Thursday, October 29, 2015

Gordon Lightfoot

Noted Canadian Singer-Songwriter

Gordon Meredith Lightfoot, Jr CC Oont, born November 17, 1938, achieved international success in folk, folk-rock and country music. He has been credited for helping define the folk-pop sound of the 1960's and 1970's. He has been referred to as ...Canada's Greatest Songwriter and internationally as a
'folk-rock legend'. Too numerous to mention all his song titles, the following are a few you'll relate to:

'For Lovin'Me'...'Early Morning Rain'...'Steel Rail Blues'...'Ribbon of Darkness' (the latter being a number one hit on the US country chart with Marty Robbin's cover in 1965...and the 1967 Detroit riot-generated 'Black Day in July' bringing him recognition in the 1960's. He experienced chart success in Canada with his own recordings, beginning in 1962 with 'Remember Me, I'm the One'. By the 1970's, Lightfoot's recordings then made an impact on the international music charts with songs such as...'If You Could Read My Mind'...'Sundown'...'Carefree Highway'...'Rainy Day People'...'The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald'. Some of Gordon Lightfoot's albums have achieved gold and multi-platinum status internationally.

His songs have been recorded by some of the world's most renowned recording artists, including: Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams Jr., The Kingston Trio, Marty Robbins, George Hamilton IV, Jerry Lewis, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Judy Collins, Barbra Streisand, Johnny Mathis, Eddie Albert, Herb Albert, Viola Wills, Richie Havens, The Replacements, Harry Belafonte, Tony Rice, Sandy Denny, The Clancy Brothers & Tommy Maken, Scott Walker, Sarah McLachlan, Eric Clapton, Jim Croce, John Mellencamp, Jack Jones, Bobby Vee, Blue Rodeo, The Tragically Hip, Roger Whittaker, Toby Keith, Peter Paul & Mary, Glen Campbell, Anne Murray, Waylon Jennings, The Irish Rovers, Olivia Newton-John and Paul Weller.

Robbie Roberson of The Band declared that Lightfoot was one of his “favourite Canadian songwriters and is absolutely a national treasure.” Bob Dylan, also a Lightfoot fan, called him one of his favourite songwriters, and in an often quoted tribute, Dylan observed that when he heard a Gordon Lightfoot song, he wished “it would last forever.”

Lightfoot was a featured performer at the opening ceremonies of the 1988 Winter Olympic Games in Calgary, Alberta. He received an honourary Doctor of Laws degree (arts) in 1979 and Companion of the Order of Canada (Canada's highest civilian honour) in 2003. In November 1997, Lightfoot was awarded the Governor General's Performing Arts Award (Canada's highest honour in the performing arts). He was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and into Canada's Walk of Fame in 1998. On February 6, 2012, Lightfoot was presented with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal by the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. In June of that same year, he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Early Years: Lightfoot was born in Orillia, Ontario, son of the manager of a large dry cleaning firm.
As a child: His mother recognized Lightfoot's musical talent and schooled him into a successful child performer. His first public tune was “Too Ra Loo Ra Loo Rah” (an Irish lullaby) in grade four which was broadcast over his school's public address system on a parents' day event.
As a youth he sang under the direction of choirmaster Ray Williams, in the choir of Orillia's St. Paul's United Church. According to Lightfoot, Williams taught to sing with emotion and how to have confidence in his voice. A boy soprano, he appeared periodically on local radio in the Orillia area, performed in local operettas and oratorios...and gained exposure through various Kiwanis music festivals. He was twelve when he made his first appearance at Massey Hall in Toronto, after winning a competition for boys whose voices had not yet changed.
As a teenager Lightfoot learned piano and taught himself to play drums and percussion. He held concerts in Muskoka, a resort north of Orillia, singing “for a couple of beers.” In high school at Orillia District Collegiate & Vocational Institute, Lightfoot performed extensively and taught himself to play folk-guitar. He was influenced during this time by the 19th century master American songwriter Stephen Foster. He was also an accomplished high school track-and-field competitor and set school records for 'shot put' and 'pole vault' well as being the starting nose tackle of his school's Georgian Bay championship winning football team.

As a young man, at age 20, Lightfoot moved to California in 1958 where he studied jazz composition and orchestration for two years at Hollywood's Westlake College of Music, which had many Canadian students. To support himself, he sang on demonstrations records and wrote, arranged and produced commercial jingles. He was influenced by the folk music of Pete Seeger, Bob Gibson, Ian and Sylvia Tyson and the Weavers. He missed Toronto and moved back in 1960.

In Toronto, he performed with The Swinging Eight, a group featured on CBC TV's Country Hoedown and with the Gino Silvi Singers. He soon became known in the Toronto coffee houses promoting folk music. In 1962, Lightfoot released two singles that became local hits in Toronto and also receiving some airplay elsewhere in Canada. His recognition escalated. In 1963 Lightfoot travelled to Europe, where in the UK he hosted for one year BBC TV's Country and Western Show. Returning to Canada in 1964, he appeared at the Mariposa Folk Festival; following this, he began to develop a reputation as a songwriter...with many artists performing his lyrics and music.

Gordon Lightfoot was commissioned by the CBC to write the Canadian Railroad Trilogy for a special broadcast on January 1, 1967, to start Canada's Centennial Year which gained utmost popularity. His albums, from this time were well received in countries other than Canada. Outside of his home country, he remained better known as a songwriter than as a performer.

In November 1975, Lightfoot read a Newsweek magazine article about the loss of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald which sank on November 10, 1975 on Lake Superior during a severe storm with the loss of all 29 crew members. Most of the lyrics in his song...The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald...released the following year, were based on facts in the article. It was a number one hit in Canada...and reached number two on the United States Billboard chart. Lightfoot continues his practice of meeting privately with the family members of the men who perished...when his touring schedule allows.

In the 1990's Lightfoot returned to his acoustic roots and recorded two albums. Throughout this decade, he played about 50 concerts a year.

Illness and Return to Performing: By January 2002 Lightfoot had written 30 new songs for his next album...recording guitar and vocal demos of some of these songs. In September, before the second concert of a two-night stand in Orillia, Lightfoot suffered severe stomach pain and was airlifted to McMaster Medical Centre in Hamilton, Ontario. He underwent surgery for a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm...and he remained in serious condition in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Lightfoot endured a six-week coma and a tracheotomy and he underwent four surgical operations. All of his remaining 2002 concert dates were cancelled. More than three months after being taken to McMaster Medical Centre, Lightfoot was released in December to continue his recovery at home. In 2003 he had follow-up surgery to continue the treatment of his abdominal condition. In 2003 and 2004, signing new recording contracts, his songs gained credence and appreciation. In July 2004 he made a surprise comeback performance (his first since falling ill) at Orillia's Mariposa Festival.

On September 14, 2006, while in the middle of a performance, Lighfoot suffered a minor stroke that eventually left him without the use of the middle and ring fingers on his right hand. He returned to performing nine days later (with a substitute guitarist) until 2007 when he regained full use of his right hand...playing all guitar parts in concert as he originally wrote them. He continues to perform.

Lightfoot performed at the 100th Grey Cup in November 2012, performing 'Canadian Railroad Trilogy' and was extremely well received.

Legacy: Gordon Lightfoot's music career has spanned more than five decades, producing more than 200 recordings. His sound, both in the studio and on tour, centers around Lightfoot's baritone voice and folk-based twelve-string acoustic guitar. In 2007, Canada Post honoured Lightfoot and three other legendary Canadian music artists (Anne Murray, Paul Anka and Joni Mitchell) with postage stamps highlighting their names and images.

Between 1986 and 1988, Lightfoot's friend, Ken Danby (1940-2007 ) the realist painter, worked on a large (60 x 48 inches) portrait of Lightfoot, dressed in the white suit he wore on the cover of the album East of Midnight. The picture was backlit by the sun...creating a visually iconic image of the singer.

Lightfoot band members have displayed loyalty to him,
 as both musicians and friends,
recording and performing with him as many as 45 years.

To stay in shape to meet the demands of touring and public performing, Lightfoot works out in a gym six days per week, but declared in 2012 that he was 'fully prepared to go whenever I'm taken.' Calmly he said:
 “I've been almost dead a couple times, once almost for real...
I have more incentive to continue now...because I'm on borrowed time in terms of age.

Information compiled by Merle Baird-Kerr...February 28, 2015
Comments appreciated: email to  or

Monday, October 26, 2015

Elsie Knott

Aboriginal Woman Entrepreneur of Distinction
First Female Indian Chief in Canada under the Indian Act

Elsie Knott made history when she became the first woman in Canada to be elected as chief of a First Nation. While that feat earned Knott a place in the history books, she chose to take on a leadership role not to make a name for herself, but to improve the lives of the people in her community.

Born Elsie May Taylor in 1922, she grew up just north of Peterborough in southeastern Ontario on Curve Lake First Nation. At the age of 15, she married Cecil Knott and the couple had three children. She was first elected chief in 1954, three years after amendments to the Indian Act gave Native women the right to vote in band elections and hold positions on band councils. She served until 1960, then was elected to the position again in 1970 and held the post until 1976. Even before she became Chief of Curve Lake, Knott displayed her skills as a leader...not only with her family, also with members of the community seeking her opinion and guidance.

She improved the quality of life for the community, negotiating with government for funds to build new houses...dig new wells...pave roads on the reserve. A grocery store, a post office and a daycare centre all opened in the community. She was a staunch advocate for Native people, wanting the members of Curve Lake to have all the same opportunities available to non-Native communities.

As a successful leader, she always had good, creative ideas and always did her homework, ensuring that before suggesting a plan of action, she was prepared to back up her proposal with facts. With her well-thought-out plans, gregarious personality and ability to motivate, Knott never seemed to have problems with her many projects. It's been said of her that, “The only time she wasn't working on a project, was in the time after she'd completed one task and was planning what to take on next.”

She worked to organize activities like Boy Scouts and Girl Guides for the young people of the community and was instrumental in getting a senior citizens home and a community centre built on the reserve. She also owned and operated the Tee Pee Trading Post and served as postmistress.

Knott recognized the value of an education. She never went further than Grade 8 herself (at the Mud Lake Indian Reserve School), but she encouraged her children and grandchildren to get a good education. For more than 30 years, she personally took on the task of driving them to the off-reserve schools each and every school day using her own car. When the number grew, she bought an old hearse and converted it into a school bus. When that became insufficient to accommodate everyone, she found the funding needed to buy two school buses for the community.

Preserving and promoting the Ojibway language was also a priority for Knott, who would visit jails and teach the language to prisoners. She was also instrumental in starting up an Ojibway language program at Curve Lake First Nation School, with Knott's daughter, Rita Rose, serving as language instructor. To revitalize cultural activities on the First Nation, she helped establish the Curve Lake Pow Wow, which has become an annual event for the community. She initiated an annual event where a day is set aside for the beautification of the local cemetery. Knott was also involved in the local United Church, serving as a Sunday School teacher and later as church superintendent. When the existing church was condemned, Knott co-ordinated efforts to get a new one built. Selling cassette tapes of herself singing gospel songs in English and Ojibway...and organizing other fundraising activities, her efforts were rewarded when the new Curve Lake Community Church was completed in 1992.

Whenever there was someone in the community in need of her help, Knott was there. Once, when tragedy struck the reserve and a young boy died, she organized a walk-a-thon to raise money to help the boy's family with burial costs.

Knott served as an Elder with the Union of Ontario Indians. She helped found the organization's sports committee and was involved in starting up events like the Little NHL as a way to get Native communities together. Her work on behalf of her people took Knott to meetings and events across the country, where she met with other leaders, both Native and non-Native...and dined with prime ministers and even the Queen of England.

The determination that helped Knott be so successful in her work to improve conditions for the people of Curve Lake also served her well in overcoming challenges in her own life...including a battle with breast cancer. By the time she reached her 70's, Knott was forced to slow down her pace because of problems walking...attributed in part to those many years spent driving the community school bus up and down bumpy roads...and it bothered her that she couldn't dedicate as much time and effort to helping others, as she always had.

She died of congestive heart failure on December 3, 1995 at age 73.
Knott's efforts to improve the lives of the people of Curve Lake
and Native people in general, did not go unnoticed.

In 1992, Knott received an Outstanding Women Award. In 1998, her memory was honoured as part of the Anishinabek Nation's Celebration of Women Conference...and in 1999, she was one of the recipients of a Lifetime Achievement Award, given by the Union of Ontario Indians to recognize
her service to her community and to her nation.
(the foregoing are excerpts from article written by Cheryl Petton)

Observation by Tony Abbott

The problem with politicians getting to know the issues in indigenous townships
 is that we tend to suffer from what Aboriginal People call
 'the seagull syndrome'.
We fly in...scratch around...and fly out.

Merle Baird-Kerr...written March 2, 2015
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Thursday, October 22, 2015

Migration Journeys

Migration is the process by which people come to often move
to another place, usually a city or another country to find work.
This process is called 'immigration'.
Migration is also the seasonal movement of a complete population of animals from one area to another...usually in response to changes in temperature, food supply, or the amount of daylight...and is often undertaken for the purposes of breeding.

In the cartoon 'Buckles', the little dog sitting on green grass, sees a golden leaf fall at his feet. He looks in wonder as another leaf drifts to the ground and in the third frame, he is amid several falling leaves. Then viewing the leafy ground cover, he smilingly concludes...suddenly fall is everywhere!

Reasons for Migration
Before the wide berths of transportation developed, families remained in their birth locations. Farms were passed from generation to generation. Business owners were confident their sons (or daughters) would be their inherents to carry on said businesses. Educational institutions were born. Transportation gave opportunities to 'transplant' to other locations for learning beyond elementary level. Discoveries and inventions appealed to the new generation. And we, as humans, 'migrated' to these new challenges.

Jon Porter stated, “Jewish immigration in the 20th century was fueled by the Holocaust which destroyed most of the European Jewish community. This 'migration' made the United States home of the largest Jewish population in the world.”

The land flourished because it was fed from so many sources ~ because it was nourished by so many cultures and traditions and peoples,” said Lyndon B. Johnson.

Message re Refugees
When Europeans arrived on this continent, they 'blew it' with the native Americans. They plowed over them, taking as much as they could of their land and valuables....and respecting almost nothing about the native cultures. They lost the 'wisdom of the indigenous peoples: wisdom about the land the connectedness to the great web of life”. We have another choice with all these refugees. People come here penniless, but not cultureless! They bring us gifts. We can synthesize the best of our traditions with the best of theirs. We can teach and learn from each other to produce a better North America. (Mary Pipher)

What befalls the earth...befalls the sons and daughters of the earth. (White Wolf)
The bear...the deer...the great eagle...these are our brothers. (White Wolf)
Some day the earth will weep; she will beg for her life; she will cry with tears of blood. You will make a choice, if you will help her or let her die...and when she dies, you too will die.” 
(John Hollow Horn ~ Oglala Lakota)

The older bird of three sitting on a barren branch, observes,
This is October, already!” The two smaller ones reply, “EEP!”
In the second frame of the cartoon 'Mutts', older bird sees the other two
flying off into the sky...and muses: This is Migration Motivation!!!

Migration varies from one specie of animals to another. The groups of animals include: birds, reptiles, amphibians, mammals, fish, insects and crustaceans. It's amazing how organized these creatures are, when the seasons call for a change.
Pronghorns gallop as herds through the Rocky Mountains.
Devil Rays gather and swarm closely together in Baja, Mexico.
Sharks congregate in the Waters of Fakarava.
Sandpipers flock tightly together in Canada.
A large group of White Pelicans migrate to the Mississippi areas.
Sparrows migrate by the thousands to Berlin, Germany.
The skies are alive with Snow Geese in Canada.
African Buffaloes trek through the wild planes.
Roan Antelope migrate to Namibia in Africa.
Swarms of Locusts flood the skies of Madagascar.
Red-Crowned Cranes flock in the Holy Land and Hula Lake, Israel.
Mayflies join together on the River Tisz in Hungary.
Yellow Fluorescent Fireflies light up the forests of Japan.
Ladybugs migrate to the waters of Blakus, Denmark.
Sandhill Cranes amass in the Platte River, Nebraska.
Red Crabs assemble for swims on Christmas Island.
Wildebeests cross the Mara River of Northern Serenset.
Flamingos form a crowded design along the Yucatan Peninsula.
Monarch Butterflies cloud the skies of Mexico.
Walruses migrate to the freezing Arctic waters of Svalbard.
Flocks of White Ibis head toward the Gulf Coast.
The Arctic Tern holds the long-distance reward between Arctic breeding grounds
and the Antarctic each year.

Earl and Mooch (from the cartoon Mutts), standing beside a tall tree trunk,
question a bird, “How do you know when it's time to fly south?”
Birdie, standing on grass at the base of the tree, replies, “A little voice tells me.”
He flies to a low limb...the voice urgently 'speaks' to him:
C'mon, Let's Go! We're Late! Hurry!”

Bird Migration is the regular seasonal movement, often north and south, along a 'flyway' between breeding and wintering grounds. The timing of Migration is controlled primarily by changes in the day's length. Migratory birds navigate using 'celestial cues' from the sun and stars (the earth's magnetic field).
Many bird species migrate to different places
while others 'tough it out' in the cold.

Migration might be One of the Great Wonders of the Natural World!

Remove the artificial watering holes and the elephants will resume their natural behaviours of seasonal places they have left, a chance to recover,” quotes Rudi Aard).

Carl Jung speaks for the owl who says, “Everything that irritates us about others,
can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”

There is a new concept for we humans of the Animal World: If we do not change our negative habits toward climate change, we can count on world-wide disruptions in food production, resulting in mass migration, refugee crises and increased conflict over scarce natural resources like water and farm land.
This is a recipe for major security problems...for all.
(Michael Franti)

Merle Baird-Kerr...scripted October 2, 2015

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Election Information

According to Ambrose Bierce ~ an American Journalist,
Politics is a strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles;
the conduct of public affairs for private advantage.”

Hi All...thought this would help you while you think
about the elections in United States and Canada:

There's an old sea story about a ship's Captain who inspected his sailors...and afterward told the first mate that his men smelled bad. The Captain suggested, perhaps it would help if the sailors would change underwear occasionally. The first mate responded, “Aye, aye sir. I'll see to it immediately.”

The first mate went straight to the sailors' berth deck and announced, “Hey, the Captain thinks you guys smell bad and wants you to change your underwear.”

The first mate continued: “Pitman, you change with Jones...Brown, you change with Schultz...and McCarthy, you change with Witkowski.”

(Of course, if this were currently in Canada, the orders would be: Mulcair, you change with Harper...Trudeau, you change with Mulcair...and Harper, you change with Trudeau.”)
The Moral of the Story:
Someone may come along and promise...'Change'...but don't count on things smelling any better!

Dear Airlines...
Dump the male flight Attendants! No one wanted them in the first place!
Replace all the female flight Attendants with YOUNG good-looking strippers!
The strippers would at least triple the alcohol sales and get a 'party atmosphere' going in the cabin.
And of course, every businessman in this country would start flying again, with the hope of seeing the naked women. Because of the tips, female Attendants would no longer be dependent upon their job salaries, thus saving even more money.

Muslims would be afraid to get on the planes for fear of seeing naked women. Hijackings would come to a screeching halt...and the airline industry would see record revenues.

This is definitely a 'win-win-situation' if we handle it right ~ a golden opportunity to turn a liability into an asset, which is a big plus!

Why didn't Bush or Obama think of this?
Why do I have to do everything myself?

Donald Trump
(My thanks to Jeanne and Dilu for the above scenarios)

Comments from the Populace:
I once saw a politician walking his dog and I thought, “How absurd! ~ an animal walking an animal.”
Then I thought, “If given the choice, I'd rather vote for the dog.” (Jared Kintz)

Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build a bridge over which there is no river.”
(Nikita Khrushchev)

Politicians and diapers have one thing in common...they both should be changed regularly and for the same reason.” (Anonymous)

Politicians are mostly people who'd had too little morals and ethics to stay as lawyers.”
(George R.R. Martin)

He's an honest politician ~ he stays bought!” (Robert A. Heinlein)

Three groups spend people's money:
 children...thieves...politicians. All three need supervision!”
(Dick Armey)

Charity Sunshine Tillemann-Dick suggests the following,
(to which I say, Amen!)
Perhaps we should worry less about judging people for being Mormon or Baptist or Muslim or gay or straight or black or white or Latino or by their religious or political brands...and be concerned more by electing thoughtful, serious and ethical politicians on both sides of the political isle 
who are willing to work together for progress!

Merle Baird-Kerr...written October 7, 2015
Your comments are

Friday, October 16, 2015

Praise to the Jays!

A Wild Crazy Way to Win”
stated Neil Davidson of The Canadian Press
about the 5th and final game of the series against the Texas Rangers.

As an ardent Toronto Blue Jays fan, I state that it was
the Toronto Blue Jays' team effort ~ with a 25-man roster!

General Manger, Alex Anthopoulos, had over this past year rebuilt the team, engineering incoming players, not only of skill, but of personalities that would 'gel with the existing gung-ho players' the clubhouse and on-field play...each contributing to the success of games to be played.

John Gibbons, Manager of the team took these pieces (as in a jig-saw puzzle) and assembled them game by game to be played...with 'moves' of various players from one position to another as needed.

Step One was winning the American Baseball East Division
Step Two was the best of 5 games against the Texas Rangers. With 'home advantage' the first two games were played in Toronto...unfortunately the Jays lost both...then went to Arlington, Texas to play the next two with a MUST to win each game to tie the series. The fifth and deciding game was back in Toronto at Rogers Centre...this being the game to which Neil Davidson referred, “A Wild Crazy Way to Win!” There were controversial plays that demanded “Video Replay” before final decisions were accepted regarding...weird in-field plays rarely seen, It was a total 'bench clearing' incident by both teams when a Ranger run was 3-1 with the Jays were behind in the score.

Quite irate over the decisions and angry 50,000 fans in the stadium, the Jays came to the plate at the bottom of the 7th inning determined to overcome and win this game! The expertise of the Texas Rangers 'became unglued' with 3 infield errors allowing 2 Jays players on base. Jose Bautista hit a Home Run into the upper deck giving Jays the lead. Leaving 'home plate', he flipped his bat before running the 4 bases. Edwin Encarnacion, one of the Jays' sluggers, also hit a home run with Toronto Blue Jays winning the score was 6-3! It was Toronto's first playoff win since Joe Carter's Home Run secured the 1993 World Series.
Later, when interviewed about his 'tossed bat'. Jose stated,
I really can't remember what went through my mind after I made contact.
I didn't plan anything I did (except to watch for my pitch).
I knew I did something great for the team at the moment of ball/bat impact.

Russell Martin, Blue Jays catcher, stated after the game,
That umpiring crew did a great job...amidst turmoil,
playing by the book rules very seldom applied.”

The Toronto Blue Jays benefitted from some sparkling fielding by Kevin Pillar, Ryan Goins and Josh Donaldson. Offensively, they benefitted by home runs from Encarnacion and Bautista and a bunt single. Basically, they won by superb play both at the plate and on field.

Neil Davidson concluded by saying, “Baseball Karma was delivered to Toronto
in a wild 6-3 win over the Texas Rangers on Wednesday.”

The Blue Jays' Attitude has always been Positive!
Win This Game Today! And One Game at a Time!

In the words of Josh Donaldson (Third Base) when being interviewed,

Of the Blue Jays' success, Alex Anthopoulos said,
Making the playoffs as a wild card team would have been 'wild card success'.
Winning the Division was a 'dog fight' and it feels more rewarding than anything else.
In a playoff series, anything can happen ~ teams can slump.
No matter what happens from this point forward, we've already achieved great things. Do we want to win the World Series? We all do! Our organization has come so far and I'm satisfied with what we've done. We win one game at a time.”
Michael Friscolanti said about Alex on October 15, 2015
The Jays General Manager may never sleep,
but it does not stop him from dreaming.

Step 3 begins today, one step closer to the World Series:
The Toronto Blue Jays play a series of games with the Kansas City Royals for the American League Championship. They play the first two games in Kansas. The following three games will be played at Rogers Centre in Toronto on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday if needed to establish the championship team to represent the American Baseball League against the National Baseball League winner.

Step 4: The World Series.

Written by Merle Baird-Kerr...October 16, 2015
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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

"OK Blue Jays!"

I'm a long-time ardent fan of the Toronto Blue Jays
and watch every game on TV...even now as they have won the
American League East Division Championship and are currently
vying for the World Series.

When Stephen Brunt, a few games back, read a tribute essay he wrote about 'The Jays', it reminded me of the days when they were known as the Toronto Maple named because they were a minor league baseball club of the International League with games played in Maple Leaf Stadium at Toronto's west end. Later they moved to CNE (Canadian National Exhibition) Stadium for their games. They became the Toronto Blue Jays when the American League added the team via the 1977 Major League Baseball expansion. Dave Stieb, George Bell and Tony Fernandez were synonymous at that time and a catchy little tune that has endured as the team's anthem.

OK Blue Jays was written as an homage to baseball and an anthem of sorts for a team that was new and struggling. More than 30 years later, this song is a rallying cry being sung from coast to coast as the team begins its quest for a third World Series championship. Jack Lenz, who co-wrote the song with Tony Kosinec, remembers the Blue Jays' executive Paul Beeston being excited about the song back in the early 1980's. “It's a simple, fun melody,” said Lenz. The song was recorded in 1982. That was the year starter, Dave Stieb led the league in innings pitched and complete games while winning a club record 17 matchups. On September 2, 1990, Stieb pitched the first (and to date) only no-hitter in Blue Jay's history...defeating the Cleveland Indians 3-0. But the team finished 78-84, six games below 500 and dead last in the American League East. It wasn't all bleak for the franchise in the years ahead. The Jays made the playoffs later and won the first of back-to-back World Series in 1992 and 1993.

OK Blue Jays has several verses ~ here are the lyrics:
You've got a diamond.
You've got nine men.
You've got a hat and a bat and that's not all.
You got the bleachers, got 'em from spring 'til fall.
You've got a dog and a drink and an umpire's call.
What do you want?
Let's play ball.

Is that a fly ball or is it a seagull?
Coming in from the lake, just to catch the game.
It's the last inning, our guys are winning.
Dave's put down a smoker, a strike and you got
no doubt. You're out.
What do you want?
Let's play ball.

OK, OK, Blue Jays!
Let's, Let's Play, Play Ball!
It's a beautiful evening, fans.
At the ballpark, when the game starts.
Warm summer breezes, sun's going down.
It's all dark at the ballpark.
That's OK, it's a night game.
OK, OK Blue Jays, Blue Jays!
Let's, Let's Play, Play Ball!
Bring on the White Sox.
Bring on the BoSox.
Bring on the Angels, the Rangers and the Yankees too.
We'll beat the Indians.
We'll beat the Tigers.
We'll beat the A's so bad It'll make Billy Blue.
What do you want?
Let's play ball.

OK, OK Blue Jays, Blue Jays!
Let's, Let's Play, Play Ball!
OK, OK Blue Jays, Blue Jays!
Let's, Let's Play, Play Ball!
OK Blue Jays” is still played during the seventh inning stretch.
Who would know that the song would last for 33 years and they'd still be playing it at the ballpark?
(The foregoing published by The Canadian Press)

In Bil Keane's cartoon, The Family Circus, he portrays 'baseball plays' with 7 drawings (literally, a play on words): A Swing and A Miss (his little girl happily riding on her swing)...Fowl Bawl (a yellow duck angrily squawking)...Strike Three (3 hydro towers, the third one struck by lightening...Steeling a Base (child is hammering steel slabs on back of musical base instrument)...A Long Belt to Left (man wearing a belt through his pant loops with long end dragging on the floor)...Tie Score (man playing flute and observing the musical notes on a tie hanging on a line)...Safe at Home (a cosy living room).

In the Buckles cartoon, little dog wants boy of the house to 'play ball with him' so his request is:
Take Me Out for a Fetch Game
(sung to Take Me Out to the Ball Game)
Picture the boy joyfully throwing the ball and dog enthusiastically chases it!
Take me out for a fetch game,
Take me out to the park;
Just throw me a ball or a stick or two.
I don't care, it's all up to you.
Let me run, run, run through the grass.
If I don't catch, it's a shame.
For it's one, two, three times or more
In an old fetch game!

Seniors at a Baseball Game: They stand side by side, peering through the mesh protection as intently they watch the game. Wearing royal blue baseball caps, they each wear a number shirt (possibly each representing a favourite player). However...that ain't so! On a closer look, the back of her shirt says,
TOGETHER 19...and his says, SINCE 61.

Written by Merle Baird-Kerr...October 12, 2015
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Friday, October 9, 2015

Begin Your Day by Feeling Grateful

Be Grateful for the bed you just slept in...the roof over your head...the carpet or floor under your feet...the running water...the soap...your shower...your toothpaste...your clothes...your shoes...the car that you drive...the refrigerator that keeps your food cold...your job...your friends.

Be Grateful for the stores that make it so easy to buy the things you need...the restaurants...the electrical appliances that make your life effortless.

Be Grateful for the magazines and the books that you read...and television programs of interest.
Be Grateful for the chair that you sit on...the sidewalks and pavement that you walk on.
Be Grateful for the weather...the sun & the sky...the birds & the trees...the grass...and the rain.
(Courtesy to Sherrie for the above)

The foregoing gave me cause to muse and ponder about things for which I am truly grateful:
I am grateful to having been raised as a farm girl. Yes, I often thought about 'city life', but my rural experiences far outweighed those of municipal towns and cities.

I am grateful for the produce we grew without pesticides and the orchards of apples, cherries, peaches
I am grateful for the heritage I have in being Canadian. My father's ancestors belonged to The Thirteen Colonies (originally British); my mother's previous families were Pennsylvanian Dutch (German).

I am grateful for the friends I've encountered through life's journey...from various 'walks of life'.
I am grateful for the travels to many countries and learning about their cultures: Europe, the Caribbean,
many states in USA, Mexico, South America and 3 or 4 times across Canada (my homeland).

For the abounding scenery across our fair land, inspired by Nature, I am truly grateful.
For the birds and wildlife, the bees and butterflies in my 'corner of the world' I am grateful.
For glorious sunsets and sunrises, for green rolling hills, for flowing streams and rivers, I am grateful.

For the seasons of the year, I am grateful: Spring's new foliage and flowers... Summer's warm balmy weather and beaches...Autumn's Jack-Frost-scenic country...Winter's ice crystals and snow on the evergreens. They afford us the opportunity for a varying wardrobe for the seasonal weather changes.

For awakening each morning, I am grateful: A new day has dawned with a wide range of discovery.

G-R-A-T-I-T-U-D-E...This is What it Means to Me!
(by Barton Goldsmith* ~ published by Tribune News Service)

This has been a difficult year for many people, myself included. I'm getting through it because I sought good counsel, have supportive friends...and continue to count my blessings. I love the holidays because they remind me of all that we are grateful for...despite the temporary setbacks that life can hand us all.

If you have your health, be happy! Millions don't, and those of us who do, need to treasure it and do all we can to maintain it. Sometimes, it's easy to forget that this really is the most important thing in life. Without it, the struggle to move forward is amplified, but those with major health issues can find reasons to be grateful. A loving family, caring doctors & nurses...and hope for the future are just a few.

If you have a family or friends who love you, feel the joy! There are many who have no one! That kind of loneliness is depressing...and at this time of year, the sadness can get worse as you compare your life with the lives of others around you. This is where you have to take care of yourself by breaking out of your shell and reaching out to others. A great way to do this is by volunteering in your community. You make a difference to people who need your help; you will meet others who are caring.

If you feel you have lost everything, it's time to re-evaluate! You can lose your job, your spouse, even your dog...and any of these losses can make you feel that life is not worth living...but that is wrong. The real truth is that no matter how little you have, there are millions of others with less. Look at what you've got and try to appreciate it. Your life may be better than most people's on this planet.

If you hate your life right now, trust that things will change! In fact, the only thing you can count on is 'change' ~ it's the only constant in the Universe! Hate your commute? Well, what if you didn't have a job to go to, a car to get you there with, and money to put gas in your tank? You need to keep things in perspective...and be grateful for what you have. If you have it in your head that you need to do something different, you have begun the process of change.

*Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist in Westlake Village, California
is the author of...“The Happy Couple: How to Make Happiness a Habit,
One Little Loving Thought at a Time.”

From the MUTTS cartoon, man of the house has filled his dog's bowl with favourite morsels. Standing erect, arching his back and holding the dish extended in front of him, lovingly calls, EARL! DINNER! Earl rushes to him, jumps into his arms with Kiss, Kiss and more Kiss, Kisses...and his master's heart bursts with love given to him. Earl runs to his bowl, eats hungrily, wags his tail ~ Giving Thanks!

If we don't feel grateful for what we already have,
what makes us think we'd be happy with more?
(Author unknown)

Merle Baird-Kerr...written November 20, 2014
To comment about this to:

Personal Comment: Locally, I played with Mary at a few bridge clubs. She was intelligent, was always attractively dressed and well groomed, drove a brand-name car and lived alone in a spacious 2-bedroom apartment. She was lonely...and to rid this feeling, she'd go the malls and shop for clothes which gave her pride and satisfaction. She asked me once what I'd suggest she do. From the local newspaper, I snipped out a column with many organizations and charities looking for Volunteers from nursing homes to 'shut ins', from hospitals to animal shelters, from fund-raisers to drivers for the Red Cross, etc. She had the car..she had the time..she had.the personality...she had the opportunities for relating to and providing happiness for people. All this she rejected! What she wanted were persons to befriend her instead...
failing to  realize that 'when given ~ one receives in return'.