Canada, DCMontreal Commentary, DCMontreal Light, Formula One, Montreal, Photography, Sports

Montreal Grand Prix 2019

Leonard Cohen looks down on the Crescent Street mayhem

The 2019 version of the Canadian Grand Prix arrived with the first summer-like weather and a slew of tourists. An evening stroll through the downtown core was somewhat of a chore with so many people packed into closed streets.

Getting started on Thursday
Maybe next year we can get the other half of this new fountain!

All photos ©DCMontreal 2019

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Canada, DCMontreal Commentary, DCMontreal Light, driving, F1, Formula One, Montreal, Opinion, Sports, Wordpress

Making the Canadian F1 Grand Prix More Montreal

Canadian F1 Grand Prix - Practice

Although the race is ten months off, work is now being carried out on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve to bring it up to Formula 1 standards. The annual Canadian Grand Prix is an important Montreal event bringing tourists from around the world. Yes, it does tend to be loud, but the noise of the cars is often drowned out by the sound of cash registers.

…to suggest to the powers that be at F1 headquarters several small tweaks that would, I believe, go a long way to having the race reflect Montreal more accurately.

While making major alterations to the track and paddock, I thought it would be the ideal time to suggest to the powers that be at F1 headquarters several small tweaks that would, I believe, go a long way to having the race reflect Montreal more accurately.

I suggest that at various points during the race groups of cyclists be released onto the track. Going, of course, in the wrong direction and, as the drivers weave their way among them, the cyclists will be instructed to swear and make obscene gestures at them.

screen-shot-2017-10-29-at-12-50-58-am-e1509258577596

In addition to flag-waving marshals, who will be clad in camo pants, F1 tracks also have safety signage indicating, for instance, the braking distance leading to a sharp turn. To make this a Montreal-like experience for the drivers, several of these signs should be located behind tree branches or overgrown hedges making them virtually impossible to see until passing them when it is too late.

As the Grand Prix is run on a Sunday, the teams should be presented with a list of those sections of the track that are closed for the weekend…detours will be indicated by Montreal’s ubiquitous orange cones.

Over the last few years, Montrealers have grown used to the late-weekly reports informing us which streets, highways or bridges will be closed for the weekend. As the Grand Prix is run on a Sunday, the teams should be presented with a list of those sections of the track that are closed for the weekend. Not to worry, detours will be indicated by Montreal’s ubiquitous orange cones.

Formula 1 pit-crews are famous for being able to change four tires and make minor repairs to the cars in the blink of an eye. They are going to need to be even faster. When cars enter the pit lane and arrive at the team garage where they would have once stopped if ever so briefly, they will find BIXI stands or several red-bagged parking meters illustrating that no one, not even the best race car drivers in the world, can find a parking spot in Montreal.

… they will find BIXI stands or several red-bagged parking meters illustrating that no one, not even the best race car drivers in the world, can find a parking spot in Montreal.

Lastly, as the race reaches the three-quarter point, some of the drivers may be getting hungry. This problem is solved by the arrival of several Montreal food trucks along the straightaway. Appropriate given F1 drivers are possibly the only people who can afford the prices charged by these mobile eateries.

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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Canada, DCMontreal Commentary, DCMontreal Light, Montreal, News, Opinion, Soccer, Sports

World Cup 2026 and Montreal

fifa-world-cup-2018-balon-oficial

As a child of EXPO 67 and teenager during the 1976 summer Olympics I was pleased to learn of Montreal’s potential role in staging matches during the 2026 World Cup. The Jean Drapeau years established the city as an excellent host to world-class events.

But it was not long before reality set in. The current climate in Montreal is not event friendly. Just ask former mayor Denis Coderre and his Formula E Race fiasco.

The plan is for games to be played in a revamped Olympic Stadium. Will that work, or will a new stadium have to be built? The cost of security alone will be drastic.

Large events, and there is none larger than the World Cup, have a nasty habit of cost overruns.

Chicago and Vancouver both declined to be part of the bid for financial reasons.

With so much fodder, can it be long before some municipal candidate takes a No Cup position? Pledging to pull out of the deal and save the taxpayers millions.

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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Boston, Boston bombing, DCMontreal Commentary, DCMontreal Light, Hockey, Humor, Montreal, Montreal Canadiens, News, Sports, Toronto

Bruins, Leafs and Scorpions

Bruins-Leafs

It’s NHL playoff time. Much like The Masters and the Kentucky Derby the playoffs are a true sports-themed harbinger of spring. The weather is getting more pleasant, the snow has just about all melted under the warm sun. Bars and restaurants open their terraces and make sure that there are adequate big-screen televisions to accommodate hockey-loving patrons. Will this be the year the Montreal Canadiens finally snap their too-long championship-less streak?

No Canadiens in the playoffs and we are anticipating the arrival of a late-season ice storm. I’m not sure about Mudville, but there’s certainly a lack of joy in Montreal this year.

Well, no it won’t be. That is a certainty as the team failed to qualify for the postseason. No Canadiens in the playoffs and we are anticipating the arrival of a late-season ice storm. I’m not sure about Mudville, but there’s certainly a lack of joy in Montreal this year and lots to crank about.

On the other hand, all is not lost. You see, part of being a fan of the Montreal Canadiens is a deep-rooted dislike for their two old rivals, the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Boston Bruins. It just so happens that these two clubs are facing each other in the first round of the playoffs. Like scorpions in a bottle we, Habs fans, can sit back and watch the on-ice clash. Personally, if I have to select one over the other, I have to go with the Bruins.

Except now the hated-Bruins are up against the hated-Leafs. So, for perhaps the first time in my life, I find myself being able to side with the Boston skaters 

I like the city of Boston; I root for the New England Patriots (and have been doing so for many years, not merely jumping on the recent bandwagon) and in the absence of a Montreal MLB franchise I cheer on the Red Sox. But of course, the Bruins are a different kettle of clam chowder as they are usually in direct competition with my Canadiens. Except now the hated-Bruins are up against the hated-Leafs. So, for perhaps the first time in my life, I find myself being able to side with the Boston skaters as they take on Toronto. It’s a bit weird at first, but I’m getting used to it.

I’m even thinking of dropping my Rs when I speak, and debating the correct pronunciation of Faneuil Hall (does it rhyme with manual or Daniel).

I can’t say that I really care which team wins the series, but I have found a different angle from which to partake of the annual spring playoff viewing. I’d much rather be watching the Canadiens play of course, but for the next little while, I’ll have to make do with being a Boston fan. I’m even thinking of dropping my Rs when I speak (Pahk the cah in Hahvahd Yahd), and debating the correct pronunciation of Faneuil Hall (does it rhyme with manual or Daniel).

But before tonight’s game in Toronto, I’ll be cheering on all the participants in the Boston Marathon and hoping for a safe race.

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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DCMontreal Commentary, DCMontreal Light, Humor, Montreal, News, Opinion, Quebec, Sports, Wordpress

Montreal Traffic Snarls Could be the Things of Legend

If you have been in Montreal recently or have read this blog post, you are no doubt aware that the city is in the midst of a huge infrastructure replacement project. This is the sort of thing that many cities have to undergo as roads and highways age and crumble. Inconvenient for sure, but necessary to ensure public safety and improve transit.

… owing to the infrastructure work BOTH entrances to the highway are closed. For two weeks? Two months? Nope, two years.

Poor road conditions and the Montreal Canadiens are the things of legend around here. Tonight the Canadiens host the New Jersey Devils at the BELL Centre. When the team moved from its beloved Montreal Forum, recognizing the need for a significantly larger building, they took up residence in a brand new arena that was then called the Molson Centre. I assume that prior to putting a shovel in the ground, many factors were taken into consideration by planning commissions and various government agencies, including easy access to highways without having to drive across town.

Upon leaving the indoor parking at the BELL Centre, and paying the king’s ransom they charge, motorists are a mere block from an entrance to a major west-bound highway. Should you be fortunate enough to have found a parking spot downtown, a drive of four or five blocks will get you to another entrance to the highway. Well planned indeed.

Except for one thing; owing to the infrastructure work BOTH entrances to the highway are closed. For two weeks? Two months? Nope, two years. For the next 24 months both entrances will be closed to traffic. A single temporary point of access to an interim highway is located a few kilometres from the arena.

…but a whole whack of them will attempt to gain access to the west-bound highway amidst snow removal operations and major road re-construction. The mayhem could be epic in proportion. Stay tuned!

On Tuesday the city was blanketed with the first significant snowfall. Some 20 centimeters (about 8 inches) of snow fell over a 24-hour period; then today the temperature has plummeted to – 25 degrees turning the fluffy snow rock-hard and making driving tricky.

So sometime around 10:15 tonight, 23,000 fans – hopefully very happy, celebrating a home team victory – will emerge from the BELL Centre. Many will hop on the Metro or take a bus. Some will make their way to a bar or restaurant, but a whole whack of them will attempt to gain access to the west-bound highway amidst snow removal operations and major road re-construction. The mayhem could be epic in proportion. Stay tuned!

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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Baseball, DCMontreal Commentary, DCMontreal Light, Humor, Opinion, Sports, Wordpress, World Series 2017

Watching Baseball with a Hall of Famer

Walter “Big Train” Johnson

This year’s version has been an exceptionally entertaining World Series. Some late nights due to extra innings, but very enjoyable. If you read this blog regularly you may know that I have a difficult time with fantasy and time-travel, yet even I can appreciate the greatness of 1989’s film Field of Dreams.

So it was a shock to my system to have my own baseball fantasy experience just a few nights ago. There I was all set to watch the Astros and Dodgers when I heard a knock at my apartment door. As we are in the middle of an election campaign I figured it was some candidate seeking my vote, yet when I opened the door a man stood there saying nothing at all. He seemed pleasant enough if a little quiet. Finally, he put out his hand and introduced himself as Walter Johnson, Hall of Fame pitcher.

Needless to say, I was gobsmacked. I stammered “But aren’t you .. you know … dead?”

“Details, details,” he replied. “They told me I could see the game here.”

“Of course, you are most welcome. Come on in.”

He walked in and made straight for the living room window. ignoring the television.

“No ballpark out that window,” he said. “How are we gonna watch the game from here?”

I explained, “No Mr. Johnson, we’re going to watch it on the television.” I pointed out the large flat-screen HD set.

“What in the hell is that?” he sputtered.

“I tell you what Mr. Johnson, I won’t ask you how you got here if you won’t ask me to explain television.”

“Sounds fair enough to me,” he said.

We sat down to watch the game and I offered him a beer.

“Thanks, Schlitz please.” he agreed.

“That could be tricky. First Pabst bought Schlitz about 35 years ago, and it’s an American beer. We’re in Canada. “ I pointed out. “Will a Molson do?”

“Fine, just as long as it’s cold.”

There we sat sipping our beers and watching the national anthem. I thanked my lucky stars that MLB players have not decided to take a knee during the anthem as I don’t know how I would explain that to my guest.

As soon as the players took the field I ask him for his initial reaction. Without too much thought, first impression.

“There sure is a whole lot of hair on that field. Long hair, beards. What’s with those long shaggy beards anyway? Must be God-awful hot.”

I told him about the latest fad among professional athletes, namely the growing of facial hair. I even admitted that my beloved hockey may be partially to blame having started the ‘playoff beard’ tradition several years ago.

With the first pitch, my guest was already wondering what was going on. “Tell me, do they now start the inning with a runner on first?” he asked.

I assured him they did not and asked what had given him that impression.

“The pitcher is pitching from the stretch. He didn’t take a full wind-up. No high leg kick. He looked like he was throwing a dart not a baseball.”

I told him that kinesiologists had determined that all those movements were wasted, adding nothing to the velocity of the pitch, but increasing the fatigue factor. For a guy nick-named the Big Train, I was not surprised when he looked at me skeptically, not for the first or last time that evening.

“What’s that thing stuck to the back of the pitcher’s mound?” he asked.

“It’s a device for cleaning the mud out of your spikes,” I answered.

“Huh … we used a popsicle stick. Worked just fine. And another thing,” he went on. “Didn’t the voice coming from that picture box say it was very warm at game time?”

“Yes, it was supposed to be around 100 degrees at game time. All part of climate change I guess. Why do you ask?”

Walter Johnson and President Coolidge

“Well,” he said. “Most of the batters look as if they’re cold. They’re all wearing gloves. And they must be new because after every pitch they take them off and put them on again. Slows the game down. But I am pleased to see that most of these fellows have been in the service.” he commented.

Curious, I enquired “What makes you say that?”

“Most of them have tattoos,” he explained. “As far as I know the only place to get a tattoo is in the service or in prison, I’d like to think it’s the former.”

“Actually many people get tattoos these days”

“Good God why would anyone other than a serviceman want to permanently mark their skin with a tattoo?” he exclaimed.

I could only tell him that along with my inability to explain television to him, I was also at a loss to expound on the tattoo phenomenon.

After a few innings, and some great insight from my guest, there was a close play at second base. The umpire called the runner out, although the replay showed otherwise.

“The umpires are making a telephone call in the middle of the game. Why would they do that?”

“They are speaking with a replay official who will watch several different angles on a tel …er … picture box to determine if the call on the field is correct.”

“Never.” he erupted. “The game is played by humans. Let humans umpire it as well. Mistakes and all.”

He pointed out that after almost half the game we had yet to see a pitcher at bat. I spoke about the Designated Hitter rule as best I could, only to see by his face that he was astounded. The thought of having one player hit for another, not as a pinch-hitter, was beyond his comprehension. If you’re in the line-up, you bat, he contended. I agreed.

When the manager removed a pitcher from the game after six innings having only given up one run Mr. Johnson was beyond confused. He wanted to know if the player was injured. I told him that he had done his work and now the bullpen relievers would take over. He muttered something about being able to add ten years to his career if all he had to do was pitch six innings.

Then with runners at second and third the batter approached the plate. With first base open, they decided to walk him intentionally to set up force plays around the diamond.

“Whoa,” my guest said. “Did I nod off? Sometimes beer makes me sleepy. How did that guy get to first base so fast?”

I pointed out to him the new rule that allowed a pitcher to inform the umpire of his choice to walk the batter intentionally at which the umpire sent the batter to first base without a pitch thrown.

“That’s ridiculous,” he exploded. “There are runners on second and third. The pressure is on the pitcher and catcher not to screw up and cost the team a run. It’s all a game of nerves. What’s the rush? Are there two more teams warming up under the stands to play next? Aren’t these the major leagues?”

Again I agreed with him.

Looking downcast he turned to me and asked: “What have they done to my game?”

I had to admit I sometimes ask the same question.

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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DCMontreal Commentary, DCMontreal Light, Humor, Opinion, Sports

Confession of a High Five Failure

The world is full of people who represent a wide range of colours, religions, a cacophony of languages, and cultures galore. For the most part, we all have our strengths and weaknesses. But some of these people excel at really important things that can make them a whole lot of money and even fame. Think Tiger Woods with golf or Pavarotti with opera. Other people are standouts in less well-known undertakings, such as beer drinking races or surviving the annual bull run in Spain.

Let me come clean here, for me that thing – and I must admit in all honesty that it is just one of many of the shortcomings that I have come to live with – is the ability to high-five. 

Of course, the opposite is true as well; most of us have at least one thing that we just cannot seem to master. Let me come clean here, for me that thing – and I must admit in all honesty that it is just one of many of the shortcomings that I have come to live with – is the ability to high-five. People used to shake hands (or, as the British prefer to say, shake each other by the hand, which always evokes images in my mind of someone brandishing their acquaintance over their head) but at some point, the high-five came into the mainstream from its original spot on playing fields.

Athletes have for years congratulated each other with the slap of a high-five. But more and more I find people greeting each other in the same manner, which is where I have my problem. No matter how much I anticipate the high-five, I always seem to just miss the raised hand. My hand slips off the other and we end up in what might best be called a sort-of-high-elbow-to-forearm.

Bump

I have sought coaching for my inability and was told not to look at the elevated palm, but to focus on the approaching elbow. Then just let her rip and voila hand-to-hand contact is sure to follow. I must admit that does work, but I all too often forget about it and find myself watching the two hands sideswipe each other.

Call it what you want, it has been a welcome relief to me, as a high-five disaster looking for a place to happen.

But all is not lost. Fortunately along came the fist bump, made popular by President Barack Obama. I am much better at this little salute than the high-five. The shorter distance allows for better accuracy, the knuckles provide some traction. All-in-all this is a much better means of casual greeting or ‘giving props’, defined as extending proper respect to someone. Call it what you want, it has been a welcome relief to me, as a high-five disaster looking for a place to happen.

Mind you, there are still those who, like the overly tight handshaker, feel they have to punch rather than bump. Cretins both of them, a mere bump will suffice thank you. You’re not Muhammad Ali and I’m not Joe Frazier.

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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DCMontreal Commentary, DCMontreal Light, Donald Trump, Football, News, Opinion, Sports, United States

Trump Denounces Those Who Kneed; Ignores Those in Need

Knee

Some kneed while others are very much in need

In the aftermath of the most recent hurricane to hit Puerto Rico President Trump has clearly opted to remain focused on the NFL players, coaches and owners protest.

How can a person who claims to be trying to unite the country act so divisively? Although I can understand one thinking it is mere stupidity, I fear Trump does these things precisely because they appeal to his support base. I imagine that a poll of his supporters would, sadly, yield very little in the way of concern for the people of Puerto Rico. They certainly are American citizens, yet they get the very short end of the stick on a daily basis. But they are now in great need of help.

The President should demonstrate some leadership by turning his attention to those in need, not those who kneed!

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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Cycling, DCMontreal Commentary, DCMontreal Light, Opinion, Sports

Please Don’t Run In Bicycle Lanes

Bike_Path

On the left bikes only, no pedestrians or joggers. On the right, walkers only no bikes.

Or perhaps it’s because it is my birthday today, but for some reason, I have to mention something that puts me in a pro-bicycle position.

Maybe it’s the unusually mild weather we have been experiencing this autumn, but there seem to be more early morning joggers in Montreal than I can recall. I see them in the park where I myself trudge through a morning run, and I see them on sidewalks and roads. But one place where I wish I did not see them is on designated bicycle lanes.

In a nutshell: it is not acceptable to walk, run, or jog on a bicycle path.

It’s only proper that I point out this fact that, given I have often harangued cyclists for riding on sidewalks.

…or maybe you’re just out to sweat off last night’s Jameson shots, a bike path is not the place to do it.

During the course of my daily run, I cross a bicycle path, I do so very gingerly, looking in both directions to ensure both my welfare and that of any cyclists. While it seems people have grasped the concept that walking on a bike path is both stupid and dangerous, many people still think it is alright to jog or run on them. Regardless of whether you are training to give the Kenyans and Ethiopians a run for their money in the next marathon, or are more likely to be at the back of the pack with the people dressed as mascots and those who will run the race with a tray full of beer glasses, or maybe you’re just out to sweat off last night’s Jameson shots, a bike path is not the place to do it.

When dedicated bicycle lanes and paths were first being introduced to our fair city it was only natural that people took some getting used to them. Much like the trees in the garden of Eden, there are many paths in the park that are fine to walk on, and only one that is forbidden. Yet at first many folks just strolled along the bike path. You don’t see that too often, but joggers and runners still have a bit more of the learning curve to scale before they grasp the danger they pose to themselves and cyclists.

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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DCMontreal Commentary, DCMontreal Light, Hockey, Montreal Canadiens, Sports

Once Mighty Montreal Canadiens Now Just One of Thirty-One

Habs_Logo

If you are a sports fan in North America this is a very busy time of year. The baseball races are coming down to the wire. The NFL, CFL and college football are well underway. Hockey has begun preseason games and basketball is just around the corner. Phew!

In Montreal, the focus is primarily on hockey and the 2017 version of the Canadiens.

In Montreal, the focus is primarily on hockey and the 2017 version of the Canadiens. Several years ago I wrote a piece about the two distinct generations of Canadiens fans; those old enough to have experienced a Stanley Cup championship season and those for whom that joy has yet to be realized.

The team has won a total of 24 Stanley Cups, but coincidentally they have now gone 24 years since last winning in 1993. By the time I was eighteen, the Habs – as the team is often known – I had witnessed ten championships.

Alas, my once mighty Montreal Canadiens have become just one of 31 teams …

It occurred to me recently as I listened to a radio sportscast that the same holds true for journalists covering the team. The excitement is clearly evident as the young sportscaster discussed various line combinations used at practice and possible defense pairings. All in an effort to make the team competitive. When I was a kid there was never a thought given to whether or not the team would be competitive, but rather which other teams might give them a run for their money.

Alas, my once mighty Montreal Canadiens have become just one of 31 teams, albeit one with a very rich history. Maybe this year they will snare that elusive 25th Stanley Cup!

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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