Sunday, November 28, 2010

To see a world in a grain of sand
And heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour.

- William Blake
From Auguries of Innocence
These have to be some of my very favourite lines of poetry. To me, the imagery of time slipping away like mere grains of sand in your hand is very poignant and somewhat disconcerting. I have chosen to highlight this verse because William Blake, the great English poet and painter, was born on this day in 1757 in the Soho district of London. His father, James, was a hosier, a seller of garments for the legs and feet. Today marks the 253rd anniversary of the birth of William Blake. He died in London on August 12, 1827 at the age of 69.


Why was the broom late for work?


Because he swept in.


On November 23, 2010, the Canadian Centre for the Study of Living Standards released a major study on factors influencing the happiness and satisfaction of Canadians. The study concludes that my beloved Toronto is the most miserable city in the country, even though it scores quite high on the happiness scale. Over all, Canadians appear to be a happy bunch. More than 92% of us report being satisfied or very satisfied with their lives last year. The city of Sherbrooke , Quebec, Premier Jean Charest’s hometown, ranks first on the happiness scale, with a score of 4.37 out of 5 on the happiness scale. Brantford, Ontario ranks second with a score of 4.36 and Trois-Rivieres, Quebec ranks third with 4.35. The least happy CMAs (Census Metropolitan Areas) in the country are Toronto, Ontario, Vancouver, British Columbia and St. Catharines, Ontario. Toronto scores 4.15. That’s only 5.5 % less than Sherbrooke – not too shabby, if you ask me.

The survey found that “the most important reason for geographical variation in happiness in Canada is differences in the sense of belonging to local communities, which is generally higher in small CMAs, and Atlantic Canada.” The study finds that Prince Edward Island, with a population of only 137,900 (2006 census) is the happiest province in the country. The least happy is Ontario, the most populous province in the country with over 12 million people. British Columbia, the third most populous province, is the second least happy. An interesting finding is that Quebec scores extremely high in the happiness scale. The second most populous province with over 7.6 million people, Quebec finishes second only to Prince Edward Island in terms of happiness.

Not one of the three most populous cities in Canada (Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver) ranks in the top 15 cities in the happiness survey. The stress of living in a big city is a strong, determining factor. The survey also finds that a 10% increase in income increases the number of people “very satisfied” by 0.6. per cent. The province of Quebec has the lowest mean sense of belonging but the highest mean mental health status.

The top 15 happiest cities according to The Canadian Centre for the Study of Living Standards are:

1. Sherbrooke Quebec (4.37 on a scale of 5)
2 . Brantford, Ontario (4.36)
3. Trois-Rivieres, Quebec (4.35)
4. Quebec City, Quebec (4.34)
5. St. John’s, Newfoundland (4.34)
6. Calgary, Alberta (4.33)
7. Peterborough, Ontario (4.32)
8. Greater Sudbury, Ontaro (4.32)
9. Saguenay, Quebec (4.32)
10. Halifax, Nova Scotia (4.32)
11. Guelph, Ontario (4.32)
12. Victoria, British Columbia (4.32)
13. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (4.31)
14. Saint John, New Brunswick (4.30)
15. Ottawa-Gatineau (4.29)

If you would like to view the complete report of the Canadian Centre for the Study of Living Standards, click on the link below.


A November 15th Associated Press story reported that a Sanford, Florida dealership is trying to attract business by offering a little perk to prospective used-truck buyers. To the delight of every redneck in central Florida, that little perk happens to be a free AK-47 assault rifle. Nick Ginetta, the general manager of Nations Trucks in Sanford announced that business has more than doubled since the promotion began on Veteran’s Day. Well, gosh, dang, that’s good news! Yep, that’s just what America needs. Gotta get us some of them AK-47s. It’s all about the Second Amendment and freedom, you know. And don’t worry that the assault rifles will fall into the wrong hands. It’s perfectly safe. After all, customers have to pass a background check prior to using the $400 gun shop voucher. So we know that psychotic serial killers and assassins will never be able to obtain one. Doesn’t that make you feel better?  Better hurry now, the promotion finishes at the end of November.


Football (CFL)

The Grey Cup will take place today in Edmonton. The Montreal Alouettes will play the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the 98th edition of the Canadian classic. I’ve been reading some positive articles about the Canadian Football League lately. Television ratings are up and there is a good feeling around the league. If everything goes according to plan, Ottawa will rejoin the league in 2013 and host the Grey Cup in 2014. Somewhere down the road, a franchise may be established in the Maritimes or in Quebec City.

Toronto has been awarded the 100th Grey Cup in 2012. I’m hoping to get tickets because I would really like to attend. I’ve never been to a Grey Cup game and it’s really something I’d like to do. I am a die hard CFL fan.

- Joanne