A Big Thank You for all my Great Birthday Wishes

I must dedicate today’s blog to thank all those wonderful people who took the time to wish me a very happy birthday yesterday the 15th Jan 2017. I should mention there was some discussion over the number of candles on my cake. I believe this was caused by the building fire code, apparently too much open flame could set off the alarm at the local Fire Dept.

However,  fire fighting training from my naval days quickly set in and I blew the dangerous flames outbens-birthdat-2. My birthday wishes came from far and wide and were of an unusual variety. One birthday wish came from a Manchester United fan living in Germany. Another from a local highland clansman of Scotland,it was hard to determine his message because it was in a ancient Scottish Gaelic dialect?heilan-cooirish

My Gaelic is a wee bit rusty, but as best as I can tell, he is wishing birthday greetings to amazingly handsome Irishman?

My day was spent with my great friends Carl and Jan. Jan is a wonderful cook and I feasted on roast beef, yorkshire pudding, gravy and all the triming’s. this grand meal was  washed down with a few glasses of a very smooth single malt. Our Russian friends Valentin and Valentina joined us making for a lovely afternoon.bens-birthday16114242_10154665783276928_5770868561687957966_n

However, I must make a special mention to the girls of  Hillis Oil Stars fame. The name of the islander’s first ever all girl soccer team, started way back in 1975. These wonderful young girls ranged in age from 8 to 10 years old. Many today sent me greetings referring to me as an awesome coach,great coach,great man and so on. I doubt I can claim to be so worthy of such praise! I believe if even a wee part of this is true, it was only possible because of the girls themselves. They taught me much, made me laugh,made me cry, but most importantly made me the person I’m. .They are all grown women today, some married and have their own children, some coach soccer. Wherever they have ended up they are still my girls and I love each and everyone. Thank you girls you made my life that much better. Finally I big thank you to all who sent me greetings, you made my day very special.

God Bless and keep reading.

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A Little Sunday Humour

Once upon a time there lived a king. The king had a beautiful daughter, the princess. But IMGthere was a problem. Everything the princess touched would melt.
No matter what; metal, wood, plastic – anything she touched would melt! Because of this, men were afraid of her. Nobody would dare marry her.
The king despaired. What could he do to help his daughter? He consulted his wizards and magicians. One wizard told the king, “If your daughter touches one thing that does not melt in her hands, she will be cured.”
The king was overjoyed. The next day, he held a competition. Any man that could bring his daughter an object that would not melt would marry her and inherit the king’s wealth. Two young princes and a submariner took up the challenge.
The first prince brought a very hard alloy of titanium. But alas, once the princess touched it, it melted. The prince went away sadly.
The second prince brought a huge diamond, thinking that diamond is the hardest substance in the world and will not melt. But alas, once the princess touched it, it melted. He too went away disappointed.
The submariner approached. (he was a prince of a man too)He told the princess, “Put your hand in my pocket and feel what is in there.” The princess did as she was asked, though she turned red. She felt something hard. She held it in her hand. And it did not melt!!!
The king was overjoyed. Everybody in the kingdom was overjoyed. And the submariner married the princess and they both lived happily ever after.
Question: What was the object in the submariner’s pants?
(Scroll down for the answer. )p52911361

 

 


They were M&M’s!!! – (get your mind out of the gutter!! )
Everyone knows they melt in your mouth, not in your hand.

God Bless and keep reading.

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Happy Birthday Caroline Patricia.

001002I was going to begin this blog by saying way back in 19!! ? but caught myself just in time. So instead, I will write about this incredible moment in my life without giving away anyone’s age!!!. That most special day in my life when my little daughter Caroline Patricia was born. She arrived into this world at 10.40 pm, one hour and twenty minutes before my own birthday, and I have no problem in saying, it did begin way back on 15th January 1939. Caroline was born at the Grace Maternity Hospital in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  At the time I was serving with the 6th Canadian Submarine Squadron. I was Second Cox’swain aboard HMS Alcide. She was christened at Saint Nicholas church at the HMCS Stadacona base. Instead of holy water from the church font we used the ships bell, and my good friend and shipmate, Tug Wilson, stood as Godfather. Tug and I kept in touch for several years after we left the navy. However, like most things we gradually drew further apart and finally lost touch. Caroline has grown into a very fine young woman of whom I’m  immensely proud.003005007 For the larger part of her childhood she grew up on Prince Edward Island, she graduated from Bluefield High School, attended Mount Saint Vincent University and later Saint Marys University. She has degrees in Business and Human resources. She has certainly turned out much smarter than her father, but she still loves me anyway!! . In the mid seventies Caroline began playing football (known as soccer here in the colonies) and still plays today.  She married in 1991 to Mark Campbell of Charlottetown. Today you will find them living with their daughter Melissa and son Chris in Bedford NS.006

Today, the 14th January 2017, I take a special moment to wish my beautiful daughter, Caroline, a Very Happy Birthday. Always and forever, you will play an amazing part in my life. Love you Sweetheart.

God Bless and keep reading

Chase the Ace—-Legion.

To further add to the facts explained in yesterday’s blog ”Calling Out The Great Canadian Veteran Pretender”  I legionwould like to add a story that appeared early this week in the Charlottetown Guardian newspaper. This questionable news article apparently merited half of page including a photo. The article referred to the Charlottetown Legion branch promoting a game of “Chase the Ace”. This is a card game/draw used as a way of raising monies for the branch. It was stated in the story this could be a life line to save the struggling club. T

ssly

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Chase the Ace—-Legion.

To further add to the facts explained in yesterday’s blog ”Calling Out The Great Canadian Veteran Pretender”  I legionwould like to add a story that appeared early this week in the Charlottetown Guardian newspaper. This questionable news article apparently merited half of page including a photo. The article referred to the Charlottetown Legion branch promoting a game of “Chase the Ace”. This is a card game/draw used as a way of raising monies for the branch. It was stated in the story this could be a life line to save the struggling club. The Charlottetown legion recently sold their building and arranged to rent the basement. It is no secret that many legions are in financial trouble. Here on PEI our two city branches, Charlottetown and Summerside rent the basements of what was once their buildings.  It could be speculated, Chase the Ace is the latest replacement to the disappearing  bingo’s that once provided funds. However, chasing aces, shouting bingo, playing lotto machines do not address the root cause of dwindling revenues. This in no way seems to follow the intent of the latest Legion Motto,”Preparing for the 21st Century”. These card games/lotto machines are nothing more than stop gap measures. At best the legions will stumble along for another year or two. No new members joining, older members leaving, this is clearly the problem. Yet Dominion Command and Provincial Commands seem incapable of change. We could ask how are they preparing for the future?  Is it the selling of poppy earrings,mugs,sweaters,umbrella’s, medals etc. Clearly it is not the answer and does nothing to enhance the legion image. Opening up of membership to almost anyone off the street, offering free one year membership to retiring service personnel, none of these actions are working. The original purpose of legions was to offer aid to and provide veterans with an inviting place to meet and enjoy the company of other vets. I would wager, in many of today’s legions finding a veteran could range from difficult to impossible..  I do not advocate we get rid of associate members, indeed there are many invaluable associates assisting in the daily running of branches. However, they are not veterans and should not parade with a chest full of legion medals at Remembrance Day ceremonies. tomeagles2004 They should certainly not be in executive positions at any level. The legion has lost its way, veterans are no longer the reason for the legion, its the associates who have become comfortable making the policies and rules. Why would any veteran want to be apart of an organization run primarily for and by civilians. I cannot honestly see the legion in its present form lasting many more years.

God Bless and keep reading

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Legion Broadside from Real Veterans

CALLING OUT legionTHE GREAT VETERAN PRETENDER

Social Media ManagerDecember 15, 2016

By Sean Bruyea and Robert Smol

For the last 90 years Canadians have looked upon the Royal Canadian Legion as the living embodiment of Remembrance Day, keeping the memory of our veterans’ sacrifices alive. Likewise, successive governments have recognized the Legion as the primary institutional stakeholder when it comes to setting policy for veterans.

Today, however, this alleged veteran organization has devolved into an institutional lie. In spite of the deference it continues to receive, the Legion is now little more than a social club consisting primarily of civilian wannabe and “wish-I-had-been” soldiers imitating the façade of military life and sacrifice.

So it should not come as a surprise that, in recent battles with Ottawa over veteran benefits, the Legion either found itself lost in the fog or, worse, siding with government. Meanwhile, various municipal governments grant tax-free status to several Legion branches.

The Canadian public, which almost universally welcomes Legion uniforms at public events, needs to know the truth about what the Legion has become. More importantly, modern veterans like us owe it to the Legion’s battle-scarred founders to refocus the Legion back to its founding principles as an organization of veterans standing up for other veterans against government neglect and intransigence.

It never fails to shock uninformed members of the public just how unmilitary and veteran-less the Legion has become. At one time, approximately 50 per cent of Canada’s more than 1 million Second World War veterans belonged to the Legion. Currently, there are nearly 700,000 serving and retired Canadian Armed Forces personnel. As of October 1, 2015, the Legion had 265,000 members. Of those, more than 200,000 never served in the military! This is contrary to the Legion’s specious claim on its website that its membership “includes approximately 100,000 Veterans.”

The truth is, online documents show military veterans are lumped into a category of 64,000 “Ordinary” members. However, this category also includes militaries of allied forces and all NATO nations as well as war correspondents, YMCA, Knights of Columbus, firefighters and forestry services who served in wartime. Coast guard, provincial and city police services also qualify. Of the estimated maximum 35,000 to 50,000 military veterans in the Legion, more than half are likely WWII veterans. That leaves approximately 17,500 to 25,000 who might be post-Korean War veterans or less than four per cent of all CAF veterans and only 10 per cent of Legion membership. The bottom-line: the Legion apparently doesn’t care enough about veterans to know how many veterans are Legion members.

Look around. Any adult walking the street qualifies to be a uniformed, marching, medal-bearing, saluting, colour-carrying member of the Royal Canadian Legion. Legion membership is open to any “citizen of Canada, or a Commonwealth or Allied country” who is of “voting age” and “agrees to abide by the Royal Canadian Legion Constitution, rules and General By-Laws.”

The result: failing to understand the military culture and sacrifices is endemic in an organization which, with increasing illegitimacy, has a legal monopoly on all images of poppies related to remembrance and sacrifice. For all its grandiose rhetoric about being “Guardians of Remembrance,” the Legion’s overwhelming civilian membership does much to imitate, trivialize and therefore dishonour sacred symbols of military service.

Unlike any other Commonwealth nation, Canada’s Legion awards medals for administering the affairs of the Legion, including recreational activities for the elderly. Legion medals include a Meritorious Service Medal and a Palm Leaf. To an uninformed public, these Legion-exclusive “medals” can be easily mistaken for bona fide military service medals. And one can purchase only from the “Guardians of Remembrance” poppy earrings, umbrellas, tea towels, toques, mitts, and poppy puppies, giving the appearance more of a commercial monopoly than a sacred responsibility.

To add denial to dishonour, the Legion, in its last National Convention, voted not to allow its minority military veteran members to wear their specialist badges such as paratrooper wings and submariner badges. These distinctions are rightfully worn with pride to identify hard-earned specialized skills that often carried them through combat. Yet the same Legion delegates voted that all its members could wear a forget-me-not flower pin to commemorate the Battle of Beaumont-Hamel, although the tragically few Newfoundlanders who actually fought and survived that horrible First World War engagement have long since passed.

Why did the Legion turn out this way? The Legion has admitted a prevalent “grumpiness” to potential new members. However, institutionalized age discrimination and the self-destructive veteran disease of one-upmanship are at the root of the problem. WWII and Korean War veterans during the 1950s through to the early 2000s saw CAF service as inferior. For much of this time, younger veterans could encounter a culture wherein the only true ‘veteran’ worthy of Legion support and recognition were those who served during ‘real’ wars, recognition restricted to two World Wars and, begrudgingly later, Korea. Conveniently ignored was the fact that many World War veterans never actually experienced combat.

As a result, younger ex-service men and women who may have endured full-blown combat operations in places such as Cyprus, the former Yugoslavia, Kuwait, and Afghanistan were not seen as bona fide veterans. No doubt history will record the 50 years following the Korean War as a lost opportunity for the Legion to help CAF veterans — the leading edge of whom are now well into their 80s.

Instead, the Legion opted to offset its declining and dying veteran membership with a new “community-based” focus. From a policy perspective, this meant shifting efforts to charitable work in support of local communities. Administratively, this meant opening its membership and, ultimately, its executive positions, including its Provincial and National Commands, to civilians.

This ageism and rampant superiority complex combined with the rapid devolution of the Legion into a civilian-led and -managed organization left little to no incentive for younger veterans, such as ourselves, to join. And frankly, whenever either of us are invited to a Legion function and can overlook the “grumpiness,” we see little shared experience and knowledge of the military that would make us feel like we belong.

Selling out Modern Veterans: Legion support for the New Veterans Charter

By far the single most tragic and costly end result of this military devolution of the Legion can be seen in its open support for controversial veterans’ benefits that were rammed through parliament in 2005 without a minute of debate or a committee of elected officials to study it. This legislation, commonly known as the New Veterans Charter, replaced lifelong tax-free monthly pensions for military injuries with highly inadequate one-time lump sum payments. It has been a lightning rod for veteran disaffection ever since.

Veterans still scratch their heads wondering why Legion National President Mary-Ann Burdett signed a blank cheque to government while proudly proclaiming to a Senate committee: “There should be no doubt whatsoever that the Royal Canadian Legion fully supports this initiative … we want this legislation.” Yet, astute concerns articulated by the Legion’s largest provincial command in Ontario just one year later were ignored in the national headquarters’ public declarations.

Why did all this happen? Only an organization acting as a true advocacy group for veterans would have the political chutzpah to sacrifice its popularity among politicians for doing what is right by its principles. In 2005, the Legion was no longer this form of organization.

In the meantime, organizations with a fraction of the membership (such as the rapidly growing Veterans Canada) are perceived as carrying equal or more clout in defending the rights of injured veterans to an often-insensitive federal bureaucracy.

What Needs to be Done?

If there is a glimmer of hope it would be that there is a groundswell of civilians and veterans in the organization demanding that the Legion make itself more responsive and accountable to the veteran community. In 2016 some brave and thoughtful members of Legion Branch 15 in Brampton, Ontario conducted an online survey where 96.6 per cent of the 1,606 respondents identified as veterans or serving members of the CAF. Of these, 75.8 per cent were not Legion members. An overwhelming majority of this group claimed the reasons why they will not join is that the Legion “is out of touch with the needs of today’s veterans” and “the Legion has too many non-vets in executive positions.”

Among the recommendations put forth by the respondents is elimination of the term “New Veteran” as it promotes segregation, elimination of Legion “medals” and the seemingly obvious, but sadly necessary, demand that the Legion not support “any legislative action that is harmful to veterans.” Not surprisingly, some in the national headquarters appear to have largely dismissed the survey, claiming it is unscientific.

To reverse this membership stampede out the door, the Legion has to regain trust with not just its own members but the wider veteran community. Openness and transparency is a beginning. Headquarters salaries are paid for by membership dues. For Legion branches struggling to make ends meet just to stop the roof from leaking and keep the lights on, subsidizing such exorbitant salaries with membership fees must be disheartening. There is no privacy law that prevents disclosing the salary ranges or the actual salaries of each position in the national headquarters. Likewise, such salaries need to be dramatically curtailed. It just doesn’t look good when the Legion depends upon the sweat of volunteers that are represented by a highly overcompensated national leadership.

In addition to opening its books, the Legion has to stand up to government far more aggressively when it comes to veterans’ benefits. It needs to aggressively focus on and incorporate its founding principles — namely, to “secure adequate pensions, allowances, grants and war gratuities for ex-servicemen, their dependents, and the widows, children and dependents of those who have served, and to labour for honourable provision being made for those who, in declining years, are unable to support themselves.”

No doubt this can only be realized if the Legion takes the government to task at every level and opportunity for its failed policies and neglect of veterans. Certainly a Royal Canadian Legion doing its job will no longer be so popular with politicians who will surely seek refuge from Legion members rather than frequent photo ops. Perhaps a veteran-focused Legion might even lose its tax-free status. But at least the Legion can then stand proud and say that it remained true to the memory of its battle-scarred founders.

Things I have been saying over and over!!! God Bless and keep reading.

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150th Commemorative Medal

I just received the January/February issue of the legion Magazine and it gave me the legionmotivation to write this blog. (See page 9, Our Readers Respond)

First, I will briefly copy the essence of a letter to the mag regarding the striking of a 150 Canada commemorative medal. Quote ;- I believe a medal should be struck and awarded to deserving Canadians. I cherish and appreciate medals I have earned or been awarded. I was very pleased to see the Royal Canadian Legion has seen fit to create a special medal to mark Canada’s 150th and I have already obtained one and will wear it with pride. End quote.Letter is from Merv Parker, Melancthon, Ont

Regarding the government striking an official medal, at present the decision is not to. On this question I remain neutral. The problem with these commemorative medals is who gets them. All the serving politicians/senators and those in the know/ right place at the right time etc.. The military are only allotted a certain number, not all the troops get one. I have a real problem with this, it surely takes away the real purpose of being awarded a medal. The original purpose of a medal was for gallantry,service to ones country,life saving etc. Over the last several Remembrance Day Parades on PEI, Wayne Easter MP has arrived at cenotaphs, legions services and dinners wearing three commemorative medals. It will be four if they decide to strike a 150 medal. I find this so offensive, its as if he is trying to portray himself as a veteran. This is why I’m not overly upset that no official 150th medal will be made available.

However, back to the legion letter, quote ;-I have already obtained my legion 150th anniversary medal and will proudly wear it during formal veteran and legion events during 2017.150-medal

I shudder at the comment “proudly wear’  he most likely purchased this cheap tin medal for $25 through the legion, or perhaps it was handed to him from the branch. Either way, I find it very difficult to think of a legion member (veteran or Associate) wearing a $25 purchase with honour and pride???  Since when do we buy our medals?????I thought they were to be earned.

We should note;- legion medals (and there are many)are to be worn over the right breast, real medals are worn on the left over the heart.

God Bless and keep reading

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Join the Navy and see the World

hmcs_st-_johns_gdynia_wbI loved my time in the Navy and would be the last person to ever run it down. However, today’s young sailors need to understand the navy is not a nine to five job! Sometimes, sailors go to sea, sometimes for long periods. When I was just seventeen I was shipped out to the China station where I spent the next two years. I was single but many of my shipmates were married. At least one had left behind an expectant wife. His child was almost two years old before he would meet him for the first time. In 1964 we sailed to join the 6th Canadian Submarine Squadron for a two year commission, again many married men were gone from home for the duration.24883alcide_auriga_halifax_63

This morning on the National news a young sailor was being interview on the Halifax jetty. They were asking about his deployment to the Mediterranean on a six month NATO Mission. He stated on camera that it was really a tough tour. To be away from his family for so long would be really hard.. His wife also stated, its tough!!she said, he’s been away before but never for this long. I’m not sure what this young family expected from the navy? Did it never occur to them, the husband might sometimes be gone for long periods.  Did neither of them know the navy was about ships and going to sea?? I was so disappointed to listen to a sailor moaning about such a short tour. The navy is all about travel, and was the reason I joined all those years ago. Join the Navy and see the world. and indeed I have. From the Arctic ice to the Great Barrier Reef of Australia. A wonderful part of my life that I have never for a moment regretted.  Suck it up you new young Tars, isn’t this why you joined .

God Bless and keep reading

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A Question of Land Purchase??

zflagpeiThis is the letter I sent to Robert Mitchell today. It will be robert_mitchell_scaledinteresting to see if I get an answer. However, more to the point, if I get an answer at all, will it be open, honest and transparent???

Please explain if these Buddhists and or associates have reached the limit of the land they may own on PEI, Are they paying taxes, and have they stated the purpose for this large land purchase. This appears to be happening quietly and without islanders being made aware? This is very concerning and we are not being informed by government as to the purpose of these large land grabs. How much are they paying for the land? are there any restrictions in place?, and I will ask again,  do they pay property tax???????

The Buddhists, or their associates, own large portions of land in Little Sands and High Bank…60% of the community of Heatherdale…someone who knows the area estimates they own 30-40% of Brudenell….they also own property in Cardigan, Dundas, Valleyfield, Murray River, Cornwall, Blooming Point, Wood Islands, Hopefield, Seven Mile Road, Montague, Uigg, Strathcona, Primrose, Bridgetown, Albion Cross, Forest Hill, Mount Vernon, Souris Line Rd., Union Road, Farmington, Bellevue, Fortune, Stratford and Charlottetown.

Now that seem like a far cry from the original purchase of the Lobster Shanty in Montague. Islanders need to be informed, and government need to be aware this island is not for sale.
God Bless and keep reading
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A Little Sunday Humour!

birthday 2011 003

After Retirement
As we get older we sometimes begin to doubt our ability to “Make a difference” in the world. It is at these times that our hopes are boosted by the remarkable achievements of other “Seniors”who have found the courage to take on challenges that would make many of us wither.
Harold Schlumberg is such a person:
THIS IS QUOTED FROM HAROLD:
“I’ve often been asked, ‘What do you do now that you’re retired?’
Well…I’m fortunate to have a chemical engineering background and one of the things I enjoy most is converting beer, wine and whiskey into urine. It’s rewarding, uplifting, satisfying and fulfilling. I do it every day and I really enjoy it.”
Harold Is An Inspiration To Us All.
 God Bless and keep reading
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Wade MacLaugh-in and his comedy of errors

 

This is the Coronated King who said he would support electoral reform during his election campaign. However, finger-wade-maclauchlanmonths later he stated he did not beleive in PR nor saw it as necessary. Well of course he’d say that, he won a majority government with less than 40% of the vote. Over 60% of islanders did not vote for him. Now that he is established his true colour’s are beginning to show through, Wade is anything but transparent! a word he used over and over during the election campaign. Now, full of self importance he talks down to us, he sets himself up as the Head Master and we are his little first graders who must pay attention. He sees no need to explain himself, he is just too important for that. He does not answer questions and tells us things he thinks we need to know.   I have to wonder at the leanings at CBC, Bruce Rainnie has interviewed him at least twice and on those occasions either chose not too or was scared to ask pointed questions. Never once was Maclauchlan put on the hot seat, Bruce was so nice and polite, of course we was addressing the King. Nevertheless, in my view, he was a very weak interviewer.wade-the-weasle

Read below an excerpt from Red Like Me

The Coronation of Maclauchlan  was whole heartedly supported by all the sitting MLA’s as Robert Ghiz retired. Ghiz retired in a ‘Hurry’ and the ‘Party’ made Maclauchlan leader. Maclauchlan kicked George Webster, Ronnie MacKinley, Carolyn Bertram, Wes Sheridan out as MLA’s and he fired numerous appointees of Ghiz. He tried and failed to get rid of MLA Bush Dumvillebush

The most often heard question about Maclauchlan , “is he really that smart”? is being asked with increased frequency. He was sold to Islanders as a Legal Expert, an expert on

the Constitution, but neither skills seem apparent yet. Maclauchlan promised accountability and transparency which people demanded, it was all lip service.

Maclauchlan in his first year of office has been almost entirely consumed in covering up all the Robert Ghiz corruption which continues to seep out.

God Bless and keep reading

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