Monday, November 14, 2016


            I am ever so thankful that I have Remembrance Day and the Dale Blackstock Memorial Hockey Tournament to write about this week so I don’t even have to mention the absolute craziness that is the 2016 American Presidential Election. By the time you read this column the freak show will finally be over and it’s about bloody time.

I don’t know about you but I have saturated my limit of Clinton vs. Trump. I have tried really, really hard not to get sucked into their vortex of hate but it’s impossible. Just like the proverbial train wreck you cannot look away.

            Americans make it sound like it’s a difficult choice but I’m thinking if Trump gets in I’m going to have to convert my concrete cistern into a bomb shelter. Just sayin’.

The very reason that megalomaniac’s like Trump are even allowed to incite hatred and spout their bigotry and ignorance freely is because of the sacrifices of those who served and died to provide his freedom.

Americans honour their fallen on Memorial Day; the last Monday of May. This Friday, at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month Canadians will gather in “remembrance for the men and women who have served, and continue to serve our country during times of war, conflict and peace". One cannot overstate how important this date is to our country. As the years roll past I hope this date’s importance never fades. Lest we forget.

Speaking of years rolling past I am having a hard time believing that this will be the 30th Dale Blackstock Memorial Hockey tournament. Thirty of them! Wow! I was a member of the Kipling Royals Senior Hockey Club’s executive when we first sponsored this tournament in November of 1987. We were trying to raise $1000.00 for the team’s contribution to the new dressing rooms. We made that and a lot, lot more!

Dale had been a Kipling Royal and a real good friend to many of us on that Executive Board and when Dale succumbed to cancer at the much too young age of 30 we wanted to honour his memory by naming the tournament after him and the rest… as they say…is history.

Over the years many hands were involved in the operation of this tournament and the Blackstock family, led by Linus, put in countless hours to make the event as successful as it has been. It has become a homecoming of sorts for many of the participants and the fond memories of tournaments past are shared and added to annually.

There comes a time, however, when things change. Linus recently mentioned that the tournament has lived as long as Dale had and he thinks it’s time for the family to take a step back from their organizational role. After all, their parents, Melvin and Della are gone now and the spreading family is making the commitment to the event harder with each passing year.

The trophy will always have Dale’s name on it and the family would be more than pleased if the tournament continued on while raising much needed capital for the facility. It just won’t be them leading the charge anymore. My hope is that the Rink Management Committee will continue the tradition.

There are an awful lot of memories, (as well as some lost moments), from those thirty tournaments. Boy, was there a lot of fun provided over the years. I would like to thank Diane, Linus and the entire Blackstock family for their time, effort and commitment to what turned out to be an historical event for the Kipling Arena and the Town of Kipling. Thank you, thank you.

“From Humble Beginnings Come Great Things.”

Monday, November 7, 2016



            I try my best to not push time forward. You know what I mean? Like doing the “can hardly waits” as in “I can hardly wait for the baby to crawl, or I can hardly wait until Christmas is here or for school to be out or for the winter vacation to be here”; that kind of thing.

As a general rule time flies by too fast anyway and the baby will be crawling before you know it and in no time at all you’re going “how did he/she grow up so darn fast??” However, this time around I cannot help myself from thinking that I can hardly wait until this gloomy October is done! Man, what a miserable month that was, wasn’t it? And, like some people I know around here, I don’t even have eight or nine hundred acres of crop still in the field. Yuck! Talk about gloom ‘n doom.

According to the statistical weather data we received precipitation on 16 of the 31 days in October and I think the other 15 days were all mostly cloudy. Or so it seemed. I was looking into the statistical data to see how many sunshine hours we normally would get in October and my source claims that we average around 171 hours in the month or, percentage wise, it’s 51% of the daylight time. Not 2016’s version, though. Oh no, it was more like 171 minutes, I’d say.

I have heard more than a few people mention how miserable and cranky everyone seems to be lately and I am convinced that it is mostly due to the overall lack of sunshine in the past few weeks. It really is. I’m thinking that humans really need sunshine to operate properly. Or “happily” at any rate.

In fact, I did a little research on the subject and I found that there are several reasons why the lack of sunshine can be detrimental to a human’s well being, both mentally and physically.

If you’re not careful, a lack of sunlight can actually lead to a form of clinical depression. The less sunlight we see in the winter months, the more likely we are to develop Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Symptoms of SAD can be extreme: mood swings, anxiety, sleep problems, or even suicidal thoughts. I’m thinking that some people are just experiencing an earlier version of SAD because of the recent lack o’ sunshine.

90% of humans’ Vitamin D comes from direct sunlight but everyone knows that unprotected overexposure to the sun’s rays may increase the chances of developing skin cancer. Then again, on the flip side of that is that a Vitamin D deficiency may be just as dangerous to humans. Vitamin D deficiencies may lead to the development of prostate and breast cancer, memory loss, and an increased risk for developing dementia and schizophrenia.

Also, for your information, and I’m not making a personal statement here or anything,  just reporting the facts, people, and the facts say that women are 200% more likely to develop SAD than men. Hmmmm….I’m not saying who’s crankier than who but…you know…statistics and all that.

I realize that you’d have to miss a bit more than the “normal” amount of sunshine in one month to create any ill effects on your system, but still, this past forty days or so have been pretty darn depressing and it’s starting to show. I’m hoping that in the next month we can make up for the sunlight we lost in October or this coming winter is going to be really, really SAD.

“A cloudy day or a little sunshine have as great an influence on many constitutions as the most recent blessings or misfortunes.”- Joseph Addison (1672-1719).


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...