I moved back to Sarnia in 1973 to help my dad run his appliance, TV and furniture business. Polymer, Dupont and Union Carbide had just announced a $750 million-dollar project that would change Sarnia forever. It was called Petrosar, and as we all know that has now morphed into NOVA Chemicals. I remember those years of the Petrosar construction (74 -78) and the project’s subsequent coming on line very well. Business was, as my brother Mark loved to say, “Rockin’ and rollin’.”
How Canadians make people crazy
An Englishman, a Canadian and an American were captured and sentenced to be executed by a firing squad. The enemy leader visited them on the eve of their execution and told them, “Before we execute you, you will be allowed to say your last words. Please let me know what you wish to talk about.”
With a very stiff upper lip, the Englishman replied, “I wish to speak about loyalty and service to the crown.”
On Thursday, November 22, 2007 – U.S. Thanksgiving – I went out to my dad’s house to watch the Green Bay Packers play the Detroit Lions; a tradition we’d been observing since the Lombardi years. My dad, who was 90 at that time, was a big Lions fan but he loved the Packers too, so when the Lions traditionally disappointed their fans by failing to make the playoffs, we always had the Packers as our backup team to cheer for.
Last spring, I was in Charleston, South Carolina for a few days and had the pleasure of interviewing a real live Hall of Fame NFL football player named Joe Delamielleure. Joe D. played in the NFL for 13 years – 6 times All-Pro. In Buffalo he was an offensive guard for a group of linemen know as “The Electric Company.” They made their bones blocking for O.J. Simpson. Interesting to note: Joe told me that he was making $24,000 a year and O.J. was making $700,000.
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.