Monday, January 31, 2022

Help end this pandemic nightmare

Right wing anti-vaxxers have made made vaccination a political matter.  It is not a political matter.  It is a health matter.  The right wing anti-vaxxers like to scream and shout that their "freedom" is being taken away from them.  The have tunnel vision.  The only kind of freedom they see is individual freedom.  What they fail to acknowledge or understand is communal freedom, the freedom of the community to be protected.  Freedom is not absolute.  It must be curtailed when your "freedom' harms others and places their health and well-being at risk.

We've lived with this COVID nightmare for two years now.  If we don't protect the poorest and most vulnerable people in countries around the world, this pandemic will linger.  There will be variant after variant.  I urge everyone, unless you have a valid medical exemption, to get two doses and a booster.

How much longer must we endure this pandemic nightmare?  I encourage my fellow Canadians to do the following.  Please take action.  

Email the Federal Minister of International Development Harjit Sajjan and inspire him to take leadership on vaccinating the world.  The email address is

Please add your own words to the following text!

Dear Hon. Harjit Sajjan

I am writing to you to encourage you to take immediate action to end the pandemic everywhere, because we know that no one is safe until everyone is safe.

We cannot stop variants of concern until there is global vaccine equity. 

The next variant is preventable.

The next lockdown is preventable.

As Minister of International Development and a member of the cabinet committee for Canada and the World, you are in a unique and crucial leadership position to ensure the Federal government shares resources, knowledge, and doses with developing countries. You have a vital task before you. The world needs Canada to step up now.

I want Canada to commit to doing its fair share on the global stage to end the pandemic. The next variants are preventable if we act now.

Please do everything you can to get Canada to commit an additional $ 1.1 billion to support developing countries with their vaccination programmes and to help them face further waves. Canada should also immediately support a TRIPS waiver on COVID vaccine and treatment technology.

Thank you,





To those in countries outside of Canada, please urge your politicians and decision makers to do the same.  There is only one world and we are all members of the human race.  

- Joanne

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Why is Joe Biden's approval rating so low right now?

John Q. Public was recently asked why President Joe Biden's popularity has been sagging lately.

JQP: I think I know why President Joe Biden's approval rating is so low right now..  Let me see now.  Oh yes, didn't he give a tax breaks to billionaires?  

No, that was the other guy.

JQP: Didn't he brag about groping women in a notorious interview with Access Hollywood?

No, that was the other guy.

JQP: Didn't he lock up migrant children in detention camps, separating them from their parents?

No, that was the other guy.

JQP: Didn't he waste billions of taxpayer's money on a border wall?

No, that was the other guy.

JQP: Didn't he refuse to show his tax returns?

No, that was the other guy.

JQP: Wait a minute.  Wasn't Joe Biden's Twitter account permanently suspended due to risk of further incitement of violence?

No, that was the other guy.

JQP: Wasn't he involved in a scandal in which his lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, paid adult film actress Stormy Daniels $130,000 in hush money to stop her from disclosing an affair she alleged she had with him in 2006, when his wife was pregnant with their son, Barron.

Nope.  That was the other guy.

JQP: In November of 2016, didn't he make a $25 million settlement concerning three fraud lawsuits linked to the university named after himself?

No, that was the other guy.

JQP: Following the 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, didn't he say that there were "very fine people involved on both sides," when speaking about those who attended the rally in support and those who protested against it.

No, that was the other guy.

JQP: During the first presidential debate in 2020, didn't he tell the Proud Boys, a far-right hate group, to "stand back and stand by."

No, you've got the wrong guy again.

JQP: Doesn't he falsely claim that the 2020 election was rigged (evidence proved otherwise), causing many Americans to lose faith in democracy.

No, you've got it wrong again.  It was that other guy.

JQP: Wasn't he impeached twice by the House of Representatives?  The first impeachment was for abuse of power and obstruction of justice.  There was evidence that he tried to persuade the Ukrainian president to dig up dirt on his political opponent.  

The other guy did that.  He tried to dig up dirt on Joe Biden.  Don't forget that the other guy was impeached a second time for incitement of insurrection.  

JQP: Didn't Biden refuse to participate in the peaceful transfer of power, a hallmark of democracy, after his defeat in the 2020 election?

No, he didn't do that.  It was that other guy.

JQP: Didn't he encourage a violent mob to overrun the Capitol in Washington, D.C. in an effort to overturn the results of an lawful election?  Didn't some of the rioters say they were there at the request of Joe Biden.  Didn't Biden just watch the riot unfold on television in a private dining room at the White House?  Didn't his former press secretary say he "gleefully" watched the mob on TV and praised how his supporters were "fighting for him."

Nope, that was still the other guy.

JQP: Didn't the New York attorney general say that her investigators have uncovered evidence that Biden's  company used :fraudulent or misleading" variations of golf clubs, skyscrapers and other property to get loans and tax benefits.

Once again, he didn't do that.  It was that other guy.

JQP: Gee, I can't believe I've gotten that all wrong.  I can't believe I've forgotten all of that.

Well, if it makes you feel any better, you're not the only one.

JQP: Then surely that other guy doesn't have the unmitigated gall to run again after all that.

I'm afraid you're wrong about that, too.  The Republican party is pretty solidly behind the other guy. 

JQP: So, if the other guy did all that, why are they are they so solidly behind him?

Good question.  The facts don't seem to matter to them.

JQP: Everything is so expensive these days.  Inflation is so high.  Americans have to pay much more at the grocery store and at the gas pump.  That's Joe's fault, isn't it?

Unexpected consumer demand, combined with congested supply chains and labour shortages are driving up prices.

JDQ: Isn't the U.S. economy tanking?  What has improved?

When Joe Biden took the presidential oath of office in January of 2021, the U.S. jobless rate was 6.9 per cent.  One year later, the unemployment rate is 3.9 per cent.

JQP:  Jos Biden is too old to be president.  He's 79 years old.  He must be senile.

Hold on now.  Isn't that ageism?  Biden held a gruelling two-hour press conference to mark his first year in office.  He answered questions from journalists who were trying to trip him up or make him look bad.  He was grilled and yet he maintained his cool.  He treated the press with respect and replied to all the questions he was asked.  That doesn't sound like senility.

JQP:  Why hasn't Biden stopped COVID around the world?  Why hasn't he solved all the problems in the Middle East?  Why hasn't he achieved world peace . . .


Thursday, January 13, 2022

The Cat Came Back: A True Story for Cat Lovers

Loli (date of phot unknown)

Most of us are weary of all the bad news about the COVID-19 and the Omicron variant.  We are being bombarded 24 hours a day on television and social media.  It's one story after another about how Omicron is so contagious and how it's spreading so rapidly.  We hear how one event after another is being cancelled or postponed.  Yes, of course I know we need to be informed.  I know we need to protect ourselves as much as possible.  Still, this is  just too much, even for an inveterate news junkie like me.  So, dear readers, I am going to give you some much-needed relief.  I'm going to tell you a true story that will warm your hearts.  It's the perfect tonic to make you feel better during these challenging times.

Come along with me and distract yourself from all the COVID news.  You deserve a break from the constant doom and gloom.  I am pleased to provide you with a harmless, temporary escape from the reality of a pandemic nightmare.  The best part is that this is not a fairytale.  It really happened.

Our story takes place in Ontario, Canada, where I live.  It's about a tabby cat named Loli, who went missing for 11.5 years, according to a Global News report by Hannah Jackson.  The cat's owner, Christine De Castro, told Global News that Loli went missing from the family's home in Vaughan, Ontario back in the summer of 2010.  At the time of her disappearance, Loli was a mere two years old.  (That makes her about 13 or 14 now, which is an old age for a cat.  Cats have an average lifespan of 12 to 18 years, although domestic casts can live into their 20s).

Christine De Castro searched extensively for her pet, but to no avail.  She finally resigned herself to the belief that the little feline was never going to return.  However, on New Year's Day of this year, Christine received some unexpected news from Vaughan Animal Services.  She was informed that Loli had been found and that someone had apparently trapped the cat in their garage.  Christine surmises that Loli ended up in the garage in order to keep warm.

Vaughan Animal Services was able to identify Loli with the help of  her microchip and Christine was told that she could come to the animal shelter and pick up her long lost pet.  Although Christine had moved more than once, her phone number remained the same and she was able to be contacted with regard to Loli.  As a result, she urges all pet owners to microchip their animal friends.  She also encourages them to donate to their neighbourhood no-kill animal shelter.

Not surprisingly, Christine was astounded by the news that her cat had been found..  She describes her reunion with Loli after all this time as "surreal."  What exactly happened to the cat remains a mystery and Christine reports that her pet is older and grumpier now.  In every other respect, however, she says that Loli is much the same cat as before.  Christine is still not certain whether the feline recognizes her after so long, but she believes that Loli is warming up to her.  

What a way to begin a new year on the right note for Christine De Castro!  As Christine puts it, "I think it's kind of fated that 2022 started with a cat that I really thought was a goner, reintroduced into my life."

- Joanne

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Children of Dieppe: A novel by Joanne Madden

Readers, if you are looking for a good read during this awful pandemic, I would like to remind you that my novel Children of Dieppe is available as an ebook.  It is the story of Denise Nair, whose father, a Canadian soldier, lost his life during the tragic raid on Dieppe, France in 1942.  The repercussions of that raid are life changing for Denise's family, friends and acquaintances, including the mysterious Gordon Sloane and the troubled Rosemary Tillis.  This sweeping novel spans a time period from World War II to the 21st.century.  It is about family, friendship, the aftermath of war and the effects of mental illness.

I would really like some feedback from anyone who reads Children of Dieppe.   I would be very happy to hear from you.

Here is the link to my ebook.

By the way, I am working on my second novel. a mystery/suspense story.  It is not a sequel to Children of Dieppe but it is related.  Some characters from Children of Dieppe appear in my new novel.

Readers, I would like to thank you for any support you have given me over the years just by reading Number 16.  I am truly grateful and I appreciate you.

- Joanne

Monday, January 3, 2022

My 2022 Wish List

Last year I posted my personal wish list for 2021.  I promised to let you know which of my wishes came true and to write another wish list for 2022.  Here's how my 2021 wish list turned out:

My biggest wish for 2021 was that COVID-19 would be brought under control around the world.  I also hoped that once that goal was achieved, more attention would be turned to the environment and combatting global warming. Well, we almost had COVID under control until the Omicron variant hit just before Christmas.  It is more transmissible, but not as severe.  More attention must be given to climate change in 2022.

I wished that Benjamin Netanyahu would be ousted from power in Israel..  That wish came true.  He is no longer the prime minister.  The current prime minister, Naftali Bennett, appears to be very right wing. However, at least there's a change, a fresh face.  We'll see what happens in the volatile Middle East.

I wrote that I didn't want a federal election in Canada during a pandemic.  We had one anyway.  The results were almost the same as the 2019 election.  The Liberals, under Justin Trudeau, retained their minority government status.  

I hoped that the Toronto Blue Jays would keep improving and that they would make some good moves over the winter.  I also hoped that at some point in 2021 that I would be able to able to attend a game at Rogers Centre.  The Blue Jays did indeed improve.  They finished the season with 91 wins, but it wasn't enough to earn a berth in the highly competitive American League East.  They had so much talent that it was heartbreaking that they just missed out on post-season play.  Nothing is guaranteed but they should
do really well next season.  Due to COVID-19, I did not attend a game at the Rogers Centre.

I hoped that the Toronto Maple Leafs would make the changes needed to compete, but I had no lofty expectations for them.  They didn't disappoint.  Due to the pandemic, all the Canadian teams played in the same division.  The Leafs finished atop their division and were clearly a superior team than the Montreal Canadiens in the first round of the playoffs.  Everything went wrong.  Their captain, John Tavares was injured in the first game and the Leafs ultimately lost the series to the Habs.  Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner underperformed in the playoffs, as usual.

I wished the best for the Canadian Football League, which was forced to cancel its 2020 season due to COVID.  I truly hoped there would be a 2021 season.  Thankfully, there was a 2021 season, although it began late.  The Argos had a good season, but they were defeated In the Eastern Conference final  by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.  The Ti-Cats went on to lose the 108th Grey Cup game at their home stadium, Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton.  The Cats lost a heartbreaker to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in overtime.

I hoped that Joe Biden would meet his destiny with honour and become a good president.  I hoped that he would restore the soul of America, as he has promised.  I wanted Donald Trump to be accountable for his crimes and for the damage he has done to American democracy.  If that meant going to prison, so be it.  No one is above the law.  

Unfortunately, Donald Trump has still not been held accountable, especially for his role in the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol in Washington, D.C.

As I do every year, I wished for more peace and harmony in the world.  There was no major war, but Russian President Vladimir Putin made rumblings about attacking Ukraine.

Here is my 2022 wish list:

Of course, I would really like COVID-19 to fade away like a bad dream.  The anti-vaxxers and the far right have been holding up progress,  We need to get as many people possible vaccinated around the world, especially in developing countries.

It is my hope that Doug Ford's Progressive? Conservatives lose the Ontario provincial election, on (or before) June 2, 2022.

I hope that Pope Francis will have a successful visit to Canada and that he will offer an apology to the Indigenous peoples for the Church's part in the tragedy of the residential schools.

Joe Biden did not deserve to have his approval rating plummet in 2021.  Remember that he came into office during a terrible pandemic.  He also had to clean up Donald Trump's mess. Of course, no president is above criticism, but here is list of some of Biden's most important accomplishments during his first year as president of the United States (Keep in mind that the Democrats only had a razor-thin majority in the Senate and that Biden was continually thwarted by the Republican and Democratic Senator Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema  He was dependent on Manchin's and Sinema's votes).

* Biden made sure that the United States rejoined the Paris Climate Accord, a voluntary agreement to reduce carbon emissions.  It is vital that the U.S. set an example to the rest of the world.

* Biden ended Trump's discriminatory Muslim ban.

* Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, to help speed up American's recovery from the ravages of COVID-19.

* Biden signed the Infrastructure and Jobs Acts, providing over $1.2 trillion in infrastructure to every American state.

My hope is that Biden's Build Back Better Act is passed in 2022, as well as the voter's rights act.   

For the sake of democracy, it is imperative that former president Donald Trump be held accountable for his alleged criminal actions and for his involvement in the January 6, 2001 attempt to overthrow the duly and legitimately elected government of the United State.   I will not say "lock him up."  That's Trump jargon.  I will only say that once he is found guilty in a criminal court of law, he should serve a prison sentence, just like any American citizen.  The rule of law matters.

I hope that the Democrats do well in the 2022 U.S. midterm elections in November.  I hope that Stacey Abrams becomes governor of Georgia and that Beto O'Rourke becomes governor of Texas.

I hope that the Toronto Blue Jays make the post-season  in 2022 and that the Toronto Maple Leafs finally get  past the first round of the playoffs.

I hope that whatever happens with regard to COVID-19, the world will take strong measures to protect our environment.

I wish for more peace and harmony in the world in 2022.

In January of, 2023, I will write another wish list and I will let you know if any of my 2022 wishes came true.

- Joanne