Fluff Top 25

Top 25 Influences

I have named my Top 25 most influential icons for the first 28 years of my life.

Like the quote by James Russell Lowell says, those who you idolize/like measures your strength of character. Take a look at these 25 picks, and draw your own conclusions.

25. Who: John Stuart Mill
What: British Economist
Why: I was first exposed to the father of Libertarian thinking in my Victorian Poetry and Prose course. Stunned by his genius, his history and his book On Liberty, I continued to read Mill’s political musings. He was the first advocate for women’s rights and originated the Harm Principle – a fantastic idea.
24. Who: Henry David Thoreau
What: American Naturalist
Why: Though I do not support anarchism, being that humans do need some semblance of structure, Thoreau’s ideas on the individual and on the environment is what drew me to his work Walden. What impressed me most about Thoreau was his fascination with the environment before the “Save the Whales” of the ’80s, “Ozone Layer” of the ’90s and the current “Global Warming” issue.
23. Who: Bertrand Russell
What: British Philosopher
Why: A legendary man who exercised the irrelevance of war, the need for women’s rights and racial equality. He came after J.S. Mill, but was still far ahead of his time ethically and logically. His ideals were directed by common sense and agnosticism.
22. Who: Jean-Paul Sartre
What: French Philosopher
Why: Exposed to the manifesto of Existentialism in university – La Nausée – I was enamored with Sartre’s views on the world. Perhaps, I was drawn to the fact that his tome Being and Nothingness among others were placed on the R.C. Church’s taboo list. A little controversy never hurt anyone.
21. Who: Eric Davis
What: American Athlete
Why: A baseball legend that got me watching the Cincinnati Reds back in the days when they actually won games and didn’t blow their future on a futile centerfielder like Ken Griffey Jr. Davis was a long-ball hitter, and one of the many reasons why the Reds won the world series.
20. Who: Mats Naslund
What: Swedish Athlete
Why: Forced to wear Montreal Canadiens gear as a young child – a propaganda initiative enacted by my dad – I followed a highly underrated player amidst a stellar cast of superstars. Mats Naslund was a short, but speedy Swede who managed to be a franchise player for the Habs. He was a workhorse, a leader and one hell of a skater.
19. Who: Petra Nemcova
What: Czech Supermodel
Why: I am drawn to Slavic women for some reason. In particular Nemcova, who graced the pages of Sports Illustrated. I quickly became a fan of the svelte Czech models. I took more notice of her when the tsunami hit Southeast Asia, and she became an ambassador to the region, fighting to help the people who helped her.
18. Who: Walter Iooss Jr.
What: American Photographer
Why: I always wondered who the eye behind the lens was when flipping through the pages of Sports Illustrated’s famous annual issue. Marissa Miller, Petra Nemcova and Angie Everhart always shone the brightest for Iooss. That kind of power, intuition and flare – with beauty as his medium – is sensational.
17. Who: Roger Hodgson
What: British Musician
Why: One of the best lyricists during the 1970s. During my teenage years, the band Supertramp was the bomb. Their top selling album Breakfast in America was released the same year I was born. I grew up with it playing, as my dad would constantly play the album.
16. Who: Lauren Bacall
What: American Actress
Why: A smart, savvy and forthright woman from an era of Hollywood that was classy. Bacall was Bogart’s equal on all levels. Her throaty voice, dagger-like eyes and lithe seductiveness added to the overall package. She had class, poise and intelligence and was the brains behind the Holmbly Hills rat pack.
15. Who: Samuel Taylor Coleridge
What: British Poet
Why: My first exposure to him was back in high school when I read his laudanum induced “Kubla Khan,” for English class. The poem set off shockwaves in my head, drawing me more into the depths of Romantic period poetry.
14. Who: Pierre Elliot Trudeau
What: Canadian Politician
Why: There hasn’t been a politician – a person – who was as passionate as Trudeau. The man genuinely cared about the country, and about its people. He is the only Prime Minister to enact Marshal Law and the only leader with charisma.
13. Who: Gregory Peck
What: American Actor
Why: He was the pinnacle of being a gentleman. Peck was great in Cape Fear, To Kill a Mockingbird and Spellbound. There isn’t a nicer gent in Hollywood since then. I can’t say anything more about the man who made La-La land respectable.
12. Who: Paul Molitor
What: American Athlete
Why: I grew up liking both the Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds. The Brewers because of the sportsmanlike play of one Paul Molitor. I was ecstatic when my favourite player came to Toronto to play, winning a World Series in 1993.
11. Who: Nelson Mandela
What: South African Politician
Why: Racism is truly one of the most idiotic ideologies on this planet. We’re all human, so what the hell does colour have to do with things? Apparently in South Africa it means everything. The Dutch/British got a swift kick to the nuts from this man, who championed human rights during the time of the Apartheid.
10. Who: Charles Darwin
What: British Naturalist
Why: At my first year anthropology class (1999), our professor told us that the course taught evolution. If we didn’t like it the door was available for us to walk out of. In order to get a hefty understanding of the more logical theory to explain humans, I holed up reading On the Origin of Species – probably one of the best things I did with my education.
9. Who: Hugh Hefner
What: American Publisher
Why: Admittedly he is getting a little old to be playing around, but hell the man enjoys himself – and it was his journalistic savvy that led to one of biggest cultural trends of the 20th century. Agree or disagree, Hef and his eye for the most beautiful facet of society – the mature female body in its pristine form – is unprecedented.
8. Who: Dennis Miller
What: American Comedian
Why: I thank my friend Akshay for exposing me to the phrase, “Now, I don’t want to get off on a rant here … ”. It was the words of Dennis Miller that made me laugh hysterically. He is a true comedic genius, albeit a wordy one.
7. Who: Carl Hiaasen
What: American Writer
Why: Ever since I picked up the book Basket Case I have been feverishly reading Hiaasen books. He’s quirky, creative and humourous. His sense of humour has made a profound impact on my writing and I appreciate his unique storytelling qualities.
6. Who: Daniela Pestova
What: Czech Supermodel
Why: Underrated, unknown and deadly in the beauty category, this Czech dream bridges the teenage years of Cindy Crawford to the present. If there ever was a woman to replace Cindy Crawford, it would surely be Ms. Pestova. Did I mention that I love the Czech Republic?
5. Who: Stephen King
What: American Writer
Why: The man is pure platinum when it comes to social criticism. If teachers of English literature ever remove the firmly planted pickle from their asses, they will come to realize the fundamentals behind King’s work. He deviously combines pop-culture with modern day quirks and creates a twisted, horrific landscape.
4. Who: Hunter S. Thompson
What: American Journalist
Why: Not a fan of his excesses, but a heavy supporter of the mad craziness he encouraged. The talented Dr. Gonzo was a bona fide genius. Injecting himself into the oft banal news, Thompson was the epitome of creativity. Long Live Gonzo!
3. Who: Tom Selleck
What: American Actor
Why: Growing up, I wanted to be like Magnum P.I. I wanted to do a voice-over as my life played out in its entirety. The opening line: “I know what you’re thinking.” Tom Selleck was the man, playing a cop in the futuristic thriller Runaway and an out-of-place American cowboy in Quigley Down Under.
2. Who: Cindy Crawford
What: American Supermodel
Why: You could say she was in the right place at the right time for a tweenage lad. Being a tall, leggy and svelte model for Revlon, this vision of grandeur was the woman of my dreams during my more formulative years.
1. Who: Humphrey Bogart
What: American Actor
Why: Bogart was a stylish, dynamic and bold man who had his wits about him. There isn’t a man cooler than Bogart on the face of the planet. Never will be. It is because of this, that the silver-screen star was my idol during my teenage years and arguably throughout life.

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