Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Here's to Bonnie Scotland on St. Andrew's Day


Farewell to the Highlands, farewell to the North,
The birthplace of valour, the country of worth!
Wherever I wander, wherever I rove,
The hills of the Highlands, for ever I love.

- Robert Burns
From My Heart’s in the Highlands
A toast to bonnie Scotland! What better way to do it than to quote Robbie Burns, the great “Bard of Scotland,” on the feast of St. Andrew. St. Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland. Scots around the world celebrate St. Andrew’s Day on the 30th of November. Tradition has it that St. Andrew was crucified on an X-shaped cross or “saltire."  That is why the flag of Scotland is the X-shaped Cross of St. Andrew.

Details about the life of St. Andrew are very sketchy. According to the Christian Bible, he was a fisherman from Bethsaida, a village on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Andrew was originally a follower of John the Baptist. He and his brother, Simon Peter (St. Peter), eventually became two of the Twelve Apostles of Christ.


The name Andrew is taken from the Greek "Andreas" meaning manly or brave.


Actor/comic Leslie Nielsen died in Florida on Sunday at the age of 84. Although Nielsen was a Hollywood star who appeared in over one hundred films and numerous television programs, his roots were distinctly Canadian.

Leslie William Nielsen was born on February 1, 1926 in Regina, Saskatchewan, the son of a Mountie. His father, Ingvard Eversen Nielsen, a Danish immigrant, was a Constable in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The young Leslie was raised in Fort Norman, Northwest Territories (now known as Tulita) where his father was stationed with the RCMP.

Leslie’s elder brother, Erik Nielsen, was a Canadian politician and long-time Progressive Conservative Member of Parliament for the Yukon. Dubbed “Yukon Erik,” he was a cabinet minister in the short-lived government of Joe Clark. However, he was most prominent in the government of Brian Mulroney where he served as Canada’s deputy prime minister from 1984 to 1986 and Minister of National defence from 1985 to 1986. Erik Nielsen, a man of few words, was nicknamed “Velcro Lips” due to his unsmiling demeanour and his reticence. He died of a heart attack on September 4, 2008 at his home in Kelowna, British Columbia. Like his brother, Leslie, he was 84 years old at the time of his death.

To watch a tribute to Leslie Nielsen, click on the link below.



Football (CFL)

Congratulations to the Montreal Alouettes for winning the 98th Grey Cup on Sunday over the Saskatchewan Roughriders. It was a closely-fought game, but the Als prevailed by a score of 21-18 before an estimated 63,000 fans in Edmonton. Their victory, however, was bittersweet. Veteran Montreal quarterback Anthony Calvillo, the best quarterback in Canadian football, dropped a bombshell. He announced that he will be undergoing surgery due to a lesion on his thyroid. His future as a player is in doubt until the outcome of the operation.

As for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, it was a heartbreaking loss for them. The Green Riders have the most enthusiastic fans in the league and they packed Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium. It was a sea of green. During my recent visit to Las Vegas, I spotted some Riders fans at the Treasure Island hotel. I wished them well in the Grey Cup and told them that next year it was the Argos’ turn.


Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays did not win the American League MVP award. The honour went to Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers. However, I must congratulate Bautista for being voted the Toronto Blue Jays’ MVP and for winning the John Cerutti Award. The Cerutti Award is named in honour of the former Blue Jays’ pitcher and broadcaster. It is given to the Jay who displays the good character shown by the late John Cerutti.

- Joanne Madden

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