View blog reactions Waiting for Speedway Fowler: Bonjour!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007



Greetings from Quebec!

English-speaking Quebec, to be exact. that may sound strange, but it's not, really. Everything west of Montreal is pretty-much English-speaking territory, and parts of the "Eastern Townships" - roughly the string of New England-y towns running from Montreal to more or less the border crossing north of Jackman, Maine, speaks the King's English as well.

The communities here look straight out of southern New Hampshire. If someone blindfolded you and dropped you in Knowlton, Quebec, you might think you were in Newmarket or Stratham or Rye. Except it's prettier. The Canadians have a thing about their lawns and walkways. B&Bs are everywhere. Farmstands. Butter-and-sugar corn. Apples (seems early in the season!).

There are differences, though. Smart cars are somewhat common here. The sports pages are full of hockey news even in July - what a cliche! and milk is sold in giant ziplock-style bags, which is vaguely unsettling and I can't explain why.

So it's vacation time and we've returned to the cottage we've rented for the past 5 years. Donald Sutherland's place is across the lake. (That makes me cooler than you, by the way.) This is our first summer without Guinness, and we all miss her terribly, but she is here with us in spirit. "Canadian Idol" is on the TV. It's hosted by Brian Mulroney's son, who's pretty irritating. The U.S. dollar is dying a slow, painful death and we vacationers in Canada have a front-row seat at the funeral. Beer is shamefully expensive, but "President's Choice" products, still sporting that weird, Reagan-esque signature logo, once everywhere in New England back in the 80's, are still ubiquitous here... and cheap. And damned good. Yay, "President's Choice"!

I was hoping to come away from here with a tape of the funniest thing I'd ever seen on TV. But it looks like it won't be happening. Last summer, clicking through the channels on the satellite service, I settled on NTV, the station out of Newfoundland. Pretty normal TV station, except for their morning news, which featured repeated traffic updates from around Newfoundland. At the top of every hour, the anchor would reel though eight or ten traffic cameras, each showing completely deserted, desolate roadways. Nobody lives in Newfoundland. There's no traffic. Apparently, this has since dawned on the NTV News Director, because the traffic cameras are out this year. I am inconsolable over this. This was comedy in its purest form. I had planned to tape a news update and post it on YouTube. It looks like it won't be happening. And the world will be a poorer place for that, dammit.

And I miss the Expos. I miss Youppi. I miss Termel Sledge. I even miss the Big O. I could take the whole family to a big league baseball game, with good seats, for $75 or $80 bucks. We did that each summer, until the Expos moved to Washington and became just another overpriced corporate big-city product. The difference between the Expos and the Nationals is all the difference in the world and each day more and more people are seeing that difference and walking away from the sham that is major league sports. There's a sea change coming and the wags in the front offices don't see it yet. The future belongs to teams like the Worcester Tornadoes and the North Adams SteepleCats and the Lowell Lock Monsters.

Well... I've drifted enough for now.


Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?