leaving me alone.

Now that the meal is done

When it comes time to remove the plates from my table, if someone appears to still be eating, please don’t a) remove all the other plates and utensils, this just makes the remaining diner feel uncomfortable and rushed, when they should be enjoying their meal. And, b) should you not be certain if someone has finished their meal, never, ever, ask “Are you still working on this?”. I don’t know where this comes from, but I have heard it several times. We aren’t working, we are dining. If it entailed work to get through the meal, we wouldn’t be eating in your restaurant. I imagine a chef would not like to think his meals had to be worked on.

These few suggestions will make this restaurant patron happy, which will probably result in an above average tip.

Photo credits: ; hsojhsoj on Pixabay

 

Me DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

Montreal Wall Art: Out With The Old

A year or so ago I was walking through downtown Montreal when I came upon artist Camnovak working on a mural. I didn’t disturb him while he was creating, but when I posted the photo, on the left below, to Instagram he replied with a  “thanks”. Now he has created a new piece where the old one was, more of a sketch than the burst of colors in the first work.

 

By coincidence my fellow blogger That Montreal Girl also came upon this new work. So to see a very good photo of it, taken by someone who really knows how to use camera, not a phone,  please drop by her blog!!

Me DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

Ducks and Model Consent Forms

Ducks

Yet another visitor from the animal kingdom dropped by my place yesterday. This time as I looked out my window I was struck by the sight of a lovely duck on my windowsill. The pond in the park up the street from my building serves as the summer home to ducks most years. Repeatedly pecking at my window with its bill, this bird clearly wanted my attention.

I made my way over to the window and opening it my guest hastily introduced herself as Mallory.

“Mallory?” I said.

“And you’re probably surprised that I’m not idiotically squawking my words like Donald or lisping exaggeratedly like Daffy or only saying one word, Aflac, over and over again.

“Yes, Mallory Mallard to be precise.” I guess I should have seen that coming. But to be honest, I was more taken in by what was on Mallory’s back than by her name. It appeared to be a harness contraption on which were secured five miniature car child-seats. Buckled into each was a weeks-old duckling. Some nodding-off to sleep, others looking around curiously.

Noticing my rapt gaze, Mallory continued “And they are Malcolm Mallard, Malachy Mallard, the twins Malvin and Malvina Mallard, and Malina Mallard. Malik Mallard and Malka Mallard are with their father. Look, I don’t mean to be rude, but I need to make this quick so I can get these guys back in the water and continue teaching them the ways of duck life,” she said.

I must still have been looking quite gobsmacked by the sight as, sensing my preoccupation with both her and the little ones, Mallory said “Wait a minute, let me guess. This is the first time you’ve talked with a duck isn’t it?”

I nodded in agreement.

Daffy Duck

Daffy Duck

“And you’re probably surprised that I’m not idiotically squawking my words like Donald or lisping exaggeratedly like Daffy or only saying one word, Aflac, over and over again. Let me tell you, if you smack my bill to the left or right, it won’t go round and round my head, so don’t get any silly ideas.  Really, such stereotyping doesn’t become you.”

I had to agree that she had me with that one, so I pressed on and asked how I could help. She explained that since giving birth and starting the training process she and her brood have been photographed countless times by park visitors. “As we swan about the park pond there is a plethora of camera and smart phone wielding gawkers snapping away.”

“Excuse me,” I interrupted, “‘swan’ about?”

“I’m not the writer here,” she said. “Nor is English my first language, but would you prefer ‘duck’ about?”

She had me again.

“We’re not annoyed at all the paparazzi attention, but we would like to know what these photos are being used for, and whether we can come to an agreement on royalties and fees if they are being put to commercial use. It is also de rigueur to blur the faces of children in public photos. Is that being done?”

Even if it is named for a bird sound, we can’t Tweet, any more than we can use Facebook or for that matter any computer-based communication system. We have feathery wings and webbed feet, they haven’t yet made the keyboard upon which those appendages are functional.

I told Mallory that I was aware of the photos, in fact one of the finest examples I had seen was in a post on my neighbour and fellow blogger’s page. I tried to assure her that no harm would come to the little ones, and that I was pretty certain no money was being made when I could resist no longer and told her to relax and “just let it roll off her back”. She didn’t seem to be amused, I didn’t know ducks could glare with such intensity.

Giving in to my curiosity I asked Mallory “You’re clearly very bright, articulate and intelligent. Why is it you have come to me for help? Surely you could get the information you need without my help”

“That’s a fair question,” she said.”Let me explain. Even if it is named for a bird sound, we can’t Tweet, any more than we can use Facebook or for that matter any computer-based communication system, even if it is the World Wide Web. We have feathery wings and webbed feet, they haven’t yet made the keyboard upon which those appendages are functional. Other birds, some you may have met, are able to use these devices because they have beaks instead of bills, and can hunt and peck. As for ducks, no dice.”

Knowing Mallory wanted to get back to the pond, I said I would look into her problem and get back to her as soon as I had some information. “Maybe you could get a Model Consent Form for us to use” she suggested. I told her I’d drop by the pond if a had any news, and if she wasn’t there I’d leave a message, write it ‘down’ if you will, I joked. There was that glare again as Mallory, shaking her head,  took flight with the little ones.

Me DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

Christmas in July

If you were a kid growing up in Montreal in the sixties and seventies you will no doubt remember a very popular radio announcer by the name of Paul Reid.  He did the evening show on radio station CJAD and had a very healthy following for many years.  Like many radio personalities of the day Reid had his signature sayings, closing every show with the phrase “And the night is ours”.

Perhaps the most memorable of Reid’s shows was his annual Christmas show that was a must-listen event to get into the seasonal spirit, as he recounted stories from his childhood and played carols. But it was more than that; during the hottest days of summer, at a time when air conditioning was not universally available, in an effort at mind-over-matter, CJAD would rebroadcast the Christmas Show.

In an attempt to recapture that cooling sensation of Christmas in July, I present for your viewing pleasure, our family tradition of  convincing some daft uncle (me) to eat rum-soaked flaming raisins after Christmas dinner. How will this refresh you during these hot days? Just be glad you weren’t the one hurling those blazing currants down your esophagus!

 

 

Me DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

Net Neutrality, Search Neutrality and Payola

Sanders

I’m sure you’ve heard about it; Net Neutrality has become a very popular phrase lately. No, it doesn’t refer to your amount of neutrality after taxes (then we’d need a Gross Neutrality as well). In a nutshell it describes an Internet where all data is deemed equal – or neutral. Whether being pumped out by a huge multinational company, a  government, or originating with a lowly, humble blogger; data is data. The opposite of Net Neutrality would be an Internet where those who pay providers a fee have their data treated with special care, or fast-tracked.

Net Neutrality Logo

Net Neutrality Logo

In the United States the Federal Communications Commission has launched an investigation into a deal that would see big entertainment companies like Netflix agree to pay a fee to Internet service providers such as Comcast and Verizon for faster video delivery. If you have a small company providing a similar service, and can’t compete with the fees the big guys are paying, your site will not get the express treatment. It may load … eventually, but it’s not a priority.

Search Neutrality

At one time Google was playing a key role in the fight for Net Neutrality, but the company seems to have backed off a wee bit lately. Could that be due to the fact that ISPs are not the only ones looking to create different strata of service? Search Neutrality is the notion that search engines should have no editorial policies other than that their results be comprehensive, impartial and based solely on relevance, and not on how much they are paid by individual websites. Flying in the face of Search Neutrality is the emerging trend to give search result prominence to those who have paid, even if other results may be more appropriate.

(A site that is) not as close a match as your site, but faring better than you in the search results. Could they have been given priority because they paid the search engine? You better believe it! Want to rate better? Cough up!

Let’s say you have a website called Blue electric left-handed widget wrenches ‘Я’ us that specializes, not surprisingly, in information about blue electric left-handed widget wrenches. And someone enters the following search query: “blue+electric+left-handed+widget+wrenches”. Given the uncommon topic, and the precise search details, your site should show up pretty high in the results. Yet you might find that All Sorts Of Wrenches Inc. places above you. Not as close a match as your site, but faring better than you in the search results. Could they have been given priority because they paid the search engine? You better believe it! Want to rate better? Cough up!

Protection Fees

This reminded me of the underworld gimmick known as a ‘protection fee’ which evidently is no longer limited to shake-down artists. In the original version of this despicable activity a bar or restaurant proprietor is visited by a representative of a crime syndicate who strongly suggests that the owner subscribe to his security services. For a regular cash fee, his group will be pleased to see to it that no harm comes to the establishment. Should the owner refuse on the grounds that his or her place doesn’t need to be protected, amazingly within no time at all the windows might be broken and perhaps a small fire will mysteriously break out. The owner will subsequently be visited once again and asked to start paying the fee, as evidently he or she was mistaken and their bar is indeed a target. Obviously this is extortion, as the one offering the protection service is the one causing the damage. Pay up or look out, but all done under the guise of offering a valuable service.

I used to think of search engines as being somewhat like librarians … But imagine if librarians said to writers and publishers, we’re not going to give your book a prominent place unless you subscribe to our library fund.  Pay up or be overlooked.

There was a time when search engines scoured the World Wide Web for the best match to your query. The better they were at it, the more people would use their services and the more people looking at their site, the more advertising they could sell, and the higher their profit.

Not satisfied with mere billions in advertising revenue, search engines have started turning a profit from the actual search results. Not just from the pages that are clearly labeled as promoted, or paid, that pop up at the very top of your results page – there’s no problem with these -  but from a system of squeezing cash from sites to ensure they are included in the general search results. If you don’t pay the search engine to include your site, it may be buried on page 746 of the results. Even if your site fulfills all the search parameters entered by the net surfer, the search engine may pass over you unless you have subscribed to a payment plan.

Search Engines Like Librarians

I used to think of search engines as being somewhat like librarians. When you couldn’t find what you wanted on your own, the reference librarian would put his or her skills and training to use and deliver to you the best results possible. There was no cost to the user for this, and the librarian received their salary for doing their job. But imagine if librarians said to writers and publishers, we’re not going to give your book a prominent place unless you subscribe to our library fund.  Pay up or be overlooked.

Payola

NY Sunday News September 1960

NY Sunday News September 1960

Does the word payola come to mind? Back in the fifties and sixties when radio disc-jockeys actually jockeyed discs and had the last word on what they played, it didn’t take artists and promoters long to realize that the records DJs liked best were those that came with an envelope of cash. Priority was awarded based on kick-back, not merit.

The only difference was that payola started with the record company “buying” the DJ and was very hush-hush. The current threat to search neutrality originates with the search engines and is anything but secret.

Me DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

Mañana

I had a great idea for this Daily Prompt. A real insight into procrastination … come back tomorrow, or maybe the next day. I may have it written by then. Maybe Friday.

Me DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

A Letter To FIFA; Just a Few Suggestions

Flood

Dear FIFA,

Thank you so very much for a wonderful World Cup 2014 in Brazil. During the past month I have been wrapped up in the competition on a daily basis and have watched enough football games to last me … well … about four years. And therein lies perhaps your only problem; the lack of North American interest in football during the intervening years might be a bit of a thorn in your side. I grant you, participation in the Beautiful Game is on the rise here, particularly among the young, which augurs well for the future, but when it comes to advertising revenue from television during those non-World Cup years, football ranks well down the list – behind American Football (both NFL and College), Baseball, Basketball and Hockey.

What the hell, let’s flood the surface with water and freeze it, give the players skates and allow full body contact and we might just have a game that will appeal to North American viewers.

I realize that your game is the most popular in the world. And that you don’t need North America to maintain that number one position. But if you do want to tap into that vast potential audience, I have some suggestions that I believe will win you many North American viewers, based on what seems to appeal to them (us?).

You have a game that is timed. When this is the case, we North Americans like to be able to see the official time on display. Continue to count up from zero if you want, although we prefer to count down, but when there is a stoppage in play – an injury, or jockeying for position on a free kick, stop the clock too. No more mysterious “time added on”, what you see on the scoreboard clock, not a referee’s watch, is what you get.

The dimensions of the field are too big. Bring this down to about 60 meters by 30 meters and reduce the number of players on each team by five. Let’s face it, currently, at any given time half the players on the field are standing around doing nothing anyway.

Blue Lines = Fixed Offside Black Lines = Boards

Blue Lines = Fixed Offside
Black Lines = Boards

We appreciate the need for an offside rule to eliminate net hangers, those who would just lurk around the goal and wait for a chance to pop the ball in. But please do away with the moveable feast offside rule. Paint a line across the field at about 12 meters from the goal, one in each end, color it blue, and use this as the offside point. So much simpler.

The ball goes out of play too much. Ringing the field with boards and plexiglass would eliminate this tiresome game delay. It would also provide an extra opportunity for revenue from advertising painted on these boards.

Okay, let’s see, a proper visible timing system, fewer players on a smaller pitch, a less ambiguous offside rule and boards to keep the ball in play. What the hell, let’s flood the surface with water and freeze it, give the players skates and allow full body contact and we might just have a game that will appeal to North American viewers.

Me DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

Montreal’s Cathédrale Marie-Reine-du-Monde/Mary Queen of the World Cathedral

Montreal’s Cathédrale Marie-Reine-du-Monde/Mary Queen of the World Cathedral late afternoon.

 

Queen of the World Cathedral/Cathédrale Marie-Reine-du-Monde

Mary Queen of the World Cathedral/Cathédrale Marie-Reine-du-Monde

Me DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

World Cup 2014, Fair Play, and a 7-1 Match Result

But tell me, what part of fair play, role modeling, and Beautiful involves running up the score to 7 goals?

Okay, it’s been a few days since the German drubbing of host-country Brazil in the semi-final of FIFA’s World Cup 2014. FIFA has long touted their support of fair play, particularly at its flagship event. They call it the Beautiful Game, and some supporters have been known to look down their noses at sports that involve physical contact, as if those who participate are somehow less than human. For the introduction of players before each game in Brazil, players are accompanied by “mascots”, not over-sized furry characters, but boys and girls who are obviously thrilled to be escorting their role models.

But tell me, what part of fair play, role modeling, and Beautiful involves running up the score to 7 goals?

FIFA_FairGiven the defensive nature of the game, by the time Germany had taken a quick early three goal lead, the game was pretty much over. With a five goal difference at the halfway point, no one was seriously thinking Brazil could come back.  I think once the score hit 4-0 the thing to do was put any sort of offensive foray oh hold and just kill-off time. Teams have been known to do this with the scored tied and hoping to survive to penalty kicks where as they say anything can happen; so I have to believe the Germans could have gone into a serious defense shell and held the Brazilians to a 4-0, or even a 4-1 final score.

It seemed to me to show a distinct lack of class to run-up the score; Brazil, like Germany, has a long and successful football heritage. A little respect was in order.

It seemed to me to show a distinct lack of class to run-up the score; Brazil, like Germany, has a long and successful football heritage. A little respect was in order.  Would an NFL team with a similar lead continue an aerial attack, throwing long passes into the end-zone? Or would they run the ball and play out the clock? Would a baseball team up by seven or eight runs steal bases? An NHL team with a healthy lead would concentrate almost solely on defense.

Of course there are those times when teams, or players, try to rub their opponents nose in it by running up the score. But usually there is a price to be paid for such unsportsmanlike conduct, if not at the moment, then some time in the future. So perhaps members of the German National team, once they return to their club teams in other countries, will be getting a message.

But then maybe not, after all, it is the Beautiful Game.

Me DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

Post Navigation

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 332 other followers