The Post of Christmas Past



Today is December 25 and, like Ebenezer Scrooge, I’m casting my eyes out my window onto the snowy, blowy streets and across the fruit orchards with wonderment and warmth and gratitude.

Of course there is no young boy passing by to whom I can toss a farthing to purchase the biggest turkey in the butcher’s display, and that’s OK. Not everything must be Dickensian…

This frosty morning I’m pulling forward a flashback to Christmas of 2012, a mere 10 years back when I posted the following little essay.

I’m not sure that it’s aged well (much like me!) over a short timeframe, but it is what it is.

Maybe this provides you an opportunity to reflect on who would sit at your holiday table today if you had a magic wand to enact any scenario you wished.

And… a final note: Christmas gives us an opportunity to reflect and to be thankful, and I want to say a big thank you to each and every one of you for reading my posts and offering comments or opinions, whether through this site, Facebook, e-mail or personal contact!

May all your wishes come true, today and in your many many years to come…

Now friends, let’s fly back 10 years to a Post of Christmas Past…


The year end is approaching quickly.  And this means that many of us spend the long, dark wintry days turning inwards, becoming introspective, seeking meaning and reason in life. Do you think there’s more to it all than Facebook?

This search may be especially true for those of us who don’t put our trust in a higher power or being. Not believing in a deity and/or afterlife significantly compresses the time allotted for finding significance to our existence.

After all, to us heathens, existence and eternity usually means something like 40 up to about 100 years, really not a whole lot of time after you make your bed, eat breakfast, brush your teeth, and sleep.

Turn off the TV I tell myself, time is running out. Time management for the atheist is the #1 priority right after food and sex!

So I say…

Damn you Christians with your eternal time in heaven with all of your loved ones and no worries about global warming.”

Damn you Muslims and your reward of 72 (some say only 40) virgins.”

Damn you Buddhists and your Nirvana and reincarnation.”

I won’t damn YOU Jews since you’re a bit confused on the whole afterlife side of things already, so why should I make you suffer more consternation with my words.”

Christmas 2012 will be unusual in my world as this will be the first time in 27 years that we’ve not had all or most of our 3 kids at home. They’ve provided the meaning to the season for so long, that I’ve forgotten that there were other reasons, you know… all of that birth of Christ child stuff and Wise Men and Shepherds and HOHOHO and pretty girls… oops sorry, I’ve slipped off on a Charlie Brown tangent. Blockhead!

Since the Christmas dinner table will be extra light on offspring this year, I’ve decided to enjoy a very special Christmas meal serving up 6 courses of my most appealing and satisfying guests from now and days gone by.

      Let’s Eat…   

Course 1 – Appetizers

With Authors James Michener and Leon Uris… a dinner that starts with appetizers should be filled with creative ideas and thought to whet the appetite. These guys aren’t literary heavyweights. But they have written a huge volume of amazingly researched, diverse, and well-written historical fiction covering all parts of the world.

I devoured their books in earlier years. And today I’d love to bite into some of their ideas on the writing process and organization.

I’m astonished by those who can be so determined to focus and deliver a huge body of work in one lifetime. Sure they’re old white guys, but inspiration comes in all colours, ages, and genders. 

I also loved radically individualistic Ayn Rand’s ideas in my younger days, but just can’t bring myself around to her level of narcissism at this point in my life. Fortunately, just looking in my bathroom’s mirror and seeing the “funhouse” image it reflects back is enough to keep me grounded!

Course 2 – Soup

Mom photo

With My Mom...Warm and inviting and full of goodness, this soup course will be my visit with a Ghost of Christmas Past.

It will be wonderful to have my Mom at my table this year. It’s been 39 years since she died and I was last able to sit at her table and share in the Christmas feast. She made the BEST roast potatoes.

Like any good, doting son, I’d want to tell her how much I love her and miss her after all of these years.

As the first person I encountered in life who showed me unconditional love, I would want to tell her about my successes and mistakes, knowing that she would listen, but not judge. And I’d want to tell her that she gave me the grounding and support I needed to go out and make a pretty damn good life, despite all of my fears and worries (Mom was a HUGE worrier herself). And I’d want to apologize to her for not knowing the basics of CPR when she needed it back in 1973.

Course 3 – Salad

Buffett is my favourite ninja…

With Legendary Investor Warren Buffett… what would a Christmas buffet be without a Buffett?

Well, not overly filling, but chock full of nutritious thoughts and concepts. Buffett is known as the Oracle of Omaha, and probably the best stock market investor of this generation. He’s also such a folksy kind of guy.

It should be fun to have him at the table, telling little stories about life and making great stock investments. It’s not very often that you meet people who are highly intelligent and independent-thinking who can also relate to people in a relaxed and personal way.

Making billions of dollars, almost all of which will go to charity when he dies, while playing a silly NINJA makes him my kind of guy. Buffett can take a story about a one-armed baseball player and an Iowa chicken and make a heartfelt parable of it that relates directly to the reality and oftentimes insanity of the investment world.

Course 4 – Main Entree


With Former U.S. President Bill Clinton… Clinton needs to be the main course because, despite his personal foibles (I’m buying you pants without a zipper for Christmas, Bill!), he’s one of the most substantial minds in the whole wide political world.

Clinton, like Obama, is one of the seemingly few rational and caring political-type Americans out there today. Clinton can spontaneously dissect just about any complex world issue and bring to it a common sense approach and potential solution.

There are many minds out there to admire, but Bill Clinton’s is at the top of my list. One discussion with Bill and I’ll be feeling overfull this Christmas.

Course 5 – Dessert

With Actress Reese Witherspoon… dessert should be a light, fluffy, and sugary sweet confection.

The perfect dessert, like fine wine, also has an underlying layer of complexity and depth. This is why I’ve invited actress Reese Witherspoon to this occasion rather than my gut-instinctive initial choice, Pamela Anderson.

The Queen of Jiggle, Anderson is just too much fluffy cotton candy that leaves me feeling sickly nauseous after consuming. The first lick is sensually encouraging, but a few bites later you can only feel regret.

I like Witherspoon even though she isn’t my favourite actress… she is sweet and light, but hidden behind her fluff-laden translucent facade is a woman of some core substance. She has a nice finish on the palate that leaves me satisfied and wanting more.



Course 6 – Cheese and Wine

With Singers/Songwriters Carole King and James Taylor… it takes two to finish this delectable Christmas dinner because they’re inescapably intertwined for me.

After a large repast with so much to digest, some harmony is needed in this course for settling purposes.

Other beautifully harmonious cheese and wine pairings could be Simon and Garfunkel, Karen and Richard Carpenter, Don Henley and Glenn Frey, Lennon and McCartney, Milli Vanilli (just kidding there!).

But ultimately, what better finish could there be to a meal filled with symbolism and meaning shared with friends and relatives than with a blending of voices in “You’ve Got A Friend”? Whenever I’ve been “down and troubled”, a touch of musical melancholy from either of these two feels like rays of warm sunshine on the first sunny April day.

JT Carole King Now


Finally, the anxiously anticipated Christmas dinner is done, the turkey (tofurkey maybe!) has been deboned and made ready for next week’s soup and sandwiches.

There’s an awareness of satisfaction in knowing that we’ve made it through another year, however tumultuous or sensational.  A year filled with events that made us jubilant, made us cry, made us impatient, made us content, made us angry, made us appreciate.


So. Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Happy Kwanza, Splendid Solstice… whatever you choose to pay tribute to, I celebrate with you and I can only hope that your gala feast with whomever you’d relish sharing it, is SPECTACULAR!

O Fir (Goodness Sakes) Tree…


O Christmas Tree, O Christmas tree,
How lovely are your branches!
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas tree,
How lovely are your branches!
Not only green in summer’s heat,
But also winter’s snow and sleet.
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
How lovely are your branches!

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas tree,
Of all the trees most lovely;
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas tree,
Of all the trees most lovely.
Each year you bring to us delight
With brightly shining Christmas light!
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas tree,
Of all the trees most lovely.


It’s beginning to look a lot like… celebration time for some of the Abrahamic religions, Christmas being the observance I grew up surrounded by…

Now for the past few years, each December I’ve taken on the task of learning a finger-picking guitar version of a Christmas song or carol, and publishing my meagre efforts here on the MOTF.

Last year I added slightly countrified versions of Christmas For Cowboys and Silent Night to my repertoire, the year before it was Greensleeves (What Child Is This), and the year prior, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas… you get the idea.

This year I’ve been working on another, O Christmas Tree, whose secular, modern lyrics entitled O Tannenbaum were written in 1824 by the Leipzig organist, teacher and composer Ernst Anschütz.

O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
Wie treu sind deine Blätter!
Du grünst nicht nur zur Sommerzeit,
Nein, auch im Winter, wenn es schneit.
O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
Wie treu sind deine Blätter!

I have a deep affection for Christmas music in general (Boney M versions excepted!), and the season gives me the push I need to hone my guitar skills while finding a musical piece that brings me inner satisfaction and yes… peace.

However, the results of my efforts this year haven’t been coming along as smoothly as I had hoped, and I’m not prepared to share the imperfect recordings I’ve been able to manage so far… but…

… you know that there’s usually a but in my posts, yes? Well, here it is…

My BUT today is that in place of the music recording I’d intended, I’d like to share a bit of the story behind the making of the song O Tannenbaum, translated from German into the English version most of us know today as O Christmas Tree.

Alrighty then, let’s dig in…


The Year: 1820. The Place: What we know today as Germany.

Ludvig van Beethoven was studiously hard at work on his last 3 sonatas, with only 7 years remaining before his death.

At the same time, a love song, “O Tannenbaum“, was written by August Zarnack (1777-1827), teacher and director of the Potsdam military orphanage.

Tannenbaum is literally translated into English as Fir Tree.

At the beginning of Zarnack’s song, which is designed as a man’s lament for love, the fir tree is invoked as a symbol of fidelity, which stands in contrast to the unfaithfulness of the “girl” he mentions in the second stanza.

Zarnack continued an older tradition of drawing the melody from earlier folk songs which had been published in Munich in 1642 in which the fir tree symbolically stood for fidelity due to its evergreen needles. The song? “O Dannenbaum/O Dannenbaum”

In 1824, Leipzig teacher Ernst Anschütz (1780-1861) issued his “Musikalisches Schulgesangbuch” a rewriting of Zarnack’s Dannenbaum song that was more adapted to children’s mouths: he re-shaped the love song – while retaining the first verse – into a Christmas carol. Yes, it began as a second-hand song… combine, mix, blend. Idea Sex was alive even then!

Anschütz (below) based his poetic text on a 16th-century Silesian folk song by Melchior Franck, “Ach Tannenbaum“.

Ernst Anschütz


This is probably the first known song that creates a connection between the Christmas tree and Christmas.

With the development of middle-class Christmas traditions, the custom of the decorated Christmas tree found its way into living rooms of the 19th century, and the song came to be seen as a Christmas carol.

The modified beginning of the song “O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum, How lovely are your branches!” that is common today wasn’t yet documented in the 19th century, but became increasingly used.

Anschütz’s version still had treu (true, faithful) as the adjective describing the fir’s leaves (needles), harking back to the contrast to the faithless maiden of the folk song. This was changed to grün (green) at some point in the 20th century, after the song had come to be associated with Christmas.

Both the love song and the Christmas carol continued on through the 1800’s although the reception history of the two Tannenbaum songs was different.

Up to the First World War, Zarnack’s love song was more common than the Anschütz Christmas carol version in books of folk songs, a trend that quickly reversed.

Following the Second World War, the song with Zarnack’s text was only published sporadically, while the Anschütz Christmas carol then experienced its widest distribution, which continues to this day.

The O Christmas Tree melody was also adapted internationally.

The poem “Maryland, My Maryland”, written by James Ryder Randall (1839-1908) in April 1861 at the beginning of the American Civil War, was published a short time later in a setting by the German-born Charles W. A. Ellerbrock as a piano-accompanied song. In 1939, “Maryland, My Maryland” became the official “state song” of the US state of Maryland. Today, 4 U.S. States use the melody of O Tannenbaum for their official state songs.

In 1889 in London, Jim Connell (1852–1929) wrote the workers’ song “The Red Flag“, which, with its Christmas tree melody, became one of the most well-known anthems of the international workers’ movement in the 20th century.

In tandem with these melody adaptations, the Christmas carol itself was recorded in translated form in many countries. There are several different English versions – such as “O Christmas Tree” (1926) by H. Brueckner – and a French version called “Mon Beau Sapin“.

The song is also appreciated in its original German language in some countries. In a more recent Japanese songbook, the German Christmas carol is even reproduced in a phonetic transcription.

O Tannenbaum also enjoys popularity in Canada and the US, where in autumn 2001 it was parodied as “O Taliban” against President HW Bush and distributed on the Internet.

Numerous German-language song parodies/propagandas are documented for the 20th century. Among the flood of war songs published between 1914 and 1918 there is “Hindenburglied” (“O Hindenburg! O Hindenburg! How beautiful are your victories!”) to the Christmas tree melody.

To no one’s surprise, the advertising industry has also taken advantage of the high level of awareness of the Christmas carol. Look to Walmart with Celine Dion or Corona beer‘s use of the music for its O TannenPalm commercial…

Yes, Celine and Corona lend a great modern holiday twist that Ernst Anschütz could have only dreamed of in 1824 when he penned his iconic tune… Beethoven would be so jealous, especially since his picture was never on a bubblegum card (Good grief, Charlie Brown…)!

O Fir (Goodness Sakes) Tree

Carefree (Hardly) Highway!



Well, by now, you hardly need an introduction to today’s guest blogger Jim Ferguson (above, 1978).

As Jim says in his post, he and I have been fast friends since meeting in the hospital hallways of Stanton Hospital in Canadian Arctic town, Yellowknife, in 1977. Yes, we were the original Dumb and Dumber… just kidding!

Jim has led an adventurous life as a Physician Associate, travelling and living for over 40 years in many US towns/cities including Nome, Alaska, along with his wife Deb.

Recently, the adventure bug has bitten once more and Jim has migrated across the continent from Oregon to Michigan to live closer to his daughter’s family.

Today, Jim shares with us a story from his youth, a young, naive Maritime lad seeking life experiences along the – perilous – road…


I was recently listening to Gord’s Gold (Gordon Lightfoot – such a fantastic album and one of my “favs”) …

… and as I was listening to Carefree Highway, I found my mind and thoughts drifting like a rowboat down a lazy river in a gentle summer breeze.

My thoughts were not of love or one-night stands as seems to be the theme of Gord’s song but rather I was reminiscing of hitting a different sort of carefree highway-the Trans Canada highway, in my youth with my backpack on my back with all my worldly possessions and setting my sights on Yellowknife (YK) in Canada’s Northwest Territories.

Back in those days, all my friends in high school were talking about “going out west” to work in the tar sands at Ft. McMurray and dreaming of making the “big bucks”. I was less interested in the tar sands and more interested in YK. I remember looking at an atlas and seeing where the town of about 9,600 (at that time) was located and thinking to myself “that is where I want to be”.

It would be foolish for me to say I was not nervous as my mum took me to the train station in Halifax, NS in early June 1975 to start the first leg of the journey by train.

It was the first time leaving home for me, and at the time I was but a lad of 17-years old with long blonde hair and looking like I was about 12-years old.

Larry can attest to how young I looked. In Yellowknife Larry was this adonis-like beautiful specimen of manhood with his gorgeous quaff and thick moustache and hirsute chest while I was the total opposite of that image…😊. I looked like Kevin McAllister from the movie Home Alone. You get the idea.

With such an image in mind what could go wrong traveling alone across the country…right!!! Well… the initial part of my trip took me by train to Montreal and from there I hitchhiked to Edmonton, Alberta where I caught a flight to YK.

My aunt picked me up in Montreal and I stayed the night with her and my uncle. After breakfast the next day Auntie Sheila gave me $20 bucks and drove me to the west end of Montreal and dropped me off on the Trans Canada Highway and the real journey began. Auntie Sheila gave me a travel map of Canada and I recall enjoying long studies of the map and imagining where I was going and how the trip would unfold and the sites I would see. It was all very exciting (although my aunt thought I was crazy).

I have vivid memories all these years later standing on the highway, or just walking westward with my thumb out hoping for that “mother of all rides”, the one where you jump in and the driver tells you that he/she is going all the way to Edmonton! Well…those types of rides were rare and more often I would get a ride a couple of towns further along the highway, BUT when those longer rides did come along it was gold (not Gord’s Gold but Jim’s gold 😊).


My hitching days (frequent thumbing adventures from 1975-79) were filled with exhilaration, frustration, reassurance of my faith in humanity, and that the world can be an extremely dangerous place. Where better to experience these emotions and feelings than when alone thumbing across the country, eh?

The feelings of exhilaration mainly revolved around the absolute beauty that is our homeland-Canada! Wow!!!! What a beautiful country.

Yes… I am referring to the geographical beauty of Canada BUT I am also referring to the beauty of its people.

On the geographical side, there is magic traveling the roads and highways of the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia or along the mighty St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes, or through the vast wilderness that is Northern Ontario to the seemingly endless great plains of Western Canada, and then seeing the picturesque Rocky Mountains and finally crossing over Great Slave Lake and coming into YK.

Go and listen to Gord’s song, Canadian Railroad Trilogy to get a vast sense of the beauty and majesty of Canada. It is truly hard to put into words the stunning beauty that is Canada from east to west and south to north. I’m sure you’ve all had your own taste of it. I never get tired traveling in Canada even to this day.


On my travels “across this mighty land” (Canadian Railroad Trilogy reference intended…thanks Gord) I encountered amazing diversity of colour, religion, nationalities, etc., all making Canada their home. I’ve long sensed that Canada’s greatness lies in its diversity and in the way such diverse groups can come together and create a peaceful community.

Even though I’ve lived in the States for decades, I have NEVER stopped being a proud Canadian, an admirer of Canadians’ exhibition of qualities of friendship and peace to others. I’ve encountered English Canadians, Acadian Canadians, French Canadians, white/black/brown Canadians, religious and atheist Canadians, male/female/LGBTQ/trans Canadians and everything in-between. No matter who they were… they were amazing people.

Yes… there were frustrating experiences… sometimes going several hours without a ride, or in the case of Northern Ontario, sometimes going several hours and barely seeing a car back in those days could be frustrating! There were lots of times where I would be caught in rainstorms and soaked to the bone with no bridge under which to seek shelter.

Some days when the sun was beating down and it was hotter than the Hobs of Hades (I understand that to be damn hot) it would be challenging to find respite from the heat.

I can’t tell you the number of times I unrolled my sleeping bag and slept on the side of the road off in the trees or in a field. Been there… done that! These were minor frustrations in the grand scheme of things. I always have loved being remote and having time alone so while some frustration did creep in, I did my best to appreciate the experiences… to enjoy the moment.

My faith in humanity received a boost during my hitchhiking days. I got picked up by some amazing people (see next paragraph for a glimpse at some of the #%*holes).

I was heading out of Winnipeg with my sights set on Edmonton and a car pulled over and offered me a ride. The man was probably in his early 50s and he was headed to Saskatoon. I struck gold!

What a gem. He worked as a regional sales manager for a pulp and paper company, and he had served in the Canadian Armed Forces.

Well… we began to talk of my dad who was an RCN pilot and was part of the history of Canadian aerobatic flight – known mainly in the Maritimes as The Red Herring. This man knew of my dad and personally knew some of those in the RCN my dad worked with over the course of his career. The man let me drive part of the way so he could rest. He treated me to lunch along the way. He had a CB radio (remember those? “Breaker…Breaker…19”) and when he dropped me off on the west side of Saskatoon, he sent out a call over the CB telling people about me, and if they saw me on the side of the road to stop and give me a ride.

His final words were that if I ever hitchhiked out west again and if I got stuck or ever needed money, I should call him at any time of day or night and he would come get me if I was close by or would wire me money if I was not close by. His name was Neal Gelinas. We stayed in touch over a number of years, and I suspect that he has long since “moved on from this world” but he left a lasting impression on me as a young man on how I should treat others. There were many other wonderful examples I could share of the kindness of others towards me while traveling the highways and byways of Canada in my youth.

As you can imagine, hitchhiking as a teenager (especially one who looked like a 12-year-old) could be fraught with potential danger and peril. I experienced it all.


I was close to decapitating myself in Northern Ontario as me and this other young hitchhiker I had met on the way west decided to “hop a train” while it was racing through the woods northwest of Thunder Bay in the dark. Not a smart idea. Luckily, we came to realize that our plan had lots of holes in it and we came to our senses before either of us ended up dead.

On other occasions, I got into cars and didn’t smell the odour of booze or weed until the driver was speeding up the road like a madman. Luckily, I escaped any serious injury.

I know you are wondering “Heh Jim…did you encounter any scary weirdos?” Yes…there were scary weirdos! I won’t go into all the “hairy” details but suffice it to say that I’m a firm believer in keeping BOTH HANDS on the steering wheel while driving.

I probably should have sensed “Danger Will Robinson! Danger!” when one guy pleaded with me to change into some skimpy shorts he “conveniently” had in his trunk on one hot summer day when he picked me up in NB. I declined but still got in the car (what an idiot…yes I was a bit naïve back in those days).

I carried an 8-inch hunting knife with me but never had to defend myself with it thankfully. After 15-20 km things were getting a bit concerning so I had the guy drop me off under a bridge just north of Fredericton New Brunswick. He was going all the way to Montreal, but it was not worth the aggravation to stay in that vehicle any longer than I had to. There were other weirdos too.

As I sit here reflecting on those crazy days, I realize I would not trade them for anything.

They were great adventures, and I met some amazing people along the way, not the least of whom is Larry and his wife Maureen. All these journeys took me to YK where we met during the fall/winter of 1977, and we became fast friends enjoying lots of fun and interesting times together in Canada’s north and even a couple of visits in our later years.

My hitchhiking days (my old backpack below) are over so I will just have to live vicariously through Gordon Lightfoot’s Carefree Highway going forward.


Jim Ferguson

What Will Be Your One-Hit Wonder?



ONE-HIT WONDER… Talk about another oxymoron (I wrote about oxymorons here a few weeks back)

I’ve been described as One-HOT Wonder but you knew that already, right? I said RIGHT??? Fine, don’t answer…

Calling someone or something a one-hit wonder is normally thought of as a passive-aggressive insult, or at the very least, a back-handed compliment.

One-hit wonders are failures, yes?

Let’s look at this anew: Out of the now 8 billion peeps trodding this blue orb… how many of us have EVER accomplished something of universal note? Just one thing? How does None-Hit Wonder sound to you?

If my crude math is correct (and sadly, it rarely is)… the number of those who accomplish even ONE… a mere one… Wonder… is 0.000125% of the world’s population.

That miniscule number makes me feel very humble, and I don’t want to second-guess your many accomplishments, but you should be humbled as well.

Typically we associate the words one-hit wonder with music, but really, why can’t it explain a whole collection of acts, deeds, feats? Even the flapping of one butterfly’s wings can have a powerful impact.


Any of us possess the power to be THAT butterfly.

Of course that doesn’t make it easy; easy will never give you the sugar high that comes with eating a whole box of chocolates. nor will attaining one-hit wonder’hood.

You can produce something that stirs the hearts or minds of millions in just about any field, any endeavour.

Reaching skyward means overcoming great resistance, and often, the most powerful struggles are from within.

Here’s just a few real world examples for you to chew on, of those who caught lightning in a bottle, just once…

Music: Bobby “Boris” Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers (Monster Mash), Steam (Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye), Wild Cherry (Play That Funky Music), a personal favourite of mine, Starland Vocal Band (Afternoon Delight), The Proclaimers (I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles), Macy Gray (I Try), The Surfari’s (Wipe Out), Looking Glass (Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)), Musical Youth (Pass the Dutchie), Bobby McFerrin (Don’t Worry, Be Happy), Los del Rio (Macarena).

Actors: Michael Richards (Seinfeld), Kristen Davis (Sex and the City), Matthew Perry (Friends), Paul Hogan (Crocodile Dundee), Mark Hamill (Star Wars), Linda Blair (The Exorcist), Anthony Perkins (Psycho), Adam West (Batman)

Writers: Harper Lee (To Kill A Mockingbird), Margaret Mitchell (Gone With The Wind), JD Salinger (The Catcher In The Rye), Emily Bronte (Wuthering Heights), Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar), Mary Ann Shaffer (The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society), Kathryn Stockett (The Help), Boris Pasternak (Doctor Zhivago)

Movie Directors: Michael Cimino (The Deer Hunter), Hugh Hudson (Chariots of Fire), Paul Brickman (Risky Business), Stuart Rosenberg (Cool Hand Luke), Kevin Costner (Dances With Wolves), Lana and Lilly Wachowski (The Matrix)

Artists: Harvey Bell, graphic artist who created the iconic smiley face in 1963 for State Mutual Life Assurance Company.


One-hit wonders all, but failures? Nope. No at all… how many of us have reached the heights of their elevator shoes?

The examples I’ve given above all revolve around the arts, but let’s face it, one-time greatness can be engineered in any field, any endeavour. The Guinness World Book of Records is a testament to one-shot renown, despite its often silly rep.

Maybe we should be prodding… encouraging… our children, our family, our friends, our neighbours… to strive towards becoming a one-hit wonder in whatever interest stirs their desire, their passion, their own breath of delight…

To become a one-hit wonder is a lofty goal, and not an insult or something to deride. You deserve to be a One-Hit Wonder…

Getting there usually means having to improve our anti-resistance forces; strengthening our focus muscle is a self-discipline that, in our world of huge and ugly distractions, is a one-hit wonder all in itself…

And finally, the one-time, one-hit quote that has stuck with It-girl and famed philosopher Miss Piggy throughout her illustrious career: