Category Archives: Author Insights

Fast Talkers Blog #24

Blog # 24
Fast Talkers

Why is everyone in a hurry? What’s the rush?
I’m not talking about drivers on the 400 high-way heading for their cottages. Nor am I referring to office workers scurrying through the subterranean regions of downtown Toronto.

I’m referring to people appearing on television. You know the ones; sportscasters, news reporters but the ones that particularly bother me are a few “experts” that appear on a daily CBC programme which happens to be a favourite of mine, called “Power and Politics”. These are regulars. They have a need to impress the audience, you and me, with their high level of knowledge and analysis of national and world events. The faster they can fuse these words together the greater the impression they assume they are making.

I suppose it doesn’t help that the moderator at times may say “We have only fifteen seconds until break…” or “I can only give you people ten seconds for a quick comment on the fixed deadline for bringing refugees to Canada.”

I certainly hope our new Liberal cabinet in Ottawa has taken more than ten seconds to discuss such an important question.

This kind of phenomenom is also noted in a similar weekly programme that is devoted to the world of commerce and business. Thankfully this is a panel of two with only one being the guilty person.

Is this speed talking becoming more pervasive generally in our society, one might ask?

For instance, have you noticed this in your circle of friends or in your workplace?

If it is becoming more noticeable and it is a fact then one needs to ask…why?

Clearing Up

There are still many words on my list to be sacrificed to the Gods. Before doing so, what I find interesting is that they primarily are found in the vocabulary of young people.

Suppose we take the heat off the young crowd for a time and focus our attention on the older types. Take for example, politicians.

There is an expression, composed of four words, that is a favourite of a number of these political experts. One of them happens to be our present Prime Minister. The only opportunity you have to witness this gentleman and other politicians in action is the House of Commons either in person or on television during Question Period.

Suppose the Leader of the Opposition asks the Prime Minister a question:
“Would the Prime Minister tell the House whether he or any member of the PMO gave counsel to the Senator-in-question?’’
Reply: “Let me be clear,……”

There you have it. Four indispensable words, usually followed by a dramatic pause.
This phrase is a favourite of the former Minister of Health (as well as others) who habitually made use of it each time before she gave her answer.
“To the member opposite, let me be clear…..blah, blah…”
Because I am a fan of Question Period (which is televised each afternoon from 2:15 to 3:15 when the House of Commons is in session) I counted four times in one afternoon when this member made use of “let me be clear”.

Why is it necessary to add this phrase each time an answer is given? Are your words unclear if not accompanied by the famous four?
If that same member believes her reply would not be accepted without emphasis, this is how it is delivered:
“Let me be perfectly clear…….blah, blah..”

At least this member did not say, “Let me… …..perfectly clear…”

You see, words used over and over can be tiresome to the listener whether in reference to the young or the old.

Happy Father’s Day! Remembering TV Dads

fathers-day-2011This Sunday being the third Sunday in June is Father’s Day. Odd isn’t it that it follows Mother’s Day. In fact, Mother was worthy of having a special day before Father. But then, it only seems proper because as I implied in my last blog, Mother is on a higher pedestal than Father.

Now, I don’t believe that Fathers are competing with Mothers, are we? In fact, if we are then we must be losers. At least, that’s how we have been portrayed in movies and TV. Remember the Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, All in the Family, Archie Bunker, and of course Home improvement starring Tim Allen as Tim Taylor, his wife Jill and their three boys. In these productions Dad was regarded as less capable than his wife. Even the title of a series of films from the 1930’s and 1940’s, “Bringing Up Father”, gives us the impression that Father needs nurturing. And the title “Father Knows Best” leaves us wondering, doesn’t he?

As Dave McGinn proves in his article in the Globe and Mail (Friday, June 19, 2015) “Father know Jest”, a father’s redeeming feature is his ability to make his children laugh or to be more precise, before they are old enough to know better.

I have to admit that I am one of those fathers. My specialty is/was “Christmas Jokes”. These little gems would leave my children rolling on the floor with shrieks of joyous laughter. For instance, their favourite was as follows: Why did Santa Clause come down the chimney? Answer: Because the front door was locked. And this one: Why did Santa travel in a sleigh pulled by reindeer? Answer: His Mazerotti had a flat tire. Why doesn’t Santa go back up the chimney when he leaves? Answer: Because, Silly, the front door can be easily opened from inside. What is Santa’s favourite drink? Answer: CocaCola.

Of course as the children became older and more sophisticated as they gathered around the table for Christmas dinner, Dad would be greeted with words that obviously hid feelings of Christmas joy and anticipation such as “Oh, not your Santa jokes again!”

Such lovely children, really!

To Fathers everywhere,


Innovation and Child’s Play.

cardboard-boxes-spark-creativityIt’s time to do something about those cardboard boxes on the floor of my son’s basement. Well, it so happens, they’re gone. What a shame, I thought. Surely, they could have served some purpose before being flattened out and sent away for recycling.

Just imagine you are a kid again and you come upon such a treasure. What would you do?

It depends on how old you are, doesn’t it? Suppose you are six years old. There is no hesitation; you choose one of the largest boxes, take it to your bedroom, turn it on it’s side and you crawl inside. Now you have a secret hiding place! Continue reading

Free Play and a Child’s Imagination

free playDid you think my last blog was too nerdy? Maybe it was. Think about this for a minute. We all have ideas about things. Some of these notions are regarded as geeky others are not.

Suppose a kid says to his or her friend, “I have an idea. Let’s go and see a movie.” That certainly is an idea, the result of thinking about “What’ll we do?” Would you say this person has a geeky idea? I think not. Why? Maybe because it was rather ordinary? It certainly wasn’t original or innovative or creative.

So, let’s go back to the theme of free play and watch how a child with an imaginative way of thinking would perceive, conceive and probably envision something when stimulated. Continue reading

The Importance of Mom

Happy-Mothers-DayI’m a little late with my blog this week. I’m blaming this on our federal government. Why? Well, I had one week left to get my income tax return completed if I were to avoid a penalty. This required total concentration during the week, but happily I managed to push the bulky envelope in the mailbox with three days to spare!

On returning home, I listened to the latest news and this is what I heard, “Due to an error in a computer entry at the CRA (Canada Revenue Agency), the deadline for Tax returns has been extended from April 30th to May 5th.” Typical, I thought. Continue reading

Are Parents Too Overprotective These Days?

overprotective-parentAs you may recall, we are dealing with the question of children’s use of their free time and focusing on five to ten or eleven years of age.

Here, I need to remind you of a disclosure I made earlier because it undoubtedly affects my point of view and that was pertaining to my age. I was brought up in the 1930’s and early 40’s.

Okay, okay, I hear the groans out there similar to my son’s reaction to any reference to the “good old days”. In regard to the question of a lack of real “free” time for children, I seem to have a large number of people who agree with me. Continue reading

Kids at Summer Camp: Is This the Answer?

summer-campIn my last blog, I made a list of different types of activities in which children are involved. It seems there is never a dull moment in their hectic lives.

Bear in mind I was referring to those days from Labour Day to Canada Day. So, what do these happy youngsters do during the months of July and August, those delightful days of summer when as a child you are free to do as you please? There are no wake-up calls, no recess bells, geography lessons; it’s simply a time to, perhaps, lie in the cool grass and gaze at the billowy white clouds floating in a sea of blue. It’s a time to dream, to do anything you wish.

Oh, hold it! You have to start packing. You are going to Summer Camp and you leave tomorrow…. for six spine-tingling, rip-roaring weeks. Incredible! Continue reading