Category: Uncategorized

Dieter Brock a Book Review by Ken David Stewart


Book Review of Dieter Brock, the Birmingham Rifle by Robert Allan Young, Reviewed by Ken David Stewart

This biography of Dieter Brock is long overdue.  When I heard about it.  I couldn’t wait to get a copy of it and to read it on my Kindle device.  The wait for this biography of Dieter Brock was well worth it.  The author writes about both the career and character of one of the greatest quarterbacks in CFL history.  During his years in the Canadian Football League, Dieter Brock was the starting quarterback for both the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Hamilton Tiger Cats.  Dieter was appropriately known as the Birmingham Rifle because he likely possessed the strongest throwing arm of any quarterback in professional football.

For anyone who followed the CFL football during the Dieter Brock era, Robert Allan Young’s biography is a must read.  For those who were serious football fans during this time, this book will bring back many memories.  Dieter Brock tried to renegotiate a shorter contract with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers so that he could finish his career in the United States.  His requests were rebuffed many times by the Blue Bomber management.  The only way out for Dieter was a trade to the Hamilton Tiger cats in exchange for their present quarterback, Tom Clements.

The result of Dieter’s trade to the Hamilton Tiger Cats resulted in a great deal of angst for many Winnipeg Blue Bombers fans.  A significant number of Winnipeg fans believed that Dieter Brock had betrayed them.  Robert Allan Young explores this divisive issue from Dieter Brock’s point of view.

The author continues to report the history of the Birmingham Rifle’s career, during his time as the quarterback of the Hamilton Tiger Cats and the Los Angeles Rams of the NFL.

In conclusion, Robert Allan Young’s book, Dieter Brock, the Birmingham Rifle is an excellent read from beginning to end.  It is a must for those CFL fans who want to know the true story of Dieter Brock, the quarterback and the man.

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School Daze Episode Two


Episode Two of School Daze
When I was about eight years old, I joined a hockey team at my local community club. In the early 1960s there was no such thing as an indoor arena, unless you included the old Winnipeg Arena. The parents in my generation didn’t believe in giving their kids rides to their hockey games and practices. We had to walk to the community club even if it was 30° below zero. It was a good six block walk to the clubhouse from my house. By the time I arrived there my face, and hands were usually frozen.

I remember one Saturday morning when a man in a car saw the white blotches on my face that were the first signs of frostbite. Even though my parents would not have approved, I gladly accepted the offer of a ride to the clubhouse.

The smell inside the Norwood Community Club was something I will never forget. The air inside reeked of sweat, body order, old leather and musk. I came to love this smell as it signalled that I was out of the freezing cold weather. The downside was that my chilled to the bone body was about to thaw out.

The thawing out process started to take place as soon as I closed the old wooden front door of the clubhouse. As my body began to warm up the pain started. The white splotches on my face started to turn red. The same thing happened to the white spots on my fingers and toes. The splotchy colouring on my frozen body parts all gradually changed from white to red in colour. This was the start of the painful burning process. How I didn’t lose any fingers or toes to amputation during these years of playing outdoor minor-league hockey was an absolute miracle.

Depression Blog Number Three


Depression Blog Number Three

Depression is too often taken far too lightly. It can have devastating negative effects on one’s physical as well as mental and emotional health. Depression can often manifest as torment. The worst torment for me is when I start feeling like just don’t measure up to somebody’s arbitrary standards. During these times I feel like a total loser. I think that I’ve been a failure in several of my previous employment careers, marriages, family life and other close relationships.

I’ve simply missed the mark in my life. In the past there were many people who had high expectations for me and I feel that I have let them down. This causes me enormous emotional pain as I don’t want to disappoint people. I totally blame myself for my failures in life.

The disease of depression gives me a very distorted view of myself and my life. When I am in a depressive episode and I’m really feeling down, I don’t consider the fact that, unfortunately, life is not fair. I have had to live my life with many emotional and physical disabilities. I don’t take these disabilities into account when I consider the successes and failures in my life. I’ve also had some surprising successes in my life.

Depression Blog Post Two


After one has suffered through several episodes of depression, they can easily identify the signs and symptoms of a relapse . I am presently working through my most recent attack of depression and I’m finally starting to feel a bit better. If I wasn’t, I would not be capable of writing this blog post.

During a serious bout of clinical depression, I rather quickly lose most of my ability to function mentally, emotionally and physically. Don’t ask me about spiritual effects. I’ll just say that one’s relationship with God or their higher power comes to an abrupt halt. I will write more about the negative spiritual destruction of depression in future installments.

When I am seriously depressed my future life appears very bleak to me. My worst depressions occur during the months of December and January. As I’m now 66 years old, I look at my future with dread during a depressive episode. I hate the Christmas season with a passion. This time of the year is the most debilitating for my physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.

I have noticed a strange characteristic of depression. Being episodic in nature, the person with this disease will sometimes experience periods of remission. During times of remission, I feel like a different person. My wife also notices a significant improvement in my general demeanour. During these periods of relief from the symptoms of depression, I appear to enjoy life. Unfortunately, even when I’m not suffering from a major depressive episode, under the surface a mild or moderate form of depression continues to exist. This condition is known as double depression.

Around the last week of November I experienced a rather sudden change in my mood. I am presently retired, but still do substitute teaching from two to three times a week when I feel up to it. On the whole, I enjoy my part-time job. Ironically, when my most recent episode of depression first manifested, I was coming off three or four very successful substitute teaching assignments.

Normally I would feel quite encouraged by this. However, near the beginning of December 2018, I contracted an upper respiratory infection. As I’ve been diagnosed with a moderate case of COPD, my colds and flus are severe in nature and can hang on for one to four months. When I get one of these bronchial infections my regular daily activities come to a sudden halt. I become so physically debilitated that I am left to spend most of my day on the couch due to the almost complete depletion of my energy resources. Even a task as simple as brushing my teeth becomes a monumental activity.

Winter Dreams Episode 48


Episode 48
Miles Myers excused himself and ran to the dressing room bathroom. Without a second to spare he made it to the washroom just in time to vomit into the toilet. Miles knew that this was not a case of the flu. It was pregame nerves. At the exact moment that Miles ran to the bathroom Rick Miller entered the dressing room. He could hear Miles vomiting.
Rick was wearing his Maplewood Cougars hoodie. He turned towards his coach, Brad Keenan and said,
“Can I have a private talk with Miles when he comes out of the washroom? “
“Of course, Rick. Miles is very nervous about tonight’s game. I don’t think that he has much confidence in himself. Hopefully, you can settle him down,” Brad said.
Miles left the bathroom still wiping small chunks of vomit from his lips. When he saw Rick his face reddened from embarrassment. Coach Brad Keenan left the dressing room to give his two goalies some privacy. Rick and Miles both took a seat on the bench next to each other.
“I don’t want to screw up tonight, Rick. There’s so much riding on this game,” Miles said.
“Listen Miles. Coach Keenan wouldn’t have you on his team if he didn’t think you are a competent goaltender. I saw how well you played in one of our exhibition games,” Rick said putting a hand on Miles shoulder.
“Now I want you to look at me. Straight in the eyes. I know you can do this. It is within your power to play even better than you did in that exhibition game. You just need to relax and get focused. I want you to try some mental imagery for a few minutes. I want you to imagine making some key saves in tonight’s game. I need you to see yourself blocking shots from every conceivable angle. Get a clear visual picture of the whole team surrounding you and congratulating you at the end of the game,” Rick said excitedly.
He was now standing up and pacing around the dressing room.
“You are going to be a game changer in a few minutes Miles.”
“Does this visual imagery stuff really work?” Miles asked
“You bet it does. I do it before every game. Now you try.”
Miles closed his eyes and began to imagine himself making outstanding saves.
“This is going to be your night Miles. This could be a turning point in your career. After tonight’s game, the team is going to know they have an opportunity to win every time you play a game,” Rick said.
Within a few minutes the rest of the Maplewood Cougars entered the home team’s dressing room. As soon as most of the players were dressed, Coach Keenan asked two of his rookie forwards, Steve Hayes and Rod Langlois to go to the ice warm up Miles.

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Alligators in the Sewers Episode Seven


Episode Seven
Sam had been burning the candle at both ends. His ambition to write novels was almost equal to his desire to become a great lead guitarist. To date, he had self published two science fiction novels. He used the Amazon platform to sell his books and was enjoying moderately good sales. Unfortunately, he required other sources of revenue to pay his bills. He got a part-time job teaching creative writing one night a week at a local community college. The rest of his income came from his cut from his band’s performances at various bars in Manhattan. With these three streams of income, Sam could usually just squeak by paying his monthly bills each month.
Sam Bradley lived in a small bachelor’s apartment in East Manhattan. He had been fortunate to find an apartment complex that had rent control. Even with this advantage, Sam was often hard-pressed to stay afloat financially and because of this, he was almost constantly stressed out.
Sam worked hard at all his endeavours. He was not a naturally gifted musician, so he practised his guitar playing daily for at least two hours. He applied an equal amount of dedication to his writing and did an admirable amount of preparation for his creative writing classes.
To add to his issues with stress and anxiety, Sam was becoming chronically fatigued. One night during one of the Raccoons’ breaks, Sam told his bass player Glenn Williams about his exhaustion. Glenn was very willing to help as they were also close friends. Glenn offered Sam a couple of little white pills. Sam asked what they were and Glenn informed him that they were Dexedrine tablets.
Glenn Williams also had to work hard as he had to pay his ex-wife a hefty amount of alimony and child support. He had to hold down a full-time job is IT technician. The small amount of money he made as the bass player for the Raccoons allowed him a little bit of spending money for himself.
Two months ago, Glenn went to see his family doctor and complained about excessive daytime sleepiness. His doctor recommended that Glenn try taking Dexedrine to see if that would help boost his energy levels. It worked like a charm and within a couple of days Glenn was totally dependent on stimulants to get them through his long days.
The Rocky Raccoons basically played classic rock and as they worked hard as a unit over the last few years, they had become very good. The Raccoons were famous in the bars of East Manhattan. They knew their audiences well and what they wanted to hear.
What was popular varied somewhat depending upon which bar they were working, but they had built up a standard set of universal favourites. The Rocky Raccoons found they could never go wrong with songs like You Shook Me All Night Long by AC/DC and Crazy Train by Ozzy Osbourne. Other sure crowd pleasers included songs such as American Woman by the Guess Who and Taking Care of Business by Bachman Turner Overdrive. They learned these two songs from their rhythm guitar player, Kevin Watts who was a transplanted Canadian born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
Sam and Keith would sit down and write some original material whenever they got the chance and some times the band performed a couple of the original compositions during their performances.
The Rocky Raccoons were so popular that they had a group of fans who actually followed the band from bar to bar across East Manhattan. The Raccoons’ followers where nowhere near the size of the Grateful Dead’s famous Deadheads, but for a local band they had an impressive number of followers, both male and female. A couple of their female fans were groupies. The Raccoons’ groupies besides providing the band with the obvious favours and benefits were valuable for another reason. Two of their groupies also serviced the world famous bands when they played concerts in New York.
Alicia and Trixie would always put in a plug for the Rocky Raccoons when they talked to the famous musicians and bands. They would also speak with the band’s managers and promoters and encourage them to book the Raccoons as an opening act on the bands’ concert tours.
Occasionally, a well-known manager or promoter would drop by a local New York bar to see if the Rocky Raccoons were as good as Alicia and Trixie them out to be.

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Alligators in the Sewers Episode Six


Episode Six
Joel Jenkins was not having a very good day. The morning started off badly when Joel first opened his eyes. The first thing that he saw was that his alarm clock radio read 7:50 AM. Joel was supposed to start his new job at 7:00 AM. Being late on his first day on the job was not going to make a good impression on Joel’s new employer. Joel was very fortunate to have been hired for this job. Ian, his sponsor in NA got him the job at Sam’s Salvage Services. Sam Bradley was also being sponsored by Ian. This was not an opportunity the Joel didn’t wanted to lose.
Joel was given the alarm clock by Ian as a gift when his sponsor informed him that he was able to get him the job at Sam’s Salvage Services. Joel thought that he had set the alarm clock correctly the night before. Obviously, he had not. The alarm clock was a newer, state-of-the-art timekeeper that included all the latest bells and whistles. He could even set it to wake him up to the sound of his favourite CD. The problem was that Joel had a difficult time with modern technology, mostly because he didn’t own any modern technology. At present, Joel didn’t even own a PC, a laptop, a cell phone or even a tablet. For the last three years Joel had spent all his money on drugs. He’d been clean for almost six months but couldn’t apply for work until he had completed both his detox and rehabilitation programs. He was fired from his last job when his substance abuse severely affected his job performance and on numerous occasions his ability to show up for work at all.
Joel had to come up with a damage control plan fast. Ian had given Joel, Sam’s cell phone number. Joel called Sam right away to let him know what was up. He let Sam know that he was late and was calling a taxi to take him to work. Sam told Joel that he was presently driving a truck in downtown Manhattan and due to the heavy traffic would probably be stuck in that location for likely up to half an hour. Sam told Joel to have the cab drop him off near the First National Bank.
Sam Bradley was a bit of an entrepreneur. He got into the salvage business after his brother-in-law agreed to let him have his old Ford pickup truck if Sam agreed to pay him $200 as soon as he made some money in his new enterprise.
Sam had a very checkered job history with a backlog of bad references from his past employers. This being the case, Sam felt he had to become a self-employed entrepreneur out of necessity.
Sam had a very check your job history with a backlog of bad references from past employers. This being the case, Sam felt he had no choice but to become self-employed entrepreneur
Sam Bradley was a very creative man. He was an artist a broad range of interests. He loved the arts and had taken a stab at most forms of artistic expression including outdoor photography, sculpture and pottery. He found out that he was not particularly talented in all of his artistic pursuits, but Sam had the attitude the one didn’t know if they had an aptitude for something unless they had given it an honest concerted effort.
Through his efforts Sam discovered that he was more than skillful in the areas of writing and music. He became skilled enough on guitar to play in a local band called Rocky Raccoon. That’s where his problem with addictions began.

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