UPDATED: Happy Birthday Montreal; Thanks For The Free Transit

Today marks the beginning of Montreal’s 375th anniversary celebrations. A whole summer of activities is planned and it all kicks-off today. I have written about my take on the festivities before. As a way of encouraging folks to participate, the Société de transport de Montréal will waive all bus and metro fares all day today. Yep, you can ride the system all day-long for free. A nice gesture.

… how long it will take for someone who has paid for a monthly pass for the month of May to realise that they have already paid for service today.

Now call me a cynic if you will, but I am just wondering how long it will take for someone who has paid for a monthly pass for the month of May to realise that they have already paid for service today. Everyone without a monthly pass is getting something for nothing today, but if you bought a monthly pass, you paid for 31 days of use. When in fact there are only 30 days when fares are charged this month.

I sense a class action lawsuit being launched, claiming two one-way fares  – or $6.50 – for every monthly pass sold. I imagine we are on the precipice of some lawyer getting his or her name in the media by suggesting this. Hardly in keeping with the spirit of the gesture.

Happy Birthday Montreal!

UPDATE: The answer to how long it will take for someone to publicly bitch is … drum-roll please … one week!

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+

Beware Canines Baring K-9s

ALLEN MCINNIS/MONTREAL GAZETTE

If you read this blog with any regularity you will know that once the City of Montreal announced a pit bull by-law, I took it upon myself to seek out and interview an actual pit bull. This led to me subsequently being contacted and let in on how pit bulls were coping with the enacted law.

“No arsehole “ he growled. “Take the lead that is around my neck. Make it look like you are taking me for a walk”.

In the latest chapter of this ongoing saga, last Friday afternoon as I arrived at a favourite downtown watering hole for a few pints, I noticed a large poodle, in fact it was hard to miss given it was pink. Yep, a large pink poodle standing outside the door evidently unattended, but wearing a collar and leash. As I passed by I heard psst coming from the direction of the pink poodle. Turning back I saw the dog raise its paw to chest level, look both ways to insure secrecy, pull back its fur and there it was, Velcro.  Only then did I realize this was my pit bull contact in disguise.

“Let’s walk,” he said under his Milkbone breath. As I was about to take a step he said “lead”. So I went ahead of him and looked back to see if he was following.

He explained that his original cover had been blown a few weeks ago. He told me it was a chihuahua; I immediately understood his problem

“No arsehole “ he growled. “Take the lead that is around my neck. Make it look like you are taking me for a walk”. I know many people in this part of downtown so I was hesitant to be seen walking a large pink poodle. I expressed my concern and he muttered (mutt-ered?) something about my being lucky if I don’t have to pick up after him. He had a point. He explained that his original cover had been blown a few weeks ago. He told me it was a chihuahua; I immediately understood his problem

As we strolled along the street, me keeping my head down as best I could, he brought up the subject he wanted to address. As part of Montreal’s 375th anniversary events, last weekend the city was visited by giants. Hideous goddamned three-storey tall nightmare inducing marionettes on cranes. There was a deep-sea diver, a little girl and her dog. A giant dog. He explained how Operation Trojan Dog followed by Operation Frolic would be played out on Sunday afternoon. My task was to be there and write about it. With this he broke loose and dashed off.

Hideous goddamned three-storey tall nightmare inducing marionettes on cranes.

There I was on Sunday afternoon, one of about nine gazillion people waiting for the giants to wake up and make their way through the city. Just before the scheduled departure time I noticed that several pit bulls seemed to be coming out of the reclining giant dog. There were soon many more pit bulls, leaving the giant and frolicking with those in attendance. Clearly those present thought this was part of the performance,  but I knew this was a means of pit bulls returning to public and showing their softer side. No catapult (dogapult?) for these tall thinkers. A shrewd public (puplic?) relations ploy if ever there was one.

Much as Virgil wrote in the Aeneid about how the Greeks scammed the Trojans with that wooden horse full of soldiers, the pit bulls of Montreal returned to the city in a huge dog. Beware of Greeks bearing gifts and certainly beware canines baring k-9s.

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+

Clock Radio Snooze Button Farce

Snooze button highlighted in red.

When it comes to clock radios and other rousing devices I am a big fan of snooze buttons. If I have to wake up and get up, perhaps a fire alarm or knock at the door,  the chances of me falling flat on my face are about even. I need a few snoozes to ease myself into my day. Those nine minute respites allow me to face the day on my terms.

I was given a lovely iHome iBN43 clock radio for Christmas a couple of years ago. It has nice sound, two alarm settings, a charging connection for mobile phones and the ability to customise how long the snooze lasts. Call me a traditionalist but I leave it at the nine minute default.

I am glad iHome makes clock radios and not aircraft carriers.

There is just one problem with the  iHome iBN43: the snooze button is way too narrow. It is a thin strip that includes buttons at the ends. Not a big target at all. I am glad iHome makes clock radios and not aircraft carriers. At least twice a week when the radio starts to play at 5:25 am I reach out, overshoot the snooze button and shut off the alarm completely. God forbid I have been sleeping on my arm the possibility of hitting the snooze button as my arm flops about farcically like the proverbial fish out of water are nil.

Yet I will have pounded every other button thus changing stations, volume and perhaps time zone. Worse, I then have to take my phone and set the timer for nine minutes, as the method of resetting the radio’s alarm is beyond me.

From the User Manual

Had the iHome folks made the snooze button the size of the Bluetooth area they would have hit the nail on the head.

Could they not have designed the radio with a significant snooze button? Everything else is just Jim dandy, but my most important need is not being met,

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+

Seeking Expo 67 Artist

During the many trips to EXPO 67 fifty years ago as a seven year old child I had the opportunity to stock-up a lifetime of interesting experiences. On one such occasion my aunt, with whom I made most of my visits, had me sit for a portrait sketch. She would subsequently have the sketch framed and present it to my mother as a gift. The portrait still hangs in my mother’s apartment.

The artist was a woman if my memory is correct, who signed her work Milligan 67. I imagine she, and others, produced hundreds is not thousands of sketches during the fair’s run. I have tried to see what became of Milligan after 1967. Is she still around? Still sketching? Or did she, like many artists, have to abandon her talent for a ‘real’ job so she could pay the bills.

In this anniversary year I thought I would publish the portrait and bring this story to light just in case Milligan is still out there.  And if I do not succeed, at least I have provided my readers with a sketch of a real cute kid, about which I have no qualms! I wonder where he went!

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+

 

Armed Forces and Citizens: Canada and Venezuela

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 Floods, Airlines and Price Gouging

Adrian Wyld/CP

The current flooding in Quebec has provoked the Mayor of Montreal, Denis Coderre, to declare a State of Emergency to be put into effect in several areas of the island. It sounds very imposing, but what exactly does the SoE mean?

According to the CBC:

The Emergency Management Act gives authorities the power to move quickly to centralize and co-ordinate responses.

It allows authorities:

• to force evacuations of buildings.

• enter buildings without a warrant.

• to prevent stores and commercial businesses from hiking up prices of goods and services.

Not just at small Mom-and-Pop establishments, but big-box stores have been cutting the price of sump pumps and generators to give folks a bit of a break.

I was pleased to read the last point as one does hear of the occasional bit of price gouging when these things happen. I must point out however that this time I have only heard of prices being slashed. Not just at small Mom-and-Pop establishments, but big-box stores have been cutting the price of sump pumps and generators to give folks a bit of a break.

This humane approach can also be seen at Thanksgiving and Christmas when airlines, faced with vast numbers of people trying to get home, reduce their prices to accommodate the hoards.

Ha! When pigs fly!

Airlines jack-up their prices during high-season and consider it a wise business move; to pursue greater profits. They swindle their customers in the name of profit. Surely the increase in volume would lead to a better bottom line without causing undue financial strain on clients. I think I will begin to lobby the government to declare the holiday season a State of Emergency thereby keeping the airlines from fleecing travellers. Wanna sign on?

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 Flooding and Politicians’ Photo Ops

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau fills sandbag. But is more effective providing resources.

There are several areas in Canada that are suffering spring flooding, but none worse than the south-western part of the Province of Quebec including parts of the island of Montreal. For the first time in twenty years a Montreal mayor – Denis Coderre –  has declared a State of Emergency. I have family members who are struggling mightily to save their house which is usually located some 100 feet from the water’s edge, but is currently on the cusp of the water cresting and coming over the sandbags.

By all means visit the flood victims, tell them you are with them, but do not use their plight as a photo-op for next election’s campaign bumpf!

The combination of a major late snowfall and more rain than has ever been experienced in April around here has caused rivers to expand exponentially.

The Canadian armed forces have been deployed to assist with evacuation efforts, as well as attempts to build sufficient sandbag dikes to ward off rising waters and provide temporary shelter.

I am not near water so I have been spared, but from what I have watched on the 24-hour news coverage there is, so far, little complaint about what is being done to help. This may all change once the emergency has been dealt with, but it appears there is a sense of appreciation at this point.

The water is usually about 100 feet from this house.

What irks me is when politicians, elected officials, visit the scene of devastation to survey the situation and just can’t seem to leave without a shot of them filling sandbags. By all means visit the flood victims, tell them you are with them, but do not use their plight as a photo-op for next election’s campaign bumpf!

That’s why we elect leaders, to use the tools of government to alleviate problems, not tools such as shovels and sandbags.

Unless you are going to stick around and fill a couple of hundred sandbags, please don’t take advantage of shovel and bag to appear to be helping out physically. I like both Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister of Canadian Heritage Mélanie Joly. But both have been guilty of the photo-op I mention. A much better idea would be to issue a statement indicating that they are concerned, staying out of the way for now, and busily sending appropriate resources to the area.

That’s why we elect leaders, to use the tools of government to alleviate problems, not tools such as shovels and sandbags.

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+