Montreal is an Un-Car City
It seems one of the basic variables of Montreal, a declarative statement in our urban programming, is not-car. At our best, we are a city of villages, as I found in that recently reprinted "Pignon sur rue" series of booklets about various Montreal neighborhoods (available through Renaud-Bray). Not Levittown ant-farm housing developments, connector roads and strip malls. We're genetically walkable, bikeable, public transitable (if only they'd fund the damn thing).
Anyone else? Send me your permalinks!
In the 1970s, hundreds of thousands of these Oh! Canada kits were distributed to schools across the land by the Commissioner of Official Languages.
It was a surprisingly effective bid to create a sense of Canadian-ness in kids by showing them the whole Great Span of our Nation and to show them that learning the Other Official Language (depending on where you lived) was actually fun. The kit included a board game about travelling across Canada, a 45rpm record that taught basic French-English vocabulary, and the Oh! Canada comic book (drawn by Madeline Kronby, who readers of a certain age will remember from the beloved CBC kids show Chez Helene).
The comic book followed the adventures of a bunch of kids and teens who accidentally end up flying across Canada in an all-terrain bathtub (at one point, it even went underwater) made by a crazy inventor uncle. They went from the East Coast to the West Coast and even up North, discovering regional differences and learning English and French along the way. (I seem to remember the oldest teenage girl of the group discovering romance in Montreal...)
If you have one of these stashed away or extras for sale...let me know.
The War on the War on the Environment
"Were we governed by reason, we would be on the barricades today, dragging the drivers of Range Rovers and Nissan Patrols out of their seats, occupying and shutting down the coal-burning power stations, bursting in upon the Blairs' retreat from reality in Barbados and demanding a reversal of economic life as dramatic as the one we bore when we went to war with Hitler. Instead, we whinge about the heat and thumb through the brochures for holidays in Iceland."
Forwarded by the ever-astute Kate.
London hits 100 degrees F
London hit 100 degrees F (37 C) today for the first time since record-keeping started in 1870. Switzerland hit the same temperature and in southern Europe it went as high as 40C. Forest fires in France, Spain and Croatia blazed out of control; one firefighter was slightly injured as a WWII-era shell exploded. River traffic on the Danube was threatened by sunken ships from WWII that resurfaced due to low water levels.