Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Pulitzer Colonoscopy

Many thanks to Carolyn ~ sending this 'Journal' just for those
who are in great anticipation of this soothingly funny procedure!

About the Writer:
Dave Barry is a Pulitzer Prize-Winning humour columnist
for the Miami Herald who wrote...

Colonoscopy Journal:

I called my friend Andy Sable, a gastroenterologist, to make an appointment for a colonoscopy. A few days later, Andy showed me a colour diagram of the colon...a lengthy organ that appears to go all over the place, at one point passing briefly through Minneapolis. Then Andy explained the colonoscopy procedure to me in a thorough, reassuring and patient manner.

I nodded thoughtfully, but I didn't really hear anything he said because my brain was shrieking:

I left Andy's office with some written instructions and a prescription called 'MoviPrep' which comes in a box large enough to hold a microwave oven. I will discuss 'MoviPrep' in detail later; for now suffice it to say that we must never allow it to fall into the hands of America's enemies. I spent the next several days productively sitting around being nervous.

Then on the day before my colonoscopy, I began my preparation. In accordance with my instructions, I didn't eat any solid food that day; all I had was chicken broth, which is basically water, only with less flavour. Then in the evening, I took the MoviPrep. You mix two packets of powder together in a one-litre plastic jug...then you fill it with lukewarm water. (For those unfamiliar with the metric system, a litre is about 32 gallons). Then you have to drink the whole jug. This takes about an hour because MoviPrep tastes...and here I am being kind...like a mixture of goat spit and urinal cleanser with just a hint of lemon.

The instructions for MoviPrep, clearly written by somebody with a great sense of humour, state that after you drink it, a loose watery bowel movement may result. This is kind of like saying that after you jump off the roof, you may experience contact with the ground.

MoviPrep is a nuclear laxative. I don't want to be too graphic, here, but have you ever seen a space-shuttle launch? This is pretty much the MoviPrep experience, with you as the shuttle. There are times when you wish the commode had a seat belt. You spend several hours pretty much confined to the bathroom, spurting violently. You eliminate everything. And then, when you figure you must be totally empty, you have to drink another litre of MoviPrep, at which point, as far as I can tell, your bowels travel into the future and start eliminating food that you have not even eaten yet.
After an action-packed evening, I finally got to sleep.

The next morning, my wife drove me to the clinic. I was very nervous. Not only was I worried about the procedure, but I had been experiencing occasional return bouts of MoviPrep spurtage. I was thinking, “What if I spurt on Andy?” How do you apologize to a friend for something like that? Flowers would not be enough.

At the clinic I had to sign many forms acknowledging that I understood and totally agreed with whatever the heck the forms said. Then they led me to a room full of other colonoscopy people, where I went inside a little curtained space and took off my clothes and put on one of those hospital garments designed by sadist perverts, the kind that, when you put it on, makes you feel even more naked than when you are actually naked.

Then a nurse, named Eddie, put a little needle in a vein in my left hand. Ordinarily, I would have fainted, but Eddie was very good...and I was already lying down. Eddie also told me that some people put vodka in their MoviPrep. At first I was ticked off that I hadn't thought of this, but then I pondered what would happen if you get yourself too tipsy to make it to the bathroom, so you were staggering around in full Fire Hose Mode. You would have no choice but to burn your house.

When everything was ready, Eddie wheeled me into the procedure room, where Andy was waiting with a nurse and an anesthesiologist. I did not see the 17,000-foot tube, but I knew Andy had it hidden somewhere. I was seriously nervous at this point. Andy had me roll over on my left side and the anesthesiologist began hooking something up to the needle in my hand.

There was music playing in the room...and I realized that the song was 'Dancing Queen' by ABBA. I remarked to Andy that, of all the songs that could be playing during this particular procedure, 'Dancing Queen' had to be the least appropriate. “You want me to turn it up?” asked Andy from somewhere behind me...“Ha ha” I said. And then it was time...the moment I had been dreading for more than a decade. If you are squeamish, prepare yourself, because I am going to tell you, in explicit detail, exactly what it was like.

I have no idea. Really. I slept through it. One moment ABBA was yelling, 'Dancing Queen, feel the beat of the tambourine' and the next moment I was back in the other room, waking up in a very mellow mood. Andy was looking down at me and asking me how I felt. I felt even more excellent when Andy told me it was all over, and that my colon had passed with flying colours. I have never been prouder of an internal organ!

On the subject of Colonoscopies...these are no joke. Andy told me of actual comments made by his patients (predominately male) while he was performing their colonoscopies.

At the end, my friend, Carolyn comments,
I thought this was cute, especially since this is my son's profession.”

The Snotty Receptionist
An older gentleman had an appointment to see the neurologist who shared offices with several other doctors. The waiting room, full of patients, he approached the receptionist's desk, and noticed that the receptionist was a large unfriendly woman who looked like a Sumo wrestler. He gave her his name.


All the patients in the waiting room snapped their heads around to look at the very embarrassed man. He recovered quickly...and in an equally loud voice, replied, “NO, I'VE COME TO INQUIRE ABOUT A SEX CHANGE OPERATION...BUT I DON'T WANT THE SAME DOCTOR THAT DID YOURS!”
The room erupted in applause.

Merle Baird-Kerr...written May 5, 2015
To comment...email...inezkate@gmail.com  or  mbairdkerr@cogeca.ca

Friday, March 25, 2016

Wind Power Offers Healthy Way to Generate Renewable Energy

(Written by David Suzuki on December 9, 2014)

There's no free ride when it comes to generating energy. Even the cleanest sources have environmental consequences. Materials for all power-generating facilities have to be obtained and transported...and infrastructure must be built, maintained and eventually decommissioned. Wind turbines take up space and can harm wildlife. Hydro floods agricultural land and alters water cycles.

That's why 'conservation' is the best way
to reduce energy-consumption impacts.
Reductions in energy use...and investment in energy-efficient technologies
are so significant that the International Energy Agency
refers to 'conservation' as the 'First Fuel.'

No matter how good we get at conserving, though, we'll always need energy, so we must find ways to employ the least damaging technologies and reduce negative effects. We know the world's preferred and currently cheapest method to generate power ~ burning fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas ~ is the most destructive, causing pollution, global warming and massive environmental damage during extraction, transport, refining and use. And supplies are becoming more difficult to obtain and will eventually run out.

In contrast, wind power does not create pollution or global warming emissions, is affordable and will never run out! Improvements to power-generation capacity, efficiency and affordability will continue to boost its importance in the energy mix. But we must ensure turbines are installed in locations and using methods that reduce negative impacts on humans and wildlife.

Thanks to ongoing research and testing, wind power has come a long way in a relatively short time. Wildlife behaviour studies, along with technological improvements, have significantly reduced harm to birds and bats...and better siting has reduced impacts on other wildlife and habitat. Wind power generation is far safer for birds, bats and other animals than burning fossil fuels.

But, what about wind power's effects on humans, a key argument used by opponents? Turbines, especially older ones, can be noisy...and some people find them unsightly ~ although I prefer the sight of wind farms to smokestacks and smog. Many problems can be addressed by locating quieter turbines far enough away from human habitation to reduce impacts.

As for health effects, a recent comprehensive Health Canada study confirms previous research. Although people report being annoyed by wind turbines, there's no measurable association between wind turbine noise and sleep disturbance and disorders, illnesses and chronic health conditions...or stress and quality-of-life issues. A 2013 Australian report concluded people living near wind installations where anti-wind campaigns were active, were more likely to report health problems, with suggestions some issues may be psychological.

Health Canada says more research may be needed and we shouldn't downplay the annoyance factor. Again, improvements in technology and proper siting will overcome many problems. And there's no doubt that fossil fuel development and use ~ from bitumen mining, deep-sea drilling, mountaintop removal and fracking to wasteful burning in single-user vehicles ~ are far more annoying and damaging to human health than wind power and other renewable-energy technologies.

Wind energy is also becoming more affordable and reliable! Denmark gets 34% of its electricity from wind...and Spain 21%, making wind their largest electricity source. Portugal gets more than 20%...Ireland 16%...and Germany 9%. All have much higher population densities than Canada. Wind power contributes about four percent to world-wide electricity generation.

Total global investment in wind energy in 2012 was more than $80 billion...creating 670,000 jobs. And according to a Blue Green Canada report, investing the $1.3 billion the oil industry gets, in annual federal taxpayer subsidies in renewable energy and conservation, could create 18,000 to 20,000 jobs, compared to fewer than 3,000 in oil and gas. And we can't ignore the many related cost impacts of fossil fuel development, from health-care to infrastructure.

To reduce global greenhouse gas emissions
at a pace and scale that experts agree is necessary
to avoid increasing catastrophic effects of global warming,
we need a mix of renewable energy.
Wind power will play a large role.

Learn more at www.davidsuzuki.org

Words of Wisdom

There is an urgent need to stop subsidizing the fossil fuel industry,
reduce wasted energy and significantly shift our power suppliers
for oil, coal and natural gas to…
wind, solar, geothermal, and other renewable energy sources.
(Bill McKibben)

I believe the cost of energy will come down
when me make this transition to renewable energy.
(Al Gore)

Penned by Merle Baird-Kerr...December 18, 2014
Comments appreciated...email to:

Monday, March 21, 2016

Prince Edward Island

The smallest of Canada's provinces in both land area and population, it consists of the main island itself as well as over 200 minor islands. Prince Edward Island (PEI), one of Canada's three Maritime provinces, is a peaceful island of unique beauty. It is located in the Gulf of St. Lawrence...west of Cape Breton, north of the Nova Scotia peninsula and east of New Brunswick. Charlottetown is its capital city. The Confederation Bridge joining New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island was built in 1993 and is about 13 km long. It was spectacularly and architecturally designed to withstand harsh blowing winds, changing weather conditions and possibly ice floes afloat into the Gulf.. Ferry boats travel regularly between Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

Sandy beaches, warm ocean waters, lively fun parks and an overall casual atmosphere are conducive to an 'island playground'. View Antiques, Art Galleries, Museums, Foods and Beverages, shopping, tons of water activities ~ a treat for all ages: nap in the sun...splash in the water...build a sand castle... enjoy a leisurely stroll...and capture an unforgettable sunset. Anne of Green Gables ~ learn more about PEI's favourite red-haired girl. The island is also 'pure golf heaven' whether beginner or turning 'pro'.
The land is rich ~ and the waters teem with
fish, lobster, oysters and other shellfish.
Fishermen catch...herring, tuna, cod, and mackerel.
Lobsters are caught in traps.

The soil is red due to iron oxide which rusts on exposure to air.
Almost all of the soil consists of red-coloured sandstone, visible throughout the island.
Its main industries are firstly, agriculture, then tourism and fisheries.
30% of Canada's potatoes are grown in PEI.

Prince Edward Island is called The Garden Province...because half the land is cultivated.
Over 75% of the people are of Scottish, Irish and English descent; about 15% are of French origin.
The first peoples to live on the island were the Micmac...in winter they hunted; in summer they fished.
Jacques Cartier discovered the island in 1534.
Loyalists from the United States came in the 1780's.
Charlottetown is the 'birth place of Canada' where the leaders met in 1864 to discuss the formation of the country. Prince Edward Island became the 7th Canadian Province in 1873.

Tourists come from around the world to visit Green Gables Home.
It is a museum about Lucy Maud Montgomery (author of Anne of Green Gables).
The Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown consists of some 5.000 works of art
including the Robert Harris Collection.

Provincial Flower: Lady Slipper. Bird: Blue Jay. Tree: Red Oak.
Slogan: “The Small under the Protection of the Great”
Nicknames: Spud Island, Million Acre Farm, The Garden of Gulf, The Cradle of Confederation.

Comments from the Locals and Visitors

More people live on Vancouver Island...but we've still got our big-ass Bridge.

The economy is based on fish, potatoes and CBC TV shows.

We don't share a border with any other Province or with America.

Canada was born here!

“It's an Adventure in History.”

“Get Over It ~ The Confederation Bridge!”

“Prince Edward Island is blessed
with miles and miles of sandy beaches.”

“Over the years we have learned to truly appreciate PEI.
We have discovered roads less travelled
where we slow down to admire the cobalt-blue sky
and smell the fresh-grown grass.”
(Dave Stephens & Susie Randalls)

“On a Thanksgiving weekend, Elka and I ventured on our travel to the Atlantic Provinces. Our crossing the Confederation Bridge was a superb experience ~ a brilliantly curved span across the Northumberland Strait to near Summerside. We felt the Island was ours ~ no tourists, no commercial traffic, just us and the solitude of this island paradise!

The winds became gusts…the darkened heavy clouds became heavy rain. At East Point we stood at the edge of civilization, it seemed, in hurricane-like winds and in pouring rain (barely able to stand) as we gazed at the furor of the Gulf of St. Lawrence waters. We were drenched! Hurriedly, we drove to Prince Edward Island’s south coast to reach the ferry boat that would return us to Pictou, Nova Scotia. Due to extremely high winds, this service was cancelled (the ferry remaining safely in port). We sped for the Bridge, hopeful that it was still open. (Wasn’t it built to withstand adverse weather conditions?)

Yes…still open! And one hour later, it too, closed to traffic. We’d definitely revisit Prince Edward Island (the ‘Garden Province’) on a better-weather day! Under blue skies and a golden sun the following day, we crossed the Canso Causeway to the scenic “Drive of a Lifetime” on Cape Breton!”
With wonderful memories of our East Coast Excursion…by the author of this article!

Merle Baird-Kerr...written October 18, 2014
Comments are welcome...e-mail...inezkate@gmail.com or mbairdkerr@cogco.ca

Thursday, March 17, 2016

St. Patrick's Day Humour

Coroner and the Inspector

Three dead bodies turn up at the Dublin Mortuary. Mysteriously, all of them have big smiles on their faces. After performing autopsies, the Coroner calls the police to inform them of what happened to each person.

First body: “Pierre Dubois, a Frenchman, 60, died of heart failure while making love to his 20-year-old mistress. Hence, the enormous smile,” the Coroner states to the Inspector.

Second body: “Hamish Campbell, a Scotsman, 25, won 50,000 pounds in the lottery...spent it all on whiskey and died of alcohol poisoning. Hence the smile,” the Coroner indicated to the Inspector.

The Inspector asked, “And what about the third body?” “Ah,” says the Coroner, “The third body is the most unusual case. Paddy Murphy, Irish, 30, was struck by lightning.” The Inspector queried, “Why on earth was he smiling?” The Coroner replied, “He thought he was having his picture taken!”

Cartoon Quotes...from Crabby Road

The invitation said, Come as you are... so I came hungry” (helping herself to an overly full plate of goodies and green beer).

May the wind at your back, not be the result of corned beef and cabbage you had for lunch.” To him sitting behind the wheel of his car, she added, “Happy St. Patrick's Day!”

No green food for me! I've enough of that from my fridge,” she sighed.

It's OK to pretend we're IRISH on March 17. We pretend we're GOOD at Christmas, don't we?”

I actually saw a leprechaun once, After enough green beer, you see all kinds of stuff!”

I love parties where they have a pinata. You know me...any excuse to whack something with a stick.”

St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland...wonder if I could get him to stop by the office?”

I finally figures out why leprechauns dress so funny. They're single guys who've never had a wife.”

If you find a 4-leaf-clover, it means you have entirely too much time on your hands.”

(Expressing my gratitude to Tom for the foregoing)

Gardening Made Easy!

An old man living alone in South Armagh, whose only son was in Long Kesh Prison, didn't have anyone to dig his garden so he could plant his potatoes. So he wrote to his son about his predicament. The son sent the reply, “For HEAVEN'S SAKE, Dad, don't dig the garden up...that's where I buried the guns!” At 3 AM next morning, a dozen British soldiers arrived and dug the garden for three hours, but didn't locate the guns.

Confused, the man again wrote to his son, telling him what had happened and asking, “What should I do now?” The son's reply was, “NOW...plant the potatoes!”

Words of Wisdom

I never assume anything!
I anticipate the possibilities
and allow my imagination to create the future.
(Lionel Suggs ~ Author)

Scripted by Merle Baird-Kerr...March 18, 2014
All; comments are welcome...e-mail to:

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Wind Turbines...Blowing Hot and Cold

Recently I wrote an article...Not in My Back Yard...the focus being on Wind Turbines...the pros and cons. Strange that most people don't object to conveniences for others, yet deem them inconvenient if centered too closely to their own property...whether municipal or rural.

In mid-October I visited a long time friend who runs Eagle Adventures in Beaver Valley. The autumn colours were magnificent! En route through the Georgian Bay area, the countryside became alive with wind turbines...blades turning slowly in the breeze ~ wonderful technology! The first view excited me to turn onto a rural side road to photo it. Then in the distance were dozens more. If I owned country, I'd have a couple or more of them...although I might create unfriendly neighbours!

At Richard's retreat on several wooded acres in Beaver Valley, was a colourful Spring magazine issue of Mountain Life  (referring to Collingwood's 'Blue Mountain'). In it was an article written by Paul Wilson:

Looking for Answers to the Wind Farm Conundrum
Call me a fool, but I've always wondered, “What's not to like about 'wind power'? The fuel is free and renewable...there are virtually no emissions...the technology is elegant and relatively simple (just what the doctor ordered for a beleaguered planet). I also happen to like...the look of modern windmills...and still feel a small thrill when I drive out of Shelburne (in the Georgian Bay Area) on my way home and see them on the horizon...responding to the speed of the breeze. (I know, I know, I know...they're not in my backyard, but bear with me.)

There's also the 'romance' of it. Before 'steam' and the 'internal combustion engine' it was merely wind, augmented by horse and muscle power, that drove the world's most advanced economies ~ propelled their ships ~ ground their grain ~ and powered their looms. In that sense, the recent dramatic increase in 'wind turbine farms' here in Ontario marks the return of a technology that has a long and honourable pedigree. Arguments like this may be soft-headed and hardly likely to change the mind of a die-hard 'wind-power-opponent' but I'm just saying, until I started digging into the issue, that was about where I stand. Not exactly on solid ground, you could say ~ and you'd be right.

We don't need to get rid of 'wind power' ~
we just need to be smarter about how we deploy it.
To me, the answer is quite straight forward ~
its Location and its Discussion.
Ontario is a big place with plenty of empty spaces...with plenty of technical and economic know-how...with smart people and smart ideas...and all that's missing right now is ~ the 'good will'!

Wind Turbines Have Little Impact on Property Values
(by Colin Perkel ~ The Canadian Press)

Toronto: Wind turbines generally have little effect on the value of nearby properties with possible isolated exceptions, a recent study of thousands of home and farm sales has found. The surprising findings, published in the “Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics” come amid an already fiery debate over wind farm impacts and appear to contradict widely held views among turbine critics.

The study focused on Ontario's Melancthon township ~ home to one of the country's oldest and largest wind farms and surrounding areas. “The lack of significant effects of the Melancthon wind farm is somewhat surprising, given the public outcry regarding the construction of these turbines,” the authors said. “These results do not corroborate the concerns raised by the residents regarding potential negative
impacts of turbines on property values.” The University of Guelph researchers analyzed more than 7,000 home and farm sales that occurred between 2002 and 2010 in Melancthon Township, which saw 133 turbines put up between 2005 and 2008, and 10 surrounding townships. “These turbines have not impacted the value of surrounding properties,” co-authors Richard Vyn and Ryan McCullough conclude. Further, the nature of the results, which indicate a lack of significant effects, is similar across both rural residential properties and farm properties.”
(Vyn found the results somewhat surprising
given the frequent and public criticism of turbines.)

Dave Launchbury (sales representative) who has been selling real estate for seven years in Melancthon, about 139 kilometres north of Hamilton, said there appears to be a growing stigma attached to properties near turbines. Many potential buyers won't look at them, he said. He estimated properties close to turbines sell for at least 10 per cent less.

* * * * * * *

Not mentioned in this article and comments from Dave Launchbury is the fact that property owners are paid a substantial sum monthly for the low use of the actual land involved in the erection of these turbines. The photo attached to this article in the recent newspaper, shows a bleak flat landscape with a few wind turbines which actually add some dimension and purpose to the extensive farm view.

Personally, as a Real Estate Sales Representative for many years, I've met a few challenges. The first residential listing I had was from a young couple with a son and daughter. Their semi-detached home on Enfield Road had 3 bedrooms, 2 full baths and finished basement. It sided along a slow winding creek with a weeping willow that branched over the stream...very scenic and picnic-like setting. Their home had been 'on the market for sale' with another real estate firm for several months...with no offer to purchase from a buyer. What was the drawback??? The lot, although about 210 feet deep, backed on railway tracks with several trains a day rumbling through their neighbourhood...and shunting of freight cars.

Sharon and her husband, Rich asked what I was going to do to sell their property. To me the answer was simple: “Find buyers who loved trains or buyers who were deaf.” That sold it for them! My ads, “For Train Lovers” resulted in a few showings within the month...and BINGO...their home SOLD! Of course, I 'doubled-ended' this deal by selling Sharon and Rich a fully detached home.

Dave Launchbury must know that real estate property is not always “an easy sell.”
He must appeal to buyers, who (like Paul Wilson and me )
enjoy the “Wind-Turbine Landscape” and would
appreciate the monthly 'lease of the land'
going into my piggy bank!

Merle Baird-Kerr...written December 9, 2014
Comments are welcome...email to:

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

"Not in My Back Yard!"

How often have we heard this?
Several years ago, with the throws of development in core areas of our city, McDonalds was proposed to be built in the Appleby Line area near White Pines in Burlington. Sadie and her husband petitioned the quiet residential neighbourood to ban the McDonald fast food outlet...fearing this would become a hang-out for teens. Their message was...“Not in My Backyard!”

In every city across Canada (and no doubt in United States), there is controversy when citizens may deem a certain acceptance by council to be a detriment to specific residential and commercial areas...such as: casinos, huge box stores, rezoning of lands...and Hamilton has the ongoing LRT proposal (Light Rail Transit) with all its pros and cons...finally to be settled in Municipal Elections!
Life Changes! Cities Change! There are Environmental Changes!

Wind Turbines” is a Big Issue Today

Wind Energy is the fastest growing energy in the world!

Wind Power in Denmark: In the mid 90’s when visiting friends in this country, I was introduced to 3 or 4 wind turbines in a rural field. ”What are they?” I inquired, viewing these tall slim silvery towers with three blades on each, spinning in the wind…with a purring sound resonating in the country air.

Denmark was a pioneer in developing commercial wind power during the 1970’s…today a substantial share of the wind turbines around the world are produced by Danish manufacturers such as Vestas and Siemen’s Wind Power. Over 30% of Denmark’s electrical production in 2012 is from wind power. The Danish government has adopted a plan to increase the share of electricity production to 50% by 2020. Numerous wind turbines can be seen operating along Denmark’s extensive seacoast.

A Host of Wind Turbines in California: The following summer, I flew to Los Angeles to meet a friend for a vacation. En route in his orange MGB to Palm Springs…“Lo and Behold”…was a valley with many, many wind turbines in the San Bernardino Mountains…their blades were rapidly spinning as winds blew down the valley…creating energy! Wind Turbines also operate through California’s Coachella Valley, San Gorgoona Pass, Lucerne Valley and Palm Springs…even more localities today.

How Toronto’s Waterfront Wind Turbine Kick-Started a Green Energy Revolution: Twelve years ago, the Toronto Renewable Energy Cooperative found a simple idea. Build a highly visible urban wind turbine…and it ended with the most robust renewable energy regime in North America. Visible to hundreds of thousands of commuters and park-goers every day, the wind turbines at Exhibition Place on Toronto’s waterfront is a daily reminder of the power of green energy in Ontario.
This was the first Wind Turbine I’d seen locally in Canada.

Ontario ~ Now Being Inundated With Wind Turbines: Wolfe Island Wind Farm is a large project located in the St. Lawrence River near Kingston and Gananoque. It became operational in June 2009 and consists of 86 2.3 mega-watt Siemens model Mark II.

Southern Ontario has many wind turbines operating in rural areas and westward to London and Goderich areas (along Lake Huron). Erie Shores Wind Farm is a 99 mega-watt wind power facility. Opened in 2006, Erie Shores generates enough clean electricity every year to power the equivalent of approximately 24,000 households.

Although many are in favour of these wind turbines and their benefits,
others “don’t want them in their backyards!

Disadvantages of Wind Power
The strength of the wind is not constant and it varies from zero to storm force…no wind, no power!
Many feel that the countryside should be left untouched without these large structures being built.
Wind turbines are noisy; each one can generate the noise level of a car at 70 mph.
When wind turbines are being manufactured, some pollution is produced.
Large wind farms are needed to provide entire communities with enough electricity. The largest single turbine available today can only provide enough electricity for 475 homes when running at full capacity. How many would it need for a town of 100,000 people?

Advantages of Wind Power
The wind is free and with modern technology it can be captured efficiently.
Once the turbine is built, the energy it produces does not cause greenhouse gases or other pollutants.
Although wind turbines can be very tall, each takes up only a small plot of land…which means that the land below can still be used…farming can still continue in agricultural areas.
Many people find wind farms an interesting feature of the open landscape.
Remote areas not connected to electrical power, can use wind turbines to produce a supply.
Wind turbines have a role to play in both the developed and third world.
Wind turbines are available in a range of sizes which means a vast range of people and businesses can use them. Single households to small towns and villages can benefit from range of the available sizes.

Romanian Monks Turn to Wind Energy
You could call Father Iustin a pioneer. He installed a wind turbine long before the hundreds that you can now see from his hillside. He was the first monk in the Constanta region to power his monastery with renewable technology and now he gladly advises other monasteries to do the same. “I like being a monk,” says Father Iustin Petre, one of the founders of the Casian Monastery in Romania. “It is free, no stress. It is quiet up here. Birds float on the wind over a landscape that would be at home in the Mediterranean.” At least 10 monasteries in the area have followed in the footsteps of Casian and have some sort of renewable energy system. To Father Iustin, it is clear that ‘the wind can provide’.

Hitting the Jackpot with Wind Energy in Poland
“We feel like we’ve won the lottery!” Miroslawa and Mieczslaw Horodiuk sit on a couch in their living room, their aged cat stares through the window. Here in northwestern Poland, a late spring snow has fallen, delaying the spring planting for this farming family. They rest easy knowing that summer will come and they now have a guaranteed income. Ten years ago, a wind energy developer approached the Horodiuk family to rent part of their farmland for a wind turbine. The local city mayor became interested in wind turbines while on holiday in Denmark. He returned, determined to make his commune attractive to wind energy developers. These efforts have made his city...‘the best rural commune in the country’…for renewable energy projects according to Newsweek Poland.

And it’s not only farmers who lease their land who ‘hit the jackpot’…the whole town benefits too. The taxes from the wind energy installations make up over 10% of the community annual budget. It is estimated that by 2016, it will be 20%. Other dividends became available as benefits to all.

Merle Baird-Kerr…written September 27, 2014
To comment…e-mail to: inezkate@gmail.com or mbairdkerr@cogeco.ca

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Shipwrecks and Lighthouses Star at Great Lakes National Museum

Steer Submersible to View Wreck of Iconic Ore Boat
(Excerpts from Bob Downing's writing in the Akron Beacon Journal)

There have been 8,000 shipwrecks on the Great Lakes.
A few of those are spotlighted in the expanded and relocated “National Museum of the Great Lakes”, a new Toledo attraction that opened in the spring and includes a 617-foot-long-ore boat/museum ship...the 'Colonel James M. Schoonmaker' that once hauled iron ore, coal and rye on the Great Lakes.
The wrecks featured in the museum
 include the most-famous Great Lakes shipwreck ~
the ore boat, Edmund Fitzgerald, that sank in Lake Superior 
on November 10, 1975, taking 29 men down with it.

Visitors to the $12.1-million “National Museum of the Great Lakes' will find one life raft and paddles from the 'Edmund Fitzgerald' among the items from the boat. The orange raft, one of two, automatically inflated and popped to the surface after the boat sank. There is also an interactive exhibit where visitors can direct a simulated submersible to the Fitzgerald wreck in an attempt to determine the cause of the sinking. The exhibit looks at an array of options to explain what happened to the lake freighter. Officially, it remains undetermined.

(For your information: Gordon Lightfoot, renowned Canadian songwriter and musical icon from Orillia, Ontario, wrote and performed what is probably his most famous song...Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. Described in detail, it was a tribute to the ship, the sea and the men who lost their lives that night. The story is lyrically and lengthily written conveying the factors contributing to the disaster. Check it out...you'll be impressed! The freighter had left Wisconsin, fully loaded, heading to Cleveland. The northwind 'Gales of November' ravished it on Lake Superior.)

FACT: The shipwrecks are compelling tales. They amount to one shipwreck every 11 days for the last 250 years. There are more shipwrecks per surface square mile on the Great Lakes than anywhere else in the world. The greatest number occurred in Lake Michigan and Lake Erie.

FACT: The 335-foot steel 'Marquette' sailed from Conneaut, Ohio on December 8, 1909 to cross Lake Erie to Port Stanley (on the Canadian side). It carried 30 railroad cars. It disappeared. It has never been found and no one knows why it sank, although some wreckage was located.

FACT: You can look through goggles to view footage that divers took of the wreckage of the 'Cedarvale' that sank in the Straits of Mackinac in 1965, after it collided with another ship.

The Museum is filled with more than 250 historical artifacts from Great Lake vessels and other sources, plus hundreds of photographs. The exhibits cover 9,000 square feet of space in five galleries. It also features documentary videos and interactive displays. It is an interesting, fresh, bright, colourful and kid-friendly place designed to attract and entertain families with compelling stories. You can easily tour the museum and the impressive old ore boat in two to three hours.

FACT: There are exhibits on Great Lakes Lighthouses (326 of them), luxurious passenger ships that once sailed the lakes, the Underground Railroad, rum runners on the lakes, the 1913 'White Hurricane' that sank 12 boats and killed 240 and maritime technology and equipment.

FACT: One of the most historic artifacts is a piece of the wooden frame of the 'USS Niagara' the flagship of American commander, Olivier Hazard Perry, at the Battle of Lake Erie in the War of 1812. This artifact was acquired when the sunken ship was raised in 1913.

FACT: I had never heard about the two Great Lakes passenger steamers that were converted into aircraft carriers in the Second World War. They were used on Lake Michigan to train thousands of American pilots to safely land on a carrier. Among those pilots was future president, George H. Bush.

FACT: In another exhibit, you can admire a gold life-saving medal established by Congress in 1874. It was awarded for bravery in rescuing people in distress on the water. The Museum has the very first medal...awarded to Lucian Clemons of Marblehead, Ohio who with his brothers, A.J. and Hubbard, rowed the 12-foot boat to help rescue two seamen from a schooner that had overturned in Sandusky Bay in 1876. Lucian Clemons later became the keeper of the lighthouse at Marblehead.

FACT: You can hoist a heavy backpack like early European fur traders...learn how to pump a ship's bilge to keep water out of leaky vessels...and work together to fire an engine of a simulated coal-powered freighter.

FACT: Visitors learn that the Great Lakes contain 84% of all fresh water in North America and 21% of the world's surface water.

FACT: A 22-ton ship's propeller from the lake freighter, 'John Sherwin' sits outside the museum in a small riverbank park.
Only 10% of the museum's historical items are on display
But the 'Colonel James M. Schoonmaker' is easily the museum's biggest attraction.
The retired freighter is moored on the east bank of the Maumee River next to the museum. It was launched in 1911 and was hailed as the “Queen of the Lakes” as well as the largest bulk freighter on the Great Lakes and in the world at that time. It carried iron ore from Lake Superior to the steel mills of Ohio and Pennsylvania, plus coal and rye. The biggest expense was dredging the river for the ore boat. For information...call 419-214-5000...or go to...inlandseas.org

Lighthouses Along The Great Lakes Seaway Trail…
is a fascinating collection of 28 historic lighthouses and 2 modern replicas. America’s history was shaped by the role these lights played as active beacons. In fact, some are still at work guiding ships travelling Lake Erie, the Niagara River, Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. The lights are an important part of the Great Lakes Seaway Trail region’s maritime heritage as prized landmarks. In the early history of United States and Canada, Lakes Erie and Ontario quickly became prime transportation routes. The building of lighthouses went hand-in-hand with our nations’ economic growth. By the early 19th century, the Great Lakes had become the single most important transportation system in the country. Today, travellers can view 30 lighthouses along the Great Lakes Seaway Trail.

Compiled by Merle Baird-Kerr…September 6, 2014
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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Newfoundland and Labrador

Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of St. Lawrence, 
Newfoundland and Labrador is the most easterly province of Canada.
 Its capital city is St. John's.

The people live in fishing villages along the coast and small rural communities.
Early settlers mainly came from England, Ireland and Scotland.
Aboriginal ancestry: Mimac, Inuit, Innu and Metis.

There are many bays and fiords along the coastlines...pack ice and iceburgs frequently seen.
Thick forests, many rivers and lakes cover much of the island and south-central Labrador.
Torngat Mountains in Labrador are the most spectacular mountains east of the Rockies.
Visit Gros Morne National Park ~ mountains, forests, lakes and sand dunes.
Visit Terra Nova National Park ~ rocky cliffs, rolling hills, forests, lakes and ponds.

Newfoundland and Labrador are part of the Canadian Shield.
The island's exports are mainly oil, fish products, newsprint, iron ore and electricity.
Churchill Falls in Labrador is the 2nd largest underground hydro-electric power plant in the world.

Signal Hill is a high cliff where Italian inventor, Marconi, received the first wireless signal (1901) from across the Atlantic Ocean.
The Titanic, a large passenger ship, sank in 1912 after hitting an iceburg, south of Newfoundland.
Joey Smallwood, first Premier of Newfoundland, was the main force for bringing Newfoundland into Confederation in 1949.

Provincial Flower: purple pitcher plant. Bird: Atlantic Puffin. Animal: caribou. Tree: Black Spruce.
Slogan: “Seek ye First the Kingdom of God.”
Nicknames : Big Rock!” “The Big Land (Labrador)”

Newfoundland Declares War on USA

President Obama was in the Oval Office when his telephone rang.
“Hallo, dere, President Obama,” a heavily accented voice said, “this is Archie, up ere at the Harp Seal Pub in Badger's Cove, Newfoundland, Canada, eh? I am callin' to tells ya dat we are officially declaring war on ya!”

“Well Archie,” Barak replied, “this is indeed important news! How big is your army?”
“Right now,” said Archie, after a few moments calculation, “there is myself, me cousin Harold, me next-door neighbour, Mick and the whole dart team from the pub. That makes eight!”

Barack paused, “I must tell you Archie that I have one million men in my army waiting to move on my command.” Archie exclaimed, “Wow! I'll have ta call ya back!”

Sure enough the next day, Archie called again. “Mr. Obama, the war is still on! We have managed to acquire some infantry equipment!” Barack asked, “And what equipment would that be?” Firmly, Archie stated, “Well, sir, we have two combines, a bulldozer and Harry's farm tractor.”

President Obama sighed, “I must tell you, Archie, that I have 14,000 armoured personnel carriers and 16,000 tanks. Also I've increased my army to one and a half million since we last spoke.” Stunned, Archie spoke, “Lord above...I'll be gettin' back to ya.” Sure enough, Archie rang again the next day. “President Obama, the war is still on! We have managed to get ourselves airborne! We up an' modified Harrigan's ultra-light wit a couple of shotguns in the cockpit...and four boys from the Legion have joined us as well!”

Barack was silent for a minute...then cleared his throat. “I must tell you Archie that I have 10,000 bombers and 20,000 fighter planes. My military complex is surrounded by laser-guided, surface-to-air missile sites. And since we last spoke, I've increased my army to TWO MILLION!”

“Jumpins,” said Archie, “I'll have to call youse back.” Sure enough, Archie called again the next day. “President Obama! I am sorry to have to tell ya, dat we've had ta call off dis 'ere war.”

“I'm sorry to hear that, Archie,” said Barack. “Why the sudden change of heart?”

“Well, sir,” said Archie, “we've all sat ourselves down and had a long chat over a bunch o' pints...and come to realize dat dere's no way we can feed two million prisoners!”
(Thanks to Tom for the foregoing War Plan)

Postscript: Several years ago, with Elka, we departed on Thanksgiving weekend for an autumn journey to Canada's Maritime provinces. How delightful spending the first evening in Quebec City...enjoying pizza (of wild boar and blueberries) and beer in the 'Old City' adjacent to the St. Lawrence River. Next day, we headed south to New Brunswick, spending a couple days with friends who resided near the St. John River. Then to the Bay of Fundy...saw the tall 'flower pot rocks' when the tide was out; we ascended to the ocean floor...totally amazed that this was possible! We quickly became enamoured with Canada's Maritime flavour.

Merle Baird-Kerr...written October 17, 2014
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