Cheers & Jeers

The Telegram
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Jeers: to intolerance. Some people in these parts might not agree with Ellen DeGeneres’ stand on the seal hunt, but few would view her as the devil incarnate. And yet a Catholic elementary school in Philadelphia is apologizing for having used Ellen’s photo on an invitation to a graduation dance, saying she “lives her life outside the teachings of the Catholic Church” and thus is not a suitable role model.

According to the Associated Press, principal Nancy Matteo apologized for the so-called gaffe in an email to parents, noting: “A role model, as defined by Webster’s Dictionary, is a person who is unusually effective or inspiring in some social role, job, position, etc. This does not describe her at all.” Judge not, lest ye be judged. If the principal’s message is that the only decent role models that exist can be found within the confines of one faith, she doesn’t sound like much of a role model, either.

Jeers: to shortsightedness. When The Telegram went to see the downed trees at the Colonial Building recently, the horrified looks on two children’s faces upon seeing the severed limbs and raw stumps said it all. “Why would someone do that?” they asked, mystified. Out of the mouths of babes. The provincial government says it consulted with stakeholders before cutting the mature trees down to make way for a new fence and to return the site to its original condition. Note to government: all citizens of this province have a stake in our heritage. The government’s mentality brings to mind a caller to a phone-in radio show, years ago, who quipped, “Sure if they tore down Colonial Building, what odds? They could build something just as historic.”

Cheers: to judges who don’t mince words. A judge hearing a case in Superior Court in Toronto wasted no time in letting neighbouring couples involved in a “poop and scoop” dispute in the tony Forest Hill area know what he thought of their behaviour. The crux of the matter? An oil executive and his wife are suing their neighbours, a psychiatrist and his wife, for roughly

$1.8 million in damages, claiming they’ve suffered years of harassment. That harassment allegedly took many forms, including an incident where the psychiatrist’s wife was thought to have picked up after their dog and deposited the doo-doo in the neighbours’ garbage bin. The shock! The horror! The judge suggested both couples would benefit more from the admonitions of “a rather stern kindergarten teacher” instead of tying up valuable court time. “Despite their many advantages in life … they are acting like children,” Justice Ed Morgan wrote in his decision. “And now that the matter has taken up an entire day in what is already a crowded motions court, they are doing so at the taxpayers’ expense.” In the end, the judge awarded nothing to either side. “Each side deserves to bear its own costs,” Morgan noted.

Organizations: Associated Press, Superior Court

Geographic location: Toronto, Forest Hill

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