Canada, DCMontreal Commentary, DCMontreal Light, History, Montreal, News, Nostalgia, Opinion, Politics, World War One

Tell Me The World Isn’t Going To Hell In A Handcart … Please

One hundred years ago the world was slipping into a vortex that has been called The Great War and the War to end all wars. Some thirty years later it would come to be called by its more common name, the First World War, or WWI. Seemingly relatively small events in eastern Europe – primarily the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria – combined to ignite a powder keg that would cost millions of lives over the next few years.

There were many events that led up to the War, as the headline on the front page of The Sun newspaper illustrates.

August 8, 1914 New York Sun

August 4, 1914 New York Sun

Far be it from me to be overly negative, never one to holler “The sky is falling”, but current world events – from planes downed by rebel missiles, to hot-spots in the Middle-East getting even hotter and showing no signs of cooling; from the unsettling side-taking over various events by the United States and Putin’s Russia to the World Health Organization’s claim that the Ebola outbreak in Africa is out of control – it seems the world is going to hell in a handcart! (An appropriate phrase given some believe it originated during the time of the Plague, victims of which were believed to be headed straight to hell as they were carted away.)

Tell me it’s just me …

Me 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 DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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Writing Styles: Less is More

Less Is More

Less Is More

Writing styles tend to be very personal; like fingerprints, no two are exactly the same. Tomes have been compiled about the finer details and nuances of various writing styles. For me the concept that best sums up my own style is: “less is more”.

There was an old university freshman exercise where the professor assigned a ten page essay on a particular topic that was due on a specified date. When the students arrived that day and handed in their essays (this was long before email), thereby meeting the deadline requirement, the professor would return them to the students without even looking at them. Instructions were then given to the students to take home their papers and bring them back in one week, reduced by four pages in length but still covering the topic.

Imagine if Moses had met a Public Relations or Advertising professional on the way down Mount Sinai. Each commandment would have had its own PowerPoint slide …

Some students were stunned, they couldn’t imagine how they could possibly edit out that much of their work and still do justice to the assignment. But they usually achieved it.

While I never experienced this exercise myself, I think I would have done well at it. I was one of those students who, upon being told the length of a term paper or assignment, inevitably thought, how will I ever fill that many pages?

When I wrote university papers I always had to struggle to get to the minimum required number of words. I would write on lined loose leaf paper – before begging a family member to type the final document – and I kept a running tally of the word count in the margin. And believe me I counted every single word, including and, if, the, or, but. They are all words, so they were all included.

Shoe_Blue

I also like to read novelists who cut to the chase, Ernest Hemingway and Georges Simenon being among my favorites. If the sky is blue, just say so. No need to go into the precise shade of robin’s egg blue that evokes childhood memories of the character’s aunt’s tea set. And there might be a few clouds. Done. No need to ramble on about just how fluffy and white they were, like the underbelly of an Alaskan sled dog on a cold … blah, blah, blah.

The body of the Declaration of Independence has a total of 1337 words. One page composed of a mere thirteen-hundred words that has been revered for over two-hundred years.

That’s the way I like to write; get to the point and get out. I consider blogging something akin to the old page three column in many newspapers. A few hundred words on a varying wide range of subjects. A little bit of something for everyone.

Consider the Ten Commandments; ten points on two tablets. Five bullets per tablet. Imagine if Moses had met a Public Relations or Advertising professional on the way down Mount Sinai. Each commandment would have had its own PowerPoint slide with four or five subsequent slides to illustrate the evils. Graphs,charts, a bit of multi-media, color handouts and of course an inflated invoice would all have been part of scripture. And in the end, amid all the window dressing: Ten Commandments.

Ten Commandments PowerPoint table of Contents

Ten Commandments PowerPoint table of Contents

The body of the Declaration of Independence (i.e. without signatures and states) has a total of 1337 words. One page composed of a mere thirteen-hundred words that has been revered for over two-hundred years. Can you imagine what the same sort of document would entail today? Countless briefs, presentations and opinions all appended and noted.

DecInd

When it comes to making a point, which is why we write, I’m all in favour of getting right down to business.

Writing styles.

 

Me 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 DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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Montreal Jazz Festival 2014

A hot Saturday afternoon at the Montreal International Jazz Festival.

Beer Dixie Mist Piano_Big PianoFree Ray

Piano_Blogger

I think I’ll stick to blogging …

Me 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 DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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Montreal’s First Heat Wave Arrives

From a few months ago, here’s my heat wave potion!

Montrealers are gearing-up for the first serious heat wave of the summer. Over the next few days temperatures will hit the upper thirties Celsius and the humidity will kick-in to make it feel like 40°C or about 105°F.  Cicadas will be singing, swimming pools will be packed, malls will provide an air conditioned oasis for those who lack it at home, and the pace of life will slow down.  A list of requirements includes both sunblock and an umbrella for those pop-op storms,  a good shade-providing tree, a lawn chair, several books and magazines, perhaps even a jazz festival … and I know there’s something else, but I just can’t think of it …

 

Heat wave necessity

Heat wave necessity

Me 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 DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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Runner’s Nipple Solution

I’ve been running daily for the better part of twenty years. Certainly not competitively but as a means of exercise. During that time I’ve suffered from the various minor afflictions common to the amateur runner, including shin splints, Plantar fasciitis and of course blisters. I have, fortunately, said while touching wood, avoided the more serious afflictions like knee problems, hip troubles, taxis and Dobermans (should that be Dobermen?).

I have, fortunately, touching wood, avoided the more serious afflictions like knee problems, hip pointers, taxis and Dobermans (should that be Dobermen?).

However the most annoying thing I have had to deal with for some years has been a chronic case of what is known as runner’s nipple. Put simply, the friction caused by even the most expensive of running shirts on one’s nipples results in them becoming highly irritated and, in my case, bleeding.

Is this a serious life-threatening condition? Absolutely not. Is it a somewhat painful annoyance? You bet! Yet mention of the problem is usually met with puzzled looks or outright laughter – dare I say tittering!

Don’t go away, there’s more

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Pigeon Deplores Deterrent Spikes

Pierre Pigeon

Pierre Pigeon

Here we go again I thought as yet another  member of the local urban wildlife made an appearance on my windowsill. This time, while taking a break and watching some of the World Cup from Brazil, I clearly saw the pigeon land and peer in my window.

Thinking the bird was, like most of the world, just interested in watching the game, I took no great notice. I’ve seen many people looking into restaurant and bar windows to get an update on the match. But within a few moments the cooing took on a tone that caught my attention and when I went over and opened the window my guest introduced himself.

“Pierre Pigeon here,” he said. “I believe, unless I am greatly mistaken, that you are the bug guy.”

Don’t go away, it gets even better

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Sports Oddities: World Cup Solo Announcers, Wimbledon Pronunciation

Here in Canada the World Cup is being broadcast on the national network, CBC. During this first round fans are treated to three live matches every day starting at noon, followed by one at three o’clock and another at six o’clock. The day ends with a rebroadcast of one of the games at eight o’clock.

However, many call it Wimbleton – but it’s a D not a T – Wimbledon!

Aside from the actual matches there is also analysis before, at halftime and after each game. A panel of specialists at the CBC headquarters in Toronto sets up the game, recaps the first half then dissects the outcome. The CBC also has a couple of reporters in Brazil reporting on atmosphere and non-game items.

All of this is pretty much what we have come to expect of large sporting events such as the World Cup or the Olympics. Where things are noticeably different for a North American sports viewer is when the match begins. For play-by-play the CBC switches to the world feed which features many British professionals. The difference is that in this first round each game has but one announcer who works the entire game alone.

Vin Scully

Vin Scully

With the exception of baseball’s legendary Vin Scully, in North America, sports tend to be broadcast by a team of announcers and commentators. At least two and often three members make up the in-booth contingent and a field-level reporter or two is not uncommon. This on top of analysts and experts before and after the game. The thought of one person doing the whole game by himself is unheard of, but admirable.

Keep in mind that American football, baseball, basketball and hockey all have plenty of commercial breaks that allow both players and broadcasters the chance to catch their breath.  A soccer match on the other hand consists of two 45 minute halves with just the halftime break.

When first tuning in to a World Cup game the lack of interaction between announcers is decidedly odd. You wonder if the other guy is sick, or has developed laryngitis at the last moment. But soon you realize that there is no other announcer.

While I’m on the subject of sports oddities, let me point out that today is the first day of competition at tennis’ The Championships at Wimbledon. Of course we tend to refer to this event simply as Wimbledon.  However, many call it Wimbleton – but it’s a D not a T – Wimbledon!

Me 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 DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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FIFA World Cup: Gillette Missed This Sponsorship Opportunity

To deter players from encroaching on the designated distance between a free kick and the defenders wall, during the World Cup in Brazil FIFA referees are using a product that puts a temporary line on the field.  No more cheating and claiming ignorance, the line is clear and highly visible. After a minute or so it disappears completely.

I don’t know the name of the product but it seems to me the Gillette folks could have offered to take on this task with their Foamy Shave Cream! A few cases of shaving foam in return for a worldwide audience, seems like a no brainer to me!

Referee marks line on soccer field with Gillette Foamy

Referee marks line on soccer field with Gillette Foamy

Today’s Daily Post: Offside Memories.

Me DCMontreal 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 Freans and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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Gerry Goffin, Songwriter With Carole King, Dies at 75

The world is a less lyrical place today …

Goffin

According to the New York Times: Gerry Goffin, who collaborated with Carole King to write some of the biggest hits of the 1960s, songs that endured through generations and became classics, including “Will You Love Me Tomorrow?,” “Up on the Roof,” “One Fine Day” and “The Loco-Motion,” died on Thursday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 75.

Me DCMontreal 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 Freans and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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The Big 5 – When was your last Duh moment?

There I was sitting behind the wheel of our new 2012 Hyundai Elantra, a fine car by any standard. I think one’s initial reaction when they first get into their new automobile is to take a look at all those dials and twiddly-bits, buttons and sliders that you’ll be using when driving.  It’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the windshield wiper control before driving in the rain. Figuring out how to twin my iPhone with the car took a few moments. All was going well; I was pleased as Punch with the lay-out of the dashboard and was concentrating on the numerous controls located on the steering wheel. I noticed that several of these buttons on the steering wheel – cruise control, audio system – had small bumps on them. “Isn’t that wonderful,” I said. “They think of everything, they’ve even put Braille on the steering wheel controls.” Duh?!?

Braille on steering wheel?

Braille on steering wheel?

Me DCMontreal 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 Freans and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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