Friday, January 24, 2020

Vocabulary Test #6: Ten words related to birds

Number 16 Vocabulary Quiz #6 
Ten words related to birds

1.  What is the correct term for someone who studies birds?
A.  An orthologist

B.  An ornithologist

C.  A paralogist

D.  A homologist

E.   An ophiologist

2.  What is an aviary?
A.  A collection of birds' nests

B.  A place for healing injured birds; a kind of hospital for birds

C.  A gathering of bird watchers

D.  A place for keeping birds confined

E.  A special school for those who study birds

3.  What is an avifauna?
A.   The birds who can fly

B.   The birds who cannot fly

C.  The birds or the kinds of birds of a region, period, environment

D.  Birds who do not build nests

E.   A bird of prey

4.  What is a talon?
A.  The claw of an animal and especially of a bird of prey

B.   The bill or beak of a bird

C.   A baby bird about to leave the nest

D.   An old bird

E.   A female bird

5.  What is oology?
A.  The study of birds' feathers

B.   The study of birds' sounds

C.  The collection and study of birds' eggs especially in relation to their shape and coloration

D.  The collection and study of birds' nests especially in relation to their shape and size

E.  The study of the migration of birds

6.  What is a gizzard?
A.  A bird's throat

B.  Where the reproductive and urinary ducts of a bird open

C.  Area between eye and bill of a bird

D.  Extension of the foregut of a bird, used to store food

E.  Part of a bird's stomach, grinds food

7.  What is a wattle?
A.  A large, colourful bird feather

B.  Fleshy protuberance, usually at the bill of a bird

C.  A kind of bird walk

D.  A baby bird

E.  A group of migrating birds

8.  What is a crest?
A.   The loudest sound that a bird makes

B.  Where the nest of a bird is located

C.   A distinctive marking on some birds

D.  Long feathers atop the head of a bird

E.  The highest a bird can fly

9.  What does "to fledge" mean?
A.  To leave the nest after acquiring the ability to fly

B.  To spread wings

C.   To fly without the rest of the flock

D.  To search for food

E.  To abandon nest and build another one elsewhere.

10.  What does "to molt" mean?
A.  To return after migration

B.  To lose feathers due to aging

C.   To attack another bird

D.  The process by which the colour of a bird's feathers fade

E.  To replace old feather

(Note:  The definitions for the correct answers have been taken from the Merriam-Webster dictionary or thesaurus)

1.  B
ornithologist (noun): One who is involved with a branch of zoology dealing with birds

2.  D
aviary (noun): A place for keeping birds confined, as in "The zoo has a new outdoor aviary."

3.  C
avifauna (noun): The birds or he kinds of birds of a region, period, environment

4.  A
talon (noun): The claw of an animal and especially of a bird of prey, as in "The hawk gripped the mouse in its talons."

5.  C
oology (noun): The collection and study of birds' eggs especially in relation to their shape and coloration.  The first known use of the term "oology" was in 1830.

6.  E
gizzard (noun): The muscular enlargement of the digest tract of birds that has usually thick muscular walls and a tough horny lining for grinding the food

7.  B
wattle (noun): A fleshy pendulous process usually about the head or neck (as of a bird), such as the flap of bumpy red skin hanging off a male turkey's face

8.  D
crest (noun): A showy tuft or process on the head of an animal and especially a bird

Blue Jay with crest (long feathers on head)

9.  A
fledge (verb): Of a young bird: to acquire the feathers necessary for flight or independent activity also: to leave the nest after acquiring such feathers

10.  E
molt (verb): To shed hair, feathers, shell, horn, or an outer layer periodically, as in "Birds molt once or twice a year."

- Joanne

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

The Imperial Presidency of Donald Trump

Let there be light and let it shine on the truth so that America and the world can be saved from the tyranny of the Imperial Presidency of Donald Trump.  President Trump insists that he is innocent and that he has not done anything wrong.  Don't believe him, America!  You can see that he is not behaving like an innocent man.  Why doesn't he want the American people and the rest of the world to know the truth?  An innocent man exposes himself to the light, but Donald Trump has cloaked himself in darkness.  If he has nothing to hide, why has the White House been doing  everything in its power to withhold witnesses and documents from Congress.  I challenge every Republican and Trump supporter to provide me with a satisfactory answer to that question.

Donald Trump and his Republican cohorts have insulted the American people.  Why don't they think that Americans are capable of making up their own minds after having access to all the evidence?  Why can't John Bolton and Mick Mulvaney testify?  Witnesses testified at the Senate trials of Andrew Jackson and Bill Clinton.  What kind of trial has no witnesses?

Is Team Trump afraid that given the evidence, Trump's perfidy will be laid out for all to see.
Trump's aim is to continually expand the powers of the presidency, but there is a reason why the founders created two other branches of government.  There is a reason why the Congress is a co-equal branch which cannot be ignored.  There is a reason for the impeachment process.  That reason is to curb presidential power. That reason is to stop a president like Trump from becoming too autocratic.  If Trump wins another four years in office. the United States will be unrecognizable.  Trump might as well be crowned king or emperor.  This cannot and should not be allowed to happen to America and the world.

Trump's trained seals in the Senate are not going to convict him.  Barring some unforeseen circumstances, there is only one way to save America.  He must be defeated in the 2020 election.  I write this because I am alarmed.  I truly believe that Donald J. Trump is not only a threat to America, but a threat to the whole world.  This is the gravest threat to the Republic since the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861.

No, Donald Trump!  You can't do anything you want.  You are not above the law.  Contrary to what you say, the president cannot kill someone on Fifth Avenue with impunity.  He or she must be accountable to the people.  The Constitution of the United States says so.

- Joanne

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Another Memo to Conservative American Evangelicals

"The president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader (President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine) to harass and discredit one of the president's political opponents (Joe Biden).  This is not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral.  

The reason many are not shocked about this is that this president has dumbed down the idea of morality in his administration.  He has hired and fired a number of people who are now convicted criminals (Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen and others).  He himself has admitted to immoral actions in business and his relationship with women, about which he remains proud.  His Twitter feed alone - with its habitual string of mischaracterizations, lies, and slanders - is a perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused."

- Mark Galli
"Trump should be removed from office," Christianity Today editorial, December 19, 2019


Note: This is my second memo to American evangelicals.  I wrote my original memo on September 21, 2018

American evangelicals:

Your support was critical to Donald Trump's electoral college victory in 2016.  You are a prime reason why he sits in the Oval Office today.  Donald Trump chose Mike Pence as his vice-presidential running mate in order to attract your votes.  He is depending on your votes in order to win re-election in 2020

I have some questions for you and I trust you will reflect carefully as you answer them privately.  As you well know, the main tenets of Christianity are to love God and to love your neighbour as yourself.  Christ clearly set out those two commandments.  So, I ask you honestly to consider whether Donald Trump has lived up to those commandments in his words and deeds.  No one is perfect, but surely the president of the United States cannot be allowed to behave in a profoundly immoral manner.  His tweets are full of name-calling, insults and bullying.  He belittles anyone who disagrees with him.

Here are some points to consider:

* Prior to the 2016 election, released The Washington Post released a 2005 video in which Donald Trump bragged about molesting women in a conversation with Billy Bush.  Many people were surprised that this video did not immediately put an end to Trump's candidacy for president of the United States.  20 of 30 years ago, he would have had to end his presidential campaign due to that video.

* Donald Trump has called Mexicans "rapists and criminals" and treated them with utter contempt.  Is that an example of loving your neighbour?  Trump has separated innocent Central American migrant children from their parents and placed them in detention camps.  That is unconscionable. It is monstrous and barbaric.  Jesus said, "Suffer little children to come unto me and forbid them not: for such is the kingdom of heaven"  He did not say only some children.  He meant all children.

Children in detention camp

* Trump has removed environmental protections.  He  encourages the use of fossil fuels and he took the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord.  In the Book of Genesis, God grants humans stewardship over the earth.  "Then the Lord God took the man into the Garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it." Genesis 2:15.

Trump ignores science.  He won't do anything about the climate crisis.  The climate crisis is a moral crisis and it threatens the very survival of our planet.  We are running out of time and the world cannot afford another four years of Donald Trump.

* Donald Trump is not the "chosen one" as some of his followers profess him to be.  God did not grant him the right to be president of the United States.  He is not some kind of king or messiah.  Is he invoking the ancient "divine right of kings," by which kings were chosen by God to rule?  Does he consider himself some kind of messiah? (The thought is sickening).  Yet, Trump behaves like a cult leader and his supporters practically worship him.  They are afraid to cross him.  The First Commandment says "Thou shall no other gods but me."

* Trump has no respect for the Constitution of the United States.  He acts like a dictator.  He wants all power to be vested in the Executive branch of government.  He doesn't like to be reminded that Legislative branch (Congress) is a co-equal branch of government.

* Trump brags that the American economy has never been as good under his administration.  Well that may be, if you are a billionaire or well off enough to invest in the stock market.  The Trump economy does nothing for lower income Americans.  It does nothing for those trapped in low paying jobs.  It does nothing for those who do not have health insurance.  It only increases the widening gap between haves and have nots.  That is not social justice.  That is not Christianity at work, since Christ was a champion of the poor and the marginalized.  Christ did not demonize the poor.  He said, "Blessed are the Poor."

Anyone who claims to be a Christian cannot in good conscious support Donald Trump.  Trump must be held accountable for his behaviour because nobody is above the law.

- Joanne

Thursday, January 2, 2020

My 2020 Wish List

Last year I posted my personal wish list for 2019.  I promised to let you know which of my wishes came true and to write another wish list for 2020.  Here's how my 2019 wish list turned out:

* I wished that 2019 would be a bad year for dictatorships and authoritarian leaders around the world, especially Russia's Vladimir Putin.

In fact, it was a rather good year for right-wing male leaders.

Boris Johnson/s Conservatives won a majority in the December 12, 2019 British election, but the honeymoon will soon be over,  The Conservative victory will not put an end to the Brexit agony, as many UK voters surmised.  Getting a deal done will not be so easy and it will not happen as quickly as Boris would like it to.  I'm afraid that there will be tough times ahead for Britain, economically and politically.  Brexit will open up a can of worms with Scotland and Northern Ireland.  Also, the British economy will decline due to Brexit and Johnson will not protect the National Health Service (NHS).

Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu is still hanging on to the leadership of his Likud party, although he has been indicted on charges of breach of trust, bribery and fraud.  As a result of the charges, he is legally required to relinquish all his ministry posts, with the exception of the post of prime minister.  On March 2, 2020, Israeli's will be going to the polls for the third election in one year.

Vladimir Putin continues to rule Russia with an iron hand as does Kim Jong-un in North Korea.  Putin holds the puppet strings that control Donald Trump and the United States of America/

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is in power and he is anything but environmentally friendly.  He thumbs his nose at wildfires in the Amazon.  He bullies and harms indigenous people who are trying to protect the rainforest, known as "the earth's lungs."

The bright spot for democracy is Hong Kong.  It is valued by the people there and they are trying to preserve it.

* I hoped that 2019 would mark the final year of the presidency of Donald Trump.  I wished that he would resign or that he would be impeached and convicted - the sooner, the better.  I said that every day he remains in office causes damage to the United States and to the rest of the world.  I stated that my nightmare would be that Trump would be able to run again in 2020.

Well, 2019 did not mark the final year of the Trump presidency.  He remains in office and he fully intends to be the Republican candidate for president in 2020.  The good news is that he has been impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives and he is awaiting a trial in the Senate.  It is highly unlikely that he will be convicted by the Republican-controlled Senate, but he will be held accountable for his crimes and misdemeanours.  He is not happy about being the third president in American history to be impeached.  He knows that that dubious distinction will be forever attached to his name.

Anything could happen between now and the November election.  There may be a few surprises.

* I wished that the United Kingdom would remain in the European Union.  

Alas, now that Boris Johnson has a majority government, there is little chance that the UK will remain in the European Union.

* I wished that the Toronto Maple Leafs would win the Stanley Cup, their first victory since May 2, 1967.  My dream scenario:  Mitch Marner would score  the winning goal with about 50 seconds left in the third period of the seventh game.  

That didn't happen.  The Leafs were eliminated by the Boston Bruins in the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs.  They got off to a rocky start this season and fired coach Mike Babcock.  The team is playing much better under new coach Sheldon Keefe.

Although the Maple Leafs didn't get past the first round of the playoffs, The Toronto Raptors brought joy to the city when they won the 2019 NBA championship.

* I hoped that 2019 would be a good year for those who are concerned about the environment and that some significant progress will be made in the fight against climate change.  

Greta Thunberg, the teen environmental activist from Sweden, led an inspiring campaign to save the planet for future generations.  She stood up to world leaders and told them in no uncertain terms that they are not doing nearly enough to fight climate change.  Unfortunately, populist right-wing politicians and their followers are preventing necessary measures from being taken.  More people, however, are concerned.  There were many climate change protests in 2019, but the protesters, especially young adults, have to show up and vote for candidates who take a strong stand in support of environmental protection.

Here in Canada, the Conservatives lost the October 21, 2019 federal election partly because they did not have a credible plan for environment.  It hurt them enormously in the highly populated City of Toronto, where the environment mattered to voters.  The Conservatives lost all 25 of Toronto's parliamentary seats.  They are in the process of choosing a new leader who will have to seriously address the climate crisis if the party is to return to power.

* I wished for a really major breakthrough in preventing, curing or controlling one or more of the world's most harmful diseases such as Alzheimer's, cancer, Parkinson's etc.

The good news is that several major medical breakthroughs occurred in 2019.  They will benefit those with everything from peanut allergies to prostate cancer.  Biogen, a biotech company, announced in October that it is seeking FDA approval for a new drug called Aducanumab, which is reported to be the first drug to reduce cognitive decline in people with Alzheimer's Disease..

* I  wished for fewer wars and more civility in the world in 2019.  

Unfortunately, I didn't see any improvement there.  I still remain hopeful that the pendulum will swing and that some of the more populist right-wing leaders will be defeated in elections.

Here is my 2020 wish list:

* I fervently hope that Donald Trump resigns from office in 2020 or loses the November election.  He is becoming more and more unstable.  Every day he remains in office, he poses a very real danger to the United States and the world.  It would also be nice if the Republicans lost control of the Senate, so that Mitch McConnell could no longer be the "Grim Reaper."

* I also hope that Benjamin Netanyahu will finally be ousted from power by Israeli voters.

* I will lower my expectations for the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2020.  I hope they will go deeper into the playoffs.  If they somehow win the Stanley Cup, I will be thrilled, but I am not counting on it.  If the Leafs fall short, it would be great to see a Canadian-based team win Lord Stanley's Mug.  That hasn't happened since 1993.  It's due.

I hope the Toronto Raptors can repeat their NBA championship victory, but it won't be easy.

I don't have high expectations for the Toronto Blue Jays, but I hope they have a much better record than last year.  I think they will.

* I once again wish for more civility in the world.  It may not happen until Donald Trump leaves the White House.  This is not to say that Trump is the only cause of all the incivility and gracelessness.  However, he is undoubtedly one of the leading causes of the lack of civility in the United States and around the globe.  As president of the world's most powerful country, he has a great deal of influence.

*  I also wish for less war and terrorism.

* I hope that the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan are successful and that Canadian athletes perform well and honourably.

On January 1, 2021, I will write another wish list and I will let you know if any of my wishes came true.

- Joanne