Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Quotation of the Week (May 27-June 2, 2012)

A sunset over Toronto
A quotation on 'creativity' by Albert Einstein, compiled by Jerome D'Costa
Photo (September 15, 2010) © Joachim Romeo D'Costa

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Summer Gardening in Canada Can Be Vegitably Enjoyable -- 3

Here are more samples of produces from our garden:

Water spinach (called puishak in Bengali) can be grown in pots, too (Photo: August 7, 2010)
Okras (or lady's fingers) also can be grown in pots (Photo: August 7, 2010)
Five okras just picked from the garden (Photo: September, 2002)
Cucumbers make a salad more palatable (Photo: September 3, 2002)
Oval-shaped eggplants (Photo: August 8, 2011)
Long eggplants (Photo: August 7, 2010)
Bitter gourds (or bitter melons) (Photo: August 8, 2011)
Pole beans grow aplenty (Photo: October 10, 2011)
Swiss chard (Photo: October 10, 2011)
Sweet potatoes (Photo: October 10, 2011)
Chinese gourd almost as long as a young boy (October, 2001)
The same boy with another Chinese gourd ten years later (Photo: August 10, 2011)
A green pumpkin with three Chinese gourds (September 18, 2011)
A good harvest of vegetables (September, 2003)
Zucchinis can be so large and heavy! (September 3, 2010)
First 14 Photos (Toronto: 2001-2011) © Jerome D'Costa

(The End)         

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Monday, May 21, 2012

The Summer Gardening in Canada Can Be Vegitably Enjoyable -- 2

The attention, love, patience and work that go into gardening are rewarded with yields of a variety of vegetables.

When you get the first crop of these vegetables, grown by your own hands, you receive the same pleasure, satisfaction and pride in seeing your child immediately after its birth! Those who gardened before know it too well. You still don’t believe it? I bet, you do it first and see how you feel about it.

A few samples of our crop yields in the last decade are shown below:

Vegetable plants in full growth in our garden (Photo: August 5, 2003)
Juicy red tomatoes (Photo: August 7, 2010)
More red tomatoes and cherry tomatoes (Photo: August 10, 2010)
Different types of tomatoes (Photo: August 10, 2011)
Zucchinis grow prolifically (Photo: July 25, 2010)
(Top row) Zucchinis, (bottom row) five cucumbers and two tomatoes (Photo: July 25, 2010)
A squash (we can call it 'pumpkin') hanging from a vine (Photo: August 15, 2009)
An edible flower of the same squash plant shown above (Photo: August 15, 2009)
Two different types of pumpkins grown in the garden (Photo: October, 2002)
A green pumpkin of another variety (Photo: September 18, 2011)
Four pumpkins, five bitter gourds (also called bitter melons), five okras (also known as lady's fingers or gumbos), and five eggplants (also called aubergines or brinjals) (Photo: August 8, 2011)
The same four pumpkins, as shown above, turned to reddish yellow colour with more aging (Photo: October 5, 2011)
Red and white onions (Photo: August 24, 2010)
Hot chillies (Photo: September 3, 2010)
All photos (Toronto) © Jerome D'Costa


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Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Summer Gardening in Canada Can Be Vegitably Enjoyable -- 1

The summer is still one month away;  it officially starts in Canada on June 20 this year. Yet, it’s usually the Victoria Day (May 21) weekend that is taken as an unofficial start of summer in Canada, especially by farmers and gardeners.

In this weekend, gardeners are busy cleaning their gardens, turning soils and planting vegetable seeds and/or plants.

Some call the vegetable garden family garden, some others kitchen garden, and the rest backyard garden.  Whatever the name, the bottom line is the same – a patch of land, adjacent to the house, is used to grow vegetables. A garden, receiving a minimum of 4 to 6 hours of sunshine, is the best for growing vegetables.

Usually, after the colder snowy winter and cold spring, the garden first needs proper cleaning. There are debris – dead plants and leaves and newly-grown weeds – to be cleared of the garden. Secondly, the soil needs to be turned upside down with spades and pitchforks. Clumps of earth also need to be broken into small pieces and then the garden is to be leveled with rakes.

After this, one needs to decide, where in the garden, plants are to be placed. We have been gardening in Toronto since mid-2001 using our experience that we gained when we grew up in the village in Bangladesh. Not too long ago, here, we came to know of the “companion plants.” Seasoned gardeners have seen from experience that certain vegetables can avoid bugs and other problems as well as grow extremely well when planted with certain other plants. You may check the following for such companion plants: Companion Plants: What Grows Well Together.

Gardening can be of real fun and meaningful if the whole family chips in. When, after their efforts and toil, they see the results in the yielding of a variety of tasty vegetables, they achieve a special satisfaction and pride.

For better fitness and health, we need to give more importance on eating more vegetables . You may read the following for more information on the subject: Nutritional Values of Vegetables and Vegetable Nutrition Facts.

A garden that needs to be cleaned for growing summer vegetables (Photo: May 30, 2004)
The same garden, in another year, is being cleared of debris (Photo: April 9, 2005)
After the cleaning, soil needs to be turned upside down and land needs to be leveled (Photo: May 30, 2004)
Then comes the transplanting and/or seeding (Photo: May 30, 2004)
Transplanting and/or seeding (Photo: June, 2002)
Regular checking of plant and plant growth is important (Photo: June 18, 2002)
Weeding is important, too (Photo: July 4, 2001)
Growth of vegetables provide a special satisfaction (Photo: July, 2003)
Picking of vegetables for cooking (Photo: July, 2002)
A partial picture of a full-grown garden with different vegetables (Photo: Sept. 3, 2010)

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The Quotation of the Week (May 20-26, 2012)

A stack of carts at the Home Depot, Scarborough, Toronto
A quotation on 'wisdom' by Mahatma Gandhi, compiled by Jerome D'Costa
Photo (February 12, 2011) © Jerome D'Costa

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Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Sign of the Time

A sign hung on a tree on Asad Avenue, Dhaka, announcing a guaranteed visa package with work permit for the U.K. (Britain)-- all costs for the service are to be paid to the advertiser on receipt of the visa
Photo (Dhaka: January 18, 2012) © Jerome D'Costa

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Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Quotation of the Week (May 13-19, 2012)

Two sources of light
A quotation on 'power' by Lord Acton, compiled by Jerome D'Costa
Photo (Toronto: April 5, 2012) © Jerome D'Costa

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Saturday, May 12, 2012

U.S. President Barack Obama Supports Same-Sex Marriage

Cartoon courtesy: The Toronto Sun (May 11, 2012)
Cartoon courtesy: The Globe and Mail (Toronto: May 10, 2012)

U.S. President Barack Obama on May 9, in an interview with the ABC News, said he now supports the same-sex (homosexual) marriage in the U.S.A. He said his support for gay marriage evolved through several  years although initially he had supported marriage between a man and woman only. Later he supported gay civil unions instead of marriage.

Barack Obama is the first U.S. president to openly voice his endorsement for the same-sex marriage which is a contentious issue in the polarized U.S.A. There are Americans who demand gay marriage, whereas there are others who vehemently oppose this type of marriage because, to them, a valid marriage is only between a male and a female.

“I’ve just concluded that, for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married,” Mr. Obama said.

It is interesting to note, as if a part of a choreographed play, U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden, in order to test the waters ahead of the President, in an interview with the NBC on May 6, said he was “completely comfortable” with the same-sex marriage. He also mentioned that they should get “the same exact rights” heterosexual married couples receive. Vice-President Joe Biden is a Roman Catholic politician and he went against his Church’s teaching on marriage between a man and woman only and gave his support to the homosexual marriage.

Next day, on May 7, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan expressed his support for the gay marriage, too.

These endorsements from the President, Vice-President and Education Secretary are their personal opinions only, gay marriage does not become official in the U.S.A. The laws on marriage are determined by individual states. So far about a half dozen states made laws allowing gay marriage, whereas 31 states already passed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. The above notable endorsements will no doubt energize the gay marriage movement in the U.S.A. and abroad.

Reactions to the President’s announcement were immediate. Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican Party nominee for president, expressed his opposition to the same-sex marriage or same-sex unions.

Roman Catholic bishops rejected Mr. Obama’s declaration. Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Catholic Bishops’ Conference, said on May 9: “President Obama’s words today are not surprising since they follow upon various actions already taken by his administration that erode or ignore the unique meaning of marriage. We cannot be silent in the face of words and actions that would undermine the institution of marriage, the very cornerstone of our society. The people of this country, especially our children, deserve better.”

Gay marriage is officially legal country-wide in the following countries: Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, South Africa and Sweden. Of these, Roman-Catholic majority countries are Argentina, Belgium, Portugal and Spain.

Gay marriage or gay civil unions are partially legal in some states (provinces) of Brazil, Mexico and U.S.A.

The gay rights movement is gaining ground in many countries of the world. Canada is as example for having full same-sex marriage rights. Every summer, it has the largest gay parade in the world. With the full recognition of the gays in Canada, the definition of a family has completely changed.

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Photo of the Week

A home shrine in Toronto
Photo (Toronto: April 2, 2012) © Jerome D'Costa

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Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Quotation of the Week (May 6-12, 2012)

A quotation on 'Encouragement' by William Boetcker, compiled by Jerome D'Costa

 Photo: Dance of light (Dhaka: January 9, 2012) © Jerome D'Costa
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Saturday, May 5, 2012

Brother Shyamol James Gomes, CSC: A Budding Artist With a Promise

Brother Shyamol James Gomes, CSC
Brother Shyamol James Gomes, CSC, (27),  is a student of Fine Arts at the University of Development Alternative (UODA), Dhaka, with a major in drawing and painting. In course of his study he has been practising his craft regularly.

I came across his range of art work when I was at St. Joseph’s Higher Secondary School compound at Mohammadpur, Dhaka, in January last. I was impressed with his work that shows a bright promise in   future.

This budding artist, if he continues his art work relentlessly in spite of his service as a Religious Brother, will be an asset for the Catholic Church in Bangladesh. He will be able to inspire Christian youths to go for studies in art, painting and sculpture, where only few have ventured so far. Besides, he will also be able to paint on religious themes for the local Church needs.

Brother Gomes is short in stature with a head full of black hair and equally black beard on his face. Sometimes he looks submerged in thoughtful mood. This may be due to his mind busy with new ideas for more artwork.

Born at the village of Bangalhawala under Tumilia Catholic parish of Gazipur District, Bangladesh, Brother Gomes received inspiration for drawing and painting from his father. “My father is a natural artist who inspired me. I got it genetically from him. I showed an interest in studying fine arts and the Holy Cross Brothers authority permitted me to do so,” he says with a smile.

A few samples of drawing and painting of Brother Shyamol James Gomes, CSC, are presented below for your perusal:

Brother Shyamol Gomes with his painting of Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Brother in front of another of his painting

A Honda motorcycle

Bengali poet Nirmalendu Goon, Dhaka
 Jesus Christ on the cross
Madonna: Baby Jesus Christ with his mother Mary
A fisherman
Fruits and vegetables
A road in Dhaka
A portrait of St. Brother Andre, CSC
A village lady
Aroz Ali Matubbor: a rustic rationalistic thinker and writer of Bangladesh
Dr. Humayun Azad: Bengali professor at the University of Dhaka 
A boy in glasses
A smiling Jesus Christ
A lonely tree
Zainul Abedin: Bangladeshi artist and painter
A boy in close-up
Another portrait
A section of Dhaka City

A pose
In defiance: Statues in Dhaka
A poster for the Independence Day of Bangladesh (March 26)
Photos (Dhaka: The first three photos from the top 
taken by Ujjal Peter D'Costa on January 4, 2012 
and the remaining 21 photos taken 
by Jerome D'Costa on January 8, 2012)

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