Sharp Knives

My Father was a Cabinet maker who began his apprenticeship in Germany when he was 14. Part of his apprenticeship included making tools and keeping them sharp. when I lived at home you could shave with many of our kitchen knives as well as all of my father's wood-working tools. He died of Parkinson disease. As the disease progressed his mind and his tools lost the razor edge they had held for more than 70 years. Today the knives in our kitchen are like those found in most kitchens: dull. The knives - like the memory of my father are all there - but they just aren't as sharp as they used to be.


I went to Jeff and Lori's wedding today. The rain stopped just before they took their vows and started again just as their were being introduced to us as Mr. and Mrs. G.
The big raindrops that landed on Lori and Jeff today will become, what we in NLP call, 'anchors' - a visceral reminder of the moment. I'm willing to bet that for the rest of their lives that when light afternoon rain drops land on their heads or shoulders they will be reminded of today.
Many marketers use anchors to help lock in their product or service experiences. McDonald's does it overtly with (collectible)toys in their kids meals. Disney brings cartoon characters to life that shake your hand and pose for pictures. Apple does it more discreetly - turning a device into an extension of you.

The next time it rains and you think of 'anchors' you'll understand better how great marketing and advertising works.


I'd say that Charlie loves routine as much as my wife hates routine. I'm more like Charlie than Michelle. For the last three months Michelle and I worked hard to get our home in Toronto ready to rent in April because we needed to move to Winnipeg. I tried my best to keep Charlie calm by respecting his routine: including feeding, down and walk times. To make a long story short we got through it all and now we're setting up a new life in Winnipeg where we'll help care for Michelle's father. And Charlie has become a different dog. In Toronto he was the cock of the walk, the dominant dog who challenged all comers. Here he's the new kid on the block, treads lightly and never strays far from my side or the house for that matter. It's been two weeks now and each day we walk the same 4 km. route to help him establish a new territory he can mark - and make his own. It's working. He's becoming more relaxed and walks with greater confidence and purpose. And we have to go around his territory counter-clockwise. Very important. Why? Please re-read the opening sentence.

Charlie the philanthropist

While any ball is a good ball, some balls really are prized more than others. This morning he found these abandoned tennis ball at the local tennis court. Last summer he found over a hundred balls which, as his 'ball-bank account' grew, he shared with his friends in neighboring parks: dogs less able to hunt for their own balls. Charlie has taught me how much joy there is in found treasures: bringing them home, having them for a time, and then giving them to those who value and enjoy them as much as we do. Sometimes it's just a beach pebble or a piece of driftwood. It doesn't matter what it is. What matters is the emotional state that's elicited. I have learned that philanthropy is a wonderful state of mind in which the act of giving to others generated ripples of goodness in the lives of the giver and receiver which radiate outward to touch the lives of others - prompting more and more acts of random kindness.


Old Habits

Spring is just around the corner here in Toronto. Last week Charlie and I played our last game of snowballs for the season.
Next: mud-baths!
In the shaded forests we walk through there are still some 'ice-paths'. They're the summer paths that become winter paths and over the course of the winter the snow and ice on those paths becomes the most dense - and the last to melt. On either side of these six foot wide ice-paths there's dried grass to walk on. But old habits die hard. Charlie walk, slips and slides along these ice-paths because that's the path. Sound familiar? Look familiar? Feel familiar?
Sometimes I too catch myself walking the ice-paths while there is wide and safer passage on either side that will get me to the same destination and a million others too.