The Wrong People Are Being Punished

As the pandemic worsens we are being forced to go backwards into lockdowns that we were able to avoid until recently. Restaurants, for example, were allowed to serve meals indoors providing certain criteria were observed. Reduced capacity was an important factor, as was social distancing, sanitizing the hands, and the wearing of masks by patrons and staff. We had no problem obeying the rules. The restaurant owners for their part spent vast amounts of money to install Plexiglas partitions between tables and booths. At midnight on September 30, 2020 we took a giant step backwards forcing restaurants into a lockdown that many of them will not survive.

The Minister of Health had made it simple; Wash your hands, wear a mask, and do not congregate. However, wherever I look as I drive through the city I see groups of young people, without masks, congregating in parks and on sidewalks in front of snack bars and ice cream or yogurt stores. I put the blame solely on them for the increase of Covid-19 cases and deaths. 

The Minister of Health is asking police to break up house parties. Why not ticket people gathering on streets and parks with their friends where none of them are wearing masks. They are much more visible and they are the root of the problem. They should be rounded up by police and obliged to produce photo ID in order to be ticketed and fined as are people who congregate in houses. If they cannot provide ID they should be taken to the local police station and held there till their parents come to pay the fine or post bail if they intend to dispute the charges.

For most of the population it is not a problem to follow a few simple rules, but because there are those that have no regard for public health, the wrong people are being punished.

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Roch le Coq

Roch le Coq

1541 Van-Horne

Montreal QC

Info @

Move over Colonel, there’s a new sheriff in town. Fried chicken prepared as only a master chef can. Accompanied by a generous portion of French Fries and gravy you’ll soon forget that this is fast food. Each order is individually prepared. Due to the current situation eating inside is not possible; however one can order and wait outside while the order is prepared and packed and brought out to you for takeout. There is a table and benches where you can eat on the premises and across the road there is a park with picnic tables. While you are inside ordering you must have a mask, and in return the staff are all wearing masks, gloves, and shields for your protection.    

Being my first time there I sought advice from one of the staff who went over the options on the menu with me and made very good suggestions. The menu is extremely varied offering many choices of main courses, sides, and sandwiches. They offer a choice of buckets of fried chicken in various sizes and choice of white or brown meat. They also offer trios so I ordered a trio consisting of two pieces of white meat, French Fries, and a Coke. Shirley ordered the Rochy Burger, fried chicken, lettuce, mayo kimchi, and pickles. All the sauces and gravy are house-made and delicious. Next time I will try the poutine and I suspect “next time” will be very soon. I counted five men working in this cozy little diner. The person I referred to as my advisor earlier, is I would imagine a manager, and if not ought to be. His name is Philippe. Tell him Sol sent you.

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The Smallest Objective

From a press release courtesy of Janis kirshner

The loss and recovery of memories is a central theme of intriguing narrative nonfiction, The Smallest Objective.

Sharon Kirsch’s new book, The Smallest Objective, is a fitting read for this year’s World Alzheimer’s Month in September. Its author is well versed in the challenges and intricacies of the ‘dementia journey’ as she witnessed first her father and then her mother lose their memory, along with their independence and the underpinnings of their lives. A topical subject as people with dementia have suffered unduly from the COVID-19 pandemic, Kirsch chronicles the satisfactions and heartaches of caring for a loved one from afar. She shares the day-to-day anxieties of supporting her mother in assisted living, as well as asking the more searching questions about what it means when we can’t remember. As the author dismantles her parents’ home in Montreal while preparing it for sale, she happens upon objects hidden there—a treasure cache reveals of 20th-century family members she never knew, their fates bound up with the history of the city itself. In this poignant tale of loss and retrieval, Kirsch ultimately finds a new sense of purpose in recovering family memories on behalf of her mother—and some

Please click to see an excerpt read by the author  Click to read an excerpt from The Smallest Objective

September is World Alzheimer’s Month/Sept. 21 is World Alzheimer’s Day

Book traces author’s past while recovering memories


“Make it a habit at the outset to keep both eyes open.”—Manipulation of the Microscope, Edward Bausch

The Smallest Objective

Compelling narrative nonfiction by Sharon Kirsch

Please click to see an excerpt read by the author

“While the days tentatively grew longer and my mother gradually was vanishing from my life, her house was delivering to me through its objects a family I’d never known.”—The Smallest Objective

August, 2020World Alzheimer’s Month is the international campaign by Alzheimer’s Disease International every September to raise awareness and challenge the stigma that surrounds dementia. World Alzheimer’s Day is on September 21.  Along with Alzheimer’s, many themes in The Smallest Objective reflect the current climate. The literary memoir examines lives lived; it’s about staying connected to loved ones, as author Sharon Kirsch (a Montreal-raised Toronto resident) is feeling heartache and anxiety being separated from her mother with dementia who is living in a care home in another city. From The Globe and Mail’s André Picard: “No group has been harder hit by the coronavirus pandemic than people living with dementia. They account for a staggering two-thirds of the nearly 9,000 COVID-19 deaths in Canada.”

The Small­est Objec­tive is a sto­ry about the decline of a par­ent, and of the author’s reflection on this pas­sage in life; as the narrator struggles with her mother’s failing memory, unexpected secrets come into focus and a layered legacy of willed forgetfulness is uncovered.

The emotional and physical impetus for Kirsch’s newest book stems from a sequence of loss, and recovery. Here it is anguish for her mother’s waning independence, and the act of reclaiming family stories. “My mother’s struggle with dementia and my own related feelings of helplessness and grief were the motivation for writing The Smallest Objective. When it proved necessary to transfer my mother from her home of 50 years to assisted-living, my strongest desire became to instil in her a sense of comfort and security. This meant concealing my own turbulent emotions surrounding her memory loss and the letting go of the family home,” said Kirsch. The author’s experiences were instead channelled through her writing. “I composed, too, with the awareness that dementia is pervasive and my mother and I were not alone in our journey—in the hope that others supporting a loved one through the dementia experience or having already done so might find some comfort or a sense of community in my memoir,” she added.

“There was a chronology to my mother’s forgetting: first, the symptoms of my father’s illness, then bill payments or going to a friend’s or relative’s funeral; later, that her son-in-law worked in Boston, which days the garbage went out, how to open the trunk of the car, what she’d eaten for dinner, that she’d eaten dinner, that she’d phoned me ten times, that she couldn’t remember.”The Smallest Objective

It became Kirsch’s respon­si­bil­i­ty to sort out the accu­mu­la­tion of fam­i­ly memen­tos. Most imme­di­ate­ly press­ing is the solu­tion to an old fam­i­ly mys­tery: what is her father sup­posed to have con­cealed beneath her par­ents’ bed­room floor? She undertakes an excavation for buried treasure aided by a team of archeologists. The book includes black-and-white photographs of the objects that spoke to Kirsch, disclosing her past.

This first-person creative narrative produces unsettling discoveries about several personalities as revealed by the things that survive them—a microscope and lantern slides, a postcard from Mexico, a worn recipe book, a nugget of fool’s gold, an enve­lope of yel­low­ing news­pa­per clip­pings, and the obituary of a renowned black sheep in the family. In the end, after much packing and unpacking, the search yields both less and more than Kirsch ever imagined, as well as the extent to which this unique family was punctured and shaped by the muffled anti-Semitism of the time.

New Star Books Publisher Rolf Maurer was riveted by Kirsch’s hinted secrets and depth of discovery, “This is a book about the Kirsch family as well as the darker and more tragic aspects of people’s existence. As with any great memoir, the real gold is in the stories that the narrator encounters in settling her own account,” he said. For further insights into Kirsch’s story, check out her blog and Facebook page.

In The Small­est Objec­tive (the title refers to the lens of a microscope that allows for the highest degree of magnification), we learn the story of Kirsch’s  grand­fa­ther, Simon Kirsch, an ide­al­is­tic young plant scientist versed in the fossil record who turns lat­er in life to iconic prop­er­ty devel­op­ment; of Jockey Fleming, the Runyonesque uncle manqué well-known by gossip columnists who hid his ori­gins to play the role of one of the era’s great colour­ful char­ac­ters; and of Kirsch’s independent aunt, who came of age in the lead-up to Expo 67 but was unable to fulfill her promise, tearing a jagged hole into the author’s mother’s life.

FromThe Miramichi Reader: “In this particularly well-crafted memoir, author Sharon Kirsch shares her experience of exploration, healing and loss. Akin to an intricately detailed slide under a microscope, this suite of stories, in fact, a collection of newly discovered memories, is a familial jigsaw puzzle—a series of mysteries, reassembled by way of meticulous research and the astute observation of a writer in her prime.”

The Smallest Objective is a beautiful and melancholy memoir about the hidden recesses of a family (some at the fringes of the law), and the treasures that the past can bring in the face of a difficult present. This is an ideal time to read a book and be transported; reflecting on parents, extended family and wild eccentrics who were only talked about in a whisper…

“Several decades ago, then, willingly, deliberately, I’d left my parents and the house behind. Now my mother and the house were leaving me.”—The Smallest Objective

Click to read an excerpt from The Smallest Objective

Creative nonfiction/literary memoir

The Smallest Objective by Sharon Kirsch

Published by New Star Books ISBN: 9781554201556 | 272 pages |$21

The Smallest Objective in bookstores, and as an eBook at Amazon & Kobo among others

Book launch including dynamic readings and an insightful Q & A at a future date

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Does Anybody Care?

I get around a large part of the city and it is irritating to see so many people of all ages who don’t seem to find it important to follow the rules during the current pandemic. They won’t wear a mask, and they won’t stay a safe distance from their friends. Whether it’s outside of Baskin Robbins on CSL Road or on a terrace in Little Italy where dozens of people are crammed together drinking beer and carrying on like there was no real problem. What doesn’t help is the irresponsibility of the bar owners who allow more people than the law permits in public places. A recent example was in a bar on the South Shore where many patrons were infected at a birthday party. Another problem is that the police and public security do nothing to enforce the laws that cover the use of masks and the need for social distancing. If we continue on the path we are on many more people will become infected and many more will die. If we are going to ignore people endangering lives but issue tickets for illegal parking somebody is giving the wrong commands.

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Elio Pizza Revisited

Elio Pizzeria Restaurant revisited

Elio Pizzeria Restaurant – Cuisine Italienne Rosemont …

Elio Pizzeria – Rosemont-Petite-Patrie Restaurant, (514) 276-5341, 351, rue

Bellechasse, Montréal

It’s been way too long since we visited Elio’s or anywhere else since the Covid pandemic struck in March of 2020. We sat on the outdoor terrace and there was absolutely no threat to our wellbeing. The staff wore masks or shields, there were lots of stations to wash hands with sanitizer, and there was single file entry and responsible spacing between tables.

And now, on to the food.  Shirley had a combo Caesar Salad and Spaghetti with meat sauce. She commented that it was one of the best salads she has ever eaten and she has eaten in many fine dining restaurants internationally. I had a combo of thin crust pizza with pepperoni and anchovies and spaghetti with garlic and olive oil. As always, it was delicious. The service was exceptional thanks to the attention from Peter who waited on our table and tolerated my sense of humour. The combos come with free dessert, and that dessert was Dulce de Leche, a cake that words cannot describe. We finished our meal with a cup of coffee.

One last note, Elio has acquired a parking lot directly across the street.

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Snowdon Deli

Snowdon Deli

5265 Decarie Blvd.

Montreal, QC

In these trying times things we took for granted have now become part of the new normal. It is difficult to put into words how good it felt this morning when I phoned to inquire whether or not we could eat in the restaurant and the answer was in the affirmative. I wasted no time in getting there for Brunch.

 Everything has been done to make the place safe from the moment you enter the premises and sanitizing liquid is available and compulsory before being seated. The distance between tables is within the guidelines of social distancing, the tables are separated by Plexiglas panels, and all the staff is wearing full face plastic masks. There are instructions posted at the entrance that wandering from the table is not allowed except to use the washroom. There is no entering the take-out section without first leaving from the door you came in through or vice versa. The service was impeccable and served by Alexa, who has been a familiar face here for the past seven years.

Shirley thoroughly enjoyed a Smoked Meat sandwich with delicious Coleslaw and I had Corn Beef Hash topped with 2 eggs, black bread with butter, and two cups of coffee. We were glad to see some things don’t change. Snowdon Deli quality is another example. See you there.

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Au Vieux Duluth

Au Vieux Duluth

1997 boul. Marcil-Laurin

Ville St. Laurent, QC.

Living the new normal

First time since the pandemic began four months ago, we were able to go into a restaurant to enjoy a meal at a table without fear of contamination. The staff is all wearing protective shields, the customers sanitize their hands at the entrance and the tables are all set for two people and far enough away from the next couple. We also noticed as quickly as we left, our table was being sanitized in preparation of the next couple. It was a pleasure to see the hostess and the owner once again.

As is always the case, the service was impeccable and the food was cooked to perfection. Shirley had giant Butterfly Shrimp served with garlic sauce accompanied by a delicious salad, nicely flavoured rice, and oven roasted potatoes. I had my usual Filet of Dore with the same side dishes as Shirley’s. The portions were such that you didn’t leave hungry.

I recommend this restaurant on all points. And you can bring your own wine. Cheers.

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PA Supermarket

Super Marché PA /PA Supermarket

4600 BLVD Samson

Laval, QC.

This Supermarket chain, offering groceries, produce, meat and fish, together with other staples has been around for a long time mainly because of their good prices, right locations, and easy parking.

Today I had occasion to shop at the Laval location. I noticed the presence at the entrance of an employee with a dispenser of hand cleanser that would make certain anyone entering would have sanitized hands. Unfortunately, from this point on the lack of cooperation from the public was obvious.

Management had been very diligent in protecting the employees, and in particular the cashiers and the wrappers. They had arrows on the floor of each aisle showing shoppers which way to go without disrupting social distancing. But they did not practice crowd control which resulted in way too many people in the store at the same time. It was also not compulsory to wear a mask so the staff did but many of the shoppers did not.

Insofar as their current pricing, there were several “deals” or as they are known in retail, “loss leaders” but also, the occasional grocery item that was borderline price gouging.

On a scale of 1 to 10 considering the times we now call normal today’s visit still rates a 9.

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Star Noodles

Star Noodles

1871 Saint Catherine Street W.

Montreal, QC

I have been eating at or taking out from this amazing restaurant for at least 50 years. The General Tao chicken was one of my favourite dishes in the 70’s and has not changed to this day.

Last night we picked up supper consisting of Spring Rolls, Peanut Butter Dumplings, General Tao Chicken with steamed rice for me, and Giant Shrimp with mixed vegetables and Noodles for Shirley. I needn’t tell you about the portions, but we had enough left over for tonight and there was still food left over that could have fed a third person. This fabulous meal cost $34.00 taxes included. Although you still cannot eat there because of the covid problem the takeout is speedy and a cool air-conditioned waiting room is provided while you wait. If you have never enjoyed the Star Noodles experience, now is a good time to do so. The traffic downtown is not a problem.

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The Worst President That Never Was

Just when we thought he had been told by his aides and others that his comments were causing violence and demonstrations and perhaps he ought to have speeches prepared by others and read directly from the Teleprompters, the Great One broke all previous limits of bad taste.  First he called out the Secret Service to line up in front of the White House to keep demonstrators away from the property. Then he called in truckloads of National Guards in full Military Gear prepared to fight not a foreign power, but fellow Americans. The speech contained not a word about racism, the needless murder of George Floyd by Police, or the need to remain calm as we rebuild the economy. Instead he decided to become recognized as a “law and order” President. He would protect our laws from everyone including Antifa, who he earlier had called a terrorist organization. That should probably result in a car bomb explosion somewhere in the U.S. soon. The President closed his speech by saying that he was on his way to pay respects at a special place.

That special place turned out to be the Church a stone’s throw from the White House where he posed for a picture holding a bible. That explained why moments earlier he ordered the Military to attack the protestors with tear gas and rubber bullets to clear the area. The protestors incidentally were doing nothing unruly. It was a peaceful march to that point. All this military power was used to clear the area for a photo-op. A much greater solution would have been to set up large screens to televise the speech to reassure the protestors and call for calm.

The President is a disgrace and ought to have been impeached and now we are left with the danger that he will be re-elected for a second term.

Makes me kind of glad to be Canadian.

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