A Montreal Fender-Bender

On the Saturday before Christmas my wife and I went to a local shopping mall for some last-minute odds and ends, having finally completed our shopping. The temperature was hovering around the freezing mark which was providing us with that much detested freezing rain. Snow is one thing, rain another, but the two mixed at one time usually results in a skating rink effect.

Snow is one thing, rain another, but the two mixed at one time usually results in a skating rink effect.

While leaving the parking lot, driving ever so slowly as the surface had yet to see any salt or abrasive, I came to a stop at a stop sign. Approaching the same little intersection on my left was another shopper. With the slippery surface, I waited to make certain he stopped before I advanced. That was my mistake, as in his attempt to stop he slid into my right front wheel.

I got out of the car and looked for damage. I found several pieces of plastic that I could not place until he pointed out that they were from his car. He apologized and, once I had confirmed that he was using snow tires, I graciously accepted. He pulled over to the side and prepared a paper with his name and contact information.

Interestingly he was a Francophone, but would only address me in English, while I did my best to communicate with him in French. Call it a typical Montreal fender-bender.

My wife and I had a good look at the car’s body and could not see any damage. So I went over to him, took his coordinates, shook his hand and we wished each other a Merry Christmas. Interestingly he was a Francophone, but would only address me in English, while I did my best to communicate with him in French. Call it a typical Montreal fender-bender.

Alas, it was not the fender that was bent, but a tie-rod. We noticed that the car was pulling to the left and that the steering wheel was not ‘true’ i.e it was off-center when driving straight. The replacement and a wheel alignment cost us $180. Did I contact the other driver? Naw. Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and accept that shit happens.

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+

Global Warming Cuts Both Ways

As the frigid air continues to hover over the northeast of North America, comparisons are aplenty. The one above indicates the relative cozy -14C in Anchorage, Alaska while we in Montreal are freezing our asses off!! When all those folks comment on the very hot summer weather that now hits Montreal due to global warming, just remind them that it cuts both ways!

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+

 

Extreme Cold Dos and Don’ts

Environment Canada has issued an Extreme Cold Warning for the Province of Quebec. The terribly cold air mass is bad enough, but when the wind blows the ‘feels like’ concept is bone-chilling, dipping to -40C (which is where the two scales meet, so it’s -40 Celsius or Fahrenheit).

The key to surviving this cold is to dress in layers; shirts and sweaters can always be removed if they prove to be too much. But getting halfway to your destination and realizing you are not suitably layered is another case indeed.

There are a number of don’ts, as well as dos; for instance, don’t forget a hat. So much body heat escapes via an uncapped noggin that even with a warm coat you will feel it. Don’t go out if you have respiratory problems as that cold gusting wind can take anyone’s breath away. Be vigilant to exposed skin, Frostnip is a superficial nonfreezing cold injury due to vasoconstriction. The skin will be pale and may have paresthesias or numbness. It is common on the cheeks, ears, and nose. The skin is still pliable. This is a major difference between frostnip and frostbite.

And perhaps most importantly DO NOT put your tongue on a frozen street pole or lamp standard, no matter how tempting it may be. Leave that for a warmer day, or preferably not at all. And if someone dares you to try it, do not fall for it. It is a scientific fact that your tongue will adhere to the frosty pole. I must confess that my pose in the above photo was purely for illustrative purposes, even I’m not dumb enough to really do that!!

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 Proclivity for Misplacing Things

Cups

Some folks are forever losing their keys, some constantly misplace gloves, while others have a proclivity to forget where they put almost anything. I am one who can say that I do not share in any of these silly shortcomings. If only I could find those cups of coffee I picked up on the way home!!

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+

 

Things to Cherish at Christmas

Certainly not a Christmas carol, but perhaps we can bend the rules a wee bit and hope that we all have health and happiness to cherish during this holiday season and beyond.

Merry Christmas

 

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+

Epilepsy and Flashing Bridge Lights

Montreal’s Jacques Cartier Bridge has been fitted with a vast number of lights. This was done at significant expense and was not without detractors. It occurred to me when I saw the tweet above that the flashing lights, as they were set to do last night, may cause havoc with those who suffer from epilepsy.

I wonder if anyone did any research into this, or if the authorities had anyone calling for medical advice on the potential effect of flashing bridge lights on epileptics. Perhaps will we just find out serendipitously if the flashing can, in fact, induce a seizure, when someone loses control of their vehicle.

I am not epileptic, but flashing lights drive me (pun fully intended) batty.

 

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+

Twitter Suspends Racist Account

A Britain’s First march in Dewsbury (Image: Andy Catchpool, Huddersfield Examiner)

The folks over at Twitter have taken action by suspending the account of Britain First, a far-right neo-nazi group. While many are praising Twitter for taking steps to block this sort of trash, others are questioning the mega-site’s role in freedom of expression.

I have to admit that no matter how egregious I find this vile group – and unfortunately many more like it – and their message of intolerance and violence, I cannot help but wonder if it is the place of Twitter to suspend the accounts. 

I have to admit that no matter how egregious I find this vile group – and unfortunately many more like it – and their message of intolerance and violence,  I cannot help but wonder if it is the place of Twitter to suspend the accounts. (Twitter has been clear that the account is “suspended” not deleted or permanently removed.)

The presentation of heinous racist tracts is not limited to Twitter, nor for that matter to the Internet. On far too many occasions groups like Britain First have protested in public; often inciting violence. These gatherings usually include people waving racist slogans and comments on placards. Should the vendors of the poster board, nails, glue and stick be held responsible for what the purchaser writes on it?

By providing the medium, does that make one responsible for the content presented thereon? Are obscene phone calls the telephone company’s fault?

By providing the medium, does that make one responsible for the content presented thereon? Are obscene phone calls the telephone company’s fault? I have difficulty relating the two parts of the equation. Newspapers have long been able to provide a forum for diverging points of view in the form of op-eds. The opinions expressed there are often clearly not those of the editorial board of the paper. Twitter to me is a forum. Had the atrocious Tweets originated from @twitter then I would be the first to jump on them, but they come from a third party.

No doubt some will point out that Twitter makes a whole lot of money from these accounts through advertising revenues. I would suggest it is incumbent upon the advertisers to pull their sponsorship; and on us, the Twitter users and casual readers, to ignore these sites.

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 Traffic Snarls Could be the Things of Legend

If you have been in Montreal recently or have read this blog post, you are no doubt aware that the city is in the midst of a huge infrastructure replacement project. This is the sort of thing that many cities have to undergo as roads and highways age and crumble. Inconvenient for sure, but necessary to ensure public safety and improve transit.

… owing to the infrastructure work BOTH entrances to the highway are closed. For two weeks? Two months? Nope, two years.

Poor road conditions and the Montreal Canadiens are the things of legend around here. Tonight the Canadiens host the New Jersey Devils at the BELL Centre. When the team moved from its beloved Montreal Forum, recognizing the need for a significantly larger building, they took up residence in a brand new arena that was then called the Molson Centre. I assume that prior to putting a shovel in the ground, many factors were taken into consideration by planning commissions and various government agencies, including easy access to highways without having to drive across town.

Upon leaving the indoor parking at the BELL Centre, and paying the king’s ransom they charge, motorists are a mere block from an entrance to a major west-bound highway. Should you be fortunate enough to have found a parking spot downtown, a drive of four or five blocks will get you to another entrance to the highway. Well planned indeed.

Except for one thing; owing to the infrastructure work BOTH entrances to the highway are closed. For two weeks? Two months? Nope, two years. For the next 24 months both entrances will be closed to traffic. A single temporary point of access to an interim highway is located a few kilometres from the arena.

…but a whole whack of them will attempt to gain access to the west-bound highway amidst snow removal operations and major road re-construction. The mayhem could be epic in proportion. Stay tuned!

On Tuesday the city was blanketed with the first significant snowfall. Some 20 centimeters (about 8 inches) of snow fell over a 24-hour period; then today the temperature has plummeted to – 25 degrees turning the fluffy snow rock-hard and making driving tricky.

So sometime around 10:15 tonight, 23,000 fans – hopefully very happy, celebrating a home team victory – will emerge from the BELL Centre. Many will hop on the Metro or take a bus. Some will make their way to a bar or restaurant, but a whole whack of them will attempt to gain access to the west-bound highway amidst snow removal operations and major road re-construction. The mayhem could be epic in proportion. Stay tuned!

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+

Season’s Greetings Bonjour-Hi

Weil

It’s the funny season again. As in the Season’s Greetings debate. As fellow blogger Marilyn Armstrong at Serendipity has pointed out, it was never illegal to say Merry Christmas. Some folks, myself among them, find the all-inclusive Season’s Greetings or Happy Holidays phrases work well when addressing a group of people comprised of a variety of religious backgrounds. But saying Merry Christmas really can’t be construed as negative; I don’t celebrate either holiday, but if someone wishes me Happy Hanukkah or Happy Diwali, I certainly am not offended.

They felt that by allowing this bilingual greeting some may sense that Montreal is a bilingual city, (shhh, don’t tell anyone, but it is) not a solely French one.

Here in Québec, we have our own silly debate taking place in the form of Bonjour Hi. In the city of Montreal, it has become something of a tradition for store employees to address customers by saying Bonjour Hi as a means of determining in which language the conversion should proceed. Couldn’t be simpler, could it? What could possibly go wrong?

Well, the pro-sovereignty Parti Québécois (PQ) opposition party got its hackles up over the use of the English word Hi. They felt that by allowing this bilingual greeting some may sense that Montreal is a bilingual city, (shhh, don’t tell anyone, but it is) not a solely French one. Perish the thought that a storekeeper should want to provide good customer service.

The PQ went so far as to introduce a motion, not a law, to encourage the use of the single French Bonjour greeting. The motion passed unanimously, including those members who represent primarily English-speaking constituents. Many of those constituents were less than pleased that their elected officials voted for a motion that evidently pointedly omitted their language.

One such representative, Kathleen Weil, who was recently named Ministre responsible des Relations avec les Québécois de langue anglaise – the minister responsible for relations with English-speaking Quebecers – said we had all misunderstood the vote. Given the backlash on social media, I suspect it may be more accurate to suggest the elected officials did not understand their constituents.

Evidently, the gorge between linguistic groups is narrower than the one between the English-speaking community and its elected representatives.

Regardless of motion, legislation or advertising slogan, why would those elected to represent large numbers of English-speakers think that voting in favour of something focused on the eradication of their language would be met with anything but piles of scorn, calls for resignation, and disgust?

Fortunately the store employees in Montreal, and I bet a few in Quebec City, stores are still using Bonjour Hi. Evidently, the gorge between linguistic groups is narrower than the one between the English-speaking community and its elected representatives.

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+

Poppy Harlow Has Patience of a Saint

Poppy

Yesterday CNN’s Poppy Harlow had an interesting encounter with Roy Moore’s – spokeswoman Jane Porter. I use the word encounter instead of interview because Porter refused to actually be interviewed, preferring instead to ignore Harlow’s questions and say what she wanted. This is not a new tactic, but it has become overused to the point of being infantile.

… journalists are going to have to start informing interviewees that if they continue to evade and ignore the questions asked the interview will be terminated

Sooner or later, and I hope it is sooner, journalists are going to have to start informing interviewees that if they continue to evade and ignore the questions asked the interview will be terminated. It is a journalist’s job to ask tough questions. If the person being interviewed does not like a question they can tell the asker that they will not answer it, but to have them ignore the question and drone on about a different topic should not be tolerated.

Responses to questions that begin with:

What I think you should be asking
The real issue here
What’s more important

Should be cut-off immediately as they are clear indicators that the interviewee is not going to answer the posed question, but is going to go off on a different tangent entirely.

In yesterday’s encounter Harlow, who evidently has the patience of a saint, spent most of the time asking Porter if she was going to answer a specific question, but she never got a simple yes or no.

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+