Shimmering Lights Event

Shimmering Lights is proud to present an interesting and informative
fundraising evening on chronic pain management, discussing various
treatments including the pros and cons of CBD oils.
The director of the Chronic Pain Clinic from the Montreal General Hospital
will be our speaker for this event, with a question/answer period following
his presentation.
It will be held on Wednesday evening September 11th, 2019 at 7:00 pm at the
Centre Du Sablon Community Center
755 Chemin Du Sablon
Chomedey, Laval
The ticket price is $15.00 per person, and also includes refreshments and
The proceeds of this event will be benefitting The Shriners Hospital for
Children in Montreal.
Should you require more information and tickets please contact 
Barbara at 514-574-7311
Lily.         at 450-688-0026

Looking forward to seeing you at the event.

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Organizing Boycott

In my mailbox, I received a very colorful pamphlet with three folds, printed on both sides, offering more than $100 in special offers from This is a joint promotion by Metro stores and Jean Coutu Pharmacy. Missing was even a single word in English even though I live in Westmount where there is a significant number of English speaking people. I might have forgiven them for this omission of English if they had a separate mailout for areas in predominantly French populations.

Normally, my first instinct is to send mail of this type directly into the basket beside the mailboxes which is labeled for paper only. Junk mail goes directly into this basket. This time I decided to keep the pamphlet and to do something about it. If my business is not worth speaking to me in my own language then perhaps they can exist without it. There are enough pharmacies and grocery stores to shop at where both languages are used.

Please join me in addressing this issue. I am fluently bilingual and have been since I was a child. I learned to speak French on the street even before I began to learn it in third grade. I respect both solitudes but enough is enough with being bullied by politicians and language laws. Spend your money with merchants who appreciate your business and boycott those who don’t.

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Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood visits 1969 Los Angeles, where everything is changing, as TV star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his long-time stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) make their way around an industry they hardly recognize anymore. The ninth film from the writer-director features a large ensemble cast and multiple storylines in a tribute to the final moments of Hollywood’s golden age.

I was very impressed by the chemistry of this film and was kept on the edge of my seat wondering which direction Tarantino was going to go with this story in respect to the hippies of 1969 Los Angeles and the ranch where Charles Manson ruled.

Quentin Tarantino has never worn kid gloves when directing films, so I have never been a fan. I never saw Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill, or Reservoir Dogs because I do not like violent films. But for some unknown reason, I was drawn to this film like a moth to a flame and looked forward to its’ release. Perhaps it was because of the all-star cast, Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, and Margot Robbie. However, I had my suspicions as to why Al Pacino was used playing the minor role of DiCaprio’s agent. Another actor who I haven’t seen in years is Bruce Dern, who plays in one short scene that could have used any actor. Were there favors needed to be paid?

Would I recommend this film? Absolutely, as the awards shows will concur.

I enjoyed every minute of this film while my partner hated it and couldn’t wait for it to end. There are no rights or wrongs.

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Yia Sou Greek Grill

5375 Queen Mary Road

Montreal QC.

Not my first visit there, and I have never had a bad meal or bad service. So why didn’t I write about it before? Why is tonight different? Because tonight was exceptional. I was accompanied by Shirley and two friends. We showed up at about 6:45 with no reservation. In my defense, I told the hostess, (Whose name I should have gotten) “I had a reservation last week”. She smiled politely and even gave me a choice of booths. This nameless young lady never stood still for very long. When she wasn’t seating people she was setting tables or placing menus. In a short time, we were greeted by our server, (Whose name I did get.) Troy was the kind of server that any restauranteur would be lucky to have. Shirley ordered the chicken souvlaki platter with salad and rice, and I ordered the always tempting, always delicious steak and fries (ridiculously priced at 26.95) When the steak arrived slightly undercooked to my liking, Troy took immediate action and returned it to the kitchen. When it came back it was cooked to perfection.

While we ate our meal I watched as Troy served his new arrivals while never neglecting the ones who were already eating, filling water glasses, removing dishes from tables, and at the end of the meal he was there to offer coffee or dessert and when asked, he brought the bill and the machine for credit cards.

This blogger recommends Yia Sou for quality food, great service, and a friendly ambiance.

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Beijing Restaurant

92 de la Gauchetiere

Montreal, QC.

Last night five of us revisited Beijing Restaurant, which over the years has become one of the finest restaurants in China Town. As per usual, and particularly due to the beautiful weather, the restaurant was busy still, there was no problem seating us at our table, which we had reserved for 7:30 P.M. nor was there any delay being served by friendly, courteous staff. We ordered Won Ton soup, Spring Rolls, Dumplings in Peanut Butter sauce, General Tao Chicken, salt and pepper chicken, Sizzling Beef Hot Pot, and Cantonese style Chow Mein with noodles, mixed vegetables, shrimp and chicken. No time was lost as each dish was set down in sequence, hot and beautifully prepared. This blogger gives Beijing Restaurant top marks for consistency, and for quality of food and ambience in general. Some things never change and fortunately, Beijing Restaurant is one of them.

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Ajia Asiatic Counter

5th floor

Montreal Casino

Not my first time there, but time I gave them credit for a winning combination. Well organized cafeteria style service, excellent food, and extremely moderate pricing.

Ajia offers dishes prepared for clients before their very eyes and according to their inspirations and tastes. Guests can choose Szechuan, Teriyaki, Korean, or green curry-based dishes, or they can enjoy the traditional General Tao.

 The cashier takes your order and immediately the assembly line of cooks reads the order off the computer screen and begins to prepare the food. Minutes later you are being handed your order, and all that’s left is for you to choose where you would like to sit to enjoy this treat. The main choices are chicken, beef, or shrimp, choice of fried noodles or steamed rice, and the trio includes won ton soup and soft drink. The soft drink can be upgraded to beer or wine for a couple of bucks extra. On this occasion, I opted for the Beef Teriyaki trio with fried noodles. It was delicious. If there is anything negative, the cutlery is plastic, and the plates are paper. But on the positive side, my meal before tax was $16.25. Also on the positive side, the panoramic view of the South Shore, the Jacques Cartier Bridge, and the grounds of what once were Man and his World. I give this restaurant my strong recommendation but it comes with a warning. If you plan to gamble before or after the meal be prepared to lose money. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

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Lesters Deli

Lesters Deli

1057 Bernard Ave


Montreal, P.Q.

Been a few years since I visited this classic eatery but the last time I had the urge to drop in to enjoy some fine deli, I discovered that they were closed on Sundays. Tonight I satisfied my craving for their famous club roll which consists of grilled smoked meat, salami, stuffed chicken, and black forest ham on a sesame bun. I walked in and was pleasantly surprised to see the server, Danielle was still there after all these years. And so too, was Vasili, the man with the magic knife who cuts the meat for the thousands of sandwiches he has made over the past decades. Billy Lester was not there which is understandable on a Saturday night but the place operates like a finely tuned instrument under the watchful eye of Nick. Lenny Edelstein charms the paying customers as he mans the cash register. Danielle is a treat to watch as she greets and seats new arrivals, brings them menus, all the while attending to those who have already ordered and delivering the mouth-watering food to the tables as quickly as it comes from the kitchen. I counted forty people seated at tables in addition to several more being served at the counter with take-out orders. Incidentally, the above-mentioned club roll accompanied by a dill pickle, French fries, and a Coke (not that boring syrup and water that most restaurants serve you) but a real Coke in a can, costs $14.49. That is an amazing price for this day and age. I appreciate the fact too that the parking meters do not charge for parking after 6:00 P.M. in Outremont.

Rekindle the memories of the Deli Days of yesterday. You’ll be glad you came.

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Raffi Hotter

The students at McGill NeuroTech challenge themselves to do big things.

Like build a brain-controlled wheelchair in 30 days as an extracurricular activity.

Say what?

That’s the ambitious goal and tight deadline the student group faced this winter to submit their project to the NeuroTechX Student Clubs Competition. (Which they won by the way, but more on that later.)

The wheelchair operates via EEG signal – a user has four electrodes attached to their head – and uses imagined movement.

“It’s almost science fiction-y,” says Raffi Hotter, a first year honours math and computer science student and Schulich Leader scholar who led the software team.

“The person who’s using the wheelchair will just imagine moving to the left and the wheelchair will take them to the left. Or imagine moving to the right, the wheelchair will take them to the right,” Hotter explains.

“They imagine these motions and the wheelchair takes them in those directions. That’s the simple stuff.”

The students also added self-driving features, enabling the wheelchair to move by itself and go around small obstacles.

Getting the wheelchair to do all that required teamwork, self-teaching, and a ton of work.

Marley Xiong and fellow McGill student Jenisha Patel kicked things off by starting to assemble a student team. Among the ideas proposed, the wheelchair was the runaway choice.

Nearly three dozen students worked on the wheelchair they dubbed Milo, for mind-controlled locomotive. They split into teams – data collection, signal processing, machine learning, software and hardware – each saddled with a key piece of the puzzle. They also had a research team.

“We created a pipeline starting with the brain and ending with the wheelchair itself,” Xiong explains in the polished video the students created for the online NeuroTechX competition in February.

“The whole reason for the data collection is that we had to train our algorithms to properly identify what imagining moving to the left means and what imagining moving to the right means, what stopping means,” Hotter says.

The students took an old wheelchair and made it functional again, adding different sensors and a footrest.

There were hiccups along the way, including the technical challenges posed by their inexpensive EEG system with low fidelity.

How much time was involved in creating Milo in 30 days?

“A lot of sleepless nights,” laughs Hotter.

“This was during school. So we were working all the time on it. Many, many hours.”

The effort involved Arts, Engineering and Science students. McGill NeuroTech received funding from the Dean’s Fund in the Faculty of Science that is supported by annual giving to McGill, as well as funding from the other faculties involved. They worked out of Building 21, a research and community space at McGill.

McGill NeuroTech describes itself as a “group of students that builds devices that interface with the brain. We live at the intersection of neuroscience, computer science, engineering, and the human imagination.” Every year, they develop a brain-controlled application.

Their wheelchair won first place – and a $1,000 prize – at the NeuroTechX Student Clubs Competition, beating teams from the University of Toronto, UCLA, and Polytechnique Montréal, among others.

Their feat attracted media attention, and this spring the students presented Milo at Google DeepMind’s office in Montreal.

The students are exploring how to improve the wheelchair and hope to work with patients to test it.

McGill NeuroTech recently launched a gofundme campaign to raise money for materials for new projects and events to attract students to neurotech.

Hotter says the group will either continue with the wheelchair for next year’s project or do something completely different. They also need to find a new space.

Were people surprised that a group of students could building something like this?

“Depends on who you ask, I guess. For a lot of people it’s really surprising,” Hotter says. “This is usually work done by much older people with much more experience. We were teaching ourselves.…Many people hadn’t worked with these signal-processing techniques. There’s a whole course at McGill to teach signal processing. We had to learn it in a couple of days.”

Projects are one of the best ways to learn – “Certainly this one was,” Hotter says, noting the thrill and high motivation level.

“I learned so much from all the other people on the team. People from all different backgrounds. It was really amazing.”

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Via Marcello Revisited

Via Marcello Restaurant Revisited

1790, Cote-Vertu

St-Laurent QC+

I have been there on two previous occasions so it was an easy decision to return there this evening. There was a close call on arrival because the weather outside has been windy and raining for what seems to be forever, and the restaurant was uncomfortably air conditioned. However when we complained without hesitation the hostess proceeded to turn off the cold air. The meal and the service were impeccable.

Shirley chose the Caesars Salad ($9) and Eggplant Parmesan ($12) while I ordered from the Table D’hote menu Cream of Spinach soup and for my main course, Manicotti alla Florentine, pasta stuffed with spinach, ricotta, parmesan and mozzarella gratiné, with coffee ($18).  I had a hard time choosing the Cream of Spinach soup over the always great Minestrone, so I asked the server to surprise me. And speaking of the server, kudos to Dovina who not only was at the top of her game, but also able to tolerate my sense of humour.

We will return.

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Too Darn Hot!

The Lyric Theatre Singers

Musical Director Bob Bachelor

Directed by Bob Bachelor and Cathy Burns

June 13, 2019

Continuing thru June 14, 8:00 P.M. and June 15, 2:00 P.M. and 8:00 P.M.

Despite the fact that Raptors Mania has all of Canada glued to their TV screens DB Clarke Theatre was filled to capacity for the opening performance. As usual I was blown away by the talent and the professionalism. From the opening number to the grand finale there was never a boring moment and much praise has to be given to Jonathan Patterson, guest choreographer who had the entire cast dancing with amazing synchronization. Koodos as well to Karen Pearce for costume coordination. It is difficult to focus on individuals when there was so much great talent on stage so I will mention some of my highlights at the risk of leaving out others. The Tenors and Basses were show-toppers as Men In Tights from the 1993 Mel Brooks film and the joy carried over to the next number when Richard Kallos sang Me, Who Am I? from the 2013 film, Cinderella.

The second act opens with a brilliantly produced, from all angles number, Welcome to the Rock. Shy Shalev, Charlotte Clement, and Sarah Caille are superb in I want It All, and the absolute laugh-out-loud number for me was Getting Married Today by Stephen Sondheim with Danielle Hoyt hilarious as as the reluctant bride and partnered with my personal favorite soloist, Katherine Fournier.

But don’t take my word for it. See this show while you can.

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