Sunday, October 27, 2013

Facts Extraordinaire (Part 2)

 Curiosities About These Countries

                                   Most likely to disappear below the waves ... Maldives

                                  Most overweight population ... Naura

                                  Roads made of coral ... Guam

                                  Has 350 sheep for every person ... Falkland Islands

                                  Oldest sovereign state ... Egypt

                                  Most lakes in the world ... Canada

                                  Most likely place to not meet your neighbour ... Mongolia

                                  Largest number of tanks ... Russia

                                  The land of no rivers ... Saudi Arabia

:                                 Youngest population of any country ... Niger

                                  Most diverse country in the world... India

                                  Fastest disappearing population ... Ukraine

                                  Most of its citizens live abroad ... Malta

                                  Smaller than Central Park in New York City ... Monaco

                                  Almost entirely covered in jungle ... Suriname

                                  Almost entirely treeless ... Haiti

                                 Largest country with no farms ... Singapore

                                 Most languages spoken ... Papua New Guinea

                                 Most educated people ... Canada

                                 The “country desert” ... Libya

                                 Least peaceful nation in the world ... Somalia

                                 Produces most of the world's oxygen ... Russia

                                World's largest opium producer ... Afghanistan

                                  Most people behind bars ... United States
                                        (Well, China shoots most of theirs!)

(My gratitude to Sol who sent me the foregoing)

“Pearl of Wisdom”
The art of life
is  to know how to enjoy a little
and endure much.
(William  Hazlitt)

Merle Baird-Kerr ... written March 26, 2012
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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Facts Extraordinaire (Part 1)

Did You Know???

Alaska:  More than 1/2 the coastline of the entire United States is in Alaska.

Amazon:  The Amazon rain forest produces more than 20% of the world's oxygen supply.  The Amazon River pushes so much water into the Atlantic Ocean that more than 100 miles at sea off the mouth of the river, one can dip fresh water out of the Ocean. The volume of the Amazon River is greater than the next 8 largest rivers in the world combined and 3 times the flow of all the rivers in the United States.

Antarctica:  is the only land on our planet that is not owned by any country. 90%  of the world's ice covers Antarctica.  The ice also represents 70% of all the fresh water in the world.  As strange as it sounds, however, Antarctica is essentially a desert!  The average yearly precipitation is about 2 inches, although covered with ice (all but 0.4% of it, ice).  Antarctica is the driest place on the planet with an absolute humidity lower than the Gobi Desert.

Brazil:  gets its name from the nut....not the other way around.

Canada:  has more lakes than the rest of the world combined. Canada is an Indian name for “Big Village”.

Chicago:  Next to Warsaw, Chicago has the largest  Polish population in the world.

Detroit:  Woodward Avenue in Detroit, Michigan carries the designation M-1; it was so named because it was the first paved road anywhere.

Damascus, Syria:  was flourishing a couple of thousand years before Rome was founded in 753  BC, making it the oldest continuously inhabited city in existence.

Istanbul, Turkey:  is the only city in the world located on 2 continents (Europe and Asia).

Los  Angeles:  The full name is “El Pueblo de Nuestra Sanora la Reina de Los Angeles de Porciuncula...and can be abbreviated to 3.63 % of its size: L.A.

New York City:  The term “Big Apple” was coined by touring jazz musicians in the 1930's who used the slang expression “apple” for any town or city.  Therefore, to play  New York City is to play the “big time”...and thus The Big Apple! There are more Irish in New York City than there are in Dublin, Ireland. There are more Italians in New York City than in Rome, Italy. There are more Jews in New York City than in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Ohio:  There are no natural lakes in the state of Ohio; every one is man made.

Pitcairn Island:  The smallest island with country status is Pitcairn in Polynesia at just 1.75 square miles/4.53 square meters.

Rome:  The first city to reach a population of 1 million people was Rome, Italy in 133 BC. There is a city or town called Rome on every continent.

Siberia:  (north of Russia) contains  more than 25%  of the world's forests.

S.M.O.M.  The actual smallest sovereign entity is the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. It is located in the city of Rome, Italy...has an area of 2 tennis courts and  has a population of 80 ...20 less than the Vatican. It is a sovereign entity under international law, just as the Vatican is.

Sahara Desert:  In the Sahara Desert, there is a town called Tidikelt, Algeria,  which did not receive a drop of rain for 10 years.  Technically, the driest place on Earth is in the valleys of Antarctica near Ross Island.  There has been no rainfall there for 2 million years! 

Spain:  literally means, “the land of rabbits”.
St.  Paul, Minnesota:  This city was originally called, “Pig's Eye” after a man named Pierre 'Pig's Eye' Parrant who set up the first business there.

Roads:  showing a picture  of narrow winding dirt road with sign,
                                                   “Rough Road next 165 km.
                                                     Maximum speed 70 km/h.”
Chances that a road is unpaved:  in United States = 1%
                                                      in Canada = .75%

Russia:  The deepest hole ever drilled by man is the Kola Superdeep Borehole in Russia.  It reached a depth of 12,261 meters (about 40,226 feet or 7.62 miles). It was drilled for scientific research and gave up some unexpected of which was a huge deposit  of hydrogen ~ so massive that the mud coming from the hole was boiling with it. 

United States:  The Eisenhower Interstate system requires that 1 mile in every 5 miles must be straight. These straight sections are usable as airstrips in time of war or other emergencies.

Waterfalls:  The water of Angel Falls (the world's highest) in Venezuela drops 3,212 feet (979 meters).  They are 15 times higher than Niagara Falls.  Angel Falls is best seen by charter plane from a city along the Orinoco River.  For those seeking adventure, an 8-day/7-night hiking trek through jungles, grasslands and hidden canyons is available.

Closing Statement ... by Author of this Article:

I have always said, “You should learn something new every day.
Unfortunately, many of us are at that age...
Where  what we learn today ... we forget tomorrow.
But, give it a shot, anyway!

( Grateful  thanks to an ardent reader for sending these Extraordinary Facts to me)

“Pearls of Wisdom”

Go to foreign countries and you will get to know
the good things one possesses at  home.
(Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)

It might be a good idea if various countries of the world
would occasionally swap history booksjust to see
what other people are doing with the same set of facts.
(Bill Vaugh, journalist 1915-1977)

Even as individuals become families and families become communities ~
and  communities become nations, so eventually nations draw together in peace.
(Marjorie Watts)

Merle Baird-Kerr . . . written February 10, 2012
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Friday, October 18, 2013

Largest Countries in the World

Russia...Canada...United States...China...Brazil
(based on geographical size)

Russia is classified as the is situated  on 2 different continents (Europe and Asia)

Canada is the largest country in North America followed closely by United States.

China is the largest country in Asia and Brazil the largest country in South America.

Ukraine is the largest country in Europe since the breakup of the Soviet Union.

Brazil ~ Facts of Interest

Large parts of this country are covered by the Amazon Basin.
Its climate is tropical and sub-tropical. The coastline and mountains are spectacular. The Carnaval
in Rio de Janeiro each summer is “the Greatest Show on Earth!”  In 2013, it began February 10th
and in 2014 begins March 2 (depending upon dates of Easter).
Brazil is hosting FIFA  World Cup Edition with 64 matches in 12 cities,  June 12 to July 13, 2014,
With a booming economy, Brazil is a very rich and diverse country.

Ukraine ~ Facts of Interest
(followed by France, Spain and Sweden)

Ukraine is the largest producer of transportation vehicles  and spacecraft in the world.
Ukrainians invented a plane with the largest freight-carrying capacity in the world.
The 3rd most visited McDonald's in the world is in Kiev, near the train station.
Ukraine has the world's largest reserves of manganese ore.
In Europe, the police solve 30-40% of crimes; in Ukraine 90%.
Official Guinness World Record ~ Ukraine made the world's largest glass of champagne.

Hard Facts on China
(This is an eye-opener...forwarded to me by one of my followers)

CHINA  has 19% of the world's population, but consumes 53% of the world's cement...48%
of the world's iron ore...47% of the world's coal...and the majority of just about every other

In 2010, China produced 11 times more steel than in United States.

New World Record China made and sold 18 million  vehicles in 2010.

There are more pigs in China than in the next 43 pork producing nations combined.

China currently has the fastest train and the world's largest high-speed  rail network.

China produces 80% of the  world's solar power ~ but don't use it themselves. They  install less than
5% and build a new coal-fired  power station every week.  In one year, they turn out more coal-powered electricity than Australia's total output.

China currently controls more than 90% of the total global  supply of rare earth elements.

In the past 15 years, China has moved from 14th place to 2nd place in the world with
published scientific research articles.

China now possesses the fastest supercomputer on the entire globe.

At the end of 2011, China accumulated US $3.04 million in foreign currency reserves...
the largest stockpile in the entire globe.

Chinese people consume  50,000 cigarettes every second.

They are already the largest  carbon dioxide emitter and their output will rise 70% by 2020.

And we think we are saving the planet???
It will not make one iota of difference what we do in Australia, Canada, the United States or any other country  in the world; for that matter, all the politicians are increasing the cost of living... and making our manufacturers uncompetitive in the world market will be their idiotic carbon tax, when other countries like China are growing and consuming at these extraordinary rates!

Time to Wake Up!

Merle Baird-Kerr crafted July 27, 2013
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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Rainbows of Fall

 These are wonderful “autumn reflections” 
with wondrous autumn woodland views
accompanied by descriptive poet-ed lines
Visualize the following scenes together with the script:

Scene:  A train traveling aside an autumn treed hillside.

                                       In Autumn when the leaves turn brown,
                                       And red and gold, they all fall down.
                                       To paint a picture, oh so rare,
                                       I know that God is there.

                                       Scene:  An old gray frame house with waterwheel and
                                       shed reflected in a pond; autumn trees fill the background.

                                        To mastermind His ebb and flow
                                        To stage His wondrous autumn show,
                                        To brush His trees with molten gold
                                        I watch his art unfold.

                                        Scene:  Close-up of stalwart trees dressed in
                                        reds, greens, reds and tangerine.

                                        No grander sight could I behold:
                                        These leaves of brown and red and gold.
                                        But winter bodes its icy chills
                                        Upon the snow clad  hills.

                                        Scene:  A lone winding railway track
                                        through a misty forest of pastel autumn shades.

                                        In time the land, a living scene
                                        Comes bursting forth in savage green;
                                        And I confront the season's thieves
                                        That took my autumn leaves.

                                        Scene:  An old rail fencing with autumn-hued
                                        trees amid evergreens.

                                        But soon a softness in the air!
                                        God paints a picture, oh so rare
                                        Of  autumn leaves that all turn brown
                                        And red and gold as they all fall down.
                                                  ~ Henry W. Gurley ~

                                         Scene:  Autumn's trees reflected in still calm waters.

                                         The air turns cool, the leaves turn brown:
                                        A change is taking place;
                                        And everywhere a sign appears
                                        Of Fall's approaching face.

                                        Scene:  The coloured gems of autumn bejewel
                                        forests...far distant lavender/blue mountainside.

                                        The birds begin their southward flight
                                        That takes them far away;
                                        And in their plaintive song and cry,
                                        A fond good-bye they say.

                                        Scene:  A brown frame home with waterwheel and
                                        autumn's trees; trickling waterfall to a rocky shore.

                                        A season dies and a new one's born...
                                        Like night gives way to day.
                                        Such is the wondrous work of God
                                        In His own chosen way.
                                               ~ Harold F. Mohn ~

                                        Scene:  A forest of maples and aspens, a rustic shed
                                        with “lean-to” and fallen leaves upon the ground.

          “A stroll through the woods, a mountain hike, a nap on the beach...
          in such encounter with  nature...we often find peace.  There's just
          something about the leaves, rock and sand that makes us feel at home
          in this world.  They release us from the humdrum of our busy lives
          and bring us back to the basics of life.”
                                                  (Author Unknown)

                                         Scene:  Glorious autumn woodlands highlighted
                                         with a tall spired white church and velvety green lawn.

                                         Imagine...what it will look in Heaven!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

(I graciously thank Carolyn for sending me the foregoing)

Merle Baird-Kerr...composed November 4, 2012
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Sunday, October 6, 2013

Autumn's Incentive to Mankind

Life, like a Garden, is Always a Test:
Outside factors determine the success of our decisions ~
the environment in which people and plants reside;
the positive and negative ingredients resulting in loss or gain;
our conditions and “weather” greatly influencing the outcome.

“Seeing the Beauty of Life...often depends on your outlook.”

I've discovered over the years, there is a strong correlation between the Life of Man and that of Mother Nature. Look deeply into bird families...animals'  inbred instincts...trees and gardens that seasonally alter appearance...and rivers and oceans (the least researched area on Earth). We share/co-habit this planet with other species.

Of Interest:  What is it that intrigues deep sea divers?  My son, a scuba diver, states that below the ocean's crest is a whole new World of Life.  Sweep your way through the kelp fields and into a whole new realm of exploration and introduction to much brilliantly-hued marine life.
This morning, Sherrie sent me...Dakuwaga's Garden...depicting spectacular colourful sea life which
Underwater… few of us have viewed . It was a dramatic concept of...the fishes and the deep blue sea.

“There are Many Colours in a Rainbow,”
wrote Deirdre Pike in the Spectator.
When you drive into Hamilton from Burlington, a blue sign at the edge welcomes one and all to a “Community of Communities...a unique flavour of half a million or so inhabitants.”

Autumn is resplendent along the Escarpment, surrounding Burlington Bay and the scenery backdrop for Cootes Paradise. Colourful are the hanging baskets in selected areas, gardens along the boulevards and centering major divided streets.

Colour and Reflection
How beautiful the leaves grow old.
How full of light and colour are their last days.
(John Burroughs)

The End of the Season
(excerpts from Canadian Wildlife September/October issue 2013
written by Ken Beattie)
Fall's arrival is another chapter in the Life of our Gardens.  The successes that we celebrated throughout the well as lessons learned...are tucked away until the next burst of energy in the spring.  The perennial plants in our gardens are similarly in preparation for seasonal dormancy and most of the animal species are on their last legs.

A great many gardeners believe that in the final throws of the season, they need to clean, tidy and all but vacuum their landscapes to prepare for winter winds and snow.  In truth, leaving stalks and stems, leaves and even a few twigs is a good idea.  These dried remnants can be beneficial throughout winter...they trap snow around the plants, acting as an insulator and ready water source in the early spring.  THINK ABOUT IT:  nobody tends to the native plants we see along the roadsides or in the meadows...and these plants perform year after year without fail.  There is a reason why plants go into dormancy the way they do ~ it's called SURVIVAL.  The most poignant lesson we can learn this season is to watch and take note of what Mother Nature is doing. 

What is Beautiful a Joy for all Seasons.
(Oscar Wilde)

Fall into Colour with Terra (excerpts)
Fall bulbs are a great way to ensure your spring starts as a beautiful symphony of colour!  It will be worth the effort when the snow melts into a mesmerizing array of colour.  Some gardeners plant many bulbs all the same colour ~ creating a monochromatic look e.g. purple tulips, hyacinths and crocus blooming together in the warm days of spring that really add beauty to the otherwise sleeping garden.

If you want excitement and fire in your garden ~ the classic red tulip is stately; stunning yellow daffodils add warmth.  For extra drama, plant tulips of many petals (looking like peonies);  plant the Butterfly Daffodil (appearing to have delicate wings).  Hyacinths have been coined as the most recognizable scent in the spring. 

After a dark and cold winter season, you'll be happy when spring bulbs emerge with the first graceful,  fragrant detailed blossoms...while your other perennials continue to sleep!

Ken Beattie states, “I'd like think of the closing season as the closing of a chapter in a book  And as the gardens take on a new look, remember...there is always next year.”

Words of Wisdom

A Family is a place where minds come in contact with one another.
If these minds love one another,
The Home will be as Beautiful as a Flower Garden.
But if the minds get out of harmony,
it is like a storm that plays havoc with a garden.

Scripted by Merle Baird-Kerr … September 25, 2013
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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Motivations & Smiles for October

(gleaned from my collection of “calendar quotes”)

The trees that are slow to grow
bear the best fruit.  (Moliere)

Integrity is one of several paths.  It distinguishes itself from the others because it is the right path and the only one upon which you will never get lost.  (M. H. McKee)  Colour illustration of two paths leading into an autumn-hued forest.

Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow.  The shadow is what we think a fit...the tree is the real thing.  (Anonymous)  Illustration is of a trail ambling through very high tree trunks with bright sunlight at the woodland's outer edge.

Family:  We are in this life together....and depicted with 3 baboons hugging their babies.

Patience:  Adopt the pace of Nature; her secret is patience.  (Ralph Waldo Emerson)  Illustration of a peaceful-faced tiger safe in his environment surrounded by tall grasslands.

Defeat is not the worst of failures.  Not to have the true failure!  (George Edward Woodberry) Illustrated with a mother quietly chatting to her son,  arm around his shoulder.

Do not go where the path may lead ~ Go where there is no path...and leave a trail!  (Les Brown).
Illustrated by wind-blown sand dunes across a desert floor.

Often the Best Way to to forget to keep score!  (Marianne Espinosa Murphy) Illustrated by two persons tightly holding hands to aid each other across a deep chasm.

I'm a slow walker...but I never walk back.  (Abraham Lincoln).  Picture of a bear cub resting on his rear end...front legs extending upward, nestled in tall grasses.

When One Generation Begins and another one about 11 o'clock at night. Illustrated by a group of parents gathered in a neighbour's back yard.

From Marie's Motivational Calendar with Invitation to “Encourage”
(Envision a female equestrian riding her chestnut mount over a high rail fence)
“The spirited horse, which will try to win of its own accord,
will jump even  higher...if  encouraged.”

Special Event Days

October 14 ~ Thanksgiving Day in Canada has been a holiday on the 2nd Monday of October since 1957.  It is a chance for people to give thanks for a good harvest.  Many people have a day off work and use the weekend to visit family and friends.  Others with cottages take this weekend to “close them for the season” and to enjoy the spectacular colour of the Canadian autumn.
                    ~  In United States, Columbus Day celebrates the arrival of Christopher Columbus to the Americas on October 12, 1492.  People celebrate with church services, parades and family gatherings.

October 18 designates a “Full Moon” … for those with romantic interests.

October 24 marks the anniversary of the United Nations Charter in 1945 when 5 permanent members of the Security Council ratified the Charter in France...Republic of China...the Soviet Union...the United Kingdom...United States of America.  This date has been celebrated since 1948.

October 31 ~ Hallowe'en (All Hallows Evening...or All Saints) is a yearly celebration; activities include “trick or treating”, attending costume parties, carving pumpkins into jack-o'-lanterns, lighting bonfires, apple-bobbing, visiting haunted attractions, telling scary stories or watching horror films.

Did You Know?

During the autumn, when days become shorter and temperatures cooler, grizzly and black bears begin to search for a denning site for their long winter hibernation.

You can access information on caring for your garden during the fall and winter months
from Canadian Wildlife Federation's website

October's Animal

The graceful White-Tailed Deer is well known to most North Americans.  In summer, the white-tailed deer has a reddish fur, on its back and sides and is whitish beneath.  In winter the upper parts turn greyish.  Full grown males can exceed one metre at shoulder height and weigh around 110 kilograms.

A Personal Reflection

 En route one Wednesday  morning to my hair salon, I heard on my car radio the most captivating  rendition of  Autumn Leaves.  I've always loved the music and hum along with its melody.  But, on this morning, the lyrics “spoke to me.”  Anguish in Ozzie Bailey's voice leaves no doubt about the depths of this autumn reverie.  He sings the first several lines in French.  Perhaps that's what snagged my attention!  Ray Nance's violin is so appropriate...playing with much heart and skill...his strings weep and cry in sadness!   WOW!  Following my appointment, I headed to Indigo's  attempting to track down this rendition.  I had the soloist's name and with this information, the gentleman discovered Duke ELLINGTON Indigos and played the song for me.  That's It!  And I bought it!  The only vocal on it is the 10th and last one on the CD...but all the music is well worth the price.

Autumn Leaves

The falling leaves drift by my window.
The falling leaves of red and gold.

I see your lips...the summer kisses.
The sunbathed hands I used to hold.

Since you went away, the days grow long.
And soon I'll hear Old Winter's song.

But I miss you most of all, My Darling
When autumn leaves start to fall.

 Musical Observation
When one is happy...he listens to the music.
When he is saddened or depressed...he listens to the lyrics.

Crafted by Merle Baird-Kerr … October 1, 2013
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