Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Why Why Zed

Flew to Montreal today, transferring through Toronto Pearson International Airport to get here. I will be here for the next week helping to cover the World Poker Tour National: Canadian Spring Championship.

These flights of less than two hours seem trifling to me now after all of the trips to other continents. Heck, the flight from Santiago to Atlanta earlier this week was about nine-and-a-half hours -- longer than the entire trip up here took, including driving to the airport.

I’ve been both to Toronto and Montreal before. The trip to Toronto was more memorable for me as it was more recent, though both were quite some time ago.

One aspect of the Toronto trip I’ve always remembered was how when Vera and I came the city was in the midst of a huge strike related to education cuts. I don’t remember the details, but all of the teachers had walked out and I think others were striking, too, with then Premier of Ontario Mike Harris the target of everyone’s anger over the cuts.

We were hanging around the University of Toronto mostly for a conference, and whenever we’d walk about we’d see lots of protestors marching and chanting. They carried signs, too, including many mentioning Harris specifically.

“Harris Doesn’t Scare Us,” read one. “Harass Harris,” another. “Spare Us from Harris,” a third. And so on.

That my last name coincided with the Premier’s gave these signs a humorous meaning, especially when captured in photos of me with a “What kind of a welcome is this?!” look on my face.

I don’t know how that situation ultimately played out. I also somehow missed during my earlier visit that the Toronto Pearson International Airport has the International Airport Transport Code of “YYZ.” And that the Rush instrumental that carries that title -- a song I’ve listened to hundreds of times -- begins with the band banging out a rhythm built upon the Morse code transmission of the letters Y, Y, and Z.

Here’s a clip from the “VH1 Classic Albums” show about Moving Pictures, the 1981 LP on which the track appears, in which the band explains the song and title (with the song taking up the second half of the clip):

So now I know. Meanwhile I’m having trouble remembering anything about my visit to Montreal (which was during the early ’90s), so I’m curious to see a little of the city while once again reporting long days from a week-long tourney. Kind of interested to see the Playground Poker Club and actually visit Kahnawake, too, a place I wrote about so many times 5-6 years ago here I memorized how to spell it.

Gotta get some sleep first, though. And probably dream of dash-dot-dash-dash-dash-dot-dash-dash-dash-dash-dot-dot.

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