September 30, 2008


How can you tell when you have entered a government building? Above the numbers on the elevator control panel is a sign that reads: " Exit when elevator stops" I'm not kidding, I saw this with my own eyes this morning. And we put these same people in charge of our taxes and how to spend them?????? Election indeed!

September 29, 2008


throwing the baby out
with the bath water

One of the advantages to being a long term resident of middle age is that I have seen this before. There is comfort in knowing that this too, shall pass. Armageddon Now? I very much doubt it and if it is....who will care? One of the oldest maxims in the investment business is that when there is blood running in the streets, it is time to buy. The only saying older than that is, Buy Low Sell High! Well, it looks like we are here.
The turmoil that we are seeing is the perfect storm since the markets and financial pointy heads are beating down the prices of some incredible companies in a panic that we haven't seen for some time. The possibility is that it might even get worse - a financial bale out package of almost a trillion dollars is still a question of adding additional debt! They couldn't afford the debt they had already built up so adding more will result in what? We may not be at the bottom but we are definitely at the time to start accumulating quality companies and continuing to do so because the long term result will be a financial gain for the strong of heart that will take your breath away.
When everyone else is jumping out of the boat, grab an oar and buy like hell!!!

September 28, 2008


common cents

Elections seem to be rather popular at the moment and just in case you are getting a little tired of the finger pointing, empty promises, negative ads and blame game, perhaps I could offer a suggestion especially considering the economic challenges that abound. How about if we (the electorate and also the people who have to pay for all of this stuff) absolutely require any elected official, at any level of government to manage the business of government the same way they manage their household budget - no exceptions, no excuses and perhaps to add interest (since there is nothing to watch on TV anyway) any politician who does not perform in this way, could be boiled in a vat of good old Canadian oil!
Yea - I thought you would like it too.

September 22, 2008


"My knowledge is a mile wide....

and an inch deep"

Recently, I have begun a search to bring added value to readers of my books and blog and am considering something like a monthly newsletter or similar format that would give subscribers more in depth coverage than this blog does. In the process of thinking about this in the last few days, I have made some interesting discoveries. The crux of it is that I know a little about a lot. You could do much worse than to invite me on to your Trivial Pursuit team or join my side in the Home Edition of Jeopardy. I'm an inveterate reader on a wide range of topics from history to geography and science to food and have spent years studying the human condition, economics, politics, sports, the environment, foreign cultures, climate and almost every other topic I can think of. I have been involved in everything from creating and managing hockey tournaments, selling coatings, stocks, office equipment, building supplies and services to flipping real estate, owning and managing various sized companies and writing books. I've travelled all over Canada and the Excited States and even Europe while living everywhere from Ontario to the west coast.
So, on the one hand I have this very broad range of experience and knowledge but when I look around, I see people who have created great success from specializing in their area of expertise and have a storehouse of information to offer to a niche of society. In some ways I think that I have just enough knowledge to be dangerous on an amazing array of topics. I usually find that I have enough knowledge to be fairly opinionated in any number of areas too! We are surrounded by specialists in all sorts of professions and trades - no longer just an accountant, lawyer or doctor but rather, narrowly defined experts in ever decreasing scopes of interest from taxes to mergers and even a lovely area called gastroenterology.
I'm not really complaining about my lot in life but I am wondering how I might share some of the things I've learned with people interested in knowing about a broader range of subjects. Can I actually offer views and information on many different areas of interest as I continue to learn about midlife and some of the adventures that surround us? Is it possible to be an expert on not being an expert? Is there still a value that can be placed on an overview?

September 17, 2008


" it's always 5 o'clock somewhere."

There may have been a few libations involved but last Saturday night after a day of adventure, 4 of us were sitting on the deck basking in the glory of ourselves when someone suggested that my book, THE WEST COAST TRAIL: One Step at a Time would make a great movie. They waxed poetic about the thrills, spills, humour and inspiration and ever eager to receive compliments, I listened as they rambled on. One of the participants was my hiking buddy Gord, whose fame has spread after our exploits on the Trail. Since I am totally unknown to any Hollywood producers and for obvious reasons (check my picture) have no interest in testing out the "casting couch," the only thing we could turn to was speculation about the possibilities. At some point, the ladies asked who would play the two main characters in our Oscar winning spectacle and so Gord and I, ever mindful of presenting the right public image, began to offer suggestions. Clearly, the obvious choices we decided would be George Cluny to play Gord, since there was a similarity of hair-do's. The only leading man that could possibly maintain the integrity and vision and thus able to play me, was none other than.........Brad Pitt, due to the similarity in body-types.

The libations may have turned to drinks at some point........

September 15, 2008


"I fly because it releases my mind from the tyranny of petty things . "

Antoine De Saint Exupery

OK, so I did it - spent an hour in the air in a high performance glider, fulfilling a dream I have had since I was a young boy. Soon after I learned to read and discovered the adventures held in my local library, I began reading a series of books about the exploits of bush pilots in Northern Ontario. I forget how many books there were, but the whole experience fired up my juices for doing something that challenged and excited me. That was also a time when avionics and the possibilities of space flight, Buck Rogers and travel to other worlds was starting to stir the imagination of the world. The space race began when I was in grade school and I briefly flirted with a career as an aeronautical engineer (airline passengers everywhere can be thankful that I didn't do that) but at some point, I discovered information about gliders and how they worked. Like many areas of interest, I did nothing about it and other than on one occasion, never pursued flight in small craft of any kind even though I harboured a wish to learn to fly.

Over the past 10 years, I have played golf and visited the Invermere Valley of BC many times and often stopped to watch the tow planes taking up gliders from the air field but it wasn't until our friends, Bob and Rose told us that they had taken a ride in a glider from the same location, that it occurred to me to think about doing the same. I mentioned last spring that I thought that I would do the same this summer and was informed that, indeed a flight had already been booked for my birthday - WOW! And WOW, is the right description - it was everything I imagined and more. A crystal clear Saturday afternoon (following a flight cancellation due to rain on Friday) and I was loaded into the back seat of an incredibly sleek craft with the call numbers 007 (I thought about wearing a tux and drinking a martini). The tow plane hauled us up to 8,000 feet and we let go into a steep right turn and a view of the mountains that took my breath away. No, it's not like flying in an airplane - it's so much more intimate and personal and fantastic and also much safer - consider what would happen if an airplane lost an engine. A glider can stay up forever.

In any case, the hour went way too fast and it was all that I had ever hoped for....until next year when I want to glide over the glaciers west of the valley. Next up though....introductory scuba!

September 13, 2008

100th BLOG and 60th BIRTHDAY

"too soon we get old and too late we get

I started this blog as a bit of a lark and it seems to have succeeded in allowing me to blow off a little steam, share some personal thoughts and insights and generally fulfill the idea of an online journal. September 13 is my 60th birthday and sometimes, as we reach age-related milestones, we begin to assume that we have a bit of wisdom to share and every once in a while someone asks for some of it. Not that that is necessarily the case at the moment, but in the event that anyone should ask, I think I'll list a few random things I've learned over the years.

So, in no particular order:

1.) the older I get, the more I know I don't know

2.) chaos is much better organized than I thought

3.) real power is never having to tell anyone you have power

3a.) the same for independence

4.) the difference between success and failure is not education, luck, birth, God, race, geography, politics, astrology, work ethic, environmental, intellectual, creativity or anything other than "thought." Simply put, we are who and what we think we are!

5.) the answer to any problem is always within ourselves - looking to some outside source for an answer is a cop out

6.) buy on rumour - sell on news

7.) other people will always rise, or fall to our level of expectation

8.) including ourselves

9.) common sense when reviewing marketing, political, pharmaceutical and religious claims is more important than celebrity endorsements

10.) avoid people who claim to never take vacations - there is something wrong with them

11.) don't hang out with people who proudly proclaim that they never read a book

12.) ignore "breaking news" items on TV after you have already seen it twice

13.) do something every year that will scare the crap out of yourself

14.) scientific fact is simply a theory based on current (and surprisingly out of date) information combined with opinion which has been spiced with all sorts of social bias

15.) if the opportunity to do something you have never experienced before presents itself, never say "I don't have time, I'll do it later."

16.) double the above if it is suggested by one of your children

17.) get a colonoscopy

18.) find some way to lower stress - focus on the cause as opposed to the result and it shouldn't be a drug

19.) never accept the responsibility for a project if you don't also have the authority to manage it

20.) out of great emotional upheaval comes the possibility of self discovery

21.) there are 8 senses - touch, smell, sight, taste, hearing, humour, intuition and the most important - COMMON

22.) the best teachers are our own mistakes

23.) trying to use only the last 100 years of recorded history to explain and understand planetary forces like evolution, plate tectonics and climate is not only myopic but stupid

24.) the " F " word may be the most flexible in the English language as it is used variably as a noun, a verb, an adjective and an adverb (sometimes in the same sentence) but there is an inverse relationship between its frequency of use and the knowledge level of its user

25.) contrary to what most of us have been led to believe, there is no such thing as a perfect relationship - it's always a work in progress

26.) what goes up also comes down including oil prices, house prices, stock prices, interest rates, egos, media hype, temperatures, water levels, airplanes, reproductive appendages, inflation, hot air and stress if you insist

27.) there are four highly secret additions to the Recommended Canada Food Guide - popcorn, wine, ice cream and chocolate - you know it's true

28.) laughter really is the best medicine

29.) gratitude = completion and leads directly to wholeness

30.) happiness is a natural state of being, not a goal

31.) being smart and being knowledgeable are not the same thing

32.) we need to tune all 8 senses into seeking out the inspiration that surrounds us

33.) getting older gives us permission to do more of what we want and less of what others want

OK, presumably I have learned more than this over the past 60 years but I have probably bored you to tears by now and I need to leave for my next adventure in a few moments. It has been an incredible 60 years and the last few weeks have been absolutely fabulous - 10 days in Myrtle Beach, SC with my family - playing golf with my son on some of North America's finest courses along with great nightly dinners, shopping and beaches for the four of us, we returned home to a backyard full of white tents, caterers and friends and family offering bottles of incredible wines and port and now, in a minute or two, we leave for the Invermere Valley in B.C. and a glider ride over the Rockies and valleys and lakes that I have been looking forward to since I was six years old. We return Sunday night and begin plotting the next adventure. Thank you to everyone who has crossed my path over the years - "may you live in interesting times."

September 8, 2008


60th birthday party
The weather was cold and wet, the food was hot and fabulous, the friends were many and smiling, the tributes were funny and heartfelt, the cards were hilarious and touching, the tents and heaters were a stroke of genius and the idea of wine for gifts allows me to remember this special night for years to come. Thank you to those brave souls who came to an outdoor birthday party and brought so much warmth to my life. A special thank you to my family, both immediate and far away for making this such a special occasion.
I have only one question: would it be inappropriate to casually leave the empty Chateau Margaux crate in the living room?
I thought so....

September 5, 2008


I approach events where I am the centre of attention with a combination of fear, ego, dislike, humility and nervousness. I have never knowingly courted attention and sometimes I realize that this is yet another conundrum in my life. The leadership role requires a willingness to stand up and let it all hang out (so to speak) and I have often found myself thrust into the role of leading a group of people. I tend to take on this responsibility with reluctance and yet, I am perfectly aware that this is where I should be. I seem to exist in this state of dichotomy in which I am simultaneously comfortable and uncomfortable with speaking in public and being some sort of lightning rod of attention.
Yet again, I find myself reluctantly approaching the limelight this weekend as my 60th birthday extravaganza unfolds tomorrow night. I was asked last evening, after doing a bunch of yard work in preparation, if I was looking forward to the party and my wife seemed surprised by my answer of "not particularly." Whether it is the accumulated weariness of recent travel, catching up at work and party preparations or just stage fright I'm not sure, but it is also mixed up with hitting an age that I thought would look a lot different. I suppose that it is a time for reflection, but I don't feel like doing that right now, yet this blog is probably part of that process. Knowing that there are more years behind me than in front of me, creates a certain sobering effect that I haven't experienced before. The very recent family vacation has also contributed to some realizations that are new for me. It may sound strange to many of you, but over the past couple of weeks, I seem to have found my place in the family, for the first time and it is a place that seems to reflect my feelings about being the centre of attention referred to in the opening sentence. A place that continues to unfold and also seems to connect rather interestingly with a new blog that I am creating called "My Secret Mother" which is part of the roll out for my new book by the same name. The Chinese proverb, "May you live in interesting times," has always been true for me and I suspect that this weekend will once again demonstrate the wisdom and trepidation of that line.