Monday, October 31, 2005

My letter to Global TV

Dear Global TV,

I am writing to comment on the varying-sound-level problem I have noticed on Global TV in Montreal. Television shows seem to have their sound level set at around 6. Sound for local promos for Global shows or contests is set to 10. Regular national ads are set to 7. This is extremely annoying. Not as annoying as CTV's According to Jim, but pretty darned annoying nonetheless.

As you might imagine, this sound problem forces me to keep my hand on the remote all evening to
prevent hearing loss from a local This Morning Live ad. I then have to turn the volume back up to hear a rising-crust pizza ad featuring that hideous old Italian women who gets serenaded by her son or grandson (hard to say which it is) before smiling her weird gingivitis smile.

Anyway, please do something about this sound problem. It really sucks.

UPDATE: Here is Global's reply

I'm writing in response to your e-mail of October 31, 2005 concerning the uneven and sometimes very loud signals on Global Quebec.

First of all, I'm sorry to have taken so long to get back to you. Global Quebec recently underwent a major change in the equipment used to broadcast our signal. The problem we are experiencing with the varying sound levels is a result of that change.

Our engineers are working to correct the problem. And we hope to have it corrected very shortly. Thank you for your interest in Global Quebec.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Great moments in headline writing

Today, my wife showed me a joltingly inappropriate headline from the Quebec fashion magazine Lou Lou. The article, written by Sophie Durocher, is about choosing the right coat.

The headline reads: Les choix de Sophie (Sophie's choices).

I assume that the headline writer had a vague idea that there was once a movie called Sophie's Choice, but never actually watched it nor read the synoposis at IMDB.

I further assume that said headline writer fancied himself rather clever to adapt a movie title for an article about choosing a coat.

Here, then, are a few suggestions for future fashion articles
in Lou Lou :

  • "Mein kampf... to get the right sweater"
  • "Protocols of the Elders of Zara"
  • "Schindler's list... for cheap handbags"

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Thursday, October 27, 1995

Ten years ago today, at around noon, I walked from my class at McGill University to Place du Canada, near Peel St. and René Levesque Blvd. in downtown Montreal. A big 'No' rally was planned in the days leading to the 1995 referendum. In a few days, Quebec voters would decide whether the province should secede from Canada and become an independent country.

About 100,000 people were at the federalist rally. I spent most of the next hour taking pictures, walking around and listening to the speeches, which were hard to hear because of extremely strong wind. (Insert fart joke here.)

Today is the tenth anniversary of that Place du Canada rally. I'm always a bit surprised by anniversaries of events that happened in my adult life and which I remember quite clearly. Anyway, here are my photos from that day.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Birthday messages from leaders

It turns out there are benefits to being age 65 -- other than cheap movie tickets. Starting at age 65 (and every five years after that) you can get an official birthday greeting from the Prime Minister of Canada, the Rt. Hon. Paul Martin.

The Office of the Prime Minister will send you an official letter from the PM (complete with a gold sticker!) for any significant birthday or wedding anniversary. Simply complete the online form and wait a few weeks for mail from Ottawa. Then buy a frame, put it on a wall and impress your friends.

The PMO won't actually try to confirm that you are the age you claim to be. Nor will they request a marriage certicate to see if you and the misses have completed at least 25 years of wedded bliss. So, basically any 15-year-old with access to the Internet can get one.

In case you're wondering, the office of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II requires documenation before sending congratulatory letters. Also, the Queen only send letters to subjects on their 100th birthday.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

I'll trade you an Alan Alda for a Tom Skerritt...

It turns out that some celebrities outsource fan requests for signed photos to a company called Studio Fan Mail. The company is forwarded the request by the celeb's handlers or receives the request directly from fans, like you! (The celebrity pays Studio Fan Mail for the service.)

I found a discussion about this at Red Forum Deals. Someone posted a list of all the celbs to whom you can request a photo.

To request a photo from, say, Alan Alda, send an e-mail to with your mailing address in the body of the message. (No subject line required. No formal request required.)

The company has an automated computer system that extracts your mailing address and mails the signed photo to you in a month or so. To see the list of celebs, visit the discussion forum at Red Forum Deals and scroll down the page.


Monday, October 24, 2005

Maple Leafs ad

The Toronto Maple Leafs have produced a funny a series of ads that capture well hockey in Canada. Here's one of them.

(Click photo for larger version.)

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Our roads suck ass

Among the many miseries one endures living in Quebec are poorly maintained roads. Quebecers are the most highly taxed residents in North America. And yet our roads still have that kinda-reminds-me-of-Costa-Rica feel.

I wonder how much drivers spend reparing stuff on cars that probably wouldn't have broken/ripped/bent/shattered if not for Quebec roads.

My sudden interest in pot-holes stems from an incident on Monday evening last on the on-ramp from Sources (south) to the Trans Canada service road (east). Near the start of the long circular road, my rear driver's side tire hit a pot hole. I was driving no more than 40km. But I knew it was bad. I drove another 20 seconds, pulled up next to the Leon's store and had a look. F.

Worst part is I can't sue the bastards. According to CAA:
Since 1993, provincial and municipal governments are not liable for damage to vehicles attributable to the condition of the roads, lack of maintenance or failure to signal a known danger. As a result, obtaining compensation is much more complex.

Even worse, CAA-Quebec isn't even adding pot-hole information to their list. I was nailed by a pot-hole and it's not even pot hole season!

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Queen Mary and Westbury: dangerous intersection

The city needs to improve pedestrian security at the intersection of Queen Mary Rd. and Westbury in the Snowdon borough.

I took this photo showing pedestrians edging dangerously off the south-west corner. They all want to cross Queen Mary Rd. to get to Snowdon Metro station (not shown, off to the right).

The city should put more frequent red lights on Queen Mary Rd. so pedestians can cross the road more frequently.
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Friday, October 07, 2005

The end is near for the Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens have adopted Expo refugee-mascot Youppi.

(Yes, I know there is supposed to be an exclamation point at the end of his name. Screw that. No one I know has an exclamation point in their name. I'm not going to make an exception for this orange beast.)

The decision by the Canadiens to adopt a mascot is crazy nonsense. The New York Yankees don't have a mascot. They don't need one. Neither do the Canadiens.

I can't wait until Youppi blocks the view of spectators during a good hit or exciting goal. He'll be lynched.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Note to STM: put away those awards

The Montreal transit authority (Société de transport de Montréal) has a pretty awful Web site.

There is no rhyme. Only a tad of reason. But mostly suckiness--circa 1997. It's an embarassment when you witness what a real transit system Web site looks like. (See

What's most amazing is the STM has the chutzpah to list three Web site awards. One more obscure and meaningless than the next. Oh, and the most recent one is from 2001.
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Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The eyeless, handless smiling heroes of democracy

In all the excitement about the two-letter verboten word used on Mayor Gerald Tremblay's posters, no one noticed the frightening illustrations produced by the Montreal election bureau.

Every household in the city received the Elector's Manual in late September. The manual features illustrations of severely disfigured, hairless, and eyeless humans.

These stoic survivors are happy ambassadors for the city -- smiling their weird one-tooth smile and wearing short-sleeve shirts so we can get a better view of their bizarre-looking stumps.

Amazingly, they are able to put on a neck tie. God bless these brave souls.
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