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!

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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+