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The Chaotic, Calamitous, Melodramatic Year that was 1968

Fri, 06/01/2018 - 08:04 -- Phil Egan

The exhausting tumult of Donald Trump’s first year in office reminds me of the year that I turned 21 – 50 years ago this month. For those old enough to remember 1968, it was a time just as colourful and full of memorable, and often tragic, events. It has been called “the year that changed history.”

The world, it was said, would never be the same.

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Cuba at a Crossroads as “Guerrilleros” Surrender Power

Tue, 05/01/2018 - 12:37 -- Phil Egan

For the first time in almost 60 years, Cuba is being led by a man whose name is not Castro.

The road ahead is shrouded in fog.

Ten years after Fidel Castro’s brother, Raul, took the reins of power from an ailing Fidel, the 86-year-old, the last of Cuba’s revolutionary leaders, has stepped down.

He leaves the country of 11.5 million people, a popular winter haven for Canadians for decades, with a troubled economy, a stalled entrepreneurial growth, and dashed hopes to the quick end of America’s cruel Kennedy-era economic embargo.

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Unprotected Homes - The “Dying of the Light” May be closer than you think

Tue, 04/03/2018 - 16:09 -- Phil Egan

On the cold winter night that my 24-year-old sister, Frances, last lay down to sleep, she never realized that she had spent her last day on earth.

In all likelihood, it won’t occur to you either.

That was back in 1985, when Sarnia had only three fire stations. Today we have five – and more, and better trained firefighters. So – you probably think that you’re safer from fire than Frances was, all those years ago.

But you’d be wrong.

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A Magical Night in Kilrush

Mon, 03/05/2018 - 09:01 -- Phil Egan

I will admit to some degree of cultural bias, but I think that the Irish may be the most hospitable people on earth.

Throughout 40 years in the Canadian travel industry, including dozens of both business and pleasure trips to Ireland, I have seen the evidence at first hand.

My very first trip to Ireland 42 years ago is a perfect illustration.

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A Valentine to my Doctor Twins

Mon, 01/29/2018 - 15:37 -- Phil Egan

I have a distinct recollection of trying to kick my first doctor in the teeth.

I was little, he was big, and he was holding a large needle. I was on my back on a couch, and I barely missed.

As you get older, you seem to collect doctors. I now have an oncologist, a urologist, a cornea specialist, a retinal surgeon – and my two favourites – my dentist and my family doctor.

They both happen to be beautiful young women. That’s a bonus, but certainly not the point.

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Trump’s “Only Rosie O’Donnell” lie reminiscent of Grover Cleveland

Fri, 12/29/2017 - 16:05 -- Phil Egan

During the 2016 American presidential campaign, Megyn Kelly, then employed by Fox News, confronted candidate Donald Trump with the evidence of his miserable treatment of women.

“You’ve called women you don’t like fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals,” the moderator told Trump.

Adopting a defiant air, Trump famously responded, “Only Rosie O’Donnell.”

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Warning to Parents: Little ears hear everything. Loose lips sink more than ships

Tue, 11/28/2017 - 15:41 -- Phil Egan

Children, as any mother would often say, are capable of saying anything.

It has nothing to do with how they’re raised. They hear things in the schoolyard, the playground and in the street, and they will repeat things that will utterly embarrass you.

The late Moose Jaw-born Art Linkletter used to celebrate this fact in a segment on his long-running NBC show House Party titled, “Kids Say the Darndest Things.”

On one occasion he was interviewing a young boy about 7 years old who had a forlorn look about him.

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The day I got my own October surprise

Tue, 10/03/2017 - 08:22 -- Phil Egan

The “October Surprise” is feared by every politician facing an early November election. For Hilary Clinton last years, it was the announcement by then-FBI Director James Comey that he was reopening the investigation into a new batch of Clinton’s Emails.

My October surprise came in the late 1980s, on Hallowe’en.

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My first great public relations disaster

Mon, 09/11/2017 - 09:03 -- Phil Egan

Regular readers of my column know that I spent 40 years in the Canadian travel business in Toronto.

My company was the third largest holiday company in Canada by the time my partners and I sold the company to Transat A.T. Inc., one of the world’s largest integrated travel companies, in 2000.

That year, we carried 250,000 passengers to holidays in the Caribbean, Mexico, and South America, and to Greece, Britain Ireland and other areas of Europe. Annual sales were over a quarter of a billion dollars.

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