Are there really that many people who don’t know the meaning of the word “awesome?” or is it just that they’re very easily impressed?

Things I Firmly Believe

When playing the card game Hearts you should always break control the first chance you get.

I will always hate saying goodbye.

Bacon solves a lot of problems.

An Annoying Redundancy

Almost as annoying as the misuse of the word “awesome” is the overuse of the phrase “going forward,” which is almost always redundant, such as in the statement “we will do better going forward.” The word “will” renders the phrase “going forward” redundant.

For a week or so I kept track of the number of times I read or heard “going forward,” and whether it was redundant. I read or heard it thirty-seven times; it was redundant thirty-four times.

A Very Annoying TV Host

NBC’s hour-long Sunday morning political affairs program Meet The Press is the longest-running show on television, having debuted in 1947. I became an avid fan of the show in the early 90s when it was hosted by Tim Russert, for my money the best TV moderator I ever saw. Tragically, on June 13, 2008, Russert died of a heart attack in his office at NBC in New York. David Gregory hosted for the next six years before being replaced by the current host, Chuck Todd. I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be viewing Meet The Press because I find Chuck Todd very hard to watch. 

He talks too fast and constantly lowers his voice to an almost inaudible level which, particularly when combined with talking fast, renders what he’s saying largely incomprehensible. Todd also can’t seem to form a thought without rolling his eyes at the ceiling, which is annoyingly distracting. Then there’s his habit of continually interrupting his guests, which he tends to signal by pointing his pen at them while they’re still talking. From a technical standpoint this last habit must drive the cameramen, director, and producer nuts because he often blocks the picture, much like having your finger over a camera lens. 

I can’t help but muse about how this guy keeps his job.

General Motors’  Shocking News

There’s been so much media coverage of GM’s abandonment of Oshawa that I really have nothing to add. But when I heard the news last Sunday I found myself musing about  when I came to Toronto in the early 50s. At that time the most sought-after blue collar jobs in south-central Ontario were at Oakville’s Ford plant and Oshawa’s GM plant. Even though I don’t recall any of them ever being hired, I must have known at least a dozen people from PEI who applied for jobs at both places. One of them was my brother.

I remember that he took a bus out to Ford’s Oakville employment office to apply. He told me about standing in line with dozens of other hopefuls for most of the morning before filling out an application form and being briefly interviewed. I clearly recall that he came away with the feeling that unless you knew somebody who already worked at the plant you weren’t apt to get hired. Considering that for every person who showed up in person there must have been dozens who mailed in applications, the odds on getting selected were never very favourable. 

Personally, I had no interest in working on an assembly line at Ford or GM; I was very contented working in an office in downtown Toronto.

A Significant Political Milestone

On November 21st, Lawrence MacAulay, the Liberal MP for the PEI riding of Cardigan, celebrated a significant milestone in Canadian federal politics: thirty consecutive years in the House of Commons. He is the second longest-serving MP, trailing only the BQ’s Louis Plamondon, who has served for thirty-four consecutive years. Lawrence is currently the Minister of Agriculture and has also served as Solicitor General and Minister of Labour.

Because we were born and grew up a mere three miles apart in PEI, I can’t remember when I didn’t know Lawrence MacAulay, and being a professed political junkie I’ve closely followed his career. I can say without hesitation that I’ve never known a more dedicated politician, nor one who loves his job as much.