Tuesday, March 25, 2014


            I can’t really pinpoint exactly when it started but a while ago I noticed that every time I looked at the clock it was 11 minutes after the hour. I shrugged it off as coincidence and didn’t really pay much attention to the unusual repetition of seeing the number 11 many, many times a day and not only on clocks. I’d see it everywhere.

So I started to pay closer attention. I couldn’t help it because it was happening more and more it seemed. Was I more cognizant of it because I kept seeing it or did I keep seeing it because I was more cognizant? Seeing it once or twice per day is one thing but when one opens one’s eyes to check what time the digital alarm clock says it is for the middle-of-the-night-loo-visit and it is consistently 3:11, 4:11 or 5:11it gets a little hard to ignore.

Apparently, I’m not alone. Celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler have been experiencing the number 11 phenomenon for some time now. And that’s the other thing…so many other people have and are experiencing number 11 sightings that there is actually a website devoted to the “Number 11 Phenomenon.” You can find it at http://www.11phenomenon.com/. Have a look.

So what does it mean? There are numerous theories that have popped up over the years with some suggesting that there is a connection with the Mayan Calendar and 9/11, obviously, also the Illuminati, Spiritual Awakenings and links to the Bible.

One popular belief, and one held by Long Island Medium, Theresa Caputo, is that our Spirit Guides are contacting us through the number 11 and are trying to get our attention. To what end? Only the spirit knows.

Number 11 is a Master number in Numerology. It represents spirituality, insight and a direct channel to the subconscious. It is the most psychic of all numbers and can also be a doorway to your inner self.

Not all people believe that there is a spiritual significance to the number 11, though. Many believe it is related to the brain recognizing patterns and has no other meaning. The truth is that no one can really say for sure what the 11 Phenomenon is because the experiences that it brings are unique to each individual experiencing it.

That said, my research into the 11 Phenomenon has revealed some very interesting facts about the number 11. The number 11 has been an enigmatic number in mathematics, quantum physics, astronomy, politics, history, religion as well as spirituality.

Even conspiracy theorists see it as a significant number as if 11 has been embedded in the very fabric of existence. Its significance in world history and the numerical correlations are so frequent in so many varying ways that you have to dismiss them as merely coincidence. Yes, an argument could be made that you can find significance in many coincidences, if you look hard enough, but I would urge you to do your own research on the subject of the number 11 because it is just flat out fascinating. To me, anyway.

There is not enough room in this column to give you all the information that I have uncovered during my research but I will leave you with some very interesting facts regarding the number 11: Apollo 11 was the first manned spacecraft to land on the Moon. The approximate periodicity of a sunspot cycle is 11 years. If you multiply 1111 X 1111 the answer is 1234321. After Judas Iscariot was disgraced, the remaining apostles of Jesus were sometimes described as “the Eleven”; this occurred even after Matthias was added to bring the number back to 12.

In regards to Canada specifically, the stylized maple leaf on our flag has 11 points. Our loonie is a hendecagon, an 11-sided polygon. Clocks depicted on Canadian currency, for example the fifty-dollar bill, show 11:00. 11 denominations of Canadian currency are produced in large quantities. Due to Canada’s federal nature, 11 legally distinct Crowns effectively exist in the country, with the Monarch being represented separately in each province, as well as at the federal level…I could go on and on.

I have not come to any definitive conclusions, yet, as to my relationship with the 11 Phenomenon but I am keeping a keen eye and an open mind and I am confident that the significance will become clear to me in time. Oh, yeah, by the way…this column will be my 211th contribution in this editorial spot in The Citizen. Just saying.

“The universe is always speaking to us…sending us little messages, causing coincidences and serendipities, reminding us to stop, to look around, to believe in something else, something more.-Nancy Thayer (1943-).


            After listening, watching and reading the latest news headlines from the past week, or so, it appears to be “throwback” time on good old planet Earth. Disappearing planes, UFO sightings and a new Cold War heating up are just a few of the items that caught my attention recently. Sounds pretty familiar to this old Baby Boomer.

            The disappearance of the Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 is still a mystery at the time of this writing. No wreckage or sign of the aircraft has been found yet. The disappearance of the plane reminded me of the old “Bermuda Triangle” stories regarding ships and planes that mysteriously disappeared in the Atlantic Ocean in an area that formed a triangle between Bermuda, Puerto Rico and the southern most tip of Florida.

Flight 19 is perhaps the most famous disappearance of aircraft in the Bermuda Triangle. In December of 1945 five United States Navy TBM Avenger torpedo bombers disappeared while on a training mission in the Bermuda Triangle. All fourteen airmen on the flight were lost, as were thirteen crew members of a Mariner flying boat which was on a rescue mission in search of Flight 19. The remains of Flight 19 have still never been confirmed found.

Another news report stated that a recent survey showed that last year Canadians reported the second-largest number of UFO sightings in history. There were 1,180 UFO sightings reported in 2013, or about three each day, according to the Canadian UFO Survey, an annual survey released by Winnipeg-based UFOlogy Research of Manitoba.

UFOlogy Reseach director, Chris Rutkowski, says there are several theories for the surge in reports with the first one being that there are more Unidentified Flying Objects present and physically observable to witnesses; classified military exercises and overflights are occurring over populated areas; people are more observant; and access to the Internet and portable technology has made reporting easier.

Of note, Ontario had more than 40 per cent of all Canadian UFO reports, 14 per cent of all reports were classified as unexplained and the typical sighting lasted approximately 13 minutes. Also of note, UFO’s have been credited with the disappearance of Flight 19 and other Bermuda Triangle losses.

Vladimir Putin’s Russian aggression in the Ukraine, or more specifically in the Crimea region of the Ukraine, and the West’s objections to the Russian’s actions brought back many memories of the 1950’s and 60’s relations between the United States and the old USSR. It’s reeks of the “Cuban Missile Crisis” all over again. Maybe it's not quite that extreme...yet.

I am too young to remember the 50’s but I lived the 60’s and it was a frightening world at times. There was a very real threat that World War III could breakout at any time and nuclear war was but a button push away. And, unfortunately, it seems that it’s still the same. Life repeats itself and humanity can’t seem to learn from history.

Now I’m getting all nostalgic and I think I will Netflix an old James Bond movie, when Sean Connery played 007, and watch the good guys beat the bad guys and hope that history will be repeating itself.

“Life is a wheel, and if you wait long enough, it always comes back around to where it started.”- Stephen King (1947-).



Tuesday, March 11, 2014


           Here’s an interesting fact for you. On March the 1st, 2014 Deb and I flew back to Regina from Cancun, Mexico and there was a 64 degree Celsius difference between the temperature there and the temperature here! 64 DEGREES! Yikes! What a difference! Talk about a shock to the system. Yes, I know, I can feel your sympathy from here.

            If timing is everything, then our timing was about as good as is gets as we were on the Mayan Riviera for what was the coldest week of the winter yet in these parts. The whole darn winter has been too cold, if you ask me, but that last week of February was a killer. So I was told…numerous times.

Apparently, the 2013-2014 version of our Canadian Winter was the coldest since 1971, or something, and the second coldest in decades, but if this past weekend’s temperatures are any indication of what is to come then we should be done with that minus 50 crapola for this winter. I hope. If not, I may just have to find my way back down to Mexico again…by hook or by crook.        

One of the major factors in choosing a Hot Holiday is to escape winter, if only for a very short time, and, hopefully, shorten our too long Canadian winter. To that end, Debbie and Perry’s Excellent Mexican Adventure met the above criteria.

I could bore you with all of the details about how we spent a week at Playa Del Carmen and swam in the Caribbean Sea every day and we soaked up the +30C sunshine and a few cool beverages and snorkelled with the turtles at Akumal…twice…and went on an eco-tour of some cenotes, (a natural pit, or sinkhole resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater underneath; especially associated with the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico) and then we toured some Mayan ruins and basically enjoyed a wonderful week out of the -50C Canadian winter…but who wants to hear about that?

As we all know, “it’s a small world after all”…and that statement was even more evident before we left Saskatchewan. Turns out, a fellow employee and her husband were going to the exact same resort as we were! Who knew? And then, while Deb and I were boarding the bus to transport us from the Cancun Airport to our resort some guy on the bus yells, “Hey Perry!” and, sure enough, there was an old friend and teammate from my fastball days in Regina! He and his wife were going to the exact same resort as we were, too! I know it really is a small world but do you know how many resorts there are along that coastline? Lots. Lots and lots, so it made the coincidences even more incredible. 

I also went there knowing full well that there was a strong possibility that the Canadian Men’s Hockey Team would be in the final Gold Medal game that was to be played early Sunday morning. 6:00 AM to be exact. I even packed some appropriate Canadian hockey attire and was quite prepared to get up and go to the 24 hour Sports Bar but our early flight and the fact that I found the game on our room TV and there was 24 hour room service and a stocked fridge…suffice to say I watched the game in our room. And loved it! And I wasn’t the only one as you could hear cheering coming through our balcony door screen from many other rooms.

It was a great start to a fantastic vacation. Later, we celebrated the win with old friends and new and the Canadian colours were in full display throughout the resort making it an even better home away from home!

“We are continually shaped by the forces of coincidence.”-Paul Auster (1947-).



A year ago, in an effort to shorten the long Saskatchewan winter, Deb and I joined ten of our friends on a “hot holiday” trip to Mexico. The experience was so great that we have decided to do it again this year. But due to scheduling conflicts we missed an earlier chance to go back with many of the same folks that we went with last year so this time around Deb and I are flying solo. And we are stoked.

            We searched and we searched and debated and debated about when and where to go and we finally found a great resort and booked a time to go. Like so many other instances in my past I failed to really look closely at the calendar before making our final decision. The good news is that we are going to Mexico, the bad news, if we can even call it that, is that our arrival time would put us in Mexico merely hours before the Gold Medal Game in Men’s Ice Hockey in this year’s Olympic Games. I know! It’s almost a bummer.

            As I am writing this merely hours before our Canadian Men’s Hockey Team is scheduled to meet the Americans in the semi-finals I may be sounding unCanadianly cocky that we will indeed be in the Gold Medal Game. But I am confident that Canada will be there in the final game and Google has assured me that there is a twenty-four hour sports bar located at the resort that, next to actually being in Sochi, Russia, will be the perfect venue for watching an Olympic Gold Medal hockey game. I’m also confident that we won’t be the only Canadians there to watch the game.
            If history is kind, (our Canadian Men’s team followed up the Canadian Women’s Ice Hockey Team’s Gold Medal performance in Vancouver in 2010 with a Gold of their own), we’ll be watching a repeat of double hockey Gold Medals again this time around. Wouldn’t that be nice.

            The first part of history has already been repeated as our Canadian Women’s Hockey Team has just mounted an incredible come-from-behind victory over the USA in the 2014 Gold Medal Game! The never-say-die Canadian women were down by two goals with about three minutes left to play in the game when they stormed back and tied the game in the last minute of play and then broke the American’s hearts with an overtime goal claiming the Gold Medal for the fourth consecutive Olympic Games. What a feat!

            While the past two weeks of Olympic Winter Games watching have been a real distraction from Old Man Winter’s firm grip a little fun in the sun will be a more welcome change. And then combining the two for a few hours will double the fun.

             Last year we hoped that a late February break would shorten the winter considerably but, as luck, or more aptly-bad luck, would have it…winter lasted ‘til the middle of May! Yuck! There are some things we are hoping history repeats (Double Hockey Gold Medals) and, then again, there are some things (Old Man Winter’s strangling grip), that we hope will change. Only time will tell.


“Vacation is what you take when you can’t take what you’ve been taking any longer.” Anonymous.


           It’s funny how four years can make such a difference, you know? Back in 2010 when Canada and Vancouver hosted the Olympic Games it seemed like the whole country got involved. Canada was ripping it up in the medal count and many of us sat in front of our TVs in awe as we watched our usual “also-ran” Canadian Winter Olympic team triumph in so many ways.

            Fast forward to today’s Sochi Olympics and it’s a bit of a different story. We’ve lost the home-ice advantage, it seems, and the time difference between Canada and Russia makes it hard to watch many of the Games’ events live which, for me, takes away from the total “feel” of the games.

            Four years ago I think Canadians were pleasantly surprised at how well our athletes were performing and that transferred into an outpouring of national pride very seldom seen or felt in this big, beautiful country of ours. Don’t get me wrong, I think most Canadians are still welling with pride at our country’s athletes’ performances, good, bad or otherwise, but, as stated above, it doesn’t quite have that…I don’t know…SOMETHING…that you feel when it’s happening at home.

            To me, losing some of the national feel of the 2010 Vancouver Games has been offset by the inclusion in these Games of our local skating heroes Paige Lawrence and Rudi Sweigers. Regardless of their placement in the field of Pairs Skating it is still amazing to see these two skate in an Olympic Games and know that they come from small-town Saskatchewan…OUR…small town Saskatchewan. Small “towns”, as it were, (Kennedy and Kipling).

            Rudi was in the same grade in school as our son Nolan so we saw a lot of Rudi back in the day. Nolan and I were discussing the old days with Rudi and Nolan recalled one particular birthday party of his in our back yard where Rambunctious Rudi took a leap off of our picnic table, got caught up in our clothes line, and did a complete header onto the ground, glancing his head off of the seat of the table on the way down and landing with a resounding thud. Nolan says, “He did a “Swiggers” and jumped up and dusted himself off and said…I’m okay, I’m okay!” Smiling away! And he was. Okay. Thank God. Nolan and I are unsure how many “Swiggers” it takes to become an Olympian but we’re pretty sure it’s more than a few.

            Although I don’t know Paige as well as I know Rudi I know her parents very well and when I saw Leanne and Jimmy on the TV screen in Sochi, along with Paige’s’ brothers Jesse and Dawson, it gave me goose bumps. You’d have to confirm this with them but I think Jimmy and Leanne began their long relationship while Jimmy was playing Junior B hockey in Kipling with the Pipestone Beavers back in the ‘70’s before his famous rodeo days. Leanne was a figure skater and lived at the Kipling Arena, it seems, and her brothers played on the Beaver’s team, too, and her Dad, Dave Toppings, was the team’s long-time manager. Paige has certainly become a chip off of both the old blocks with her skating ability and her bull-rider mentality.

            Paige and Rudi may not have ended up at the top of the podium at the Sochi Games but their hard work and determination has paid off in helping them become world-class competitors in a demanding and super competitive sport and they are truly Olympians that all Canadians can be proud of.

“If you believe in yourself and have dedication and pride-and never quit, you’ll be a winner.” Paul “Bear” Bryant. (1913-1983).


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...