The Best Ashtray

ashtray

I’ll bet you’re saying to yourself that you’ve had better ashtrays than this one. Maybe one of those nice glass ones, or one on a fancy stand.

But this is the best ashtray in the world so forget about it.

It was sent to me from my old friend Bruce who ended up with two of them and knew that I’d need one. That’s what old friends do. Sometimes send ashtrays.

The porcelain beauty (although Lucy doesn’t see the beauty) came out of a closed factory in Orillia, Porcelain and Metal, or “P&M” as everybody called it because it was shorter and there’s nothing like shortcuts in life.

I worked there with Bruce, one of several jobs I had after dropping out of school after grade 10, and Bruce and I did the graveyard shift in the Fiat department, assembling metal toilet doors. We became toilet door superstars.

I’d also been saving enough money to sail on a ship to England with another friend when I’d turn 18 in that fall of 1968. And the toilet door gig was easy, mainly because the person at P&M who decided how many we needed to do in a shift was slightly off in the math and Bruce and I had the quota wrapped up in the first two or three hours.

After that we caught mice in a barrel and watched them run around for awhile, then let them go. Or we’d put our feet up and talk music, and hockey of course, because Bruce was and is a Habs fan.

Maybe we used this very ashtray on our dozen or so smoke breaks every night. (I quit years ago).

That fall I sailed to England on the Empress of England with my friend Robin and spent much of the winter there. At one point we knocked on the door of the Beatles’ Apple offices on Savile Row, and when a women answered, I asked if the boys were in. She said no.

Robin and I also saw John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers at the Klooks Kleek room in the Railway Hotel, a place where Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, the Rolling Stones, and most of the other well-known London musicians had played at some point, usually before they became rich and famous.

The night we saw Mayall, his guitar player was Mick Taylor, who not long after would join the Stones when Brian Jones drowned in his swimming pool.

It was a big experience, that trip to England, and it was all thanks to my job in the Fiat department at P&M, making toilet doors with Bruce and catching mice in a barrel.

Now I have an ashtray from that fine old Fiat toilet door department, on display in my display case.

The best ashtray in the world, regardless of what you and Lucy think.

Klooks Kleek

 

 

 

 

Price Gets New Hat

From last week’s Coast Mountain News, which covers areas of BC’s interior, is this story and pictures sent to me by my buddy Beatnik near Williams Lake.

“In town to promote his new role as First Nations Ambassador for the Breakfast Club of Canada, Price was excitedly received by his biggest fans: the Ulkatcho community.” – with the full story here – NHL Superstar Carey Price Honoured by Community in Anahim Lake.

I’ll look closer at the pictures as soon as I finish looking at his wife.

Price

Price 2

Mind Freeze

It seems I’m going through some sort of writer’s block. Been that way for awhile now, and…………………………………there’s that block again. I can’t even finish the sentence.

I need to plow through like a player with a hangover. Suck it up. Force myself. Rattle the couple of dozen remaining brain cells. Just start typing and hope.

It’s not supposed to be a problem. I’m from Orillia for goodness sakes, where folks are tough. Most are Leaf fans and they still go about their day to day life in almost sane fashion. It’s inspiring.

I’m already worried about the Canadiens making it to the Eastern Conference Finals. Their series last year against the Rangers started at 8:10 et. The first intermission hadn’t even ended and it was time for bed. I was a mess the next morning.

You have no idea how concerned I am about the Habs making it to the Finals and playing a Western team, with games starting even later here.

Why oh why didn’t I become a Leaf fan when I was young so I could go to bed early now that I’m old. Just dreading it when the Habs kick ass this year.

Oh damn…the block’s happening again. Signing off  but I’ll throw the following in to add some much-needed meat to this post..

My year-long project which for months I thought was a good idea but now I realize it’s just stupid. Regardless, I’m adding it because I’ve nothing else to add.

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Building 6

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Howie Going For A Spin

I noticed the following picture on eBay recently.

It’s Howie Morenz as a teenager back in Stratford, Ontario circa 1920, riding in a 1902 Olds, the year he was born.

It was still a few years until he’d lace ‘em up as a rookie with the Habs. The beginning of a journey that saw him as the finest player of his generation and one of the greatest Montreal Canadiens of all time.

The seller was listing this original photo at $3200.00, which…. ahem….is way out of whack but who am I to say what someone should or shouldn’t do?

If he can find a buyer who’ll pay $3200.00 for this, more power to him. But truthfully, it’s closer to the $500 range.

It’s neat though.

Morenz

 

One Man’s Junk Is…..

Under the well-used heading of “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure”, are two things I found during my recent trip to Woodstock (Bethel) and Cooperstown.

First, from the dairy farm of Max Yasgur, the man who let organizers use his land for the 1969 Woodstock festival, is this Yasgur milk bottle.

It’s not an original 1950s/60s bottle, those sell for about $500. Mine came later, I’m not sure when, and I paid $8 for it. But it’s a real Yasgur milk bottle, I’m sure there was milk in it at one point, and it looks just dandy on my shelf.

Milk bottle

From Cooperstown, I found this. In the 1960s, Yankee Stadium sold popcorn in these and when one removed the cap, it became a megaphone! It’s perfect for my vintage popcorn box collection.

Yankees

I showed some of the photos below on Facebook recently, so basically, these are for folks who aren’t on Facebook. The rest of you, just go for a beer. There some different ones, though.

Festival organizers were truly lucky to find Yasgur’s land after previous sites near the villages of Woodstock and Wallkill fell through. The site is huge, with a nice sloping hill down to the stage area, it has a nearby forest to go to the bathroom or get frisky in, and White Lake is just down the road to go skinny dipping.

It’s also been called a natural amphitheater. Just perfect, and Max Yasgur loved the kids who invaded. Many of the Bethel townsfolk didn’t though.

Lucy and I spent several hours there and came back again the next day. There’s also a beautiful museum on the site.

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Below, Lucy’s video.

The peace sign at Woodstock, done with some sort of grass cutter, reminds of one I did behind my backyard in Calgary years ago. I got shit from the city for that because it was on municipal property.

Calgary

Ahoy Captain

It’s big stuff, this talk of the next Habs captain now that Brian Gionta has gone back to his home state.

The fact is, I don’t think anyone right now has what it takes for the role. Kind of sad, but in a few years, it’ll probably all become clear.

Of course, if someone is chosen this year, please forget that you ever saw this.

The names are tossed around. There’s Markov and Subban, and Plekanec and sometimes Max, and for some unknown reason, Brendan Gallagher keeps coming up. I don’t know why. But more about that later.

A captain’s not there just to make the fans happy that there is one. He has to have big time respect and admiration from teammates. They have to look up to him and learn from him. He has to lead by example. That’s why you never saw Howie Young or Sean Avery or Sergei Kostitsyn wear the C on any team.

A Canadiens captain needs to take Rene Bourque aside when Bourque is comatose and give him verbal smelling salts. He needs to tell P.K. to sometimes calm down, or chat now and again with Michel Therrien and politely mention that embarrassing P.K. in public might not be the coolest thing.

A leader of men. Classy, smart, and distinguished. The opposite of me.

The coaches rely on him to talk to teammates and guide and advise. He has to be great with the media and fans. He has to get along in fine fashion with the on-ice officials. Ask the zebras about the wife and kids. Explain politely that Brendan Prust’s fist into someone’s face was a natural reaction caused by the other player saying something uncalled for about the referee’s wife.

It would be great if the players voted on the wearer of the C but chances are it won’t be like that. Which could also lead to the delicate situation of the player being a bit of a brown noser, one of management’s pipelines. That sort of thing is for losers.

Of course that only happens with other teams, not the Habs. This is a team that rises above the nuttiness. There’s never nuttiness in Montreal, you know that.

Andrei Markov leads by example, that’s for sure, and the players, I think, truly respect him. He’s a hard worker, which a captain needs to be, and he’s been around since he paired with Sprague Cleghorn. But when it comes to the microphone or the PR stuff, it’s just doesn’t seem to be in him.

I know a bunch of his fellow countrymen, and most are cut from the same cloth. Reserved and not all great around anything remotely  resembling public attention. Except Lucy’s son Denis in St. Petersburg, who loves to ham it up when the camera’s out. But I think he’s an anomaly.

As much as I admire Markov, he’s not completely captain’s material. At least not in my book. But you might have a different book.

Same with Tomas Plekanec. Not great in front of the camera. Kind of a quiet guy I think. Not one to take a rookie aside and tell him to lay off the booze and broads. Or maybe he does, but surely not the way a Mark Messier or the Rocket would have handled it.

And if you say that’s old time, that this is now, so what? Because leaders are leaders, whether it’s 1914 or 2014.

As much as I like Pleks, and as much as Brad Marchand dislikes him, which is a definite bonus, he, like Markov, doesn’t have the makeup to be a true captain.

P.K. Subban will be a fine captain some day. He leads by example, he struts in public, and he’s fired up to win. He’s perfect in many ways. We don’t want a laid back captain. We just had one. But P.K. still has a bit of goofiness in him, probably what a captain shouldn’t have.

As much as P.K. is liked by his teammates, do they look up to him at this point the way young players in Chicago look up to Jonathan Toews, or in Anaheim to Ryan Getzlaf, or Sidney Crosby in Pittsburgh?

Maybe after this season, after P.K. buys a few rounds, wins another Norris, and is voted Most Popular Guy on the Team by his teammates, then it’ll be time to put the C on him. He’s almost there. Just not quite.

The head scratcher for me is why Brendan Gallagher’s name comes up. As great a player he is, with a heart as big as can be, and a guy who would lead by example as a captain should, he’s still a kid. It’s obvious by the one minute interviews we see. He still talks like a kid. He was like a son to Josh Gorges and his wife when Gally rented a room at the Gorges resident.

Of course you could say Sidney Crosby roomed at Mario Lemieux’s house and was a captain at just 19, but these are two different personalities. I’m sure Avs captain Gabriel Landeskog, who was also 19 when given the C, is a man/boy too. There are guys like that. I once had a teammate when I was about 15 who had to shave every day and had this serious man strength. He looked older than the coaches.

Imagine if everyone had his same burning desire as Gallagher. But he’s not captain material because he’s a kid and I don’t understand why it keeps coming up.

Max Pacioretty might make a fine captain, but it seems he gets into areas when he has to re-screw his head back on from time to time. He’s kind of like me in this regard only I probably take longer to recover. It’s not a knock on Max for having his up and down moments. It’s about a captain not having those moments. One who could help Max along when he’s feeling out of sorts.

A captain has to be a big brother. Jean Beliveau was good like this. He knew how to handle all sorts of egos in the dressing room. Max doesn’t seem to have this in his genes, nor does Markov, Plekanec, Gallagher, and P.K., although at least it seems that way to a guy who only watches them on TV and has never been in the room except during the Bell Centre tour.

The captain situation sort of mirrors the team situation. Getting there, but just not quite. I think it’ll be Subban wearing the C in the 2015-16 campaign if he doesn’t screw it up in the meantime by making his teammates want to throttle him.

It’ll interesting to see how this captain thing unfolds. Just wish we had an obvious choice.

 

 

P.K. And Canadiens Kiss

I never attempted to weigh in here or anywhere else regarding the P.K. Subban and his team’s on and off romance and money game, mainly because it was pure guesswork and speculation from the start and I hate guessing and speculating.

I don’t find it fun, it doesn’t help my ulcers, and I’m usually wrong. I’ve also been on this terrific hiatus where not once have I wanted to throw my computer out the window.

I’m not finished with my hiatus either, but the P.K. story has been quite a thing for all concerned, and I felt drawn in.

Everywhere I looked (and I was paying strict attention all along), Marc Bergevin was apparently a misguided bastard. P.K. and his agent Don Meehan were asking too much. The Canadiens didn’t respect P.K. They should pay him whatever he wants. Don’t pay him whatever he wants. Five million. 8.5 million. Long term, Short term. Arbitration. P.K.’s a hot dog. P.K. makes mistakes on the ice. P.K.’s the best thing to happen since Guy Lafleur. P.K this, P.K. that. Even him going to the Leafs was discussed.

It’s all been said and figured out, and yet, when he finally did sign on the dotted line, the figure and term, $9 million for eight years, surprised everyone, even though every angle was completely covered up until then by Habs experts in all four corners of the earth.

It’s quite a sport. Not hockey, the art of getting wound up into a frenzy. The art of thinking the answers are there when they’re not. The art of being smarter than the GM who seems to have done a nice job so far.

Even now some are finding fault with the deal, although if it had fallen flat, they’d be screaming blue murder.

When the papers were signed and the news announced, fans, including me, breathed a sigh of relief, and almost like it never really had anyone’s shorts in a knot at any time, it now becomes quickly forgotten and we move on to the next paramount Habs-related issue.

Whatever it is. (Please don’t change the look of the sweater).

I wasn’t upset at Marc Bergevin and his gang for letting this thing go the distance, only confused. And when it got done, I wasn’t surprised, except for the fact it’s very much a generous offer from the team that supposedly still has issues with parts of P.K.’s game.

I stayed out of it because I’m no contract/cap/term expert. I’m just a longtime fan, waiting impatiently for another Stanley Cup, and for a bonafide superstar to don the CH once again.

And when I say bonafide superstar, I mean bonafide. Not a darn good star. Not a big star – a huge star. One that rarely comes along. The Canadiens were once upon a time blessed with so many, but not anymore. Maybe P.K. can be this kind of player. He’s shown us that it’s a possibility, but he’s not there yet.

I want my team to be king of the hill, top of the heap, as all Habs fans do. And I think the team will be. My faith never waivers. Even when they suck. Even when Scott Gomez moved the puck up the ice and then lost it.

Okay, maybe then.

I also carried a strong belief in Marc Bergevin’s methods during this P.K. process, although I didn’t understand a great deal and scratched my head more than once. But that might only be head lice.

Now we move on. How about a bit more toughness up front?

 

For The Sake Of…

For the sake of my sanity (and health) I need to back off from my blog for a bit.

I’ll be back, but I need to clear the mess building in my head. Which, as I’m perfectly aware, could lead to all kinds of health problems I’d kind of like to avoid at this time.

Some things have happened to close friend and to myself that makes me understand that I need to stop and smell the roses. I’m no spring chicken.

I need to take a break. It’ll be seven years in November that I’ve been faithfully doing this, with 4000 posts up. And until now, never missed a day of posting.

I’ll be back. Thanks.

 

 

 

 

Signing The Rogers/RDS Petition

Habs fans have been able to watch the team for all 82 games over the past years, thanks to French-language RDS covering them.

It’s been fantastic, something folks are used to, and a great way to learn some French at the same time.

“Et le but!!!”

Now it seems that because of a Rogers executive decision, RDS will be blacked out in homes west of Quebec, which is a catastrophe of epic proportions. It’s like a cruel joke. Heartless and cold.

So it’s time to sign a petition, which you can do by clicking here No Habs Blackout.

Thanks to Christopher van Dyke in Surrey, B.C. for taking the bull by the horns on this. Habs fans are getting the shaft and the problem needs to be fixed. It’s not too late.

 

More To the Lennon/Habs Sweater Saga

A fellow named Ed sent details the other day of the time John Lennon held up a Habs sweater, which looked to be number 5 but was actually Bobby Rousseau’s number 15.

You can get the lowdown here – Update on John Lennon’s Habs Sweater.

Now, to add to the festivities, Ed has sent a picture of him actually giving the sweater to John at the time!

John and Ed

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