Here is the Nov. 22/12 edition of “Past Deadline,” published in The Perth Courier.

Brought to you by…

This column is brought to you by my Facebook friends. And by the letter Q. (For question.) And the number one.

The hardest part of writing this column is coming up with the idea. Once I have a kernel of a thought, it’s pretty easy to pound out a few hundred words about it, but occasionally it’s a stretch.

Recently we were travelling into Ottawa and Groom-boy was driving, I like to take the opportunity to write my column on my phone when I’m a passenger, but was hindered by having no idea to expound.

That’s where the Wonders of Social Media™ kick in. (The Interwebs – such a mahvellous tool!)

I posted on Facebook as we drove: “I need a column idea. Stat.” My friends came through! (At least I think they did. You be the judge!)

The dominant theme was Christmas. Some of it was on the serious side, such as Canadian Armed Forces spending Christmas in Afghanistan (from high school chum Linda).

Rajan’s ideas included people celebrating Christmas for the first time, what Christmas means to people of other religions and what pains people away from their families take/undergo to be with their families on Christmas Eve. (Long-time Courier fans may remember Rajan – he goes back to the 1990s when I still worked there. He was one of our Canada World Youth students at the time – from India.)

A couple of people honed in on annoying things about Christmas – specifically stores starting to play Christmas music the day after Halloween (that one was from Jim), which can sometimes backfire – generating more cynicism than goodwill.

A couple of people (my Calgary friend Heather and our Murphys Point colleague from our student days, Jane) highlighted how annoying it is to hear of people who already have their Christmas shopping finished (agreed!).

The parental factor weighed in heavily with the topic (loosely paraphrased here) of “How many freakin’ gifts do kids today day really need??!!”

I hear ya! I could probably write an entire column on this subject. I used to be fairly creative with gifts, but now I am usually at a loss because it seems as if everyone already has everything. With my kids, it is sometimes hard to pick out something that will actually be appreciated, let alone beloved.

“What about the gifts and the amount of gifts kids ask for? It’s getting out of control,” wrote Jane.

My university friend Karen echoed the gift theme by asking if four-year-olds really need things like an iPod Touch. She said she knows people who do three gifts: one thing they need, one thing they want and one thing to wear (I like that) and others who only do homemade gifts. She also mentioned the “Advent Conspiracy,” which de-emphasizes consumerism at Christmas.

Moving away from the Christmas theme, another popular topic was “tin foil and its many uses, including millinery.” This was from Heather in Calgary, who then posted a picture of a cat wearing a tin foil hat with the slogan “I has consprcy thery.” Love you, babe.

“Think of what kids could do with a roll of tin foil…seriously!” added Karen.

I’m thinking I might give tin foil to my kids for Christmas.

My brother contributed a fabulous idea that I just might save for another column: “Are beavers plotting to take over the world?” Love it.

Meanwhile my bud Gary offered the following: “The best column ideas have been around for a while: Doric, Ionic and (Ricardo Montalban’s favourite) Corinthian.” Hehehe! Gary, you are such a support!

Then one of my besties, Sharon in Kingston, contributed: “I don’t think you ever capitalized on the dinner with murderers.” So true! Stay tuned, everyone. I’m outta space.

Thanks to all!


  1. […] may recall that a few weeks ago I was stumped for a column idea, so I posted a plea on Facebook. The beaver question was posted by my brother, and I think this is a fine time to explore […]