Neighbourly Conspiracy?

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Zombie vs. Baby

Now here’s what I’m getting at…

A friend of mine who’s obviously as enthralled by toddlers as I am recently posted this image on his Facebook page. The first thought that crossed my mind, as the usual thumping was occurring over my head, was to print this image and tack it on my neighbour’s door. It would be rude, but I don’t give a flying fuck (or any other type of fuck).

I was making myself something to eat last night after calling home for Mom’s 83rd birthday when the noise got progressively worse to the point I couldn’t stand it any longer, so I turn off the stove to go knocking on my neighbour’s door …again. When dad opened the door, holding back his devils with one arm, I just looked at him, raised my arms up in the air in a “What the fuck” expression and said nothing …because it was obvious why I was there and there was nothing to be said.

However, my forceful three knock on neighbour’s door led the Hispanic tenant across the hall to open his own door to see what was going on. After I stepped away from the offending/offensive neighbour’s door, I ended up having a little chat with him and his guest, who, as it happens, is also a neighbour who lives directly below my neighbour across the hall.

Observation One: I get the feeling I’m not the only Friend of Dorothy in the building. As we chatted, two adult guests of Offending/Offensive Neighbour With the Kids From Hell left, but I paid little attention to them as they walked by me except to note to myself that they were among those blasted singing Christians. When I returned to my place, the noise continued, albeit one notch down on a scale of 1 to 10.

This morning was another typical Saturday morning and early afternoon: noisy and thumping. Around noon I had set an appointment to get my hair cut in the Village at 2:00, but as I was leaving for my appointment I bumped into the Hispanic neighbour in the hallway, who was moving stuff for, as it turns out, the dog lady with whom I began talking when I realized she wasn’t standoffish as much as terrified of our janitor and her brood. We all talked briefly; when I said to Hispanic neighbour that I’m hoping they move out next July 1st, he opined they may well do so because they’re afraid of the dogs. Dog Lady, who’s hard of hearing, then asked me, “You mean those Chinese kids?” Which I confirmed.

Next time I get the chance to see the janitor, I’ll complain again and insist not only that she should talk to them but that she must ask the landlord to send them a formal letter of complaint. To that, Hispanic neighbour and Dog Lady said they would do whatever they could to make life as miserable as possible for the Offending/Offensive family by not holding back their dogs and what not — all within reasonable boundaries and only when the opportunity just happens to fall in their lap, I assume. (By the way, these dogs are big but wouldn’t hurt a fly, so this only sounds like a nasty thing to do.)

“I have seniority over them in this building,” I said, to which they echoed, “So do we!”

You know what? This all ties into the changes I’ve been going through in the past months as a result of therapy. How well has always trying to be the nice guy worked out for me? Obviously not well if it got me in that state! And what if these people eventually get evicted or driven batty by “unfriendly” neighbours? Well, quite frankly, if they don’t realize that they must set boundaries on themselves while living among others, then they would be getting what they deserve.

No, none of this sounds like the old me. I’ve come to make peace with myself over something fundamental: that taking a stand for what’s rightfully mine might be confrontational at time, but if I don’t do it, no one else will do it for me.

It’s funny… That’s more or less what a colleague at work said to me when I came back to work last month. “Take care of yourself,” she said, “because no one else will.” She meant that in the context of the corporate environment we’re both in, but it’s true elsewhere in life.

My next appointment with Lucy is on Thursday. I’ll be telling her the appointment after that will be my last. I think in the six months since I reached out for help and now, I’ve learned what I needed to learn and I’m very much on track to putting all of that into practice.

Now I wonder what I could do about the Canadian-edition featherbrained chavette next door who screams like hell while fucking to make her boyfriend believe she’s having a far more shattering good time than she really is…

What a Waste!

Le Club SandwichMany are those in Montréal who deride the Club Sandwich in the heart of the Village, and I can understand why: it’s dated, run down, and not exactly the home of haute cuisine by any stretch of the imagination. However, I like it a lot …maybe BECAUSE it’s dated, run down, and not exactly the home of haute cuisine. And I know that La Chelita practically drools (not to say worse) at the thought of a tuna club with a side of pickles from there.

I like most the staff in that way one does upon becoming a regular as I have. Cleopatrick and I have declared one waiter, François, celui qui serait certainement pas laid tout nu — a better and not literal translation being, “the one you’d certainly not say no to if you spotted him naked.”

I was out last night and ended the evening with a poutine. At the table facing me was a couple — a guy and an gal, a rarity at that time on a Saturday night — sitting side by side in their booth. And, let me tell ya! The guy was quite the rival to the dear François.

His presence reminded me of something, which I shared with François (in French) as I was paying and leaving.

— You’re probably just a few years younger than me but you’re still of an age where you’d get this,” I said.

— [Bemuzzed grin]. “What?”

— Remember when a gay guy would come out to a straight gal and her immediate reaction would be…

…du gaspillage (a waste).”

— Yeah. Well, that guy over there. That’s waste in reverse,” I said with a wide grin, adding, “I doubt she can ever truly appreciate him.”

— No joke. We spotted him the moment he stepped in.”

That was a royal “we,” by the way. And I can totally imagine how a guy like that would totally get François’ juices rising.

This also reminds me how it seems that Montréal has more attractive people — male or female — than most places I’ve been. I remember the first time La Chelita was in town and we were coming back home on the métro. It was standing-room only and different languages were being spoken, as is often the case. And when we stepped out at Snowdon, we just looked at each other and, although we hadn’t said anything while in the métro, she just said, “I know. Unbelievable!”

She’s been a fan of Montréal ever since, although for more than just “the scenery” and the tuna clubs. But “the scenery” is certainly a huge asset.

But, the Stupidifier Can Offer Good Laughs

Someone on my Facebook friends’ list made a point of sending me this link privately, which I then promptly posted as my FB status and now here. It’s in French — the video quality of a version with English captions is too poor to post — but it doesn’t matter if you don’t understand what’s being said. Trust me on that!

The thing you have to understand is that the show is broadcast live each weekday morning from Marché Jean-Talon here in Montréal, so this hit the airwaves as is.

Le Big Bazar and a Bit Bizarre

If you grew up as I did as a francophone in the 1970s, you would remember Michel Fugain et le Big Bazar. I certainly remember songs like “Une Belle Histoire,” as it would often play on the morning show on CBAF radio as we’d be getting up and ready for school or work.

For increased laugh factor, I just HAD to pick the cheesiest possible video of this song on YouTube. I mean, today, I doubt even a gay man would be caught wearing shorts as short as those the guy on this video was wearing. Oye!

Fugain still deserves praise and respect in francophone pop culture in that he had a style and sound of his own. Is it pop? Is it rock? No, it’s Michel Fugain et le Big Bazar. Period. And although highly sentimental for the most part, the catchy melodies served as a vehicle for poetic lyrics. Too bad the English translation on this video is so poor.

Meanwhile, one Sunday in mid-September of last year, I drove to Hudson, just off the western tip of the Island of Montréal, to take advantage of one of the last warm days of summer. And here in Montréal, while I drive around in Junior, I alternate between two radio stations: CJPX — Radio-Classique Montréal and CFZZ — BoomFM (St.-Jean-sur-Richelieu).

The former station is remarkably good. I remember that initially, when I would come to Montréal and listen to it, it often had B-class recordings of major works, but it has improved a great deal since then. And I have to say that the morning show on CJPX is far more becoming than its counterpart on the Toronto classical station, which nearly drove me to pull my hair out when I was listening to it while in TO last October. Imagine the pump-pump-pump tone of morning DJs on a rock station combined with the most inappropriate classical music for the morning: that was my experience of the Toronto classical station. But that’s not surprising to me, though; compared to Montréal, Toronto has no class.***

The latter station is a delightful morsel of cheese ideally suited for driving. Dubbing itself “The Radio of Legends” (in reference to the fact it plays “classic hits”), BoomFM features songs mostly in French from the ’60s to the ’80s and even names its evening show “Amour Libre” (“Free Love”), which ought to give you a good indication of its high cheese factor.

Anyway, when I was driving back from Hudson that beautiful September afternoon, they played this one song that I remembered hearing from Moncton on some Montréal station — either the now-defunct CKLM or the now-all-sports CKAC — one night while falling asleep at age …oh …maybe 10 or 11. It wouldn’t play that often but, for some reason, it got me all excited and I just LOVED that melody. Now? Not so much, but the nostalgia brought on by hearing it again drew a huge smile on my face.

So, I got home and I found it on YouTube. I also looked up the singer in Wikipedia: his stage name was C. Jérôme (his real name being Claude Dhotel) and he died of cancer in 2000. But he had been a madly successful French singer, especially in the 1970s.

Then I continued poking around YouTube and Wikipedia for the next hour or so — you know how you can get lost for hours following link after link on such sites — until I stumbled upon the most bizarre and hilarious videos by Colette and Odette, a couple of European drag queens. I can’t decide on just one video, so I’m linking to the three that nearly made me piss myself laughing.

For those of you who understand French and perhaps remember this 1975 hit by Michèle Torr, brace yourselves! For those of you who don’t understand French, you’re bound to have at least a good chuckle.

As for the following medley, well, I just hope Jeff is reading this post, because I think it’s totally up his alley of twisted humour.

And then there’s this one! What to say, what to say, what to say? Well, I’m certainly impressed with the production value. And I’m choosing to call this one “drag queens’ design (miss)adventures.”

So, there you have it: From the Bazar to the bizarre. I hope you enjoyed.

*** I’m sure I’m going to get lambasted for that remark!

Unfortunate Last Names

Momma and KidHere is Québec, when a (straight) couple marries, the wife does not take her husband’s last name. I suppose she could if she really wanted to jump through many legal hoops, but even there it would be a lengthy process. This is primarily because Québec is a civil law jurisdiction, unlike the rest of Canada which relies on common law principles. But a spinoff is that “Jeanne Tremblay” ‘s file with the government will always be a variation of her name at birth and her birthdate.

Hence, many children here have compound last names (in either order — mother’s-father’s or father’s-mother’s), unless the parents decide to only give one name (the mother’s or the father’s). In a way, that’s not such a big deal. In Spanish-speaking countries, the norm is to have your father’s and mother’s last name (in that order), with the father’s name being used in day-to-day dealings.

My brother sent me this list of unfortunate last name combinations that could happen in Québec. Alas, a lot of you who don’t speak French or aren’t familiar with Québec slang won’t get the jokes, so I’m providing rough English translations. In most cases, it’s not that the combos really mean that, but they SOUND like they do.

Unfortunate Last Names

  1. Labelle-Binette (the cute face)
  2. Lavoie-Ferré (the railroad track)
  3. Desjardins-Fleury (gardens in flower)
  4. Dupont-D’Avignon (from d’Avignon bridge)
  5. Buisson-Desfossés (bush from the ditches)
  6. Jetté-Lapierre ([I] threw the stone)
  7. Morand-Voyer ([they] sent me back/fired me)
  8. Tétreault-Cauchon (you’re too piggy)
  9. Lalumière-Dufour (the oven light)
  10. Sanschagrin-D’Amours (without love-sickness)
  11. Legros-Ratté (the big loser)
  12. Laporte-Barré (the locked door)
  13. Lebeau-Fyfe (the big fag)
  14. Legrand-Brûlé (the big burn [victim])
  15. Beausoleil-Brillant (nice bright sun)
  16. Leboeuf-Haché (the ground beef)
  17. Parent-D’Ostie (parent of a motherfucker)
  18. Viens-Sansregrets (come with no regret)
  19. Lemoyne-Allaire (dick in the air)
  20. Hétu-Guay (are you gay)

Meanwhile, from the unbelievable-but-true, an old French name that’s never given anymore for a female is Victime. And yes, it means the same thing as in English. It really happened, in our lifetime, that a young girl was given that name with the second family name in Number 16 above. She obviously had grounds, pardon the pun, as a (very traumatized) adult, to legally change her first name to Vicky.

In another case, I won’t give you her actual name because she’s a real person whom I don’t know. But, when she says her full name in French really fast, it’s sounds like she’s saying, “It’s the stomach.”

And, I don’t know if it’s true or urban legend, but when I was growing up in Moncton, there apparently was a woman named Candy who married a guy with the last name of Kane and — you got it! — she took his name!

What are some people thinking, huh?!

ADDENDUM: The choice of image for this post is not meant to be a slight against Québec or parents or Québec parents. It’s just a cute mom-and-kid picture, okay?!