Saturday, December 9, 2017

Winter Wonderment!

Lewis Carroll muses, “I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields,
that it kisses them so gently? And then covers them up snug,
you know, with a white quilt...and perhaps it says,
Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.”

Many would love to escape winter! While others revel in the beauty of drifting snowflakes...the luster of snow-laden evergreen boughs...the human thrills of sleigh, ski, skate..and sled-dog-racing in the crisp freshness of a winter's morn.
Yet, others will complain and bitch about summer's hot, humid days!
Be advised, that Nature has solution-ed the foregoing
by giving us Spring and Autumn!
We are so fortunate to live geographically where we have four seasons!
Winter is just around the corner.
We hear of January/February heavy snows...we hear of slippery, icy roads...seniors fear to walk outside their doors...and for them, boredom and ennui set in! Oh, what? Oh what shall we do?

Cheer Up! Recent magazines and news give us reason
to delight in Christmas with seasonal activities.

RBG Blends Nature With the Holidays!
It's a Winter Wonderment! It's a Paradise! It's an Exhibition of Decor with Christmas niceties! It's a Place of Awe and Personal Enjoyment! It's a Garden of Light (as photographed by John Rennison:
David Lee and Hy Nguyen stop for a kiss under the mistletoe in the 'light tunnel'
at the end of a kilometre-long tour of the Rock Garden
which is illuminated by almost 150 coloured lights.
Winter Lights at the Rock” is part of the RBG's Holiday Traditions ~ and the light display is one of the Ontario 150 Celebrations marking Canada's 150th birthday.
Five interpretive stations along the tour explain how WINTER
has influenced our various cultures.

The Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) in Burlington, is a pillar of the community, offering endless opportunities to learn and explore. Both the largest botanical garden in Canada and a National Historic Site, RBG is a registered charitable organization with an established mandate to bring together people, plants and nature. Four distinct formal gardens are contained within 1,100 hectares of nature reserve, nestled into the slopes of the Niagara Escarpment World Biosphere Reserve.

Families and friends can connect over mutual admiration and awe of the many historical plant collections...the Mediterranean Greenhouse...and 27 kilometres of nature trails. The changing seasons in Canada only add to the RBG's allure presenting new sights to see upon each visit. The RBG is also home to many excellent events, courses, tours and activities. The venue comes especially alive during the holidays with wonderful events and remarkable decor.
Holiday Traditions” runs from Nov. 18, 2017 to Jan. 7, 2018.
Join the RBG performances, Santa experiences, exhibitions and more
as we welcome the holiday season.

Winter Escapes
A snowy vacation has a feeling of its own ~ cosy evenings in front of the fireplace...adventurous days on the slopes...relaxing moments at a spa...and delicious dining. This winter, discover a vacation that embraces snow! If unable to check out these least, one can dream about them:

Bavarian Alps, Germany: One of the most picturesque landscapes, offering blue skies, majestic mountains and rolling hills. Take in a beautiful dusk, atop Watzmann, Germany's third highest mountain. Stroll through the Garmisch-Partenkirchen village filled with cosy Bavarian-style inns while you walk across the crunchy, glistening may even hear yodelling.

Patagonia, Argentina: Peaks, glaciers and rivers are just a few of the many beautiful scenes to be experienced in South America's outdoor wonderland of Patagonia. Also, home to the best whale-watching and penguin watching. Los Glaciares National Park is the most accessible ice fields in the world with cascading ice mountains stretching 30 kilometres long.

Jukkas Jarvi, Sweden: Jukasjarvi village is home to the famous Icehotel, a hotel made of ice from the Torne River....which is remodelled each year with a new design. Travel to view the stunning Northern Lights in Abisko National Park. Enjoy the Laplands via dog sled and immerse yourself in the Sami culture with the option of indulging in an authentic meal.

Gstaad, Switzerland: The Gstaad Palace is a family-friendly hotel. Offering 5 restaurants, a full-service spa and located around the corner from some of the most magnificent hot springs. View the landscapes from above via hot air balloon...stroll in the sky on the Peak Walk, a suspension bridge connecting two peaks...or ascend into the sky on a paragliding tour.

Whistler, Canada: More than just snow covered mountains, Whistler is a great place for all ages. Best known for its glorious abundance of powdery snow (ideal for skiing), explore the beautiful village based around the lifts for Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains. The accessible walkway is perfect for outdoor excursions...taking you through forests, over creeks between stores and galleries. Take in the magnificent arts and culture scene. Known for excellence in food, wine and hospitality.

Save Driving Tips for the Winter Season
From heavy snow to slippery ice, Canadian winter weather conditions can change without warning and provide challenges on the road. Sean Griffin, vice-president of operations at UPS Canada...where drivers are trained to deal with the harsh winter weather says, “Safety means everything to us! Our training helps ensure our drivers master safe driving methods, no matter what road conditions they're faced with.” Here are his top tips:
Minimize distractions. Leave your phone out of reach and map your route in advance.
Stay on the main roads. Snow is often cleared off these roads first.
Leave plenty of space. It's ideal to leave at least 2 car lengths between you and the vehicle ahead.
Adjust your speed for road conditions. Icy or snowy roads call for slower speeds.
Check the weather. Plan your trip around changing weather patterns and difficult conditions.
Stay alert! Pack water and snacks to keep you energized for the trip.
If you're feeling too tired: stay at home!

Anne Bradstreet's Philosophy:
If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant;
if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome!”

Written by Merle Baird-Kerr...November 25, 2017

Thursday, November 23, 2017


Judith Lewis Herman (re trauma and recovery) writes:
In order to escape accountability for his crimes, the perpretator does everything in his power to promote 'forgetting' and if the secrecy fails, the perpretator attacks the credibility of his victim.
If he cannot silence her, absolutely, he tries to make sure no one is listening!

Further, she states, “ practice, the standard for what constitutes rape is set, not at the level of women's experience of violation ~ but just above the level of coercion acceptable to man!”

Since the Bill Cosby episodes (still ungoing), numerous other persons
are publically forwarding “sexual assault(s)” inflicted on them
by business associates, men at bars and those in 'high places'.
It's despicable that there are literally thousands of others' sexually assaulted'
whose names lack notoriety in the press.

In The Hamilton Spectator's “In Brief” Article (November 17):
20 More Accuse Spacey of Inappropriate Actions who claim, “Kevin Spacey acted inappropriately toward them, while he was working as artistic director of The Old Vic between 2004 and 2015,” according to an investigation completed by the theatre. The Old Vic released a statement on Thursday stating it 'received 20 personal testimonies of Spacey's alleged behaviour. No one was a minor at the time...and those who enountered Spacey's behavior did not know how to react...and therefore, did not come forward. All but 2 of the instances happened before 2009, according to the investigation.
The theatre's statement issued an apology for not creating a better environment
where people would feel safe about coming forward.

Woman Blasts Netflix for Renewing The Ranch: A woman accused Danny Masterson of rape is speaking out against Netflix for renewing and promoting the actor's show “The Ranch.” Chrissie Carnell Bixler told the Daily Beast, “I was sick when I read Netflix' s statement on continuing with 'The Range' and continuing their working relationship with a man who has violently raped her...and abused so many women.” Bixler who claimed the Church of Scientology brushed her allegations aside, accused Netflix of doing the same. Masterson, a Scientologist best known for his role on “That '70's Show,' produces and acts alongside Ashton Kutcher in the Netflix show. Months after the LAPD confirmed it was investigating Masterson for sexual assault, Netflix announced it would release new episodes of “The Ranch.” The streaming service took a markedly different approach after Kevin Spacey was accused of sexual misconduct, cutting ties with the “House of Cards” actor and suspending production. Masterson has been accused of raping 4 women in the early 2000's.

SUNY Strips Weinstein of Honourary Degree: Disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein's alleged abuse of women has cost him an honourary degree he received form his old school. The State University of New York on Wednesday formally revoked the honourary doctorate Weinstein received from the university in Buffalo...a SUNY school, in 2000. “Today, the SUNY board of trustees made it clear that harrassment or sexual misconduct, in any form, will not be tolerated by the State University of New York. Weinstein attended the university from 1969 through 1973.”

Mark Schwahn Suspended from The Royals: After being accused of sexual harrassment, on the set of “One Tree Hill,” The studios said, “Mark Schwahn has been suspended from its current show, 'The Royals,' as we continue our investigation. “Royals” star Alexandra Park said that she had been exposed to this reprehensible behaviour, and that she wants to see a 'new normal' in the industry now plagued by sexual misconduct allegations. Over the weekend, writer Audrey Wauchope accused Schwahn of inappropriate behaviour on the WB show. The female cast and crew issued a statement backing Wauchope on Monday. The male co-stars followed suit with statements.

Andy Henry Accused of Urging Women to Disrobe: Five women have come forward alleging a former casting staff member for the CBS drama 'CSI' pressured them to remove their clothes. The accusers claim Andy Henry encouraged them to stick around after his group edition workshop courses ended so he could further instruct them privately, according to a new report by The Hollywood Reporter. But as their private session progressed, Jenny Kern, an aspiring actress at the time, claims Henry suggested she take off more and more clothing...starting with her bra, as a way of bringing 'more vulnerability' to the performance. Several other accusers shared similar stories. Another woman, Mandy June Turpin, claims Henry touched her breast and shoulders during their alleged encounter. Henry said in a state ment to THR that he “doesn't believe or recall” the fondling allegation, but did apologize for encouraging women to disrobe during the private audition tutorials. Once allegations of Henry's ploys came to light in 2008, he was fired from both “CSI” and his own private firm, according to THR. He has since helped cast major films including, “The Amazing Spider-Man” and “Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief.”
(The foregoing are excerpts from Nov. 17th publication by News Services)

Sierra D. Waters' Solution:
I wore a pair of faded old jeans and a plain grey baggy shirt. I hadn't even taken a shower...and I did not put on an ounce of makeup. I grabbed a worn-out-black oversized jacket to cover myself, even though it is warm outside. I had made conscious decisions look like 'less of what I thought a male would want to see me.' I want to disappear from such male(s)!
Kate McGarry's Solution:
Hand off my ass ~ or I'll rip off your balls!!! And it works!

Positive Explanation Needed
Since most sexual abuse begins well before puberty, preventive education, if it is to have any effect at all, should begin early in grade school. Ideally, information on sexual abuse should be integrated into a general curriculum of 'Sex Education.' In those countries, where the experiment has been tried, it has been shown conclusively, that children can learn what they need to know about sexual abuse without undue fright...or developing, generally negative sexual attitudes. (Unknown Author)

Some Christian families (and other religious sects) object to
'Sexual Education' in both elementary and secondary schools...strongly believing
that such information should be given at home by the parents. Yet, do they do so?
My family with strong Christian principles was a prime example. I was not even informed about a 'monthly period' that girls have!!! Yet, my sister and I had the bi-jesus kicked into us...if we ever did anything unapproved by our parents. Lying and swearing were absolute sins...and Sundays were reserved for worshiping God in Sunday School and Church the local Baptist Church.

Pregnancies in Grade 7 and 8: As a teacher of Senior Public School classes, 'Sex Education' was never part of the curriculum. Yet, I had 3 senior girls (1 Grade 7 and 2 Grade 8's) who had become pregnant! With a couple girls who had not yet told their parents, I sat with them (for support) in private conversations with their mothers as they were informed.

Merle Baird-Kerr...written November 17, 2017

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Addressing The Gossiping Truths!

Strong minds discuss ideas.
Average minds discuss events.
Weak minds discuss people.

More Help for More Newcomers
The Spectator's View...excerpts by John Roe
“Canada is a vast, sprawling land with a relatively small population that would benefit greatly from more company. Now, thanks to Justin Trudeau's Liberals, a lot more company will be arriving.

“The immigration targets unveiled by the government recently are large enough to dramatically increase the flow of newcomers in this period, yet sensible enough to avoid fueling needless, anti-immigrant fears. Provided there are increased resources to back up the increased numbers. Ottawa's plan should benefit the people living here as well as those who are coming. But, we have to be ready.

“From this year's target of accepting 300,000 immigrants, the plan is to admit 310,000 permanent new residents in 2018...330,000 in 2019...and 340,000 in 2020. The last figure represents a 30% increase over the number admitted in a typical year when Stephen Harper and the Conservatives wre in power. It's 21% higher than the number that arrived in 2010, the peak immigration year during Harper's term.
“There are strong arguments for these increases.
“With our low birth rate...and a rapidly aging population, it makes sense to start dramatically boosting the number of immigrants Canada accepts each year. In the coming decades, the percentage of our population made up of retirees will soar as the percentage of workers declines. The demographic shift will put greater pressures on public pensions and the public health-care system. Who will pay for it all?
Part of the answer from the Liberals is 'immigrants and their children.'

“Moreover, in recent years, increasing numbers of immigrants are settling outside major urban centres in favour of starting new lives in smaller communities ~ particularly on the Prairies. This means the economic stimulus brought by immigrants is being spread more evenly across Canada.
The government's advisory council urged that the country's doors
be open wider. It called for 450,000 immigrants a year for the next five years.
The Conference Board of Canada also recommended higher targets than Ottawa set”.

“Some people fear newcomers take jobs from those who are already here: when in fact, immigrants in general help create employment. Canadians now have a very reasonable immigration plan.
But its success will be determined by how well it's managed.”

For Men Who Don't Know the Difference Between Flirting and Sexual Assault
(Excerpts from Lorraine Sommerfield's writing, published in The Spectator)
The consequence of this new sexual counter-revolution? No sex at all, blared the headline from a British columnist. Of course, that's what it must mean! The recent tidal wave of revelations Harvey Weinstein set off, when his decades of probably illegal, usually damaging behaviour came to light.

Seventy years ago, my mother, working as a secretary, was chased around her desk by a horny boss who thought it was his right. Flash forward to me, 35 years ago, finally telling her I didn't know what to do when a partner at the firm I worked at for the summer would repeatedly look down my shirt and touch me as he passed behind me. She'd simply sigh...and tell me I was a pretty girl and would have to get used to it! I've worked around hundreds of men since...and it's only a handful who stand out for their lecherous, uninvited attention. When someone 'paws your butt' it's not because they can't think of a better way to ask you to dinner; it's because they can get away with being a pig. I can't think of any man I know who would be at risk of being fired (or sued or charged) for asking a woman out. Most would require you be unattached, direct and willing to take 'No' for an answer. How hard is that?
“There is no fine line between flirting and inappropriate sexually charged behaviour...
including flat-out sexual assault. Advice? Don't shop at work for a date!
“My world is filled with decent men~ but I avoid being alone in an elevator with a man I don't know. I despise parking garages, giant husks of hidden corners with few escapes. So, for you men who fear having the fun sucked out of your day ~ understand that women feel actual fear.
“As for whether sex will even be allowed in the future:
Welcome to the Concept of Consent!!! We've been fighting for it a long time!”

Plummer Meme Has Him Taking Over Everywhere
Toronto: If the social media world had its way, Christopher Plummer would be taking over Hollywood and U.S. politics. News that the Canadian Oscar winner is replacing Kevin Space in Ridley Scott's upcoming film has ignited a flurry of tweets about other controversial figures the 87-year old could be swapped in for. On Wednesday, news broke that Spacey is being cut from 'All the Money in the World'
in the wake of sexual assault allegations that also led to his firing from Netflix's House of Cards.
Scott is reshooting all of Spacey's scenes with Plummer playing the role
of billionaire oil tycoon J. Paul Getty.

Many of the Plummer fantasy-swap memes suggest he replace U.S. President Donald Trump. Some say they would like to see Plummer take the place of comedian Louis C.K. And actor Ed Westwick, who are also facing allegations of sexual misconduct.
(Submitted by The Canadian Press)

Kaepernick Named GQ Magazine's 'Citizen of the Year'
New York: Free agent quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, has been named this magazine's 'Citizen of the Year' for his activism. Kaepernich began kneeling instead of standing during the national anthem last season to protest racial inequality and police brutality. The demonstration sparked an ongoing wave of NFL protests by players during the anthem that have been repeatedly denounced by President Donald Trump. Kaepernick parted ways with the 49'ers in March and hasn't been resigned by another team.
Rapper J. Cole says Kaepernick 'sacrificed his dream to stand for something.'
Ninety-year-old singer and activist, Harry Belafonte says...
'Seeing people like Kaepernick taking action is the greatest reward' he could ask for.

Don't waste time with explanations:
people only hear what they want to hear. (Paulo Coelo)

Nothing travels faster than light ~ with the exception of bad news
which follows its own rules. (Douglas Adams)

Compiled by Merle Baird-Kerr...November 14, 2017

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Humour In The Military!

Laughter ~ the Sweetest Medicine for Mind and Body
Laughter relaxes the whole body...boosts the immune system...triggers release of endorphins...protects the heart...burns calories...lightens anger's heavy load...may even help you to live longer!

You know why women like men in uniform?
Because we women know they can follow orders! (Anonymous)

Old Guys Make the Best Soldiers!
I'm a pensioner and the army forces think I'm too old to track down terrorists!
If you're over 42, then you can't join the military. They've got their whole system backwards! Instead of sending 18-year-olds to war zones, they should take us old guys.
They shouldn't let you join the military until you're at least 35!

18-year-olds have been proven to think about sex every 10 seconds, while pensioners only think about it once or twice a month. This leaves us an extra 280,000 seconds per day to focus on the enemy.

Young soldiers don't have enough life experience to be cranky, and a cranky soldier is a terrifying soldier! ' I'm tired and hungry, my back hurts, I can't sleep! Aaaargh!'

We're impatient and bad-tempered, so perhaps letting us kill some jerk
who desperately deserves it, will cheer us up and keep us quiet.
18-year-olds never usually get up before 10 a.m. Old guys always wake up early to pee! Besides, like I've already said, 'since I can't get to sleep...I may as well be off killing some fanatical son-of-a-bitch! If they capture us, we'd never spill the beans, because we wouldn't remember where we put them. Name, rank and serial number would be a huge braintaser!

Old guys would ace boot camp! We're used to people yelling at us...and we're accustomed to eating soft food. We also have a deep appeciation of firearms. We've been using them for years as an excuse to get away from all the yelling!

They could lighten up on the obstacle course, though. I've been in combat, but I've never come across a 20-foot wall with ropes hanging over either side! They can probably get rid of the running part as well. I've never seen anybody outrun a bullet!

18-year olds have their whole lives ahead of them. They should still be learning how to shave...and how to talk to pretty girls. They still haven't even figured out how to properly wear a baseball cap!
These are all good reasons why we should keep our kids at home.
Let us old guys track terrorists down! No enemy wants to see a couple million hacked-off old farts, with automatic weapons and with bad attitudes...who know that their best years are behind them!

And what about recruiting women in their 50' menopause?
You think only men have a bad attitude? You ain't seen nothing yet! If nothing else, they can be put on 'border control'! It'll be secured by the end of the first night!
(With thanks to one of my readers re the above submission)

Brotherhood means: I will always come for you, no matter what the cost!”

Military Jokes!
Pregnant With Doubt: When the sergeant told our new commander, his driver could not participate in an upcoming field maneuver because she was pregnant, the enraged commander demanded to know how pregnant she was. The sergeant's reply was, “Completely, Sir!”

The Deadliest Job in WWII: My high school assignment was to ask a veteran about WWII. Since my father had served in the Philippines during the war, I chose him. After a few basic questions, gingerly I asked, “Did you ever kill anyone?” Dad became quiet. Then, in a soft voice, he said,
Probably. I was the cook.”
Never Lose a Tank: When I lost my rifle, the Army charged me $85. That's why the Navy captain goes down with the ship!
Military Lesson ~ Never Volunteer: During basic training at Fort Leavenworth, our sergeant asked if anyone had 'artistic abilities'. Having been an architectural draftsman in civilian life, I raised my hand. Then the sergeant announced that everyone would get a 3-day pass...except me. I would stay behind and neatly print each soldier's name onto his Army-issued underwear.
In college, my freshman-year roommate was in ROTC
and came from a long line of military men. Trask (his last name) used that heritage to 'lord' it over me. But I had the last laugh. Upon his return that night in his perfectly pressed uniform, his newly acquired name tag in hand, reluctantly he showed it to me. In large gold letters was printed TRASH.

The Time-Travelling Soldier: When a soldier came to the clinic where I work for an MRI, he was put into the machine by an attractive young technician. Some time later, when the examination was over, he was helped out of the machine by a far older woman. The soldier remarked, “How long was in there?”

Airman Express: My friend, an Air Force officer, was riding his scooter when he passed an airman who didn't salute! My friend stopped, turned around and glared at the airman. “Thanks for coming back for me,” the airman said, jumping on the back of the scooter. “Airmen's Mess, Sir!”

Confessions of a Military Wife: My husband is infantry and he said the most wonderful things to convince me to marry him. The closets could all be mine since he wears the same thing every day. I could have as many babies as I want because giving birth is free. He would never get on my nerves because he would usually be gone.

An Army of None: We were an Air Force family, but our young son could not grasp that fact. Anytime when asked what his father did, he'd say, “He's in the Army.” I told him umpteen times, “Stop telling people I'm in the Army!!!” It finally seemed to hit home because on the kindergarten admittance form for “father's profession”, the teacher wrote, “He doesn't know...but he's not in the Army!”

Bad Soldier Mistakes: It's important that soldiers learn from their mistakes, otherwise, they're bound to repeat them at inopportune moments. One soldier who replied, “I was cold” was reprimanded as being not a sufficient reason for being caught in the female barracks!

Basic Flying Rules: Try to stay in the middle of the air. Do not go near the edges of it. The edges of the air can be recognized by the appearance of the ground, buildings, sea, trees and interstellar space. It is much more difficult to fly there!

The Meaning of War: Sometimes I think war is God's way of teaching us geography!

Compiled by Merle Baird-Kerr...November 4, 2017
All comments welcome: or

Sunday, November 12, 2017

"The Road to Remembrance"

Yearly I watch the televised Remembrance Day Ceremony at Mount Hope's Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum on Airport Road. The program commemorates those who served in our armed forces and lost lives...and honouring those veterans who remind us of the sacrifices given to protect
our homelands...the 90 minute program, most heart-warming!

Spectator reporter, Mark McNeil travelled with the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry in August (2017) on a First and Second World War pilgrimage through northern France and Belgium where tens of thousands of Canadians...and thousands of Hamiltonians gave their lives. In his article published November 11, he wrote about First World War Battlefields and cemeteries that were part of the trip and reflects on local servicemen who took part in the Great War. “ Even after all these years, the world wars of the last century still haunt us,” he writes.

The brutality of so many lives torn apart still aches through the generations and has forever twisted the Canadian psyche. And while no soldier remains from the First World War to talk about the experience ~ and the number of survivors from the Second World War has severely declined, it has fallen on the rest of us to not only remember the sacrifice, but reflect on the capacity of humanity for inhumanity! How does such a catastrophe of carnage happen? Could forces be unleashed again to start another world war? War has certainly touched my family.

I would not be here without the First World War. My grandmother's first husband, William Reid, was killed in the Battle of Amiens, an Allied offensive in August 1918 that ultimately led to the end of the First World War in November of that year. She remarried a young man named John Gilbertson and they had a daughter named Hazel, who became my mother. They also had a son named Jack who would be killed in the Second World War.

In his book, “We Were Just Doing Our Bit” by Ed Keenlyside,
he comments, “Hamilton's main cenotaph at Gore Park does not list the names of the fallen on the monument as it is a large community. There is a scroll inside with the names of 1,800 service people who gave their lives in the First World War...yet no one knows how accurate that list is.

Stories Behind the Names on the Burlington Cenotaph
(First World War)
Sapper Harry Ernest Brain: (Oct. 29, 1896 - Aug. 20, 1918...(21 years).
Died Caix, Somme, France. Buried Caix British Cemetery. The son of a linesman, Brain was one of 10 children ~ 4 boys and 6 girls. He was born in Oakville, but grew up in Burlington. On August 30, 1915, he joined the 92nd Highlanders Overseas Battalion, C.E.F. as a sapper. (A sapper is someone who builds roads and bridges, lays or clears mines and takes part in other construction projects). On the afternoon of August 20, 1918, this soldier was one of a party awaiting orders at the edge of a wood, when an enemy high velocity shell landed in the middle of the party, killing Sapper Brain and (15) others instantly, according to Veterans Affairs records.

Lance-Cpl.Herbert William Kearse: (Aug. 27, 1888 - April 28, 1917...(28 years).
Died Arleux Loop near Arleux-en-Gohelle. known grave.
Commemorated at the Vimy Memorial in France.
Kearse born in Burford, Oxforshire, England, moved to Burlington in 1910. He was married with two sons, living on Brant Street. He enlisted with his brother, Harold on Sept. 1, 1915. Harold survived the war. Kearse was in charge of a Lewis gun crew...and while proceeding to the jumping off position, just prior to an attack on the village of Arleux-en-Gohelle, he was instantly killed by concussion caused by the explosion of an enemy high-explosive shell,” according to Veterans Affairs records.
Capt. George Orme McNair: Oct. 15, 1872 – May 1, 1916...(43 years).
Died Zillebeke (3 kilometres from Ypres). Buried Maple Copse Cemetery, Ypres, west-Vlaanderen, Belgium. McNair was born in Lowville, and after living out west for a time, returned to the Hamilton area. He worked for the freight traffic department of the Grand Trunk Railway and was in his early 40's when he enlisted in 1915. He had at least one son, also named George. A postcard written to the boy from McNair said, “Hurry up and write me some more letters. Take good care of Mummy Muff and the rest. Remember you are 'the man of the house now'. Lovingly yours, Daddy.” About 2 1/2 months after arriving in France, McNair was killed when a mortar shell exploded in his trench 3 kilometres east of Ypres.
Second World War
Sapper Joseph Paul Breckon: (April 11, 1920 – Sept 3, 1944...(24 years).
Died Normandy. Buried Bayeux War Cemetery, Calvados, France. Breckon was born in the small community of Wiseton, Saskatchewan, but shortly after his family moved to a farm in Nelson Township (now part of Burlington). 'Paul' as he was known, cared for an ill mother who died in March 1937. Five years later in October 1942, he went overseas with the No. 1 Road Construction Company, Royal Canadian Engineers. A month after D-Day, Breckon was working on road and building construction in Normandy when he stepped on a buried mine on August 26, 1944, suffering severe injuries that he died from on September 3.

Gunner Gordon Walter Langford: August 4, 1913 – August 1944...(31 years).
Died near Caen. Buried Bretteville-Sur-Laize, Canadian War Cemetery, Calvados, France. Langford was born inWinona and attended Burlington Central High School and later worked as a truck driver. He enlisted in Dundas with the regular army in May 1941, eventually shipping to England. Langford's regiment was sent to France on July 26, 1944 to help reinforce Allied advances after D-Day on June 6. On the evening of August 14, he was laying in a slit trench with the added security of a truck parked above him. A German plane hit the truck with an anti-personnel bomb and Lanford and another soldier were killed instantly.

Cpl. Alexander Rennie MacDonald: July 9, 1910 – July 13,1944...(34 years)
Died near Caen. Buried Beny-sur-Mer Canadian war Cemetery, Calvados, France. MacDonald was born in Burkie, Scotland and moved to Burlington with his family when he was a boy going to Burlington schools where he was remembered as a strong football athlete. He enlisted with the 27th Field Company, Royal Canadian Engineers on September 22, 1942, shipping overseas on January 7, 1943. He was sent to Normandy, France one month after D-Day. Less than a week later, he was killed in bitter combat efforts by Canadian troops moving inland to try to take the City of Caen.

There is just one woman's name on the cenotaph: Cpl. Thelma Florence Passant, a talented cipher clerk with the Canadian Women's Army Corps in Toronto. She coded and decoded military correspondence. She died of a cerebral hemorrhage and was buried with full military honours.

In honour of the men and women who served and sacrificed
for the freedoms and peace we enjoy today.

Info compiled by Merle Baird-Kerr...November 11, 2017
Your thoughts appreciated: email or

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Gone But Not Forgotten!

(Excerpts from an article written by a local retired Real Estate Broker)

As a young boy I can remember going to Sunnybrook Veterans Hospital to visit my Dad who constantly seemed to be having an 'operation' to relieve the pain from his war wounds. At the time, it was hard for me and my 3 brothers to understand why my father was in so much pain...always took prescribed drugs...or seldom able to play ball with and golf were out of the question.

He had served in France, survived Dunkirk. Then commando trained in Scotland while everyone waited for the invasion that was to come...dispatched to North Africa to join the battle against Rommel.
My father never really talked about what happened, until near his death. History tells us that the battle at El Alamein was a great victory for the Allied forces. There were 12 days of fierce fighting from late October to early November 1942. Casualties were high and the victory was significant. Churchill was to say, “Before Alamein we never had a victory. After Alamein we never had a defeat.”

That victory for my dad meant capture, escape and a life filled with 38 operations in an attempt to stop the constant pain, plus his final battle with Melanoma. There was no such thing as 'sunblock' in those days for the fair-haired boys in the tropical sun. Diagnosed as terminal, my dad called me and spoke about how he would like to die and be remembered. He asked that he not be kept alive if he was not able to think and reason. He said to me, “I am at peace with my God and myself.
When the time comes ~ let me go!”
I cannot begin to imagine the frequent nightmares my father had...he asked me to maintain membership in the legion and to honour all soldiers from all wars. He wrote on his final note to me:
Remember ~ 'to the victor go the spoils'
because they write the history books!
We fought so you could live in freedom”

Forgotten Hamilton Hero Honoured October 11, 2017
A Second World War soldier from Hamilton ~ who was credited with capturing 160 Germans in a single day, but died two months later after being shot by an enemy sniper was honoured at a council meeting. Argyll and Sutherland Highlander, Lance Sgt. Earl McAllister, was supposed to receive recognition from the city in 1944 with a day named in his honour. Earlier this year, a surviving sister, Joyce (McAllister) Mason, 97, asked the city to rectify the oversight before she passes on.

The North Wall Riders Association, a group of motorcycle riders, dedicated to supporting veterans and the military, commissioned a plaque for McAllister and officially unveiled it at East Memorial Park at 85 East 36th Street which was open to the public. He was a 21-year old, short in stature, a 135 pound soldier when capturing the 150 Germans in 3 engagements one day in August 1944 in Falaise, France.
The exploit received international media attention. Sadly, on October 20 of that year in Kapellenbosch, Belgium, he was shot while trying to help a wounded fellow soldier.
(The foregoing excerpts are from a writing by The Spectator's Mark McNeil.)

They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We shall remember them. (Unknown Author)

Freedom! Its Cost!
Irena Sender Died May 12, 2008 (aged 98) Warsaw, Poland

During WWII, Irena got permission to work in the Warsaw Ghetto, as a Plumbing/Sewer specialist. She had an ulterior motive. She smuggled Jewish infants out, in the bottom of the tool box she carried.
She also carried a burlap sack in the back of her truck, for larger kids. Irena kept a dog in the back that she trained to bark when the Nazi soldiers let her in and out of the ghetto.

During her time of doing this, she managed to smuggle out and save 2,500 kids/infants. Ultimately, she was caught...and the Nazis broke both of her legs and arms and beat her severely.

Irena kept a record of the names of all the kids she had smuggled out,
in a glass jar that she buried under a tree in her back yard.

After the war, she tried to locate any parents that may have survived...and tried to reunite the family. Most had been gassed. Those kids she helped, got placed into foster family homes or adopted.

In 2007 Irena was up for the Nobel Peace Prize;
unfortunately, she was not selected.

Al Gore won, for a slide show on Global Warming.
Later, another politician, Barack Obama won for

It is now more than 65 years since the Second World War in Europe ended.

This e-mail, from one of my readers, was sent as a memorial memory of the 6 million Jews...
10 million Ukrainians...6 million Russians...1 million Byelorusyns...1 million Baltics...10 million Christians...and 1,900 Catholic priests who were murdered, massacred.

Now, more than ever, with Iran and others claiming the HOLOCAUST to be 'a myth' it's imperative to make sure: the world never forgets...because there are others who would like to do it again!

Compiled by Merle Baird-Kerr: November 3, 2017
Your response is welcome: or

Monday, October 30, 2017

Dreams and Challenges

Positive Affirmation: Today, I shall remind myself that in one hand I hold the seeds to my future; and in the other, I have what life gives me. (Unknown Author)

Thoughts moved with definiteness of purpose, persistence
and a burning desire are powerful things. (Napolean Hill)

Growth: Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered,
you will never grow. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Life will only change when you become more committed to your dreams
than you are to your comfort zone. (Anon)

Plants Still Think It's Summer” writes Kathy Renwald... “the burning bush, rosebud tree, oak leaf hydrangea, the perennial geraniums, beautyberry, Virginia creepers. October has been delicious, but there's a reason why I move the portable jungle inside. It's called November!”

Misplaced Monarchs: Clusters of Butterflies Stuck Up North!” (by The Associated Press Oct.26, 2017). Monarch Butterflies, those delicate symbols of spring and summer, should mostly be in Texas by now ~ winging their way to Mexico for the winter. But Darlene Burgess keeps seeing colourful clusters of them ~ and she lives in Canada. 'As this is nice to see, I really wish I wouldn't see it because they're running out of time.' She does evening 'monarch counts' at Point Pelee National Park in Canada (south-western Ontario). “It's not really good news for them.”

It's not just Canada: swarms have been seen elsewhere, including Cape May, New Jersey, at levels more abnormal for late September and early October. Scientists say tens of thousands of the butterflies are likely to be stranded far north of where they'd usually be this time of year...due to unusually warm weather and strong winds that have kept them from migrating south.
(Such is the dilemma for Nature's creations!)

Once in a while, it's good to challenge yourself
in a way that's really daunting. (Alan Cumming)

Size Doesn't Always Matter
(Excerpts from The Spectator View by John Roe: October 15, 2017)
Imagine little David kicking big Goliath's butt. Imagine a roaring mouse making a lion run away! Imagine an angry minnow fighting off a great white shark! Now, imagine the tiny nation of Iceland ~ population 330,000 and half of Hamilton's ~ battling its way to a place in the planet' s second biggest sporting event: The World Cup Soccer!!!
Who doesn't love seeing the underdog have its day?
But in Iceland's case, no stretch of imagination is necessary!
A few days ago, a determined team from North Atlantic's isolated, storm-swept volcanic island earned itself one of the 32 spots at next summer's World Cup in Russia.
This achievement is as extraordinary as, just a few years ago, it would have been impossible to predict. It's also an example to everyone ~ on both a human and sporting level.
Iceland is the least populous country to ever win a berth at the World Cup
and the only one with fewer than one million people.
It has no professional soccer league. The team's coach is a part-time dentist. Only 5 years ago,this soccer team was ranked 131st in the world out of 121 countries. But the country had desire, a plan and was willing to invest money in soccer. Over the years, Iceland trained hundreds of highly qualified, licenced coaches ~ more per capita than soccer giants such as France or Germany ~ to teach children how to play. It built 30 full-size all-weather soccer ptiches, seven of which are outdoors, and another 150 smaller, artificial arenas. Kids can play year-round, whether it's sunny, rainy or snowing. The core of Iceland's squad has been together more than a decade. Iceland made it to the 2016 Euro-Europe's soccer championship, beating the World Cup semi-finalist Netherlands on the way.
Last week, Iceland trounced Turkey, a nation of 80.7 million people:
U.S.A. with a population of 325 million failed to qualify.
But as Iceland just demonstrated, Size Doesn't Matter! Here's to the Davids, the mice, the minnows and Iceland! 'Our reach should exceed our grasp because there is a 'heaven'... that awaits!

Ask yourself, if what you are doing today,
is getting you closer to what you want to be tomorrow.”

Despite the Rain, the Olympic Flame Shines Again!
Nicholas Paphitis from The Canadian Press reports:
ANCIENT OLYMPIA, GREECE! The flame for the 2018 Pyeongchang Games was lit at the birthplace of the ancient Olympics on Tuesday, despite a brief cloudburst that disrupted the sun-reliant ceremony. It launched a long torch relay culminating with the February 9th Opening Winter Games.
Using backup fire,
kept from Monday's last rehearsal,
an actress playing an ancient pagan priestess ignited the torch in front of
the 2,600-year-old Temple of Hera in the southern Greek Peloponnese region
She then passed the flame to the first relay-runner, Greek skier Apostolos Angeles who ran with it a short distance before handing over to former Manchester United soccer player Park Ji-sung, a South Korean...who commented, “As a sports person, I have been watching the Olympics throughout my life ...and I really wanted to be involved in the Olympics. We will show to the world, how we can organize a sports event.”

From the verdant, rain-soaked valley of Ancient Olympia, where the Games of antiquity were held for more than a thousand years, the flame will course through Greece for eight days and reach South Korea on November 1. The Ancient Games were held at Olympia from 775 B.C. to 393 A.D. 
Ancient traditions point to an earlier date for sports at Olympia, 
where the first traces of human settlement
go back to the third millennium B.C.

In order to succeed, your desire to success
should be greater than your fear of failure.”
(Unknown Author)

From Psalm 27:6
Then I will hold my head high above the enemies who surround me.
At his sanctuary, I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy,
singing and praising the Lord with music.”

Written by Merle Baird-Kerr...October 28, 2017
Comments appreciated: or