Aretha Franklin, the 76 year old “Queen of Soul “died today(Aug. 16,2018) from an advanced stage of pancreatic cancer in her  Detroit,Michigan home under hospice care.

Whenever I think of the state of Michigan, I think of its port city–Detroit also known as Motown—-known also for all kinds of black music, soul,R & B, pop,etc.

I couldn’t help thinking that she also died today on the 41st death anniversary of  the King of Rock and Roll—Elvis Presley. as well as the birthday today of another Michigan native—Madonna.

 

Being the first female to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, as well as being the first African American female to do so was also an inescapable fact. She also had numerous other music and service awards but the role she prided herself most is being the best mother to her offsprings.

Some of her well-known songs like Respect, Ever Changing Times, Natural Woman and A Change is Gonna Come all reflect her ongoing crusade to bring the importance of a female’s role and contribution to society as well as overcoming racial barriers.

Being a trailblazer is an understatement to define her.

I could see her now riding the Midnight Train to Heaven(not Georgia this time,( excuse the pun) and the late George Michael will be there waiting for her ,reminding me of  their famous duet—I Knew You Were Waiting (for me).

As for me still here on Earth, to quote one of her famous songs—my absolute favorite from her collection—-I Say A Little Prayer for You, I give it as a tribute to her.

Thank you for the music and long live the Queen!

 

Josie

 

 

 

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It was a typical Friday morning yesterday for me,getting ready for work when I suddenly watched on TV, some breaking news about a mass shooting scene in Fredericton(New Brunswick’s provincial capital and known as a university town) involving a gunman  who shot and killed 4 people(2 police officers among them) in Brookside–a suburban ,quiet and safe area (until 8/10/18)of Fredericton. The gunman has eventually been caught but the investigation is still ongoing.

Ongoing will be the continuous healing and coping of such a tragedy. It felt like a rerun of a similar nightmare that happened in a nearby city 2 hours away—Moncton where I live. It involved the shooting of 5 RCMP officers(3 dead and 2 wounded) answering the call of a man with a long rifle roaming around a quiet suburban area in the north side of Moncton. This happened on June 4,2014 and all the details have been posted on my blog dated both on June 5 and 6 with initial and subsequent updates,titled Moncton RCMP Shootout and Manhunt.

Personally for me, it felt like a flashback and whatever the city of Fredericton is going through right now, the city of Moncton can empathize what that’s really all about.

2 mass shootings in 4 years time in a Canadian province (New Brunswick)not usually known for mass shootings and especially involving the downing of officers of the law really brings home the fact that anything horrible and tragic can happen anywhere, anytime.

My thoughts and prayers to everyone affected!

 

Josie

Anthony Bourdain,61 years old, a well-known celebrity chef had committed suicide (by hanging) today at a hotel room in France where he was filming an episode for his TV series at CNN—Anthony Bourdain–Parts Unknown.

Tony as he’s known, was a man of many talents aside from cooking—author, producer, food connoisseur, advocate for the end of opioid addiction, the #MeToo movement, adept TV documentator especially in his TV series—Parts Unknown as if we were literally traveling with him all over the world by way of the TV screen.

Tony was known as having a bad boy persona in the culinary world which made him appear genuine and appealing to his numerous fans. He was assertive and downright frank when discussing all kinds of worldly issues outside  that related to cooking. Such was his magnetic personality which makes him relatable and accessible as a cultural envoy ,similar to one who works for the United Nations.

It was heartbreaking to now know that  Tony was  in such great emotional pain that he had to end his life to escape from it. And to think that he had it all—fame, fortune, family and friends. He did battle his demons especially when he dealt with addiction problems years ago. Whatever he was dealing with on an ongoing basis up to his death, we may never know but just speculate.

With the recent death  by suicide(also by hanging)of the handbag designer–Kate Spade, suicide awareness and prevention cannot be overstated.

Thank you Tony for the memories.

A toast to you wherever you are now(some parts unknown,forgive the pun).

May you finally find the peace that had been elusive to you during your lifetime but please know that a  lot of folks care and will miss you very much as you go through your new journey—this time in the afterlife.

 

Josie

 

 

 

 

Margot Kidder, 69 yrs old,a Canadian actress who got her big break in Hollywood by portraying the fictional character Lois Lane in the Superman movie franchises, alongside the late Christopher Reeve in the starring role, had passed away yesterday in her sleep.

She has had a long acting career but her signature role will always be that of Lois Lane. Even if other capable actresses can do that role, it will always be identified with Margot Kidder. Same with Christopher Reeve for the Superman character.

She also lived life to the fullest with all its ups and downs—-doing the celebrity life, dating well-known actors and politicians, experienced homelessness, bipolar disorder and even drug addiction. It was that drug addiction that woke her up to reality and started her advocacy for mental health awareness.

She has always dropped comments of her  Canadian roots yet fully aware of her Hollywood big breaks in the USA.

I could see her now flying like a bird straight up to the Pearly Gates without Superman holding her like in the movies with the minus one tape of their movie theme song—Can You Read My Mind? playing along during her ascent.

Thank you Ms Kidder for the memories (as the great Bob Hope would say) and adieu,Lois Lane !!!

 

Josie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On April 23,2018, a white van (driven by an incel enthusiast Alec Minassian) ploughed through Toronto’s longest street Yonge Street, killing mainly female pedestrians and bystanders (10 in total) on a sunny spring day here in Canada. The entire crime scene encompassed 2 kilometers in length. A  makeshift memorial site for the victims was set up at the junction of Finch Street and Yonge Street(Olive Square specifically).

The culprit was successfully caught without being shot by a nearby police officer(Constable Ken Lam) who confronted him.

Because of this, safety precautions have already been set up around the city of Toronto(Canada’s largest city–located in the province of Ontario) as if a potential terrorist attack would strike anytime.

Even other parts of the country, such similar security measures are up in case any copycats would try to do so.

Canada’s innocence has gone. Other  similar van attacks which happened in Europe sprang from terroristic aspirations.  Here in this Canadian van attack, it sprung from Mr. Minassian’s  extreme misogynistic views and his hate for women who rebuffed him which led to his deprivation of his sexual needs– ( incel—–involuntary celibate). He also idolizes another incel enthusiast —Elliot Rodgers who served as his inspiration for the Toronto van attack.

An editorial cartoon drawn by our local Maritime cartoonist–Michael De Adder depicts 2 boys sitting on park bench ,their backs to the readers, each holding a hockey stick and their jerseys emblazoned—the taller boy had HUMBOLDT and the shorter boy had TORONTO on their respective jerseys .

It depicts the prevailing mood that Canada still hasn’t recovered from the Humboldt  Broncos bus attack in April 6,2017  and now, Toronto has its own tragedy.

It’s the new reality indeed.

My thoughts and prayers to all affected !!!

 

Josie

 

Last night, the hockey team  Humboldt Broncos’ vehicle collided with a semi-trailer unit (transport truck) while en route out west within their home Canadian province of Saskatchewan  , to a playoff game in  a town called Nipawin. Majority of the players are within the 16-22 age range. Accdg. to latest reports, 14 are dead and 14 are wounded(3 are critically wounded). The critically wounded are reportedly being airlifted to the nearest big city which is Saskatoon(approx. 2 hour drive between Humboldt and Saskatoon).

The love of hockey is a big part of the Canadian identity. Any disastrous event like this bus crash cuts through the core of the hearts of Canadians–whether hockey fan or not.

 

My memories of Humboldt years back was a small friendly town made up of folks, primarily of German descent which explains the town name–Humboldt. It’s located northeast from Saskatoon. It’s a known hockey town among local Saskatchewaners.

My thoughts and prayers to the teams’ family and friends.

Full report from the RCMP(Royal Canadian Mounted Police) has yet to follow at this time.

 

Josie

After the Valentine’s Day massacre at the Parkland High School( aka Mary Stoneman Douglas High School) in  Parkland,Florida(one of the safest U.S. cities), one would think that apathy and indifference would come up again with regards to possible gun control/regulation.

Well, in light of the recent #MeToo movement, it was refreshing and uplifting to see the students and residents holding rallies calling out for gun control, challenging the US politicians especially the Republican Party from the White House to Congress to stop hiding behind the coattails of the NRA(National Rifle Association) who has been giving out political donations to them. Hopefully, such rallies would continue and not only in Parkland but everywhere else until they’re heard and  definite change comes.

The Fire & Fury at Parkland is a starting point. Its about time. Too many shootings already.

What will invoke change this time? A decisive vote in the polls or a bullet into the head of the son/daughter  of a politician?

People’s lives matter. Guns don’t die. People do.

Valentine’s Day is supposed to be a day celebrating love but with the tragedy at Parkland High, it became a day of hate and a sad anniversary to everyone affected.

My prayers to the victims and their families.

 

Josie