Saturday, November 17, 2012

When Your Hut's On Fire

Weve read and viewed numerous photos of the tragic damage caused by 
Hurricane Sandy along the Atlantic coasts of New Jersey and New York states
 and we ask ourselves, “Why???  but answers we do not have.

A personal friend, recently engaged to be married, was diagnosed with
terminal cancer. “Why??? we ask, “does this afflict such a
person in the "prime of his life!"

A few days ago, when driving home from an appointment, I inadvertently turned
at the wrong intersection.  My car and I both knew that this was not the correct
street upon which to turn.  The question I asked, Why did I make such a foolish 
driving error?” On the 6 pm TV news that evening, the anchor man reported 
a tragic accident that had occurred on the street, along which I should have 
driventhis at about the same time as I drove a few extra blocks.

When Your Huts On Fire

The only survivor of a shipwreck 
was washed up on a small, uninhabited island.
He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him.
Every day he scanned the horizon for help, 
 but none was forthcoming.

Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to 
protect himself from the elements, and to store a few possessions he gathered.

One day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut
in flames, with smoke rolling up to the sky.  He felt the worst had happened 
and everything was lost.  He was stunned with disbelief, grief and anger! 
He cried out,”God!  How could you do this to me?”

Early the next day, he was awakened 
by the sound of a ship approaching the island!
                                                        It had come to rescue him! 
                 “How did you know I was here?” asked the weary man of his rescuers.
                                             “We saw your smoke signal,” they replied.

Moral of This Story:

It's easy to get discouraged when things are going badly, 
but we shouldn't lose heart, because God is at work in our lives...
even in the midst of our pain and suffering. 
Remember, that the next time your little hut seems to be burning 
to the just may be a smoke signal 
that summons the Grace of God!

(Thank you, Carolyn, for submitting the foregoing  to me...a wonderful message.)

Merle Baird-Kerr . . . written November 17, 2012
Wish to leave a comment? ...scroll down may sign in as anonymous
or e-mail ...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

If I Had a Million Dollars


The “Bare Naked Ladies” ( a group of male singers from Toronto)
have popularized many songs that they have written and sung.
I love the melodious lilt and the words of this song
(which you can hear on Internet).
So, with some plagiarism, I sent this special greeting
to my son for his 15th day of November birthday last year.
Today, I have updated it with a further experience
we had in October of this current year.

If I had a Million Dollars
I'd purchase you a car ~
unlike the Mazda
that “zoom, zoooms, zooooms”.
Neither be a fancy Ford
even tho' you'd love a Mustang.
I'd not buy Alpha Romeo
to cruise Italy's streets.
I'd splurge on a Porsche...
so Sleek, so Racy, so Spirited
in any colour you prefer!

If I had a Million Dollars,
my very elaborate yacht
would take you deep sea fishing.
Watch whales in Bay of Fundy
or spear a Marlin, big and blue
(a trophy upon your wall).
With a trap for salty waters,
you'd catch a tasty crab.
Your preference is a Lake?
Then you hook a lengthy trout.
Wouldn't that be exciting!

Perhaps a travel card
would greatly interest you.
You've driven many States
relating to your jobs.
I'd arrange destinations...
Siberia...even Tim-buc-tu!
Safaris on savannahs;
and Amazon's tropics explore.
Your ticket's good...anywhere!
Be sure to take life jacket
and trusty camera to “shoot”.

However...I don't have

Perhaps I'd give a Sudoku puzzle
to challenge your numerical mind
or even a jigsaw puzzle
with a thousand pieces or more.
I'd recommend car rallies
to interpret directions
and win the destined goal.
Or...I you
for personal computer assistance.

In early October, 2012, you accepted a job
in downtown Manhattan.
We drove to New Jersey, staying a week at the Hilton.
On Saturday, we escaped Newark's dense population
to drive the Atlantic coast.
Through Sea Bright to Pier Village
(beautiful and  architecturally sited
with wonderful ocean views).
Then southward to Seaside Heights
...where families oft' go for summer vacations.

A short distance south we drove
and observed the plenteous sand dunes.
We “stair-ed” to the boardwalk
to capture the views
of ocean so placid and far-away ship.
The ocean was so blue on this sunlit day.
A “beach bum” or two lazed on the sand
reading a novel or “girlie magazine”.

Two weeks later, Sandy came ashore
crumbling homes like matchsticks
and devastating...this fine resort!
The mighty force of winds
shovelled the dunes
and buried many homes
to a sandy grave!

If I had a Million Dollars
I'd donate it to these people
to rebuild their homes,
to rebuild their Sea Heights resort,
and to rebuild their lives!

Happy Birthday, My Dear Son,
although you are afar.
As per my philosophy...
“You're another year younger and another year wiser!”
May this bring you a happy and successful year!
May, YOU win a Million Dollars!

written November 14, 2012

Comments are always welcome...scroll down...
may sign in as “anonymous”

Saturday, November 10, 2012

In Flanders Fields

A war poem (in the form of a rondeau)
was written during World War I
by Canadian  physician and Lieutenant John McCrae
from Guelph, Ontario.
He was inspired to write it on May 3, 1915,
after presiding over the funeral of friend and fellow soldier,
Alexis Helmer, who died in the Second Battle of Ypes.

In Flanders Fields was first published on December 8, 1915
in the London-based-magazine, Punch.


                                                  In Flanders fields, the poppies blow
                                                  Between the crosses, row on row,
                                                  That mark our place, and in the sky
                                                  The larks, still bravely singing, fly
                                                  Scarce  heard amid the guns below.

                                                  We are the Dead.  Short days ago
                                                  We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
                                                  Loved and were loved, and now we lie
                                                  In Flanders fields.

                                                  Take up our quarrel with the foe;
                                                  To you from failing hands, we throw
                                                  The torch; be yours to hold it high.
                                                  If ye break faith with us who die
                                                  We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
                                                  In Flanders fields.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be;
we shall fight on the beaches;
we shall fight on the landing grounds;
we shall fight in the fields and in the streets;
we shall fight in the hills;
we shall never surrender!
(Winston Churchill)

The object of war is not to die for your country,
but to make the other bastard die for his.
(George S. Patton)

War does not determine who is right...
but who is left.
(Bertrand Russell)

A soldier will fight long and hard
for a bit of coloured ribbon.
(Napoleon Bonaparte)

In modern war...
you will die like a dog for no good reason.
(Ernest Hemingway)

In peace, sons bury their fathers.
In war, fathers bury their sons.

War will exist until that distant day
when the conscientious objector
enjoys the same reputation and prestige
that the warrior does today.
(Robert F. Kennedy)

Mankind must put an end to war
before war puts an end to mankind.
(Robert F. Kennedy)

There is always enlightenment…in any deep subject…and when this occurs,
a ray of hope usually lightens the load of what might become depressing. 
My son forwarded to me this appropriate brief story …Innocence is Priceless!
A boy, dressed in a pale green long-sleeved shirt and wearing a royal blue
backpack, pensively studied something that hung on a building wall.

One Sunday morning, the pastor noticed little Alex standing in the foyer 
of the church staring up at a large plaque.  It was covered with names and 
small American flags mounted on either side of it.  The six-year old 
had been staring at the plaque for some time, so the pastor walked up, 
stood beside the little boy, and said quietly, “Good morning, Alex.”

“Good morning, Pastor,” he replied, still focused on the plaque.
“Pastor, what is this?”

The pastor said, “Well, son, it’s a memorial to all the young men and women
 who died in the service.”

Soberly, they stood together, staring at the large plaque.  Finally little Alex’s voice,
barely audible and trembling with fear, asked,  “Which service, the 9:00 or the 11:00?”

Merle Baird-Kerr...written October 31, 2012
Comments are welcome...scroll down...may sign in as “anonymous”

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Colours of the Rainbow

Colour adds pizzazz to our world which would fade into bleakness…
                                if we could not see the spring’s early tree foliage,
                                if we could not see the daffodils as they poke through the last snows,
                                if we could not see the lilacs of May,
                                if we could not see the first rosebud,
                                if we could not see the rippling waters of rivers and lakes,
                                if we could not see the autumn leaves of deciduous trees,
                                if we could not see the Christmas lights and holly,
                                if we could not see the frosty branches & sparkling snowflakes.

We decorate our homes in various hues and textures.
Our automobiles would be “boring” if only in black, gray or brown.
We wear clothing colours that compliment our skin tones, hair and eyes.
Our woodlands and treed urban areas would be bland without colourful birds.
We women use colours in our cosmetics, nail polish and hair tints.
Even our fruits and vegetables add table appeal,
                                               inviting us to savour their luscious goodness.

The Colours of the Rainbow present another venue, that of…

Associated Idioms

The six colours of the spectrum have contributed significantly
to expressions and turns of phase that are themselves
often quite colourful.  Here's a sampling
of idioms employing the words for colours.

RED:  Because of the association of the colour red with danger and deficits, most
idioms that include the word red...for example “in the red” (meaning 'in debt');
red tape” (referring to bureaucratic complications) and “seeing red” (being so
angry that one's vision is blurred)...all have negative associations.

However, they overshadow a few positive ones:  paint the town red” (enjoying
oneself dining and drinking); “a red letter day” (an occasion for celebration) and
“red carpet treatment” or “roll out the red carpet” (referring to paying special
attention to someone, based on the colour of carpeting usually seen at the
entrance to a gala event for celebrities or VIPs).

A “red herring” is a deliberate diversion;  a “red-eye flight” is a late-night
airplane trip (from bloodshot eyes and tired passengers) and to have a
red face” or to go “beet red” is to be embarrassed.

ORANGE:  Among the colours of the rainbow, orange is curiously absent.
Although it is a bright, cheerful colour, often found in nature, the only common
expression that uses the word orange employs the plural form referring to the
fruit of that name....”apples and oranges”, meaning unrelated subjects or issues
to emphasize irrelevance.

YELLOW:  The few idioms incorporating the word  yellow have negative
connotations.  To have a “yellow belly” or a “yellow streak down one's back”
(the reasons for the choice of locations is obscure) is to be a coward and
“yellow journalism” based on an early comic strip character named the
“Yellow Kid”, is that which is sensational and/or biased.

GREEN:  The phrases “green-eyed monster”, an epithet for jealousy and
“green with envy” are perhaps based on the idea that one's complexion turns
a sickly hue when feeling these emotions;  similarly, to say that someone
looks green or is “green around the gills” means that they appear to be sick.

But green also has positive connotations:  To give someone the “green  light”,
based on the universal traffic-signal colour to indicate Go, is to approve a
proposal.  If you have a “green thumb” (or in British English, green fingers),
you are adept in gardening...probably because successful gardeners are
apparent from the green pigmentation that rubs off from healthy plants
to their hands as they handle the vegetation.

Because US paper currency is green, in American English, the colour is
associated with money and wealth.

BLUE:  Because it is the colour of the sky, blue is associated with idioms such as
“out of the blue”  and “out of a clear blue sky” and “like a bolt from the blue”
that refer to a person, thing or idea that arrives as if from nowhere.  “Into the wild
blue yonder,” meanwhile refers to a venture into unknown territory.
“Blue collar” connotes people who work at a trade or as labourers, because such
workers at one time commonly wore durable shirts made of blue cotton (as
opposed to “white collar” referring to dress shirts worn by professionals and
office workers and “pink collar”, a later now frowned-on reference to women
in clerical positions, so labeled because men rarely wore pink).

Two idioms generally negative in sense include “blue-blooded”  meaning
aristocratic, probably because during an era in which the term was coined,
nobility tended not to spend time in the sun and their veins showed blue
under their pale skin and “blue-eyed boy” referring to a favoured protégé;
this phrase likely stems  from the fact that fair-skinned and fair-haired people
who at one time had a social advantage over their swarthier counterparts,
are likely to have blue eyes.

Other negative idioms include the use of blue to refer to a sad or bleak mood,
as well as “black and blue” meaning bruised from the colour of bruised
skin, and “blue in the face” referring to someone trying (in vain) to persuade
another until, from lack of breath, they attain this state.

PURPLE or VIOLET:  Purple, also called violet, like its colour-spectrum
counterpart yellow, has little  representation in idiomatic language.
“Purple prose” is that which is overwrought or overly  complicated and
a “shrinking violet” is a shy person, though the usage is usually employed
in such phrases as “not a shrinking violet” to refer to someone who is
anything but shy.

The colour purple, because materials for dying fabric in that colour were
rare and therefore expensive was reserved for royalty or the wealthy in western
cultures and still has an association with nobility.  This association resulted in
another idiom, “born to the purple” meaning someone born to royalty during
their reign and by extension, referring to children of prominent people.

Further to the foregoing is the colour commentator (colour analyst) who
assists the "play-by-play" sports announcer...often filling in any time when play
is not in progress.  The colour commentator provides expert analysis and
background information...such as statistics, strategy and information about
other teams and athletes related to the sport being broadcast. These colour 
commentators are often former athletes or coaches.

“Words of Wisdom”

As the Indians say,
“When anything strengthens
a bond of friendship,
the friends have walked
in the “shadow of a rainbow”.

Merle Baird-Kerr...written October 23, 2012
Comments appreciated...scroll down...may sign in as “anonymous”

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Month of November

The name November is believed to be derived  from “Novem”
which is Latin for the number nine. 
In the ancient Roman calendar,
November was the ninth month after March.
As part of the seasonal calendar,
November is the love of the “Snow Moon”
according to Pagan beliefs and the period ascribed
as the Moon of the Falling Leaves by Black Elk.

Birthstones ~ Topaz and Citrine
Flower ~ Chrysanthemum

Noteworthy Days

November 4 ~ Daylight Saving Time in countries of the Northern Hemisphere's
northern latitude ends Sunday evening on this date. Our clocks are to be set back
one hour.  Remember the cliché:   Spring Forward...Fall Back!

November 11 ~ Remembrance Day (also known as “Poppy Day”) or
Armistice Day as a memorial day observed in the Commonwealth countries
since the end of WWI to remember the number of armed forces who have died
in their line of duty. This day commemorates the armistice signed between
the Allies and Germany at Compiegne, France (for the hostilities on the
western front of WWI) taking effect at 11 o’clock in the morning…
                                                           the 11th hour 
                                                           of the 11th month of 1918.
The day was specifically dedicated by King George V on the 7th of November
1919. The red poppy has been a familiar emblem or Remembrance Day due to
the poem, In Flanders Fields.
                       ~ Veterans Day is an official US holiday honouring armed service
veterans.  It is a federal holiday.  (Memorial Day is day of remembering the
men and women who died while serving their countries.)    

November 22 ~ Thanksgiving Day in US is a secular holiday celebrated annually
the fourth Thursday of this month.  The First Thanksgiving was  celebrated by the
Pilgrims to give thanks to God for guiding them safely to the New World.

November Musings

                                                                  November comes
                                                                  And November goes
                                                                  With the last red leaves
                                                                  And the first snows.

                                                                  With night coming early
                                                                  And dawn coming later
                                                                  And ice in the bucket
                                                                  And frost by the gate.

                                                                  The fires burn
                                                                  And the kettle sing
                                                                  And the earth sinks to rest
                                                                  Until next spring.
                                                                 (Elizabeth Coatsworth)

November always seemed to me,
the Norway of the year.
(Emily Dickenson)

If it is true that one of the greatest pleasures of gardening lies in looking forward,
the planting of next year's beds and borders must be one of the most agreeable
occupations in the gardener's calendar.  
 This should make October and November particularly pleasant months, for then
they begin to clear their borders, to cut down those sodden and untidy stalks,
to dig up and increase their plants by moving them to other parts so they will show
to better effect.  People who are not gardeners, always say that the bare beds
of winter are uninteresting...having no beauty. Gardeners know better and take
even a certain pleasure in the neatness of the neatly dug, bare, brown earth. 
For them...the anticipation of a new season.
(Vita Sackville-West)

Merle Baird-Kerr … composed November 1, 2012
Comments welcome...scroll down...may sign in as “anonymous”