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Log Cabin Chronicles

Archived Columns (3)

MORE PREVIOUS COLUMNS ARE ARCHIVED HERE

Society of hypocrites (725)
If I offered you a choice between tolerating an organization who hates black people or one that protects child rapists, which would you select?
Jim Austin is back in the saddle in Putney, Vermont.

The pressure of fame and power on a rural Quebec village (740)
George W. Bush has his Texas ranch. Jean Chretien has his cottage on Lac des Piles near Shawinigan. And Jean Charest has his hideaway amidst the old-money charm of North Hatley.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

Summertime and the sipping is easy, or
The proper way to make a Mint Julep
(1000 words)
Go to a spring where cool, crystal-clear water bubbles from under a bank of dew-washed ferns. In a consecrated vessel, dip up a little water at the source. Follow the stream through its banks of green moss and wildflowers until it broadens and trickles through beds of mint growing in aromatic profusion and waving softly in the summer breezes. Gather the sweetest and tenderest of shoots and gently carry them home.
Greg Duncan is the LCC's Gallivanting Gourmand.

The Final Word (700)
Closing remarks delivered at the annual Newport, Vermont High School Alumni Association banquet on Saturday, July 19, at the East Side Restaurant in Newport, Vermont.
John Mahoney, Class of 1953, Newport, Vermont High School, edits this digital rag.

Honky-tonkin' on Montreal's West Island (585)
Behind the bar a blonde goddess named Danielle worked her magic, making everyone feel welcome and special. Up behind the dance floor a single musician played a keyboard, with a computer filling in bass and drum tracks.
Ricky Blue is a Montreal-based humorist, singer, and writer.

Bits & Pieces of a Fine Old Rant (645)
Guess what? For $10,000 you can fly to Vegas and hunt naked women with paintball guns. Omigod. Did you hear that Osama? Apparently the good ole boys stalk these naked babes who wear only goggles and running shoes then blast them with paintballs.
Jim Austin is still incensed in Putney, Vermont.

Quebec outfitters cowed by caribou ban (600)
Presumably, officials at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) are able to explain how wild beasts five hours by air north of Montreal may be susceptible to the BSE identified in one lone Alberta cow. Otherwise they would not have included untamed ungulates like caribou, deer, and moose on the list of banned flesh.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

Mendacity Blues (760)
Here's a switch. The White House is now admitting that the President lied in his State of the Union address last January.
Jim Austin is still incensed in Putney, Vermont.

Baseball Day on Montreal's West Island (580)
I think the way we treat our major league baseball team is nothing short of tragic. And when they leave us, Montreal will be poorer for it. But for those of us who appreciate it, we "people of baseball" who understand the game and can see the rise and fall of epic drama that comes with every pitch, Baseball Day is a way of restating our love of the game.
Ricky Blue is a Montreal-based humorist, singer, and writer.

Alcan 2: The Rise of the Aluminum Machine (670)
Alcan rose like some B-movie behemoth from the industrial swamp in Quebec's backwoods, gobbled up a succession of lesser rivals and set up shop in dozens of countries.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

Phil is a fig, but he's our fig (585)
I'll admit, I've gotten kind of sick of 'Phil' (as the rambunctious little tree came to be known in our house) and decided to put it out in the garden this spring. Figs are semi-tropical plants but I deny vigorously that this is fig tree euthanasia -- a glorious summer followed by certain death in our Zone 4, winter deep-freeze.
Royal Orr writes in Hatley, Quebec.

Et tu Caesar? (585 words)
I only have one complaint about rug rats. Why is it that no matter what you cook, they always want something else?
Greg Duncan is the LCC's Gallivanting Gourmand.

Who hires whom in Quebec (680)
The fact is the top non-government employer in Quebec generates profits, not power, and produces interest, not ingots. And it's nominal head office is not in the great island metropolis, but in sleepy Levis, across the St. Lawrence from Quebec City.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

The Scotch Fast (570)
Without the help of a nutritionist or my future library of weight loss literature, we invented the Scotch-fast (patent pending). We pledged to each other that, for one week, we would consume only Scotch and water. After that week we would tally our losses and decide whether to continue.
Jim Austin writes in Putney, Vermont.

Get me to the church on time (450)
That's right. You can grab the bride, stuff the bridesmaid, the best man, and - depending on the size of your vehicle - at least one usher, into the back seat of your Hyundai Sonata and tie the knot.Tim Belford is host of Quebec AM, CBC Radio's popular off-island morning program

The Very Large Tremblay Family of Quebec (620)
There is not a stadium in Quebec, nor the rest of Canada for that matter, large enough to accommodate Pierre Tremblay's Quebec family.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

Desperately in need of a stone mortar and pestle (700 words)
Molly put it best. "You must pound paste harder, must make good paste, make good wife!" Ah, the lessons learned while dining in this mountain valley in a basil-infused state.
Greg Duncan is the LCC's Gallivanting Gourmand.

Learning about strip malls (580)
I once wondered why people lived in the suburbs, where there are so few bookstores or fashionable clothing stores, where there are so few fine restaurants or outdoor cafes to sit and discuss modes of alienation over espressos and cognac for hours and hours, where there is so little of the downtown cosmopolitan life I took for granted when I lived on Le Plateau.
Ricky Blue is a Montreal-based humorist, singer, and writer.

So much doom & gloom, so much life to live (500)
How does that old 60s song go? "Tell me over and over again, my friend, that you don't believe we're on the eve of destruction."
Tim Belford is host of Quebec AM, CBC Radio's popular off-island morning program.

Keeping referendum promises in Quebec (700)
There is a certain creepy similarity between the new Liberal government of 2003 and that of the Parti Québécois nine years earlier.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

Pants on fire (650)
We have a President that didn't win the popular vote, has run the deficit through the roof, has presided over massive unemployment, is packing the courts with right wing zealots that would make Torquemada wince, and lied us into a war that promises to turn into a quagmire of death and global anti-American hatred before it is over. And his polls couldn't be higher. What does it take to get through to you people?
Jim Austin writes in Putney, Vermont.

Lotus Land Salmon (470 words)
It almost goes without saying that British Columbia is best known for one of its greatest resources, the pacific salmon. Whether barbecued, steamed, baked, or fried, they know how to do it right.
Greg Duncan is the LCC's Gallivanting Gourmand.

An instant love affair (300)
I'm in love. And it happened in the wink of an eye. The instant I fanned through the 180 pages of the Lee Valley Hardware Catalog for 2002/2003, I knew I had to possess it.
John Mahoney writes this stuff in Fool's Hollow, Quebec.

Dad, pity poor old Moulay Ismail (500)
And if Moulay didn't get anything else right, he at least did the parenting thing. He is reported to have fathered 548 sons and 340 daughters.
Tim Belford is host of Quebec AM, CBC Radio's popular off-island morning program.

Doing right by Good Old Dad (650 words)
Okay kids, listen up. Dad is expecting that you will make him breakfast or take him out to eat on his special day. He is also expecting a variety of tools and man toys to be delivered.
Greg Duncan is the LCC's Gallivanting Gourmand.

Wither QC auto insurance: fault, no-fault? (620)
The average Quebecer pays about $550 a year, plus the $142 provincial plan, the lowest in the country; in Ontario that same average motorist pays $1027. Naturally, the biggest variable in these rates is the amount insurance companies pay out in personal liability claims.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

A cherished glory of surburbia (580)
I can remember a time in my life when: "He must be out cleaning his gas barbecue" was a way of mocking a suburbanite. It would serve as a symbol for a meaningless life. That was when I lived downtown.
Ricky Blue is a Montreal-based humorist, singer, and writer.

The Unquiet Revolution (775)
What is intriguing about Charest's mighty leap forward, his plan to re-engineer Quebec, is the obvious zeal with which he has embarked on a mission so fraught with political dangers.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

The summer job that burned my butt (465)
In retrospect, I'm not sure which was more painful -- the scalpel, the iodine, or dropping my drawers in front of someone I had known since grade three.
Tim Belford is host of Quebec AM, CBC Radio's popular off-island morning program.

Some of the facts/truth about hot dogs (1200 words)
The council claims that the average North American eats 70 hot dogs a year. Simply put, these little doggies are so easy to prepare that I won't be providing a recipe here this week. You know how to cook them and if you don't then you have a serious culinary impediment. Let's take a walk through a little hot dog history.
Greg Duncan is the LCC's Gallivanting Gourmand.

Bits & pieces to gladden the heart (660)
Lebron James will be the number one pick in the NBA draft. He isn't quite finished with high school yet but has recently signed a $90,000,000 deal with Nike.
Jim Austin writes in Putney, Vermont.

Serene Saint Patrick of the Hockey (680)
Serene is not a word normally used to describe Patrick Roy. More fitting ones come to mind -- intense, fierce, confident gusting to arrogant, superstitious, temperamental, belligerent, combative.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

it's Fiesta Time (445)
But, I got it assembled all right. The real terror didn't set in until I started reading the instructions for using your appliance correctly.
Tim Belford is host of Quebec AM, CBC Radio's popular off-island morning program.

A good man gone (440)
If justice exists anywhere in this universe, and there is anything at all after life on this abused and tortured planet, David McLauchlin is fishing somewhere out there.
John Mahoney is a monster lover living in Fool's Hollow, Quebec.

All burgers, all the time (780 words)
Hamburger is clouded in history and controversy. In Medieval times, the Tartars -- a band or warriors from the plains of Central Asia -- would place pieces of beef under their saddles while they rode. This would tenderize the meat that would then be eaten raw.
Greg Duncan is the LCC's Gallivanting Gourmand.

City of Dreams coming to a suburb near you (590)
I wouldn't be able to get used to writing "Montreal" as a return address. For now, I still get to write "Beaconsfield." But perhaps one day soon I will be writing "The Free City of the West Island."
Ricky Blue is a Montreal-based humorist, singer, and writer.

An "Elle" of a tale (649)
"Marguerite would survive three summers and two winters, see the deaths of her baby, her lover, and her old Saxon nurse. She was later rescued by French fishermen and returned to tell her story in her native France."
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

Hell, all I wanted was a hamburger! (515)
There are probably no people on earth -- with maybe the exception of the Aussies -- who love barbecues more than Canadians.
Tim Belford is host of Quebec AM, CBC Radio's popular off-island morning program.

But it's my lake monster (440)
Yup, this ex-flatlander woman down in Newport, Vermont -- Barbara Malloy aka Mrs. Murgatroyd -- is obsessed with the belief that she owns and controls all rights to and expressions of the mythological sea serpent that dwells in Lake Memphremagog.
John Mahoney is a monster lover living in Fool's Hollow, Quebec.

Men in bikinis adore pasta salad (700 words)
I applied at Curves (a new fitness-centre franchise) for a membership on the weekend and was declined because I am not of the female persuasion. Discrimination, I say, as I deserve to look as good in a bikini as anyone else.
Greg Duncan is the LCC's Gallivanting Gourmand.

Quebec hockey - today it's biz, not politics (775)
In May, 1971, junior hockey became the medium for the political turmoil that was raging in Quebec. This was the spring following the October Crisis, with kidnappings, murder, martial law, political upheaval, and intense emotions.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

Ignorance is Strength (720)
"It was not desirable that the proles should have strong political feelings. All that was required of them was a primitive patriotism, which could be appealed to whenever it was necessary to make them accept longer working hours or shorter rations..."
Jim Austin writes in Putney, Vermont.

A Reader's Digest approach to saving baseball in Montreal (580)
The only way we can do this is with the instantaneous medium of television. And the only way we can get Montrealers to watch the Expos on television is by introducing something I will call: Condensed Baseball (c).
Ricky Blue is a Montreal-based humorist, singer, and writer.

Quebec election files clean-up (685)
Now that Bernard Landry was decided to stick around for a while to serve as opposition leader, the PQ is likely to have a real leadership race. This is something the PQ has not experienced since 1985.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

Beautiful Waters lake monster re-surfaces (200)
Yes, that's the bald-faced fact: our Fo-kam cameras caught the elusive lake monster humping its way down the lake. A section of the monster's back appeared briefly above the surface, distorted into three humps -- yes, three glistening wet humps -- by its natural forward-motion rhythm.
John Mahoney is a monster lover living in Fool's Hollow, Quebec.

Steaking my claim on turning right on red (500 words)
I have just realized that being allowed to turn right on a red light has its perks after all. There is a downside however. Quebec's recent new traffic regulation will allow you to eat fast food even faster.
Greg Duncan is the LCC's Gallivanting Gourmand.

Quebec film director has another winner (680)
If they liked The Decline, they'll surely love The Invasion. At least that would seem to be the thinking behind the just-released sequel to what is probably the most critically and financially successful film produced in Canada, The Decline of the American Empire.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

Enough PC is enough (400)
A recent study in the United States -- where PC is king -- shows that benign censorship has turned the world on its head. Certain jurisdictions have banned the story The little engine that could because the train is depicted as male.
Tim Belford is host of Quebec AM, CBC Radio's popular off-island morning program.

Newspeak (790)
Last week Operation Iraqi Freedom soldiers permanently liberated fourteen Iraqi demonstrators into the hands of Allah. I was surprised to see that this kind of reporting was allowed to surface. Lately I get the feeling that our news services are just another tentacle of the Bush government.
Jim Austin writes in Putney, Vermont.

Hard times in hard place (725)
The people on the Lower North Shore are almost totally dependent on what they can haul out of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and for generations that was mostly cod, more or less an extension of the Newfoundland fishery that got its start with the Basques -- well before the arrival of Jacques Cartier.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

In Bush We Trust (800)
Okay, according to the latest polls President Bush has a 70 percent approval rating. Where was this poll conducted? Kenneth Lay's billiard room perhaps? Maybe it was part of the intake procedure at Bellevue clinic in New York.
Jim Austin writes in Putney, Vermont.

Right turn on red. Yes? No? Sometimes? (500)
It suddenly dawned on me the other day what I really needed was my very own Sancho Panza.
Tim Belford is host of Quebec AM, CBC Radio's popular off-island morning program.

Don Juan was a wuss (500)
For the last three weeks I have been falling in love every night in front of 250 people. And I'll continue doing it for the next three weeks with a matinee on Saturday and Sunday.
Ricky Blue is a Montreal-based humorist, singer, and writer.

Jean Charest: a Quebec premier like no other (725)
It may take some time to sink in, but people who care about these things may come to understand that what happened in Quebec on April 14 could some day be viewed as one of the more important milestones in Canada's evolution.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

Never Again (670)
Last weekend I saw "The Pianist." It was a slightly different take from the many movies depicting the plight of the Jews that we have all seen over the years.
Jim Austin writes in Putney, Vermont.

Angry Rabbits & Sambuca Chicken (400 words)
Last week I served up a dish that I believe is worthy of serving at any Holiday meal. This dish is simple to make and is 100 percent bunny free. That is unless you consider jumbo shrimp the Rabbit of the Sea.
Greg Duncan is the LCC's Gallivanting Gourmand.

]Canada's Governance Options (465)
That way we'd end up with a four-and-a-half day work week, a flat tax system everywhere but Montreal, and a reduction of the civil service but only between ten at night and seven in the morning.
Tim Belford is host of Quebec AM, CBC Radio's popular off-island morning program.

Quebec Election Aftermath (665)
Most importantly for the Liberals and their reputation as the party of the English minority, Charest's victory penetrated deep into the most francophone corners of the province.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

Operation World Freedom (630)
The utter incompetence of this administration in the field of international cooperation is unprecedented. The Bush efforts at obtaining consensus and at dealing with different cultures can only be described as hostile and profoundly retarded.
Jim Austin writes in Putney, Vermont.

Throw the rascals out (400)
If Premier Bernard Landry and his Quebécois secessionists are kicked out of power in Monday's election, they can do some partial fingerpointing at a descendant of Ralph the Pagan, a vassal of William the Conqueror.
John Mahoney is a moneyless ethnic living in Fool's Hollow, Quebec.

Landry: The slightest chance (675)
So even if he loses the election it's a good bet it won't be by much. The PQ would then, at the very least, have the resources and credibility in opposition to keep the cause alive politically to fight another day.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

My non-fat wino diet(590)
"Would you like some fat with your fat?"
Ricky Blue is a Montreal-based humorist, singer, and writer.

Time, ladies and gentlemen, time... (500)
We slog our way through Winter in darkness and just when we begin to see the light of spring, you take it all back be re-setting the clock!
Tim Belford is host of Quebec AM, CBC Radio's popular off-island morning program.

Thinking about Mid-East history (675)
Sitting in front of me was my Grade 7 British History teacher. She turned around to tell me that she'd read a recent column of mine in The Stanstead Journal and then in a stern, low voice I remember from nearly thirty-five years ago she said, "And I assume you are against this war." Well, I was caught.
Royal Orr writes from Hatley, Quebec.

That old "National Question" issue lingers (800)
When Quebec Premier Bernard Landry called an election during what's been a rather nasty and early Spring, weatherwise and otherwise, he knew he was gambling.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

(900)
The fact that the guidebooks raved about the fishing in Belize did not escape my attention. I would rather fish in the sea than be thrown into a pit of naked super models.
Jim Austin is a Sporting Man in Putney, Vermont.

Come, celebrate Spring! Toss a dwarf or two... (500)
The highlight of the day is the hilarious Tossing of the Dwarves, which traditionally has been taken place on both sides of manure-filled ditch. However, due to concerted pressure from outside agitators, this year a line will be drawn in a sandbox and the participating dwarves will be tossed across the line.
When not editing the Log Cabin Chronicles, John Mahoney gardens and tosses dwarves in Fool's Hollow, Quebec.

Watching a Quebec pol named Paquin (675)
If a tradition dating back to Confederation holds true, the April 14 election will be decided by a pair of Paquins.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

Better an election than a war(600)
My perception of the Quebec election is being coloured by the war in Iraq. Those of you who read my column regularly will know that I believe in supporting one's allies and toppling dictators. In both cases.
Ricky Blue is a Montreal-based humorist, singer, and writer.

Spicy Chicken revs up the heat (550 words)
You may want to consider serving a cool cucumber salad with a yogurt-based dressing on the side to cool your tongue between bites. A good bottled dressing will do just fine if you are in a hurry.
Greg Duncan is the LCC's Gallivanting Gourmand.

Waiting to fish (500)
It was barely a stream, running into the lake in not much more than a trickle. But it had what my father knew was the essential element of success. It was full of sunfish and rock bass.
Tim Belford is host of Quebec AM, CBC Radio's popular off-island morning program.

Wooing Mario's orphans (735)
With roughly three weeks remaining in the Quebec election campaign, it would seem one clear trend has emerged: barring some rogue eruption in the current highly volatile electorate, Mario Dumont's ADQ will not form the next government.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

The dying will begin soon (250)
Torn and bloodied, once-lusty young men and women will call out for their mothers. Others will moan and whimper at the end.
John Mahoney edits the Log Cabin Chronicles.

To Market, To Market. Not.590
After the last two years, I have seen what are basically my life's savings shrink like the private parts of a weightlifter on steroids.
Ricky Blue is a Montreal-based humorist, singer, and writer.

To hell with all this ****ing snow (680)
Unlike you frozen stiffs, I get a little reprieve starting next week. Once again I will sacrifice my spare time to take college students on a little junket south. After a few years of Costa Rican adventures we have decided to try Belize.
Jim Austin has his way with words in Putney, Vermont.

St. Paddy was born a Taffy (500 words)
The Scots have their whisky; the Welsh have their tongue, but the Irish have St. Paddy, who's second to none.
Greg Duncan is the LCC's Gallivanting Gourmand.

Quebec Election 2003 ~ thrice would be nice for Landry (800)
At the outset of the campaign, it would seem Landry already has scored an important triumph. Even if the PQ is not re-elected, Landry has very much kept the party in the game -- despite predictions a year ago it was headed for oblivion.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

Whatever happened to cooking? (500)
I've got news for you. The hulking football players that sing that little Michelina song? They didn't get to be that big eating lovely little frozen dinners.
Tim Belford is host of Quebec AM, CBC Radio's popular off-island morning program.

Choosing our war heroes (500)
I'd felt pretty hawkish about Saddam Hussein up until that point. I think the world will be a better place without him in Iraq. But getting rid of him means that boys from somebody's village or neighborhood will have to walk into the worst of what the Butcher of Baghdad can throw at them.
Royal Orr writes in Hatley, Quebec.

Where have you gone, Joe Dimaggio? (680)
The Administration of this country has gone berserk. The ideologues that are completely out of touch with reality -- and the American people -- have taken over our government. When they are through murdering half of Iraq, hundreds of our own soldiers, and installing the government of their choice, Americans will become worldwide pariahs. Travel overseas will be a nightmare. Look for sales of Canadian flag-embossed apparel to skyrocket.
Jim Austin is a writer based in Putney, Vermont.

Fate and Jean Charest's last, best shot? (700)
If there is one true thing about the coming campaign, it is that the campaign itself will decide the winner. As Le Soleil publisher and sage political observer Alain Dubuc opines, for Jean Charest, the formidable hustings hero, the campaign is his last, best chance to form that new government.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

Give 'em both the boot (525)
Picture this: Survivor IV ~ Duel in the Desert. That's right. Both leaders pick a five-person team from their cabinet. They get nifty names like "the Great Satan's Tribe" and the "Butcher of Baghdad's Tribe." Then CBS plops them down in a neutral desert somewhere in the Middle East.
Tim Belford is host of Quebec AM, CBC Radio's popular off-island morning program.

Revenge of the Cradle II? (700)
This strategy is apparent in the premier's recent announcement that a re-elected PQ would make it possible for workers to have a four-day week to take care of children. It's a plan that has employers concerned but may attract the attention of prospective parents. It's also an appeal to Quebecers concerned about the impact of a dwindling native francophone birthrate on the province.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

PQ suffering from obsessive repulsive disorder (575)
Bernie Landry recently stated in public that thousands of people marching for peace remind him that Quebec is a nation; the fact that Quebecers have sex more often than other Canadians reminds him that Quebec is a nation; and that the Sept. 11 terrorist attack in New York reminds him that Quebec is a nation.
Ricky Blue is a Montreal-based humorist, singer, and writer.

Abby had a stroke(785)
Within an hour, she could no longer stand up. Our 20-month-old had become as helpless and as limp as a newborn. She couldn't stay awake, and when she was, she cried. Her breathing wasn't right.
Ross Murray is editor and publisher of Quebec's weekly Stanstead Journal.

More about George (800)
Open your wallet. See that moth flying out? That's a nice metaphor for the way our economy is running. George looked at the economy and saw that it was bad. To fix it he decided to give enormous tax cuts to the rich. No doubt they'll dedicate a polo game to George in honor of his good deed.
Jim Austin is a writer based in Putney, Vermont.

Quebec's anti-Iraq War foreign policy (675)
Just as it goes its separate way on a sweeping range of policies and programs and the like, the Quebec government appears to have its own independent policy on Iraq.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

Guns and bozos (700)
While George Bush is busy alienating America internationally, his wormy little National Rifle Association comrades remain busy imperiling all of us with their pro handgun rhetoric.
Jim Austin is a writer based in Putney, Vermont.

Is there a 'Model Q' in your future? (700)
In the looming Quebec election one of the debates between parties is likely to be over what is commonly called "the Quebec model." This refers to the accepted practice of Quebec governments intervening directly in the economy when it suits the province's economic, political, or social interests.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

Ah, the allure of Quebecois separatismo (600)
So many of my Quebecois friends tell me that the dream is over. Separatism is dead. But I don't believe it. And I think there is a reason why Bernie Landry wants to call a spring election because in spring, romance is in the air.
Ricky Blue is a Montreal-based humorist, singer, and writer.

Wither goest the smart money? (455)
Mind you, if the Americans don't place much faith in the UN can you blame them? Last month, in a logic-defying twist worthy of anything behind Alice's Looking Glass, the UN Human Rights Commission elected Libya as chair of the group.
Tim Belford is host of Quebec AM, CBC Radio's popular off-island morning program.

The best and the worst of us (800)
I'm not saying that our government has faked evidence or otherwise lied throughout Colin Powell's comprehensive presentation on Wednesday. The point is that this "evidence" will convince those who are already convinced and make little impression on those who are not in favor of war.
Jim Austin is a writer based in Putney, Vermont.

Quebec Beavers invade Maine (700)
What does Lewiston, Maine, have that Sherbrooke, Quebec, doesn't? For starters, how about francophone hockey fans.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

Let's hear it for SUVs (580)
Yes, the people of the future will know that the real heroes of our age are those very now-maligned SUV owners who are actually saving the world by burning off the oil twice as fast as anyone else.
Ricky Blue is a Montreal-based humorist, singer, and writer.

Kiss me, I'm Canadian and I need practice (500)
Part of the problem seems to be that women look at it as an end in itself, whereas men think of kissing more as akin to a stopover on the way to Disney World.
Tim Belford is host of Quebec AM, CBC Radio's popular off-island morning program.

War Drums (795)
Our President is no longer a joke. At least not a funny one. His references to nuke-u-lar weaponry are sinister rather than amusing.
Jim Austin is a writer based in Putney, Vermont.

Pierre Bourque to the ADQ (645)
As the Montreal kingpin for Mario Dumont's Action Democratique former mayor Pierre Bourque may help determine who gets to be premier after the votes are tallied.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

Simple Thai soup for cold weather fueling (450 words)
In an effort to warm you up, I'll share a recipe for a steamy Thai soup that I made at home this week as the outside temperature hovered at minus thirty. It took me all of twenty minutes to prepare...
Greg Duncan is our Montreal-based Gallivanting Gourmand.

Temperance, then and now (600)
My father took The Pledge as a boy. I cannot say whether he would have drunk more had he not, but I certainly can say that he didn't keep it fervently in later life.
Royal Orr writes from Hatley, Quebec.

Warm as toast (515)
There I was, standing ankle deep in snow, wearing longjohns, a toque, a flannel shirt, a long scarf wrapped twice around my neck, and two pairs of mittens...
Tim Belford is host of Quebec AM, CBC Radio's popular off-island morning program.

Mugs away (830)
Next I went with my almost unbreakable rule. "Never bet on Florida teams."

Why? You ask, do I carve this rule in stone? It's jealousy, actually.
Jim Austin is a writer based in Putney, Vermont.

Send us your warm huddled masses, yearning to break free (and speak French) (600)
So Quebec, through it's various international delegate-general offices, is now stepping up a campaign to recruit immigrants from other Latin lands. The list includes Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Chile, and Brazil.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

Trapped in Bell Hell (600)
Suddenly I had two computers talking to each other, in a kind of computer perpetual motion. Stanley Kubrick's 2001 Space Odyssey flashed across my mind: "Open the pod bay door, Hal." "I can't do that, Dave."
Ricky Blue is a Montreal-based humorist, singer, and writer.

There's Rock, then there's the hard place (525)
The man who brought you the gun registration law says Paul Martin can't be beaten for the leadership of Canada's Liberal Party.
Tim Belford is host of Quebec AM, CBC Radio's popular off-island morning program.

An angel was watching
The seven young men who narrowly escaped freezing to death this past weekend during an all-night ordeal on the wild side of Jay Peak are facing a hefty rescue bill.
John Mahoney edits the Log Cabin Chronicles

QC job boom, PQ re-election gloom (640)
It's difficult enough to run for re-election in hard times; it may be worse for the PQ when the economy is really booming.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

Och, No Haggis Here (300 words)
I just can't bring myself to publish a recipe for Haggis in this column. Believe me, I've had my share of this wonderful Scottish treat and can't say enough about it. It's just that regardless of my heritage and my lineage that dates back to King Duncan, I still have not acquired the taste for it.
Greg Duncan is our Montreal-based Gallivanting Gourmand.

The need for affordable car care (480)
But, doesn't it strike you as odd that when you drive in with a rattle and a clunk directly under the driver's seat, you leave without that particular clunk - after a couple of hundred dollars - but one hour later you find you've developed a whiz, bang, thunk, under the passenger side of the vehicle?
Tim Belford is host of Quebec AM, CBC Radio's popular off-island morning program.

We will bury you (670)
We maintain about 36,000 American troops near the DMZ and have done so for decades. The South Koreans have a modern, well-equipped army of 100,000 troops. Why not pull out in an amiable fashion and allow the South Koreans to guard their own borders?
Jim Austin is a writer based in Putney, Vermont.

Sunday school in the classroom, on weekdays (640)
After decades of struggle to strip religion from their schools, it appears Quebecers have decided to make their schools the new houses of religion.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

Florida lushness comes to Montreal (400 words)
The Holiday Inn Aero port Montreal is alive with soft music and swaying palm trees. It's easy to imagine that you are in some far-away place as you dine in lush surroundings. As you sit poolside, Don Richards serenades with his one-man performance of classic and contemporary tunes. Order a margarita and lose yourself in the moment. We did not long ago when we visited the hotel's restaurant on a cold and blustery evening.
Greg Duncan is our Montreal-based Gallivanting Gourmand.

The old ad game (640)
So, maybe Iraq has the weapons and maybe Iraq is an axle of evil or whatever George W. calls it. But let's drop the advertising shtick. After all, you can't, and you shouldn't, sell a war like detergent.
Tim Belford is host of Quebec AM, CBC Radio's popular off-island morning program.

Democrat Loser Pageant (640)
So far, the Dems have fielded a team of lightweights that have all the insight and vision of drunken Teletubbies.
Jim Austin opines in Putney, Vermont.

Stand up for Emerson, Manitoba (600)
If the federal government closes the border at Emerson, what is to prevent small Quebec crossings like Beebe or Highwater from being shut down? Why not shut downtown Rock Island and divert traffic up to Autoroute 55? With Customs planning a major renovation of its 55 facility - complete with said "advanced technology" - the possibility is a real one.
Ross Murray is editor and publisher of Quebec's weekly Stanstead Journal.

Bilingualism -- it's what's happening in Quebec (676)
In Montreal, even the bums are bilingual. They come up to you on the street and say: "Spare change? Du change, s'il vous plait? Thank you very much. Merci beaucoup." And when you don't cough up a loony: "Go to hell! Mange la merde!"
Ricky Blue is a Montreal-based humorist, singer, and writer.

Minority report on the demise of the PQ (630)
But now, funeral plans for the PQ may have to be postponed -- or canceled. There is still hope, it seems, after years of facing doom.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

Exercise -- it's a no-brainer (325)
So, before Christmas the Silver Fox obtains for moi a gift certificate for thirty days trial access to the local torture chamber, aka the gym.
John Mahoney edits the Log Cabin Chronicles.

How about a nice cup of tea? (375)
I believe I first heard mention of bubble tea on some hipper-than-thou CBC Radio program, the stuff they put on Saturday afternoon when nobody listens except people stuck in cars in remote areas of the country with no other radio choices.
Royal Orr writes from Hatley, Quebec.

Annual Quebec Trivia Quiz 2002
Test your knowledge of Premier Landry's ready-made nation and win big prizes. Actually there are no prizes except the serenity of omniscience, which, they say, is reward enough in itself.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

My slice of reality (950)
T and A is a major draw. Large breasts, while often a drawback to performing the stunts, are almost essential to the application process. The show could easily be over with in fifteen minutes. It runs for an hour.
Jim Austin rants with style in Putney, Vermont.

The leaving of Jean Chretien (600)
The opposition doesn't want Jean Chretien any more. Paul Martin and his supporters don't want Jean Chretien any more. Even some of Chretien's loyalists don't want him any more.
Tim Belford is host of Quebec AM, CBC Radio's popular off-island morning program.

Beware photographing BU T-shirts while in Bukavu (1055 words)
The camera sparked a group of official-looking men in the shadows to point and waive their arms. I heard the words "intredit" and "installation haut secret" and "arret."
David McLauchlin is an award-winning CBC national radio reporter based in Montreal.

Santa's Shortbread (335 words)
Is there anything that makes a recipe better than butter? I think not.
Greg Duncan is our Montreal-based Gallivanting Gourmand.

Random thoughts while moving in an easterly direction (445)
A week before Thanksgiving I was returning from a photo shoot on the prairie in Salina, Kansas. Seated next to me on the plane was an elderly lady (she must have been well past her mid-eighties) but seemed a good deal more cheerful and a great deal sprier than I felt at the moment.
The artist Lans Bouthillier is based in Duxbury, MA.

Quebec City: Canada's Christmas Wonderland (650)
A recent survey named Quebec City as the third most Christmasy place in Canada, behind two cities in Northern Ontario, one of which happens to be my hometown. This is an error; Quebec City is unquestionably Number One. Here's why.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

Nothing beats a good neighborhood watch (600)
My mind raced. What if I call Chubb back and tell them to call the cops and it IS a false alarm? Then the police will give me a real "false alarm" ticket for over a hundred dollars, completely wiping out this 50 that I am trying to save by waiting for this paperwork to finish.
Ricky Blue is a Montreal-based humorist, singer, and writer.

America Ûber Alles (600)
The Bush administration is authoring a sea-change in our society. We are moving steadily to the right, and nobody with any juice is doing anything about it.
Jim Austin writes in Putney, Vermont.

No winter sport, moi (645)
I don't play old-boy hockey. I don't curl. As far as I'm concerned, snowshoes are nothing more than an impediment to walking. And I definitely don't ski.
Tim Belford is host of Quebec AM, CBC Radio's popular off-island morning program.

All watched over by machines of loving grace (350)
I am feeling ever so much secure living next to the brave old homeland since I learned that the US Government plans to watch over us with unmanned spy drones.
John Mahoney edits this virtual rag.

Chicken soup for the flu & soul (510 words)
Had the flu yet? Caught the bug? Sneezed on your sandwich? Had any annoying symptoms that don't allow you to taste or smell your food? All right, settle back and allow yourself the time to recuperate. Just make sure that you keep yourself hydrated. That means lots of liquids of both the cold and hot variety.
Greg Duncan is our Montreal-based Gallivanting Gourmand.

Triumph of Quebec art and stupidity at the box office (725)
What makes the Quebec film industry distinct from the rest of the country is it consistently produces box-office hits, regardless of the so-called quality of the film.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

AIDS: Something must be done now (525)
Twenty-million are already dead from the disease worldwide; 40 million are infected; HIV infection rates have hit 35-38 percent in sub-Saharan Africa and are climbing; China, India, and Russia are about to explode with infections -- men, women, and children.
Royal Orr is a writer/filmmaker based in Hatley, Quebec.

The Power of One (700)
I don't want to be an alarmist but you realize what this means right? It means that you or I or any citizen of this country can be snuffed out like a birthday candle on the say so of the CIA, or the FBI, or I presume anyone who can convince the President that someone is a member of Al Qaeda.
Jim Austin lets it all hang out in Putney, Vermont.

Gulf war, Canadian style (700)
Another Gulf War may be brewing. And like that other one, oil and gas are at the centre of the dispute. Okay, war may be a bit of an overstatement; let's just call it a very typically Canadian federal-provincial dispute over resources. In this case, the resource is the considerable hydrocarbon potential of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

Quebec's worst drivers are... (500)
On the top of my list for the worst drivers in Quebec are young women between the ages of 18 and 25 driving anything the size of a Toyota Echo or smaller. It's as if they were all named Chekov and Captain Kirk told them to hit warp speed and I'm a Klingon vessel standing between them and safety.
Tim Belford is host of Quebec AM, CBC Radio's popular off-island morning program.

Poor Martha plus Sweet & Spicy Fruitcake (565 words)
Poor Martha, not only is her stock value eroding due to allegations related to some shares that she recently sold, she is the constant subject of e-mailed jokes of the day.
Greg Duncan is our Gallivanting Gourmand. He's based in Montreal.

Operation Overlord II (750)
Let's all think of conservatives as plutocratic, snake-handling, ultra-Christian bigots who want guns in vending machines and the death penalty for anyone who doesn't support Bush's plans to dominate the planet.
Jim Austin is outraged in Putney, Vermont.

Patriote games (650)
The Patriote legacy is back on the public agenda, thanks to the Landry government's decision to rename the May statutory holiday La Journee nationale des Patriotes.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

Thanks for... (525)
I hope you all plan to take a major step toward morbid obesity and football overload this Thanksgiving. Here are the things I am thankful for.
Jim Austin lets it all hang out in Putney, Vermont.

A strange kind of Gift of the Magi (485)
Think of it more as a pre-emptive strike. A sort of gift-buyer's Pearl Harbor. I merely want to immobilize her shopping power long enough for me to get her Christmas presents.
Tim Belford is host of Quebec AM, CBC Radio's popular off-island morning program.

Ex-PQ minister-junkie now PQ rehab poster boy (650)
Bertrand is no ordinary drug-addicted former PQ minister.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

Sympathy for Scrooge (575)
Is it too early to Christmas shop? No. This is the right time to shop. The panic has not yet completely taken hold. I know it because there was still a parking space in front of Future Shop. Although I did find that things were beginning to get nasty at Toys R Us.
Ricky Blue is a Montreal-based humorist, singer, and writer.

Lament of an ex-Boogie Man (475)
I was once part of the dance-till-you-drop generation. We'd start at nine o'clock and boogie 'til dawn.
Tim Belford is host of Quebec AM, CBC Radio's popular off-island morning program.

BS from the BSA (680)
There must not be much going on in Seattle these days. Most of the population have got their knickers in a twist about Darrell Lambert, a 19-year-old Eagle Scout who had to hand in his neckerchief for not believing in a God.
Jim Austin opines from Putney, Vermont.

Universal law of the inverse value of things in a garage (575)
This is Ricky Blue's law of the inverse value of things in a garage: When an object enters a garage all its previous positive value is reversed and now becomes a negative value.
Ricky Blue is a Montreal-based humorist, singer, and writer.

Betting the house on foreign gamblers (700)
Loto-Quebec's new grand plan, in fact, calls for the gaming agency to up the stakes considerably by investing more than a half-billion dollars in the stepped-up pursuit of foreigner wagerers.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

Get a little Nooks in your life (620 words)
This month-old bistro on Montreal's West Island shows that a female touch at local eateries is long overdue. Warm contemporary decor with a flare accents wonderful home-made Mediterranean cuisine in a formula that will guarantee success for this startup.
Greg Duncan is our Gallivanting Gourmand. He's based in Montreal.

Dumocrats throw it away (575)
Once again you cannot go wrong betting on the capriciousness of the American voter. "Capricious" for all you idiots who didn't vote means "variable" at best and "flighty" at worst.
Jim Austin opines from Putney, Vermont.

Reluctant to go to America these days (530)
I've never been a good border crosser in the first place but the thought I might get nabbed and mistakenly deported to, say, Scarborough or Red Deer has me frightened.
Tim Belford is host of Quebec AM, CBC Radio's popular off-island morning program.

QC by-election chain reaction (670)
Nevertheless, with polls showing Quebecers could shower a federal Liberal party led by Paul Martin with at least a 20-point lead on the BQ, the by-election voters may want to get in on the post-Chretien action early. It will be interesting to see whether Grit strategists let Martin loose in the Quebec countryside, or rather, whether they can stop him from giving the local candidates a boost.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

Tim -- aka Sheena, Queen of the Jungle -- unmasked (475)
I like to get dressed up in costume. Don't get me wrong, I don't sit around home at nights wearing nylons and a little frock from Simmons. It's not that kind of thing.
Tim Belford is host of Quebec AM, CBC Radio's popular off-island morning program.

Resigned minister Begin's 'Group of One' (650)
Paul Begin had been a bit of a loose cannon, known for a temper that led him to leave cabinet meetings with door-kicking fury. He had been forced to apologize in the National Assembly to a female Liberal MNA for uttering what could have been seen as a physical threat.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

On containing North Korea (640)
You have to search on local cenotaphs to find mention of the Korean conflict. We lost 516 men; about three hundred of them are buried in military cemeteries near Seoul. But we rarely hear from the veterans of this conflict. Why is that?
Royal Orr is a freelance writer and filmmaker based in Montreal and Hatley, Quebec.

My secret: Piazza Perfection (630 words)
When I visit a new restaurant for the first time, I am privately hoping that I will discover a place that I can call my own and guard as a secret so as to impress friends and have the chef all to myself.
Greg Duncan is our Gallivanting Gourmand. He's based in Montreal.

Open Arms (700)
Gun control had become a non-issue in the 2002 election campaign until early October, when two maniacs with an assault rifle began murdering citizens in the DC area.
Jim Austin writes in Putney, Vermont.

The Queen, ladies and gentlemen, the Queen (590)
Personally, I always thought that it was a bit baffling for an independent country to have the monarch of a foreign country as its Head of State. But, as many are quick to point out, it seems to do no harm. And not changing it is easier than changing it. It is just a bit embarrassing.
Ricky Blue is a Montreal-based humorist, singer, and writer.

More anglos at the University of Montreal? (700)
The university has confirmed it is studying ways to make the training ground of Quebec's nationalist elite more bloke-friendly. As a university spokesperson noted with some degree of chagrin, the U of M welcomes more students from China than from Ontario.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

Haywire (725)
If you don't believe that the bombing of the nightclub in Bali is a backlash against Bush policies, then think again.
Jim Austin writes in Putney, Vermont.

Rotating the political crops (700)
Dubuc reiterated his belief that Quebecers have been relegated to relative impoverished status because of rampant statism - the Quebec model - and unending political uncertainty. Dubuc, who is neither a corporate toady nor a leftist wag, targets the smothering interventionism of the PQ as the cancer that has hampered Quebec's economic growth.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

Who is the terrorist? (700)
Democrats are folding like the deck chairs on the Titanic. They are caving in to Bush's psychotic war dreams with barely a whimper.
Jim Austin writes in Putney, Vermont.

On getting festively stuffed (460 words)
No, the problem with me and herself is one of dressing. I prefer a simple, understated, tasty, traditional sage dressing handed down from generation to generation that has been refined to exquisite perfection. She, on the other hand...
Tim Belford is host of Quebec AM, CBC Radio's popular off-island morning program.

Gound Control to Major Tom (630)
The key difference, of course, is that whereas the beliefs of Mario and the ADQ are derived from the teachings of Alberta's Ralph Klein and the certain right-wing elements in the United States, the Raelians take their cues from four-foot, olive-skinned spacemen called Elohim.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

Will October flowers bring Mario Dumont powers? (600)
Hot enough for ya?" It was the kind of greeting I expect in July. But although this was the first of October, it was 27 degrees. The leaves were still green. The flowers in my yard were in full bloom. And my neighbour was approaching me in a T-shirt and shorts.
Ricky Blue is a Montreal-based humorist, singer, and writer.

Get those Love Apples in (500 words)
.So many tomatoes, so little time. If Jack Frost hasn't visited your neighborhood yet, then you can be sure he will soon. You'll need to get those tomatoes in, ripe or not.
Greg Duncan is our Gallivanting Gourmand. He's based in Montreal.

Giving in and eating it all (500 words)
I reveled in my red wine when they told me it was full of anti-oxidants that would retard the aging process. Then they told me I'd age well but my liver and kidneys would give out.
Tim Belford is host of Quebec AM, CBC Radio's popular off-island morning program.

Conscripting the physicians (900)
Doctors, drawn from a list, much like the Vietnam-era U.S. Selective Service, have been receiving bailiff-delivered notices to report for duty at such-and-such emergency room or other understaffed hospital ward, invariably in a doctor-starved region like the Saguenay or Mauricie.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

Is this the best we can do? (880)
It started me thinking about the way politicians must regard you and me, the voting public. The contempt in which we are held just boggles the mind.
Jim Austin writes in Putney, Vermont.

Imagine a Quebec with no Bill 101 -- it's easy if you try (590)
He was polite, sophisticated, and probably considered himself quite tolerant. He just did not like the fact that I dared to satirize the Motherland and its Sacred Law. So he gave the classic pure laine reaction to anglophones like me.
Ricky Blue is a Montreal-based humorist, singer, and writer.

Remembering the Nordiques (900)
I still blame a referee for the Quebec Nordiques leaving the city in 1995 to become the Colorado Avarice, er, Avalanche. That ref made a blatantly wrong call that nullified a goal by Joe Sakic in a key first round play-off game with the New York Rangers.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

Save the barbers (550 words)
There was a time in this fair land when barber shops and barbers abounded. Every town had at least one. You could get a shave, a haircut, and even have your nose hairs trimmed. No fuss, no bother, and it cost about a buck fifty.
Tim Belford is host of Quebec AM, CBC Radio's popular off-island morning program.

Pattern recognition (900)
So, if we are evolving faster and faster and our machines are more and more sophisticated what the hell happened to the Bush Administration? It seems likely that we should be evolving politically as well but not so. In fact in many areas our government has us "devolving" rapidly.
Jim Austin writes in Putney, Vermont.

Nothing to it. Piece of cake. Right. (665 words)
Now, if I'm holding upright (c) in one hand and pressing shelf (g) against the upright with the other, which hand is supposed to wield the screw (h) and screw driver?
Tim Belford is host of Quebec AM, CBC Radio's popular off-island morning program.

From Bourassa to Bourassa to Dumont (675)
Once out of the bottle, the two [Quebec] genies conjured up the fantastic Action Democratique party which is now poised to deny Bourassa's successors in the Liberal party their turn at government.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

Soldiers of peace (430)
In a gritty industrial city about an hour north of Bogota, Colombia, three young Canadians wait for their paramilitary executioners.
Royal Orr is a freelance writer and filmmaker based in Montreal and Hatley, Quebec.

Dreams of grandeur, both ridiculous (580)
It seems all but inevitable that the Expos will be moved in the next few years to Washington D.C., where people will actually attend the games and be able to watch them on TV.
Ricky Blue is a Montreal-based humorist, singer, and writer.

A Barbie with a social conscience (550 words)
Barbie's also gives back to the community and has raised some $10,000 this year for the missing children network, topping last year's fundraiser of $ 8000. I like to see businesses that are involved in local efforts and Barbie's is obviously a generous contributor.
Greg Duncan of Montreal is our Gallivanting Gourmand.

Murdochville: Too soon to be doomed? (750)
The 1983 shutdown of the Iron Ore Company town of Schefferville in the wilds of Quebec's North Shore was billed as the most generous settlement of its kind in the world.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

"Quebec National Library deserves a better name (590)
This could be big for them," he insisted. "They are down in the polls. They are on the ropes. They could turn it around with a magnanimous gesture like this. The best criticism of separatism is that it is exclusionary, bordering on fascist."
Ricky Blue is a Montreal-based humorist, singer, and writer.

Vietnam redux? (800)
Ignoring for a moment the dime novel author of this drivel, I submit the following: President Bush is fast becoming one of the world's worst leaders. He is also the world's most powerful leader in charge of the world's worst weapons.
Jim Austin files his rants from Putney, Vermont.

Kyoto conundrum (660)
Maybe it was the name of the place -- Saint Gall -- that prompted him, but Quebec's minister for Canadian intergovernmental affairs made a rather bold statement during the recent conference on federalism in Switzerland.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

Powerboats vs nature's tranquility (580)
It is Saturday on Lac Quetaine. At 9 a.m. I see the first boat, a large powerful inboard towing two screamers on an inflatable raft. Thus begins the transformation of the tranquil silence of nature into the soundtrack from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Ricky Blue is a Montreal-based humorist, singer, and writer.

Sports shorts (670)
Who's game to tell Serena the truth about her new "cat suit?"
Jim Austin is a Putney, Vermont sport.

Vermont wine tasting epic (900)
Misterman, just down the driveway we discover the North River Winery retail outlet. The big sign reads: Free Wine Tastings! The big flag reads: OPEN. The young lady standing behind the bottle grins as we push through the door.
John Mahoney edits the LCC.

I knew this would come back to haunt me. (500 words)
Have you ever said something and the moment the words left your lips you just knew you'd regret it? In my defence, at the time, I was deeply under the influence of Abbie Hoffman's book "Revolution for the hell of it."
Tim Belford is host of Quebec AM, CBC Radio's popular off-island morning program.

News value of same-sex unions (700)
Drolet says she has never hidden her sexual orientation, nor is she an activist for the gay movement. She says the story made the local news not because of who she is, but because the marriage was the first same sex ceremony performed at the local court house. The fact she was a "celebrity" was just a coincidence.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

Enjoy a regatta for two (775 words)
If you thought that the Lord Reading Yacht Club in Beaconsfield (near Montreal) was just for private members, think again. "Le Dining room" offers patrons a Dining Room Membership at no charge and, as a card carrier, you will wish you had known about this earlier.
Greg Duncan of Montreal is our Gallivanting Gourmand.

Bush's domestic or foreign policy -- which is worse? (675)
This administration has no cogent foreign policy. They want what they want when they want it and if our allies don't like it, then they are against us. When was the last time both Canada and Britain told us that we were all wet on any foreign policy issue?
Jim Austin is no fan of President Bush in Putney, Vermont.

Chretien has earned his place in Canada's history (750)
Jean Chretien had a lot in common with Louis St. Laurent. Le petit gars and Uncle Louis were both cautious leaders from rural Quebec who cultivated a certain folksy persona with the people, despite their respective true natures as political tactician (Chretien) and corporate lawyer (St. Laurent).
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

Ever lost your ID? (600 words)
We don't just give out birth certificates willy-nilly anymore. And you can't just walk in with your existing id and expect them to accept who you are. Belford may be an Anglo-Irish name but in this day and age, I could still be a founding member of somebody's liberation movement.
Tim Belford is host of Quebec AM, CBC Radio's popular off-island morning program.

Watch out for the fat ladies (560)
The Los Quinchos school in Barrio San Judas in Managua, Nicaragua, takes some of the city's toughest kids and turns them into scholars. Most of the children who attend Los Quinchos have spent time on the streets hawking water and snack foods (and sometimes their own bodies) to make a living.
Royal Orr observes life from Hatley, Quebec, and points abroad.

Despite corporate facism and corruption, this paper mill keeps rolling along
And persevere it must becauseStadaconais one of the major Canadian holdings of a multinational some readers may have heard about, the bankrupt American energy giant Enron.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

Canada's political parties: all you ever wanted to know and then some (600 words)
The Canadian Alliance under Steven Harper occupies the far right of the political spectrum, except for the left wing of the party which is right fiscally and in the centre socially, which puts them to the left of the right wing of the liberal party dominated by Paul Martin, which is right fiscally and nowhere socially.
Tim Belford is host of Quebec AM, CBC Radio's popular off-island morning program.

Tomato surprise (750)
You know how Anthony felt about Cleopatra? How PETA feels about fuzzy bunnies? Or Don Quixote felt about Dulcinea? That's how Ruth, my jewel of loveliness, feels about her tomatoes.
Jim Austin has a way with tomatoes in Putney, Vermont.

In Quebec, it's all Elvis, all the time (750)
Oddly enough, for a place that boasts some of the continent's greatest natural and historical attractions, a Broadway-style production devoted to an American pop music icon has become one of the old city's top draws.
Writer Peter Black rocks in Quebec City.

She's not sick, but... (650)
"She doesn't look sick," people often say when they see Abby. Thirteen months old and more than a year after being diagnosed with tyrosinemia, she really doesn't look sick. In fact, she isn't sick at all.
Ross Murray is editor and publisher of Quebec's weekly Stanstead Journal.

Chelydra serpentina observing (500)
If it's any consolation, if you do lose a digit to a snapper, you could take immediate revenge by carrying the beast home for your own lunch. Snapper soup is considered a great delicacy.
Royal Orr observes life from Hatley, Quebec.

Iraqnaphobia (740)
What kind of idiots do they think we are? If the invasion occurs, it will be because of oil. Iraq has oil and lots of it. We import 700,000 barrels of Iraqi oil per day. This is twice as much as before the invasion of Kuwait. Bush and Cheney are oilmen.
Jim Austin does it in Putney, Vermont.

Louisiana dreaming (740)
In this province, where there is a festival for every conceivable excuse, at least a pretense good enough for the generous folks doling out federal sponsorship bucks - there is probably only one that features alligator brochettes on the barbie.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

Report card (740)
Dear Former President and Mrs. Bush: Your son, George W., has received his marks from his first term in office. We are thrilled to report that his grades in the White House far surpass those mediocre marks he received when he received his degree in cheerleading at Yale.
Jim Austin does it in Putney, Vermont.

Two solitudes, two laugh fests
Here's a challenge. What is there that francophones and anglophones find funny for the same reasons?
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

Le Pit Stop
For most folks travelling in Quebec, Trois Rivieres is not much more than a convenient exit off the autoroute for a coffee and donut, burger and fries, diaper change and bladder relief, while travelling between la grande metropole and la vieille capitale.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

Bushcapades (840)
The mangy ghost of Jesse Helms is alive and well. Every civilized nation has ratified the new UN war crimes court except the United States.
Jim Austin does it in Putney, Vermont.

Quebec labouring with unrest (730)
Quebec has a well-deserved reputation for labour militancy. This may have something to do with the fact that in the early years of the union movement in the province, it was intertwined with the church, perhaps imbuing the cause of the worker with the resolve of a holy crusade.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

What is it about separation you don't understand? (850)
If we can't endure the exclusion of God in our government, then we should consider an amendment that invites him in the front door and ends the solemn mockery of our laws. Given the current climate of religious fervor the amendment will be unanimous. However, only certain Gods need apply.
Jim Austin writes righteously in Putney, Vermont.

Bringing back the Quebec City beach (780)
Huge industrial oil tanks hulk along the shore, and rubble and junk in other misused shoreline properties contrast with the stark beauty of the river, the scenic south shore, and the cliffs. In short, an area that should be the stunning entranceway to one of the world's most beautiful cities looks like a neglected dockyard access route.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

Premier? President? What's in a name, eh? (690)
Now that Charbonneau is freed of those restrictions, the PQ government has given him the mission of getting Quebecers excited about dumping the stodgy, colonialistic, undemocratic parliamentary system and replacing it with something zippy and modern like a presidential system.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

Short Takes (730)
Like most people I was relieved that Mike Tyson was taught a lesson by our tea-drinking British heavyweight champ Lennox Lewis. Iron Mike didn't make good on his threats to "reach into Lewis's head and squash his brain" or something like that. Instead Lewis reached into Mike's head.
Jim Austin fires stuff your way weekly from Putney, Vermont.

Premier? President? What's in a name, eh? (690)
Now that Charbonneau is freed of those restrictions, the PQ government has given him the mission of getting Quebecers excited about dumping the stodgy, colonialistic, undemocratic parliamentary system and replacing it with something zippy and modern like a presidential system.

Tributes and tails for Canada Day (580 words)
Yes, I am speaking of the beaver, Canada's truly great construction wizard. I know that all of you fur-loving and fuzzy, feel-good crusaders will balk at the idea of gnoshing on this little devil, but lets face it: If it walks, crawls or swims, it's potential food for the truly refined chef.
Greg Duncan is our Gallivanting Gourmand and if it can be eaten, he will deal with it.

A taste of the East in the West (650 words)
The Arrival of Kim Loy on the West Island is long overdue. Lovers of seczhuan and Cantonese food no longer need to travel all the way to Chinatown to experience authentic dishes prepared at the hands of an excellent chef who caters to the whims of diners.
Greg Duncan is our Gallivanting Gourmand.

Don't assume the gods won't get you anyway (690)
I rushed home from the office after turning off all the computers and printers (suddenly I was hyper-conscious about overheated equipment) to find my family and the neighbors standing around the front yard.
Ross Murray publishes the award-winning weekly Stanstead Journal on the Quebec/Vermont border.

Making do but just getting by on the Moskito Coast (740)
So, we're about 150 miles inland from a seacoast renowned for its isolation - the Moskito Coast of northern Nicaragua. We're headed down what one man described to us as "the worst road in Central America" on the way to a jungle village called Alamikamba. The rainy season should have held off another week or so, but it came early. One night it rained eight inches while we were there.

The Nixon Legacy (900)
Bush, Ashcroft, and Cheney have perpetrated so many shady deals and constitutionally unsound acts that it is very difficult to keep up with. The media seems to report their violations, then just allow them to fade away as if editors are reining them in and refusing to disclose the pattern of misbehavior that is evident to anyone paying attention.
Jim Austin writes from Putney, Vermont.

French language in Quebec trimphant (700)
The triumph of French in this corner of the continent -- despite the odds -- is arguably one of the most remarkable anthropological stories in modern history.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

Japan is weird and wonderful ... and weird. 975)
The business man in the suit beside me seemed very concentrated while using buttons to navigate a hanging metal claw to fish out a pair of women's panties from a plastic booth.
Nikki Mantell is editor and publisher of Wakefield, Quebec's Low down to Hull and back News.

False prophets (600)
It should be clear to anyone who has followed the proceedings over the past year that the Catholic Church has become a sanctuary for perverts and child molesters. Clearly the word was out to abusers through some underground pervert grapevine that if you want to practice your pederasty, just join the Catholic priesthood.
Jim Austin writes from Putney, Vermont.

An accidental government, waiting to happen (745)
Quebec has had at least two unexpected governments in living memory. That's not counting the result in 1998 when Jean Charest's Liberals actually won more votes than Lucien Bouchard's pequistes, but ending up with considerably fewer seats -- thanks in part to splits with the Action Democratique.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

Eclipsed in Dorval (600 words)
Sometimes, little culinary gems are in the least obvious locations. Take Eclipse as an example. Local diners may be unaware that a place where you can sample a wide variety of wines by the glass exists on the West Island of Montreal.
Greg Duncan is our Gallivanting Gourmand.

The nesting urge (500 words)
I found myself thinking about the nesting urge earlier this week. I was watching a couple of birds in action as they laboured to put together a nest.
Tim Belford is host of Quebec AM, CBC Radio's popular off-island morning program.

Plugging the private English-language education loophole (680)
The Parti Quebecois government is about to pass a law that guarantees only the richest citizens of the province will be able to buy access to English school.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

Radio Missisquoi adopts 2-frequency strategy to get on the air (450)
KNOWLTON, QC | The directors of Radio Communautaire Missisquoi (RCM) will ask the Canadian government to allow it to broadcast on two frequencies to fully cover its listener area.
John Mahoney edits the Log Cabin Chronicles.

Excuse my radiation (630)
Looks like big trouble in South Asia. Again. Pakistan and India have been holding their own little cold-then hot-then cold-war since 1949.
Jim Austin writes from Putney, Vermont.

Quebec cops nail local scofflaws (720)
You've got to hand it to Quebec's crooks. We're not talking about recipients of dubious federal contracts, but real honest-to-badness crooks. Criminals who have lived to the full the motto of Elvis Gratton, Quebec's cinematic king of crass: "Think big, 'stie!"
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

Kiss me Charlie, I'm your Mum (500 words)
You have to hand it to the brain trust that looks after the Royal Family's public image. Ever since the disaster with the late Diana, Princess of Wales, and the toe-sucking antics of the former Duchess of York and the various faux pas of the Wessexes, they've been working overtime to spruce up the Windsor family image.
Tim Belford is host of Quebec AM, CBC Radio's popular off-island morning program.

It's the stupidity, Stupid (950)
Last Sunday, Dick Cheney took some time off from babysitting George Jr. to appear on Meet the Press. Uncle Dick told Tim Russert that he didn't want a Congressional Committee to investigate what the White House knew and when they knew it as regards 9/11 warnings.
Jim Austin rants from Putney, Vermont.

Quebec Caisse sera, sera (700)
If Premier Bernard Landry can't get to sleep because he's wondering how his $140 billion dollar pension fund is doing, he doesn't have to go far to find out.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

Canada's official National Rodent moves in
I got helluva shock Monday when I walked down back to the swampy area where the two small brooks converge. The beavers have moved in and are beavering away. Let the chips fall where they may and all that.
John Mahoney is editor of the Log Cabin Chronicles.

Book Review: Granite & Cedar: The People and the Land of Vermont's Northeast Kingdom
To begin, there was the thrill of recognition. I knew these faces in my heart, I knew these buildings, those small vistas, the dead cars behind the barn. This was home and home, said Robert Frost, is the place where, when you go there, they have to take you in.
John Mahoney is editor of the Log Cabin Chronicles.

Will Harper heed Mulroney's dictum? (750)
The current see-saw between Liberals and the Bloc is a two-way split that has not been seen in Quebec in a century. Not since 1911, when Sir Wilfrid Laurier was given the boot, have there been such divided loyalties at the federal level in Quebec.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

Mom's the Bomb (700)
Mom was the first woman to graduate from law school at Cumberland University in Tennessee. Cumberland U is still famous for it's unprecedented defeat in college football to Georgia Tech in 1916. The score was 222 0.
Jim Austin is a Putney, Vermont, sport.

Ristorante Tevere - diners keep coming back (700 words)
I chose a main dish of grilled sirloin in a brandy sauce while my partner chose cotelettes de Porc Pappagallo (a boneless stuffed pork chop with ham and cheese).
Greg Duncan is THE Gallivanting Gourmand.

Public sin: in the eye of the beholder (660)
Palpitating Bible Belt tourists agog at Ste. Catherine Street's exotic dancer clubs might disagree, but Quebec is far from Sodom and Gomorrah. Yet there is an undeniable tendency to the liberal, straying to libertine, that defines the province's morals. Biker gangs, for example, have thrived on Quebecers' cravings for extracurricular activities like sex, drugs and gambling.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

Radio Missisquoi vows to fight on (600)
KNOWLTON, QC | Bloodied but not down and out, backers of Radio Communautaire Missisquoi (RCM) have vowed to fight on to get their community radio station on the air.
John Mahoney edits the Log Cabin Chronicles.

The shooting debate continues (875)
Sorrell admitted that there was much conflicting testimony among those present as to what happened. Some said he charged, some said he stood his ground Sorrell stated.
Jim Austin writes in Putney, Vermont.

Murdoch's Quebec orphan (670)
In 1922, a young Toronto lawyer with a knack for mining law became the first president of Noranda Inc. In 1950, James Young Murdoch convinced Noranda to build a copper mine, smelter, and town in the wilds of the Gaspé Peninsula. Some fifty years later, J.Y. Murdoch's baby has become an orphan.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

Time-out (650)
You know, it's exhausting trying to sort out the problems in the Middle East. Despite writing a barge-load of pure truth and reason, there are still those who would disagree with me. That's why I'm talking sports today. I need a break.
Jim Austin likes to be right in Putney, Vermont.

La Cage Aux Sports not only for sports fans (580 words)
My rib steak was large, tender, and perfectly grilled -- medium as requested. A crunchy-skinned potato with all the trimmings complimented by crusty bread and a few veggies made it perfect for my large appetite. I believe this one must be popular with the football players who regularly frequent the place.
Greg Duncan is THE Gallivanting Gourmand.

Mario's ADQ star rising (675)
What Quebec witnessed in Saguenay riding was quite probably the beginning of the transfer of allegiance from the PQ to the ADQ, a transmutation that could make Dumont premier in the long term and spell certain doom for Premier Bernard Landry and the PQ in the short term, meaning the next election.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

Investigation #2002 (700)
These were not combat deaths. These deaths were the result of an unfortunate geographical position. In other words, they were within 500 square miles of an American military aircraft with a hotshot trigger-happy under-trained punk with one hand on the joystick and the other on the missile launcher.
Jim Austin lives and rants in Putney, Vermont.

I am not speak French goodly
Such polite boys and girls. God knows that if I was 11 years old and I had someone like me come talk to my class, there'd be plenty of snickering and arm-farting going on.
Ross Murray publishes the weekly Stanstead Journal in Quebec.

Safe conduct (850)
In the latter part of that decade, my unit, 1st The Royal Dragoons, was stationed approximately 100 kilometres southeast of Hamburg at a place called Wesendorf. I was a young lance-corporal at the time and whenever any of us in the unit wanted to leave camp or barracks on a pass -- whether in uniform or civvies -- we had to visit the guardroom for inspection and registration.
Mike Crossling feeds cows in Hinchingbrooke, Quebec.

Canadiens a feel-good story (790)
That dream is the Montreal Canadiens hockey club may be the first team since the Habs won the Cup in 1993 and since the Nordiques fled to Denver in 1995, to really light a fire of excitement in Quebec, and not just in Montreal.
Peter Black is a writer/broadcaster based in Quebec City.

On Winning a Juno a note from on the way home (325)
Did my husband, David Francey, win a Juno? yes! Was I with him? Wild horses couldn't drag me from his side! Were we thrilled beyond belief? You bet! Did I cry? I did! Did we celebrate? Did we celebrate!
Beth Girdler is a naturalist and a writer based in Ayer's Cliff, Quebec.
Beth Girdler is a naturalist based in Ayer's Cliff, QC.

Israel's moral edge blunted (800)
It is time to look at what is happening in the Middle East and in America without the blinders. I haven't come to any conclusions about our policies in the Mid East. I do see that Israel appears to be taking advantage of the suicide bombings to behave like Nazis.
Jim Austin writes in Putney, Vermont.

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