Sunday, November 24, 2013


It’s been a week of bitter cold, minus 20 degrees.  It’s been too cold for any Buskingdoms.

On Canadian televisions this week, along with inundated spates of our criminal senators and the latest buffoonery of the nincompoop mayor of Toronto, a couple of newsworthy items have been airing continuously: JOHN F. KENNEDY documentaries and the GREY CUP.


I heard the news of President Kennedy while I was having lunch with my Grandma and Sid in the village of Vanguard, Saskatchewan.

At that time, the Canadian hoi polloi knew only hagiography of John F. Kennedy. We knew that he had a beautiful wife; we knew he was the youngest president ever; we knew he was Catholic; we liked his big teeth and his shock of hair; we knew he was friends with Marilyn Monroe.  At the time, Canada had John Diefenbaker -- America had John Kennedy!   

We were campestral; the Kennedys were Camelot.

The village of Vanguard was a typical prairie community, having a Chinese cafĂ©, a French tailor, a Joe’s Groceteria, and a Revelstoke lumber yard.  We were a 300 population with the highway sign Welcome to the Village of Vanguard, smeared with mud to instead read, Welcome to the Village of Mudville. 

And I shall now annotate the connection betwixt John F. Kennedy and the Grey Cup.

Everyone knew the members of the Kennedy family loved to play football, and football Kennedy style was played on a wide green lawn at their summer home Hyannis Port on Cape Cod.  In the Village of Vanguard there were no wide green lawns for football games.  In fact, I remember only three lawns in the whole village: at the Hornungs, the Hopfners, and the Shiislers, and none of which designed for the game of football.

We played our football on the school grounds – no grass, just dirt.

When I lived in Vanguard I really did not know much about politics, and nor did I know much about football.  Vanguard was not really a football town; we were a hockey town.  Only at noon hour and after school did we play football, Aerial, with three downs and a steamboat count from 1 to 10.  I remember the best players being Butch Stokes (who tore every ligament in his ankle during one of our games), Reg Hornung (who was just an excellent athlete eventually playing in the Western Hockey League for the Swift Current Broncos), and Jerry Scheller (who was our very own, Sam the Rifle).

Everyone had a collection of Canadian Football League player cards which included Sam the Rifle. Everyone had Jackie Parker of the Edmonton Eskimos, Kenny Ploen of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Russ Jackson of the Ottawa Rough Riders, and of course, Sam (the rifle) Etcheverry of the Montreal Allouettes.

It was relatively warm day for the season and I remember telling the other kids at school that President Kennedy had been shot and they did not believe me.  They just continued their pick-up game of Ariel football.

As I write this blog entry I can hear the horns honking on Victoria Avenue.  As I pause this blog entry to view from my 6th story balcony I see the gambol below of 55,000 rabid fans dancing a seriocomic shindig of laughter and drink … and drink … and drink.   

Today celebrates the 101st GREY CUP game of the CFL, the final football game of season.  The SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS and the HAMILTON TIGER CATS are playing for the GREY CUP right here in Regina.  And isn’t it sweet for the RIDER NATION that their beloved ROUGHRIDERS are in the GREY CUP!

Yes, I remember knowing about JOHN F. KENNEDY, before I knew about the amours, before the beginning of the Kennedy tragedies.

Life really is ephemeral. Life really is but a fillip.


I’ve just one marcher in my CHAUCERIAN PARADE this week, CORVUS, the baby with the big brown eyes.  CORVUS is the brand new baby boy of my friends, Karen and Marc.  CORVUS and his mom came by work for a quick visit.  CORVUS is named after ravens! 


Sunday, November 17, 2013


Twice this week I had to stop busking because of the rain.  This is a first, my being drenched while busking in mid-November.  I can dress for wet weather, but rain will wreck my guitar.  Alas, I must concede that my busking, for practical purposes, shall have to cease until springtime, save for the couple of mercenary days this week I plan to sling my guitar during the Grey Cup celebrations.

And there will be celebrations!  The Regina City Square Plaza is covered with one big tent that is street wide and two blocks long.  All the rooms in all the Regina hotels are booked.  And so are all the rooms in surrounding rural hotels booked.  Hundreds of bedrooms in private residences are for rent. On Kijiji I read that these bedroom rental rates range from a palatial $1000 dollars per weekend to a paltry $60 dollars per night -- but must like dogs.

Back to busking

FACT:  At the beginning of this week, with the above zero temperatures, I had decided that the Fates were being exceedingly kind … until these same Fates rained on my CHAUCERIAN PARADE! 

This is no joke.  It takes a real man to strum in the rain.  Whaaat?  Not to worry, dear reader … This line is but a segue into my sexist topic for today, THE MAN LUNCH.

‘Tis sad and true that around my workplace it takes more than a pair of cojones to connote manhood.  At my workplace a real man must attend THE MAN LUNCH.  THE MAN LUNCH signals a moment of machismo, manly guys doing a manly thing for just one hour each Friday noon hour.

As members of THE MAN LUNCH we range in age from the virile to the viagral … PASS THE TESTOSTERONE, PLEASE!

As members of THE MAN LUNCH we are geeks; we are gear-heads. We are baronial; we are benighted and bandersnatch.  We are plump; we are fit.  We are bald; we are barbate.  We are a police officer, and a pipe fitter; a hunter and a hockey referee; a welder and a jail guard; an artist and computer analyst; a carpenter and salesman; a guitar luthier and … a busker!

During THE MAN LUNCH we eat pizza, of which we do not eat gluten free or pineapple, and we do not eat chicken teriyaki or spinach and feta.

Our purpose for THE MAN LUNCH is purely recreational – it is a fun-filled meat feeding frenzy. For just five dollars apiece we can eat all the pizza we want of ALL MEAT (bacon, pepperoni, ham, salami, ground beef), BACON DOUBLE CHEESE BURGER (beef, onions, bacon), or THE INFERNO (pepperoni, beef, mushrooms, onions, BANANA PEPPERS).

And why did we pick pizza for our menu?  Because real men festinate to pizza for the same reason they festinate to women – NO I WON'T GO THERE. (Rob Ford, the now infamous MAYOR OF TORONTO went there last week and look where it got him!) 

All the men who gather at THE MAN LUNCH know the code:
No Crying & No Complaining about the pizza or the warm cans of Coca-Cola. 
All members of THE MAN LUNCH must be a man … must be a staffer … must eat meat!

At THE MAN LUNCH we discuss mainly the manly things in life.
Being teachers, we discuss educational policies -- NOT.
We discuss teaching methodologies -- NOT.
We share lesson plans – NOT.
We ridicule particular students – NOT.
We ridicule particular teachers of the other gender – NOT.
We drool over particular zaftig persons of the opposite sex – NOT ... ermaybe.
We discuss flivvers and tires – YES … and guns – YES ... and babes and boobs – NOT … ermaybe.

During THE MAN LUNCH we do NOT sing – we zing … between sound bites (pun intended) we loudly zing one another and loudly laugh at one another.  For certain we are poetasters.
During THE MAN LUNCH we discuss meat pizzas, the color of floor hockey pucks, and the NFL.

And why would any man attend such a lunch? 
Without a moment of thought (being the typical male) I can right away list three perfect reasons:

  1. To strengthen our public virility (by job description we are kindly care-givers).
  2. To relive our virility (or lack thereof). 
  3. To succumb to peer pressure (If he does not attend … he cannot stand among the men.)

As our doppelganger selves we are just real and ordinary teachers;  as our real selves we can unprofessionally present our manliness just one noon hour a week at THE MAN LUNCH.  I’m thinking that The Man Lunch is but a simple reprieve from our mundane workaday socialist selves in a typically gender-neutered work environment.

During THE MAN LUNCH we are truly a brotherhood.  During THE MAN LUNCH we are a gathering of grunts.  (In fact, if it weren’t for the sex, I could very well be gay because I love hanging around guys … so sayeth the hunter who is still amongst us.)

During THE MAN LUNCH we are but  …
a breed of sublimated carnivores under the bromosexual sun!