Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Stars on Canadian Walk of Fame are in a sad state

I dined at a restaurant on King Street W. in Toronto this past Monday and I walked by Roy Tomson Hall.  When I viewed the stars on the Canadian Walk of Fame, I couldn't help but notice that they have fall into disrepair.  Some have been defaced.  Some are so faded that they are illegible.  I also noticed a couple of blocks that have sunk.  It's really quite disappointing to see what has happened to such special recognition of our country's talent.  Isn't there a way that the Canadian Walk of Fame can be better maintained?

Here are some picture I have taken because I would like to bring some attention to this matter, although it is an obvious eyesore.  Maybe nothing has been done because of the repair costs and the pandemic.  Still, it doesn't make our city look good.  The stars in worse condition are the ones closest to Roy Tomson Hall.

Here are the photos.

- Joanne

Friday, July 22, 2022

Things you should consider when naming a child

" A person's name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language."

- Dale Carnegie, How to Make Friends and Influence People

It's true that Shakespeare's Juliet told Romeo that a ' rose by any other name would smell as sweet."  However, I have to agree with Dale Carnegie.  Names do matter.  In fact, they matter a great deal in someone's life.  That's why I have always been fascinated by names and stories about how and why someone was given certain name.

One thing I would recommend is that parents don't commonly call their children by a second name or a third name.  After 9/11, it is preferable to refer to a child by the first name on their birth certificate.  Here is a case in point.  John Lennon's son, Julian, by his first wife, Cynthia, legally changed his name.  You can understand why when I tell you that Julian's birth certificate read John Charles Julian Lennon

Julian Lennon

In the podcast Word in Your Ear, Julian, a 59-year-old singer/songwriter, explained why he changed his moniker to Julian Charles John Lennon.  He revealed that the pandemic played a major role in his decision.  Here's what he said: "It was in 2020, just before we all got locked in a cage, that I finally actually decided to legally change my name by default.  Because originally my name was John Charles Julian Lennon, and the crap that I had to deal with when travelling and security companies and this and that and the other.  Whenever you had to present yourself, especially on like boarding passes, just as an example, you know they only use your first name, so it would always be, "John Lennon, John Lennon.'  So I became quite fearful and anxious about those scenarios.  So it became really uncomfortable over the years because I've always been known as Julian and so it (being called John) never felt like it was me.  So I finally just decided 'Yeah, I wanna be me now.  This is it, it's time for a change.'"

I understand how Julian felt because the name on my birth certificate is also different from the one I am called every day. My parents could not have foreseen 9/11, nor could Julian's,  At least, he was never known as John Lennon Jr.

I am also not an advocate of naming a child "junior," especially if the child has a famous father.  I believe a child needs his or her own identity.

Here are some other tips I have compiled for naming children:

* Make sure that the child's first name goes well with the last name, especially if you have a last name such as "Foote" or "Pigg" or a first name like "Harry."  

* Avoid choosing a first name that ends with the same letter that begins the last name - for example "Paul Lyon."  When the full name is pronounced quickly, the first and last names blend together as "Paulyon."

* If the last name is long, it is probably better to choose a short first name and vice versa.   

* Don't chose a name if you really dislike the shortened version of the name. For example, don't call your daughter "Samantha" if you absolutely don't want her to be called "Sam."  People naturally tend to shorten names, particularly three or four syllable ones.  Some names, such as Helen, are never shortened, for obvious reasons.

* Don't saddle a child with a name that is obviously trendy or badly outdated.  This will always date the child.  

* Unless you want your child to constantly correct the spelling of his or her name, don't choose a really unusual spelling of a name.

- Joanne

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Did Charlie Montoyo derserve to be fired?

On July 13, 2022, Charlie Montoyo was fired as manager of the Toronto Blue Jays, barely three months after he had been given a one-year extension of his contract.

I am of mixed feelings about Charlie's dismissal.   Charlie was "relieved of his duties as manager" after a terrible stretch in which the team lost eight of their last ten games.  The Jays were certainly struggling when the affable Puerto Rican was given the boot.  Nevertheless, they were four games above .500 with a 46-42 record.  They were also in possession of a Wild Card spot.    

Charlie is a very likable man, but baseball is a business and sentiment is not enough to save a manager's job.  However, the Blue Jays finished the 2021 season with a very good record and they were just shy of a Wild Card spot.  Unfortunately, their 91 victories were not enough to win  them a post-season berth in the highly competitive American League East.  Considering that the team played many home games in Florida and Buffalo, due to COVID, it is wonder that they did so well.  In Buffalo, the Jays were outnumbered by Yankee fans.  They felt like the visiting team even though they were technically the home team.

So, Charlie deserves a great deal of credit for managing the Jays through 91 wins last season in circumstances that were less than ideal.  He should be commended for that.  Furthermore, the struggles of this year's pitching staff should not be laid solely at Charlie's feet  Pitching coach Pete Walker bears sone responsibility, as does GM Ross Atkins..  Having said that, I have always felt that Charlie tends to take his starting pictures out too early.  There were times, especially, when he could have left Alec Manoah in longer.  There has been too much strain on the bullpen.  The starting pitchers have to eat up more innings.

I was also not keen on Charlie's penchant for giving days off to young, healthy athletes.  They're earning big money, so they should play.  Blue Jay fans pay their hard-earned money to go to the ballpark and cheer on their heroes.

Fans will never know the whole story behind the firing of Charlie Montoyo.  We don't know what went on in the locker room among the players.  We will always wonder about timing of Charlie's dismissal.  Why did the powers-that-be choose to fire him in the middle of the season, before they made a trade for more pitching.  It really wasn't fair to make Charlie the fall guy.  Russ Atkins admitted that he should be held accountable, but, off course, he was not willing to put his own job on the line.

The All-Star break is upon us and the Jays have won three of their last four of their last five games under interim manager John Schneider.  The team went into the break on a high note.  I hope they right the ship, but they really need to make a trade.  They won't get anywhere in the post-season unless they shore up the pitching rotation and the bullpen.  It's up to you, Ross Atkins.  We will soon know what kind of a GM you are.  

- Joanne

Friday, July 1, 2022

Canada Day 2022: My tribute to the True North

My grandmother, an immigrant to Canada from Sicily, Italy, used to wave her Canadian citizenship paper and proclaim "This is God's country." I  have never forgotten those words or my grandparents' devotion to their adopted land.  It must have been quite an adjustment for them to move to a place of olive trees and warm weather to a place of maple trees and winter snow.

I have had the privilege of visiting all of Canada's ten provinces (I haven't been to the territories yet).  From the cliffs of Newfoundland and the fishing villages of the Maritimes, to the Rocky Mountains, I am always astounded by the vastness and beauty of the Canadian landscape.  Whenever I recall the opening lines from Gordon Lightfoot's "Canadian Railroad Trilogy, I shiver.

"There was a time in in this fair land when the railroad did not run

And the wild, majestic mountains stood alone against the sun

Long before the white man and long before the wheel

When the green dark forest was tooo silent to be real"

In an increasingly unstable world, I feel so fortunate to live in this in this beautiful country.  With all the war and strife in this world, I realize how lucky I am.  No, I do not look at Canada with rose-coloured glasses.  Of course, Canada is not perfect and it is not above criticism.  However, on this day I would like to pay tribute to the True North.  Our democracy is not flawless, but so much of the world is living under dictatorship.  So much of the world is being denied basic human rights.

It's a wonder that Canada even became a country in 1867.  Thee was so much land and a railroad had to be built.  A largely French-speaking, Roman Catholic province that joined with predominately Anglo-Saxon, Protestant population. Confederation happened, though.  It was achieved without war or revolution.  If it hadn't happened, the rest of British North America would likely have been absorbed into the United States. We would not have health cards and there would not be too official languages.  English would be the language spoken in Quebec.

In many ways, the last few years have been brutal for humanity.  We've faced a horrific pandemic, climate change, the rise of authoritarianism, right-wing extremism and war in Ukraine,  In this volatile world, I am proud to be a Canadian and I am grateful to have a Canadian passport.

 - Joanne       

Cree proverb and nature photos



Yesterday, the Supreme Court of the United States gutted the Environmental Protection Agency, thus endangering our planet.  How sad that a few conservative judges have done this to America and to the earth.

This is what we stand to lose if we do not protect our environment - mountains, rivers and rainforests.

- Joanne