Sunday, March 31, 2013


My wintertime whine is over.  It’s time for reflection and springtime song!

First, I shall reflect. 

I constantly complain about our refrigerator winter simply because I cannot busk outdoors.  This complaint is shallow, immature, and unbecoming for a buskologist. 

Fact:  I should celebrate wintertime because I have a four month opportunity to write songs, perform indoors with my band and to focus on two other passions ... NINE-BALL and DOWN-HILL.      


Nine-ball reflects the brilliance of billiards, as it is so simple to play (simple not to be thought synonymous with easy).  To win, pocket the 9 ball while hitting the lowest numbered ball on the table.  This could be a carom or a combination (if balls other than the 9 are still on the table) or a direct strike (if the 9 ball is the only ball on the table).

Every Saturday my buskmate, Baron, and I go to The Broken Rack and play nine-ball.  For one glorious hour Baron and I cut and bank, carom and combo the each nine-ball rack, squeezing upwards of 10 games, the victor having the option to break the next rack after any win.

 The best strategy to win at nine-ball is to know how to break the rack.  I use a 20 oz. cue; Baron an 18 oz.  If it’s a good break, oftentimes the one doing the break will win the game.  If it’s not so good a break, the next shooter will likely win.  As any game of pool, the quickness of the game is determined by the skill of the players.

Nine-ball is more than shooting stick.  It is about Ellen, our server.  Ellen is zaftig sweet. She’s 25 and beautiful and buxom -- how lecherous I am!  Nine-ball Saturday is about the heaping platter of delicious sour cream and salsa nachos.  It is about the thick frothy root beers served in the big glass icy mugs.  Nine-ball is about winning and losing, it is about laugh and camaraderie. 

All of this … is Nine-Ball!


When the children were younger and living at home, to down-hill ski in winter we would drive 10 hours to Fernie over Christmas, or 10 hours to Banff over Easter.  Now the children have grown and gone. Driving to the mountains for a down-hill ski doesn’t have the same shine as it did then.   

Where you are is where it’s at, the longtime mantra of the true down-hill skier, has now been embraced by me. The same ski shoe with a different shine is available just driving one hour east to Mission Ridge in the Qu’Appelle Valley.

Mission Ridge is a mountain chalet in a prairie valley setting.  The ski hill is an alpine-like escarpment complete with varied runs of bumps and thin powder.  The kitchen staff at the Ridge serve heaps of home-style fries piled fat burgers and chili dogs, to be washed down the gullet with the locally brewed pilsener beers.

Skiing at Mission has been referred to (many years ago in SKIER MAGAZINE) as swoosh skiing. Though the slope at Mission is the same as that in the alpines of British Columbia, the length of the runs cannot really be compared.  If I were to compare miles to minutes, the ski runs at Fernie and Banff range up to several miles; whereas, at Mission Ridge they range up to three minutes.  A three minute run can aptly be considered a SWOOSH!

With a little adventure and creativity, swooshing at Mission Ridge is fun.  At the bottom of each run I always attempt my 360’s, complete turnaround circles while skiing.  Oftentimes, from the top of the run I ride my skis, on my haunches, down the entire minute swoosh.  Practicing just these two ski skills keeps me fit for the inevitable mountain ski trip.

Nine-Ball and Down-Hill are my passion plays.


Yesterday I was didge busking in front of SHOPPERS on Broad.  It was cold and windy but … I’m no longer complaining (please re-read my opening blog lines).  The one and only character marching in my CHAUCERIAN PARADE this week is a superannuated elementary school principal, former Greyhound Bus driver, former United Church minister, named Joe.

As I was droning, Joe wanted to talk.  All of Joe’s bio above, I learned in ten minutes of phatic chat.

I used to have a strong faith in the Lord, said Joe.

One time there was this precious little darling, this little girl in grade two at our school, who was receiving cancer treatments.  When she was back in hospital for the umpteenth time, I gathered all the students and teachers into the gymnasium for a collective prayer.  It didn’t help.  She died that same day.

And now my daughter-in-law has just passed away.  Her parents are evil people, contesting her will, having a writ for subpoena delivered to my son on the day of her funeral.

I’m telling you, when I think back on my life, I literally spent my years DEFENDING GOD’S ACTIONS!

I don’t have a strong faith anymore.  In fact, I don’t know if I have any faith.

With that, Joe walked away.

With that, I also got my answer to my longtime kindergarten question: Who made God?

I finally have my answer:  We did!

And I think my answer to be fool proof, to both zealous believers and zeitgeist non-believers.

To the believer, in the beginning, viva voce, there was just this lonely deity, a null existing in a vast empty space, having power over zeroth, over nothingness. In this beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form … and so, eventually in Frankenstein-like fashion, God created man in his own image.

Fact:  Without us, God is not.  God needs us to be god over someone and something.

To the non-believer, God has but one whimsical purpose, to explain the unexplained.  God, then, is merely a phantasm of humankind to give our lives meaning, rather than mystery. Along with this life meaning comes misery (just ask Joe).  Or ask any Zen follower, to live is to suffer. 

Fact: Zen followers quite like Christianity, save for that carrot-stick arrangement with heaven and hell.








Sunday, March 24, 2013


Another accursed day. It is -13 degrees, another accursed day of non-busking.

Selfishly, this winter in particular, has been a bildungsroman of sorts, with me as the main character.  Because of the crisp and bitter cold these past six months, my busking has been nondescript, frustrating in fact.  The few times I’ve ventured out, I’ve had to bundle to the point of non-recognition, strumming with fingers that go numb, blowing didge drones that go nowhere.

Before I was a busker, I loved the winter season!  At six years old, Kimmy and Larry and Brent and I used to roll around on the blue sastrugi that had piled throughout our village.  And then came hockey. 

Being and ex-NHL’er I would be remiss not to recollect, for the readers, my ordinary beginnings on winter ice.  Skating at five years old and playing hockey at ten, Kimmy and Larry and Brent and I would hop down to the rink every day to skate for the Vanguard Eagles hockey club.  We did this in Wee Wee, in Pee Wee, in Bantam, Midget, and finally, Senior.  Fact:  All four of us went on to play in the NHL for many years -- the NHL (the Notekeu Hockey League).

After my NHL days I played hockey for the Swift Current Indians in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, and the Villagers in Kamloops, British Columbia.

Also, during the winter season most people in the village of Vanguard curled.  First we had jam-can curling in elementary school, graduating to the community curling rink for high school.  A decade later I curled for the Department of Highways in Regina, Saskatchewan, and the Village Hotel in Kamloops, British Columbia.

(Notez Bien:  During my salad drinking years in Kamloops, British Columbia, I was an evening patron of the Kami Lounge situated within the Village Hotel on Tranquille Road.  George, John, and Rick were the bar managers and the lounge was my homey hang-out.  As a community gesture, the Village Hotel sponsored a couple of sports teams, curling and hockey, and I was cast as the captain of both.)

That was a long time ago.  Curling, I’ve since grown to hate; Hockey, a Canadian religion, I still worship.

Back to my bildungsroman:

Saskatchewan winters being so bitterly cold and adversary, I’ve decided to wave the white flag and retreat to indoor bastions, regaling for those in hospitals, retirement communities, and coffee houses.  This is all fine but … I tend to thrum and sing the same playlist over and over and over again.  This is never good for busking.

This winter I’ve been working on some specific strumming techniques for my spring thaw and summer buskpots.  I’m trying to acquire more shine to my old shoe strum and thrum patterns.  This particular winter I’ve practiced mainly on the Nick (nicknamed after my band mate), the Knock (a percussion technique), the Scrub (a nails back and forth brush strum), and the Neil (nicknamed after me).  I’m still practicing the Carter (nicknamed after Maybelle Carter, of the famous Carter Family). 

Keep in mind I always wear a thumb pick while strumming my guitar.  Also keep in mind that while strumming a guitar, the 1st string is the one closest to the floor, and the 6th string the one closest to the ceiling.  

What I call the Nick is just a regular Country & Western thumb and trigger finger slow -action 4/4 strum.  Strumming the Nick, I alternate the thumb from the root base notes of each chord (usually the 6th string to the 5th string) and strumming up and back again with my the pad of my trigger finger.

The Knock is simply a knocking percussion style using the knuckles of my strumming right hand. It’s the same motion as knocking on a door, except I do my knocking just under the 1st string. Before each knock, I strum downwards, palm facing out, extending my fingers, brushing the strings with my trigger, index, and ring fingernails (in this same order).

The Scrub is simply mimicking a scrubbing of all six strings, my strumming hand flexed in semi-fist position, rubbing down and up and down and up, repeatedly in a 4/4  or 3/4 beat, using only the top edges of my fingernails.     

The Neil has become my signature frail.  It’s like a banjo frail but I use the thumb (the same as I do in the Nick, wearing a thumb pick, alternating down strokes on the root base note (again usually the 6th and 5th strings), followed by an up stroke (pulling/plucking) of the ring, index, and trigger finger pads, in this very order.  Mainly I employ the Neil in 4/4 rhythms.

And, the last strum to describe is the Carter.  I’ll use the G chord for a simple description. Holding the G chord with my left hand fingers,  with my thumb pick on my right strumming hand, I pluck downward on the root base note of the G chord, which is the 6th (E) string, followed by strumming down on the rest of the strings three more times for 4/4 time, two more times for 3/4 time.  For the C chord, my first down stroke onto the root base note is the 5th (A) string, followed by strumming downward on the rest of the strings, three more times for 4/4 time, two more times for 3/4 time.

To complete my bildungsroman in the inchmeal guitar sense, it has taken this chilly willy winter to advert my mind to other things, mainly these rather simple but effective strumming and thrumming techniques for the up and coming busking season.

My winter of discontent has proved to be my winter of foment, producing a distinct cowboyographic opus of thrums to be auctioned to my consumers in the coming summer throngs. 

Strummin’ is icumen … Summer is Icumen!

Saturday, March 16, 2013


As chilly as it was, Michael O'Dillon was there hunched down upon the pavement, busking in front of the liquor store.  His entire body was shaking from the cold.  

The last time I saw Michael O'Dillon was in late Autumn, when we were busking together.  On that day he wore his usual heavy metal garb:  a headband through his long and straight black hair, a black leather silver-studded jacket, torn blue jeans, scruffy black steel-toed workboots.

On this day his usual nimble strumming fingers were hidden in his parka pockets.

It’s too cold for this, Neil, he said smiling at me.

I can see that, I replied while tossing a couple of toonies and loonies into his guitar case.

Michael is a guitar busker.  He used to be a welder.  He used to be in retail (stocking shelves).  This last couple of years he’s been a busker.  Even today in this frosty and biting clime, Michael O'Dillon is choosing to be a busker.

Thanks, Neil, I really don’t know why I’m here, Dillon stated.

You’re more than welcome, man, I replied, I don’t really know why I’m here either.   

And that got me thinking (because it is still too cold to go busking) …

Fellow Earthlings,

We are seven billion in number and none of us really know why we are aboard this blue speck orbiting through the vast emptiness of space.  We are seven billion in number and we are all doomed to die, without ever really knowing the reason why. The skinny of Zen, to live is to suffer, is for soothe, in that we’d rather be living and wondering and suffering than be dead.  Yes, we do have rather stark notions of where we’re from and where we’re going but really … these are just simple (sometimes complex) speculations based on belief systems and faith.   

And it is, precisely this personal belief system to which each of us adhere, that makes all of us … Existentialists.

Existentialism alleges that all of us are responsible for giving meaning to our lives, that each of us creates a Kierkagaard kindred sense of order and purpose, so that we are able to dispel the overwhelming confusion in an apparently meaningless world.  If this is true, then we are all truly delusional.  Yikes!

Let us examine what all of us know.

All of us have Annie Oakley tickets for choosing pleasures unlimited as we thrillingly ride on this blue orb spinning within our self-proclaimed Milky Way midway.  There is but one catch; however, we’ve just a limited time to do so – on our side of the planet we’ve an average lifespan of 78 years for men, and 82 years for women.  During this limited existence we can, almost at whim, become whomever we decide, embracing multiple roles during our century long course.  Some of these roles are simple and some of these roles are difficult.

We have these years to do whatever we want, to create and to learn. Some of choose to be healthy; some of us choose to be wealthy; some of us choose to be wise.  Some of choose to couple; some of us choose to be single.  Most of us choose to stay put; some of us choose to travel.  Some of choose to be jobbers; some of us choose to be thieves; some of us choose to be beggars; some of us choose to be buskers.

As members of a species, we are gregarious.  We long to live in a community.  In each of our communities we have a pecking order.  We long to be loved by others.  We long to be famous.  We love to fantasize.

We yell, we sing; we yang, we yin.

We are quiet.  We are katzenjammer.

It’s not easy being a human being, especially a decent human being.  All of us have arrived with human instincts encoded in our genes.  We all are on self-preservation from dangers both physical and psychological.  As a result, we are aggressive; we are passive; we are selfish; we are selfless.  Sometimes we are bullies in other peoples’ faces; sometimes we are victims, pitied and faceless. 

Whatever we are, whatever we do, we are flawed. 

Some of us are spiritualists; some of us are atheists.  Some of us are devotees; some of us are disinclined.  Some of us are conservative; some of us are democratic.  Some of us are capitalists; some of us are communists.  Some of us are from collectivistic cultures; some of us are from individualistic cultures. 

We cannot choose our parents and we cannot choose our birthplace.  We can, though, choose our destiny.  Even so, the majority of us die within 100 miles of our birthplace, and most of us meet our soul mates at work. (Some of us are adventurous; some of us are cowardly.)

Whether we choose to be dandy corporate climbers or beat-down bums, we concurrently choose our values.  No matter our chosen positions, we can choose whatever we decide that it is to be a human.  And we can demonstrate these values in our everyday living.  We can choose our life purpose and we can act accordingly.  We can choose to be responsible; we can choose to be slovenly. We can choose to be compassionate; we can choose to be callous.  We can choose to be flexible; we can choose to be rigid. 

We choose the roads we travel – the roads do not choose us.

I travel the busking road.  Rather than an endless summer road of academia, I chose busking.  Sometimes I've regret, but mostly I've not.  The busker road can be bumpy and stressful, but more often than not it is royal and svelte.  Tranquil or taxing, all roads we travel are a matter of personal perspective.  Our lives are up to us.  My summer is busking, and busking is my life. 

Attempting to discover who we are and why we are, we search within and without.  We dig in the dirt and we search in the stars.  Whatever celebrant or humble purpose there is for our species, please keep in mind, fellow Earthlings …

We are all of us brothers and sisters under the shining doomsday sun.     

Sunday, March 10, 2013


A DRUMHEAD is defined as a court-martial held in the field to hear urgent charges that have been committed in action.  The term is said to originate from the use of a drumhead as an improvised writing table.  The term mostly has connotations of summary justice, with an implied lack of judicial impartiality.

My squinny, skinny definition:  A decision made in haste.

For example, LOOKISM, according to psychologists and everyone else, we tend to judge people by their physical appearance.  As a heterosexual male, I’m thinking of the 36-24-36 Marilyn Monroe type.  As for me (I’ve stated before) I am tall and dark and handsome.  These are simple drumheads.

Another example of hasty judgments we make are the result of THREADISM, judging people by the clothes they wear.  I do this all the time.  People who wear home team hockey jerseys to the game, I think, look geeky.  (This same judgment is not meant for football fans.)  As a busker, cap-a-pie I’m usually bareheaded, white long-sleeve shirted, blue-jeaned with working boots.  I don’t like sloppy people and I don’t like scruffy unpolished shoes.

JOBISM is another drumhead decision made by a lot of people.  When I used to be a high school English teacher there seemed to be a certain prestige about my job status.  As a university professor, I do know that non-university people think I am smarter than the average bear. 

LOOKISM, THREADISM, and JOBISM are all simple examples of drumhead decisions, quick judgments so to speak. Such drumhead decisions abound.  

Drumhead decisions in schools make the news on a regular basis.
  • In 1964, David Corky Woods of Vanguard, Saskatchewan is expelled from school for sporting a Beatles haircut.

  • A five year old kindergartner was suspended from Mount Carmel Area Elementary School in Pennsylvania after suggesting she and a classmate shoot each other with bubbles.  According to the municipal school authorities, this bubble suggestion was a terrorist threat (ABC News).

  • An autistic 16 year old teen was arrested in St. Mary’s Ohio for pouring sugar (not drugs) into a candy wrapper, then tried to sell it as a sugar rush (WRG TV).

  • A 12 year old New York student was hauled out of school in handcuffs for doodling on her desk.

  • A six year old Cub Scout, Zachary Christie, was sentenced to 45 days in reform school after bringing a Swiss Army knife to school. (These are the knives that can turn into a fork and spoon and whatever else one needs on a camping trip.

  • A 13 year old boy in Manassas, Virginia was suspended and sent to drug rehabilitation for accepting a Certs breath mint from a classmate.

And, of course, we’ve climbed aboard the bully band-wagon, and are now inundated with a zillion victims and a disproportionate number of bullies.

And if you’re gay and want to demonstrate your gayness at a graduation ceremony, well …  good luck with that!

Up in Canada, la belle province has an overzealous language police force.  Louse Marchand, head of the Office quebecois de la langue francais, has just resigned – How do you spell PASTA (in French)?

And the beat goes on; the beat goes on (Sonny & Cher).  See my blog entry January 27th, 2013 … BADGES? WE DON’T NEED NO STINKING BADGES:  THE PROPOSED NEW SLOGAN FOR THE NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION (NRA)]. 

When it comes to preventing gun-related violence, there continues to be a calling for measures aimed at preventing those with mental illnesses from owning firearms.  The National Rifle Association has mercilessly chosen the mentally ill as its quarry.  Wayne LaPierre, chief executive of the self-aggrandized NRA, continues to lobby American politicians and purblind lawmakers for an active mental illness database.  And there is the same rabid happening in Canada.  

People, listen up …

FACT:  Less than 5% of violent crimes are committed by people diagnosed with a mental illness.
FACT:  More than 95% of violent crimes are committed by people NOT with a mental illness.
FACT:  The strongest predictors of violent crimes:
            Those people with a past history of violence
            Those people with an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol
Those people who have been disenfranchised because of their socioeconomic environment     (i.e., poverty)

The National Rifle Association (NRA) is a bully-pulpit organization that has decided to make those people who are mentally ill the scapegoat of its lunacy.  This drumhead justice is now apparent in the federal policies of both the United States and in Canada.  Gun control aimed at those with a mental illness has even been embraced by politicians who are typically not extreme right-wingers – I’m thinking they do so as a political gesture to show themselves to be part of the solution, no matter how arrogant and stupid and bad the policy may be.

A drum, a drum!
Macbeth doth come (Macbeth, Act 1 Scene 3).
When Macbeth first happens upon the three witches his coming is announced through the sound of a drum beat.

By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes (Macbeth, Act IV, Scene 1).
Near the end of the play, the beat of a drum is not necessary to announce him, for he is so evil the witches can now feel his presence.

In the fictional Macbeth, the depiction of evil begins in a cavern setting with a boiling cauldron, three witches, and some far away drum beats. 

In real life, the depiction of evil is a school shooting in a white middle-class neighborhood – suffice (enough) to prick the thumbs of the delusional drumheads in America and Canada.   


Early Saturday afternoon I was busking near the Good Earth coffee shop in downtown Regina. 
With a big smile and seemingly friendly nature, a middle-age cadge wearing a ball cap and brown leather jacket approached me.

Hey, man, I’m a good guy.  I just got out of jail and need money for some bottled water.

Sorry, I replied, I’ve just got my debit card and some seed change in my guitar case.

You make me feel like I’m racist you f&^%in’ sonofab*&%@!, he retorted.


Check and click on my latest novel, The Creek, when you scroll down the right side of this blog header!

Sunday, March 3, 2013



Too chilly to busk ... and so I muse and toil again with tireless pen ...

The first recollection I have of my grandmother, Ollie Anger, was a defining word moment in the brown and yellow autumn of 1956 -- I was five years old.  I was at my grandmother’s house in Vanguard, Saskatchewan, Canada, and she was making lye soap.  On the front concrete patio of her red fake-brick house, my grandmother was cutting small blocks of translucent golden soap, and stacking these blocky squares against the wall of the front porch.  I’m thinking the soap had been set out on the concrete slab to dry in the sun.

“You’d better put on your jacket, it’s chilly out here,” my grandmother said.

“What does chilly mean? “ I asked.

“It’s too cold to be in your short sleeves,” she replied.

Now as I’m typing I’m thinking that I never did move back to my home, a basement suite in Swift Current, Saskatchewan.  My parents had separated and I was sent off to Vanguard to live with my grandmother and Sid (my grandmother’s second husband – her first husband, my biological grandfather, had passed away when my father was 10 years old).

This particular blog entry is about some of my grandmother’s stories, of which she told me hundreds of times until the day she passed on.  These tales were mostly summertime stories, told while we sat on a car seat, serving as an outside couch, situated on the sunny side of our home in Vanguard.  (This was the third house I’d lived in with my grandparents in Vanguard.)

And here are some story summaries as told to me by my (somewhat braggadocio – did I say that?) grandmother, Ollie Anger, formerly, Ollie Child, formerly Ollie Nye:

  • We descended from the not-so-genteel Lord and Lady Plumley;  Lord Plumley of the English House of Lords (see our Coat of Arms at the header of this blog entry).  My grandmother claimed that Lord Plumley had been hanged as a horse thief.  I did some quick research and discovered that a Sir John Plumley had been executed in 1685 for his part in the abortive Monmouth Rebellion, an attempt to overthrow James the 2nd, King of England.  The Plumleys later emigrated, as pilgrims, to America.
  • We also came to America on the Mayflower.  My grandmother had mentioned this in context to the Albert Nye family, of which she was a descendent.  I’ve checked this, not thoroughly, and have discovered that Charles Plumley was a friend of William Penn, who has been indirectly tied to the Mayflower.
  • My grandmother and her sister, Margaret, as young girls, traveled from Kansas City, Kansas to Kansas City, Missouri in a covered wagon, crossing the Missouri River in the process.  (I so remember her sister, Margaret and her husband, Bob (the Halsteads) visiting us in Vanguard.  I remember they owned a funeral home … in Nebraska, I think.)
  • My grandmother’s family lived in the Osarks, next to the James family (Jesse and Frank James and their parents).  Some quick research gives credence to this account, for Jesse James is factually from Clay County, Missouri.  My grandmother told me several times of someone in that James family skating on a frozen pond, falling through the ice, and drowning.

And my favorite
  • In July of 1931, my aunt Georgie who was 14 years old, took my dad who was 10 years old, and together they walked out of Vanguard, Saskatchewan, and hitch-hiked to the Calgary Stampede, billed at the time as the Greatest Outdoor Show On Earth, 367 miles away in Calgary, Alberta.  This had to be a remarkable journey, considering it took place near the start of the Great Depression, and considering they had to thumb first to Swift Current, then on to Maple Creek, Medicine Hat, en route to Calgary.  I can just imagine the canaille they must have encountered along the way.

This was near the beginning of my Aunt Georgie’s bildungsroman (if I were to write one), for
within a decade of this Calgary adventure, my Aunt Georgie would play softball for the Moose
Jaw Royals and travel America as a team member in many softball tournaments.  She later
joined the Air Force during the Second World War.  As for my dad, he, too, joined the service,
the Royal Canadian Navy, during the Second World War, and was an ordinary able seaman
aboard several destroyers, spending five years chasing German submarines across the North
Atlantic Ocean.

Of these stories that my grandmother told me, I am thinking that any one of them would make a fine historical fiction piece, especially the one about my aunt and my dad hitch-hiking to the Calgary Stampede.  Further musing on this particular story, one needs to ask the questions: How could two kids have the gumption to take such a chance and hitch-hike so far? What prompted my aunt to have such a strong urge to get to Calgary?  

One possible explanation, as a convergent thinker, could be that their father, George Child who was dentist, had just died, and Georgie decided that she and my dad had to get away for a time. 
As a divergent thinker this could be an Aesopian fable of sorts, because another possible explanation is (and this is totally fiction): that she desperately wanted to see, in person, the most famous cowboy of the era, Everett Bowman, who was bound to be ridin’ and ropin’ at the 1931 Calgary Stampede. 

Dear readers, I’ve an epiphany.  Whatever the reasons for such a chutzpah campaign, may I suggest that this Stampede story and the one about Jesse James enhance my buskeroo street credentials, and, therefore I reckon, it has been in the cards for quite some time that I was destined to become the cowboy busker that I am! 

I suggest, too, that these stories are certainly the stuff from which original buskeroo tunes could be created.

Characters marching in my Chaucerian Parade this week:

  • Jody, the cocktail bar manager at the Radisson Plaza Hotel Saskatchewan (where the Queen of England and her family members stay while in Regina; where the Rolling Stones stay while in Regina; you get the picture).  Jody collects plastic gift cards for me to punch into guitar picks with my handy-dandy forty dollar pick-punch.  Yesterday he handed me over 100 such cards!

  •  Rhonda, a clerk at Shoppers on Broad, who just turned 60 years old.  Whenever I busk at Shoppers, Rhonda always comes out and sings a song or three.  Rhonda’s favorite song is Last Kiss!

  • Terry, manager of Copper Kettle Gourmet Pizza.  Terry charged us just FIVE DOLLARS for an all-dressed large pizza (because we’re buskers)!


Rocket Men …
  • Rockets are still being fired into Israel from the Gaza Strip.  Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the armed wing of Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas’ West Bank based Fatah movement, are claiming responsibilities for the rocket strikes.

Summer Fun Amok … 
  • World powers are offering the Islamic republic of Iran, some small new sanctions relief in return for curbing its nuclear program.  The stakes couldn’t be higher.  The Obama administration, though pushing for diplomacy, has not ruled out military intervention to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.  Israel, too, has threatened it will employ all means to stop Iran from building a bomb.  This raises the spectre of a possible Mideast war as early as this summer.

Basketball Bro-heads …
  • Former NBA star, Dennis the Worm Rodman, has publicly stated to North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, that he is a friend for life.  Back in the U.S.A. Rodman said that Kim Jong Un had asked him to tell President Obama to give Kim Jong Un a phone call.  I think this will be just a case of the Worm getting the Presidential bird.  As for busking, if you can dribble and thrum you'll be BFF with Kim Jong Un.

The Walking Dead, Raising the Ratings …
  • Shown on public television, China parades four foreigners in shackles and handcuffs, being led to their executions for murdering 13 Chinese sailors.

A Fugacious Vacation …
  • Millionaire space tourist, Dennis Tito, wants to send a married couple on a 17 month return trip to Mars by 2018.  (And you thought hanging curtains with your spouse to be a bad idea.)

And to close ... Mitty Meow Meow ...
  • Mitt Romney, in his first televised interview since his fall in the election, is still insisting he ought to be the President because he would be doing a better job.  Here, kitty, mitty, kitty is some spilled milk to lick -- obviously no felix culpa for this feline.