Please Shelve Bread Crumbs With the Bread

Bread

While the universe is wrapped up in the discord within the Republican Party, I believe the time has come to tackle a more pressing issue; grocery store product placement.  In our busy world grocery shopping has become merely a weekly replenishing of basic necessities rather than the more sociable daily visits to

butchers and bakers once favoured. To facilitate this trek to the supermarket shoppers are encouraged to make a list and stick to it. I do half of that; I make a list, but have to admit I may stray a wee bit from the plan, especially if I am foolish enough to shop while hungry.

Is there something exotic about the listed merchandise that would make it tough to locate in a grocery store? Perhaps fillet of titmouse or aardvark’s arse.

In our house my significantly better half and I both assume responsibility for drawing up the list.  A lined pad is posted on the refrigerator and as one of us thinks of an item to be restocked, we write it down. Use the last chicken stock cube and forget to put them on the list and it is on your head! A few minutes on Friday morning over breakfast to add the staples – milk, bread and the like – and we are ready to go.

Being naturally curious I steal a glance at the list a few times during the course of the week. About three times a year I read something there that gets my heart-rate rising, goosebumps appear on my skin and on one occasion I almost hyperventilated. What causes this reaction is not the actual product, but rather the anxiety I just know I will experience when I try to find the item in the store.

Is there something exotic about the listed merchandise that would make it tough to locate in a grocery store? Perhaps fillet of titmouse or aardvark’s arse. Not at all, it should be so simple. Is there going to be a run on the item that means I will have to dash about to ensure I get one? No.

‘They used to be here.’ ‘I wonder where they are.’ Not the kind of statement one wants to hear from staff members. Fortunately they are grocery clerks and not surgeons!

The product that causes me so much angst is something as common as bread crumbs. This fine concoction can be used to coat chicken for frying or as a binder when making hamburgers. It is a standard in our kitchen, and I imagine in many others. So why can’t grocery stores get together and shelve them in the same place?

Sometimes they are with the pasta and tomato sauces. Being a fan of chicken parmigiana, I understand this logic. In other stores the breadcrumbs are placed with baking products. Yet other retailers put them in the Melba toast and breadstick section.

So on those few occasions a year when bread crumbs are on our list I approach the shopping chore with great trepidation. Where will they be this time? What if I exhaust my three usual locations with no luck? I have had several pleasant conversations with store employees as we hunted through the aisles in search of the elusive bread crumbs. ‘They used to be here.’ ‘I wonder where they are.’ Not the kind of statement one wants to hear from staff members. Fortunately they are grocery clerks and not surgeons!

If chocolate chips are to be found one shelf below blocks of baking chocolate, does it not follow that breadcrumbs should be with bread?

Call me a conspiracy theorist if you want, but my most recent expedition to our local supermarket confirmed my suspicion. This is not a random produce management decision, but an attempt to make my blood boil as I curse under my breath while seeking out what I consider to be a basic staple. This time, after countless trips up and down aisles, no doubt resembling someone lost in a garden maze, I finally found my beloved bread crumbs in a new section entirely. No doubt having noticed that the bread crumbs have Italian seasoning, someone decided they should be stacked in the imported food section. Right beside Indian curries and Jamaican patties. They must stay up nights thinking of places to put them.

So I have decided to take matters into my own hands. On behalf of bread crumb searchers everywhere, I plead, beseech, beg and implore grocery store managers to pick one spot and stick to it! I will even go a step further and suggest the best spot. Given the nature of the product, I have always believed the logical place to shelve bread crumbs is … with the bread! If chocolate chips are to be found one shelf below blocks of baking chocolate, does it not follow that breadcrumbs should be with bread?

DCS_Grad_2 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 DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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GOP Convention and Guns

Guns

It has been said and written countless times: this US political season is unprecedented. Just when you think the race for Republican Party presidential candidate cannot get any stranger, it does. Usually these twists revolve around something one of those vying for the candidacy has said or written. Mud slung at an opponent’s wife or dirt dug up from the past. Good strong character traits not exactly showing the potential candidates in a presidential light.

Just when you think the race for Republican Party presidential candidate cannot get any stranger, it does.

But today it was the delegates and convention attendees who took a turn spotlighting the asininity of the current GOP.  With the potentiality of a hotly contested ‘brokered’ convention on the horizon for Cleveland next July, one that is sure to get both hackles and dander up, a proverbial powder keg, some 45,000 people have signed an online petition calling for guns to be allowed into the convention site.

The petition signatories state that as the GOP is against gun-free zones in general, to determine the party’s convention site gun-free flies in the face of party policy.

Excuse me for chortling, but if I have this right, a substantial number of Republicans want to be permitted to bring firearms to a gathering of fellow Republicans, one that could very well erupt into a knock-down-drag-out fight. One that will be held in a great big concrete and steel building. A convention that could turn very ugly. Seems to me just the type of environment you would normally not want to be exacerbated by armed attendees. However as a left-leaning liberal Canadian, the thought of a bunch of right-wingers inside a huge arena shooting at each other over disagreements as to which candidate is wackier would be must see TV. Talk about fish in a barrel.

If watching the GOP implode on a daily basis was not fulfilling enough, the possibility of an armed standoff at the convention is too much to ask for.

Those police forces charged with the security of convention goers and the general public maintain that a perimeter will be set up some distance from the Quicken Loans Arena to ensure no guns get into the convention.

“Only authorized law enforcement personnel working in conjunction with the Secret Service for a particular event may carry a firearm inside of the protected site,” the Secret Service said.

If watching the GOP implode on a daily basis was not fulfilling enough, the possibility of an armed standoff at the convention is too much to ask for.

The whole world is watching!

DCS_Grad_2 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 DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

Mistakes: Surgical and Terrorist

Map

Mistakes, like accidents, happen. No amount of preparation, care and concentration can guarantee that mistakes will not occur so long as it is a human carrying out the task. When mistakes are made in very public instances it is not uncommon to hear someone state that ‘mistakes just can’t happen under these circumstances’. Well, they can, and they do.

A number of years ago I saw a news report about a patient in a hospital who had the wrong leg amputated. When the surgeon was supposed to remove the affected left leg, he or she erroneously lopped off the right leg. Mistakes happen. No amount of criticism is ever going to change that reality.

LegOnce this horrific mistake was made known, other patients awaiting amputations, or even less severe procedures, took to writing on their legs or arms with markers. Realizing that once they were anesthetized they would be unable to ensure which limb was to be removed, they would write NOT THIS LEG! OTHER ARM! DO NOT REMOVE! The state of unease that these patients must have felt is unimaginable.

I assume that the surgeons carrying out these amputations were well educated, sensible, smart people. Perhaps they were overworked and exhausted. Regardless mistakes happen.

With this in mind I have often pondered our situation vis a vis Canada’s proximity to The United States. The majority of Canadians live within a strip along the US/Canada border. Not on the border, but close enough.

Let me state unequivocally that I hope terrorist attacks against the US will never occur. But if they are to take place, I fear that the perpetrators will  make a mistake and hit the wrong country. This concern has been exacerbated by recent bellicose statements from Donald Trump. as there are those whose hatred of the US is so deep that I believe they take his comments as challenges. I know people personally, educated professionals, who believe that 9/11 was a matter of comeuppance. Not that, as some conspiracy theorists hold, the towers were detonated from within by government assailants. But that the US had it coming given what they perceive as an arrogance. 

I propose that we as a nation install a large notification to inform any would-be terrorists that they have the wrong target. I figure the best means of getting the message across is to use the crop circle approach of writing in summer, and snow in the winter.

DCS_Grad_2 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 DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

Tweets From Good Friday

Easter_Tweets

DCS_Grad_2 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+

 

Terror Attacks in Brussels

Tin

DCS_Grad_2 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 DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

Montreal’s 193rd St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Today Montreal will hold it’s 193 consecutive St. Patrick’s Day parade.  The parade will make its way along Ste. Catherine Street eastward starting at Fort Street. Below is a photo from the 1987 parade when someone evidently forgot to put out No Parking signs the night before. I can imagine what they may have been doing instead, as the Saturday before the parade can be a wild night!

Parade

DCS_Grad_2 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 DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

An Irish Blessing for St. Patrick’s Day

image

DCS_Grad_2 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 DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

St. Patrick’s Day and Danny Boy

St. Patrick’s  trivia: The iconic Danny Boy is actually called The Londonderry Air.  Which should never be confused with a London Derrière.

LondonderryAir

To get you in the mood …

DCS_Grad_2 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 DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

A Short History of Montreal’s Anglo/Irish Pubs

Here’s a re-post of a popular piece on Montreal’s Anglo/Irish pubs. Just in time for St. Patrick’s day! To see the original post, including many comments from former employees and patrons click here.


John Bull Pub ad from The Gazette October 1972

John Bull Pub ad from The Gazette October 1972

Back when I was young, during the mid-seventies,  it seemed Montreal was awash with Anglo/Irish Pubs. There’s still a good number of them today including Hurley’s, McKibbin’s , The Irish Embassy and the Old Dublin to name but a few, but when I was cutting my drinking teeth there was a circuit of pubs in the western downtown area. They all had similar décor; after all, there’s only so much variation you can have on the theme. There was lots of brass and not much plastic,  easily cleaned concrete or tiled floors (no carpets, thanks), wood paneling and large tables for large groups (remember, this was a time when people bought drinks in “rounds” and managed to do so without having to mortgage their homes). The requisite dart boards, and very small stages, often just a raised area in the corner because floor space was at a premium.

Maidenhead Inn ad from The Gazette in March 1971

Maidenhead Inn ad from The Gazette in March 1971

Not only was the appearance similar but the entertainment was pretty much the same, at least in style. Usually a duo playing what North Americans considered traditional Celtic pub songs including Farewell to Nova Scotia, Whiskey in the Jar and The Black Velvet Band (and I hope they got those seven old ladies out of the lavatory). The main house act played Thursday through Saturday nights but other acts filled in the rest of the week so there was never a night without live music.

Starting this trip down memory lane, moving east from Atwater Avenue, the first pub you came to was the Maidenhead Inn in Alexis Nihon Plaza featuring the piano magic of Goa, India’s own Ferdie Fertado who would leave Montreal after several years and move to Laguna Beach, California where he passed away about three years ago. The Maidenhead waitresses wore low-cut “wenches” outfits while serving bottled beer and mixed drinks.

Site of former Clover Leaf and Molly Maguires

Site of former Clover Leaf and Molly Maguires

That was another shared feature not only of the Anglo/Irish places, but all Montreal bars at that time; beer came in bottles. Draft beer on tap was served only in taverns (and later brasseries) and was a cheap lower quality beer produced by the breweries for the express purpose of taverns.

Moving along, on the south-east corner of Ste. Catherine and Lambert-Clossé streets (then referred to simply as Closse) adjacent to the Shell Station, was the Clover Leaf that would close and, for a very short time, become Molly Maguires. I’d let you know what the décor was like, but I don’t think I was ever inside.

Next up is the Grandfather of Montreal Anglo-style pubs, the Cock ‘N’ Bull. It is still a going concern today although its red-roof entrance is gone and the inside is slightly different as well. In its original state the bar, complete with embedded British coins, was located halfway along the  east wall, about 15 feet toward the back from its current position, placing it smack in front of the “stage”, which is now the darts corner.

Cock 'N' Bull Pub today

Cock ‘N’ Bull Pub today

The stage was an area about 5 square feet that would give any claustrophobic performer a fit as it was enclosed on three sides by patrons hooting, hollering and singing. (A strict “no dancing” rule was enforced to cut down on accidents.) I also assume they have gotten rid of the sign that read: “Free drinks for anyone over the age of 70 and accompanied by a parent”. In these days of increased longevity that could become expensive!

Late Sunday morning was brunch time at the Cock ‘n’ Bull and Sunday nights were Dixieland Jazz nights. But one of the most popular events was Monday’s Amateur Night. The late Ted Blackman wrote a great column on the amateur spectacular in The Gazette in May of 1974

On de Maisonneuve right across from Sir George Williams University’s (now Concordia) Henry F. Hall Building was the Fyfe and Drum (neither Anglo nor Irish but clearly Scottish). The building was torn down to make way for the Concordia Library, but in its day the Fyfe was, not surprisingly, a hang-out for students.

The old entrance to Finnegan's Irish Pub

The old entrance to Finnegan’s Irish Pub

Just a bit further east on de Maisonneuve in what has most recently been an entrance to Wanda’s Strip Club was Finnigan’s Irish Pub. It had been located on the top floor of the building, but by the time of the 1976 Olympics was a rowdy packed basement pub.

That summer of 1976 saw many bars filled to capacity and beyond as the world once again came to Montreal for the Olympics as it had in 1967 for EXPO 67. When I think back to evenings in Finnigan’s what comes to mind are the words fire trap.

Until a few years ago the Downtown YMCA building extended out over half of de Maisonneuve from Drummond to Stanley Streets. On the north side of de Maisonneuve not actually under the Y overhang, but in its shadow was the John Bull Pub. It was more of a Rock ‘n’ Roll place than traditional pub music. Except as the ad above shows they ran an amateur night on Monday’s as well, hosted by the ubiquitous Ferdie Fertado who clearly made the rounds.

Irish Lancer Pub ad from The Gazette September 1975

Irish Lancer Pub ad from The Gazette September 1975

On Drummond Street below Ste. Catherine Street in the basement of the Lasalle Hotel was the Irish Lancer. The Lancer’s bathrooms were outside the pub itself in a sort of lobby and were shared with guests of the hotel who were often confronted by drunk pub patrons.

On Peel Street just above Cyprus Street and the Windsor Hotel was the Hunter’s Horn. Given its location in the heart of downtown Montreal it attracted a more businessperson clientele – more suits than the other pubs. The upstairs lounge, or Parlor as it was called, was a bit up-market being carpeted and nicely appointed. It hosted the Montreal Press Club for several years.

 

HuntersHorn

UPDATE: During the recent renovation of Alexis Nihon shopping centre, I snapped a couple of shots of what was once the Maidenhead Inn but is now a delicatessen.

Left: Front door Right: Interior

Front door                                                                   Interior

Recently Elaine, who has commented on this post and let me know she worked at the Maidenhead Inn, sent me some pictures from her time there. With her permission I post them here. She also has an interesting online petition regarding Robin Hood’s Well in Nottingham; have a read and consider signing it.

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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+

Bryce Harper is Proof the Times are a Changin’

Please click on the photo below to see my article posted on Baseball Hot Corner.

BHC

DCS_Grad_2 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 DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+