Ice Hotels Can Burn?

It has become popular over the last twenty years or so to, when weather conditions permit, create ice hotels. Indeed a real inn made out of carved ice. Several years ago we visited one here in Montreal. It had several rooms that are available for rent, just like a hotel. I understand access to the rooms is limited until closing time, as the rooms are on display.

There was a restaurant that, like the rooms, was booked for the entire period. No room at the ice inn. There was also a chapel in which you could arrange to be married. While meandering through the edifice I was taken not just by the lovely ice sculpture, but by the presence of a fire extinguisher.  Being a public building this was mandatory. I thought it odd until this week when I read that the Quebec City Ice Hotel had to be temporarily closed after a fire! In fact, three guests had to be hospitalised.

How can a structure that is made of frozen water catch fire? Would it not just put itself out? When the firefighters sprayed water on it did they add an upper storey? Perhaps a guest house.

As someone who likes to look out at winter from the warmth, my chances of staying overnight in an ice box were severely slim, now that I know they can catch fire I think it safe to say it’s not on my bucket list at all!

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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Bomb Cyclone Has To Be Punishment

At some point along the way, we folks in the eastern part of North America must have done something very bad. It is the only viable option to explain the recent weather conditions. Never mind all that meteorological mumbo-jumbo, the only explanation is that the weather gods are pissed big time at us.

As if it wasn’t bad enough that many of us are just coming out of a deep freeze that lasted longer than a week and at times brought temperatures colder than Mars …

As if it wasn’t bad enough that many of us are just coming out of a deep freeze that lasted longer than a week and at times brought temperatures colder than those found on Mars, now there is a ‘bomb cyclone’ making its way up the east coast.

According to CNN, the bomb cyclone happened overnight, it occurs when a cyclone has a significant and rapid drop in atmospheric pressure over a short period of time. Mumbo-jumbo, take it from me, we are being punished for something. Could it be the football gods are fed up with the New England Patriots’ constant winning ways? We are certainly paying the price for something.

Let me go on the record here: if the ungodly weather is retribution for electing Donald Trump, and I have to admit that makes sense, please note that not one Canadian voted for him

Let me go on the record here: if the ungodly weather is retribution for electing Donald Trump, and I have to admit that makes sense, please note that not one Canadian voted for him. Please keep all Trump-voter-punishing weather fronts south of the 49th parallel. And yet I am not surprised that we will experience some of the fallout from a display of USA election gods unhappiness with the Trump victory. After-all late Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau once pointed out that: Living next to you is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, if I can call it that, one is affected by every twitch and grunt.

So if you are in the path of the fast approaching and growing bomb cyclone take good care of yourself and loved ones. If you lose power you may have time to sit and ponder just what the hell we did to deserve this!

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 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+

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+

In Montreal It’s Bonjour-Hi

Hi

You might think that a city that can and does function in two languages would be a benefit. Particularly when that city is located less than 100 miles from the United States. Montreal is just such a city, offering tourists a real taste of a French-speaking city with the comfort of being understood in English.

Just about perfect you might say. Who could possibly find fault with the concept of store clerks, wait staff, cab drivers and just plain folks greeting one another with Bonjour-Hi? This little couplet has become an unofficial motto for Montreal, one that some see as a welcoming means of determining in which language to continue the discourse, while others deem it an irritant.

The opposition Parti-Québécois wants to pass a motion declaring the use of Bonjour-Hi an irritant. This party would like to see English usage in Montreal eradicated. Instead of embracing the bilingual nature of the city, they push their heads into the sand and refuse to see the positive side of the coin. When it comes to the language debate, Quebec politics turns zoo-like in a hurry.

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+

 

Canadian Prime Minister Prefers a Pint

Trudeau

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau checks the quality of a selfie with an admirer.

From time to time I like to drop in for a pint or two at a downtown Iris pub here in Montreal. Rather than rotting my liver, I prefer to think of it as carrying out a civic duty since, as the photo above shows, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also likes to pop into the Irish Embassy Pub and Grill.

Although I was not present when the PM arrived unannounced, I have been told he stayed for a couple of pints, offered to pay but was told it was the pleasure of the house to have his company. He was approachable and open to a few selfies.

Had I been there I could have mentioned the time I was stuck in an elevator with his father, the late Pierre Elliott Trudeau. No doubt the former Prime Minister must have told that tale countless times at the dinner table as the kids were growing up. I like to think it makes up part of the Trudeau family lore. Mind you I also like to think there is an Easter Bunny. Oh well…

By the way, there was some very discreet security present, lest you think our PM sneaks out alone at night to quaff beer and chat up pretty women.

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 Take on Montreal Election

MTL_Election

With Montreal a mere two weeks from municipal elections and one of the stump speech topics being the pit bull ban – the incumbent mayor is responsible for the current breed specific ban while his main opponent vows to overturn the law if elected – I thought it was time for me to go straight to the … er… pit bull’s mouth and catch-up with my canine friend. I have had two interviews with him which you can read here and here.

I contacted him in the usual manner which, of course, I cannot divulge, but it requires a text message and not an ultrasonic whistle. He was slow to reply but agreed to a short interview, given the seriousness of the issue in light of the election campaign.

I secured the usual payment of Milkbone large dog biscuits and made my way to the designated location. Upon arrival, I was patted down and sniffed fervently by a large pit bull. I have learned not to fear this process, and no longer think the guard dog is going for my jugular when he nears me and stands on his hind legs, although it is still a bit off-putting, dog’s breath and all. Having passed the security check I was nudged into a small room where my interlocutor awaited me.

The room was furnished with a table and one chair. The table was snout high, and dogs don’t use chairs.

“Hello,” I started. “How are…”

“Fine, let’s get to it. I’m very busy,” he cut me off. “First let’s have them.”

At this I obeyed and placed a significant number, but not all, of the Milkbones on the table. I kept some to use later to lengthen the interview if necessary. He sniffed at them, poked at them held one up to the light before tossing it into his mouth.

“Okay, they’re real. Not dollar store knock-offs,” he mumbled.

Thinking I had fulfilled the requirements I began my questioning. “Sir, where do you …”.

Again he cut me off, this time he was tapping a large claw on the table in the vicinity of the biscuits. “All of them.”

“I beg your pardon,” I stalled.

“Put all the biscuits on the table,” he growled. :”I’m a dog. Do you not think I can smell a Milkbone in a pocket two feet away? No more games.”

Pit_Bull

Sheepishly I emptied my pockets of biscuits and turned them inside out. He stared at me in such a way that I thought he was going to call off the whole thing, but he just shook his head in disgust.

”Have you been following the election campaign?,” I asked.

“Of course,” he snapped. “I’ve been active in trying to unseat this so-called mayor. For us there is only one issue, so the lines have been drawn. Pit bull ban vs no pit bull ban. Very simple, as basic as our very identity” He stated this in a matter of fact way while idly crunching on a biscuit. “It seems abundantly clear which candidate to vote for. Can you imagine many people voting for a man who openly attests his dislike of pit bulls?”

“Well,” I started fully expecting to be interrupted again. “There are other issues such as tax, road conditions, public transit.”

He slowly rose from where he had been sitting at the end of the table and made his way to me. Sitting on the floor he stared at me as if I was totally mad. “Tell me, Sunshine,” he said. “Have you ever had a dog?”

I told him our family had had several dogs when I was a kid.

“Did any of them pay taxes, drive a motor vehicle or take the bus? Did any of them care about green spaces or building permits? I think not. We usually forgo the whole election process, not wanting to sully our paws in the corrupt world of politics. If not for the pit bull ban I can assure you we would not be mobilizing.”

“And just how are you planning to mobilize? What do you have planned?” I asked, hitting my stride.

“Very simple. People cast ballots at polls; dogs pee on poles,” he explained with a smirk.

“But those are two different words, two different things.” I pointed out.

“I don’t like dog licenses – we’re not Volkswagens or Mazdas – but I am familiar with creative license. Polls or poles, you get my drift I hope,” he said.

“So if I understand it is your intention to have masses of dogs mobilize to urinate on polling stations and in fact the actual polls,” I asked.

“Got it in one Sunshine,” he quipped while tossing the last Milkbone into his mouth. “Gotta get going now. Getting the message out to dogs, helping them locate their peeing …er …polling station and encouraging them to drink lots of water takes up most of my time these days. Ciao.”

I thanked him and made my way out of his office under the watchful eye of the security dog. It’s going to be an interesting election.

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+

 

Quebec Law Banning Face Covering Passed

Aislin62

Allow me to express my opinion now that the legislature of my province has passed a controversial law. Known as Bill 62, it bans the wearing of face covers when providing or receiving any public service. This means that here in Quebec, should you be on your way to a protest march you must remove that very popular Anonymous mask while on the bus or metro.

This means that here in Quebec, should you be on your way to a protest march you must remove that Anonymous mask while on the bus or metro.

That’s the simple part of the law. Where it becomes contentious is when niqab and burqa wearers enter the equation. Muslim women are required to wear some form head covering. The most common garment here is the hijab, a headscarf that does not cover the face. Niqabs and burqas cover the entire face of the wearer and then some.

While I disagree with the whole concept of making women cover their faces in principle, the enforcement of the law will make things worse. When I was young bus drivers not only drove the bus, they also sold tickets and made change. This not only interfered with their concentration while driving but made them easy targets for robbers.

Headware

Now it seems bus drivers will have to act as ‘scarf police’, telling niqab and burqa-wearing women that they cannot ride the bus unless they remove their face covering. I have not heard the drivers’ union reaction yet, but I can’t imagine they will be in favour of this new task.

… but I fear more for the Muslim women who may meet up with a driver who has no problem at all and takes advantage of the situation to enforce his or her bias.

Exam invigilators at colleges and universities, if public, will also be required to ask that face coverings be removed if the person is to be allowed to write the exam. I agree with this fully as it eliminates the possibility of having someone else write the exam, say someone who is much better at physics that the actual student.

It seems to me that the potential for conflict far outweighs the usefulness of this law. I feel for the bus drivers who may not be comfortable with their new role, but I fear more for the Muslim women who may meet up with a driver who has no problem at all and takes advantage of the situation to enforce his or her bias.

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+

Kung Fu Fraud: Justin Trudeau Visits Donald Trump

That’s not Master Kan … he’s a fraud!

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+

WKRP Thanksgiving:  As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly

Although Canadian Thanksgiving is technically tomorrow, across the country millions of families will be gathering today for a traditional meal. Feelings of love and warmth, if only superficial, will abound. Like our neighbours to the south this usually entails a roast turkey. I am no exception, and will be stuffing and roasting as the day goes on. While taking time to be thankful for so many things, I have begun the annual  process of recalling a classic episode of WKRP in Cincinnati.

…  don’t forget to remove the giblets and neck that have been stuffed into both ends of the bird!!

A Thanksgiving promotion goes awry when hundreds of turkeys are dropped from a helicopter over a shopping mall parking lot leading to a scene of fowl carnage.

The entire calamity is summed up by owner Bob Carlson when he states:  As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.

Here’s hoping all Canadians who choose to imbibe remember that life lesson, as well as the golden rule of turkey preparation: don’t forget to remove the giblets and neck that have been stuffed into both ends of the bird!! In the meantime, while the bird is roasting have a look at the famous scene.

 

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+