Friday, July 25, 2014

Montrealer raises over $1,500 for soft-boiled egg 'secret'

  One local Montreal woman is doing her best to up the ante of stupidness on Kickstarter by promising to reveal her secret to perfect soft boiled eggs for $15.
   Well, you boil some water, walk to the fridge, take out some eggs, put them in the water, wait six minutes, and then you take them out and snap em through with a knife.
   Pay me fifteen bucks!
   But something happened along the rose-lined path to wonderbar Nadin Katzenberg getting her fifteen bucks.
   She was given over 10 times more than she was asking for, indeed she got over 100 times more than she was asking for.
   All of the $1,520 in offerings came from one person though.
   We don't know that person's name but according to the rules of Kickstarter, Katzenberg would have to give about eight percent of that sum to pay the sites fees.
   So Kickstarter will get $122 for the stunt.
   Now, I don't know nobody from nothing ...but is it possible that Kazenberg herself gave the $1,520, knowing that the $122 that the stunt would cost her would well be worth it in terms of the niche of fame and aura of winningness she is creating around herself through free publicity on very badly conceived articles on websites like....err.. scratch that last bit.
   So, clever PR peeps, let it be known that crowdfunding is the new gimmick to promote an aura of winning-o-sity among yours clients! Grab it before it gets cold!
   And Katzenberg, your soft boiled egg secret had better be good! 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Montreal's phone fraud culture

   I have come across way too many Montrealers involved with phone fraud operations here, which hopefully have all been eliminated by now in a series of high-profile busts and extraditions.
   So I took some time away from staring at the ceiling this afternoon to make a list of some of these shady characters.
-The male stripper from Verdun: A thirty-ish welfare recipient who once told me that he was gainfully employed at Club 281 (I didn't go down to check if this was true, although he didn't seem to be a particularly exceptional specimen from the parts I saw).
   He strode with the demeanour of a street hustler, was constantly behind on his rent (I was his long-suffering landlord) and had an infuriating habit of paying odd sums here while I was in the middle of doing some fix-it task, that made it difficult to keep an accurate tally on how much he owed. Quite a clever trick really.
   One day during a bus strike he asked me to give him a lift to his phone fraud job in Ville St. Laurent. He was quite open about it. I agreed but only if he agreed to help me scrap an old fridge by bringing it downstairs.
   The fridge turned out to be an unwieldy 350 lb bastard and both of us were cursing all the way down the three storeys, especially him.
   On the drive to his work he brazenly boasted about how he was a particularly good phone fraud guy and would sometimes get the credit card numbers he needed simply by yelling at the old folks who had a hard time understanding his nuanced pitch.
   "GET YOUR CREDIT CARD NOW AND READ ME THE NUMBER!" he said was one of his more successful techniques.
   When the ringleader was later cited in a media report as having been heard on a wiretap laughing aloud with one particularly ballsy phone fraud guy's quips, I'm getting the sense that it was this guy.
   (In case you're wondering why I didn't turn him in, it's because at that point had assumed everything he told me was bullshit).

 Swarthy NDG family guy with a sweet local wife and a couple of young kids who I'd see at social gatherings. He'd be there physically at these kiddie events but virtually never stop talking into his bluetooth earpiece phone. So his level of douchiness was pretty much topping out the red arrow on the meter but hell I didn't really care to talk to him anyway.
  Things were looking up for this guy upon the surface, he bought a house in NDG and his wife and kids were real sweet but he was arrested and sentenced and there was some sense of trepidation in explaining to the kids where daddy went.

Trashy son of a prince Ever meet someone so sweet and gentle and then meet their kid who is an absolute lout? Well an elderly Liverpudlian grandpa living in an dodgy highway-side upper duplex fit that bill. He was a super guy, quiet and interesting (Told me that Gerry Matticks had financed his home) but his son who worked in a phone joint was loud and fractious with his separation-new-girlfriend-I've-got-the-kid-this-weekend stuff. I have no proof that the younger guy was into phone fraud but a few conversations I overheard might have hinted at that, although he might also have been entirely legit.

   One friend-of-a-friend (not on this list) explained his motivation to continue in phone fraud to a mutual acquaintance: "There was a ton of money in it, it was too hard to say no."  

Monday, July 21, 2014

Montreal court decides in multi-million dollar porn ruling

   A Montreal courthouse recently spent an impressive seven full in late May listening to testimony about porn DVDs and the story did not have a happy ending for Montreal-based shop magnate Alain Elmaleh who last Tuesday was ordered to pay up $2,555,020 CDN to an American porn company called Jules Jordan Video for pirating DVDs.
   Elmaleh is planning an appeal of the judgment.
Elmaleh
   Alain Elmaleh's companies were originally ordered to pay $17 million by a U.S. judge after an investigation into pirating began about a decade ago but that sum was slimmed down in a subsequent ruling.
Jordan, Jules
   However Justice Louis J. Gouin upheld a California ruling against Elmaleh from 2011 for allegedly pirating movies made by the Jules Jordan Video company, run by 5'7" director whose real - or born name - is Ashley Gasper.
  So chances are that if you strolled into a Montreal sex shop, or any of Elmaleh's many sex shops across Canada, and purchased Trained Teens 2, or John Leslie’s Fresh Meat 10, you were getting a knockoff.
   Elmaleh had been hit by a related suit from Evil Angel, but those parties settled, whereas Jordan's empire chose not to.
   The litigation was launched after Evil Empire received a high number of demands for refunds and realized that the DVDs being returned were fakes.
  Elmaleh said in California court in May that he has no assets in the U.S. and had done nothing unlawful there.
   One might conclude from all of this is that an inventive entrepreneur might have simply created his own porno movies, of which Canada is said to have too few.
   Canada's paltry supply of porno film production is the notion behind a CRTC ruling from March which assailed a couple of companies for not showing the 35 percent minimum Canadian porn requirement on their programming. Quebec has invested heavily in video game industry but thus far the incipient Quebec porn video industry appears to have been forced to do it on their own.    

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Demolition of iconic CNR office building: an illegal act

   Southwest borough mayor Benoit Dorais has confirmed to Coolopolis that he watched on helplessly as the historic, abandoned old Grand Trunk/ Canadian National Railways office building at Bridge and Wellington was illegally demolished last winter by Ray-Mont Logisitics, which was hired by a condo company which is planning to put up condos at the corner.
   The company has been fined by the borough, he reports, and the case is in the courts as we speak, or write, or type or whatever we're doing here.
   There appears to have been little outrage following this demolition, which is unfortunate.
   In the mid-70s heritage activists were outraged when similar illegal (or otherwise dodgy) demolitions were undertaken around Montreal, most notably the Van Horne Mansion. That demolition at NE Drummond and Sherbrooke in 1973 so outraged Montrealers that David Azrieli's reputation was permanently tarnished following the affair, leading him to spend more time in Israel than in Montreal, where he was the province's third wealthiest resident. Azrieli died last week and the issue was raised prominently in the notice.
As it looks now
   Now while this building was no Van Horne mansion, it was the most important of a series of buildings used in the administration of a busy area that included slaughterhouses a stone's throw away from Goose Village.
   I asked Dorais which company the developers hired to demolish the premises but he replied that it was the Ray-Mont crews themselves who took the lovely old building down.
   We at Coolopolis feel that the developers should be forced to rebuild the same building and integrated it into their condo project and whoever actually issued the order should face legal sanctions.
    The demolition also raises fears that a similar abandoned old structure a little further down Bridge (in front of Costco) could fall victim to a similar fate.
  The once-lively area was devastated by a series of expropriations in the 1960s. Here's a list of events that took place in the area over the years.

On Thursday Dorais confirmed in a tweet that the borough is indeed arguing in court to force the property owners to rebuild the demolished building.



Dorais later rephrased his comments, noting that ordering the rebuilding of a building in such bad shape would seem a stretch, but that "the courts would decide."

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Montreal's Johnny Greco: great at boxing, bad at driving

   Montreal's Johnny Greco, aka Giuseppe Antonio Giovanni Greco, aka The Million Dollar Kid, was a great Montreal boxer but not such a great driver.
Cedar and Mountain
   Not only was he busted in the army for a fatal driving incident, he went on to die in a fatal one-car accident on Cedar and Mountain in Westmount at the young age of 31 on Dec. 12, 1954.
   He was reportedly on his way to attend a charity dinner for poor kids.
   Greco was raised in NDG and started boxing at age seven or 12,  depending on your source. He was a product of the Griffintown club.
   Abe and Murray Elkin made him a star in New York City where he had his first fight in 1941 and attracted record gates as a lightweight.
   He served a year in the Canadian army but that didn't go great, as his bad driving was fingered in the death of fellow soldier Romeo Dagenais in a drive from Montreal to Farnham in January 1944 while he was serving in St Jean south of Montreal.
Add caption
   He won the Canadian welterweight title against Dave Castilloux at the Forum in Aug. 1946 and held it until 1952 when Armand Savoie snatched it from him.
   Greco retired after winning back that crown on Aug. 26, 1952.
   His bout against Laurent Dauthuille on Aug. 9, 1949 at Delorimier
Stadium attracted 19,580 fans, which stood as the all-time largest crowd in Montreal for a boxing match until Sugar Ray took on Duran at the Big O in 1980.
   Greco lost that bout.
  Greco also lost a famous bout in Montreal on May 21, 1951, after Rocky Graziano knocked him out with a sock in the jaw in the third round. The photo from that moment is considered one of the great sporting shots.
   He also fought a massively-big drawing saw-off in New York against Beau Jack, a Georgia shoeshine boy.
   He had a career record of 105-13 and retired after winning back his Canadian welterweight crown from Armand Savoie on Aug. 26, 1952. He attempted a comeback in 1954 but it was frowned upon by local boxing insiders.
   Johnny Greco lived at 4539 Draper at the time of his death.
    He died a bachelor and left behind two brothers and his parents, to whom he was very close.
   Rivals Castilloux and Savoie were among his pallbearers.
    It's unknown whether Grego was related to Luigi Greco, who was one of the city's top mob bosses at around this time.
   We know that mobster Luigi Greco's father Angelo reportedly died in 1922.
   Boxing Johnny's middle name was Angelo, so might imply that Johnny Greco was maybe a nephew to the big time mobster.
   Luigi was getting divorced in the early 50s from his wife Berthe, who divorced Luigi (aka Louis Greco) and remarried.
  She, by some coincidence, also died tragically in Westmount on February 12,1953. Circumstances unknown.
   Mobster Luigi Greco died famously at his restaurant at 3212 Jarry after his floor cleaning fluid caught fire in 1972.  

Document exposes South Shore policing practices

   Those driving in certain parts of the South Shore might sense that they're being watched by overzealous police following the emergence of a document confirming the existence of a ticket quota, which requires police to write up a dozen tickets on the night shift for such infractions as texting while driving, improper stops, disobeying traffic lights, speeding, license, registration, tinted windows, mufflers, unsafe driving, illegal maneuvers (U-turns, passing).
   The directive - which we presume to be valid - comes from the Richelieu St. Laurent police which covers Beloeil, Calixa-Lavallée, Carignan, Chambly, Contrecoeur, McMasterville, Mont St-Hilaire, Otterburn Park, Saint-Amable, Saint-Basile-Le-Grand,
Saint-Jean-Baptiste, Saint-Julie, Saint-Mathias-Sur-Richelieu, Saint-Mathieu-de-Beloeil, Richelieu, Varennes and Verchères,
   This document would presumably be an embarrassment for the squad, as ticket quotas can lead to unfair and excessive ticketing and most, if not all, police squads deny their existence. (Story from julienjj on Montrealracing.com). The document, it is believed, was leaked by the union as a pressure tactic to speed negotiations. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Life in the East End: balcony chicken bone battle

Description: "The guy with the blue cap threw a chicken bone on the girl's balcony. She got mad cause she has dogs that could choke on the bone. The guy with the yellow hat is her boyfriend and he steps in to defend her . Watch the man gets stumped."
 Video posted by Alex Terrieur, who is undoubtedly the guy shouting "World Star Hip Hop" which the internet suggests you're supposed to chant when witnessing a brawl. 

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Chinese immigrants can fund the return of the Expos

Dominic Therrien says that he's working behind the scenes to encourage a totally original way to fund a baseball stadium to help get the Expos back.
  Therrien is a Trifluvien who went on to play some minor league ball before becoming an immigration lawyer in Vancouver, specializing in helping wealthy Chinese move to Canada.
   Therrien suggests that the $500 million required to build a new baseball stadium in Montreal could be raised from spurned immigration applicants.
   About 1,750 of the 5,000 outsiders seeking to move to Quebec under the investor program are accepted each year.
   Therrien proposes that 620 of those rejected applicants be accepted in the country on the condition that they agree to pay $275,000.
   That program would last three years and all of the funds would be earmarked to build the new Montreal baseball stadium.
   Therrien, speaking on the Derek Aucoin radio show Tuesday, noted that some like the concept but say that the proceeds should instead go to some other cause, such as building a new bridge or hospital.
  Therrien deals with this suggestion by noting that, unlike those infrastructure projects, a baseball team injects money into the economy.
   So if, for example, the payroll is $100 million taxed at 45 percent, the return on the salaries alone would be $45 million. Concessions, tourism, other sales taxes would also provide the government with income.
   Under the investor program, a candidate can bring his family to Canada and become a landed immigrant if he provides a $800,000 cheque to the government, which they return after five years without interest. The government, if they earn say five percent from that cash, will benefit to the tune of $200,000 per head.
   The Harper government expressed some misgiving about the program, which is popular in Quebec but not elsewhere in the country.   

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Where is Claude Quevillon?

   One time Montreal taxi driver Claude Quevillon has made his way back into the news in connection with the unsolved murders in the 80s of young boys Maurice Viens, Sebastien Metivier and Denis Roux Bergevin.
   In the mid-80s Quevillon was said to have approached police with what might have been some useful information about the killings.
  According to one unverified narrative, police were forced to discontinue their interviews with Quevillon on the orders of mental health authorities.
   Another version has it that police released him because they did not consider him credible.
   This has led to considerable frustration among the families of the victims, who would like to talk to Quevillon on their own but are unable to locate him because if anybody knows, they aren't allowed to tell.
  This week, one witness came forth to say that Quevillon lived in Point St. Charles in the early 80s, where he was a regular at the Chez Moma depanneur on Centre street, reinforcing the possibility that he was an important witness to the crimes.
   The parents of young Denis Roux Bergevin, who was was murdered at age five in Cote St. Paul in June 1985, recently held a press conference in which they complained of a lack of communication with police in the investigation into their son's premature death.
  The child's body was later found in the woods in Brossard. He had been sexually abused before being hit on the head and killed. Police said a grey Chevrolet might have been involved but nothing came of the investigation.
   If indeed Quevillon is still alive - he'd be about 74 if he's still alive -  and truly had a history of mental illness there's a good possibility that he might be in a place such as the Pinel Institute, where many patients never leave. But it's also possible Quevillon is none of the above and that this narrative is a mutation of the truth bred through decades of desperation. Any and all solid information would be welcome. Postscript: I received a note in the comment box disputing this assessment, claiming that indeed he had been known to consume and sell cocaine consume and was indebted.