Tuesday, November 2, 2010



No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member –
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds,

- Thomas Hood
From the poem No
I have to admit that I identify with the sentiments of Thomas Hood. Never have I been a fan of the month of November. My problem with the eleventh month of the year is that it becomes dark too early in the day. That is why I yearn for daylight saving time all year round. I must have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Some people consider November to be hauntingly beautiful. I have also heard it referred to as the “death month”. I suppose it is necessary to go through the sombreness of November to get to the brightness of Christmas.

I try to make the best of November, but I’m still glad it only lasts for 30 days instead of 31.


Marie-Antoinette was born on November 2, 1755. She was Austrian, not French, and she never said, “Let them eat cake.” Her name at birth was Maria Antonia Josepha Johanna von Hapsburg-Lothringen and she was the Archduchess of Austria. She was born at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria, the fifteenth child of the Holy Roman Emperor Francis I and his wife Empress Maria Theresa. Marie-Antoinette was only 37 years old when she was executed by guillotine in Paris on October 16, 1793. The place of her execution is now known as the Place de la Concorde.

All the publicity, the attention, the interviews, the photographs, were too much for me.

- Johnny Vander Meer (describing how he felt about all the attention he received after throwing his second no-hitter)', AP Wire, 1939

Baseball’s Johnny Vander Meer was born on November 2, 1914 in Midland Park, New Jersey. His nickname was The Dutch Master. Vander Meer was a left-handed pitcher and for most of his career he played for the Cincinnati Reds (1937-1949, served in the Navy from 1944-45)). He is the only pitcher in major league history to pitch no-hitters in two consecutive starts. On June 11, 1938, the southpaw pitched a no-hitter for the Reds against the Boston Braves at Crosley Field in Cincinnati. Four nights later, on June 15, he pitched another no-hitter against the Brooklyn Dodgers in the very first night game at Ebbets Field. Vander Meer won 15 games in that 1938 season. He won the most games of his career in 1942 when he recorded 18 victories.

John Samuel Vander Meer played his final game on May 7, 1951 and died in Tampa, Florida on October 6, 1997 at the age of 82. The cause of death was an abdominal aneurysm. His record of two consecutive no-hitters is not likely to be broken any time soon.


Our neighbours south of the border go to the polls today in crucial midterm elections. The Democrats are not expected to do well. I realize I am not an American citizen, but what happens in the United States affects Canada and the rest of the world. On that basis, I feel quite entitled to express my opinion.

I don’t agree with the politics of the Tea Party movement at all. It can’t be dismissed because it is a populist movement and many Americans support it. However, their ideas and their powerful hatred of government repulse me. We just don’t have the same view of the world.

Let’s begin with the name of this right-wing grass roots movement. The Boston Tea Party was certainly a protest against a tax, but it was a tax imposed by Britain – not the Thirteen Colonies. Tea Partiers complain about the high deficit and government spending. However, it was the “conservative” government of George W. Bush that put the United States in such deep debt with its spending on war and on tax cuts for the most wealthy.

Tea Partiers are angry at government. They should be angry with all the greed on Wall Street. They should take umbrage at those who took advantage of the deregulation and unbridled capitalism that Ronald Reagan introduced in the 1980s. They are the ones who subjected Anerucans to sub prime mortgages and hedge funds. They caused the Great Recession of 2008. They caused untold suffering and high unemployment around the world. They are responsible for people losing their homes and their jobs and for pensioners suffering the loss of their retirement savings.

President Barack Obama inherited a huge mess, the worst economic slump since The Great Depression. He could not have cleaned it up in the 21 months he has been in office. He is not a magician. It is impossible to recover from such an economic down slide overnight. The Tea Partiers portray Obama as some kind of radical socialist. He is not anything of the sort. His stimulus spending has worked. The American economy would be in worse shape if Obama had not taken tthe measures he did.  Thanks to Obama, many who did not have health coverage before have it now.

Barack Obama advocated tax increases for those making over $200,000 a year. That’s not communism. That’s just a fairer and more equitable society. The Republican Party has swung too far to the radical right. The G.O.P. is no longer the party of Dwight Eisenhower and it hasn’t been for quite a long time.

I've said it before and I'll say it again.  The best societies have both individual initiative and a sense of community to protect the weak and the vulnerable.  One without the other is not conducive to a just and prosperous society for all.   Capitalism needs safeguards.  It needs regulation to protect it from the ravages of human avarice.  Adam Smith's so-called "invisible hand" really is invisible. It doesn't exist.



Well, it was not the most exciting World Series, but the San Francisco Giants won it and they are thrilled with the victory, thank you very much. They took 52 long years to win the “October” Classic and they won it on November 1, 2010. Nevertheless, they are World Series champions (not “world champions” as Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig referred to them). They defeated the Texas Rangers last night by a score of 3-1 to take the Series 4 games to 1. Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants and their fans.

- Joanne