No Strutting on Snow Leaf Mixture

According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of strut is:

intransitive verb
1    to become turgid: swell
2   a: to walk with a proud gait
     b: to walk with a pompous and affected air
*****
This is the time of year when Montreal’s seasons overlap; this morning’s dusting of snow mixed with fallen leaves. The wet leaves are enough to make for some pretty slippery walking, the snow and ice on top just added to the fun.  Rest assured there was no strutting done this morning!
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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Leonard Cohen Tributes on Anniversary of His Passing

On the first anniversary of his passing, Montreal is making good on promises to fete and remember Leonard Cohen. Last night’s star-studded tribute concert titled Tower of Song was, by all accounts, a great success.

From Sting to k.d.lang and Elvis Costello the program was fast paced and well produced; enough to make a Cohen fanatic faint with delight. The concert will be broadcast tonight on CBC Radio 2 at 8 p.m.

Montreal will remember Cohen all through the month of November with various events. As the photo above shows, people arriving at Trudeau International Airport are reminded that Cohen was a true son of Montreal by the inclusion of his Fedora hat perched appropriately at a rakish angle atop the letter O.

 

Leonard Cohen mural on Crescent Street by El Mac & Gene Pendon. Photo  by Maria Merlos

Several other tributes have been placed around the city including at least two murals. The one above has Cohen looking down at one of Montrealer’s busier restaurant and bar streets, Crescent. While the one below by artist Kevin Ledo is located in Cohen’s neighbourhood.

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+

Swimming Pools by Oceans: Why?

The ocean is a mere pitching wedge from the pool!

I am not a swimmer. I don’t mean I am a weak swimmer, or an odd swimmer. But I simply cannot swim. People seem hard put to accept this for some reason completely alien to me. When I mention it they insist I must be referring to my inability to swim well, or maybe a dislike of chlorine. Nope. I cannot swim.

Swimming pools, lakes, ponds, and lagoons are giant vats of death in my world.

Swimming pools, lakes, ponds, and lagoons are giant vats of death in my world. Why, with the number of accidental drownings – usually involving very young children – it is within the law to have these giant vats of death in suburban backyards is well beyond me.

That having been stated I must admit to a great respect and admiration for the ocean. I was once a big fan of sitting on a beach, but with the years, and warnings of harming rays, I have curtailed my beach sitting considerably. However to sit and watch the ocean roar and pound the shore still fascinates me.

You could use a putter on this one.

We live about a five-hour drive from the US northeast coast, and like many Canadians we try to make it to Maine or New Hampshire once a summer. Although the current exchange rate made that less attractive last summer. Many folks come from even farther away to get a whiff of salt air and pay exorbitant prices for local lobster.

Why in the name of all things blue, with a vast ocean right in front of you, would you insist on a swimming pool?

Sometimes on HGTV they will air a show about the process of buying an ocean-front property. These people, usually from some distance away from the ocean, look at available houses, cottages or condos with an ocean view. No four-minute walk for them, it must be right on the ocean. It must be within their budget and it must – here’s where I become flummoxed – have a swimming pool.

Why in the name of all things blue, with a vast ocean right in front of you, would you insist on a swimming pool? Perhaps, in fact no doubt, it is the non-swimmer in me, but I’m certain these people could save a bundle of money by just going to a swimming pool in Ames, Iowa or Toledo, Ohio, or wherever they are from. Aerial views of coastlines illustrate this phenomenon well; surely the land on which all those pools sit in backyards, less than a pitching wedge away from the ocean, could be put to better use. To these ocean front buyers this best of both worlds is some sort of swimmers’ panacea, while I think it defines the word redundant. But then, did I mention I can’t swim?

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+

For God’s Sake Stop Texting and MOVE!

Recently the Québec highway safety code was tweaked to make it an offence to text while driving. I wouldn’t have thought that would be necessary, considering the level of stupidity required to attempt to look at and type on a mobile device instead of concentrating on driving. But the new law makes it an offence not only to text while the vehicle is moving but also when stopped at a red light. This should cut down on drivers who do not pay attention to the traffic light and therefore do not move once the light turns green. They seem to rely on the horn-tooting of those behind them to put down (hopefully) the phone and start driving.

According to the law:

No person may, while driving a road vehicle, use a hand-held device that includes a telephone function. […] [A] driver who is holding a hand-held device that includes a telephone function is presumed to be using the device.

Simply holding a cell phone in your hand, for any reason, while driving a road vehicle is illegal.

What does “while driving” mean?

  • If you are at the wheel of a road vehicle in a traffic lane, you are driving.
  • Even when you are stopped at a red light or stuck in traffic, you are driving!

If it is such a danger to text while driving; and I agree wholeheartedly that it is, what can we expect when all cars, not just fancy expensive ones, come equipped with wi-fi enabled dashboard screens?

Car_Google

I believe the time has come for a similar regulation for pedestrians. Montrealers tend to be scofflaws when it comes to crossing against a red light. When there is a group of people waiting for the light to change to green, it usually means a) there are too many passing cars to cross, b) it is the annual police cash-grab crackdown on jaywalking or c) those waiting are out-of-town tourists.

Harpo

Harpo Marx and his horn

While waiting for the green light many folks take advantage of the chance to check their mobile devices. I have noticed that the same phenomenon found while driving is now common at street corners. When the light does turn green, many people do not notice and therefore do not move. On several occasions I have bumped into a person who is standing and staring at their phone instead of walking, putting into possible peril my nose and front teeth. Some have the gall to imply that I have done something wrong!

I have considered carrying a Harpo Marx style horn to politely toot when those in front of me zone out and tie up pedestrian traffic. (To be honest, I wanted to get one of those aerosol can air horns, but feared the potential for cardiac arrest, leading charges of homicide.)

I am all in favour of pedestrians leaving their cars at home to go downtown, but for God’s sake walk when you’re supposed to or stay home!

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+

 

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+

The Orange and the Green

Known as The Orange and the Green, or The Biggest Mix Up, this Irish folk song illustrated the lighter side of the religious divide that caused so much harm during The Troubles.

Oh it is the biggest mix-up that you have ever seen
My father he was orange and my mother she was green

Oh my father was an Ulsterman, proud Protestant was he
My mother was a Catholic girl, from County Cork was she
They were married in two churches, lived happily enough
Until the day that I was born and things got rather tough

Oh it is the biggest mix-up that you have ever seen
My father he was orange and my mother she was green

Baptised by father Reilly, I was rushed away by car
To be made a little orangeman, my father’s shining star
I was christened David Anthony, but still in spite of that
To my father I was William while my mother called me Pat

Oh it is the biggest mix-up that you have ever seen
My father he was orange and my mother she was green

With mother every Sunday to mass I’d proudly stroll
Then after that the orange lads would try to save my soul
For both sides tried to claim me, but I was smart because
I played the flute or played the harp, depending where I was

Oh it is the biggest mix-up that you have ever seen
My father he was orange and my mother she was green

One day my ma’s relations came round to visit me
Just as my father’s kinfolk were all sittin’ down to tea
We tried to smooth things over, but they all began to fight
And me being strictly neutral, I bashed everyone in sight

Oh it is the biggest mix-up that you have ever seen
My father he was orange and my mother she was green

Now my parents never could agree about my type of school
My learning was all done at home, that’s why I’m such a fool
They both passed on, god rest them, but left me caught between
That awful color problem of the orange and the green

Oh it is the biggest mix-up that you have ever seen
My father he was orange and my mother she was green

Yes it is the biggest mix-up that you have ever seen
My father he was orange and my mother she was green

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+

Release That Parking Spot

In the photo above we see a Montreal Parking Enforcement Officer’s car parked in a perfectly legal spot. Why? In a city with a dearth of legal parking spots, it seems to me that a car that will never be given a ticket – this goes for police cars, ambulances, and fire trucks as well –  should never take up a legal parking spot! Release that spot for a paying customer, please! There are plenty of illegal spots to park your car while you are out of it fining others for illegal parking. No need to make the search just that much harder.

 

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+

Strange UPS Pick-Up Point

My wife ordered something that was to be delivered by UPS. Not surprisingly they attempted to make the delivery when we were out. No problem, they left a sticker indicating where we could pick up the package the next day. There is a UPS Store not far from our place that I assumed was the pick-up point, but I was wrong.

I was going to take a photo, but not being all that brave and sensing this was not the kind of place that cameras would be welcomed, I gave it a miss.

As I strolled along the street toward the UPS Store I checked the sticker and realize that this was not the spot. The Store has a 4100 address while the sticker had 1810 on the same street as the place I wanted. Okay, no problem, it was on my way to where I was going anyway, but I was curious as I could not picture another UPS Store in the area.

Along I meandered in the autumn sun enjoying a beautiful day all the while approaching the address on the sticker. As I was on the correct block I still could not fathom where I was headed and started to re-read the sticker in case I had made a mistake, or had the driver been wrong. Nope, all was clear.

When I arrived at 1810 I had to look long and hard to find the UPS decal on the door of what is essentially a pawn shop. I made my way in and found several people already in the small shop. Two staff were busy with customers buying and/or selling mostly electronic goods. So I waited. It was while I was biding my time that I noticed a handwritten sign that carried the message: UPS customers please wait. If you have any questions about the store please feel free to ask. I was going to take a photo, but not being all that brave and sensing this was not the kind of place that cameras would be welcomed, I gave it a miss.

In other words serving UPS clients, who evidently bring no monetary reward to the store, … is second on the list after dealing with actual paying customers regardless of the order of arrival. 

In other words serving UPS clients, who evidently bring no monetary reward to the store, other than to drag people in, is second on the list after dealing with actual paying customers regardless of the order of arrival. A customer entering this little place after a UPS customer, but interested in buying an iPhone, is given priority.

I have never had any trouble with UPS (I did finally get the package), and I have always thought they have the very best toll-free number with 1-800-PICK-UPS but they really have to give some thought to the kind of place they send their clients to. With so many UPS Stores, why use third-party outlets at all?

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+

Montreal Mayoralty Candidate With a Twist

It’s municipal election campaign time in Montreal. Along with countless radio interviews and television appearances featuring candidates from all parties, the city is awash with posters. Most streets are festooned with posters attached to posts, poles, and walls.

Not surprisingly these posters, with lovely full-colour photographs of candidates, are often vandalized. Sometimes it is harmless doodles such as eyeglasses or a mustache, sometimes a criticism or the candidate and unfortunately the occasional racist comment.

One candidate, Tyler Lemco, who is seeking the mayor’s chair – well, sort of – has solved the problem by posting signs and encouraging people to deface them. As reported in the Montreal Gazette: It’s his first election campaign, but not his first election-sign campaign. In the 2015 federal election, he put up several posters featuring his name, his face, a city of Montreal logo and his slogan: “Not running for anything, I just wanted a sign.”

I happened to pass one of his signs yesterday and although I did not succumb to the temptation I was amused by one comment in particular about not wanting to be told what to do. A great representation of how you can please some of the people some of the time …….

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+

Kung Fu Fraud: Justin Trudeau Visits Donald Trump

That’s not Master Kan … he’s a fraud!

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+