DCMontreal Commentary, DCMontreal Light, Food, Health, Humor, Opinion, Words

I Have High Flavour

Steak swimming in garlic butter

I love words. I wish I knew more of them; I envy people who have the ability to pick up second and even third languages with ease. I always figured you couldn’t go on to another thing until you have mastered the first. This goes a long way to explaining why I am a less than fluently bilingual Anglophone living in Quebec.

The late George Carlin was also a lover of words. One of his routines involved pointing out that the words flammable, inflammable, and noninflammable are three words that mean just two things. I have recently discovered another such situation. The words cholesterol and flavour, I have come to realize, are interchangeable.

The words cholesterol and flavour, I have come to realize, are interchangeable.

Last week I learned from a routine blood test that my bad cholesterol level is significantly higher than it should be. A call from my nurse practitioner brought this news, as well as some suggestions of things I might try before turning to medication. (Do they make statins on that island near Manhattan?) Something as simple as a change of diet, might be a good place to start.

I will come clean; I’m not a good eater. I like butter. I love cheese. Creamy sauces. Salads are fine as a first course, to be followed by a big steak and potatoes. Ah…potatoes. Baked taters aren’t too bad, as long as you don’t put anything tasty on them. What’s the point. Top this off with a few beers and Voila! I’m a ticking timebomb (OK…perhaps not that bad.)

Doing a bit of online research was when I discovered the interchangeability of the two words. Everything that has flavour also has cholesterol. It’s diabolic. Think of a tasty item and sure as hell it’s bad for you. To paraphrase Newton’s Third Law of Motion about equal and opposite reactions, for every tasty food bit, there is a whack of cholesterol.

To paraphrase Newton’s Third Law of Motion about equal and opposite reactions, for every tasty food bit, there is a whack of cholesterol.

I tell people I suffer from High Flavour.

Oatmeal Smoothie Mmmmm yummy

You’d almost think it had been done intentionally. I’ve come to believe that it started way back in the Garden of Eden when that prick of a serpent, after tricking Eve into taking a chomp of the bad apple, thus causing all hell to break loose, continued his dastardly work. He made it so that whatever tasted good. Really good. Was destined to kill you, not instantly, but slowly. By all means, he must have said, let them gorge on rice cakes and pinto beans as much as they want. But understand that a couple of toasted English muffins dripping with butter will be the end of things as we know them.

It’s only been a week or so, but I think I’m starting to resemble a piece of Romain lettuce. I’d cross my fingers and hope for the best, but whenever I think of fingers I think of Finger Lickin’ Good Kentucky Fried Chicken. I never thought I’d hang a framed picture of Colonel Saunders in my kitchen, but it helps to look at him while I’m chugging an oatmeal based smoothie.

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Christmas, DCMontreal Commentary, DCMontreal Light, Humor, Montreal, Opinion

Christmas Tree Envy

Last weekend we ventured out to the forest (otherwise known as the IKEA parking lot) to select and chop down our Christmas tree. Okay, maybe we just selected the tree that had already been felled and neatly tied-up in plastic twine. But we still had to sort through what appeared to us to be a smaller crop of trees until we found the right one.

Once selected we secured it to the roof of our car and headed home. The important part of strapping the tree on top of the car is to remember to do so with the doors open so that once the tree is in place you can still get in without having to slither in through the window. A true rookie mistake.

The important part of strapping the tree on top of the car is to remember to do so with the doors open so that once the tree is in place you can still get in without having to slither in through the window

At home I lugged the tree up the three flights of stairs and, while still in the hallway, cut off the bottom inch or so to allow for better irrigation. I have no idea if this actually makes a difference, but it does afford me my annual opportunity to use my saw.

Moving the now minimally shorter but still entwined tree into our apartment I stood it in the stand while my wife tightened the screws that hold up (hopefully) the tree. With the tree upright the first judgement call comes up; is the trunk straight?

In truth, if the trunk is not straight, it’s too late now!

A little bit of turning this way and that and initial positioning is done. Now the plastic twine can be snipped off with scissors. For the next hour or so, the tree seems to relax and let down its branches, you can almost hear it saying “Ahhhh”.

Then, for the most part, I drink beer and she decorates the tree. She even adorns the back, something I’ll never understand

My wife is the Christmas tree decorator of the two of us. I do the schlepping and cutting and installing. I then help her with the lights. Then, for the most part, I drink beer and she decorates the tree. She even adorns the back, something I’ll never understand. In fairness I do hand her the odd decoration (and believe me, we have some odd decorations), and I do spot her when she ascends the three-step ladder, but for the most part, at this point my job is done.

Once the trimming is finished I take the plastic string and reuse it to attach a guy-line between the trunk and the wall. Our cat may well be thirteen, and he spends a whole lot of time napping, but sometimes the curiosity that cats are famous for gets the better of him and he attempts his impression of a Sherpa guide.

Several times during the process we had commented on what appeared to us to be a smaller, less-rotund, group of trees available this year. A little on the skinny side. But still a fine conical shape.

Were I a bitter man I’d be hoping for a large grackle nest to be built midway up the tree.

This morning I looked of our living room window and could not help but notice that our neighbours across the street have put a Christmas tree on their balcony. And it’s huge. Even at a distance I can see it’s a beauty.

I think I have Christmas tree envy!

How dare they flaunt their plump, tall tree by placing it outside right in front of us? I’m hoping they are just letting the branches come down before bringing it indoors for decorating. Otherwise I fear it will be a COVID confinement with closed drapes Christmas. Were I a bitter man I’d be hoping for a large grackle nest to be built midway up the tree. I’d even go so far as to offer the birds the rest of the plastic string to use on their tree. Thankfully I’m not the bitter sort.

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Advertising, Canada, COVID-19, DCMontreal Commentary, DCMontreal Light, Humor, Marketing, Montreal, Opinion

C’mon IKEA You Can Do Better

Unlike many people, I’m a fan of IKEA. I like many of their products and particularly enjoy our traditional annual trek to get a Christmas tree. The trees are all about the right size, they only cost $25 and you can get that money back after Christmas if you spend over $100. Not a bad deal.

Mind you, managing a store during a pandemic may, however, not be IKEA’s best example of common sense

Their ads used to say that IKEA was Swedish for common sense. And in many cases that is true. Mind you, managing a store during a pandemic may, however, not be IKEA’s best example of common sense. It may also go some way to explaining why Sweden is a world leader in COVID-19 cases.

Although I’m not a marketing expert by a long chalk, I do understand the IKEA tactic of having a maze-like exit route. Certainly they post emergency routes to emergency exits, but to just get to a point where you can pay for your DVALA sheets or whatever you have selected involves weaving through several departments. Impulse buyers beware!

IKEA’s maze-like layout. Diabolical at the best of times; dangerous during a pandemic.

I have often said to just about anyone who will listen to me, and not a few who didn’t want to, that come Christmas tree season, IKEA should have, especially on weekends, dedicated check-outs for those folks – me – who only want a tree. There was a time when you could ask a cashier in between customers to process a Christmas tree sale. No waiting in line behind people with carts full of hundreds of dollars of goods just to buy a tree. But not any longer. Now when you approach a cashier, they tell you to get in line.

IKEA, during this pandemic please put dedicated Christmas tree cashes outside where the trees are located to reduce the potential spread of the novel coronavirus. Tack!

Okay, that’s not the end of the world, you simply go into the store, squeeze through a cash in the wrong direction, and join the end of a line. But today we found that, under the auspices of COVID-19 precautions, we were herded through a maze of kitchen goods, picture frames, candles, napkins, and dried flowers to arrive at the point where we could buy our tree.

Is this wise?

Perhaps from a marketing point of view it makes sense. But during a pandemic, when social distancing is required, forcing people to make their way through several hundred other shoppers, when they were only there to buy one item – an item that is actually outside – is irresponsible at best and ignorant at worst.

IKEA, during this pandemic please put dedicated Christmas tree cashes outside where the trees are located to reduce the potential spread of the novel coronavirus. Tack!

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Advertising, Beer, Computers, DCMontreal Commentary, DCMontreal Light, Humor, Media, Opinion, Television, Venezuela

Hijacking Google Mini

A couple of years ago my nephew gave us a Google Nest Mini. It’s one of those electronic assistants that can do a whole bunch of things when programmed to do so, or asked. Yes indeed this little muggins can be told to do pre-programmed things when asked. It’s a small enough device that, as my Venezuelan wife points out, resembles one of that country’s favourite comfort foods, an arepa.

Arepa

Our arepa turns on lights when asked, sets timers, and gives me a morning rundown of what is on my Google calendar, among other chores. To communicate with the arepa you must begin by saying ‘Okay Google’. That’s the key, merely saying Google won’t get her (the voice we have chosen is that of a woman) attention.

This brings me to what must be a highly rated contender for the ‘Stupid Advertising Gimmick Hall of Fame’

This brings me to what must be a highly rated contender for the ‘Stupid Advertising Gimmick Hall of Fame’. Knowing that these devices are often placed within arepa-shot of a television, some advertisers talk directly to your device. The first time I experienced this was during a World Series game that evidently had Google as a sponsor. The announcer would periodically promote the arepa, then demonstrate how easy it was to use by saying something along the lines of ‘Okay Google, how many World Series homeruns did Bobby Bonds hit?’. This would get the Mini going and it would provide the answer.

More recently I actually found myself feeling sorry for our arepa. The iRobot people have a product called Roomba. It’s a vacuum cleaner that operates independently, whether the owner is home or not. It can be programmed to interact with both Alexa and Google devices. During a television ad for Roomba the voiceover clearly states ‘Okay Google, tell Roomba to …’. This caused our arepa to frantically seek our Roomba – to her chagrin, we don’t have one. The multi-colored lights on the Mini flashed like a Christmas tree on amphetamines. After curiously watching the poor beast for several minutes, I finally said ‘Okay Google, end’ and the panic was over.

I realize that I may sound like an overly-protective father of a teenaged daughter, but if you want to address my arepa, please ask me first

I realize that I may sound like an overly-protective father of a teenaged daughter, but if you want to address my arepa, please ask me first. What if this fell into the wrong hands? What if while I was in the kitchen getting a glass of milk – ok beer – an ad came on for foreign investment and told my arepa to call a number in Switzerland? Or if the environmentalists use it to get my arepa to turn off all electronics just before kick-off. To hell with COVID-19, the real threat to our future is having some malefactor hijack our arepas when we’re not looking!

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CNN, COVID-19, DCMontreal Commentary, DCMontreal Light, Donald Trump, Health, Humor, Montreal, News, Opinion, Politics, Quebec, Travel, United States

What Part Of Don’t Travel Do You Not Understand?

My next-door neighbour (or neighbor as they prefer), the USA, is a huge country. With a population of some 350 million people, and rising, it is a vast land. It is strong, patriotic, and advanced. Yet it also has one of the highest per-capita rates of COVID-19 in the world.

According to Johns Hopkins University data, the USA has the world’s sixth highest rate of novel coronavirus. This is something that, as a neighbour, is hard to come to grips with. Yet the same can be said, for many reasons, about the last four years under the out-going president. Trump played to his base, those who deny scientific facts, and he foolishly and dangerously went easy on fighting the virus so as not to be seen as limiting people’s rights. No mask enforcement. No real lock-downs. Both of which contributed to the high rate of infection.

The libertarian spirit of individual freedom is all fine and dandy, until it affects others. I have the right to swing my arm until it hits your elbow

Those out in the streets and malls prancing about mask-less in open defiance of suggestions and regulations, are placing fellow citizens in danger. The libertarian spirit of individual freedom is all fine and dandy, until it affects others. I have the right to swing my arm until it hits your elbow.

Yet it’s easy to blame the Trump nutters.

Today is the Wednesday before Thanksgiving in the USA. Traditionally the busiest day of the year for travel. You might assume that, under the circumstances of a worldwide pandemic, coupled with the poor handling of the virus, the number of people travelling would be almost nil. But no.

These are people I call ‘Fair Weather Virus Warriors’. They are all in favour of masks, social-distancing, self-confinement right up to the point where it really affects them

As I sit writing, CNN is providing its annual airport coverage. Delays due to weather, but mostly lines of people waiting to board flights. Not all of them can be Trump supporters, or he would have won the election!

These are people I call ‘Fair Weather Virus Warriors’. They are all in favour of masks, social-distancing, self-confinement right up to the point where it really affects them. Like when it comes to visiting at Thanksgiving. Then maybe the virus isn’t all that bad. When push comes to shove, They’ll do what they want, regardless of outcome. Scientifically minded experts are predicting a rise in COVID-19 cases in the weeks after Thanksgiving. But they’ve just got to fly to Aunt Edith’s place for turkey with the folks.

Here in Quebec, we have a similar high infection situation. The province is the second largest, yet has the most cases of COVID-19. There are many reasons, mostly seniors’ residences that were neglected for decades. But the government is trying to balance the upcoming holiday season, a time when families gather, with stemming the second wave of COVID-19.

With a bit of luck and a whole lot of common sense, we may be able to avoid, or at least reduce a post-Christmas post-Hanukkah spike in cases

To that end, bars and restaurants will remain closed until at least January of next year, During the period of December 24 – 27 people can gather at home in groups of up to ten people. But not all four days, just two. New Year’s Eve celebrations have been cancelled. Yep, no gatherings of any size for New Year. That’s it, that’s all.

Is there a mass outpouring of threats to resist, ignore these restrictions? Not really. The majority of people seem to understand that this is not going to be a normal holiday season. With a bit of luck and a whole lot of common sense, we may be able to avoid, or at least reduce a post-Christmas post-Hanukkah spike in cases.

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Canada, COVID-19, DCMontreal Commentary, DCMontreal Light, driving, Humor, Montreal, Opinion, Weather, Westmount

That Law’s Not For Me

It snowed last night. The first accumulation of snow, not just a few scattered flakes, but not a storm either. Just a nice, if sloppy, welcome back to winter. The temperature has now gone up above freezing, and it is very slushy. But in the wee hours of the morning the snow fell and stayed, calling for winter driving skills.

Here in the Canadian province of Quebec there is a law that stipulates we must have winter tires (not all season tires as they only apply if you live somewhere with only three seasons: Spring, Summer and Autumn) on our cars from December first to March 15th. At first the deadline was in November, but with global warming our winters now start later. Therefore the date was moved to December 15th. Oops, maybe a little too late, make it the first. By passing this law several years ago the government recognized the importance of proper winter tires.

A snowfall in November or April is no less problematic than one in January. God forbid, but a snowstorm in July would pose the same driving hazards as one in February

But the law needs to be amended and a proviso included stating that when winter conditions exist outside of the mandatory period, driving without winter tires will be deemed illegal. A snowfall in November or April is no less problematic than one in January. God forbid, but a snowstorm in July would pose the same driving hazards as one in February.

However, it doesn’t work that way. Thousands of motorists who still have non-winter tires on their cars ventured out this morning in winter conditions. Why? Because they had to be somewhere. Regardless of the danger they posed not only for themselves but others, their mantra – But I need to be there – sufficed as logic.

It never ceases to maze me how many folks don’t understand that rules, regulations, and laws apply to everyone. Many years ago the municipality in which I live instituted a stoop-and-scoop bylaw for dog owners. I imagine this sort of thing is now universally accepted in urban areas, but then it was certainly novel (taking a highly biodegradable substance and wrapping it in plastic seemed to defeat the purpose). An older man on my street refused to abide by the new regulation. When questioned by a busybody neighbour (not myself) after neglecting to stoop or scoop, if he was aware of the new bylaw, he simply replied ‘That law isn’t for me’, and walked off.

I think he absolutely believed what he said. That’s the astounding part.

Her response: ‘But I have to go there’! It didn’t matter what the law said, nor the fact she was tying-up traffic.

Similarly, a very busy supermarket near me has an adjacent free parking lot for clients. If you approach the entrance from the south, it is a simple right-hand turn, checking for pedestrians on the sidewalk and you’re in. Coming from the north however requires one to turn left and cross a double solid line (to say nothing of jumping the line that may have formed from the south)!

One day a woman was attempting to make this scofflaw manoeuvre, she was waiting for an opportunity to nip across the double lines which was causing a back-up of cars behind her. A parking agent who happened to be passing by was considerate enough to tell the woman she was breaking the law. Her response: ‘But I have to go there‘! It didn’t matter what the law said, nor the fact she was tying-up traffic. All irrelevant to her. She had to go there, that’s all that mattered.

I often think these people were forerunners to today’s anti mask, antivaxxers. Except the potential damage of today’s miscreants may well be more consequential than a mere ticket.

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Canada, COVID-19, DCMontreal Commentary, DCMontreal Light, Humor, News, Opinion

COVID Vaccine: Down The Stretch They Come

The race seems to be coming to an end. In those famous words that define the final furlongs of the Kentucky Derby, down the stretch they come. But this race is not one which pits horses, or cars, or humans against one another. This is all about pharmaceutical companies and the sprint to come up with an effective COVID-19 vaccine.

Usually new medications take a long time to be approved for use, but with a pandemic in full force the timing has been altered. That seems to mean that whichever big Pharma company gets the OK to sell their vaccine will be using us as guinea pigs. No doubt some testing will be done before approval, but will it be enough?

That seems to mean that whichever big Pharma company gets the OK to sell their vaccine will be using us as guinea pigs

Let’s be positive and assume the vaccine is fine and dandy: no outrageous side-effects (the growing of a second head, additional digits), a high level of efficacy, and a reasonable cost. To inoculate entire populations will take time. Will we have to live under the current restrictions until the vast majority of people have been vaccinated? How will we be able to tell who has and who has not been vaccinated? Of course some will figure that if everyone else gets the shot, they won’t have to.

Then there are the anti-vaxxers, those who will never have any kind of vaccine, ever. Many of these folks believe vaccinations actually entail inserting a micro-chip in our bodies to allow for our control. They also often believe that there is no COVID-19 and that the world is flat.

We are going to be wearing masks, social distancing, staying home and, binging on Netflix for a long time to come even after a vaccine is on the scene.

While all the excitement is understandable, let’s not fool ourselves. We are going to be wearing masks, social distancing, staying home and binging on Netflix for a long time to come even after a vaccine is on the scene.

I suggest we sit back, don’t rush, and binge watch the early recipients to see if they develop bizarre side-effects!

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DCMontreal Commentary, DCMontreal Light, Dentistry, Humor, Opinion

Dental Hygienist Or Proctologist

I’m one of those lucky people with both a dentist and a periodontist. Yep, twice the number of visits, twice the fun. I’ve been with my dentist for the better part of forty years, while I’ve only been seeing the periodontist for a couple of years, having been referred to her by my dentist when I needed some major work. I’m a little skittish when it comes to people putting sharp things in my mouth, but both doctors are great.

It had been about eighteen months since I had last been to the perio, at which time she firmly imbedded two implants in my upper jaw. My dentist took over from there and installed the crowns. All aspects of these procedures – extractions, implanting, crowning – when off without any pain or discomfort, other than financially.

Let me tell you, a periodontist’s concept of a cleaning and a dentist’s differ considerably. Think golf divot versus coal mine.

About a month ago my perio’s office called me to make an appointment for a cleaning and check-up. With all the COVID concerns I had let routine medical visits slide, but figured I should take advantage of this one. After all, I’ve had my teeth cleaned countless times by my dentist. No big deal.

Let me tell you, a periodontist’s concept of a cleaning and a dentist’s differ considerably. Think golf divot versus coal mine.

I spent an hour yesterday essentially sitting upside down, the chair having been tilted to the max, while a very pleasant hygienist deep cleaned my teeth. Sweet jumping Jesus! As I was being lowered into a position that would allow her to work on me as if I had my head on her lap, I noticed her certificate on the wall, before I found myself staring at the ceiling. The certificate clearly indicated that she was a bonafide dental hygienist, yet over the course of my stay there were several moments when I was sure she must be a proctologist, so deep did she dig!

In honesty there was no pain involved – I know, how could ramming a thin, sharp hook between my tooth and gum possibly hurt?

It all started off well, she used an instrument, that looked much like a Dremel Tool, to buzz away the accumulated tartar from my teeth. The constant flow of water, and suction hose made this less miserable than you might think – just a little bit like water boarding. Once this was done, the doctor came in for the actual check-up and found that all was well.

Once the doctor had left, I thought I was home free. Stupid me. Now the real fun began as the Dremel was put aside and replaced by good old-fashioned hand tools. The hygienist had a tray on which was a vast array of hooks, diggers, pokers, jabbers, probers, and scrapers. She spent the next twenty minutes using these instruments to manually clean my teeth, even those parts below the gum line. In honesty there was no pain involved – I know, how could ramming a thin, sharp hook between my tooth and gum possibly hurt? – but it really wasn’t a walk in the park. The sound was the worst part, if you think fingernails on a blackboard is awful, give this a try.

I have choked and regurgitated on more doctors who insist on using a tongue depressor than I can count. And they all seem totally amazed.

She slowly returned the chair to the upright and locked position and let the blood return to my lower extremities. Then it was off to the last step – x-rays. I don’t mind having x-rays, they don’t hurt, at least not at the time, perhaps one day I’ll start to glow, but even that sounds painless. However, when it comes to dental x-rays I break out in a cold sweat. Not because of the radiation, but due to that thing they put in your mouth.

I have one of the world’s finest honed gag reflexes. I have choked and regurgitated on more doctors who insist on using a tongue depressor than I can count. And they all seem totally amazed. I warn them, but they foolishly brush it off only to experience the fruits of my reaction (fruits, or whatever I have recently eaten). Many household products used to suggest vomiting if the cleaner was ingested. How did they recommend you induce vomiting? By placing a spoon to the back of the throat and, bingo. Don’t they study this at medical school?

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COVID-19, DCMontreal Commentary, DCMontreal Light, Donald Trump, History, Humor, News, Opinion, Politics, United States, US Election 2020

Make Votes Count; Hire More Counters

The last polls in the United States have been closed for more than two days. Still no final result. I think I’m on a first name basis with all the CNN folks as they fill time during this neverendum referendum. With the COVID pandemic running amok, many people chose not to stand in line at voting places, opting to mail-in their ballots instead. The processing of this unusually large number of mail-ins is causing havoc and delay in determining an outcome.

Those of us who live in open democracies cherish the ability to exercise our franchise. So why does the USA seem to treat it with disdain?

Those of us who live in open democracies cherish the ability to exercise our franchise. Men and women, those we honour one week from now on Remembrance Day, have given their lives to ensure this freedom remains. It’s a lofty concept. So why does the USA seem to treat it with disdain?

One reason could be that the exercising of franchise, the process of voting, costs money. I don’t mean the billions of dollars spent by parties on partisan campaigning – buses, planes, in the good old days trains – I am talking about the actual casting of votes.

One reason could be that the exercising of franchise, the process of voting, costs money.

Here in Canada we have an entity called Elections Canada, defined thusly: The Office of the Chief Electoral Officer is the non-partisan agency responsible for administering Canadian federal elections and referendums. Elections Canada is an office of the Parliament of Canada, and reports directly to Parliament rather than to the Government of Canada. Yes indeed, one non-partisan set of voting rules applied right across the country to see to the smooth running of federal elections.

It is the responsibility of this non-partisan body to ensure that, based on local population, there are sufficient polling stations in any given area. Of course this entails making sure these stations are properly staffed. It is rare that extremely long lines form at voting places. Certainly there are busier times; lunch, immediately after work are two examples.

Once the voting is over, and all those who made it to the polling station before the deadline, even if they are waiting in line, have cast their ballots, the counting begins. I understand that in the US many items are on the ballot, and they often use voting machines. Regardless, if the counting of votes takes this long, there are not enough vote counters. Plain and simple.

If the democratic process is so dear to the hearts of Americans, wouldn’t you think it would warrant paying a sufficient number of people to count the votes cast?

If the democratic process is so dear to the hearts of Americans, wouldn’t you think it would warrant paying a sufficient number of people to count the votes cast? Whether ‘today’ ballots or ‘mail-in’, they all must be counted.

There will be challenges and requests for recounts, that’s all part of the procedure. But before ballots can be challenged or recounted, they have to be counted.

A little respect for the process would go a long way.

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Blogging, DCMontreal Commentary, DCMontreal Light, Family, Halloween, Humor, Montreal, Opinion

All Saints And Souls

With apologies to the late Sir Roger Moore

Halloween has come and gone. This year’s COVID-19 version was somewhat hampered, even sombre, as many parents opted not to take their kids out. Lots of decorated houses, but sadly not much candy-seeking traffic, even at homes with well designed treat chutes to eliminate contact. Hopefully next year will be better.

The day after Halloween is All Saints’ Day in many Christian religions. It’s a bit of a catchall when you consider everyday is a saint’s day, some, like St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th, are more well know than others. In many Latino cultures, birthdays are not celebrated on the anniversary of one’s birth, but on the day of your saint. Someone whose name is Santiago (St. James) may well observe their birthday on July 25th, regardless of when they were born, as that is ‘their’ saint’s day. But on All Saints’ Day all those beatified are honoured.

Every now and then someone asks about my name. They often ask if there is a St. Deegan? I merely smile and reply ‘Not yet’!

Today is All Souls’ Day on which all of those who have gone to the other side are remembered. Cemeteries, assuming they are open under this COVID Red Alert, will be packed with people paying a visit to deceased loved ones. Or at least the remains thereof. I, however, having craftily let our KIA Soul’s tank dip to a dangerously low level, will drop by our gas station for a fill-up. I’ll point out that as it’s All Souls’ Day I assume the petrol will be free of charge!

I live in Montreal, a once predominantly Catholic city, with literally hundreds of streets named for saints. In the days of telephone books and similar guides this often caused a problem as some listed the saint streets based on the name (e.g. St. Zotique was listed under Z), while others plunked them all under S.

I, however, having craftily let our KIA Soul’s tank dip to a dangerously low level, will drop by our gas station for a fill-up

Many, if not most, Catholic children are given the name of a saint – Peter, Mary, Patrick, Agnes, Catherine. But I’m one of those rare few not named for a saint. Mind you both my middle names are saint related – Charles and Gerard – but Deegan has another origin. It was my maternal grandmother’s maiden name. Her branch of the Deegan family tree, going back to Dublin, Ireland in the 1800s, was coming to an end as some of her sisters married and took their husband’s name, while others became nuns. Her brothers kept things going for a generation or so, but seemed to have a penchant for producing female offspring. So I was given the name, albeit as a first name in an effort to squeeze out another few decades,

Every now and then someone asks about my name. They often ask if there is a St. Deegan? I merely smile and reply ‘Not yet’!

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