Friday, June 27, 2014

Body Language...

is a form of mental and physical ability
of human non-verbal communication consisting of
body posture...gestures...facial expressions...and eye movements.

Humans send and interpret  such signals almost entirely subconsciously.
Body language, in this sense should not be understood as “sign language.”

James Borg states that “Human communication consists of 93% body language and 7% of words themselves.” Mehrabian denies these facts.  To him, “Body language may provide clues as to the attitude or state of mind  of a person.  It may indicate aggression...attentiveness...boredom...relaxed state...pleasure...amusement...intoxication.”

The technique of “reading people” is used frequently by
Border Security Agencies, by police detectives, by Business "head honchos", etc.

Re: Hand Writing

Through my years of teaching primary grades, middle school and Grade 8’s, I was aware of how a child held his crayons, pencil or pen…and would attempt to correct his holding if necessary.  Even today, it  is a constant observation for me to do so.  Still, I silently question, whether adult or child, if there are any special interpretations for the various ways in which a person holds any writing instrument. 

In Writing, your Eyes have to Follow what your Hand is Doing.
Use a light grip.
Your writing will automatically become neater and save your hand a lot of pain.

Commented one High School teacher about a student, “She stopped at the transition from a 5-finger grip (as a monkey would do) to a 4-finger grip and never went to the 3-finger grip. (Note that the lighter grip of the latter is to hold the pen point between the thumb and forefinger.)

Regardless of the position of one’s hand when writing, it is from...the mind, the heart, the hands and the eyes that history, legends and true life experiences are born.  The ability to write easily, quickly and legibly affects the quality of one’s flow of thoughts.  I comment here, “Unfortunately The Computer today has almost surpassed the beauty and personal style of penmanship, treasured not long ago.”

Graphology (study & analysis of handwriting) can still today predict a person’s lifestyle, his fortune and  his future.  Even police and courts often depend upon a person’s signature  as “proof”.

Quirky Habits and Mannerisms “Speak of the Person”

Remember Frank Sinatra’s lyrics from
They Can’t Take That Away From Me???

The way you wear your hat.
                                                              The way you sip your tea.
The memory of all that ~
No, No ~ they can’t take that away from me!

The way your smile just beams.
The way you sing off-key.
The way you haunt my dreams ~
No, No ~ they can’t take that away from me!

I am never content with “the ordinary...only the “extra-ordinary.”
Whenever I purchase something unusual, whether…clothing...a jewellery piece…a garden statue…a painting…my son always remarked, “ I know why you bought it, Mom…because it’s different!”  to which I respond, “Yes…it is unique!”

For years, I’ve played Duplicate Bridge.  While attending  local Bridge Clubs, I had in my purse a selection of pencils. With pleasure I’d choose one that complemented my clothing ensemble…whether pink, blue, red…purple or yellow. Other players took note and smilingly recognized me for this trait.

I have a yen for odd numbers!  When playing Ladies Softball, I wore either 7 or 9.  The house number on any residential property I owned  began or ended with an odd number!  My car licence is 01 RI 07.

Someone once wrote, “I like to steal people’s food and hide it when they’re not looking.  When they turn around, their food is gone. It is amazingly funny to observe when they start searching for it.”

SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE  often do What Others  call “Weird!”
Charles Dickens: would only write and sleep facing North.
Seth Gordon: wore brightly coloured but mismatched socks.
Leonard da Vinci: slept 2 hours at a time in 4-hour intervals.
Steve Jobs’ work uniform was always a black turtleneck sweater and jeans.

In Mississauga, a well-established realtor drove a “pink Cadillac”; his clients, so delighted to ride in it!  My “signature piece” in the real estate industry, was the daily wearing of hats…recognized as The Hat Lady.

A successful businessman to whom I sold a property, had one definite requirement about the house:  “When you walk into it, the Kitchen must be on the right!”  Therefore,  I always contacted the Listing Sales Rep to check or Preview it myself…before arranging appointments for  my client to view it.

Words of Wisdom

A Good Head and a Good Heart…are Always a Formidable Combination.

All human actions have one or more of these seven causes:

Crafted by Merle Baird-Kerr…May 18, 2013
Comments appreciated…e-mail to:

Monday, June 23, 2014

Cursive Handwriting

Written by Edda Manley...a Hand Writing Specialist
and an ardent follower of my blog articles comments…

Presently I'm helping my colleagues south of the border because cursive handwriting has now been taken out of the U.S. Public School curriculum due to their implementation of the Common Core Curriculum.  Sadly, our education policy makers follow the Americans even though some things had already proven to be a dismal failure here.  This happened with Whole Language and New Math.  
More information on our efforts can be found at and the www.campignforcursiveblogspot.

The grasp of the hand is the first motor control function developed by human beings.  Think of the heart connection made when an infant's hand grasps your finger.  The grasp of the hand is also the last motor control to leave one's body...often long after the person has ceased breathing.  How wonderful to have that connection to the very end. 

The first thing every child wants to learn or write by hand is his/her name.  The last handwriting to be maintained by a person at or near the end of one's life is the signature.

There is now neuro-scientific evidence seen through functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) that shows more adult like neuro-pathway connections are created through handwriting. These are not produced when children are read to...or use a keyboard.  (See research done by Canadian educated Dr. Karin Harman James at the University of Indiana).

There are over 3,000 nerve endings in each fingertip directly connected to the brain.  Simply rubbing your fingertips with your thumb stimulates the brain.  In body-language, pressing one's fingertips from both hands together during conversation is seen as a sign of intelligence/thinking.

Edda Manley...can be reached

“Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder
how all those who do not write, compose or paint
can manage to escape madness, melancholia, the panic and fear
which is inherent in a human situation.”
(Graham Greene)

“If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead,
either write something worth reading
or do things worth writing.”
(Benjamin Franklin)

“Writing is an extreme privilege, but it’s also a gift.
It’s a gift to yourself and it’s a gift of giving a story to someone,”
(Amy Tan)

Cursive writing develops a flair that is unique and indicative of the person
with pen, paper or brush in hand.

Learning Cursive promotes brain development Learning to write Cursive requires…tentativeness and conscious control over fine hand and finger movements An important need in the cognitive development of children is to develop their ability to…focus…self-awareness of what they are doing…how they are doing it…making their muscles do what they want them to do…and responding to the feedback from knowing what improvements in control are needed and make those adjustments.

Psychologists advocate that Cursive should be taught in schools. Mental effort is seen as undesirable by many ~ but it is conducive to training the minds of children.

J. K. Rowling ~ a British novelist, best  known as the author of the Harry Potter fantasy series advocates, “The most important thing  is to read and write. Read as much as you can like I did.  It will give you an understanding of what makes good writing and it will enlarge your vocabulary.”

Merle Baird-Kerr…compiled June 19, 2014
To comment…e-mail to:

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Messages from Hands

 Iris Johansen wrote in a recent novel, “There was something magical about hands.  They built cities...and created works of art; they could be brutal and gentle...they could bring pain or pleasure.”

Last summer, when a tree was cut down near Hutch's on the beach,
a local woodcrafter, with skilful hands and tools carved  from the tree stump
mermaids...turning an eyesore into an exquisite sculpture.

“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions or cures, have chosen rather to understand us,  share our  pain and touch our wounds with a warm tender hand.”  (Quote by Henri Nouen)

Policemen use hands to direct traffic.
Family members  use hands for household and outdoor chores.
Baseball managers, coaches and catchers relay plays to be made.
Hands often indicate a person's vocation...whether labourer or executive
A woman’s hands often are graceful…even deemed to be beautiful.
Hands may be those cards dealt to individuals in a game.
Good friends and lovers often hold hands.

Watching people talk, is intriguing…their body language speaks loudly!
They should use their heads to…“think before they speak” (which few seldom do).
Their eyes add expression to the message being conveyed.
The words spoken and voice tone from their mouths are a “give-away”.
The complete expressions of smile, frown or anger depict their inner emotions.
Often a shrug of the shoulder(s) carries much emphasis on attitude.
Arms and hands display various gestures…varying from gentleness to anger.
(As a test, in conversation with someone, place hands behind your back.)

There are 5 digits on each hand.  The four fingers can be folded over the palm which allows the grasping of objects.  Each finger, starting with the one closest to the thumb, has a colloquial name to distinguish it from the others:  the forefinger (also referred to as the pointer finger or index finger)...the middle finger (or long finger)...the ring finger...the little finger (also small finger or baby finger).  Each of these 5 digits, used separately or with another, signify a message which can be interpreted as a positive or negative action.

Common Visible Gestures by the Hand

A-ok or Okay:  Connect the thumb and forefinger in a circle and holding the other fingers straight.
Admonishment:  Fist is made except for the forefinger which pumps up and down, pointing quite aggressively with lecturing message stating, “Listen to me” or “Pay attention to what I'm saying.”
Applause:  Clapping both hands together acknowledging  a good performance.
Beckoning Sign:  The index finger sticks out from the closed fist and with palm facing the gesturer and the finger moving repeatedly in a hook shape.
Blah-blah:  Keep the fingers straight together...while the thumb points downward.  The fingers and thumb then snap together repeatedly to suggest a mouth talking..

Crossed Fingers:  This gesture is used to superstitiously wish good luck.
Cuckoo Sign:  Make a circular motion with the index finger at the ear or side of the head signifying that the person has a “loose screw”.
The Finger:  An extended middle finger with the back of the hand toward the recipient is an obscene hand gesture used much in western culture.
Finger Gun:  The person uses the hand to mimic a gun.
Fist:  Tightly closed,  it is a threatening motion that implies “hitting”.

Handshake:  A greeting ritual in which 2 people grasp each other's hand.
High Five:  A celebratory ritual ~  2 people simultaneously raise one hand, slapping hands together.
Hitchhiking:  Sticking one thumb upward,  requesting a ride in a vehicle.
Knocking on wood:  A superstitious gesture to ensure that a good thing will continue to occur.
Money Sign:  The thumb rubs repeatedly over the tips of the index and middle fingers.

Pointing:  The index finger indicates an item or person to see.
Poking:  Also tapping or jabbing a person with an extended finger may be used to call attention.
Ring Finger: Showing the hand advertises a special ring...promise or engagement or wedding band.
Sign Language:  Uses normal communication and body language to convey meanings as opposed to sound patterns for persons who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.
Telephone:  The thumb and little finger are outstretched (other fingers against the palm of hand); thumb is placed on the ear and little finger at the mouth.
Wave:  The hand is raised and moves left to right as a greeting...or sign of departure.

Quotes from Recognized Authors

I have learned that you should not go through Life
with a catcher's mitt on both hands...
you need to be able to throw something back.
(Maya Angelou)
Of Life's two chief prizes...Beauty and Truth,
I found the first was a loving heart
and the second, a labourer's hand.
(Khalil Gibran)

A man is not paid for having a head and hands and feet,
but for using them.
(Elbert Hubbard ~ American Editor)

Merle Baird-Kerr...compiled April 7, 2014
Comments welcome...send to:

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Importance of a Father's Love

My Father gave me the Greatest Gift anyone could give ~
He Believed in Me.
(Jim Valvano)

In a novel which I recently read...”Run for Your Life” written by Iris Johansen,
the lead character, Grace, speaking to Robert, her bodyguard, conversed
about her Father...who from  her early childhood, defended him from people
who didn't understand that her life with him wasn't what they thought.

“He made Life an adventure for me; sometimes, a terrifying adventure, but he'd always shown me love and kindness.  In all the loneliness of my childhood, I never doubted that he cared for me. That knowledge was significantly important to me!  In a world that changed every day...when I hadn't been able to count on anyone or anything...I could count and depend on....My Father Loving Me.

Meaningful Quotes

I wasn't anything special as a Father...
but I loved them...and they knew it!
(Sammy Davis Jr.)

It's easier for a father to have children
than for children to have a real father.
(Pope John XXIII)

He didn't tell me how to live...he lived and let me watch him do it.
(Clarence Budington Re Naud)

I would want my legacy to be that…
 I was a Great Son...a Great Father..,and a Great Friend.
(Dante Hall)

The Mouths of Babes

Patrick McAlpine of Nepean, Ontario, shares a funny anecdote he came across about a little girl who wrote a composition for Father's Day:
“My Dad can climb the highest mountain or swim the biggest ocean.
He can fly the fastest plane and fight the strongest tiger!
My Father can do anything!
But, most of the time, he just carries out the garbage.”

Compiled by Merle Baird-Kerr...May 26, 2014
Your comments are welcome...e-mail to:

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Provincial Election ~ June 12, 2014

 When I became 18, and time for my first vote on Election Day in Brantford, my Mother asked which candidate I intended to mark on the ballot.  In replying to her, “I'm undecided whether to vote for the political party...or for the individual running in our ward,” she commented, “If you vote for anyone other than Conservative, you will cancel my vote.”

I have never forgotten this experience which confirmed and caused me to realize the importance of exercising one's privilege to vote.  It is not an  option...because one vote may make a difference.

Dr Abdul Kalaam stated,
“It is very easy to defeat someone…but it is very hard to win!”

So Many Candidates, So Little Space.

Joan Little, Freelance columnist,
 a former Burlington Alderman and Halton Councillor
writes the following in today's Spectator:

Elections, elections, elections!  Voters and candidates have a busy year.  It's too bad the June Twelfth Provincial Election overlaps with the Municipal campaign period, which ends with the election October 27 this year.  That makes it hard for these candidates who are already canvassing and makes it confusing for voters. Municipally, mayoral races are interesting in Hamilton and Toronto especially, where there are strong candidates and the usual publicity-seekers, many of whom don't spend a dime on campaigns, just want the attention.

Toronto?  Perhaps the many right-wing candidates will split the vote and left-winger Olivia Chow will win.  Please, let it be anyone but Ford,Canada's foul-mouthed embarrassment.

Hamilton is blessed with good candidates.  Interestingly, one past mayor endorses another past mayor currently running for the mayoral position. 

There is no mayoralty race in Burlington.  It is unlikely a credible challenger to Rick Goldring will emerge this late.  A Burlington mayoral campaign would cost $100,000 and require much preparation to begin now.  But, there are formidable candidates for council.  Some are so good, they will split the vote, probably resulting in re-election of incumbents.
(Excerpts only from her writing)

Let’s hope the candidates get it right!

Jim Hendrix stated:  “Knowledge Speaks…but Wisdom Listens.”

Taking Down the Bird Feeder

Tom sends the following “analogy” ~
(Maxine, in a cartoon, came up with a solution
for the mess that America/Canada is now in economically)

I bought a bird feeder.  I hung it on my back porch and filled it with seed. What a beauty of a bird feeder it I filled it lovingly with seed.  Within a week, hundreds of birds were taking advantage of the continuous flow of free and easily accessible food.  But, then the birds started building nests in the boards of the patio, above the table and next to the barbecue.  Then came the poop.  It was everywhere: on the patio tile, the chairs, the table.  Everywhere!

Then, some of the birds turned mean.  They would dive-bomb me and try to peck me even though I had fed them out of my own pocket. And other birds were boisterously loud. Sitting on the feeder, they squawked  and screamed all day and night and demanded that I fill it when it got low on food. 

After a while, I couldn't I couldn't even sit on my own back porch anymore.  So I took down the bird feeder and in three days, the birds were gone. I cleaned up their mess and took down the many nests they had built all over the patio.  Soon, the back yard was like it used to be...quiet...serene...and no one demanding their rights to a free meal.

Now...let's see!  Our government gives out free food, subsidized housing, free medical care and free education...and allows anyone born here to be an automatic Canadian.

Then, the “illegals” came by tens of thousands.  Suddenly our taxes went up to pay for free services; small apartments are housing 5 families; you have to wait 6 hours to be seen by an emergency doctor; your child's second grade class is behind other schools because over half the class doesn't speak English. Cornflakes now come in a bilingual box; I have to “press one” to hear my bank talk to me in English...and people waving flags (other than The Maple Leaf) are squawking and screaming in the streets...demanding More Rights and Free Liberties.
Just My Opinion...but maybe it's time
for the Government to take down the bird feeder!

The Bells
(Another Election Message sent by an ardent reader)

Fred was in the fertilized egg business. He had several hundred young ‘pullets’ and 10 roosters to fertilize the eggs. He kept records and any rooster not performing went into the soup pot and  replaced.
This took a lot of time…so he bought some tiny bells and attached them to the roosters. Each bell had a different tone, so he could tell from a distance…which rooster was performing.

Now, he could sit on the porch and fill out an efficiency report by just listening to the bells. His favourite rooster, Old Butch, was a very fine specimen, but this morning he noticed old Butch’s bell hadn’t rung at all.  When he went to investigate, he saw the other roosters were busy chasing pullets, bells-a-ringing, but the pullets, hearing the roosters coming, would run for cover. To his amazement, old Butch held his bell in his beak, so it couldn’t ring.  He’d sneak up on a pullet…do his job and walk on to the next one. Fred was so proud of old Butch, he entered him in the Brisbane City Show and he became an overnight sensation among the judges. 

The result was…the judges not only awarded old Butch the “No Bell Prize,”  but they also awarded him the “Pulletsurprise” as well.  Clearly, old Butch was a politician in the making!

Who else but a politician could figure out how to win two of the most coveted awards on our planet by being the best at sneaking up on the unsuspecting  populace and screwing them when they weren’t paying attention?
Vote carefully in the next election…you can’t always hear the bells!

Wisdom Words from Aesop
“It is not only fine feathers…that make fine birds!”

Merle Baird-Kerr…written May 17, 2014
To comment…e-mail to:

Friday, June 6, 2014

D-Day Delayed

 5 Days Before D-Day 

I left England on June 1, 1944 on the Liberty Ship...S.S. George E. Pickett.  This was the third dry run we thought, so the speech we got before boarding, by some nameless General, was taken in stride.

After being under sail for 12 hours, we started to consider the possibility of this being the 'real thing'.  The following day,  still moving around the Channel off the coast of Brest, more vessels joined our group.  We kept moving together.  A convoy without any visible Naval escort!  We all stayed on deck as much as possible because it was extremely hot below.

All the hatches were covered but we finally found that our cargo was composed of Sherman tanks, Jeeps with trailers filled with gear, DUKWs piled high with rope cargo nets, two and a half ton trucks with canvas covers tied down and thousands of 5-gallon Jerry cans filled with gasoline and guys from the 90th Infantry...who were at a loss as we were.

It turns out that the General with no name turned out to be Ike, whom I wouldn't know from a hole in the ground...and later realized it was he...when his picture was in the Stars and Stipes.

This was no “dry run”...this time, we knew it was the real thing!!!  Little did we know that we would spend 5 days aboard this vessel.

D-Day  First Light

D-Day!  First Light revealed, an LCT nestled up against the S.S. Picket on the port side, next to the No. 2 hatch.  No 2 hatch is the largest hatch on a Liberty ship and contained the heaviest  units.  The booms on No. 2 are rated for 50 tonnes, so the order was to place our tank cargo aboard the LCT along side.  The Landing Craft Tank can deliver its freight by dropping its ramp like a bow...right on the beach and tanks  are driven off, each with its own after the other.  During the loading process, we were taking fire from shore and the bridge of the  LCT was hit by an 88 shell from a German gun.  We found out later that a Naval Lt. on the bridge was decapitated.  The crew was replaced and the LCT  cast off, beach bound. 

The empty spot was taken immediately by another vessel. The action on the starboard side was used for off-loading fuel, ammo and infantry into LCVPs (Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel).  The S.S. Morgan went down by the stern, 200 yards off our port side.  The daylight increased and it got lighter.  My outfit went ashore via an LCVP piloted by a coxswain who was out in the open at all times.  He brought us safely to the beach without incident; then he dropped the ramp and we debarked in waist deep water.  As soon as we were ashore, he backed off the beach to get another load.  We had landed on Utah Beach.  Ten hours later, I returned to the Pickett to help finish unloading the ship and get our gear.  The Naval bombardment destroyed almost every fortification on the shore.  The Atlantic Wall where we landed, was a myth.  Fortunately, for my outfit we were put ashore 1,000 yards northwest of our initially assigned area...and it was very lightly defended.

There is a film called, “A Walk in the Sun” with Dana Andrews and John Ireland (to name a few of the stars) that comes to mind.  John Ireland, mentally writes letters to  his sister about his well-being after the invasion of an island off Italy.  All through the movie, he writes or narrates letters to her optimistically not knowing if they will ever be read.  In the movie, their mission is to take a well-fortified farm house which is serving as an observation post.  Completing their assignment, after a huge loss of life, we see John Ireland's character under a shade tree...paper and pencil in hand;  he grimly muses about the contents of the letter to his sister at the close of the film.
“Dear Sis...Today we took a farm house.  It was so easy!”

Musings, Afterthoughts and Perceptions

D-Day on the S.S George E. Pickett
This year celebrates the 70th Anniversary of the Normandy Landings!

Oh, Yes!  They knew we were coming!  The 82nd Airborne had been dropped the day before.  They fought their way back to the beach.  They did not know that the landings would be delayed because of a little bad weather.  I'll bet they were outraged beyond anything I could imagine...wondering how they were supposed to hold their objectives  without the backup they had been be “right behind them!”  They were waiting for the sound of bugles signifying that the cavalry was en route to the rescue.  To say the least, they were upset!!!  They were tired!!  They were lucky!

Let me explain where I am going with this:
People get killed in wars.
Soldiers get killed in war.
We are not trained to see the whole picture!
Our superior officers tell us that we are a small link in the whole chain...of what the fighting is all about. Don't get negative thoughts regarding your orders!  Why are we going to do this, this way when it seems so much easier, to do it another way?  It's not exactly like they issue a rain check to some outdoor activity and everyone is inconvenienced for a few days.

This activity has men's lives in the balance.  We should not have delayed the landings and sacrificed those men of the 82nd and 101st without a chance of relief as they expected.  Somehow, I suspect that the delayed landings came about because of some bad the last moments of this operation.  I suppose the early jumpers were told to hold their objective and we would get to them as soon as we can. Just as these divisions carried out their orders without question...we would have done the same and gone ashore on the 5th (of June) in the storm...because we were trained to respond to our orders without question...and because we were immortal.

Men who have never been in a combat situation may think about death,
but not about their own.You cannot realize or perceive your own death.   
That only happens to someone else. Combat changes that!    
One day you understand! A guy could get killed out there! 

I asked myself, “What in the world am I doing here on the beach on D-Day?

When you've seen enough bodies of friends or enemies, you stop running for cover when there is a shelling from 88's .  You get scared of getting out of your foxhole if one of your skittish neighbours is quick on the trigger.  You start thinking a little differently.  Your existence depends on how good the guy next to you in the field is. He and the others who are still alive, start thinking pretty much the same way.  Don't worry about yourself so much...just watch out for your fellowmen...because they are the only thing that is keeping you alive!

Here we are...70 years after the event...
and I defy you to tell me how many casualties
the pre D-Day invaders suffered.
I'm sure that this figure is best kept with
the overall population of American and Allied losses!

Merle Baird-Kerr...compassionately scripted May 17, 2014
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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

"Exercise Tiger"

Unlike most War Veterans who are clam-mouthed about their endurances in war-time, Sol, in the  early 1980's, gained sufficient computer knowledge to write and document significant experiences with the U.S. Army…from intensive training to long-buried war atrocities.  His writings as blog entries were therapy for his soul. Today, he is recognized as Oldest Military Blogger...a site to which you can connect on the Internet. He is now 91 years of age  with a very keen mind and well-sustained memory! 

With special permission, I present his writings from personal experience pertaining to:  The Preparation manoevers for D Day...and the Landing Assault on Normandy Beach, June 6, 1944. These I am posting as  as two separate entries,  I request that you take the time to read every word he wrote.
Sense his emotions.
Relive the Action!  Be in his Mind!
Think his thoughts about Life and his fellowmen...
as you read his descriptive narrative on these eventful days!

Ken Small, the author of  “A Memorial For A Sherman Tank” related the culmination of a project in April 1944 called “Exercise Tiger” and how this rigorous training with live ammunition was held as a preamble to Operation Neptune, the invasion of France across the English Channel.  Exercise Tiger had a previous dry run in December of '43 but the April 44th rehearsal led ultimately, to be one of the most horrendous misfortunes of WWII.

Exercise Tiger was staged off South Devon, England, at a beach called Slapton Sands, just 6 weeks before the D Day Landings in  Normandy.  South Devon was a quiet little hamlet on the southeastern  English coast with beaches, whose configurations were similar to the Normandy terrain of Utah Beach.  An ideal place for Exercise Tiger, were it not for Murphy's Law ~ “If anything could possibly go wrong, it will.” 

On  April 29th, 1944, in the English Channel less than 40 miles from the German occupied  French soil, Exercise Tiger was devastated by E Boats  from their base in Cherbourg, France. The Cherbourg Peninsula was a huge E Boat that harassed and sunk Allied shipping. E Boats are the equivalent to the U.S. PT 109, the torpedo boat commanded by John Kennedy in the South Pacific long before he became the President of the U.S.  These E Boats were fast and deadly and surely held in the highest  regard  for the safety of Allied troops and  ships by the leadership of the exercise.

Unfortunately, the 2 Destroyers assigned to defend the men and equipment had difficulty with their communication  gear. Exercise Tiger was a disaster. The Army's 1st Engineer Special Brigade and the US Navy suffered losses in the Channel and on the English beach due to heavy shelling.  The Brigade losses were more than two Companies.  At first, I thought my Battalion was a replacement for the casualties of the Brigade. Later I was told that our three Port Battalions with the 1st Engineer Special Brigade were assigned there originally...and not as replacements.  In addition, the Port Battalions were to cover the retreat of the Landings should it have been necessary.

We would then have been the last troops to leave the Beach.

The last  line reminds me of the movie, “On the Waterfront.”  The Hero, 
Marlon Brando, who portrays a professional boxer, laments to his brother 
about the last fight he just lost.

“I could've been a contender,” he pleads...
then adds with a moan,
“I could've been “a somebody!”

The last line means to me, I was a contender.
Contrary, to Marlon's  second classic expression,
I ~ Am A Somebody!

(Be certain to read...D-Day be published June 6)

Merle Baird-Kerr...scripted May 16, 2014
Comments welcome...e-mail to:

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Collage...for June 2014

From Planet Earth Calendar

River of Ice;  Glaciers have grown and shrunk repeatedly over the last million years.  Presently, Earth is in a relatively warm period, called an interglacial, resulting in the retreat of glaciers.  As part of its evolutionary cycle, Earth has been plunged into cold episodes, called glacials, in which the extent of glaciers is expanded.  These glacials are commonly called “ice ages”.  Glaciers don't just freeze and thaw like ice on a pond.  As they gain mass, they actually “flow like a river of ice.”  The fastest flowing glacier in the world today  is Jakobshavn Isbrae in Greenland.  Measurements taken over a 20 year period showed flow rates ranging from 3.5 miles per year to almost 8 miles per year.  Glaciers are important to the planet in many ways.  They have carved out many of Earth's features.  Glacial ice is also the largest reservoir of fresh water on Earth.

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

The large colourful Swallowtail Butterfly is found across Canada and is a common visitor in many gardens.  Their name comes from their unique tails which can resemble the forked tails of swallows.

More than 80% of ocean pollution is caused by human activity on land.  To help our aquatic and marine life, CWF celebrates “Rivers to Oceans” week.  Learn how to help at

Shorebirds, called Red Knots can be seen migrating through eastern Canada as they travel 16,000 kilometres from their breeding grounds in the Arctic to southern Argentina.  One bird, referred to as “B95” made the trip 20 times!

Gardening Advice

Plant Milkweed to help save the Monarch Butterflies.  The number of these beautiful insects who migrate an incredible 64,800 km every year is at a record low.  Milkweed is crucial to the Monarchs' survival.  The plant is commonly grown in fields and open spaces...but increasing development and use of herbicides have taken a serious toll.  Monarchs lay their eggs only on milkweed and is the only food plant which the caterpillars eat.  The milkweed has a beautiful pale mauve addition to its worthy butterfly effect.  Even a weed...can become a beloved plant. (Excerpts from Toronto Star)

Honeysuckle draws Hummingbirds and Butterflies.  It is a climber with the perfect amount of vigour for arbours, trellises, banisters and pillars. It feeds hummingbirds and butterflies with nectar.  The flowers are not only extraordinary, but the vine  blooms off and on throughout the growing season.

Message from the Canadian Red Cross

Drowning deaths are preventable.  Supervision of children is key at home or on vacation.  Supervision by adults is the best protection possible  for children...even those who can swim!


Teen alcohol use kills about 6,000 people each year...more than all illegal drugs combined.

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

Aerial photo of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls
as a Maid of the Mist tour boat approaches the spray.

Water crashing over the Falls drops 52 metres (170 feet) into a basin that is as deep as the Falls are high.  More than 168,000 cubic metres (6 million cubic feet) of water can go over the Falls every minute ~ enough to fill ONE MILLION BATHTUBS.

Special Event Days

June 5 (Thursday) ~ World Environmental Day
June 6 (Friday) ~ 70th  Anniversary of D-Day
June 8-14 (Sun. to Sat.) ~ Canadian Environmental Week
June 15 (Sunday) ~ Father's Day
June 15-21 (Sun. to Sat.) Rivers to Oceans Week
June 20 (Friday) ~ World Refugee Day
June 21 (Sat.) ~ Summer Solstice & National Aboriginal Day

June Musings

If a June night could talk,
it would probably boast that it invented romance.
(Bern William)

It is dry hazy weather...we are more of the earth,
farther from heaven these days.
(Henry David Thoreau)

The air is like a butterfly with frail blue wings;
The happy earth looks at the sky...and sings.
(Joyce Kilmer)

It is better to be a young June-bug
than an old bird-of-paradise.
(Mark Twain)

Roses are red, violets are blue;
But they don't get around like dandelions do.
(Slim Acre)

Flower and Garden Philosophy
Happiness is to hold flowers in both hands.
(Japanese Proverb)

Merle Baird-Kerr...compiled May 4, 2014
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