Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Photos of a Thanksgiving Visit to Elora, Ontario

On Monday October 11, 2021 (Canadian Thanksgiving), I visited the community of Elora, Ontario in the township of Wellington Centre,  It is located just north of Guelph, about 117.5 kilometres (73 miles) from Toronto by car via Highway 401.  It was the perfect time to enjoy the fall foliage.

Elora is a great getaway destination.  It is known for its 19th-century limestone architecture and its gorge and conservation area.  It is a popular place for camping and hiking.


Below is a photo of the 1832 mill, which has been restored to an inn.                                                      

Elora Mill

Below is the Evelyn Restaurant/

- Joanne

Friday, September 24, 2021

Who will play the next James Bond?

If you are a James Bond fan, here is a graphic for you.  It has ben created by Select Car Leasing and it lists the actors who are most likely to succeed Daniel Craig in the role of 007.  I hope you find it informative and entertaining.

- Joanne

007: Richard Ayoade is 65% Likely to Play The Next Bond

Daniel Craig’s time in the 007 tux is coming to an end, following the long anticipated release of No Time To Die.


Almost every British actor who has ever played a suit-wearing, crime fighting character has been rumoured to play the spy, but what does data have to say about who should take over?


Studying the full series of films and each of the featuring lead actors, Select Car Leasing have created a ‘blueprint’ for a successful Bond actor.


The profile has been applied to 50 actors who are each given a percentage match based on age, height, IMDB popularity score and number of acting credits. Using the percentage scores, Select Car Leasing have revealed the actors that best fit the Bond profile.

Top 15 Actor Matches for The Role of James Bond





Current No. of Roles

Popularity by IMDB

% Match

Jack Huston


6ft 0


Top 5,000


Matt Smith


6ft 0


Top 5,000


Charlie Cox


5ft 10


Top 5,000


Elyes Gabel


6ft 0


Top 5,000


Harry Lloyd


6ft 0


Top 5,000


James Norton


6ft 1


Top 5,000


Theo James


6ft 0


Top 5,000


Joe Anderson


5ft 11


Top 5,000


Ed Skrein


6ft 1


Top 5,000


Tom Burke


6ft 0


Top 5,000


Toby Kebbell


6 ft 0


Top 5,000


O-T Fagbenle


6 ft 0


Top 5,000


Richard Ayoade


6 ft 1


Top 5,000


Joe Gilgun


6 ft


Top 5,000


Eddie Redmayne


5ft 11


Top 5,000



There’s a 65% chance Bond could be played by Richard Ayoade


Despite being one of the public’s favourite choices as the next Bond, Jean Page’s youth and lack of acting credits leave him with a 40% Bond match, therefore not even making the top 40. Also rumoured to be taking on the license to kill is quintessentially British Tom Hardy. However, Hardy’s lavish acting credits and popularity give him just a 5% likelihood of being the next Bond.


Interestingly, it’s Richard Ayoade that is a better fit to put on the tux, according to Select Car Leasing – listed in the top 15 likely actors to play Bond. The IT Crowd actor is known for his comedy but his filmography, IMDB popularity and ability to wear a suit well leaves him as a 65% match for the next James Bond. 


Doctor Who’s Matt Smith is an 80% match for Bond


The table is topped by 5 actors all awarded with an 80% match for the Bond title. Amongst them is Elyes Gabel (appearing in World War Z & Game of Thrones), Jack Huston (Boardwalk Empire), Dr. Who’s Matt Smith, Harry Lloyd (from Legion) and Daredevil’s Charlie Cox.


Charlie Cox has been relatively absent from the Bond debate – in an interview with The Independent. Cox claims it could be due to being a fairly incognito actor and staying away from social media. Despite this, Select Car Leasing’s data lists Cox would be the perfect actor to pick up the pistol.


Former Time Lord Matt Smith is also amongst the top 5 perfect actors to play Bond, but Smith himself disagrees.  Reports say the former Doctor Who star felt he could never be a serious contender to play the British spy – but he would be better placed as one of the villains in the franchise.

Select Car Leasing

Monday, September 13, 2021

Will Justin Trudeau regret this election call?

We are one week away from a Canadian federal election on September 20th.  According to the latest poll on the CBC News website, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberals and Erin O'Toole's Conservatives are running neck and neck, with Jagmeet Singh's NDP in third place.  It is unlikely that any party will form a majority government. It appears that the result will be a Liberal minority or a Conservative minority. The seat count favours the Liberals. So, unless something unforeseen happens before the election, we will be left with another minority government.  We'll go to the polls again in about two years if the Liberals form the government, even sooner if the Conservatives come to power.  The NDP may prop up a Liberal government for a while, but it is doubtful that they will support O'Toole's right wing policies.  The Bloc Quebecois is the wild card.

Many Canadians, including myself, are not pleased about an election during a pandemic,  Frankly, I don't think Trudeau has satisfactorily explained the necessity for this election.  He has been accused by the other parties of being opportunistic, of calling a snap election in the hope of getting away with a majority.  Nevertheless, I still prefer a Liberal or NDP government to a Conservative one led by Erin O'Toole.  For me, the biggest issues are climate change, the pandemic, the economy and economic inequality, health care, poverty. housing and education.  I prefer the Liberal and NDP approach to those issues over the Conservative approach.  I believe that the very wealthy should pay their fair share of taxes, as should Amazon and Facebook.  I don't trust Erin O'Toole or his party to take appropriate measures to combat climate change.  O'Toole is wishy-washy about mask mandates to protect against COVID-19.  He will not do enough to support public health care and gun control either.  In fact, he wanted to reverse the ban on automatic weapons.  He changed course when his view was met by much opposition.   

Erin O'Toole

What concerns me is that Maxime Bernier's People's Party of Canada currently has 6.5 per cent of the popular vote, according to the CBC poll tracker.  That is more than the Green Party, which has 3.6 per cent.  The People's Party is unkely to win any seats in the House of Commons, thank goodness, but I find it disconcerting that a party with such an odious platform has that high a level of support in this country.  Bernier has fashioned himself as some kind of Trump North.  It's scary to think that he almost won the leadership of the formerly "Progressive" Conservative Party of Canada.

I am also disgusted that rocks and gravel were thrown at Justin Trudeau at a London, Ontario campaign stop.  That kind of behaviour has no place in Canadian politics.  It is not surprising that Shane Marshall, 25, a former PPC riding official has been arrested and charged with assault with a weapon.

With a week left until the election of 2021, it doesn't seem that much will change in the Canadian political landscape.  Unfortunately, voter turnout will probably be low, and that could favour the Tories.  I never say never because anything can happen.  As the former prime minister of the United Kingdom, Harold Wilson, once observed, "A week is a long time in politics."  Yet, if Canada ends up with another minority Liberal government, Justin Trudeau may wonder if it was all for naught and that he should have waited longer before sending Canadians to the polls.  He may regret his decision, although the deed has already been done.  He's probably regretting it already.

It's also worth mentioning that minority governments tend to achieve more than majority governments. The prime minister is forced to take into consideration the views and policies of the other parties.  This prevents him or her from becoming too arrogant.

- Joanne

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

A valuable tip for tree lovers

 I found the following tip on Facebook and I decided to share it with Number 16 readers.  If you are a friend of the environment, this is for you.  Please pass it on if you wish.  It's great advice and I plan to follow it myself.  I hope you do too.

"When you eat fruit, don't throw seeds, dry them, put them in a bag and leave them in the car.  When you're on the road, throw them out of the window in areas where there are no trees.  Nature will take care of germination.

In Asian countries like Thailand and Malaysia, they've been practicing it for years and now they have fruit trees everywhere.  

So, let's throw seeds on the earth, not in the trash."

- Joanne

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Why I oppose anti-vaxxers


The anti-vaxxers are greatly responsible for the surge of the Delta variant of COVID-19.  There is no excuse for not getting vaccinated unless one has a valid medical reason.  Let me be frank.  I don't have much sympathy or patience for the anti-vaxxer point of view.  The anti-vaxxers are putting other people at risk and they are putting themselves at risk.  

No, I don't think people should be forced to get a vaccine, as they would in some totalitarian countries.  However, they should be required to forego certain privileges if they refuse to be fully vaccinated, such as attending movies, theatrical events, indoor restaurants and sporting matches.  They should also be required to be vaccinated in certain workplaces.  For example, all teachers should be vaccinated.  If a teacher does not wish to be vaccinated, then he or she should be prepared to seek employment elsewhere. Our children should not be exposed to COVID-19 and neither should unvaccinated educators.  

Here in the province of Ontario, where I live, Premier Doug Ford has not approved vaccination passports.  I strongly disagree with Ford on this matter.  The health and safety of the majority can't be jeopardized because of a vocal minority.  Our province can't afford a fourth wave of the virus.  The world can not afford allow this pandemic to linger on.  It must be eradicated as soon as possible.  Vaccinations are the only way to do it.  The longer this pandemic continues, the more people will suffer, physically and mentally.

Anti-vaxxer's will undoubtedly consider my opinion to be harsh and unreasonable.  I don't feel that way.  The longer this pandemic goes on, the more damage there will be to the well-being, health and livelihood of the majority of our citizens. The deaths and losses will continue to mount.  This can only be described as the tyranny of the minority.

Vaccinations and wearing masks are not a matter of politics.  Vaccinations and wearing masks are not a matter of health and welfare.  This is not a matter of freedom.  There can be no absolute freedom.  Your freedom does not allow you to endanger others.  Contrary to what the far-right and Donald Trump supporters believe, vaccines and masks are not a sign of weakness.  They are a sign of strength of character.  Some conservatives and American Republicans argue that the government can't tell them what to do.  However, sometimes government regulation is necessary.  There would be a lot more deaths from automobile accidents if the law didn't enforce the wearing of seatbelts.

Imagine if the anti-vaxxer movement had been around at the time of the polio epidemic in the 1950s.  So many more people would have contracted the debilitating disease.  Due to vaccinations, we have practically eliminated other diseases such as measles, mumps and smallpox.  Unfortunately, there have been some recent cases of those illnesses due to the anti-vaxxer movement.

Some of the most tragic situations are occurring in states with Republican governors and senators, primarily in southern jurisdictions such as Florida.  Under the misguided leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis.  COVID cases have reached record numbers in the Sunshine State, with a seven-day average of more than 20,000 cases each day.  Yet DeSantis has stated, "Many Florida residents have suffered under forced masking policies, and it is prudent to protect the ability of parents to make decisions regarding the wearing of masks by their children."  DeSantis has also been a fierce opponent of vaccine passports.  He adamantly opposes protective measures such as allowing businesses to require customers to show proof of vaccination.  

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden's approval rating has decreased due to the COVID surge.  That's right!  Biden, who reminds everyone over and over again to get vaccinated and to wear masks, is being blamed for the actions of  Republicans and Fox News.  

Let's get real!  The arguments of the anti-vaxxers and right-wingers have been debunked by scientists.  It's time to start supporting measures such a s vaccine passports.  Otherwise, COVID and its deadly variants will plague us for a long time to come.  Nobody in their right mind should want that.

- Joanne

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 www.SaveEyeCare.ca  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 Auditorium.in 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 (People.com 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; Encyclpedia.com (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