Thursday, January 6, 2011

Random thoughts on a January 6th



Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the grey twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.

- Theodore Roosevelt
Speech before the Hamilton Club, Chicago [April 10, 1899]

Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States, passed away 92 years ago today, on January 6, 1919. He died at Sagamore Hill, his mother’s estate overlooking New York’s Long Island Sound. He was 60 years old.

Theodore Roosevelt became president in 1901 upon the assassination of William McKinley. He was only 42 years of age at the time, making him the youngest person ever to hold the office of U.S. president. John F. Kennedy was 43 years old when he became president in 1961, making him the youngest person ever to be elected president.


Today is the feast of the Epiphany. It is the celebration of the coming of the Three Wise Men or Magi to Bethlehem. According to the Bible, they brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the Christ child. We all know what gold is, of course, but what are frankincense and myrrh?

Frankincense is an aromatic gum resin obtained in African and Arabian trees. It is used primarily as incense and in perfumes. It is thought to have medicinal properties and a calming effect. In the ancient world, it was used to treat depression. Ancient peoples burned frankincense in the belief that it carried their prayers to heaven.

Myrrh is also a resin, produced by small trees that grow in North Africa and in the Red Sea region. It has powerful antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. The Chinese used it for hundreds of years to treat wounds, bruises and painful swelling. “Myrrh” is an Arabic word meaning “bitter".


On January 6, 1912, New Mexico became the 47th U.S. state - 99 years ago today.  Congratulations to all New Mexicans and a warm greeting to you from Number 16.

Here are a few facts about the state of New Mexico..

* New Mexico’s nickname is the “Land of Enchantment” and this legend first appeared on New Mexico licence plates in 1941. It did not become the state’s official nickname until April 8, 1999.

* “New Mexico” is the English version of “Nuevo Mexico", the Spanish name for the Upper Rio Grande. “Mexico” is an Aztec spelling and it means “place of Mexitili,” one of the Aztec gods.

* According to the United States Census Bureau (2009 estimate), the population of New Mexico is 2,009,671, a smaller population than my home city of Toronto, Canada.

* The U.S. Census Bureau reports that 45.6% of New Mexico’s population is of Latin or Hispanic origin. That compares to 15.8% in the USA as a whole.



Congratulations to former Toronto Blue Jay Roberto Alomar for being voted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown. He was chosen on 90% of the ballots.

Robbie deserves this honour. He was one of the best second basemen who ever played the game. I just hope he enters the Hall as a Toronto Blue Jay. Yes, I know I’m biased. I truly believe, however, that Alomar had the finest years of his career while playing here in Toronto.


What a disappointment! What a monumental collapse! Although some might say “choke", I think “collapse” is the best word to describe what happened to Team Canada in its gold medal game against Russia in the World Junior Hockey Championship. Team Canada had a fairly comfortable 3-0 lead when the wheels fell off and the flood gates opened. The Russians scored five unanswered goals in the third period to win by a score of 5-3. For Canadian fans, it was painful to watch. It was one of Canada’s worst collapses in international hockey.

The highly partisan crowd of Canadian fans in Buffalo, New York were in a happy, celebratory mood as Team Canada cruised along with a 3-0 lead. They were shocked at how fast that lead dissipated. I certainly won’t take anything away from the Russians. I believe in giving credit where credit is due. It’s just that I can’t believe what happened. I’m still scratching my head.

- Joanne