Monday, September 30, 2002

Places&Culture from NY Times Magazine:
MoscowRichard Lourie wonders what to do with irony in Moscow: I noticed that Aeroflot had elected to keep the hammer and sickle on its logo. What exactly was that -- the past intruding on the present or the past becoming style, national reconciliation through design?

By W.D. Wetherell:
Vermont Route 102 forms the northeast edge of what is called, with more than a little irony, the "Northeast Kingdom" -- a broad upland of granite hills and boreal forests with a few well-scattered villages that seem just barely connected to the rest of the United States. The radio dial dominated by Quebec stations broadcasting in French. The legacy of bootleggers and smuggling. The Depression-era feel that hasn't really left since the 1930's. The fact that the "Moose!" warning signs really mean it. It's a region apart, and Route 102 seems even farther apart, the loneliest, most forgotten corridor down a lonely, forgotten land.

By Patricia Hampl:
Today, old alliances and antagonisms, along with recent immigration, African, Asian, Middle Eastern, give Montreal its durable international sprit. And you can try out your high-school French there without having to fly across the Atlantic.

''Bonjour! Hello!'' My husband, Terrence, decided, a day into our Montreal weekend, that this doubling up of social pleasantries accounted for the feeling of uncommon civility we kept encountering. Cabdrivers, hotel clerks, waiters, Metro commuters -- everybody said ''Hello,'' ''Excuse me,'' ''Please'' and ''Thank you'' in French, followed by the same in (usually unaccented) English. ''They're putting twice the time we do into being polite,'' Terrence figured. Double the linguistic courtesy, double the urban civility.

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