Thursday, July 22, 2021

Why I disagree with Eric Clapton on vaccines


Eric Clapton is a talented singer, songwriter and musician.  He is an outstanding guitarist.  During this pandemic, however, he has been advocating some dangerous ideas.  I have to disagree strongly with the British musician's position on vaccines.  His stance is not only unhelpful, it is extremely harmful.  Here's why I feel compelled to take him to task.

Clapton has stated that he will not perform at venues where coronavirus vaccine proof is required.  He is a vaccination skeptic and has been very critical of U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson's announcement that passes would be mandatory before entering nightclubs and other live entertainment sites.  

Clapton issued the following statement on the Telegram account of his fellow vaccination skeptic, film producer and architect Robin Monotti: "Following the PM'S announcement on Monday the 19th of July 2021, I feel honor-bound to make an announcement of my own.  I wish to say that I will not perform on any stage where this is a discriminated audience present.  Unless there is a provision made for all people to attend, I reserve the right to cancel the show."

I am diametrically opposed to Clapton's point of view for many reasons.  First of all, it is unscientific.  Vaccines have been proven to work and they stop the spread of COVID-19.  It is a fact that in the United Stares, there is a higher number of COVID cases in states where fewer people have been vaccinated.  (According to a July 13, 2021 CNBC analysis, more than half of the counties in Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana have low vaccination rates and elevated levels of COVID cases).  Secondly, if all live entertainers agreed with Clapton, there would be many unvaccinated individuals attending live performances.  Live performances, including Clapton's, would quickly become super spreaders.  Thirdly, prohibiting unvaccinated people from attending live concerts is not intended to punish them or discriminate against them.  It is meant to protect the unvaccinated from contracting COVID-19.  It is also meant to stop those who have the virus from spreading it to others.

Wearing a mask and getting vaccinated is not a matter of freedom.  Freedom is not absolute and no one has the right or the freedom to infect others with a potentially lethal virus.  This pandemic is not over.  We are not out of the woods yet.  Much of the progress made has been due to lockdowns, masks and  vaccines.  Unfortunately, the Delta variant has reared its ugly head and is threatening to undo some of the progress that has been made.  We can't afford to let that happen.

Some young people are reluctant to get vaccinated.  They think that COVID=19 is not a serious threat to their well.  Because they are young and healthy, they feel invincible.  Those who think it is not much worse than an ordinary flu should speak to the families who have lost loved ones under 30 years of age to COVID.

As a popular musician, Eric Clapton has a great deal of influence over his fans and admirers.  They will take into account what he says, and his words will cause many people to refuse vaccinations.  I am not a famous musician, but I do not hesitate to challenge Eric Clapton on his point of view.  His opinion on vaccinations is wrong wrong wrong.  It is dangerous.

According to The Guardian, Clapton has actually received the AstraZeneca vaccine and has complained about "severe" reactions after receiving his shot.  The fact is that most people do experience some side effects from vaccines, but isn't that preferable to being hooked up to a ventilator and dying in an intensive care unit?

Eric Clapton recently collaborated with Van Morrison in an anti-lockdown song called "Stand and Deliiver"  The song is is is critical of COVD-19 restrictions such as face masks. It contains the following lyrics.  "Do you want to be a free man/Or do you want to be a slave?/Do you wanna wear these chains/Until you're lying in the grave?"  All I can say to that is that you may very well be lying i a grave if you don't wear a mask and you don't get vaccinated.

Eric Clapton has some North American concert dates set for this September.  If vaccination is not a requirement, you will be vulnerable to the virus if you attend any of his performances or the performances of entertainers who share his sentiments about vaccines.

- Joanne

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Eye care at risk in Ontario

An open letter to the citizens of the province of Ontario

Are you aware that all seniors', children's and OHIP eye exams will end September 1, 2021?  On that day, optometrists will stop providing eye care to all patients covered by OHIP.

It is illegal for optometrists in Ontario to accept private insurance or direct payment for eye exams.  As a result, there will be no exams available for children, seniors, or adults with vision-threatening conditions.

In 1989, the Ontario government paid $39.15 for an eye exam.  In 2021, they pay an average of $44.65.  Unfortunately, this amount does not nearly cover the costs of rent, utilities, equipment, taxes and supplies needed to provide eye exams. 

If  OHIP coverage is taken away, many Ontarians will skip eye exams that would detect vision-threatening conditions.  In the end, they will require surgeries and more expensive procedures.  This is penny-wise and pound foolish. It will eventually cost much more in health terms, as well as in financial terms.  Prevention is the way to go!  Your eyesight is precious.

You can stop this.  Please let the Ford government know that this is unacceptable.  Notify your MPP.  Go to  The next Ontario provincial election will be held  on or before June 2, 2022.  Let your voices be heard.  Please don't let this happen!

- Joanne

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Vocabulary Quiz: Words ending in "ology" (meaning fields of study)

 Number 16 Vocabulary Quiz #8

Ten words ending in "olgy" (meaning fields of study)

Number 16 presents a multiple choice vocabulary quiz.  Choose the correct definition of each word listed.  There are ten words that define a field of study.

1.  (noun) enigmatology
A.  The study of detective work

B.  The study of detective novels

C.  The study of mysteries

D.  The study of reclusive people

E.  The study of speech and sound

2.  (noun) entomology
A.  The study of fish

B.  The study of reptiles

C.  The study of tadpoles

D.  The study of insects

E.  The study of amphibians 

3.  (noun) lepidopterology

A.  The study of butterflies and moths

B.  The study of leopards

C.  The study of wild animals

D.  The study of animal habitats

E.  The study of bats

4.  (noun) nasology
A.  The study of breathing 

B.  The study of the nose

C.  The study of sneezing

D.  The study of smell and odours

E.  The study of sinuses 

5.  (noun) meteorolgy
A.  The study of planetary forms

B.  The study meteors and asteroids

C.  A branch of astronomy concerned with the movements of planets

D.  The branch of science concerned with the atmosphere, especially as a means of weather forecasting

E.  The study of craters

6.  (noun) glottology
A.  The study of gluttons, gluttony and overeating

B.  The study of global warming

C.  A scientific study of goats 

D.  A branch of zoology concerned with geese and ducks

E.  The study of languages

7.  (noun) graphology
A.  The study of charts and graphs

B.  The analysis of handwriting characteristics purporting to identify the writer

C.  The study of comics and cartoons

D.  The study of keyboarding and typewriting

E.   The branch of geography dealing with topographical maps

8.  (noun) enology or oenology (Br. spelling)
A.  The study of eels

B.  The branch of botany concerned with roses

C.  The study of wines

D.  The study of the letter "n"

E.   The branch of zoology that studies elephants

9.  (noun)  chirology

A.  The study of hands; palmistry

B.   The study of church bells

C.   The study of animal sounds

D.  The study of feet

E.  The study of facial lines

10.  (noun) kinesiology
A.  The study of telescopes

B.  The study green, leafy vegetables

C.  The study of recycling methods

D.  The scientific study of human body movement

E.   The study of glassware

11.  (noun) virology
A.  The study of blood vessels

B.  The study of viruses

C.  The study of virtue and virtuous behaviour

D.  The study of different styles of vests

E.  The study of pain and pain killers

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

1.  C 

The study of mysteries

enigmatology (noun): The investigation or analysis of enigmas, i.e. something hard to understand or explain; an inscrutable or mysterious person

2.  D

The study of insects

entomology:(noun):: The branch of zoology concerned with the study of insects.

3.  A

The study of butterflies and moths

lepidopterology (noun): A branch of entomology concerned with lepidopterans i.e. butterflies and moths and skippers that as adults have four broad or lanceolate wings, usually covered with minute overlapping and often brightly colored scales and that as larvae are caterpillars

4.  B

The study of the nose

nasology (noun): A scientific study of noses

5.  D.

The branch of science concerned with the atmosphere, especially as a means of weather forecasting

meteorology (noun): A science that deals with the atmosphere and its phenomena and especially with weather and weather forecasting

6.  E

The study of languages 

glottology (noun): linguistics

7.  B 

 The analysis of handwriting characteristics in order to identify the writer

graphology (noun): The study of handwriting especially for the purpose of character analysis

8.  C.  

The study of wines

enology (noun): A science that deals with wine and wine making

9.  A

The study of hands; palmistry

chirology (noun): The study of hands, palmistry

chirology (noun): The study of the hand (medical definition); palm reading

10.  D

The study of human body movement

kinesiology (noun): the study of the principles of mechanics and anatomy in relation to human movement

11.  B

The study of viruses

virology (noun): A branch of science that deals with viruses and viral diseases

- Joanne

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Reflections on Canada Day 2021

In the wake of the twin tragedies in Kamloops, British Columbia and London, Ontario, The Toronto Star recently posed the question as to whether Canadians should celebrate Canada Day at all this year, or turn this July 1st holiday into a national day of sombre reflection instead.  My answer is that we should celebrate.  I am heartbroken by what happened, but I am also heartbroken by the level of animosity toward the country I call home.

Let me be clear.  I am not opposed to a national day of mourning and sombre reflection per se.  In fact, I strongly support such an initiative.   However, I don’t think that it should take place on Canada Day.  Canada Day is a day to celebrate this country, not to dwell on its flaws and dirty laundry.  This does not mean that Canada is perfect and above criticism.  It is most definitely not an endorsement of the “my country right or wrong” mentality.  I am deeply agonized and saddened by the sorry history of the residential schools and the brutal attack on the Muslim family in London.  There are no words to express the horror of those two atrocities.  It is not my intention to minimize what happened. 

I would argue, however, that Canadians need to celebrate Canada Day more than ever in 2021.  We are still suffering through a long, nightmarish pandemic.  The situation has improved, but we are not out of the woods yet.  The Delta variant is threatening to curtail our progress and many people have not received their second dose of the vaccine yet.  COVID-19 has caused enormous physical and mental anguish.  A large number of us have lost our loved ones, our businesses and our homes. 

For just one day, can we stop beating our head against the wall?  On July 1st, can we not think of our achievements instead?  Canada is still the land of Terry Fox, Alexander Graham Bell, Tommy Douglas, The Famous Five, Lester Pearson, Thérèse Casgrain, Dr. David Suzuki, Pierre Trudeau, John Diefenbaker, Dr. Norman Bethune, Dr. Frederick Banting, Marshall McLuhan, Oscar Peterson, Emily Carr,, Viola Desmond, Margaret Atwood, Tom Longboat, The Group of Seven, Lincoln Alexander, Pauline Johnson and Alice Munro.  They are not perfect people, but they and countless other Canadians have made great contributions to humanity and to and a more just society.  They have excelled in their field of endeavour, whether it be music, art, politics, law, literature, sports or medicine and science.

On Canada Day, we would do well to remember these historical facts:

* In 1793, Upper Canada, now Ontario, introduced the Act Against Slavery, becoming the first territory in the British Empire to pass legislation leading to the gradual abolition of slavery in its jurisdiction. 

Canada is still the country that gave the world insulin, liberated the Netherlands and Sicily from Nazis, ended the 1956 Suez Crisis and instituted the practice of peacekeeping, for which Lester Pearson was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957.

* In 1948, A Canadian, John Peters Humphrey (1905-1995), was instrumental in drafting the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights,  Humphrey, a native of  Hampton, New Brunswick, was a legal scholar, a human rights advocate and a professor at Montreal's McGill University.

* In 1979 the Canadian government, along with the CIA, helped six American diplomats evade capture during the seizure of the United States embassy in Tehran, Iran.

* The  people of Gander, Newfoundland provided hospitality and a friendly atmosphere to stranded American air travellers during the September 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States.

* In a world where democracy seems to be losing ground to dictators, despots and authoritarians, Canada is fortunate to have a parliamentary democracy and a free press, however imperfect.  We can change our governments and criticize our leaders.

People and governments are imperfect.  No country is immune from racism and Canada is certainly no exception.  Should Germans refuse to celebrate the achievements of their country because of Hitler and the Nazis?  Should Americans take a pass on their July 4th Independence Day because of slavery and segregation?

Canada is not Utopia, but we certainly try to acknowledge our shortcomings and our terrible historical deeds.  Unlike some countries, we seek reconciliation and issue apologies.  Refugees risk their lives every day to come to this country.  Immigrants continue to arrive here in search of a better life.  It is one of the freest nations on earth.  From the Atlantic Ocean to the Rocky Mountains, this is a beautiful country.  I am proud to be a Canadian and I will definitely be celebrating Canada Day this year.

- Joanne     

Monday, June 28, 2021

Meditations at Home During the Pandemic #9

This is the ninth and final installment in a series of reflections while I've been at home during the COVID-19 pandemic

Hello to readers from around the world.  Greetings and well wishes from Toronto, Canada.  I haven't written any COVID reflections since November of 2020.  So, it's time for an update.  First of all, I have not contracted the virus, for which I am most thankful,  I am also fortunate enough to have received both doses of the vaccine at a local pharmacy.  Both were AstraZeneca.  I can also report that I did not experience any reaction from either dose, not even a sore arm.  

I was given my second does on June 4, 2021.  Two weeks later, I began taking public transportation again.  This this past week I dined at an outdoor patio.  Here in Canada, we took far too long to get our vaccine rollout started, but now it's really moving fast.  It's sad that we did not produce our own vaccine when this pandemic began.  We should never be caught off guard again.  Indeed, the whole world should have been better prepared for this pandemic.  It also didn't help that Donald Trump was president of the United States when the COVID crisis began.  He failed to inform the American people of the imminent danger.  It also did not help that he and his followers resisted wearing masks and saw it as a sign of weakness.  To them, wearing a mass represented a loss of freedom, even though it meant protecting themselves and others.  Unfortunately, the vaccine program in the United States did not get rolling in the U.S.until Joe Biden took office.  So many more lives could have been saved.

Here in the province of Ontario, we are slowly emerging from our lockdown in three phases.  Ontarians begin phase 2 on Wednesday, June 30, 2021.  We remain cautious because the highly contagious Delta variant is still in the picture.  We are not out of the woods yet, but I am cautiously optimistic that we won't have to endure a fourth wave.  Yesterday, a record number of people were vaccinated at the Scotia Bank Arena, home of Toronto's professional hockey and baseball teams.

Even though this pandemic has ben long and difficult for me and everyone else, we are fortunate compared to many places in the world.  That is why we have to get the whole world vaccinated.  My thoughts are with the people of India and Africa who have suffered greatly.

Take care and stay safe.  If you haven't had the vaccine yet and are unsure whether you should, I urge you to get that little jab in your arm. 

- Joanne

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Whatever happened to Anita Bryant?

Anita Bryant in 1971

Anita Bryant has kept a low profile for many years now.  Her name is seldom in the news anymore, but back in the 1970s, the singer made headlines as a vocal anti-gay rights activist.  In the years that followed, Anita's life fell apart and her career was destroyed.  She suffered from severe depression, underwent a painful divorce and filed for bankruptcy.  A polarizing figure, she has been revered by those on he conservative right and reviled by liberals and homosexuals.

Anita Jane Bryant was born in Barnsdall, Oklahoma on March 25, 1940. the daughter of Warren Bryant and Lenora A. (Berry).  Her father was 19 and her mother was 18 when Anita was born.  They were divorced by the time she was two years old.  When she was three, they remarried, and were divorced again when she was 13.  Both later married others.  

Anita was born in the home of her maternal grandparents and she almost didn't survive.  When the doctor failed to find the newborn Anita's pulse, she was thought to be stillborn.  However, her grandfather, John Berry, refused accept any talk of death; so Anita's head was plunged into ice water and she began to breathe.

Due to her parents' rocky marriage, Anita's childhood was very unstable.  She and her younger sister, Sandra, were frequently uprooted.  Their father, Warren Bryant, worked in the oil fields and went from one job to another.  As a result, the family experienced periods of poverty.  After the divorce, Warren joined the U.S. Army and Anita's mother went to work, leaving the children with their maternal grandparents.

It was Anita's grandfather who recognized her singing ability.  He taught her how to sing "Jesus Loves Me" when she was two years old.  During her childhood, she began singing at church and in talent contests. She also worked in radio and television in Oklahoma City, eventually starring on her own show on WKY-TV.  Before completing high school, she was performing on network radio.

In 1958, Anita graduated from Will Rogers High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  After high school, she entered beauty contests, becoming Miss Oklahoma in 1958.  At the age of 18, she was second runner-up in the 1959 Miss America pageant, which was held on September 6, 1958.  That same year, she signed a contract with Carlton Records and later with Columbia Records in 1962.  With the money she won in beauty contests, Anita enrolled at Northwestern University in Chicago,  Due to the heavy demands of her burgeoning career, she dropped out of the university.

Although Anita Bryant is condemned by many for her anti-homosexual views, she really did enjoy a very successful career as a popular singer.  She had 11 songs on the U.S. Hot 100 list, including a pop hit with her first single, "Till There Was You," in 1959.  Anita's recording of "Till There Was You," from the Broadway musical The Music Man earned a Gold Record.  She also had hits with "Paper Roses" (1960), which was later covered by Marie Osmond in 1973,  and with "In My Little Corner of the World" (1960), also covered by Marie Osmond in 1974, and "Wonderful Night" (1961).

On June 25, 1960, 20-year-old Anita Bryant married Robert Einer "Bob" Green, a disc jockey whom she met while promoting a record in Miami, Florida.  Upon his marriage to Anita, Bob began to  manage her career.  Born to Swedish immigrants in the Bronx, New York on June 13, 1931, Green was an Air Force veteran.  He and Anita had four children: Robert Jr. (Bobby), whom they adopted in September of 1963, Gloria Lynn (born May 1964), and twins Billy and Barbara (born prematurely on January 3, 1969).

Anita and Bob Green

From 1961 to 1968, Anita often accompanied Bob Hope on his Holiday Tours at Christmastime, entertaining American soldiers and sailors with the United Service Organizations (USO).  She also joined Hope for televised shows during the Vietnam War.  She received the Silver Medallion Award from the National Guard for "outstanding service by an entertainer."  

Anita is known for her her endorsements of various products and businesses.  From 1960 to 1967, she served as a spokeswomen for Coca-Cola in television commercials, and was nicknamed the "Coca-Cola Girl."  She also appeared in ads for brands like Kraft Foods, Holiday Inn and Tupperware.

Below is a photo of Antia Bryant during a photoshoot for Coca-Cola.

In 1969, Anita became the spokesperson for the Florida Citrus Commission.  She promoted Florida oranges and the Sunshine State in numerous television commercials, In the ads, she sang the orange juice jingle, "Come to the Florida Sunshine Tree and chanted the slogan, "Breakfast without orange juice is like a day without sunshine."  In the 1970s, she was teamed up with the Disney character Orange Bird.  Bob and the children also appeared in some of the ads.  In addition, to TV commercials for orange juice, Bryant hosted Orange Bowl Parades.

Disney World's Orange Bird

On March 23, 1969, Anita Bryant participated in a Rally for Decency at the Orange Bowl in the wake of a performance by Jim Morrison and the Doors at the Dinner Key Miami.  Morrison was knocked off the stage and rushed away by police.  After the band left Florida, six warrants for Morrison's arrest were issued, including one for lewd and lascivious behaviour in public.

In January of 1977. Anita stirred up controversy when she and Bub Green joined a protest against a Miami city ordinance allowing homosexuals to teach in public schools.  Anita and her supporters put forth the argument that since homosexuals were unable to reproduce, they would inevitably recruit.  Bryant claimed to love gays but not homosexuality.

Anita's conservative politics, particularly her opposition to gay rights, became more strident.  She led a crusade called Save Our Children, which called for the repeal of a Dade County, Florida ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation.  She also opposed the passage of a bill in Congress to recognize homosexuals as a minority group.  With the support of Rev. Jerry Falwell, Anita eventually spearheaded a movement against gay rights that spread across the United States."  

Bryant's campaign resulted in the repeal of Florida's anti-discrimination ordinance on January 7, 1977.  Nevertheless, Anita paid a hefty price for her anti-gay activism.  She faced a huge backlash from gay rights advocates, who boycotted the products she promoted, especially orange juice.  Her reputation was severely damaged, as was her show-business career.  Although seen an icon and a patriot among right-wing and evangelical groups, Anita was forever linked with bigotry and homophobia in other circles.  The boycott on Florida orange juice was supported by many celebrities, including Jane Fonda, Barbra Streisand, Paul Williams, Liza Minnelli, Bea Arthur, Carroll O'Connor, Mary Tyler Moore and Vincent Price.  Anita became the target of jokes by TV hosts such as Johnny Carson.  Her orange juice commercials were parodied by Carol Burnett.  There were buttons reading "Anita Bryant sucks oranges."

In 1977, at a Des Moines, Iowa television news conference, Bryant was hit on the face with a banana cream pie by gay activist Tom Higgins, who had posed as a reporter.  Using a pun on a derogatory term for homosexuals, Anita quipped, "At least it was fruit pie," and then bust into tears.  The incident was shown on camera and Anita became one of the first people to be "pied" as a political act.  

Anita Bryant "pied"

In May of 1980, Anita Bryant made a surprising announcement.  She declared that her marriage to Bob Green was "irretrievably broken."  The couple was just shy of celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary when Anita, 40, filed for divorce from Green, 48, citing emotional abuse and suicidal thoughts.  Green, for his part, refused to recognize the divorce, claiming that due to his fundamentalist religious conviction, he did not acknowledge civil divorce and that Anita remained his wife in God's eyes.  In 2007, he blamed gay people for the upheaval, saying that their "stated goal" was to put Anita "out of business and destroy her career.."  "And that's exactly what they did," he added.  "It's unfair." 

In an open letter, Green pleaded with Anita to reconcile.  He wrote: "Let us both put aside all other earthly considerations and reunite in Christian love."  However, Bryant refused to reconsider.  In June of 1980 explained her position.  She told People magazine that divorce "is against everything I believe in.  I wanted to save my marriage, but I decided that was not the route to go."  In her divorce suit, Anita sought half the couple's property, which included their 25-room mansion, and custody of their four children.  After the breakup of her marriage, she left Florida and moved to Selma, Alabama and then to Atlanta, Georgia.

By 1981, after Anita's divorce and the effects of the nationwide boycott of Florida orange juice, the Florida Citrus Commission decided not to renew Bryant's lucrative contract.  The commission stated
stated that the singer had "worn out" as a spokesperson.  After a twelve year reign and over 75 television commercials, the undisputed Queen of Orange Juice was unceremoniously removed from her throne.

When  Anita filed for divorce, she was accused of hypocrisy by fellow conservative Christians.  They blacklisted her because they considered her divorce to be a betrayal of her stated beliefs about family life and the sanctity of Christian marriage.  She found herself shunned by her former supporters and excluded from evangelical events.  Around this time, Anita sank into a depression.  She couldn't sleep at night and she had suicidal thoughts. "My state of mind was depressed," she said, "and I didn't know how I was going to make a living."

Not long after her divorce announcement, Anita commented on the fallout from her anti-gay activism.  In a December 1980 Ladies Home Journal interview, she stated, "I'm more inclined to say live and let live, just don't flaunt it or try to legalize it."  

In 1990, Anita wed her second husband, Charlie Hobson Dry, 72, in Nashville, Tennessee.  Day, a NASA test astronaut and military test pilot, had been her childhood sweetheart.  The couple moved to the Ozarks to recharge Anita's sagging career in Arkansas and Missouri.  She appeared in a string of small venues, including Branson, Missouri, where both the state and federal governments claimed over $100,000 in unpaid taxes.  

In 1997, Anita and Charlie filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Arkansas after a failed  Anita Bryant show in  Eureka Springs, a tourist area in Arkansas, left them in debt.  Bryant and Day opened a new theatre in Pigeon, Tennessee called Anita Bryant's Music Mansion.  The enterprise was unsuccessful and they were unable to meet payments.  They filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy again in Knoxville in December of 2001.  In 2008, the pair was living in Edmond, Oklahoma.

In a 2012 article for The Oklahoman, Anita is quoted as saying that she did the right thing and that she did not hate homosexuals.  "I never regretted what I did," she stated.  In an interview with the Windy City Times that same year, Robert Green, Jr. said that his mother "would be putting a lot more energy into fighting gay rights if she still felt as strongly."

These days, Anita is reportedly doing charity work for youth organizations and she heads the Anita Bryant Ministries International.


* Anita Bryant's first husband, Bob Green, was found dead in his Miami Beach home on January 26, 2012.  Green suffered from heart problems and, according to his sons, was on kidney dialysis at the time of his passing.  He died of kidney failure at the age of 80.  For more than 30 years, Bob Green lived a solitary life filled with resentment.  

Upon his ex-husband's death,  Anita remarked, "Bob internalized a lot of his own anger and frustration and disappointments.  That's what happen, she said, "if you don't let your faith rise up and and you give in to all those anxieties."

* In 1968, an American presidential election year, Anita sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" at the Republican National Convention in Miami Beach, Florida and "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Illinois.  In 1973, she also sang "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" at the funeral burial service of Lyndon Baines Johnson, 36th President of the United States.

* Anita published an autobiography in !970 entitled Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory.

* In 1978. 1979, and 1980, Good Housekeeping named Anita Bryant as the Most Admired Woman of the Year.

In March of 1980, Anita hosted a television special called The Anita Bryant Spectacular.  The special included a medley of prerecorded songs, Pat Boone was interviewed.  The West Point Glee Club and General William Westmoreland also appeared.

* In 1988, Anita became the first female member of the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame.  In March of 2012, she sang for an audience of 100 people at the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame Gala at Nors Mayo Hall in Winter Haven, Florida.

* In 1998, Dade County overturned Anita's successful campaign of 20 years earlier and voted to protect individuals from discrimination based on sexual orientation.  In November of 2008, the Florida statute prohibiting gay adoption was overturned by a Miami-Dade circuit court.

* In 2005, Anita returned to the place of her birth, Barnsdall, Oklahoma, and she attended the town's 100th anniversary festival.  A street was named for her.  In 2007, she paid a visit to her high school in Tulsa and took part in the school's annual musical revue.  

* In 2008, Anita Bryant was the subject of a musical called The Loneliest Girl in the World.  It had its world premiere at the Diversionary Theatre in San Diego, California.

SOURCES; People ( Archive) "Anita Bryant Rates Family Bliss Next to Godliness, but After 20 Years She's Divorcing Bob Green" by Kip Sinclair, June 9, 1980; The Oklahoman, "Stories of the Ages: Anita Bryant - Sunny Side of Life," by Robert Medley, March 20, 2011; The Washington Post, "Bob Green, former DJ and ex-husband of Anita Bryant, dies at 80," by Elinor Brecher and Steve Rothaus, February 23, 2012; (www.enclyopedia.comj), "Bryant, Anita;"  The Ledger, "Anita Bryant appears at citrus gala," by Ledger Media Group, March 5, 2012; Wikipedia; IMDb (Internet Movie Database).

- Joanne

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

The Life and Times of B.J. Thomas

"Mr. Thomas blended country, soul, gospel and soft rock, singing warm and occasionally wistful songs about love, family and looking for sunshine on a rainy day."

- Harrison Smith, Washington Post obituary for B.J. Thomas, May 29, 2012

"Ever since the beginning, I've tried to do positive music, even though it has meant a lot of struggles against record companies and producers.  I want my music to have a positive effect on people.  When I perform live I hope the audience will leave with their heads lifted up."

- B.J. Thomas, 2006 interview with Pentecostal Evangel, a Christian magazine

I have intended to write about B.J. Thomas for a while now.  I have never gotten around to it because I have such a long list of subjects to write about.  Well, two days ago, I woke up to the news that B.J. died on May 29, 2021, of complications ions from Stage Four lung cancer.  He passed away at his home in Arlington, Texas at the age of 78.  So, I decided it was finally time to write about him.

Billy Joe Thomas was born in Hugo, Oklahoma on August 7, 1942.  However, his family moved to Texas and during his childhood, B.J.  lived in four different places, all in the Houston area.  He graduated from Consolidated High School in Rosenberg, a city within the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land metropolitan area 

In a 2016 interview with Jeremy Roberts, B.J. Thomas discussed his childhood.  "My dad was a great guy, but he had a little problem with alcohol," he said.  "That always will bring about some ups and downs.  For the most part, I had a good childhood."  In the interview, Thomas described himself as "a happy kid" who "played a lot of baseball with my big brother, Jerry."

B.J.'s father found contentment around music, especially country music.  The young B.J. enjoyed listening to gospel, soul and the music of such artists as Little Richard, Michael Jackson and Jackie Wilson.  As a teenager, he sang in his church choir and in his high school choir.  He first realized that he wanted to be a professional musician when, at the age of 15, became a member of a Houston-based band called The Triumphs.  

In 1966, B.J. Thomas was signed to a record contract with Scepter Records by Steve Tyrell.  Tyrell,  a jazz artist and producer, who became his manager for a few years.  B.J. then launched his solo career with an uncharacteristically maudlin single, a cover of a Hank Williams hurtin' song, "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry," which he had originally recorded with The Triumphs.  It reached Number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100.  He also released an album of the same name.

In 1968, B.J. had great success, first with "The Eyes of a New York Woman" and then with "Hooked on a Feeling,"  "Hooked on a Feeling" appeared on the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100.  The song was written by Mark James and it was later covered by Blue Swede, a Swedish pop band, in 1973.  It became an even bigger hit for Blue Swede, who added the primal "ooga-chaka-ooga-ooga" intro to the song.  "Hooked on A Feeling" serves as a theme song to the Guardian of the Galaxy films.

The year1969 brought even further success for B.J. Thomas, including the biggest hit of his career.  He will always be remembered for his smash single "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head."  The catchy tune was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David for the film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.  The film, starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford, was the biggest box-office hit of 1969.  "Raindrop Keep Fallin' on My Head" was set to a scene in the movie in which Paul Newman, as Butch Cassidy, shows off some bicycle tricks to Katharine Ross, who portrayed Etta Place.

On April 7, 1970, "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" won an Academy Award for Best Original Song in a 1969 film.  On December 3, 2013, "Raindrops" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame..

In the 1970s, B.J. Thomas recorded "I Just Can't Help Believing," a song which was later covered by Elvis Presley (Elvis was a B.J. fan and B.J. performed at Presley's annual New Year's Eve party in 1968 at the Thunderbird Lounge in Memphis, Tennessee).  Thomas also recorded "Rock and Roll Lullaby," with its chorus of sha-na-na-nas by The Blossoms, and "(Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song," another country-tinged hurtin' song.

On December 9, 1968, B.J. married singer-songwriter Gloria Richardson (born October 15, 1949 in Lynchburg, Virginia).  The couple had three daughters: Page (born January 13, 1970 in New York City), Nora (adopted from North Korea in 1978) and Erin (born June 4, 1979 in Arlington, Texas).

However, all was not as rosy as it seemed for B.J. Thomas.  He went through a very dark time in his life and struggled through years of drug and alcohol addiction.  It almost cost him his marriage.  In 1976, he turned to Christianity, sobered up, and reconciled with Gloria.  

Sadly, on March 23, 2021, B.J. announced on his Facebook page that he had been diagnosed with Stage Four lung cancer and was undergoing treatment in Texas.  In the post he wrote: "I just wanted to take this unique opportunity to share my gratitude to Gloria, my wonderful wife, and my rock for 53 years, my family, friends and fans.  I'm so blessed to have had the opportunity to record and perform beautiful songs in pop, country, and gospel music, and to share those wonderful songs and memories around the world with millions of you.  I ask all of you for your prayers during this time and that my music can live on with you."


* B.J. Thomas was a five-tune Grammy Award winner who sold over 70 million records during his career.

* When B.J. performed "Radindrops" on the The Ed Sullivan Show in 1969, water was rained down on him as a special effect.  B.J. later described this as "the most singular dumbest thing anybody ever had to do."

* At the age of 30, B.J. was invited to join the Grand Ole Opry.  

* B.J. recorded "As Long as We Got Each Other," the theme song for the TV sitcom Growing Pains.

* B.J. Thomas wrote an memoir, Home Where I Belong, with Jerry B. Jenkins, about his struggle with drugs, family collapse and bankruptcy.  It was first published in 1978.

* B.J. released an album called The Living Room Sessions on April 2, 2013.  It contained acoustic arrangements of popular hits.

SOURCES: Washington Post obituary, "B.J. Thomas, who sang 'Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head,' dies at 78," by Harrison Smith, May 29, 2021; "Just a regular guy with a burning desire to sing - The B.J. Thomas interview," by Jeremy Roberts, December 27, 2016; Wikipedia; Internet Movie Database ( 

- Joanne   

Monday, May 17, 2021

Toronto Maple Leafs versus Montreal Canadiens in playoffs for first time in 42 years

A great deal has changed in the world and in the sport of hockey since the last time the Leafs and les Canadiens played each other in a playoff series.  That was back in 1979, when many of us were not even born. Only those of a certain age can remember the excitement when the Leafs and the Canadiens met in the Stanley Cup playoffs.  When Toronto and Montreal faced each other back then, it was pure hockey heaven for fans across Canada.  However, you have to be more than 60 years old to have any real memory of that great playoff rivalry.  The current players on both teams are too young to have a great sense of it.

On Saturday May 20, 2021, the Blue and White and the Bleu, Blanc et Rouge will face off against each other in the first round of the NHL playoffs.  It will be the first time these two teams have met in a playoff series in 42 years.  Here are some points to ponder about the coming series and the past rivalry between the two teams:

* What was happing in Canada and the world in 1979, the last time the Maple Leafs and the Canadiens played each other in the playoffs.  Well, on May 22, 1979, Joe Clark's short lived Progressive Conservative government was voted into office, defeating Pierre Trudeau's Liberals.  42 years later, in 2021,  Pierre's son, Justin, is Prime Minister of Canada.  In 1979, Jimmy Carter was President of the United States and Canada helped to conceal the identify of a group of American hostages in Iran, saving their lives.

* The Maple Leafs have not defeated Montreal in a playoff game since 1967, the year the Leafs last hoisted Lord Stanley's Cup.  In 1967, in the midst of Canada's Centennial celebrations, the Leafs won hockey's holy grail on May 2nd.  This year, the playoffs began on May 15 and will last well into the summer.  In 1967, the last year of the six-team NHL, the Stanley Cup tournament began on April 6th.and ended with the Leaf victory on May 2nd.

* The 2021 edition of the Montreal Canadiens has only two francophones on its roster.

* The Leafs did not win a single game in their 1979 series against the Canadiens.  Montreal was by far the better team and they went on to win the Stanley Cup that year.  In fact, Montreal was a powerhouse during the 1970s, garnering six Stanley Cup victories in that decade - 1971, 1973, 1976, 1977, 1978 and 1979.  The Habs won two more championships, in 1986 and 1993.  They have not won since then, and their Stanley Cup win in 1993 marks the last time a Canadian-based team has tasted victory.  In total Montreal has won 24 Stanley Cups, while the the Leafs have won 13.

In 2021, the Leafs finished atop their division and are heavy favourites to defeat the Habs in the first Round.  According to, Toronto has a 75 percent chance to win the series, while Montreal has a 25 percent chance.  If Montreal wins, it will be a huge upset and a terrible disappointment to Leaf fans everywhere.

In 2021, due to the ongoing pandemic, the stands in Montreal and Toronto will be bereft of fans.  Sadly, there will be no large cheering crowds.

* Truthfully, the rivalry between the Leafs and the Canadiens is not what it used to be.  Yet, we have been suffering through a nightmare of a pandemic.  We need some joy and excitement.  We need a diversion.  So, what's wrong with pretending that it's 1967 or 1979 again?

Full disclosure: I live in Toronto and I will be cheering for the Leafs;  Go Leafs go!

- Joanne

Saturday, May 15, 2021

After the rejection of Liz Cheney, a new U.S. conservative party must be formed

Last Tuesday evening, May 11, 2021, Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, addressed the House of Representatives.  Her words were very powerful.  She spoke the truth loudly and clearly, but her fellow Republicans did not want to hear her.  They did not want to hear the truth.  Since he internet is so filled with conspiracy theories, lies and so much misleading information, I  decided to post excepts from her speech.  I want the truth to be heard, so here are the words of Lia Cheney:

"Today we face a threat America has never seen before.  A former president who provoked a violent attack on this capitol, in an effort to steal the election, has resumed his aggressive effort to convince Americans that the election was stolen from him.  He risks inciting further violence.  Millions of Americans have been misled by the former president.  They have heard only his words, not the truth.  As he continues to undermine our democratic process, sewing seeds of doubt about whether democracy works at all.

I am a conservative Republican, and the most conservative of conservative principles is reverence for the rule of law.  

The Electoral College has voted.  More than 60 state and federal courts, including multiple judges the former president appointed, have rejected his claims of widespread fraud and found no evidence to support them.  The election is over.  That is our rule of law.  That is our constitutional process.  Those who refuse to accept the rulings of our courts are at war with our Constitution.  Our duty is clear.  Every one of us who has sworn an oath must act to prevent the unravelling of our democracy.

This is not about party.  This is not about partisanship.  This is about our duty as Americans.  Remaining silent and ignoring the lie emboldens the liar.  I will not participate in that.  I will not sit back and watch in silence, while others lead our party down a path that abandons the rule of law and joins the former president's crusade to undermine our democracy."

Liz Cheney
I certainly do not share Representative Cheney's ultra-conservative views, nor her support for most of Donald Trump's policies (from 2017 to 2021, Liz Cheney voted in line with Trump's position 92.9 % of the time).  However, I respect the Wyoming congresswoman greatly for putting country ahead of party.  I respect her for speaking the truth and for defending democracy.  I respect her for standing up to Donald Trump's bullying and defying him.  That took a great deal of courage, especially since Rep. Cheney is a woman defying the orders of a misogynists such as the former president and his legion of good old boy followers.  She remains defiant, but she has been punished by the spineless members of her own party.  

On Wednesday, May 12, 2021, at a closed-door House Republican Conference meeting, Liz Cheney was formerly removed from her position as House Republican Conference chair. 
Although five Republican representatives requested a recorded vote, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy decided to settle the matter with a voice vote.  Thus, it remains unclear which GOP lawmakers voted to oust Cheney.  The fact is that McCarthy  and company threw her under the bus to placate Donald Trump.  In order to please their boss, they demoted Liz Cheney.  What a disgrace!  What an affront to democracy, decency and the rule of law!

Farewell to the Republican Party as we have known it in the past.  The Grand Old Party is  no longer grand.  It is no longer the party of  Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower.  It is completely controlled by one man - Donald J. Trump.  With the support of "Republicans" such as Kevin McCarthy, Mitch McConnell, Jim Jordan and Lindsey Graham, Trump has solidified absolute power over the party  Its name might as well be changed to the Trump Party.  It demands absolute loyalty to the Dear Leader.  That is why Trump's  cohorts support The Big Lie that there was widespread voter fraud.  

The Republican Party, as presently constituted, stands for nothing.  It has two major goals - to obtain power and to prevent President Joe Biden from achieving his agenda, even if that agenda is supported by the majority of Americans, even if it is beneficial to their country.

Although I am not a political conservative, I take no pleasure in the demise of the Republican Party.  In fact, I profoundly regret what has happened to it.  American democracy is sorely in need of a conservative movement that respects the rule of law.  More than one point of view must be set forth in a country that enshrines freedom of speech in its constitution.  That is why I fervently hope that American conservatives  form a new and more inclusive party which respects democratic principles.  It must be a party in which people of colour, immigrants and others feel welcomed and comfortable, where they feel part of the fold.  It must be a party that tries to win elections by encouraging Americans to vote, not by gerrymandering or suppressing the vote.

I am a Canadian who is concerned about the health of democracy everywhere.  The United States is my country's closest neighbour and I certainly don't want America to go down an authoritarian path.  That is why I am speaking out.  That is why I am attempting to counter the lies and misinformation on the internet and on far-right media outlets,  That is why Trumpism must be defeated, regardless of what the future brings to the former president.

- Joanne

Sunday, May 9, 2021

To those who are unable to see their mothers on Mother's Day

Greetings from Toronto, Canada.  It is Mother's Day here and also in the United States and other places.  Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there.  I am not a mother, but I am an aunt and a godmother, which means a great deal to me.  

During this terrible pandemic, my thoughts and prayers are with those who are unable to see their mothers today, most likely for reasons relating to the virus.  I am fortunate enough to be able to see mine, but I want to express my solidarity with those who are not as fortunate.  There are many of us who have mothers who live in other countries.  Others have mothers who are in intensive care in hospitals.  My heart goes out to them.  I fervently hope that they will be able to hug their moms next Mother's Day.   

I would also like to send my deepest condolences to those whose mothers have died from COVID-19.  This may be your fist Mother's day without your mother.  I know you are grieving because of that cruel virus.  My hope is for a better future when the scourge of COVID has finally been obliterated.  Thank you and much appreciation to all mothers for all that you have done.  

- Joanne

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Vertical Forest in Taiwan

Climate change is the most serious crisis facing humanity.  It is a moral issue, an economic issue, a survival issue and much more. That is why, on this Earth Day, I would like to tell you about a remarkable environmental achievement in Taipei, Taiwan.  Taipei will be home to a vertical forest with 23,000 trees, shrubs and plants that reduce air pollution and lower temperature.  Located in the financial district of Taiwan's capital, it is a carbon-absorbing 21-storey residential building called Tao Zhu Yin Yuan.  There are two apartments per floor and the twisting form of the structure allows for a panoramic view of the city.

Tao Zhu Yin Yuan was designed by Paris-based architecture firm Vincent Callebaut Architectures..  The futuristic skyscraper is shaped like the double helix of DNA and every apartment has its own garden.  Various types of trees are planted in the park, balconies and terraces, with 14 trees planted for each floor.  All that greenery will absorb up to 130 tones of carbon per year.  It will also reduce the noise from the city.  In addition, the vertical forest is powered by solar energy and recycles rainwater which can water gardens..  It also includes natural ventilation chimneys which filter the indoor air and reduce temperatures and the usage of air conditioning.  The structure is sturdy and strongly earthquake resilient.

The best news is that Tao Zhu Yin Yuan is not set to arrive in Taipei at some undetermined time in the future.  It is currently under construction and is expected to be completed by the latter half of 2021.  I only hope other countries in the world, including my own Canada, will follow this example for sustainable housing and a greener future.  We can't afford to put the environment on the backburner, even as we face the ravages of a terrible pandemic.  When the pandemic finally eases, we will still have to deal with climate change.  Carbon reduction is absolutely necessary and fossil fuels must be replaced by renewable energy.  The climate change deniers are on the wrong side of history.

SOURCES: Amazing Architecture website, "Tao Zhu Yin Yuan: A Carbon-Absorbing Vertical Forest in Taipei, Taiwan, by Vincent Callebaut Architectures," February 2021;""Carbon-absorbing " vertical forest near completion in Taipei," by Lucy Wang, March 12, 2021.

- Joanne

Monday, April 19, 2021

2021 Oscars Quiz

The 93rd Academy Awards will be held on April 25, 2021. They will be forever known as the COVID Oscars.  The live show will start at 8 p.m. on ABC and will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California.  It will also be live-streamed on the ABC app.  For the first time. part of the show will be held at L.A.'s. Union Station.  Due to pandemic restrictions, only nominees, their guests and presenters are permitted to attend.

 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.  Due to the COVID19 pandemic, the Oscars had to be delayed until April 25th.  For which of the following reasons was the show cancelled in the past?

A,  Flooding in Los Angeles in 1938.

B.  The assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan in 1981.

C.  The assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968.

D.  All of the above.

E.  None of the above.

2.  Were the Oscars ever cancelled?

A.  Yes, they were cancelled in 1941 due to World War II.

B.  They were cancelled in 1942 due to World War II and the attack on Pearl Harbor.

C.  They were cancelled in 1942 and 943 due to World War II.

D.  They wee cancelled from 1942 to 1945 due to World War II.

E.  The Academy Awards have never been fully cancelled in their history.

3.  Chloé Zhao is nominated for Best Director this year for her work on the film Nomadland.  What is so significant about her nomination?

A.  She is the first female filmmaker to be nominated for a Best Director Academy Award.

B.  She is the first Asian to be nominated for Best Director.

C.  She is the first woman of colour to be be nominated for Best Director.

D,  She is the first Chinese-born person to be nominated for an Oscar.

E.  All of the above.

4.  Gary Cooper won the Academy Award for Best Actor twice.  For which two movies did he win an Oscar?

Gsry Cooper

A.  Sergeant York (1941) and High Noon (1952)

B.  Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936) and For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943)

C.  The Pride of the Yankess (1942) and Friendly Persuasion (1956)

D.   Design For Living (1933) and Meet John Doe (1941) 

E.  Beau Geste (1939) and Ball of Fire (1941)

5.  How long did the first Oscars ceremony last?

A.  One hour

B.  15 minutes

C.  30 minutes

D.  90 minutes

E.  Two hours

6.  How many Oscars did Greta Garbo win for Best Actress?

A.  One

B.  Two

C.  Three

D.  Four

E.  None

7.  Did songwriter Irving Belin ever win a Oscar for Best Music (Original Song)?

A.  Yes, he won for "There's No Business Like Show Business.

B.  Yes, he won for "Cheek to Cheek"

C,  Yes, he won for "White Christmas"

D.  Yes, he won for "God Bless America"

E,  No, he never won an Oscar for  Best Music (Original Song) 

8.  Two films received the most Oscar nominations without winning a single Academy Award.  Can you names the two film..

A.  The Turning Point and The Color Purple

B.  Terms of Endearment and The Shawshank Redemption

C.  The Notebook and The Devil Wears Prada

D.  Urban Cowboy and Pulp Fiction

E.   Raging Bull and The Natural

9.  Who filed for divorce in 1948, right before winning an Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role?

A.  Ingrid Bergman

B.  Elizabeth Taylor

C.  Barbara Stanwyk

D,  Jane Wyman

E.  Vivien Leigh

10.  Which was the first winner in the Academy Award's Best Animated Film category?

A.  Frozen

B.  Toy Story

C.  Nemo

D.  Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

E.  Shrek (2001)


1.  D

All of the above.  2021 marks the fourth time that the Academy Awards ceremony has been delayed,  The Oscars were were delayed in due to flooding in Los Angeles in February-March of 1938, one of the largest floods in the history of Los Angeles, Orange and Riverdale Counties of southern California; the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4, 1968 in Memphis Tennessee and the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan on March 30, 1981 in Washington, D.C.

2.  E

No,  the Academy Awards have never been fully cancelled in their history.

3.  C

Chloé Zhao is the first woman of colour to be be nominated for Best Director for her film  NomadlandZhao was born in Beijing, China on March 31, 1982.  She is known primarily for her work in American independent films.

4.  A

Gary Cooper won two Best Actor Oscars - for his performances in Sergeant York (1941) and High Noon (1952).  He also received the Academy Honorary Award for his career achievements in 1961.  Cooper was nominated for Best Actor for his work in Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, The Pride of the Yankees and For Whom the Bell Tolls, but did not win.

5.  B

The first Oscars ceremony lasted only 15 minutes.  It was presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and honoured the best films of 1927 and 1928.  The ceremony took place on May 16, 1929 in the Blossom Room of the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood, California.  270 people attended the event.

6.  E

Greta Garbo

Swedish-American actress Greta Garbo never won an Oscar for Best Actress.  She was nominated four times - for  Romance (1930), Anna Christie (1930), Camille (1936),  and Ninotcka (1939).  In 1955, however, she was awarded an honorary Oscar for "her luminous and unforgettable screen performances."  The reclusive Garbo was not present at the ceremony and actress Nancy Kelly accepted the award for her.

7.  C

Irving Berlin

Yes, Irving Berlin won an Academy Award for "White Christmas."  The great composer died on September 22, 1989 at the age of 101.

8.  A

The Turning Point (1977), starring Shirley MacLaine and Anne Bancroft and The Color Purple (1985), staring Whoopi Goldberg and Danny Glover and Oprah Winfrey, received 11 Academy Award nominations.  Both films were nominated for Best Picture and both failed to win a single Oscar.

9.  D

Jane Wyman

Jane Wyman was  Ronald Reagan's first wife.  They met while filming the movie Brother Rat (1938) and married on January 26, 1940.  Wyman filed for divorce from the future U.S. President in 1948.  The divorce became final on July 18, 1949, soon after Jane won the Best Actress in a Leading Role for her performance as a deaf mute rape victim in the film Johnny Belinda.  She also garnered an Academy Award nomination for The Yearling (1946).

Wyman, who died on September 10, 2007 at the age of 90, went on to star as villainous matriarch Angela Channing in the primetime soap Falcon Crest (1981-1990). 

10,  E


Shrek (2001) was the first winner in the Best Animated Feature Film category.  The Academy Award for Best Animated Feature wasn't established until 2002 for films made in 2001.  Shek, about a green ogre, was the first winner of the award.  Toy Story 3 won for the year 2010 and Toy Story 4 won for the year 2019.  Frozen received the Oscar for the year 2013.  The Disney film Snow White was released in 1937.

- Joanne

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Some riddles and wordplay for a spring day

Feeling stressed and overburdened?  It's April and we are still in the midst of a nightmarish pandemic.  If you need some relief to get your mind off COVID for a while, Number 16 presents some jokes, riddles and quips for you to enjoy.  You deserve a break and a smile.

- Joanne

What did the bird say after purchasing some lipstick?

Answer: Put it on my bill.

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.  He had a great summer too.

A man who was outside in the rain without an umbrella or or hat didn't get a single hair on his head wet.  Why?

Answer:  He was bald.

You see a boat filled with people, yet there isn't a single person on board.  How is that possible?

Answer:  All the people on the boat are married.

The more of this there is, the less you see.  What is it?

Answer: Darkness

"It is silly of you, for there is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about."

- Oscar Wilde  (1854-1900), Irish poet and playwright

From The Picture of Dorian Gray, published 1890

What's the best thing about Switzerland? 

Answer:  I don't know, but the flag is a big plus.

Did you hear about the mathematician who's afraid of negative number?

He'll stop at nothing to avoid them.

Yesterday I saw a guy spill all his Scrabble letters on the road.  "I asked him, "What's the word on the street?"

Did you hear about the actor who fell through the floorboards?

He was just going through a stage.

- Compiled by Joanne

Monday, April 12, 2021

Children of Dieppe: My novel is available to Toronto Public Library patrons

 To Readers of Number 16

I have some new to share with you.  My novel, Children of Dieppe, is now available in ebook form to Toronto Public Library patrons.  It is part of Indie Ontario, a collection of books from local authors, exclusively on the BiblioBoard Library mobile and web platform.  If you are a Toronto Public Library patron and you would like to support a local indie author, please click the link below.

If you are not a Toronto Public Library and do not live in the area, Children of Dieppe is available as an ebook on Smashwords.  The link is below.

Thank you for your continued support of Number 16.  It is very much appreciated.

- Joanne

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Thoughts on a Second COVID Easter

"So we come to the end of April. even a chilly April, with birdsong around us and some of spring's color; and we feel the strengthening sun, we sense the opening buds, we know that no winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.  April is a promise that May is bound to keep, and we know it."

The above quotation is from an April 29, 1956 editorial in The New York Times.  The editorial "April's End,"  was reprinted in a 1964 book entitled Sundial of the Seasons: A Selection of Outdoor Editorials from The New York Times by Hal Borland.  "April's End" has been attributed to Borland.

Harold Glen "Hal" Borland (1900-1978) was an American journalist, author poet and and naturalist.  He was a New York Times writer and editorialist.  He also wrote fiction and non-fiction books about the outdoors.  Borland was a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism.  During World War II, he composed radio programs for the United States government and was a special magazine correspondent.  During his lifetime, he contributed a number of articles, short short stories and novellas to prominent magazines in the U.S. and abroad.

Hal Borland

Hal Borland's words about spring and winter are particularly relevant during these difficult days of a terrible pandemic.  Easter, Christianity's greatest feast, is upon us once more.  For the second year in a row, we are in the grip of a devastating pandemic.  COVID-19 has been the source of untold suffering, pain and despair.  It seems to be lasting so much longer than expected, and it has definitely taken its toll.  There are days when many of us, including myself, feel tired and defeated, ready to give in to gloom and despondency.  We can never let that happen, no matter how difficult the situation.  If we lose hope, we lose everything.  

"We must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope."

- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. King said those words in a speech he delivered on February 6, 1968, almost two months before his assassination on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee.  

Easter is a time of triumph, a manifestation of the defeat of both death and evil.  The hope of Easer is guaranteed.  It is ours forever.  In a world of uncertainty, we can count on the victory of Easter and The Resurrection.  That is why there is something to celebrate, even in these terrible times.  Christ is risen!


- Joanne

Sunday, March 21, 2021

The Conservative Party of Canada won't recognize climate change crisis

Erin O'Toole

The Conservative Party of Canada (no longer "Progressive" Conservative) is moving in a dangerous direction - further to the right.  It has the same problem as the Republican Party in the United States States.  Its rank and file are on the wrong side of history with regard to climate change.  The climate crisis is very real and can't be ignored.  It is linked to the current COVID-19 pandemic.  The two are intertwined.  

This weekend, Conservative delegates at the party's political convention voted to give thumbs down to environmentally friendly policies,.  They rejected the line to the party's policy book that would have affirmed the Conservative Party' belief that "climate change is real" and that it is willing to act."  This is extremely unfortunate and disheartening because if the Conservatives form the government they will have to deal with Canada's response to the most serious problem facing humanity.  If they assume power, they can be expected to relax environmental standards.

Yes, Conservative leader Erin O'Toole stressed that the party can't afford to be seen as hostile toward the environment.  He pledged to put forth a comprehensive plan for combatting green house gases before the next election.  (For the record, O'Toole is opposed to the carbon tax on consumers and says he will remove it if he becomes prime minister.  He supports a carbon-price to penalize big polluters for emissions.  For taking that position, he was mocked by Peter MacKay, his main opponent for the Conservative leadership).

Nevertheless, there are two major problems with O'Toole's position on climate change,  Firstly, we don't know how comprehensive O'Toole's plan would actually be in reducing carbon emissions.  O'Toole is willing to talk the talk, unlike some Tories, but is he willing to walk the walk?   Is he more worried about how the party will  appear to environmentally concerned voters than he is about decreasing green house gasses?  If  Conservatives come to power in Ottawa, could he not turn around and say that the country is too deeply in debt after COVID  to afford strong environmental measures? Secondly, even if O'Toole were to come up with an effective plan, how successful would he be in implementing it?  After all, the grass roots of the party are opposed to even the appearance of concern about climate change.  If O'Toole tried to implement any significant legislation with regard to the environment, they would pressure him to water it down.

As long as the Conservative Party's base refuses to recognize the gravity of climate change, the party is stuck in a time warp.  It cannot move forward to face the most critical challenge of the 21st century.  

- Joanne