Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Death of James Dean


I find myself being very cautious on the highway.  I don't have the urge to speed on the highway.  People say racing is dangerous, but I'll take my chances on the track any day than on a highway.

- James Dean


An American cultural icon died on September 30, 1955.  James Dean was a mere 24 years of age when he lost his life in a car crash. The car racing enthusiast was driving a Porsche 550 Spyder on U.S. Route 466 (later State Route 46) near Cholame, Califormia when the accident occurred.

Jimmy Dean's most famous movie is Rebel Without a Cause in which his character, Jim Stark, is the embodiment of youthful angst. Perhaps the rebelliousness that Dean represented in the 1950s was a harbinger of what was to come in the 1960s as the post-war generation began to reach young adulthood.

However, James Dean was far more than just a poster boy for a restless generation. He was more than just a symbol for angry young men. First and foremost, he was a talented actor. In fact, he received two posthumous Academy Award nominations for Best Actor. The first was East of Eden (1955) and the second was for Giant (1956).

Click on the link below to watch a video of a James Dean interview with fellow actor Gig Young.  The interview was made while Dean was filming Giant, his final movie. It was filmed for an episode of Warner Brothers Presents on the ABC network. Given what happened on that fateful day in 1955, my eyes nearly popped out when I watched it.  It's certainly quite eerie, especially since the two actors discuss car racing and driving safely on the highways. As it comes to an end, Gig Young asks Dean if he has any advice for young people who drive. His parting words are “Take it easy driving. The life you might save might be mine.”



What a great night for Blue Jays fans! Manager Cito Gason was honoured and the Jays defeated the Yankees by a score of 8-3. It was the last home game of the season for the Jays and it ended on a happy note. The Jays have one more series on the road against the Minnesota Twins before the 2010 season comes to an end.

I was at the game and had a great time. There was a party atmosphere at the dome and Cito received the credit he so richly deserves.

- Joanne

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

W.H. Auden

Our researchers into Public Opinion are content
That he held the proper opinions for the time of year;
When there was peace he was for peace; when there was war he went.
He was married and added five children to the population,
Which our Eugenist says was the right number for a parent of his generation,
And our teachers report that he never interfered with their education.
Was he free? Was he Happy? The question is absurd:
Had anything been wrong, we should certainly have heard.
- W.H. Auden
From the poem The Unknown Citizen

The renowned 20th century poet W.H. Auden died on this day in 1973. Born Wystan Hugh Auden in York, England, he immigrated to the United States in 1939 and became an American citizen in 1946. He was found dead at the age of 66 in his hotel room in Vienna. Austria on September 29, 1973 after having given a poetry reading at the Palais Palffy.

To listen to a reading of The Unknown Citizen, click the following link.


What is the correct usage of the words “immigrate” and “emigrate”? The way to remember is that you immigrate to a destination:

My grandfather immigrated to Canada in search of a better life.

Emigrate is used in relation to the point of departure. It is used to describe when you leave a place. The way to remember is that you emigrate from a destination:

They emigrated from Germany when the Nazis came to power.

So, it’s immigrate to and emigrate from.

Well now, what about the word “migrate”? A migrant lacks permanent settlement and stays somewhere temporarily. “Immigrate” and “emigrate” imply a more permanent move.


September 29th is known as Michaelmas in the Western Christian calendar. It is the feast of St. Michael the Archangel. In various academic institutions in the United Kingdom and Ireland, Michaelmas is used as the name of the first term of the academic year, which begins at this time.



The New York Yankees romped to a 6-1 victory over the Blue Jays last night at the dome. The Yanks clinched a playoff berh (ho hum) and the Boston Red Sox are eliminated.

Tonight the Blue Jays honour manager Cito Gason. I will be there.

- Joanne

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Henderson's Goal


Henderson made a wild stab for it and fell. Here’s another shot! Right in front! They score! Henderson has scored for Canada! Henderson - right in front of the net! And the players and the team are going wild!

- Foster Hewitt describing Paul Henderson’s goal

Today marks a very special anniversary for every red-blooded Canadian. On September 28, 1972, Paul Henderson scored THE GOAL. With a mere 34 seconds left in the game, Henderson scored the most famous goal in Canadian hockey history. Sidney Crosby’s goal at the Vancouver Winter Olympics this year was certainly special and will be long remembered. However, no goal will ever again have the impact and the drama of Paul Henderson’s goal that September day in Moscow. Thirty-eight years later, my skin still tingles when I hear Foster Hewitt’s voice describing that event. Foster came out of retirement to broadcast that Soviet-Canada summit series and I’m sure glad he did.

I was in high school on the day Henderson performed his heroics. We students were sent into a room to watch the game on a black and white television. Classes ended for day before Henderson scored his momentous goal. The television was turned off and I had to rush home to watch the remainder of the game.   As I hopped on the bus, my heart was heavy. There wasn’t much time left for Canada to win the game.

Unfortunately, I did not get home in time to watch Paul Henderson’s goal live on television. That was my only disappointment, but I got over it quickly and joined in the celebration with great gusto. There was jubilation across the land. It was Canada’s greatest hockey triumph and it can never be replicated. Back in 1972, the Russian hockey was unknown and mysterious. Canada’s hockey supremacy was being challenged by these Slavic upstarts. Our hockey pride was on the line and Paul Henderson restored it for us.

As I write this, I am looking at a painting of Henderson’s goal above my computer. The painting is based on the well-known Toronto Star photo of Henderson and Yvan Cournoyer celebrating the victory over the Soviets. Whenever I look at it, I am reminded that French-speaking and English-speaking Canadians can work well together.

To watch a video of Paul Henderson’s goal, click on the following link.



The Blue Jays continued their winning way as the season nears its end.  They defeated the New York Yankees by a score of 7-5 last night. The Jays prevented the Yankees from clinching a playoff spot. The Pinstripes will just have to wait.

Roy Halladay won his 21st game of the season and the Philadelphia Phillies are the National League East champions. Halladay is going to pitch in the playoffs for the first time in his career. We could see Doc in the World Series this year.


The Toronto Maple Leafs won an exhibition game 5-4 over the Buffalo Sabres. Phil Kessel and Nikolai Kulemin scored two goals each.

- Joanne

Monday, September 27, 2010



One of the most striking differences between a cat and a lie is that a cat has only nine lives.
          - Mark Twain

From The Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson {1894}
Pudd’nhead Wilson’s Calendar, Chapter 7


Singer Engelbert Humperdinck was born Arnold George Dorsey to British parents in India. He later changed his name to Gerry Dorsey, but it wasn’t until he adopted the name of a German-born composer named Engelbert Humperdinck that he became famous. Audiences did not forget that name.

Humperdinck, the composer, is best known for his opera Hansel and Gretel. He died on September 27, 1921, exactly 89 years ago today.

Actor Rock Hudson was born Roy Harold Scherer, Jr. in Illinois on November 17, 1925. When his stepfather Wallace "Wally" Fitzgerald adopted him, he changed his last name to Fitzgerald. According to Hollywood lore, his agent, Henry Wilson, came up with the name “Rock Hudson” by combining the Rock of Gibraltar and the Hudson River.

Lady Gaga was born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta on March 28, 1986 in New York City.  According to her official website, she took the stage name Lady Gaga from the song Radio Ga Ga by Queen.


The words “convince” and “persuade” are not interchangeable. A way to remember the correct usage of this word is to memorize the following little ditty.

Convince of a fact
Persuade to act

Here are some examples.

1. Peter was convinced that he had a great singing voice.

2. Laura’s friends persuaded her to go back to work.


On this day in 1950, Ezzard Charles defeated Joe Louis in 15 rounds for the heavyweight boxing title at Yankee Stadium in New York.  A year after his retirement in 1949, Louis returned to the ring to fight Charles. The bout lasted 15 rounds and Louis lost the decision.

The Troy Trojans were a long ago Major League Baseball team. They played in the National League for four seasons from 1879 to 1882. On September 27, 1881, the Trojans lost to the champion Chicago White Stockings 10-8 in a heavy rain storm in front of a paltry 12 spectators at Haymakers' Grounds on Center Island in upstate New York.


The Jays defeated the Baltimore Orioles at the dome yesterday by a score of 5-2. Shaun Marcum went 7 innings to earn his 13th victory of the season as the Jays swept their final series of the year against the O’s. Slugger Jose Bautista was hit twice by pitches in the game. The Jays took exception to that, but the bottom line is that the Jays won 15 out of 18 games against Baltimore this season. The Orioles can sign themselves “Winless in Toronto” as they did not taste a single victory in the dome in 2010.

After a week of Grey Cup-like activities called Touchdown Atlantic, the Toronto Argonauts were beaten soundly by the lowly Edmonton Eskimos in front of 20,725 fans in Moncton, New Brunswick. The final score was 24-6 for Edmonton.

- Joanne

Saturday, September 25, 2010



Impress upon children the truth that the exercise of the elective franchise is a social duty of as solemn a nature as man can be called to perform; that a man may not innocently trifle with his vote; that every elector is a trustee as well for others as himself and that every measure he supports has an important bearing on the interests of others as well as on his own.
- Daniel Webster
From The Works of Daniel Webster (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1853), Vol. II, p. 108

Exactly one month from today, on October 25th, there will be municipal elections in the province of Ontario. Here in the City of Toronto, we are going to elect a mayor to lead the 2.5 million people who live in Canada’s most populous city. Voter turnout for municipal elections is notoriously low. Yet these elections affect our daily lives significantly. Our municipal leaders make decisions on such matters as property taxes, public transportation and garbage pick-up. So, why the apathy? I suppose these issues aren’t too exiting to some people. Nevertheless, they are bread and butter issues and they are important.

I have to admit that I am not particularly impressed by any of the major candidates for mayor of our fair metropolis. In fact, I am extremely disappointed with the choices.  However, I do not consider that a valid excuse for not voting. Neither do I consider other excuses valid, particularly the ones about not having the time to read up about the candidates or to become informed about the issues. For something that affects our lives so strongly, we should be able to find the time to educate ourselves about the candidates in our area. It is our civic duty.

I urge every eligible voter to exercise your franchise. If you don’t bother to vote, don’t bother to complain about poor government. Our municipal elections used to be held every two years. Now they are held every four years. That means we can’t vote a disastrous mayor out of office until he or she has done four years worth of damage to this city. Please keep that in mind if you have not yet decided whether you are going to vote on October 25th.

NOTE:  If this blog entry persuades even one person to inform themselves and vote, I will be absolutely delighted.  If iit's someone between the ages of 18 and 30, I will be even more delighted.


Congratulations to home run king Jose Bautista. He hit his 50th home run of the season on Wednesday. He is only the 26th player in major league baseball to achieve that feat. His home run made the difference as the Blue Jays edged the Seattle Mariners 1-0. There was another milestone in that game. Ichiro of the Mariners reached the 200-hit mark for the 10th consecutive season. Last night, the Jayss defeated the Baltimore Orioles by a score of 6-4 and Jose belted two more homers to bring his total to 52. Wow!

I also have to congratulate former Blue Jay Roy Halladay for earning his 20th win of the season.  Is there is a more intense competor than Doc Halladay?  I don't think so.  The man is dedicated to his craft.  He will probably win the National League Cy Young Award for this season.

They are quite excited about the Argos in Moncton, New Brunswick. Yes, Atlantic football fans are going wild for the Toronto Argonauts who will be the home team in a CFL game there on Sunday against the Edmonton Eskimos. The city hopes to have a football team in the league someday. Wouldn’t a team in Martiimes be great? It would be fantastic see the Canadian Football League go coast to coast.

- Joanne

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Harvest Moon


Come a little bit closer
Hear what I have to say
Just like children sleepin'
We could dream this night away.

But there's a full moon risin'
Let's go dancin' in the light
We know where the music's playin'
Let's go out and feel the night.

Because I'm still in love with you
I want to see you dance again
Because I'm still in love with you
On this harvest moon.

From the song Harvest Moon
- Lyrics by Neil Young

To see a video of Neil singing Harvest Moon, click the following link.

I am a moon watcher. The different phases of the moon have always fascinated me and right now I am in the midst of lunar madness. This is the time of the harvest moon, the best full moon of the year. It is the full moon closest to September 21st and the autumn equinox. Last night, I went to the boardwalk at Sunnyside to take a look. It’s a great spot for moon gazing because it’s by the lake and there is a wonderful view of Toronto’s skyline there. The show should be even better tonight. It happens only once a year. Don’t miss it.

Here is a photo I took of the full moon last night at Sunnyside.

By the way, if you scroll down my web page, you will see various items including one that keeps you up to date with the different phases of the moon. Check it out.


Name a place where love means nothing.

ANSWER : A tennis court


The Blue Jays were defeated yesterday by the Seattle Mariners. The Mariners won by a score of 6-3. Kyle Drabek was the starting pitcher for the Jays and had difficulty throwing strikes. He’s still looking for his first major league win and needs some seasoning. The Mariners have a week offence but they managed to hit two home runs off Drabek.

The Toronto Maple Leafs won their second preseason game against the Ottawa Senators by a score of 4-1 at the Air Canada Centre. The Leafs lost their first exhibition game to these same Senators on Tuesday. It was a 5-1- loss and they were booed off the ice at the ACC. I’ll be writing more about the Leafs in future blog entries. For now, suffice to say, I am not a fan of the Brian Burke/Ron Wilson/Don Cherry style of hockey.

- Joanne

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tribute to Irving Berlin


Irving Berlin has no place in American music. He is American music.
- Songwriter Jerome Kern (as quoted in The Story of Irving Berlin, Alexander Woollcott's 1925 biography of Irving Berlin)          


The great composer Irving Berlin died on September 22, 1989 at the ripe old age of 101. Berlin was born Israel Isidore Baline in Russia in 1888. There is some confusion as to his actual birth date because the Julian calendar was still in use in czarist Russia, but he celebrated his birthday on May 11. There is also confusion surrounding Irving Berlin’s place of birth. According to most sources, he was born in Mogilev, Russia (now Belarus). Other sources contend that he was born in Tyumen in Sibera.

In 1893, the young Israel and his family immigrated to New York City where he was to launch an exceptional career as Irving Berlin. This son of a Jewish cantor wrote the music and lyrics for White Christmas and Easter Parade. He also composed the patriotic anthem God Bless America and such enduring songs as There’s No Business Like Show Business, Alexander’s Ragtime Band and Blue Skies. A prolific songwriter, he wrote the scores for many Broadway shows including Annie Get Your Gun. He also composed the music for several Hollywood films including White Christmas and Holiday Inn.

To watch a video of Irving Berlin singing God Bless America on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1968, click on the link below.


Michael J. Fox was born Michael Andrew Fox.

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton’s original name was William Jefferson Blythe III,

Actor Tom Cruise was born Thomas Cruise Mapother IV

The late crooner Dean Martin came into this world as Dino Paul Crocetti

Madonna’s real name is Madonna. Although she just doesn’t use her last name, she was born Madonna Louise Ciccone. I remember once overhearing a man saying to his companion, “You don’t think Madonna is her real name, do you? I felt like shouting out, “Yes it is.” I held my tongue, though.


Why did the elephant quit his job?

Answer: Because he was working for peanuts


The Blue Jays defeated the Seattle Mariners by a score of 5-3 at the dome yesterday. The Jays crushed three home runs on their way to victory. Vernon Wells, Edwin Encarnacion and Travis Snider hit the homers. Jose Bautista did not get one, so we are still awaiting his 50th of the season.

- Joanne

Monday, September 20, 2010


Well, Sixteeners, how was your weekend? I attended two movies at the Toronto Film Festival on Saturday and I enjoyed them immensely. The first one was West is West. It is the story of Sajid, a young teen in the 1970s who resides in England. Sajid is taunted and bullied because his father is an immigrant from rural Pakistan. It turns out that Sajid’s father has abandoned a wife and daughters in his Pakistani village and has taken a second wife in England. Sajid’s father, known as George Khan in his adopted country, decides to take his troubled son for a visit to his village in the Punjab. That visit changes the lives of both father and son with results that are both comic and poignant.

I met Leslee Udwin, the producer of West is West. She answered questions and was very personable. She seemed quite proud of her film and told us she had devoted four years of her life to it. I haven’t yet seen the prequel, East is East, but I intend to. A third film in the series may be in the works. Leslee Udwin stated in a Reuters interview that "In my head and heart, there have always been three films. Whether and when we actually make a third one I cannot tell you, though the writer and I have started discussing the prospect. It will, like West is West have to grow organically and in its own time out of a passion to tell a further story.” At Saturday’s screening of West is West, some people even offered prospective names for a third film to Leslee.

I also saw the Bruce Springsteen documentary, The Promise: The Making of Darkness On The Edge of Town. I gained some insight into how the Boss operates. His perfectionism and his intensity are astounding. The film is a must for Springsteen fans.

TIFF just seems to be getting better and better. I have yet to see a film at the Bell Lightbox Theatre. Esteemed movie critic Roger Ebert was in town for the festival and he is very fond of the Bell Lightbox. He described it as “one swell place to see a move.” He said that he can see someone like himself “retiring to a condo in the TIFF Bell Lighthouse and just going to the movies.”

Ebert, however, did not shy away from criticism of our fair city. He expressed his distaste for the large number of chain stores in Toronto. He said that they "descend into living neighbourhoods and suck the blood from their busy streets." Amen to that. I couldn’t agree more.

Yesterday was just a beautiful September day here in Toronto. I watched a tennis match in the sunshine at York University. Canada’s Frank Danecvic competed against a Dominican opponent as part of a preliminary to the Davis Cup. It was a one-sided affair and Dancevic won easily.


Why couldn’t the sailor play cards?

ANSWER : Because someone was sitting on the deck


The Toronto Argonauts earned a much-needed win yesterday. They defeated the Winnipeg Blue Bombers by a score of 17-13.

The Blue Jays were trounced by a score of 6-0 in the final game of their series with the Boston Red Sox The Jays, however, won the series 2 games to 1. Jose Bautista hasn’t hit his 50th homer of the season yet. It will happen soon, I hope.

- Joanne

Saturday, September 18, 2010

John Diefenbaker's Vision



Where there is no vision, the people perish.
          Proverbs 29:18

John George Diefenbaker, Canada’s 13th prime minister, was born on this day in 1895, exactly 115 years ago. Diefenbaker’s birthplace was Neustadt, Ontario. His family moved to the Northwest Territories in 1903 and then to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in 1910. He eventually settled in Prince Albert and became known as “the man from Prince Albert”.  His last name is German and he described himself as "the first prime minister of this country of neither altogether English or French origin."

I don’t agree with everything Diefenbaker said. I certainly don’t like everything about him. However, the man was a leader and he had a vision. He is responsible for several achievements that Canadians should never take for granted. That is why I wish to pay tribute to him today.

An ardent civil libertarian, John Diefenbaker gave Canada a Bill of Rights in 1960. Thanks to him, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Canadian Bill of Rights this year. Diefenbaker also appointed the first woman federal cabinet minister in Canadian history (Ellen Fairclough in 1957).

John Diefenbaker was prime minister from June 22, 1957 until the defeat of his government in the electon of 1963.  It was he who granted the federal franchise to Canada's native peoples.  As a a tireless advocate for increased public awareness of Canada’s Arctic, .it was he who proposed a "Northern Vision" for this country and called for a bold strategy to develop the natural resources of the Far North.  A man with a strong sense of social justice, it was also Diefenbaker who played a significant role in the 1961 anti apartheid statement that let to South Africa’s withdrawal from the Commonwealth.

John George Diefenbaker revered and respected parliament. He served as a member of the House of Commons until his death in Ottawa on August 16, 1979 at the age of 83.  As prime minister, he never put ideology over the interests of Canada (take note, Stephen Harper). Diefenbaker was a conservative, but he was not by any means a neoconservative. A defence lawyer for many years in Saskatchewan, Diefenbaker opposed capital punishment. To hear him speak about capital punishment the Stephen Truscott case, click the link below.

In a previous blog entry (see May 18, 2010), I lamented the lack of leadership in Canada. As I stated then, I can’t think of one single Canadian politician who strongly inspires me. That, my friends, is a sad state of affairs.

Here’s to you, Dief. We could sure use you in the House of Commons today.


Can it really be 40 years since the death of Jimi Hendrix? Yes, it can. Hendrix died on this day in 1970. He died at the Samarkand Hotel in the Notting Hill area of London, England. He was only 27 years of age at the time of his death and many consider him to be the greatest electric guitarist in rock and roll history. Click below to view a video of the news broadcast of Hendrix’s death.


The Blue Jays managed to win the first game of their series against the Boston Red Sox last night at Fenway Park by a score of 11-9. Although the Jays had 17 hits in the game, they were still in danger of losing it. They almost let a 10-2 lead slip away from them.

Congratulations to slugger Jose Bautista for breaking a Blue Jays club record. He hit his 48th home run of the season last night to surpass George Bell’s 47 homers. It’s too bad Bautista broke his record in Boston and not at home in Toronto. Most of the crowd at Fenway had no idea of the significance of that home run, including the fan who retrieved it. Next stop for Jose – 50 homers.

- Joanne

Friday, September 17, 2010


I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet’s, the writer’s duty is to write about these things.  It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honour and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past.

        - William Faulkner 
          Speech of Acceptance, 1949 Nobel Prize for Literature
          Nobel Banquet at the City Hall in Stockholm, Sweden
          December 10, 1950  

To hear the sound of William Faulkner's voice accepting the Nobel Prize for Literature, click the following link


Today is Constitution Day in the United States.  It was on this day that the Constitution of the United States was adopted by the Philadelphia Constitutional Convention of 1787. Constitutional talk makes some Canadians squirm or yawn with boredom. It’s a very touchy subject in this county, especially with regard to Quebec.

Our American cousins revere and respect their constitution - almost too rigidly. Some regard it as being written in stone and it is extremely difficult to amend. 1787 was 283 years ago and some aspects of the American constitution reflect the sensibilities of a newly independent country in the late 18th century. I am referring to such items as the Second Amendment which is glorified by opponents of gun control.

It is true that there have been 27 amendments to the U.S. constitution – including the Nineteenth Amendment (ratified in 1920) which gave American women the right to vote. However, the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) failed to pass. It was intended to guarantee that under any federal, state, or local law, equal rights could not be denied women. I also believe that the U.S. constitution is behind the times in that it denies the presidency to those not born in the United States.

Most North Americans would agree that freedoms should be cherished and not taken for granted. Yet, one never understands this fully until those rights and freedoms are lost. When I visited China in the summer of 2008, I watched censored news reports delivered by human robots. I felt really fortunate to be able to return to Canada and watch our newscasts.


Why did the pony have difficulty singing?

Answer: Because he was a little hoarse


The Blue Jays had the day off today. Toronto begins a series with the Boston Red Sox today. It should be interesting because Boston need to win in order to challenge the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay. I hope Tampa Bay wins it all.

Yesterday, the Jays lost the final game of their series with the vastly improved Baltimore Orioles. The O’s won by a score of 3-1 and swept the series. The good news is that Kyle Drabek pitched well in his major league debut and Jose Bautista blasted his 47th home run of the year. Bautista tied fellow Dominican George Bell for the most home runs in a season by a Toronto Blue Jay. Congratulations Jose and I will be following very closely as you try to hit as many homes as you can before your dream season comes to an end.

I see that Roy Halladay had his 19th win for the Philadelphia Phillies. It looks as if Doc is going to have a 20 wins this season, maybe more.

- Joanne

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What's in a Name? Orignial Names of Famous People


What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.
- William Shakespeare
  From Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)

Those words are spoken by Juliet in the famous balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet.  I have to disagree somewhat with Juliet’s opinion on the importance of names. Although names are not the be-all and end-all, they have great significance in a person’s life. Your name is an integral part of your identity. In a very real sense, your name defines you. You hear it spoken to you all the time.

The subject of names has always fascinated me. I always enjoy hearing the story behind someone’s name – if there is one. I usually ask expectant mothers if they have chosen a name for their baby. I always advise them not to pick an obviously trendy name. It can be difficult to determine, but certain names never seem to go out of vogue.

I was called Josephine after my paternal grandmother whose name was Giuseppina. The name on my birth certificate reads “Josephine Ann”. Joanne is simply a combination of Josephine and Ann. For some unknown reason my second name is spelled without an “e” on my birth certificate.  My mother, however,  taught me to spell it with the “e.".  Since reading Anne of Green Gables, I have always preferred Anne with the “e”.

Nobody calls me Josephine, but that is my legal name and I have to use it on my passport and on my Ontario Health Card.

Note : Today I am introducing a new feature on my blog. It will appear from time to time and will provide the original names of well known people, living and dead. Here is the first instalment.


Bob Hope was born Leslie Townes Hope.

Mother Teresa was born Agnes Gonxhe Bojaxhiu.

Gerald Ford, 38th President of the United States, was born Leslie Lynch King, Jr.

Actor Tony Curtis was originally named Bernard Schwartz.


Word of the Day

Ophidiophobia – An abnormal fear of snakes


Why did the chicken cross the playground?

ANSWER : To get to the other slide


Last night was not a good night for the Toronto Blue Jays. The Baltimore Orioles trounced the Jays 11-3 in the second of their three-game set at Camden Yards. This is definitely not the same Baltimore team that Jays have dominated all season.

- Joanne

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Deaths of Princess Grace and William McKinley



Speech is civilization itself. The word, even the most contradictory word, preserves contact – it is silence which isolates.
- Thomas Mann
 From The Magic Mountain, Chapter 6


On September 14, 1982, Princess Grace of Monaco died at the age of 52 due to injuries she sustained when her automobile crashed near Monte Carlo. Her daughter, Princess Stephanie, who was also in the vehicle, survived the accident.

Born Grace Patricia Kelly in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, she became an Academy Award-winning movie star. The list of her leading men includes Carey Grant, Gary Cooper, William Holden and Bing Crosby. In 1954, she won the Best Actress Oscar for The Country Girl.

Grace Kelly relinquished her Hollywood career and married Prince Rainier III of Monaco on April 19, 1956. To watch a video of Grace Kelly being presented with her Oscar for The Country Girl, click the link below.


William McKinley, 25th president of the United States, died September 14, 1901, eight days after being shot by an anarchist named Leon Czolgosz. The assassination took place while President McKinley was attending the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. McKinley was shaking hands with the public at a reception held at the Temple of Music. When Czolgosz went up to the president, he shot him twice with a weapon he had concealed in a handkerchief. McKinley was the third American president to be assassinated after Abraham Lincoln in 1865 and James A. Garfield in 1881. John F. Kennedy became the fourth in 1963.


Unlike the force of gravity, what come up and never comes down?

ANSWER : Your age

Note : If you have a riddle, please send it to me and I would be happy to publish it in the Riddle Me This segment of my blog entry.


The Blue Jays won the final game of their series against Tampa Bay at home on Sunday. A two-run walk-off home run by Adam Lind gave the Jays a 5-5 victory over the Rays. However, they were defeated 4-3 last night by the Baltimore Orioles before a sparse crowd at Camden Yards in Baltimore. In the 11th inning, reliever Brian Tallet surrendered the winning RBI. The Orioles have improved immensely since Buck Showalter took over as manager of the club.

Well, at least Jays fans can look forward to the major league debut of pitcher Kyle Drabek on Wednesday. Drabek, the son of Cy Young winner Doug Drabek, was acquired by the Jays in the Roy Halladay deal.

- Joanne

Sunday, September 12, 2010


The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is in full swing right now. I have to say I am very proud that such a fine film festival is taking place in my city. Since its inception in 1976, this festival has grown into one of the most prestigious and respected in the world.

I have tickets for two TIFF films next weekend. Since I am a Bruce Springsteen fan, I am going to see The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town. The second film I am going to view is West is West, a coming-of age story about a 15-year-old boy named Sajid. It is the sequel to East is East.

I am a film buff and I intend to write more on movies in future entries in my blog.


On September 12, 1953, Senator John F. Kennedy, 36, of Massachusetts married Jacqueline Lee Bouvier, 24. The wedding took place at St. Mary’s Church in Newport, Rhode Island. According to the JFK Presidential Library and Museum, twelve hundred people were invited to the wedding reception at Hammersmith Farm, where Jackie had spent many summers with her family.

To view a video of the wedding, click the following link.

It is interesting to note that Sir Winston Churchill married Clementine Ogilvy Hozier on September 12, 1908 at St. Margaret’s Church, Westminster Abbey in London. (Since it stands between Westminster Abbey and the British Houses of Parliament, St. Margaret’s is commonly referred to as "the parish church of the House of Commons").

Hmmm . . . .John F. Kennedy and Churchill had the same wedding anniversary, albeit the Kennedys were married 45 years after the Churchills.


Yesterday was a bad day for Toronto sports teams. The Blue Jays were pounded by the Tampa Bay Rays. The final score was Tampa Bay 13, Blue Jays 1. Toronto starter Ricky Romero had a bad outing. Romero (12-9) allowed six runs, three hits and three walks in four innings.

Meanwhile, the Toronto Argonauts lost to the B.C. Lions in Vancouver. The score was 36-16 for the Lions.

- Joanne

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Reflections on 9/11


Certain dates will be etched forever in the annals of history. September 11, 2001 is one of them. Today marks the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. What happened that day shook the Western World to its very foundations. It was a colossal event that changed our lives irrevocably. We were fraught with emotion, saddened, overwhelmed and frightened. Almost everyone has a story to tell about what they were doing when they heard the news of the collapse of the twin towers in New York City.  Here is mine.

On that fateful Tuesday morning in September of 2001, I turned on the television to view the morning news before leaving for my job at the library of the Toronto Star, Canada's largest newpaper.  There were endless replays of a plane crashing into one of the towers of the World Trade Center. I switched channels to find out as much information as I could. Some newscasters speculated that it might have been an accident – until the second tower was hit too!  I also learned that there had been an attack on the Pentagon. That really unsettled me! What was going on, I asked myself? Was it the beginning of World War III? The end of the world? Armageddon? By that time, I had to depart for work.

As I stepped outside, I couldn’t help but notice that there wasn’t a cloud in the clear, blue sky. It was a perfect day weather-wise, so calm and temperate. Yet, I realized that something horrifying and earth shattering was occurring in Manhattan and in other locales in the United States. I knew there was going to be pandemonium when I arrived at work. The newsroom and the library would be in quite a state!

When I reached my workplace, everyone was standing around the television, anxiously watching replay after replay of the towers falling down. Reporters were searching for road maps, trying to find a way to get to New York in the midst of all the horror, fear and confusion. It is quite an experience to be around a newsroom during an event of such great historical magnitude.

The passage of nine years has brought some perspective to that day. Many heartbreaking stories have been told. We have heard the testimonies of courage and heroism in the midst of such death and tragedy. Almost 3,000 people lost their lives, including 24 Canadians, in the 9/11 attacks. A twenty-fifth Canadian, Felicia Dunn-Jones, died five months later of a lung condition linked to her exposure to toxic dust during the collapse of the World Trade Center.

Canadians in Gander, Newfoundland played a special role in assisting travellers who were stranded at airports during the time of the terrorist attacks. They took strangers into their homes and provided them with food, shelter and down-home Newfoundland hospitality. Lasting friendships were made during that terrible time.

Here we are, nine years later. The United States is finally pulling out of Iraq. Osama bin Laden remains at large. Travelling through airports is still a major headache due to all the security. Canadians are required to carry passports to travel south of the border and we can’t smile in our passport photos. Resilient New Yorkers have survived and picked themselves up in the manner of Londoners after the Battle of Britain. The area where the World Trade Centre once stood is finally being rebuilt and revitalized.

My hope is that in our zeal to combat terrorism, we do not assume the mentality of the terrorists. I am relieved that Terry Jones, the pastor of an obscure church in Florida has called off his revolting plan to burn copies of the Qur’an. Such tactics as book burning and the  torturing of prisoners by waterboarding are not the way to fight the extremism of militant Islamic fundamentalism.


The Blue Jays lost a heartbreaker last night to the Tampa Bay Rays by a score of 9-8. The Jays rallied in the fourth inning to overcome an 8-1 deficit and tie the game. A throwing error by shortstop Yunel Escobar cost them the game. The good news is that Jose Bautista hit two home runs and he now has 46 homers this season.

I see that former Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay won his 18th game of the season yesterday. Roy and his Philadelphia Phillies lead the National League East and have an excellent chance to be in the playoffs.. Halladay (18-10) became the Phillies' top winner since John Denny posted 19 during his Cy Young season in 1983. Congratulations, Doc, on your success! We miss you.

- Joanne

Thursday, September 9, 2010


For more than two years now, I have been associated with an organization called Toronto ALPHA (Association for Learning and Preserving the History of World War II in Asia). In 2008, I went on a study tour to China and South Korea with this group. They promote human rights, reconciliation between China and Japan and the study of the history of World War II in Asia. This organization was founded by the highly respected Dr. Joseph Wong.

From Oct. 1, 2010 until October 3, 2010, Toronto ALPHA will be holding an international conference for educators on the history of World War II in Asia. It is called Forgotten Voices, Living History. The conference will be held at the University of Toronto, OISE. I urge teachers, students and anyone with an interest in history and human rights to attend. Adrienne Clarkson, former Governor General of Canada will be the keynote speaker. For more information click this link.


Rosh Hashanah or the Jewish New Year began at sundown yesterday and will continue until tomorrow, September 10.  It is a celebration of the beginning of the Hebrew calendar year 5771.  Although I am not of the Jewish faith, I have a great affinity for the Jewish people and I wish all my Jewish friends and readers a very Happy Rosh Hashanah.


Rosh Hashanah is a Hebrew term meaning literally "head of the year".


The late Tom Cheek, radio broadcaster of the Toronto Blue Jays, deserves to be in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. Tom died of cancer in 2005, but he will always be remembered in Canada, and especially in Toronto. You can vote for Tom Cheek to win the Ford C. Frick Award at
I strongly encourage you to do so.


The Blue Jays had their September call-ups in the line-up yesterday and were soundly beaten 8-1 by the Texas Rangers. Fewer than 11,000 fans attended the game.

My admiration for Jose Bautista as an athlete and a team leader keeps on growing. The man is one smart baseball player and the Jays are fortunate to have him. On Tuesday, he stole third base on an intentional walk. Has anyone ever seen that done before? If so, let me know.

If Bautista were playing on a contending team, he would certainly have to be considered for most valuable player in the American League. I can’t think of any player more valuable to the Jays this year. At this point, I have another question for you. Do you think the MVP should play on a contending team? If you have any thoughts on that subject, I’d like you to contact me.

Brickbats to Rogers Communications for the Sportsnet 1 debacle.  You can make all the excuses you want, but the truth is you have disappointed and angered many loyal Blue Jay fans. - especially seniors who look forward to watching the Jays on television.  That is no way to treat them.  Why was the Tampa Bay game being shown last night when OUR Toronto Blue Jays were playing at the same time?

- Joanne

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Assassination of Huey Long


Advice is seldom welcome; and those who want it most always like it least.
- Philip Dormer Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield
  From Letters (January 29, 1748)

Knowledge may give weight, but accomplishments giver lustre, and many more people see than weigh
- Philip Dormer Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield
  From Letters (May 8, 1750)


On September 8, 1935, Huey P. Long, the flamboyant United States Senator from Louisiana and former governor of the state, was assassinated. He was shot and mortally wounded at the Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge. He died two days later at the age of 42. Long, nicknamed “The Kingfish” after a character on the Amos ‘n’ Andy radio program, was a provocative politician and a populist. His motto was "Every man a king, but no one wears a crown." Nominally a Democrat, he disagreed with Franklin D. Roosevelt’s approach to the problems of the Great Depression. In 1934, he founded a radical political movement called the Share Our Wealth Society.

Huey Long was a charismatic man and some accused him of being a demagogue. He was known for his speeches and his rhetoric. To listen to him speak, click on the following link.


Why was the stadium so cool?

Answer : Because there were thousands of fans.


The Blue Jays won again yesterday. They defeated the Texas Rangers by a score of 8-5 in the second game of their series at the dome in Toronto. Starting pitcher Shaun Marcum earned his twelfth win of the season. The crowd at the dome was the second smallest this year.

- Joanne

Tuesday, September 7, 2010



I have some news for you today.  Number 16 has its own website now.  You can access my blog by typing the following web address  Please bookmark it on your computer.

I would like to thank all my readers for their support and interest since I began this blog in May.  I appreciate your interest and continue to seek your input.  I invite you to check out a few features I have added to my new website.  You will find a daily health tip, a calendar and some beautiful travel photos.


It's back to school today for many of us.  My niece is starting high school and by nephew is a first-year university student.  I wish them, and all students and teachers, the best of luck in the new school year.


Queen Elizabeth I of England was born on September 7, 1533, 477 years ago today. The daughter of the legendary Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, she ruled from 1558 until her death in 1603 at the age of 69. She was only the second female to rule England.  Her half-sister, Mary I (the infamous “Bloody Mary”), had that distinction – unless you count Lady Jane Grey, the ``nine-day wonder`` who was queen regnant for nine days in 1553 and was forced to resign. The unfortunate Lady Jane was executed in 1554.

Elizabeth I ruled for over 44 years. She never married and left no direct heir. At her death, the Tudor dynasty came to an end. She was succeeded by the Scottish King James VI who became James I of England. James was the son of Mary, Queen of Scots, grand-niece of Henry VIII and thus, Elizabeth’s cousin. During her lifetime, Elizabeth never came face to face with Mary, Queen of Scots. However, she did everything in her power to prevent the Catholic Mary from ascending to the throne of England. Elizabeth placed Mary under house arrest for 19 years. In 1587, The Queen of Scots was beheaded for plotting against Elizabeth and Elizabeth signed the death warrant for the execution. In an ironic twist of fate, Mary`s Protestant son, James came to the throne upon the childless Elizabeth`s death.


I saw the movie Inception starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Ellen Page yesterday.  It has been in theatres for a while, but I haven├Ęt gotten around to seeing it until now.  I quite enjoyed the film, although I have to say it is one of  the most complex movies I have ever seen.  You really have to concentrate because it is so complicated.  If you have not seen it yet, I suggest that you do not watch it if you are feeling tired or you are not in the mood to concentrate.  The visuals are impressive and I think it should receive an Oscar nomination for best visual effects.  Inception may not appeal to all tastes, but I recommend it.


The Toronto Argonauts lost the annual Labour Day Classic to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats yesterday before a sold-out Ivor Wynne Stadium crowd of 30,319.  Hamilton defeated the Argos by a score of 28-13.  The Tabbies won because the Argos made some costly errors.  Although I wish the outcome had been different yesterday, the rivalry between the Argos and Tiger-Cats is a great one.  Through the years, I have only attended one Labour Day Classic at Ivor Wynne.  That was the 2004 game that ended in a 30-30 tie in overtime.

Unlike the Argos, the Blue Jays  recorded a win yesterday.  They defeated the Texas Rangers by a score of 7-2 in the first game of a home series.  Ricky Romero pitched seven solid innings.

- Joanne

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labour Day musings



In order that people may be happy in their work, these three things are needed: They must be fit for it. They must not do too much of it. And they must have a sense of success in it.
- John Ruskin
From Pre-Raphaelitism {1851}

Today is Labour Day and it is appropriate to think about the dignity of labour and the meaning of work. We live in a time when many people can’t even take into consideration whether they are happy in their jobs. They have no choice. They have to put food on the table and keep up with their mortgage payments. They feel fortunate just to be employed, and thus, job satisfaction is not a primary consideration for them.

In an ideal world, this would not be the case. However, we do not live in a Utopian society and many people toil at menial and non-fulfilling jobs just to pay the bills. The recession that began in 2008 affected almost everyone to some degree. It was cruel and savage. Much of the world is still struggling to recover from that devastating blow. Unemployment is still high in the United States and Canada.

For all the suffering and pain caused by the recession, the finger must be pointed directly at Wall Street. I will not mince words here. Greed and selfishness caused the recession. However, I want to be clear. I am not opposed to capitalism per se. I am opposed to unfettered capitalism. I am opposed to capitalism without regulation and without boundaries. An absolute free market does not produce a just society.

Today I would like to pay homage to all those who labour. Today is a day to celebrate the dignity of the working person. I would also like to offer words of comfort for those who lost their jobs during the Great Recession and remain unemployed. It isn’t easy to be laid off, especially at an older age.

Although I am not militant, I firmly believe we need unions to fight for decent wages and pensions for everyone. We need unions to keep management from taking advantage of labour. The optimal situation, however, is for labour and management to work together for their mutual benefit.

I wish everyone a Happy Labour Day.


Aaron Hill led the Blue Jays to their 70th victory of the season yesterday.  The Jays defeated the New York Yankees by a score of 7-3.  Hill socked his 22nd homer and drove in three runs.

- Joanne

Saturday, September 4, 2010

On success, failure and the Ford Edsel



Success is often achieved by those who don't know that failure is inevitable.

- Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel
As quoted in Believing in Ourselves (1992) by Armand Eisen, p. 15

This quote by the late French fashion designer "Coco" Chanel lead us into today's topic - failure. 


On September 4, 1957, the Ford Motor Company introduced a new car – the Edsel. It was named after Edsel Ford, Henry Ford’s son who died of cancer in 1943 at the age of 49.  Only three years later, the Edsel was discontinued due to slow sales. The car was a costly and unpopular flop. It was considered to be ugly, over-hyped and expensive.  The name “Edsel” became synonymous with failure.

I am not knowledgeable about automobiles and I don’t even have a driver’s licence. Yet, I have always been interested in the Edsel. When I worked at the Toronto Star Library, I looked at archival photographs of the Edsel there. I can’t really explain the fascination. Perhaps it’s just curiosity about why this car was such a monumental lead balloon.

Ironically, the much reviled Edsel has had some degree of vindication. It is now a rare collector’s item and worth quite a sizable amount of money. About six years ago, I spotted an Edsel in a parking lot in Goderich, Ontario. It was in pristine condition.

Note: Did you know there is an independent online magazine called Failure? Failure Magazine is described as featuring “thought-provoking analysis of failures (and successes)” in business, arts etc.

Click on the following two links.  The first link will show you an ad for an Edsel and several photographs of the exterior and interior of the 1958 Edsel Citation. The second link will show you an ad for a 1958 Edsel.,6887623&dq=1958+edsel&hl=en


“Edsel’ is derived from an Old German word meaning “noble”. It had a small degree of popularity as a boy’s name in the late 1920s. After the failure of Ford’s car, the name virtually disappeared. When was the last time you met someone called Edsel?


In keeping with the subject of failure, the Blue Jays failed to win against he New York Yankees.  They lost 7-3 in the Bronx.  Brandon Morrow pitched his final game of the season.  He finished on a low note after pitching so well all season.  It hasn't been easy for him because he has had to battle diabetes. 

- Joanne

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Today is the first day of September and for many the summer seems to be drawing to a close. Officially it is not over until September 21st and I can tell you that I plan to bask in every remaining second of the season.  Here in Toronto, we are certainly experiencing hot and humid weather as we head into the Labour Day weekend..


In my blog entry for August 30th, I provided you with a little challenge. I told you that to my knowledge, there are only four words in the English language that end in “dous” and that one of them is “tremendous”. Were you able to think of the other three?  If not, as promised, here is the list of words that end in “dous”.

1. horrendous

2. stupendous

3. hazardous

4. tremendous

If you can come up with any more, please email me and let me know or comment below this entry.


On September 1, 1939, Nazi Germany invaded Poland setting off World War II in Europe.  In August of 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union had signed a 10-year nonaggression pact.  This German-Soviet Pact, is also known as the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact after the two foreign ministers who negotiated the agreement.  The signatories of the agreement promised not to attack each other and this allowed Germany to invade Poland without fear of Soviet intervention.


Last night the Toronto Blue Jays trounced the Tampa Bay Rays by a score by a score of 13-5. Slugger Jose Bautista hit home run Number 43. It will be fascinating to see what his final tally of homers for the season will be. I will certainly be following.

I see that pitcher Brandon Morrow will have one more start for the season and then he will rest his arm. I applaud the Jays for choosing to do that. They are not in a pennant race this year and too many young pitchers are becoming worn out too soon. A prime example is Stephen Strasburg of the Washington Nationals.

Columnist Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star estimates that the Blue Jays are set to contend in 2012. All I know is that the Jays are on the way up. They have the aura of a team on the rise about them. When they do challenge, I will not have to jump back on the bandwagon because I have never jumped off.


On September 1, 1990 the Toronto Argonauts defeated the B.C. Lions 68-43, a combined score of 111 - the highest scoring game in Canadian Football League history.

- Joanne