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.

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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+

Odd Quebec Election Campaign Slogan

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The Quebec Liberal Party finds itself trailing in early election campaign polls. While other parties try to tap into the Liberal’s traditional Anglophone support, I suspect these attempts will fail. Yet I find the English version of the party’s slogan, “To make life easier for Quebecers” somewhat odd.

By all means make things better, stronger, healthier, wealthier, for Quebecers. But we really don’t require things to be easy.

I get the gist of it. Perhaps it’s just the translation from the French “Pour facilter la vie des Québécois” but the idea of making things easier sounds to me as if the party considers Quebecers to be a bunch of lazy simpletons who can’t handle difficult things.

By all means make things better, stronger, healthier, wealthier, for Quebecers. But we really don’t require things to be easy.

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+

Summer and Out-of-Town Drivers

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After a long hot summer with very few posts, I figure it’s time I got back to the keyboard. I’ll start with an observation that I made numerous times over the last few months.

This year with the Canadian dollar measuring up so poorly with the US greenback many Canadians opted to vacation north of the border; moving east and west instead of north and south. With Montreal’s busy festival season that runs from the Formula 1 Grand Prix in early June, through the Jazz Festival and Just For Laughs, I sensed an even greater number of tourists this year. Judging by accents and license plates, I suspect the statistics will show a pretty good year for tourism.

RightRedSpeaking of license plates, my non-scientific observation leads me to believe that cars with Ontario plates seem to carry the worst drivers. They stop anywhere anytime for absolutely no apparent reason, they seem to take little naps at red lights necessitating a polite toot on the horn, and they insist on turning right on red. There are two places in North America where you cannot legally turn right on red: Montreal and Manhattan. Even with several signs indicating that right on red is illegal, Ontario drivers still cause havoc by going through red lights.

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Yet another irksome driving habit. My wife and I went away for a weekend in Quebec’s Eastern Townships. On an average day, our destination would take about 90 minutes to reach. It took us the better part of three hours due to a major accident that closed the highway completely. As the photo above shows, no one was going anywhere fast. 

I understand that covering those ten feet is not going to really affect one’s arrival time, but it is psychologically essential to me that I feel I’m moving.

I’m not a good person in traffic. There comes a point when after inching forward only to stop again causes me to become enraged. My dear wife is quick to pick up on this, perhaps it’s me screaming MOOOVE that tips her off, so she soon slips on some Joe Cocker in an attempt to keep me from blowing a head pipe.

The car that we trailed for what felt like days (I must admit it was a local plate) was driven by a person who, when there was a gap between her car and the one in front, was in no hurry to move up. I understand that covering those ten feet is not going to really affect one’s arrival time, but it is psychologically essential to me that I feel I’m moving.

DRIVE THE CAR FOR CHRISSAKE!!!!

Nope. She’d coast along when she was good and ready. The rest of the weekend was very restful, once I got my blood pressure back to normal.

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+

Civic Duty And Wasp Nest

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Every morning for more years than I care to think about I have gone for a job. It used to be a run, but these days jogging is more accurate a description. As a creature of habit, I take the same route every day. Part of my routine involves running around a small pond in a local park.

In truth, it is no longer a pond, but a water spray. It attracts many children during the hot weather. They run through the cool water and splash about. As the popular saying goes, what could go wrong?

As I was trotting around the other morning I ducked to avoid a low-hanging branch of a crabapple tree that extends over the walkway.  As I did so I could not help but notice a significantly sized wasp’s nest.

Good citizen that I am I brought this to the attention of a park employee. He asked if it was active or not. I told him I didn’t stick around long enough to ask. So we sauntered over to the tree and sure enough, there was plenty of activity going on. In and out as if they had a revolving door.

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The employee seemed almost pleased to have something different to do, to break the monotony as it were. “I’m going to get stung today, I just know it,” he grinned.

Having done my civic duty for the day, and no doubt saving countless children from agonizing wasp stings I continued on my way. Alas, I noticed that the nest is still there this morning and, still active. I guess these things take time. Perhaps looking for volunteers?

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+

 

Cool App

While the heat may have lessened for a few days, forecasters inform us that it will be back with a vengeance soon. But not to worry. I have perfected an app that will keep you cool wherever you may be. Just download and voila! portable cool.


Next on my list is a razor app!

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+

Umbrellas and Parasols

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As we slide into the hottest months of the year I notice more and more people are taking precautions when it comes to the sun’s dangerous rays. If marketing is any gauge, sunscreen products appear to be replacing sun tanning oils and creams. When I was a kid we would never have considered blocking out those precious rare browning rays, in fact, many of us applied various concoctions to increase the sun’s effect.

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These days I notice many people using parasols. (The majority seem to be Asian. I’ve been told this is due to the fair nature of their complexion and a cultural dislike of freckles.) But some folks are living in a Fool’s Paradise if they think an umbrella is a suitable tool for blocking rays. An umbrella, or in French a parapluie – against rain, does not provide sufficient protection. A parasol – against the sun, is what you need. Preferably with a black interior.

In the 1980s in Australia, they used to promote a Slip, Slop, Slap approach to skin protection. Slip on a shirt, Slop on the 50+ sunscreen, Slap on a hat.

Enjoy the sun, but be careful.

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+

 

Now That’s a Pot-Hole

A man in Brussels, Belgium decided to go about town filling in potholes with flowers to bring attention to the problem. I figured with Canada on the verge of legalizing marijuana and Montreal drivers no strangers to potholes, there was a match made in heaven.

Montreal pot-hole!

Pothole

A slight variation on a theme!

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+

 

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+

 

The Arrogance of “Because I can”

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The concept of entitlement is often attributed to millennials, those folks born around the turn of the millennium. Of course, they did not create the idea, it existed long before they did. I recall that when I was in my teens there was a man who lived on our street. He had a dog. In fact, he was one of a growing number of dog owners in our community. So popular were these pets that after numerous complaints the city followed the lead of several other towns and passed a “stoop and scoop” law. Dog walkers were required to pick up after their furry friends or face a fine.

When the latter pointed out that the man was breaking the law by not picking up after his dog he looked straight at his accuser and said, “That law is not for me”

The man I am referring to became notorious for ignoring the new bylaw. On one occasion I was close enough to overhear a confrontation between this man and a fellow dog walker. When the latter pointed out that the man was breaking the law by not picking up after his dog he looked straight at his accuser and said, “That law is not for me”. Evidently, this man felt he was entitled to leave his dog’s feces wherever he chose. Laws were not enacted for everybody, he believed others should conform to the bylaw, but not him.

Some years later I witnessed another expression of entitlement while going to the supermarket. I was just about to go in when I heard a cacophony of car horns and hollering coming from behind me. Turning around I could see that a woman had made a left-hand turn from the right lane and pulled into the parking lot. In so doing she not only crossed a double solid yellow line clearly painted on the street, but also completely ignored the queue of law-abiding drivers waiting politely to enter the parking lot.

Unfortunately for her, a police officer happened to see the whole thing and in an effort to restore peace he approached her. He explained that not only had she broken the law by crossing the double yellow line, but had cut into the line of cars waiting to park. She replied to him by saying simply, “But I have to get into the parking lot”. Apparently, she felt entitled to get to her destination regardless of the highway code or other shoppers. She was quite taken aback that the cop did not see things exactly the same way.

While not being responsible for creating the notion, they have coined the phrase that best sums up entitlement. I refer to none other than the ubiquitous “Because I can”

I have written before about what many people call the millennials’ sense of entitlement. While not being responsible for creating the notion, they have coined the phrase that best sums up entitlement. I refer to none other than the ubiquitous “Because I can”. When I first heard this phrase I figured it was to be taken along the lines of mountaineer George Mallory’s statement that he climbed Mount Everest “Because it was there”. But I now understand it to mean that if I can do it, I am entitled to do it.

The Uber ride-sharing phenomenon illustrates precisely the problem with Because I can. I have a car, I can drive, there are people looking for rides, therefore I can offer to charge them a fee to drive them to their destination. The fact that in Montreal a system of taxis already exists, one that trained drivers pay significant sums to be permitted to drive others about is totally ignored by Uber drivers. Rules? Regulations? By-laws? Lineups? Not for me because I can.

What makes my blood churn, why I find the phrase abhorrent is the attitude it projects: pure arrogance.

Now the folks at Diet Coke have taken the catchphrase and turned it into a rebranding slogan. But I don’t have to buy the product, I might just opt to buy Pepsi. Why? Yep, because I can.

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+

The Monkey’s Paw

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Whenever I hear the word talisman, which is today’s WordPress Daily Post topic, the first thing that pops into my head is the W. W. Jacobs short story  The Monkey’s Paw.  In particular, I think about the very first paragraph. Such a peaceful, cozy setting. How could things become so horrific?

Outside, the night was cold and wet, but in the small living room the curtains were closed and the fire burned brightly. Father and son were playing chess; the father, whose ideas about the game involved some very unusual moves, putting his king into such sharp and unnecessary danger that it even brought comment from the white-haired old lady knitting quietly by the fire.

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+