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

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Reflections at Easter 2022


Christ is risen. Hallelujah! May the miracle of Easter bring you renewed hope, faith, love, and joy.

The year 2022, marks a rare confluence of the Christian celebration of Easter, the Jewish Passover festival and the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.  During this time, followers of these three great Abrahamic faiths will be worshiping the same God in their own special way.

For Christians, Easter falls on April 17th, 2022.  For Jews, Passover begins at sunset on Friday, April 15th (Good Friday for Christians).  It ends on Saturday, April 23rd at sunset.  For Muslims, Ramadan,  the nineth month of the Islamic year, is a holy month of prayer, fasting and refection, This year,  Ramadan falls at the beginning of April and ends at the beginning of May.  It culminates in the celebration of Eid-al-Foitr, "the festival of the breaking of the fast."

The Holy City, Jerusalem is sacred to all three of these great monotheistic faiths.  Sadly, the Middle East has long been a  source of conflict over land and holy sites.  For far too often, Christians, Jews and Muslims have been locked in bitter disputes, spurred by extremists and fanatics on n all sides.  Those who consider themselves "true believers" and regard others of a different faith as "infidels" or "apostates" pose the most serious threat to peace.

We are going through a most difficult epoch in world history, the most difficult time since World War II.  Humanity faces enormous challenges.  We have suffered through more than two years of a nightmarish pandemic. Russia has invaded Ukraine and has violated human rights and cruelly killed innocent civilians.  War crimes have been committed.  Far right authoritarianism seems to be rising around the globe.

This year, as Christians, Jews and Muslims hold their holy festivals at the same time, the faithful should emphasize their commonality, not their differences.  There is so much hatred and suffering in this world.  It does not behoove the followers of Christ, Moses and Muhammad to add to this.  It is against every major tenet of these three great faiths to contribute to all this anguish and adversity.

Christians, Jews and Muslims are all children of Abraham and they all worship one God.  This should never be forgotten.  Christians, for their part, should always remember that Jesus was Jewish,  This Easter, I wish blessings upon my Jewish and Muslim friends in faith and to all believers and non-believers alike..


On April 5, 2019, Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris burned in a devastating fire, just before Easter, which was celebrated on April 21st that year.  It's been more than three years since that fire,  I'm pleased to report that the cathedral has been saved and there has been a great deal of progress in restoring this great historical edifice.  The good news is that plans are underway to reopen the cathedral in the summer of 2024, just before the Olympics are held in Paris.

- Joanne

Monday, March 21, 2022

Number 16's 2022 Oscars Quiz

The 94th Academy Awards will be held on Sunday, March 27, 2022.  The live show will start at 8 p.m. on ABC and will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California.  It will also be live-streamed on the ABC app.  This year's Oscars will be hosted by three women: Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes and Regina Hall.  As you prepare for the big night, why not challenge yourself and try Number 16's 11th annual Oscars quiz. There are 10 questions. Good luck!


1.  Penelope Cruz and her husband, Javier Bardem, have both been nominated for Academy Awards this year.  Cruz is nominated for Best Actress for her performance in Parallel Mothers, while Bardem is nominated for his role as Desi Arnaz in Being the Ricardos.  Other married couples have been nominated in the same year, but which couple was the first one to have that distinction.

Cruz and Bardem

A.  Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward

B.  Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton

C.  Alfred Lunt and Lynne Fontanne

D.  Vivien Leigh and Lawrence Olivier

E.   Rachel Roberts and Rex Harrison

2.  Who was the first person named "Oscar" to win an Oscar?

A.  Oscar Isaac

B.  Oscar Hammerstein II

C.  Oscar Nunez

D.  Oscar Peterson

E.  Oscar de la Renta 

3.  Who won back-to back Best Actor Oscars for Captain Courageous (1937) and Boys Town (1938)

A.  Spencer Tracy

B.  Bing Crosby

C.  Fred Astaire

D.  Clark Gable

E.   Frederic March

4.  What was the first colour film to win an Academy Award for Best Picture?

A.  The Wizard of Oz

B.  Stagecoach

C.  It Happened One Night

D.  Gone with the Wind

E.  A Star is Born

5.  Who was the first actor to present himself/herself with an Oscar?

A.  Katharine Hepburn

B.  Norma Shearer

C.  Cary Grant

D.  Bette Davis

E.  William Holden

6,  Which foreign language film received the largest total of Oscar nominations and wins?

A.  Roma  

B.  Life is Beautiful 

C.  Fanny and Alexander 

D. Parasite 

E.  Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 

7.  What is the only film to win Best Picture winner and receive only one one nomination?

A.  Argo (2012)

B.  Cavalcade (1932/1933)

C.  Grand Hotel (1931/1932)

D.  Green Book (2018)

E.  The Broadway Melody (1928/1929)

8.  How many times was Mickey Rooney nominated for an Academy Award?

Mickey Rooney

A.  4 tunes

B.  2 times

C.  3 times

D.  Once

E.  Never

9.  Who has received the most Academy Award nominations?

A.  Katharine  Hepburn

B.  Meryl Streep

C.  Tom Hanks

D.  Walt Disney

E.   Martin Scorsese

10.  Who was the tallest actor to ever win an Academy Award?

A.  John Wayne

B.  Tim Robbins  

C.  Ben Affleck

D.  Sacha Baron Cohen

E,  Donald Sutherland


1.  C   Alfred Lunt and Lynne Fontanne

Lunt and Fontanne

Alfred Lunt and Lynne Fontanne made Academy Award history when they were both nominated for Oscars in 1932.  They appeared together in The Guardsman.

In 1969, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward were nominated for Best Actor for their work in the film Rachel, Rachel.  Woodward was nominated for Best Actress, while Newman was nominated as a producer for Best Picture.  Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor were nominated in 1967 for their starring roles in Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf?.  Taylor won the Oscar for Best Actress but Burton did not win for Best Actor.  In 1940, Vivien Leigh won the Best Actress Oscar for her performance as Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind.  Olivier was nominated for his performance as Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights.  The pair divorced in 1960.  Rachel Roberts and Rex Harrison were both nominated for Academy Awards in 1964,  Roberts was nominated for This Sporting Life and Harrison was nominated for Cleopatra.

2.  B   Oscar Hammerstein II 


In 1942, Oscar Hammerstein shared a Best Music, Original Song Oscar with Jerome Kern for the song, "The Last Time I Saw Paris." from the 1941 movie Lady Be GoodIn 1946, he won another Best Music, Original Song Oscar, along with Richard Rodgers, for the song "It Might as Well Be Spring from the 1945 film State Fair.

3.  A   Spencer Tracey 

Tracy with Oscar for Boys Town

Spencer Tracy won back-to-back Best Actor Oscars for his performances in Captain Courageous and Boys Town. Consecutive Oscar winners are rare.  Tom Hanks won Best Actor for Philadelphia in 1994 and Forrest Gump in 1995.  Louise Rainer won Best Actress for The Great Ziegfeld in 1937 and The Good Earth in 1938.

4.  D  Gone with the Wind

In 1940, Gone with the Wind became the first colour film to win an Academy Award for Best Picture. 

5.  B  Norma Shearer


In 1933, Canadian-born Norma Shearer (1902-1982) was the presenter for the Best Actress category at the Academy Awards.  She was nominated  for two Oscars in the Best Actress category that year.  She won for her performance in The Divorcee and had to announce, somewhat awkwardly, that she had won the award.  Since then, no nominated actor har presented an Oscar for his or her own category.

6.  E  Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is a 2000 Hong Kong film.  The Chinese swordplay film, garnered 10 nominations and 4 wins in 2001.  Roma, a 2018 Mexican drama, collected 10 nominations and 3 wins.  Life is Beautiful, a 1997 Italian comedy-drama. directed by Roberto Benigni, received 7 nominations and had 3 wins.  In 2020, Parasite received 6 nominations and celebrated 4 wins, including Best Picture.  The South Korean film became he first foreign language film to win Best Picture.  Fanny and Alexander, a 1982 Swedish film, earned 6 nominations and 3 wins.

7.  C  Grand Hotel

Greta Garbo and John Barrymore

Grand Hotel is the only film to win Best Picture and receive only one one nomination.  The 1932 MGM drama stars Greta Garbo and John Barrymore.

8,  A.  4 times

Rooney in 1983

Mickey Rooney received four competitive Oscar nominations during his lifetime.  He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor for Babes in Arms in 1940, Best Actor for The Human Comedy in 1944, Best Supporting Actor in The Bold and the Brave in 1957 and  Best Supporting Actor for The Back Stallion in 1980.  

Rooney received two special Oscars.  He received a Juvenile Academy Award in 1939 and an Honorary Academy Award in 1983.

9,  D  Walt Disney

Disney in 1946

Walt Disney, who died in 1966, holds the record for the most Academy Awards in history, with 26 Oscars.  He won 22 competitive Academy Awards from a total of 59 nominations.

Disney won four honorary Academy Awards.  The first was in 1932 for the creation of Mickey Mouse. His last honorary Oscar was presented posthumously.  It was the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, chosen by the Academy's Board of Governors and given  to "creative producers whose bodies of work reflect a consistently high quality of motion picture production."

10.  B  Tm Robbins

Tim Robbins was the tallest actor to ever win an Academy Award.  Robbins is 6 ft, 5 inches (1.96 metres) tall.  In 2004, he won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance in Mystic River, a 2003 drama in which he starred with Sean Penn, Laurence Fishburne and Kevin Bacon.

- Joanne