This crisis looks different than in the past, says Schulich prof

Stock market indices can be hard to compare over time because of factors such as the inclusion or exclusion of certain companies, wrote The Vancouver Sun Feb. 25 in a story about investor fears in the economic crisis. Moreover, looking only at history might provide “a fairly distorted picture of what the future will bring,” suggests Moshe Milevsky, professor of finance in the Schulich School of Business at York University.

The market meltdown over the past six months suggests the odds of recovery within a certain time period “may not be as good as we thought they were in the past,” he says. Consequently, investors with “a certain amount of risk aversion” may want to consider holding fewer equities than they’ve held in the past, he says.

“When we look at the micro-market; the companies that no longer exist; the credit that has dried up; the intensity of the financial statistics and how they’ve dropped – the depth of this crisis does look a little bit different (compared) to previous crises we’ve had,” Milevsky notes.

York grad duo ready to poke fun at everyone

Pardon the pun, but The Doo Wops wouldn’t mind giving their Italian heritage the boot. At least professionally, wrote The Toronto Sun Feb. 25.

For the past 10 years, Dave Mesiano (BA Hons. ’03) and John Catucci (BA ’96) have been trampling Italian stereotypes and delighting audiences with their frenzied musical comedy pairing The Doo Wops.

But now, they feel like it’s time to move on. Cut back on the ethnic humour a little because the reality is, as shocking as it might be, The Doo Wops aren’t nearly as Italian as they would have you believe. “We don’t even speak Italian,” admits Mesiano, the guitar-playing member. “I would like to tour Italy one day, eating, not doing comedy. I don’t think our sense of humour translates very well.”

The second generation “condo-Italians” (“We’re the ones that didn’t have a vineyard growing in our backyard,” jokes Catucci), met at York University in 1998. The two created a musical comedy act about a pair of Argentinian singers. “I wanted to do standup, but was too scared to do it by myself to be honest,” admits Catucci. “Dave wanted to be a rock star. The one thing we really had in common was a sense of humour. So we started writing funny songs from the beginning.”

Barbie still making waves as iconic doll marks 50th anniversary

Andrea O’Reilly, professor in York’s School of Women’s Studies and founder and director of the Association for Research on Mothering, grew up with Barbies and had 25 of her own, wrote The Canadian Press Feb. 24 in a story about the 50th anniversary of the famous doll.

But when her daughters – now 19 and 21 – were younger, she was conflicted about her girls playing with them and went through a period when she didn’t allow it, largely because she thought Barbie “was representing an unhealthy view of what girls look like.”

“I think it’s important if girls do play with Barbies, and that’s something that the mom decides, that that conversation happens, that the Barbie is given, but there’s some dialogue, age-appropriate, about what that means for the young girl,” O’Reilly said from Long Island, NY. However, O’Reilly notes that by today’s standards, Barbie is “pretty innocuous” and “quaint” given the images in larger popular culture for young girls.

O’Reilly said while she wishes there were more variations of the looks of the doll, she believes its role in encouraging communal, interactive, imaginative play between children is a good thing. “We tested out our imagination and our dreams through active play…and I think this is why Barbie has this retaining power because it’s not a scripted toy,” she said, recalling her own childhood memories playing with the doll with her sister and friends. “If you just get a doll, nobody tells you how to play with a doll, and I think toys today, particularly with technology, there’s very little imagination left.”

Canadian Air and Space Museum officially launches

The new Canadian Air and Space Museum in Downsview Park is embarking on a $2-million capital campaign to bring the country’s aviation history to the forefront, wrote The North York Mirror Feb. 24. The official launch of the museum’s opening was Feb. 20, which coincided with the 50th anniversary of the Avro Arrow cancellation and 100 years of powered flight in Canada.

Canada has a prominent place in space history, wrote the Mirror. A team from York University built and operated the weather station on NASA’s Phoenix Mars lander.

‘Something to chew on’

Buttermilk Pop is a sad bit of nourishment. But even that got pared down during the Depression, wrote the Toronto Star Feb. 25 in a story about the Depression experiences of York grad Viola Seitz (BA ’67).

One hard summer, Seitz ate this sweet-and-sour porridge of buttermilk and flour for two meals a day. Traditionally, Buttermilk Pop is made with cornmeal, or sometimes barley, or flour and egg dumplings. Seitz’s more frugal sustenance was made with home-ground flour. “You need to leave the lumps in it so you have something to chew on,” says Seitz, 88, of North York. “Sometimes, I can still taste it when I think about it.”

Seitz’s story has a happy ending. In 1967, she graduated from York University’s Glendon College and became a writer.

Players up for CIS All-Canadian Awards 

Action doesn’t get underway at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) women’s volleyball nationals until tomorrow afternoon but the first results from the event will be announced tonight at the All-Canadian Awards Banquet, wrote The Daily Gleaner (Fredericton, NB) Feb. 25.

In addition to both first- and second-team All-Canadians being named, the CIS will also hand out awards to the nation’s top player, rookie, coach, libero and community-minded student athlete at a 7pm dinner at the Fredericton Inn.

Thinesa Sriskandarajah from York University is also in the running for the Mark Tennant award, given to the Canadian rookie of the year, having been named an Ontario University Athletics East Division first-team all-star just last week.

  • Three teams from central Canada – two from Quebec, one from Ontario – and two from the Atlantic region make up this year’s tournament. The Ontario representative is York University, wrote The Daily Gleaner (Fredericton, NB) Feb. 25.

Osgoode grad to carry Olympic torch

A summer resident of Southampton is getting the opportunity of a lifetime, wrote Port Elgin’s Shoreline Beacon Feb. 25.

Osgoode grad David Grant (LLB ’50), 86, a Toronto native who lives in Southampton from May to October each year, was recently selected as Ontario’s first Olympic torchbearer. “It is definitely an honour,” Grant said in an interview Thursday. “The opportunity to be one of 12,000 people to carry the torch throughout our great country is one of a kind. And since it was through the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), I really have to thank them.”

On air

  • Marcel Martel, history professor, graduate program director and Avie Bennett Historica Chair in York’s Department of History, Faculty of Arts, spoke about the 40th anniversary of Canada’s Official Languages Act on TFO-TV Feb. 23.
  •  Bernie Wolf, economics professor in York’s Schulich School of Business, talked about restructuring plans announced by Canadian automakers, on CTV News Feb. 20