Wednesday, May 25, 2022

The Second Amendment

 

A racially-motivated mass shooting at a store in Buffalo.  Another mass shooting at an elementary school in Texas.  This is not what the Second Amendment intended.  This is not the so-called American dream.  The GOP and the NRA have blood on their hands.  They are responsible for the slaughter of innocents.  This can't continue.  America needs sensible gun control laws now!  

Americans are not free if they are not safe.



- Joanne

Monday, May 23, 2022

Good News About the Environment from Australia

 

In the past three weeks, tens of thousands of Australians have had to evacuate their homes after devastating floods struck the eastern part of the country.

Some regions experienced their worst flooding in decades, as torrential rain submerged residential areas, cut power lines and caused reservoirs to swell past the bursting point, resulting in tens of millions of dollars in damage.

New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet called the floods a “once-in-a-thousand-year event.”

But experts say climate change is fuelling an increase in extreme weather across Australia, threatening to make bushfires, floods and droughts more common.

               - United Nations Environment Programme website, "Australia: After the bushfires came the floods," March 17, 2022


After more than two years of COVID, along with the inhumanity of  Vladimir Putin's war in Ukraine, I relish any good news that I can find.  Today I found some from Down Under,  After nine years of conservative government, the people of Australia have opted for a different approach in the battle against climate change.  Australians want action on climate change and they have made a move in the right direction.  They have experienced enough of blistering heat, bushfires and floods, The temperatures in January, when the Australian Open tennis tournament is held, are almost unbearable.

For too long, Australia has lagged behind on climate change.  For too long, it has been dependent on fossil fuels.  The results have been devastating.  In addition to fires, floods and drought, environmentalists are also concerned about the Great Barrier Reef, one of the seven natural wonders of the world.  The Great Barrier Reef suffered its sixth mass bleaching in March, due to heat stress caused by climate change.  Biologist Neal Cantin of the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) reported the following: "More than half of the living coral cover that we can see from the air is severely bleached completely white and can have signs of fluorescence in the colours of pink, yellow and blue."

On May 21, 2022, Australian voters delivered a clear message to their leaders.  The environment matters to them and they want stronger action on climate change. That's why the country's Liberal-National coalition government was defeated.  That's why the Green Party, under the leadership of Adam Bandt, recorded its best ever election result.  There was a swing toward candidates who called for emissions cuts far above those promised by the government in power.  

Amanda McKenzie, CEO of the research group the Climate Council, stated that "climate action was the winner of the vote  "Millions of Australians have put climate first.   Now it's time for a radical reset on how this great nations of ours acts upon the climate challenge," she remarked.

The prime minister-designate of Australia is Anthony Albanese, 59, leader of the Australian Labor Party.  Albanese is a a prominent advocate of renewable energy and has said that "Australia's ling-term future lies in renewable energy sources."  

Many conservatives of the far right don't think climate change is a serious problem.  However, conservatives should be in the forefront of the battle against climate change.  To "conserve" means to "preserve."  Therefore, by the very nature of their beliefs, conservatives should want to "preserve" the earth's environment.  Unfortunately, that's not how many who call themselves "conservatives" see things, especially Republicans in the United States.


- Joanne

Monday, May 2, 2022

Time for Marner and Matthews to really prove themselves

Mitch Marner
 

Auston Matthews

The Toronto Maple Leafs are about to begin another playoff run.  This year, they play the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round.  All eyes will be on Auston Matthews and his linemate Mitch Marner.       

Marner and Matthews are no longer rookies without playoff experience.  They are in their prime years as hockey players.  Mitch Marner will turn 25 years old on May 5th of this year.  Matthews is also 24 years old.  He will turn 25 on September 17th.  Both have played for the Leafs since the 2016-2017 season.  They are forever linked, like baseball's M and M boys, Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris.  

Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews played remarkably well during the 2021-22 NHL regular season.  Marner garnered 35 goals and 62 assists, for a total of 97 points.  Meanwhile, Matthews recorded 60 goals and 46 assists, for a total of 106 points.  M and M produced a combined total of 95 goals, 108 assists and 203 points.   

Matthews was deservedly praised for his 60-goal season and for surpassing former Leaf captain Rick Vaive's record for the highest number of goals by a Maple Leaf in a single season (Vaive amassed 54 goals in 1981-82).  Despite this accomplishment, Matthews has yet to really dominate during a playoff series.  He has recorded 13 goals, 11 assists and has a plus-minus of -3 in the 32 playoff games in his career.   A good regular season does not make up for continually losing in the first series of post-season play, as the Leafs have done in recent years.

Mitch Marner has only five goals, 20 assists and a plus-minus of -1 in 32 career playoff games.  In last season's disastrous playoff round against the Montreal Canadiens Marner and Matthews combined for a grand total of one goal.  The series began terribly for the Leafs when their captain, John Tavares, was injured.  M and M and the rest of the team did not go to the limit to make up for the loss of Tavares.  Instead, they were defeated by an arguably inferior team.

The time has come for Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews to really prove themselves.  The Leafs' dynamic duo has been less than dynamic in playoff competition.  Although their performances in regular season play have been praiseworthy and very commendable, the same can't be said for the  playoffs.  Leaf fans are well aware that M and M are getting paid big bucks to win  in both the regular season and in the playoffs.  They are also aware that great players come through when everything is on the line.  Therefore, much is expected of Marner and Matthews.  Will this be the year that M and M finally break out in post-season play or will their team once again be eliminated in the first round?  An anxious Leaf Nation awaits.  


- Joanne

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Language Corner: Do we misuse the word "literally?"


I hear the word "literally" used by many people around me, and even my fellow English majors use "literally" loosely.

You are not being literal if you are being figurative. In order to place a literal modification on a word, it first has to be a figure of speech before you can put "literally" before or after it.

Robert "Cathaoirtaisce" Scott III, Millennials of New Jersey

From "'Literally" Is Literally Used Wrong, Literally'"

Robert Scott is a  writer on language and linguistics.  He points out that "literally" is properly used before a figure of speech such as "up the creek without a paddle."  If you say "I am literally up the creek without a paddle, he contends, you should mean that you are actually trying to navigate a boat without a paddle.  In the same vein, it is incorrect to say that you "literally ate like a bird" unless you truly ate bird seed.  According to Scott, "literally should mean "a non-exaggerated use of a commonly exaggerated phrase."

To language purists, "literacy" is not a synonym for "really."  It is not a filler.  It loses its true meaning if it is used in the sense of He was literally late for work every day this week..  However, there are those who disagree and don't mind when the word is used more loosely. 

Although Merriam-Webster's first definition of "literally" is "in a literal sense of matter, actually," it has added "virtual, in effect" as the second definition of the word, despite the seeming contradiction. MacMillan Dictionary, Cambridge Dictionary and  Google have all followed suit.  It is argued that the "virtual, in effect" meaning of "literally" is not new and that it has been in use since the 18th century. It can be found in the writings  of Mark Twain, James Joyce and others.

To  purists, however. "literally" is not a filler.  The word is deprived of its true meaning if it is used in the sense of He was literally late for work every day this week.  I realize that I am swimming against the tide (not literally, of course), but I tend to side with the purists.  I am well aware that language is not static, that it it changes constantly.  However, I take no pleasure in seeing a word lose its meaning just because it is used incorrectly by a celebrity or on a television sitcom.  When too many boundaries are broken, language declines.  It is debased.


- Joanne