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Sad, glad, mad, had

Perhaps it's because I'm not a sports nut, but I can't see the NHL lockout as anything but a good thing from a longer-term perspective (Hockey: NHL Lockout – Sept. 20).

Much of society is far too heavily focused on the lives and games of pro athletes. With the average player making more in a season than many of us earn in a lifetime, it's no wonder they're idolized. The players can survive a year off the ice without begging for spare change, and just maybe society will realize that life indeed does go on without a hockey game to watch.

Actually, I'd love to see all pro sports cancelled for a year. Not only would people realize that the world wouldn't end, they might discover new hobbies or activities. At a minimum, vast sums would be spent elsewhere.

J. Harder, Winnipeg


I recently returned from England, where the love of soccer is culturally all-encompassing. If an attempt were made to shut down the soccer season, there would be rioting in the streets. Why, when it comes to our sporting obsession, are Canadians such wusses?

Frederick Sweet, Toronto


The NHL (National Hockey League) is due for a name change: NML (National Money League).

Phillip S. Utting, Aurora, Ont.


With the NHL lockout well under way, it's time to consider rebroadcasting all eight games of the Canada Russia Summit Series. One game every Saturday night.

Robin Wortman, Calgary


This is an early Christmas for many of us. We're being spared the boring, violent farce that pretends to be hockey. Best of all, no Don Cherry. Time for a whole new raft of Canadians to turn to books.

Selby Martin, Toronto


Our little guy's sad. My wife's glad (denies it, but she is).

Me, I'm just mad. This is nothing but greed. We've been had.

Nick Summers, Vancouver


Quick to judge

When I grew up in Peru, the term maricon was commonly used by boys. It meant chicken, scaredy-cat, wuss, sissy. It was used on the sporting field to critique timid play. It was the opposite of the compliment "macho" (The Shortstop's Homophobic Error – editorial, Sept. 19).

The media have condemned Yunel Escobar in the harshest of terms, settling on a meaning of the word maricon that brings the worst public opprobrium.

Toronto has always been holier than thou, quick to judge, certain of its righteousness, particularly with newcomers. In the result, Mr. Escobar is now a social outcast. Let us hope the Jays trade the man the press has pilloried.

Lawrence Pick, Toronto


By the numbers

Margaret Wente twists herself into conceptual knots trying to make the case that Statistics Canada's release of 2011 census data shows Canadians to be a conservative, traditional bunch, living out the heterosexual nuclear family ideals of a bygone era (Surprise! We're More Conservative Than Americans – Sept. 20).

The numbers aren't on her side. It's a mistake to focus on numbers representing the situation at one point in time and ignore trends: numbers indicating the direction of change over time. While Ms. Wente is right that 0.8 per cent of Canadians in partnered relationships live in same-sex couples, she does not mention that this number leaps with every census-reporting period. The phenomenon of same-sex partnerships is no metrosexual flash in the pan.

Similarly, while she is correct that families headed by married heterosexual couples are the numerically dominant family form in Canada, the number of families headed by common-law couples or by single adults grew nearly three times as quickly as the number of families headed by married couples.

Amy Kaler, associate professor, Department of Sociology, University of Alberta, Edmonton


Poison-pill budget

The poison-pill game once again comes to Parliament (MPs Face Longer Wait For Pension – Sept. 19). Stephen Harper is trying to score political points by including MP pension reform in an omnibus bill that includes other measures the opposition may or may not support.

Both the Prime Minister and the opposition do a disservice to Canadian voters if they think we are blind to Mr. Harper's intent.

As has been well said before: You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time. I wonder if the Prime Minister will ever take that enduring piece of advice to heart.

Esther Shannon, Vancouver


Pause on pay-first

Pay-first (at the gas pump) legislation is a clear example of punishing the innocent (Gas Worker's Death Prompts Two Labour Ministry Probes – Sept. 20).

Jayesh Prajapati's death is terribly sad, but doesn't constitute a trend. Making pay-first mandatory will only make the process of filling up less efficient. And what about the people who fill their tank, not knowing in advance how much that will be?

Gas attendants should not run after thieves. Gas stations that are at risk could introduce cameras for licence plates.

Like the notion of reducing speed limits on the streets of Toronto, pay-first affects the law-abiding citizen. Maybe we should be thinking more creatively?

Clara Rubinstein, Thornhill, Ont.


Speeding, balconies

In calling for lower speed limits, Ontario's deputy chief coroner Bert Lauwers notes that struck pedestrians are much more likely to be injured as speeds rise over 40 km/h (Lower Residential Speed Limits, Coroner's Report Urges – Sept. 20).

This is as obvious as finding that falling off a 10-storey balcony is worse than falling off a two-storey balcony.

The only difference is that we don't try to limit balconies to two floors or fewer – rather, we try to prevent falls in the first place by installing railings and encouraging individuals not to lean over them or climb on them.

David Lee, Oshawa


Rain rustlers?

As extreme as the Iranian President's views can be, on the weather he actually could have a point (Messing With Iran's Rain? – Social Studies, Sept. 14).

Overseeding certain clouds under specific meteorological conditions could indeed cause cloud sterilization and mitigate natural rainfall processes.

Usually we try for the opposite.

Daryl O'Dowd, meteorologist, Calgary