Post details: Blog Your Blessings Sundays: Who do I model my blog after?


Permalink 12:00:01 am, by Email , 1171 words   English (CA)
Categories: Blog Your Blessings Sundays

Blog Your Blessings Sundays: Who do I model my blog after?

Blog yer Blessings

First off, I am now feeling better from my illness of yesterday and Friday night for those wondering... I am recovering nicely... which is sad as I have to go back to work tomorrow and being sick on the weekend is the pits.

As a caveat, this post features a lot of audio. I've done my best to make it not-so-stressing on your computer... taxing your RAM and CPU... but it's necessary...

If you ever wonder where my writing style comes from, let me start with my first brief audio clip...

If you clicked play above, and you're a Canadian over the age of thirty-five who, like me, had the radio on a fair bit, you may recognise that theme... but let me explain why that theme is important to me and this post...

When I write a blog entry, most times, I have a voice in my head.

It was a voice I most often heard when my mother and I were together when I was younger... she would listen to the radio while going about her morning... all of this starting when I was fifteen, and right through for many moons.

The voice on the radio never left... I picked it up when I was no longer home and listened to that voice religiously every morning... right up until 1997 when it was gone... and I honestly wept a little when, in 2002, I heard that the voice had been stilled.

Peter Gzowski

Peter Gzowski was a unique individual. Although in and about broadcasting an publishing since the 1950's, his radio program, Morningside, was a staple with many Canadians on The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

While many of my contemporaries and friends were listening to rock and pop stations to start their day, I was listening to Mr. Gzowski interviewing people or reciting one of his (almost) famous five-minute essays.

Gzowski was infamous for asking questions that were longer than his interviewees answers... he had an easy, laid-back voice that had the wonderful sound that, unfortunately, smoking seventy-five Rothmans a day will get a person... by mellowing the vocal chords. He came across, on air, somewhere between a "learned friend" and a "favourite uncle" telling stories and news that otherwise, we may not have known about.

For me, he was fascinating... he was a morning window into what was being talked about in Vancouver, Montreal, Halifax, Yellow Knife, and yes, of course, Toronto.

He made me care about the whole of Canada... and see it's intrinsic politeness and hominess... to appreciate the whole country, not just my little corner of it.

He shaped, in many ways, the way I try to write... I write like you would hear me speak... in my tempo and in my own voice's tenor. I try add the emphasis when needed and try to make you feel what I see as important... in order for you to share my passions and to maybe care about what I care about... even if it's for just a short time while you're reading my entries.

Gzowski interviewed with equal weight, prime ministers...

...and school principals who had to eat worms.

He had a national forum and used it to simply tell stories, interview people, and introduce the nation to each other, and often himself...

Even though he died in 2002, I was reminded of him recently with the news report about author Stephen King being accused, in an Australian bookshop, of defacing books. They didn't recognise the famed author and were very disturbed to see a man taking a pen and writing in the books... he was signing them.

Many heard that and thought, How nice! Stephen King was pre-autographing books!... I, being a cynic, remembered a letter read out at Gzowski's memorial about him doing something similar... and you SHOULD listen to it...

Hmm... what exactly WAS Mr. King up to, eh?


I wish I could share more, but a friend at CBC kinda warned me about going too far... like playing interviews of Gzowski with a thirteen-year-old Wayne Gretzky... or John Diefenbaker... or W.O. Mitchell... or countless great Canadians...

Suffice to say that, if you're interested, the CBC has many "archived" on their site at

My Blessing is Having Been Able to Listen To and Read Peter Gzowski's Work.

At a young age, he made me care about Canada... and people... even when they were "out of sight" and no where near me.

This blessing was originally going to be about people that can convey passion... and as I was on the CBC remembering Justin Trudeau's eulogy to his father... which is another must see... I came back to Gzowski... and hence what you read above...

Honestly, Pierre Elliot Trudeau is both hated and loved here in Canada... but he is STILL, even after his death, not ignored... and no one can deny that he loved this country... the one he ran for so long... and although many didn't agree with HIS vision, it was undeniable. Even the true intellectual Conservative pundits hate his legacy as far as policies and governance... they will defend him as a Canadian... and I've heard some of the most "right-wing" Canadians jump to his defence when people who don't know and don't understand him try to take a "shot" at his politics.

Only from some very "polarized" people have I heard anyone say he hated Canada... and they are wrong... and I know the people that those folks venerate as their saviours know this too.

Justin has just entered politics... and if you watch that eulogy, you'll agree... Canada is apt to have King Trudeau II... he's as amazing a speaker as his father was.

Click here to see that eulogy.

I admit, and perhaps it's because I lost my own father at an early age, when he ends with the words, J'taime, papa.... I got and get bleary-eyed.


The standard last note on the old blog... PLEASE SUPPORT THE DREAM!

This blog is here to help promote a dream that an entire family shares... that dream is to rescue an old London Double-Decker bus.


Please, if you have a few minutes, take some time to find out more about this bus and the kooky dream by clicking here.

This bus is VERY special to myself and the whole family, and any help any person can lend us would be most gratefully accepted.

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Comment from: SandyCarlson [Visitor] Email ·
This is a wonderful post. I'm not familiar with this radio personality, but it made me think of Garrison Keillor at first. And then it made me think of the radio voices I heard in my mother's car on the way to school--mostly the (now infamous) Don Imus's. Imus was among the many media people whose regular, steady presence navigated my way through the 9/11 nightmare. It's interesting how important a role these people play in our sense of our time and our place. Interesting, too, how they shape our idea of nationality. This is a very healthy and marvelous thing in the way you describe it--intellectually alive and inspirational. You and Sue are the personalities that acquaint me with Canada--a touching, impressive, and beautiful place, to be sure.

Happy BYB Sunday.
PermalinkPermalink 08/19/07 @ 07:52
Comment from: admin [Member] Email ·
Hey SandyCarlson... He shared a little bit with Garrison Keillor... save he did important interviews with heads of state and cultural icons... and unlike Garrison, he drew not from fiction (or "embellished" truth,) but fact. Still, I admit, when I've heard Mr. Keillor, it is reminiscent.

I've actually never heard Mr. Imus' work... and save for the recent "issues" he's faced, I don't know the man very well at all.

What's interesting about all of this is how, during the famed "blackout" of 2003, when we went without power for several days, those of us with battery operated radios were the "hits" of the neighbourhood... Sue and I spent three nights sitting on the front porch of where we lived, watching the darkened world go by... and because we had a radio, "strangers" would come up to the porch, say "Hi!", and ask about the latest news or just listen to the personality who was on the air talk about the situation.

Toronto, for it's five-million souls, can be a cold and not-too-terribly friendly place... but that radio, and people like us with their own radios, became a hub and neighbours, previously more interested with their gardens and home renovations, came out to finally meet each other and just listen...

Gzowski is who introduced Canada to me in many ways... the clip where he talks about the North has a quote that sums it up VERY nicely... and the feeling it conveys is absolutely from him to anyone in this country...

"I have never gone to James Bay. I never go to it, I never shall. But somehow, I'd be lonely without it."
- Blair Fraser, "The Search for Identity"

In some ways, to a handful, Gzowski (and folks like him,) bring out that feeling of "neighbourlyness"... they make us care about people wherever they are from... and instill a passion for our countries that is not born of patriotic furor, but of simple interest in our fellow man.
PermalinkPermalink 08/19/07 @ 08:38
Comment from: Ed [Visitor] Email ·
What a nice memory of someone who was a profound influence in your life. My folks were never big radio people. I remember listeing to WABC-AM playing music when we were in the car. My friends, meanwhile, were listening to Imus on WNBC. My grandmother on Sundays turned the radio on for the polka programs, nothing else.
PermalinkPermalink 08/19/07 @ 09:10
Comment from: admin [Member] Email ·
Hey Ed... Thanks... it's a shame more people aren't introduced to radio... aside from news and commentary (like Gzowski and from what I know of him, Imus,) but every other aspect including music. I am fond of almost every aspect of radio... from radio dramas to even weather forecasts. It really is a window to the world that uses the mind more than a television screen ever could.
PermalinkPermalink 08/19/07 @ 09:44
Comment from: Kuanyin [Visitor] Email ·
Mathew, you're simply an incredible blogger! Everytime I visit you, I'm not just reading something SMALL--I'm reading a whole chapter out of a book! How you pull your posts together with such finesse and artistry amazes me. Bravo and kudos to your excellence!
PermalinkPermalink 08/19/07 @ 15:38
Comment from: admin [Member] Email ·
Hey Kuanyin... Thank you kindly... but I do admit to suffering a bit from "Anne Rice Syndrome"... I take hundreds of words that really probably should only take a dozen or so. One of the biggest complaints levelled at me is that I'm too wordy... I'm glad you like it and appreciate it... but I wonder how many "surfers" literally rocket by my blog because it is a "job" to read through it...

Judging by the amount of people that still think we already HAVE the bus, I'd have to assume that's many folks...
PermalinkPermalink 08/19/07 @ 15:53
Comment from: CyberCelt [Visitor] Email ·
What a wonderful commenter on the human condition was Peter Gzowski. I had not heard of him before and feel blessed to have heard him now.

I skipped the tribute by Trudeau's son. I did not want to blubber through by blessings.

Have a wonderful week and keep writing.
PermalinkPermalink 08/19/07 @ 21:06
Comment from: admin [Member] Email ·
Hey CyberCelt... I don't blame you... it was a moving eulogy, but did have some very funny and poignant moments! Thanks again!
PermalinkPermalink 08/19/07 @ 21:41
Comment from: NeoBluePanther [Visitor] Email ·
Another great post!

I have not been into listening to radio much myself, and being from India I had never heard of Peter either. But he sure did a great job of what he did.

As for your posts, they maybe long and it might be a job to read them, but they are interesting and there is always something to learn from them. Keep writing in the same vein!
PermalinkPermalink 08/20/07 @ 01:32
Comment from: admin [Member] Email ·
Hey NeoBluePanther... Gzowski was a Canadian thing... if you weren't a CBC listener, you probably didn't know him... Thanks kindly for the writing style compliment.
PermalinkPermalink 08/20/07 @ 06:45

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Nov. 30th 2008 - Jan. 23rd 2009

Due to a LARGE amount of projects which are mostly "offline", I will only be "blogging" Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays unless something REALLY begs me to blog about it.
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This blog was started in April of 2006... during a very bad time for me and my family when money was very tight and life was very hard.

We maintained a happier outlook on life by fantasizing... talking about what we would do when times were better... and as Sue and myself are Anglophiles, England factored greatly into our "plans".

During these bad times, while looking at news items which, at the time included items about London removing their venerable old Routemasters, I came across one photo of an old green bus... and somehow, my whole family adopted it. It became very much "our bus". (Details about "our bus" are available by clicking here.)

Like most of you, I'd heard about the fellow who'd made a million dollars selling tiny ads online... and the fellow who did trades and turned a paper clip into a house... so I thought, since we couldn't make our bus actually into "our bus" (well beyond our means,) I'd try an "online" appeal... to make the focused item of our hopes into a tangible thing in our lives...

More specifically, in a burst of adult/juvenile optimism, I had hoped to show the youngest member of the family, who at the time was still very youthful and impressionable, that dreams really could become reality if you hope and, more importantly, try.

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