Last Sunday, actor Meryl Streep wowed the audience at the Golden Globes Awards in Hollywood with an impassioned speech that criticized US president-elect Donald Trump. Later in the week, former movie star Jane Fonda visited Fort McMurray, Alberta to fly over the oil fields and then slam Prime Minister Trudeau as a hypocrite. Here’s the thing. Meryl Streep is a brilliantly talented actress. Jane Fonda was… also an actress. They’re both entitled to their opinions. They both seem like smart people and their opinions may be well-informed. And – you’re entitled to give them any amount of consideration you choose. I’ve enjoyed watching both Fonda and Streep on screen. But, I don’t take tax advice from my doctor, even though he’s a great doctor. And I don’t go to my lawyer when I’m having a heart attack. So, forgive me if I don’t really care what Meryl Streep and Jane Fonda think about oil or politics.
My kids have never been to a family circus – the ones with 3-rings, dancing elephants, lion tamers, trapeze artists, clown cars and juggling acts. And with yesterday’s announcement that Ringling Bros., Barnum & Bailey are folding their tents after 146 years leaves me sad. I understand the times have changed and families – mine included – find it harder to make time for this type of adventure. But, it’s the end of an era and I’m a little bit sad about it. Where am I going to run away to now?
Justin Trudeau took an unexpected beating on his cross-country damage-control tour last week. At a series of Town Halls, he’s taken questions from less-than happy Canadians who’ve shared a piece of their minds with him. Not least of which is Kathy Katula, a disabled single mother of four kids who works 15 hours a day to pay her Hydro bill. Audience members at these types of events are normally carefully selected and questions thoroughly screened. Whatever you think about Trudeau’s politics and leadership – you’ve got to give him credit for walking into the lion’s den this way. At least, you will have to – if he keeps doing it.
Last week Toronto City Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam launched a new initiative to create an “Aboriginal Business District” in downtown Toronto. “There really isn’t an area that’s geographically designed that they can point to and say, that’s a reflection of my culture and history,” said Wong-Tam. The geographical area she’s proposing is Dundas & Jarvis Street in Toronto – the former home of Jilly’s strip club and one of the sketchiest neighborhoods in town. Is this a good idea? Let me see. Let’s take aboriginal businesses, push them into a defined piece of real estate. Maybe even give them special tax rules while they’re in there. Why does this sound familiar? If I was an aboriginal businessman, I’d be more interested in building a successful business – wherever it makes economic sense. If a “reserve” for aboriginal businesses makes sense, I have every confidence they’re smart enough to do it themselves. Let’s hope Wong-Tam doesn’t suggest we set up special schools for the children of these business people next.
HERO OF THE WEEK
She was a single mom with 3 kids and no job. She managed to move them to a new city, raise them reasonably well, put a roof over their heads by convincing a home seller to trust her with a vendor-take back mortgage, feed them by working as a waitress and home-based hairdresser, while keeping them all in school and healthy. She went back to school and improved her own education, then got a management job helping people. She dedicated thousands of hours each year to community groups and worthy causes. I knew she was special when I was growing up – but I had no idea how hard it must have been until I had kids and a marriage of my own.
She’s my mom, June Towhey. And, she passed away early this morning. I hope she knew how many people she touched and how much better she made the world. She’s always been, and always will be my biggest hero.
STUPID OF THE WEEK
This week’s winners are four common phrases that pop up in our conversations far too often. Whenever you hear one of these – especially if it’s coming out of the mouths of an elected official, bureaucrat of business executive – you can be 100% confident the rest of the sentence is going to be colossally stupid. The stupid phrases are:
Zero-tolerance policy. Any time an organization has a zero-tolerance policy, it’s saying that it has zero common sense and zero reliable judgment.
If this saves just one life. Whenever a plan will be worth it – even if it saves just one life, then you know it’s a complete and utter waste of money.
Money is no object. Money is ALWAYS an object. What’s the point of succeeding at whatever you’re all-in for, if you just starve to death in the process?
We’re not taking any risks. This means you’re about to take a huge, uncalculated and completely invisible risk – because there’s no such thing as a “zero risk option” in this world. There is ALWAYS a risk. It just moves around. If you think there isn’t, you’re in big trouble.
If you hear one of these phrases – be careful. Because things are about to get stupid.