Saturday, November 22, 2014


After just reading "Is 75 the Right Age to Die?" (David Seaburn, 2014), I feel compelled to think about me and my time of death.  Dear reader, I want to remind you that I’m not being negatively morbid – I’m just being realistic.  As I write I am reminding myself that Death is abstruse and it hurts my brain and breaks my heart to think about it.

There are good reasons, I suppose, to be dead at 75.  I’m not sure of the statistics, but many of us by this time are functionally feeble and dishearteningly demented.  Many of us by this time become not only a burden to society, but even more selfishly important, a burden to our families.

Fact:  Medicine is not reversing the aging process; medicine simply slows down the dying process.
Fact:  Medicine has transformed terminal illnesses into chronic diseases that must be endured over an ever increasing antediluvian lifespan.

Ah such is life.

I am 63 years old going on 50.  This is my delusion.  This is my comforted reality.  Sixty-three sucks – fifty is fine!  It’s not that I am yet feeble or demented (I’m far from it – I think), it’s just that I’m not ready to retire into any sort of complacency, not at home and most certainly not at work.

This blog is purportedly about busking; though, my regular readers know it is often about me.  Most my readers know that I am the hero in practically every story that I tell.  Today shall be no different.

My grandfather died at 34 years of age; my father died at 74.  My intention, then, is to live at least until I’m 75.  After that, well … I suppose I’ll just have to wait and see!  I do know that to deny Death is to be benighted, and there is no circumstance that I can imagine that I would want to be walking in the intellectual dark.

Woody Allen said, “It’s not that I’m afraid to die, it’s just that I don’t want to be there when it happens.”  This, too, is true for me.  Death really is a conundrum.

Some more facts (note that I use the word die, rather than the words pass or pass on):

Fact:  We are all going to die.
Fact:  Actually we could die at any age but … the baseball stats show that men die at an average age of 78; whereas, women die at an average age of 82.
Fact:  I’m closer to my death than to my birth.
Fact:   I’m still living a quality life. 
Fact:  My definition of quality seems to change accordingly to my current age.
Fact:  When I think about it (and I don’t want to think about it a lot), I’m afraid to die.

Really, if I had my druthers, I would want to live forever.  But really,  I wouldn’t want to live forever if I looked like I have been living forever.   

At 63 I know I'm on the decline, but still am living according to my delusional self.  I still can run a marathon; I still can bench press the pies in the gym; I still can climb Jacobs Ladder every second day; I still can busk and play in two bands; I still can blog, write books, and write songs; I still can go to work (full-time counselor, part-time university professor, part-time hypnotherapist); I still can color my hair.  Yikes!  (I really do not color my hair – I pay others to do that for me.  This is not feebleness in physical ability; this is just common sense so I’m not using the kitchen sink.)

And I still can dream of years to come.

Really I wish I could just come and go, live and die, as I desire.  Wouldn’t it be nice if one could just free fall and glide over Mulholland … free fall out into nothin’ … leave this world for awhile.  (Thank you, Jeff Lynne and Tom Petty, I owe you one.)

Really I wish I could just free fall anytime I wanted, just leave the planet on a moment of notice, especially when my heart is broken or when times get tough.  I know that people suffering from schizophrenia have this as a common theme, the idea of living forever and sadly, they are seemingly forever tormented because they cannot.

I do not have schizophrenia, but I can imagine the delusional thinking behind such a dream.

Fact:  I’ve just 15 years left according to those baseball stats.
Fact:  I quite often use baseball as an expression because I quite like baseball.
Fact:  I once saw Leroy Satchel Paige and his baseball all-stars playing in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, Canada.  (Google Satchel Paige for his incredible baseball story!)
Fact:  Leroy Satchel Paige, like his contemporary Yogi Berra, was rich and rife with original quotations: Age is just a case of mind over matter.  If you don’t mind, it don’t matter.  How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?  Don’t look back.  Something might be gaining on you.

Last fact:  We’ve just two creatures living on the planet that do not have a finish line; the Turritopsis Nutricular, a species of jellyfish, and Dracula's offspring, the vampires.  (See my blog entitled THE DRACULA ADVANTAGE: AN ESSAY ON LONGEVITY.)   

Though I would love for Death to be demode, I do realize that I’ve really little time to dilly-dally.   

No time to look back ... 
Something might be gaining on me!

Sunday, November 16, 2014


I love my jobs – If I didn’t I'd ditch all three of  them. 

Every day Monday through Friday for two hundred days a year I have a job that I love with REGINA PUBLIC SCHOOLS – I am a SCHOOL COUNSELOR.  Every Monday evening I have a job that I love with the UNIVERSITY OF REGINA – I am a SESSIONAL LECTURER in PSYCHOLOGY. And every Wednesday evening I continue to build my dream private practice – I am a HYPNOTHERAPIST and PSYCHOLOGY CONSULTANT.

Enough shop talk.  This blog entry is about mes amours, my amusements and recreations, some intrinsic joys that I’ve created for myself.  This being an hebdomadal blog entry, I’ll off course (pun intended) begin with Monday.

Every morning at five-thirty whilst I sip American coffee I read THE LEADER-POST (local paper), THE HUFFINGTON POST (national paper), PSYCHOLOGY TODAY (for reason obvious), and AL JAZEERA NEWS (for reasons not so obvious). I confess that Al Jazeera news is a helluva way to begin the day, brutal actually; for example reading today the beheadings by the immoral and malevolent, dishonorable and diabolical, reprehensible and repugnant, and gormless  ISIS … need I go on? 

After these reads I creep on my wife’s FACEBOOK page, which include all the narcissistic selfies and honey-bunch comments of loners and lovers, then I look at the DAILY JOKE and SMELLY RAT entries (for heterosexual fantasy, I suppose).   

By six-thirty every morning I am out lifting weights at the UNIVERSITY FITNESS CENTRE.  My regimen there is simple:  On the calendar even days of the month I lift weights, on the calendar odd days of the month I go for cardio, always an out-door long-distance running in spring and summer, and climbing JACOBS LADDER in fall and winter.  A long-distance run is joyful – JACOBS LADDER is painful.

For weights I prefer Olympic style (free weights) and I follow a push-pull routine, push meaning press, and pull meaning curl.  On push days I do squats bench-press, push-downs, and dips (in this order), and on pull days I do dead-lifts, barbell curls, and dumb-bell curls (in this order).

Tuesday evenings I try to write songs and practice my guitar thrumming.  Writing songs always follow a pattern.  A catch-line (lyric) will jump at me; the last being, Jenny, Jenny your mom has gone, and then I fill in the rest with more lines for more verses, and literary devices.  Writing is the easy part of song writing – I do not mean to sound glib.  The hard part for me is penning the melody – I do not mean to sound glum but … this is because I am a crappy guitar player.  I am a frailing chord thrummer; suffice for busking, not-so-suffice for song writing.

Tuesday is also the evening that I jam with PHANTOM TIDE.  PHANTOM TIDE is a folk band that performs only original material.  PHANTOM TIDE exists mainly for creative endeavor.  We do gigs but … creating original songs is our primary focus.    

Thursday afternoons I play floor hockey.  I am a member of TEAM WHITE and we play only one other team, TEAM BLACK.  Our team nickname is determined not by the color of our hearts, but by the color of our t-shirts.  My hockey history is mainly with the NHL (NOTEKEU HOCKEY LEAGUE), where I played ice-hockey in the wee-wee, pee-wee, midget, bantam, and senior leagues with the VANGUARD EAGLES.  After that, I played one winter on the ice with the SWIFT CURRENT INDIANS,  followed by a five year ice stint with the REGINA ICEMEN.  And now I play floor hockey for TEAM WHITE -- enough said.

Thursday evenings (for the last dozen years) I am at a gig with THE GRAND TRUNK TROUBADOURS, a community service band of which I am the manager and original member.  THE GRAND TRUNK TROUBADOURS typically perform pro-bono at retirement residences, personal care homes, and hospitals.  We always do cover tunes because covers are what the residents want.

Friday evenings is frequently hockey night with my nephew and oldest boy.  My nephew is an NHL scout and my oldest boy has schizophrenia, which often makes for an interesting and sometimes addlepated evening of watching the NHL player prospects from the REGINA PATS and other teams in the WESTERN HOCKEY LEAGUE.

Saturdays my wife and I usually go out for dinner (we live right downtown) to CRAVE KITCHEN + WINE BAR, a thirty second walk from our front door; or to the RADISSON PLAZA HOTEL SASKATCHEWAN, a three minute walk; or take-out from either SIAM AUTHENTIC THAI (I love this hole-the-wall), or the BUSHWAKKER BREWPUB (the absolute best pub food and best beer in Regina). 

I should give a cliche mention to some other great drink-and-dine experiences in downtown Regina:  VICTORIA’S TAVERN, DOUBLETREE, and the LOBBY PUBLIC HOUSE.  We do frequent these establishments, just not as much as the aforementioned four.

Sunday mornings I write my entry for this blog.  I do quite enjoy this; after all I’ve had readers from 147 different countries to date.  My goal, I guess, is to keep writing at least until all 195 countries on Earth are included.  Such then, is my existential purpose in life, as is busking, and both being my catharsis and cathexis.

Come the New Year I plan to spend a couple hours a week in a martial art.  I did take some JUDO as an adolescent, and I've taken KARATE and MUAY THAI as an adult.  My next venture of this ilk shall be HAIDONG GUMDO, a Korean sword martial art. 

My intention today was only to entertain, not compose a megillah; therefore, this blog entry for this week, save for my CHAUCERIAN PARADE, is fini.





Sunday, November 9, 2014


The Wolf Moon, the Snow Moon, the Hunter’s Moon, the Cold Moon, and the Blue Moon are all names for a full Moon.  The full Moon is also the Big Cheese.  And the full Moon is also the Vanilla Scoop in the planetary deep freeze.   

Wait a minute! 

A full Moon means to batten down the hatches because wild things, humans accursed in their moonlit alterity will be howling!   And there will be ringing in the belfry!

The Moon, formed nearly 4.5 billion years ago (not long after Earth) is the only celestial body, other than Earth, on which we’ve ever set foot. The proper name in English for the Moon is the Moon.  The Romans referred to the Moon as either Diana or Luna, and it is from the latter, Luna, that the principal modern English adjective pertaining to the moon is Lunar.  Enough lunar linguistics.

The Moon has always held a mystical place in human culture.  In synchronous rotation with Earth, the Moon is always showing its same face (the Man in the Moon), and some believe this familiar face to be the cause of many a strange occurrence. The full Moon is fecund with stories of people running amok, including the dispatch craziness at police stations and the medicinal madness in hospital emergency rooms.  A full Moon is known even, to give cause for the existence of werewolves. 

There seems always a link of horror to the full Moon, and this lunar madness has its claque.  This is lunar mythology.  This is group-think lunacy.  (Lunacy is derived from lunar.  It is believed by members of this lunar claque some that a full Moon is the cause of bizarre behavior.)

All of this nonsense is based on the scientifically documented effect of the Moon on our ocean tides.  All of this is based on the Moon effecting our bodies in similar fashion.

Physics factoid:  The human body is 75 percent water, having some people believe the tides of the earth as influenced by the Moon, no doubt will influence the liquid tides in our bodies.

Physics factoid:  Tides are large scale.  The ocean on the side of Earth facing the Moon gets pulled toward the Moon.  This creates a high tide.  These are ocean tides.  However, the Great lake tides are not so influenced.  According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), tides on the Great Lakes (Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior) never exceed two inches.  Consequently, the Great Lakes are considered to be essentially non-tidal.  In comparison then our bodies, too, would be considered non-tidal.   

Fact:  Lunar effects really have nothing to do with human behavior.

Fact:  The Biological Tides Theory is just a theory, and nothing dramatic in behavior change is apparent beneath a full Moon.

Amongst the many academic studies critical of the Biological Tides Theory, Ivan Kelly, James Rotton, and Roger Culver (1996) examined over 100 studies on lunar effects and concluded that there is not a significant correlation between the full Moon and human behaviors. Their studies included:  homicide rates, traffic accidents, crisis calls to police and fire stations, domestic violence, psychiatric admissions, emergency room admissions, and vampirism.

Then why do these Moon myths persist?

Simply, our beliefs in lunar myths are due to media effects, folklore, and communal reinforcement. Not so strangely, we love spine-chilling entertainment and bloodcurdling tales, and when hair-raising happenings occur during a full Moon, people notice.  Even our most dreaded and shocking expectations tend to influence our perceptions, and so we frequently seek evidence to confirms our beliefs.

Factoid:  The highest tides on Earth also occur at New Moon, when the Moon is between the Earth and the Sun (when we cannot see the Moon) and our planet is subjected to the combined gravitational effect of both Moon and Sun.

Hmmm … yet nobody ever claims funny or strange stuff happening ‘neath a new Moon.

If this full Moon folklore were true, then it would most certainly be must-read chapters in the disciplines of Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology, and studies in Political Science, Religion, and even BUSKOLOGY!

If this full Moon folklore were true, then surely on those nights ‘neath a full Moon there would be extra staff assigned, especially on police patrols and in emergency rooms.

Fact:  NONE OF THIS IS TRUE.  Deeds dastardly and horrible things occur every night somewhere on this planet, full Moon or not.

Fact:  Where I live the next full Moon is December 6th, 2014.


Fact:  Though I am a non-believer in Lunar Madness, I must admit the madness has created some great Moon movies; for example, Silver Bullet, Underworld, and An American Werewolf in London.

I know THIS LUNAR MADNESS IS MADNESS … albeit I still cannot explain that night when ...

I saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand …

AAAaaa … HHOOOoooo!

[Check out my original song, BLOOD MOON (DIANNE), by scrolling down the right side near the top of this blog header, and clicking my YouTube account: Neil Child: Buskologist.   Darren, Ray, and self (of PHANTOM TIDE) are the featured musicians.] 

Monday, November 3, 2014


I was slightly haunted this morning by a couple of doggie drawings that I drew for my complicated friend, Robin, quite some time ago.  She just moved into new digs (on Hallowe’en) and decidedly put these pet portraitures on display alongside a picture of her television crush, John Barrowman, who played Captain Jack Harkness in the Doctor Who television series.  I suppose I should be honored considering my complicated friend has traveled afar to actually meet John Barrowman in the flesh at Fan Expos in Calgary and Saskatoon.  In Calgary she slapped his backside.  Too bad he’s gay,” she said.

HALLOWE’EN is a contraction for ALL HALLOW’S EVENING, that evening we are determinedly dedicated to remembering the saints and martyrs and those faithful who have departed.  Factoids:  We, too, will depart. We are accursed -- We are all doomed to die.  We are a-go-go then a-no-go.  None of us, save for the vampires, are of amaranthine existence.

HALLOWE’EN revolves around the theme of employing humor to confront DEATH, though we all know that DEATH cares nothing of our present or future plans, whether they be sad or funny.

In our Hallowe’en history we originally wore costumes to stave off ghosts and demons.  In our recent history we don costumes only to make Hallowe’en fun.  

Traditionally, we wear costumes that are modeled after supernatural figures such as vampires, ghosts, skeletons, witches, devils, werewolves, zombies, and other monsters.  Or we wear the fusty costumes from the popular characters of modern fiction, Spider-man, Superman, Batman for example; or those characters who are real people posing as Hollywood celebrities. 

The most popular costumes this year, again, were peeled off the movie screen. Maleficent was big. Elsa was bigger.

Lots of readers would know that Hallowe’en masks often hold the answer to who will be the next American president (this even according to The Huffington Post)! On October 31st this year I saw Barack Obama at a Western Hockey League game (even though constitutionally he is not eligible to run again.)

Lots of readers would also know that dressing up in costume anytime is really a PROJECTIVE PSYCHOLOGY of sorts.  Dressing up as someone else is really to discover who we really are, or even better, who we really want to be!

Alas, I do regret not dressing up in costume this Hallowe’en.  Unlike most my workmates, I dress up lots, not on Hallowe'en.  When I busk in summer I dress as an Americana Bobby Dylan wannabee, complete with the messy hair, white T, faded jeans, and steel-toed work boots. Before this folksy singer-songwriter phase, I was usually in the garb of a Western Cowboy.  

However, much to my own chagrin and my imaginary peer pressure from colleagues, I did not dress up in costume this Hallowe'en.  As HUMBUG is to XMAS, in the ilk of Grinch and Scrooge -- I was a HOLLOW WIENER to this HALLOWE'EN!


Take heed from my lesson of regret:  


(If you don’t wear a costume you won’t be participating in the Hallowe’en fun, including the Hallowe'en march for treats -- the best candies this year being gummy bears and bubble gum, jolly ranchers and candy corn, gumdrops and jellybeans!)

This is ink-horn terminology I know… but it’s all I got.