DCMontreal: Blowing the Whistle on Society

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

Terry Fox Run: Montreal Fundraiser Carl Andersen Set To Pass 100,000 Running Miles

Carl Andersen/PHOTO Deegan Charles Stubbs

Carl Andersen  PHOTO: Deegan Charles Stubbs

If all goes according to plan, on September 14th long-time Montreal ultra-runner Carl Andersen will, like thousands of others across Canada, run 10 kilometres in the annual Terry Fox fundraising event. What makes Carl stand out among these runners isn’t just that he’s 78 years old, but that at about the six kilometre point in this run he will pass the 100,000 running miles point. That’s 100,000 miles, not kilometres. He has been running – including 95 marathons – and logging his miles for several years. That’s a whole lot of running!

Realizing that when it came to running he was hooked for life, Carl decided to put his passion to good use, and in 1986 started raising funds by getting people to sponsor his running. He has been going strong ever since. After a career at BELL Canada he opened a running equipment store in west-end Montreal, selling it in 2009. At his peak, Carl used to undertake an annual fundraising run around the circumference of the island of Montreal, a journey of over 120 kilometres!

In April of 2005 her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, then Governor General of Canada, presented Carl with the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award in appreciation of his fundraising efforts.

Over the years this ultra-runner’s pursuits have raised almost $1 Million for several charities including breast cancer research – Carl lost his mother and two sisters to this disease –  multiple sclerosis and muscular dystrophy.

For many years Sheila, Carl’s wife, handled travel arrangements for the company I worked for. I spoke with her on an almost daily basis, yet had never met Carl. One day in April of 2005, Sheila sent me an email informing me she would be out-of-town the next day. She attached a news release stating that her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, then Governor General of Canada, would be presenting Carl with the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award in appreciation of his fundraising efforts.

Carl J. Andersen, Montreal, Quebec
Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award

Carl Andersen has been volunteering since the 1950s and, since 1997, he has collected funds for breast cancer treatment, education and research by running an ultra-marathon of over 120 kilometres. This is a grueling challenge for anyone, and it is particularly arduous for a man in his sixties living with arthritis. Without any corporate support, Mr. Andersen has inspired individuals to donate more than $250,000 for the state-of-the-art Cedars Breast Clinic at the McGill University Health Centre. Mr. Andersen’s mother taught him that we always have time to give to others and his efforts honour her memory and the memory of his two sisters who died of breast cancer. At the same time, he has brought hope to numerous women facing the prospect of breast disease.

Ever the overachiever, rather than looking back he focused on what is ahead, and replied “… please help an old man achieve his goal of $15,030 in support of Terry Fox. Thank You”

Recently I asked Carl how he felt as he approached this impressive milestone, if he has any particularly fond memories that stand out from his years of running. Ever the overachiever, rather than looking back he focused on what is ahead, and replied “I hope to one day get to 100 marathons, but for now please help an old man achieve his goal of $15,030 in support of Terry Fox.”

Please consider sponsoring Carl in this year’s Terry Fox Run and be part of history. You can easily do so at this website.

Good luck Carl!

Terry_Fox

 

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+

Cardinal Spellman: An Old Friend Returns

He’s back! My old friend Spellman the cardinal. It’s been a year or so since I’ve seen or heard him – not even a Tweet, but today he was back.  Maybe he spent the summer at the Vatican.

Spellman_1

Cardinal Spellman

Spellman_2

Camera-shy Cardinal Spellman tries to hide!

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+

Labour Day Event: Digby, Nova Scotia Rally Short on Stevedore Rodents!

For the tenth consecutive year the town of Digby, Nova Scotia has hosted its Labour Day Wharf Rat Rally. The event features motorcyclists from far and wide descending upon the small town in droves –  some estimates put the number at 25,000.  If you were looking for an event into which you could enter your stevedore rodent, this isn’t it! Unless of course he or she also rides a bike. The rally pumps some $9 million into the local economy.

Photo by Jonathan Riley - Digby County Courier

Photo by Jonathan Riley – Digby County Courier

Photo by Karla Kelly

Photo by Karla Kelly

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+

Blogger’s Apartment Featured in Museum Display

Each year in Montreal, The McCord Museum puts together an exhibit for display outside on McGill College Avenue in the city’s downtown.  This year it is called Harry Sutcliffe – Strolling Through Montreal and features photographs from the 1920s and 30s.

The photo below from the exhibition shows Sutcliffe’s foresight. To some this will appear to be a shot of a pond in a park taken during the 1920s. But as my charming mug and manicured finger indicate, it is actually a picture of my apartment, some 80 years before I moved in. How did he know?

I sure wish I was paying the 1920s rent!

Park_Point_FINAL

 

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+

Park Ducks Prepare To Go South

Ducks_PondThis morning while jogging through the park I was pleased to see Mallory Mallard and her seven ducklings skimming across the pond. The little ones are no longer little, rivaling their mother in stature. Before I knew it she had hopped out of the water, obediently followed by her kids, and the whole group portaged in single file along the footpath and reentered the pond at a point beyond two small waterfalls. Their majestic attitude was a treat for those of us present; alas, I didn’t have a camera or smart phone with me to record the parade.

“I believe you mean I am a lucky drake,” he repeated. “My wife and daughter are ducks, I’m a drake, a male.  And please don’t bring up the Donald and Daffy misuses of duck. We’ve been in court for years over those; to say nothing of the speech impediments. Why must one have a substantial lisp while the other squawks like a drooling moron?”

But then I did a double-take as I noticed two more ducks still swimming on the upper part of the park’s pond. Who could these be, I wondered. I was soon to learn as the larger of the two popped out of the water and approached me.

“Excuse me,” he said, “but I wonder if you can help me. I understand, and appreciate, that you were most helpful with my daughter Mallory earlier this summer when she sought information on public photos of the children. My name is Malcolm Mallard and my wife over there is Malvina, we are the grandparents”. I mentioned that the names sounded familiar and he confirmed that two of Mallory’s ducklings were named for them. “There are only so many names that begin with Mal so we tend to reuse them every few generations”.

“You are indeed a lucky duck to have such a fine group of grand-kids,” I said. “They have been a real hit with park visitors all summer.”

“Drake” he said.

“Sorry?” I replied.

“I believe you mean I am a lucky drake,” he repeated. “My wife and daughter are ducks, I’m a drake, a male. It’s simple really. And please don’t bring up the Donald and Daffy misuses of duck. We’ve been in court for years over those; to say nothing of the speech impediments. Why must one have a substantial lisp while the other squawks like a drooling moron?”

“Gotcha,” I said. Quickly changing subjects I asked “How may I be of assistance to you?”

With this he produced from his inside wing pocket a pair of reading glasses that he balanced on his beak and a smart phone into which he quacked. Almost immediately the phone quacked back … he explained to me that duck feathers don’t allow for accurate and effective keypad use, so the duck version of Siri is essential.

With this he produced from his inside wing pocket a pair of reading glasses that he balanced on his beak and a smart phone into which he quacked. Almost immediately the phone quacked back. Noticing I was impressed by this he explained to me that duck feathers don’t allow for accurate and effective keypad use, so the duck version of Siri is essential.

He told me that he had recently retired from his job with a very large company in the shipping industry, Canard Lines. I mentioned he may have meant Cunard Lines, but he said he knew what he was talking about.

He explained that he and his wife were here to help Mallory get things ready for the upcoming flight south for the winter. His son-in-law, Mallory’s husband and father to the brood, has already flown on ahead to secure a place for the family. Hopefully this will be near a golf course as Malcolm enjoys the calm ponds and little sandy beaches, finding them not to be hazards at all. He also admitted he does get a kick out of moving golf balls that are in play, but only in a positive way. “There’s more than a few ‘Hole-in-One’ trophies out there that should rightfully be on my bookshelf,” he said with a wink. I mentioned that even if it is a ‘positive’ move of the ball, it still isn’t fair. He just said he’s never had any complaints from golfers discovering their ball in the cup. If he does, he promises he will stop doing it.

He asked me “In what direction is Brome Lake from here?”

“I would say south-east,” I replied. “As the crow flies that is.”

Malcolm looked up at me over his reading glasses, rolled his eyes and shook his head in much the same way Mallory had done when she found something I had said to be silly. “I read your blog, you can do better than that,” he stated. Returning his gaze to his smart phone he started tut-tutting.

“That won’t do at all,” he said. “This route takes us directly south-east. I’m going to have to make a few adjustments.”

“Why is that?”

He also admitted he does get a kick out of moving golf balls that are in play, but only in a positive way. “There’s more than a few ‘Hole-in-One’ trophies out there that should rightfully be on my bookshelf,” he said with a wink.

He looked at me as if I was a complete cretin and explained something I in fact knew, but had forgotten all about. Brome Lake Duck is a delicacy sold worldwide he pointed out. For a family of ducks to fly over the lake and processing plant would be irresponsible, a foolish tempting of fate.  To say nothing of the thousands of captive ducks thinking they were to be liberated only to have that glimmer of hope dashed. No, he would lead the family on a detour, starting off in a south-west direction then drifting back to the original route once the danger was passed.

“Fascinating’” I said. “Well thought out. Now that the kids are grown and can fly, Mallory won’t have to strap that multi-passenger car seat contraption she used when the kids were small.”

“Thank you for reminding me,” Malcolm said. “I need to list that thing on Kijiji. If we can’t sell it before we leave, can we name you as the contact person and leave it with you?”

What could I say?

 

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+

Bralessness: Political Statements and my Gripe with Madonna

In the Spanish town of Valladolid, residents are calling on the mayor to resign. The mayor  made some stupid comments on radio regarding not trusting women. “”Imagine you get into a lift and there’s a girl trying to get it on with you. She gets in the lift with you, takes off her bra and skirt, and then runs out screaming that you’ve tried to assault her”. This has resulted in some 500 bras being tied together and placed across the entrance to city hall.

BraChain

This is not the first time bras have been used to make a political statement. In the sixties, as a sign of emancipation women symbolically burned their bras. As a red-blooded heterosexual lad in my teens during the seventies, one of the more pleasant aspects of summer was the change in apparel adopted by many women. After a long Canadian winter in form-neutralizing coats and sweaters, ladies once again sported shape by wearing much lighter outfits. And perhaps the most important of these wardrobe changes was the appearance on the hot streets of Montreal of bra-less women. The first robin, the popping-up of buds on trees and the first glimpse of moving breasts were all harbingers of summer.

Braless

Yep … halter-tops, tube-tops and the old classic plain white T-shirt all donned without the encumbrance of a brassiere and allowing a natural movement! Not for me those Victorian corsets and bodices that pulverized a woman’s breasts together and jammed them northward until even she had to stand on a ladder to see over them. Let ‘em be natural I say. A little movement, or, frankly, a lot,  is much more natural to this blogger’s eye than the straight jacket approach. And I wasn’t alone, even WonderBra, maybe fearing their product was doomed, designed an almost non-bra which they advertised with the slogan “”Let it be Dici or Nothing”. According to the company’s website, “In 1974 Dici by WonderBra was introduced to meet the needs of young women looking for “less bra.” The Dici or Nothing TV commercial features this first seamless moulded garment.”

But then along came Madonna and, paradoxically given her penchant to the steamier side of entertaining over the years, it was all over. Ruined completely by her showing the world that it was okay to wear underwear as outerwear! All of a sudden women who wouldn’t wear tops that had to be worn sans bra because the straps would show, were wearing them and to hell with straps and clips showing. If Madonna can do it, so can I seemed to be the rallying call.

Madonna

This, of course, defeated the entire purpose of the classic camisole, and tank-top. For we young fellows, the raison d’etre of these items was to, well, allow for some sway. Air conditioning only added to the look! But no, this new acceptance of lingerie as a front-line garment instead of being relegated to the second merely functional level, was to us akin to a woman buying a string bikini and wearing it over a sweat-suit. In essence, why bother.

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+

The Beatles’ Rocky Raccoon Origins Discovered

The Beatles’ 1968 White Album included a song called Rocky Raccoon. After years of research, I believe I have come across a newspaper article that may explain the song’s origins. Click on the image below to get the details.

Rocky_FINAL

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+

The Other Missouri Police Shooting: Kajieme Powell

Did the police consider maintaining space between themselves and Powell by backing up? He had a knife, not a gun.

In St. Louis, Missouri this week a very sad situation, one that occurs way too often, was played out involving a young African-American male being shot and killed by police. This tragedy has, among other things, provided an insight into policing methods. I’m not referring to Michael Brown, an unarmed shoplifter, being gunned down by Ferguson, Missouri police for allegedly “bum rushing” a police officer, but rather the case of 25 year-old Kajieme Powell who, albeit armed with a knife, was shot and killed by St. Louis police.

The incident, like so many in this era of smartphones, was recorded and has been broadcast worldwide. In the video Powell emerges from a store erratically wielding a knife, several police cars arrive, officers train their guns on him and tell him to drop the knife, he opts not to and, although not “bum rushing” the officers, he encroaches upon the 21-foot perimeter that police use as a safety zone, they then open fire on him. Numerous shots are directed at Powell, resulting in his death.

Mobile phone footage taken by an eyewitness

Mobile phone footage taken by an eyewitness

There are no doubt several aspects of this shooting that are worthy of discussion, not least of all the issue of mental health, but also how and who established this arbitrary 21-foot demarcation.

But is there an alternative to shooting those who are armed with weapons other than guns – pepper spray, tasers?

Twenty-one feet, seven yards, almost six and a half meters: evidently that’s the point at which police officers are deemed to be in physical danger (this obviously doesn’t apply to suspects armed with firearms). In other words, that’s when they start shooting. Can you even see the whites of someone’s eyes from that distance? You would need to have a very long knife or baseball bat to do any harm from that distance. Fatally shooting someone for breaching that perimeter, even armed with a knife, seems untoward. Did the police consider maintaining space between themselves and Powell by backing up? He had a knife, not a gun. Or were they more intent on shooting at the first opportunity?

According to CNN’s Van Jones on average two African-American men per week are killed by police in the US. Could that statistic be reduced by reconsidering the 21-foot zone? I am aware, and fully understand, that when police feel threatened they shoot at the person’s torso, not wasting time trying to hit legs. But is there an alternative to shooting those who are armed with weapons other than guns – pepper spray, tasers?

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+

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: Montreal Bloggers

Here’s my ALS challenge to Montreal-based bloggers, including What’sReallyGood.com, Coolopolis and Fagstein!

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+

Ferguson, Missouri; Russel Honoré; and Pizza

I have to believe that if the National Guard in Ferguson had made their point… but then had plunked down a pile of boxes of pizza for the protesters… they would have won the public relations battle.

The incendiary situation in Ferguson, Missouri goes on, showing no real sign of abating, and sadly appears to be on the increase as autopsy reports are dissected and debated. One can only wonder what will follow should an arrest be made, or not. To say nothing of a potential trial and verdict down the road.

I have no idea of the details surrounding the shooting of Michael Brown other than what has been made public via the media. However what concerns me is the situation that exists now between the law enforcement parties – police and National Guard – and those who are exercising their right to peaceful protest. Television news is full of video of the Guard setting up in anticipation of trouble. Armored personnel carriers and troops decked-out in camouflage more suited to a war zone that St. Louis appear to be preparing for an attack. Ferguson, Missouri looks like Iraq when viewed on television.

(Photo By: Carlos Barria/Reuters/Newscom)

(2005 Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré Photo By: Carlos Barria/Reuters/Newscom)

Enter General Russel Honoré, a native of Louisiana, whose approach to the problem is best summed up in his shouted order “Put that Goddamned weapon down, soldier”.

It brings to my mind the situation in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina some years ago. While Mother Nature wreaked her havoc, and levees burst, some locals decided it was an ideal opportunity to take advantage of the mayhem and exacerbate the situation by looting rather than cooperating. The effect of the presence of heavy-handed troops, rather than quelling the problem, was more like gas thrown on a fire. Enter General Russel Honoré, a native of Louisiana, whose approach to the problem is best summed up in his shouted order “Put that Goddamned weapon down, soldier”.

I have to believe that if the National Guard in Ferguson had made their point by letting the protesters see their equipment, getting across their message that they were serious about things, but then had plunked down a pile of boxes of pizza for the protesters to illustrate that they were not there to intimidate, that they are not the enemy, they would have won the public relations battle.

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+

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