Monthly Archives: February 2008

A new radio station in Vaudreuil

The CRTC is accepting comments about an application they’ve kind of already approved for a new radio station in Vaudreuil.

The station, CJDV-FM, would broadcast at 1,000W on 100.1 MHz (the station was forced to pick a new frequency after another one, Canadian Hellenic Cable Radio Ltd., was given the 106.3 MHz channel). That power is better than nothing, but you’ll be lucky if you can hear it from the West Island. The further you go south, the more interference problems with WBTZ (99.9 The Buzz) in Plattsburgh, New York, which puts out 100 times more power.

The station will be low-budget, low-power, and the only one based in Vaudreuil-Dorion. Its focus will be on local news and oldies music.

More details in articles last year in Première Édition and L’Étoile.

Frozen at Berri-UQAM

UPDATE: See the article and video about this event.

The Improv-Everywhere-style freeze today at Berri-UQAM metro I told you about was a crazy success (much to my surprise). About 50-60 people showed up, then entered the metro station and gathered in the area around the puck on the mezzanine. For five minutes, they all stood frozen, quiet, as regular travellers passed them by.

There’s talk on the Facebook page of organizing a second one some time in March, or perhaps other IE-inspired activities. I’ll keep you updated, of course.

I’ll have more to write (and show) about this later. In the meantime, here’s the first video that’s been uploaded showing what happened. In it, you can hear the loud, spontaneous applause that took place among participants just as the freeze came to an end.

Also see this video, this compilation video,
this “warm-up” freeze and this photo gallery.

UPDATE: Journal de Montréal article

TQS still on life-support

I know this will shock and amaze you, but TQS has gotten another extension. Like that kid in college who could never get an assignment done on time, they went to the teacher’s office, cried their eyes out and explained how complicated the situation is and how they were working really hard getting it done.

Good thing TQS doesn’t owe me any money.

Meanwhile, the Only Reason For TQS’s Financial Problems is back in the news, with CTV and Canwest (full disclosure: Canwest is the Gazette’s — and therefore my — corporate overlord) deciding they, too, want cable and satellite TV providers to give them money for their over-the-air channels.

I don’t buy Rogers’s argument that Canadians will leave cable TV if they have to pay a few bucks more a month for it.

But that’s not the point, is it? Why should I have to pay for channels I can pick up with an antenna? Those broadcasters have already decided to broadcast those channels free to everyone. They can’t change their minds now and say it’s pay TV (but only for some).

Don’t expect the companies fighting over this to bring that minor but up, though. Principle doesn’t bring them money.

Flashmob freeze planned for Saturday

Inspired by Improv Everywhere’s freezing-in-Grand-Central prank, as well as the group’s new worldwide social networking site (whose Montreal subgroup now has 50 members), it looks like the first truly IE-inspired event here might take place this weekend.

The usual caveats apply: It’s being loosely organized by random people, publicized almost entirely through social networks, and with very little notice. It might be wildly successful with hundreds of participants, or there might be three people there who decide it’s not worth it embarrassing themselves alone.

Nevertheless, here’s the skinny:

Saturday, February 23, 5:30pm at Parc Émilie-Gamelin (a.k.a. Berri Square, at Berri and Ste-Catherine, just outside the Ste-Catherine exit to Berri-UQAM). A re-enactment of the Grand Central freeze, in which participants suddenly stop in mid-step (or mid-kiss, mid-puff, mid-fall, etc.) for a few minutes, attracting the curious glares of passers-by.

(Since this would be the first such event for most of the participants, I imagine they won’t be as strict about having people hide their cameras, which means passers-by will quickly conclude it’s some sort of public exhibition.)

For more details, see the Facebook group page or the Improv Everywhere social network forum.

Comeback of a lifetime

You probably already know the story, so I’ll just provide you some colour commentary, courtesy of the Habs Inside/Out chat room immediately following the game:

Barts:ya baby
Leo G.:woooooohohhhhhhhhhhhhhh
Mattee.:WE WIN!
Leo G.:omg
FawtMan:WE WIN
Mattee.:HOLY MOFO!
usversusthem:omg thank you god
Elbacky:Price gets the win……technicallities
yehaken:first time in habs franchise history winning when down by 5 goals
Sulemaan:of all the !$#@#!@ gams not to watch (but at least I got to listen to it via radio and read it here)
Mattee.:5-0 EAT THAT!
dusty baker:teach, me too, are you also in the states?
Elbacky:alright lets see what happens in ottawa now
Barts:Mio you’re the best
The’s huet in the shootout
The Teacher:lol
usversusthem:i just want to say… i love you all so much
Elbacky:hhaha mattee


and, uhh, Maxim Lapierre scores Montreal’s second goal. Poor Michael Ryder. First he loses his hat trick to Streit, now Newsday takes away another goal. Then again, it seems they left halfway through the second period.

Jon Lajoie

I’ve spent the last hour watching Jon Lajoie videos after being reminded of them by The Domster.

I talked about one of his videos in December, but really they’re all good. I hesitate to recommend any specific ones because that would imply others are less good, but Everyday Normal Guy has a sequel for a reason:

Did I mention he’s a Montrealer? You can see some hints of that in some of his videos.

UPDATE (Feb. 22): More info from Cyberpresse.

Journal discovers fast food is greasy

The Journal de Montréal loves to manufacture controversy to sell papers. It’s what they do best. Sometimes it works, and leads to government action political grand-standing.

Other times, it just leaves you shaking your head.

Today, I was handed a Journal free outside the metro station. On its cover (while everyone else was talking about this silly Kosovo thing), a special EXCLUSIVE report about fast food.

It seems the Journal had “grand chef” Thierry Daraize (actually, he’s more of a chef-turned-food-columnist, for newspapers including the Journal, which makes me wonder why he didn’t write the stories himself), and had him apply UNDER COVER to work at fast food restaurants like McDonald’s, Burger King, and KFC.

His conclusions:

  • The restaurants’ policies emphasize speed over quality of food
  • Fast food is prepared in advance and kept warm for hours at a time
  • Fast food is greasy
  • Burgers are not prepared carefully — ingredients are just slapped onto the bun
  • Food ingredients come pre-cut so employees don’t waste time chopping veggies
  • Soft drinks are dispensed through a machine that combines a concentrated syrup with carbonated water — and those drinks are watered down

That’s it. No rats, secret poisons, spitting into the burgers, crimes against humanity. Nothing but a bunch of tidbits that any idiot who’s worked in the industry already knows.

And yet the Journal devoted their first four pages this morning, plus the cover, to this non-story. And they’ll be continuing the series for two more days. Somehow I doubt his findings will suddenly become more interesting.

The Journal doesn’t have a monopoly on overblown giant features that waste journalistic resources stating the obvious, or talk about insanely uninteresting things, for days on end (*cough*). But they seem to have turned it into an art.

Montreal Geography Trivia No. 13

Montreal has a lot of north-south axis streets that run the width of the island. Unfortunately, because of obstructions like railways, highways and large properties, many of them are interrupted. Combined with one-way streets, name changes and traffic deviations for the sake of the children, it’s actually difficult to find a street on the east side of the island that you can drive from one side to the other on.

So here’s the question: What is the westernmost street (i.e. closest to the mountain) on the east side of the island (i.e. east of the mountain) that runs uninterrupted in both directions and intersects both Notre-Dame St. and Gouin Blvd.?

UPDATE: Kate and Chris independently come up with the answer: St. Jean Baptiste Blvd. in Montreal-East. Crazy, huh?

There are streets, such as St. Laurent, St. Hubert, Papineau and Viau that go at least one way between Gouin and Notre-Dame. There are others, such as St. Denis and Berri that are split up into different parts (some of them one-way), and there’s Lacordaire/Dickson which changes names.

Give yourself half a point if you guessed Pie-IX, which is two-way its entire length, but doesn’t actually intersect Gouin Blvd. vertically.

The only other street to meet these criteria*: Sherbrooke St., in Pointe-aux-Trembles.

(*This post originally read “this criteria,” a horrible breach of the rules of grammar, especially for a copy editor. My shame will never be overcame.) copies McKibbin’s quotes from Gazette

I just learned from Kate that the Irish media is all over the McKibbin’s story.

Now, I don’t want to accuse the Independent and its writer Jerome Reilly of plagiarism, but:

From Reilly’s story at on Sunday:

“C’est ridicule, plus que ca, c’est stupide,” said Stephane Lajoie-Plante, who said he was a Quebec nationalist with some Irish ancestry.

“These signs aren’t outside where everyone can see them. They aren’t promoting English. If the Office wants to pick a fight with someone, you don’t pick a fight with the Irish over something as silly as this.”

Michael Kenneally, head of Concordia College Irish studies programme, said the signs were “cultural artifacts that spoke to Irish history”.

“They are in no way a commercial proposition, because they are not specifically selling any of these products,” he added.

From Alan Hustak’s Gazette’s story on Friday:

“C’est ridicule, plus que ça, c’est stupide,” said Stéphane Lajoie-Plante, who said he was a Quebec nationalist with some Irish ancestry.

“These signs aren’t outside where everyone can see them. They aren’t promoting English. If the Office wants to pick a fight with someone, you don’t pick a fight with the Irish over something as silly as this.”

Michael Kenneally, head of Concordia’s Irish studies program, said the signs are “cultural artifacts that speak to Irish history.”

“They are in no way a commercial proposition, because they are not specifically selling any of these products,” he added.

Reilly doesn’t mention The Gazette once in his story as a source.

The underground city scavenger hunt

Underground City scavenger hunt participants

I have to admit, part of me totally expected last weekend’s underground city scavenger hunt to be a complete dud. It’s happened before with these organized-on-Facebook just-for-fun events. Facebook had 35 people attending, but those numbers are always hyperinflated due to the way Facebook works.

As it turns out, there were 39 participants, and that was way more than was needed to have fun.

For my article in today’s Gazette, I spoke to organizer Robin Friedman while boyfriend-and-co-organizer Jody McIntyre was registering people. I then followed a team through the two-hour hunt.

Photos, the list and more after the jump below.

Continue reading

The McKibbin’s kinda-non-story

I should give fair play to Jamie Orchard. My last post about her blog was unflattering. But her latest post, about the whole McKibbin’s language-police debacle, is much more interesting:

The OLF insists that all the owner has to do is write back and explain that the signs are artifacts. In fact, when the OLF saw our TV footage of the signs, they said right away the case could be solved easily – here’s the quote from Gerald Paquette:

There are many Irish pubs in Quebec that have these kinds of artifacts and they have all asked for an exception.”

We told this to the owner of the pub on Thursday, and he seemed relieved. But then, on Friday, the co-owner of the pub was on talk radio insisting that he would have to go to court to fight this, making a big show of inviting the premier to his pub to look at the signs, insisting he would refuse to pay the fine. He was getting all the sympathy in the world from the host, from the callers, from everyone, and never once did he mention it could all be solved with a simple letter.

I like this post (especially compared to the previous one) for two reasons:

  1. It’s a simple, rational, thought-out opinion rather than an uninformed reactionary “stupid OLF” rant
  2. It brings some new information to the table (Global’s conversation with the bar’s owner) that is perfectly placed in a journalist’s blog.

I’m not going to leave the OLF (actually the OQLF) off the hook entirely, since they did, in fact, bring up these signs in their complaint (which was from a customer who said he wasn’t served in French and an outdoor menu was in English only).

But it’s clear the media (and I have to include myself here, since I edited the big article in Friday’s Gazette about it) played up the signs and outrage campaign while burying the other complaints and the comments from the OQLF that they could easily get an exemption. (Second-day stories are pointing these things out, but that wouldn’t have been necessary if they weren’t buried in the first place.)

And McKibbin’s owners are clearly using this as an excuse to launch an anti-OQLF publicity campaign to boost anglo business and line their pockets with outrage money (or just get their name in the news). They’ve already got a Facebook group. And another. And another. And another. And another.

Elsewhere in the blogosphere:

UPDATE (Feb. 27): A video on YouTube shows the original letter from the OQLF to McKibbin’s, which clearly is much more about the posters than the office later suggested to reporters. Also plenty of discussion on some franco forums.

Worst. Kerning. Ever.

Seen at the Berri-UQAM metro:

Horrible kerning

Horrible kerning (2)

Looking at the website of the Rendez-vous du cinéma québécois, I admit it’s possible this comically awful kerning job was done on purpose. But if so, it looks silly.

And the fact they misspelled “québécois” inconsistently (note a missing accent on the second version), I’m thinking maybe Astral Media was just incompetent designing these ads.