Friday, April 20, 2018
This is the first of a series of open letters to Mayor John Tory regarding the serious issues facing the city of Toronto. until this fall's municipal election,
You are widely expected to win re-election as Toronto's mayor in the municipal election scheduled for Monday, October 22, 2018. At the moment, there are few obstacles on your path to re-election. Doug Ford has left the race and is now the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario, although I don't know what's "progressive" about the party under his leadership.
Registration of candidates for the office of mayor will officially open on Tuesday, May 1, 2018. Unless a popular candidate with strong credentials decides to enter the race, you might as well be acclaimed for a second term. This would not be a good situation for the city of Toronto and it would not be a good situation for you, Mr. Mayor. For the sake of democracy, you need to be opposed by a capable opponent. You need to really defend your record in order to be worthy of a second term. This election should not be a cakewalk for you.
There are many issues in this city that ought to be addressed. I fear that if you do not have a strong challenger, these issues will not come to the forefront. If Torontonians are resigned to your re-election, they will be apathetic and voter turnout will be extremely low. The fact is that turnout for municipal elections is already traditionally low and will be even lower if voters are not engaged in a competitive campaign. "Tory is going to win anyway, so why should I bother voting." they will say. What a shame that would be! As you well know, Mr Mayor, municipal issues are closest to home and they affect people the most in their everyday lives.
This 2018 election will decide Toronto's future for the next four years. It will be sad if people regard it as such a snoozefest that they don't even consider the problems facing our city. Mr. Tory, I realize that you have no control over who decides to become a candidate for the office of Mayor of the City of Toronto. However, no matter who runs against you in the coming election, there are many pressing issues that will not magically disappear and must be dealt with carefully.
I have lived in Toronto my entire life and I am concerned about my city. Here are the the three issues I consider of paramount importance. There are countless other issues, but these need to be highlighted.because they require the most attention.
* Homelessness, poverty and addiction: In my view, this is by far the most pressing problem facing Toronto. On April 12, 2018, the Toronto Star published a piece about a report by the city's medical officer of health, Dr. Eileen De Villa. Dr. De Villa stated that "Homelessness remains a significant issue in Toronto, affecting some of the city's most vulnerable residents." She exhorted local hospital to join efforts to track homeless deaths. De Villa's report revealed a shocking statistic: 100 homeless people died across the city in 2017. How accurate is that number? Well, it is based on the city's first year of collecting death data on the homeless. Dr. De Villa said that although Toronto's continued effort to collect homeless data is among the most comprehensive in the country, hospital participation is needed for more accuracy. Still, the number is reasonably accurate and it is alarming.
Beggars and homeless people are scattered all over this city. They are ubiquitous. They can be seen both downtown and in the suburbs. They are ensconced on sidewalks and on the steps of subway stations. They are outdoors in the bitter cold, in the searing heat and in all kinds of inclement weather. They can be found in food courts and in front of shops and theatres. They remind us that all is not well in Toronto and that there is a lack of affordable housing and services for the mentally ill and the addicted.
The degree of homelessness and poverty in Toronto is unconscionable and unacceptable. It is truly a disgrace for the largest city in a resource-rich country such as Canada to have so many people without shelter.
* The environment, health and cleanliness: In 1987, English actor and writer Peter Ustinov described Toronto as "New York run by the Swiss." By that, he meant that Toronto was a clean and efficient big city. I regret to say that Ustinov description no longer applies. This town could be so much cleaner. I see food containers and toxic cigarette butts everywhere. There is much too much litter on our streets and inside and outside our subway stations. You can bet tourists notice. Visitors are always impressed by a clean city.
* Transportation: I believe in public transportation. I travel by TTC almost every day. Unfortunately, however, the system is deeply flawed. It is not reliable and dependable. There are far too many delays and service suspensions. I realize that some delays are unavoidable, but TTC. Commuters do not feel confident that they will arrive for their appointments on time. In addition, almost every weekend, some portion of the subway is closed for repairs. Why weren't improvements made years ago? Why wasn't the York University subway built years ago? Our leaders have been penny-wise and pound foolish.and it certainly takes along time to get anything done in this city.
The desperately needed downtown relief line is a case in point. There is so much overcrowding at Bloor and Yonge and Bloor and St. George that someone may be crushed to death or seriously injured some day. Do we need a tragedy to occur for some action to be taken? The City of Toronto has proposed building such a line, in one form or another,since 1910 - that's 108 years ago! The UrbanToronto.ca website displays a map that appeared in the Evening Telegram on November 25, 1911, It outlines a streetcar subway along Queen Street and future connections along Pape Avenue. There has been some progress recently. For example, last month the TTC's board of directors awarded a contract for designing the tunnels of the Relief Line South. Still, the project has been moving at a snail's pace.
Don't even get me started on the renovations to Union Station. They keep taking longer and longer to complete and costs are escalating.
Then there is the debate over the controversial Scarborough subway extension. Mr. Tory, I respectfully disagree with your stand on the Scarborough extension. The proposed one-stop subway is not worth the expense to taxpayers. Its cost may exceed a whopping $3.35 billion and I have little doubt that it will. We don't know the updated cost yet, but as you confirmed to reporters, we may have the answer by September. Does the anticipated ridership really warrant that kind of grandiose expenditure? I think not. The money can be put to better use for the residents of Scarborough.
Despite its problems, Toronto is a vibrant city with much to offer. It is my home. That's why I want it to be even better.
Monday, April 9, 2018
On March 27th of this year, I attended an exhibition game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the St. Louis Cardinals at Montreal's Olympic Stadium. The next day, while strolling along McGill College Esplanade, I came across a sculpture that immediately intrigued me. It is located in front of the 20-storey Banque Nationale de Paris (BNP) Paribus Canada office complex.
The name of the sculpture is The Illuminated Crowd and I was not surprised to learn that it is one of the most photographed sculptures in Montreal. This thought-provoking and controversial work was created by Raymond Mason in 1985. Mason was a native of Birmingham, England who immigrated to France in 1946, He lived in Paris until his death in 2010. In 1980, The Louis Dreyfus Property Group approached him with the idea of designing a sculpture for the future plaza at 1981 avenue McGill College. The artist was already working on The Illuminated Crowd and he chose a revised version of the theme for the Montreal setting.
From September to November 1985, prior to being shipped to Canada,, the sculpture was exhibited at the National Museum of Modern Art at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. It depicts a crowd of 65 people of various ages and racial backgrounds.and it illustrates a rather dark side of humanity. The crowd is gathered tightly together. The figures in the first row look off into the distance. Behind them, however, the mood worsens. It gradually deteriorates as the people display a gamut of emotions including fear, hatred, lust, sadness and sheer terror.
The Illuminated Crowd is ochre in colour against the background of the blue BNP building. It is a large sculpture - 8.6 metres long by 3.2 metres wide. Its depiction of a mob of humanity is disturbing and provocative. That is why it is such a fascinating work of art.
At the base of the sculpture, there is a plaque with the following words:
"A crowd has gathered, facing the light, an illumination brought about by fire, an event, an ideology - or an ideal. The strong light casts shadows, and as the light moves toward the back and diminishes, the mood degenerates; rowdiness, disorder and violence occur, showing the fragile nature of man. Illumination, hope, involvement, hilarity, irritation, fear, illness, violence, murder and death - the flow of man's emotion through space."
Saturday, April 7, 2018
Some family members and I recently had lunch at the Granite Brewery and Restaurant in Toronto (245 Eglinton Ave. East.) It was a cold, drizzly March day and we enjoyed sitting near the restaurant's cozy fireplace. We had to leave at a certain time and we appreciated the prompt service.
As we were leaving, something caught my eye. I noticed a table with Laurel and Hardy dolls playing chess. I just had to take a photo and I would like to share it with you. I hope you find it amusing, as I did.
Sunday, April 1, 2018
Easter: Marry Magdalene: Her image from the Bible and Renaissance art to Jesus Christ Superstar and The Da Vinci Code
Today is Easter Sunday and I would like to share some quotations with you. This will be followed by a profile of Mary Magdalene.
Tomb, thou shall not hold Him longer;
Death is strong, but Life is stronger;
Stronger than the dark, the light;
Stronger than the wrong, the right . . .
- Phillips Brooks
From An Easter Carol
Awake, thou wintry earth -
Fling off thy sadness!
Fair vernal flowers, laugh forth
Your ancient gladness!
- Thomas Blackburn
From An Easter Hymn
IN SEARCH OF MARY MAGDALENE: Was she a fallen woman who became a devoted follower of Christ?
It is usually assumed that "Mary Magdalene" means "Mary from Magdala." Although no specific location of Mary's birthplace is mentioned in the Bible, many Christian academics believe she came from a place the Talmud calls Magdala Nunayya ("Magdala of the fishes"), on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. She is thought to be of Jewish descent, and all four canonical Gospels present her as a follower of Jesus who travelled with him and his disciples.
According to the Gospels of Luke (8:1-3) and Mark (16:9), Jesus cleansed her of "seven demons."
Then followed a time in which he went on journeying from one city or village to another, preaching and spreading the good news of God's Kingdom. With him were the twelve apostles and certain women, whom he had freed from evil spurts and from sicknesses, Mary, who is called Magdalen, who had seven devils cast our of her, and Joanna, the wife of Chusa, Harod's steward and Susanna, and many others, who ministered to him with the means they had.
But he had risen again, at dawn on the first day of the week, and showed himself first of all to Mary Magdalen, the woman out of whom he had cast out seven devils. She went and gave the news to those who had been of his company, where they mourned and wept; and they, when they were told that he was alive and that she had seen him, could not believe it.
Mary Magdalene has been characterized as a repentant sinner largely as the result of a homily delivered by Pope Gregory 1 in 591. Gregory lauded Mary for her devotion to Christ, but referred to her as the unnamed female sinner with perfume in Luke's Gospel (7:36-50) and as Mary of Bethany, sister of Martha and Lazarus. The pope also made reference to Jesus cleansing Mary of the "seven demons," which he associated with the seven deadly sins, which include not only lust but pride and greed as well.
Centuries later, Jacques Lefèvre d'Étaples, a French theologian and humanist, challenged this version of Mary Magdalene. In Da Maria Magdalena et triduo Chriisti disceptatio (1517), Lefèvre argued against the conflation of Mary the sister of Lazarus, Mary Magdalene and the anonymous penitent sinner who anointed Christ's feet in Luke's gospel. He contended that they were different people and received much condemnation from French theologians. However, in 1969 the General Roman Calendar put an end to the dispute about the composite Mary when it identified different dates for Mary Magdalene, Mary of Bethany and the anonymous sinner.
|Jacques Lefèvre d'Étaples|
It is a myth that Mary Magdalene was a penitent prostitute, even though that image of her has persisted in Western tradition and theology. Mary has long been portrayed as a fallen woman who repented, Western medieval and Renaissance art pictured her in extravagant clothing or dressed immodestly in contrast to other women of the era. Some paintings even depicted her nude, discreetly covered by long, blond hair, especially the works of Italian artist Titian (1488-1576).
This image of Mary has continued into more modern times. From the 18th century on, institutes that cared for prostitutes were called "Magdalenes." In the 1970 rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar (music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Tim Rice), there is a song entitled "I Don't Know How to Love Him.," sung by Mary Magdalene. Here are the lyrics:
"He's a man. He's just a man.
"And I've had so many men before, in very many ways he's just one more."
It has also been theorized that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married. In Dan Brown's bestselling 2003 novel, The Da Vinci Code, it is discovered that "The Church, in order to defend itself against the Magdalene's power, perpetuated her image as a whore and buried Christ's marriage to her, thereby defusing any potential claims that Christ had a surviving bloodline and was a mortal prophet."
According to Dorothy Ann Lee, Professor of New Testament, Trinity College, University of Divinity in Australia, "nowhere in the Gospels is Mary Magdalene associated either overtly of covertly with sexuality." Although she is described as having had seven demons in Luke's Gospel, this description does not mean she was a prostitute. This description, argues Professor Lee, does not refer to "unfettered sexuality."
In her 2018 essay in The Conversation, Lee states that exorcisms are common in the first three Gospels. "Those suffering from demonic possession,," she writes, "are never described as sinful but rather are victims of external evils." Today we would refer to them as illnesses such as epilepsy or mental illness. In other words, Lee concludes, "Magdalene has been the victim of a serious illness and Jesus has healed her."
What we do know is that the canonical Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John clearly place Mary at the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of Christ. However, as Professor Lee points out, "the gospel references don't describe her personality, history or character." There are very few direct quotes from her, nor any description of her temperament.
In the New Testament, there is no doubt as to Mary's devotion to Christ. According to the Gospel of John (20:1), it was Mary Magdalene who came to the tomb of Jesus early Sunday morning and discovered that the stone was removed. It was she to whom Jesus first appeared after his death. Despite Mary's image in art and literature, there is no solid evidence in the Gospels (or anywhere else) that she was a prostitute or a repentant sinner. We do know for certain that she was a dedicated and beloved disciple of Jesus.
Monday, March 26, 2018
Here is a pop quiz that tests your knowledge of world currencies. I hope you find it entertaining and challenging. It was created by Moneypod, a trading style of Noveau Finance Ltd. So, put on your thinking caps and good luck. Note: The British term "notes" is used instead of "bills."
Tuesday, March 20, 2018
In this age of the Internet and "fake news," the truth is often unseen, unheard and unbelieved. That's why I was so heartened by the words of Peter Mansbridge at the Canadian Screen Awards on March 11, 2018. (For non-Canadians: Mansbridge is the retired chief correspondent for CBC News and anchor of The National, CBC's flagship nightly newscast. He held that position from 1988 to 2017). His stirring speech was inspiring. He said things that needed to be said. He was clear and unequivocal.
In an era when the President of the United States has called the press the "enemy of the people," journalists need to be defended more than ever. They are not perfect, but democracy cannot exist without a free press.
Those who support Donald Trump's views on the media should experience what it is like to live in a country where there is only state-controlled media and all news is censored. They should live in a place where news reporters behave like robots and trained seals.
Peter Mansbridge's words need to be read.. That's why I have posted them on by website. See below.
Most of the challenges that we journalists face are not news - budget cuts, changing technologies, new platforms and the constant pressure of the 24-hour news cycle. But journalism is under threat in a way that we haven't witnessed before The very principle that we stand for is under attack. Truth. Truth is under attack from those who've decided to label hard-working professional journalist who tell real stories as fake.
Nothing is more sacred in our industry than the truth. You cannot argue with the truth, no matter how hard you try. So, finding it, speaking it, sharing it, is all that matters. And we need to be prepared to risk everything to do that because power unchallenged too often becomes power abused. So, we need to fight. We need to fight injustice with facts and we need to battle bullies wit facts. Not for ourselves. We don't do this for ourselves. We do this because we believe that when people are armed with the truth, they can make better decisions for themselves, for their communities and for the world. The truth is what matters. The truth is all that matters.
- Peter Mansbridge
Monday, March 12, 2018
In essence, adverbs describe or modify verbs, adjectives or other adverbs. There are several types of adverbs, which I have listed below. A great many adverbs, especially "adverbs of manner," end in "ly." These include words such as "quickly," "happily," and "shyly." The trend in modern speech is to drop the "ly." I will address this matter after the list of adverb types,
KINDS OF ADVERBS
ADVERBS OF TIME describe when a particular event happened or for how long.
We have heard this story before.
They haven't spoken to each other lately.
We always eat lunch together.
Example (How long)
I waited for you all day.
ADVERBS OF FREQUENCY show how often a particular event occurs.
You often forget to say thank you.
I have only met him once in my life.
They never visit their aunt.
ADVERBS OF PLACE describe where a particular event happened.
My sister is out.
He stood there for a while.
I looked up at the sky.
ADVERBS OF MANNER describe how or in what manner something happened. Adverbs of manner consist of almost adverbs which are derived from adjectives and end in "ly."
The baby slept quietly.
He ate hungrily.
My father works hard.
ADVERBS OF DEGREE OR QUANTITY describe how much, in what degree or to what extent something happened.
It is very cold today.
She seems rather upset.
You are quite correct.
ADVERBS OF AFFIRMATION AND NEGATION show whether or not something is valid.
You are definitely wrong.
Surely you can do better than this.
We do not recognize him.
ADVERBS OF REASON show an indication of a reason or purpose for an occurrence.
He therefore was unable to go to work today.
Thus we had to cancel the dinner party.
THE PROBLEM WITH "LY" ADVERBSHave you noticed how frequently English speakers are dropping the "ly" in adverbs?. You hear it all the time, "dress smart" instead of "dress smartly" or "act natural" instead of "act naturally."
These are also"flat adverbs" or adverbs that assume the form of related adjectives. "Flat adverbs do not end in "ly.' Some examples of flat adverbs are "fast," and "high: and "hard." One does not say "drove fastly." "jumped highly"or "worked hardly."
List of some flat adverbs
Sometimes "flat adverbs" are considered preferable as in "take it easy" and "sleep tight." According to Merriam-Webster, flat adverbs used to be a lot more common than they are now. In the 18th century, however, grammarians determined that adverbs should end in "ly." Those grammarians are responsible, says Merriam-Webster, "for the sad lack of flat adverbs today."
So, you don't have to end all your adverbs in "ly." That doesn't mean, however, that you should abandon the "ly" at leisure, even though that is becoming more and more prevalent among English speakers.
The Russian-American linguist Anatoly Liberman has described the adverb as "an endangered species in Modern English." In an August 8, 2007 piece in his blog, "The Oxford Etymologist," Liberman writes that over the past millennium, English has discarded most of its "ancient endings." The distinction between adverbs and adjectives , he says, is blurring and adjectives are replacing adverbs. We often hear people say "she dances beautiful" rather than "she dances beautifully." The adverb "easily" has become "easy" as in "he passed the test easy" rather than "he passed the test easily."
One glaring example of this trend in speech is the preponderance of "real happy" rather than "really happy" or "real quiet" and "real quick" rather than "really quietly" or "really quickly." It is not correct to say "She dresses real smartly" because the adverb "really" modifies the adverb "smartly." The word "real" is an adjective. It should modify a noun.
I must admit that I have a bias against dropping the "ly" on "really." Phrases such as "real fast" and "real smart" grate on my ears. They just don't sound good and they are grammatically incorrect. I realize that language is fluid. The way we speak is constantly evolving. There isn't much I can do about it. However, that doesn't mean I have to like all of the changes.
Sunday, March 11, 2018
I have long been an advocate for year-round Daylight Saving Time. I've written about the subject before and I think it's an idea whose time has come. Statistics have shown that changing the clock results in more car accidents and heart attacks. Furthermore, combining early darkness with colder autumn weather makes little sense. The lack of daylight is depressing for many, especially for people who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). That is why I am pleased that the Florida Senate has passed a bill to maintain Daylight Saving Time all year round.
On Tuesday, March 6, 2018, 33 members of the state Senate approved the "Sunshine Protection Act." There were only two dissenters. (the House passed it 103-11 on February 14). Three Florida Republicans - Senator Greg Steuve and State Representatives Heather Fitzhagen and Jeanettte Núñez - sponsored the legislation. According to the New York Times, the trio said they supported all-year Daylight Saving Time because it would benefit the economy, improve public safety and advance mental health.
The Sunshine State is headed in the right direction with its Daylight Savings Time legislation. I hope it receives final approval and that other American states and Canadian provinces follow suit. As I set my clocks to Daylight Saving Time today, my wish will be that I won't have to do so in the future.
Note: To read my previous post on Daylight Saving Time, click on the link below.
Wednesday, March 7, 2018
Here's an infographic on self-publishing for authors who want their work to be noticed. It provides advice, guidance and information for budding writers. I hope you find it useful and interesting. It may even help you launch your writing career.
How to Become a Self-Publisher by Moneypod.
How to Become a Self-Publisher by Moneypod.
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
The 90th Academy Awards will be held on Sunday, March 4, 2018 and will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California. In preparation for the big night, why not challenge yourself and try Number 16's eighth annual Oscars quiz. There are 10 questions. Good luck!
NUMBER 16 OSCARS QUIZ 2018
1. The Shape of Water received 13 Oscar nominations this year. However, that is not the record. What is the record for most Academy Award nominations for a film?
A. Gone with the Wind (1939), Titanic (1997) and La La Land (2016) all received 14 nominations.
B. Gone with the Wind received 15 nominations.
C. All About Eve, Titanic and La La Land all received 14 nominations.
D. The Sound of Music (1965) received 14 nominations.
E. The Wizard of Oz (1939) , All About Eve and Titanic all received 14 novminations.
2. Who was the first Black male to be nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role?
A. Morgan Freeman
B. Paul Winfield
C. Dexter Gordon
D. Sydney Poitier
E. James Earl Jones
3. Who was the second Black male to win an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role?
A, Morgan Freeman
B. Denzel Washington
C. Laurence Fishburne
D. Will Smith
E. Jamie Foxx
4. Did Cary Grant win an Oscar for any of his roles?
A. No, Cary Grant never won an Oscar.
B.. Yes, he won the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for North By Northwest (1959).
C. Yes, he won an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his performance in The Philadelphia Story (1940).
D. Yes, he won for Best Actor for his role in Penny Serenade (1941).
E. Yes, he won the Best Actor Oscar for None but the Lonely Heart (1944).
5. Sally Hawkins has been nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her performance as a mute woman in the film The Shape of Water. Thus, she did not speak a single word in the entire move. If she wins, she will be the fourth person and the third woman to win an Academy Award for portraying a mute. Who was the first person to win an Academy Award for playing a mute?
A. Katharine Hepburn
B. Shirley Jones
C. Audrey Hepburn
D. Joan Fontaine
E. Jane Wyman
6. Julie Andrews has been nominated three times for an Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role. She has one win to her credit. For which film did she receive her Oscar?
A. Mary Poppins
C. The Sound of Music
7. Meryl Streep has been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her performance as Washington Post publisher Katherine Graham in The Post. She has won three Oscars, but how many times has she been nominated?
A. 15 times
B. 27 times
C. 21 times
D. 18 times
E. 13 times
8. If Meryl Streep wins for The Post, she will tie the record for the most acting awards, with four Oscars. Whose record will she tie?
A. Sally Field
B. Bette Davis
C. Tom Hanks
D. Spencer Tracy
E. Katharrine Hepburn
9. When Katharine Hepburn won her Oscar for The Lion in Winter, she tied with another actress. Who shared the win with Katharine Hepburn?
A. Julie Christie
B. Barbra Streisand
C. Jane Fonda
D. Faye Dunaway
E. Vanessa Redgrave
10. Who has won the most Academy Awards for directing.
A. William Wyler
B. Frank Capra
C. Steven Spielberg
D. John Ford
E. Francis Ford Coppola
All about Eve, Titanic and La La Land all received 14 Oscar nominations.
|Sydney Poitier in The Defiant Ones|
In 1958, Sydney Poitier was the first African-American to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance as Noah Cullen in The Defiant Ones. In 1963, Poitier became the first Black male to win an Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance as Homer Smith in Lilies of the Field.
James Earl Jones received a Best Actor in a Leading Role Oscar nomination in 1970 for his role as Jack Jefferson in The Great White Hope. In 1972, Paul Winfield was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance as Nathan Lee Morgan in Sounder. In 1986, Dexter Gordon was nominated for his role as Dale Turner for his role in Round Midnight.
With his win for Lilies of Field, Sydney Poiter became only the second African-American to win an Academy Award. The first Black to win an Oscar was Hattie McDaniel. She won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1939 for her performance in Gone with the Wind.
|Denzel Washington in Training Day|
Demzel Washington was the second Black male to win an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. He won an Oscar in 2001 for his performance in Training Day.
Laurence Fishbourne was nominated for What's Love Got to Do with It in 1993. Morgan Freeman was nominated for Driving Miss Daisy in 1994. Will Smith was nominated for Ali in 2001 and Jamie Fox won the Academy Award for Best Actor for Ray in 2004.
Although he will always be remembered for his wit and charm, Cary Grant never won an Oscar. However, he was nominated twice for Best Actor, for Penny Serenade and None but the Lonely Heart. After he retired, he received an Academy Honorary Award in 1969.
At the 1949 Oscars, Jane Wyman won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance as Belinda McDonald, a deaf/mute rape victim in Johnny Belinda (1948). Wyman, the first wife of President Ronald Reagan, died in 2007. She is also known for her portrayal of a wealthy winery owner on the TV series Falcon Crest.
|Jane Wyman in Johnny Belinda|
Sir John Mill won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance as the "village idiot" in Ryan's Daughter (1970) and Holly Hunter won the Best Actress Oscar for her role as the mute Ada McGrath in The Piano (1993).
|Julie Andrews in Mary Poppins|
In 1965, Julie Andrews received the Academy Award for Best Actress in Leading Role for her performance in the 1964 Walt Disney film, Mary Poppins. Andrews was again nominated in 1966 for her role in 1965's The Sound of Music. However, Julie Christie won for her performance in the film Darling. In 1983, Julie Andrews was nominated for her role in the 1982 film Victor/Victoria, but the Oscar went to Meryl Streep for Sophie's Choice.
Meryl Streep has received a record 21 Academy Award nominations for her acting performances. She has won three times. She won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Kramer vs. Kramer (1979). She won for Best Actress in a Leading Role for Sophie's Choice (1982) and The Iron Lady (2011).
The great Katharine Hepburn won four Academy Awards for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her performances in Morning Glory (1933), Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967), The Lion in Winter (1968) and On Golden Pond (1981).
|Streisand with Oscar for Funny Girl in 1969|
At the 1969 Academy Awards ceremony, Katharine Hepburn, 61, shared the Best Actress Oscar with Barbra Streisand. Streisand won for her performance as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl (1968). Hepburn and Streisand both received 3,030 votes. It was the first exact tie in a principal Oscar category. It was also the first and only (so far) tie for Best Actress or any female acting category.
The 26-year-old Streisand, clad in a sequined bell-bottomed pant suit cooed "Hello, gorgeous!" upon receiving her golden statuette.
John Ford won four Best Director Oscars - for The Informer (1935), The Grapes of Wrath (1940). How Green Was My Valley (1941) and the The Quiet Man (1052). Ford also received an Oscar nomination for Stagecoach (1939). Frank Capra and William Wyler both won three Best Director Oscars, Capra for It Happened One Night (1934), Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936), You Can't Take it With You (1938) and Wyler for Mrs. Miniver (1942), The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), Ben-Hur (1959). Francis Ford Coppola received the Best Director Oscar for The Godfather Part II (1974). Steven Spielberg has two Best Director Academy Awards to his credit - for Schindler's List (1993) and Saving Private Ryan (1998).
Thursday, February 8, 2018
"Barry McGuire's splenetic "Eve of Destruction" was the commercial zenith and, for many, the artistic nadir of this (protest music) trend. Mick Jagger and Paul McCartney both dismissed it, but the record went to N. 3 in the U.K. and No. 1 in the U.S."
- John Savage, British author
From 1966 - The Year the Decade Exploded
"The song "Eve of Destruction" was immediately labelled by the media as a protest song. I never thought of it as such, to me it was nothing more than a diagnosis of the human condition. I always thought of it as a societal mirror reflecting back on the world-wide community the inconsistencies of our culture."
- Barry McGuire
They don't write protest songs the way they used to back in the 1960s. That decade was the golden age of poetic folk music, some reflecting deep-seated anger and rage. The '60s folk movement is just a memory now, albeit a fond one for many. Sadly, there are no contemporary versions of Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Pete Seeger, Peter, Paul and Mary, Joan Baez, John Lennon, Buffy Sainte-Marie and others . I know, I know. The Baby Boomers are grandparents now. Folk music is not exactly popular with millennials and the Vietnam War ended in 1975. However, it seems to me that there is plenty to protest about in this era of Donald Trump, climate change and the threat of nuclear war between the U.S. and North Korea. The Berlin Wall may have fallen, but Trump wants to build another wall. The Cold War may be over, but Russia's Vladimir Putin leads an authoritarian state
That's why it's always interesting and enlightening to revisit the turbulent 1960s and compare that period to the early 21st century. So, let me hearken you back to the year 1965. Lyndon Johnson was President of the United States and the Cold War was in full throttle. Even though the Civil Rights Act had come into effect in the U.S., there was still a great deal of racial unrest, especially in the South, where the battle over segregation was raging. The restless and rebellious Baby Boomers were coming of age and they were filled with defiance. The new generation was listening to the words of Bob Dylan as he proclaimed that "the times they are a changin'." and "a hard rain's a-gonna fall."
It was during this volatile era that Barry McGuire had a hit song that reflected the times. It was a fearful song, an apocalyptic ballad called "Eve of Destruction." The song was written by American pop-rock singer P.F. Sloan (1945-2015) in mid-1964, not long after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, which undoubtedly had an influence on him, as did the Selma to Montgomery, Alabama civil rights marches and "Bloody Sunday" outside Selma in March of 1965. The Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962 was also a recent memory at the time, as was Dwight D. Eisenhower's 1961 warning about the military-industrial complex.
"Eve of Destruction" was initially offered to The Mamas & the Papas, who declined it. It was then offered to The Byrds, who also rejected it. It was The Turtles who finally recorded the song on their first album, It Ain't Me Babe, in 1965. The Turtles' recording of "Eve of Deestruction" was made before Barry McGuire's, but the song was not released on their album until October 18, 1965, two months after McGuire's single. The Turtles did not release it as a single until 1970, the year the band broke up.. Although other artists, such as Jan & Dean, have recorded "Eve of Destruction," the best known version was made by Barry McGuire. His version became a worldwide major hit.
Barry McGuire was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on October 15, 1935. Barry's parents divorced when he was two years old and he moved to California with his mother. His stepfather worked in construction in the Los Angeles area. Barry didn't start singing until 1960 and he bought his first guitar at the age of 25 (He did play a ukulele when he was about 12 years old). On his official website, Barry admits that he's never been a really great guitarist. He says that he doesn't even know the names of some of the chords he plays," although he knows how to tune his guitar and he loves playing his chords.
After working as a commercial fisherman and a pipe fitter, Barry found employment singing in a bar. A bar owner who had heard him singing at a birthday party called from Santa Monica and offered him a job at his bar there, even though he only new four or five songs. However, he quickly expanded his repertoire and ended up singing there five days a week. One night at the club, Barry was approached by film and television producer Fred Briskin. Briskin introduced him to the great singer Peggy Lee. Peggy told Barry that he had a great voice and that he should be singing at better places. Soon after, Barry received a call from Briskin informing him that he had a gig at Ye Little Club in Beverly Hills. Before long, he was performing at other uptown clubs such as The Troubadour.
Around this time in 1961, Barry Guire released his first single, "The Tree." for Mosaic Records. It didn't make any waves and Barry says it only sold "about 10 copies " That same year, Barry formed
a duo with singer/songwriter Barry Kane, whom he had met at the Troubadour.
Sometime later, Barry was working at a club in Hollywood when Randy Sparks, the founder of the New Christie Minstrels, came in one night and watched his show. A few days later, guitarist and songwriter Artie Podell, who was working with Randy, invited Barry to join a new folk group they were putting together.
|New Christy Minstrels|
Barry accepted Podell's invitation, relocated to New York City and became a member of the New Christy Minstrels. He was designated the band's lead singer and he co-wrote their first hit single, "Green, Green," which was released in 1963. In early 1965, after three and a half years with the group, Barry decided to launch a solo career because of his desire to sing songs "that were more relevant to the social injustices I perceived taking place around the world." According Barry the Minstrels wanted to keep singing "the sunshiny, happy tunes that had made them famous."
In 1963, Barry released his solo debut for Lou Adler's Dunhill Records. It was called The Barry McGuire Album. In July of 1965, he recorded "Eve of Destruction." It was released by Dunhill,in August of 1965. By September of 1965, McGuire's single had hit #1 in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and #3 on the U.K.'s Singles Chart. It's interesting to note that explosive race riots broke out in the Watts neighbourhood of Los Angeles from August 11 to August 16, 1965, just before "Eve of Destruction" spiked on the charts.
In his August 31, 2016 article in the Los Angeles Times, Randy Lewis opined that most 1960s aficionados would likely agree that any list of the most iconic protest songs of that decade should include Barry McGuire's rendition of "Eve of Destruction." Lewis stated that the song "packed about every hot button issue of the time into a 3 1/2 minute musical rant, made all the more brash by the buzz-saw vocals of McGuire . . ."
'Eve of Destruction" was quite controversial because of its anti-government lyrics. Many American radio stations refused to play it, calling it an aid to the enemy in Vietnam. Radio Scotland banned the song and the BBC placed it on a "restricted list" (it could not be played on "general entertainment programmes"}. All of the controversy served only to provoke interest in the song and increase record sales.. "
"Eve of Destruction" deals with issues such as nuclear war, racism, hypocrisy and violence. Here are the opening verses of the song:
The eastern world, it is explodin',
Violence flarin', bullets loadin',
You're old enough to kill but not for votin',
You don't believe in war but what's that gun you're totin'?
And even the Jordan River has bodies floatin',
But you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don't believe we're on the eve of destruction.
Don't you understand what I'm tryin' to say?
Can't you feel the fears I'm feelin' today?
If the button is pushed, there's no runnin' away,
They'll be no one to save with the world in a grave,
Take a look around you boy, it's bound to scare you, boy,
And you tell me over and over and over gain my friend
Ah, you don't believe we're on the eve of destruction.
P,F. "Flip" Sloan was only 19 years old when he wrote "Eve of Destruction." He worked as a staff songwriter at Dunhill Records, Barry McGuire's label at the time. He would later form the band The Grass Roots, for which he wrote "Where Were You When I Needed You.". His other hits included "Secret Agent Man" for Johnny Rivers and songs recorded by The Turtles, Herman's Hermits, The 5th Dimension and The Mamas & the Papas.
P.F. Sloan had a falling out with Dunhill Records over the issue of royalties. He believed his life was in danger and eventually dropped out of sight with addiction and mental health problems. He joked that the "only good thing about it was that I missed the whole disco era."
In a 1972 interview with Melody Maker magazine, music executive and producer Lew Adler claimed that he had to coax the song out of P.F. Sloan by giving him a pair of boots, a hat and a copy of Bob Dylan's Bringing It All Back Home album. A week later. Sloan returned with ten songs, one of them being "Eve of Destruction." Adler described "Eve of Destruction" as "the first rock 'n' roll protest song." "Sloan laid it down in very simple terms," Adler stated, "not like the folk people were doing."
Barry tried to follow up his success with "Eve of Destruction" by recording some more songs by P.F. Sloan, but was unable to score another hit. He branched out into acting and had a role as Old Wrangler, the leader of a band of hippies in the 1967 satirical film, The President's Analyst, starring James Coburn. He also appeared in the musical Hair on Broadway.
After his 1968 album, The World's Last Private Citizen. was poorly received by the public, Barry ceased recording until 1971. That was year he became a born-again Christian and began recording gospel music for the Myrrh Records label. A remake of "Eve of Destruction" was included in his 1974 album Lighten Up
In the mid-1980s, Barry and his wife, Mari, moved to New Zealand and worked for the charity organization World Vision. They remained there until the 1990s. Upon their return to the United States, Barry recorded a series of albums with gospel singer/songwriter Terry Talbot.
These days, 82-year-old Barry McGuire says he's "doing whatever presents itself to be done." He says that "if all the bits fall into place, I go and sing. He also spends a great deal of time with his wife and grandchildren.
* In a Rolling Stone magazine readers' poll, Barry McGuire's "Eve of Destruction" was voted one of the ten best protest songs of all time, along with works by artists such as Bob Dylan ("Hurricane","Blowin' in the Wind," "The Times They Are A-Changin'," "Masters of War,"} Buffalo Springfield ("For What It's Worth"), Creedence Clearwatar Revival ("Fortunate Son") l, Country Joe and the Fish ("I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-to-Die Rag"), Rage Against the Machine ("Killing in the Name") and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young ("Ohio').
* P.F. Sloan died of pancreatic cancer on November 15, 2015 at the age of 70. In January of 2015, he and Barry McGuire performed "Eve of Destruction" at an Altadena, California coffeehouse.
* Due to the line "You're old enough to kill but not for votin'," "Eve of Destruction" has been credited with helping to bring about with the passage of the 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1971. The 26th Amendment lowered the voting age in the United States from 21 to 18.
* In September of 2016, Barry was joined by latter-day Byrds member John York for a concert benefitting the South Pasadena Public Library in Los Angeles County, California.
Sources: The Encylopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin; Los Angeles Times;Wikipedia, Rolling Stone magazine; Barry McGuire's official website: www.barrymcquire.com
Wednesday, January 17, 2018
On January 1, 2018. the minimum wage in Ontario was raised from $11.40 per hour to $14 per hour. It will increase further to $15 per hour on January 1, 2019. To offset the increase in labour costs, some of the province's employers have chosen to take punitive measures against their employees by doing away with paid breaks or increasing workers' contributions for benefits These clawbacks have been put into effect at Tim Hortons restaurants in Leamington. Port Hope and in the Coburg area.
The Coburg Ontario franchises are owned by Jeri Horton-Joyce and Ron Joyce Jr., the married offspring of the company's founders.
In a letter to employees at two Tim Hortons in Coburg, the couple informed staff that as of January 1, 2018, they would no longer be entitled to paid breaks and that they would also be required to pay a portion of the costs for dental and health benefits.
Some background: The first Tun Hortons doughnut shop was opened in Hamilton, Ontario in 1964 by Canadian hockey star Tim Horton and Jim Charade (1934-2009) In 1967, Horton entered into a business partnership with investor Ronald Vaughan "Ron" Joyce. (Tim Horton's eldest daughter, Jeri-Lyn, is married to Joyce's son, Ron Joyce Jr.). On February 21, 1974, Horton, 44, died in a single-vehicle crash near St. Catharines, Ontario. After the hockey player's death, Ron Joyce purchased Horton's share for about $1 million and assumed control over business operations. Under Joyce's stewardship, the chain was expanded into a multimillion-dollar franchise. In 2014, Burger King purchased Tim Hortons for US$11.4 billion and the chain became a subsidiary of Restaurant Brands International (RBI), an Oakville, Ontario-based holding company.
Restaurant Brands International, the parent company of Tim Hortons, has attempted to distance itself from the current controversy and absolve itself from responsibility. It has said that the decision to pass minimum wage costs onto employees was made by"rogue franchises." and does not reflect the "values' of the company. In effect, RBI has shifted the blame to the franchises. For their part, individual franchises have told CBC News that they have been forced to reduce benefits because the head office refuses to permit price increases.
A spokesperson for Great White Franchisee Owners, which represents the franchise owners who have been quarrelling with RBI, has defended Ron Joyce Jr. and Jeri Horton-Horton Joyce. She declared that "they like many Ontarians, are hard-working small business owners who are striving to keep their businesses viable and keep all their employees employed." That may be true in many cases, but Ron Joyce Jr. is the son of a billionaire.
In an interview with the CBC News, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne came out with some sharp words in response to the minimum wage situation. She described the clawbacks as "the act of a bully." She further stated that "if Mr. Joyce wants to pick a fight, pick that fight with me and not the people who are working at the service windows of the stores." The premier also said that "Tim Hortons is a really important part of daily life for Canadian families. But so is having a decent living wage."
I won't mince words here either. Tim Hortons response to the minimum increase has been petty and vindictive. It seems determined to make workers or the public pay the price for a wage increase. Whether one agrees with this increase in minimum wage or not, the company's actions have been unconscionable. To treat workers in this fashion is simply mean-spirited and unfair.
Yes, I realize that running a business isn't easy, whether it be a large corporation or a small convenience store. Nevertheless, employees and workers don't have to be on opposite sides of the fence. It is no secret that well-treated workers are happier, healthier and far more productive. The most savvy employers know that respect is a two-way street. They know that good relations between business and labour is a win-win situation. Thus, they strive for what is mutually beneficial.
To be fair, Tim Hortons isn't the only business to react to the minimum wage increase. Ontario workers at Sunset Grill, Wimpy's, East Side Mario's and other businesses have been told that they are going to take a hit due to the minimum wage hike. However, it's difficult to accept that large corporations are severely hampered by the minimum wage increase. According to a report by Jennifer Wells in the Toronto Star, the minimum for Canada's top CEOs is now $5.2 million a year. The average is $104 million. Isn't it time low wage workers received a few crumbs? They have bills to pay and they have to put food on the table. Their income has to keep pace with inflation.
The situation has prompted a backlash from labour groups and the public. Demonstrators from Ontario labour unions have turned out at Tim Hortons locations. A social media movement on Facebook is exhorting people to boycott Tim Hortons on Tuesdays. All in in all, this has been a public relations disaster for the iconic company.
Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Here's an infographic on how to make a successful film on a limited budget. It provides tips on how to get funding for a film if you do not have a wealthy backer. It also provides a list of successful movies that were made on a small budget and facts about their background. I hope you find it entertaining and informative. Note: All financial information is give in British pounds.
How to Make a Blockbuster on a Budget? by Moneypod.
How to Make a Blockbuster on a Budget? by Moneypod.
Monday, January 15, 2018
Today marks the 89th anniversary of the birth of Martin Luther King Jr., a man of grace and eloquence. Dr. King was born in Atlanta, Georgia on January 15, 1929. He was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968, nearly 50 years ago. Almost a half century after King's death, his ideals are being challenged worldwide by extremists of the far right. There is no doubt that we live in turbulent times. Virulent anti-immigrant parties are spewing their hateful rhetoric throughout Europe and elsewhere. The President of the United States is xenophobic, racist and misogynistic. Incidents of antisemitism and Islamophobia abound and they are being reported constantly in the media.
In the face of all this, we need to hear the voice of reason. We need to be reminded of what Martin Luther stood for and of his struggle for civil rights. An assassin took Dr. King's life, but no one can ever take way his dream. His dream lives on in the hearts of all those who seek justice and equality. His spirit lives on in all those who stand up human rights. His voice can be heard in the choir of those who sing out for freedom. The beautiful words of King's "I Have a Dream" speech continue to inspire and resonate. That is why, to counter all the hateful and ugly rhetoric, I am posting an excerpt from King's speech, which he delivered from the Lincoln Memorial during the historic 1963 civil rights march on Washington D.C. As the man himself would say., "We shall overcome."
EXCERPT FROM MARTIN LUTHER KING'S "I HAVE A DREAM SPEECH" (August 28, 1963)
"Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.
And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a
nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of
I have a dream today!
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" -- one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today!
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."
Friday, January 12, 2018
Do you want to put a smile on your face this January day. Here are some riddles and word plays that should bring you some cheer. I hope you enjoy them.
What is the difference between roast beef and a car?
Answer: Roast beef has horse radish and a car has horse power.
The more you take, the more you leave behind. What am I?
What has a tongue but isn't able to taste and a soul but doesn't live.
Answer; A shoe
When is a door not a door.
Answer: When it's ajar
I follow you all day but not at night. What am I?
Answer: Your shadow
Why do the French enjoy eating escargot (snails)?
Answer: Because they don't like fast food.
What did Prince Charming say to Cinderella before she tried on the glass slipper?
Answer: The shoe must go on.
What do you call a scary female horse?
Answer: A nightmare.
What two things can you never eat for breakfast?
Answer: Lunch and supper
What is always on its way here but never arrives?
Poor people have it. Rich people need it. If you eat it you die. What is it?
What has branches and leaves and no bark?
Answer: A library
Miser; A person who lives poor so that he can die rich.
Ramification: A consequence that is forced down your throat.
Atom Bomb: An invention to end all intentions.
Opportunist: A person who starts taking a bath if he falls into a river.
Experience: The word people give to their mistakes.
Stalemate: Leading cause of divorce.
Apiary: A sting operation
Transcendental: Above the teeth
- Compiled by Joanne