Thursday, January 29, 2015

Goofy Groundhogs...Why We Listen To Them

Viewpoint...from the Guelph Mercury

We know there's no weight in it.  It's not scientific. Its overall and recent accuracy has been lousy!  And yet many of us will take at least a passing interest in what the prognosticator groundhog will be purporting to have told Sunday about how much winter there remains ahead of us.

The Wiarton Willies of this world ~ and there have been more than one ~ always attract some attention.
But when the rodents emerge during winters that have been unstintingly snowy, blowy and chilly, the issue of whether they immediately see their shadow garners particular interest.

Last winter contributed to scores of local collisions...influenced many injurious slips and falls...led to school closures...bus nightmares...and cold-caused injuries to people and animals.
The weather people kept telling us temperatures  would be frigid...winds would make us feel colder...and we could expect some more snow.  And those predictions were correct.  Day after day!

Local media touts all the good that occurs with having a heavy winter...recharging local watersheds...keeps native and alien insect pest populations lower...and helps offer moisture for farmers' fields. This offers little consolation if February and March prove to be like January.  So again, we know there's nothing to the groundhog gig.  But we can't help but pay attention ~ just in case.

Groundhog Day ~ February 2, 2015

This date, calendared in both United States and Canada, centers on the idea of the groundhog coming out of its home to predict the weather.  Some states have adopted their own Groundhog.  Punxsutawney Phil  lives in Gobbler's Knob, Pennsylvania.  The town has had thousands of visitors over the years to experience various Groundhog Day events and activities on February 2.
Tradition has it that 'if the Groundhog sees its shadow on February 2,
it will be frightened by  it and will return to its burrow'...
indicating there will be 6 more weeks of winter.
'If it does not see its shadow...the Spring is on its way.'
Punxsutawney held its first Groundhog Day in the 1800's...the first official trek to Gobbler's Knob was made on February 2,1887. Staten Island Chuck lives in New York State; and General Beauregard Lee lives in Lilburn, Georgia.  The Groundhog is also known as a woodchuck or marmot.

Locally, Ontario has Wiarton Willie...Canada's most famous Groundhog.  Wiarton, a community of 2,300, is in the Bruce Peninsula between Lake Huron and Georgian Bay.  Each year Willie takes part in Wiarton Willie Festival...and  his job is to predict if we will have an early Spring or not. This festival is one of the largest winter events in Ontario.  Other famous Canadian Groundhogs are:  Balzoc Billy in Alberta...Brandon Bob in Manitoba...and Schubeacadie Sam in Nova Scotia.

F.Y.I.  The groundhog belongs to the same family as squirrels, gophers and chipmunks.  They eat mostly grass and other plants.  Groundhogs  raise their young and hibernate in burrows underground.

Wonderful Groundhog Day!

Over breakfast one morning, a woman said to her husband, “I'll bet you don't know what day this is?”
“Of course, I do,” he answered sharply (as if he was offended) and left for the office.

The doorbell rang at 10 am. And when his wife opened the door, she was handed a box of a dozen long-stemmed roses...which she lovingly placed in a crystal vase.
At 1 pm a foil-wrapped, two-pound box of her favourite chocolates was delivered.
Later a boutique, where she sometimes shopped, delivered a designer dress.
The woman could hardly wait for her husband to come home.

“First, the flowers...then the chocolates...and then the dress,” she exclaimed.
“I've never had a more wonderful Groundhog Day in my life!!!”

What would you get if you crossed a groundhog with a puppy???   
A Ground-dog Day!
What would you get if you crossed a groundhog with a Christmas drink???   
 A Ground-nog Day!
What would you get if  you adopted a groundhog from the Humane Society???    
A Pound-dog Day!

Enjoy Groundhog Day, Everyone!

Submitted by Merle Baird-Kerr...January 27, 2015
Comments are to:

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Snowmen Send Wishes

 Tom writes, “Today I wish you a day of 'ordinary miracles'
sent by a family of happily dressed snowmen assembled on their snowy hillside.
Wearing decorated hats, long-striped scarves, quaint quilted jackets
and knitted mittens; these jolly snowmen frolic and broadly smile
as they today wish you...”

A fresh pot of coffee you didn't have to  make yourself.
An unexpected phone call from an old friend.
Green lights...on your way to work or shop.

8 petite snowmen, gaily clad, line up
to wish you a day of little things in which to rejoice:

The fastest line at the grocery store.
A good sing-along-song on the radio.
Finding your keys right where  you left them.

We wish you a day of happiness and perfection...
little bite-size pieces of perfection that give you the funny feeling
that the Lord is smiling on you...holding you so gently
because you are someone special and rare.

Mr. Snowman with black top hat and long red scarf
admires the snow-laden branches of a few tall evergreens
as he announces,
I wish you a Day of Peace, of Happiness and Joy!

* * * * * * *

Snowmen fall from heaven...unassembled.

A snowflake is one of God's most fragile creations...
but look what they can do when they stick together.

The average snowflake falls at the speed of 5 kph (3.1 mph).
Billions of snowflakes fall during one short snow storm.

I Learned All About Life From a Snowman

It's okay if you're a little bottom heavy.
Hold your good ground, even when the heat is on.
Wearing white is always appropriate.
Winter is the best of the four seasons.

It takes a few extra rolls to make a good mid-section.
There's nothing better than a foul-weather friend.
The key to to be a jolly, happy soul.
We're all made up of mostly water.

Accessorize!  Accessorize!  Accessorize!
You know you've made it, when they write a song about you.
It's embarrassing when you can't look down and see your feet
It's fun to hang out in your own front yard..
There's no stopping you when you're on a roll.
(Author unknown)

Something Prophetic

Don't get too much sun!
There's No a Snow Man!
Some of my best friends...are Flakes!

The Eskimos had 52 names for snow...
because it was important to them!

Merle Baird-Kerr...scripted January 3, 2015
To comment about Snowmen to:

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Laugh a Little More This Year

In late 2011 (or early 2012) I published a posting...Laughter is the Best Medicine. Humour is infectious when laughter is shared...and health benefits ensured physically, mentally and socially:

It bonds people together and increases happiness and intimacy.
Laughter triggers healthy physical changes in the body. Humour and Laughter strengthen your immune system...boost  your energy...diminish pain...and protect you from damaging effects of stress.
                                                                   But BEST of ALL ~  
This Priceless medicine is fun, free and easy to use!

Happiness cannot be achieved in the aisles of shopping venues...nor in fine dining establishments...nor in an exotic travel journey...nor winning a big lottery...nor observing your son's university graduation.

A clinical psychologist, Hal Shorney, states, “If you're feeling anxious or irritable or down on yourself, you can intentionally engage in a behaviour that actually changes your physiology. Laughter fosters connection and emotional ties...even if we're not able to synchronize our thoughts with another person, we can synchronize our emotions if we're both laughing. Also, nothing short-circuits an argument faster than admitting you're a long way from perfect. (laughing at your own imperfection).

In all aspects of LIFE, humour can be found: religion, politics, sports, academics, clothing,  the arts.etc.
Enjoy this one sent to me by Tom last October:

Church Squirrels

There were five houses of religion in a small town:  The Presbyterian Church...The Baptist Church...The Lutheran Church...The Catholic Church...The Jewish Synagogue.  Each church and synagogue was overrun with pesky squirrels.

One day, the Presbyterian Church called a meeting to decide what to do about the squirrels.  After much prayer and consideration, they determined that the squirrels were predestined to be there and they shouldn't interfere with God's divine will.

In the Baptist Church, the squirrels had taken up habitation in the baptistery.  The deacons met and decided to put a cover on the baptistery and drown the squirrels in it.  The squirrels escaped  somehow and there were twice as many there next week.

The Lutheran Church got together and decided that they were not in a position to  harm any of God's creation.  So, they humanely trapped the squirrels and set them free...miles outside of town.  Three days later, the squirrels were back.

The Catholic Church came up with the best and most effective solution.  They baptized the squirrels and registered them as members of the church.  Now they only see them on Christmas and Easter!

Not much was heard about the Jewish Synagogue...but they took one squirrel and performed a short service with him called “circumcision” and they haven't seen a squirrel on the property since!

Scripted by Merle Baird-Kerr...January 7, 2014
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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Resolutions Then...and Now!

We drift along from week to week, from month to month, from year to year...and may feel that our goals have been achieved.  However, since time has long passed...our habits have become 'passe'!  Resolutions are generally easier to break...than to enforce them to be, regardless of great intentions.  Circumstances frequently affect our it health, knowledge or relationships.

If you flee from the things you fear...there is no resolution.
(Chuck Palahnuik)

Graciously, I thank Tom for the following:

How True It Is!

Another year has passed
and we're all a little older.
Last summer felt hotter
and winter seems much colder.

I rack my brain for happy thoughts
to put down on my pad.
But though the things that come to mind
just make me kind of sad.

There was a time not long ago
when life was quite a blast.
Now I fully understand
about living in the past.

We used to go to weddings,
football games and lunches.
Now we go to funeral homes
and after, to funeral brunches.

We used to have hangovers
from parties that were gay.
Now we suffer from body aches
and while the night away.

We used to travel often
to places near and far.
Now we get sore bottoms
from riding in the car.

We used to go out shopping
for new clothing at the mall.
But now, we never bother...
all the sizes are too small.

We used to go to night clubs
and drink a little booze.
Now we stay at home
and watch the evening news.

That, my friend, is how life is
and now my tale is told.
So, enjoy each day and live it up
before you're too darn old!

May God let us all grow old gracefully!

How few there are who have courage enough to own their own faults
or resolution enough to mend them.  (Benjamin Franklin)

Never Too Old!

I said, “If he can do it, I'm gonna try!”  James Henry Arruda taught himself to read at 92, then wrote and published a book at 96.

“As you grow older, if you don't move, You Won't Move!” (Yvonne Dowlen, 88 year old figure skater.)
“Trash self-doubt.  Dare to be Yourself!”  (91-year-old Margaret Hagerty, Guinness World Record Holder...runner in the Marine Corp Marathon.)

“I never used that word RETIRE!  (B.B. King playing guitar)
“Why stop doing what you love?”  (Ardith Bruce...84-year-old Barrel Racer in horse event)
“I Listen, I Love and I Live!  Your body knows what to do. Your mind gets in the way.  (Phyllis Sues ~ 91-year-old yogini, dancer, writer, singer, musician and trapeze artist)

“ Illness is not a necessary part of aging!” (Dr. Charles Euster, 94-year-old Masters Rowing Champion)
“I used to think 50 was old.  I was wrong ~ not even close!”  (Harriet Anderson, 79, the oldest female to ever finish the Ironman World Championship)

“You just don't let that rocking chair take over!  You Get Up and Go, even if you don't want to.” (102-year-old Constance Reeves...'cowgirl' dressed in western gear with her horses)

“The secret to staying young and happy is 'loving what you do' and loving the person you are with! It's as simple as that.”  (Dame Gillian Lynne...88-year old award-winning choreographer)

“It's the wine. I drink it with my friends.”  (Stamatis Moraltis, 102, caring for his vineyard)
“I've reached the age where I'm seriously thinking about what I'll be when I come back.”  (Lynn Ruth Miller, 80-year-old comedian)
Those who gave thee a body furnished it with weakness,
but He who gave thee Soul, armed thee with resolution.
Employ it...and thou art wise.  Be wise and thou art happy.

Crafted by Merle Baird-Kerr...January 6, 2015
To to:  

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Sir John A. Macdonald's 200th Birthday

“Canada's First Prime Minister Had Solid Hamilton Support,”
historian says.

There will be raising a glass or three in honour of Canada's first prime minister. 
The Sir John A. Macdonald  Society will celebrate
the Canadian founder's father's 200th birthday
with events slated for January 10 and 11.

“This is the founding father of our country,”
said local historian Robin McKee
who is also president of the local Sir John A. Macdonald Society.
“If the guy was not born...we would not be Canada.”

McKee said the society, the first of its kind in the country, began 50 years ago and he's hoping for a good turnout at the January 10th dinner at the Scottish Rite and and the annual wreath-laying ceremony at Macdonald statue in Gore Park on January 11th.  McKee said Macdonald represents an important part of our nation's heritage, having written most of the British North America Act, Canada's Constitution.

He noted that Hamilton was a big supporter of Macdonald in the mid-19th century...and whenever Macdonald was in the area, he would visit the west Mountain Auchmar estate of Isaac Buchanan, his friend and colleague. (Buchanan Elementary School on the mountain was named in his honour.)  McKee further noted, “We were Macdonald's backing in Ontario for years.”

The Canadian Encyclopedia states Macdonald was born on January 10 or 11, 1815 in Glasgow, Scotland.  He came to Canada at age 5 with his parents, settling in Kingston. By age 19, he'd opened his own law office. His legal career propelled him into a variety of real estate and business dealings and into politics. At age of 29, he was first elected to the Legislature Assembly of the Province of Canada in 1844. He became joint-premier of the Province of Canada in the 1850's.
After several years of lobbying for Confederation,
Macdonald became the first prime minister
of  the Dominion of Canada on July 1, 1867.

Addendum to the foregoing:
The 1967 International and Universal Exposition ’67 was a Category One World’s Fair in Montreal, Quebec, Canada from April 27 to October 29, 1967.  Considered to be the most successful World’s Fair in the 20th century, 62 nations participated.  EXPO 67 was Canada’s main celebration during its Centennial Year. On two giant islands in the St. Lawrence River, more than 50 million visitors were presented with ‘A Vision of the Future’ I comment that during the summer, my husband and I with our 3-year-old son (and his stroller) visited EXPO.

In addition to the statue of Sir, John A. Macdonald in Hamilton’s Gore Park, is Sir John A. Macdonald Secondary School in the downtown core area…where one of my grand daughters attends. It is the largest High School with the Hamilton-Wentworth District High School Board.

Written by Merle Baird-Kerr…January 5, 2015
To comment…email to:  or

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

"Old Paths"

(Thank you, Carolyn...for sending the following.)

I wish the old paths were before us...instead of behind us!

                                   I liked the old paths, when
                                   Moms were at home;
                                   Dads were at work.;
                                   Brothers went into the army;
                                   And sisters got married BEFORE having children.

                                   Crime did not pay;
                                   Hard work did;
                                   And people knew the difference.

                                   Moms could cook;
                                   Dads would work;
                                   Children would behave.

                                   Husbands were loving;
                                   Wives were supportive;
                                   And children were polite.

                                   Women wore the jewelry;
                                    And men wore the pants.

                                    Women looked like ladies;
                                    Men looked like gentlemen;
                                    And children looked decent.

                                    People loved the truth;
                                    And hated a lie.
                                    They came to church to get IN...
                                    Not to get OUT!

                                    Hymns sounded Godly;
                                    Sermons sounded helpful;
                                    Rejoicing sounded normal;
                                    And crying sounded sincere.

                                    Cursing was wicked;
                                    Drugs were for illness.

                                    The flag was honoured;
                                    America was beautiful;
                                    And God was welcome!

                                   We read the Bible in public;
                                    Prayed in school;
                                    And preached from house to house.

                                    To be called an American was worth dying for;
                                    To be called an American was worth living for;
                                    To be called a traitor...was a shame!

                                    I still like “the old paths” the best!
                                    God Bless You!

(The foregoing was originally submitted by Harold L. Woods ~
Transportation and Coordinator of  The Last Word,
Shreveport, Louisiana)

                                              A gun is something like a parachute;
                                              If you need one and don't have one...
                                              You'll probably never need one again!

Welcome to the 21st  Century!!!

(Thank you, Tom, for submitting the following)

Our phones ~ Wireless
                                                               Our cooking ~ Fireless
                                                                      Our cars ~ Keyless
                                                                     Our food ~ Fatless
                                                                     Our tires ~ Tubeless
                                                                    Our dress ~ Sleeveless
                                                                   Our youth ~ Jobless
                                                                 Our leaders ~ Shameless
                                                        Our relationships ~ Meaningless
                                                                Our attitude ~ Careless
                                                                   Our wives ~ Fearless
                                                                  Our babies ~ Fatherless
                                                                Our feelings ~ Thoughtless
                                                             Our education ~ Valueless
                                                                Our children ~ Mannerless
                                                                 Our country ~ Rulerless

Everything is becoming LESS,
but still our hopes are ~ Endless.
We are ~ Speechless!

And our elected politicians remain

Words of Wisdom
Humankind has not woven the web of life.
We are but one thread within.
Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.
All things are bound together!
All things connect!
(Chief Seattle...Duwamish...1780-1866)

Compiled by Merle Baird-Kerr … October 28, 2013
To to:  or

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Salute to January 2015

Yule Love
YULE is when the dark half of the year relinquishes to the light half. 
Starting the next morning at sunrise, the sun climbs just a little higher...
and stays a little higher and stays a little longer in the sky each day.
Known as Solstice Night (or the longest night of the year)
much celebration can be had.
As the ancestors awaited the rebirth of the OAK KING, the SUN KING  (Giver of Life that warmed the Earth)  made her to bear forth from seeds protected from the fall and winter in her womb. Bonfires were lit in the fields...crops and trees were wassailed with toasts of spiced cider.

The Boarding on Flight 2015
(courtesy of Dilu and Sherrie)
The Boarding on Flight 2015 has been announced.
Your luggage should only contain the best souvenirs from 2014.
The duration of the flight will be 12 months.
The next stopovers will be:
Health, Love, Joy, Harmony, Well-being and Peace.
You are offered the following menu during the flight:
 A Cocktail of Friendship...A Supreme of Health...A Gratin of Prosperity...
A Salad of Success...A Bowl of Excellent News...A Cake of Happiness...
All accompanied with a Burst of Laughter.
          Wishing all Friends and their Families an Enjoyable Trip on Board Flight 2015.

Winter Driving Tips from the CAA while on the Road this Season
Stopping Distances increase on snow and ice; leave plenty of space between you and the vehicle ahead.
Slow Down and move over for emergency vehicles, and never pass snowplows on the right-hand side.
To maintain as much control of your vehicle as possible, avoid using overdrive and cruise control.
Always keep a phone charger in your car in the event you need to call for Roadside Assistance.
Stay on main roads and highways which are usually better plowed than secondary roads.

Health is Wealth: If you want to have the longest, healthiest life possible, you should… never have lit that first cigarette…never tasted a french fry…never stepped foot inside a fast-food restaurant…never have driven somewhere you could have walked…never turned up your nose at vegetables…never let yourself get those nasty sunburns.  If you did, take heart.  Here are a few things you can do to add years to your life:
FLOSS:  Years added? More than 6 if you floss daily, writes Dr. Michael Roizen.
GET A COLONOSCOPY: Years added?  Lots.  Nine out of 10 people whose colon cancer is discovered early, will still be alive in10 years, according to the American Cancer Society.  (Cont'd in Feb.)

Message from the 2015 Milk Calendar: Dairy Farmers of Ontario (DFO), which is a not-for-profit organization, proudly owned and operated by Ontario dairy farmers, is the marketing group for the largest sector of Ontario agriculture.  On November 1, 2014, DFO celebrates 50 years of marketing milk in Ontario.

.Nature's Riches ~ A Helping Hand: One can observe all forms of life...both animal and vegetable...flourishing under the harshest of conditions. Seeing a tiny seedling push up through a sheet of snow, signaling the early onset of Spring, gives even the most jaded soul cause for renewed hope. One cannot but wonder at a sturdy tree emerging from a cleft in solid rock, the result of a tiny seed dropped by an errant wind.  Given the barest essentials of life, the seed sprouts…allowing roots, trunk and branches to form. We need only to work in concert with Nature to cherish, conserve and enhance the many gifts we have been given by Planet Earth (created by God according to the Book of Genesis).

Animal Compassion ~ Cuddling Kangaroo:  If someone is going to get lost in the bush, it helps if a kangaroo comes along to share its body heat on a cold night.  That's what happened to a little boy in the Deep Creek Conservation Park in South Australia.  Simon Kruger went exploring in the nearby bush and got separated from his family's picnic. A rescue party was called in and Simon was found safe and sound the next day.  He explained that he slept under a tree and that kangaroos came to visit him. One ate the flowers he had picked for his mom, then fell asleep beside him...keeping him warm during the chilly night.

Bizarre Amazing Fact (True):  A French woman, Jeanne de Clisson, became a pirate in the 1300's to revenge her husband's death, who was beheaded for treason.  She sold her family's land to buy 3 ships and painted them black with red sails.  For the next 13 years, she went on a pirating binge, targeting King Philip VI's ships and personally beheaded the French noblemen she captured with an axe.

Best Sermons are Lived: “Today, when I slipped on the wet tile floor, a boy in a wheelchair caught me before I slammed my head on the ground.  He said, Believe it or not, that's almost how I injured my back 3 years ago.” (courtesy of a collection from Carolyn).

MB-K Report:  Donate Your Christmas Tree to help the Royal Botanical Gardens rebuild the channels at the mouth of Grindstone Creek that have been destroyed by carp.  Donated trees must have all decorations removed.  Drop trees off by following Spring Gardens Road, past the RBG main centre down into Valley Inn Road (just below the Laking Garden).

Notable Dates
                                             January 1 (Thursday) ~ New Year's Day
                                             January 7 (Wednesday) ~ Orthodox Christmas
                                             January 11 (Sunday) ~ Sir John A. MacDonald Day
                                             January 14 (Wednesday) ~ Orthodox New Year
                                             January 21 (Wednesday) ~ Quebec Flag Day
                                             January 25 (Sunday) ~ Robbie Burns Day

Cool Winter Events Across Canada:
Skating on the Rideau Canal, Ottawa, Ontario (January to February depending on ice conditions).
Ice Magic Festival, Lake Louise, Alberta (January 16-25)…with ice-carvers from around the world.
Ice Wine Festival, Grand Pre, Nova Scotia (January 31-February 8); sample dessert wines & foods.
SnowKing Festival, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories (March 1 -29)…see elaborate castle of snow.

Winter Advice: When skating on lakes or rivers, check the thickness and the colour of the ice. Ice should be at least 15 cm thick for skating alone and 20 cm thick for group skating. Gray ice, which indicates water, is unsafe and must be avoided.

There are two seasonal diversions that can ease the bite of winter;
one is the January thaw...the other is the seed catalogue.
(Hal Borland)

Compiled by Merle Baird-Kerr...December 2, 2014
To comment: email  or