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.








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