Category Archives: Features

News, articles and opinion pieces

Our Dozen FAV Funny Christmas Quotes

  • A lovely thing about Christmas is that it’s compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together. — Garrison Keillor
  • Did you ever notice that life seems to follow certain patterns? Like I noticed that every year around this time, I hear Christmas music. — Tom Sims
  • Christmas is a time when you get homesick – even when you’re home. — Carol Nelson
  • Christmas at my house is always at least six or seven times more pleasant than anywhere else. We start drinking early. And while everyone else is seeing only one Santa Claus, we’ll be seeing six or seven. — W. C. Fields
  • There is a remarkable breakdown of taste and intelligence at Christmastime.  Mature, responsible grown men wear neckties made of holly leaves and drink alcoholic beverages with raw egg yolks and cottage cheese in them. — P.J. O’Rourke
  • The worst gift is a fruitcake. There is only one fruitcake in the entire world, and people keep sending it to each other. — Johnny Carson
  • Oh look, yet another Christmas TV special! How touching to have the meaning of Christmas brought to us by cola, fast food, and beer…. Who’d have ever guessed that product consumption, popular entertainment, and spirituality would mix so harmoniously? — Bill Watterson
  • The Supreme Court has ruled that they cannot have a nativity scene in Washington, D.C.  This wasn’t for any religious reasons.  They couldn’t find three wise men and a virgin. — Jay Leno
  • What I don’t like about office Christmas parties is looking for a new job the next day. — Phyllis Diller
  • Santa Claus has the right idea. Visit people once a year. — Victor Borge
  • I once wanted to become an atheist, but I gave up – they have no holidays. — Henry Youngman
  • Next to a circus there ain’t nothing that packs up and tears out faster than the Christmas spirit. — Kim Hubbard

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Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

For Your Christmas and New Year’s Celebrations

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From all of us at CG&A COMMUNICATIONS, we wish you the best through the holidays. Have a very Merry Christmas and we hope we will all have a much better 2021!

For our season’s greetings, we present ‘Toasts, Quotes and Verse for the holidays.’ Below you will find toasts, quotes, terrific sayings, and verse for both Christmas and New Year’s. We hope you can use this collection of sayings to make that holiday toast a memorable one, to use as inscriptions in those special cards, or to spice up your conversations at family and social gatherings.

The best of the season! Cheers!

TOASTS, QUOTES AND VERSE FOR THE HOLIDAYS

CHRISTMAS TOASTS

— Let the special memories of Christmases past bring new joy and delight to your heart this Christmas!
— May you have the gladness of Christmas which is hope; The spirit of Christmas which is peace; The heart of Christmas which is love. – Ada V. Hendricks
— I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. –Charles Dickens (A Christmas Carol)
— A merry Christmas to everybody! A happy New Year to all the world!–Charles Dickens (A Christmas Carol)
— Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love. – Hamilton Wright Mabie
— Christmas is not a date. It is a state of mind. – Mary Ellen Chase
— A Christmas Cheer: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.
— From Home to home, and heart to heart, from one place to another. The warmth and joy of Christmas, brings us closer to each other –Emily Matthews
— May peace be your gift at Christmas and your blessing all year through!
— May peace be more than a season, may it be a way of life!

CHRISTMAS QUOTES

— Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.–Norman Vincent Peale
— Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.–Calvin Coolidge
— Christmas is not just a day, an event to be observed and speedily forgotten. It is a spirit which should permeate every part of our lives.–William Parks
— Christmas–that magic blanket that wraps itself about us, that something so intangible that it is like a fragrance. It may weave a spell of nostalgia. Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of prayer, but always it will be a day of remembrance–a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved.–Augusta E. Rundel
— Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.–Washington Irving
— Best of all, Christmas means a spirit of love, a time when the love of God and the love of our fellow men should prevail over all hatred and bitterness, a time when our thoughts and deeds and the spirit of our lives manifest the presence of God.–George F. McDougall
— The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.–Burton Hillis
— There is no ideal Christmas; only the one Christmas you decide to make as a reflection of your values, desires, affections, traditions –Bill McKibben
— Unless we make Christmas an occasion to share our blessings, all the snow in Alaska won’t make it “white”.–Bing Crosby
— Until one feels the spirit of Christmas, there is no Christmas. All else is outward display–so much tinsel and decorations. For it isn’t the holly, it isn’t the snow. It isn’t the tree not the firelight’s glow. It’s the warmth that comes to the hearts of men when the Christmas spirit returns again.–Anonymous
— It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air.–W. T. Ellis
— I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month.–Harlan Miller
— The three stages of man: He believes in Santa Claus. He doesn’t believe in Santa Claus. He is Santa Claus.
— Time was with most of us, when Christmas Day, encircling all our limited world like a magic ring, left nothing out for us to miss or seek; bound together all our home enjoyments, affections, and hopes; grouped everything and everyone round the Christmas fire, and make the little picture shining in our bright young eyes, complete –Charles Dickens

CHRISTMAS VERSE

— “But I am sure that I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round…as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely.” — Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

— Whatever else be lost among the years,
Let us keep Christmas still a shining thing;
Whatever doubts assail us, or what fears,
Let us hold close one day, remembering
It’s poignant meaning for the hearts of men.
Let us get back our childlike faith again.
— Grace Noll Crowell, Let Us Keep Christmas

— I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
and wild and sweet
The word repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

–Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Christmas Bells

— When Christmas bells are swinging above the fields of snow,
We hear sweet voices ringing from lands of long ago,
And etched on vacant places
Are half-forgotten faces
Of friends we used to cherish, and loves we used to know.
–Ella Wheeler Wilcox, Christmas Fancies

NEW YEAR TOASTS

— Here’s to a bright New Year and a fond farewell to the old; here’s to things that are yet to come and to the memories that we hold.
— As we start the New Year, let’s get down on our knees to thank God we’re on our feet.
— May all your troubles in the coming year be as short as your New Year’s resolutions.
— May your troubles be less and your blessings be more, and nothing but happiness come through your door.
— May the road rise up before you, and the wind be always at your back, and the good Lord hold you in the hollow of his hands.
— May your neighbors respect you, trouble neglect you, the angels protect you, and heaven accept you.
— Dance as if no one were watching, sing as if no one were listening, and live every day as if it were your last.
— Welcome are those that are here; welcome all, and make good cheer; welcome all, another year.

NEW YEAR QUOTES

— No one ever regarded the First of January with indifference. It is that from which all date their time, and count upon what is left. It is the nativity of our common Adam. — Charles Lamb
— Many people look forward to the New Year for a new start on old habits.
— A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.
— The new year begins in a snow-storm of white vows.– George William Curtis
— New Year’s Day is every man’s birthday. — Charles Lamb
— Each age has deemed the new-born year, the fittest time for festal cheer — Sir Walter Scott
— The merry year is born, like the bright berry from the naked thorn. — Hartley Coleridge
— Drop the last year into the silent limbo of the past. Let it go, for it was imperfect, and thank God that it can go. — Brooks Atkinson
— Time has no divisions to mark its passage, there is never a thunder-storm or blare of trumpets to announce the beginning of a new month or year. Even when a new century begins it is only we mortals who ring bells and fire off pistols. — Thomas Mann
— An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in; a pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves. — Bill Vaughan
— Youth is when you’re allowed to stay up late on New Year’s Eve – middle age is when you’re forced to. — Bill Vaughn

NEW YEAR VERSE

— We meet today
To thank Thee for the era done,
And Thee for the opening one.
— John Greenleaf Whittier

— Then sing, young hearts that are full of cheer,
With never a thought of sorrow;
The old goes out, but the glad young year
Comes merrily in tomorrow.
— Emily Miller

— New Year’s eve is like every other night; there is no pause in the march of the universe, no breathless moment of silence among created things that the passage of another twelve months may be noted; and yet no man has quite the same thoughts this evening that come with the coming of darkness on other nights. — Hamilton Wright Mabie

— Every man should be born again on the first day of January. Start with a fresh page. Take up one hole more in the buckle if necessary, or let down one, according to circumstances; but on the first of January let every man gird himself once more, with his face to the front, and take no interest in the things that were and are past. — Henry Ward Beecher

— The Old Year has gone. Let the dead past bury its own dead. The New Year has taken possession of the clock of time. All hail the duties and possibilities of the coming twelve months! — Edward P. Powell

— And ye, who have met with Adversity’s blast,
And been bow’d to the earth by its fury;
To whom the Twelve Months, that have recently pass’d
Were as harsh as a prejudiced jury –
Still, fill to the Future! and join in our chime,
The regrets of remembrance to cozen,
And having obtained a New Trial of Time,
Shout in hopes of a kindlier dozen.
— Thomas Hood

— Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true
— Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1850

Again, Merry Christmas and the very best through 2021!

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

#1 Christmas Movie : “It’s a Wonderful Life”

Through the years, By George Journal has featured “It’s a Wonderful Life”, well, it’s the best Christmas movie we have – a moving account of a caring, community-minded, family man who struggles with inner-doubt and comes to fully appreciate the love of family and friends. In our crazy, mixed-up world, it doesn’t get better than this.

Here are quick links to our Journal’s posts on this must-rewatch-this-holiday film. 

Drop us a note and let us know when you view “It’s a Wonderful Life” this Christmas season. Enjoy!

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Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

The George Soros Series

 The George Soros 4-part series by Chris George in the Niagara Independent

reviews Soros’ life and achievements, beliefs and goals, and his ties and influence in Canada.

 Introducing George Soros

 The core beliefs and aspirations of George Soros

George Soros and his Canadian Chess Game

George Soros casts a long shadow across Canada

 

For the index of Chris George’s columns in the Niagara Independent, click here.

 

The Trudeau Government and its (U.N.) green agenda

The Niagara Independent, December 15, 2020  – At an Ottawa press conference on Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled more of the government’s green agenda by providing details of a schedule of carbon tax hikes. Then on Saturday, PM Trudeau proclaimed to an international audience at a United Nations conference that Canadians are committed to ambitious emission targets and to paying for the U.N.’s international climate activities.

At the launch event in Ottawa, the PM pledged the country would exceed its 2030 emissions reductions targets under the Paris Accord – primarily through punitive carbon tax increases scheduled annually through the next decade. Trudeau stated, “During the campaign, our government committed to exceed Canada’s existing 2030 climate target and support new jobs for Canadians. Today, we have delivered our plan to reach that goal. At the same time, we are laying out new, more ambitious targets for the coming years. Canada will continue to lead in the fight against climate change.”

The next day, Trudeau played a supporting role to U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres who urged all governments to declare a state of “global climate emergency” until the world has reached net zero CO2 emissions. At the U.N.’s Climate Ambition Summit, Trudeau boldly declared, “We will raise our emission reduction ambitions,” and he said Canada will “remain committed to making significant investments in international climate finance.”

Central to the Trudeau Government’s green agenda is a hike in the federal carbon tax from the current $30 to $170 a tonne in the next 10 years. In layman’s terms, the current price on carbon translates to Canadians paying roughly an extra 2.3 cents per litre of gasoline. By the end of 2022, the tax will be roughly 15 cents per litre. The carbon tax is scheduled to increase each year for eight years and will top off in 2030 at 53 cents per litre. (This per litre tax figure does not account for the Clean Fuel Standard tax that is to be levied next year, nor the GST that is applied on top of the taxes.)

Based on current gas prices, in 2030 Canadians will pay roughly an additional $27 in carbon taxes to fill up a minivan, $45 extra for a pickup truck — and truck drivers will pay $204 extra to fill one diesel fuel cylinder on the tractor trailers that deliver our food and merchandise.

Though specific details were not released, the Government also announced that the cost of light fuel oil for home heating, natural gas, and propane will rise through the decade as well.

The government explains the rationale for its green agenda in the climate plan document released by the PM on Friday. It states, “The principle is straightforward: a carbon price establishes how much businesses and households need to pay for their pollution. The higher the price, the greater the incentive to pollute less, conserve energy and invest in low-carbon solutions.”

The document identifies 64 new measures that will cost Canadians $15 billion in federal investment. Government programs will soon be announced to fund home retrofits, provide rebates and tax write-offs for people who can afford zero-emissions vehicles, improve electric vehicle charging infrastructure, and fund dozens of proposed policies laid out over the documents 79 pages.

The government remains vague on its total spending plans although it suggests there will be many forthcoming policy announcements. The document outlines, “The Greening Government Strategy applies to all core government departments and agencies.” It announces that the federal government will look at the environmental impact of everything it manages: 32,000 buildings, 30,000 vehicles, and 20,000 engineered assets such as bridges and dams. It also suggests the government will be imposing new regulations that will impact the $20 billion of goods and services it purchases annually. Suffice to conclude, the total costs of the Trudeau green agenda will be unfathomable for the average Canadian to factor (which is likely why the government ignored providing the total costs).

The Trudeau Government’s green agenda was highlighted at the U.N.’s Climate Ambition Summit as an example of what can be done. In a Sun Media news column, Lorrie Goldstein reports on the U.N.’s message to its member states: that governments “have a major role in setting the conditions under which lifestyle changes can occur, through shaping policy, regulations and infrastructure investments … COVID-19 has provided insight into how rapid lifestyle changes can be brought about by governments … The lockdown period in many countries may be long enough to establish new, lasting routines if supported by longer term measures. In planning the recovery from COVID-19, governments have an opportunity to catalyse low-carbon lifestyle changes by disrupting entrenched practices.”

Goldstein reveals that the U.N. advises governments to achieve their climate change goals “through taxation and other policies affecting fundamental decisions we make about our lives, from what we eat (preferably meatless, low-carbon diets), to how we travel (less by air, more by subsidized electric cars), to how we power our homes (with wind and solar energy, at least for “higher income” earners, given the costs) and much, much more.”

However ideal this is for the U.N. objectives, some Canadian leaders have begun to push back. Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe has accused PM Trudeau and former Environment Minister Catherine McKenna of lying to Canadians when they repeatedly, categorically stated they would not increase the carbon tax beyond the 2022 tax of 15 cents per litre.

Alberta Environment Minister Jason Nixon called the tax “another attack on Alberta’s economy and Alberta’s jurisdiction,” stating that it will suppress investment and raise costs of everything for businesses and individuals. The Canadian Taxpayers Federation, Fraser Institute and Pembina Institute all expressed concern for the federal plan. Western Canadian Wheat Growers stated the tax increases are outrageous: “It’s going to kill agriculture in Canada and make us uncompetitive on the world market.”

Last word goes to Premier Doug Ford who plainly expressed his exasperation at the increased taxes imposed on Canadians, “I can’t understand for the life of me why anyone would want to put a burden on the backs of the hard-working people in this province. This carbon tax is going to be the worst thing you’ll ever see… price hikes on everything as increased transportation costs get passed on to consumers. God bless the environment, don’t get me wrong … but I’ve never, ever been more disappointed in an announcement ever since I’ve been in politics… We’re doing everything we can to create an environment for people to thrive, and all of a sudden a sledgehammer comes and hits you over the head.”

Chris George is an Ottawa-based government affairs advisor and wordsmith, president of CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. Contact: ChrisG.George@gmail.com

LINK: https://niagaraindependent.ca/the-trudeau-government-and-its-u-n-green-agenda/

Humourous Christmas Quotes

  • Christmas is a time when you get homesick – even when you’re home. — Carol Nelson
  • Christmas at my house is always at least six or seven times more pleasant than anywhere else. We start drinking early. And while everyone else is seeing only one Santa Claus, we’ll be seeing six or seven. — W. C. Fields
  • Did you ever notice that life seems to follow certain patterns? Like I noticed that every year around this time, I hear Christmas music. — Tom Sims
  • Why is Christmas just like a day at the office? You do all the work and the fat guy with the suit gets all the credit. — Unknown
  • What I don’t like about office Christmas parties is looking for a new job the next day. — Phyllis Diller
  • The worst gift is a fruitcake. There is only one fruitcake in the entire world, and people keep sending it to each other. — Johnny Carson
  • I once bought my kids a set of batteries for Christmas with a note on it saying, toys not included — Bernard Manning
  • Santa Claus has the right idea. Visit people once a year. — Victor Borge
  • The one thing women don’t want to find in their stockings on Christmas morning is their husband. — Joan Rivers
  • I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was six. Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph. — Shirley Temple
  • Santa is very jolly because he knows where all the bad girls live. — Dennis Miller
  • The Supreme Court has ruled that they cannot have a nativity scene in Washington, D.C. This wasn’t for any religious reasons. They couldn’t find three wise men and a virgin. — Jay Leno
  • Mail your packages early so the post office can lose them in time for Christmas. — Johnny Carson
  • Christmas begins about the first of December with an office party and ends when you finally realize what you spent, around April fifteenth of the next year. — P.J. O’Rourke
  • Oh look, yet another Christmas TV special! How touching to have the meaning of Christmas brought to us by cola, fast food, and beer…. Who’d have ever guessed that product consumption, popular entertainment, and spirituality would mix so harmoniously? — Bill Watterson
  • Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree. In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall. — Larry Wilde
  • I once wanted to become an atheist, but I gave up – they have no holidays. — Henry Youngman
  • A lovely thing about Christmas is that it’s compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together. — Garrison Keillor
  • Next to a circus there ain’t nothing that packs up and tears out faster than the Christmas spirit. — Kim Hubbard
  • There is a remarkable breakdown of taste and intelligence at Christmastime. Mature, responsible grown men wear neckties made of holly leaves and drink alcoholic beverages with raw egg yolks and cottage cheese in them. — P.J. O’Rourke

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

 

A dozen 2020 Christmas Memes

By  George brings you a special set of Christmas memes to commemorate this extraordinary year that was…. We hope you might save and share these dozen memes to help spread the realities of our 2020 holiday season.

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

Elf-on-the-Shelf (Ho-Oh-No) Memes

By George Journal brings you some rather non-traditional memes feature that ever-annoying Elf-on-the-Shelf.

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(ed. – Apologies to all Elf-on-the-Shelf admirers.) 

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

 

Canadian Christmas Memes

For the third installment of By George’s Christmas memes, we are providing a few that are uniquely Canadian. Enjoy eh!  (Right click on the meme below. Like , eh, you can copy or save it and then share it to help spread the joy of the season.)

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

BGJ’s Christmas Memes

These half-dozen guffaws are the second installment of By George’s Christmas memes – posts that we have enjoyed with followers on our Facebook page. (You can find our first installment of memes – clicking here.)

It’s a sideways look at the season — and go ahead and right click on any of the memes below. You can copy or save them and then share them to help spread the joy of the season!

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Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

 

“Beware Revelers” the season of memes

By  George launches its season of Christmas memes with a warning that the endless deluge of Christmas posters and gifs are seldom funny and often in bad taste. Still, our hope is to unearth a few striking memes that you will want to share. We begin with this set of 5 which we entitle “Beware Revelers”.

(Go ahead – right click on the meme below. You can copy or save it and then share it to help spread the joy of the season…)

 

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Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

The Folded Napkin

(A story forwarded from a friend to pass along.) 

I try not to be biased, but I had my doubts about hiring Stevie. His placement counsellor assured me that he would be a good, reliable busboy. But I had never had a mentally handicapped employee and wasn’t sure I wanted one. I wasn’t sure how my customers would react to Stevie.

He was short, a little dumpy with the smooth facial features and thick-tongued speech of Down’s Syndrome. I wasn’t worried about most of my trucker customers because truckers don’t generally care who buses tables as long as the meatloaf platter is good and the pies are homemade.

The ones who concerned me were the mouthy college kids travelling to school; the yuppie snobs who secretly polish their silverware with their napkins for fear of catching some dreaded ‘truck stop germ’; the pairs of white-shirted business men on expense accounts who think every truck stop waitress wants to be flirted with. I knew those people would be uncomfortable around Stevie so I closely watched him for the first few weeks.

I shouldn’t have worried. After the first week, Stevie had my staff wrapped around his stubby little finger, and within a month my truck regulars had adopted him as their official truck stop mascot.

After that, I really didn’t care what the rest of the customers thought of him. He was like a 21-year-old in blue jeans and Nikes, eager to laugh and eager to please, but fierce in his attention to his duties. Every salt and pepper shaker was exactly in its place, not a breadcrumb or coffee spill was visible when Stevie got done with the table.

Our only problem was persuading him to wait to clean a table until after the customers were finished. He would hover in the background, shifting his weight from one foot to the other, scanning the dining room until a table was empty. Then he would scurry to the empty table and carefully bus dishes and glasses onto his cart and meticulously wipe the table up with a practiced flourish of his rag.

If he thought a customer was watching, his brow would pucker with added concentration. He took pride in doing his job exactly right, and you had to love how hard he tried to please each and every person he met.

Over time, we learned that he lived with his mother, a widow who was disabled after repeated surgeries for cancer. They lived on their Social Security benefits in public housing two miles from the truck stop. Their social worker, who stopped to check on him every so often, admitted they had fallen between the cracks. Money was tight, and what I paid him was probably the difference between them being able to live together and Stevie being sent to a group home.

That’s why the restaurant was a gloomy place that morning last August, the first morning in three years that Stevie missed work.

He was at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester getting a new valve or something put in his heart. His social worker said that people with Down’s Syndrome often have heart problems at an early age so this wasn’t unexpected, and there was a good chance he would come through the surgery in good shape and be back at work in a few months.

A ripple of excitement ran through the staff later that morning when word came that he was out of surgery, in recovery, and doing fine. Frannie, the head waitress, let out a war hoop and did a little dance in the aisle when she heard the good news. Bell Ringer, one of our regular trucker customers, stared at the sight of this 50-year-old grandmother of four doing a victory shimmy beside his table. Frannie blushed, smoothed her apron and shot Bell Ringer a withering look.

He grinned. ‘OK, Frannie, what was that all about?’ he asked.

‘We just got word that Stevie is out of surgery and going to be okay.’

‘I was wondering where he was. I had a new joke to tell him. What was the surgery about?’

Frannie quickly told Bell Ringer and the other two drivers sitting at his booth about Stevie’s surgery then sighed: ‘Yeah, I’m glad he is going to be OK,’ she said. ‘But I don’t know how he and his Mom are going to handle all the bills. From what I hear, they’re barely getting by as it is.’ Bell Ringer nodded thoughtfully, and Frannie hurried off to wait on the rest of her tables. Since I hadn’t had time to round up a busboy to replace Stevie and really didn’t want to replace him, the girls were busing their own tables that day until we decided what to do.

After the morning rush, Frannie walked into my office. She had a couple of paper napkins in her hand and a funny look on her face.

‘What’s up?’ I asked.

‘I didn’t get that table where Bell Ringer and his friends were sitting cleared off after they left, and Pony Pete and Tony Tipper were sitting there when I got back to clean it off,’ she said. ‘This was folded and tucked under a coffee cup.’

She handed the napkin to me, and three $20 bills fell onto my desk when I opened it. On the outside, in big, bold letters, was printed ‘Something For Stevie’.

‘Pony Pete asked me what that was all about,’ she said, ‘so I told him about Stevie and his Mom and everything, and Pete looked at Tony and Tony looked at Pete, and they ended up giving me this.’

She handed me another paper napkin that had ‘Something For Stevie’ scrawled on its outside. Two $50 bills were tucked within its folds. Frannie looked at me with wet, shiny eyes, shook her head and said simply: ‘Truckers!!’

That was three months ago. Today is a week before Christmas, the first day Stevie is supposed to be back to work.

His placement worker said he’s been counting the days until the doctor said he could work, and it didn’t matter at all that it was a holiday. He called ten times in the past week, making sure we knew he was coming, fearful that we had forgotten him or that his job was in jeopardy.

I arranged to have his mother bring him to work. I then met them in the parking lot and invited them both to celebrate his day back.

Stevie was thinner and paler, but couldn’t stop grinning as he pushed through the doors and headed for the back room where his apron and busing cart were waiting.

‘Hold up there, Stevie, not so fast,’ I said. I took him and his mother by their arms. ‘Work can wait for a minute. To celebrate you coming back, breakfast for you and your mother is on me!’
I led them toward a large corner booth at the rear of the room.

I could feel and hear the rest of the staff following behind as we marched through the dining room. Glancing over my shoulder, I saw booth after booth of grinning truckers empty and join the procession. We stopped in front of the big table. Its surface was covered with coffee cups, saucers and dinner plates, all sitting slightly crooked on dozens of folded paper napkins ‘First thing you have to do, Stevie, is clean up this mess,’ I said. I tried to sound stern.

Stevie looked at me, and then at his mother, then pulled out one of the napkins. It had ‘Something for Stevie’ printed on the outside. As he picked it up, two $10 bills fell onto the table.

Stevie stared at the money, then at all the napkins peeking from beneath the tableware, each with his name printed or scrawled on it. I turned to his mother. ‘There’s more than $10,000 in cash and checks on that table, all from truckers and trucking companies that heard about your problems. ‘Merry Christmas.’

Well, it got real noisy about that time, with everybody hollering and shouting, and there were a few tears, as well.

But you know what’s funny? While everybody else was busy shaking hands and hugging each other, Stevie, with a big, big smile on his face, was busy clearing all the cups and dishes
from the table…. Best worker I ever hired.

Plant a seed and watch it grow.

Blessed are those who can give without remembering and take without forgetting.

At this point, you can bury this inspirational message or forward it, fulfilling the need! If you shed a tear, hug yourself, because you are a compassionate person. So, send this story on and share the joy. 

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

 

 

10 facts about ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’

rudolph-rednosed-reindeer-facts-0Did you know that 2014 marked the 50th anniversary of the beloved Christmas show “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer?” To celebrate the longevity of this wonderful story, the By George Journal presents ten facts you should know about the timeless classic favourite.

  1. On Dec. 6, 1964, television audiences across North America watched ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ for the first time. The made-for-TV special was created in Japan by MOM Production Studios, led by Tadahito “Tad” Mochinaga, a pioneer in Japanese stop-motion animation.
  2. The show took about 18 months, 22 room-size sets and hundreds of puppets to complete. It took 24 frames to create one second of filmed animation.
  3. Animators spent days observing deer to create Rudolph. Mochinaga, the chief animator, and his assistant Hiroshi Tabata spent two days at Nara National Park studying thousands of wild deer to observe the movement for their animation and to inspire their image of Rudolph and his setting.
  4. The Rudolph puppet measured a mere 4-inches high and Santa stood just 8-inches. And though he appears relatively large on screen, the Bumble figurine stood only 14-inches tall.
  5. More than 200 puppets were carved for the production of Rudolph. Puppet maker Ichiro Komuro explained that each character’s puppet was re-carved by hand for various movements and expressions, rather than using plaster and a mold, because it wouldn’t have been exact, “and the plaster head is very heavy for animation.” All of the characters were built with joints, which allowed any part of puppets’ bodies to be moved, including their eyes, ears and mouth.
  6. The puppets were not meant to last forever – and, in fact, are no longer. Despite their best efforts not to soil the puppets (only the animator and puppet maker were allowed to touch them in the studio, and they wore gloves when working on them) the figures were sprayed with magnetic flock to diffuse reflective light from the cameras. The spray contained acidity which contributed to the puppets’ deterioration over time.
  7. Before Burl Ives was corralled to narrate, Larry Mann (the voice of Yukon Cornelius) performed the narration. Mann’s version has never been heard publicly, but those who have listened to the recordings say Mann put on a Brooklyn-like accent that was less than gentle on the ears. And “Silver and Gold” was also originally sung by Larry Mann, recorded 28 times in Cornelius’ voice, including multiple takes that end with comic sobs. Both narration and the song were reassigned to Burl Ives to complete the show.
  8. Hermey, the elf who aspired to be a dentist, has left fans in question over his real name. In 1998, some merchandise marketed the elf with the name Herbie instead. However, the elf is named Hermey.
  9. For decades, fans have focused attention on the little doll on Misfit Island because there was nothing visibly wrong with her. Though some wondered if it was her lack of a real nose, Arthur Rankin has said that she was depressed because her owner didn’t want her anymore and she felt unlovable.
  10. In the original special that aired in 1964, Rudolph, Hermey and Yukon Cornelius promise to return to visit Misfit Island, however, then never do so. This set fans into an angry frenzy and the studio responded to their bitter letters by changing the script. In 1965, the special added a new short scene at the very end of the show in which Santa and the reindeer deliver the Misfits to new homes.

 

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

Our top 10 Christmas movie list

Here is By George‘s humble opinion of the top ten movies – “the must sees” – at this special time of year (listed in order from the best – but this should not dissuade you from watching all of them!).

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1. It’s a Wonderful Life

2. White Christmas

3. A Christmas Carol (1938 or 1951)

4. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

5. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

6. Miracle on 34th Street

7. A Charlie Brown Christmas

8. A Christmas Story (1983)

9. Elf

10. Fred Claus

Pass the popcorn and egg nog!

For more on the By George #1 selection “It’s a Wonderful Life”, dip into the virtual egg nog bowl for movie facts and memorable quotes.

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

The iconic “It’s a Wonderful Life”

“It’s a Wonderful Life” is deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in their National Film Registry.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal in 1984, Director Frank Capra expressed amazement on the film’s elevated status: “It’s the damnedest thing I’ve ever seen. The film has a life of its own now and I can look at it like I had nothing to do with it. I’m like a parent whose kid grows up to be president. I’m proud… but it’s the kid who did the work. I didn’t even think of it as a Christmas story when I first ran across it. I just liked the idea.”

(According to American film historian Stephen Cox, in a 1946 interview, Capra described the film’s theme as “the individual’s belief in himself,” and that he made it to “combat a modern trend toward atheism.”)

BTW – Director Frank Capra later sighted this film as his personal favorite. Likewise, James Stewart said that George Bailey was his favorite performance.

Director Frank Capra on the set of “It’s a Wonderful Life”

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

Facts about “The Real” Bedford Falls

It’s time to watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” (at least a few times over the next two weeks).

Recently we saw an article about George Baily’s hometown, Bedford Falls, and the actual village that this community was modeled after. Here are a few facts about “The Real” town….

  • Bedford falls was modeled after Seneca Falls, New York, a rural town on the shoreline of Cayuga Lake, a gateway community to the Finger Lakes region of the State.
  • Bridge Street Bridge stands today – the very location where George Bailey would take his fateful leap.
  • There is a plaque on the bridge that marks an act of heroism – Antonia Varacalli leapt into icy water in 1917 to rescue a woman and in the attempt drowned himself. The plaque has a guardian angel adorning it.
  • In the 1940’s Seneca Falls had globe street lights, hydrangea bushes, many Victorian-era main street buildings, and outdoor skating ponds.  The village also had a grassy median running along the main street and a train track running through town.
  • There are 116 factories in this small mill town – many dotting the riverside. One factory that remains is Knitting Mill, where George and Clarence would discuss life while drying George’s clothes.
  • Like Bedford Falls, Seneca Falls had a large Italian community, where neighborhoods of people with modest means could live comfortably, courtesy of the generous terms of a community leader. In the movie it was “Bailey Park,” named in honor of George Bailey’s family building and loan; in Seneca Falls it was “Rumseyville,” named after John Rumsey, the owner of one the town’s large pump manufacturers.  Rumsey helped immigrant workers by lending them money and building low cost housing.
  • It is a known fact that Frank Capra visited the town in late 1945. He was going to visit an aunt in nearby Auburn and stopped in Seneca Falls. He discussed the town’s activity with Barber Tommy Bellissima and he traveled over the Bridge Street Bridge on his way out of town.

Read more on this quaint community and its infamous connection to “It’s a Wonderful Life” here:

http://www.therealbedfordfalls.com/therealbedfordfalls.php

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Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

10 favourite lines from It’s A Wonderful Life

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Here are ten of my favourite sayings from this Christmas classic, It’s A Wonderful Life:

  • George Bailey: Well, you look about the kind of angel I’d get. Sort of a fallen angel, aren’t you? What happened to your wings?
  • Clarence (the angel): Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?
  • George and Mary – George: What is it you want, Mary? What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word and I’ll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. Hey. That’s a pretty good idea. I’ll give you the moon, Mary. / Mary: I’ll take it. Then what? / George: Well, then you can swallow it, and it’ll all dissolve, see… and the moonbeams would shoot out of your fingers and your toes and the ends of your hair… am I talking too much?
  • George: Just remember this, Mr. Potter, that this rabble you’re talking about…they do most of the working and paying and living and dying in this community. Well, is it too much to have them work and pay and live and die in a couple of decent rooms and a bath? Anyway, my father didn’t think so. People were human beings to him, but to you, a warped frustrated old man, they’re cattle. Well, in my book he died a much richer man than you’ll ever be!
  • Mary and George – Mary: Bread… that this house may never know hunger. [Mary hands a loaf of bread to Mrs. Martini] / Mary: Salt… that life may always have flavor. [Mary hands a box of salt to Mrs. Martini] / George: And wine… that joy and prosperity may reign forever. Enter the Martini Castle. [George hands Mr. Martini a bottle of wine]
  • Clarence: You see George, you’ve really had a wonderful life. Don’t you see what a mistake it would be to just throw it away?
  • George: Hello, Bedford Falls! Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas, movie house! Merry Christmas, Emporium! Merry Christmas, you wonderful old Building and Loan! Hey! Merry Christmas, Mr. Potter!
  • Clarence: [In book inscription] Remember, George: no man is a failure who has friends.
  • Harry Bailey: A toast to my big brother George: The richest man in town.
  • Zuzu Bailey: Look, Daddy. Teacher says, every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings.

 

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

5 Must-Knows about “It’s a Wonderful Life”

1.  The story is actually from a Christmas card – “The Greatest Gift” was a short story written and self-published as a 21 page Christmas card gift by Philip Van Doren Stern in 1943. It concerned a man named George Pratt who wished he had never been born. A stranger meets George on a bridge and grants him his wish. George gets to see what would have happened if he wasn’t around. Unable to get this story published, the author Stern sent the script out as a Christmas card out to 200 friends. A Hollywood agent got a hold of the card and bought the rights. When attempts at creating a script failed, director Frank Capra took over the rights and the rest is history.

2. Initial casting had Cary Grant as George and Ginger Rogers as Mary. The Hollywood agent who first bought the rights to “The Greatest Gift” was Cary Grant’s agent. He thought this might be a perfect project for his star. When Frank Capra took over, however, his only choice for George (now Bailey) was Jimmy Stewart. Before settling on Donna Reed for the role of Mary Bailey (this was her film debut!), other actresses were considered for the part. Among them were Jean Arthur, Olivia De Havilland and Ginger Rogers who turned it down because it was “too bland.”

3. By Hollywood standards, the original release of “It’s A Wonderful Life” in 1946 was a box office disappointment. The film cost around 3.7 million to make, but only generated 3.3 million in its initial run. That would be considered a bomb in anyone’s record book. Then along came television and public domain. Looking for fill-up programming hours during the holidays, local television stations got to broadcast “It’s A Wonderful Life” as many times as they wanted. This meant several dozen showings in one holiday season. The result is that folks fell in love with the classic and demanded it to be aired every Christmas. Today, NBC maintains the rights to the film and have managed to create their own traditions with multiple airings every December.

4. Before “It’s A Wonderful Life,” film snow was actually corn flakes painted white. The problem was all that crunching. Films that used corn flake snow had to go back and dub in the dialogue. Frank Capra wanted to record the sound live so he asked his special effects department for some new snow. They came up with a combination of soap, water and foamite (stuffed used for fighting fires). This new snow formula proved so successful it actually won a technical award from the Academy.

5. The snowy town of Bedford Falls was actually a Hollywood set (RKO backlot) in California.  It was built on the and spanned 4 acres (1.6 ha), assembled from three separate parts with a main street stretching 300 yards (three city blocks), with 75 stores and buildings, a tree-lined center parkway and 20 full grown oak trees. For months prior to principal photography, the mammoth set was populated by pigeons, cats and dogs in order to give the “town” a lived-in feel. The film crew was filming this winter wonderland Christmas classic in the middle of a California summer heat wave! If you look closely during the bridge scenes you can actually see Jimmy Stewart sweating! (BTW – Filming started on April 15, 1946 and ended on July 27, 1946, exactly on deadline for the 90-day principal photography schedule.)

SOURCES:

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

The Christmas Tree – quotes for the season

  • The perfect Christmas tree? All Christmas trees are perfect! – Charles N. Barnard
  • Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree. In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall. – Larry Wilde
  • The best Christmas trees come very close to exceeding nature. – Andy Rooney
  • Gee, do they still make wooden Christmas trees? – Linus
  • Tradition: sit with husband in a room lit only by tree lights and remember that our blessings outnumber the lights. – Betsy Cañas Garmon
  • He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree. – Roy L. Smith
  • Christmas spirit that goes out with the dried-up Christmas tree is just as worthless. – unknown
  • Correction:  Christmas trees don’t grow on trees; they need rainbows, lumberjacks, and Leprechauns on unicorns playing jock jams on glockenspiels. – Ryan Ross
  • Tall and majestic? No thanks. I’ll take the small, scrawny, neglected one. – Charlie Brown
  • I never thought it was such a bad little tree. It’s not bad at all, really. Maybe it just needs a little love. – Linus
  • The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree is the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other. – Burton Hills
  • It’s a tradition that the Christmas season begins for our Family with the selection and dressing of our tree. The Magic of the season begins with the placement of the Angel. – Chris George

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Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

O Christmas Tree

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  • The best selling Christmas trees are Scotch pine, Douglas fir, Noble fir, Fraser fir, Virginia pine, Balsam fir and white pine.
  • For every real Christmas tree harvested, 2 to 3 seedlings are planted in its place.
  • Cultured Christmas trees must be shaped as they grow to produce fuller foliage. To slow the upward growth and to encourage branching, they are hand-clipped in each spring. Trees grown in the wild have sparser branches, and are known in the industry as “Charlie Brown” trees.
  • Christmas trees are edible. Many parts of pines, spruces, and firs can be eaten. The needles are a good source of vitamin C. Pine nuts, or pine cones, are also a good source of nutrition.
  • In 1531, there was the first printed reference to Christmas trees in Germany where the trees were very popular. In England, they became popular after Queen Victoria’s husband Albert, who came from Germany, made a tree part of the celebrations at Windsor Castle. In the United States, the earliest known mention of a Christmas tree is in the diary of a German who settled in Pennsylvania.
  • The Canadian province of Nova Scotia leads the world in exporting lobster, wild blueberries, and Christmas trees.
  • California, Oregon, Michigan, Washington, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and North Carolina are the top Christmas tree producing states. Oregon is the leading producer of Christmas trees – 8.6 million in 1998.
  • According to the National Christmas Tree Association, Americans buy 37.1 million real Christmas trees each year; 25 percent of them are from the nation’s 5,000 choose-and-cut farms.
  • America’s official national Christmas tree is located in King’s Canyon National Park in California. The tree, a giant sequoia called the “General Grant Tree,” is over 300 feet (90 meters) high. It was made the official Christmas tree in 1925.
  • Theodore Roosevelt, a staunch conservationist, banned Christmas trees in his home, even when he lived in the White House. (His children, however, smuggled them into their bedrooms.)

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Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.