I found this phone in a secondhand store in St. Petersburg, Russia about a decade ago and paid about $10 for it, or whatever the equivalent in rubles was at the time.
I’d like to give a quick shout-out to someone who’s been part of this blog since the beginning, but in the past few years has been rarely seen and is now mostly forgotten.
Gaston was made by a friend of my dad’s. I don’t know how many the man made, but he gave two to my dad, who promptly painted them in Habs uniforms, gave them faces, and handed one to me and one to my brother. I named mine Gaston because it thought it was a solid French-Canadian name.
I used Gaston often. I often took him on trips with me, and on these pages showed him outside of San Quentin Penitentiary, at the corner of Haight-Ashbury and at the site of the Woodstock Festival and various other places, all the while explaining that although he was a great Habs fan, he was also quite an asshole with a checkered past.
Gaston doesn’t make an appearance very much anymore. I think he wore out his welcome. But there’s a bunch of stories involving him over in the Categories section if you feel so inclined.
I just wanted to take this opportunity to recognize and say thank you to Gaston. He was a major player on this site for a long time and he deserves it.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The other day a package arrived from Luci’s son Denis in St. Petersburg, Russia, full of cool stuff including a couple of Russian hats, some shirts, some candies and chocolate, and this 9-inch ceramic Homer Simpson that Denis and his daughter Anastasia hand painted for me.
Gaston’s probably not going to be happy about this.
Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas, a safe and happy New Year, and from the bottom of my heart, thank you for coming here, bearing with me as I write about tidbits of my life, and helping negotiate with me all those turns, construction, and detours on that wild and wacky Montreal Canadiens highway.
With love from Dennis, Luci, Teesha the cat, and the angel Gaston.
Photo from my scrapbook of a peach-fuzzed rookie Yvan Cournoyer during the 1964-65 campaign, with Dickie Moore (as a Leaf), Jean Beliveau, Jean Guy Talbot, Bob Pulford, Ted Harris, Ron Stewart, and Charlie Hodge.
And below, although I never scrambled for a foul ball or flying puck, I did manage (very quietly) to get a Cournoyer goal puck through a trade, a goal he scored on Oct. 26, 1972, only a month after the ’72 Summit Series in which Roadrunner played a major role.
Yvan would retire at 35 after 15 seasons, all with the Habs, and 10 Stanley Cups.
“Cournoyer has it on that wing. Here’s a shot! Henderson makes a wild stab at it and falls. Here’s another shot. Right in front. They score! Henderson has scored for Canada!”
And then there was that time he played on a line with Gaston.
I distinctly recall the idea that if the Canadiens can get through the early stages of the season playing .500 hockey with all their injuries involved, then they’re doing fine.
They’re 8-8-1 right now. Not great but it could be worse. They could be the Buffalo Sabres.
Today it’s the Islanders (6 pm EST) with a backup goalie in nets, star left winger Tomas Vanek on the shelf, and star left winger Matt Moulson gone, traded for Vanek.
The Canadiens are now on the playoff spot bubble, in eighth spot in the East with 17 points, with the Islanders just behind with 15. Even someone like Gaston, who blew his brains out smoking gunpowder, should be able to figure out that this is a game the Habs need to win. But Montreal has to score more, has to have guys punch the clock and hit the net much more, and crash and bang and get the Bell Centre walls shaking.
Brian Gionta has four goals in sixteen games. Lars Eller and Rene Bourque five in seventeen, Max has two in eight, DD of course is stalled at zero in sixteen, and although Ryan White isn’t expected to light the lamp or do much offensively, the fact remains he’s zero points in fifteen games.
Alex Galchenyuk, someone we all expect huge things from in future years, is third in team points, but is showing just two goals to go along with his nine assists in seventeen games. But he’s only 19-years old so there’s not much I can say. I just want him to become a superstar as soon as possible, that’s all.
“We’re getting a lot of our shots blocked right now, so that’s a big factor,” says Bourque. Which I think is a feeble excuse. Find a way not to have them blocked. The Canadiens block a lot of shots and other teams manage.
Five straight losses would be dismal, and the red-hot Tampa Bay Lightning are here on Tuesday. It could become six.
It’s an important game, this Islanders clash. Even Gaston knows that.
It was May when Brandon Prust called Senators coach Paul MacLean a “bug-eyed fat walrus”, not long before the Canadiens bowed out to the Sens in five games.
What does that mean? Nothing. I’m just babbling. And I like the quote.
In June, the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup, the Canadiens grabbed lanky forward Michael McCarron along with Jacob de la Rose, goaltender Zachary Fucale, and Artturi Lehkonen in the 2013 Entry Draft, Brendan Gallagher was edged out by Florida’s Jonathan Huberdeau for Calder Trophy/rookie of the year honours, and P.K captured the Norris Trophy and rightly so.
And Luci and I hopped in the car and moved to Montreal.
July saw big George Parrros and little Daniel Briere signed by the Habs, I started my new job, Chris Chelios, Brendan Shanahan, Scott Niedermayer, Geraldine Heaney, and Fred Shero were announced as new Hall of Famers, and P.K. and Carey Price were officially invited to Canada’s National Team orientation camp which would ultimately become a ball hockey game.
In August, Douglas Murray was signed by the Canadiens, I bought Dylan’s Blond on Blond CD, my brother came to visit me, and hoodlum Whitey Bulger, whose ex-girlfriend’s daughter was once married to Knuckles Nilan, somehow ended up with a 1986 Stanley Cup ring. (Whitey’s about to get sentenced to life).
September saw rookie camp get underway at Brossard, a guy robbed a bank in Orillia wearing a Habs hat, the Canadiens pre-season exhibition games kicked off, Danno sent me a hockey card I didn’t have, and Michael Bournival and Jarred Tinordi got the news they were staying with the big club. (Tinordi’s down in Hamilton at the moment).
October began with a loss to the Loafs during which George Parros conked his head in a fight and was gone for a month, Ryan White shaved his long blond locks, Daniel Briere suffered a concussion, Max got hurt, Leaf great Allan Stanley passed away, the Red Sox won the World Series, Alexei Emelin signed for four more years, and the Hockey Inside Out Summit kicked off at Hurley’s on Crescent St.
In November, Parros came back with his mustache missing, I bought a sports jacket, Toronto’s mayor made a whack of headlines, a Michel Therrien/PK Subban soap opera picked up steam, Gaston’s still an asshole, and the Canadiens have lost all four games they’ve played this month.
These cufflinks were made by Swank in the 1950s for the Canadiens players. I know because Classic Auctions had sold them in the past. I have no reason not to believe that this set didn’t belong to a Hab from then. Maybe they belonged to Moore or Harvey or Plante or Beliveau. Maybe even the Rocket!
Maybe it was the stick boy.
I’ll never know. I found them on eBay recently, and they weren’t expensive. Not by a long shot. I couldn’t help myself, and Luci, if you’re reading this, I got them pretty darn cheap. Seriously.
Swank also made coloured brooches in the form of the “CH”for the players’ wives back then. I saw one at work recently and they’re beautiful.
Seeing Gaston with something so classy just doesn’t jive. He’s always been such a little asshole.
I wonder how Giant Gaston and Faceless Habs Fan are doing, tucked away in a dark storage shed thousands of miles away, while I roam the streets of Montreal, free as a bird.
I’m feeling guilty. Maybe I should send them some poutine!
Cheer up boys. Just don’t fight. And share your Penthouse magazines.
If you’re good, I’ll send for you.
It’s not the first time Gaston’s been locked up, and a storage shed can’t be as bad as San Quentin. And Faceless? Who knows how he’s feeling. His face is slightly hard to read.
They’re probably fine. I’m just being a dad.