Tag Archives: in_conversation

Def’n on the origins of popular sayings

HOT OFF THE PRESS
As the paper goes through the rotary printing press friction causes it to heat up. Therefore, if you grab the paper right off the press it is hot. The expression means to get immediate information.

A SHOT OF WHISKEY
In the old west a .45 cartridge for a six-gun cost 12 cents, so did a glass of whiskey. If a cowhand was low on cash he would often give the bartender a cartridge in exchange for a drink. This became known as a “shot” of whiskey.

THE WHOLE NINE YARDS
American fighter planes in WW2 had machine guns that were fed by a belt of cartridges. The average plane held belts that were 27 feet (9 yards) long. If the pilot used up all his ammo he was said to have given it the whole nine yards.

BUYING THE FARM
This saying is synonymous with dying. During WW1 soldiers were given life insurance policies worth $5,000. This was about the price of an average farm so if you died you “bought the farm” for your survivors.

PASSING THE BUCK/THE BUCK STOPS HERE
Most men in the early west carried a jack knife made by the Buck knife company. When playing poker it as common to place one of these Buck knives in front of the dealer so that everyone knew who he was. When it was time for a new dealer the deck of cards and the knife were given to the new dealer. If this person didn’t want to deal he would “pass the buck” to the next player. If that player accepted then “the buck stopped there”.

CURFEW
The word “curfew” comes from the French phrase “couvre-feu”, which means “cover the fire”. It was used to describe the time of blowing out all lamps and candles. In the early American colonies homes had no real fireplaces so a fire was built in the center of the room. In order to make sure a fire did not get out of control during the night it was required that, by an agreed upon time, all fires would be covered with a clay pot called-a “curfew”.

IRON CLAD CONTRACT
This saying came about from the ironclad ships of the Civil War. It meant something so strong it could not be broken.

And from the days of steamship travel on the mighty Mississippi River…

RIFF RAFF
The Mississippi River was the main way of traveling from north to south. Riverboats carried passengers and freight but they were expensive so most people used rafts. Everything had the right of way over rafts which were considered cheap. The steering oar on the rafts was called a “riff” and this transposed into riff-raff, meaning low class.

SHOWBOAT
These vessels were floating theaters built on a barge that was pushed by a steamboat. These barges played in small towns along the Mississippi River . Unlike the boat shown in the movie “Showboat” these did not have an engine. They were gaudy and attention grabbing which is why we say someone who is being the life of the party is “showboating”.

BARGE IN
Heavy freight was moved along the Mississippi in large barges pushed by steamboats. These were hard to control and would sometimes swing into piers or other boats. People would say they “barged in”.

HOGWASH
Steamboats carried both people and animals. Since pigs smelled so bad they would be washed before being put on board. The mud and other filth that was washed off was considered useless “hog wash”.

OVER A BARREL
In the days before CPR a drowning victim would be placed face down over a barrel and the barrel would be rolled back and forth in an effort to empty the lungs of water. It was rarely effective. If you are over a barrel you are in deep trouble.

(ed. – Our thanks again goes out to friend Dick Inwood who is a constant source of wonderment.)

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

Freedom of the Press

South of the Canadian border there is a raging war over the legitimacy of media organizations. There is a growing disrespect and a new disregard for traditional news sources – and it is being fueled by politicians, corporations, and news media itself.  Our mainstream media is assaulted on all fronts for its bias, uneven and “yellow” journalism. The public is increasingly doubtful that news organs are providing the facts of a matter. The end result of this assault is a growing cynicism and rejection of traditional media.

Today, the popular and overused phrase for any news item that may not suit the reader/viewer is to coin it “fake news.” Many will differentiate between facts and alternative facts and this is based on which set of facts may best fit a person’s own bias. There are no “bald truths” that are recognized universally – or so it seems.

There are no recognized, universal truths and no recognized conveyors of truth. We find in many cases, with the proliferation of Internet news sites and blogs and social media platforms, mainstream media and its unbiased news reporting is being replaced by opinionated editorializing of news events. Remarkably, there are generations of younger people who receive their news on select social media and from sources that reflect their own world-view.

This is not only occurring in the United States. The erosion of credible (critical/non bias) news sources is also happening in our country. This is a serious matter.

One of the founding fathers of the United States, John Adams, made a sage observation about the necessity of a nation’s media, “The liberty of the press is essential to the security of freedom.” This week, remarkably, American media has felt it necessary to take the unprecedented step to have to explain this fundamental idea. In hundreds of editorials across the country yesterday, the mainstream news media lashed out at President Donald Trump and his enduring rant against the U.S. fourth estate.

CNN has compiled the over 350 news organizations that participated in this campaign for the minds of the public.

What is at stake is the credibility and authority of a free (non-state) media. The New York Times provided an accurate assessment of our current state of affairs:

“In 2018, some of the most damaging attacks are coming from government officials. Criticizing the news media — for underplaying or overplaying stories, for getting something wrong — is entirely right. News reporters and editors are human, and make mistakes. Correcting them is core to our job. But insisting that truths you don’t like are “fake news” is dangerous to the lifeblood of democracy. And calling journalists the “enemy of the people” is dangerous, period.”

In editorial after editorial, American news have tried to bring some perspective to this issue:

  • A person who blasts reliable news sources as fake when they prove him wrong on an issue, or when it reveals his self-contradictions or his ignorance, or whenever he simply doesn’t like it, is denying reality. – Idyllwood Town Crier (CA)
  • Journalists are trying to do a job. We’re not trying to tear down our nation. We’re trying to strengthen it. For we believe in the foundational premise behind the First Amendment – that our nation is stronger if its people are informed. – Mercury News and East Bay Times (CA)
  • Americans may not like the news they see or hear buy they should not hold that against those who report it. In short, don’t shoot the messenger. – The Lakeville Journal and the Millertown News (NY)
  • We take pride in our work and our daily mission to bring you the latest news in an accurate and fair manner, but we also take pride in the community we call home. – Ocala Star-Banner (FL)
  • America’s press is not without its criticism. However, there is no other industry in the United States that opens itself for criticism so regularly and so transparently. – Houghton Lake Report (MI)

Last word on the American media dust up goes to the NY Post editorial “Hate the press all you want – we’ll keep reporting.” Post editors write:

It may be frustrating to argue that just because we print inconvenient truths doesn’t mean that we’re fake news, but being a journalist isn’t a popularity contest. All we can do is to keep reporting.

 

(So, consider what Canadian news rooms are confronting with the federal government’s continual filtration and rewriting of our news… or the new tactic by Ontario Premier Doug Ford, who wants to control the actual items that are recorded for news. Canadians should be as weary and concerned… )

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

Mind-Numbing (Friday afternoon) Quiz

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Here is By George’s TGIF-Friday-afternoon quiz to determine whether the work week has knocked your mind sideways. Let us know how you scored…

 

  1. Johnny’s mother had three children.  The first child was named April.  The second child was named May.  What was the third child’s name?

 

  1. There is a clerk at the butcher shop, he is five feet ten inches tall and he wears size 13 sneakers.  What does he weigh?

 

  1. Before Mt. Everest was discovered…what was the highest mountain in the world?

 

  1. How much dirt is there in a hole that measures two feet by three feet by four feet?

 

  1. What word in the English Language …is always spelled incorrectly?

 

  1. Billy was born on December 28th, yet his birthday is always in the summer.  How is this possible?

 

  1. In California, you cannot take a picture of a man with a wooden leg.  Why not?

 

  1. What was the U.S. President’s name in 1975?

 

  1. If you were running a race and you passed the person in 2nd place, what place would you be in now?

 

  1. Which is correct to say:  “The yolk of the egg are white” or “The yolk of the egg is white”?

 

Here’s a bonus question…

 

  1. If a farmer has 5 haystacks in one field and 4 haystacks in the other field, how many haystacks would he have if he combined them all in another field?

 

Answers can be found in the By George comments section below.

 

(ed. – Complete the quiz – and don’t peek. Then tell us what you got – honestly. Anything under 5/10 and you deserve to leave the office immediately and start the weekend!)

 

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

A life lesson at home plate

This is making the rounds – a great story with a remarkable life lesson.

 

In Nashville, Tennessee, during the first week of January, 1996, more than 4,000 baseball coaches descended upon the Opryland Hotel for the 52nd annual ABCA convention.  While I waited in line to register with the hotel staff, I heard other more veteran coaches rumbling about the lineup of speakers scheduled to present during the weekend. One name, in particular, kept resurfacing, always with the same sentiment — “John Scolinos is here? Oh man, worth every penny of my airfare.”  Who the hell is John Scolinos, I wondered. No matter, I was just happy to be there.

In 1996, Coach Scolinos was 78 years old and five years retired from a college coaching career that began in 1948. He shuffled to the stage to an impressive standing ovation, wearing dark polyester pants, a light blue shirt, and a string around his neck from which home plate hung — a full-sized, stark-white home plate.  Seriously, I wondered, who in the hell is this guy?

After speaking for twenty-five minutes, not once mentioning the prop hanging around his neck, Coach Scolinos appeared to notice the snickering among some of the coaches. Even those who knew Coach Scolinos had to wonder exactly where he was going with this, or if he had simply forgotten about home plate since he’d gotten on stage.

Then, finally … “You’re probably all wondering why I’m wearing home plate around my neck. Or maybe you think I escaped from Camarillo State Hospital,” he said, his voice growing irascible. I laughed along with the others, acknowledging the possibility. “No,” he continued, “I may be old, but I’m not crazy. The reason I stand before you today is to share with you baseball people what I’ve learned in my life, what I’ve learned about home plate in my 78 years.”

Several hands went up when Scolinos asked how many Little League coaches were in the room. “Do you know how wide home plate is in Little League?” After a pause, someone offered, “Seventeen inches,” more question than answer.
“That’s right,” he said. “How about in Babe Ruth’s time? Any Babe Ruth coaches in the house?”
Another long pause.
“Seventeen inches?” came a guess from another reluctant coach.
“That’s right,” said Scolinos. “Now, how many high school coaches do we have in the room?” Hundreds of hands shot up, as the pattern began to appear. “How wide is home plate in high school baseball?”
“Seventeen inches,” they said, sounding more confident.
“You’re right!” Scolinos barked. “And you college coaches, how wide is home plate in college?”
“Seventeen inches!” we said, in unison.
“Any Minor League coaches here? How wide is home plate in pro ball?”
“Seventeen inches!”
“RIGHT! And in the Major Leagues, how wide home plate is in the Major Leagues?”
“Seventeen inches!”
“SEV-EN-TEEN INCHES!” he confirmed, his voice bellowing off the walls. “And what do they do with a Big League pitcher who can’t throw the ball over seventeen inches?” Pause. “They send him to Pocatello!” he hollered, drawing raucous laughter.

“What they don’t do is this: they don’t say, ‘Ah, that’s okay, Jimmy. You can’t hit a seventeen-inch target? We’ll make it eighteen inches, or nineteen inches. We’ll make it twenty inches so you have a better chance of hitting it. If you can’t hit that, let us know so we can make it wider still, say twenty-five inches.’”
Pause.
“Coaches …”
Pause.
” … what do we do when our best player shows up late to practice? When our team rules forbid facial hair and a guy shows up unshaven? What if he gets caught drinking? Do we hold him accountable? Or do we change the rules to fit him, do we widen home plate?”

The chuckles gradually faded as four thousand coaches grew quiet, the fog lifting as the old coach’s message began to unfold. He turned the plate toward himself and, using a Sharpie, began to draw something. When he turned it toward the crowd, point up, a house was revealed, complete with a freshly drawn door and two windows. “This is the problem in our homes today. With our marriages, with the way we parent our kids. With our discipline. We don’t teach accountability to our kids, and there is no consequence for failing to meet standards. We widen the plate!”
Pause. Then, to the point at the top of the house he added a small American flag.
“This is the problem in our schools today. The quality of our education is going downhill fast and teachers have been stripped of the tools they need to be successful, and to educate and discipline our young people. We are allowing others to widen home plate! Where is that getting us?” Silence. He replaced the flag with a Cross.
“And this is the problem in the Church, where powerful people in positions of authority have taken advantage of young children, only to have such an atrocity swept under the rug for years. Our church leaders are widening home plate!”

I was amazed. At a baseball convention where I expected to learn something about curveballs and bunting and how to run better practices, I had learned something far more valuable. From an old man with home plate strung around his neck, I had learned something about life, about myself, about my own weaknesses and about my responsibilities as a leader. I had to hold myself and others accountable to that which I knew to be right, lest our families, our faith, and our society continue down an undesirable path.

“If I am lucky,” Coach Scolinos concluded, “you will remember one thing from this old coach today. It is this: if we fail to hold ourselves to a higher standard, a standard of what we know to be right; if we fail to hold our spouses and our children to the same standards, if we are unwilling or unable to provide a consequence when they do not meet the standard; and if our schools and churches and our government fail to hold themselves accountable to those they serve, there is but one thing to look forward to …” With that, he held home plate in front of his chest, turned it around, and revealed its dark black backside.  “… dark days ahead.”

Coach Scolinos died in 2009 at the age of 91, but not before touching the lives of hundreds of players and coaches, including mine. Meeting him at my first ABCA convention kept me returning year after year, looking for similar wisdom and inspiration from other coaches. He is the best clinic speaker the ABCA has ever known because he was so much more than a baseball coach.

His message was clear: “Coaches, keep your players — no matter how good they are — your own children, and most of all, keep yourself at seventeen inches.

 

(ed. – Thank you to Dick Inwood and Claude Bennett who forwarded this poignant story to us.)

 

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

Workplace Tip: How to Listen

In a LinkedIn article, By George recently saw Dr. Travis Bradberry’s “7 Things Fabulous Listeners Do Differently

 

Bradberry rightly points out that listening is a skill you want to be great at. He cites a recent study conducted at George Washington University showed that listening can influence up to 40% of a leader’s job performance.

 

Effective listening is something that can absolutely be learned and mastered. There are straightforward strategies that can make you a better listener.  Here are Bradberry’s 7 tips:

 

  1. Focus — The biggest mistake most people make when it comes to listening is they’re so focused on what they’re going to say next or how what the other person is saying is going to affect them that they fail to hear what’s being said.

 

  1. Put away your phone — When you commit to a conversation, focus all your energy on the conversation.

 

  1. Ask good questions — People like to know you’re listening, and something as simple as a clarification question shows not only that you are listening but that you also care about what they’re saying.

 

  1. Practice reflective listening – Psychologist Carl Rogers used the term “reflective listening” to describe the listening strategy of paraphrasing the meaning of what’s being said in order to make certain you’ve interpreted the speaker’s words correctly.

 

  1. Use positive body language – Become cognizant of your gestures, expressions, and tone of voice (and making certain they’re positive).

 

  1. Don’t pass judgment — If you want to be a good listener, you must be open-minded. Being open-minded makes you approachable and interesting to others.

 

  1. Keep your mouth shut – If you’re not checking for understanding or asking a probing question, you shouldn’t be talking. Not only does thinking about what you’re going to say next take your attention away from the speaker, hijacking the conversation shows that you think you have something more important to say.

 

This post comprises of excerpts from the original. Read Dr. Bradberry’s full article here…

Source:  https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/7-things-fabulous-listeners-do-differently-dr-travis-bradberry

 

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

Workplace Tip: How to Talk

In a great Inc.com article, Bill Murphey Jr. reveals “17 Verbal Habits of Highly Likeable People

 

It starts with what you say–and what you know not to say.  Murphey contends that how you listen to people will add (or take away from) your charisma.  Here are some of the most important things highly likeable people do every day.

 

  1. They are polite when then can be — Words like “please” and “thank you” might be technically unnecessary but they’re invaluable if you want to be more charismatic.

 

  1. They acknowledge small favors — “You’re welcome.” These two short words communicate much more than “no problem” (or, of course, “yup”) when someone thanks you for something.

 

  1. They offer meaningful praise — The key word here is “meaningful.” Charismatic people give sincere compliments–never bashful, never obsequious. When someone merits praise, they say so.

 

  1. They express sincere empathy — They use phrases like, “That must have made you feel proud,” or “I can imagine you must feel angry,” thus both exploring and validating other people’s feelings. Everybody wants to be understood.

 

  1. They share useful information — Some people like to hoard information because they think it makes them more powerful. Don’t be that person.

 

  1. They offer to help — The most charismatic people among us start simply by looking for chances to help–in their families, in their communities, and in the small moments of their day-to-day lives.

 

  1. They speak with justifiable confidence — They don’t boast or brag. But when faced with challenging situations–especially things that affect other people–they’re the ones who approach the problem with an air of calmness, curiosity, and confidence.

 

  1. They use names and titles that connote respect — Charismatic people remember other people’s names, and use their titles in circumstances when it makes those people feel good.

 

  1. They express their faith in others — Four simple words: “I believe in you.”

 

  1. They remember that they’re part of a team — A sense of camaraderie makes tough situations bearable. Having a sense of humor can even make them fun.

 

  1. They make introductions — Want to know five of the nicest words anyone can ever say to two people at the same time? “I’d like you to meet….” .

 

  1. They take their turn — Likable people aren’t afraid to step up when it’s their turn to do something enjoyable, or even to bear the burden of something that isn’t so great.

 

  1. They let others make their own decisions — Truly charismatic people have confidence in their opinions–but they also recognize that other people may legitimately see things differently.

 

  1. They listen–and they want to hear more — Highly likable people are active and sincere listeners. You can tell them your opinion or a story or ask for their advice, and they respond with questions and verbal cues that suggest they’re present in the moment.

 

  1. They take responsibility — When it’s their job or their fault, they step up. They take control of the things they’re supposed to have control over.

 

  1. They voice their support — We all appreciate people who stand by us and who let us know that they’re there.

 

  1. They ask, “Why not?” — Likable people are often dreamers, optimists, and doers. RFK put it best: “There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?”

 

This post comprises of excerpts from the original. Read the full article here…

SOURCE:  https://www.inc.com/bill-murphy-jr/want-to-be-more-charismatic-17-verbal-habits-of-highly-likable-people.html

 

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

8 Things You Should Do After 8 P.M.

Here are some great tips on how to unplug and recharge. These suggestions are from a column written by Elle Kaplan in Thrive Global of LinkedIn:  “8 Things You Should Do After 8 P.M. If You Want to Be Happy and Successful — Wake up on the right side of the bed tomorrow.”

 

Elle Kaplan tells you hows you how to set yourself up to have a more productive day.

 

  1. Strolls by the moonlight

Adopt a routine of nighttime walks to decompress.

 

  1. Unplug. Literally.

Unplug everything besides your alarm clock, and watch the tension recede. Unplugging is also a key to a good night’s sleep.

 

  1. Sleep hygiene

Sleep hygiene is about more than just making your bed. Give yourself at least an hour to unwind before you actually doze off.

 

  1. Read up

Bill Gates found great success by reading for one hour every night, no matter what.

 

  1. Prioritize

You can avoid the morning scramble by laying out clear goals and priorities for tomorrow.  You’ll reduce your anxiety, and you’ll rest easy knowing you already have your ducks in a row.

 

  1. Stop mid-sentence

“The best way is always to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next,” Ernst Hemmingway once said. “If you do that every day… you will never be stuck.”

 

  1. School’s in

One of the best times to learn is after a long and exhausting day. Learn something new while winding down.

 

  1. Write your stress away

Writing down our problems reduces open “loops” of bad thoughts, and washes away anxiety.

 

FULL ARTICLE:  “8 Things You Should Do After 8 P.M. If You Want to Be Happy and Successful — Wake up on the right side of the bed tomorrow.

 

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

Wonderful Aphorisms

An aphorism is a short, pointed sentence that expresses a wise or clever observation or a general truth… like these gems:

  • The nicest thing about the future is that it always starts tomorrow.
  • Money will buy a fine dog but only kindness will make him wag his tail.
  • If you don’t have a sense of humor you probably don’t have any sense at all.
  • Seat belts are not as confining as wheelchairs.
  • A good time to keep your mouth shut is when you’re in deep water.
  • How come it takes so little time for a child who is afraid of the dark to become a teenager who wants to stay out all night?
  • Business conventions are important because they demonstrate how many people a company can operate without.
  • Why is it that at class reunions you feel younger than everyone else looks?
  • Scratch a dog and you will have a permanent job.
  • There are no new sins — the old ones just get more publicity.
  • There are worse things than getting a call for a wrong number at 4 a.m — like, it could be the right number.
  • No one ever says “It’s only a game” when their team is winning.
  • I’ve reached the age where ‘happy hour’ is a nap.
  • Money can’t buy happiness but somehow it’s more comfortable to cry in a Cadillac
  • After 60, if you don’t wake up aching in every joint you’re probably dead.
  • Always be yourself because the people that matter don’t mind – and the ones that mind don’t matter.
  • Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.

 

(ed. – Thank you to our friend Claude Bennett for forwarding this wonderful list.)

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.

Q: Who’s on your special party guest list?

Here is a wonderful question to pose while swirling your cocktail on New Year’s evening. It is sure to prompt a lot of interesting conversations.

In planning for a New Year’s Eve party, you are given a magical opportunity to invite a total of 3 people currently living and 3 people from the past.  Aside from all your immediate friends and family members, who would be on your special guest list?

For the record, here’s who would be at a George party:

Sir John A Macdonald

Ernest Hemingway

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Bruce Springsteen

Bob Gainey

John Irving

 

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.

More questions for “Over the Eggnog Bowl” (5)

  1. Have you ever been with someone, said nothing, and walked away feeling like you just had the best conversation ever?
  2. It used to be that at a party one should never discuss religion, sex and politics. Does this still stand? Are there other subjects that need to be added to this list of avoidable conversations?
  3. Do sports make life more bearable? Are sports akin to religion, alcohol or a literal pastime?
  4. Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things?
  5. When was the last time you lied?  Do you lie when you do not voice truth? Is it possible to lie without saying anything at all?
  6. You’re having lunch with three people you respect and admire.  They all start criticizing a close friend of yours, not knowing she is your friend.  The criticism is distasteful and unjustified.  What do you do?
  7. Decisions are being made right now.  The question is:  Are you making them for yourself, or are you letting others make them for you?
  8. What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?
  9. Would you rather have less work to do, or more work you actually enjoy doing?
  10. Is it crazier to choose to be poor, or to spend 40 years of your life hating 40 hours a week?
  11. If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich?
  12. When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?

This is the fifth and final installment of our series providing questions and observations that will serve as perfect conversation starters at this season’s social gatherings.

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.

Over the Eggnog Bowl (4)

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  1. Merry Christmas! Is it time to insist that “Christ” is put back into “Christmas”?
  2. Is Santa coming to your family this Christmas? You do believe in Santa, right!?
  3. Joy is found with simple awareness.  What does your joy look like today?
  4. At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive?
  5. If I gave you $20, what percentage would you – really – save?  If I gave you $200,000, what percentage would you save?  Should there be a difference?
  6. Have you ever seen insanity where you later saw creativity?
  7. How come the things that make you happy don’t make everyone happy?
  8. Do you feel like you’ve lived this day a hundred times before?
  9. Do you ever feel like you don’t have enough time?  How many hours a week do you spend watching TV, or playing video games, or…?
  10. What’s the difference between ‘living’ and ‘existing?’
  11. What have you not done that you wanted to do today – something that you still can accomplish? Will you do it?
  12. Do you ask enough questions, or do you settle for what you know?

This is the fourth installment of our series providing questions and observations that will serve as perfect conversation starters at this season’s social gatherings.

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.

Over the Eggnog Bowl (3)

  1. To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken?
  2. Has your greatest fear ever come true?
  3. Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing?
  4. What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
  5. What’s your single greatest moment of personal failure?  Looking back on it now, did it make you weaker or stronger?  What did you learn?
  6. If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make a mistake?
  7. When you help someone, do you ever think, “What’s in it for me?”
  8. What haven’t you achieved to date that you definitely want to do? If you haven’t achieved it yet, what do you have to lose? If not now, then when?
  9. What do you love?  Have any of your recent actions openly expressed this love?
  10. If someone could tell you the exact day and time that you are going to die, would you want them to tell you?
  11. If you found out you were going to die today, would you have any regrets?  Would you be happy with the way you spent the last 24 hours of your life?
  12. If you knew that everyone you know was going to die tomorrow, who would you visit today?

This is the third installment of our series providing questions and observations that will serve as perfect conversation starters at this season’s social gatherings.

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.

 

Over the Eggnog Bowl (2)

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  1. If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do?
  2. When was the last time you noticed the sound of your own breathing?
  3. Do you push the elevator button more than once?  Do you really believe it makes the elevator faster?
  4. If your life was a novel, what would be the title and how would your story end?
  5. If you could be given another talent or ability, what would you want it to be?  Have you ever – really – tried to perfect this ability in yourself?
  6. What’s the most expensive gift you have ever received?  Is it the best gift you have ever received?
  7. Is it possible to know the truth without challenging it first?
  8. Is it possible to know, without a doubt, what is good and what is evil?
  9. Why do religions that support love cause so many wars?
  10. If you had a friend who spoke to you in the same way that you sometimes speak to yourself, how long would you allow that person to be your friend?
  11. Which is worse, failing or never trying?
  12. If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently?

This is the second installment of our series providing questions and observations that will serve as perfect conversation starters at this season’s social gatherings.

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.

Perfect conversation starters for over the eggnog bowl

As we enter year-end festivities, inevitably, we will find ourselves at cocktail parties or dinner settings where we will be reaching for a topic of discussion. To help us through this season, By George Journal will provide questions and observations that can serve as perfect conversation starters.  In the next few days, we’ll call this conversational thread “Over the Eggnog Bowl”.

Here are a dozen questions to start us off – enjoy your talks!

  1. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?
  2. What one thing have you not done that you really want to do? What’s holding you back?
  3. What is your happiest childhood memory?  What makes it so special?
  4. If you had to move to a state or country besides the one you currently live in, where would you move and why?
  5. What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the world?
  6. If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be?
  7. If you just won a million dollars, would you quit your job?
  8. Would you rather be a worried genius or a joyful simpleton?
  9. What are you most grateful for?
  10. Have you been the kind of friend you want as a friend?
  11. Which is worse, when a good friend moves away, or losing touch with a good friend who lives right near you?
  12. In 5 years from now, will you remember what you did yesterday?  What about the day before that?  Or the day before that? What can you do tomorrow that you’ll remember in 5 years? Are you going to do it?

(ed. – This series of “eggnog bowl” conversation starters was first compiled and published in the By George Journal a few years back. Over this weekend, we are reposting 5 articles that should provide you with more than enough interesting conversations to get you though the holidays. Cheers!)

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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.

 

3 Tips on being a Good Conversationalist

This is the season of Christmas socials, year-end parties, and gatherings of colleagues, friends and family. Like no other time of year, we enjoy cocktails, plenty of delicious foods, and endless conversations.

So, By George Journal asks, ‘What makes a good conversationalist?’  Here are three pointers to be that ‘gracious host’ or that ‘guest you must remember to invite again next year.’

#1.  A good conversationalist is a great listener. When people engage in conversation, most feel that what they have to say is important. Nothing signals more to a person that you are interested in them than to give undivided attention to what they are saying. Listen intently, ask questions and provide comments; don’t mindlessly nod and continually glance over the person’s shoulder to see what is happening across the room.

#2.  What you say will not likely be remembered,  but how you make people feel will not be forgottened. It’s most important to smile when you greet and depart an individual or group. Make and keep eye contact with those you are speaking with. Use appropriate body language and facial gestures to demonstrate your engagement and enjoyment in the conversation(s).

#3.  Be ever-ready to share a great story or series of anecdotes. Enliven conversations with personal observations, remarkable sayings, and a provocative question or two.  Through the next few days, By George Journal will provided a series of conversation-starters. Here are our five favourite from the “Over the Eggnog Bowl” posts for your holiday exchanges.

  1. Is Santa coming to your family this Christmas? You do believe in Santa, right!?
  2. If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be?
  3. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?
  4. Joy is found with simple awareness.  What does your joy look like today?
  5. It used to be that at a party one should never discuss religion, sex and politics. Does this still stand? Are there other subjects that need to be added to this list of avoidable conversations?

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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.

Say it ain’t so: 2017, the new 1984

By George, how has it happened that everything in our world has become so black and white? We live in such an increasingly complex and interdependent world. Yet, isn’t it interesting that advocacy campaigns and successful politicians win by making the issues of day simple. It’s the simple truths, told simply, that are the most compelling.

 

However, in many cases, those simple explanations are simple-stupid. And in many case, we blinded accept them anyway?! (The obvious question is “Is 2017 the new 1984?”)

 

Each year, the By George Journal sets down a new editorial line-up to bring fresh, interesting material to our readers. In 2017, we are setting a three-point mission:

  1. Publish a new feature “just_the_facts” that will compile statistics and points of fact on given issues of the day
  2. Post background stories to provide insightful context on leading figures and issues.
  3. Repeat classic jokes and humourous e-mails sent our way (to lighten the day)

 

With this line-up we hope By George will be resourceful and relevant concerning the issues that are both dominating the news cycles and your discussions at the office or social club.

 

By George will extend our dialogue more consistently with our Facebook page, in our LinkedIn network and on the Twitter feed. We will also mine supporting content found in these platforms to regularly share in the Journal.

 

We embark on this mission with the firmly held belief that, though the world’s problems are complicated, the facts of the problem need to be understood in order to truly assess whether the simple explanation provided is just that – or is it simple-stupid?

 

As always, we look forward to your feedback along the way.

 

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

Football is Americans’ Thanksgiving

Football

There is a rather large number of Americans that believe American Thanksgiving is all about the football games – “Praise the Lord and pass the gravy!”

Of course, not everyone believes this. American humourist Erma Bombeck mused: “If a man watches three football games in a row, he should be declared legally dead.”

However, even she admitted: “Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Half-times take twelve minutes. This is not coincidence.”

So, on this, one of America’s biggest of football days, let’s honour this celebrated sport. Here are 15 of our favourite pigskin quotes.

  • Football is like life, it requires perseverance, self-denial, hard work sacrifice, dedication and respect for authority. – Vince Lombardi
  • Football is an incredible game. Sometimes it’s so incredible, it’s unbelievable. – Tom Landry
  • Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work. – Vince Lombardi
  • The only yardstick for success our society has is being a champion. No one remembers anything else. – John Madden
  • Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing. – Vince Lombardi
  • Gentlemen, it is better to have died a small boy than to fumble this football. – John Heisman
  • Football is not a contact sport. It’s a collision sport. Dancing is a good example of a contact sport. – Duffy Daugherty
  • When you win, nothing hurts. – Joe Namath
  • Confidence doesn’t come out of nowhere. It’s a result of something… hours and days and weeks and years of constant work and dedication. – Roger Staubach
  • Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect. – Vince Lombardi
  • Football combines two of the worst things in American life. It is violence punctuated by committee meetings. – George Will
  • If my mother put on a helmet and shoulder pads and a uniform that wasn’t the same as the one I was wearing, I’d run over her if she was in my way. And I love my mother. – Bo Jackson
  • Football is a game played with arms, legs and shoulders but mostly from the neck up – Knute Rockne
  • Pro football is like nuclear warfare. There are no winners, only survivors. – Frank Gifford
  • Football is not a game but a religion, a metaphysical island of fundamental truth in a highly verbalized, disguised society, a throwback of 30,000 generations of anthropological time. – Arnold Mandell

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

Donald Trump (Prez-elect)

Here is a list of family facts and personal history details of the soon-to-become 45th President of the United States Donald Trump

 

The Snapshot:

 

  • Donald John Trump, was born June 14, 1946.
  • He will be 70 years old on election day.
  • From the Internet, he is 6’2″ or 6’3′ and weighs between 195 and 200 lbs.
  • He has a full head of blond/brown hair (which is long and elaborately combed) and blue eyes.
  • The Internet tells us he wears a size 12 shoe.
  • Donald Trump was born the fourth of five children who were born over eleven years.
  • The oldest, Mary Ann, was born in 1937 and is currently a Federal Judge.
  • His older brother, Fred Jr, died in early adulthood as a result of complications from alcoholism.
  • He has another older sister, Elizabeth and a younger brother, Robert.
  • Donald Trump has been married three times.
  • Trump’s first wife, Ivana, was an immigrant from Czechoslovakia and a divorcee who has been married 4 times in her life. She is a lifelong avid skier and worked in design at the Trump Organization.
  • Marla Maples, Trump’s second wife is an actress and model
  • Trump’s third wife, Melania is an immigrant from Slovenia (born in Yugoslavia) and has been a super model.
  • Two of Trump’s children, Donald Jr. And Ivanka, have gone to Penn. Son Eric, went to Georgetown.
  • Donald Trump tells us that he is Presbyterian.
  • Donald Trump does not appear to have had any interest in occults, mysticism or exotic mythologies.
  • Donald Trump’s oldest daughter, Ivanka, and her three children are Jewish.
  • Trump’s oldest daughter, Ivanka, is married to Jared Kushner who is, among other things, a newspaper publisher. The Kushner family is very successful in New York City area real estate.
  • Donalds grandmother, mother, first wife, and third wife are all immigrants.
  • Donald Trump was born and raised in Queens NY
  • Though his family was very wealthy, Trump’s boyhood home in the Jamaica Estates section of Queens was not a grand mansion. The Trump home was a larger version of the homes Fred Trump built for his tenants.
  • There are no indications that the Trump family lived among the wealthy elites on vacations or country clubs.
  • Queens is the largest of New York’s five boroughs and the most ethnically diverse.
  • Trump attended a local private day school, the Kew Forrest School, in Queens until about 8th grade.
  • His secondary schooling was at New York Military Academy which is about 60 miles north of NYC in Cornwall on the Hudson. He was in class of 1964.
  • Trump was never a Preppie.”
  • Trump never embraced any aspect of the “Hippie” movement of the time.
  • Trump was a very good high school athlete – football, soccer, and especially baseball. He had potential to become a professional baseball player.
  • Even in high school – Trump liked women and women liked him.
  • Trump was generally popular in high school.
  • Trump’s boarding school room mate liked him.
  • He attended Fordham University in NYC for two years and transferred to the University of Pennsylvanias Wharton School of Business.
  • At that time, the Wharton School offered a rare program for Real Estate Business.
  • Though he was of age, Donald Trump did not serve in Vietnam.
  • He was not drafted due to bone spurs in his heels (4F) and also student deferments.
  • Ultimately, in the draft lottery, he drew a high number.
  • By all we know, Donald Trump does not smoke, drink or use recreational drugs. He’ll be the first President in more than 25 years who hasn’t smoked weed.
  • BTW: Trump’s children don’t smoke or drink.
  • Trump makes it well known that he enjoys sexual interaction with women.
  • His doctor publicly announced Donald to be in excellent health.

 

Trump family history (concise version):

 

  • Donald Trump’s grandparents immigrated to the U.S. From Alsace (Kallstadt, Germany) which throughout history has been alternately French and German. The Trumps are German, originally speaking the same German dialect as the Amish of Lancaster County, PA.
  • His maternal grandparents lived in Scotland.
  • Freiderich (Drumph) Trump made a small but respectable fortune in the late 19th Century in the mining boom towns of the American Northwest.
  • He returned to Germany to marry his childhood neighbor, Elizabeth Christ.
  • The newly married Trumps resettled in the Borough of Queens NY.
  • Freidrich was establishing a Real Estate business in Queens when he died suddenly at age 49 (1918).
  • In 1920, at the age of 15, Fred Trump (Freiderich’s son and Donald’s father), started a business partnership with his widowed mother called Elizabeth Trump & Son.
  • This business was built upon the real estate holdings that his father, Frederich, had amassed (worth about $500,000.00 in today’s dollars). This is the original “seed money” of the current Trump Organization.
  • Elizabeth & Fred remained close business partners her entire life (she died in 1966).
  • In 1936 Fred Trump (age 31) married Mary Ann MacLeod (age 24) of Stoneway Scotland.
  • During the depression, Fred Trump built and successfully operated a supermarket (a new concept at the time) which was sold to King Kullen Co. which operates to this day.
  • Fred Trump made a lot of money building housing for the military during WWII.
  • Fred Trump was investigated by the Justice Department for making “excessive profits” from government contracts.
  • All (or nearly all) of the building of Elizabeth Trump & Son’s non-government building was residential property in Queens.
  • Fred Trump died in 1999 (age 94) – beloved and worth between $250 million and $300 million. His wife died a year later.

 

“The Donald’s career”:

 

  • Donald Trump is perhaps the greatest career achiever of the “baby boomer” generation.
  • Donald Trump has reached the zenith in his careers as book author, TV entertainer, sports entertainer, Real Estate developer, and currently as a politician.
  • Donald Trump has authored more than 18 books. At least one of them, The Art of the Deal was a top seller.
  • Donald says that the Holy Bible is his favorite book. The Art of the Deal is his 2nd favorite book. And The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale is his third favorite book.
  • He likes golf. Donald Trump has developed more than 11 golf courses which bear his name.
  • Donald Trump has twice been nominated for an Emmy Award.
  • Donald Trump has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
  • Donald Trump has been inducted to the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame.
  • Donald Trump has appeared in more than a dozen movies such as Home Alone 2, Zoolander, and Little Rascals.
  • Donald Trump has been a guest actor in more than 6 TV shows such as Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Days of Our Lives, Sex and the City, and others.
  • Trump has been the Executive Producer of 7 TV shows.
  • Trump has been the guest host of 5 TV shows such as Extra, Larry King Live, and Saturday Night Live and more.
  • Donald Trump has been co-producer of the longest running reality TV show.
  • Donald Trump performed in several WWE wrestling shows.
  • Donald performed in Wrestlemania 23 which set attendance records and revenue records up till that time.
  • In his first candidacy for public office, Donald Trump received the most electoral votes for the President of the United States out of a field of experienced and successful politicians. And in most cases, he achieved this with less money than any of his opponents.
  • Keeping in mind that 90% of start-up businesses fail, Trump’s record of enterprise is nothing short of amazing.

 

Donald Trump has enjoyed success in at least 11 very different enterprises:

 

  • Professional football, Ice Skating rinks, Fragrance, Ice, Steaks, Wines, Model management, Airline, blenders, Men’s wear, Bicycle races, world class beauty contests, and many others. In some of these, such as model management, his firm has risen to the top of that particular industry.
  • There are 31 buildings that bear his name.
  • The largest private real estate development in New York is Trump Riverside. Drive down the Henry Hudson Blvd. – you can’t miss them.
  • There are at least 12 Trump Towers.
  • There are at least 6 Trump Plazas.
  • There are at least 11 Trump Golf Course developments.

And much, much, more in real estate.

  • Trump Entertainment, casinos and resorts was recently sold to Carl Ichan.
  • Donald Trumps personal managing of the Wollman Ice Skating Rink project in the early 1980’s is the quintessential case study for MBA students in Wharton, Harvard, and other business schools. His performance there was phenomenal.
  • Donald Trump’s privately held businesses have employed more than 200,000 people.
  • In the casino business in Atlantic City, Trump had to do business with known mobsters – and he stayed “clean” and alive.
  • Aside from his personal investments, Donald Trump has never been a Wall Street player.

The Political Trump:

 

  • 1967 – 1987 – Democrat (although he was a supporter of Ronald Reagan)
  • 1987 – 1999 Republican
  • 1999 – 2001 – Reform Party (he supported Ross Perot)
  • 2001 – 2009 – Democrat
  • 2009 – 2011 – Republican
  • 2011 – 2012 Independent
  • 2012 – Present Republican
  • Donald Trump was openly supportive of Mitt Romney’s candidacy.
  • Donald Trump does not seem to hold political party organizations in high regard. For the most part, his political involvement has been for practical reasons. Donald Trump does not appear to be held to political ideology.

Some of the take aways (from those who know him):

 

  • Trump has an extraordinarily energetic central nervous system much like Teddy Roosevelt, but more targeted to industry and enterprise.
  • Trump’s presidency will be very energetic, transparent, and communicative.
  • Trump will be a very hard working President.
  • His interaction with his older brother (who everybody loved) tells me that he thinks that everybody is like him – or wants to be – or should be.
  • His relationship with his older brother was a hard lesson in tolerance for him.
  • Trump is the Babe Ruth of career achievements.
  • He is dumb like a fox. When you think he just said something stupid – he didn’t. It’s just that you were not his target audience.
  • Trump knows the people – the folk.
  • His son, Donald Jr. is right. Trump is a “Blue Collar Billionaire”.
  • More than anything, his TV show, The Apprentice, was his passion.
  • He wants all Americans to have confidence (like he does) to venture.
  • Donald Trump is attracted to and marries smart, high achieving women.
  • The highest levels of a Trump Administration are certain to have many women – and they will be bright and assertive.
  • Donald Trump’s children are very important to him. And it shows.

 

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

20 “well-turned phrases” to send your colleagues sideways

  • Every morning is the dawn of a new error.
  • Regarding apathy, I have no opinion.
  • Remember you’re unique, just like everybody else.
  • I’m ambivalent? Well, yes and no.
  • Indecision is the key to flexibility.
  • Procrastinate now!
  • I’m a PBS mind in an MTV world.
  • I plead contemporary insanity.
  • Def’n of a committee: a body that keeps minutes and wastes hours.
  • That’s “Deja Moo”: The feeling that you’ve heard this bull before.
  • Def’n of a yawn: an honest opinion openly expressed.
  • Def’n of an egotist: someone who is usually me-deep in conversation.
  • Entrophy isn’t what it used to be.
  • Give me ambiguity or give me something else.
  • Eschew obfuscation.
  • If all is not lost, then where is it?
  • I always wanted to be somebody, but I should have been more specific.
  • I meander to a different drummer.
  • Life is what happens to you while you’re making other plans.
  • Any philosophy that can fit into a nutshell belongs there.

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

 

 

Communicate More Effectively, More Persuasively

Becoming Better Communicators is a self-empowering handbook to improve your workplace and social exchanges.

Chris George, author, says the book is for anyone who wants to improve how they are received by others, “This book will help you express yourself clearer, present your ideas better and it will give you more confidence when communicating one-to-one.”

“The tips and checklists were first developed to assist senior executives become more effective within their workplaces. However, the handbook will prove helpful for anyone wishing to improve their relationships, whether it be with work colleagues, or with friends or loved ones. “

The e-book’s introduction provides direction for how best to use the handbook. Here is an excerpt:

   Becoming Better Communicators will help you convey your ideas and display your talents at work and in social settings. By accepting the suggestions, you will be nudged towards appreciating and honing your own unique style of communicating. This, in turn, will provide greater confidence and comfort in expressing your opinions, ideas and work.

   Your success with this handbook comes down to the degree you get to know yourself better. The challenge is to continually re-read the suggestions within, and make it a personal goal to take incremental steps towards self-improvement day-by-day, week-by-week. It takes effort to consciously change your communications habits. You must think about and reflect on your changes. Live with them. Take the time to think through how your altered approaches are being received by the different audiences you deal with each day — your colleagues, friends, and even your partner and family.

   By consciously following the suggestions within, systematically re-reading the handbook, and keeping your commitment to self-improvement, you will form new habits in expressing yourself, and you will become a better communicator.

Becoming Better Communicators is available for the low price of $5. To purchase this e-book today, visit the Our E-bookshelf.

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