Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Grey Cup 2016: Toronto hosted a party and the locals didn't care

Congratulations to the Ottawa Redblacks for winning the 104th Grey Cup on Sunday.  Led by 41-year-old quarterback Henry Burris, the Redbacks won a thrilling football game by a score of 39 to 33 in overtime. They brought the championship back to Canada's capital city after a drought of 40 years and they engineered one of the biggest upsets in Grey Cup history by defeating the heavily-favoured. Calgary Stampeders,

The game was exciting.  Weather conditions were ideal and it was great to see Canadian football legend Russ Jackson in attendance.  So, why was I left with a bit of a sour taste in my mouth?  I was disappointed, but not surprised, by the attitude of my hometown, Toronto, which hosted the game. That attitude can only be summed up in one word - apathy.  For days prior to the game, one could troll the streets of Toronto and find little evidence that an important sporting event was about to take place in this city.  To put it mildly, there was very little enthusiasm among the locals.  There was no festive spirit.

For quite a few years now, Canada's largest city has displayed the same attitude toward its storied CFL franchise, he Toronto Argonauts.  Sure, the Argos didn't have a very good team this year (They finished last in the East Division and were tied for the worst record in the CFL).  Sure, there's a lot more competitions from the city's other professional sports clubs.  The Blue Jays, the Raptors and Toronto FC all have good teams.  The Maple Leafs finished 30th and last in the NHL in 2015.  However, Leaf Nation didn't care that their team wound up in the basement.  They are pleased as punch that the Blue and White seem to be headed in the right direction.  All that matters is that the Leafs are building a skilled, dynamic young team. Never mind that the team hasn't  won the Stanley Cup for almost 50 years.  Never mide the price of tickets at the Air Canada are astonomical. Toronto fans will always love the Leafs.  They will always support them.

In 2015, the Argos suffered through a lost season, which they could ill-afford.  During the Blue Jays play-off run, they were forced to play their home games out of town, rather than at the Rogers Centre.  For six successive weeks, they were on the road and they were completely overshadowed by the Blue Jays.  Things were supposed to improve for the 2016 season as the Argos moved into their new home at  BMO Field at Exhibition Place.  The Argos continued to be spurned as the city's soccer team, Toronto FC, was not exactly thrilled about having CFL football at BMO.

Nevertheless, the Argos began the 2016 season with a sense of optimism.  They hoped that their new home would reignite interest in the team.  Alas, this did not come to pass.  It didn't help that they were 2-7-0 in their new venue and attendance was ridiculously low.  Granted, the Argos have not marketed the team well.  They did not made their presence felt.  Still, they deserve better.  They deserve more support and more respect.  After all, the team was founded in 1873 and it is the oldest existing sports franchise in North America still using its original name.  The price of tickets is relatively affordable.

I have made the following observations:

* Toronto is not really a great sports town.  It is simply a great hockey town.  Except for the Leafs, Toronto fans are trendy fans. They are fair-weather fans.  The only team that they'll support rain and shine is the Maple Leafs.  Sadly, there is little support for the Argonauts, even when they put a winning team on the field.  In 2012, the 100th edition of the Grey Cup was held in T.O. and the Argos were victorious.  The lack of excitement was palpable.  There were no buttons, flags or honking of horns.

In 2012, I attended some Grey Cup festivities at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.  I sat at a table in the pavilion of the Atlantic Schooners, a Maritime CFL team that doesn't exist yet.  Their claim to fame is that they are "still undefeated."  A little background:  The Schooners were a conditional CFL expansion franchise that was to begin play in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, provided a 30,000 seat stadium were built in time for the opening of the 1984 season.  The financing for the stadium fell through and the application for the franchise was withdrawn.

Many years have passed and there is still no stadium on the East coast.  Yet, the dream of a CFL franchise in the Maritimes is still alive and kicking.  Only the Canadian Football League would have a pavilion for a team that doesn't exist.  Nevertheless, the Schooners' pavilion has some down-home East Coast entertainment and lobster rolls  When I was there in 2012, some Americans from Baltimore were sitting at my table.  Why, you may ask, were some people from Baltimore attending the Grey Cup festivities in Toronto?  Well, back in the 1990s, the CFL underwent an "American experiment," allowing several American franchises to join the league.  The experiment ultimately failed.  However, in 1995, the Baltimore Stallions became the first American-based franchise to win the Grey Cup.  The team folded, but the American fans at my table had fond memories of the Stallions and the 1995 Grey Cup.

This year I went downtown on the Friday before the Grey Cup.  I enjoyed talking to some fans from Calgary fans resplendent in red soups and cowboy hats.  I also spoke to some enthusiastic fans from Regina.  Those Saskatchewan Roughrider fans are remarkable in their devotion to their Green Riders and their loyalty to the CFL.  They travel a long way to attend a Grey Cup in Toronto, even when their team is not in the game.  That's what "Rider Pride" is all about.  They and visitors from other parts of Canada must have been disappointed by the ho-hum attitude of the host city.

The Saskatchewan fans told me all about the new home of the Riders.  The team is set to open the 2017 season at Regina's Mosaic Stadium.  The new state-of-the-art facility has a seating capacity of 33,000, which can be expanded to 40,000.  There will be no problem selling it out.  Yes, I know!  Saskatchewan doesn't have any other big league teams.  Toronto is much bigger and has several pro teams.  Remember though, that Toronto has a much larger population.  The population of the entire province of Saskatchewan was 1,150,532 on July 1, 2016.  The Greater Toronto Area has a population of over 6 million.  This season, the Argonauts attracted an average crowd of only 16,380.3 at BMO Field.  Seating capacity at BMO is 27,000.

* Many Toronto sports fans believe that Canadian leagues are second rate.  The history and the tradition of the Grey Cup doesn't matter to them.  They prefer the glitz and glamour of the Super Bowl.  They are memorized by Beyonce, Katy Perry and Bruno Marx.  The CFL is not glitzy.  It's fun and quirky.  Most of all, it's a piece of Canadiana.  It's ours and it brings Canadians together from coast to coast.

In 2017, the Grey Cup will be held in Ottawa.  It will coincide with the celebration of Canada's 150th birthday.  I'm sure there will be more enthusiasm there.

- Joanne

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Inspirational Home Offices

This infographic provides some creative ideas for home office decor.  With more and more people working at home, it couldn't be more timely.  I hope readers will find it interesting and useful and that it will spark your imagination.

- Joanne

by Euroffice.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Is there anything wrong with going to the movies alone?

While listening to a radio talk show recently, I came upon a discussion about going to the movies alone. The show's host thought that going to the cinema by oneself was weird and gauche.  His attitude was that only losers view a film alone because they have no significant other and nary a friend or family member to accompany them.  He was challenged by a guest speaker who argued that there was nothing wrong with going to a movie theatre alone.  He said he did it himself.  His opinion was that it didn't matter anyway because the theatre is dark.  No one notices you.  Meanwhile, the host countered with the argument that if you attend a movie alone, you don't have anyone to discuss the film with afterwards.

Yours truly is a cinephile, so the conversation piqued my interest.  I was especially interested because I sometimes view films on my own.  My view is that there is nothing wrong with going to a movie alone  It doesn't mean that you are a friendless loser. There are occasions when you really feel like seeing a particular film but all your friends and family members are occupied with work or other obligations.  You are then left with the choice of staying home or watching the film by yourself.  What is so wrong about the second choice?

Perhaps you've  made plans to see a film with someone and he or she suddenly falls ill. It's quite difficult to find another person to go with you on such short notice.  What if you really want to see that film and it's only playing for a limited time?  Why should you relinquish  the opportunity to see it simply because you can't find anyone to accompany you to the cinema..

Then there are times when you can't find anyone among your companions who shares an interest in a film that appeals to you.  What do you do then?  Do you just forget about seeing that movie when you have the option of viewing it by yourself?

Why must a person need a reason or an excuse to see a movie alone? Why must there be a stigma attached to doing so?  It's not shameful and it shouldn't be embarrassing.  So what if encounter someone you know while entering or exiting a theatre by yourself!  Big deal!  It's certainly not a crime and it's not weird. There may even be times when you truly feel like going solo to the movies. What's wrong with that?  If you wish to discuss the film you can still have a conversation with someone about it later. My advice is to just sit back and enjoy the show.  Oh, and don't forget to turn off your cell phone.

- Joanne

Monday, November 14, 2016

How to entertain kids on long car trips

Do you need some ideas on how to entertain children on lengthy car journeys?  Tired of hearing, "Are we there yet? Here is an infograph with some suggestions to help you deal with juvenile restlessness. I hope you find them useful.  Let the fun and games begin!

- Joanne

Keeping Kids Entertained on Long Car Journeys
Keeping Kids Entertained on Long Car Journeys by Wooden Toy Shop

Thursday, November 10, 2016

What is your sales power up song?

Take this quiz to discover your sales power up song.  This personality test will help you determine what music inspires you before making an important sales presentation or conference speech.  I hope you find it both useful and enjoyable.

- Joanne

What’s your sales power up song? by Euroffice.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

U.S. Presidents and First Ladies Quiz #3

With the Americans going to the polls on November 8th to elect a new president, Number 16 proudly presents its third quiz on U..S. Presidents and First Ladies.  If you think you think you know your presidential trivia, give it a try.  Good luck and enjoy! By the way, if you are interested in the first two quizzes, you can find them by clicking the "QUIZ PAGE" tab at the top of the webpage.

U.S. Presidents and First Ladies Quiz #3

1.  What two American presidents share the same birthday - November 2?

A.  Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy

B.  Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter

C.  Calvin Coolidge and George W. Bush

D.  James Knox Polk and Warren G. Harding

E.  John Adams and William Howard Taft

2.  Which U.S. president was licenced as a bartender?

A.  William Howard Taft

B.  Abraham Lincoln

C.  Thomas Jefferson

D.  John Quincy Adams

E.  Martin Van Buren

3.  Which of these 20th century U.S. president did not have a college degree?

A.  Harry S. Truman

B.  Lyndon B. Johnson

C.  Herbert Hoover

D.  Warren G. Harrding

E.  William Howard Taft

4.  Which of the following living Presidents of the United States is NOT left handed?

A.  George H.W. Bush (term in office: 1989 to 1993)

B.  Bill Clinton (term in office: 1993 to 2001)

C.  George W. Bush (term in office 2001 to 2009)

D.  Barack Obama (2009 - present).

E.  All of the above are left handed.

5.  Which American president held approximately 200 slaves, although he opposed the institution and supported legislation to free slaves?  Many historians believe that he fathered multiple children with his biracial slave.

A.  John Adams

B.  James Knox Polk

C.  William Henry Harrison

D.  Andrew Jackson

E.  Thomas Jefferson

6.  Who was the most recent American president to have facial hair while in office?

A.  Grover Cleveland

B.  William Howard Taft

C.  James Garfield

D.  Abraham Lincoln

E.  Benjamin Harrison

7.  Where was Woodrow Wilson born?

Woodrow Wilson

A.  Princeton, New Jersey

B.  Springfield, Illinois

C.  Erie, Pennsylvania

D. Staunton, Virginia

E.  West Branch, Iowa

8.  Which U.S. president was the youngest to die?

A.  John F. Kennedy

B.  James Garfield

C.  James Knox Polk

D.  William McKinley

E.  William Henry Harrison

9.  Who was the first First Lady of the United States to have been both a wife and a mother to a U.S. president?

A.  Dolly Madison

B.  Barbara Bush

C.  Anna Harrison

D.  Letitia Tyler

E.  Abigail Adams

10.  Who was the first U.S. president to have been born in a hospital?

A.  John F. Kennedy

B.  Jimmy Carter

C.  Richard Nixon

D.  Gerald Ford

E.  Bill Clinton

 11,  Who was the first President of the United States to die of cancer?

A.  James Monroe

B.  Rutherford B. Hayes

C.  Franklin D. Roosevelt

D.  Ulysses S. Grant

E.  Calvin Coolidge

12.  What American president's name at birth was Leslie King, Jr.

A.  Bill Clinton

B.  Herbert Hoover

C.  Gerald Ford

D.  Calvin Coolidge

E.  Warren G. Harding

13.  Who was the first First Lady to hold the Bible for her husband's presidential oath of office?

A.  Jacqueline Kennedy

B.  Lady Bird Johnson

C.  Eleanor Roosevelt

D.  Laura Bush

E.  Bess Truman


1.  D

James Knox Polk

Warren G. Harding

James Knox Polk and Warren G. Harding share the same birthday.  James Knox Polk, the 11th President of the United States was born in a log cabin on  November 2, 1795 in what is now Pineville, North Carolina, in Mecklenburg County, near Charlotte. Warren G. Harding, the 29th President of the United States, was born on November 2, 1865 on a farm in the tiny Ohio community of Corsica (present-day Blooming Grove).

2.  B

Before he entered politics, Abraham Lincoln was co-owner, along with his friend, William F. Berry, of a general store/drinking establishment in New Salem, Illinois called the Berry-Lincoln Store. Berry and Lincoln purchased the store in January of 1833.  In March of 1833, they were issued a tavern or liquor licence.  The two men were very different as Lincoln preferred not to drink, while Berry was apparently an alcoholic.  According to the website of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, the business failed, leaving Lincoln heavily in debt.  In 1834, he gave up bartending to run for state

3. A


Harry S. Truman, the 33rd President of the United States, did not have a university degree. Truman graduated from high school in Independence, Missouri and found employment as a bank clerk in Kansas City.  He then moved to the family farm near Grandview, Missouri and managed the farm after his father's death in 1914.  In 1917, when the United States entered World War I, Truman served overseas.  When he returned to the U.S. in 1919, he married Elizabeth (Bess) Wallace.  He also opened a haberdashery with an army friend, but the business venture failed.  Truman began his political career in 1922 when he ran successfully for county judge.

Truman actually spent a semester at a business college in Kansas City.  He dropped out to find a job, although he later attended some night classes at the University of Missouri's law school.  Three other U.S. presidents enrolled in college but did not complete a degree.  They are James Monroe, William Henry Harrison and William McKinley.  McKinley, who was assassinated in Buffalo in 1901, attended Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvaia for a year.  He also studied at the University of Mount Union in Alliance, Ohio.  He did not graduate from either university.  Beginning in 1866, Mckinley attended Albany Law School in New York.  He was admitted to the bar in 1867 in Warren, Ohio without having earned a degree.

4.  C.

George W. Bush, 43rd President of the United States, is right-handed.  His father, George H.W. Bush is left-handed as are Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.  Note: The next American president will be right-handed as both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are right handed.

5.  E


Thomas Jefferson, the primary author of the American Declaration of Independence was a slave owner.  Many historians believe that he had children with his biracial slave Sally Hemings, the half-sister of his wife, Martha Wales Skelton Jefferson.  It is thought that Hennings, Martha's half-sister, became Jefferson's concubine after Martha's death in 1782.

6.   B

William Howard Taft - moustache

Ulysses S. Grant -  full beard

William Howard Taft, 27th President of the United States (1909-1913), is the most recent president to have facial hair.  Taft wore a moustache.  The last president to wear a full beard in office was Benjamin Harrison, 23rd President of the United States (1889-1893).  Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States (1861-1865) was the first bearded American president.  However, Lincoln's beard was not a full beard.  It was a "chinstrap"  because he shaved his upper lip.  Ulysses S. Grant, 18th President of the United States (1869-1877) was the first U.S. president to have a full beard.

7.  D

Woodrow Wilson, 28th President of the United States, was born in  Staunton, Virginia on December 28, 1856.  He spent his early years in Augusta, Georgia and Columbia, South Carolina.  Although Wilson later became President of Princeton University and Governor of New Jersey, he was born a Southerner.  His father, Joseph Ruggles Wilson, was a Presbyterian minister who defended slavery.

Virginia is known as the "Birthplace of Presidents."  Four of the first five presidents were born in that state.  To date, eight U.S. presidents have been born in Virginia, the most recent of whom is Wilson. The other seven Virginia-born American presidents are George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler and Zachary Taylor.

8.  A

John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States was the youngest to die.  Kennedy was 46 years old when he was assassinated in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963.  James A. Garfield, 20th President of the United States,was the second youngest president to die.  He was 49 years old when he was assassinated at a railroad station in Washington, D.C. in 1881.  The youngest president to die of natural causes was James Knox Polk, 11th President of the United States.  Polk died of cholera at the age of 53 on June 15, 1849.  His death came just three months after he had left the office.of the presidency.

9.  E

Abigail Adams

Abigail Adams was the first First Lady to be both a wife and a mother to an American president.  Her husband was John Adams, 2nd President of the United States and her son was John Quincy Adams, 6th President of the United States.  In 2001, Barbara Bush, wife of George H.W. Bush, became the second First Lady to be both spouse and mother to a U.S. President when her son, George W. Bush, became president.

10.  B

Birthplace of Jimmy Carter, now the Lillian G. Carter Nursing Home  

James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, 39th President of the United States, was the first American president to be born in a hospital.  Carter, now 92 years old,  was born on October 24, 1924 at the Wise Sanitarium, a small hospital in Plains, Georgia.  His mother, Lillian, was a registered nurse there. Jiimmy Carter's birthplace is currently a nursing care facility called the Lillian G. Carter Nursing Center.

11.  D

Grant and his cigar

Ulysses S. Grant, 18th President of the United States was the first president to die of cancer.  Grant, a heavy cigar smoker, died of throat cancer on July 23, 1885.  He was 63 years old.

12.  C

Gerald Ford

Gerald Rudoph Ford, Jr., 38th President of the United States, was born Leslie Lynch King, Jr. in Omaha, Nebraska on July 14, 1913.  His mother, Dorothy, claimed that her husband was physically abusive and moved to the home of her parents in Grand Rapids, Michigan  She divorced Leslie King and then married Gerald Rudolff in 1916.  The three-year-old future president took on his stepfather's name but did not change his name legally until 1935.

13,  B

Lady Bird Johnson became the first First Lady to hold the Bible at her husband Lyndon B. Johnson's inauguration.ceremony on January 20, 1965.  She did this at LBJ's request.  Until then, the Bible had always been held by the executive secretary of the Joint Congressional Inaugural Committee.  LBJ and his wife began a tradition that has continued to the present.

- Joanne

Friday, November 4, 2016

Around the World in School Lunch Boxes

Here's an infographic on school lunches from around the world.  I hope you find it interesting and informative.  Take note that the Asian diet is the healthiest, followed by the Mediterranean and Scandinavian diets.  The British and American diets are the least healthy.  

- Joanne

by Euroffice