Time to give it a rest for a few days. 

I hope you all have a great 

Holiday Season

All the best



The Things You Learn in the Bar

Not long ago I was having an after badminton beer in Bushwakkers and wondering what group was providing the music the following evening, I asked Eric if he could read the notice pasted on the wall some metres away as I was having some trouble focusing. It was quite noisy in the bar and I thought he said it is The Regina Male Boys Choir, the redundancy in the name not quite sinking in.
Coming into the bar the next night I was therefore surprised to see a choir of well dressed gentlemen, some of whom must have been in their late 70’s at the very least. The “old boys” choir I thought.
It turns out the Regina Male Voice Choir was there to entertain us with Christmas music.
A beer or two later and just at the start of one of their numbers we were surprised to see a couple of the kitchen staff coming out carrying a large boar’s head, on a tray which they carried around the room during the singing of the piece.  “Oh, that was the Boar’s Head Carol” we were told.”  Who knew?
It turns out that this little known carol – at least little know amongst beer drinking badminton players – dates back to the fifteenth century.
The story is that an Oxford scholar named Capcot - no first name provided -  who was studying at Queen’s College   was walking over the common on his way to church in Horspath village when he was attacked by a wild boar.  Capcot, obviously a very tough guy, is said to have grabbed the boar by the scruff of the neck and to have jammed a copy of Aristotle which he had been reading down its throat.
The scholar then is reported to have cut off the boar’s head and stuck it on his staff leaving it outside the church during the service. He subsequently brought it back to his pals at Oxford for dinner.
The Horspath parish church has a window celebrating this event.
This event is still celebrated in Oxford at an annual dinner during which the carol is sung and during the singing three chefs carry a boar’s head  decorated with a garland of bay leaves and rosemary around the hall.
The things you learn in bars these days.
Ok everyone, all together now.

The Boar’s Head Carol
The boar's head in hand bear I,
Bedecked with bays and rosemary;
And I pray you my masters be merry,
Quot estis in convivio
Caput apri defero
Reddens laudes Domino
Laudes Domino, Laudes Domino, Laudes Domino
The boar's head, as I understand,
Is the bravest dish in all the land
When thus bedecked with a gay garland
Let us servire cantico.
Our steward hath provided this
In honour of the King of Bliss,
Which on this day to be served is
In Reginensi atrio


Something Wrong with this Picture?

Patty Cake Fiacco
Just in case you wondered from time to time who pays most of the freight in Regina, here are a coupe of hints.
According to the Premier, Brad Wall Saskatchewan is booming economically. I don't really see it frankly but Brad insists.
So, in a boom, do you really have to offer incentives to corporations to lure them into your city/province?
Apparently you do.
Mosaic, that other American based Potash corporation is moving its "head office" to Regina when ever they get the new McCallum Hill Tower built in downtown Regina. The building, by the way, is the first new office tower  build in boomtown in 18 years..
They announced the move about a year ago but, development friendly city hall just agreed to give  the multi billion dollar corporation a five year tax break worth $1,500,000. I guess that decision was made to encourage a move that had already been decided upon tax break or not.
This in a year that, for those who actually pay city taxes, they will go up almost 5% and water tax will increase over 27% over the next  three years.
I wonder how a guy gets in line for the trough.

Watch Pat Squirm

Big news in Regina.  Property taxes are going up almost 5% and water will cost us 9% extra in each of the next three years.
Anyone who has been paying attention shouldn't be surprised though. The
Pat Fiacco has always run on a "no increased taxes" platform as if a city could always maintain services in the face of increased costs by just tightening a few belts here and there, contracting out services and by beating up on city workers. It is cheap politics and gets people elected but it doesn't work in the long term.
Under his leadership services like snow removal have become a laughing stock and now Pat has to start talking realistically about  services and where the money is going to come from to provide them. I find it kind of funny.
Pat has always been guided by the self interest of groups like the Canadian Federation of Independent business that is speaking out against any hike. They don't think this is the right time to hike taxes. Nothing new there.
Personally, I don't mind paying my fair share. It is worth every penny just to see Pat squirm.

Harper Treats Pension Reform Like the Environment

I notice that Harper's Conservatives are taking the same approach to the much needed Canada Pension Plan reform that they do the the environment. And, why not? Ignoring the problem works for them and after all, the chickens won't come home to roost until this bunch are long gone.
Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says this is not the time for an overhaul of the pension system. The problem is of course is that there never us a "good" time to cough up the extra cash needed and by the time the shit hits the fan, I predict the government in power, whatever party is in power will say, "If Harper had dealt with this at the time it could have been fixed but...we are too far down the road and we just can't afford to do in now."
Boomers, most of whom are still working will start to put real pressure on the plan as they retire and tap into the fund. When the bills come, it will be our kids who will pay for Harper's inaction.
The Harper government claims to have been working on what they said was serious pension reform for 18 months and what we get instead of reform is just more inaction.
To be honest, I didn't really expect much more out of this government but I had hoped that, just perhaps, the provinces would step up. Six of the ten provinces supported action but unfortunately Alberta and Quebec supported by the Saskatchewan Wall government worked against reform.   


What a Great Time of Year

This time of year we are all trying to cope with all the snow, struggling to get our Christmas shopping done, get a decent tree and get it decorated and for those who are working, trying to get thinks wrapped up before the end of the year. It can be a bit hectic.
That is why I am always a bit on edge before hosting a seasonal get-together but, the bottom line is, I like to have people over.
Saturday evening we had a seasonal pot luck supper for the board and staff of the Folk Festival. Few of us work closely together but we have served on the board together for varying lengths of time and I think we have a great group and super staff. We work together well but, we don’t often get an opportunity to meet in a social sense.  
So we have been getting ready. I have been freezing star shaped candle holders for our driveway all week, cooking and the house looks  - well... homey.
So there we were Saturday night, about 26 of us including our partners/ boyfriends/husbands/wives/significant others all jammed into our living room/dining room.
We had, beer, red wine, white wine and a non-alcohol punch – did I mention the beer, cold Big Rock beer – Traditional, Gopher, Grasshopper, Warthog and Winter Spice, lots of it.
I had prepared quite a few snacks to get things going. Everything from the regular cheese plate, to marzipan stuffed dates, a nice zesty salsa, crackers with chevre and jam and some crab pate but it was the dishes people brought that blew me away. We had Braised beef ribs, curried potatoes, Jamaican patties, gyoza, hummus, a tomato-cheese vegetable dish, a salad with pomegranates, a red cabbage salad, cookies, lovely artesian bread and chickpeas in curry. The table was so full we couldn’t fit another plate on if our lives depended on it.
There was a line up in my dining room, people were chowing down in every corner of the living room and almost everyone went back for seconds and thirds.
And, we had conversations. Lots of them. We talked about knitting, music,  Universities, Laval’s football dynasty, books,  education, badminton, how our generation just seemed to fall into our jobs, photography, print making, Qu├ębec cheese, the second world war corvette fleet and submarines. It was great.
As people drifted away into the night we tried, unsuccessfully to recruit floor hockey players and talked about how we should do it all again, and we should.
I love having people over but there is something about this time of year that really make it special. We are all gearing down a bit, being a bit reflective, relaxing – whatever it is, it just seems to work.
Do it again? Any time.
Come to think of it the floor hockey team is coming over the 29th.