Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Reflections and quotes on Earth Day

The earth does not argue,
Is not pathetic, has no arrangements,
Does not scream, haste, persuade,
threaten, promise,
Makes no discrimination, has no
conceivable failures,
Closes nothing, refuses nothing,
shuts none out.

- Walt Whitman (1819-1892), American poet
From "A Song of the Rolling Earth" [1881]

Today, April 22nd, marks the 45th annual celebration of Earth Day.  Shown in the above photo is the Earth Day Flag.  It was designed by the late John McConnell.  McConnell, an American humanitarian and peace activist, died on October 20, 2012.  At a UNESCO Conference in San Francisco in 1969, he proposed a day to honour the Earth and the notion of peace.  It was to be celebrated on Mach 21st, the spring equinox in the Northern Hemisphere.

Below is a photo of him in front of his home in Denver, Colorado with his flag.

A second Earth Day was later established by the late United States Senator Gaylord Nelson (1916-2005), a Wisonsin Democrat.  It was first held on April 22, 1970.  Below is a photo of Nelson addressing a crowd on the first Earth Day.


Theodore Roosevelt, the great conservationist

Here is your country.  Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children's children.  Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty or its romance.

- Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919), 26th President of the United States

Theodore  Roosevelt was an ardent conservationist.  According to the U.S. National Museum of Forest Service History, he helped establish five national parks, 18 national monuments. and 150 National Forests.  His gift to America was a tremendous legacy of 230 million acres of wildlife habitat conserved (84,000 acres for each day of his presidency).

In his "Confession of Faith Speech at the Progressive National Convention in Chicago, Illinois (August 6, 1912), Roosevelt declared, "There can be no greater issue than that of conservation in this country." How many candidates for the 2016 Republican nomination for president would speak those words, or anything similar today?  Would Ted Cruz?  How about Mario Rubio?  Are you kidding! Republicans are more interested in denying the scientific evidence of climate change or playing down its importance.  There are far too many echoes of Sarah Palin's infamous "Drill, baby, drill!"

Here is what Roosevelt told the children of the United States in his "Arbor Day Message" on April 15, 1907:

We of an older generation can get along with what we have, though with growing hardship; but in your full manhood and womanhood you will want what nature once so bountifully supplied and man so thoughtlessly destroyed; and because of that want you will reproach us, not for what we have used, but for what we have wasted...So any nation which in its youth lives only for the day, reaps without sowing, and consumes without husbanding, must expect the penalty of the prodigal whose labor could with difficulty find him the bare means of life.

Have right-wing evangelicals forgotten the biblical concept of human stewardship over the earth's resources.  Here is a quote they'd do well to read often.

The Earth is the Lord's and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it

- Psalm 24:1

It's not just American Tea Party types who deserve criticism.  As a Canadian, I am thoroughly ashamed of our current government's egregious record on the environment.  Prime Minister Stephen Harper has considerably reduced environmental regulations and muzzled the voices of environmental scientists.  Recently, a former Harper government appointee, Mark Jaccard, used a keynote speech in Washington, D.C. to criticize Canada's Conservative government's inaction on climate change. Jaccard, an environmental economist and a professor at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, called Canada a "rogue state" on the environment.  He implored the United States to block Keystone XL, the controversial Alberta-U.S, oil pipeline.

Rachel Carson's Silent Spring

In her groundbreaking 1962 book, Silent Spring, American author Rachel Carson (1907-1964) wrote these compelling words about the beauty and rhythm of earth and nature.

Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature -- the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.

Rachel Carson

Carson, a marine biologist, was alarmed about the use of synthetic pesticides.  In Silent Spring, she issued a timely warning about the consequences of neglecting our environment:

We stand now where two roads diverge. But unlike the roads in Robert Frost's familiar poem, they are not equally fair. The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster. The other fork of the road - he one less traveled by - offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of the earth.

The last word on this Earth Day comes from the American poet and novelist, Wendell Berry. Berry born in 1934, is also a Kentucky farmer and an environmental activist.

The earth is what we all have in common.

- Wendell Berry
From The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture  [1977]


- Joanne

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Haley Mills: Her Life and Times

I grew up with a famous father so I’ve always known people saying, “Oh hello!” and their faces lit up because they loved him. I basked in the reflected glow and there’s great warmth that comes with fame. Strangers smile at you but they also look you up and down like you’re an object on a shelf. I think fame gives you a feeling of gratitude and responsibility. 

- Haley Mills
The Telegraph, November 9, 2014

Acting is just a natural thing in my family. Other boys and girls go into the family business. So do we.

- Haley Mills, 1963
As quoted on

Former child star Haley Mills celebrates her 69th birthday a few days ago.  She was born Haley Catherine Rose Vivien Mills in London, England on April 18, 1946,  She is the second of the three children of the great British actor, John Mills, and his wife, prominent novelist and playwright Mary Haley Bell. Her older sister is actress Juliet Mills (born November 21, 1941) and her younger brother is actor Jonathan Mills (born December 3, 1949).

Haley Mills was discovered by English film director J. Lee Thompson.  In 1958, Thompson was searching for a young boy to play the lead role in his movie Tiger Bay, co-starring John Mills. After meeting Haley at the Mills' farm in Sussex, England, he was so impressed that he cast her in the part instead. When Tiger Bay was released in 1959, Haley won many accolades for her performance as Gillie Evans, a headstrong young girl.  In his review of the film for the New York Times (December 15, 1959), critic Bosley Crowther wrote glowingly of the newcomer.

"The most conspicuous and fascinating aspect of the British film "Tiger Bay," declared Crowther, "is the fluent and winning performance that 12-year-old Haley Mills gives in the role of a slum child of Cardiff who takes up with a hard-luck murderer."  He described Haley as "one of the most self-composed little performers we have seen in a long time."

Haley Mills and John Mills in Tiger Bay

After receiving a special award for her role in Tiger Bay at the 1959  Berlin Film Festival, Haley was on her way to stardom.  Her talent did not escape the notice of Walt Disney, who signed her to a contract.  She soon made her American film debut in Disney's Pollyanna.  Pollyanna was released in 1960 and Haley's role in the movie made her a star in the United States.  She even won a special Juvenile Academy Award for her performance as the orphaned "glad girl."  (She was the last person to receive the Juvenile Oscar).

After her success in Pollyanna, Disney Studios signed Haley Mills to a five-year contract.  She followed her performance in Pollyanna with 1961's The Parent Trap,, another big hit for Disney,  In The Parent Trap, Haley played the dual role of Susan and Sharon, twins scheming to reconcile their divorced parents, portrayed by Maureen O'Hara and Brian Keith.  Actress Susan Henning was Haley's body double for many of the twin scenes in the film.
Haley Mills starred in five other Disney moves: In Search of the Castaways (1962), Summer Magic (1963), The Moon-Spinners (1964).and That Darn Cat! (1965).  During those years, she also did some work outside the studio such as Whistle Down the Wind (1961), which was based on her mother's novel, and The Chalk Garden (1964), co-starring her father.

That Darn Cat! was Haley's final Disney movie.  Dean Jones co-starred in this comedy about a teenager( Mills) who becomes involved in a undertaking in which a Siamese cat named D.C. (short for Darn Cat), is used to lead F.B.I. agents to the hideout of a pair of bank robbers.  Jones, a Disney regular, portrayed an F,B,I. agent.

Haley Mills in That Darn Cat!

Haley's first post-Disney movie was The Trouble With Angels (1966), a comedy directed by Ida Lupino. in which she portrayed a mischievous Catholic boarding school girl.  In the film, Haley's character, Mary Clancy, and her friend Rachel (June Harding), delight in pulling pranks on the nuns and their Mother Superior, played by veteran actress Rosalind Russell.  The trouble making Mary refers to the pranks as her "scathingly brilliant ideas."

After The Trouble With Angels, Haley returned to Britain to star in Sky West and Crooked, another Mills family collaboration.  The screenplay was co-written by Mary Haley Bell  and the movie was directed by John Mills.  Released in the United States as Gypsy Girl, the film was set in an English village and Haley played an intellectually disabled 17-year-old.

When Haley was 19, English filmmaker Roy Boulting offered to cast her in his new movie, The Family Way.  The Family Way, originally  released in 1966, was based on a play, All in Good Time, by Bill Naughton.  Haley's role in the film marked quite a departure from her childhood Disney image. She portrayed Jenny Piper, a newlywed whose attempts to consummate her marriage are continually disrupted (Welsh actor Hywel Bennett played Jenny's husband, Arthur Fitton, and John Mills played her father-in-law, Ezra Fitton, in the film).

Haley Mills and Hywel Bennett in The Family Way

However, it wasn't the film as much as Haley's personal life that really surprised her fans of a more innocent era..  Many were shocked to learn that Haley had became romantically involved with director Roy Boulting, who was 33 years her senior and still married to his third wife (Enid Munnik). Haley's parents were not exactly thrilled when the pair moved in together. In an April 14, 1975 article in People magazine ("Haley Mills, 28, and Roy Boulting, 61: Pollyanna Never Had It So Happy," by Fed Hauptfuhrer), Roy admitted that he "understood their doubts."  "They misunderstood my motives," he added.

The couple wed in 1971 when Haley felt a desire to have a child..  "I wanted a baby," Haley explained to People, but not without being married."  On January 18, 1973, she gave birth to a son, Crispian John David Boulting. Chrispian goes by the name Crispian Mills and is best known as the frontman for the British rock band Kula Shaker.  He is a singer, songwriter, guitarist and film director.

Haley Mills with Roy Boulting and son, Crispian

Crispian Mills

In 1975, Haley's marriage to Roy Boulting fell apart.  While performing in London's West End in A Touch of Spring, she met fellow British actor Leigh Lawson.  The two began a relationship and they had a son together, Jason, born in 1977.  Their partnership ended sometime in the 1980s and Lawson went on to marry 1960s supermodel Twiggy in 1988.

Haley Mills with Leigh Lawson

Haley with sons Jason (left) and Crispian in 1997 photo

After her appearance in The Kingfisher Caper (released as Diamond Hunters in South Africa and as Diamond Lust on video), a 1975 South African film directed by Dirk DeVilliers , Haley Mills took a hiatus from acting.  She returned to the screen in 1981 with a starring role in the British television mini-series The Flame Trees of Thika.  The seven-episode series focused on he lives of British settlers in East Africa prior to World War I.

Haley reprised her roles as twins Sharon and Susan for three television movies: The Parent Trap II (1986); The Parent Trap III (1989) and Parent Trap IV: Hawaiian Honeymoon (1989).  She also appeared in a 1986 episode of Murder, She Wrote, starring Angela Lansbury.  The episode is entitled "Unfinished Business" (Season 3, Episode 3, Air Date: October 12, 1986).

In the late 1980s, Haley Mills starred in Good Morning, Miss Bliss, an American television comedy on the Disney Channel. The show's pilot was aired on July 11, 1987 and the series ran from 1988 until 1989.  Haley played the role of Carrie Bliss, at John F. Kennedy Junior High School in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The show was cancelled after only 13 episodes.  However, NBC, which produced the show for the Disney Channel, reconfigured it into Saved by the Bell, retaining four its characters.  Haley Mills did not appear in the reformatted series.

Haley Mills received plaudits for her performance in the 2005 American short film Stricken.  She played Hiddy in this 18-minute opus, directed and produced by American Jayce Bartok.  Stricken's tagline is "A quirky, short drama about three very different women who only happen to be related."

From 2007 until 2012, Haley appeared in the British television series Wild At Heart on ITV1.  She portrayed Caroline (Black) Du Plessis in the drama about a British veterinary surgeon and his family who run a game reserve in South Africa.  The show went off the air with a two-hour special.

In January of 2012, Haley revealed to Good Housekeeping magazine that she had privately battled doubled breast cancer, but was now in remission.  She said she was diagnosed with the disease in April 18, 2008, her 62nd birthday. "It was my birthday when I received the news I had breast cancer," the actress told Good Housekeeping.  "I was sitting in the sun by the Hudson River following a routine mammogram when I got the call on my mobile.  I was an enormous shock."

After surgery and three sessions of chemotherapy, Haley decided to opt out of chemotherapy and radiotherapy in favour of alternative treatment,  She did this without the support of her medical advisors.  Of her experience with chemotherapy, Haley told Britain's Daily Mirror in December, 2012 that "I could feel it draining me and killing me.  I felt I was dying." She stated that she was more frighted of the chemo than the cancer.  Nevertheless, she acknowledged that alternative treatment is not the solution for everyone.

In 2009, during her battle with breast cancer, Haley suggested to the scriptwriters of Wild at Heart that her older sister, Juliet,Mills, could replace her on the show.  Juliet ended up portraying Georgina, the sibling of Haley's character, Caroline, in eight episodes.

In addition to her accomplishments in film and television, Haley Mills has enjoyed a successful career in theatre.  She made her stage debut in a 1969 revival of J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan at the New Victoria Theatre in London's West End.  She played the leading role.  In the 1990s, Haley portrayed Anna Leonowens in touring stage productions of The King and I (She was the first to play Anna in the 1991 Australian production of the musical, directed by Christopher Renshaw).

Haley Mills as Peter Pan

Haley Mills in The King and I

In 2002, Haley Mills performed in an Off-Broadway production of Noel Coward's Suite in Two Keys.opposite American actress Judith Ivey.  In 2012, she appeared as Ursula Widdington in Ladies in Lavender at the Royal & Derngate theatre complex in Northamtpon, England, before setting out on a national tour of the UK.  In May of 2015, Haley is scheduled to tour Australia with her sister, Juliet, and brother-in-law, Maxwell Caulfield, in the comedy Legends! by Pulitizer Prize-winning playwright James Kirkwood.


*  Roy Boulting died of cancer on November 5, 2001 in Oxford, England.  He was 87 years old at the time of his death and had married five times.

John Mills and Leigh Lawson appeared together in the 1977 film The Devil's Advocate, a West German English-language production.

*  John Mills died on April 23, 2005.  He was 97-years old at the time of his death.  In 2012, Haley Mills told The Daily Mail: "My father was an inspiration to me; I made a few movies with him and I loved working with him. Everything about him - his whole approach to work, as well as his love, enthusiasm and respect for it and other people in the business - was inspiring. I was very lucky to have him as a role model."

Haley and John Mills

*  Mary Haley Bell died just months after her husband, on December 1, 2005.  She was 94 at the time of her passing.

*  Haley Mills is a grandmother.  Her son, Crispian, has been married to model Joanne Mills (née Branfoot) since 1995 and they have a son, Keshava.

*  Since 1997, Haley's partner has been Firdous Bamji, an Indian-American actor.  Bamji was born in Mumbai, India on May 3, 1966 and has appeared in a number of American television series such as Law and Order and movies such as The Sixth Sense (1999) and Analyze That (2002).  He also appeared in the off-Broadway in the play Indian Ink, a drama by Tony Award winner Tom Stoppard. Below is a photo of him with Haley at the plays's opening night, September 30, 2014.

Haley Mills with Firdous Bamji

- Joanne

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Riddle Me This!

The Riddler on the old Batman television series, as portrayed by Frank Gorshin, used to laugh maniacally while shouting his catchphrase "Riddle me this!."  Then he would challenge Batman with one of his brainteasers.  Today Number 16 presents ten riddles to challenge you.  Good luck!

By the way, Riddle No. 3 is one of the actual riddles used by The Riddler" on the TV series.


1.  Why happened to the thief who stole a calendar?

2.  Three coffeehouse chains, Tim Hortons, Starbucks and Second Cup, agreed to merge.  What did they name the new company?

3.  Why is an orange like a bell?

4.  What can be empty but still have a hole in it?

5.  Why did the elephant quit his job?

6.  What gets broken without being held?

7.  We all have our own and every one has two sides.  What is it?

8.  I don't have a name but I am often quoted.  Who am I?

9.  I never wait for anyone.  I slip away and I am frequently wasted.  Who am I?

10.  If you have me, you want to share me.  If you share me, you haven't got me anymore.  What am I?


1.  He got 12 months.

2.  Timbuktu

3.  Because they both must be peeled.

4.  A pocket

5.  Because he was working for peanuts.

6.  A promise

7.  A story

8.  Anonymous

9.  Time

10.  A secret

- Joanne

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Reflections and quotes on hope at Easter

Tribulation brings about perseverance, and perseverance brings about proven character, and proven character brings about hope, and hope does not disappoint . . .

Romans 3:1-5

The above quotation is a favourite of baseball's Tommy Lasorda.  Since today is Easter Sunday, I thought if would be appropriate to share some thoughts about hope.

The 18th-century English poet, Alexander Pope, was the author a the philosophical poem, An Essay on Man, published in 1734.

Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never is, but always to be blessed:
The soul, uneasy and confined from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.

- Alexander Pope (1688-1744)
From An Essay on Man Epistle 1

English poet, Alexander Pope

Above is a portrait of Alexander Pope c. 1736. It is attributed to the English artist Jonathan Richardson (1665-1745).

I have never believed that hope is exactly the same as unbridled optimism.  I think it is unrealistic to always view the world with rose-coloured glasses.  That is why I have chosen to share the following quotation:

Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism.  It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.

- Vaclav Havel (1936-2011), Czech dramatist and statesman
From Disturbing the Peace [1986}

Vaclav Havel
                        Photo Attribution: Jiří Jiroutek - derivative work: ThecentreCZ

In his play, Caesar and Cleopatra (1901), the witty Irish playwright, George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), wrote:

He who has never hoped can never despair.

I've reflected on those words and hear are my thoughts.  Hope and despair are both part of the human condition.  They cannot be avoided in life.  They are sides of the same coin and they have to be balanced.  If you never have hope, you won't be disappointed.  However, if you don't allow yourself to hope, even a little, you will wallow in despair and your soul will wither away.

A final note: This year Easter and the great Jewish feast of Passover will be celebrated simultaneously.. Passover began on the evening of April 3, 2015, the same day as Good Friday. It ends Saturday, April 11,  I wish those of you of the Jewish faith, a Happy Passover.


- Joanne