My-World hero image

Within this Orbit

The My World page functions as the About page one typically finds on many websites. It is the personal side to my professional world. However, in an effort to increase engagement, the content found below has several additional purposes. Specifically: I want to wean off the most superficial, toxic aspects of social media; re-examine the usefulness of the typical flavorless content found on too many About pages; build a community largely free from social media platforms; and reassert the use of curiosity and critical thought.

We live in a world where it is virtually impossible to express an intellectual middle ground without being vilified. The reality is most of us possess a nuanced view on many contentious issues of the day. Yet the dumbed-down, unthinking expectation is to believe 100% in a given position or be dismissed entirely. That’s crazy! It is nearly impossible to get 10 people to tell one joke the same way, let alone expect millions of people to espouse identical views on numerous contentious issues — a statistical and logical improbability. We need to relearn how to accept differences.

So how do we do this? How can one debate others and remain civil afterwards? Not sure, but I think it useful to include the following: First, recognize that most of society has a nuanced grey area on many issues. By the way, a well-balanced individuals' views on substantive issues are not set in stone forever, they evolve over a lifetime. Secondly, identify reliable, authoritative news sources (I didn't say it would be easy). Third, establish common ground. We tend to give someone else the benefit of the doubt if there is common ground.

One other thing: I would not trust organizations like Facebook and Twitter with a jar of jam. Organizations like these squandered their trust and integrity years ago. Actually, if one reviews the news, one could easily conclude these two have nothing but contempt for trust and integrity.

Another looming monster is Artificial Intelligence and its uncanny ability to predict your desires. AI's power is growing exponentially (Check out the difference between GPT-2 and GPT-3). Soon much of society will be unaware of or indifferent to the loss of two vital human faculties: the capacity to think critically and to express curiosity.

Anyway, roam around My World. Lots to see. Please share your thoughts. I am interested in finding common ground, whether it is personal or professional.

Tatlow & Rawlings - Apostles of Paine

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Spellbound by Voice & Language

hypnotic-circle We have all been spellbound by the voice and language of someone's speech or performance. The rhythm of their voice ...their physical presence...the structure of the piece....the vocabulary...the setting. This article serves as a tip-of-the-hat to the human voice and the compelling use of language. These uniquely human qualities, when working in conjunction on a single purpose, can guide humanity towards destruction or a greater self.

Incidentally, I intentionally stayed away from mentioning the typical group of political or cultural figures. My intention is to present a more personal short list. Two of the five names listed below are not a surprise. However, after compiling and evaluating my longer list, I realized the other three names were rarely thought of yet surprisingly influential to me; they seeped into the subconscious to pepper my creativity later in surprising ways.

The ability to persuade or spellbound folk has its origins in Ancient Greece and Rome. A quick summary is found below. It is astounding that the Greeks and Romans cultivated such a sophisticated system of rhetoric over 2,000-years ago. Would love to have witnessed Cicero or Demosthenes in action.


One early childhood memory of mine, probably around 8-years old, was being mesmerized by watching Laurence Olivier as Hamlet on TV (And for all the haters: This was back in the day of black and white TVs and just two TV stations. Trust me, if cartoons were on, I'd be eye-ballin'.). I was so spellbound at one point, I actually recall wondering why my eyes were riveted to Olivier, even when someone else had dialogue. Another category of folk that always fascinated me: Salesmen. But, I'm not talking about very good or excellent salesmen. I'm talking about ‘natural closers’. In my life, I can recall just a handful of people who fit that bill; Each one had their own particular style. In the end, it wouldn't make any difference if these folks sold real estate, life insurance or snot, they would be top salesperson. No tragic Sheldon "Shelley" Levene from Glengarry Glen Ross here.

Rhetorical Spells

Origins of Rhetoric

Roman higher education, and the greater part of secondary education also, was geared to training in oratory. Greek rhetoricians, especially from Athens and Rhodes, had come to Rome during the second centrum BC, and in c. 95-3 BC the first school for Latin rhetoricians was opened. Soon afterwards it was suppressed - because conservatives did not want these dangerous techniques to spread too widely, - but the floodgate could not be kept closed, and within a very few years Roman education became dominated by speech training, consisting chiefly of tuition in declamation, both as a practical exercise and a social grace. The best pupil was the best speaker. This was a rhetorician's world, and its ideal was an orator.

The ancients, who liked comparing Romans with Greeks, inevitably compared Cicero with Demosthenes (d. 322 BC). The literary critic known as Longinus sees Demosthenes as a thunderbolt, Cicero as a steady blaze. 1

1. Michael Grant, Cicero - Selected Political Speeches
(Penguin Books, 1989), 17-18.

Asiatic or Atticist?

In the first century BC, Athens and Rhodes were the acknowledged centers for the study of rhetoric.Two great traditions existed for the study rhetoric, the Asiatic or the Attic.

The Asiatic tradition stresses virtuosity and exuberance even if at the cost of formal elegance, while the Atticists stressed restraint, purity and symmetry both at the level of the sentence and at that of the speech as a whole. Cicero cannot be neatly assigned to either category, but it is clear that he tended more towards the Asiatics (he had received his early training at Rhodes), and, as a certain snob-value seems to have attached to the severity of the Attic style, Cicero not infrequently, and in the Orator conspicuously, is at pains to stress that true Atticism, as exhibited by the older masters, is eminently compatible with bright colouring and striking effects. 1

1. H. C. Lawson-Tancred, Aristotle - The Art of Rhetoric (Penguin Books, 1991), 54.

Some Favourites

GTA was one very popular televangelist from the 1970's and 80's. His 30-minute program touched on a range of social issues, but always returned to religion. To be clear, I was then and remain an atheist. But there was something mesmerizing about Armstrong's faultless, undulating rhythmic delivery.

Just listen to the first minute or two of this clip. GTA attempts to make the case for God by saying we put faith in other things we can not see, but know exist, such as electricity.

Arguably remains one of the most influential and potent actors of all time. One early childhood memory of mine, probably around 8-years old, was being mesmerized by watching Laurence Olivier as Hamlet on TV (And for all the haters: This was back in the day of black and white TVs and just two TV stations. Trust me, if cartoons were on, I'd be eye-ballin'.). I was so spellbound at one point, I actually recall wondering why my eyes were riveted to Olivier, even when someone else had dialogue.

Richard III - Act 1, Scene 1

American rapper at the forefront of the industry in the mid-80s and into the 90's.

Moe Dee's stuff was from back when you had to be lyrical to rap. In my opinion, much of the rap these days is like the worst of interpretive dance.
Sure, you're moving around as though you're dancing, but it's not dance, it's embarrassing.

Song: I Go To Work from the album, Knowledge is King.

I Go to Work

Emmy Award–winning television and film writer Rod Serling created and hosted the sci-fi fantasy series 'The Twilight Zone' and co-wrote 'Planet of the Apes.' Serling possessed the creative writing chops that synced perfectly with his voice and delivery. And to top it off, the Cat looked exactly like someone who wrote and spoke like that!!

Twilight Zone Intro - "He's Alive"

Hitchens, a successful, prolific writer, was also an orator and debater for the ages. He read widely with near photographic memory.
One would always find Hitchens at the tip-of-the-spear debating the most contentious topics of the day. Possessed an unique ability to present fresh perspectives distilled from a broad range of topics. Hitchen's voice and intellect, for me, will always possess three qualities: constituting sparkling fresh perspectives on contentious issues, timelessness and courage.

A collection of Hitchslaps

Rhythm in Life

To paraphrase Sade, "...Move through space with minimum waste." Whether through dance or simply living life, there's got to be a rhythm, a bounce.

Soul Train dance line mixed to Born to be Alive.

Mesmerizing snyc of a Pascal Letoublon song with a guy moonwalking in China.

Two little sprigs dancing to mix that includes DMX. Terribly cute!


To Be Clear

Canada, like any other country, struggles with problems. There is an element of truth in that we are, at times, overly influenced by all that is America: what country wouldn't be sharing the same latitude?

On the other hand, Canada, free from influence, defined itself on many substantive, contentious issues: gun control, health care, abortion, capital punishment and separation of church and state. Our nationwide murder rate has always been a tiny fraction of America's.

Canada also knows funny. And we love hockey. And, if you're from somewhere that doesn't understand or like hockey: We don't give a shit. Glorious and Free.

What a World!


James Brown

From This Bad Self to His Bad Self.

My first memory of Brown was watching him perform on tv; it was the legendary Cape routine. I was overwhelmed with a mix of emotions as Brown, on his knees, had the cape draped over him and slowly got back to his feet as a band member carefully sheperded him off stage. But just a few feet short of the wings Brown was suddenly hit with a bolt of energy, and he chucked off the cape and went back to entertain the audience.

Just a kid, I thought, "Boy, this guy is trying really hard. He doesn't want to give up." I been diggin' His Bad Self in many ways ever since.


Christopher Hitchens

Unlike many on my list, Hitchens' insight and daring still seems to permeate our lives, doesn't it? He was always front and center to debate an issue on television or, in his favorite forum, before a live audience. Hitchens was full of wit, insight, analysis and, when required, a judiciously portioned vial of venom. He enormously productive too.

A few of my favorites - The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice; The Trial of Henry Kissinger; Thomas Paine's Rights of Man: A Biography; and, God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.

For those who are new to Hitchens and want to get a sense of the mans' oratorical skill and merciless verbal beatdown chops, I urge you to watch the BBC Program, Intelligence Squared Debate. The Motion: "The Catholic Church is a Force for Good in the World". Check it out:

Intelligence Squared Debate


Audrey Hepburn

Not certain there is another woman that, for me, engenders such a profound mix of love and protection. Hepburn was strong, ambitious, compassionate: the eternal woman. One has a sense Hepburn would fit in during any period in history AND look great doing it.


John Barry

One of the 20th century's most successful composers, yet known by relatively few people. Composed many of the Bond themes plus Born Free, King Rat, Dances with Wolves, Ipcress Files, Out of Africa, Chaplin, Lion in Winter and on and on. Winner of Oscars and Grammys. Barry's music had an uncanny ability to evoke psychologically potent qualities with, at times, spartan sound.


John Cassavetes

Godfather of independent film making or cinema verite. Cassavetes films capture the bewildering uncertainty of simple people in convoluted circumstances. Shadows, Faces, Husbands, Killing of a Chinese Bookie and more. Cassavetes gave EVERYTHING to his filmmaking. Acted in other director's Hollywood films so he could funnel all the money he earned into his own films. He hated the Hollywood "system". No one conveyed a visible contempt for authority better than Cassavetes.

He encouraged improvisation during filming. Consequently, he did not overdo the lighting or blocking of scenes. This led to a semi-documentary film style with the camera, hand-held, moving with the actors.



I love too many styles of humor and comedians to begin listing them. I will say this about humor: It is one of the most powerful qualities one can possess.

Humor welcomes, enlightens, warns, heals, loves, makes ammends, is self deprecating, educates, softens harsh realities, empowers, beats bullies, cuts through bullshit, fosters courage and belief, seals deals, lessens tension and much, much more. Plus humor travels well across all society, races and cultures and is an essential quality in any era.

Humor is no joke. It's the real deal.


George Custer

My fascination with Custer is during his Civil War period. Custer was a largely disinterested, troublesome West Point cadet who finished near the bottom of his graduating class.

Once the Civil War broke out, Custer quickly emerged as a cavalry leader who was fearless, charismatic and quick thinking. Critics doubted Custer's luck would last. But they were wrong. Despite fighting from the front on cavalry charges, and having eleven horses shot out from under him, Custer always created his own luck. His men loved him with a number of them adopting his unique fashion style.

Garry Owen


Robert Hughes

The following is an excerpt from The Guardians', Jonathan Jones obituary on Robert Hughes in 2012.
"Robert Hughes, who has died aged 74, was simply the greatest art critic of our time and it will be a long while before we see his like again. He made criticism look like literature. He also made it look morally worthwhile...Hughes could be savage, but he was never petty. There was a purpose to his lightning bolts of condemnation. " And, "The joy of reading Hughes is infectious and often hilarious. His sheer rudeness can be liberating."

Two of my Hughes' favorites: "The Shock of the New" - (book,1980 and BBC tv series, 1981) and "Culture of Complaint" - (1993) essays on the insufferable blind conviction of political correctness run unchecked.


Muhammad Ali

An incredible life in incredible stages. From Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali, he forced change on so many aspects of American culture: boxing, professional athletes, oratory, American society, race, justice. It is astonishing how this African-American man of modest upbringing could retain such dignity after experiencing the blatant racism of 1960s America. The American government made an example out of Ali by suspending him from boxing for three years - Ali's prime years - for his refusal to fight in Vietnam. When Ali returned to the ring after the suspension, he built an even greater legend.

After his pro career, Ali slowly transitioned into the unofficial role of honorary global ambassador for peace. The unabashed love Ali would generate while walking amongst people of all races and all stations in life is noteworthy and humbling. Undoubtedly, one of the most recognizable global names and personas of the 20th century.

And to those athletes on this planet who believe they are witty or can trash talk: Sit down and shut up. It began with Ali. Any athlete, post-Ali, who attempts to replicate Ali's vibe, without exception, sounds like an embarrassingly self-conscious imitation.



Jonathan Miller

If there is one person in my list who, legitimately, would be considered a renaissance man, it is Jonathan Miller. Not only does Miller possess a wide range of skills, but he is equally accomplished in all these fields. Miller's range of occupations: Humorist, medical doctor, theatre and opera director, actor, television presenter, author.

In the late 1950s, Miller was training in medicine and specializing in neurology in Britain. Skip a few years forward and he was part of a legendary comedy revue, Beyond the Fringe which was comprised of Peter Cook, Dudley Moore and Alan Bennett. Then in the 1970s, he became a leading opera director. In 1978 the BBC aired the highly acclaimed series, The Body in Question which Miller wrote and was the presenter. Am skipping countless accomplishments in between. In 2004, Miller wrote and presented a TV series titled, Atheism: A Rough History of Disbelief.

A provocative and engrossing example of Miller's writing, The Mind's Eye and the Human Eye.

Minds Eye and Human Eye


Errol Flynn

What a life! Women wanted him and men wanted to be like him. To say, Flynn was a hedonist would be an understatement. There was nothing he wouldn't drink. And if the records on Flynn are accurate, there was only one woman left unbanged by Flynn: An aunt of mine in Winnipeg - perfectly understandable.


Northrop Frye

Frye was a university teacher, literary and social critic, essayist, and editor. Widely considered one of the most influential literary critics of the 20th century. Frye was the first to seriously consider and document a unified theory of literary criticism. What separates him from many others was the rigour and comprehensiveness of his judgements and critical structures. His ability to go to the heart of an argument and reshape it from within.

Northrop Frye's first two major works, Fearful Symmetry (1947) and Anatomy of Criticism (1957) established an international reputation that continues more than 26-years after his death.