THE NUTSHELL: “Cain And Shuster,” Mayor Ford Cracks The Nut And London’s Baseball Blunder

A collection of random thoughts on random things.


"So, how's your campaign going?"

Herman Cain and Rick Perry should draw salaries from the following TV shows: The Colbert Report, The Daily Show and Saturday Night Live. And any other show that lampoons the increasingly martian-like characteristics of the Republican Primary landscape. instead of needing to work hard at clever turns of phrase or outrageous extensions of what’s really happening, producers can just say “roll tape,” and have done with it. When I imagine the Republican Party’s topography these days, I envision a young Mel Gibson surveying the arid Australian outback in a postapocalyptic world, with the lawless and the crazies bombing around in dune buggies in hockey masks and football shoulder pads. It’s Mad Max out there, and getting “Madder and Maxier.” When Perry challenged Democrat Nancy Pelosi to a debate this week, I thought: “Why don’t we just cut out a step or two and schedule their square-off at 11:30 on Saturday night, on NBC?”

[button link=”” window=”yes”]To hear more on Herman Cain and the Republicans, click here for this week’s podcast, with Don Landry and Bill Hayes.[/button]

Toronto mayor Rob Ford has confirmed he will make a cameo appearance in the National Ballet Of Canada’s annual presentation of “The Nutcracker.” It will, unfortunately, be a non-dancing part. After seeing his performance at the Caribbean Festival kick-off, I’d love to see His Worship tippy-toe across the stage in a uni-tard. But, come to think of it, the mayor isn’t particularly adept at tippy-toeing. Ever. So, we’ll have to be satisfied with his role as a cannon doll. Keep an eye on him during this performance. That cannon may somehow end up pointed at Mary Walsh.

While I was cleaning out a drawer that had been systematically filled up over time with long-forgotten items, I came across a Blockbuster Video membership card. Sure hope it hasn’t expired. Among the other things I turned up as I continued to rifle through: An 8-track tape of the album “Cornerstone,” by Styx, a gift certificate for Frank Vetere’s Pizzeria and, finally, in the back corner of the drawer, The Liberal Party Of Canada.


Every time I see Ryan Fitzpatrick trot out onto the field, I think: “Hey, Zach Galifianakis is quarterbacking the Buffalo Bills!”

Hmm, intriguing. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers released underused receiver Terrence Jeffers-Harris on Thursday. On Friday, their opponents in this weekend’s CFL East Final, the Hamilton TiCats, added him to their practice roster. He’s ineligible to play for Hamilton in the game, but is eligible to give his new bosses every bit of information he has on Winnipeg’s offensive scheming, if he so desires.  If the TiCats’ defence appears to know pretty much exactly what the Bombers do on any given play, it won’t be because they have some keen sense of ESP (or, as it’s known in sports circles, ESPN) but because “new guy” gave them the blueprints. Or bomberprints. Whatever they’re called. We’ll see how this plays out. The Bombers may have just made the biggest strategic blunder since somebody once said: “Hey, I’ve got an idea! A new Coke!”


"He's lined one into the alley. The dark, dark alley."

So, some geniuses in London, Ontario, decided to name their new baseball team the “London Rippers.” Now, no problem, if the logo is a big, burly strongman belting a Roy Hobb’s-like home run. That would make perfect sense. “Ripping” the ball  has, for years, been known as a term for crushing home runs. Instead, they decided on the logo you see to the left, which obviously plays on the Jack The Ripper theme. Fun for the kids!!  Tonight is cloak and dagger night at the ballpark! Now, I don’t much care how long ago this guy terrorized the women of London, England. It could be a thousand years ago, instead of 120. You don’t name teams after serial killers. Unless you’re devoid of conscience or… what’s the word? Oh, yeah. Taste. I look forward to you expanding your baseball empire with the Stratford Zodiacs, the St. Thomas Stranglers, the Guelph Gacys and the Beamsville Bundys.

[button link=”” window=”yes”]To read: “The London Rippers And Political Correctness,” click here.[/button]



"Don't be afraid. I just want to shake Regis Philbin's hand."

Next week, the U.S. will celebrate its Thanksgiving. One of the highlights for many people is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. But, beware, New York City. With all those giant balloons of Snoopy and Shrek and Mr. Potato Head and dozens of others, wouldn’t this be the perfect time for the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man to blend in for a sneak attack? Not saying he’s ready to strike. Just saying ‘be prepared.’ And know who you gonna call.


Saskatchewan Roughrider offensive lineman Gene Makowsky was elected to the provincial legislature. Caucus meetings will now be held in a tight circle and end with a single, group clap.


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Former Argo Givens In A Penn State Of Shock

Being Saturday, today was no different for retired linebacker Reggie Givens, former Penn State Nittany Lion. Well, maybe it was a little different. How could it not be?

At noon, Givens was in front of his television, doing what he usually does on a weekly basis; watching his alma mater battle an NCAA foe (today, it was the Nebraska Cornhuskers). For the first time in nearly half a century, the Lions did not have Joe Paterno patrolling the sidelines as their head coach. Unless you’re Ashton Kutcher, you know why. Actually, that’s unfair. I’m sure even Kutcher knows just why by now.

“It’s like one of those out of body moments,” said Givens, over the phone from his home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. “It’s like, not real. Like, am I really watching this?”

Reggie Givens as a Toronto Argonaut

He wasn’t talking about Penn State’s failed comeback in a 17 – 14 loss to the Cornhuskers. But, rather, all the sordid details of the week’s events serving as a backdrop – actually, more like a “frontdrop” – to the game.

A three-time Grey Cup Champion with the Baltimore Stallions (one) and Toronto Argonauts (two), as well as a former San Francisco Forty Niner and Washington Redskin, Givens patrolled the fields of the CFL and NFL with great speed, tenacity and vigour, the way he was taught back at Penn State, also known as “Linebacker U.” Givens’ adaptability and versatility made him an important reason why the Argo defence of ’96 and ’97 dominated like few others in CFL history have. Givens was able to convert to the position of rush end with the Argos. And he could do it all. Contain the run, rush the quarterback, or drop back in pass coverage when necessary. His 182 fumble recovery yards in 1997 remains a single season CFL record to this day. Couple tremendous athletic ability with good coaching, and that’s what you get.

The painful thing, these days, is having to come to terms with one of those good coaches being hauled away in handcuffs, charged with 40 counts of sexual abuse against young boys. When word first arrived about his former coach at Penn State, Jerry Sandusky, being arrested, Givens thought people were joking with him.

“I got text messages and I thought someone was trying to play a trick at first.”

As a protegé of the disgraced former Penn State Defensive Coordinator, and a proud alumnus of the university that now struggles with the great weight of a horrific sexual abuse scandal, you’d expect Givens to have strong feelings about the heartbreaking and angering details that have emerged in the past week, leading to the charging of Sandusky, the firing of Paterno as well as the dismissal of the university’s president, and rioting students on campus.

(A night after the rioting, that same campus was the scene of a peaceful candlelight vigil, for the victims of the crimes alleged.)

Givens does have strong feelings about all this. Feelings of disbelief, feelings of anger and, very specifically, feelings about knowing that he doesn’t know everything about the situation right now. It seems he’s struggling to make sense of it all, and you can hardly blame him for that. So are many.

“It’s a heinous crime, if it happened, but I don’t know that it did,” he said. “I’m not in a rush to judgment. I want to hear everything. I want to hear his side, I want hear him (Sandusky) talk. I want to hear the process, before I truly make a decision.”

It’s important to note that Givens is not maintaining Sandusky’s alleged crimes did not happen. What became very clear over the course of our 30 minute discussion is that Givens is unhappy with what he believes is the ignoring of a simple matter of due process. And he’s having trouble merging two very different things, in his mind: The Sandusky that coached him and the one being portrayed in the media.

“I’m not saying he didn’t do it,” Givens continued, choosing his words carefully. “I’m still in disbelief. That’s not the guy I know. What I know, and what’s being reported is two different things. Up to this point. It sounds really bad. There’s got to be some kind of truth to it. But I don’t know the extent of what’s going on. I don’t know what really happened.”

Givens at Penn State, in the early 1990's

I asked Givens whether there was ever a hint that there may be something wrong about Jerry Sandusky, while he played at Penn. Did anyone ever say anything? Were there rumours of any sort? Jokes?

“Nothing that I can come up with. No one ever said anything.”

Givens has been a noted “community guy,” if you will, helping out with charitable projects whenever and wherever he can. He believes a lot of that sensibility was instilled at Penn State. And that Jerry Sandusky played a part.

“He was the one who got me doing community service with the kids,” said Givens. “He’s one of the reasons why I started doing that.”

When we turned our attention to the firing of Head Coach Joe Paterno, Givens renewed his distaste for knee-jerk reactions and also trained his sights on the media and its role. More than just documenting things, Givens believes the media had a hand in shaping the events of the past week.

“The media’s the one who caused him (Paterno) to be fired, in my opinion. They’re a large reason why the situation is like it is.”

“In the beginning, they made it all about Joe Paterno. Now they’ve started to come around and talk about the kids. The media didn’t care about the story, they cared about Paterno. The kids were an afterthought. That’s all they talked about for 2 or 3 or 4 days.”

Pressed for more of an answer on Paterno, Givens admits it’s not necessarily that Paterno shouldn’t have been fired. Just that he shouldn’t have been fired in the way that transpired. He points the finger not only at the media, but at Penn State’s Board Of Trustees.

“Getting fired by the Board Of Trustees in the middle of the night, that made it even worse,” he said. “There was no due process in the whole situation. If you’re gonna do it in the right way, which Penn State’s always been about, you don’t succumb to pressure. You’ve got to figure out what really happened. And they didn’t wait to see what happened, and call Joe in and say ‘okay, what really happened?’ You could have had an opportunity to call Joe in to ask him those questions. You never let him say anything. And that’s the problem I have with it. You could decide to fire him afterward, but I don’t like the due process in how they did it. You can’t condemn someone on speculation.”

Retired from pro football since 2000 2005, Givens is now a coach himself, with his own company, Blitz Mobile Fitness, in Fort Lauderdale. He’s also a realtor and coaches a little high school football, at Pine Crest. The football lessons he learned from Paterno, Sandusky and others during his time at Penn State? He remains grateful for those. He can still apply some of those lessons in his vocations. But some, if not all, of the rest will be torn to shreds if Sandusky is found guilty of his crimes.

“If he’s guilty, he became a predator. A monster. And that’s horrible. Kids you’re supposed to help, you end up hurting….” Givens’ voice trailed off as he tried to deal with the enormity of those charges. “There’s no words for that. Respect and admiration for a coach is one thing. A man preying on kids… there’s no coming back from that.”

Maybe not for Jerry Sandusky. But as for the school he loves, and the football team he watches every Saturday, Givens is more hopeful. Can it return to glory?

“Yes,” he offered without hesitation. Because this doesn’t have anything to do with the high graduation rates and the quality of education. The kids and the alumni, they won’t let Penn State go away.”


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THE NUTSHELL: Balsillie, Weiner and the PM’s Kitten

A weekly feature, with a collection of random thoughts on random things.


Congressman Anthony Weiner pauses during his media conference to…good god! He’s not taking another picture, is he?
  • Congressman Anthony Weiner was exposed this week. No, wait. Congressman Anthony Weiner’s private life was laid bare this week. No, hang on. Congressman Anthony Weiner was hung out to… oh, the hell with it. You know the story. One of the people Congressman Weiner apologized to was Bill Clinton. For bringing the Democratic Party a measure of embarrassment? Or for not having the courage to show his crotch in person, in his office, as befits the party standard set by Bill in the 90’s? By the way, please stop calling this “Weinergate.” Because, if he had a gate on his wiener, this wouldn’t have happened in the first place. Actor Alec Baldwin has come to Weiner’s defense, with a sympathetic blog entry on the Huffington Post website. Now, I don’t want to accuse Baldwin of protesting too much, but, I sure hope that Pete Shweddy, himself, has not gotten his iphone a little too close to his Christmas treats.
Stanley, the Prime Minister’s new cat, refused to take any questions at his first media conference.


  • The Prime Minister’s kitten has a name. After a Facebook vote, it was decided the kitty’s name would be Stanley, in honour of the Vancouver Canucks’ pursuit of the Stanley Cup. The NHL has invoiced the PM a $10, 000.00 bill, for naming rights. I understand it’ll be paid out of Tony Clement’s G8 discretionary fund. Stanley is doing well, already being offered a pundit’s position on a SUN TV panel show.
  • The Senate Page who held up a “Stop Harper” sign during the Throne Speech lost her job. Why fire her? The poor girl was merely referring to rumours she’d heard that the PM was going to sing in public again. Just thinking public service, nothing more.
  • Sarah Palin supporters hit wikipedia, this week, and edited the story of Paul Revere in order to reflect her somewhat skewed version of his place in American history. No wonder that, for a short period of time, his page quoted him as yelling: “The Beatles are coming! The Beatles are coming!” Now, he wouldn’t have been wrong, had he bellowed that. Just way ahead of his time.


“Yes, Biff…I mean…Mr. Bettman. Two coats of wax, yes sir.”
  • Forbes Magazine says Jim Balsillie has been assured by the NHL that he’ll be given a team in the near future, if he “behaves” and doesn’t cause any embarrassing situations for the league. Maybe they should start him off with a puppy, first,  and see how he does with that. Actually, a goldfish. Goldfish, hamster, puppy, pony and then an NHL team.When you think about it, Balsillie ought to get the Masterton Trophy. Tried Pittsburgh. Failed. Tried Nashville. Failed. Tried Phoenix. Failed. He’ll try again. Now that’s perseverance, sports fans.
  • Former NFL receiver Plaxico Burress was released from jail this week, after serving a couple of years on a gun charge. I think he’d look good in an Argo uniform. Not as good as he did in a prison uniform, but pretty good. Burress would get a lot of respect on CFL fields, I think. Defensive Backs would give him quite a cushion, just in case he’s packing. If he were a quarterback, sure, I’d have a joke about the shotgun formation here.
    Tim Thomas’ beard: The quicker picker-upper.
  • Been told that the NHL has reached a deal with BP. When the Stanley Cup Playoffs are over, Tim Thomas’ beard will be turned over to the oil company so it can be used to soak up future spills in the Gulf.


  • Love it every time I see that Speedy Auto glass commercial on TV, where the two buddies are driving along and a stone chips the guy’s windshield. The passenger whips out his phone and hits speed dial on the cell to get ahold of a Speedy service centre. Really? Speedy Auto Glass is on his speed dial? Umm, what asteroid belt does he drive through each day during his commute to work to create the necessity of having a windshield repair outlet on speed dial?!
  • A Burlington man was caught driving in the HOV lane on the QEW with a blow up doll in the passenger seat. “But officer, what Tina and I have IS real, so she should count. Besides, the driver’s side airbag doesn’t work, so I have her straddle me when I see danger up ahead.”
  • Here’s an entertainment story that caught my eye in METRO, the commuter paper. “After months of bitter negotiations, Charlie Sheen and ex-wife Brooke Mueller have reportedly reached an agreement for custody of their twin sons, Bob and Max, according to Us Weekly. The two are said to be “satisfied” with the new terms, which weren’t disclosed.” I can only hope that by “the two,” they mean Bob and Max. And by “satisfied,” they mean that custody was granted to someone other than Charlie or Brooke.


It was Prince’s birthday, earlier this week. I hear his birthday cake had a delicious centre. It was a raspberry sorbet.


[box border=”full”]To see a previous “THE NUTSHELL,” click here.[/box]

THE NUTSHELL: Gaga, Arnold, Bettman and the Gremlin.

A weekly feature, with a collection of random thoughts on random things. This is the first edition.


Lady Gaga: If she’s so powerful, how come not everyone goes to work in a giant egg?
  • Lady Gaga (I prefer to pronounce it with the emphasis on the last syllable, by the way. Try it, it’s fun!) has just been named, by Forbes Magazine, the world’s most powerful celebrity, bumping Oprah Winfrey to number two. If that gets you a little down. Ms. Winfrey, just do what I do and try to buy your way out of that depression. For me, it might mean new shoes, or tickets to a game. With your spending power, it might mean, oh, I don’t know, a state, say. “Oprahoma” has a nice ring to it.
  • Someone needed to tell Arnold Schwarzenegger that non-natives can’t be President of the United States. Then he wouldn’t have tried so hard to be like Thomas Jefferson.
  • Downside: An 89 year old pastor in the U.S. predicts the end of the world this weekend. Upside: The “Glee” 3D movie will never see the light of day.



  • The NHL was given the League OF The Year Award, Wednesday, by Sports Business Journal. Nice get. I can see how they’d beat the NFL, NBA, CFL and MLB. But beating The Justice League of America, well, that’s very impressive. Commissioner Gordon? He couldn’t carry Gary Bettman’s codpiece.
  • The State of Ohio has passed legislation making it a-okay to carry concealed weapons in places such as bars and open-air sports stadiums. David Letterman used to make a joke about “Hard Liquor and Handgun Night” at Yankees’ games. Nice to know that some of those level-headed, mask-wearing drunks in the Dog Pound at Browns’ games might now be packing.
    “Why can’t I get Ben Eager’s deal?”
  • That now-infamous moment in Game Two of the Canucks – Sharks series where a young woman flashed ’em at the penalty box? Wasn’t she showing she was, in fact, more eager, than Ben? And about as smart?
  • My Argos season tickets arrived today. If you’re a season ticket holder of any team, in any league, you know the unbridled joy and pure, pure giddiness this inspires. Honestly. What is it about the arrival of my season tickets that makes me feel like I’m 10 years old, it’s Christmas, and I just this moment opened a package with my brand new “Super-Slider Sno-Skates” in it?
  • Those Honda Civic ads I see over and over and over AND OVER on Hockey Night In Canada make me pine for the days when I saw those “Roll Up The Rim” ads over and over and over AND OVER again, during The Brier. Not sure who I’m supposed to be most like. The zombie? The masked avenger? (The Avenger, now there was a good car) The troll putting on make-up? The cartoon samurai girl come to life? The trans-gendered lumberjack? Well, at least the accompanying tune is cool. But I need some sort of gimmick before I get a Civic.



  • Here’s a little nugget from Jane Taber’s Ottawa Notebook in the Globe and Mail, re: Stephen Harper’s ridiculous Senate appointments: “One of Mr. Harper’s MPs suggested that the Prime Minister is no longer trying to kill the Liberal Party but has instead decided to become the Liberal Party.” Ouch. Wonder who that was. Doubt it was Peter Kent, who doubled back on criticism of The Party during the campaign after waking, one morning, with a horse’s head in his bed. Well, whoever you are, GREAT line. The hell of it is, you’ll never get credit for it, if you know what’s good for you.
    Stornoway: Check for bed bugs. And any ex-Liberal MPs who may be squatting.
  • Michael Ignatieff has moved out of Stornoway. Now, I’m not saying Jack Layton and Olivia Chow face a huge mess when they first open the front door. But I do know that if the place is in half as bad a shape as the Liberal Party he left behind, Iggy ain’t getting his security deposit back.
  • Donald Trump has decided NOT to run for President. Too bad. Pretty sure he would have tried to take a chunk out of the national debt by building a lavish casino in the West Wing. Then, inviting Chinese President Ma Ying-jeour to the place and comp’ing him the Lincoln Bedroom, all the while ensuring he takes a bath at the tables.


They’ve brought back the Volkswagen Beetle. They’ve brought back the Mini-Cooper. Now, dammit, it’s time. bring back the AMC Gremlin. Stylish, affordable and way cool. Tell me it isn’t prettier than the Nissan Cube.

Double Blue Bash

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A funny thing happened at the Wiser’s Double Blue Bash on Saturday night. Actually, a lot of funny things happened.  That’s the way it goes when Adriano Belli and Rob Murphy get a microphone in front of them.

With pounding live music, a couple of cheerleader performances and an extra dose of Roughrider green in attendance (it’s like that everywhere, isn’t it?) the joint had jump in it from the get-go.

Belli worked the room, planting kisses on anyone and everyone. Sure, he sucked up to the ‘Riders faithful by picking Saskatchewan to “kick ass” in the Grey Cup game.  That was offset by the fact that the ’97 game was being played on a giant video screen, much to the chagrin of the greenshirts in attendance (Argos won that game, over Saskatchewan, 47-23).

Chad Owens
felt the love when he arrived to talk about his Most Outstanding Special Teams Player award. Damon Allen made an appearance (said Henry Burris was full value for his Outstanding Player Award), as did Argos owner David Braley and club President Bob Nicholson.

Former SB Derrell ‘Mookie’ Mitchell dropped by too, reminiscing about the night (during his rookie season) that he was introduced to red wine (in copious amounts) by a friend.

A hard lesson was learned the next day (red wine hangovers are notorious, don’t you know?) and Mookie swears he’s only ever had ONE glass of red since.
Although, Saturday night at Grey Cup seems like a good night to revisit old habits, doesn’t it?

Michael “Pinball” Clemons‘ turn with the microphone was particularily dazzling. Part comedy routine; part pep talk; part old-time revival, Clemons wowed the crowd with a high – octane soliloquy.  He had them eating out of his hand with his audience participation routine (“When I say Grey, you say Cup…”) and then had chests pumped out to the maximum when he related how proud he is to live in Canada and be a part of the CFL family. Honest to goodness, I saw a young woman standing right beside the stage with her hands clasped over her heart, looking up at him with blessed joy.

However, and this was strange, one football fan asked a friend of mine who Pinball was.  Isn’t that kind of like a devout catholic not knowing who the Pope is?

Out into the Edmonton night I went, pondering that one.

[box type=”info” border=”full”]Link: Double Blue Bash,,[/box]

Getting Into The Spirit In Edmonton

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You know something has to be good if, during Grey Cup Week, you set alarm for 6:45 am in order to attend. The Spirit of Edmonton Breakfast, at the Shaw Conference Centre did not disappoint.  What follows is a timeline of some of my personal highlights:

7:39 – Entered the ballroom.  The band was playing “Roadhouse Blues” at an incredible volume.  For a moment,  I think it’s still last night.

8:02 – Master of Ceremonies Mark Scholz performs the ceremonial Bailey’s cap removal.  Sorry, Mark, I’d removed mine 20 minutes earlier.

8:04 – A call goes out for any Newfoundlanders in the room.  One guy stands up and hollers.  Holy that…DANNY WILLIAMS!? (I could be

8:09 –  Food line opens.  As I make my way toward the buffet, I inadvertently cross through the Castrol dancers as they are about to begin. Emcee yells at me to get off  the dance floor.  Hey, I’m with ya, buddy, nobody needs to see that.

8:29 – The first Sluice Juice sighting! About time!

8:29 and 10 seconds – I want another Sluice Juice!

8:45 – The Calgary Stampeder cheerleaders hit the floor in skimpy halter tops.  Sadly, I’d already seen two guys in similar outfits.  And neither was Henry Burris.

9:03 – The question is asked: “Who’s leaving here and going to work hammered?”
A lot, I mean a LOT of hands go up.  Enjoy a productive day of commerce, Edmonton.

9:04 – A Ukrainian dance troupe takes the floor.  Their choregraphy is so good, I see Arland Bruce feverishly taking notes in preparation for next season’s touchdown celebrations.

9:05 – Isn’t my typing remarkably good after that much Sluice Juice?

9:06 – Isn’t my typing remarkably…uhh…oh yeah.

9:32 – Blue Bomber cheerleader asks if I’d like to buy a calendar.  I say “sure, if you’ll buy one of mine.”  She backpedals like Byron Parker.

9:45 – Here comes the Eskimo Cheer Team.  Seriously, they might be the best on the planet. I mean, somebody alert Guy Laliberte, he could build an entire Cirque De Soleil show based on their exploits.

They lift Spirit  Chairman Bruce Keltie up so high…that he could almost see eternity (gosh, I love Anne Murray).

10:32 – Okay, I’m back after a power nap.  What’d I miss?

10:33 – Bagpipers!  Love it!  Fire it up, guys!

10:34 – Okay, I DO love bagpipes.  But after a night of carousing and several goblets of sluice, the old noggin’ can’t take it.  Time to beat a hasty retreat.  Well done, Spirit!  You are the Danny Williams of breakfast parties. Yes, that IS a compliment.

[box type=”info”]Link: Getting Into The Spirit,[/box]

Hangin’ With Big Ange

Watch out, Prime Minister Harper.  Big Ange is coming for you.

Click here to see the original article

Big Ange, of course, is legendary Ti-Cat quarterback tracker Angelo Mosca.

He was front and centre at Friday’s CFL Alumni Legends Luncheon, tackling every issue before him – including politics.

Mosca is emotionally invested in the Alumni Association, to the point where he envisions knocking on the PM’s door in order to get some financial help for the group. “You better believe it, I’ll be there in a New York second,”  he said, in response to  the question of whether he’d seek out the Prime Minister himself, for some help.

“I’ve already had some people, who want to make a commitment, but they’re not sure yet,” he said of some unnamed politicians. “But I’m gonna make sure they make a commitment.”

Mosca told me that he knows of “five or six guys” who have dementia or cancer, who “don’t have any money.” And he wants to help.  Even if it means a trip or two to Parliament Hill to twist some arms.

Mosca took the stage at the luncheon, with  few other legends to spin a some yarns about days gone by.  Prior to that, I asked him how it felt to be elbow to elbow with some of them again. “I love it.  Tom Wilkinson…he and I were inducted the same year and he’s the only quarterback I know who wears a XXXL at this stage of life,” he said, with a devilish laugh.

What about your TiCats, Big Ange?
“We have some pretty good football players on that team.  But we’re too nice.  We’re not the Tiger-Cats.”

In other words, not enough eating of the raw?
“I’d have brought the house about eight or nine times in a row (against Argonaut quarterback Cleo Lemon in the East Semi-Final) and let’s find out what he could really do.”

Prediction time, Mr. Mosca: Who’s gonna win the Grey Cup?
“What I saw  in the third and fourth quarters (in the West Final) from the Saskatchewan Roughriders,  oh that was awesome. That’s what defence of old was all about.  And I think that this team, the Roughriders, are really ready to knock on the door.”

The way Big Ange is ready to knock on Prime Minister Harper’s door.

[box type=”info” border=”full”]Link: Hangin’ With Big Ange,[/box]

Queen Of The Argos Wouldn’t Miss Grey Cup

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The CFL is blessed with passionate fans, from coast to coast. It’s hard to imagine, though, more love for a football team and a league coming in as wee a package as little Lori Bursey. Lori stands all of five-foot-three, but when she talks about the team and the league she loves, she gets so pumped up that I’m sure she can look any defensive lineman in the eye.

President of the “Friends of the Argonauts” Fan Club, Lori is back at yet another Grey Cup (her 29th) and she couldn’t be happier about it unless, of course, her favourite team just happened to be playing on Sunday.

Despite her lingering heartbreak over the Argonauts’ loss to the Montreal Alouettes in last Sunday’s Eastern Final, Lori has her Grey Cup fever appropriately  stoked.

You see, for Lori, Grey Cup week is akin to Christmas eve for an 8 year old, with all the anticipation and energy building to unwrapping the gift of a championship game the next day.  Actually, it’s bigger than that.
[quote]This is Disneyworld for adults[/quote]
When asked if she could celebrate only Christmas OR Grey Cup, she doesn’t hesitate in giving Christmas the heave ho.

“This is Disneyworld for adults,” says Bursey, sitting in the lobby of the Westin Hotel. “The game is really secondary to all the friendships I’ve developed over
the years.  It’s like a huge family reunion. There’s a common bond we all share and it doesn’t matter which team you root for.”

If there were a hall of fame for CFL fans (hmmm, maybe there SHOULD be) Lori Bursey would be a first ballot inductee. She attends practice on a regular basis, treats the players to an annual barbecue at training camp, makes yearly road trips to see her team in enemy stadiums. and has fostered an almost maternal link with the players.

It’s not uncommon to see Lori just about completely disappear in a loving bear-hug from one of “her boys.” Along with her partner, Ron Keffer, and a host of volunteers, Bursey has turned the annual Friends of the Argonauts Cornroast into a must-attend event, and over the years has raised some Eighty thousand dollars for charity.

All of this great passion for her team and her league comes to Grey Cup, year after year, after year.

“My personal favourite is Spirit of Edmonton.  It’s where the people always congregate.  If you ever want to find me late at night, (Spirit of Edmonton) is where I am.”

So it’s Spirit of Edmonton number 29 for Lori Bursey, perhaps the biggest football fan in all of Toronto.  Then will come number 30, and 31 and 32….
“I will never ever miss this.  I tell people that if one year I’m not at Grey Cup, it’s because I’m dead.  And I just want you to hoist a drink in my honour.”

Hard to imagine Argo football without Lori Bursey.  Hard to imagine a Grey Cup Festival without her shining CFL spirit.  If you see her, introduce yourself. If you love the CFL, you’re welcome in her family. Just don’t make fun of the Argos.

[box type=”info” border=”full”]Link: “Queen of the Argos”,[/box]