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.  ChloĆ© 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

ChloĆ© 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