Records and Concocted Records

Early morning snow clearance in Montreal

Montrealers awoke to 36 centimetres (about 14 inches) of snow that had fallen overnight.  With another five-to-ten centimetres expected during the day, weather reports have been trumpeting this as a “record snowfall”. Well, it is and it isn’t.

But it’s only the record for February 13! This is not an all-time record snowfall at all; it’s merely a record for this day. 

By exceeding 35 centimetres in one day Montreal breaks the old record set in 1993. But it’s only the record for February 13! This is not an all-time record snowfall at all; it’s merely a record for this day. Who cares?

I call this a concocted record. Sports announces and their statisticians are notorious for concocted records. “So-and-so has the best record for stealing third base on Sundays when the temperature is above 85F and there are less than two out and the umpiring crew ate a buffet breakfast since Bobby Bunter in 1987.” Big deal.

If you massage the provisos, the conditions attached to the record, then the number of record-breaking feats is a) countless and, b) useless.

If you massage the provisos, the conditions attached to the record, then the number of record-breaking feats is a) countless and, b) useless.  So all those weather channel hosts and radio weather reporters are touting this most recent snowfall as a record breaker, but what is most important is what record has been broken.

In fact the all-time record for most centimetres of snow falling on Montreal in any 24-hour period is 43 during the Eastern Canadian Blizzard of 1971. All other records are concocted for sensational purposes.

Arse Over Kettle on Montreal’s Icy Sidewalks

Hudson Avenue in the Cote-des-Neiges area of Montreal. Sidewalk has not seen salt or abrasive a week after snow and ice. Leaving the sidewalk impassable.

Okay, now it’s personal. I’ve fallen: I’ve fallen in love, fallen for silly practical jokes, fallen off bandwagons when my team didn’t measure up, even fallen from grace. But for the last few days I’ve been just plain falling.

It all started last week when we had a significant snowfall with a forecast for rain the next day. Sure enough the snow fell, then the rain arrived turning the city into a lagoon. Schools closed as driving was deemed dangerous. (Ironically the hope for a quiet day that would allow clean-up to proceed was dashed when many workers who would have been doing the cleaning called in sick because they had to stay home with their children as the schools were closed!)

Close up of icy sidewalk with thin layer of snow to make it even worse.

Not surprisingly for January, the next day the temperatures plummeted and everything froze. 

Hudson Avenue west-side sidewalk.

Last Friday evening I was strolling along a sidewalk in the Cote des Neiges area when my feet decided they were going to go in a different direction, and I went arse over kettle. No damage done other than to my pride. 

Then last Tuesday while downtown there was a gas main rupture that closed off several streets. I was walking through a lane when I once again encountered sheer ice underfoot and, like they say in NASCAR racing, I got sideways, and before I knew it I was on the ground.

Finally on Wednesday I once again found myself trying to get up from an ice-coated sidewalk. Three tumbles in less than a week. All because of poor, or no sidewalk maintenance. But I was lucky. I did myself no harm. Others were not so fortunate as the overcrowding of hospital emergency rooms testifies. Some were operating at 170%

I’ve put the boots aside and turned to trusty running shoes until something is done about the poor state of Montreal sidewalks this long after a snowfall. 

A properly maintained sidewalk.

Major Glitch With Gutenberg Editor

I little while back I sat down to write a blog post and was faced with the chance to switch to the new WordPress.com editor. Thinking erroneously that I could take it for a test drive then switch back if I wanted, I went ahead and agreed to give it a try.

At first I thought it was the biggest blogging mistake I had made, and wanted to go back to the old version. Alas, I have yet to be able to figure out how to do that. Then I thought perhaps it’s just a bit of a learning curve. I can figure this out.

Changing my theme was helpful.

So there I was cruising along, getting used to the new editor and its quirks and differences when wouldn’t you know it, it went seriously strange on me. 

For reasons not known to me the new editor often refuses to use the title I give my post, opting instead for a number. No matter how many times I edit the post to include a title, the editor refuses to cooperate.

I have tried using the WordPress help boards before – and will again regarding this matter – but have never really received a satisfactory reply. 

So if anyone reading this knows the solution please let me know.

Thanks.

Impordant News Out Of English

You hear it often in sports and business. No longer are people from a place, they are out of it.

It used to be that if a person was born in,  say Philadelphia, you would you would refer to them as so and so from Philadelphia. It was simple. A business based in Omaha was said to be from Omaha. From. But the trend has changed. You hear it often in sports and business. No longer are people from a place, they are out of it.

Thoroughbred horses for instance: Cocoa Balls out of Dusty Cheeks and Maiden’s Hat. In this case, given the birthing process, Coco Balls really was out of Maiden’s Hat.

The starting quarterback is out of Michigan State. He works for a company out of Chicago. There was a time when this phrase was used solely by animal breeders. Thoroughbred horses for instance: Cocoa Balls out of Dusty Cheeks and Maiden’s Hat. In this case, given the birthing process, Coco Balls really was out of Maiden’s Hat.

And what about popular culture? Should we retrofit titles from the past? The Man Out Of U.N.C.L.E.? Out of Here to Eternity? Far Out of the Madding Crowd? What was wrong with the word from? For that matter Out of Africa could be simply From Africa.

And when did someone decide to put a D into the word important? So many people seem to think the word is impordant.

And when did someone decide to put a D into the word important? So many people seem to think the word is impordant. You hear it on the bus, on radio and television. “This is a very impordant day for weasels.” There is no D in the word. 

We used to have an exercise in grade school that involved tapping your hand on the desk while saying various words. We were taught to enunciate the word important with an emphasis on the last third beat; namely “tant”. The most important part of important has been altered recently. 

Likewise, the word student was vocalized with one beat. The two syllables run together. Today that word sounds more like “stu-DANT”.

Please, make it stop!

Political Correctness and Song Titles

The recent kerfuffle over Baby It’s Cold Outside being banned because it is currently construed in a manner that it hints at date rape got me thinking about another aspect of retrofitting some older songs to fit today’s political correctness.

This excludes Go Away Little Girl which includes the line I’m not supposed to be alone with you – clearly indicating a restraining order has been put in place

I imagine there are literally millions of songs with the word girl in the title. If we assume these songs refer to adult females (yes, this excludes Go Away Little Girl which includes the line I’m not supposed to be alone with you – clearly indicating a restraining order has been put in place) shouldn’t the word girl be replaced with woman?

Here’s but a few of the titles that should be considered for change:

Uptown Woman –  Billy Joel.
My Woman – The Temptations, Smokey Robinson.
Brown Eyed Woman – Van Morrison.
Fat Bottomed Women – Queen.
Jessie’s Woman – Rick Springfield.
Big Women Don’t Cry – The Four Seasons.
Rich Woman – Hall & Oates.

Of course, should the change be made, some songs just won’t work. Including Jim Stafford’s 1974 top ten comedic hit My Girl Bill

But, on the bright side while the nitpickers are picking at traditional Christmas carols, perhaps they will miss Van Morrison’s Blue Money in which we find the lyrics:

You search in your bag
Light up a fag

I guess John Lennon could see the writing on the wall all those years ago when he penned Woman. Roy Orbison should also be lauded for his classic Oh Pretty Woman.

No Cold Beer?

Beer: Cold and ready to drink.

Last night my wife and I went out to dinner with a group of friends to celebrate a couple of birthdays. The restaurant was a “Bring Your Own Wine/Beer” affair. On the way, being a beer person, we stopped by a Maxi supermarket and I ran in to pick up a six-pack of beer.

The place was immense, one of those combined grocery store/department store places that sells everything from rhubarb to rubber boots. I wandered about looking for the beer fridges but could only find shelves of beer. As in warm beer.

The place was immense, one of those combined grocery store/department store places that sells everything from rhubarb to rubber boots.

Being pressed for time I asked a staff member where the cold beer was located only to be told Maxi does not sell cold beer.

Huh?

Evidently, this chain of mega stores only sells shelved beer. I recall a time when in neighbouring province Ontario, where the government has a firm grip on beer and alcohol sales, the Beer Store did not sell cold beer. As if selling only warm beer would keep an alcoholic from consuming it as soon as possible.

By not selling cold beer all Maxi is doing is forcing people to go next door to a convenience store to get their cold beer. A strange marketing concept.

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+

Donation Difficulties

furniture-pick-up-couch-donation-pick-up-new-sofa-donation-pick-up-interior-top-design-charity-furniture-best-mattress-donation-pick-up-furniture-pick-coupon-code

I currently find myself with a number of pieces of furniture and several boxes of perfectly usable kitchenware that I would like to donate to charity. There are no antiques, no heirlooms, just decent bits and bobs that someone could certainly use.

All I needed was an organization to come by and pick up the goods. Well, you’d think I was asking for the moon.

We often hear about refugees and immigrants settling in a new country. There is no shortage of organizations and associations seeking donations of clothes and home furnishings for these folks, many of whom are fleeing horrific conditions.

So I packed up the utensils, cutlery, small appliances, and flatware. I turfed out the unusable furniture and readied the sturdier pieces. All I needed was an organization to come by and pick up the goods. Well, you’d think I was asking for the moon.

Evidently none of the traditional charities, the ones that used to be pleased to come and get your donation, offer this service anymore. The Salvation Army said no, as did several other local agencies. But the worst was our neighbourhood Habitat for Humanity; when I called them they assured me they still offered the pickup service, but it would cost me $50.

What part of donation do these folks not understand?

I am perfectly willing to donate pieces of furniture … But I’m certainly not going to pay to do so.

I am perfectly willing to donate pieces of furniture that will either be sold, proceeds going to charity, or given to needy people. But I’m certainly not going to pay to do so. I find it absurd that in this day of economic adjustment for the many deserving refugees arriving in Canada that charities try to put a squeeze on potential donors.

I am a regular blood donor. but if they started charging me to donate, I fear I would have to reconsider.

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+