Friday, March 24, 2023

The link between mental health and homelessness

Earlier this week, I had lunch with some friends and acquaintances at a local restaurant.  The subject of homelessness came up during a conversation about some of the issues facing the city of Toronto as the June 26th byelection for mayor draws closer.  Two of my lunch companions immediately slammed the homeless. They claimed that the homeless preferred to be without shelter, that they chose to live that way.  I begged to differ and I tried to point out to them that most are not homeless by choice, but by circumstance,  Unfortunately, my companions had bought into a false narrative about the homeless.

I do not dispute that many homeless people prefer living on the street rather than in a shelter.  They can't stomach the conditions in a shelter and the lack of privacy.  However, the majority do not wish to live in abject poverty.  Who really enjoys being hungry?  Who really enjoys freezing outside in cold winter weather or in a sweltering during a summer heat wave?  People become homeless for a variety of reasons.  Every homeless person has a different story.  So, why are they all lumped together.

The Mental Health Commission of Canada estimates that between 25 percent and 50 percent of homeless people in Canada suffer from mental illness.  Out of those with severe mental illness, up to 70 percent struggle with substance abuse. Sadly, those with mental illness experience homelessness for longer periods of time and have less contact with family and friends.  

With the ongoing effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the high cost of food and rent, is it any wonder that homelessness is so prevalent, especially among the mentally ill?  In the city of Toronto, where I live, there have been calls to declare homelessness a public health crisis.  The Ontario Human Rights Commission has expressed concern about the "significant lack of cold weather services in Toronto." 

South of the border, the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration estimates that 20 to 25 percent of homeless population of the United States suffer rom some form of severe mental illness.  The National Coalition for the Homeless has found that 38 percent of the homeless are dependent on alcohol and 26 percent are dependent on chemical substances.  Addiction is frequently the result of homelessness.  Mental illness, alcohol and drug addiction are not crimes or moral failings.  They are illnesses.  They are diseases.

Although little more than one percent of the U.S. population suffers from schizophrenia, the estimates go as high as high as 20 percent of the homeless population.  There is definitely a correlation between schizophrenia and homeless, especially since many, for a number of reasons, do not take anti-psychotic medication.

Dealing with mental illness is deeply personal for me as I have a close family member who suffers from mental illness.  He is unable to work and is often filled with anxiety.  If it weren't for the support of his family, he would probably be homeless and living on the street.  Not every mentally ill person is fortunate enough to have the support of a family.  Not every mentally ill person has access to medical care.  Many youths end up on the street to escape an abusive home life.

More and better services and safe, affordable housing are needed for the mentally ill.  A clearer  understanding of the nature and causes of homelessness is urgently required.  Our society must deal with the link between mental illness and homelessness.

- Joanne

Saturday, March 18, 2023

The Pebble Art of Erzsébet {Elizabeth) Furman

I am very impressed by the "pebble art" of  Erzsébet {Elizabeth) Furman. That is why I wish to share it with Number 16 readers. It is so beautiful that I want others to enjoy the work of this talented Hungarian artist. Check out her Facebook page. (20+) Kavicsművészet, Kavicsképek - Pebble Art by Erzsébet Furmen | Facebook

Elizabeth Furman combines art with storytelling.  To enjoy more of her work, click on the following link.

An Artist Turns Pebbles Into Works of Art That Seem to Have Stories Behind Them (25 Pics) / Bright Side

- Joanne

Friday, March 3, 2023

Language Corner: What does the prefix "ortho" mean?


What does the prefix "ortho" mean?

The prefix ortho is derived from the Greek word orthos, meaning "right, true, straight, upright."

Examples include:

Orthodontics (noun): The branch of dentistry concerned with the treatment of irregularities of the teeth or jaws.

Orthondontic (adjective): Serving to correct or straighten the teeth.  

Orthodontist (noun): An orthodontics specialist.  A dentists who is qualified to treat irregularities of the teeth or jaws.  The orthodontist informed you that you needed braces.

Orthopedics (noun):  The branch of medicine dealing with the correction of deformities of bones or muscles.

Orthopedic (adjective) is derived from the Greek roots ortho and pedo, meaning child.  The word was coined by French physician Nicolas Andry do Bois Regard (also known as Nicholas Andry), a professor of medicine at the University of Paris.  Originally the term meant the correcting of bones or muscles of a child.  

Orthotic (nonun): An artificial support or brace for the limbs or spine, especially a supportive device inserted into a shoe, most commonly to stabilize the foot, correct alignment and provide cushioning

Orthodoxy (noun) is derived from the Greek term orthodoxia, meaning righteous/correct opinion.  It is the adherence to strict or accepted creeds, especially with regards to religious beliefs.  Hence, the Russian Orthodox Church and the Greek Orthodox Church or Orthodox Judaism.

Orthodox (adjective): Of a person or their views, especially religious or political ones, or other beliefs or practices} conforming to what is conventionally or traditionally accepted as right, true, established and approved

- Joanne

Monday, February 27, 2023

Number 16's Oscars Quiz 2023

The 95hh Academy Awards will be held on Sunday, March 12, 2023.  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 Jimmy Kimmel.  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.  Brad Pitt did not receive an Oscar nomination this year for his performance in the film Babylon.  Has he ever been awarded an Academy Award.  If so, how many Oscars has Brad Pitt won?

A.  Three

B.  One

C.  Two

D.  Four

E.  None

2.  Jimmy Kimmel will host the Academy Awards this year.  He has hosted the Oscars twice before.  When was the last time he hosted the ceremonies?

Jimmy Kimmel

A.  2017

B.  2018

C.  2016

D.  2021

E.  2015

3.  What was the first film to win an Academy Award for Best Makeup?

A.  The Wizard of Oz

B.  Planet of the Apes

C.  Amadeus

D.  An American Werewolf in London

E.   The Fly

4.  Who took a tumble on her way up the stairs at the Academy Awards in 2013?

A.  Jennifer Lawrence

B.  Anne Hathaway

C.  Jennifer Aniston

D.  Tina Fey

E.  Natalie Portman

5.  For which film was Lauren Bacall nominated for an Oscar?

A.  Key Largo

B.  To Have and Have Not

C.  The Mirror Has Two Faces

D.  How to Marry a Millionaire

E.  The Big Sleep

6.  Who received the longest standing ovation at the Academy Awards?

A.  Sidney Poitier

B.  Judy Garland

C.  Shirley Temple

D.  Alfred Hitchcock

E.  Charlie Chaplin

7.  What is the name of of the 1944 film for which Bing Crosby won the Best Actor Oscar? 

Bing with Oscar

A.  Holiday Inn

B.  Gong My Way

C.  White Christmas

D.  The Bells of St. Mary's

E.   High Society

8.  Which was the first film version of a Shakespeare play to win an Academy Award for Best Picture?

A.  Julius Caesar

B.  Romeo and Juliet

C.  Macbeth

D.  Hamlet

E.  Antony and Cleopatra

9  Which film  had a production budget estimated to be about $280 million.  It was nominated for nine Academy Awards.  It won three.

A.  Avatar

B.  Titanic

C.  Spider-Man 3

D.  Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

E.   Avengers: Age of Ultron

10.  In 2010, Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win the Oscar for Best Director.  What is the name of the film that earned her an Academy Award?

Bigelow with Oscar 2010

A.  Lyndon

B.  Nomadland

C  The Hurt Locker

D  The Matrix

E.  Selma.  


1.  C


Brad Pitt with 2020 Oscar

Brad Pitt has won two Oscars.  In 2014, he won a shared Best Picture Oscar as one of the producers of  12 Years a Slave.  In 2020, he received another Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as stuntman Cliff Booth in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

2.  B


On March 12th Jimmy Kimmel will  host the Academy Awards for the third time.  He has previously hosted the Oscars in 2017 and 2018.  The first time he hosted, the awards featured the famous Best Picture mix-up.  Presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway accidentally announced that La La Land  had win the Oscar for Best Picture, when the the actual winner was Moonlight.

3.  D

An American Werewolf in London

Special Achievement Oscars were awarded twice to makeup artists for 7 Faces of Dr. Lao (1964) and Plant of the Apes (1968).  However, the Academy Award for Best Makeup was first given out in 1981, thanks to the film Elephant Man.  There were complaints when the makeup achievements of Elephant Man were unacknowledged the year before.

Beginning in 1993, the name of the award was changed to Best Makeup and Hairstyling.  It was to be shared with hairstylists if hair effects "contribute greatly to the appearance and effect of the characters."

4.  A

Jennifer Lawrence

There was an awkward moment at the 2013 Academy Awards when Jennifer Lawrence took a slight tumble on the steps on her way up to receive her award for Best Actress.  The moment went viral and Jennifer, of course, just laughed it off.

5.  C

The Mirror Has Two Faces

Bacall in The Mirror . . .

In 1997, Lauren Bacall received her first Oscar nomination at the age of 72.  She was nominated in the category of Best Supporting Actress for her role as Hannah, the vain, overbearing mother of Barbra Streisand's character in The Mirror Has Two Faces.  Bacall was widely expected to win, but the Best Supporting Actress went to Juliette Binoche for her performance in The English Patient.  The English Patient, a tragic World War II-era romance, dominated the awards that year, winning nine out of 12 nominations, including Best Picture.

In 2010, Lauren Bacall received an Academy Honorary Award.  She died in 2014 at the age of 89.

6.  E

Charlie Champlin

Charlie Chaplin with Oscar

Charlie Chaplin received a 12-minute standing ovation at the Oscars in 1972 when he was given the honourary award.

7.  B

Going My Way

Crosby (Left) and Fitzgerald}in Going My Way

In 1945, Bing Crosby received an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance in the 1944 film Going My Way.  Crosby won for his portrayal of  Father Chuck O'Malley, a young priest who is assigned to a church in New York.  The paster, played by Barry Fitzgerald, takes a dislike to O'Malley's casual style, and the younger priest tries to win him over.

In 1946, Crosby was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance in the 1945 film The Bells  of St. Mary's.  He once again portrayed Father O'Malley, becoming the firs actor to be twice nominated for an Oscar for portraying the same character. However, the winner that year was Ray Milland for his performance in The Lost Weekend.

In 1955, Bing Crosby was nominated for Best Actor in a Lead Role for his performance opposite Grace Kelly and William Holden in the 1954 film The Country Girl Marlon Brando won the Oscar for On The Waterfront.

8.  D


Olivier as Hamlet

The 1948 British film adaptation of Hamlet, directed by and starring Laurence Olivier, won the Academy Award for Best Picture, and Olivier won for Best Actor.  Olivier was not present at the 1949 awards ceremony and Robert Montgomery accepted the award on his behalf.  Hamlet was the first British film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture.

9,  A


Scene from Avatar

Avatar, a 2009 science fiction epic was officially budgeted at $237 million, due to its groundbreaking, dazzling special effects.  Oher estimates, however, put the cost of the James Cameron film at between $280 million  and $310 million, and at $150 million for promotion.  Although Avatar did not win an Oscar for Best Picture or for Best Director, it did receive Academy Awards for Art Direction, Cinematography and Visual Effects.

10.  C 

The Hurt Locker

Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win the Academy Award for Best Director in 2010 for her Iraqi war thriller, The Hurt Locker.  She was only the fourth woman to receive a Best Director nomination - the others being Sofia Coppola for Lost in Translation (2004), Jane Campion for The Piano (1994) and Lina Wertmüller for Pasqualino Settebellezze "Seven Beauties" (1977)

Kathryn Bigelow beat out her ex-husband, James Cameron who was also nominated that year Best Director for his 3-D epic, AvatarThe Hurt Locker won six Oscars, including Best Picture, out of a total of nine nominations.  However, it did not do as well at the box office, It is estimated to have earned $21 million at the box office, less than two per cent of what Avatar earned in tick sales in the same year.

- Joanne