Monday, November 30, 2015



Early this week LANCE SHORDEE sent me a picture of his son, TY, with WAYNE GRETZKY, taken at the Gretzky Hockey School in Edmonton, Alberta.  Ty is also the son of CHRIS SHORDEE, a former bandmate who passed last year (see my blog entry, TALONS AND TALES: A TRIBUTE TO SHORDEE, posted April 30th, 2015).


Later on this week, someone posted a picture of my brother-in-law, former NHL’er, LARRY HORNUNG, on FACEBOOK.  I’m not on Facebook – I’m a creeper.

BRAD HORNUNG, NHL scout formerly of the Chicago Black Hawks and currently employed with the NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE CENTRAL SCOUTING, is the son of Larry Hornung.  Brad has appeared in my blog several times.

This morning LISA WILLIAMS, mother of COLBY WILLIAMS, sent me this picture of Colby’s Christmas present, which she is currently sewing.


Colby is captain of the REGINA PATS, and has recently been drafted by the WASHINGTON CAPITALS (NHL).  Here is Colby sporting the new Pats’ jersey.

Colby also happens to be my newest best friend (see my blog entry, COLBY SAVES CHRISTMAS:  THE SILVER SKATES, posted December 21st, 2014)

This will be my second winter playing hockey in Colby’s skates.  This picture was last spring just before Frosty melted.

And wouldn’t you know, my long time best friend just got married this week.  Here he is with his lovely bride, Lorraine.

Not so strangely, all these seemingly random pictures are not really that random when one considers the Six Degrees of Separation Theory.  My snappy title, SIX DEGREES TO PARADISE: MOVE OVER KEVIN BACON directly refers to Six Degrees of Separation, the theory suggesting everyone is six or fewer steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person on the planet, a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend … a kind of vis-à-vis chain letter so to speak. 

This six degrees theory was originally set out by Hungarian author, Frigyes Karinthy, in his short story, Chains, published in 1929.  Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, a drinking parlor game was invented by college students, Craig Fass, Brian Turtle, and Mike Ginelli, right after watching movie, Footloose, starring Kevin Bacon.  The Kevin Bacon game became especially popular when Google made it possible to search any given actor’s Bacon Number through its search engine.

I need neither a search engine nor six degrees to connect these people’s pictures randomly sent my way this past week.  So please dear reader, lace up your skates (my new leitmotif) and read on!

Previous to Lance sending me the picture Ty and Wayne Gretzky picture, he had shown it to me while we (Brad Hornung and self) were attending a Regina Pats hockey game.  Brad was scouting – I was along (as usual) for the ride.  Vance and Ty, too, frequently attend Pats games, and just as frequently, always come by for a visit.

Vance is the husband and Ty is the son of my former bandmate, CHRIS.  Chris used to be on our game chats.  (WE MISS HER SO VERY MUCH.) 

Larry Hornung was a professional hockey player (WHA and NHL) and did a one season stint with the Edmonton Oilers (76-77), the same team for which Wayne Gretzky first became famous.  Wayne became a member of the Oilers in 1978.  Following his playing days, Larry became a professional hockey scout, first with the Winnipeg Jets, and then with the Toronto Maple Leafs.  Larry passed away in 2001.

Brad Hornung is Larry’s son.  Brad played with the Regina Pats 1984-1987.  After his junior hockey, Brad became a professional hockey scout, first with the Chicago Blackhawks, and is currently with Central Scouting of the National Hockey League.

LISA WILLIAMS, mother of Colby Williams, sent me the picture of her husband, Mark, holding up Colby’s Christmas gift.  The night I first saw the picture of Wayne Gretzky with Ty Shordee, we were watching COLBY WILLIAMS, captain of the Regina Pats, who had just returned to the ice after a long summer injury.

Right after Lisa sent me the picture of Colby’s gift, she sent me the latest of Colby sporting the new darker jersey of the Regina Pats.

I have mentioned several times that Colby Williams is my best friend.  When I lost my skates in a recent move, Colby gave me an old pair of his.  I love those skates!  

BRENT HOPFNER and I both played in the NHL for several years (the VANGUARD EAGLES of the Notekue Hockey League).  This NHL joke is rather lame, but I’ve been lacing my skates with it for years.

To close I feel obligated to comment on my connecting these frequent marchers in my CHAUCERIAN (picture) PARADE for this week.  Firstly, all these people have a hockey connection, my hockeyism, so to speak.  And for you dear readers outside of Canada, you must know that Canadian hockey is more of a religion than a go-go sport, and this is why hockey is the frozen fountainhead for the connecting of all the pictures in this particular blog entry.

And secondly, one of my favorite words, PHENOMENOLOGY, is the study of structures of consciousness as experienced from the first- person point of view.  However, to further explain the concept of Phenomenology, MY definition PHENOMENOLOGY is … a selfish and simplistic method of connecting through contrived through rationalization.

SIX DEGREES TO PARADISE is just another quixotic blog entry based upon one of my recurring themes … Psychology, busking, hypnotherapy, and … HOCKEY!

Providing a quick dossier of factoids for each character skating in my CHAUCERIAN PARADE this week was relatively simple because I have a rather intimate acquaintance with each of them.  For example these two factoids provided by Colby's mom, LISA WILLIAMS 
Factoid #1 ...  Colby Williams and Wayne Gretzky share the same birthdate, January 26th (I did not know this!).   
Factoid #2 ...  Lisa Williams and I share the same birthdate, May 31st (I've known we were twins for many, many years:).  

MY contrived connections from MY selfish point of view are manifest mucho in SIX DEGREES TO PARADISE.

And PARADISE for me, dear reader, is pond hockey ...
my wintervention shall be lacing up my skates until busking in springtime!

Sunday, November 15, 2015


It seems when I was a kid there was no rhyme without reason AND no reason without rhyme:

Liar, liar pants on fire / Couldn’t get through the telephone wire.

Here comes the bride fair, fat, and wide / Here comes the groom skinny as a broom.

Ring around the rosey a pocketful of posies / Husha, husha we all fall down. (My colleague, Natalie, remembers Ashes, ashes rather than Husha , husha.)

London bridges falling down, falling down, falling down / London bridges falling down … my fair lady. (it could be be that London bridge is falling down but … for me it was London bridges.)

Patty cake patty cake baker’s man / Bake me a cake as fast as you can

This little piggy went to market

I’ve decided that I’m a MNEMONICIST.  I’m sure to my demise, life will always be a reel adventure, either in picture or poem, one that I can loop and rewind anytime on a whim.

Western theatre television songs have been in my head since the 60’s …

He wore a cane and derby hat / they called him Bat / Bat Masterson.
Cheyenne, Cheyenne … where will you be traveling tonight … lonely man, Cheyenne …

Sugarfoot, Sugarfoot, easy lopin’ cattle ropin’ Sugarfoot
Have gun will travel reads a card of a man / a knight without honor in a savage land / his fast gun for hire in the calling wind / a soldier of fortune is the man called … Paladin … Paladin, Paladin where do you roam …. Far, far from home.

Who was the tall dark stranger there, Maverick is the name, riding the trail to who knows where, luck is his companion, gambling is his game …

Wyatt Earp, Wyatt Earp, brave, courageous and bold / long live his fame and long live his glory and long may his story be told.

Television commercials …

You wonder where the yellow went when you brush your teeth with Pepsodent! (We used to sing, You wonder where your teeth went when you brush them with cement.)

Brylcream, Brylcream a little dab will do ya, Brylcream, Brylcream you look so debonair,  Brylcream, Brylcream the girls will all pursue ya, simply rub a little in your hair. 

Cheer songs (this was sung by the teenage girls in our town) … 

Hi hi yi yi yas nobody likes us / we are the girls from Vanguard / always a winnin’ always a grinnin’ always a feelin’ fine.

I'm sure everyone remembers the ABC children’s song


How about ROY G. BIV, the colors of the rainbow (red,orange,yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet) from grade school Science

How about HOMES for the Great Lakes (Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior) from grade school Social Studies.

Or from grade school Music ... FACE  for spaces on the music staff, and Every Good Boy Does Fine for the lines.  And also All Cows Eat Grass for the spaces on the bass clef, and Good Boys Do Fine Always for the lines.

Some MNEMONICS are rhymes:

Thirty days hath September, April, June, and November
All the rest have 31
Save for February which has but 28 days clear
And twenty-nine in each new year.
In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue

From my grandmother … How do you spell MISSISSIPPI ?
M … I… crooked letter … crooked letter…  I … crooked letter … crooked letter … I… PP … I.

And another from grade school Spelling ...

I before e except after c … Or when sounding like A… like in neighbor or whey.

And my last example is from Astronomy 100 … the order of the planets starting from the Sun:

MERCURY, VENUS, EARTH, MARS, JUPITER, SATURN, URANUS, NEPTUNE, PLUTO … My Very Excited Mother Just Served Us Nine Pies … or now without Pluto … Served Us Noodles.

I used to work with a Cree Elder, who taught me some fundamental words in Cree.  Some examples:


For the last decade I’ve been working on my vocabulary – it began with me creating my very own, MY MNEMONIC DICTIONARY.  Here are just a few excerpts:

-Ad hominem attack a person’s character … political campaigns are ad nauseam ad hominem
-Aegis (ee jus) … protection; controlling influence … ee jus needs us
-Amaranthine … not fading or dying; immortal … a marathon … life
-Boustrophedon … writing alternate lines in opposite directions, for example, stone writing in Ancient Greece … back stroke again
-Cozen … to gain by trickery; deception …posing as a long lost cozen/cousin
-Defalcation … the act of embezzling … defalsification
-Demode … out of fashion … dem old
-Hegira … an arduous journey … he (tough guy) journey
-Lambent … softly bright … lampen
-Sastruga … ridge of hard snow … Sask rug… (Sask is short for Saskatchewan, Canada, known for lots of snow.)

Every example that I’ve cited for this particular blog entry is purely from memory.  Not once did I search or google a reference (which is likely why all are NOT entirely accurate, especially those Cree words and phrases).

I am a MNEMONICIST, but certainly not in the professional fashion of Harry Lorayne  (The Memory Book, 1974).  (Google Harry Lorayne.  In a crowd of 1500 people, Harry could remember all of their names!)

Yes, in my usual braggadocio persona, I am a MNEMONICIST.  And I was a mnemonicist before I became a BUSKOLOGIST.  And I was a buskologist before I became a HYPNOTHERAPIST. 

As a hypnotherapist I employ mnemonics with every client session.  When we (client and self) collaborate on script #1, "the most perfect place to relax," and script #2, "my new behavior," we include in the imagery all the thick descriptions appealing to visual, auditory, kinesthetic, olfactory, and gustatory senses.  The thicker the description, the more effective the recall during the induction stage of hypnotherapy. 

But, dear reader, … I must confess that … I’m still the same narcissistic (an excessive, not erotic, self-interest), egotistic (even at my present age, I’m usually the toughest and smartest guy in the room), and egoistic (manifesting right now as on every blog entry day) middle-age (as long as 64 is the new 40), middle-class (as long as I'm still moiling and toiling), mis-adventurer (I only love down-hill skiing and BUSKATIONS) that many of you have grown to love (I rest my case) over the last two hundred and forty-nine blog entries!

 Je suis Paris ...


Tuesday, November 10, 2015


This pipe, pictured left, is a MEDICO CHEMIN DE FER IMPORTED BRIAR.  On the roughly textured chocolate brown bowl is an embossed golden diamond, and the stem is jet black and smooth.  It had belonged to the late lettered and intrepid, derring-do William Martin, a military engineer in the Canadian Army.  William’s pipe was also the cover of my blog entry, THE PHILOSOPHER’S PIPE:  WHEN A FELLER NEEDS A FRIEND (June 29th, 2013).

William was a scout that went ahead and located targets.  He would then calculate the distance and determine the angle for the cannons that were located miles behind.  If a target was missed, William would re-calculate, correct for wind and angle. William saw a lot of things blow up.  He even had a binder of before-and-after photos that he used while reckoning the targets. 

Serving in the live theatre of the Korean War, William, in one particular battle, had a near-death experience.  As an army paratrooper and geo-trig surveyor scout, he was one of only two survivors after his platoon had been ambushed.  An enemy soldier had stabbed him with a bayonet, and then shot him in the shoulder.  As William’s enemy was about to thrust again with his bayonet, the final coup de grace, William was reduced to being on his knees in agony and pain, and bleeding. Miraculously, William heard the blast of a shot gun, and was stunned to see his assailant fall dead in front of him. William’s army buddy, the last standing other survivor of the ambushed platoon, had pulled the trigger that saved his life.

“Have you ever killed someone?” asked his nephew, Ricky, after listening to one of William’s stories.

“Yes, many,” replied the stager William.

Cool stuff to listen to when you are a kid.

I’ve also blogged about Remembrance Day before … LEST WE FORGET:  A POPPY DAY ESSAY ON SKINNY EXPRESSIONS (November 11th, 2011).
The feller who gave me the pipe is my close buddy, Ricky, and the feller that gave it to him was his Uncle Billy … aka William Martin.

I received this pipe as a parting gift, and here is what I knew about pipes at that time.  Mark Twain smoked a piped and lived until he was 75.  Albert Einstein puffed on a pipe and lived to 76.  Sherlock Holmes was a pipe smoke and he is immortal.  Rose, the great grandmother of my colleague, Dawne, smoked a pipe until she was 109.  Last, my grandpa, Sid, smoked a pipe.

This pipe in the picture belonged to Ricky’s Uncle Billy.  Not so strangely, Uncle Billy could personify anyone going to war.  Uncle Billy could represent my father, Jack Child, who joined the Royal Canadian Navy during World War Two, and was assigned to several destroyers on the North Atlantic, chasing German submarines for five years.  Uncle Billy could represent my grandfather, George Child, who fought in the English army during World War One.  George was armed with a rifle and rode a horse.  Uncle Billy could represent my uncle, Emile Hebert, a fighter pilot in the Second War.  Like I said, Uncle Billy could represent anyone who went to war.

War.  Cool stories as a kid; as an adult not so much ...

Factoid:  There is an American military presence in 156 countries (Hugh d’Andrade and Bob Wing 2002 map). 

Factoid:  There are American military bases in 63 different countries.

Factoid:  There are over 250,000 military personnel deployed worldwide.

Factoid: On any given day 8,000 members of the Canadian Armed Forces (of a possible 24,000) are preparing for or engaging for or returning from a military mission.

Factoid:  Canada, at present, has no permanent overseas military bases, though in recent years there has been talk of setting up a Canadian military presence in Senegal, South Korea, Kenya, Singapore, Kuwait, Germany, and Jamaica.

A military presence means just one thing … posturing for war.  Having a military presence means a readiness to fight.  And why are we are so ready for a fight?  Violence is part of our nature.  Doing battle is in our blood.  Warring is a defining trait of being human.  It’s likely, according to evolutionary theory, that in our beginnings we fought for food, for sex, for sheer survival. 

Sadly, as a human collective, we’ve not yet the ability to transcend our base and primal might is right mentality.  Ask any martial artist what it feels like to fight.  Fighting makes one feel alive; whereas, scrivening in a small cubicle makes one feel next to dead.  Moving from the feelings of an individual citizen to marching for patriotism and jingoism really is not a big step.  Ask not of what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country (John F. Kennedy). 

Conflicts between countries are caused by ideological change (usually religious fanaticism), self-determination (Tunisia 2010, rest of Arab world 2011), national control (Canada War Measures Act 1970)), resources (the Mideast), territory (America frontier), control of another country (Israel invasion of Gaza 2014).   

The skinny of conflict:  Nations go to war to gain access to new lands (Russian annexation of Crimea 2014) or to defend against perceived threats (American invasion of Iraq 2003).

In all these conflicts there seem to be no good guys – a matter of opinion, of course.  This brings to mind another factoid: Countries which allow greater religious freedoms are generally more peaceful than countries with few religious freedoms.

Methinks if going to war is really just an extension of individual human traits, then sea-changing our individual notions will help the dissolution of warring between nations.  In the pursuit of peace, as citizens we should certainly educate ourselves on the international issues (and not necessarily believe EVERYTHING our leaders deliver).  In the pursuit of peace, as citizens  we should be generous with our donations, both monetary and thoughtfully, to Third World nations. Crushing poverty creates terrorism. In the pursuit of peace, as citizens we should develop closer relationships to the Islam world.  The War on Terrorism is NOT the war on Muslims.  In the pursuit of peace, as citizens we should publicly oppose racial profiling.  In the pursuit of peace, as citizens we should publicly oppose the backlash against immigration.  (Our new Prime Minister has promised, on his winning campaign platform, to allow 25,000 Syrian refugees into Canada by the end of 2015.  Bravo, Justin Trudeau!  Personally, I think we should step up that number to … whatever number is necessary and pragmatic to save others on the planet.)  In the pursuit of peace, as citizens we should promote dialogues amongst diverse cultures – we need to share planet Earth institutions and debate and promote cures for all earthling ails.  Friendliness among nations is imperative for planetary peace.  Friends do fight one another but … friends don’t kill one another.

I’m not naive.  Unfamiliarity makes not for fellowship.  We earthlings are not all friends.  Every November 11th we are reminded of this.  Uncle Billy is still going to war. 


My complicated friend, Robin, just texted me her REMEMBRANCE DAY poem.  Along with her poppy, she plans to leave her poem at the cenotaph.

Others (not soldiers) marching in my CHAUCERIAN PARADE this week: