Sunday, December 22, 2013


Here's a little Christmas poem I've thrown together for you.

Three Kings, shepherds and a babe in the manger.

The Eastern star and presents from strangers.

Carols and fruitcakes, poinsettias and holly,

And the chubby little guy so happy and jolly.

Christmas traditions that began years ago,

We follow and add to each year as we go.

Mistletoe, stockings and the nativity scene

Houses decorated in bright red and green.

The Grinch and the reindeer and Christmas cards too.

Candy canes and eggnog, to name just a few.

Now a new Christmas tradition we can add to them all

Is the latest tradition of the trip to the mall.

We could have started earlier to avoid the frustration

If it hadn’t have been for that procrastination.

Our time’s running out because we’ve delayed

So this rushed shopping trip just has to be made.

We’ll scream to the city and jump into the fray

And hope to get it done in one single day.

We brave the cold weather and the traffic so thick

And there’s no way at all that it’s going to be quick.

The parking lot’s jammed and the stores are all too

But we join in the lineups ‘cause there’s nothing we can do.

Now I’m off with a load of some gifts that we bought

But I’ve lost the damned car in this huge parking lot!

Yes, we will all meet up later, that’s what we will do,

But why would you pick the crowded food court zoo?

Now, we’re all back together comparing our lists

And because of the rushing there will be something that’s missed.

But we’ll take what we’ve got, we must get out of here

That’s about all we can take until this time next year.

But despite all the trappings of the trip to the mall

It will usually turn out to be not bad at all.

With the right attitude and a smile on your face

It can sometimes be good to be in the Rat Race.

Too many are alone at this time of year

So we should take all we can from all Christmas cheer.

From the Hubbard Family to you and yours. Merry Christmas!


“The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” is zipping by us once again. The big day is fast approaching and it seems like there’s still a lot left to do. For many of us it’s a busy, busy time of the year with concerts and parties and decorating and parties and shopping and parties and baking and…

Speaking of parties, I was listening to a talk radio station on the way to work the other day and the early morning on-air personnel were discussing their recent corporate Christmas party. They were comparing what happened at their corporate party to an on-line list of what you are NOT supposed to do at Ye Olde Office Christmas Party. To me, these things should be your regular common sense kind of things, but, as a wise man once told me, “if common sense were so common everybody would have it”. Good point.

I’m sure there may be more than a couple of you out there who are saying that you could have used this information a couple of weeks ago but please keep it in mind for next year’s events if this year’s embarrassments aren’t enough to keep you from repeating the faux pas from the 2013 version of the Company Christmas Party.

Mind you, if everyone followed the list of things not to do there really wouldn’t be a need for a list of the things not to do and there would also be a lot less to talk about when everyone gets back to work after the party.

            The list includes the standard items like keeping your hands off of your co-workers and it tells you to try not to corner the boss and talk his/her ear off and watch how you gossip about the people you work with but that’s just everyday office etiquette if you ask me.

The list also includes items like “don’t get the police involved” which, to me, once again, seems like a pretty good rule of thumb for everyday life. I am a little curious, though, as to what they mean by “involved” but the list is a little short on particulars.

The list also says “don’t under or over dress”. I’m guessing that “under dress” would likely mean scantily clad or showing off that great amount of chest hair you have, or something, but it could also mean don’t wear your coveralls when the party notice says “business casual” and don’t wear the powder blue velour disco tux either.

And then there’s the warning about “inappropriate dancing” which again may mean twerking, (Google it if you don’t know), or suggestive dancing or maybe they mean plain old bad dancing. If you are unsure what “inappropriate dancing is” just stay seated. Please.

The number one thing on the list is the big, big one and if you didn’t do this one then most of the above wouldn’t be happening anyway and, of course, that would be the over-imbibing of the alcoholic beverages. Be wary the “Open Bar”. Do not treat an open bar like a water fountain for bad things can and will happen during a drunken stupor. I believe we have recently seen evidence of that, haven’t we? Hmmm, I wonder how the Toronto City Hall Christmas Party went?

I hope you had a great non-embarrassing Office Party, if you had one at all, and just be careful if you haven’t had one yet, but in any event, have a safe, wonderful and Merry Christmas. From my family to you and yours.

“What I don’t like about office Christmas parties is looking for a job the next day.”-Phyllis Diller. (1917-2012).

Sunday, December 15, 2013


I’m going to be talking to you about numbers this week. Of course, numbers are extremely important to everyone. Time, wages, bills, age, height, weight…are all numbers and they impact on everyone’s life all of the time. It seems that there are a number of significant numbers that have recently come to my attention inspiring this week’s theme.

            If you open this edition of the paper on the 12th of December and you are reading this column you will be reading it on my 57th birthday! Thank you, thank you. How nice. Send gifts or cash or both to…just kidding.

            Fifty-seven, eh? That’s not a bad number, I guess. For a classic car! The 1957 Chevy Bel Air Sport Sedan and the 1957 Chevy Nomad station wagon are in a classic car class by themselves. In fact, a couple of my old buddies ran ’57 Chevys back in the day. I racked up more than a few miles in the 1970’s with Ronnie Balogh in his classic black Bel Air and around the same time Tim Morson’s immaculate yellow Nomad could be found in more than one parade around here, too. If you Google the Top 10 American Cars of All Time the picture of a ’57 Chevy comes up. ‘Nuff said.

            This Friday will be the second and last Friday the 13th of 2013. There must be at least 13 reasons why the number 13 is considered unlucky and there are probably even more reasons that Friday the 13th is REALLY unlucky but we just don’t have the time nor the space to cover all of that information so maybe ask any Triskaidekaphobian, (a person with an acute fear of the number 13), and they’ll tell you why 13 is so unlucky. Of course, all of us Rider Priders know that the number 13 was unlucky in the 2009 Grey Cup game but extremely lucky in the 2013 version. Two completely different tales of the 13th man indeed!

            Coincidentally, the Friday December 13th edition of The Citizen will probably hit your mailbox on Thursday the 12th of this week leaving only…count ‘em…13 days ‘til Christmas. I know!

            Here are some other very curious numbers for you. Potash Corp of Saskatchewan announced on December 3rd that they were laying off 1045 employees globally, 440 of which are from their Saskatchewan operations. Getting laid off is never good news but three weeks before Christmas?! Yikes!

If given the choice between being laid off three weeks shy of Christmas, before the bulk of the shopping and spending has been done, (unless your one of those damn keeners, but I digress), or getting a notice on the 3rd of January when the bills are due and the New Year has just begun…I think I’d maybe take the early Christmas Bah Humbug news, don’t you?

Now, let’s get to the most interesting numbers of all…Potash Corp’s CEO, Bill Doyle and four of its key executives had a combined total of $24,310,327.00 in compensation packages in 2012 alone. That was a 28.65% increase over the previous year (stats provided by Bill Doyle alone has been compensated through salaries, bonuses and stock options to the tune of nearly 30 million dollars since 2008! Potash Corp’s Key Executive Compensation for the years 2008-2012 inclusive are a staggering $103,411,583.00. That’s for five people. Just saying.

“It is a sad day for the employees and the company. One that we know is tough on a lot of folks. We have great concern and we are going to do everything we can to make sure that these people are well taken care of.”-Bill Doyle (PotashCorp President and CEO).

Monday, December 9, 2013


2013 was the first year that I have fully participated in Movember Madness. If you are unaware as to what “Movember” actually is I will quote from their website- “As an official global charity, Movember’s vision is to have an everlasting impact on the face of men’s health. During November each year, Movember is responsible for the sprouting of millions of moustaches around the world. Through the power of the moustache, vital funds and awareness are raised to combat prostate and testicular cancer and mental health challenges.”

The growing of mustaches, (Mo’s), as a fundraiser was unofficially started in Adelaide, Australia in 1999 and by 2004 the Movember Foundation Charity had been established and now there are over twenty countries hosting Movember charity events annually. Canadians, not surprisingly, are the largest donation contributors of any nation. (Interesting statistics for your information: Canada-173,215 participants=Total money raised-$28,594,193; UK-254,885=$22,562,934; Australia-122,358=$20,189,277; USA-219,151=$20,182,355).

For a first-timer I think my humble efforts in both the mustache growing and the fundraising were pretty decent. While I didn’t manage to get corporate or personal donations amounting to the $131,727 like the top-spot Canadian contributor I’m pretty happy with my few hundred dollars. Wait ‘til next year.

I can always improve my fund-raising techniques but there is only so much one can do in the mustache growing department, I would think. Putting it simply, either you can or you can’t. I had to remind an overzealous, competitive young male co-worker that mustache growing is neither a skill nor a talent. A person’s facial hair will grow where it will grow as fast as it will grow based on your genetics, unless artificially enhanced, of course.

Now, I suppose one could get some hormonal injections or have some back, nostril, eyebrow or other various anatomically located hairs surgically removed and then implanted somewhere on one’s face, if one was so inclined and one had oodles of money to spend on frivolous and foolish type stuff, but I think I’ll just stick to what nature gave me and call it a day. Or 30 days, as it were.

Growing up in the 60’s and 70’s, when men’s hair was long and shaggy and facial hair was even longer and shaggier, the pressure was definitely put on young males to get busy and grow something, you know? I spent years wishing I could grow a decent moustache and a longer time actually growing one that didn’t look like it was penciled in. Being a late bloomer, I was well into my twenties before it finally started to look like something. On the other hand, I know buddies who had sprouted facial hair and were shaving in grade six! And, no, they weren’t 18 years old. Although there was that one guy…oh, nevermind.

My guess is that during Movember it doesn’t really matter what kind of mustache you grow or how long it grows or how salty or peppery it actually is but that you just grow one. And raise some money and awareness of men’s health issues while you do it.

Mustache quotes are hard to come by so I’ll leave you with this one: “I hate it when you give someone a sincere compliment on their mustache and then suddenly she’s not your friend anymore.” Anonymous.


Here's a reprise of a little Christmas poem I threw together for you. Three Kings, shepherds and a babe in the manger. The E...