Thursday, July 22, 2021

Why I disagree with Eric Clapton on vaccines


Eric Clapton is a talented singer, songwriter and musician.  He is an outstanding guitarist.  During this pandemic, however, he has been advocating some dangerous ideas.  I have to disagree strongly with the British musician's position on vaccines.  His stance is not only unhelpful, it is extremely harmful.  Here's why I feel compelled to take him to task.

Clapton has stated that he will not perform at venues where coronavirus vaccine proof is required.  He is a vaccination skeptic and has been very critical of U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson's announcement that passes would be mandatory before entering nightclubs and other live entertainment sites.  

Clapton issued the following statement on the Telegram account of his fellow vaccination skeptic, film producer and architect Robin Monotti: "Following the PM'S announcement on Monday the 19th of July 2021, I feel honor-bound to make an announcement of my own.  I wish to say that I will not perform on any stage where this is a discriminated audience present.  Unless there is a provision made for all people to attend, I reserve the right to cancel the show."

I am diametrically opposed to Clapton's point of view for many reasons.  First of all, it is unscientific.  Vaccines have been proven to work and they stop the spread of COVID-19.  It is a fact that in the United Stares, there is a higher number of COVID cases in states where fewer people have been vaccinated.  (According to a July 13, 2021 CNBC analysis, more than half of the counties in Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana have low vaccination rates and elevated levels of COVID cases).  Secondly, if all live entertainers agreed with Clapton, there would be many unvaccinated individuals attending live performances.  Live performances, including Clapton's, would quickly become super spreaders.  Thirdly, prohibiting unvaccinated people from attending live concerts is not intended to punish them or discriminate against them.  It is meant to protect the unvaccinated from contracting COVID-19.  It is also meant to stop those who have the virus from spreading it to others.

Wearing a mask and getting vaccinated is not a matter of freedom.  Freedom is not absolute and no one has the right or the freedom to infect others with a potentially lethal virus.  This pandemic is not over.  We are not out of the woods yet.  Much of the progress made has been due to lockdowns, masks and  vaccines.  Unfortunately, the Delta variant has reared its ugly head and is threatening to undo some of the progress that has been made.  We can't afford to let that happen.

Some young people are reluctant to get vaccinated.  They think that COVID=19 is not a serious threat to their well.  Because they are young and healthy, they feel invincible.  Those who think it is not much worse than an ordinary flu should speak to the families who have lost loved ones under 30 years of age to COVID.

As a popular musician, Eric Clapton has a great deal of influence over his fans and admirers.  They will take into account what he says, and his words will cause many people to refuse vaccinations.  I am not a famous musician, but I do not hesitate to challenge Eric Clapton on his point of view.  His opinion on vaccinations is wrong wrong wrong.  It is dangerous.

According to The Guardian, Clapton has actually received the AstraZeneca vaccine and has complained about "severe" reactions after receiving his shot.  The fact is that most people do experience some side effects from vaccines, but isn't that preferable to being hooked up to a ventilator and dying in an intensive care unit?

Eric Clapton recently collaborated with Van Morrison in an anti-lockdown song called "Stand and Deliiver"  The song is is is critical of COVD-19 restrictions such as face masks. It contains the following lyrics.  "Do you want to be a free man/Or do you want to be a slave?/Do you wanna wear these chains/Until you're lying in the grave?"  All I can say to that is that you may very well be lying i a grave if you don't wear a mask and you don't get vaccinated.

Eric Clapton has some North American concert dates set for this September.  If vaccination is not a requirement, you will be vulnerable to the virus if you attend any of his performances or the performances of entertainers who share his sentiments about vaccines.

- Joanne

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Eye care at risk in Ontario

An open letter to the citizens of the province of Ontario

Are you aware that all seniors', children's and OHIP eye exams will end September 1, 2021?  On that day, optometrists will stop providing eye care to all patients covered by OHIP.

It is illegal for optometrists in Ontario to accept private insurance or direct payment for eye exams.  As a result, there will be no exams available for children, seniors, or adults with vision-threatening conditions.

In 1989, the Ontario government paid $39.15 for an eye exam.  In 2021, they pay an average of $44.65.  Unfortunately, this amount does not nearly cover the costs of rent, utilities, equipment, taxes and supplies needed to provide eye exams. 

If  OHIP coverage is taken away, many Ontarians will skip eye exams that would detect vision-threatening conditions.  In the end, they will require surgeries and more expensive procedures.  This is penny-wise and pound foolish. It will eventually cost much more in health terms, as well as in financial terms.  Prevention is the way to go!  Your eyesight is precious.

You can stop this.  Please let the Ford government know that this is unacceptable.  Notify your MPP.  Go to  The next Ontario provincial election will be held  on or before June 2, 2022.  Let your voices be heard.  Please don't let this happen!

- Joanne

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Vocabulary Quiz: Words ending in "ology" (meaning fields of study)

 Number 16 Vocabulary Quiz #8

Ten words ending in "olgy" (meaning fields of study)

Number 16 presents a multiple choice vocabulary quiz.  Choose the correct definition of each word listed.  There are ten words that define a field of study.

1.  (noun) enigmatology
A.  The study of detective work

B.  The study of detective novels

C.  The study of mysteries

D.  The study of reclusive people

E.  The study of speech and sound

2.  (noun) entomology
A.  The study of fish

B.  The study of reptiles

C.  The study of tadpoles

D.  The study of insects

E.  The study of amphibians 

3.  (noun) lepidopterology

A.  The study of butterflies and moths

B.  The study of leopards

C.  The study of wild animals

D.  The study of animal habitats

E.  The study of bats

4.  (noun) nasology
A.  The study of breathing 

B.  The study of the nose

C.  The study of sneezing

D.  The study of smell and odours

E.  The study of sinuses 

5.  (noun) meteorolgy
A.  The study of planetary forms

B.  The study meteors and asteroids

C.  A branch of astronomy concerned with the movements of planets

D.  The branch of science concerned with the atmosphere, especially as a means of weather forecasting

E.  The study of craters

6.  (noun) glottology
A.  The study of gluttons, gluttony and overeating

B.  The study of global warming

C.  A scientific study of goats 

D.  A branch of zoology concerned with geese and ducks

E.  The study of languages

7.  (noun) graphology
A.  The study of charts and graphs

B.  The analysis of handwriting characteristics purporting to identify the writer

C.  The study of comics and cartoons

D.  The study of keyboarding and typewriting

E.   The branch of geography dealing with topographical maps

8.  (noun) enology or oenology (Br. spelling)
A.  The study of eels

B.  The branch of botany concerned with roses

C.  The study of wines

D.  The study of the letter "n"

E.   The branch of zoology that studies elephants

9.  (noun)  chirology

A.  The study of hands; palmistry

B.   The study of church bells

C.   The study of animal sounds

D.  The study of feet

E.  The study of facial lines

10.  (noun) kinesiology
A.  The study of telescopes

B.  The study green, leafy vegetables

C.  The study of recycling methods

D.  The scientific study of human body movement

E.   The study of glassware

11.  (noun) virology
A.  The study of blood vessels

B.  The study of viruses

C.  The study of virtue and virtuous behaviour

D.  The study of different styles of vests

E.  The study of pain and pain killers

(Note:  The definitions for the correct answers have been taken from the Merriam-Webster dictionary or thesaurus)

1.  C 

The study of mysteries

enigmatology (noun): The investigation or analysis of enigmas, i.e. something hard to understand or explain; an inscrutable or mysterious person

2.  D

The study of insects

entomology:(noun):: The branch of zoology concerned with the study of insects.

3.  A

The study of butterflies and moths

lepidopterology (noun): A branch of entomology concerned with lepidopterans i.e. butterflies and moths and skippers that as adults have four broad or lanceolate wings, usually covered with minute overlapping and often brightly colored scales and that as larvae are caterpillars

4.  B

The study of the nose

nasology (noun): A scientific study of noses

5.  D.

The branch of science concerned with the atmosphere, especially as a means of weather forecasting

meteorology (noun): A science that deals with the atmosphere and its phenomena and especially with weather and weather forecasting

6.  E

The study of languages 

glottology (noun): linguistics

7.  B 

 The analysis of handwriting characteristics in order to identify the writer

graphology (noun): The study of handwriting especially for the purpose of character analysis

8.  C.  

The study of wines

enology (noun): A science that deals with wine and wine making

9.  A

The study of hands; palmistry

chirology (noun): The study of hands, palmistry

chirology (noun): The study of the hand (medical definition); palm reading

10.  D

The study of human body movement

kinesiology (noun): the study of the principles of mechanics and anatomy in relation to human movement

11.  B

The study of viruses

virology (noun): A branch of science that deals with viruses and viral diseases

- Joanne

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Reflections on Canada Day 2021

In the wake of the twin tragedies in Kamloops, British Columbia and London, Ontario, The Toronto Star recently posed the question as to whether Canadians should celebrate Canada Day at all this year, or turn this July 1st holiday into a national day of sombre reflection instead.  My answer is that we should celebrate.  I am heartbroken by what happened, but I am also heartbroken by the level of animosity toward the country I call home.

Let me be clear.  I am not opposed to a national day of mourning and sombre reflection per se.  In fact, I strongly support such an initiative.   However, I don’t think that it should take place on Canada Day.  Canada Day is a day to celebrate this country, not to dwell on its flaws and dirty laundry.  This does not mean that Canada is perfect and above criticism.  It is most definitely not an endorsement of the “my country right or wrong” mentality.  I am deeply agonized and saddened by the sorry history of the residential schools and the brutal attack on the Muslim family in London.  There are no words to express the horror of those two atrocities.  It is not my intention to minimize what happened. 

I would argue, however, that Canadians need to celebrate Canada Day more than ever in 2021.  We are still suffering through a long, nightmarish pandemic.  The situation has improved, but we are not out of the woods yet.  The Delta variant is threatening to curtail our progress and many people have not received their second dose of the vaccine yet.  COVID-19 has caused enormous physical and mental anguish.  A large number of us have lost our loved ones, our businesses and our homes. 

For just one day, can we stop beating our head against the wall?  On July 1st, can we not think of our achievements instead?  Canada is still the land of Terry Fox, Alexander Graham Bell, Tommy Douglas, The Famous Five, Lester Pearson, Thérèse Casgrain, Dr. David Suzuki, Pierre Trudeau, John Diefenbaker, Dr. Norman Bethune, Dr. Frederick Banting, Marshall McLuhan, Oscar Peterson, Emily Carr,, Viola Desmond, Margaret Atwood, Tom Longboat, The Group of Seven, Lincoln Alexander, Pauline Johnson and Alice Munro.  They are not perfect people, but they and countless other Canadians have made great contributions to humanity and to and a more just society.  They have excelled in their field of endeavour, whether it be music, art, politics, law, literature, sports or medicine and science.

On Canada Day, we would do well to remember these historical facts:

* In 1793, Upper Canada, now Ontario, introduced the Act Against Slavery, becoming the first territory in the British Empire to pass legislation leading to the gradual abolition of slavery in its jurisdiction. 

Canada is still the country that gave the world insulin, liberated the Netherlands and Sicily from Nazis, ended the 1956 Suez Crisis and instituted the practice of peacekeeping, for which Lester Pearson was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957.

* In 1948, A Canadian, John Peters Humphrey (1905-1995), was instrumental in drafting the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights,  Humphrey, a native of  Hampton, New Brunswick, was a legal scholar, a human rights advocate and a professor at Montreal's McGill University.

* In 1979 the Canadian government, along with the CIA, helped six American diplomats evade capture during the seizure of the United States embassy in Tehran, Iran.

* The  people of Gander, Newfoundland provided hospitality and a friendly atmosphere to stranded American air travellers during the September 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States.

* In a world where democracy seems to be losing ground to dictators, despots and authoritarians, Canada is fortunate to have a parliamentary democracy and a free press, however imperfect.  We can change our governments and criticize our leaders.

People and governments are imperfect.  No country is immune from racism and Canada is certainly no exception.  Should Germans refuse to celebrate the achievements of their country because of Hitler and the Nazis?  Should Americans take a pass on their July 4th Independence Day because of slavery and segregation?

Canada is not Utopia, but we certainly try to acknowledge our shortcomings and our terrible historical deeds.  Unlike some countries, we seek reconciliation and issue apologies.  Refugees risk their lives every day to come to this country.  Immigrants continue to arrive here in search of a better life.  It is one of the freest nations on earth.  From the Atlantic Ocean to the Rocky Mountains, this is a beautiful country.  I am proud to be a Canadian and I will definitely be celebrating Canada Day this year.

- Joanne