Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Baba Noel

"Baba Noel" is what Santa Claus is called in southwest Turkey, and who should know better, for this is where the Santa Claus legend began.

Nicholas was a fourth century bishop in Myra, on the Mediterranean coast. He is said to have saved the three daughters of a poor family from a life of slavery by leaving bags of gold at their door. Beatified, he became known as Saint Nicholas, and the name, going through various national spellings and pronunciations, especially the Dutch "Sant Nikolaas," eventually became "Santa Claus."

The ancient city of Myra has long been gone, but the Church of St. Nicholas is still standing.

Not surprisingly, Nicholas is the patron saint of children, but he is also the patron of pawnbrokers and brewers. And as today is the feast day of Nicholas, have a brew for him.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Memorable Celebrity Statements

"When you're a star, you can do anything you want."

"When you're president, you can do anything you want."

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Grey Cup: The Opera

It occurred to us, up here in the press box, draining the last of our Thermos bottles of "hot chocolate and Oxo"--heh heh--that the quest for a cup and a ring is the stuff of mighty legends. Were not King Arthur and his guys in search of the Holy Grail? And all those Wagnerian dudes after a ring?

So leave us lift the annual drive for the Grey Cup and the Grey Cup rings to a higher artistic level, and perhaps draw in a new group of fans. Let us turn the Grey Cup game into--an opera!

Imagine hearing Mike Reilly and Bo Levi Mitchell singing signals to their teams! Think of the possibilities--the Coach's Challenge Aria, the Referees Recitative, the Cheerleaders Chorus, the Triumphant Touchdown March!

"Hello, Operator? Get me Richie Wagner!"

Monday, November 27, 2017

No Joy in Cowtown

Once again, Calgary Stampeders fans know how the people of Mudville felt when the mighty Casey was struck out.

Someone should write a guide on "How to Play Better and Still Lose." Sportswriter Scott Stinson noted that the Stampeders, since 2010, have a win-loss-tie record of 107-35-2. The Toronto Argonauts: 67-77.

In the 2017 Grey Cup game, the Stampeders had 24 first downs, the Argonauts had 12. Other statistics: 74 yards rushing, Stampeders, Argonauts 16; 373 yards passing for the Stampeders, 297 for the Argos; ball possession, Stampeders 36:57, Argos 23:03. But at the end of sixty minutes, which team got the Grey Cup rings? The Argonauts.

Possibly the only aspect of the game more disspiriting for some was the halftime show, but that was an opportunity to go to the kitchen and stir the stew.

Grief counselling has now been put in place in Calgary.

But here's to the CFL, and to players who take the field in any weather, including snow so dense even huskies think twice about going outside.

--Slap Maxwell, for PD Sports.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Winter is Icumen In

As we endured the bone-chilling dampness and stiletto-sharp wind of November, the jukebox in our brain immediately began to play Ezra Pound's "Winter is Icumen In," which is, of course, the dark or flip side of the welcoming song, "Summer is Icumen In."

Pound's version includes the lines "Raineth drop and staineth slop/And how the wind doth ramm!" We would quote the entire text, but it includes some robust cursing, which we could not allow on a blog approved appropriate for all audiences.

However, we were moved to some robust cursing ourselves, when this line of Pound's came true: "Skiddeth bus and sloppeth us."

Winter is icumen in. Prepare.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Talking Turkey in the USA

It is Thanksgiving Day in the United States of America, that great nondenominational holiday when families come together to argue only about football and politics and who gets the wishbone.

And so, we wish a glorious day to friends and kin, if any remain, in Bad Axe, Michigan; Rowlett, Texas; Issaquah, Washington; Elko, Nevada; Virginia Beach, Virginia; Sausalito, California; and New York, New York.

Please pass the pumpkin cheesecake and the Bourbon.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Seventy Years of Royal Marital Bliss

We wanted to send a congratulatory card to Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, but there aren't a lot of 70th wedding anniversary cards. As for gifts, all we could find were forty-inch metallic gold balloons in the shape of 70, and a "novelty cushion cover," which probably would not suit the palace decor.

The appropriate gift for a seventieth is said to be platinum. Certainly the monarch and consort deserve that--they have, in the words of the record industry, "gone platinum."

Apparently our invitation to the celebratory dinner got lost in the mail. Pity--we had looked forward to sharing a few drinks with Prince Harry.

If you were there, please let us know what was on the menu. We're guessing it wasn't bubbles and squeak.