Ever since I was a kid, I have been fascinated by big-time boxing events. I remember hearing about Jack Johnson, Jack Dempsey and Joe Louis, and in Feb of 1976 when I went to Las Vegas for the first time, I walked in the front door of Caesar’s Palace and there was Joe Louis himself to greet me: “Hi there. Welcome to Caesar’s Palace.”
As it has been for many Canadians I’m sure, the Omar Khadr thing has been on my mind a lot. First and foremost is the fact that the Canadian government―headed by Justin Trudeau―which sends young Canadians over to Afghanistan to fight ISIS, the Taliban, Al-Qaeda and the rest, gives in to legal pressure and awards 10.5 million to a guy who left (was taken from) Canada to fight against our own soldiers. I wondered how much Omar would have received from Al-Qaeda if he’d sued them or Al Jazeera for promoting and selling their ideals to him and his father.
When I really think about it, I can’t believe that China or Russia would ever “nuke” us. What would be the point of the eastern half of the planet nuking the western half of the planet? If they did succeed at doing that, they wouldn’t be able to come over here and get all our stuff for free now that we’re all dead. There would be too much nuclear pollution and our stuff would be useless to them. Plus, their own industries would go bankrupt because they’d just nuked their best customer, which can be very bad for business.
I read Jane Janes’ wonderful story in last month’s First Monday about Mary Jamieson and wanted to add my two cents worth. In 1959, when I was 15 years old, my dad helped me start a business called Brian’s TV Rentals. The mission was to rent televisions to patients in the two hospitals: St Joe’s and the General. Since I was going to St. Pat’s which was then located on the corner of Essex and Russell, (about halfway point between both hospitals), it was an easy gig; do one at lunchtime and the other after school.
I got a call from Glen Maddison in early March: “I’ve got an idea for a great story you could write for your First Monday column.”
“Fire away,” I told him.
“Have you ever meet a guy named Harley Searson?” he asked.
“Can’t say I’ve had the pleasure.”
“Well this guy is a great story for your quit smoking campaign.”
Last month I told you about Sojana: the 115 foot Farr sailboat I had talked my way onto as crew for the Voiles de St. Tropez regatta in France. Now we are at the start of the last race in the regatta: a start that involves at least fifteen sailboats in the hundred foot plus range with the regatta championship on the line. In our class for that race there were two J-Class sailboats. There were built in the 30s - to be raced in the America’s Cup - for people with names like Vanderbilt and Lipton; in other words, the ultra-rich.
I met Marc Fitzgerald in the bar at the Sube Hotel in St. Tropez, France during the Voiles de St. Tropez: the last sailing regatta of the racing season in the Med. After that, the boats all go and get prettied up before heading across the Atlantic to the Caribbean for the Caribbean racing season. The Sube Hotel is where all the sailors from the British Commonwealth gather after the races: Australians, Kiwis, Brits, Irish and Canadians etc. It’s a very lively and boisterous crowd.
It’s been a rough start for me this year sports-wise: Team Canada lost that heartbreaker to Team USA in a shootout. This while watching the Lions lose their last three games of the season to the Giants, the Cowboys and the Packers to go from first place in their division to a wild card berth against Seattle, which they then lost.
I was on a losing streak. Good thing I’m not a betting man eh?
The latest item added to my bucket list this year is one I got from Warren Buffet who, when asked what his number one priority in life was stated, “To become the oldest living person in history.” That thought wouldn’t have resonated with me when I was in my twenties and thirties because in those days, I thought I would live forever. It never occurred to me that I wouldn’t live forever.
Sadly, these days my body is telling me in no uncertain terms that simply ain’t gonna happen.
I got an audio text message the other day from my daughter Jaime. It starred my 7-year-old granddaughter Ella singing, “Silent Night,” with Jaime accompanying her on guitar.
Now I know most people would think, “Awww… isn’t that cute?” And they would be right. It was wonderful. But there was a lot more going on with that than just a sweet, little Christmas message. It was Jaime’s sly, cunning way of delivering a message to me. The message was, “You’re too late grampa!”