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
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
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.
Learn More Here
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
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.
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.
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.
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 -
Art of Rhetoric (Penguin Books, 1991), 54.
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
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
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
Sure, you're moving around as though you're dancing, but it's not dance, it's
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
with his voice and delivery. And to top it off, the Cat looked exactly like
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
constituting sparkling fresh perspectives on contentious issues, timelessness
A collection of Hitchslaps
Soul Train dance line mixed to Born to be Alive.
Mesmerizing snyc of a Pascal Letoublon
with a guy moonwalking in China.
Two little sprigs dancing to mix that
DMX. Terribly cute!
Canada, like any other country, struggles with
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.
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.
Unlike many on my list, Hitchens' insight and daring still seems to
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
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;
Is Not Great: How
Religion Poisons Everything.
For those who are new to Hitchens and want to get a sense of the mans' oratorical
merciless verbal beatdown chops, I urge you to watch the BBC Program, Intelligence
Motion: "The Catholic Church is a Force for Good in the World". Check it out:
Not certain there is another woman that, for me, engenders such a
mix of love and protection.
Hepburn was strong, ambitious, compassionate: the eternal woman. One has a sense
would fit in
during any period in history AND look great doing it.
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,
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
potent qualities with, at times, spartan sound.
Godfather of independent film making or cinema verite. Cassavetes
capture the bewildering uncertainty of simple people in convoluted circumstances.
Faces, Husbands, Killing of a Chinese Bookie and more. Cassavetes gave EVERYTHING to
Acted in other director's Hollywood films so he could funnel all the money he earned
his own films.
He hated the Hollywood "system". No one conveyed a visible contempt for authority
He encouraged improvisation during filming. Consequently, he did not overdo
lighting or blocking of scenes.
This led to a semi-documentary film style with the camera, hand-held, moving with
I love too many styles of humor and comedians to begin listing
I will say this about humor: It is one of the most powerful qualities one can
Humor welcomes, enlightens, warns, heals, loves, makes ammends, is self
educates, softens harsh realities, empowers, beats bullies, cuts through bullshit,
and belief, seals deals, lessens tension and much, much more. Plus humor travels
society, races and cultures and is an essential quality in any era. Humor
joke. It's the real
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.
The following is an excerpt from The Guardians', Jonathan Jones
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
like again. He made criticism look like literature.
He also made it look morally worthwhile...Hughes could be savage, but he was never
There was a purpose to his lightning bolts of condemnation. " And, "The joy of
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
1981) and "Culture of Complaint" - (1993) essays on the insufferable blind
political correctness run unchecked.
An incredible life in incredible stages. From Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali, he
on so many aspects of American culture: boxing, professional athletes, oratory,
society, race, justice.
It is astonishing how this African-American man of modest upbringing could retain
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
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
The unabashed love Ali would generate while walking amongst people of all races and
stations in life is noteworthy and humbling.
Undoubtedly, one of the most recognizable global names and personas of the 20th
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.
athlete, post-Ali, who attempts to replicate Ali's vibe, without exception,
sounds like an embarrassingly self-conscious imitation.
If there is one person in my list who, legitimately, would be
renaissance man, it is Jonathan Miller. Not only does Miller possess a wide range of
but he is equally accomplished in all these fields. Miller's range of occupations:
medical doctor, theatre and opera director, actor, television presenter, author.
In the late 1950s, Miller was training in medicine and specializing in
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.
the 1970s, he became a leading opera director. In 1978 the BBC aired the highly
The Body in Question which Miller wrote
and was the presenter. Am skipping countless accomplishments in between. In 2004,
wrote and presented a TV
series titled, Atheism: A Rough History of Disbelief. A provocative and
example of Miller's writing,
The Mind's Eye and the Human Eye.
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 are only one living being left
unscrewed by Flynn: An aunt of mine in Winnipeg - perfectly understandable.
Frye was a university teacher, literary and social critic, essayist, and
one of the most influential literary critics of the 20th century. Frye was
consider and document a unified theory of literary criticism. What separates
others was the
rigour and comprehensiveness of his judgements and critical structures. His
the heart of an
argument and reshape it from within.
Northrop Frye's first two major works, Fearful Symmetry (1947) and Anatomy
(1957) established an
international reputation that continues more than 26-years after his death.