Saturday, March 29, 2014


Rare as is true love, true friendship is rarer.
(Jean de la Fontaine, 1621-1695) 

I last wrote about friendship in this blog on Sunday, May 9th, 2010 (THAT’S WHAT FRIENDS ARE FOR …), and it’s time I re-acquainted with the topic.  True friendship is, indeed, the only true commodity, commodity not as in bought and sold, but commodity as someone of value.

Interpersonal relationships (FRIENDSHIPS) are everything.  Relationships are essential, ranging from the personal pursuits of happiness all the way to the business success of corporate America.

Confucius defined humanity as a love of people.  One of the conditions of being human is to have a focus on befriending others.  Humans are gregarious creatures, fond of company, searching forever for sociability.  And this is the very reason most of us reside in communities and very few of us live in lighthouses.

Psychology depicts love as a cognitive and social phenomenon, and friendship plays a significant role in this regard. Robert Sternberg’s TRIANGULAR THEORY OF LOVE consists of three components, and in reverse order they are COMMITMENT, PASSION, and INTIMACY.

COMMITMENT encompasses the decision to be with one another (and to remain with one another).  In COMMITMENT, the expectation is that the relationship is permanent. Hopefully such an arrangement is filled with romance agog, which includes both PASSION an INTIMACY.   

PASSION encompasses sexual attraction (LUST). Sexual attraction only includes PASSION.

INTIMACY encompasses feelings of attachment (a connectedness). Liking only includes INTIMACY.  

INTIMACY is a forum in which two people share confidences and various details of their personal lives, shown sometimes in romantic amours, but usually shown in FRIENDSHIP.

FRIENDSHIP and LOVE are sometimes synonymous, the difference between the two being but a bright-line.  Because this is the case, they can easily be compared.

FRIENDSHIP has for certain the following characteristics:  Sympathy (that fellowship feeling being a reaction to the emotion experienced by another), Empathy (that understanding and recognition of the emotion experienced by another), and Honesty (that truthfulness and candidness experienced and shared with another).

LOVE has for certain the following characteristics:
LOVE is a general expression of positive sentiment.
LOVE is commonly contrasted with HATE, an emotion of extreme dislike and adversary.
LOVE is commonly contrasted with LUST, an emotion enkindled with intense desire.
LOVE is sometimes contrasted with FRIENDSHIP, which is a RELATIONSHIP OF MUTUAL AFFECTION.
LOVE is commonly applied as an expression between close friends.

So far in my life the fates have been exceedingly kind, as I have had countless and different kinds of close friends.  I'll write about my different kinds of friends:

  • The Best Friend.  This the gold standard of friendship, commonly established in childhood.  Friends come in and out of our lives … I never had friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve.  Jesus, does anyone?  (Stand By Me).  My sidekick when I was twelve was Dennis – I’ve seen him just one time in the last thirty years.

  • The Old Friend. This is the lifelong friend.  I met Brent when I was six years old and we are still friends today.

  • The Older Friend. This is the one who mentors wit and wisdom.  For 25 years I've run 10 miles every Sunday with Burt.  We have solved every political problem imaginable, at the civic, provincial, national, and even international level!

  • The New Friend.  This is the friend with whom you can be who you are, rather than who you were.  My new friend, hands-down guitar-up, is Darren.

  • The Familiar Friend.  These are the kith who behave more like family than friends.  Each Christmas and Easter we celebrate with Gary and Tammy and family, and have been doing so for many years.

  • The Ex-Friend.  Don’t ask.

  • The Special-Interest Friend.  These are those persons with whom you share an unquenchable similar interest.  Chris and I have been lifting weights alongside one another for over twenty years, and I don’t even know his last name.

  • The Single-Modifier Friend. This is my friend, Brad -- National Hockey League Scout.

  • The Work Friend. My confidant at work, sometimes referred to as my work-wife is Judy.  We have been married to the same job for over twenty years.

  • The Professional Friend. These are those with whom I am in in continual debate regarding workplace methodologies and philosophies. Rick and Kevin and Jason; Claudine and Dawne and Jim, what would my work be without you.

  • The Road Trip Friend.  Eric is the only non-family member with whom I’ve ever gone on a road trip, and it has always been a ski holiday in the Canadian Rockies.

  • The Text Friend. Ha!  This is Robin (pictured above), my one and only text friend.

  • The Friend with Benefits.  I’m talking sex buddies … and I’ve none.

(Creedon, Jeremiah, UTNE READER September/October 2001)
Dear reader, this particular blog entry was meant as an argy-bargy on FRIENDSHIP and somewhat, LOVE.  And I remind you, dear reader, that I am not a cognoscente of either.  (I am a BUSKOLOGIST, and next week if the meteorologists are correct -- there will be BUSKING!)

To close I’ve three quotations:
True friends stab you in the front. (Oscar Wilde)
A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself. (Jim Morrison)
A true friend is one who knows you … yet still loves you. (Neil Child)

Sunday, March 23, 2014


It is minus 28 degrees with a 13 mile per hour wind.  Though I’d rather be busking than woolgathering (again), I must express what is right now on my cloistered and meshuggener mindset.

Everyone has a story to tellMake a friendAll behavior is based on the need for love, power, freedom, or funWe do what we choose to do.  These are some heuristics of REALITY THERAPY (RT).  

Admittedly, I’m an old school Reality Therapist.  When I studied RT there were but four basic needs: Love, Power, Freedom, and Fun.  And now there is a fifth, Survival.  

I’m an old school Reality Therapist who had not really studied CHOICE THEORY, probably because of that corny car metaphor the good Doctor Glasser employed.  (I still chuckle when I think of it – and that metaphor is still employed in his teachings!) 

I’m an old school Reality Therapist who loved his POSITIVE ADDICTION, a book with a strong premise inspired by weak research -- I loved it I think because I am a long-distance runner and the contents praised such endurance.   

I’m an old school Reality Therapist who loathed his CONTROL THEORY IN THE CLASSROOM, a book filled with nonsense -- I hated it I think because I am a classroom teacher and the contents condemned the style of my classroom management.

William Glasser (author of both mentioned books) is neither a runner nor a school teacher, yet he purports to be an authority on both.  Even so, for whatever crazy reasons (Glasser does not believe in crazy), I quite like most of his notions.

Make a friend.  This is rule number one for a counselor of Reality Therapy.  The conversation between counselor and client ought to seem very fluid and informal, as if the client is chatting with a friend.  It is incumbent upon the counselor to create a counseling atmosphere of ease and candidness, so the sessional discourse is emotional and truthful, so seemingly and seamlessly as a conversation between two buddies.

Everyone has a story to tell.  We are gregarious story-telling creatures and the stories we tell one another are really the projected themes of who we are and what we consider to be important.  We can pretty much determine peoples’ interests according to their oratory themes.  Some people always boast of their past heroics (attempting to re-create a situation that is at present not so positive).  Some people exaggerate about their children’s accomplishments (as if somehow the listener should attribute the credit to the speaker).  Some people brag about their mates (at the expense of their personal insecurities being obvious).

Alfred Adler (founder of Adlerian Psychotherapy) suggested all behavior is purposeful. William Glasser (founder of Reality Therapy) believes all behaviors express the need for love, power, freedom, or fun.  The love factor is simply the need to love and the need to feel loved.  Power, in the Reality Therapy sense, references the need to perfect a study or skill of whatever sorts, be it academic or pragmatic.  Freedom and fun are the needs each of us have for free choice and the ability, then, to enjoy our lives according to these choices.

This particular blog entry is about the fat of Reality Therapy (freedom of choice) and the skinny of Zen (to live is to suffer).  Combine the two and we must realize that most of our suffering through interpersonal relationships is likely the direct result of the choices we have made.

According to Zen, as long as we live, we shall be suffering something.  According to Reality Therapy, we control only ourselves, and our past is important only as a source to reveal our patterns of behavior to date.  According to both Zen and Reality Therapy, the only way for anyone to realize a positive life change is by making certain choices.   

Jean-Paul Sartre insisted we are condemned to be free, and therefore we must admit ownership for all the choices we make or do not make. 

No matter our belief system, all of us know that the consequence for our freedom of choice is either flush with joy or replete with heartache.

We choose, choose, choose.

We choose to be the person we want to become.  And the person we become is the person we present to others. We choose our careers and avocations. We choose to be blue collar or white collar, pencil-pusher or action figure. We choose where we live. We choose to be urban or campestral. We choose how we live. We choose to smoke or not; we choose to drink or not; we choose to exercise or not. We choose to be démodé or bon vivant.  We choose to be congenial.  We choose to be celibate; we choose to be promiscuous.  We choose to be bellicose.  We choose to praise.  We choose to besmirch.  We choose to be capricious.  We choose to be cockalorum.  We choose to be humble. We choose our friends.  We choose our lovers.

We choose to be chin-up.  We choose to be chopfallen

We choose, choose, choose.

Sooner or later we realize that everyone has a gift to offer others, an acquired skill that is unique to that individual.  Sooner or later we realize that we need not be passionate about our chosen profession or work station.  Sooner or later we realize that giving provides more joy than taking.  Sooner or later we realize there will always be clarity to what is at present confusing.  Sooner or later we realize that our interests will be many and varied as we age. Sooner or later we realize that health and relationships are more valuable than money.    

All of us try to imagine purpose for our lives.  All of us acquire, through personal endeavor, unique gifts and skills to help us achieve that imagined purpose.   

We are all blessed and accursed ... as we all shall continually thrive and suffer throughout all the days our lives ... especially when it comes to love ... and in this regard we have no choice at all.


Sunday, March 16, 2014


Still not Spring busking, I am Winter woolgathering.

There are over seven billion people living on this planet.  Seven billion.  In America alone, there are 250 million adults age 18 and over!  How is it that you met your soul mate, your one true love, just by being in the neighborhood?  What are the odds?  What are the odds that out of millions of potential sex mates on the planet, your one and only was the whole time, practically right here beside you!  Talk about luck!

Ha! Fat chance!

  • Fact:  50% of Americans live within 50 miles of their birthplace; therefore, 50% of Americans die within 50 miles of their birthplace.

  • Fact:  50% of all marriages end in divorce.

  • Fact:  After the divorce, you will find your next soul mate at your workplace.

  • Fact:  67% of second marriages end in divorce.

And my point to all this is simple.  The concept of finding a true love may be more of convenience than truth.

Picking a mate who is in close proximity is easy.  This is true, but whether this becomes one’s destined true love may or may not be (probably not be) so true.  How people find their real soul mates is really not that remarkable.

Some people marry their high school sweethearts.  Seriously, such a finding does not require unnecessary globe-trotting.  Some people first meet their potential spouses over pints in a local bar.  This was and still is the old-fashioned way.  Guzzle a bit of alcohol, become Buddy or Bunny Love, and courageously grind the night away on the dance floor.  After all, dancing is, indeed, the vertical expression of horizontal desire.  The new wave has people meeting on the internet, through date companies and chat lines.  This saves physically going out there, but it does invite deception.  Not until you actually dance with someone do you know that someone’s height and weight, and whether that special someone has halitosis or not.

Picking a mate can be simple or it can be complicated.  Either way, picking a mate is an adventure.  And I want to add to that adventure search from the perspective of PROJECTIVE PSYCHOLOGY.

PROJECTIVE PSYCHOLOGY suggests several techniques for revealing the underlying personality structure of individuals through unstructured test materials.  In PROJECTIVE PSYCHOLOGY, the administration of such unstructured materials are called PROJECTIVE TESTS, and simply, these are personality tests designed to let a person respond to ambiguous stimuli, presumably revealing hidden emotions, which are characterized by a biological reaction or mental state.

Common projective techniques include: INKBLOTS (Rorschach), DRAW-A-PERSON (Goodenough), and spinoffs, DRAW-A-TREE and DRAW-A-HOUSE.  Some contemporary techniques include: THE LOOKING GLASS, MIND WALK, SCENT-SATIONS, and SYNETHESIA.

All of these projective tests produce results symbolic of our unconscious (and sometimes frustrated) needs for sex, power, or domination.  All of these projectives suggest things you may not talk about, but at the same time reveal your real needs and drives.

For example, most of us do not have significant insights into our real needs (Adrian Furnham, Ph.D., 2014).  Some of us think we are people centered, even though we may not.  Some of us think we have a great sense of humor, even though we may not.  And some of us think we have a certain sex appeal, even though we may not. I say we let the market decide.  Let us toss ourselves out into the marketplace, onto the consumer, as we sip or gulp our coffee.

In so doing, I shall call this public and projective technique, the JAVA PROJECTIVE.
Go to the nearest coffee shop.  Enter that shop, order a cappuccino, espresso, or Americana (my personal favorite), seat yourself, and look around.  Who among these java jawboners do you deem desirable enough with whom to copulate and share happiness with the rest of your days.

Who in this particular coffee shop turns you on? 

Is it the biker dude with the long beard and leather chaps?  Or is it that biker broad with the big boobs exploding from beneath her unbuttoned Canadian tuxedo?  Is it that scruffy canaille with the pungent body odor sitting in corner?  Could it be that corporate executive type in the shiny suit?  Could it be the cute tart in the tight dress?  Might it be that Adonic waitron standing behind the counter?  Or the pert hottie who is squirting leaf and bird designs into your brew? 

Do you prefer endomorphs (fat), ectomorphs (skin), or mesomorphs (sinew)?   Take mental notes as these coffee consumers smoke, burp, and text their way into your heart.

Why the need to search for a soul mate?  Is it in our evolutionary psychology to continue the species?  Is it biological then, simply for the sex?  Or for the simple hedonistic pleasure of sex? 

Does it even matter? 

We humans love our coupled sensual pleasures.  We love our distant flirting glances, our intimate kisses lip to lip, our sweaty chests pressed onto sweaty chests, our pumping thighs and grunting sighs, our grinding groins, our hands-everywhere for any sticky sexual experience possible, up to and including taboo lubed penis to squishy anus.   Mmmmm … okay then … moving right along … whether we be Democrat or Republican or Libertarian ... this is how we behave sexually.

In my learned and vivid imagination in this a-go-go western world, searching in coffee shops for soul mates is as good as it gets.  So why ever become addlepated while seeking soul mate?  Based upon our physical presence, in itself being a projective, my java test must certainly be amongst the best of the projective techniques.   

One need not be a boulevardier to feel comfortable entering a coffee shop, the first step in the administration of the JAVA PROJECTIVE.  After all, amongst human interactions, first impressions of one another are everything, beginning with the face, down the belly to the gam inspection, and … ending with booty.  In a line, people do not lust after a body they deem disgusting; people do lust after bodies they deem desirable. 

And here is the skinny on the JAVA PROJECTIVE:  When you are in that coffee shop getting aroused (meaning getting erect or moist) as you drool over a another java someone, just remember that one of those beanie babes or jamocha joes could be your potential soul mate, or at the very least, your next mattress mate.  

Our physical bodily attributes are our projective tests, just as what we do, say, or write are included toward our projective.   

YES … 

*Happy 30th birthday to my son, Travers, who is today diving in the Red Sea in Egypt!

Saturday, March 8, 2014



This was the printed poster that GRANT FREW, bar manager of the BUSHWAKKER BREWPUB nailed on at least a couple of the BUSHWAKKER bar room walls. 



I am not yet that brutto tempo busker that I long to be, and so during my Canadian winter doldrums, I am always a bandmate to someone.  For the last dozen years, I’ve been a band member of the GRAND TRUNK TROUBADOURS, a community service band that enkindles itself and the lives of others performing mainly for shut-ins and people in retirement communities.  As well we oftentimes do charities.

This winter I decided to create another band, one free of mimesis, one that performed only original songs.  And I decided that the BUSHWAKKER BREWPUB would be the most perfect venue for such a bully-pulpit notion.

But first I had to audition. 

I sent Grant a youtube video (just click on the top right of my blog header … NEIL CHILD: BUSKOLOGIST … this is the link that I sent).  Performing in this video are my friends, Trent (from Trent’s Guitar Studio) and Ben, who resides everywhere except North America … He had just returned from eight years in India previous to this video).  The video was shot by Michele, Ben’s girlfriend at the time (now his bride).  Michele, too, is always elsewhere than North America.  A few years ago she sang for Hillary Clinton while on a professional performance contract in India.

Grant booked me for the gig.  Now I needed a band.  My plot needed inspissation.

And then along came Darren.  Darren is a guitar luthier who plays a mean guitar, both in adverb and adjective.  His guitar skills are orphic and the guitar he strums – he made!  Darren, too, is a singer/songwriter.

And then along came Whitney, a social work student from the university.  Whitney can sing high and she can sing low.  Whitney has that strange ability to sing everything just the right way.

And finally Ray came along, making our folk trio with a Maritime sway into a foursome.  Ray plays bass and had been a professional road musician for a number of years.  Ray is a very seasoned pro.

Thrumming together, Darren and I tossed original song after song onto our play table.  We needed 90 minutes of original material for our gig at the BUSHWAKKER BREWPUB, though a few obscure covers would be fine, according to Grant.

After a couple of practices I had an epiphany about our songs.  Darren’s songs are existentially broody and darkly, having ghostly themes of past loves; whereas, my songs are breezy and sunny, having sandy beach settings with sing-along melodies.

It is time right now to pay tribute to Greg Peppler, who aptly named our band, PHANTOM TIDE.  Darren is the PHANTOM -- I am the TIDE.

Whitney put together our 26 song playlist, of which seven were covers (quite obscure covers).

The night of our nidifugous debut, Dan, at BUSHWAKKER, did our sound check at 8:30.  Our first set began at exactly 9 o’clock and ended at 9:45.  Our second set started at 10:15 and ended at 11:00.
The night of our performance the place was packed with family, friends, colleagues, and regular patrons.

Readers, I am so very grateful for the opportunity to bloviate this cockalorum.  THANK YOU to patrons, family, and friends, who came to see us play.  THANK YOU to all the BUSHWAKKER STAFF, and an especial THANK-YOU to DAN, the GENIUS OF SOUND.

Since that debut, PHANTOM TIDE now has mettle.  We are booked back at the BUSHWAKKER BREWPUB, SEPTEMBER 24TH 2014. And in the meantime, GRANITE BY WEDNESDAY, a new granite and marble installation business, has requested that we play at its official opener, on its rooftop, with the media to be present.   

A special thank-you to the bomb, ROBIN COOLIO, for this one!

For me, PHANTOM TIDE is certainly a sea change, a very phenomenological fitting, considering my first registered name for a buskspot was SEA HORSE.  (I still busk under this moniker.)

In this early Autumn of my life … this senescence so to speak … PHANTOM TIDE ... is what bestirs me … whatever it may betide.

Sunday, March 2, 2014


It is minus 35 degrees.  

Methinks (again alas) it is too cold for guitar busking.  Killing the morning clock, I shall write in shaggy-dog style, about Clint Eastwood and myself, for we are, indeed, brothers under the Gemini Sun.

ASTROLOGY is the study of the movements and relative positions and paths of the sun and planets (the Zodiac) as having an influence on human behaviors and the natural world.  GEMINI is one the twelve signs of the Zodiac.

GEMINI is the sign of the TWINS.  People born betwixt May 22nd and June 21st are considered to be Geminis. The Zodiac Twins have a personality that is astrologically defined as being of dual-nature (a mix of yin and yang), elusive, complex, and contradictory.

On the bright side we are virtuous.  We are Communicative and Witty, Intellectual and Eloquent, and Youthful and Lively.

On the dark side we are vicious.  We are Nervous and Tense, Superficial and Inconsistent, and Cunning and Inquisitive.

Typically, Geminis are ATTRACTIVE and CHARMING!

In our better moments, we are candid. In our worse moments, we sulk.

A direct result of ASTROLOGY is the HOROSCOPE. 

A HOROSCOPE is the personal forecast of a person’s future, based on the relative positions of the sun and planets (the Zodiac) at the time of that person’s birth.  Typically, Horoscopes are published by those cognoscente in the study of Astrology.

HOROSCOPE readings are generalized character assessments rife with DOUBLE MEANINGS, OBVIOUS ADVICE, VAGUE REFERENCES, and THINGS I WANT TO HEAR, all of which being oblique and Aesopian in nature (conveying an innocent and general meaning to an outsider, but a hidden meaning to a particular Zodiac member of the sisterhood or brotherhood.)

Just this morning this is what I read in my personal Gemini HOROSCOPE:

  • All of my hard work is totally paying off, but my real windfall of success is still to come! (This exhibits the obvious advice of hard work paying off and … telling me what I want to hear.)

  • I am now feeling inclined to devote more of my waking hours toward creative and romantic pursuits, rather than my day-to-day mundane moils. (This exhibits the double meaning of … I should slack off my job accountabilities, or I am inclined to want to slack off and pursue more things of personal interest.)

  • Travel and Learning are fast becoming my major areas of interest.  (This is certainly a vague reference in the sense that, yes, I want to travel, and yes, I want to learn!  Who does not want these?  I am going to Europe twice more by this year end.  And, I’m presently writing my thesis statement for my doctorate.  Once I’ve decided this, there will be learning!)

  • My legendary curiosity is prompting an ever strong desire to dabble in many, many new interests. (This is another example of what I want to hear, confirming my desire to dabble in areas that, previously, I’ve never seemed to find the time.  I already dabble enough.  I play nine-ball.  I play in two bands.  I’ve two jobs that actually pay me a salary.  I’m a blogger.  I have no desire to dabble any more than what I am dabbling in at present.)

  • A rebirth in my love life could take place today.  (This is definitely a vague reference.  Am I going to be taking a walk on the wild side? Hmmm … )

  • I should make sure that I look my best, and expected the unexpected!  (This is another vague reference. Note to self … Be sure to be NOBBY.)

  • A friend may surprise me within a few days.  (Another vague reference for sure, and most certainly telling me what I want to hear. Hmmm … )

ASTROLOGY does have its critics (surprise, surprise). 

ASTROLOGY is the belief that accurate and scientific predictions can be made about people born at certain times and under certain conditions, and that these people will share certain blessed and accursed personality traits.  The criticism here is that thus far, there is no correlation, and that certain personality traits are spread randomly across all the Zodiac signs.

But, the main criticism of Astrology is there is not a Numen.  There is no known force can cause our sun and nearby planets to affect our behaviors, influence our personalities, never mind predict with any accuracy the future of any one of us. 

Admittedly, dear reader, I do not believe that the heavenly bodies have any influence at all on my personality, with the exceptions being having fun under the summer sun, and dancing romance under the silver moon.

However, I do acquiesce that the heavenly bodies do have an influence on our natural world; specifically, keeping our blue planet on its axial twenty-four spinning self, and on its elliptical yearly rotation about the sun.   

And I do believe that all Earthly living things (animals and plants), are brothers and sisters under the sun because … all of us need the sun’s rays to survive.
May 31st.  

Both Clint Eastwood and I were born on this day.  We were born under the Astrological sign of GEMINI.  Definitely Clint and I have some common traits.  With tongue-in-cheek I shall mention just an obvious few: 
He is a cowboy; I am a cowboy.  Clint is a tough guy; I am a tough guy. Clint can strum a guitar (see picture at the top of this blog entry); I can strum a guitar.

Besides Clint and me, other famous tough guys and brothers born under the GEMINI sun (May 31st ) include Joe Namath (Broadway Joe), Colin Farrell (Tigerland), Tom Berenger (Sniper).