Buzzer beaters create Raptors’ bandwagon

I realize buzzer beaters are a common occurrence in basketball, but boy, do they ever cause a rise in my blood pressure when the outcome of the game rides on one.

The buzzer beater that Kawhi Leonard bounced (four times) off the rim and in, as all of Canada held their breath, sending the Toronto Raptors to the NBA finals, was mesmerizing. I’m sure it has been watched around the world by seasoned basketball lovers as well as those new to the sport, now perched on the Raptors’ bandwagon.

The strategy of waiting until the buzzer is about to sound before shooting for the winning basket is nerve wracking to say the least. As long as the ball is released before the buzzer sounds, the score counts. Only if the shot is successful of course. The strategy is that the opposing team does not get a chance to respond to a score. The game is over, while the ball is still in the air, the final score yet to be determined. Until the ball goes in or misses the net.

In game five of the NBA finals between the Raptors and The Golden State Warriors, the Raptors found themselves behind by one measly point with mere seconds left in the game. Unfortunately, this particular buzzer beater by Raptors’ super star Kyle Lowry failed to hit the basket. Instead of jubilant elation, the crowds in the Toronto stadium and pop-up Jurassic Parks across Canada were stunned quiet and sat dejected, as TVs in homes across the country were clicked off to escape the misery.

What a difference in emotion! The first of these buzzer beaters I could of watched over and over again, as many fans did. The joy and disbelief on the fans’ faces and the ensuing celebrations were heartwarming to watch. Especially in these times of political division within our country. From coast to coast, Canada was united in their joy and pride for their team. We still are; it’s not over yet!

The series will resume Thursday night in California where game six will unfold. The Toronto Raptors have a 3-2 lead in this final series, and hope to wrap it up as the NBA champs, the first time ever for a Canadian franchise.

I just hope we don’t have to wait for a buzzer beater to seal the deal! My heart can’t take it!

buzzer beaters
Toronto Raptors logo
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St. John Ambulance Therapy Dogs Program

Have you heard of the St. John Ambulance Therapy Dogs Program? This sticker to promote the program was designed by my talented niece Jillian Sliter, just one of many artistic accomplishments displayed in her expanding graphic design portfolio.

St. John Amburlance Therapy Dogs new logo
St. John Ambulance Therapy Dogs sticker

The St. John Ambulance Therapy Dogs Program was initiated over twenty years ago to help bring immeasurable happiness, joy, comfort and even stress relief to the sick, elderly and/or lonely. With the first pilot project a success in Peterborough, Ontario the program has grown tremendously since then, now in operation within Canadian communities from coast to coast.

The sweet faces and antics of these well-trained therapy dogs are popular in seniors’ homes, schools, community centers, hospitals and more. The dogs can be cuddled, petted and played with, all low impact activities that can offer a healthy distraction from sadness, pain and loneliness.

Police officers, social workers and firemen alike recognize the contributions to communities that these dogs can also offer in times of crisis. These four legged, friendly volunteers are unique. If you think your dog might qualify to meet the needs of designated patients in the St. John Ambulance Therapy Dogs program, check out the website and apply. My brother’s dog Jackson loves his new job, and his new friends cannot resist his adorable personality and face.

Jackson, a St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog
Jackson, a St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog

If you or someone you know might benefit from the services of a therapy dog, contact your local branch of St. John Ambulance to submit your request.

Tennis upsets feature Canadian Bianca Andreescu

After (painfully) witnessing the upset of our mens junior hockey team in the quarter finals we Canadians have moved on to a thrilling and unexpected (maybe not to her) surprise in world tennis action. Eighteen year old Bianca Andreescu has been on the pro tennis circuit since 2017, but suddenly bounced into focus last weekend when she defeated Venus Williams and Caroline Wozniacki in New Zealand’s ASB classic.

Despite the fact that she was defeated in the final of that event, Andreescu went on to qualify for the Australian Open a few days later. Young, talented, ambitious and resilient, Bianca is earning respect on the tennis courts as well as pride and admiration from Canadians.

With a shining future ahead, all of our eyes and hearts are on and with her!

tennis
Bianca Andreescu photo by Rogers Media

Drug Checking Technology Challenge

Health Canada is putting their money where their mouth is, asking for help with a drug checking technology challenge. Most of us are aware of the opioid crisis here in Canada and around the world. For more information, please check out the detailed article in the link above. It describes the challenge to discover or modify the technology involved in detecting lethal, potent drugs like Fentanyl as well as other toxic substances. The article also contains additional links for those wishing to increase their knowledge of the crisis we are facing as well as one for substance abusers too.

Drug checking technology is out there, it just needs to be improved for increased reliability, accuracy, adaptability, ease of use as well as affordability. Any innovative (for or not-for-profit) Canadian post secondary institution, company, research or industry association is eligible to apply, although only the selected semi-finalists will be able to compete for the pilot phase and grand prize.

This challenge was launched on October 2nd, 2018 and the deadline for application is February 1, 2019. That means there is no time to waste! Semi-finalists will be announced February, finalists in June and grand prize winner in January 2020. Oh, and the prize is a cool million dollars.

It must be my thirty years of laboratory work; this challenge certainly piqued my interest. Do you have an innovative, ambitious personality with the resources to create a design ? Where can you apply? At the bottom of the webpage linked to above. Or right here!


Francophone vs Anglophone battle in Ontario getting old

Does anyone else think the Francophone vs Anglophone battle in Ontario (and the rest of Canada) is getting (literally and figuratively) old?  The number of ethnicities populating Canada reported on censuses rose from just 20 in 1871 to 250 in 2016!  Thanks to the massive increase in immigration since the mid 80s, the population of allophones (mother tongue is neither French or English) doubled to 20% in 2006 and is projected to be a whopping 30% in 2030.

Francophones (French being their mother tongue) now make up less than 20 percent of our nation.  Anglophones (English as a mother tongue) have dropped from 62% to 58%.  So what makes the Francophone population so special and more important than any others in Canada?   Why are they demanding their own universities and hospitals within Ontario?  Why has this issue invaded our provincial politics?  Have we not got better (more important) things to worry about?

Canada has always been known for their acceptance of all ethnicities and I hope we continue to carry and own that reputation.  My maternal grandfather was named Beaudette; you can’t get much more French than that.  His parents immigrated from France shortly before he was born in 1904.  I am very proud of my own French heritage, but not to the exclusion of the other parts of my ancestry,

Seat belts on buses recommended

Apparently seat belts on buses were recommended long ago after a Transport Canada investigation confirmed the fact that occupants are at unnecessary risk when riding on a large bus.  Doesn’t this seem like a no brainer?  It sure does to me.  I’m also pretty sure it must be to the parents of the hockey players killed in the Humboldt Saskatchewan crash last April.

The results of this investigation were kept under wraps for years, but recently outed by The Fifth Estate.  Why the delay?  They (Transport Canada) were waiting for the USA to change their laws so we could just follow suit.  Why does Canada have to wait for the USA to update their laws?  Good question, we shouldn’t.

School buses, coach buses, and possibly even city buses (although their use would be much harder to enforce) should be equipped with seat belts.  We could then add another step to train drivers that their vehicle must not (even cannot) operate unless occupants are compliant.  Surely with the technology available today sensors are available to monitor such things.  Retrofitting buses currently in use might be expensive, but one taxpayers might be willing to swallow.

I can vouch for the fact I would rather pay for that than the expense accounts of former Governors General and the pensions of former politicians.  Are you with me?

Kitchen Tower by J.L. Woodworking

A kitchen tower is an awesome idea for those of you with small children (kids or grandkids) that love to “help out” in the kitchen.  The ingenious design allows toddlers and small children to be safely at counter height for baking, snacking or just watching (as my grandson loves to do) you cook.

This kitchen tower design can be adjusted for height and folds up for easy storage too. Constructed of painted or unfinished (your choice) wood, they are made just south of Ottawa (North Gower). Scheduled deliveries are currently available to Toronto and Montreal.

My neighbour and friend has one (the original prototype) for her grandson.  Her nephew-in-law makes this line of children’s furniture in his spare time, over and above his day job.  Recently moving the start up business from a single car garage to a more spacious workshop, he and his wife are on their way to their ultimate goal of a full time family business.  The demand for these kitchen towers in particular has skyrocketed.  Please check out their website at JL Woodworking for more information, pricing and ordering.  This hard working couple would appreciate your business, so please be sure to like and share their info

This Grandma has ordered hers!

MMIW: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

Information and knowledge about and support for the MMIW database is spreading.  If you are unaware (as I was) what this is, please check it out and add your support.  The number of indigenous or native women and girls that are missing and/or have been murdered is staggering.  Help to spread the word and bring about justice for these women and their families.

MMIW

 

This database, created by Annita Lucchesi, a doctoral student at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, includes data from both Canada and the USA from 1900 onward.  I learned of the database from my sister, currently the Dean of Liberal Education at the same university.  The MMIW project does not (currently) receive any funding from any government or academic facilities.  Hopefully, that will change, and soon.  So far, 3148 cases have been documented, but many more (close to 25,000) are suspected.

This issue should be treated as a national crisis in both countries! In fact, I remember an election promise by current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that he would treat these missing women as a priority.  What is the government waiting for?  This MMIW database is a good start.  Hopefully it will generate more support (from the right people)than any previous research on the subject.

Governor General Expenses are How Much?

Here in Canada we have a (some say redundant) Governor General position.  The person to fill this position is chosen by the Queen (or current monarch) of England, with advisement from the prime minister, as their representative of the monarchy in Canada.

Predominantly ceremonial in nature, the necessity of the role has been debated for years.  Tax payers dole out an annual salary of $288K for a current Governor General and an annual pension payment of $140K for former position holders.  That’s pretty lucrative for a short term position.  The issue is even more controversial recently as expense reports (over and above her pension) for former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson were revealed by the National Post as over extravagant.  To the tune of a million dollars overly extravagant.  After her mere six year stint as our Governor General.

Governor General

These expense claims are not currently made available to the public.  In this day and age of promised transparency (at least in an election year) and accessibility to information seeking technology (google), one would think this information would be easy to find.  Doesn’t it make you wonder what other former Governors General are claiming as their expenses?

Our prime minister has promised to “look into it” but that doesn’t give too many people (myself included) a warm fuzzy feeling.  Especially as his priorities do not appear to be focused on the concerns of taxpayers.  I have a feeling Clarkson’s expenses are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

Canada going to pot today

Canada is going to pot, literally.  Personally, I have thought so since our last (2016) federal election, but that’s another story.

Today, October 17th 2018, Canada is legalizing marijuana, much to the chagrin of many citizens.  This was an election promise our prime minister made to win votes from the younger age group.  He’s now making good on that promise with as much thought and preparation (not much) as many other ridiculous and ill-advised things he is responsible for.

pot

AKA pot, weed, or cannabis, marijuana can now be smoked anywhere (with few exceptions) regular cigarettes are allowed.  Users are supposed to act responsibly.  Parks, arenas and recreational centers are pot-free, but this will be very difficult to enforce.  As will driving under the influence of pot if roadside testing is as inefficient and flawed as rumored.   So difficult in fact that the mayor of Ottawa predicts legalizing pot will cost the city (at least) a cool 8 million dollars per year.  The federal government has created (another) the mess, but is leaving the municipalities to deal with the fall out.  Great, just what this country needs, more examples of how to fritter away the tax payers’ hard earned dollars.

Hoping to remove the (still) illegal street sources, the new laws say brick and mortar stores must apply for a licence to sell pot.  These licences will not be available until spring, so these stores currently open for business must close their doors and reopen when they have been granted a licence.  Those that do not close while waiting for their licence will be shut down by authorities and will relinquish their right to ever obtain such a licence. Until then pot is only available (legally) through government run facilities.  Yep, that will eliminate the illegal sources. Not.

So, who wins with this new legislation?  The group of individuals that already (not so covertly) smoke pot recreationally.  Partakers have been asked to “use pot responsibly.” The problem is (or will be) that this group of people are not typically recognized for being responsible or their sensitivity to other people’s concerns, more focused on their own wants and needs.  Who cares if pot has been proven to aversely affect the health of children, pets and anyone else with a set of lungs? Not them.

Who loses?  Anyone that prefers and strives to keep their own and their loved ones’ lungs smoke and drug free.  And the tax payers who are left holding the bag.  This YouTube video by Bryan Cox and Jason Leblanc is one of those funny/not funny things.  You either laugh or cry.