Chevy Should Stick With Actors Instead of ‘Real People’

If you read this blog with any regularity you know I like to analyse advertisements. Today’s instalment focuses on the Chevrolet Silverado TV that features several men being introduced to the latest model.

As the ad begins we learn from reading the small print at the bottom of the screen that these are ‘real people, not actors’. I have, over the years, had the pleasure of meeting and knowing several actors. I can assure you that all of them were real people. Not a placebo person among them. I could understand if those actors who prefer film as their medium were called ‘reel’ actors. Perhaps the small print should merely state ‘not actors’. But then that is painfully obvious from the terrible reactions of the real people when more truck models are revealed.

His tone and actions would be more suitable to someone hugging and adopting a recently war-orphaned child, not selecting a pickup truck.

But they saved the worst for last. The ad’s host asks the real people which of the five models they like best. At this point one of the lunkheads runs up to a truck , kisses it and, while attempting to embrace it in a hug, says ‘come home with me’.

His tone and actions would be more suitable to someone hugging and adopting a recently war-orphaned child, not selecting a pickup truck.

Me thinks Chevrolet should stop producing substandard ads, stick with actors and let real people live real lives.

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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Orange Traffic Cones Have Been True Pests For Centuries

As this image of Montreal indicates, orange traffic cones have been pests to one and all for many centuries!

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+

Build The Wall – Around The White House

There used to be a phrase that went something like ‘Oh no, there goes the neighbourhood’. No doubt steeped in racism, as a reaction to the first Black family to move into a white community and therefore cause trouble and push down house prices, the saying has taken on a more comical tone with time.

I have a hunch that there are more than a few people in the US who feel the same way but on a much grander scale given the relatively new occupants of the White House.

It’s not a campy sitcom, but the administration of the United States of America. Sadly the current residents of this most famous of houses, and their cohorts have ruined the neighbourhood, as it were.

They say that good fences make good neighbours. Perhaps one of the most irksome characteristics of bad neighbours is their penchant for washing their dirty laundry in public. The latest addition to the 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW version of the Clampetts, Anthony Scaramucci, known affectionately as Mooch, has demonstrated that his modus operandi involves shaking things up, causing an uproar, often by issuing derogatory, shallow remarks about fellow ‘family’ members on social media.

But these folks aren’t just another family, and this not just another house. It’s the White House and Mooch is apparently the president’s new man. It’s not a campy sitcom, but the administration of the United States of America. Sadly the current residents of this most famous of houses, and their cohorts have ruined the neighbourhood, as it were.

Not the one planned for along the US Mexico border, but a high wall around the White House.

But I have no doubt that the proud tradition of strength and leadership, caring and fairness, balance and kindness can be restored to this house in time. Just not with these inhabitants.

Of course in the interim, to shield the population and the world from the infantile shenanigans that have become daily features, a wall can be built. Not the one planned for along the US Mexico border, but a high wall around the White House.

 

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+

Hidden Among The Leaves; High-Flying Plastic

The annual Quebec construction vacation is underway. Each year for the last week of July and first of August all construction sites close down. There are very few exceptions but some include urgent road and infrastructure work.  Some people understand the logic in this, get the vacations out of the way so that suppliers and contractors can carry on without interruption. Others think it is a pain.

Will the tree with the plastic evidently trapped in its branches adapt over the years and produce plastic leaves? Leaves that are immune to aphids, Emerald Ash Borers, and wind burn.

The school adjacent to my apartment building has been having major brickwork repairs carried out on it over the last few years. The work is done during the summer when the school is less in use. When the workers close up for vacation they enclose any openings with heavy-gauge plastic sheeting to keep out the rain. This is all fine and dandy until the wind picks up.

Two summers ago the work was focussed on my end of the school building. Sure enough, during the vacation, a strong storm blew through and dislodged a significant portion of the protective plastic. Two pieces became ensnarled in a tree and have remained there through two winters and two springs. Seemingly unmovable. Blustery winds and snow have failed in removing the plastic from the tree top. At least the tree does not appear to be bothered by it, as it just goes on shedding its leaves in the fall and popping them back in the spring.

Today I noticed that on the other end of the school, where the work is being done this summer, there is yet another incident of plastic flapping about in the wind. I fear that one good gust and it will be airborne, looking for a tree to settle in. There’s got to be a better way.

Could it be that there is a special process at work, hidden to the naked eye? Will the tree with the plastic evidently trapped in its branches adapt over the years and produce plastic leaves? Leaves that are immune to aphids, Emerald Ash Borers, and wind burn.

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 Nostalgic Look at Park Pond Cleaning

The pond when clean and clear

Today is a beautiful summer day in Montreal. The sky is cloudless, the humidity level is moderate, even tolerable. After many dull cool days, this is a beaut. I left my apartment building for a stroll through the park and was reveling in the wonderful conditions when it hit me like a slap to the back of the head.

They say olfactory stimuli are some of the most powerful when it comes to arousing nostalgic experiences. Well, this morning’s first whiff of the fetid, putrid, reek that had engulfed the park brought me back 35-years or so in an instant. While others were looking at each other with puzzled expressions on their faces, I smiled or so slightly, for I knew it was pond cleaning time in the park.

With the perfection of hindsight, it is clear the pond should have been made of concrete …

When the park underwent a major overhaul in the early sixties the existing pond was extended and resurfaced. The method used was tar paper. Yes indeed, just as if the pond was a roof, rolls and rolls of tar paper were placed and tarred into position. Thereby creating a watertight seal, just like a good roof. The only problem was that a pond’s floor is constantly underwater while a roof only has to deal with rain, even heavy rain subsides.

With the perfection of hindsight, it is clear the pond should have been made of concrete that would not have come loose over the years and have to be replaced as is the case with the tar paper. I suppose concrete was deemed too expensive, but as is often the case these things cost more when done later. I imagine the city has paid many times over in repairs what a concrete floor would have cost originally.

The stinking process of cleaning the pond

About twice a summer the pond is drained for cleaning. Hence the stench. The hot sun beating on the oily filthy surface, replete with duck droppings, the occasional dead pigeon or squirrel and sadly more than a little trash creates a malodorous assault on the nose.

Hence the stench. The hot sun beating on the oily filthy surface, replete with duck droppings, the occasional dead pigeon or squirrel and sadly more than a little trash creates a malodorous assault on the nose.

Having been involved in this process as a student employee I can assure you it is less than pleasant; sweeping the feculent slop into piles with the aid of a fire-hose, then shovelling it into a cart for disposal was not anyone’s idea of a nice day in the park. Tea anyone?
Yet there I was all those years later actually smiling at the horrible stink, The concept of nostalgia is a funny thing; a formation of a Greek compound, consisting of νόστος (nóstos), meaning “homecoming”, a Homeric word, and ἄλγος (álgos), meaning “pain” or “ache”.

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+

Sayings of a Neighbourhood Character

It is finally summer in Montreal. The calendar has been telling us it has been so for a month now, but with the arrival of hot weather and high humidity, one can now say summer has arrived. It’s not the heat but the humidity – or as the man said as they pulled him naked from the burning building, it’s not the heat but the humility!

He would offer various delivery men a cup which, should they accept, they would soon learn that Mr. Wheeler’s tea was actually Scotch.

I recall when I was a young boy there was a man who lived a few houses down the street from us. Mr. Wheeler was a thin man, retired from a long stint as an elevator operator in a somewhat seedy downtown hotel. During the summer he would set a table and chairs on his front lawn, bring out his canary in its cage, and sit sipping tea from a cup, replenishing it often from a china teapot. He would offer various delivery men a cup which, should they accept, they would soon learn that Mr. Wheeler’s tea was actually Scotch.

Some not afternoons he would go to the park in search of shade. He would carry his bird cage and make his way up the street past my house. Often my mother would be sitting outside with me and Mr. Wheeler would stop and say hello to her then turn to me and say in his nasal voice “Hello Reegan”. My name is Deegan, uncommon indeed, rare as a first name. But difficult to pronounce! Nope. Yet no matter how often my mother or I when I was a bit older corrected him he just couldn’t get it. Sometimes he gave me a lollipop. Hello Reegan became a bit of a family joke over the years.

His other favourite adage is a little more difficult to figure out:  “It’s a good day to kill your mother-in-law”

There were two other things Mr. Wheeler was fond of saying on very hot and humid days. The first was “Good day to stick a pig”. I think there may be some logic to this seemingly inane utterance. On a hot day, a slaughtered pig’s blood would run faster. Or was it a Lord of the Flies reference?

His other favourite adage is a little more difficult to figure out:  “It’s a good day to kill your mother-in-law”. I have no idea why a hot, humid day would be better than any other to commit this heinous act, but Mr. Wheeler seemed to understand!

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 May 17, 2042

With so much excitement brewing this summer regarding Montreal’s 375th anniversary I thought it might be interesting to gaze into a crystal ball and get an idea of what our fair city may look like twenty-five years from now when, in 2042, we mark our 400th. Below is an article from The Gazette of May 17, 2042 (sadly but not surprisingly, available online only).

(Montreal, May 17, 2042) On this 400th anniversary of Montreal, the city council proudly and officially adopted a motion to change the name of the downtown Ville Marie borough to “Jazz” in recognition of the fact that the corporate entity known as the Festival International de Jazz de Montreal, marking its 63rd edition this year, now owns more than 54% of the commercial real estate in the borough. However, the vote in council was close, as many considered a second option, to change the name to Sergakis, after the entrepreneur, now in his nineties, who owns the other 46% of the properties.

With so many terraces and Bixi stations, the number of available parking spots not buried is almost nil, leaving motorists and driver-less cars with no alternative but to take their business to the suburbs.

Montreal is living up to its reputation as a pedestrian and bike-friendly city. Council has been lauded by many cycling associations from around the world for clearing the downtown core of essentially all motorized vehicles. This was achieved serendipitously through the issuance of permits for the vast proliferation of street-sidewalk straddling restaurant and bar terraces which reduced several main arteries, including Ste. Catherine and de Maisonneuve, to one narrow lane of traffic. Unfortunately, most of these terraces, once iconic symbols of the city’s joie de vivre, sit empty. With so many terraces and Bixi stations, the number of available parking spots not buried is almost nil, leaving motorists and driver-less cars with no alternative but to take their business to the suburbs.

Actual Cohen mural

The Montreal Canadiens continue to sell-out every home game, as they pursue that elusive 25th Stanley Cup. This year the team made it to the third round of the playoffs only to fall short, going down four games to three to the Calais Burghers, winners of the NHL’s European conference. Speaking in French, English, and Arabic, Habs head coach Abdul Abboud stated, “We need to make a few off-season tweaks and we will come back stronger”.

A late-game home run into the right-field bleachers at Molson Jackie Robinson Stadium crushed all hopes of a Series appearance.

Montreal sports fans did have something to cheer about as the Expos, celebrating the tenth year since returning to the city, came within one pitch of advancing to the North American Series (once inaccurately called the World Series). A late-game home run into the right-field bleachers at Molson Jackie Robinson Stadium crushed all hopes of a Series appearance. A number of older fans felt sadness and a strange sense of deja vu when LA Dodgers’ Freddy Friday played long ball to dash the Expos’ chances.

The final phase of the Turcot interchange overhaul is expected to be completed by year’s end. The work has taken significantly longer than was originally planned some thirty years ago due to several inquiries and commissions that have resulted in a total absence of political corruption. Contractors blame a lack of hands to be greased, and a dearth of kickback recipients for the lagging work.

Proposed Cohen Mural on Crescent Street

The city and its police force are still at loggerheads over pension reform. Council recently adopted new camouflage police uniforms thereby provoking the union to order its members to wear black pants in protest.

And perhaps Council’s most popular action was to pass a motion that will radically alter the number of construction cones in the city. Henceforth only streets without resurfacing, water main repairs, or a festival will be marked by the once ubiquitous orange cones.

The secularization of the city continued with the removal of the cross from Mount Royal.  A new thirty-metre tall illuminated statue of Leonard Cohen has been installed on the same site, bringing the number of Cohen tributes, including schools, Metro stations, murals, streets, libraries, and parks to 163.

And perhaps Council’s most popular action was to pass a motion that will radically alter the number of construction cones in the city. Henceforth only streets without resurfacing, water main repairs, or a festival will be marked by the once ubiquitous orange cones.

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+

 

 

 

Humira Ad, Warranties and CYA

There is an ad for the arthritis medication Humira that runs on CNN very often. In the spot a group of volunteers – indicated by their yellow T-shirts – have gathered in a schoolyard to assemble some playground equipment. It is a warm, fuzzy kind of ad, the main character seems to be a pleasant woman on whom the camera focuses while she goes about pitching-in. There is no dialogue, just a narrator extolling the virtues of Humira for part of the ad, then listing the possible side effects for the rest.

But then the other foot fell. The playground equipment company called to verify delivery and set up a convenient time to have their technicians come by and assemble things.

Such an ad must help product sales or, I assume it would have been canned long ago. Therefore as a commercial it works, but on another level it sends the wrong message.

Several years ago a local grade school purchased some playground gear for the schoolyard. Just like the ad, a group of volunteers, I assume parents for the most part, met one Saturday and proceeded to assemble the equipment. They got into the local newspaper and a good time was had by all.  

But then the other foot fell. The playground equipment company called to verify delivery and set up a convenient time to have their technicians come by and assemble things. Upon being told there was no need to do that as a group of parents had taken on that task, the company informed the school that unless the installation was carried out by their staff, they would not be liable for any accidents or injuries. Essentially the warranty was nullified.

The school and parents could only grit their teeth and get on with what was required. So down came the playground equipment, along came the company technicians, and up went the equipment with all warranties and liabilities in place!

I would have thought that this procedure would have been made very clear to the school beforehand. We live in a CYA (Cover Your Ass) society which leads to some evidently redundant signage. For instance:

This is a tree and branch chipper made by the Wood/Chuck Chipper Corporation of Shelby, North Carolina. It is loud and powerful, reducing even significant size branches and limbs to sawdust in seconds.


And here is a bold yellow sign that you might think was unnecessary. But there it is because I suspect if someone ever did place a body part in the chipper feed chute, only to lose said body part, some lawyer would claim that his or her client had no idea you were not supposed to do that. There should be a sign at least. So now there is.

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+

Kellyanne Conway’s CNN Caper

This morning I watched Counselor to President Trump Kellyanne Conway ramble on for over an hour on CNN. They should have changed the name to Conway Nonsense Network for the segment. It was not an interview, although Chris Cuomo did address numerous questions to  Conway, more of an exercise in avoidance and obfuscation on her part.

Conway’s caper this morning was nothing short of laughing up her sleeve – and by extension the Trump administration’s sleeve – at the U.S. electorate.

As a kid I used to hate it when a classmate was making a fool of himself; I would feel embarrassed for them. That same sense of unease was what I experienced today watching the ever-grinning Conway.

It is not uncommon for political spokespersons to nuance their replies to touchy questions. Conway choose to ignore them entirely only to later claim she answered them. It seems to me that the people of the United States deserve to have straight answers to straight questions from any spokesperson, Democrat, Republican or Independent.

Conway’s caper this morning was nothing short of laughing up her sleeve – and by extension the Trump administration’s sleeve – at the U.S. electorate. There was nothing nuanced about it, nothing shrewd or crafty about it. She merely responded to questions with questions or spoke about an entirely unrelated topic.

CNN must alter its approach to covering the Trump administration

No doubt exasperated, Cuomo reached a point when he allowed Conway to run on. Letting her pull out as much rope as she wanted to hang herself.

CNN must alter its approach to covering the Trump administration. Rather than pander to the White House for Conway to appear, the network should continue to cover the president but refuse to present her, or any other spokesperson without some sense that the person will not ignore questions and filibuster.

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+

Irrigation Systems and Jangled Nerves

My local park underwent a major overhaul in the early sixties. I recall watching the work as a very young lad. Along with new concrete pathways to replace the old asphalt network, and a refurbished bridge over a newly updated waterway, an underground water system was installed. This allowed for hoses and sprinklers to be used to water grass and flowers in any corner of the park.

The Buckner system involved subterranean piping throughout the park. Located at various places were ground level coupling points. Simply insert a handy Buckner valve, turn, and presto running water. Nothing could be easier.

Although many coupling points were found serendipitously by running over them with a lawnmower.

I assume that when the system was installed there was a map clearly indicating where the coupling points were located. By the time I worked for the city as a student in the late seventies said map was long gone. They say information is power. Well there was a sense of that felt by those who knew where the coupling points were. From foreman to employee this lore was passed down over the years. As the photo above shows, the system has been improved over the years and includes large green covers for the coupling points. That’s just plain cheating!

Knowing where a coupling point was located could cut down on time wasted walking about in concentric circles kicking at the grass in an effort to find it. Although many coupling points were found serendipitously by running over them with a lawnmower. Aside from leaving one’s nerves jangling after such a discovery, the blade of the lawnmower was less than ideal!

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+