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Archive for August, 2011

Once again, our beloved paleoentomology nerdlings at ScienceDaily.com have failed to disappoint.

Ancient ‘Daddy Long Legs’ Revealed in 3-D Models!

I just had to get a load of this particular 300-million-year-old Great-Great-Granddaddy Long Legs.

(300-million-year-old Daddy Long Legs)

It reminded me of when I first caught a glimpse of a 49-million-year-old spider, as I wrote about a few months ago in my piece entitled, appropriately enough, 49-Million-Year Old Spider! Well, old Daddy Long Legs has my previous ancient arachnid beat by over 250 million years. Not too shabby, gramps!

As the article reveals, “An international team, led by researchers from Imperial College London, have created 3-D models of two fossilised species of harvestmen, from the Dyspnoi and Eupnoi suborders. The ancient creatures lived on Earth before the dinosaurs, in the Carboniferous period.”

Or as we might put it, “Super-Old Spiders Go 3-D!”

Now before you go off on a ‘Starship Troopers Monster Bugs from Mars’ reverie, I have to tell you these old-school creepy-crawlies weren’t so super-colossal in proportion. One centimetre. Button-sized pretty well sums it up.  Small buttons, at that.

So why is geekdom all jazzed up about new three-dimensional virtual fossil models? The darn things look just like they do now. What’s the big deal?

You may well ask! I know I did.

And in the question lies the answer. It’s like the famous Sherlock Holmes schtick from the short story Silver Blaze.

Gregory (Scotland Yard detective): “Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?”

Holmes: “To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.”

Gregory: “The dog did nothing in the night-time.”

Holmes: “That was the curious incident.”

The fact that it has done nothing is, in and of itself, a most remarkable phenomenon.

Aside from a minor increase in size, today’s modern daddy long legs is virtually indistinguishable from its 300-million-year-old relatives. They haven’t changed. They haven’t evolved. They’ve stayed exactly the same for hundreds of millions of years. Try and imagine that. At a time when other primitive spiders and scorpions were just beginning to get their Darwinian act together, daddy long legs was already done! It achieved its evolutionary peak at the dawn of time. It didn’t evolve further because it didn’t need to.

Dr Russell Garwood, who carried out the research, says, “It is absolutely remarkable how little harvestmen have changed in appearance since before the dinosaurs. If you went out into the garden and found one of these creatures today it would be like holding a little bit of prehistory in your hands. We can’t yet be sure why harvestmen appear so modern when most land animals, including their cousins such as scorpions, were in such a primitive form at the time. It may be because they evolved early to be good at what they do, and their bodies did not need to change any further.”

So the next time you see one of these fascinating creatures, take the time to appreciate the little eight-legged miracle skittering about. There’s a very good reason it looks exactly the way it does.

You can’t improve on perfection.

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As I wrote about a month ago, my daughter, Exhibit One, “is returning to the Holy Land with the Aish HaTorah Jerusalem Fellowships. As part of the Jerusalem Fellowships program, she will be spending most of her time in Jerusalem and making day trips and overnight tours from there.”

She stayed an extra week and, G-d willing, returns to Canada Sunday August 28.

By all accounts, she had the time of her life learning and touring around the country. My daughter loves Israel and loves the people of Israel.

Like most Jews, she is deeply concerned about the recent escalation in missile and other terror attacks from Gaza. Almost all of her friends in Israel are in or have just come out of the military. If the dreck hits the fan, her friends will be called up to fight.

My best friend is in Jerusalem with his wife. They are always on my mind. I know they are OK. I know they are safe and having a wonderful time. I communicate with them almost daily via Facebook and emails. I know, G-d willing, they will return to Toronto in time for Rosh HaShana. And yet, I still worry.

There’s this ‘vote’ supposedly taking place next month at the United Nations regarding establishing a new country for the Arabs of the region. It is not too much of a stretch to suppose that it would be in Hamas’s long-term political interests to continue to increase missile and other terror attacks in order to provoke another Gaza invasion so that they can claim that they are the ones who need protection from Israel, that they are the victims.

I cannot imagine what it will be like for my daughter to be back in Canada, doing a year of post-graduate work, going through the same daily routine, all the while thinking and worrying about her friends and loved ones seven time zones away. Are they safe? Will there be a war? Another invasion? Will they be OK? Will they survive?

I grew up with stories of war in a far-off land, of how my family lived not only during a war but in a war-zone. Six months ago, I would never have dreamed that my daughter would be starting to go through some of the fears my mother, grandmother and aunts went through in Italy.

A father naturally wants to make things go well for his children… to make it all better… to make all the bad things go away.

Some things can’t be fixed. Some things never go away.

I’m looking forward to speaking with my daughter, to listening to her and hearing what she has to say. I know her heart will be in Israel, with her friends, with the land she loves. I know she wants to return. I know she wants me to come with her.

G-d alone knows what the future will bring. Maybe before long, you will be reading my off-the-cuff musings coming at you from my computer in my new little place  in Jerusalem.

One never knows… do one?

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A new establishment is opening in the space once occupied by my old Café. [1] I hope I can find a new home and office there but I doubt it will give me that sense of belonging that I had at my old joint. Still, we live in hope.

I’ve written in the past about the Café I used to frequent on a daily basis for four years. It was my office and my home away from home. It is no exaggeration to say I loved that place.

(my office)

A lot of the credit for the magnificent atmosphere of the Café goes to the staff over the years. There is a certain kind of woman who ‘fit in’ at the old joint. Some came and went without notice. Three, however, will forever be associated by me with the downtown Café.

  • Alyssa… always grumpy and miserable. She rarely had a nice thing to say about anyone or anything. Like Lucy in the comic strip Peanuts, Alyssa managed to lift ‘crabby’ into an art form. I loved seeing her pretty yet sour puss behind the counter;
  • Ashlee… the opposite of Alyssa. Whereas Alyssa was forever grouchy, Ashlee was always sweetness and light. She had a corn-fed aw-shucks kind of minister’s daughter, country girl air to her. Innocent and sweet, sometimes to the point of being completely clued-out, I was so sad when she moved on to another restaurant; and
  • Jennifer… the cook. She was there the longest and she was the one with whom I had the closest relationship simply by virtue of the amount of time we were at the Café together.
In fact, it was exactly because of all the time we spent together that the subject matter of this article arose.

Allow me to explain…

One of the many things that I enjoyed about the Café were the various ‘running gags’ among the employees and patrons. These gags developed and expanded over time.

The longest, most elaborate and most intricate of these running gags was The Café Rules which were the result of a series of directives, decrees, regulations and plain old bossy-boots orders from the cook and manager, Jennifer, often with input from Alyssa, concerning what I could and could not do in the Café.

It is important to realize that the Rules only applied to me and no one else. They were a playful attempt to control my behaviour while I was in the Café. Whenever a new edict, dictate or command would be announced, I’d jot it down in one of my notebooks. This went on for the better part of two years.

(my office and the Café)

At the request of several of my friends and readers, I present to you for the first time…

The Café Rules

  1. Only one visit to the bathroom per day.
  2. If you’re in the bathroom, pooping counts as two visits, therefore you have to forfeit a visit from the next day (e.g. If, on Wednesday, you poop in the bathroom, you aren’t allowed to use the bathroom on your next visit. If you are in the Café on Thursday, you are out of luck until Friday).
  3. No blowing kisses.
  4. No pouting.
  5. No going behind the counter. Staff only.
  6. No free biscotti for just coffee, tea or soft drinks. (e.g. Biscotti with cappuccino, yes. Biscotti with Diet Coke, no.)
  7. Biscotti can only be given by Staff; you cannot take them. They can, however, be purchased: three for $1:00.
  8. No leaving newspapers lying around the Café.
  9. No leaving used or dirty dishes, cups or glasses on the counter.
  10. No taking too many napkins.
  11. No wasting napkins.
  12. No putting Jewish newspapers at bottom of the (milk, sugar and lids) standing unit. [2]
  13. No unnecessarily contradicting Jennifer. NB: Contradicting Jennifer is, by definition, unnecessary.
  14. No distracting Jennifer with idle chitchat. NB: Anything that doesn’t interest or involve Jennifer is, by definition, idle chitchat.
  15. No ‘winding up’ Lorenzo. He needs no encouragement. [3]
  16. No encouraging Ray to be even more Ray-like. [4]
  17. Jennifer reserves the right to give an unlimited amount of ‘time outs’ (e.g. No speaking for five minutes).
  18. No explaining common terms, slang, jargon, expressions, euphemisms, colloquialisms or idioms to Jennifer unless specifically and expressly asked to do so (e.g. the ‘metrosexual’ incident).
  19. No putting money in Jennifer’s ‘personal tip jar’ (i.e. bra or cleavage).
  20. No complaining, kvetching, whining or expressing shock, dismay, chagrin, etc., when Jennifer takes a vacation or a day off, especially in light of all the Jewish holidays you take off.
  21. No taking up more than one table at a time.
  22. No putting your personal stuff in the staff closet without first obtaining express permission to do so.
  23. Do not clutter the table with your stuff (e.g. bags, hat, gloves, cellphone, keys, wallets, appointment book, novels, magazines, newspapers, envelopes, cheque books, notebooks, etc.).
  24. Do not hassle, harass, annoy, pester, beset, taunt, toy with, poke, prod, fondle, stroke, pet, proposition, flirt with, wink at, blow kisses to, hug, snuggle, cuddle, engage in suggestive talk with, massage or otherwise have improper or inappropriate dealings with the Staff.
  25. Don’t tie the teabag string around the mug or cup handle.
  26. Don’t take too many peanut butter containers.
  27. Stop asking for whole wheat bagels. We only have multigrain.
  28. No criticizing Jennifer’s grammar (e.g. the ‘very unique’ incident). [5]
  29. No correcting Jennifer in any way when there are any other customers present.
  30. All corrections must be made in a helpful, constructive and non-condescending manner so as not to hurt Jennifer’s feelings. Failure to do so may result in a ‘time out’ (see 17 above).
  31. No going into the kitchen without express permission to do so.
  32. No scratching at the Café door or window like a lonely puppy. Knock like a normal person.
  33. Stomp excess snow/moisture from shoes before entering the Café so as not to form puddles on the floor.
  34. Do not leave the Café without first saying goodbye to Jennifer.
  35. If leaving the Café for a short period of time, advise Jennifer of the reason for leaving, approximate length of absence and/or estimated time of return.
  36. No dozing off at the table. Naps are not allowed.
  37. No looking over Jennifer’s shoulder when she is reading or writing.
  38. No hovering.
  39. Accept whatever Jennifer serves you without complaint.
  40. Don’t stand around blocking the Café traffic.
  41. No barking at Jennifer.
  42. No hogging the newspapers.
  43. No taking sandwich bags to use as personal tabletop garbage bags.
  44. No annoying or overly loud cellphone ring tones.
  45. No touching and/or leaving fingerprints on counter top display trays (cookies, scones, croissants, etc.)
  46. No ordering cappuccinos after noon.
  47. No putting cream in cappuccinos.
  48. Under no circumstances are you allowed to make a list of rules regarding Jennifer.

And that is where The Café Rules ended. Given time, I am sure the list would have gone upwards of a hundred rules. But… it was not to be, sadly.

Since the closing of the downtown Café, I have been more or less homeless, wandering around aimlessly, never quite getting that sense of ‘belonging’ that I had there. The Fonthill location comes closest to that feel, I suppose.

We’ll see what the future brings. If the new place has a good feel to it, maybe Ray, AC/DC guy and I and the rest of the cast of characters will go there until it starts to feel like home. Hopefully, it will.

Anticipated opening date of the new replacement establishment is early next month.

I will keep you posted!

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[1] There were two locations of the Café on Main. This article deals only with the original location in downtown Welland, ON, which closed its doors at the end of June, 2011. The other location of the Café on Main is in Fonthill, ON, which is still operating and doing very well. And yes, I go there often, although I do not have an office there. Yet.

[2] This was a kind of tall iron standing unit with several levels… one for cream, milk, sugar, etc., a higher shelf for lids, cup sleeves and stir sticks. The bottommost shelf or level was for old newspapers. Regular local newspapers were allowed. Large thick English language Jewish newspapers (e.g. Yated Ne’eman, Hamodia, Jewish Press, etc.) were not allowed. The standing unit is presently ensconced at the Fonthill location of the Café on Main.

[3] Lorenzo is a very talented and gifted local chef who owns and operates his own Italian restaurant. Larger than life, he is usually a good-natured guy. If you get him going on any subject, however, he can be a force of nature.

[4] Ray. What can I say about Ray? Ray is one of the many local characters who frequented the downtown Café. A friendly smile, long ponytail, tattooed arms, jovial nature. Definitely a Peter Pan Principle kinda guy. Ray clicks on all cylinders at all times. He needs no encouragement. It was characters like Ray, AC/DC guy, the Tip Jar Bandit and a host of other unique and interesting people who prompted me to dub the place The Seinfeld Café! I miss you all.

[5] Unique means one of a kind. It is an absolute state. Something is either unique or it is not. There is no such thing as being ‘very unique.’ Pointing this out to Jennifer earned me a time out.

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Admittedly, I don’t get out much, so I think I might be forgiven when, a week or so ago, I was taken aback upon spying what I had presumed to be a hitherto-extinct creature.

(a long lost friend)

A bumblebee, an insect that I’ve not seen in the wild (i.e. anywhere outside my apartment) since I was in high school, was flitting to and fro between gaily coloured objects that I think were, in my youth, called flowers. Bumbles displayed an exuberant enthusiasm which, I recall, was befitting this winged blast from the past.

Now, somewhere in the back of my mind, I dimly recalled hearing that all bees dropped dead a few years ago. Thinking that a cataclysmic event of such biblical proportions would have hit the headlines with a bit more of a splash [1], I decided to check in with my dear entomologist friend to get the low-down on our busy little buddies.

He reassured me that my recollection was indeed somewhat faulty.

He described something called Honeybee Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). This apiarian apocalypse started occurring in late 2006. Beekeepers in Canada, the United States and Europe went out their beehives, opened them up to check up on the little inhabitants and there they were… GONE! Not dead. No mass suicide with a tell-tale washtub of semi-consumed Jimmy Jones Fizz. Gone. Disappeared. The bees just vanished without so much as a “Croatoan” carved into the side of the hive!

When I asked my dear bug scientist what was the reason for the disappearances, he nodded sagely and said, “We don’t know.”  He offered a bunch of theories ranging from insect disease and immunodeficiency to environmental change-related stresses to mites to pesticides to cell phone radiation.  “It could be one of these reasons. It could be a combination thereof. We’re just not sure. Things are improving though.”

Disappointment and skepticism must have registered on the old kosher samurai mug.

He leaned in close. “Want to know my own personal theory?” he asked, voice hushed.

I nodded, eager to get the inside scoop.

“I think,” he said, pausing for effect, “that it was the Rapture… and the bees went first!”

I stared at him and as he once again gave me the sage nod, coupled this time with a conspiratorial wink.

One of these days, I’m going to get the hang of nerd humour, I swear.

Thank goodness the bumblebees are OK for now, though. I was worried there for a few decades.

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[1] I think I showed manly restraint in not saying, “made more of a buzz”.

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I have a personal quirk (one of many, I assure you) that I call Premature Waking. Premature waking is a type of insomnia. But not the usual kind where someone has trouble falling asleep.

Trust me, I have NO problem falling asleep. I can nod off anytime, anywhere, under any condition. I can fall asleep during a blast-off. I cannot, however, top a former girlfriend of mine who fell asleep during Star Wars. I kid you not! Off in La-La Land, snoring like she was getting paid for it… during Star Wars!! Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi fighting against Darth Vader and the Evil Empire and this girl is snuggled up to me, inhaling my shirt!

OK… where was I? Oh yeah. Premature waking.

I have no problem falling asleep. I have a problem staying asleep. I’ll go to bed and be gone almost as soon as my head hits the pillow. Sometimes, and it doesn’t happen all the time, I will wake up at 3:00 am… and that’s it! I’m up for the day!

Most times, if I wake up in the middle of the night, I’ll go to the bathroom and then crawl back into bed and be asleep before long. But on those nights when I get a premature waking attack, I know… I simply know… that going back to bed would be an exercise in futility. How do I know this? Because I’ve tried it dozens and dozens of times. By now, I can tell the difference between waking and being able to get back to sleep… and waking up for the day.

In my younger days, I would simply get into the car and drive around until the sun came up. I found it relaxing. I enjoyed going around Toronto in the wee hours, seeing people going to work, watching the street cleaning crews, enjoying how the sky went from black to deep blue to purple to pink. [1] I would often walk around the University of Toronto campus, especially the old gothic areas around Hart House and University College.

Nowadays, when I get up in the wee hours and I know that my day has begun whether I like it or not, I often cook. This is usually not an option when I am in a house where there are other people around. I don’t know why but there’s something about rattling the old pots and pans at 3:00 am that brings out the worst in some people!  Fortunately, I live alone so the chances of someone stomping into my kitchen screaming, “Do you have any idea what time it is???” are substantially reduced.

Most often, I go to my computer, check my email and check the news to make sure there hasn’t been a zombie attack somewhere. I sometimes watch a movie or a television program on the computer. I don’t own a television or DVD player. [2] And speaking of zombies, unless you’ve sat eating cold spaghetti and watching Nazi Zombies at 2:45 in the morning, you just don’t know what a good time it can be! [3]

And on early mornings like this one today I will sit and tap away at the keyboard writing pieces for The Kosher Samurai or my sister blog, Vampyre Fangs, until it’s time to go either to court or shul. [4]

Oh dear, look at the time. I really should get dressed and get going!

___________________________________________________________________________________________

[1] By the way, if you’ve never had the pleasure, take a few minutes and enjoy Duke Ellington’s In My Solitude. I used to play this song in my car when I drove around Toronto in the wee hours.

[2] I also don’t own a stereo, microwave, dishwasher, blender, digital camera, smartphone, camcorder, digital video camera, DVD player or any number of modern gizmos and gadgets. And no, I’m not Amish.

[3] Next time you’re up in the middle of the night for no reason, try watching Dead Snow (Død snø) Nazi Zombies won’t help with the insomnia… but… you’ll be entertained, I can promise you that!

[4] I am a criminal defence lawyer, so most mornings, I am at one courthouse or another. I am also an Orthodox Jew, so on days when I am not in court in the mornings, I go to synagogue.

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Get ready boys and girls. It’s time once again for a headline torn from the cyber-pages of ScienceDaily.com!

Yes, it seems that the boys have uncovered yet another hitherto undisclosed facet of the evolutionary gemstone, bless their nerdy little hearts.

Females Can Place Limits on Evolution of Attractive Features in Males, Research Shows

Bet you didn’t see that one coming, did you, ladies?

“But… but,” I can hear the stunned stammering already, “how can there be a limit on sheer hunkitude and general all-around buffness? And how can it be possible that we, the women of the world, are responsible for this truly shocking state of affairs??”

Women may have a valid question here. Why can’t males become increasingly more handsome, bigger, fitter, taller and better equipped over time? And why on earth would females themselves limit the evolution of all this increased elaboration?

Part of the answer lies, as it so often does, with frogs and bats.

(The cast of characters)

OK, it goes something like this…

Male frogs, like so many other creatures, ‘sing’ in large part to pick up females. The bigger and better and more elaborate the croak, the more likely frog boy gets to hook up with frog girl. So in order to increase the odds a bit, some male Túngara Frogs (Engystomops pustulosus; the artists formerly known as Physalaemus pustulosus) improvise with more elaborate croak melodies. More is more, right? Well, apparently it sometimes doesn’t work out all that well in frogland.

(Túngara frog belting out a mating melody)

The túngara frog mating call is made up of a longer “whine” followed by one or more short “chucks.” Improvements and elaborations most often happen at the “chuck level”, usually by adding more chucks. In other words, to these frogs, chucks equal chicks. The problem is that, more often than not, the new croak improvises its way right out of the female’s capability to “understand” the ditty. The chicks can’t process all the extra chucks.  The new croaker fails to win over the girls with its sexy ad-libs. Frogs who kick it free-style are naturally selected for extinction by being ‘not selected’ by the females. So it seems that the female túngara frogs are limiting the evolutionary “improvement” of their males.

“But wait!” the women will say at this point. “That doesn’t prove it’s our fault. There could be another reason the new and improved qualities get weeded out!”

And this is where the bats fly in, as it were.

You see, in addition to attracting the opposite sex, the male frog song attracts something altogether different and unexpected… bats! The latest a cappella song on the túngara hit parade is also making its way across the air waves to the well-tuned ears of the the frog-eating Fringe-lipped Bat (Trachops cirrhosus)!

(Cute, eh?)

“Aha!” cry the women. “There’s your answer right there! Bumpy lips digs the new sound, literally eating it up! It’s the predators that weed out the elaborations in the guys, not us girls!”

“Not so fast!” say the research biologists at the University of Texas at Austin. OK, maybe they did not literally say “Not so fast!” Here is what they did say.

The fringe-lipped bats zero in on the male túngara frogs based on chuck number ratio, just as the female frogs do. So, as males elaborate their call by adding chucks, the bats – like the female frogs – are also not turned on and tuned in to the improvement. The more chucks, the less of a chance the frog will wind up as the bat’s main course. Safe yet celibate. Either way, the new-sound froggie is getting some Darwinian chlorine added to his particular end of the gene pool.

(Bat noshing on a túngara tunesmith)

To quote the ScienceDaily article, “”What this tells us is that predation risk is unlikely to limit male call evolution,” says Karin Akre, lecturer at The University of Texas at Austin. “Instead, it is the females’ cognition that limits the evolution of increasing chuck number.””

In other words, don’t blame the bats, ladies. It’s your fault that guys aren’t getting better as the years go by.  Women prevent us from being all that we can be!

Hey… it’s not me. It’s science!

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Many years ago, when I attended a rather preppy law school, there was a charming young lady with an undecipherable and equally unpronounceable surname.

It seemed to consisted of the letter “E” followed by a dozen or so consonants.

To save ourselves time and possibly a sprained tongue, as well as to uphold the preppy tradition of giving nicknames to our friends, we bestowed upon her the sobriquet ‘Eye Chart’… because that is what we were reminded of whenever we saw or tried to say her name.

(Yeah, that’s pretty much how we imagined it)

You see, up until that point, the most complicated names we had to deal with were either Italian [1] or some of the more polysyllabic German or Jewish names. The key advantage with those names is, I believe, that English has a linguistic connection to German, Yiddish (English and Yiddish are basically Germanic in form and structure) and also many Romance languages (either directly from Latin or, more commonly, via Old French). [2]

As far as we could tell, English bore no relation to whatever nation or culture conjured up our dear friend’s moniker.  We were convinced it was some advanced and sadistic form of Czecho-Slovak-Serbo-Croat-Albano-Bulgarian-Roma-Gypsy child abuse. Letters which had no business being together were lined up in a seemingly unending stream… CSZCHMGWXBDTSKVFJLPR… etc. I mean, it just went on and on. It was horrible. But she was so charming and lovely and sweet, we were prepared to overlook difficulties in nomenclature. So… Eye Chart she was dubbed. Eye Chart she remained.

I encountered a similar situation several years later when I represented a young Tamil boy from the Jaffna Penninsula in Sri Lanka. My interpreter was a most excellent gentleman. He and I shared a love for the works of P.G. Wodehouse. An extremely witty and highly entertaining man, he tickled me to death every time he’d interrupt and correct the government-appointed interpreter during proceedings.  I think the Refugee Tribunal granted the application and admitted my young client into Canada just to avoid the incessant bickering between the interpreters!

His surname, if I have it correctly, was Saravanalanganingham. I’ve heard of Sri Lankan surnames that are even longer.

Names like ‘Warnakulasuriya Patabendige Ushantha Joseph Chaminda Vaas’ and ‘Hewapathirana’ge Nimal Devendra Karunaratne’.

Good Lord. Even Spanish names don’t come close to that! Honestly. Eye Chart’s handle would be a snap compared to names like that! There should be a mandatory warning label for people with asthma before they attempt to read these out. Our western mouths can only handle so much! Ten letters, tops! [3]

Which is why I am imploring our federal members of parliament to pass a “Sanity in Surnames Act” or some other type of legislation.

We must take a firm stance on this issue, people! Multicultural mollycoddling will not save us. How many more innocent Canadian mangia cakes must be rushed to the hospital with bruised lips, their tongues hopelessly tied in knots? The time to act is now!

(If the Name Don’t Fit… You Must Change It!)

Stop the Madness! Stop the Vowelless Horror!

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[1] The nice thing about most Italian names is that, regardless of length, they are pronounced pretty much the way they are spelled and have an acceptable CTV (consonant-to-vowel) ratio.

[2] Later on, Polish and Ukrainian names added to the mix. We invariably called them either Stosh or Nick.

[3] Luckily, my own surname comes in under the wire at 9 letters, with an acceptable 6-3 CTV ratio.

[4] Some English words, like ‘rhythm’, technically have no vowels but in such cases, the letter “Y” represents a vowel sound so, for the purposes of this essay, we will treat “Y” as a vowel substitute or quasi-vowel.

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