Saturday, January 20, 2018

Continual Sexual Allegations in High Places!

'The Snowball Effect' is a process that starts from an initial state
of small significance and builds upon itself, becoming larger, graver, more serious
and also, perhaps potentially dangerous or disastrous (a vicious circle) ...
though it might be beneficial instead (a virtuous circle).

(Reported recently and today, November 30 in News Services)

TV Producer Fired Amid Sexual Harassment Allegations: An executive producer for several Vancouver-shot superhero shows has been fired following a 'thorough investigation' into allegations of sexual harassment against him. Warner Bros. Television Group says it has terminated Andrew Kreisberg's employment, effective immediately, and is “committed to providing a safe working environment for our employees and everyone involved in our productions.

Kreisberg had been suspended from his work on “Arrow,” “Supergirl,” “The Flash,” and “Legends of Tomorrow,” amid accusations of sexual harassment and inappropriate touching made by 19 former and current employees. The accusations were first reported by Variety, which did not identify the 15 women and 4 men who said they feared retaliation if they went public.

Minnesota Public Radio Severs Ties with Garrison Keillor: Citing inappropriate behaviour with an individual who worked with him, Minnesota Public Radio has terminated its relationship with Garrison Keillor, the former host of “A Prairie Home Companion” who helped build MPR into a national powerhouse. In an email to the Star Tribune Wednesday, Keillor said, “I put my hand on a woman's bare back after she told me about her unhappiness and her shirt was open and my hand went up it bout six inches. She recoiled. I apologized. I sent her an email of apology later and she replied that she'd forgiven me. We were friends...and continued to be friendly right up until her lawyer called”.
MPR retained an outside law firm to conduct an independent investigation of the allegations.

Matt Lauer Fired After Claims of “Inappropriate Sexual Behaviour” NBC News said Wednesday that it has fired Matt Lauer over 'inappropriate sexual behaviour,' making the “Today” show star the latest high-profile man to become embroiled in workplace harassment allegations. In a staff memo, NBC News chair Andrew Lack said the network received 'a detailed' complaint about Lauer Monday night. “It represented, after serious review, a clear violation of our company's standards. As a result, we've decided to terminate his employment. Lauer,59, joined “Today” in 1994 as its news anchor. He became co-host of the morning program with Katie Couric in 1997 after Bryant Gumbel stepped down.

Lauer is among one of many whose careers have been hit by harassment allegations in the weeks since Hollywood mogul, Harvey Weinstein was accused by numerous women of sexual assault.

Last week Lauer's morning rival on CBS, Charlie Rose, was fired after 8 women told the Washington Post that he had acted inappropriately toward them over a number of years.

The post-Weinstein wave has brought down figures in the news, entertainment and political fields ~ and renewed discussion about allegations against President Trump first raised, when he was the Republican candidate for the office last year.

Donald J. Trump Has Pretty Much Over Decades ~ Insulted All Women!
In May '91, in an Esquire magazine profile about his bad press, Trump had this to say, “You know, it doesn't really matter what they write as long as you've got a young and beautiful piece of ass; but she's got to be young and beautiful!”

He insulted a breast-feeding mother, “You're disgusting,” he hurled at female lawyer who had asked for a medical break to pump breast milk for her 3-month-old daughter.

Admonishing Robert Pattison re taking back Kristen Stewart, “She treated you like a dog and will do it again...just watch! You can do much better!”
Bette Midler is an extremely unattractive woman;
I refuse to say that because I always insist on being politically correct!”

He's insulted Moms who expect their husbands to change diapers when they're busy.
He's insulted Muslim women.
There wasn't much I could say about Hilary Clinton
that was worse than what I was already saying!”
He's insulted victims of sexual harassment....and the list is endless.

Politically Speaking ~ Alexander Panetta writes from Washington today, “Donald Trump promised to govern for America's forgotten men and women; yet he promoted Wednesday, a tax reform plan that independent analysts say, does the opposite ~ transferring tens of billions of dollars in wealth up the income ladder. The president claimed at a rally in Missouri that the tax plan would be great for the little guy, while clobbering rich guys like him: “ It's gonna cost me a fortune, this thing.
Believe me, this is not good for me!” he stated.

Analysts are piling on to pummel that analysis.The plan would hike taxes on 9% of lower-income Americans and within a decade, hurting the lower 50% of income earners
according to the non-partisan Tax Policy Center.

(From this writer's viewpoint in posting the foregoing article, anything promoted by Trump is certain to be beneficial to his financial and political life...it's up to readers and analysts to decipher his true intent!)

Donald Trump's I.Q. Obsession!
He repeatedly cites his sky-high IQ ~ and the relatively low IQ's of his political rivals, stating, “Sorry losers and haters, but my IQ is one of the highest and you all know it! Please don't feel so stupid or insecure ~ it's not your fault.”

Studies say that bragging about your superiority, makes people like you less,
so what does Donald Trump hope to gain?

Stephen Hawkins states, “People who boast about their IQ are losers!”

Trump finds himself increasingly at odds with his own staff ~ and at war with would-be-allies. He is squandering, perhaps the most precious presidential ability to surround himself with a challenging mix of intelligent and experienced advisors!

Written November 30, 2017 by Merle Baird-Kerr
Comments always welcome: mbairdkerr@cogeco.ca or inezkate@gmail.com

Monday, January 15, 2018

I Feel So Lucky!

Prior to opening my blog-writings in March, 2011, I had several prose-style articles written ~ often based on true experiences (as is this one today). Physically, due to scoliosis in my back, pleasurable recreational activities thwarted me. Yet, realizing I had 'untapped resources' within my soul, I had the potential energy to pursue other interests...with time and opportunity to create the next phase of my life.
A dear American ski friend firmly stated,
You have far greater inner strength, than you believe you have!”
Yes, we humans do have a reserve tank awaiting our pursuance of possibilities!
(Understandably, I've updated a time or two in this rendering.)

Outside a Pharmacy door,
I recognized a Realtor peer
Whom long ago I knew.
Seated on a bench,
She was frail...'bout 80/90 pounds...
Slowly turned her eyes aside...
Hopeful, unnoticed she would be.
She looked so lonely...
And preyed upon my mind.
At that moment, positive aspects
Altered my perception:
I Feel So Lucky!

I reside in a pleasant Senior's home
Near buses and small shopping mall.
Lonely are some...women and men
...no visiting family or friends;
Oft in the lounge, they await the mail;
(Their daily routines, they chat about).
Read their letters...and show their pics.
I Feel So Lucky!

Lifestyles change as we mature:
I cannot schuss down the snowy slopes;
Cannot golf on fairway greens,
But am quite certain I can putt!
Tennis agility is a skill of the past ;
Cannot polka or clog a routine;
Cannot hike along the forest's lush trails.
Yet, I Feel So Lucky!

Many other pleasures I then pursued:
The Theatre, the Play; Observer of Sports!
Time to Imagine and Time to Create
Fashion accessories and Inspired to write!
(A page-turner novel 'transports me away.')
Duplicate Bridge was one captive game;
Played local clubs and Bridge Base Online.
My 'family of Friends' greatly increased
From Chile to Turkey, to Portugal and France!
One year I travelled to U.S with my son;
Discovered a Bridge Club locally to play;
A truly Great Gentleman, I partnered with...
Amazing! This vibrant Vet of World War II.
Bridge tournaments were many...both near and afar.
Upon invitation, the Border I crossed;
Drove a few hours to an eastern State
To gain a few points...either Red or Gold.
I Felt So Lucky!

In 2001, drove the scenic distance
From California coast to Ontario home.
(Green Honda Odyssey for emission test).
Viewed mountains and canyons
And high desert plateaus;
Tumbling rivers and placid lakes;
Ambitious cities and sleepy hamlets.
I Felt So Lucky!

I feel so lucky for All of the Above!
Yes, I have aches and I have pain;
In January '17, slipped on ice,
Breaking a couple small bones in my wrist.
(I wasn't so lucky!)
Graciously, I've learned, 'Thank You So Much';
Appreciate Tylenol and a Helping Hand.

2018 has fast-approached ~
I wish to all “A Healthy and Happy New Year!”
And now, in the Spring when my Birthday arrives,
I'm another year Younger
and another year Wise...hopefully!”
I AM SO LUCKY!

Merle Baird-Kerr...rewritten December 16, 2017

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Joan Little's List

Always pleased I am to read publications by Joan Little in Hamilton's Spectator.
As a former 'alderperson' and Halton councillor'
Joan keeps us abreast with both Burlington's government and intown activities.
Published today, she cleverly and poetically has composed “Joan's Little List' which I share with you.

In the operetta “The Mikado,” Ko-Ko, the Lord High Executioner of Titipu,
creates a list of potential victims in need of execution.
So with my apologies to Gilbert and Sullivan, here's my 2017 looking-back 'Little List.'

As someday it may happen
That some victims must be found
I've got a Little list
These grace Joan Little's list
Of things we've seen in Burlington
And other places 'round
That never would be missed
They'd none of them be missed.

It's eight years, still no Conduct Code
for councillors, as yet
But don't give up, it's on the way
In eighteen. Wanna bet?
We have a brand new Draft OP
At least that has been done
But if it, too is oft ignored
Nothing will be won.

The board still trundles on,
With hints that it will go
But gosh, it always seems to me
That government moves slow
These two are on the list
Of things that still persist
We may be dead and gone
Before they both get fixed.

Lakeshore traffic's still a mess
And will get worse, we're told.
That's way high on the list
Of things that need a fix.
We heard PR a lot last year
On why we should 'Grow Bold'
But citizens were miffed
That they still got short shrift.

We've had maga-applications
That citizens decry
The Brant Street tower, the Lake hotel
Will really stretch sky high.
New's lanes will soon be back to four
To drivers' great relief
But side streets are undrivable
And bring homeowners grief.

The city's 'traffic calming' moves
Are really quite bizarre.
Unless they haven't heard it yet
Most folks still have their cars.
These rank high on the list
Things not to be dismissed
They need to be addressed
Not recur on next year's list.

If we think we're in awful shape
Just take a look down south!
They're really in a scary fix
And have a real long list.
They've traded in a diplomat
For a racist motormouth.
Smart U.S friends insist
He'd nevermore be missed.

But there are good things locally ~
Our Spencer Smith, for one
With Christmas lights a lovely show
For kids, a lot of fun.
The late Doug Musson's home on Spruce
Is lit with such a flair
That it brings joy to young and old.
To folks from everywhere.

As seventeen goes on its way
A brand new year draws nigh
With two elections holding sway
But a good year just gone by.
So let's be optimists
That eighteen's on the list
Of those among our best.
We really are quite blessed.

The foregoing freelance columnist can be reached at: specjoan@cogeco.ca

Merle Baird-Kerr...written January 4, 2018

Friday, January 5, 2018

Sensational Pieces of News

A Delicate Balancing Act
(an abbreviated extract from Matthew Van Dongen's writing
in The Hamilton Spectator)

How can Hamilton take advantage of its awe-inspiring vistas while keeping the public safe from harm ~ and from lawsuits? To start, think signs, fencing, parking crackdowns...and a ban on night waterfall illuminations. The guy perched precariously on a line above Smokey Hollow Falls is a visual metaphor for the tricky balancing act facing “The City of Waterfalls.”
In one picture, an unidentified slackliner hangs upside-down from his knees
over a 3-storey drop into the rapids-washed boulders of Grindstone Creek in Waterdown.
Another shows a man walking ~ knees slightly bent, arms stretched out
to maintain balance ~ toward the drooping mid-point of a 40-metre long
canvas line stretched between trees on opposite cliffs.
You can almost feel the spray misting off the burbling falls nearby.
(A dramatic colour photo last September illustrates the gravity-defying display in Waterdown that highlights a difficult question for the city and other local agencies. How do you balance the desire to welcome escarpment visitors with the need to prevent them from literally falling for the scenery?)
Most people are familiar with the spike in injuries and rope rescues
at local waterfalls over the last 2 years, including 21 calls for first-responder help
and a falling death this past summer.
Unprecedented prevention efforts focused this year on Albion Falls ~ which accounts for half of 2017 rope-rescue calls ~ including new signs, unpopular fencing and trespassing tickets.
A spectacular colour photo, centers Eric Kostiuk amid forest greenery
as he highline swings 12 metres above Smokey Hollow Falls in Waterdown.

History Restoration
As 2017 came to an end, the Friends of Freeman Station (FOFS) are well on their way to completing the restoration of the historical train station in Burlington. Although the station was only open 2 days last year to give the public a sneak peak at the progress of renovations to the 1906 hub, about 1,000 visitors poured through the doors. Recently completed projects at the Fairveiw Street location include the installation of fresh water and sanitary hookups, with the washrooms and HVAC to follow shortly.
Insulation was stuffed in the attic for the first time in its 100 years .
Four inches of concrete was poured over 60 tons of gravel in the basement.
Locally grown Burlington hardwood is currently being laid in the large waiting room area.
It was cut many decades ago and has been in storage and recently donated to the station; the hardwood is a combination of red, yellow and white oak as well as hard maple ~ each plank to be planed, sanded and beveled. When the spacious basement is completed, a diorama will be 1/25th scale model of Burlington at the time Freeman Station was built to about the 1920's and the golden age of railways.”
Rob Miller, a FOFS member said, 'This will be a museum quality interactive experience featuring the heritage of Freeman what life was like 100 years ago and what we can learn about railway technology.
(Published by Kathy Yanchus and Burlington Post Staff)

We Are Now Taking the Place of God in Shaping the Properties of the Earth”
stated David Suzuki addressing hundreds of local High School students at the Burlington Performance Arts Centre.“With a population explosion from 1.5 to 6 billion human beings within a century, our ecological footprint rose dramatically. The tremendous amount of technology created by synthesizing it out of the Earth and then throwing it back into the Earth, further increases our ecological footprint. Now 70% of North American economy is based on consumption. We now buy the things we want, not the things we need. Our consumptive habits increased our ecological footprint and we now have a global economy serving our desire to consume. We don't know enough to apply our tremendous power in a way that is sustainable! In this powerful position where we are affecting the properties of the planet, we are undermining the very things that keep us alive.”

Order of Canada
Ancaster Pianist Celebrated for her Music and Role as Educator, Builder of Classical Culture: Natalie Paddon (The Hamilton Spectator) wrote: “British born Valerie Tryon, 83, was one of 125 new appointments announced by Governor General Julie Payette. She was presented with a lifetime achievement award at the City of Hamilton Arts Awards in June. At McMaster University she has been an associate professor of music since the 1970's.
With accomplishments in science and medicines, included also is Bernard (Barry ) Sherman, from Toronto) founder of the generic drug giant Apotex.”

One of the country's highest civilian honours, the Order of Canada
was established in 1967 to coincide with Canada's centennial.”

Ringo Starr Tapped for Knighthood
Published from New York: The Beattles drummer was selected for knighthood by Queen Elizabeth in her 2018 New Year's Honours list, along with Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees ~ and Michael Morpurgo, author. A ballet dancer, Darcey Bussell has been named a Dame. Starr released a statement saying, “It's an honour and pleasure to be acknowledged for my music and my charity work, both of which I love.”

How a Library Cat Enjoys His Fame
Max thinks Film Shoots, Bookstore Visits and Many Adoring Fans are Purrfect!”
Sharyn Jackson commented to Star Tribune in Minnesota. “Max sits on the windowsill of his St. Paul home, staring longingly out at the street he no longer has the freedom to roam. Since rocketing to viral fame, the orange tabby known for frequenting the Macalester College Library ~ and then being banned from it, Max had become an indoor cat. Paw thing.

He gazes at the street, and late at night he howls ~ withdrawal symptoms for his addiction to fresh air and musty old books. But on a recent winter morning, his human, Connie Lipton, took Max out of the house, strapped into a handsome red-and-black harness. She loaded him into her Mazda, with Max perched looking out the rear window...took him to a nearby bookstore. Max rose to national status last month after a cutesy sign appeared at the Macalester Library that warned people not to let him in. Max had previously been spotted on security cameras, roaming the stacks.
More than 200,000 people 'liked' a Twitter post about the library sign,
and Max's own Instagram (managed by Lipton), blew up to 16,500 followers.
In addition to the library, he'd been visiting students in the science building, language buildings and dormitories. But a construction project near his house and an allergic library worker, made Max's free range travel no longer feasible. Hal Johnson, who owns the Against the Current used-book store drew “Welcome Max” on the chalkboard outside his Grand Avenue shop. That's where Lipton took Max. The curious kitty wasted no time making himself at home. He climbed up into the window display and rubbed his face on Doris Lessing's book 'On Cats!'

Compiled by Merle Baird-Kerr...January 3, 2018
All comments welcome: mbairdkerr@cogeco.ca or inezkate@gmail.com

Monday, January 1, 2018

Winter Kindness at Christmastime

A few days ago, I fell en route to the red mailbox afront our residence building.
The snow was deep, sidewalks and parking still awaiting the snow plow!
Several inches of white flakey stuff had embedded and deeply covered all walking areas. Yes, I slid my letter through the mail slot, then cautiously stepping through the snow depth, and unable to see a short curb, my right foot stumbled over it, causing me to fall forward. Unable was I to get up! A gentleman from my building observed the fall and together with a young man stealthily approaching from the sidewalk area, they lifted me onto my feet. A female resident leaving the building, pushed my walker to within reach. I was So Grateful!
The best way to find yourself ~ is to lose yourself in the service of others.
(Advice from Mahatma Gandhi)

A Final, Wonderful Act of Kindness
Scott Radley recently reported to The Hamilton Spectator: “He didn't recognize the voice on the other end of the phone. All he recalls was that the man who was speaking wanted to meet somewhere because he wanted to help. It was a lovely gesture that Wayne Claxton wasn't about to turn down. Regular readers of The Spec may remember by his story and photo which ran on the front page a month or so ago. The 58-year-old from Waterdown was a long-time local hockey referee who worked hundreds and hundreds of games over the years ~ eventually becoming an Ontario minor Hockey Association supervisor, then an instructor carrying a passion for officiating that was infectious.

“But back in the spring when what he thought was a pulled muscle from working the game, turned out to be cancer, he lost his right leg up to the hip. The specially designed artificial limb he'd need to walk again, came with an enormous $61,000 price tag. Recognizing the financial bind he was now in, his family quickly responded with a fundraiser. Many, many friends capped by dozens of hockey officials chipped in with donations and a referee sweater signed by all of them was promptly donated to Wayne Claxton. Close to $20,000 was raised that night...but still many thousands of dollars short!

“A guy, who'd read the story in the paper, wanting to do something to contribute, called Claxton one evening to get together. After discussing and answering all kinds of questions about his cancer and the leg and why the 'prosthetic' was so darn expensive, he chatted about advanced technology. Then he dropped the bombshell ~ telling Claxton and his wife Tracie, that on behalf of his own family, he'd like to 'take care of the rest of the cost...all $20,000 of it.'
Wayne Claxton stated, “My jaw dropped! And Tracie cried.
“Claxton is self-employed. He has no benefits to cover an expense like this leg. The couple had sold their house and taken on a mortgage. Tracie had taken on extra shifts doing mental health support. They'd borrowed money. They'd downsized their lives to whittle away at the debt. The government covered $8,000. War amps chipped in $1,000. A Go-Fund-Me account brought in $10,000.

“But one question remains ~ Who exactly is this generous benefactor who authoured, perhaps this area's nicest Christmas story this year? Who would do something so kind? That's a secret.
Claxton would love to tell, but he can't.
The donation came with the request that 'they wanted to remain anonymous!'
Claxton did offer that the man and his family are from the Hamilton area.”

Candlelight Vigil for Veterans
A dramatic night-sky colour photo by Gary Yokohama highlights 'page A3'
in the Hamilton Spectator today...December 26, 2017.
Volunteers observe a moment of silence at Woodland Cemetery Christmas Eve. They were taking part in the 8th annual veterans' candlelight memorial organized by the North Wall Riders Association. Red candles were placed on 835 gravestones in the upper level of the cemetery where local veterans are buried. The motorcycle riders group which is dedicated to supporting veterans' causes and bringing awareness to those who served their country, say many of the more than a quarter million Canadians who fought in and survived wars are buried in military plots across the country. They welcomed the public to the candlelight service at dusk on Sunday, promising them an unforgettable moving sight.”

Couple Warms Hearts and Bodies on Christmas Day
“Edward Campbell stands on a snowy sidewalk in downtown Hamilton waiting for a winter coat. He and other men staying at the Salvation Army on York Boulevard, are shivering in the cold wind on Christmas morning, paradoxically, to get a little warmer. “Oh man, I feel better,” says Campbell with coat in hand. That's thanks to Roger and Janet Boyd, who operate Men's Street Ministry out of a trailer towed by a pickup truck. They drive around, giving food and toiletries to the less fortunate.
'These guys are so appreciative. They count on me,' says Roger.
“Moved to give to the needy, he started the mobile ministry in September 2016. The effort is fuelled by faith and a handful of volunteers who make soup and sandwiches...and sort clothes. Roger also praised those who donate to the cause.
Campbell is one of about 60 men who pour out of the Salvation Army
to collect items from the Boyds.
(Written by Teviah Moro...The Hamilton Spectator, December 26, 2017)

Spy Hill, Saskatchewan 'Flips' for Stranded Via Rail Riders
A small Saskatchewan town opened its doors on Christmas morning to a Via Rail train, with almost 100 passengers, that suffered mechanical problems due to extremely cold weather. Company spokesperson, Mariam Diaby said in an email that the train travelling between Vancourver and Toronto had to stop at Spy Hill. The passengers were sheltered in the local community centre where they received food, including pancakes with Canadian maple syrup as well as drinks and warmth.

Spy Hill's deputy fire chief, Calvin Petracek, said he was doing farm chores when texts went out to local firefighters asking volunteers to help. He said, “There's no railway station in Spy Hill, which has a population of of about 300 people, so the train was stopped at a siding in the community. It's only about 100 metres from the train to the hall; most passengers walked, although the wind chill was -43!”
He said the stranded passengers were served pancakes cooked by people in the town, with help from the cooks on the train. The stranded passengers were to be taken to Winnipeg for further transportation.
(Published by The Canadian Press, December 26, 2017)

A person's most successful asset is not a head full of knowledge,
but a heart full of love...an ear ready to listen...and a hand ready to help.
(Unknown author)

Helping one person might not change the world,
but it could change the world for one or more persons.
(Anonymous)

Submitted by Merle Baird-Kerr...December 26, 2017
Comments most welcome: mbairdkerr@cogeco.ca or inezkate@gmail.com

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 destinations...at 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 snow...you 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

Despicable!

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, “...in 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 lately....to 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 services...at 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