Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Most Iconic Falls in Film History: A Guide to the Movie Fall of Fame

The following infographic is a rundown of the most famous and dramatic falls in film history.  It provides a brief summary of the fall in the context of a particular movie.  It contains statistics related to its length, speed, time and impact.  It also rates the fall within the Fall of Fame.  Film buffs, especially fans of action movies, should really enjoy this.  It is entertaining and fun.

- Joanne

The Most Iconic Falls in Film History by Roof Stores.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Welcome home, John Tavares

“I just felt like my heart was in two places: where I’m from, and a place where I’ve been for a long time and helped me become the man I am today. My gut was tearing apart, my heart was tearing apart figuring out what I wanted to do. And yesterday was one heck of a day… I was walking up and down the pool at my house trying to get a sense of what I wanted to do and the path I wanted to take. I just felt this opportunity was just so rare.”

- John Tavares, on his decision to leave the New York Islanders for a 7-year deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs
Press Conference, July 1, 2018
Welcome back, John Tavares!  Toronto Maple Leaf fans are delighted that you've made the decision to come home to the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).   You're a local boy, born in Mississauga and raised in Oakville. The Leafs were your favourite childhood team. Now you have an opportunity to lead them to their first Stanley Cup victory in over 51 years.  It's the chance of a lifetime, but it's also a monumental challenge.

Leaf fans have endured years of frustration and disappointment.  The team was grossly mismanaged under the ownership of Harold E. Ballard.  In 1979, at the lowest point in Ballard's reign, coach Roger Neilson was fired in the middle of the season with no announcement to the press.  In fact, Neilson was forced to inform the media of his own dismissal.  Leaf fans were in an uproar and Ballard was unable to quickly find a suitable replacement.  So, he reinstated Neilson two days later.  However, in a foolish attempt to surprise the fans with a mystery coach, Harold made a strange request.  He asked Neilson to wear a paper bag over his head as he entered the arena for his first game back. The bag would be removed when he arrived at the bench.  Mercifully, Roger refused to do so, but he still finished the season with the Maple Leafs.  He was fired again the following April.

Then there was the debacle in Game 6 of the 1993 Western Conference Final.  In the words of hockey writer Luke Fox, that game "defined misery for a generation of Leaf fans.  Referee Kerry Fraser failed to call a penalty on Wayne Gretzky's for high sticking Leafs star Doug Gilmour.  The Los Angeles Kings went on to win the game and the seventh and deciding game.  Canadian hockey fans were deprived of a glorious Stanley Cup final between the Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens.

More recently, there was the Leafs' meltdown in Game 7 of their 2013 playoff series with the Boston Bruins.  The Leafs just collapsed and relinquished a 4-1 lead with 11 minutes to play in the third period.  They allowed the Bruins to come back and win the game 5-4 (and the series) in overtime. Here's how Chris Johnston described the feeling on Sportsnet,com for Maple Leaf fans: "To lose a game you led by three goals would be crushing if it happened in February; to do it in Game 7 of a playoff series is nothing short of soul-destroying."

Something had to be done to right the ship.  In the spring of 2014, Brendan Shanahan was officially announced as the Leafs' president and he developed a plan for the Leafs.  In May of 2015, Mike Babcock took over as head coach.  In July of 2015, Lou Lamoriello was added to the mix as general manager.  Fans were told to be patient, that there would be pain before victory.  So Torontonians accepted a season of finishing 30tth in a 30-team league with nary a complaint.  Their reward was the acquisition of prized centre Auston Matthews, whom they acquired in the draft lottery.  Lamoriello has since left the Leafs and accepted the GM position with the New York Islanders.  He has been replaced by the young, up-and-coming Kyle Dubas, who was instrumental in persuading you to sign with the Leafs.

It appears that all the pieces of the puzzle are finally coming together for the Maple Leafs.  Nothing is guaranteed, though, and we could still be disappointed.  Nevertheless, there are valid reasons for hope and optimism.

John, you were born on September 20, 1990.  You are far too young to remember the sordid history of the Ballard era and you were just a toddler when the Gretzky/Gilmour incident occurred. You came into this world 33 years before the Leafs last won the Stanley Cup in May of 1967. You've probably only seen grainy photographs and old video clips of the event.inning the Holy Grail of Hockey was a lot easier back then,  There were only six teams in the league and the Leafs routinely draped themselves in glory. Thy won four Cups during the 1960s., but they haven't even played in the Stanley Cup Final since then.

You posted a yourself as a young boy with a Leafs blanket on your bed as you slept.  However, you did not sign with the Leafs merely for sentimental reasons.  If that had been your only consideration, you would have remained with the New York Islanders. You spent nine season with that team and you many great memories.

You did not sign with the Leafs because they offered you the most money either, or the longest contract.  The Islanders reportedly offered you $11.25 million annually, compared to the Leafs' $77 million and they were the only team to present you with an eight year deal, compared to the seven-year contract you accepted with the Leafs.  You must genuinely believe that this team is headed in the right direction and that you have the best chance of winning it all in Toronto than in the other cities you could have chosen.

The Leafs are coming off a 105-point season.  They they have a core of young, talented players such as Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander.  Their future looks bright because their American Hockey League farm club, the Toronto Marlies, won the Calder Cup recently.  Those factors undoubtedly influenced your decision to sign with the Leafs.

Here's what you told the press on Canada Day:

"It really took the right opportunity and fit.  I thought the timing couldn't be beat and certainly being from here, and I think that where this team is at and how good and young their core players are., and obviously seeing in recent weeks how the Marlies did and what the future holds, with much more talent and the job they've done here, it was just hard to turn down.  It was hard to turn down this opportunity."

You haven't been designated captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs yet, but I'm sure you will be.  Who else is better qualified to wear the "C" on his chest than you?  You have the right leadership qualities and lots of experience.  After all, you were captain of the New York Islanders for over five years and you don't exactly seem averse to the idea of assuming the captaincy of Toronto's storied hockey franchise.  At your July 1 press conference, here's what you said when broached about the subject.

“That never came up in our conversations over this past week. They definitely expressed me coming in and wanting to use my experiences as a captain and things they believe I can use as leadership qualities.”

On a sweltering summer day in Toronto, we Leaf fans can hardly be forgiven if we allow our imaginations to run amuck.  We can't be faulted for daydreaming about you hoisting Lord Stanley's Jug in a parade along Yonge Street.   can provide you with a better feeling than that.  No city is more hungry for a Stanley Cup than Toronto.  You can own this town, Mr. Travares.

People in this city are already wearing Leaf sweaters with Tavares' number 91 on them. We can dream of Stanley Cup glory, can't we?

- Joanne

Monday, June 25, 2018

The World Cup Legacy: Is It Really Worth It?

Okay, fans of the "beautiful game."  Here is an infographic on the legacy of World Cups.  As we enjoy this year's FIFA World Cup in Russia, let's take a look at some graphics and statistics about previous World Cups in Korea/Japan 2002, Germany 2006, South Africa 2010 and Brazil 2014.  Was it really worth it for those countries to host this international football/soccer championship.  I hope this provides you with some insight.

- Joanne

In order to host a World Cup, countries have to go through an arduous bidding process, competing against other nations for the prize of hosting the biggest sporting spectacle on Earth. However, more is promised than just a month long festival of football. When any major sporting event takes place, a lot is said about the legacy that it will leave behind once all the spectators have went home. This is especially true for the World Cup. The hosting nation often builds new stadiums, infrastructure and accommodation. In return for this, an economic stimulus is promised. A World Cup is meant to leave permanent benefits for the host nation, in terms of job creation, increased participation in football and public facilities. But does this happen? We’ve analysed some of the key outcomes of the previous four World Cups to find out.

During the 2002 World Cup, co-hosted by South Korea and Japan, South Korea’s national side miraculously made it the the Semi Final’s, narrowly losing 1-0 to a 75th minute Michael Ballack strike. The event was hailed as a success for its seamlessly smooth operations and excellent football, but what effect did this have on both of the host countries? Tourism to Japan increased after the tournament. The Japanese public opinion of South Korea reached an all time high, helping to heal long standing issues between both countries, stemming from WW2. Although football is popular in Japan today, baseball remains the nations favourite pastime. The tournament reportedly cost a combined total of $7.5b to host, with an estimated economic impact of $11.86bn, making the tournament a financial success. This was the first time the World Cup was hosted across two countries.

The 2006 World Cup in Germany was widely praised as a tremendous success for the nation. According to the German government, tourism revenue increased by around $400m during the tournament, helping to boost the Germany economy. Also, a staggering 500,000 new jobs were created in the lead up to the tournament. The city of Cologne reported that their visitor numbers after the World Cup increased by between 7& and 10%. Another tangible benefit was that in preparation for the tournament, the German government invested the sum of €37b in infrastructure such as roads, transportation and facilities, so that the country could facilitate the surge in visitors. This is something that the German people still benefit from today. The German League also benefited by being awarded $70m, which was in turn put into grassroots development, so that young Germans could dream about playing in a World Cup one day themselves.

South Africa spend around $4bn on the 2010 World Cup, investing the money in six new state of the art stadiums and upgrading infrastructure such as roads and airports. FIFA generated a staggering $3.36bn from the event and awarded South Africa with $100m to fund grassroots projects around the country. Unfortunately, the South Africa World Cup has done nothing to improve the fortunes of the nations national team. Nicknamed Bafana Bafana, the team failed to qualify for Russia 2018, finishing bottom of their qualifying group with 4 points from 6 games. The national league still suffers from poor attendances, excluding the countries two major teams, Orlando Pirates and the Kaiser Chiefs. The estimated average cost of a tourist attending South Africa for the World Cup is estimated to be $13,000. The Cape Town stadium hosted five first round matches, and went on to host a second round, quarter final and semi final throughout the tournament. The stadium cost a reported $600m with the nations total spending for stadium construction and reburbishment topping $1.4bn. This left many South African’s wondering if they money could be better spent elsewhere in the country.

Widely criticised for leaving Brazil with several expensive but dormant stadiums, the 2014 World Cup is one that divides opinion. Brazil exited the tournament in a humiliating 7-1 defeat to Germany in the Semi Final, leaving the Selecao’s dream of winning the World Cup on home soil in tatters. Despite initial concerns, the 12 World Cup stadiums were ready on time for the opening ceremony to begin. However, now lies several near-abandoned stadiums which struggle to host any football at all. The most expensive stadium, adding up to a total cost of $550m, is located in Brasilia and is being used as a parking space for buses. 

Copyright 2014 Nouveau Finance Limited.  Moneypod is a trading style of Noveau Finance.Ltd. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Is U.S, Attorney General Jeff Sessions using the Bible to defend evil?

"The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose!"

- William Shakespeare
From The Merchant of Venice, Act 1, Scene 3

 U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has quoted from the Bible in defence of President Donald Trump's immigration policy.  In so doing, Sessions has cited Scripture for an evil purpose. He has used a Biblical verse to justify the inhumane practice of separating the children of undocumented immigrants from their the southern border of the United States.

The passage that Sessions quoted is from St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans 13:1, which reads as follows:

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.

Here is what the Attorney General has said to justify the United States Justice Department's policy of prosecuting migrants who cross the border from Mexico.  During a speech to law enforcement officers in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Sessions declared, ""I would cite you the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for his purposes."

That passage from Romans 13 has been used to defend the most execrable and immoral practices.  Sessions, who is a Southerner from Alabama, knows that it has been quoted to justify slavery and the treatment of human beings as property.  The Nazis in Germany used it give religious authority to genocide.  In South Africa, it was used to grant legitimacy to apartheid.  St. Paul would be appalled to know that his words have been used to condone actions that cause human suffering.  Paul himself spent time in prison because he did not always obey the rules of unjust governors.

What Jeff Sessions has suggested is that God supports the Trump administration's reprehensible policy of tearing children away from their parents.  He has advocated that laws should be blindly obeyed, even unjust laws.  Sessions should read Henry David Thoreau's essay, Civil Disobedience.

"The government itself, which is the only mode which people have to execute their will, is equally liable to be abused and perverted, before people can act through it."

"Under a government which imprisons anyone unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison."

In 1963, civil rights leader, Martin Luther King, Jr. went to prison because he protested the segregation laws in Alabama, defying a judge who ruled that Dr. King could not hold protests in the city of Birmingham.  In his Letter from a Birmingham Jail, King explained why he had broken the law.  "I am here because injustice is here, King wrote.  "I would agree with St. Augustine that an unjust law is no law at all."

According to a 2016 profile in Newsweek magazine, Sessions is a Sunday school teacher at the Ashland Place United Methodist Church in Mobile, Alabama..  He has also been a delegate to the annual Alabama Methodist Conference.  Is it any wonder that Southern Baptist leader Russell Moore told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that AG Sessions "could use more time in Sunday school?"  Moore, who is responsible for lobbying the government for Southern Baptist interests, declared, "We all have moments when we could use a little more time in Sunday school and this is one of those moments for the Department of Justice."


Sessions reminds me of the Pharisees, a Jewish sect at the time of Christ.  They followed the letter of the law, but ignored the spirit of the law.  They were more concerned about appearances than actions.  They were more interested in upholding the law than acting compassionately.  That is why they criticized Christ for healing the sick on the Sabbath.  Christ, however, called them out for their hypocrisy.

Instead of focusing on a singular Biblical quote, Sessions should instead focus on the basic tenets of Christianity such as "love your neighbour as yourself."  He should also reread the parable of the "Good Samaritan" and write a 500-word essay on it.  Let me be clear.  I am not advocating that laws should be completely disrespected and ignored, only that they should not be obeyed blindly and unquestioningly.

In a just society, compassion should always overrule the letter of the law.  How dare the Attorney General of the United States hide behind the Bible to justify the cruel and immoral treatment of innocent babes in arms!  How dare President Donald Trump blame the Democrats for this egregious policy!  He has the power to stop it with the stroke of a pen.  Instead he refuses, using the children as a bargaining chip to obtain the funding for his insufferable wall along the Mexican border.  What kind of of president does that? What kind of a man does that?

This should not be a partisan issue.  It is a moral issue.  That's why all five living First Ladies of the United States, including Donald Trump's own wife, Melania, have spoken out against the so-called "zero tolerance" family separation policy.  It appears however, that their opposition has fallen on deaf ears.

The Trump administration has brought shame and disgrace upon a great nation.  It is time to stand up to the horror that it has wrought.  Children need the security of being with their parents.  Pediatric experts agree that without that security, they will suffer irreversible psychological damage.  That is an outrage!  It's time to take a stand.  People in the United States and around the world should protest and speak out against Trump's immigration policy.  Thankfully, Americans have the chance to express their opposition with their vote on November 6, 2018.

- Joanne

EDITOR'S UPDATE (June 20, 2018): Under increasing pressure from the public (and reportedly from his wife Melania and daughter Invanka), President Trump has announced his intention to back down on his policy of separating children from their parents.  It's good that Trump has changed course, albeit rather reluctantly.  He has blamed the Democrats for the immigration debacle, saying that they were the reason for the separation of families.  Yet, he now says he intends to sign an executive order backing down on his administration's unconscionable treatment of migrant children.    It turns out he can put a stop to it with the stroke of a pen.

What about the 2,300 children who are already separated from their parents?  Their fate is unclear and they remain locked up.  The executive order does not excuse what Trump has done and does not undo the harm to the children that have already been detained.