Canada, Daily prompt, DCMontreal Commentary, DCMontreal Light, Humor, Montreal, Opinion

Backpacks Briefcases and Buses

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The other day I found myself on a crowded city bus. It was mid-afternoon and many of my fellow commuters were college or university students. At one point the bus became so cramped that the driver had to insist on those carrying/wearing backpacks to remove them. Put them on the floor between your feet. Don’t take up two places.

This got me to thinking how things change. My memory can be vague at times, but when I was in grade school I recall the common means of toting your books was a school bag. It was probably part of the backpack family as it was worn on one’s back via straps over each shoulder. By high school these bookbags were passé and it was bare hands used to carry books.

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When you got to college or university it was a very serious matter, school bags were for children. The university student of my day carried his or her things in a briefcase. Backpacks were strictly for travel purposes. No one ever had to accuse another of taking up two places on the bus or Metro while carrying a briefcase.

Then again it was probably also true that the buses were more packed in those days as, unlike the current trend, no self-respecting student of higher education would have arrived on campus on a skateboard. This purported entrance to adulthood called for the retirement of childhood toys.

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How times have changed indeed!

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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Daily prompt, Music

Glow Worms and Glimmer Twins

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Today’s WordPress Daily Prompt is Glimmer.  According to Merriam Webster glimmer means:

a to shine faintly or unsteadily
b to give off a subdued unsteady reflection 

But when I think of the word glimmer it brings to mind a musical theme. First, there was that good old glow worm the Mills Brothers sang about in the 1950s:

Shine little glow-worm, glimmer, glimmer
Shine little glow-worm, glimmer, glimmer

By the late 1960s, a new musical reference had been attached to glimmer, in the writing duo of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards who often called themselves the Glimmer Twins. Perhaps odd that a word that describes a visual effect should remind me of auditory experiences. But ain’t words fun?
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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Daily prompt, DCMontreal Commentary, DCMontreal Light, Misused words, Montreal, Opinion, Politics, Wordpress, Writing

Who vs Whom on Campus

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On the front page of today’s Montreal Gazette there is an article about yesterday’s protest at McGill University. Concordia and McGill students decried the schools’ administrations lack of action on sexual misconduct accusations. Clearly an issue of great importance.

But let me disrupt your thoughts on these allegations for a moment and turn to another important issue; grammar. The photograph above accompanied the front page story. What caught my eye was the poster asking “Who are you protecting”.  Aside from the lack of a question mark, I wonder if “Whom are you protecting?” would have been a better choice.

In the 1950s Johnny Carson hosted a game show called Who Do You Trust which is often cited not just for Johnny’s witty retorts, but for the grammar question.

Now, I am far from a grammar expert, but the folks at Grammar Matters provide this explanation:

Rewrite a simple sentence, using he or him in place of who or whom, and rephrasing the sentence appropriately. For instance, “Who do you trust?” may not sound wrong to you. But “Do you trust he?” certainly does. You can see that it would be “Do you trust him?” so you know it should be “Whom do you trust?”

So, “who are you protecting” becomes “are you protecting he?”Nope, that’s not it. “Are you protecting him?” makes a better sentence, which means whom is the way to go. As a graduate of McGill I can only hope the holder of the poster is a Concordia student!

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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Beer, Daily prompt, DCMontreal Commentary, Montreal, News, Nostalgia, Opinion

Wake For a Pub; Godspeed Irish Embassy

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I went to a wake last night. it wasn’t my intention, nor was it a typical wake. A traditional Irish wake takes place before a funeral – in the wake of the death  – and is an opportunity for mourners to reflect on the life of the departed. Once they were held in the home of the deceased with the body present. But with modern funeral homes, the ‘wake’ is more often called a reception and is held at the parlour after the ceremony. Take a room full of tired, emotional people, throw in some music and a significant amount of alcohol and frankly anything is possible.

What made last night’s wake unique was that while the departed rested across the road, its heart was present at the wake.

Needless to say, the deceased cannot attend the wake. Like funerals, wakes are for the living. What made last night’s wake unique was that while the departed rested across the road, its heart was present at the wake. You see the commiserating, the wake, was not for a person, but for a pub. The true soul of the pub, the staff, had gathered to share thoughts and comfort one another in the wake of a terrible occurrence.

With the five-alarm fire early on Saturday morning at the Irish Embassy Pub, Montréal’s rich history of Irish and English pubs is currently down one member. The building now a shambles of charred lumber and flooded rooms. The acrid odor of century-old burnt wood permeates the downtown air for blocks.

Yet another reason this was not your typical wake is that there was hope of a return.

Yet another reason this was not your typical wake is that there was hope of a return. The fire was contained to the upper floor. The actual pub only suffered smoke and water damage, albeit severe, giving one the thought that maybe, just maybe, like Phoenix the Embassy will soon rise from the ashes.

The building that was ravaged by flames was merely the bricks and mortar housing of the pub. The heart and soul of it are the staff members, many of whom gathered, along with several regular patrons, at another popular Irish pub. (I would be remiss if I did not mention that in a demonstration of class and I believe genuine empathy, Hurley’s Irish Pub made the displaced Embassy staff more than welcome for the evening.)

Tears were shed and hugs abounded, but all were quick to heave a sigh of relief that thankfully no one had been injured or worse. Bricks and mortar can be fixed.

Emotions ran high among the bartenders, wait staff, bussers and managers who gravitated to Hurley’s. The fire a bitter pill to swallow. Tears were shed and hugs abounded, but all were quick to heave a sigh of relief that thankfully no one had been injured or worse. Bricks and mortar can be fixed.

I’ve spent many a pleasant hour at the Irish Embassy. I’ve come to know many members of staff, management, and ownership. I consider several to be my friends.  It pains me to see them so touched by the fire. Perhaps it’s the upcoming Easter holiday but I also believe that these people are sincere in their vow to resurrect the pub. They are off to a good start by keeping the heart beating.

Godspeed.

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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Diabolical Kettle Packaging

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Packaging suggestion.

Yesterday my electric kettle done up and died, had the biscuit, bought the farm, went for the kippers. It was about ten years old so I really couldn’t get too cranky about it. I performed the appropriate solemn rite over the late kettle and turfed it into the garbage.

Sure enough there they were: silver kettles, black kettles, white kettles. A regular Smörgåsbord of kettles from which to choose.

As is my wont, I did a little research online and found a lovely assortment of electric kettles available at my local Canadian Tire store. Conveniently located in a nearby shopping centre to which I was planning on visiting anyway.

I arrived at Canadian Tire and, having used my morning’s research to its fullest capacity, I knew I needed to stroll over to aisle 11. Sure enough there they were: silver kettles, black kettles, white kettles. A regular Smörgåsbord of kettles from which to choose. I checked out a few then decided on a Sunbeam model that was very similar to the one that had gone kaput and was available for a decent price. So off I went to pay for my new kettle and continue with my other chores.

Upon arrival at home, I wanted to boil the kettle a few times to get the factory taste and gunk out. I opened the box and withdrew the kettle. I noticed that the contents of the box were packed in somewhat like a well-played game of Tetris. There was not a millimeter of extra space in that carton.

Evidently, I had purchased a ‘replacement’ kettle. Why did it not indicate that on the box?

I put the kettle aside and went in search of the power base. Only to be disappointed. No power base was present, no means of plugging the kettle into an electrical outlet existed. How could they have been so stupid, so dim-witted as to package a kettle without including the power base? Given the tight fit in the packing, this was clearly a box that was not meant to hold a power base. Evidently, I had purchased a ‘replacement’ kettle. Why did it not indicate that on the box?

Somewhat irked I called the number on the user manual. After the usual wait – I was so glad my call was important to them – I got a person on the line. I calmly went through the whole experience and she took the model number and asked me to wait for a moment. That was some 24-hours ago so I guess I’m technically still on hold with them, except for the fact that I hung up after several minutes, thinking I would have to return the kettle regardless of what she may tell me.

Why would they put the power source in the f*%#ing kettle but not mention it on the box,

I packed up my new kettle in the Tetris-like manner I had received it and, later in the afternoon made my way back to Canadian Tire. I approached the returns desk, plunked my bag on the counter with my receipt and Canadian Tire money and started to unpack things while explaining my gripe.

“I bought this here this morning but there is no power source,” I started but before I could finish the nice lady cut me off. She said knowingly “yes there is”.

I looked at her as she casually opened the box and removed two pieces of tape that were holding down the kettle lid and lo and behold there was the power base. Just like the neck and giblets in a frozen turkey, except the turkey packaging clearly indicates there are parts inside. I looked at her and asked if she had seen this before to which she rolled her eyes and said it happens all the time with this product.

Why would they put the power source in the f*%#ing kettle but not mention it on the box, (as I have suggested above) or in the user manual?

This packaging and lack of instruction is nothing short of diabolical. Thank you Sunbeam Canada for a fine kettle, but a really bad lack of communication!

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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Daily prompt, DCMontreal Commentary, DCMontreal Light, Donald Trump, Gun Control, News

Guns don’t kill people alone, people with guns kill people

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As the latest installment in the gun debate rages in the USA following the horrific multiple death shooting in Parkland, Florida I can’t help but be reminded of some of the ludicrous sayings that the pro-gun advocates often spout.

When was the last time you were shaken by breaking news that a deranged strangler was seen in a high school? 

I am conversant with several, including the granddaddy of these pithy little slogans is, of course, the infamous: Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. When was the last time you were shaken by breaking news that a deranged strangler was seen in a high school? Has a school ever been put on lock-down because a mentally ill person was stalking the halls threatening to choke or kick to death students and teachers? Of course not. Seems to me guns are killing people.

If, as a society, we could control mental illness it would be a wonderful thing in many ways, but as of yet, we can’t. However, the other variable in the guns don’t kill people equation is guns. As has been shown in countries such as Australia, these can be controlled.

So frankly it would be more accurate to say: guns don’t kill people alone, people with guns kill people. But if those people could not get those guns, who knows how many lives would be saved, not just in the large, media grabbing multiple killings, but also those lost in smaller almost daily shootings.

I fully support the right to arm bears.

Then we have the cute, if guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns. Mass killings seem to be the purview of the mentally ill, not ‘outlaws’. This is along the lines of: an armed man is a citizen. An unarmed man is a subject. Sadly some people believe this nonsense.

I am not a gun person, yet I do have a favourite pithy statement myself: I fully support the right to arm bears.

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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When it comes to the present, Cartoonist Bil Keane of Family Circus fame hit the nail on the head!

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+

 

Blogging, Daily prompt, DCMontreal Commentary, DCMontreal Light, Wordpress

Bil Keane Knew the Present is a Gift

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Daily prompt, DCMontreal Commentary, News

Randall Musgrave is the Latest Face of Abuse Pain

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The #metoo movement has a new face. Not that of a former Hollywood starlet who was abused by a man in a position to advance her career. Not the face of an established actress who goes public with her experience. Nor is it the face of a political aide who painfully speaks up about the treatment she received at the hands of her boss.

No, the new face of the movement that has given women the courage to make a private act public is that of a man.

No, the new face of the movement that has given women the courage to make a private act public is that of a man. He’s not a perpetrator, more accurately he’s a victim by association, through love, the love of a father, his pain clearly overwhelming.

His name is Randall Musgrave. I’d say he’s in his forties, maybe early fifties. A stocky determined looking man. He is the father of not one or two, but three of despicable creature Larry Nasser’s victims. Three of Musgrave’s daughters were abused by Nasser.

He’s not a perpetrator, more accurately he’s a victim by association, through love, the love of a father, his pain clearly overwhelming.

On Friday Musgrave stood in the courtroom and addressed the now convicted Nasser. He calmly asked the judge if he could have five minutes alone with Nasser. Needless to say the judge explained how that was not possible. He then altered his request, bargaining downward and asking for just one minute alone with Nasser. Again the judge denied him. So he decided to take his best shot right then and there by dashing through the courtroom at Nasser. So great is his pain and anger that it took several bailiffs to wrestle Musgrave to the floor.

He was the only person to attempt this sort of action, but I have to believe all the parents and victims must have had it cross their minds at least once. Subsequently Musgrave apologized to the court, and the judge seemed that under the circumstances no punishment was necessary. Sometimes the legal system gets it right.

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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Daily prompt, DCMontreal Commentary, DCMontreal Light, Montreal, News, Opinion

How Public Officials Should Handle Mistakes

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The excerpt below from the Montreal Gazette illustrates the proper way for public officials to handle making a mistake – admit it, adapt and move on.

The city of Montreal, which intended to let the past week’s snowfall melt, has now reversed it’s (sic) decision and will start clearing streets Sunday evening. 

The head of snow removal, Jean-François Parenteau announced the reversal on Saturday.

Parenteau explained the change because of cooler temperatures. The decision not to clear the snow was a bad choice on his part and he apologized.

A snow removal operation costs an average of $1 million per borough. The City of Montreal has carried out four clearing operations since the beginning of winter.

The snow budget of $160 million makes it possible to make five per winter.

However, the decision not to clear the snow but let it melt is one with which I, as a 90% pedestrian, abhor. The snow melts under the wheels of vehicles no doubt. The resulting slushy swamps and pools of filthy water end up being splattered hither and yon, making sidewalk navigation a royal pain.

I understand the savings, but there has to be a way to convince drivers that it is not acceptable to ignore pedestrians on sidewalks as they plow through the slop, drenching folks as they walk. There was a time when drivers, those with an inkling of common decency,  took this into consideration and would slow down, to a crawl if necessary. But I fear those days are long gone.

So thank you M Parenteau for doing the right thing!

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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Daily prompt, DCMontreal Commentary, DCMontreal Light, Music, Obituary, Wordpress

B.B. King: Dee Trill Is Gone

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I recall the date: May 14, 2015. That was the day B.B. King passed away at the age of 89. I remember having a discussion about King with an acquaintance of mine, a Montrealer of Bajan origin who has managed to retain his lovely accent.

We chatted about the impact King had on so many musicians, about how he, by his own admission could not sing and play guitar at the same time (a little guitar, a little singing, repeat), and about some of our favourite B.B. King songs.

As we went our own way my colleague shook his head and uttered “Ya mon, de trill is gone”

I could not have put it better myself.

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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