Sunday, April 30, 2023

Vocabulary Quiz #9: Ten words beginning with the letter "Z"


Number 16 Vocabulary Quiz #9

Ten words beginning with the letter "Z"

Number 16 presents a multiple choice vocabulary quiz.  Choose the correct definition of each word listed.  There are ten words that begin with the letter "z."

1.  (noun) zither
A.  A magic spell

B.  A type of dress worn in Nigeria

C.  A musical instrument

D.  A dog breed

E.  A type of poetry with 10 lines

2.  (adjective) zealous

A,  Description of an eccentric person

B.  Characterized by fervent devotion to a person, a cause or an ideal

C.  Having an extremely jealous nature

D.  Having a cruel and vindictive personality

E.   None of the above

3.  (noun) zircon

A.  A kind of spaceship

B.   A sweet tasting liqueur

C.  A geometric figure

D.  A mineral sometimes used as a gem

E.  A kind of cheese

4.  (noun) zygote

A.  A bird found in Africa

B.  Someone who lives in a remote village

C.  A fertilized egg

D.  A single-celled organism

E.  A rare gene

5.  (noun) zymurgy

A,  A branch of applied chemistry that is concerned with fermentation processes (as in brewing or wine making)

B.  A dark blue mineral, similar to sapphire

C.  The process by which diamonds are mined.

D.  A branch of mathematics that involves geometric shapes

E.   In entomology, a scientific designation of a particular species of insects

6.  (noun) zucchini

A,   A kind of pasta

B.   An Italian soup

C.  A type of Italian sausage

D.  A cheese

E.  A dark green summer squash

7.  (noun) zwieback

A,  A kind of sandwich popular in Sweden

B.  A crisp, sweetened bread,

C.  A type of potato

D.  A tropical cocktail

E.  None of the above

8.  (noun) zenith

A.  A paradise or heaven

B.  A breed of cat

C.  The highest point or stage

D.  A witch in disguise

E.  The eruption of a volcano

9.  (noun) zebu

A.  A domesticated ox

B.  A kind of rifle

C.  A small clutch purse

D.  A newborn zebra

E.  A mountain goat

10.  (adjective) zany

A,  Having a dry sense of humour

B.   Undisciplined

C.  Loudmouthed

D.  Amusingly absurd or eccentric

E.  Quick witted

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

1.  C

zither (noun): A musical instrument consisting of a flat wooden box with numerous strings across it, placed horizontally and played with fingers and a plectrum (pick used for plucking strings of instrument}.  It is used especially in central European folk music.

2.  B

zealous (adjective); Marked by fervent partisanship for a person, a cause, or an ideal.  Filled with or characterized by zeal.  Example: zealous missionaries

3.  D

zircon (noun): A tetragonal mineral consisting of a silicate of zirconium and occurring usually in brown or greyish square prisons or sometimes in transparent forms which are used as gems.  Example: He analyzed the small amounts of uranium contained in the mineral zircon.

4.  C

zygote (noun): A fertilized egg; a cell formed by the union of two gametes (reproductive cells),; Broadly speaking, the developing individual produced from such a cell.

5.  A

zymurgy (noun): A branchy of applied chemistry that deals with fermentation processes (as in wine making or brewing)

6.  E

zucchini (noun): Botanically speaking, fruit; a smooth usually cylindrical dark green summer squash: also a plant that bears zucchini

7.  B

zwieback (noun): A usually sweetened bread enriched with eggs that is baked and then sliced and toasted until dry and crisp

8.  C

 zenith (noun): The highest point or pinnacle  Example: She is at the zenith of her career.

9. A

zebu (noun): Any of various breeds of domestic oxen developed in India, characterized by a large fleshy hump over the shoulders

10.  D.  

zany (adjective): Very eccentric, or absurd, often in an amusing way,  Example :A zany comedy

- Joanne

Saturday, April 29, 2023

The real reason Trump and Republicans are focusing on Biden's age

U.S. President Joe Biden was born on November 20, 1942.  Donald Trump was born on June 14, 1946.  Biden is 80 years old,  Trump is 76 years old.  He will turn 77 on June 14, 2023.  There is not that much age difference between these two men.  Yet the former president and his supporters, as well as Republicans such as former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley, continue to make an issue of Biden's age.  Haley, a presidential hopeful, has suggested that Americans should not vote for Joe Biden because he may die during his second term, in which case, Vice President Kamala Harris would assume the office of President of the United States.

Here is what Haley said about Biden in an interview with Fox News (of course).  "He's announced that he's running again in 2024, and I think that we can all be very clear and say with a matter of fact that if you vote for Joe Biden you really are counting on a President Harris, because the idea that he would make it until 86 years old is not something that I think is likely."  By the way, Trump would be 78 if he assumed the presidency in January of 2025 and 82 at the end of his term, providing that he left office of his own accord.

Republicans enjoy painting Joe Biden as senile, bumbling and mentally unfit.  The fact that Biden has had to overcome a speech impediment (stuttering), makes it easier for them to criticize him for sometimes stumbling over words.  In fact, Biden is an inspiration to those who have been bullied or held back because of speech impediments such as stuttering.


President Biden's physician, Dr. Kevin O'Connor, stated in a memorandum released by the White House press office in February that Biden "remains a healthy, vigorous, 80-year-old male, who is fit to execute the duties of the Presidency, to include those as Chief Executive, Head of State and Commander in Chief."

If you think Dr. Connor's assessment of Joe Biden's health is too rosy and too biased, allow me to remind you of the assessment Donald Trump received from his former physician, Ronny Jackson, at a January 2018 press briefing.  Jackson, an ex-U.S. Navy admiral turned Texas Representative, told reporters that Trump could possibly live to 200 years of age as a result of his "good genes."

There are no guarantees regarding longevity.  A person's health or circumstances could change drastically at any time.  No one can control the vicissitudes of fate.  Much of life is unpredictable.  For than reason, it is said that the Vice President of the United States is a heartbeat away from the presidency.  Eight American presidents have died in office, four of them by an assassin's bullet.  Abraham Lincoln was 56 years old when he was killed by John Wilkes Booth in 1865.  John F. Kennedy, the youngest person ever elected president, was only 46 when he was shot in Dallas in 1963.  

In September of 1955, Dwight D, Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States, suffered a massive heart attack during a golf trip to Colorado.  Vice President Richard Nixon became acting president at that time, and again in 1956, when Eisenhower had surgery.  Despite his health issues, Eisenhower went on to win re-election in 1956.  He died on March 28, 1969 at the age of 78.

It is ridiculous that Nikki Haley should speculate on how long Joe Biden will live.  He could live to be 100 or he could die tomorrow.  However, there is much more to Haley's comments about Biden's age.  Read her words carefully and you will realize what is really behind her remarks.  The issue goes beyond President Biden's age, or his health.  Donald Trump is not much younger than Joe Biden, and Trump doesn't exactly seem  in the best of health, mentally or physically.  No, folks.  The real issue is the possibility that Kamala Harris could become president.  Republicans are trying to scare Americans with the possibility that a woman of Black and South Asian heritage could sit in the Oval Office.  Imagine that!  Horror of horrors! 


I must say that Nikki Haley, should know better than to try to scare conservative Republicans with the prospect of Kamala Harris as president.  Haley herself is a woman of colour, the daughter of Sikh parents from India. With that background, she of all people should understand the hurdles Kamala Harris has had to face.  Instead Haley seeks to win the approval of he Republican right wing base by appealing to their racism and misogyny.  She'd be much better off by trying to attract moderate Republican voters.  She doesn't seem to realize that it is futile to try to out-Trump Trump.

Here's what should really frighten Americans and people in other countries around the world.  It's the possibility that Donald Trump, an authoritarian, who admires Vladimir Putin and other dictators, could once again assume the presidency of the United States.  If Trump should become president again, he would change the political and social fabric of America.  He would likely tamper with the Constitution. He would equate loyalty to himself with loyalty to country,.  

Remember that Trump has attacked two of the most fundamental pillars of democracy - a free press and the peaceful transfer of power after an election.  He has called the media "the enemy of the people"  He refused to recognize his defeat in the 2020 election, which by all evidence was fair and free.  At Trump's bidding, a mob of right-wing fanatics and racists stormed the Capitol building in Washington, D.C.  They desecrated that temple of American democracy.  They threatened to hang then-Vice President Mike Pence because he refused to block certification of Biden's win.

I write this to warn Americans.  If Trump attains power again, God help us, he will never relinquish it.  He will never leave the Oval Office until he dies.  American democracy will be lost.  Consider my warning when you vote in November of 2024.  Don't say that you haven't been warned.  

- Joanne

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Shame! Canadian banks are world's top fossil fuel funders - Royal Bank the worst offender

What a blight on Canada's reputation!  The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) has the dubious distinction of being the Number.1 financier of fossil fuel development around the world.  The other four of Canada's big banks - Bank of Montreal (RBS), Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank), Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) and the Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD) - are among the top offenders.  The worst offender by far, however, is the Royal Bank of Canada.

According to the annual Banking on Climate Chaos, a report from a coalition of environmental groups, Canada's five big banks are included among the Top 20 oil and gas funders globally, although  RBC is the biggest culprit.  The report reveals that between 2016 and 2021, the Royal Bank was the fifth largest fossil fuel funder.  Last year was the fist year in which RBC committed the most money to fossil fuel projects around the world, providing over $43 billion US.

The other major Canadian banks are also very adept at damaging the environment.  Scotiabank placed ninth worldwide in 2021with $29.5 billion US in fossil fuel funding.  TD ranked tenth with about $29 billion US, while Bank of Montreal was 15th with $19.3 billion US.  CIBC placed 16th at $17.9 billion.

Keep in mind that we are dealing with billions of dollars of funding to the fossil fuel industry.  Taken collectively, the five largest Canadian banks doled out a whopping $140 billion US in support of oil and gas projects globally.  That, my friends, is not chicken feed.  That is Big Money.  Earth Day is fast approaching.  It falls on Saturday, April 22nd.  The Big Five, especially RBC, should do some serious soul searching about their contribution to climate disaster. They should ask themselves whey they can't seem to divest themselves of their fossil fuel habit.  

This addiction to fossil fuel is not just a Canadian issue.  According to corporate data from 60 of the world's largest commercial banks, many have taken steps in the wrong direction.  Instead of cutting back on fossil fuel funding projects since the 2016 global agreement to limit greenhouse gases, these banks have actually increased that funding by a staggering $3.8 trillion US in the last five years.  How dishonourable!  How reprehensible!  How immoral!

- Joanne

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Bravo to Rogers for subway cell phone deal

 "We know safety is top of mind for Torontonians.  Residents and visitors expect wireless connectivity when they're travelling on the TTC's subway system."

- Press release from Ron McKenzie, Rogers' chief technological and information officer 

To be honest, I have my issues with Rogers Communications.  For one thing, it has too much of a monopoly on the media and telecommunications in Canada.  Still, I must give credit where credit is due.  Congratulations and kudos to Rogers for agreeing to a deal that will allow it to take over wireless service on Toronto's subway network.  The deal could finally allow cell phone coverage to the city's entire underground.  The giant telecommunications company has purchased the Canadian operations of BAI Communications Inc, the company that was given the contract back tin 2012.  

Kudos and congratulations also to the Toronto Star for its advocacy of cell phone service on Toronto's subway. I am sure the bad publicity played a role in Rogers' decision.  Big corporations don't want to appear as if that they are putting profit before public safety.  They are mindful of their reputations.

This Rogers deal is good news, but it is still not clear whether it will apply to all subway riders or just Rogers' customers.  Nevertheless, it's s a huge step in the right direction.  I have to admit, I didn't think it would happen so soon/  Clearly, Rogers has stepped up to the plate before Bell and Telus.

- Joanne

Language Corner: Funny words


Hello Number 16 Readers

I thought you might enjoy these observations about words from "The Laughing Librarian."  English is a crazy language, isn't it?

- Joanne

Monday, April 10, 2023

Will Bell, Rogers and Telus put public safety before profits?

As Torontonians know all too well, there have random attacks and murders on our public transit system, the TTC.  This surge in public transportation violence should not be tolerated in a civilized society.  It is outrageous that TTC riders should have to fear for their lives.  There have been four homicides in the past year, including the recent stabbing death of a 16-year-old.  This is reprehensible  It should be a major issue in Toronto's upcoming mayoralty election on June 26th.  Our city deserves better.  We must protect human life in our subway stations and aboard TTC buses and trains.

For a start, why isn't there cell phone service on subway trains?  This is where the three big telecommunications companies - Rogers, Bell and Tellus, come into play.  They have an opportunity to make the citizens of Toronto feel more safe and secure while riding public transit.  Will at least one of them strike a deal with BAI Communications Inc., the company that in 2012 was granted exclusive rights the city to set up wireless service in a 20-year, $25 million deal.  To its credit, only Freedom Mobile has signed on.  The Big Three have not.  

This is a cry from the heart.  The ball is in your court, Bell, Rogers and Telus.  Do you care at all about the safety of the people of Toronto, or will you continue to put profit first?  We will soon see if you will do the right thing.  You have no excuse for letting down the citizens of this great city.  You have no excuse for not doing your part to ensure public safety.  Are you listening Rogers, Bell and Telus?  You can save lives.  If you fail to come through, shame on you!

This is issue is not going to go away anytime soon and I will continue to write about it.  No dithering is acceptable.  Action must be taken as soon as possible.  Enough is enough!  

- Joanne

Sunday, April 9, 2023

Easter Reflections 2023


“Christ is risen: The world below lies desolate. Christ is risen: The spirits of evil are fallen. Christ is risen: The angels of God are rejoicing. Christ is risen: The tombs of the dead are empty. Christ is risen indeed from the dead, the first of the sleepers! Glory and Power are His for ever and ever! Amen.”

Saint Hippolytus of Rome   

"And not only this, but we also celebrate in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance , proven character, and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us." - 

- Romans 5:3-5

Christians celebrate Easter Sunday 2023 (April 9), the Jewish people celebrate Passover (April 5-13), while Muslims honour the holy month of Ramadan (March 22-April 20).  All three of the world's great monotheistic religions are expressing their faith in special ways at the same time this year.  They share great commonality.  

What people of all faiths (and no faith) need right now is a heavy dose of hope for the future.  Without hope, all is lost.  After over three years, the pandemic is easing.  COVID-19 may always be with us, and it will always be a threat to the elderly and the vulnerable.  However, it appears that the worst of the pandemic is finally over.  That in itself is cause for hope and celebration.  

We have all been through an international nightmare.  The effects of the pandemic on mental health, especially among young people have been devastating.  That is why I urge messages of hope  to our young people.  They are the future and they must be encouraged that they can make a difference with their lives.  It is important for them to know that their lives have meaning. It is important fo


On April 15th, 2019, just before Easter, there was a disastrous fire at the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris (Our Lady of Paris).  While the ancient structure was undergoing renovations, its roof caught fire and burned for hours.  The cathedral sustained serious damage.

By November 2020, the job of stabilizing the building from future collapse was completed.

The government of France had hoped that the reconstruction of the cathedral would be finished by the spring of 2024, in time for the 2024 Paris Sumer Olympics. On April 14, 2021, President Emmanuel Macron announced that the cathedral would be officially returned to the church on April 15, 2024, and that the first Mass since the fire would be celebrated in the cathedral that day, even if the reconstruction is not completed.  However, it is expected that the cathedral will remain closed until December.

By Christmas of 2024, I hope to report that the cathedral is opened and fully functional.

- Joanne