San Jose has a great big rat and Winnipeg has a Golden Boy with great big balls

So here’s what I’m thinking about three members of the San Jose Sharks bashing good, ol’ Hometown…

First of all, Tomas Hertl, Justin Braun and Tim Heed could have been a tad more creative in dissing Winnipeg. I mean, describing River City as “cold and dark” is so much meh. Same old, same old.

The Golden Boy: Tall, proud and buck naked.

It’s frigid in Winnipeg, you say? Well, duh. So wrap yourself in a parka and trundle to and fro in those subterranean tunnels and above-ground test tubes that connect the downtown corridors. And it gets dark in Winnipeg? Ya, like, after the freaking sun sets, dudes. A setting Sol is not peculiar to Pegtown. At last report, River City was still part of the Solar System, so, ya, they have to deal with that pesky dark-of-night thing.

Second, if you hang your hat in El Pueblo de San Jose de Guadalupe, you might want to trigger the filter between your brain and tongue before opening your gob.

Technology aside, what’s San Jose really known for?

Well, news outlet FiveThirtyEight named it “the most forgettable major American city.” Economist and migration blogger Lyman Stone ranked it as the “weirdest city in America” in 2016. On WalletHub’s listing of the most fun cities in the U.S., it comes in at a distant 95th, behind notable good-times spots like Akron, Lincoln, Omaha, Grand Rapids and Des Moines.

Little wonder the mayor of all 1,042,094 people, Sam Liccardo, says, We’re not big on bluster.”

Apparently, Mayor Sam and other civic leaders have been trying to come up with a fresh slogan for San Jose. Hmmm. The city has this quirky law which prohibits animals from publically fornicating if within 1,500 feet of a church, school or pub. Might make for a catchy slogan—San Jose: We never screw the dog.

A better question would be: How do those horny critters know if they’re inside the 1,500-foot, no-humping zone? Do they post doggy signs?

Whatever, San Jose is not without its selling points.

Reportedly, more than half the adults in the self-proclaimed Capital of the Silicon Valley have a college education. I assume the other half voted for Donald Trump.

Joey Chestnut

And, hey, San Jose has celebrities. Like Joey Chestnut.

Nobody on this planet eats more hot dogs in less time than Chestnut, the renowned face-stuffer who’s been known to scarf as many as 72 Nathan’s tube steaks in 10 minutes. What city wouldn’t be proud of a world-class glutton?

I’d say Chestnut’s achievement is admirable, except I’d be more impressed if he could gobble down 72 Salisbury House cheese nips in 10 minutes.

San Jose also has notable landmarks. Like the world’s largest rat. That would be a 30-foot Chuck E. Cheese. The thing is, they keep the rodent caged. And indoors. Wimps.

By way of comparison, Winnipeg has the Golden Boy—all 17.2 feet and 3,640 pounds of him—and he stands outside (even when it’s dark), proudly atop the Manitoba Legislative Building with his bare balls hanging out. Try that in minus-40 weather.

Winnipeg can even match San Jose school dropout for school dropout. They have Stevie Nicks, who left San Jose State University and eventually found fame with Fleetwood Mac. But I’ll call their Stevie Nicks and raise them a Neil Young, the Kelvin High dropout who joined Buffalo Springfield, then Crosby, Stills & Nash.

But, listen, I’m not hear to trash San Jose, even though trash talking the other guy’s town is as old as a Bob Hope joke. Happens every day. And Winnipeggers definitely do it, too.

Think about it, when was the last time you heard anyone in River City say something warm and fuzzy about Regina? As if. I recall a former Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach, Professor Mike Kelly, describing the good folks of the Saskatchewan capital as the “toothless, green, watermelon-helmet-wearing people from the crotch of Canada.” And Ol’ Lefty, Bombers place-kicker Troy Westwood, called the flatlanders “a bunch of banjo-picking inbreds.”

Others in Pegtown have used different parts of the human anatomy to describe Regina, and each of those body parts leaks and emits foul odors.

So there’s that.

Chuck E. Cheese

Legendary jock journalist Jim Murray, meanwhile, seldom squandered an opportunity to have sport with his many ports of call as columnist with the Los Angeles Times.

On Cincinnati: “They still haven’t finished the freeway…it’s Kentucky’s turn to use the cement mixer.”

On Baltimore: “The weather is like the team. Gray. Colorless. Drab. The climate would have to improve to be classified as merely lousy. It really doesn’t rain, it just kind of leaks. You get a picture of Baltimore as a guy just standing on a corner with no place to go and rain dropping off his hat. Baltimore’s a great place if you’re a crab.”

On Minneapolis-St. Paul: “They don’t like each other and from what I could see, I didn’t blame either of them.”

On San Francisco: “It is so civilized, it would starve to death if it didn’t get a salad or the right wine. It fancies itself Camelot, but comes off more like Cleveland. Its legacy to the world is quiche.”

Thus, when Hertl, Braun and Heed went off on Winnipeg, describing it as “dark and cold” and, at the same time, suggesting it was a horse-and-buggy burg that had yet to be introduced to the world of hashtags and tweets (“I don’t know if they have WiFi there yet.”), they weren’t exactly breaking fresh (frozen) ground. People have been taking frost-bitten cheap shots at good, ol’ Hometown since the first Red River cart blew a tire (what other reason could there have been for stopping and settling there?).

Remember old friend Ilya Bryzgalov? The former National Hockey League goaltender wasn’t afraid of anything in this entire world. Except “Bear in forest.” And living in Pegtown.

You don’t want to go to Winnipeg, right?” he once advised news snoops. “Not many people live there. Not many Russian people there. Plus it’s cold. There’s no excitement except the hockey. No park, no entertaining for the families, for the kids. It’s going to be tough life for your family.”

Bryzgalov made me laugh. Hertl, Braun and Heed not so much.

If you’re going to trash talk, boys, come up with some fresh material.

Toronto doesn’t stink when the Blue Jays are beating Uncle Sam at his own game

I’m a Prairie girl, born and raised, and I don’t hate Toronto.

patti dawn swansson
patti dawn swansson

There. I said it. I don’t hate Toronto.

I know, that’s positively blasphemous. I mean, it’s the sworn duty of every plow jockey’s daughter and/or son to look upon the Republic of Tranna with absolute disdain and associate the big city on the shores of Lake Ontario with all that is pungent. Indeed, we are taught this while barely off our mother’s breast. Mom, upon wiping our butt after the little jar of Gerber’s prune goop had kicked in and soiled our diaper, would recoil and gasp, “Oh, my, this smells just like Toronto.”

So, just like Prairie people long have known that New York is big but Saskatchewan has a burg that is Biggar, we’ve always known that Toronto stinks.

What I’ve never been able to figure out is this: Why is Toronto the subject of such scorn from the rest of Canada?

Oh, I know. It’s big. So what? Something or someone always has to be the biggest. Why not Toronto? Then there’s that whole Centre of the Universe thing, whereby those of us who reside in the colonies are made to feel inferior. Sorry, but that’s not of Toronto’s doing. That’s of our doing. It’s not like Toronto is going, “Na, na, na, na, na…I’m big and you’re not.” It is my experience, having worked and lived there on three different occasions and having visited numerous times, that very few Torontonians actually think that way. Apparently, the fact that we think they think that way is enough for us to dislike and distrust them.

If anything, we should be grateful to Toronto for providing us with wonderful sources of humor. The Maple Leafs. Rob Ford. Calling in the army to shovel snow. It’s all guffaw-worthy. And who doesn’t like a good giggle? So what’s not to like, right?

And now Toronto has been kind enough to share with us its Blue Jays.

The Great White North is in a state of baseball enthrall, and we seem to have decided that Muddy York doesn’t stink as much as our mothers led us to believe. We are root, root, rooting for the Toronto Nine in the Major League Baseball playoff tournament. We do so because they have become the home side and, for this, we need not place a clothes pin on the end of our nose.

What is it about this swaggering, bat-flipping Blue Jays outfit that makes you forget that you don’t like Toronto?

Well, for one thing, they aren’t the Maple Leafs. They aren’t the Toronto Argonauts, either. The Argos, of course, are the one sporting operative in the Big Smoke that has actually experienced success this century, most recently in 2012 when the Boatmen won the Grey Cup. Thing is, we only greet their achievements with mild annoyance because nobody in Toronto cares about the Argos, so why should we?

Apparently, Toronto also houses a National Basketball Association team, as well as an entry in Major League Soccer. But it’s like, who knew? There have been laughable efforts by marketing misfits and some dude named Drake to create a national identity for the Raptors. As if. That might have worked had they signed Steve Nash back in the day, but, as it is, their fandom is mostly parochial. The rest of the country doesn’t seem hip to the hoopsters.

stanley and world seriesThe Blue Jays, though…they’re a different head of lettuce and I believe I know why they make those among us who hate Toronto forget why they hate Toronto: Since we can’t win the Stanley Cup any more, we’ll happily settle for the consolation prize—the World Series Trophy.

Nothing could possibly climb up American noses more than a Canadian-based outfit besting Uncle Sam at his national pastime, especially if the Toronto Nine were to vanquish, say, those loveable losers from Wrigley Field in the Fall Classic. Everybody loves the Chicago Cubs, right? How can you not embrace a club that has stepped aside to allow other teams to win every World Series title since 1908 (hey, anybody can have a bad century)? Thus, beating the Cubbies in the rounders final would be akin to piddling on the White House lawn while the Obama kids are in frolic.

This is why us hosers have hopped on the Blue Jays bandwagon, like so many circus clowns cramming into a Volkswagen Beetle. The Americans think they’re so smug hijacking our hockey? We’ll take their baseball hostage. And if it’s a Toronto team doing our dirty work, we’re all on point.

Once the dirty deed is done, of course, you can resume regularly scheduled dislike for all things T.O.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Saskatchewan Roughriders fans ready for Banjo Bowl

How can you tell if a Roughriders fan is a married man? There’s tobacco juice running down both doors of his pickup.

By patti dawn swansson

My friend Doug is one of those annoying Green People and, with the Banjo Bowl scant hours away, I knew he’d be paying me a visit in advance of the opening kickoff.

patti dawn swansson
patti dawn swansson

Sure enough, he sauntered into the pub yesterday and, given that Doug is from Regina, it goes without saying that he was fashionably challenged—green Saskatchewan Roughriders sweater, green Rider shorts, green Rider socks (with black sandals) and, no doubt, green boxers.

“OK, Green Man,” I said in greeting, “my Winnipeg Blue Bombers are the worst team in the Canadian Football League and your Riders are the best team, so tell me your Bomber jokes. Give me your best shot. Fire away. Let me have it with both barrels.”

“Whatever do you mean?” he replied with a crooked grin. “Why would I poke fun at the Bombers?”

“Oh, Doug, don’t play dumb with me…oh wait…you’re a Regina boy. You have no choice but to be dumb. Dumb is in Regina’s drinking water.”

“Then your quarterback must have drank a gallon of water in Regina last Sunday, because that little routine he did in the end zone was about as dumb as dumb gets. I can’t believe he actually mocked Kory Sheets and taunted the fans.”

“Well, I’ll grant you it wasn’t the brightest thing Justin Goltz has ever done. But you have to understand that my Bombers get into the end zone about as often as your Riders win the Grey Cup. What’s it been, three Grey Cups in 100 years?”

“Why do you Bomber fans always bring that up? You’re always going on about our three measley Grey Cups and how we can’t count to 13. You people are as stale as a Jay Leno monologue. Don’t you have any fresh material?”

“You want fresh? I’ll give you fresh.

  • Did you hear about the Roughrider terrorist who tried to blow up the Bombers’ team bus? He burned his lips on the tailpipe.
  • How can you tell if a Roughriders fan is a married man? There’s tobacco juice running down both doors of his pickup.
  • What are the vital statistics of Miss Saskatchewan Roughrider? 36-24-26…and the other leg is the same.
  • How do you get Miss Roughrider out of your dorm room? Grease her hips and push.
  • What do Roughrider fans use as birth control? Their personalities.
  • How many Roughrider fans does it take to eat an armadillo? Two. One to do the eating, and one to watch for cars.
  • How did the Roughrider fan die from drinking milk? The cow fell on him.
  • Why do Roughrider fans like smart women? Opposites attract.
  • What’s the definition of mass confusion? Father’s day in Regina.
  • Why do seagulls fly upside down over Regina? There’s nothing below worth crapping on.
  • Did you hear that the Premier’s home in Saskatchewan burned down? Almost took out the whole trailer park!
  • As I was walking home from work last week I noticed a Saskatchewan Roughriders season-ticket nailed to a tree. I thought to myself ‘I’m having that!’ ’cause you can never have enough nails, can you?
  • What do you do if Darian Durant throws a grenade at you? Pull the pin and throw it back.
  • How many Roughrider jokes are there on this page? Only two. The rest are true stories.

“There you go, Green Man. How’s that for fresh?”

“Is that the best you’ve got, Bomber Girl? Pretty lame. You know why the Bombers are like Chinese food? ‘Cause you beat ’em once and half an hour later you want to play ’em again. What’s the difference between the Bombers defensive backfield and a bikini? At least the bikini can cover something. What do the Bomber coaches and the Pope have in common? They can both make 30,000 people stand up and scream “Jesus Christ, man!” Why did Buck Pierce cross the road? Because the hospital was on the other side. Now, before I go, I’ve got a little story for you. Have you heard the story about Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Bomber Girl?”

“Of course I have. Everybody’s heard that story.”

“Well, they left out part of the story in the original. It seems the dwarfs were marching through the forest one day and they all fell into a deep, dark ravine. Snow White raced to the edge of the ravine and peered down into the darkness. ‘Is everyone all right?” she called out. “Please, somebody say something.” From the depths of the dark ravine came a voice. “The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are Grey Cup contenders,” said one of the dwarfs. Snow White took a deep breath, then gasped, “Oh, thank goodness, at least Dopey is still alive.”

Enjoy the Banjo Bowl, kids.

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