Monday, May 26, 2014

Images and Reflections of War

An English RECRUIT POSTER for The Great War
It is far better to face the bullets
than to be killed at home by a bomb.


This year is the 100th Anniversary in Commemoration of The Great War
(1914-1918) later renamed ...World War I

Recently, there's been much publicity about Wartime Memories and Honours to those who fought.

D-Day June 6, 1944 
This coded designation was used to signify 
any important invasion or military operation.
Since then, it has referred to the Allied landings on France's Normandy Beaches.

Veterans Commemorate the Battle of the Atlantic

The Burl-Oak Naval Veterans and Royal Canadian Naval Association (RCNA) will be holding their annual “Battle of the Atlantic” service on Sunday to commemorate the longest continual battle of the Second World War.  It remembers the naval ships and crew members lost in this battle waged from 1939 to 1945.  The Canadian Navy, which escorted 25,000 ships and 185 million tons of supplies to Great Britain, lost 31 naval ships and more than 2,000 crewmen.

Leading Seaman, Nancy Bunting, Drops Flowers from the Bow of the the names of the vessels lost during the Battle of the Atlantic were read. Canadian Naval vessels and merchant ships were lost as well as numerous maritime patrol aircraft; more than 5,000 members of the  RCN, the RCAF and Merchant Navy perished.

Ceremonies to Remember D-Day

70 Years After They Hit the Beaches...
this may be the Last Chance to Thank many Veterans!

The Winnipeg Rifles and the Regina Rifles of the 3rd  Canadian Infantry Division were expecting little  resistance as they stormed ashore on June 6,1944 at of the landing points for Canadian troops on Juno Beach.  The invaders had been told they faced a third-rate German infantry division with inferior equipment.  BUT...the Germans were well dug in!
Few of our combatants are still surviving today at an average age of 89.

 Many dignitaries and more than a thousand Canadian youth and cadets are expected to attend the Juno Beach Memorial ceremonies.  The French have never forgotten the contributions made by Canadians… (including the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry and the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders of Canada)...the Americans, British, Australasians...and other allied troops who began storming ashore at beaches code-named: Sword, Juno, Gold, Omaha and the early morning hours of June 6, 1944.

A School Girl's Memory

A woman recently wrote:  As a school girl, I've memories of war coupon books...the rationing of sugar, meat and gasoline...war saving bonds...knitting squares to make quilts...baking Christmas fruit send to our troops. As kids, we'd save our pennies to buy a 25-cent-war-savings-stamp on Fridays at school.  It was a 3-room-school and every morning we had an assembly with Grades 1 through 12.  We'd sing the “Star Spangled Banner,”  and close with “Onward Christian Soldiers” and “O Canada”. It's hard to imagine that happening today!

Supporting Our Troops Today and Tomorrow
I attribute the following story to Carolyn:

Will You Give This to My Daddy?

Last week I was in Atlanta, Georgia attending a conference.  While I was in the airport, returning home, I heard several people behind me beginning to clap and cheer.  I immediately turned around and witnessed ONE of the greatest acts of patriotism I have ever seen.  Moving through the terminal was a group of soldiers in their camos. As they began heading to their gate, everyone  (well almost everyone) was abruptly to their feet with their hands waving and cheering.

When I saw the soldiers, probably 30-40 of them, being applauded and cheered for, it hit me!  I'm not alone...I'm not the only red-blooded American who still loves this country and supports our troops and their families. Of course, I immediately stopped and began clapping for these young unsung heroes who are putting their lives on the line every day for us so we can go to school, work and home without fear of reprisal.  Just when I thought I could not be more proud of my country or of our Service men and women, a young girl, not more than 6 or 7 years old, ran up to one of the male soldiers.  He kneeled down and said,”Hi...”

The little girl then asked him if he would give something to her Daddy for her.  The young soldier, who didn't look any older than maybe 22 himself, said he would try...and what did she want to give to her Daddy.  Then suddenly, the little girl grabbed the neck of this soldier, gave him the biggest hug she could muster and then kissed him on the cheek. The mother of the little girl, who said her daughter's name was Courtney, told the young soldier that her husband was a Marine and had been in Iraq for 11 months now.  As the Mom was explaining how much her daughter, Courtney, missed her father, the young soldier began to tear up. 

When this temporarily single Mom was done explaining her situation, all of the soldiers huddled together for a brief second...then one of the other servicemen pulled out a military-looking walkie-talkie. They started playing with the device and talking back and forth on it.  After about 10-15 seconds of this, the young soldier walked back over to Courtney...bent down and said this to her, “I spoke to your Daddy and he told me to give this to you.”  He then hugged the little girl that he had just met and gave her a kiss on the cheek.  He finished by saying, “Your Daddy told me to tell you that he loves you more than anything and he is coming home very soon.”

As the soldiers began to leave, heading towards their gate, people returned their applause.  As I stood there applauding and looked around, there were very few dry eyes, including my own.  That young soldier in one last act of selflessness turned around and blew a kiss to Courtney with a tear rolling down his cheek.

We need to Remember Everyday All of Our Soldiers
and Their Families...and thank God for them and their sacrifices.
At the end of the day, it's good to be an American!  It's good to be a Canadian!

Merle Baird-Kerr...written May 5, 2014
Comments are welcome...e-mail to:

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Camouflage...Part II

Deceived and Angry
(from a loyal reader)

I have thought of the word to use when someone pretends to be someone else. The word camouflage is perfect to describe that individual.  Annoying...but true!  When it occurs, I feel deceived and angry, but sorry too.  Camouflage is used in so many forms.

Camouflage Techniques Employed by Businesses
submitted by encouraging friend

Misrepresentation and ruses are frequently used in the form of advertised “leader items” inviting the public to purchase. Retailers, then to offset this special discounted item, I've observed, have then increased prices on other purchase necessities.  I've also noted that over the past year or two, articles or items I normally buy have been reboxed  (same colour) with lesser quantities in the box (at same or  even increased price); with similar packaging, you may note even, a lesser weight.
Unless the buyer is ALERT...he is conned!
When I am swindled, I burn with anger!  When I complain to management(?) the trained personnel are skilled with “cover-up” tactics!  All I can say is...BUYER BEWARE!
And here's another beef from me:
Vehicle purchases and leases are complicated transactions.  A “big carrot” is offered for enticement.  Many fall for this, believing it to be a “good deal”.  I've had first hand experience in purchasing a new car...when the dealership offered a special.  Yes, I became the owner of a stunning new red car.  However, this supposed loss  is gained back by the dealership when additional costs are added…for example: interest rate on the loan (and no doubt, the lease as well)…even selling an additional package to enhance the vehicle.  This “deal” still puts $$$ in the pockets of the dealership...since some disclosures have not been made to the buyer.  Well...that's a good word for this guy...DEALER! 
Consumer Days have been long gone!
Remember that...things are not always what they seem!

Thank you, Merle, for this platform upon which to voice my frustration!

Camouflage in Clothes and Fashion!
Sherrie writes from her business experience.

Personally, I have never camouflaged my behaviour  or true feelings, but since I was previously in the world of high fashion and glamour…camouflage was and is very important to my life in fashion.

A wrinkled neck and d├ęcolletage is one of the effects of aging…accelerated by excessive sunbathing  which also affects the chest in some people.  This is because the skin is thinner there than other parts of the body, such as the outer arms.  There are several ways you can hide (camouflage) your neck or detract from it:                                                                    Scarves or pashminas
Polo-neck tops, cowl-neck tops or turtlenecks
Shirts with collars
Men camouflage with beards and moustaches, even long hair!

Make beautiful scarves a feature of your style.  Collect them in colours, complementing your wardrobe and in a range of fabrics …so that you can wear them year-round.

And don’t forget…A smile is just as good as a facelift!
It’s the best camouflage in the world!

Military Camouflage
written by interested reader

My uncle who served as a soldier in World War II told me of many experiences
which impressed me awesomely as he related them to me.

Camouflage uniforms and helmets have been an integral part of war exercises and manoevers  with the sole purpose of protecting personnel on the  field and equipment and often land vehicles.

Most impressive to me as a boy was Operation Camouflage (told by my uncle)...which many of you readers may not recall or never knew.  I referred to an authentic article to ensure my facts were correct.

During the afternoon of December 7, 1941, as word of the attack of Pearl Harbour reached California, some 53,000 Lockheed employees spread across 150 Southern California communities, stepped outside their homes to watch as countless P-38 fighters and Hudson bombers streaked across the sky.  In the wake of the attack, orders  had been given to get every aircraft that could fly into the air.  Some flew west to protect the nation against a potential Japanese attack on the coast.  Others were guided inland to protect against strafing runs .  And still others patrolled the skies to provide the nation with a sense of security in a time of crisis.

Three days later, while company officials gathered at Lockheed's Burbank plant to decide how best to ramp up production, the Army began setting up barricades around the facility and placed an urgent call to Col. John F. Ohmer stationed at March Field...70 miles away. Ohmer's Mission?  Find a way to disguise Lockheed's plant  ~ now one of the most strategic military facilities in the United States ~ to look like an ordinary California suburb.

 In the wake of Pearl Harbour, he was given authority to use whatever means necessary to protect the Lockheed plant.  With a camouflage engineering battalion under his command, he began recruiting artists, set designers and painters from nearby Disney, Paramount and 20th Century Fox. At the Lockheed plant, Ohmer began implementing his grand illusion.  Air fields and parking lots were painted green and lined with plants to make them look like fields of alfalfa.  The main factory was covered with a canopy of chicken wire netting and painted canvas to blend in with the surrounding grass.  And fake trees were erected with spray-painted chicken feathers for leaves, some painted green to represent new growth and some brown to represent decaying patches.

An elaborate system of underground walkways was constructed to allow for free movement across the plant, while the installation of air ducts provided proper ventilation.  Employees continued to do their work, encouraged by the placement of new bomb shelters and huge anti-aircraft guns, but were expected to play along with the illusion during their breaks...often walking back to their burlap bungalows to take down the laundry they had placed on the clothesline earlier in the day.

The Ultimate Masquerade!  Once completed, Ohmer decided to test his team's work by taking a War Department General on a reconnaissance  flight at 5,000 feet.  He asked his guest to identify the plant.  But all the General said he could see was...suburb after California suburb.

.It should not surprise anyone that camouflage patterns became popular in trendy fashion and in art since the early 1900's.  Worn today (by both sexes)… “camo” clothing may also symbolize political protest.

Compiled by Merle Baird-Kerr...April 10, 2014
Comments are welcome...send to

Friday, May 16, 2014

Camouflage...Part I

My Son, Andrew
in his Ogden Nash-style-humour writes:

I've never heard of Camel Fudge before.
You could have Caramel Fudge or Hot Fudge and Caramel.
Some people might think
a flood was “bad Karma”...hence Karma Floods.
At the Kamloops Zoo, camouflaged cameras
kept camels fudged for caramel.

Daily Life Camouflage
(submitted by an interested reader)

When Johnny Carson hosted The Tonight Show (1962 to1992), it was stated that in the privacy of his property at Malibu Beach, he walked evenings in silence and quiet meditation alone.  This apparently was his “therapy” for insecurities that he had about himself. Many entertainers suffer samely.

A neighbour friend told me that recently when it became necessary, she bought brown carpet which would camouflage coffee stains.  Smart idea!

Sometimes, when I say, “I'm okay,” I want someone to look me in the eyes and hug me tight and say, “I know you're not.”   Now, that's a confession, I've told few. Flippant attitudes often camouflage pain.

A few weeks ago I read, “A smile is just a camouflage that makes people think you're having a perfect life (even though you're dying inside). One never knows what goes on behind closed doors.

My aunt, visiting in Indonesia, stated that shopping is super cheap and generally high quality.  If you see anyone wearing “camo” holding a machete, don't be scared.  They're probably selling coconuts.

In a gardening magazine at the hair salon, I read... “Life is a Camouflage” by Diane Benson. It reads:
They know, they just know where to grow, how to dupe you and how to camouflage themselves among the perfectly respectable plants...they just know...and I concluded...weeds must have brains!

Last October when I attended a Hallowe'en party, I surmised that being unable to identify the person, the mask could hide both good and evil...and therefore, what is a truth and what is a lie?

I comment on your statement, Merle, that animals, birds, reptiles and insects have inbred clever knowledge of camouflage.  So I ask, “Are they smarter than we humans?”

Bluffs and Blunders by Politicians
(by Raymond, an ardent follower of my blogs)

Politicians are known to camouflage their actions with sole purpose of enhancing their personal lives.
Forgetfulness when being questioned or testifying.
Misquoting intentionally an opponent's facts.
Taking words out of context to misguide listeners.
Truth misconstrued to sway the public.
Publiclly attacking another party's representative.
Misrepresentation with knowledge that it is false.
Violating rules of professional conduct.
Lying for strategic advantage.
Deception by omission of the truth
is as bad as a lie.
Bribes, kick-backs, scams...whatever you want to call them...are all prevalent in the  political arenas.

Ted Nugent stated, “The government is so out-of-control.  It is bloated and infested with fraud... and  with deceit...and with corruption....and with abuse of power.”

“You may fool all of the  people some of the  time.
You can fool some of the people all the time.
But you can't fool all the people all the time.”
(Spoken by Abraham Lincoln)

Tom, a faithful supporter of my writings sends this illustration:
One Hundred Dollar Bill

It's a slow day in the small town of Pumphandle and the streets are deserted.
Times are tough, everybody is in debt and everybody is living on credit.
A tourist visiting the area drives through town, stops at the motel
and lays a $100 bill on the desk,
saying he wants to inspect the rooms upstairs to pick one for the night.
As soon as he walks upstairs, the motel owner grabs the bill
and runs next door to pay his debt to the butcher.
The butcher takes the $100 bill and runs down the street
to retire his debt to the pig farmer.
The pig farmer takes the $100 and heads off
to pay his bill to his suppler, the Co-op.
The guy at the Co-op takes the $100 and runs to pay his debt
to the local prostitute who has also been facing hard times
and has had to offer her “services” on credit.
The hooker rushed to the hotel
and pays off her room bill with the hotel owner.
The hotel proprietor then places the $100 bill back on the counter
so the traveller will not suspect anything.
At that moment the traveller comes down the stairs,
states that the rooms are not satisfactory,
picks up the $100 bill...and leaves.

No one produced anything; no one earned anything.
However, the whole town now thinks that they are out of debt
and there is a false atmosphere of optimism and glee.
And that, my friends, is how a “government stimulus package” works!

(Watch for Part II in a few days.)

Merle Baird-Kerr...compiled April 10, 2014
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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Worth

There are only two great pure loves in this world:
the love a Mother has for her Child
and the love a Child has for his/her Mother.
( Sherrie)

(Gratitude to Sydney for the following submission)

Women have strengths that amaze men.
They bear hardships and they carry burdens,
but they hold happiness, love and joy.
They smile when they want to scream.
They sing when they want to cry.

They cry when they are happy
and laugh when they are nervous.
They fight for what they believe in.
They stand up to injustice.

They don't take “no” for an answer
when they believe there is a better solution.
They go without, so their family can have.
They go to the doctor with a frightened friend.
They love unconditionally.

They cry when their children excel
and cheer when their friends get awards.
They are happy when they hear about
a birth or a wedding.

Their hearts break when a friend dies.
They grieve at the loss of a family member
yet they are strong when they think
there is no strength left.
They know that a hug and a kiss
can  heal a broken heart.

Women come in all shapes, sizes and colours.
They'll drive, fly, walk, run or e-mail you
to show how much they care about you.
The heart of a woman
is what makes the world keep turning.

They bring joy, hope and love.
They have compassion and ideas .
They give moral support to their family and friends.
Women have vital things to say
and everything to give.


Dare to love yourself as if you were a rainbow with gold at both ends.
(Aberjhani ~ American historian, poet and editor)

Believing that you're beautiful is the first step
to understanding your worth as a woman.  (Anonymous)

A woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the  crowd.
The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places
no one has ever been before.  (Albert Einstein)

Debbie Moon's  first graders were discussing a picture of a family. A child in her class commented  that the boy in the picture had a different hair colour than the other family members.  One of her students suggested that he was adopted.  A little girl said, “I know all about adoption.  I was adopted.”  Another child inquired what it meant  to be adopted, so the little girl answered, “It means that you grew in your Mommie's heart instead of her tummy.”  (Sent by one of my ardent blog readers)

Man! She is Woman!

She is mother, daughter, wife, sister.
She is a Person!
She is strong, smart, crafty.
She is passionate, courageous, generous.
She is action, emotion, devotion.
She has Hope, Beauty, Power.
She has a brain and knows how to use it.
She Gives you Life!
She gives you respect, love and gratitude.
She believes in you.
She will nurture you; she will fight for you.
She deserves nothing less from you!

Every woman's heart has different instructions.  They're written through her eyes, in her smile, through her actions and in her tears.  She just has to find someone who cares enough to read them. (Anonymous)

Scripted by Merle Baird-Kerr...April 7, 2014
To comment...e-mail to:

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Magnificence of Mother

 The young Mother set her foot on the path of life.
“Is this the long way?” she asked.
And the guide said, “Yes...and the way is hard.
And you will be old before you reach the end of it.
But the end will be better than the beginning.”

But the young Mother was happy...and she would not believe
that anything could better than these years.
So she played with her children and gathered flowers for them along the way;
and bathed them in the clear streams and the sun shone on them.
And the young Mother cried, “Nothing will ever be lovelier than this.”

Then the night came and the storm and the path was dark.
And the children shook with fear and cold
and the Mother drew them close and covered them with her mantle
and the children said, “Mother, we are not afraid...
for you are near and no harm can come.”

And the morning came, and there was a hill ahead
and the children climbed and grew weary...and the Mother was weary.
But at all times, she said to the children, “A little patience and we are there.”
So the children climbed and when they reached the top they said,
“Mother, we would not have done it without you.”

And the Mother, when she lay down at night, looked up at the stars and said,
“This is a better day than last, for my children have learned
fortitude and in the face of hardness.
Yesterday, I gave them courage.
Today, I've given them strength.”

And the next day came strange clouds which darkened the earth,
clouds of  war and hate and evil...and the children groped and stumbled;
and the Mother said, “Look up!  Lift your eyes to the light.”
And the children looked and saw above the clouds an everlasting glory
and it guided them beyond the darkness.
And that night, the Mother said, “This is the best day of all,
for I have shown my children God.”

And the days went on and the weeks and the months and the years
and the Mother grew old and she was little and bent.
But her children were tall and strong and walked with courage.
And when the way was rough, they lifted her, for she was light as a feather;
and at last they came to a hill and beyond they could see a shining road
and golden gates flung wide...and the Mother said,
“I have reached the end of my journey...
and now I know the end is better then the beginning,
for my children can walk alone...and their children after them.”

And the children said, “You will always walk with us, Mother,
even when you have gone through the gates.”
And they stood and watched her as she went on alone...
and the gates closed after her...and they said,
“We cannot see her...but she is with us still.
A Mother like ours is more than a memory:
She is a Living Presence!”

Your Mother is always with you...
She's the whisper of the leaves as you walk down the street;
she's the smell of bleach in your freshly laundered socks;
she's the cool hand on your brow when you're not well.
Your Mother lives inside your laughter,
and she's crystallized in every tear drop.
She's the place  you came from ...your first home;
and she's the map  you follow with every step you take.
She's your first love and your first heartbreak,
and nothing on earth can separate you.

Not time, not space...not even death!

(Graciously, I thank Dilu for the foregoing)

James Patterson in his novel, The Lake House, stated,
There are two things you can give your children:
One is Roots!  The other Wings!

Merle Baird-Kerr...written April 12, 2014
All comments welcome...send to:  or

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Collage...for May 2014

From Planet Earth Calendar

The Living Limit:  The tree line is a natural border that divides more accommodating climates from harsher ones.  This division typically occurs on mountainsides with lush growth at lower levels and a more barren landscape higher up.  This is a dynamic border  ~ tree lines do not remain in the same spot.  They are constantly advancing and retreating because of the changes in climate.  Warming puts heavy upward pressure on the tree line.  As the temperature rises, trees are able to survive  higher and higher up the mountain.  If the temperature drops, the tree line will retreat.  Fossils of trees have been found well above the tree line of some the Scandese in Sweden, indicating a temperature drop over time.

Did You Know?
(from the Canadian Wildlife Federation Calendar)

The Atlantic Rock Crab measures about 13 centimetres across the back of its shell...and is found near the shores of Canada's eastern coast.  They are commonly found in depths of 5 and 20 metres.

Plants are wildlife too!  Canada is home to thousands of native plants.   If you plant these species in your garden, they will be easier to maintain...and can help birds, butterflies and other wildlife. To see a list of Canada's native plants, 
Caution:  Ontario's Provincial Flower...the Trillium (whether pink or white)...
is NOT to be transplanted from its woodland setting.

Gardening Advice

Kathy Renwald recently wrote in her Gardener’s Journal (published Thursdays in the Spectator) that all homeowners should plant a Redbud Tree.  It is a deciduous shrub or small tree that survives well in our Southern Ontario climate.  Early Spring, the Redbud’s light to dark magenta showy flowers will fully delight you.  (I first saw  Redbud Trees in the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas when visiting my son.)

In an earlier issue, Kathy advised, “Pay Attention to what you Plant and your Garden  will be a Habitat for Bees and Butterflies.”  Her large photo illustrated lavender lilacs with a visiting Monarch Butterfly.

Be a Guardian of Earth’s Creatures!

Message from the Canadian Red Cross

May is “Leave a Legacy Month.”  At home and abroad, providing relief to people in crisis is at the very heart of the Canadian Red Cross.  Our work is made possible ~ thanks to the kindness and compassion of people just like you, who remember us in their wills.


Every day in America, another 30 people die...
as a result of drunk driving crashes!

Niagara Falls and Great Gorge
(from Niagara Falls of Canada 2014 Calendar)

To see the Canadian Horseshoe Falls illuminated at night,
is to be awake in the land of colourful dreams.

Visitors to the the brink of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls are thrilled by Journey Behind the Falls, the attraction that goes below and behind the Falls.  Elevators transport visitors down to the spray and mist at the base of the Falls...where they can feel the thunder of the pounding water.

Special Event Days

May 8 (Thursday) ~ World Red Cross Day
May 10 (Saturday) ~ International Migratory Day
May 11 (Sunday) ~ Mother's Day
May 15 (Thursday) ~ National Lifejacket Day
May 19 (Monday) ~ Victoria Day...except NL
National Patriots' Day...QC
May 22 (Thursday) ~ International Day of Biodiversity

May Musings

The first day of the month of May is known as May Day. 
Warmer weather begins and flowers and trees start to blossom.
It is said to be a time of love and romance.
It is when people celebrate the coming of summer with many different customs
 that are expressions of joy and hope after a long enduring winter.

The wind is tossing the lilacs
The new leaves laugh at the sun;
And the petals fall on the orchard wall.
But, for me...Spring is done.
(Sara Teasdale ~ May)

Be like a flower...and turn  your face to the sun.
(Kahlil Gibron)

Good things happen every day...we only have to notice.
(Anne Wilson Schaef)

Flower and Garden Philosophy
Remember that children, marriages and flower gardens
reflect the kind of care they get.
(H. Jackson Brown Jr.)

Compiled by Merle Baird-Kerr...May 1, 2014
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