Gary and I marched in the Montreal “March for Our Lives” this morning in solidarity with the big march in Washington D. C. and all the marches across the U.S., Canada and the world.

A limit on military style assault rifles and better screening and background checks of gun buyers are logical, conservative approaches to protecting citizens. Do I even need to say this?

Cars are dangerous machines. We put laws in place to limit their use. Driving 100 mph in front of a school is not allowed, for example. Seat belts are mandatory for safety.

Military assault rifles are wildly destructive. Limiting their use is reasonable. Screening buyers is reasonable. There is plenty of data confirming that societies that regulate firearms efficiently have much lower incidences of gun deaths. Jeezuz J. Christ.

See: America’s unique gun violence problem, explained in 17 maps and charts

#NeverAgain #MarchForOurLives

While walking home today, I had the chance to enjoy, and video, a complete snow removal operation on a sunny stretch of Boulevard Saint-Michel.

What can I say? These big machines and their coordinated moves are fascinating.

I had fun putting together this short video, underscoring it with one of our tunes: “Drunken Sailor’s Hornipe – Wally’s Dub” from our album “Shake Those Bones”.

The statistics quoted are from the official City of Montreal website:

We had a nice, big snowfall yesterday — close to 8 inches.

Gary usually walks to meet me after I finish exercise class. It’s a 4k (2.50 mile) round-trip walk. For this “Montreal Minute” I followed him through our “arrondissement” as we headed home through the snow.

It is a pleasure to walk when it’s snowing as long as you have the right clothes and shoes!

The music is a synth piece I wrote for a Mixed Company show. The show was “Mixed Reviews”. The tune title is “Star Material”.

Other MTL Minutes:
MTL Minute: le Métro
Les Tams Tams at Parc Mont-Royal
First Snowfall of the Season
A Steel Forge in Montreal

Snow fell on Monday, November 21, 2016 here in Montreal — the first snowfall of the season. For this Montreal minute, I take you along on my walk, in that snow, through the streets of our arrondissement (district) “Rosemont-La Petite Patrie” to my exercise class at the local “Energie-Cardio”.

I love walking in the snowy weather. The trick is to dress right. As the old Scandinavian saying goes: There’s no bad weather, only bad clothes.

A quick search on the web and I found this fun bit of language info.

In Swedish/Norwegian the word for “weather” rhymes with the word for “clothes”.

Swedish: Det finns inget dåligt väder, bara dåliga kläder
Norwegian: Det finnes ikke dårlig vær, bare dårlige klær

On dit en français, «Il n’y a pas de mauvais temps, juste des mauvais vêtements. »

In the summer of 1972, I went to Hawaii to help my youngest sister who had just lost her boyfriend in a car accident. She was 17 1/2 years old and several months pregnant.

She and Michael had been living in Tracy, California. Now she was suddenly alone, grieving and expecting. Rough times, to say the least. She wanted to go back to Maui where she had lived before and where she felt safer and more comfortable.

I picked up what little I owned in Sausalito, California and moved with her to Kihei, Maui to be her support. We rented a small one room unit on a property across from the beach. It was made of concrete blocks like many buildings on the islands were. It had space for two single beds on either side of the room. The bathroom was tiny. The kitchenette was just big enough. The geckos were easily seen on the white painted walls. We had a small table with two chairs and a record player.

I rented LPs from the library. We listened to music, drew, played cards, swam, walked, dealt with our crazy mother who lived “up country” and waited for “Tiny” to arrive.

I took the time to learn the words to some of my favourite songs. I would play a song over and over again on the record player, lifting the needle up and setting it down again on the groove just before the cut, and transcribe the lyrics by hand.

Here is my transcription from then of the Leonard Cohen song that I especially loved. You can click it to see it larger.

"One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong" by Leonard Cohen

“One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong” by Leonard Cohen

And now, 44 years later I live a few kilometres from the Jewish cemetery in Montréal where Leonard Cohen is freshly buried.

I was glad to hear he passed peacefully.

Leonard Cohen – One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong

For this Montreal Minute, I chose Montréal’s distinctive metro which just had its fiftieth birthday on October 14, a couple days before mine. Lots to celebrate this October!

The entire metro system is underground. The trains are never outside. They roll on rubber tires. In fact the metro trains were the very first rubber-tired subway trains on the planet! I found that out here on this list of fun facts about le Métro. If you are feeling realy subway geeky, check out this Métro fan site for even more info.

The rolling stock is getting old so, the STM (Société de Transport de Montréal) is in the process of adding new fancy AZUR trains. I have been on the new trains just a couple of times now. They are sweet — modern, stream-lined, well-designed. Definitely an improvement.

Music is by the Mad Maggies: “Time’s Up

Yesterday, at le Vieux Port, in a plaza in front of the Museum of Archeology and History of Montreal at 2pm (14:00), we enjoyed a surround sound outdoors “symphony”.

The work, composed by a trombonist named Scott Thomson, was realised by bagpipers, drummers and several musicians working multiple horns on large ships frozen at their docks and a train horn on a locomotive nearby.

The piece was around 15 minutes long. The pipers and drummers moved around adding spacial contrast. The horns were loud but pleasant.

I loved the concept, the sounds, the audience engagement, the use of public space for collective joy. I particularly liked a section with cascading drums rolls which began after a large deep ship horn blared. At that point the drummers were 50 plus feet apart. The rolls echoed off the stone buildings in waves.

I would love to compose for this. It is right up my alley.

Les Symphonies portuaires de Pointe-à-Callière (The Port Symphonies of Pointe-à-Callière) are presented by the Musée d’archéologie et d’historie de Montréal. This was the 22nd year.

If you are in Montreal next year, don’t miss it.

This short video (1:30) gives a taste of the event.

Gary and I followed the concert with a walk along the waterfront and then a nice steak dinner at the Keg.

A perfect day.