Saturday, February 29, 2020

It's Leap Year Day

30 days hath September, April, June and November; all the rest have 31 excepting February alone, which has 28 days clear and 29 in each Leap Year.

Today is an ephemeral ghost . . .A strange amazing day that comes only once every four years.  For the rest of the time, it does not "exist."  In mundane terms, it marks a "leap" in time, when the calendar is adjusted to make up for extra seconds accumulated over the preceding three years due to the rotation of the earth.  A day of temporal tune up.  But this day holds another secret - it contains one of those truly rare moments of delightful transience and light uncertainty that only exist on the razor edge of things, along a buzzing plane of quantum possibility . . . A day of unlocked potential.  Will you or won't you? Should you or shouldn't you?   Use this day to do something daring, extraordinary and unlike yourself.  Take a chance and shape a different pattern in your personal cloud of probability.

- Vera Nazarian
The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

Leap Year contains a special day, a bonus day, that is added to the Gregorian calendar so that it will be aligned with the astronomical year.  That day is February 29th and it is added to the shortest month of the year.

Happy Birthday to all Leap Year babies today.  Since February 29th comes around once every four years, it is uncommonly rare to have this birthday. The odds are  A  person has just a one in 1,461 chance of being born on that day, according to the BBC.  The reason is that four years equals 1,460 days and the addition of one day for the the Leap Year makes it 1,461.

Three out of every four years, Leap Year babies have the choice of celebrating their birthday on February 28th or March 1st.

Some Leap Year Babies

Antonio Sabato Jr., Italian-American soap opera actor, born February 29, 1972

Ja Rule (Jeffrey Atkins), American rapper, born February 29, 1976

Dinah Shore, American singer, television talk show host, born February 29, 1916, died February 24, 1994

Tony Robbins, American motivational speaker, author, born February 29, 1960

Dennis Farina, American actor, born February 29, 1944, died July 22, 2013

Henri Richard, Canadian hockey player, NHL star, born February 29, 1936

- Joanne

Friday, February 21, 2020

When is someone "elderly" or "middle-aged?"

Age is a state of mind over matter.  If you don't mind, it doesn't matter.

- Leroy Robert "Satchel" Paige (1906-1982), African American baseball player, noted for his longevity in the game.

Satchel Paige was a right-handed pitcher who played Negro League baseball until Jackie Robinson broke the colour barrier.  In July of 1948, at the age of 42, Satchel made major league debut with the Cleveland Indians.  He pitched for Cleveland again in 1949 and then spent three season with the St.. Louis, from 1951 to 1953, until age 47.  After a time in the minor leagues, Satchel resurfaced in the majors.  In 1965, at the age of 59, he had a one-game stint with the Kansas City Athletics in which he pitched three shutout innings.  When asked about age in interviews with the press, he would respond, "Age is a state of mind over matter.  If you don't mind, it doesn't matter."

Sachel Paige

Age is relative.  An athlete over the age of thirty is considered a veteran.  A thirty-something politician is considered young.  Another factor is that people are living longer.  When Henry VIII died in 1547, he was 55 years old and considered elderly.  However, 55 is generally not considered "elderly" now.  It is generally considered middle age.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines "middle age" and "elderly as the following:

Middle age (noun): The period of life from about 45 to 64.

Elderly (adjective): rather old; especially: being past middle age; of relating to, or characteristic of later life or elderly persons

Defining "middle age" and "elderly" is highly arbitrary and quite subjective.  One problem is that the word "elderly" has certain connotations.  When someone is described as "elderly," we expect them to be feeble and to walk with a cane.  We conjure up an image of someone with grey hair who only likes to talk about the "old days."  This is simply not the case with many people 65 and over.  The word "elderly" reinforces a false stereotype of someone who is doddery or senile.  That's why the media should be cautious about using that word.  It doesn't seem fair to describe an energetic, healthy 66-year-old as "elderly?"

Age is also a matter of perspective.  To a teenager, a 42-year-old may seem "elderly."  Imagine how that teenager views a 70-year-old.  It is said that 60 is the new 40.  If that's the case, how does that affect the definitions of "middle age" and "elderly?"

- Joanne

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Tribute to Tony Fernandez

TONY FERNANDEZ  June 30, 1962 - February 15, 2020

The Toronto Blue Jays are deeply saddened by the passing of Tony Frernandez today, one of our club's most celebrated and respected players.  Enshrined forever in Blue Jays history on the Level of Excellence (at Rogers Centre),.  Tony left an equally marks in the hearts of of a generation of Blue Jays fans during his 12 unforgettable seasons with the team.  His impact on the baseball community in Toronto and across Canada is immeasurable.  

- Statement from the Toronto Blue Jays

Sad to hear of the passing of former Blue Jays all star Tony Fernandez.  He played the game like a kid who couldn't believe he was getting paid for it.  And he treated the kids who were his fans like they were his bosses.  RIP Tony Fernandez

- Steve Pattereon
Canadian stand-up comedian, actor and television host

In my view, Tony was everything a Hall of Famer should be: an all-time great on the field and a charitable, selfless person person away from it.  We will miss him dearly.

- Scott Crawford
Director of Operations for the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame

This Sunday, I had planned to write about some happy topics. (We all need a break from the horrors of the Age of Trump, the climate crisis and the coronavirus.).  Unfortunately, that will have to wait for another day because I woke up to the news of the death of Tony Fernandez.  The Dominican native was only 57 years old when he passed away.   He died in Florida after suffering a stroke yesterday,  He had been hospitalized due to kidney disease complications and put into a medically induced coma.

It's easy to list Tony's formidable baseball achievements during his 12 seasons as the Toronto Blue Jays'greatest shortstop, Fernandez had four stints in Toronto  (1983-1990), (1993), (1998-1999), (2001).and was a member of the Blue Jays' World Series championship team in 1993.  He earned the Blue Jays' Level of Excellence Award, which was created by the Jays "for recognizing individual achievement."  Tony was Toronto's leader in hits, triples and games played.  On June 28, 2008, he was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame at St. Mary's, Ontario.  On October 17, 2016, he was inducted into the Ontario Sports Hall of the Sheraton Centre Hotel in Toronto.

During the course of his 17-season career, Tony also played for the New York Mets, the San Diego Padres, the Cincinnati Reds, New York Yankees. the Cleveland Indians and the Milwaukee Brewers.  On September 3, 1995, Tony hit for the cycle as a New York Yankee against the Oakland Athletics.

Tony Fernandez was a four-time Gold Glove Award winner and a five-time Major League Baseball all star.  He was an all star both on and off the field.  He was simply a class act.  Dan Plesac, an all-star pitcher and current MLB network analyst, described his former Blue Jays teammate as a "kind, giant of a man.  Soft spoken and a true professional."  Another of Tony's onetime teammates, pitcher Todd Stottlemyre, wrote:  "My heart is heavy at the loss of my former teammate.  I will never forget this man.  He influenced my life in a positive way."

To me, Tony Fernandez epitomizes the best in professional athletes.  He was a fan favourite and I will always associate him with the glory years of the Toronto Blue Jays.  My condolences to his wife, Clara and their five children: Joel, Jonathan Abraham, Andres and Jasmine.  Rest in Peace, Tony.

- Joanne

Friday, February 7, 2020

Oscars Quiz 2020

The 92nd Academy Awards will be held on Sunday, February 9, 2020 and will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California.  As you prepare for the big night, why not challenge yourself and try Number 16's tenth annual Oscars quiz.  There are 10 questions.  Good luck!


1.  Robert De Niro was snubbed at this year's Academy Awards.  He did not receive an Oscar nomination for Martin Scorsese's gangster epic The Irishman (Joe Pesci and Al Pacino were nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for their performances in the film).  De Niro is the past winner of two Oscars.  For which films did Niro win his Oscars?

De NIro
A.  The Deer Hunter and Raging Bull

B.  Taxi Driver and The Godfather Part II

C.  Raging Bull and The Godfather Part II

D,  The King of Comedy, The Deer Hunter

E.  Once Upon a Time in America, Raging Bull

2.  Who is the only actor to be nominated twice for a Best Actor Oscar.

A,  Montgomery Clift

B.  James Dean

C.  Peter Finch

D.  Jean Harlow

E/   Sal Mineo

3.  How many times have the Academy Awards been postponed?

A.  Once

B.  Twice

C.  Three times

D.  Four times

E.  Never

4.  What year were the Oscars first broadcast in colour?

A.  1967

B.  1965

C.  1964

D.  1966

E.  1968

5.  How much does an Oscar statuette weigh?

A,  7 1/2 pounds (3.4 kilograms)

B.  8 1/2 pounds (3.85 kilograms)

C.  6 1/2 pounds (2.94 kilograms)

D.  5 1/2 pounds  (2.49 kilograms)

E.  7 pounds (3.17 kilograms)

6.  Brad Pitt has been nominated this year for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his performance in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.  In 2012, he received an Oscar for producing the Best Picture - 12 Years a Slave.  Has he ever won an Oscar for an acting role?

A.  No.

B.  Yes, he won a Best Actor in a Leading Role Award for his performance in Moneyball.

C.  Yes, he won a Best Actor in a Leading Role Award for his performance in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

D.  Yes, he won a Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his performance in 12 Monkeys.

E.  Yes, he has won two Oscars - Best Actor in a Lead Role for Moneyball and Best Actor in a Supporting Role for 12 Monkeys.

7.  Kirk Douglas died on February 5, 2020 at the age of 103.  Did he ever receive an Oscar?

A    No, he never received an Oscar.

B.  Yes, he received an Oscar for Lust for Life.

C.  Yes, he received an Oscar for The Bad and the Beautiful.

D.  Yes, he received an Oscar for Champion.

E.   Yes, he received an Academy Honorary Award.

8.  Marilyn Monroe never won an Oscar.  Was she ever nominated for one.

A.  Yes, for her role in Some Like it Hot

B.  Yes, for Niagara

C.  Yes, for The Prince and the Showgirl

D.  No, she was never nominated.

E.  Yes, for Bus Stop

9.  Renée Zellweger has been nominated this year for her performance as Judy Garland in the film Judy.  If she wins, she will garner her second Oscar.  For which film did she win an Oscar?

Renée Zellweger as Judy Garland 

A.  Bridget Jones's Diary

B.  Cold Mountain

C.  Chicago

D.  Nurse Betty

E.  Jerry Maguire

10. Sydney Poitier will turn 93 years old on February 20, 2020.  He is the first black to win an Academy Award for Best Actor.  For which film did he win his Oscar?

Sydney Poitier in 1968

A.  Lilies of the Field

B.  A Patch of Blue

C.  Blackboard Jungle

D.  A Raisin in the Sun

E.  Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?


1.  C.
Raging Bull and The Godfather Part II

Robert De Niro won the 1975 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in The Godfather Part II.  He also received the 1981 Oscar for Best Actor for his performance in Raging Bull.

2  B.

James Dean

James Dean was won two Best Actor in a Leading Role Oscars posthumously.  He won for his performances in the 1955 film East of Eden and the 1956 film Giant.

On September 30, 1955, James Dean.was killed in a highway crash while driving his Porsche to Salinas, California to compete in an auto race.  East of Eden was released a few weeks before his death.  He died before Giant was edited.  It was released about a year after his passing.

3.  C.

Three times

The Academy Awards were delayed for a week in 1938 due to a flooding in Los Angeles.  In 1968, the Oscars were postponed for two days because of Martin Luther King's funeral.  In 1981, they were pushed back for one day because of an assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan.

4.  D


The Academy Awards were first broadcast in colour on April 18, 1966.  That was 13 years after the Oscars were first televised across the United States and Canada, on March 19, 1953.

5.  B

8 1/2 pounds (3.85 kilograms)

6.  A


Brad Pitt has never received an Academy Award for an acting role.  He had been nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and for Moneyball.  He has also been nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for 12 Monkeys.  If he wins for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, he will take home his first acting Oscar.

7.  E


In 1996, Kirk Douglas received an Academy Honorary Award.  Although he was nominated for three acting performances, he failed to win all three times.  In 1950, Douglas was nominated for Best Actor for Champion.  In 1953, he was nominated for Best Actor for The Bad and the Beautiful.  In 1957, he was nominated for Best Actor for Lust for Life.

8.  D


Marilyn Monroe was never nominated for an Academy Award.

9.  B

Cold Mountain


In 2004, Renée Zellweger won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Cold Mountain.  In 2003, received a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for her role in Chicago, but did not win.  In 2002, she received an Oscar nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her performance in Bridget Joness's Diary, but did not win.

10.  A

Lilies of the Field

Poitier in Lilies of the Field

Poitier with Oscar in 1964

In 1964, Sydney Poitier won a Best Actor Oscar for his role as a handyman who helps a group of German-speaking nuns build a chapel in Lilies  of the Field.  He was the only black man to win that award until Denzil Washington won it 38 years later for Training Day.  Coincidentally, Denzil Washington won his Oscar on the same night in 2002 that Sydney Poitier received an Honorary Oscar from the Academy in recognition for "his remarkable accomplishments as an artist and as a human being."

- Joanne