God Have Mercy on Montreal Drivers

Turcot

Recently Quebec Transport Minister André Fortin was interviewed on television regarding the massive Turcot interchange work being carried out in western Montreal. He mentioned that work was, for the most part, on schedule. He understood that the last two years have been very hard on motorists with numerous detours and closures, and was honest when he pointed out that there is still much to be done.

It was then explained to viewers that once the project is completed there will be no additional lanes, in fact in some areas there will be fewer.

It was then explained to viewers that once the project is completed there will be no additional lanes, in fact in some areas there will be fewer. This had me totally flummoxed. Have we endured this construction nightmare only to arrive back at the same place or less?

Boston undertook a massive project that lasted 20 years. The Big Dig as it came to be called was fraught with cost overruns and problems as is almost always the case with huge infrastructure updates. But at least when Boston buried its roads it increased the number of lanes from six to eight or, in some cases, ten.

BigDig

A ten-lane – five in each direction – segment of I93

Prior to the start of work in Montreal the number of cars and trucks had already exceeded the standard three-lane Turcot configuration; the city had grown, the roads had not. The concrete was in need of repair which afforded an ideal opportunity to not only replace the aging structures but at the same time add a lane or two to ease traffic. With time the number of vehicles using the interchange is only going to increase, why not be ahead of the curve and provide adequate lanes. To replace an inadequate stretch of highway with the same configuration strikes me as wasteful if not absurd.

… more and more electric cars are going to be on the roads in the decades to come. They will need adequate roads to ease traffic, but it will be too late then.

The minister stated that the way to reduce congestion is not to accommodate more vehicles, but to improve and encourage public transit use. To believe that is pure folly, but even if an environmental approach is taken, more and more electric cars are going to be on the roads in the decades to come. They will need adequate roads to ease traffic, but it will be too late then.

So in about ten years people will still be sitting in clogged traffic on the Turcot albeit in electric cars on nice shiny new roads. This is a solution how? Isn’t the idea to ease the flow of traffic? God have mercy on Montreal drivers!

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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Charles Manson Like a Stopped Clock

Manson

There’s an old saying that even a stopped clock is right twice a day (once if it’s digital and in the 24-hour mode). In the wake of Charles Manson’s death his more popular sayings are popping up all over the place. His statement above was made to Diane Sawyer in 1994. Given our current world, and in particular several world-leaders, it looks like Charlie knew what was in store for us.

 

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+

Charles Manson Dies

Tate

Actress Sharon Tate was among the first group of Manson’s victims

Sludge:
noun
1. mud, mire, or ooze; slush.
2. a deposit of ooze at the bottom of a body of water.
3. any of various more or less mudlike deposits or mixtures.
4. the sediment in a steam boiler or water tank.
5. broken ice, as on the sea.
6. a mixture of some finely powdered substance and water.
7. sediment deposited during the treatment of sewage.

How coincidental that on the day the WordPress Daily Post invites us to write about sludge, the infamous long-time convict Charles Manson has passed away at the age of 83. The mastermind behind the atrocious slaughters that came to be known as the Tate-Lobianca murders, unlike his victims, died of natural causes. Not being one to speak ill of the dead, but there are special cases, and this is one.  No doubt there are many words – monster, cruel, sick – that can be used to describe Manson, yet sludge has a nice ring to it.

 

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+

Feedback or Feedforward

Feed-Forward

I was talking to a friend the other day and he mentioned the concept of ‘feed-forward’. His wife had received an internal email from her faculty that concluded with a request for feedforward. Evidently good old feedback is deemed to be negative, even hostile at times.

Having never heard the term before I did a little research and found that according to JISC or Joint Information Systems Committee: “While feedback focuses on a student’s current performance, and may simply justify the grade awarded, feed forward looks ahead to subsequent assignments and offers constructive guidance on how to do better. A combination of both feedback and feed forward (sic) helps ensure that assessment has a developmental impact on learning”.

Kevin Kruse writes in Forbes “The time has come to stop giving feedback and start giving feedforward. We must become leaders of people not just managers of tasks. Feedforward Coaching has the power to turn everyday workers into engaged workplace super heroes, whose discretionary effort will drive extraordinary business results”.

And what would Jimi Hendrix have been without feedback? Of course, one must always put one’s best feed forward as well.

Suffice to say I’m dubious. That could be because none of the experts can agree on how to spell it: feed-forward or feedforward or feed forward are all found. Sounds like six of one half a dozen of the other to me. And what would Jimi Hendrix have been without feedback? Of course, one must always put one’s best feed forward as well.

When I think of this apparent over-sensitivity to others, my mind travels back to when I worked as a student employee during university. The city I lived in hired numerous local students to cut grass, maintain tennis courts, tend flower beds, and umpteen other simple tasks. The general foreman was a real straight shooter, an honest, no-nonsense kind of man. He gave feedback – sometimes very loudly. He had the ability to, when confronted with someone who had done something not to his liking, ask the usually rhetorical question, Are you crazy? in such a manner that you wondered if you should be answering. He’d repeat the question, getting louder with each repetition until it was out of his system.

Playing a country song backwards means you get your wife back, your truck back, your dog back. All good things.

Why is back seen as negative to forward’s positive? “Get back from the burning building” can be a lifesaving statement. Playing a country song backwards means you get your wife back, your truck back, your dog back. All good things. Sir Mix-A-Lot’s hip-hop classic Baby Got Back is another testament to the positive nature of the word back.

What’s next? Throw down instead of throw up? I assume up to be upbeat and uplifting yet I find nothing positive about the act of vomiting. Not one of those to ease nausea by inducing vomiting, I would rather walk on hot coals than upchuck (downchuck?). Will we start hearing phrases such as Stop the car, Lenny’s gonna throw down or Look. the dog threw down on your sweater?

BabyBackPush-ups should really be push-downs as the effort is exerted downward causing the body to rise from the floor, and believe me no amount of positive naming is going to make them any less miserable. Now chin-ups are on the right track.

I’m off to have some baby forward ribs; I’m sure I’d choke on baby-back ribs. Please feel free to leave feedback, sideways or forward below!

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+

Roll Over Beethoven’s Classic Riff

Beethoven

There are probably as many famous riffs in the history of rock ‘n’ roll as there are fans. But perhaps the best known is the opening riff of Chuck Berry’s Roll Over Beethoven.

Chuck’s classic has been covered by just about everyone over the years. But the version by Jeff Lynne and the Electric Light Orchestra may be my favourite.

Of course, it is well documented in the annals of Rock ‘n’ Roll that many a band split up because of arguments over various riffs. These have come to be known as riff rifts.

 

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+

The Rolling Stones, Commas, and Painting Things Black

Paint It

In 1966 the Rolling Stones released Paint It, Black – the comma being an error by Decca Records, but, nonetheless, stirred controversy among fans over its racial interpretation. In later issues, it was titled Paint It Black.

The importance of commas …

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+

 

No Strutting on Snow Leaf Mixture

According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of strut is:

intransitive verb
1    to become turgid: swell
2   a: to walk with a proud gait
     b: to walk with a pompous and affected air
*****
This is the time of year when Montreal’s seasons overlap; this morning’s dusting of snow mixed with fallen leaves. The wet leaves are enough to make for some pretty slippery walking, the snow and ice on top just added to the fun.  Rest assured there was no strutting done this morning!
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+

Pit Bull Plays Key Role in Election

Plante

Last Sunday Montrealers elected a new mayor. Unseating the incumbent and electing the first woman mayor in the city’s history caused an upheaval at City Hall. The mayor-elect is an animal lover and therefore many pit bull owners will be pleased with her election as the contentious breed-specific ban must surely be doomed.

The photo above is from Tuesday morning when the mayor-elect and her team posed outside Montreal city hall. Behind her are several councilors and advisors from her party. I was surprised to notice that over the mayor-elect’s right shoulder is a familiar face. Yes, indeed, none other than my friend and pit bull contact. Seeing him there, I just had to meet up with him for one last interview.

I tried contacting him in our usual manner, but with no luck. So I decided to take the (pit) bull by the horns and show up unannounced. When I arrived the atmosphere in the campaign room was palpably different – downright positive, none of the nervous tension that I had experienced before.

I walked in and was ready for the customary frisking as one of the larger dogs checked me for wires. But no, they just waved me in. No more fear of being exposed. I waited until a large Doberman ushered me into the little office with the snout-level table and one chair and there he was.

He seemed to have a large cigar in his mouth and pointed with his paw to the chair. I sat down as instructed and he removed the cigar from his mouth.

“Welcome writer guy,” he greeted me. “I meant to get back to you but things have been crazy around her for the last few days as I’m sure you can imagine.”

 

While he was talking I had my eyes glued to what I thought was a cigar but was now clearly a well worked over rawhide chew stick.

“Thank you for agreeing to see me,” I replied.

“No, it is I who must thank you,” he explained. “I have no doubt our interviews in your newspaper helped our campaign greatly.”

“I don’t write for a newspaper. I have a blog.”

pitbull

“Huh? You mean you’re not with the Times of Globe or some such publication.”

“Nope, sorry,” I said. “You should have figured that out when I agreed to pay you for our interviews. Journalists don’t pay for interviews.”

“Not even Milkbones,” he said dumbfounded.

“No sir, nothing, nada, zippo”

At this, he stood and left the room for a moment. Upon his return, he had what looked like a cigar box in his mouth. He dropped the box on the table and returned to his spot opposite me.

“There you go,” he started. “Now we’re even. Open up and enjoy.”

I obeyed and flipped the lid up to reveal about a dozen perfectly rolled rawhide dog chew sticks. No being overly keen to take him up on his kind offer I delayed and stammered a bit. Then, for the first time since I met him several months ago, he barked. A real deep-down full-out wall-shaking big dog single arf.

Once my heart returned to a normal pace, I got up off the floor, regained my seat if not my composure and … well … stuck a rawhide chew stick in my mouth. At this he did something else for the first time, he chortled. I did not know dogs could chortle, be he certainly did. For a moment or two, we sat in silence chewing our rawhide (I must come clean and admit I have had beef jerky that was worse).

I told him that I had seen his picture on the front page of the newspaper and was surprised to see that he had evidently played a role in the election campaign. I knew from our previous interviews that he was intent on lobbying both candidates, dancing with both devils, but I was curious about how he became part of the winning team.

He enlightened me saying “One day I attended a rally for the challenger. As you know at that time we pit bulls had to go about incognito, so I was wearing a labrador retriever pelt.  She made the usual fuss over me like all politicians do, but then when she scratched me around the ears she inadvertently undid the velcro and exposed my face.

“But she didn’t get huffy or angry, she just slipped me her mobile number and asked me to call her. Needless to say, I did and explained our plight. She listened patiently then asked if I could help her get out the vote. Let’s just say that there was more than one voter who was pulled – with an arm in the mouth of a dog – to the polling station. Voter turnout is essential to the democratic process.”

 

So you are confident that the pit bull ban will be done away with, but what about the required muzzle?” I asked.

“Firstly the mayor-elect has promised to allow her party members significant freedom. No muzzles for them, no muzzles for us. Secondly, the provincial government has recently passed Bill 62 banning face covering, what could be more face-covering than a muzzle I ask you?”

It would seem my pit bull friend has all the political angles covered, no need to resort to violence. Alas, if only people could be this sane.

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+

 

Leonard Cohen Tributes on Anniversary of His Passing

On the first anniversary of his passing, Montreal is making good on promises to fete and remember Leonard Cohen. Last night’s star-studded tribute concert titled Tower of Song was, by all accounts, a great success.

From Sting to k.d.lang and Elvis Costello the program was fast paced and well produced; enough to make a Cohen fanatic faint with delight. The concert will be broadcast tonight on CBC Radio 2 at 8 p.m.

Montreal will remember Cohen all through the month of November with various events. As the photo above shows, people arriving at Trudeau International Airport are reminded that Cohen was a true son of Montreal by the inclusion of his Fedora hat perched appropriately at a rakish angle atop the letter O.

 

Leonard Cohen mural on Crescent Street by El Mac & Gene Pendon. Photo  by Maria Merlos

Several other tributes have been placed around the city including at least two murals. The one above has Cohen looking down at one of Montrealer’s busier restaurant and bar streets, Crescent. While the one below by artist Kevin Ledo is located in Cohen’s neighbourhood.

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+