Uber, Millennials, Jameson Whiskey and Entitlement

A word often used to describe the population cohort referred to as Millennials is entitled. Somehow many of those born around the turn of the millennium, and therefore in their twenties and thirties now, have a sense of entitlement. I must admit I don’t have much interaction with this age group, so I was at a bit of a loss to understand the concept.

Then along came the drive-sharing app called Uber. Essentially a taxi service, Uber uses GPS to put people looking for a lift in touch with drivers willing to take them. No money exchanges hands as the passenger’s credit card is charged automatically. But buyer beware, prices can “surge” if demand is high as many Uber users found out on New Year’s Eve a couple of years ago.

So purchasing a taxi license here is akin to securing a mortgage. With tough competition making a living in the taxi industry is difficult at best.

Sounds all fine and dandy doesn’t it? Only one problem. Montreal, like most cities already has a taxi industry. To be a taxi driver here you need a taxi permit. Once paid for and obtained, and assuming you pass the police and background checks, you can legally drive a taxi, whether you own it or rent it from an owner.

To own a taxi is something a little bit more complex. This requires a taxi license. These were originally sold by the government to prospective owners for something in the neighbourhood of $20,000. With such a plethora of cabs on the road, the authorities stopped issuing new licenses, which help create a market-value system. As the ad below from Kijiji shows, current prices are in the $130,000 to $150,000 range (keep in mind, that does not include a car). So purchasing a taxi license here is akin to securing a mortgage. With tough competition making a living in the taxi industry is difficult at best.

Along comes Uber, a source of direct competition with taxis but without the license and other requirements. Whenever I ask an Uber user, or driver for that matter, if they perhaps feel any sense of guilt for undercutting taxis they inevitably sa no. As far as they are concerned they can do what they want when they want: they are entitled to do so.

I had a discussion with a Millennial bartender one day. He was all in favour of Uber and had no problem with the issue of bypassing the license and gouging clients during busy periods. I explained to him that in Quebec bar owners must obtain a liquor permit to be allowed to sell alcohol. The price is significant and varies depending on your establishment. In addition bar and restaurant owners must sell only liquor purchased from the Société des alcools du Québec outlets dedicated to such establishments. The price per bottle is significantly more that a regular consumer would pay, given the mark-up by the restaurant or bar. Run out of Jameson’s on a busy Friday and just nip up the street to the local store to buy one in a pinch and you face sever fines.

(what if) I buy a bottle of whiskey at the regular price, skip the liquor permit altogether, and set up a card-table outside his bar selling shots for $2 instead of the $5 he charges inside. Because to me this is exactly what Uber is doing.

My bartender pal understood the system, no doubt better than do I. So I asked if it would be acceptable for me to concoct a strategy whereby I buy a bottle of whiskey at the regular price, skip the liquor permit altogether, and set up a card-table outside his bar selling shots for $2 instead of the $5 he charges inside. Because to me this is exactly what Uber is doing.

He could not see the parallel. From his point of view taking money out of his pocket by flouting the regulations was a bad thing. Yet he seemed to have no trouble screwing some taxi driver by Using the Uber app on his phone. I guess he was entitled to do so.

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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Trump’s Potty Mouth Deters Media From Real Issue

The concept of debating or discussing how many angels can dance on the head of a pin has a very long history. It goes way back, but no matter how far into its past you delve it still means the same thing. It refers to people wasting time pondering a topic of no real value while other more germane issues go unchecked.

The actual words are, frankly, irrelevant. Had Trump referred to these two places as filthy cesspools it would be no less egregious.

Yesterday many in the media provided a prime example of the counting angels canard. They devoted hours to the investigation and analysis of whether President Trump asked why the USA has to have immigrants from shithole or shithouse countries. Various talking heads appeared along with in-studio guests to get to the bottom of this most pressing issue.

The fact that the president swears is not the problem. I am sure he is neither the first nor the last to do so. That his statements were racist is of much more concern.

The crux of the matter is that the president spoke in a derogatory manner about Haiti and the entire continent of Africa. The actual words are, frankly, irrelevant. Had Trump referred to these two places as filthy cesspools it would be no less egregious. I can’t help but think that the major networks are devoting so much time to this because of the shock value of the word: call it the shit factor.

Shit house or shit hole, Trump’s presidency so far has been a real shit show.

As was the case when Turks invaded Constantinople while scholars were distracted debating the angel puzzle, with the media enjoying a feeding frenzy over Trump’s strong language, they are not pressing him on the real issues. Shit house or shit hole, Trump’s presidency so far has been a real shit show. I implore the media to step back and look at the big picture and not be thrown off kilter by sensationalism and minutiae.  Don’t open a loophole for the Trump administration to jump through.

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+

Periscope Study

Periscope

When my wife and I got married a couple of summers ago, though many family members were able to get to Montreal for the wedding, several were unable to attend. We looked into the possibility of providing a live online stream of the event so those in far-off places could watch if not be present. We opted for an app called Periscope which ties in with Twitter and is free.

The totally unscientific findings of my armchair sociologists’ study show that many people use Periscope for religious services, … some scopes are from bars or pubs and feature whatever band is playing; while others are just plain folks chatting.

The results were very pleasing as several family members tuned in to watch the service. And a video record exists on my Periscope account.

Recently out of curiosity I have taken to surfing the Periscope feeds from around the world. This is made easy with a handy map on which are indicated live and recently live ‘scopes’ as the term goes. The totally unscientific findings of my armchair sociologists’ study show that many people use Periscope for religious services, especially in the southern USA, especially on Sunday morning; some scopes are from bars or pubs and feature whatever band is playing; while others are just plain folks chatting.

But perhaps the most interesting finding is the disproportionate number of scopes of women who are putting on makeup, smoking some sort of recreational substance, or both.

But perhaps the most interesting finding is the disproportionate number of scopes of women who are putting on makeup, smoking some sort of recreational substance, or both. How do they keep that eyeliner straight? Another category of scope is the porn webcam promo. This entails women (I’m sure there are men as well) giving out details of how viewers can see their nude webcam on another app, or buy nudes from a website. The possibility of a little T&A as an incentive to go to the porn site draws large numbers of scope viewers.

The concept of live streaming from almost anywhere is a fine example of how the Internet makes the world a small place. Yet for the life of me I cannot think of why, other than a special event, anyone would want to watch my day-to-day life. Perhaps I’ll have to start applying makeup …

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+

Dear PizzaPizza: Did You Lose My Store?

Dear PizzaPizza,

Let me first state that I am a lover of pizza. Nothing exotic for me thanks, no pineapple or ham if you please, but a standard pepperoni, mushrooms and green peppers, or as we call it in Montreal ‘all dressed’ suits me just fine. On numerous occasions, usually a Friday, I have placed an order for just such a pizza that I will then pick up at the store located close to my home.

But I have a bone to pick with you; not a chicken bone, I’d write to KFC for that.

When placing my order for pick-up I call the number and select the option for English. So far, so good. When a person answers the call it is my understanding that they are not located here in Montreal. I often have a very difficult time explaining to them where the store is. Last evening the person had no idea what I was talking about; she could not find the store, nor the street on which it is situated – St. Catherine, a main Montreal street.

The map above is from your website and clearly shows the store I use. It took me about 30 seconds to find it. Why can’t the call centre folks do likewise? I have included a photo of the store from Google Maps for future reference.

Why is it that in this age of GPS and Google maps a store that I have been to many times seems to be elusive to the folks at your call centre? The store is static, it does not move from one week to the next, yet most Fridays I have to explain several times where it is before I can place my order?

Also, as I usually place the same order why can’t the call centre person look up my history? It is always for pick-up at the same place.

I hope to continue to enjoy your fine product, but I’d really like to avoid the all too frequent urban geography lesson that picking up my order entails.

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 Uptalk or Moronic Interrogative Annoyance

The other day, while driving, I was listening to an interesting piece on NPR. The topic escapes me now, but that may be due to the fact that no matter how interesting the interview was, I had to change stations.

It takes a fair bit to evoke this sort of reaction from me, but the interviewee pushed the right button to have me pushing the radio button. The woman being interviewed, from some university or other, spoke with a significant degree of uptalk, also known as moronic interrogative. That is, ending almost all of her sentences as if they were questions. This affectation has grown out of the California Valley Girl phenomenon of the early 1980s.

At one time it was limited to communication between young girls, but has now crossed gender lines and, if the NPR interview is any indication, has made its way into the field of academia. The first time I conversed with someone who uptalked, I thought she was asking me questions and I tried to figure out how to answer. Then it dawned on me that in fact, this was how she spoke!

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+

Ice Hotels Can Burn?

It has become popular over the last twenty years or so to, when weather conditions permit, create ice hotels. Indeed a real inn made out of carved ice. Several years ago we visited one here in Montreal. It had several rooms that are available for rent, just like a hotel. I understand access to the rooms is limited until closing time, as the rooms are on display.

There was a restaurant that, like the rooms, was booked for the entire period. No room at the ice inn. There was also a chapel in which you could arrange to be married. While meandering through the edifice I was taken not just by the lovely ice sculpture, but by the presence of a fire extinguisher.  Being a public building this was mandatory. I thought it odd until this week when I read that the Quebec City Ice Hotel had to be temporarily closed after a fire! In fact, three guests had to be hospitalised.

How can a structure that is made of frozen water catch fire? Would it not just put itself out? When the firefighters sprayed water on it did they add an upper storey? Perhaps a guest house.

As someone who likes to look out at winter from the warmth, my chances of staying overnight in an ice box were severely slim, now that I know they can catch fire I think it safe to say it’s not on my bucket list 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+

Trump Losing Grip, Soon The Funnel Be Over

Since the bombshell dropped last week, no, not the weather bomb that pounded the northeast with snow and frigid temperatures, but the publication of Michael Wolff’s book Fire and Fury, many have been questioning President Trump‘s mental state. Is he capable of carrying out the duties of the office?

No this is full-fledged ego-fed looney-tunes, and it’s running the biggest country in the world.

As soon as several excerpts of the book were released 24 hours before publication, news channels had a feeding frenzy. All Wolff all the time. Even the president himself panicked and, bypassing White House counsel, had his personal lawyer issue a cease and desist letter to the author and the publisher. All to no avail, as the book hit shelves and Kindles as planned. Trump then dissed the book as fiction, but his initial reaction had already spoken volumes.

So now the focus is on Trump’s mental capacity. Dr. Bandy X. Lee Yale University psychiatry professor had already raised concerns about the potential of mental illness. The president Tweeted that he is no less than a ‘very stable genius’. I am not a doctor, but it seems to me that diagnosing anyone based on a person’s public persona rather than an actual medical examination is a bit dicey.

But what’s worse than Trump being a wacko is that millions of people knowingly voted for him.

However, Trump has been the same all through the election process. The debates, speeches, and rallies were all circus-like events thanks to his juvenile antics. He has always given me the impression that he, in my non-medical opinion, is bonkers. But what’s worse than Trump being a wacko is that millions of people knowingly voted for him.

It is unfair of those Trump supporters who put the man in the Oval Office to now jump ship because the world is openly questioning his sanity. You voted for him, now help get rid of him. We’re not talking just a wee bit bent here, there are always personal attributes that one person sees as abnormal, while others just brush off. (Frankly, I never thought Ronald Reagan was playing with a full deck, even before the Alzheimer’s diagnosis.) No this is full-fledged ego-fed looney-tunes, and it’s running the biggest country in the world. The funnel soon be over I fear. Now that’s scary.

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+

Lotteries: You Winsome and You Lose Some

Last night someone, one individual, won $450M in the Megamillions lottery. The ticket was bought in Florida, so if you have yet to check your ticket, and you didn’t buy it in Florida, don’t bother looking. A little research turned up this information: That estimated $450 million prize is only if the winner opts to take the winnings in 30 payments over 29 years. If you want the money now in one lump sum, the jackpot is approximately $315 million, a cut of roughly 30 percent. .Lottery winnings are taxed as ordinary income.

Folks often refer to buying lottery tickets as a voluntary tax, others see it as a tax on stupidity.

Over $300M is nothing to sneeze at, but that’s a chunk of change to fork over to the tax man. In Canada lottery winnings are tax-free. Given the fact that the provincial governments are the sole operators of lotteries and casinos, they are essentially already a tax. Folks often refer to buying lottery tickets as a voluntary tax, others see it as a tax on stupidity. Regardless, while your chances of winning are razor thin, they are zero if you do not buy a ticket. In life, you winsome and you lose some.

I often fear that if I ever won a substantial amount of money on a Saturday night Lotto6/49  draw, I would not let go of the ticket until Monday morning when I would be waiting at the LottoQuebec office before nine! And God forbid it should be a long weekend, with a Monday holiday. I just hope that winning ticket will still be in one piece when I place it on the counter!

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+

It’s Raining Iguanas in Florida

As the east coast of North America gets pelted with snow and wind, not everyone is dealing with the terrible conditions in the same way. In Florida, the Sunshine State, temperatures have been unusually cold. While people can pull on a sweater or jacket, then bitch about wasting good money on a vacation in a hot climate, iguanas have their own trouble.

Once the temperature drops below 10C or so they enter a state that looks for all the world as if they are dead. But once the weather warms up, voila, they are back to normal. They ride out the frigid temperatures in a coma-like state then, assuming they have not been run over by a truck, they return to their usual ways.

Iguanas playing possum.

Those iguanas who happened to be in trees when they nodded off fall from their lofty perches. In a sense, and not to sound too biblical, it is raining lizards in Florida.

This has given me an idea, not always a good thing. Perhaps someone should set up an iguana motel for just these occasions, complete with an indoor heated pool, and maybe some people to just sit on rocks around the pool and look menacing.

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+

Bomb Cyclone Has To Be Punishment

At some point along the way, we folks in the eastern part of North America must have done something very bad. It is the only viable option to explain the recent weather conditions. Never mind all that meteorological mumbo-jumbo, the only explanation is that the weather gods are pissed big time at us.

As if it wasn’t bad enough that many of us are just coming out of a deep freeze that lasted longer than a week and at times brought temperatures colder than Mars …

As if it wasn’t bad enough that many of us are just coming out of a deep freeze that lasted longer than a week and at times brought temperatures colder than those found on Mars, now there is a ‘bomb cyclone’ making its way up the east coast.

According to CNN, the bomb cyclone happened overnight, it occurs when a cyclone has a significant and rapid drop in atmospheric pressure over a short period of time. Mumbo-jumbo, take it from me, we are being punished for something. Could it be the football gods are fed up with the New England Patriots’ constant winning ways? We are certainly paying the price for something.

Let me go on the record here: if the ungodly weather is retribution for electing Donald Trump, and I have to admit that makes sense, please note that not one Canadian voted for him

Let me go on the record here: if the ungodly weather is retribution for electing Donald Trump, and I have to admit that makes sense, please note that not one Canadian voted for him. Please keep all Trump-voter-punishing weather fronts south of the 49th parallel. And yet I am not surprised that we will experience some of the fallout from a display of USA election gods unhappiness with the Trump victory. After-all late Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau once pointed out that: Living next to you is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, if I can call it that, one is affected by every twitch and grunt.

So if you are in the path of the fast approaching and growing bomb cyclone take good care of yourself and loved ones. If you lose power you may have time to sit and ponder just what the hell we did to deserve this!

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+