Winnipeg Blue Bombers are the Maple Leafs of Canadian football

Do you realize what the Winnipeg Blue Bombers have become? The Toronto Maple Leafs, that’s what.

Patti Dawn Swansson

We know this to be a certainty because, in yet another disastrous, last-place season that can best be described as The Barnum, Bailey & Blue Bombers Circus, exactly one person has paid a price for any wrongdoing with the Winnipeg Football Club—Paul LaPolice.

There’ll be no attempt here to revisit the removal of LaPolice as head coach eight games into a 6-12 campaign that was equal parts horror show, slapstick and pure incompetence, because I’m not into flogging horses, dead or otherwise.

The thing is, anyone who follows Blue-and-Gold (mis)fortunes can tell you the coaching change changed nothing. Buck Pierce kept getting hurt, Joey Elliott/Alex Brink kept throwing interceptions, Gary Crowton kept proving he knew very little about three-down football, players kept suffering brain cramps and taking undisciplined penalties, and Teflon Joe Mack the GM kept making no sense by talking about coaches having the bad manners to die.

So, in the results-driven business that is professional football, the mind boggles at the notion that Paul LaPolice—and only Paul LaPolice— pays for the sins of this Sad Sack season.

There is, of course, something to be said for continuity, and lord knows the Winnipeg Football Club has already paid enough people to not coach and/or generally manage. That’s seldom a good way of conducting business. Especially if it’s going to cost you half a million bucks, which is what Teflon Joe is due over the next two Canadian Football League seasons.

But to maintain the status quo following an 18-game journey that, at times, has drawn parallels to the best-forgotten Jeff Reinebold and Mike Kelly regimes?

Raise your hand if this makes sense to you.

I mean, Teflon Joe has been generally managing this once-proud franchise for three seasons. He has a 19-34 record. He has twice finished in last place. He wouldn’t know a quarterback if Peyton Manning was standing in front of him.

Meanwhile, the man he gave the head coaching job to after deep-sixing LaPolice has a 3-6 record and is guilty of making some of the most brainless decisions ever conceived. That would be Tim Burke, who, until Thursday, was the interim head coach.

He’s now the permanent head coach. Or at least he is until the Bombers do what they always do, which is pay him to not coach after two seasons.

So Teflon Joe stays on as GM. Burke gets a promotion.

Oh, I almost forgot. Gary Crowton, the architect of the CFL’s worst offence east of Edmonton, returns to devise his head-scratching game plans which usually mean passing the ball when you should be running the ball.

Terrific. Everyone keeps his job.

And for what? For finishing in last place? Again?

This certainly challenges logic.

But, hey, not to worry. Flip, Flop and Fly will now be held accountable. If they soil the sheets in 2013, they’ll be run out of Dodge.

This is a truism because Garth Buchko, the radio guy with zero football background and even less football know-how, says so.

“Next year we have to win,” is how the CEO with no gridiron cred put it on Thursday when advising the people that pay his salary that he doesn’t give a damn what they think. “We could line up excuses for this year. But we’re not in the excuse business. We have to be responsible. There are no excuses next year. We have to be accountable to wins.”

Next year? Who’s accountable for this year?

Oh, yeah. Paul LaPolice, who was 2-2 in his final four games before being ambushed by Teflon Joe.

Go figure.

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With this ring, I thee wed…myself?

patti dawn swansson
patti dawn swansson

I’m single. But, then again, perhaps I’m not.

It could be that I’m actually married to myself but I just haven’t made it official by exchanging vows with myself at a formal ceremony attended by those nearest and dearest to me. All six of them.

It is, you realize, possible to marry one’s self.

I know this to be so because a woman in Fargo, N.D., Nadine Schweigert, exchanged vows with herself not so long ago.

“I, Nadine,” the 36-year-old mom said as her children and 40 of her closest friends bore witness, “promise to enjoy inhabiting my own life and to relish a lifelong love affair with my beautiful self.”

There was no word on whether or not she took herself and her “beautiful self” on a honeymoon, but the self-nuptuals landed the happy herself couple a gig on Anderson Cooper‘s show.

I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, because I’ve never watched Anderson Cooper’s show. I do, however, reckon it beats a guest appearance on either the Jerry Springer or Maury Povich free-for-all all to hell.

At any rate, when I read about Ms. Schweigert taking her own hand(s) in marriage, it set me to thinking. If nobody else wants me, why not take myself?

I mean, I believe I have some qualities of merit. For example, I laugh a lot. Or at least I used to before I was diagnosed with depression. I enjoy getting outside and engaging in recreational activity. Or at least I used to before I was diagnosed with gout arthritis, an under-active thyroid, a Vitamin D deficiency and the lingering residue of eight or nine concussions. I make a good wage. Or at least I used to before fleeing journalism and landing on the unemployment line.

Do I really want to take on all that baggage? No. How could I support myself? I can’t.

Thus, I’m not going to marry myself.

Even if I get down on my arthritic right knee and ask for my arthritic left hand in wedlock, I’ll have to say “no.”

But that doesn’t mean I’m going to sit around and wait for the right person to come along.

I might marry a building instead. Or a reptile (already been there, done that). Or a piece of clay.

All this, too, is doable.

Babylonia Aivaz, you see, recently exchanged self-vows with an abandoned warehouse that was set for demolition in Seattle. She even “outed” the building by calling the union a “gay marriage.” Alas, there was no wedded bliss. The marriage, like the building, crumbled when the wrecking ball made an appearance not long after the nuptuals.

That, however, is not to say it wouldn’t work for me.

I see all sorts of buildings when I gaze out the window of my eighth-floor home. The question is: Are any of them wedding worthy? I kind of fancy the facade of the city hall building. It seems to have nice character. But, hey, it’s city hall. Which means it’s full of politicians. Talk about the in-laws from hell. Not going there.

So, if not a building, what?

Well, Eija-Riitta Berliner-Mauer married the Berlin Wall. She fell in love with the structure when she saw it on TV at age seven, and says she finds “long, slim things with horizontal lines very sexy.” Ms. Berliner-Mauer married the wall in 1979 before a small group of guests and, of its 1989 destruction, she said: “What they did was awful. They mutilated my husband.”

You want to talk hubby mutilation, lady? See Lorena Bobbit.

Meanwhile, in 2006, a Hindu woman in India claimed she had fallen in love with a cobra and married the snake in accordance with Hindu marriage rituals.

Imagine that. Marrying a snake. What woman hasn’t?

Anyway, more than 2,000 people participated in a celebratory procession. The snake, it should be pointed out, did not attend the ceremony. Typical freaking man! Probably out late the night before, carousing and swilling venom with the boys.

Similarly, Chaman Singh, an officer with the Tibetan Border Police, failed to show for his nuptuals with his betrothed, Salvita. Seems he was stuck at the office. As if. Like a man has never used that flimsy excuse before, right ladies? Unflinching, Salvita’s family insisted the wedding commence sans bridegroom. So, they glued a photo of would-be hubby Singh on a clay pot and Salvita married the pot.

The moral of that story, I suppose, is that if Singh ever loses his job with the Tibetan Border Police, his bride will always have a pot to pee in.

None of this helps my singleness, though. Or perhaps it does.

It’s not that I yearn to have someone slip a ring on my finger, but it’s nice to know that, should I go looking for love, I don’t have to confine my search to the human race.

Who knows, my next partner might be a heartless, soulless, thoughtless, inanimate, unsmiling bit of business.

Not likely, though. I hear my ex has already remarried.

All the ‘old’ news that’s unfit to print

I pick up, and read, a print newspaper about as often as I eat greasy bacon, which is once a year. Maybe twice.
And when I do pick up a newspaper, I don’t read it for the news.
Seriously.
The print newspaper has become an oxymoron.
I mean, what’s new in a print newspaper? Nothing. Zip. Nada. Except perhaps the ads. It’s really a flyer, not a newspaper.
If you wait until the morning to pick up a newspaper—or have it delivered—you’re reading yesterday’s news.
I mean, you saw the May Day rioting in Seattle on your flatscreen. Or you called it up on the internet and read about it. Or you saw it on your Blackberry. Or read about it on your notepad. Yesterday.
So, why pick up a newspaper today?
I believe there remains just one reason why we still have print newspapers: So men have something to take to the toilet and toss on the floor when they’re done.
That, you realize, is strictly a male thing.
We women have plenty to do in the washroom besides read old news. We primp. We preen. We gossip. We giggle. We do not read newspapers and toss them on the floor.
We don’t take our laptops in there, either. But I’ve seen men do that very thing. They just don’t toss the laptop on the floor when they’re done.
On a very personal level, I regret the slow, steady demise of the print newspaper. For three decades, you see, I earned my daily bread in journalism, scribbling about sports for a variety of newspapers. To this day, I still pound out the odd article on a freelance basis and, although 13 years removed from the daily grind of meeting deadlines and the demands of demanding editors, I’d still get a kick out of seeing my byline in print. If I actually picked up a newspaper.
But I don’t even see newspapers scattered about in coffee shops or pubs anymore, so what’s to pick up?
Time was when you couldn’t walk into a coffee shop without seeing half a dozen or more heads buried in a newspaper. Especially in the morning or at lunch.
Indeed, I once had a Saturday afternoon ritual whereby I would purchase the Globe and Mail, wander down to my favorite watering hole, The Toad in the Hole in Winnipeg, and read it from front to back. It was a most relaxing, calming experience. It was something I looked forward to as a way of unwinding from the stresses of hosting a daily radio talk show and writing a weekly column.
My favorite eatery/watering hole these days is Bart’s in Victoria, where people reading a print newspaper are as rare as a Liberal MLA in Alberta.
If anything, you see laptops, notepads and phones.
I suppose there’s still something to be said about holding a newspaper in your hands, rather than reading the news off a computer screen, Blackberry or any of the other fancy gidgets and gadjets that are available today. It can be, as suggested, quite comforting. But in terms of news, I’m afraid the print newspaper has gone the way of AM radio.
I mean, does anyone still listen to AM radio for the music? Aside from Baby Boomers? Most people I know listen to FM, satellite radio or their iPods if it’s tunes they’re after.
I can’t recall the last time I actually turned on my radio. Surely it’s been more than a year.
Similarly, I don’t have a clue when or why I last held a daily newspaper in my hands. Probably the last time I ate greasy bacon.
The difference between the two is that the news was old, the bacon wasn’t.

Chicken bones in the biffy? Say it ain’t so

It has become painfully apparent to me that, on certain levels, the human race is a waste of skin.
I believe I arrived at this realization the morning I discovered a dozen chicken bones on the floor beside the toilet in one of the stalls in the ladies’ washroom at a local nightclub. Or perhaps it was the morning I came across a full roll of unwrapped toilet paper lodged in a toilet bowl in the ladies’ loo in a pub.
In either case, I’ve long held that the human race would be a concept with considerable merit…were it not for the people.
I say this because I’ve cleaned toilets for four years. Public toilets.
All one need know about the human race can be found in a public washroom. And it isn’t pretty. Anyone who has had the misfortune to clean public biffies for a living can regale you in toxic tales of projectile vomit and human waste on floors, walls and ceilings.
But food? In a public toilet stall?
I mean, I can think of a whole lot of things that I’d just as soon not do. Like attend a Celine Dion concert. Or an all-night Adam Sandler movie marathon. But I’m pretty sure that chowing down in a public washroom is near, or at, the top of my never-in-this-lifetime list.
Yet, apparently, dining in a public loo is as commonplace as breathing.
Examples:

  • The aforementioned chicken bones. Someone actually plopped her hide on the biffy and gnawed away on a dozen chicken wings.
  • One morning, I entered the ladies’ washroom at the same nightclub and immediately noticed the walls and floor of one stall splattered with a red substance. I’m here to tell you it was everywhere. Except for the fact Helter Skelter hadn’t been scribbled on the wall, I would have sworn Charlie Manson and his gang of cutthroats had paid a visit. Either that, or some poor girl was having the worst menstrual period in history. Upon closer inspection, however, I found a half-eaten hot dog and French fries in the container for discarded sanitary products. The red substance was ketchup! This is not normal behaviour.

Nor is this:

  • I was vacuuming the carpet in the ladies’ chamber at a golf club when suddenly Kerclunkslurp! Such a noise. A foreign object had been sucked into my vaccum and, upon investigation, I found a pair of white, lace panties. Help me out here, girls. How do you forget you’ve taken off your panties? And leave them on the floor? I don’t know about you, but I never leave home without my panties. And never return home without them.

Perhaps the ultimate example of bizarre bathroom behaviour visited me the morning I discovered a broken flushing handle on one of the toilets. Because I didn’t have a spare handle in stock, I carefully placed two strips of 3-inch wide masking tape across the seat with the words “Out of Order” on one strip and “Please Do Not Use” on the other. Well, I’m here to tell you that I came in the following morning and said toilet had, indeed, been used. Odd thing is (and this is reeeeally odd), the woman didn’t remove the tape. She actually attempted to piddle between the two strips of tape. Unsuccessfully, I might add, since she washed away all the lettering except the word “Out.”
I understand the need to pee right now. Believe me, when I’ve got to go right now, I run like a scalded dog and whip down my tights faster than the Happy Hooker on a 2-for-1 weekend. But to not remove the “Out of Order” tape on the toilet seat before peeing? Oi!
Now, before anyone runs off with the notion that these peculiar findings are restricted to the ladies’ loo, be advised that men are a rather disgusting breed. If it’s true men are from Mars, I don’t want to go anywhere near the place.
Tell me, fellas, must you really toss your chewing gum in the urinal? Must you really plant your boogers on the wall? Must you really hack up your loogies and splat them on the mirror? If you’re going to pick your nose or clear your throat, there’s a wonderful invention to take care of that. It’s called a Kleenex. Ask your girlfriend. She probably has one in her purse.
Also, boys, I’m guessing your momma toilet trained you, but I’m also guessing that you skipped a couple of classes in Potty Training 101. Like hitting the bowl. And when you actually manage to hit the bowl, flushing.
The flushing mechanism can be found on either the side or the front of the toilet tank. It looks like a handle because it is a handle. Alas, flushing apparently is much like expecting a man to ask for directions, but it’s dead simple, lads. Push down. Whoosh! Waste gone.
Still, having established that guys are gross, I must confess that the real Ripley’s Believe It Or Not nonsense transpires in the ladies’ loo.
So straighten up and fly right, girls.
And, one more thing, ladies: Leave the picnic basket at home.

I’m no “fag hag;” I just like hanging with men who happen to be gay

I don’t like the term “fag hag” even though, by definition, I probably am one.
It sounds so…nasty.
First of all, the word “fag” is a slur. Unless, of course, you hear it in a gay bar, where it’s often used in a non-offensive, self-deprecating tone by gay men talking with, and about, gay men.
They’ll also call each other “fruits” and “queers” and “queens.”
It’s a no-harm, no-foul situation for them.
That, however, doesn’t give the rest of us license to use those terms and, because I have so many gay friends, I find “fag” most inappropriate.
As for “hag,” it conjures up an unflattering image of a witchy, old woman with a wart at the end of her long, bent nose and hair that looks like something you’d use to mop the floor.
So, no, I don’t like “fag hag.”
Trouble is, I’ve yet to hear a less-lewd label for a woman who tends to spend a fair amount of her social time with gay men, which is what I do.
Quite frankly, I believe labels are for beer bottles, shirts and skirts. Not people. But these descriptives appear to be an inescapable reality in our society.
At any rate, I hang out with gay men. A lot.
Usually, we gather at a local watering hole on a Sunday afternoon for laughs, conversation, nibblies and pints and, to this point in time, we’ve only been banished from two bars (one mainstream, one gay).
Two of the lads are married. Another is in a longterm relationship. Every so often, others join us and they’re usually very gay men.
I’ve dined with them, I’ve been to their homes, I’ve shared special occasions with them, I’ve spilled tears on their shoulders and I’ve laughed long and loud with them. Oh, how I have laughed.
But I don’t hang out with them because they’re gay. How shallow and hollow would that be?
I hang out with them because they’re lovely lads and I very much enjoy their company.
Having said that, however, the fact they’re gay is a bonus.
I can sit with these boys in any bar in town and never does a wandering hand land on my lap. Never does a lewd or crude word arrive at my ears. They’re about as interested in me sexually as Charlie Sheen is interested in another ride in the back seat of a police cruiser. If there’s any sexual energy at our table, it’s only when a good looking boy enters the room. If an attractive lass appears, I’m the only one who notices. Or comments.
This, of course, is a departure from many of my experiences with straight men.
Not so long ago, for example, I was flying solo and enjoying a bite and a pint when a fellow approached my table for two that normally only sits one (moi).
“You’re beautiful,” he said by way of introduction.
“Excuse me?” I responded.
“You’re beautiful.”
This stranger, who was not tall, dark or handsome, then plopped himself down next to me.
“I assume you’re taken,” was his next gambit.
“If by that you mean am I in a relationship, yes I am,” I lied.
“That’s too bad…do you realize I’m in love with you?”
It was 3:24 in the p.m., a full 11 hours before closing time.
“I don’t know how long you’ve been here,” I said with a healthy laugh, “but I think maybe you’ve got your vodka goggles on.”
“No,” he persisted, “you’re beautiful and I’m in love with you.”
Good grief, Charlie Brown.
This past weekend, another man plunked himself at the table next to mine. He could have chosen any table in the empty place. But, no, he had to be right…next…to…me.
“Are you married?” he asked.
“Wow,” I responded, “you don’t waste any time, do you? Usually I get a free drink before I have to answer that question.”
It brought to mind the results of a recent study that claims men get smarter when they have a couple pints in them. (As if.)
As it happened, 40 men were asked to perform word gymnastics, in that they were given three words and required to provide a fourth word that would apply to the first three. For example: Tool, lunch and toy. The fourth word would be box.
It seems that 20 men who were given two pints of beer to drink solved more of the word puzzles than the 20 non-drinkers. And, they did it in less time.
Whatever.
I can give you three words straight men don’t understand after two or more pints: “Get lost, loser!”
Which is why I say the fact most of my male friends are gay is a bonus.
So, go ahead and call me a “fag hag,” if you like. I make no apologies for hanging with a bunch of gay boys.
After all, they can drink beer all day and still solve this three-word puzzle: “Boobs, vagina, lesbian.” The fourth word would be “Patti.”

Depression, golfers and gunslingers

Nobody is going to drive me around the bend, because I’m already there.

patti dawn swansson
patti dawn swansson

Yup. Depression.

The diagnosis arrived last week. How deep is my depression? Well, when I left my doctor’s office he handed me a coal miner’s hat. And a canary. So it’s bad.

Oddly enough, however, the knowledge that I’m officially depressed made me feel better.

Seriously. It did. And I actually went two complete days without crying.

Chronic weeping, understand, is what sent me in search of answers. It was imperative that I understand why I was crying every…single…day. Not just once a day. Not just twice a day. Sometimes the tears would flow more than half a dozen times. And I’m not talking misty-eyed sentiment. I’m talking full-blown blubbering. Or, as I like to call them, Patti-melts.

And what triggered my Patti-melts? Just about anything, everything, anyone and everyone.

Tiger Woods is just one of the many culprits who set off my waterworks. Yes, Tiger Woods. His Royal Randiness.

As it happened, I was lounging on my loveseat one Sunday afternoon when I stumbled upon a golf tournament on TV. It was the Bay Hill somethingorother event and Woods had matters well in hand as he approached the 18th green. This was to be his first PGA victory since his former bride, Elin, took a 7-iron to his head after she discovered he’d been sleeping with every bimbo/waitress/hostess on three continents.

And I started crying.

That’s when I knew I was sick.

I mean, Tiger Woods is foul-mouthed. He’s ill-tempered and ill-mannered. And he’s a male oinker. Yet there I was, bawling because His Royal Randiness was about to do something that had exactly zero impact or meaning on my life.

Good grief. What next? I cry because Sarah Palin won’t be President?

Spare me.

I suppose I should thank Tiger Woods, though.

The moment he made me cry, you see, I began to track my Patti-melts. I recorded the dates and noted the triggers that set me off. In a 31-day period, I cried 77 times. I had just six cry-free days. I cried when I watched Doc Adams pull a bullet out of Festus Haggen‘s back on Gunsmoke. I cried when I heard Alan Jackson singing Here in the Real World. I cried when I was telling my friend Cullen about coaching Peanuts baseball back in the 1970s. I cried five times while watching a movie about Jesse James, for goodness sakes.

You know you’re deep into depression when you’re weeping over golfers and gunslingers.

I just hope there’s a way out.

I’m not ROFLLMAO about UR new way of writing

Once upon a time, people wrote in sentences.
Oh, yes, as sure as Mark Twain scribbled The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, people would use nouns and verbs and adjectives and periods and commas and italicize words for effect. They would spell out their words. And spell them correctly.
So, what happened?
When did the written word become a lost art?
Was it when Paul David Hewson named himself Bono, put on a pair of sunglasses, got a few lads together and named his band U2?
I mean, shouldn’t his band be called You, Too?
And when did the word “boys” become “boiz” and the word “girls” become “gurls?”
I realize that English is a living language, but it appears to me that what passes for the written word today is the fast-food version of English, which is to say not terribly nourishing or appetizing.
Let me provide an example.
“I had a gr8 time @ ur party 2nite. HF, LMAO. Am 4tunate 2 have such a BFF.”
I actually found that on a Facebook page. And by no means is it a rare example of the bludgeoning the written word is taking these days. I see it all the time.
I am being dot.commed to death with ROFLLMAO, LMGAYAO, LMAO, HFA, HF, LOL, WTF, OMG, keep ur $$$ and the like.
I swear, I need some1 from U.S. Army Intelligence to decode my e-mail and Facebook messages.
Like, what the H are u telling me when u stick a D: @ the end of ur missive? It was bad enough when I received one D:, but then I received a double whammy—D:D:. What’s up with that? R u swearing @ me? R u mocking me? R u laughing @ me? I know DD isn’t my cup size, so what does it mean?
Then there’s :*(. This means exactly what?
Help me. Please.
I haven’t been this confused since I first heard Sarah Palin speak.
& what’s the deal with all the UPPER CASE? Don’t u realize that when u use upper case ur YELLING @ ME? Y R U YELLING @ ME?
I must confess that I am somewhat dinosaurish, in that my embrace of new things often arrives grudgingly. That’s not to say I cling to the past like an old hippy who has yet to escape the ’60s. I very much live in the present.
But, I still prefer to play my vinyl albums rather than CDs and I have a larger collection of VHS movies than DVD flics. My TV, meanwhile, is so antiquated that I think it still has tubes in the back, and my tendency is to watch older shows. In low def.
Seriously. Don’t even get me started on hi-def TV. Why do I need hi-def TV? Does Elliott Ness catch more bad guys if I watch The Untouchables in hi-def? Does Perry Mason win more cases in hi-def? Does Granny Clampett cook better hog jowls and possum shanks, or does Jethro Bodine get past the sixth grade in hi-def?
The thing is, I can understand why other people want all these fancy new gizmos. Like automobiles that talk to you and park themselves, telephones that take pictures, and TV screens that are the size of a soccer goal.
But the rot of the written word I don’t get. I’m definitely not LMFAO or ROFLLMAO about that.
Y do u have 2 write in code? Y can’t u type out the words why and you? 4 goodness sake, r u in that much of a hurry?
Oh, and one final thing: If all those symbols that I don’t understand really mean that you’re swearing at me, then :*(:):):D@$oP to you, too!