1) Frank Sinatra, widely considered to be the greatest interpreter of songs in the history of pop music, was born one hundred years ago today. Two of his most well-known songs, I’ll Never Smile Again and Put Your Dreams Away, were written by a Torontonian, the late Ruth Lowe. Sinatra historians are mostly in agreement that Lowe’s I’ll Never Smile Again, which he recorded in 1940, was the song that actually launched his incredible career. And Sinatra used her Put Your Dreams Away, as the theme song for his popular radio shows. Sinatra re-recorded I’ll Never Smile Again in 1959 and again in 1965, which is testimony to what he thought of the song. When the iconic show business publication Billboard launched its top 100 hit list in 1940, I’ll Never Smile Again was its first number one, and it stayed there for about three months.
2) Having now seen a number of three-on-three overtime periods, I’m convinced that the NHL finally got something right. The hockey is exciting and, so far at least, the coaches haven’t been able to find a way to spoil it. Because everyone seems happy with the three-on-three as an appropriate way to end the game, this would be a perfect opportunity for the league to get rid of the odious shootout and the ridiculous three-point game. (The only thing the three-point-game accomplishes is to distort the standings.) When it comes right down to it, there’s nothing wrong with a tie, especially on the road, so change the rules so that that an overtime win means the winner gets two points and the loser none. If it’s still tied after the three-on-three, each team gets a point.
3) For my money the late Danny Gallivan remains the best hockey play-by-play announcer ever. For thirty-two years Gallivan was primarily the Montreal Canadiens’ announcer, but he also regularly did network games for the CBC. Gallivan retired in 1984 when, as a result of a severe illness, he lost the sight in one eye. He was born and raised in Sydney, NS, and began his broadcasting career at radio station CJFX in Antigonish while attending St. Francis Xavier University. After graduation, he taught school in Antigonish for a while and then did a stint in the army. Upon leaving the service he went back to CJFX for a short time before moving to a Halifax radio station where he broadcast the Halifax St. Mary’s junior games. He began broadcasting the Canadiens’ games in 1952. He was married to PEI native Eileen MacPhee. Gallivan is famous for coining phrases, such as “Savardian spinarama” and “cannonading drive.” My favourite Danny Gallivan anecdote, related to me by the late Frank Selke Jr., who was Gallivan’s broadcast partner at the time it happened, revolves around the word “cannonading.” According to Selke, the day after Gallivan first used the word he received a telephone call from an English professor at McGill University who condescendingly informed Gallivan that “there is no such word as cannonading.” Gallivan calmly replied, “There is now.” Not many know that Gallivan was a very good young pitcher, so much so that he was once invited to the New York Giants training camp.
4) One of the best examples of the effectiveness and efficiency of co-operation is the traffic light. When we all co-operate at an intersection, chaos is avoided. When we don’t, people die.
5) One of my all-time favourite cartoons depicted two down-at-the-heel old guys, admiring the models in the window of a Rolls Royce dealership. “You know,” said one, “the reason I never had a car like that is that I never listened to any advice anyone ever gave me.” “That’s funny,” replied the other, “the reason I never had a car like that is that I always listened to all the advice I got from anybody.” I’m pretty sure they were both right. This reminds me that there are four times when we should never give advice to people: when they are tired; when they are angry; when they’ve just made a mistake; or when we fall into one of those categories.
6) For some reason, the preceding musing reminded me of the signals we send by being late. We’re telling other people that: we are more important than they are; the things we have to do are more important than the things they have to do; we’re not very well organized; we’re irresponsible; we’re insensitive to their feelings; or, possibly all of the foregoing.