Tuesday, October 9, 2018

2018 World Series Quiz

Major League Baseball's postseason has begun and we are on our way to the October Classic.  Here is a quiz to test your knowledge of the World Series.  


1.  Which player has won the most World Series rings?

A.  Mickey Mantle

B.  Joe DiMaggio

C.  Yogi Berra

D.  Babe Ruth

E.  Lou Gehrig

2.  How many has Tommy Lasorda managed the Los Angeles Dodgers to victory in a World Series?

Tommy Lasorda
A.  Twice

B.  Never

C.  Once

D.  Three times

E.  Four times

3.  What Los Angeles Dodger pitcher recorded 29 strikeouts in the 1965 World Series between the Dodgers and the Minnesota Twins.

A.  Wally Bunker

B.  Don Drysdale

C.  Claude Osteen

D.  Sandy Koufax

E.  Mudcat Grant

4.  To date the New York Yankees have won the most World Series with 27 victories.  Which team has won the second most World Series?

A.  Boston Red Sox

B.  San Francisco Giants (previously the New York Giants)

C.  St. Louis Cardinals

D.  Los Angeles Dodgers (previously the Brooklyn Dodgers)

E.  Pittsburgh Pirates

5. Which of these teams has never won a World Series?

A.  Seattle Mariners

B.  San Diego Padres

C.  Washington Nationals

D.  Milwaukee Brewers

E.  All of the Above

6,  Which pitcher has thrown the only perfect game in World Series history?

A.  Whitey Ford

B.  Don Larsen

C.  Roy Halladay

D.  Cy Young

E.  Tom Seaver

7.  Who hit the first pinch-hit home run in a World Series?

A.  Joe DiMaggio

B.  Mickey Mantle

C.  Yogi Berra

D.  Stan Musial

E.  Bobby Thomson

8. When the Pittsburgh Pirates won the World Series in 1979, what was their theme song?

A.  We Will Rock You (Queen)

B.  We Are Family (Sister Sledge)

C.  Get Down Tonight (K.C. & The Sunshine Band)

D/  Takin' Care of Business (Bachman-Turner Overdrive)

E.  Celebration (Kool & The Gang)

9.  In 1990, the Oakland Athletics were heavily favoured to win the World Series.  The defending champion A;s won 103 games to finish atop the American League West division.  Yet, they were defeated soundly in a four-game sweep.  What team defeated Oakland in the 1990 World Series?

A.  Cincinnati Reds

B.  New York Mets

C.  St. Louis Cardinals

D.  Montreal Expos

E.  Philadelphia Phillies

10.  Who is the first Black manager to lead his team to a World Series victory?

A.  Dusty Baker

B.  Frank Robinson

C.  Ron Washingon

D.  Cito Gaston

E.  Hal McRae

11.  Which manager(s) has led his team to a World Series championship the most times?  (Note: the ones with the slash between them have won the same number of times).

A.  Sparky Anderson/Miller Huggins

B.  Joe Torre/Walter Alston

C.  Connie Mack

D.  Tony La Russa/John McGraw/Bruce Boschy

E.  Joe McCarthy/Casey Stengel


1. C

Yogi Berra
Yogi Berra won 10 World Series rings during his years with the New York Yankees from 1946 to 1963. Joltin' Joe DiMaggio earned 9 World Series rings.  Catcher Bill Dickey was on the roster of 8 World Series victors, as was Phil Rizzuto, Frankie Crosetti and Lou Gehrig.  Mickey Mantle played on 7 championship teams, as did Babe Ruth.

2.  A

Tommy Lasorda managed the Los Angeles Dodgers to two World Series championships.  Under Lasorda's stewardship, the Dodgers won the World Series in 1981, defeating the New York Yankees four games to two.  They won again in 1988, defeating the Oakland Athletics four games to one.

3.  D

Sandy Koufax
Left-handed pitcher Sandy Koufax recorded 29 strikeouts in the 1965 World Series.  Koufax, who is Jewish, did not pitch in Game One of the Series because it fell on Yom Kippur.  After losing Game Two, he pitched a four-hitter in Game Five and a three-hitter in Game Seven.  He finished with a remarkable 0.38 ERA.and was chosen World Series MVP that year.

4. C

To date, the St. Louis Cardinals have won the second most World Series with 11 victories.  The Boston Red Sox have won 8 championships - 1903, 1912, 1915, 1916, 1918, 2004, 2007 and 2013, The New York Giants have won five World Series, and the San Francisco Giants have won three times since the team began playing in California at the beginning of the 1958 season.  That's a combined total of 8 World Series wins.  The Brooklyn Dodgers won the World Series once(1955).  Since playing their first season in L.A. in 1958, the Dodgers have won five World Series - 1959, 1963, 1965 1981 and 1988. That's a total of six World Series championships.  The Pittsburgh Pirates have also won five World Series - 1909, 1925, 1960, 1971 and 1979.

5. E

All of the above.  None of the teams listed have ever won the World Series.  Milwaukee Brewers franchise began in 1969, as did the San Diego Padres and the Washington Nationals.  The Seattle Mariners franchise in 1977.

6. B


On October 8, 1956, Don Larsen pitched a perfect game for the New York Yankees in Game Five of the World Series.  Larsen needed just 97 pitches to complete the game and the Yanks won the game by a score of 2-0  and went on to win the World Series over the Brooklyn Dodgers four games to three.  Larsen's perfect game was the only no-hitter of any kind ever pitched in postseason play until Roy Halladay threw a no-hitter for the Philadelphia Phillies on October 6, 2010 in Game One of the National League Division Series against the Cincinnati Reds. (Halladay's only flaw was a fifth inning full-count walk.  Larsen's perfect game remains the only perfect game in World Series history.

7.  C

Yogi Berra became the first player to hit a pinch-hit home run in the World Series in Game Three of the 1947 World Series between the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers.  Yogi hit the home run off Dodgers' pitcher Ralph Branca.  It is interesting to note that in a 1951 National League playoff, Branca allowed a walk-off home run to Bobby Thomson of the New York Giants.  That home run was nicknamed the "Shot Heard 'Rond the World" and the Giants won the NL pennant.  They were defeated by the New York Yankees in the 1951 World Series.

8.  B

Sister Sledge

When the Pittsburgh Pirates won the World Series in 1979, the team's theme song was We Are Family by Sister Sledge.  That year, the Pirates defeated their American League opponents, the Baltimore Orioles four games to three.

9.  A

The Cincinnati Reds of the National League upset the heavily-favoured Oakland A' in the 1990 World Series. 

10.  D

Cito Gaston
Cito Gaston managed the Toronto Blue Jays to back-to-back World Series championships in 1993 and 1994.  Gaston is the first Black to manage a World Series winner.  To date, he is the only one who has accomplished this. Venezuela native Ozzie Guillen is the only other minority manager and the only Lation-American skipper to won a World Series (Chicago White Sox in 2015).  If the Boston Red Sox or the Los Angeles Dodgers should win the Fall Classic this year, another minority manager will be added to the list.  Alex Cora of the Red Sox.was born in Caguas, Puerto Rico.  Dave Rogers of the Dodgers was born in Japan to an Asian mother and a Black father.

Cito Gaston's Blue Jays defeated the Atlanta Braves in 1992 and the Philadelphia Phillies in 1993.  The 1992 World Series marked the first time the October Classic was played outside of the United States and the fist time it was won by a team not based in the U.S.

11.  E

Casey Stengel

It's a tie between Joe McCarthy and Casey Stengel.  Both managed seven World Series championship teams.  Connie Mack managed five winners.  Joe Torre and Walter Alston managed four.  Sparky Anderson, Miller Huggins, Bruece Bochy, Tony La Russa and John McGraw managed three.

- Joanne

Friday, September 21, 2018

Memo to American Conservative Evangelicals

Many American evangelicals have given their support to President Donald Trump, even though Trump's policies are contrary to the teachings of Christianity.  I do not pretend to be a Biblical scholar, but I am well aware of the basic tenets of Christianity. They been made crystal clear by Jesus Christ.  He commanded us to "Love your neighbour as yourself."  He made no restrictions as identity of our "neighbour."  This is evident in the beautiful parable of The Good Samaritan.  Without exception, all human beings are our neighbours.

The American president stirs up hate against immigrants, both documented and undocumented.  He enables white supremacists to spew their venom against African Americans, Muslims, Jews, Latinos and others.  He has detained the children of suspected illegal border crossers, separating innocent babes from their parents.

In the Book of Genesis, humans are called to be stewards of the Earth.  Yet, the Trump administration has shown no regard for the environment.  He encourages the use of fossil fuels and the useof dirty and non-renewable resources such as coal.. In fact, he is a cheer leader for the revitalization of the coal mining industry.  The president makes fun of wind turbines and refers to them as windmills in a derogatory fashion.  He thinks that climate change is a hoax, even though the Earth is burning.

President Trump spurs hatred and division.  He does this at a time when the United States and the rest of the world need to build bridges, not walls.  His actions have encouraged white supremacists and bigots.  As the great English poet John Donne put it, "No man is an island."  That is why I have difficulty understanding how Christians can vote for such a politician as Donald J. Trump..  He is the Great Divider.

As the November 6th midterm elections draw closer, I hope you will give some thoughtful consideration to what I have written.

- Joanne

Thursday, August 16, 2018

A Little Good News (for a change)

Are you sick and tired of all the bad news out there?  Do you want a break from reading about terrorism, racial strife, bigotry, gun violence, war, environmental degradation and Donald Trump?  You can't ignore the bad news forever, but you can escape it for a time.

Conventional wisdom says that bad news sells.  The old newspaper adage is "If it bleeds, it leads."  However, I have a hunch that many people would like a respite from all the doom and gloom right now.  So, for today, I have written a good news post.  Here are five good news items from around the world.


1.  Despite Donald Trump's pull out form the Paris climate deal last June, many of the largest corporations in the United States have said they intend to honour the agreement anyway.  They have vowed to pursue cleaner energy and reduce emissions on their own.  Fortune 500 companies such as Apple, Google and General Motors are voluntarily investing billions of dollars in renewable energy.  They are investing in new wind and solar projects to fuel their operations.  They are becoming major contributors to renewable electricity growth. 

(Information taken from a New York Times article by Brad Plumer (August 4-5, 2018)

2.  New Zealand is scheduled to ban single-use plastic bags by next year.  This is excellent news because single-use plastic bags are one of the most common items found in coastal litter in New Zealand.


3.  Older people in Thailand are going back to school in order to order to combat loneliness.  Groups of people in their 60s and 70s are returning to school at a time when changing demographics mean that more seniors live by themselves.

(Information taken from August 3, 2018 article by Lucy Purdy on the Postive.News website).

4.  A homeless man in Mountainview, California, USA has reportedly received hundreds of job offers.  The man, David Casarez, stood on a highway medium, holding a sign that read "HOMELESS HUNGRY 4 SUCCESS. TAKE A RESUME."  He arrived in the Bay Area in September of 2017, with a college degree and three years of experience as a software developer.  Unfortunately, he underestimated the high cost of living and was unable to find work in Slicon Valley.  He lived in his van until he could no longer afford payments.  He was then forced to sleep in a park.

Someone snapped a photo of the 26-year-old  Casarez and posted it on Twitter on July 27, 2018. It immediately went viral.  Since then, Casarez has been inundated with offers of employment.


5.  Doctors in Vancouver, Canada have unveiled a procedure that could change the face of heart surgery.  Cardiologist Dr. David Wood, of Vancouver General Hospital,  has studied over 400 patients and provided the results to doctors at the Transcatheter Cardiovascular Conference in Denver, Colorado.  The procedure, called 3M transcatheter aortic valve replacement and is for treating aortic heart valve disease,  It  has taken place at 13 centres across North America, 11 in Canada.  It is an alternative to open heart surgery and usually takes about 45 minutes.  Instead of cutting into a patient's heart, a small tube is placed into the leg, which sends a balloon into the heart valve.  The new valve starts working immediately and you get twice as much blood flowing into your head, your lungs and your body.  According to Dr. Wood, the patient "is walking four hours later and is discharged the next day."

(Information taken from News 1130 Denver, Colorado website, posted October 30, 2017

- Joanne

Friday, August 10, 2018

An Open Letter to John Tory, Mayor of Toronto #3

This is is the third in a series of open letters to Mayor John Tory regarding the serious issues facing the city of Toronto. until this fall's municipal election.  The election will be held on Monday, October 22, 2018.

Dear Mayor Tory,

There have been three major developments since I last wrote to you on May 18th.

1. On June 7, 2018, the Conservatives, led by Doug Ford, came to power in Ontario.  On June 29th, Mr. Ford was sworn in as premier of the province.  

2. On July 27th, Premier Ford confirmed his government's intention to cut Toronto City Council from 47 members to 25 for the October 22nd election.

3. That same day,,in response to Ford's announcement, Jennifer Keesmaat, City Planner of Toronto from 2012 to 2017, announced her candidacy for mayor.

Jennifer Keesmaat
Finally, we have a race!  At the 11th hour, you were challenged by a high profile candidate.  That's good for Toronto and it's good for you, Mr. Mayor.  Did you really want to sleepwalk your way to victory?  Any worthy leader should welcome such a challenge.  If you win, you will be benefit from it.  Your performance during your second term in office will be much better than if you had cakewalked to victory.

This is a win-win situation for everybody.  Toronto will have an engaging mayoralty race.  Voters will be much more involved and voter turnout will be higher.  More issues will be debated and brought to the forefront, especially since Toronto's future is at stake.  Furthermore, someone will have to stand up to Premier Ford.  You and Jennifer Keesmaat both oppose his ill-timed plan to reduce the size of Toronto City Council without public consultation and debate.

In a letter to Queen's Park, you urged Ford to reconsider his plan to have fewer Toronto councillors.  You wrote: Something as fundamentally important as an election - a primary mechanism of civic democracy - should not be changed without public impacts or costs.  You exhorted the premier to "put the process on hold to allow for a referendum so we can let the people speak."

Toronto is facing many issues that must be discussed during this campaign.  This summer, there has been a tragic spate of gun violence in our city.  I hope it was an aberration.  Unfortunately, it has harmed Toronto's reputation as a safe city.  Spending more money on policing is not enough.  More preventive action must be taken.  Stronger gun control is needed as well as more programs for youths.

Unfortunately, the gun violence has diverted attention from some other serious issues, such as poverty, affordable housing and the environment.  Those three topics should be major issues in the coming election.  There are too many people living in poverty in this city.  There is also a lack of affordable housing.  It is too expensive for many people to live in Toronto.  Renting or owning a home is beyond thair reach.

Furthermore, Doug Ford's government is environmentally unfriendly.  The premier has vowed to scrap Ontario's cap-and-trade program, a program that serves this province well.  His party has budgeted $30 million over four years for a legal challenge against the federal government's ability to impose a carbon price upon the provinces.  What a waste of taxpayer's money!

Ford's government has claimed that removing cap and trade would save each Onario household an average of $260 in 2019.  However, it acknowledged that the saving would largely be cancelled out by the federal carbon tax, which will increase over time.  Moreover, on July 25th,Ontario's fiscal watchdog, Financial Accountability Officer Peter Wellman said he will review the cancellation of the cap-and-trade to determine how that decision will end up costing the province.

Ford's decision has already led to the cancellation of a number of green initiatives that were funded through cap-and-trade initiatives.  For example, the GreenOn program that provided rebates for energy-conscious homeowners has been axed, as well as a fund for school repairs.  The mayor or Toronto must speak up and protect the environment of the province's most populous city.

So, let the race for mayor begin in earnest.  It should be fascinating.  May the best man or woman win!



Wednesday, July 25, 2018

The Shifting Trends of Global Energy Usage

We are all affected by energy usage and the need for more efficient fuels and technology   The following infographic provides an overview of worldwide energy trends as countries develop and their populations increase.  The demand for energy is increasing and new solutions are needed to help developing nations move away from outdated method such as fossil fuels.  This infographic illustrates which countries are adapting most effectively to the trends in energy production and usage.  I hope you find it informative and useful.

- Joanne

The Shifting Trends of Global Energy Usage by Roof Stores.

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 parents.at 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.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Living Room to Live Room:: The Most Famous Recording Studios in the World

Here is an infographic that music lovers and others are sure to enjoy.  It is filled with information, photos and sketches regarding the most famous recording studios in the world.  It provides the names of some artists who have recorded albums in the comfort of their own homes and gives you tips on how to create an at-home studio of your own.  I hope you have fun with this infographic and that you find it informative and useful.

- Joanne

Living Room To Live Room by Insulation Express.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Bobby Kennedy, America needs someone like you again

1968 was quite a shocking year in the United States.  Two major assassinations rocked the nation to its very core.  On April 4, 1968, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was killed while standing on a motel balcony in Memphis, Tennessee.  Senator Robert F. Kennedy, a strong supporter of Dr. King and the civil rights movement, tried to heal a grief-stricken country. He talked of his own grief when his older brother, President John F. Kennedy, was assassinated while riding in a motorcade through the streets of Dallas.  About two months later, Bobby himself would be killed by an assassin's bullet during his campaign for his Democratic nomination for president.

I have watched Bobby's victory speech in California many times.  I watched it again last Sunday night and it almost brought tears to my eyes.  He ended his speech with the words, "And it's on to Chicago and let's win there!"  Tragically, Bobby never made it to the Democratic Party's convention in the Windy City.  He was shot dead while walking through the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.  If that hadn't have happened, RFK would most likely have been elected president.  After his victory in the California primary, he had the momentum to defeat his Democratic rival, Eugene McCarthy for the Democratic nomination.  He probably would have gone on to defeat the Republican nominee for president, Richard M. Nixon.

Sadly, it didn't happen that way.  Nixon won the 1968 presidential election and was re-elected in 1972.  The Watergate Scandal ensued and Nixon resign from office in 1974.  The United States was deprived of the opportunity of having Bobby in the White House.  What a loss.  He would have been a great president.  No, Bobby wasn't perfect and he wasn't a saint.  He had a heart, though.  He was compassionate, not narcissistic.  He was concerned about poverty, not about tax breaks for billionaires.

50 years have passed since RFK was murdered.  If he were alive today, I am certain that he would oppose the polices of the current President of the United States vigorously.  In an interview just before his death, Bobby was asked by David Frost about how his obituary should read.  He replied, "Something about the fact that I made a contribution to either my country or those who are less well off.  I think back to the way Camus wrote about the fact that perhaps this world is a world in which children suffer, but we can lessen the number of suffering children, and if you do not do this, then who will do this?  I'd like to feel that I'd done something to lessen that suffering."  Can you imagine Donald Trump saying anything like that?  I don't think so.

You are missed, Bobby.  The United States and the world could use your kind of leadership.

- Joanne

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Are You Fluent in Monwy Slang?

Here's a quiz to test your knowledge of slang associated with different types of British and American currency.  Why not see how much you know.  Enjoy!


Thursday, May 31, 2018

UK Residents: Here's How to Boost Your Pension Pot By Insulating Your Home

Here's an infographic that is especially relevant to those who reside in the United Kingdom.  It illustrates how how much of an impact insulating your home would have on your pension savings if you live in the UK.  It also provides some important tips on how to conserve energy, which concerns everyone.   I hope you find it helpful and informative.

- Joanne

Boost Your Pension Pot By Insulating Your Home

Attribution: Insulation Express

Monday, May 28, 2018

No, Rudy Giuliani, truth is not relative

I can't let this go unchallenged.  Rudy Giuliani the former Mayor of New York City, in an interview with the Washington Post, made a statement that is very insidious, yet so indicative of the Trump team's mentality.  Giuliani, now attorney to President Donald Trump, discussed the subject of Trump's willingness to testify before Robert Mueller and his Special Counsel investigation.  He argued that it would be a perjury trap for his client because "Truth is relative."  Then he added, "They may have a different version of the truth than we do."

No, Rudy.  There is only ONE version of the truth.  The truth is not subjective.  The truth is objective.  Facts can be checked and proven right or wrong.  Two plus two equals four.  There is only one correct response to that, only one truth. In Trump World, perhaps two plus two equals five.  However, Trump World is an Alice in Wonderland place, somewhere down the rabbit hole.  The American president and his team seam to subscribe to the Humpty Dumpty Theory of Language.  Like Humpty Dumpty in Lewis Carroll's 1871 classic Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There, they seem to believe they can make words mean whatever they choose them to mean.

"I don't know what you mean by 'glory'," Alice said.
Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. "Of course you don't- till I tell you. I meant 'there's a nice knock-down argument for you!'"
"But 'glory' doesn't mean 'a nice knock-down argument'," Alice objected.
"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean- neither more nor less."
"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."
"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master-that's all."
Alice was too much puzzled to say anything; so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again. "They've a temper some of them- particularly verbs: they're the proudest- adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs- however, I can manage the whole lot of them! Impenetrability! That's what I say!"

- From Looking Glass, Chapter VI

Robert S. Mueller III is a man of integrity.  He goal is not to trap Trump.  His goal is to find the truth, nothing more. If Trump and his associates are innocent of wrongdoing, why should the have anything to fear from a man like Mueller?  If the President of the United States is not guilty, why is he so afraid of the truth?

What is truth?  Over 2,000 years ago, Pontius Pilate who governed the Roman province of Judea, famously asked that question.  In the Gospel of John, Chapter 18, Verse 38, Pilate questions Jesus' claim that he is "witness to the truth."  A jesting Pilate replies, "Quid est veritas?" ("What is truth?") in Latin.

The Trumpsters will not stop muddying the waters. So, I will do my best to challenge them.  The Oxford English Dictionary defines "truth" or "the truth" as a noun meaning "That which is true or in accordance with fact or reality"  Facts can be proven true or false.  That is why the truth is crystal clear.  It is pure and unadulterated.

- Joanne

Monday, May 21, 2018

America has lost its moral compass

The United States has always presented itself as a beacon of hope, a place where immigrants could make a new and better life for themselves.  It has always thought of itself as a vibrant democracy.  Sadly, however, a terrible malaise has spread across the "land of the free and the home of the brave."  With the rise of the far right, aided and abetted by U.S. president Donald Trump, the Republican Party, the National Rifle Association (NRA), Fox News and billionaires such as the Koch brothers, a great nation has lost its moral compass.

What is happening to the United States of America? 

There is something wrong with a country when mass school shootings have become the norm, when they routinely occur.  On the morning of May 18, 2018, I woke up to the news of yet another school shooting, this time at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas.

"No other developed nation comes close to the rate of US gun violence. Americans own an estimated 265m guns, more than one gun for every adult.

Data from the Gun Violence Archive reveals there is a mass shooting – defined as four or more people shot in one incident, not including the shooter – nine out of every 10 days on average"
- The Guardian

What is happening to the United States of America? 

There is something wrong with a country when its president condones torture. The U.S. Senate has conformed Gina Haspel as the first female head of the C.I.A.  The trouble is that Haspel was in charge of a C.I.A. black site in Thailand in 2002 where detainees were subjected to interrogation tactics that critics have described as torture.  She also drafted the cable that was sent to destroy several .interrogation tapes in 2005.  Isn't it wonderful that woman who has been linked to waterboarding and the cover-up of torture?

Isn't it great that Donald Trump, the President of the United States has endorsed waterboarding, He told the BBC that it "absolutely works" and that he wants wants to "fight fire with fire."  The Merriam-Webster dictionary has defined waterboarding as "an interrogation technique in which water is forced into a detainee's mouth and nose so as to induce the sensation of "drowning" - in other words, a method of torture.  Let's not mince words.  Let's call it what it is.

What is happening to the United States of America? 

There is something wrong with a country whose president has called the media "the enemy of the people."  Sadly, too many Americans agree with his assessment. The United States is a country that has always cherished freedom of the press and freedom of speech, as enshrined in the First Amendment to its Constitution. In Trump's America, many people strongly defend the Second Amendment and the so-called right to bear arms.  Why don't as many voices speak up in support
of the media and the First Amendment?

The United States' ranking dropped from 43 to 45 out of 180 countries in the Reporters Without Borders' (RSF) 2018 World Press Freedom Index, continuing its downward trend since Donald Trump assumed office..

What is happening to the United States of America? 

There is something wrong with a country when its right-wing evangelicals support a president whose polices and actions violate the basic tenets of Christianity. Yet, right-wing evangelical Christians form a large part of Trump's base.  Although well-versed in Scripture, these evangelicals, including Vice President Mike Pence, support a man whose words and values are contrary to the words and values of Jesus, who taught humility, charity and brotherly love as set out in the Sermon on the Mount and in parables such as The Good Samaritan.  Trump preaches.the polar opposite.  He denigrates immigrants, refugees, Muslims, Mexicans, Blacks, the poor and marginalized.

What is happening to the United States of America?  

There is something wrong with a country when so many people believe outright lies and are unable to distinguish between truth and falsehood.  Americans have been brought up on the legend of George Washington, the country's first president.  At an early age, children are told the story about how Washington admitted to chopping down a cherry tree because he could not tell a lie.  That's how much truth has always mattered to Americans.  It is said of the first American president that he could not tell a lie.  Meanwhile, the current president cannot tell the truth.  Fact checkers such as journalist Daniel Dale, the Toronto Star's correspondent in Washington, have relentlessly uncovered Trump's exaggerations, inaccuracies and outright lies.

What is happening to the United States of America?

There is something wrong with a country when many citizens, including a large number of females, cast their vote for a man who bragged on tape about groping women.  There was no misunderstanding Donald Trump's words.  His words were captured on videotape. His vulgar bragging was revealed prior to the 2016 election.  Yet, he still won the presidency due to the result of the electoral college vote.

What is happening to the United States of America?

There is something wrong with a country when the president's budget allows tax breaks for billionaires and crumbs for lower income Americans.  The amount of poverty in the United States is staggering.  The gap between the haves and have-nots is growing wider every day.  Here are the cold, hard facts, based on statistics provided b the United States Census Bureau:

Current estimates on poverty in the U.S. The official poverty rate is 12.7 percent, based on the U.S. Census Bureau's 2016 estimates. That year, an estimated 43.1 million Americans lived in poverty according to the official measure. According to supplemental poverty measure, the poverty rate was 14.0 percent.

There are more people living in poverty in the United Sates (over 43 million) than the entire population of my country, Canada (slightly less than 37 million, according to the latest estimate from Statistics Canada).  There are more Americans living in poverty than the entire population of the state of California (over 39.5 million, according to the latest estimate from the U.S. Census Bureau.

So, what does the Trump administration do?  It passes a budget that hits poor Americans the hardest, cutting out food stamps, formally known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.  It claims that it will make up the difference with a box of canned goods, a change that Office Manager and Budget director Mick Mulvaney describes as a "Blue Apron-type program."  However, according to The Washington Post, critics have charged the Trump administration of "drawing an unfair comparison between the food stamp program, which delivers an average of $1.37 per meal to American's poorest, and a high-end meal kit that runs $10 per serving."

The Trump administration has also implemented sweeping cuts to popular safety net programs such as federal housing subsidies and Medicaid.

What is happening to the United States of America?

There is something wrong with a country that is so out of step with the rest of the world.  The United States has pulled out of the Paris accord on climate change.  It is completely out of sync with the rest of the world on climate change.  French President Emmanuel Macron has urged Trump to allow the United States to rejoin the Paris accord, but he stubbornly refuses.  He prefers to remove environmental protections and he regards climate change as a hoax.

Instead of trying to improve the Iran nuclear deal, as Macron and other leaders have urged him to do, the U.S. president has reneged on the agreement.  It is an imperfect deal, but it has worked and could be improved.  Donald Trump will not listen to reason and he continues to isolate the United States from the rest of the world and its leaders, including allies such Macron, Angela Merkel of Germany and Canada's Justin Trudeau.

The world desperately needs the United States to get back on track, to find its moral compass.  That probably won't happen unless the Democrats take back at least one of the Houses of Congress in November.  Too many Republicans put part ahead of country.  For shame!

- Joanne

Friday, May 18, 2018

Open Letter to John Tory, Mayor of Toronto #2


This is the second 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.  The election will be held on Monday, October 22, 2018.

Dear Mayor Tory,

In my fist letter to you, I expressed my concern that no high-profile candidate is poised to oppose your re-election to the office of Mayor of Toronto.  I stated that it would not be beneficial for both you and the City of Toronto if you had an easy ride to re-election.  I then listed the three most serious issues facing the city:

1. Homelessness, poverty and addiction
2. The environment, health and cleanliness
3. Transportation

In this second letter to you, I will elaborate on other issues and improvements that are needed.  Let's begin with the task of making Toronto greener and more beautiful.  Let's build a city that is pedestrian friendly.  Urban activist Jane Jacob firmly believed that cities are first and foremost for people.  In "Downtown is for People," her classic 1958 article for Fortune magazine, she wrote, "There is no logic that can be superimposed on the city; people make it, and it is to them, not buildings that we must fit our plans."

* Toronto could use more green spaces, more public squares and more outdoor seating.  One of the attractions of European cities is the abundance of large public squares.  Think of the beautiful piazzas in Italy or Trafalgar Square in London.  All we have is Yonge-Dundas Square, which leaves much to be desired.  Surely it can be improved and beautified.  It is much to stark and tawdry.  It needs more greenery, more seating and some attractive art.  Nobody expect to see statues by Michelangelo or fountains by Bernini in Yonge-Dundas Square, but the place can still be enhanced.  Let's start by giving it a better name.  "Yonge-Dundas" just doesn't have a good ring to it.  It doesn't sound classy.

* Mr. Mayor, I also think that our city needs more public washrooms, especially in subway stations.  The majority of TTC subway stations do not have them.

* For too long, developers have been aloud to run rampant and unchecked in this city.  I want to weep when I see how our view of Lake Ontario has been blocked by numerous highrise condominiums.  It's a pity!

It's also a shame that the venerable Humber Theatre, a historic landmark in Bloor West Village is going to be replaced by (what else?) a condo development.  Toronto is losing another majestic old movie theatres.  Soon there will only be sterile, cookiecutter Cineplexes.

* Toronto should have a planetarium for stargazers and astronomy lovers.  It is regrettable that the McLaughlin Planetarium was forced to close in 1995, due to budget cuts imposed by the newly elected provincial government of Mike Harris.

* Toronto's public libraries are precious.  Their social and educational value should not be underestimated.  They should always be properly funded and appreciated.

- Joanne

If you would like to read my fist letter to John Tory, click on the link below.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Photos of Cherry Blossoms in High Park, Toronto

On Saturday, May 12, I visited a very busy High Park here in Toronto.  It was filled with people of all ages and backgrounds.  They were just enjoying the cherry blossoms and snapping photos.  In the past few years, this has become quite a popular event in Toronto.  Here some more photos.

- Joanne

Monday, May 14, 2018

Spring of discontent for Toronto sports fans

For Toronto sports fans, this has been the spring of our discontent.  Everything looked so promising for the Maple Leafs and the Raptors as their 2018 seasons drew to a close.  The city was flushed with excitement and a sense of anticipation.  Even if the Leafs and Raptors failed to win their respective league championships, we had hopes that they would go deep into the playoffs.  Our optimism was not just fuelled by wishful thinking.  There was solid evidence that both teams were poised for some degree of playoff success.  After all, the Raptors won 59 games this year and finished first in the Eastern Conference of the NBA.  They set franchise records for most wins in a season.  As for the Leafs, they also had a fruitful season, finishing third in the NHL's Atlantic Division with 49 wins and 26 losses. They are loaded with young talent such as Auston Mattthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander.

So what went so horribly wrong?  Well, both teams failed to step up in the playoffs.  Their best players did not come through when it really counted.  They didn't pull together.  They weren't hungry enough.  There's no way to candy coat it.  In their first two games against the Boston Bruins, the Leafs looked overmatched and unprepared.  Boston played with confidence and poise. The Leafs, on the hand, didn't resemble the same team that won 49 games during the regular season.  Where were Auston Matthews and William Nylanders?  A team's top players are supposed to shine in the playoffs.   Boston's big line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak completely dominated the Blue and White.  In addition, Leaf goaltender Frederik Aandersen was far from outstanding.  Freddie was not so steady.  The red-headed Dane has certainly played better, but it was not all his fault.  The Leafs' defence was not exactly stellar and Jake Gardiner. had a painful Game 7.  Gardiner he took the loss hard, declaring that he "didn't show up" and that he "let a lot of people down."

Jake Gardiner
The Maple Leafs lacked leadership and discipline in their series against the Bruins.  They didn't have their eyes on the prize.  Otherwise, Nazem Kadri would have been able to control himself instead of incurring a needless three-game suspension.  Kadri's suspension cost the Leafs dearly.  The Boston series clearly exposed Toronto's weaknesses, especially their defensive flaws.  The Leafs just weren't ready.  At least they gained some playoff experience - the hard way.  Looking ahead to next season, they have chosen a 32-year-old whiz kid named Kyle Dubas as their new General Manager.  They should also has a team captain in plac by then.  We will see what happens.

As for the Toronto Raptors, I honestly expected much more from them than from the Leafs.  They played so impressively during the regular season and it seemed as if their time had finally come.  The first playoff round ended well for the Raps.  They defeated the Washington Wizards in six games.  However, for the third season in a row, they were spooked by the Cleveland Cavaliers and King LeBron James.  James completely unnerved the Raptors.  They didn't know how to deal with him..  He psyched them out.  He toyed with them.  He humiliated them.  It was difficult for Toronto fans to watch.

What happened to DeMar DeRozan?  Although healthy, he was benched for the final 14 minutes of the Raptors' 105-103 defeat in Game 3 against Cleveland.  DeRozan is an all-star.  He's no LeBron, but he's the Raptors' best player.  Something is terribly wrong when your best player is so ineffective that he isn't utilized in the closing minutes of a crucial playoff game.

Coach Dwane Casey paid the price for the Raptors' poor performance against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round of the playoffs.  He was fired soon after, despite the 59 wins and receiving the Coach of the Year Award from the NBA Coaches Association.  As sports fans know, it often happens that way.  The players can't all be fired, so the coach becomes the fall guy.  I'm not saying that Casey doesn't bear any responsibility for the Cleveland debacle.  No one player or coach should shoulder all the blame.  That fiasco was a team effort and Casey deserved better.

Dwane Casey
So, it's the middle of May and the Toronto Maple Leafs have gone another year without winning the Stanley Cup.  That's 51 years and counting.  The Las Vegas Golden Knights, in their first year of contention, are still alive in the playoffs.  If they defeat the Winnipeg Jets, they will earn a berth in the Stanley Cup Final.  It's hard to believe that Vegas has gotten so far in their initial season.  I admit that I am biased and that I would prefer Winnipeg to win.  However, I don't want to underestimate the Knights.  They have certainly exceeded expectations.  Yet, even if they weren't playing Winnipeg, I couldn't bring myself to cheer for them to win Lord Stanley's Jug.  It doesn't feel right.  It doesn't feel as if this new franchise has paid its dues yet.  The Golden Knights' success is  rather galling to Leaf fans who have waited patiently for so many years and to all the NHL teams who have never won the Cup.  Still, if they manage to win it, they will be the legitimate victors.

- Joanne