My papers are in order (passport that is). I expect clear sailing through the border. Only once do I recall Canadian officials thoroughly searching everything; my State Rep files mystified them. “What if someone were to steal these,” I was asked. My response—it seemed logical to me—“What if someone were to steal anything?” They let me in, paper and all.
My tank is full of gas (I paid $3.22 on Queen City Ave in Manchester and expect to pay close to $3.50 when I refill in northern Vermont, still less than I would pay if I had to fill up in Quebec).
Ah yes, it's my annual excursion to celebrate two birthdays. Canada turns 145 Sunday (Canada Day in the Old Port of Montreal is one of my favorite things). Of course, the U.S. will hit 236 Wednesday; I expect to be back at my brother's house in Vermont for that.
Time was when I would visit Montreal with a purpose. Now, most of the time, I attempt to have absolutely nothing to do, but this time, I've grabbed a camera and will attempt to do some filming for upcoming TV shows (Jackie Robinson played for the Montreal Royals in 1947; Ethan Allen was captured while trying to wrest Canada from the British there--1776 as I recall). Then there's always jazz, a great arts festival and fireworks (although I've become jaded by fireworks).
Last year, I discovered the B52s were performing to close out the jazz festival. I doubt I'll be so lucky this year. I'm into Rod Stewart these days and have taken out some of his Standards CDs (along with REM and the Bs) to listen to when I get out of radio range through Vermont.
One of my friends at the State House motorcycled into Montreal last weekend. He said the city was dead—it was St. Jean Baptiste Day. He also noted that when they landed at a restaurant they happened to be in La Village, the gay section of town. That’s all right; I assured him; last time I checked, they let heterosexuals in there to eat, drink, party, or whatever.
He told me two guys were arguing, in English, about which city is better, Montreal or Paris. I remember a Montealer once telling me many years ago, “We’re not Paris, you know.” My response was—in German—Gott sei Dank. Thank god. Excuse me for disparaging one of the world’s truly great cities (Paris), but Montreal is much better as I see it. It’s every bit as international and cosmopolitan and free-spirited as Paris, but without the attitude.
Before I hit the road, I should comment on a few items.
Democrats On Medicinal Pot?--I may have been wrong when I reported that all five Senate Democrats voted not to override the medical marijuana bill. A reporter had told me that; others tell me that in fact the only two Democrats who committed such treachery were Sylvia Larsen and Lou Boo Hoo D'Allesandro.
Rest in Peace, Leo--As I've reported here twice, Leo Pepino was hospitalized with a heart attack in the filing period. He still managed to file, but now I read that he has passed. I guess I remember Leo most for his time on the Charter Commission (I was working for Manchester City Hall at the time and was assigned the task of transcribing minutes). It's truly ironic that Manchester voters will be asked whether or not to establish another Charter Commission this fall. I do recall that Leo was very ill 12 or 13 years ago, so he was indeed a survivor. His wife Rita, who passed years ago, was also very well known. Perhaps Leo's greatest legacy is the paper trail bill. He's the reason we have paper ballots available for all recounts. It came as the result of the controversial Donna Soucy-Leona Dykstra Aldermanic election (was it 1995?). Soucy's father C. Arthur was moderator--kind of an All in The Family thing. There were voting irregularities; the election went to the courts, but back then Manchester used voting machines with no paper trail. Leo changed that.
Revenue Estimates Nearly Perfect--Of course, the fiscal year ends tomorrow, and a quick look at revenues reveals that we might be just a tad off for June--probably only a few million when all is settled. We should be very close to hitting the plan for the year overall. Cigarettes, thanks to the O'Brien ten cent a pack cut, will be off $10 million for the year, but Rooms and Meals, Real Estate Transfer, and Business Taxes all beat plan for the year.
Obama Either Leads By 8, 3, or 0 in NH--No Week in Polls this week, although we are inundated with many new ones showing Obama moving slightly farther ahead of Romney nationwide and in key battleground states (Florida and Ohio especially). Two New Hampshire polls tell a different tale. NBC/Marist have Obama and Romney dead even here while American Research Group has Obama up eight (only three if you look at those certain to vote).
I'll check in from the Grand Bibliotehque in the Latin Quarter, but I haven't yet purchased a lap top (it's on my to do list--Montreal is chock full of WIFI cafes), so comments will be limited for a few days.
How does one say that in French? Bonne fete?