Three Penny Piece


It should be noted that some of these are in sort of a dormant phase, meaning we don't play them much anymore. This could be because they contain profound but but potentially inflammatory political insights, but usually its just because we can't remember the words.

Banjo Junkie

Well, my teenage daughter's musical tastes
Were formed in all the usual ways
By peer pressure and commercials for The Gap
And bootleg mp3's
But lately I've noticed a peculiar trend
She hides in the basement away from her friends
With an 8-track player and some tapes she stole from me

Now she goes through phases
Hell, all kids do
That's how she got that Harley tattoo
And only last summer she ran away to join
The Al Qaeda Cadets
But when that bluegrass music comes drifting up the stairs
Late at night the wife gets scared
"This is the Damnedest thing she's been into yet!"

Our little baby is a banjo junkie
I'm sorry but you can't blame me
Her head's in high school but her heart's in Tennessee

Now the neighbour's girls Britanny and Beth
Have got a normal obsession with Satan and death
And wholesome heroes like Marilyn Manson
And a working knowledge of drugs
With their lips painted black and their faces all pale
On Sundays they visit their boyfriends in jail
But my girl she'd rather spend the time with Earl Scruggs

Now she's talking in a drawl I can barely understand
But I think she said something 'bout starting up a band
Now bluegrass pickers are showing up to jam
And drink beer in my yard
She's got the Goth girl neighbours singing country harmony
The wife's learning fiddle and she's working on me
"Daddy you can play the jug, it ain't that hard.!"

A Bulk Barn Romance

The first time he saw her she had cornstarch on her nose
A hole in her hairnet
Mollasses on her clothes
He knew that he could buy cashew butter
Elsewhere in a jar
But by shopping here he could worship his checkout princess
From not so far
She could identify peanuts
Spanish, plain, salted or blanched
The ingredients of a bulk barn romance

Soon he was living on food bought at her store
Trailmix for breakfast
At lunch he'd go buy more
Sultana raisins and Cajun crackers
And pellets that simulate meat
Semi-sweet chocolate and butterscotch chips
But nothing else quite as sweet
As that girl at the cash with the sugar and spices
Sprinkled all over her pants
The object of a bulk barn romance.

He'd watch her sharpen pencils
And sweep buckwheat off the floor
And enforce the regulations about snacking in the store
Sometimes he'd hurry back in to buy curry
And worry about the day
That slick-talking goof from the lottery booth
Would come scoop her away

He'd watch her check out coconut
Shredded dessicated or flaked
And ponder the direction his own career might take
If she could invoke a smile or a joke
With each sale of sesame seeds
How could he go back to Radio Shack
To sell warranties nobody needs?

So finally at her checkout
With some Wine Gums feeling brave
He admitted that at first he came to buy in bulk and save
But now his love was overflowing his tiny shopping cart
She could wrap a plastic bag and twist tie 'round his heart
A little thing they call L'amour de Barn de Bulk in France
That we call a bulk barn romance

The Canadian Tire Song

In me grows a yearning for a place I know right well
Where menfolk wander every aisle and stop and linger a spell
The smell of rubber, the sparkle of Mastercraft tools does me compel
To fondle every nut and bolt the Billes family sells

I wish I had a legitimate reason to go to Canadian Tire
Maybe I need some lithium grease or a length of 20 gauge wire
Some ArmourAll, some WD-40 is something I should acquire
I wish I had a legitimate reason to go to Canadian Tire

There's old McGoo from down the block, his K-Car needs some plugs
The wife is over in housewares looking for something to clean the rugs
I ask a teenage clerk for help, he just looks at me and shrugs
I just work part-time here Sir, I'm earning some money for drugs

My car is making a screaming noise that doesn't sound so good
I drive right past the PetroCan that's in my neighbourhood
And part beneath the red triangle anf fling open my hood
And sell my soul to the service writer like every Canadian should

My wife she takes me shopping for designer dungarees
She leaves me on a bench in the mall with four other guys like me
Through pining and commiserating we hatch a conspiracy
To bribe the little security guy to explain where we will be.

Cooler Girl

She's a Cooler Drinking Girl
A Cooler Drinking Girl
A Cooler Drinking Girl
And I love her with all of my heart

Doesn't drink the beer
Doesn't like the wine
Doesn't drink the Scotch Whiskey
Says the rum and Coke
Tastes like turpentine
But the cooler makes her frisky

There are times she might
Sit down happily
She finds sitting down boring
Rather spend the night
In some place where we
Could go dancing' til morning

You might think she seems
Kind of finicky
But she's happy when the waiter brings
Bailey's Irish Cream
Strawberry Daquiri
Or six or seven Singapore Slings

So sell me coolers please
When I go home again
Did you buy coolers? she will ask me
A cooler's qualities
She also likes in men
A little sweet, a little gassy

Forty-Eight Hours (The Border Song)

It's been our tradition to go to Syracuse every year
The wife gets tired of the stores in the malls around here
I don't mind the travelling, I enjoy the five hour drive
But I thank the Lord when we get across that border alive

There's an overfed underpaid boy with a government gun
Searching thru my car for weapons of mass destruction
Or evidence I'm planning to immigrate illegally
The dream of every Canadian with cable TV

Please Mr Border Guard, can't you look in my eyes?
And see I don't want to come and live with you guys
Give me 48 hours and I'll go back where I came from
With two bottles of whiskey and a carton of smokes for my mom

Canadians ruin the fabric of the American dream
With their Farley Mowat novels and Canadian Living magazines
There's a busload of ofr them now crossing at Niagara Falls
They'll seek refugee status at the Buffalo outlet mall

Please Mr Border Guard, can't you look in my eyes?
And see I don't want to come and live with you guys
Give me 48 hours and I'll go back where I came from
With two bottles of whiskey and a carton of smokes for my mom

Mohammed was born in Tillsonburg in '73
But there's no way he can go see the Rew Wings in Detroit with me
If he looks at the Homeland Security man the wrong way
He'll be the only guy following hockey on Guantanamo Bay

Please Mr Border Guard, can't you look in my eyes?
And see the last thing I want to do is bother you guys
Give me 48 hours and I'll go back where I came from
With two bottles of whiskey and a carton of smokes for my mom

How Come We Have A Dog?

How Come We Have a Dog?
I can't remember wanting one
I can't remember pining and yearning
It never even crossed my mind

Now we have a dog
Surely they don't just magically appear
Like weeds on the lawn or spiders in the tub
How'd we get one here?

My wife says we talked it over
But I had that faraway look in my eye
I can't listen to everything she says in the course of a day
But I try

And now we have a dog
I can't remember wanting one
I can't remember pining and yearning
It never even crossed my mind

Now we have a dog
Surely they don't just magically appear
Like bats in the attic or Alliance candidates
How'd we get one here?

My cat tried so hard to warn me
But I didn't listen, no, what could go wrong
Now its three in the morning and I'm standing here
With a warm plastic bag on my lawn

And now we have a dog
I can't remember wanting one
I can't remember pining and yearning
It never even crossed my mind

Now we have a dog
Surely they don't just magically appear
Like rust on my car or neighbours selling Amway
How'd we get one here?

Why would anyone voluntarily
Bring such a smelly beast home to stay?
My wife says she's been wondering the same damn thing
Since our wedding day

And now we have a dog
I can't remember wanting one
I can't remember pining and yearning
It never even crossed my mind

Now we have a dog
Surely they don't just magically appear
Like maggots in the garbage or Rosie O'Donnell
How'd we get one here?

If I Had a Request

If I had a request
To please name the best person I personally know
I'd have to name you
And that answer's been true
For the past twenty years or so
If that question were posed to other people you know
They'd answer the same
They'd call out your name
The only small point where they may not agree
Is why you ever married me

It can't be I'm wealthy
Olh, we know that's not true
And its unlikely cash would motivate you
And it can't be my breeding, my family line
I thank the Lord daily I'm not that refined
It can't be my body
You could do better
Than a guy who's inclined to fill out his sweater
I'm the one indescribable oddly unaccountable detail in your day
And I don't know why
But I know I love it that way

If I had a request
To please name the best person I personally know
I'd have to name you
And that answer's been true
For the past twenty years or so
If you had forseen what a nuisance I'd be
You'd have headed for the hills and stayed there until
The coast was clear
Then you'd run away free
But instead you ran off with me
It could be you're crazy
An absolute loon
Maybe they're coming to take you away soon
I'm sure your old boyfriend would quickly agree
That dirtball deliquent you traded for me
If this is the case
I don't mean to complain
The last thing I need is a wife who's quite sane
You're the one indescribable oddly unaccountable detail in my day
And I don't know why
But I know I love it that way

Jack's Food Basic Blues

When I need some groceries
There's just one place to go
It's in the darkest heart of White Oaks
Next to Roger's Video
I don't mean to the West where that Shopper's Drug Mart closed
And the creepy kids on skateboards hang around the phones
No, it's that big store on the corner I consistentlt choose
When I got a case of the Jack's Food Basics Blues

I walk right down the first aisle
With a long list from my wife
They got a lot of stuff
I've never seen before in my life
A lot from Argentina, China, Peru and Cuba
And most of it is packaged by some guy named Mister Gouda
With his face on every label like Interpol might use
If they were looking for a guy with the Jacks Food Basic Blues

Every other shopper
Has got a dozen kids or more
They hang around up front
And play with the automatic doors
Sometimes they'll get a grocery cart, you'll see them cruising buy
Randomly gathering groceries that Mom might like to try
There's this lost girl in produce looking sad and confused
She's a cashier, she's got the Jacks Food Basic Blues

All of Jack's cashiers
Have an inscrutable kind of cool
They can't wear that smock 'til they've been to a secret cashier's training school
They learn to identify bok choy and Chinese lettuce and nappa
They learn to decode the expiry date on every Vachon wrapper
They can tell pitas from nan bread and hommus from couscous
And they can tell if you've got the Jacks Food Basic Blues

I've got my cat food and Cheez Whiz
I'm standing at express
The woman in front's got thirty-nine things
She should hav eight or less
Her kids poking pennies in the pop machine
By now I think he's wrecked it
She's trying to pay by Interac
But she keeps getting rejected
They ask her for a nickel for every grocery bag she'll use
And they ask if she's got the Jacks Food Basics Blues

My Nearly New Computer(Shameless Ripoff of Stan Roger's Mary Ellen Carter)

It went down late last sunday, I was searching 'round on line
For recipes to use up 60 cans of clementines
The wife bought at the Price Club, must have been out of her mind
Must have seemed like a good idea at the time

I was printing off a cake I found at Rachel
My mouse it stopped responding, the screen blinked off and on
I tried to check my email but I couldn't receive or send
My nearly new computer's died again!

Well of course the first thing that I tried was ctl/alt/delete
But I could smell something deep inside starting to overheat
I worried about my hard drive, my brand new memory too
And I prayed to god it wasn't my cpu

But she booted up quite normally then froze up tight once more
'twas my bootleg installation of Vista I was sure
Bill Gates I tried to trick you but you caught me in the end
Now my made in hell computers died again

Died again, fried again
My bookmarks and my Tetris scores will be lost to the knowledge of men
All because of a bootleg CD I borrowed from a friend
Now my nearly new computer's died again

I called up Microsoft but I was nervous and it showed
A lady in Calcutta wanted my registration code
I slammed down the receiver and made plans to get out of town
So the Microsoft polce couldn't track me down

Yes I bootleg every byte, not a nickel will I spend
On software from Seattle made by hippies and their friends
I bought 3.1 95 98 and Millenium
Now my piece of crap computers died again

Died again, died again
The Harlequin novel I was writing will be lost to the knowledge of... women
All because of a bootleg CD that I borrowed from a friend
Now my nearly new computer's died again

To those who've had their circuitry erased in one fell blow
Those laughing rats at Apple will say I told you so
Those clowns in red Volkswagen bugs will fix it for a price
But there's one last place I'll go to for advice

A teenage clerk at Future Shop said you've got troubles indeed
But there's a website in Romania, you can download what you need
I said thank you very much for your help today my friend
But I can't download anything! My computer's Died again!

Died again, died again
That's a hundred gigs of stolen music i'll have to steal again
All because of a bootleg CD that I borrowed from a friend
Now my nearly new computer's died again

Died again, died again
All the pictures that Jill sent me, I'll ask her to send 'em again
All because of a bootleg CD that I borrowed from a friend
Now my nearly new computer's died again

The Rattle and the Rolling

The rattle and the rolling
Of a faithful diesel motor
From the yard through your garden
Down the valley through the years
A seventy-three Mercedes
And all the years you gave me
Roll away together
As the fuel disappears

I held the map
To navigate the prairies
Driving as the crow flies
To the warm Pacific shore
Restless men they finally
Might settle in Vancouver
But after camping by the ocean
You drove us home once more

You bounce the kids
On your knee to the music
Fiddle in the kitchen
Whiskey in your tea
Little fingers stumble
When they try out your piano
I'm forever dancing
To the songs you played for me.

Your eyes have dimmed
Dreaming in the driveway
You feel the motor idling
'Til the tank is finally dry
The harmonica in your pocket
And the drumming diesel engine
Play a final melody
Then drift into the sky

Rogue Train

The CN line grows cold and deadly past Sioux Saint Marie
November rains can freeze a duck in flight
Sleet and hail will coat the rails
Too thick and tough for iron wheels
And bounce your boxcar screaming into the night

So it went with number sixty rolling from the west
Too long, too fast, too late to stop in time
The freezing damp had formed a ramp
And bounced her from those CN tracks
Number sixty left those rails behind

Now any other freight train would lay down flat and die
And the crew would thank their lucky stars
To crawl out of there alive
But this train tipped just far enough for the crew to drop safely down
And she rolled right back
And without any tracks
She rolled away on the frozen ground

Rogue Train, Rogue Train ..

About that time truckers passing through Sioux Saint Marie
Got all snarled up in traffic and some complained
Until this fall they couldn't recall
A single level crossing at all
So why the hell were they waiting for a goddamn train?

Some of the better citizens from the right side of the tracks
Had seen the single headlight in the dark
With the taxes they paid the friends they made
Should keep the noisy machines at bay
Now diesel fumes were stinking up the park

Evidence of a freight train running wild through the streets
Was presented by a task force from the Sioux RCMP
While the mayor convened a subcommittee on phenomena haunting the Siuox
Number sixty showed up and rolled right through
The Independent Order of the Daughters of the Empire
Mid-summer Charity Barbeque

Rogue Train, Rogue Train ...

The seasons came, the seasons went, nobody knows the time they spent

Trying to catch a freight train running loose
With the children cheering and the women crying
The authorities would never arrive in time
To see much more than Sixty's old caboose

The Senior's Club of Sioux Saint Marie
Gone on a Minnesota shopping spree
Heading home through the hills their bus went out of control
Those cross-border shoppers drop to their knees
Amid the smuggled brandy and the cheap CD's
Praying to the lord to save their immortal souls

When the headlight from a freight train came cutting through the woods
You might this would be just the time for ol' Sixty to do some good
But this train had no interest in a chance to be redeemed
Her whistle blew while that Bluebird flew
To the bottom of a deep ravine

Rogue Train, Rogue Train ..
Roll on through...

Rubber Boots

This reoccuring nightmare my kids all claim to share
Happens at school and its worse than showing up in your underwear
There's a commotion in the parking lot
The kids run to the window and stare
"Hey isn't that your Daddy's band getting ready to play out there?!?"
Yes, we're busking at the high school and all your friends can see
Why you're proud to come from such a musical family

And I think I'll wear my coveralls
Won't worry 'bout my shirt
My rubber boots are on the wrong feet
And when I dance my feet hurt

Supper in the food court is a Friday familly treat
I'll go find a table close to where all the cool kids meet
There's that honey from your English class I'll ask her to take a seat
I'll nag you to drink your milk while your momma cuts your meat

Then we'll go down to Walmart to try on Walmart pants
When we're walking through the mall we'll do the Walmart dance

And I think I'll wear my coveralls
Won't worry 'bout my shirt
My rubber boots are on the wrong feet
And when I dance my feet hurt

Remember in about 40 years you'll be taking care of me
You can set me out there on the porch with my morning toast and tea
And I might just wander off if you're not watching carefully
You can go knocking door to door to see where I might be
You can put up posters on phone poles far and wide
The clothing I'll be wearing will be easy to describe

'cause I think I'll wear my coveralls
Won't worry 'bout my shirt
My rubber boots are on the wrong feet
And when I dance my feet hurt

Saddam Henderson's Old Time Country Kitchen

As a restaurant inspector it's a long lonesome road
Everywhere I go the reception is cold
Especially if your restaurant is significantly under code
I'm the man who can shut your door

I'll pull out your steam table and poke around your fridge
I'll ask to see your Tupperware and snap off the lids
I'm an unrelenting germ-stalking nosey son of a bitch
And you need me now more than ever before

There's a little place near the mall and I'm starting to hear
Anonymous complaints but the evidence ain't clear
It's under new owners since the last ones disappeared
Mysteriously without a trace

They've got this hot shot manager from somewhere overseas
They say he's commiting kitchen atrocities
There's a white spot on his lip where his moustache used to be
And outside he's got a fifty foot picture of his face

At Sadaam Henderson's Old Time Country Kitchen
We serve it piping hot
Or we'll have your waiter shot
At Sadaam Henderson's Old Time Country Kitchen
It's the food that you'd be missin'
If we sent your Mom to prison
It's Sadaam .. Good!

I had to make a visit so I popped in by surprise
Found Sadaam in the kitchen with a cleaver chopping fries
Still proud in his posture but the sadness in his eyes
Made him seem humble and small

His uniform with the medals was hung neatly away
On a hook beside the tuque and mittens he wore to work today
He wore his hairnet on the side like a military beret
And a calendar from Baghdad hung crooked on the wall


His exile in Canada wasn't going great
His plans for world domination would probably have to wait
The cook had called in sick and the kitchen help was late
And the bank says he bounced another cheque
When his brother-in-law handled the cash they always came up short
And Some busboy he had tortured was taking him to court
And thirty-five women in Baghdad were waiting for child support
And now the God damn health department was breathing down his neck

You try to be a good dictator and this is the thanks you get
The big fat slob Idi Amin was a whole lot worse I'll bet
And if you call Fidel Castro before lunch he won't be out of bed yet
But everybody thinks that's just fine

They can do what they want in Libya but the Americans let them be
'Cause Moamarr Khadafi looks handsome on TV
And I don't know what they're doing in North Korea but they scare the hell out of me

Out of sight, out of oil, out of mind.. As a restaurant inspector it's hard to make friends
Enforcing the standards the government recommends
No one ever invites me to come around again
Because they know that I just might

But this Henderson didn't seem to mind me poking around his place
When I came up empty-handed a smile crossed his face
He said "Come back soon and bring your UN buddies just in case
After all that's happened I have anything left to hide

The Hockey Sister

Of all the irritations she has come to stand
Theres nothing quite as bad as when they pile into the van
Her brother in his hockey gear
A fire within his eyes
A cage around his face
Duct tape around his thighs
Its a crucial game but she don't give a damn
Its just another hour to spend freezing in the stands
With her half demented brother charging up and down the ice
And her mom and dad screaming unsolicited advice
The girl who runs the snackbar is a dangerous looking punk
And the boy on the Zamboni always smells a little drunk
Of all the loyal volunteers there's none of more importance
Than the Dad who volunteers to go buy coffee at Tim Hortons
The coach on the opposing team once robbed a liquor store
Two of his defencemen have been shaving since Grade 4
Her brother's own pathetic team has just one claim to fame
The leagues finest goalie and Stephanie is her name
Stephanie the goalie
In her private dressing room
Stephanie the goalie
Without her they'd be doomed
Stephanie the goalie
She's not much better groomed
Just one hellava goalie

The game has barely started when a vicious fight breaks out
Between two mothers in the stands who drop their gloves and start to shout
The players look distracted, some are placing bets
One embarrassed winger tries to hide behind the net
The play resumes, her brother accidentally gets the puck
And a giant boy named Marvin hits her brother like a truck
He staggers to his feet and Mom says Holy Christ
As the cup out of his jockstrap goes skittering down the ice

All the madness and the mayhem have no obvious effect
On Stephanie the goalie back there crouching in the net
Foiling every breakaway, stopping every shot
And sipping from the GatorAde that sensibly she brought
Every now and then she can't take it any more
She'll take the puck herself to center ice and shoot and score
Like every other woman since the world has begun
She knows a job left for guys to do probably won't get done
Stephanie the goalie
They don't want to make her cross
Stephanie the goalie
Because without her they'd be lost
Stephanie the goalie
She's secretly the boss
And one helluva goalie
The game is done with barely any blood or broken bones
The CNIB shuttle bus has taken the referees home
Her brother's in the dressing room still fussing with his hair
She finds Stephanie in the closet beneath the stairs
Stephanie still has GatorAde, they sit and have a drink
And laugh about the creepy boys who hang around the rink
"My brother's on your team", she says, "That clumsy number five"
Stephanie smiles and says he's not that bad of a guy
Stephanie the goalie
She saved the game again
But Stephanie the goalie
I think she needs a friend
Because Stephanie is growing up with crummy taste in men
But one helluva goalie

Strip Mall

Our band has played in the legion on a Saturday afternoon
We've performed when there's nobody but the band in the room
We've played in the pub when they're drunk and stoned
Or they're fast asleep in the old age home
But we won't play in a strip mall

We've entertained where men refrain to venture after dark
We've even played in the tool shed in the Tillsonburg Municipal Park
We've set up our gear where they don't serve beer
And Karaoke next door is all you can hear
But we won't play in a strip mall


We don't know why but it's a well -known fact
That a bar located by a laundromat
Puts a good man close to the devil's beck and call
For all the sorrows of the human race
Are born in the affordable retail space of a strip mall


We'veplayed for the Mounties and veterans of the war
And underaged college students who think they're at the Brass Door
We were hired by a trailer park near Grand Bend
And Loblaws too, but they never called again
But we still won't play in a strip mall
We've have drunken bridesmaids heckle us til we cry
Little old ladies in wheelchairs have fondled Declan's thigh
We've let drunks on the stage who sing like Madonna
We even sing Danny Boy when we don't wanna
But we won't play in a strip mall


We don't know why but it's a well -known fact
That a bar located by a laundromat
That unspeakable hairdresser's perming smell
Makes a cozy little pub the gateway to hell in a strip mall

Yes, our band has played in many places we don't really belong
We even played in Stratford, but that's a whole other song
We played near Aylmer in a field of corn
And on the windy sidewalks of little West Lorne
But we won't play in a strip mall

Sweet Water

Sail to the lakes at the end of the river
Sweet water wider than the sea
Where the tyrants and the holy men who whisper in their ears
Have no business over people living free

My daddy was born
To an honest life of farming paying tribute to a lord
Who from overseas taxed us every cent we could afford
Until the blight took our means to pay
Somehow he knew
Passage would be wasted on a man of forty-nine
So he sent us from the fields to the emigration line
And a westbound steamer took his boys away


Our mother swore
To keep us safe she'd send us to the farthest foreign shore
Away from the martyrs and their endless holy war
And the generals who order kids to die
One week to go
Her bus home from the marketplace blew apart in flames
Now the TV's full of heroes so damn eager to take the blame
We cashed her ticket and kissed her grave goodbye


Five hundred years
Of wind and steam and gasoline and worlds left behind
Choosing what to carry in your arms or in your mind
And what to leave to fall to fade away

Our parents home
Overgrown in pastures now or blasted into dust
Walls and wills of iron crumble into rust
And leave the soil rich for a different day.

Time Traveller's Waltz

If a small hole in the fabric of the universe
Let me travel backwards in time
There are only a few things that I'd like to change
And only if God didn't mind
I'd certainly pass on that first cigarette
I'd talk my Mom out of that Chevy Chevette
But I'd go to the time and the place where we met
Only this time I'd take you dancing
I'd be the guy who could dance

The three quarter rhythm, the weight of the moon
Pulling two strangers through fields of stars
You follow my lead and I'll follow yours
And somehow we'll always know right where we are

Now if I had this power you'd think that I'd rather
Do something heroic instead
Like track down the parents of Hitler in time
To convince them to stay out of bed
I'd send the Titanic some iceberg reports
I'd tell Christopher Reeve to stay off of that horse
And for the instant we meet well I'll be there of course
Only this time I'd take you dancing
I'd be the guy who could dance

If a slight imperfection in the space time continuum
Let me travel back through the years
There's not really much I'd try to adjust
Before that chance disppears
I'd try to make hay when the sun tries to shine
I'd pay more attention to French in Grade Nine
And for that instant we meet I'll be there on time
Only this time I'd take you dancing
I'd be the guy who can dance

The Tunnels of Afganistan

In the smokey hills of Afganistan there's villians to be found
Their fearless leader cowers in a hole beneath the ground
Says young George Bush with a steely gaze
"We've come to the end of Osama's days
We've found just the lady to track the bastard down"

For in the smokey hills of Canada on the cold Cape Breton shore
Brave men go deep down underground to mine the precious ore
On Sunday they sing sweet accapella
With a lady who won't take shit from any fellah
Who'd hide in a cave and send fools off to war

Rita McNeil and the Men of the Deeps
In the tunnels of Afganistan
Hunting down a desparate man
Rita McNeil and the Men of the Deeps
You'd better surrender while you can, O SA MA!
You'd better surrender while you can.

The Canadian military man is the first on the battle line
But his old helicopters and snowplows won't be much good this time
So came the call "I don't mean to trouble ya
Miss McNeil, but my name's George W.
I need a crew I can trust at the bottom of a mine"

An aircraft left old Halifax with the miners and their gear
With Digby smelts and butter tarts and dulce and Moosehead beer
Though I haven't made a single Rita joke yet
Rita flew alone on a wide-bodied jet
But only because she's famous and a little bit extravagant

The Afgan folk can finally tell the food aid from the bombs
The kids who spot the airplanes went screaming for their Moms
They knew the final battle had begun
When something on a parachute blocked out the sun
And forty-five baritone voices joined in song

Deep beneath the poppy fields there's a video studio
Bin Laden's latest infomercial was just about ready to go
When a great big lusty female voice
Seemed to seduce the Taliban boys
They hadn't heard a woman sing for a decade or so

Bin Laden scrambled for the door but he was trapped inside
By a fearsome silhuoette that no damn birkha could ever hide
Rita carried him out under one strong arm
Turned him over the women at the opium farm
The Taliban said he'd be safe but the Taliban lied

The Voyage of the Round Tower Bar

Many is the tale of a woman and a man
Who pick up and leave for a foreign land
But the tale I tell is the strangest by far
The voyage of the Round Tower Bar
Christy was the toast of Carlow town
With a public house beneath the Tower Round
His country folk would ride
From parts far and wide
For a Guinness poured dark and true
He'd welcome the ladies and gladden their hearts
With a Woodie's cooler and a game of darts
And on the rare occasion when the band played well
He'd draw them a beer or two

But trouble started brewing when Christy took a bride
Fair Agnes from the castle on the mountainside
Another jealous man who had asked for her hand
She rejected in spite of his wealth
On our honest bartender he swore revenge
He whispered in the ears of his politician friends
"Cooler-swilling Dart-tossing women in bars
is a hazard to the public health!"

So reluctantly the sheriff came to close Christy's doors
The young couple planned to move to foreign shores
If they could find the means
They'd build the bar their dreams
In some frontier Ontario town
So our honest bar tender set out to build a boat
From his only possession he knew would surely float
The beer-stained tear-stained 30 foot bar
From the pub 'neath the Tower Round

Ho, Sailor! Stow that keg
While I roll out a Drum from my tobacco bag
Help me set sail beneath these cold Atlantic skies
When I listen to the winds from the Northern sea
Thirsty Canadians are calling me
To a land where only an agreeable man survives

Now the Irish are natural marine engineers
Recall the old Titanic built on Belfast's piers
Still all were amazed when Christy built in seven days
A vessel, somewhat long and thin
The sails patched together with tablecloths and things
The rigging made from Bruce's broken banjo strings
For a rudder the band sadly provided
a battered black mandolin

Railings were contrived from disassembled stools
The sink was retrofitted with navigational tools
The taps that pump the ale
Well, common sense prevailed
They were left functional throughout the trip
The cobbler Moe came forth with some sailing safety advice
So an empty barrel of porter became a flotation device
And deep-fried Jalepenos and packets of crisps
Were stored in every corner of the ship

The morning of the launch broke foggy and grey
The regulars all gathered down at Carlow Bay
The only men who laughed at the proportions of the craft
Were the clowns from the pub next door
Who later incidentally built a boat of their own
But they used a door of brass and it sank like a stone
And all that came back was a black cowboy hat
And some bongo drums that floated ashore

For the cold Atlantic crossing the brewers did their best
Providing caps and T-shirts emblazoned with their crest
The hull was insulated with coasters
and related promotional barroom supplies
At last came the time to slip the mooring line
The dart club blowing kisses, the band softly crying
The Captain had her mate still touching up the paint
As she said her last sad goodbyes

Nothing did they hear for just about a year
Until a broken man on a Halifax pier
Claimed he was saved
From the cold Atlantic waves
By a vessel strangely long and thin
They nursed him to health with Irish Stew and tay
Delivered him to Halifax then continued on their way
To the great St. Lawrence, then the great lakes beyond
To a village at the fork of the Thames

Now in Carlow town the legends abound
Though a Burger King has long replaced the Tower Round
Some old folks swear their Grandad was there
When that great patchwork sail unfurled
And a nimble bartender stood tall atop the rail
A silhouette beneath the SS Aggie's sails
Through the pounding swell they thought they heard him yell

"Look at me, I'm the King of the World!"

The Winter Wind

I heard your voice in the winter wind
It was calling out, calling out
It's cold outside, won't you let me in?
I kept holding out, holding out
For a better time
For a better time.

I didn't know you
You were just another friendly face
A fellow traveller in a hostile place
I was so surprised to read
You were two years younger than me
So despite the affectations of an adult on the move
I imagined us as children with nothing yet to prove
So when I was in grade five you would have been
One of those little clowns back in grade three.

As if a February Friday isn't dark enough on its own
You sat there after hours in a Pontiac all alone
With half a life undone, locked outside an airtight garage door
With the fumes accumulating what the hell goes through your mind?
The ironic observation that you've done it right this time?
Or that sad familiar epitath -
They won't have you to kick around anymore.

Old downtown St. Thomas let us be
With your empty banks and dollar stores
And crumbling factories
It's a wonder more of us don't take it personally.

The ambulance comes quickly but drives slowly away
Joins the smoky morning traffic on a winter Saturday
While the loose ends of a life unravel and tangle on the floor
No, I didn't really know you, you were just another friendly face
A voluntary exile from the run of the human race
Those of us left running
Find the run a little harder than before

The Winter Wind

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