Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Joanne's Journal: December 25, 2012

Edition No. 11

Quote of the Day

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.  

Luke 2:7

On this Day


One of my favourite actors came into the world on Christmas Day.  Humphrey DeForest Bogart was born on December 25, 1899 in New York City.  He was the son of a Manhattan surgeon, Dr. Belmont DeForest Bogart and Maud Humphrey, a commercial illustrator.  From his first great success as Duke Mantee in The Petrified Forest (1936), Bogie went on to become a film icon.  His unforgettable performance as Rick Blaine in Casablanca (1942) lifted him to the peak of stardom. Bogie died of cancer of the esophagus on January 14, 1957.  He was 57 years old.


As Christmas of 1914 approached, World War I had been raging for four months.  On the Western Front, the soldiers from Germany, France and Britain were shivering in their muddy trenches. Many had expected to be home with their families by Christmas.  They had no idea the conflict was going to drag on until 1918.

On December 7, 1914, Pope Benedict XV, called for a temporary cessation of  hostilities in celebration of the Christmas season.  His plea to prevent "the suicide of Europe," however, was ignored.  Somehow, though, an unofficial truce did break out between the warring parties that Christmas.  According to Stanley Weintraub, author of Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce, "The troops had been fighting since August 1914.  It was  now December, the cold rains and some snow had come and the trenches were full of mud and water.  Nobody wanted to fight."

Unbelievably, the soldiers laid down their weapons.  On Christmas Eve, many German soldiers put up Christmas trees adorned with candles.  The two sides actually exchanged gifts and sang Christmas carols.  In several places, games of soccer (football) were organized, although they tended not to be formal matches.

Soldiers kicking soccer ball around.

The truce couldn't last, of course, although in some places it held until Boxing Day, and in some areas a few days more.


Mitt Romney did not really want to be president of the United States.  That's not idle speculation.  It's a candid admission from a member of the defeated Republican candidate's own family.  In an interview published on December 23rd, Romney's eldest son, Tagg, told the Boston Globe that his father "had no desire" to run for the presidency again after his the failure of his 2008 bid to become the Republican nominee.  Tagg Romney stated that Mitt "wanted to be president less than anyone I've met in my life."  It was Tagg and his mother, Ann, who coaxed the reluctant politician to change his mind.  The younger Romney went on to say that if his father "had found someone else to take his place . . . he would have been ecstatic to step aside."



On paper, the Toronto Blue Jays appear to be the best team in the American League East.  As a Blue Jays fan, I admit my bias.  Still, Blue Jays General Manager Alex Anthopoulos is the talk of the baseball world.  He has really set tongues wagging with his wheeling and dealing during the off season so far.  I find it difficult to restrain my enthusiasm for what A.A. has achieved.  Many things could go wrong and there's always the possibility of a string of injuries.  Whatever the outcome of the 2013, no one can fault Anthopoulos for not trying.  He deserves A+ for effort.  He's given it his best shot and he's going for all the marbles now.  The 2013 season should be fun and it is filled with promise.  I can't wait to see R.A. Dickey throw his knucleballs.  Nevertheless, I will try to temper my enthusiasm with caution.

Horse Racing in Ontario

The media here in Ontario pay scant attention to horse racing in this province and elsewhere.  I once asked a Toronto Star reporter why horse racing received such little coverage in the Star, the largest paper in Canada.  He replied that there wasn't enough interest to warrant more coverage.  How, I thought to myself, does the public become interested in a sport  if it is practically ignored by the press and people are given very little information about it?  It's the old chicken/egg conundrum.

Due to the indifference and apathy of the media (combined with the actions of the Ontario government), the horse racing industry is in dire straits.  It is an industry that employs and estimated 60,000 people in the province.  Now that Dalton McGuinty has resigned, I urge the next premier of Ontario to reverse the government's decision to end the Slots at the Track Program on March 31st, 2013.

Horses may have to be destroyed.  Where are the voices of the animal rights advocates in support of these beautiful creatures?


The Toronto Raptors should seriously consider trading Adrea Bargnani.  The Italian seems quite unhappy and he just doesn't seem to be fitting in well.   Perhaps a trade would be beneficial to him and the Raptors.

- Joanne

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