GUEST WRITERS: Two angels travel through Toronto

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“I called you two here as it’s time for Toby to get her ‘permanents’ and in order to so, she must complete her earthly challenge of two nights without any major complaints. Is that clear Gus?” asked St. Michael, addressing the angel Gustavus by his more commonly used name. Gus understood ‘permanents’ meant elevation to permanent angelic status and it was a promotion to which every probationary angel strived. The archangel Michael thought about all the others who had completed the assigned challenges to earn their ‘permanents.’

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Gus had his work cut out for him with Toby.

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Toby had received her probationary wings more than two hundred years ago at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham when she whispered ‘words of life’ into the ears of soldiers who’d given up hope of living. Toby was struggling getting to the next level, permanent wings. Gus got his when William the Conqueror reformed the British nobility with the Domesday Book. Gus had been the voice of inspiration for William’s notch of liberalization of English society. For that, he received his ‘permanents.’ But since then he had not received a promotion to the next angelic level, archangel status and over a thousand years had passed. Toby would be his chance to move up the angelic ladder.

But Toby was a challenge. She was as good hearted as any angel could be. She loved fully and without conditions but she had one tiny flaw. She just couldn’t help but complain a little about anything she encountered. “God could have done it in six days, if He hadn’t taken time off to rest. Noah should have swatted those two pesky mosquitos. Eve should have tried the bananas first. I don’t like snakes.”

Toby was going to be Gus’ challenge: could Gus get Toby to just button her lip and accept things as they were or better yet, to find the bright side to everything? She just couldn’t resist criticizing anything she saw, heard, or experienced. No angel worth her value to the heavenly congregations could be a complainer thought Michael, whereas Gus saw it as a miracle in the making if he succeeded.

Then, Michael asked, “OK Gus, you ready to go? How about you Toby? Lips sealed, heart open?” The earthbound duo nodded their heads in assent and poof, there they were trudging through the snow of Toronto, Canada, along Bayview Avenue near the Bridle Path to be more exact.

“Heavens, it’s really snowing, Gus,” lamented Toby.

“Toby, have you forgotten that quickly? No whining, no complaining. It’s a great winter’s night here in Canada’s biggest city. It’s a beautiful night, crispy cold, frosty fresh. Nice isn’t it!”

“Well, we could have drawn a better assignment, someplace like Miami, or Havana or even somewhere in Mexico where it’s warmer, sunnier and a lot more inviting than here in stormy Canada.”

Gus simply shook his head recognizing how tough this assignment was going to be.

“And another thing, I don’t know why we have to lose so much of our angelic power. We can’t fly. We have to eat. We feel the cold. We still keep our telepathic communicating ability, much good it will do us as we can just talk to each other. And only one angelic super power act permitted for each of us. This is one darn hard assignment, if you ask me.”

Gus bit his lip in restraint.

The agenda the duo had drawn was to spend two winter nights Toronto with two financially different families, one very rich, the other significantly poor. They were to spend one night at each family’s home with no criticizing or complaining about these humans or how they lived. For Gus, it was no challenge but for Toby who was always trying to find the better side of everything, it was an enormous one.

This was night number one.

Gus and Toby turned onto the Bridle Path just past the Conrad Black mansion. Black had been declared persona non grata in the heavenly books because he had cooked his own company books. So the angelic duo passed on his address. Soon, they were in front of another huge mansion which belonged to a very well known Austrian manufacturing magnate, an old man now, in his early eighties and still very ornery to everyone. Gus pointed at the house, “Here we are Tob’. Let’s go.”

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The mansion belonged to an incredibly wealthy family, among the richest in Toronto if not all of Canada, maybe even North America. They had earned their wealth through manufacture and through astute IPO investments during the downturn of the economy in the 1990’s. They made a fortune but all the profit making did not embellish Fred Stanger’s grumpy persona. He was still the orniest of big time magnates living in Toronto. Even when his beautiful daughter Brenda, the love of his life, was born, an event everyone thought would mellow Fred some. They erred for Fred remained as crotchety an ogre as ever. Nor did the enormous wealth do anything to temper Fred’s abrasive personality. Nothing did.

The two angels approached the huge double doors of the enormous and elegant mansion. Toby rang the bell. Within moments, a butler answered. “Yes,” he queried.

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Gus responded, “We are in need of shelter for the night. Could you accommodate us?” The butler told the angelic partners to wait without even inviting them into the warm atrium of the house.

Toby couldn’t help himself, and in a low voice said, “I know it isn’t charitable to say this, but if the butler is any indication, this family must be very cold toward people. Look at the kind of night it is and we’re left standing here in the cold.” The two angels waited outside, shivering just as if they were human.

The door re-opened. The butler declared, “The master says he doesn’t do accommodation for strangers. Please leave the property.” Toby was shocked. Gus was dismayed but he had an agenda to complete, so he insisted, “Please sir, just a space for two tired and hungry travellers to lay their head for one night.” The butler again closed the door. Gus bowed his head as if in prayer. Toby shook his. A few minutes later, the butler opened the door wide and beckoned the two angels inside and with a crook’d finger. He led them down a long hallway, opened a door, and they saw a set of steep stairs descending to the basement of the mansion. Again, down another long hallway, the trio walked on and on until finally they reached a flat grey painted door. “You can stay here for the night, but the master wants you out early tomorrow morning.”

Gus thanked the butler and nodded agreement to the demand. Toby continued to nod and shake his head in incredulity as to how they were being treated.

The room was grey masonry, dank and gloomy, with a beat up couch on one side of the room and worn and tattered lazy boy chair on the other. Toby continued shaking his head, “I can’t believe this. Did you see how beautiful this house is up stairs? Look what we get. He’s got a lot of nice rooms upstairs that would have been much more suitable for us than this hovel.”

Gus responded, “It’s ok. We’re inside for the night.”

The two angels took to the couch and chair, examining the room and wondering how such a room would exist in such a beautiful home. The room was drab, dismal, dimly lit by a single bare bulb hanging from the center of the ceiling.

“What a dump!” continued Toby in a near whine of a complaint, “We deserve better than this. Look there’s even a hole in the wall over there.”

Gus walked over to the wall with the hole, peered through and then swiped his hand over the ragged hole using up the one opportunity of angelic power he was permitted on this two day earthly visit. Miraculously, the hole was re-cemented and set solidly in an instant.

Toby queried, “Why did you do that Gus? We’re doing repair work for wealthy people now? People who won’t even give us a warm room for the night!”

Gus replied, “Shh Toby, you can’t criticize things like that or you may not earn your wings, you know. Besides, things aren’t always as they seem.”

The next morning, to the surprise of the two angels, the door to the room opened very suddenly and the butler declared, “It’s time for you to go!”

Down the long corridor and up the steep flight of stairs the butler walked with the pace of the aged. The two angels quietly followed behind him, their feet normally would have been floating along the floor, but as they were “on agenda,” they were relegated to trudging along behind the butler who never gave them a second glance.

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As the two angels moved along the main corridor toward the front door, they saw the dining room and an old man seated at the head of the table, eating with gusto. He looked up at the two angels, said nothing and resumed eating with what looked like a ravenous appetite. Toby shook her head in amazement and was about to say something; Gus quieted her quickly with a raised index finger to his lips.

The two angels resumed their spiritual journey.

“Well, I’m glad that’s over with,” whined Toby. Gus bit his lip. Even an angel’s patience limits.

Now, the second night and the angels slogged along Queen St. East, snow falling steadily. The was the downtown core of Toronto, old housing, dilapidated storefronts, and street people haggardly standing in doorways almost everywhere they looked. At Sherbourne St. they saw the long line of homeless people single filed outside the Salvation Army shelter.

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Toby opined, “That’s terrible. There is so much wealth in Toronto and just look at that line of people looking for a bed and a warm place to stay for the night.”

“Shh Toby, ours is not to criticize or complain for others either. We have another agenda to fulfull. So let’s move on.”

The duo came to the door of a run-down house, likely more than 50 years old, built during the war.

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“Wow, you think they are going to have a place for us, Gus?”

Gus knocked on the door as the two angels looked out at the house’s back yard from its porch. They spotted a couple of chickens and a small goat. Gus’ request to the old man who opened the door was same as the previous night, a place to stay for the night.

“Please come in,” said the old man, “I am sorry we don’t have much to offer you but I have an empty room at the back of the house. It’s dry and warm enough even with the large window facing the back yard. My wife is making some supper and you are welcome join us. Come in, come in.”

“Well that’s better,” said Toby. “But I doubt they have very much.”

Again, Gus shushed the younger angel. Supper was very simple: roasted root vegetables, some boiled chicken, and goat’s milk cheese.

The old man’s wife apologized for the simple supper while cutting two more slices of bread for the angels. Gus ate solemnly. Toby ate with verve considering they had not eaten anything at the mansion last night.

Gus nudged Toby’s knee when Toby reached out for another slice of cheese. Angels don’t normally eat but as Gus repeatedly said an agenda was being fulfilled and eating was on the list of todo’s. The knee nudge was Gus’ way to admonish Toby for eating so much of the the poor couple’s food.

The wife, again with much apologizing, showed the two angels to the back room. They entered and saw it was dry and warm enough. They looked out at the back yard and saw the chickens and the goat tethered to a fence post. Toby thought, ‘Not much for angels who deserve better.’ While Gus just sent up a prayer of thanks. The lady bid them both a good night, promising to wake them early for some breakfast. Then she quietly closed the door.

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The next morning, Toby looked out the back window. “Oh no,” he exclaimed, “The goat! The old man is burying the goat. It must have died during the night.” The duo came into the kitchen where they saw the small kitchen table set for them with slices of toast and a small mound of goat cheese. Again, the couple seemed apologized for the humble offerings. A small Melitta coffee maker was brewing on the stove.

The woman seated at the breakfast table was sobbing quietly. Toby asked, “What’s wrong? Why are you crying?” The poor woman just sobbed a little more loudly while the old man responded, “Our poor old goat died last night. She gave us milk and we even made cheese. But now we’ve lost her.”

Toby was beside himself, not quite angry; angels were never to show anger, but definitely upset. He could hardly telepathize his thoughts to Gus, “What is this? What’s going on? This is terrible. Last night we stayed at a rich family’s. They had everything and yet you helped them doing repair work. Tonight, we’re treated as best as this poor family can treat us. They have next to nothing, yet shared as much as they could with us and you let their most important asset die. What’s the matter with you? How could you let this happen?”

Gus just bowed his head in quiet supplication at table but telepathically replied, “Toby, things aren’t always as they seem. When we stayed in the basement of the mansion, I noticed there was a seam of undiscovered gold in the earth visible through the hole in the wall. That rich family didn’t deserve to discover and claim that find. That owner was too selfish and lacking in generosity. So I sealed the wall so no one would ever discover that gold ever. Then last night as we slept in this old couple’s home, the angel of death came for his wife. I renegotiated the angel’s agenda. He relented and accepted the goat as replacement for the wife. So you see things aren’t always what they seem, Toby. You just need to trust that every outcome for it may be to your advantage if you have faith and trust. You just might not know it until sometime later…and one last thing Toby. Love more, complain less…so that you can keep your wings for many centuries to come. God bless.”

Toby bowed his head realizing how wrong she had been with her borderline criticisms and complaints. She acknowledged her unangelic behaviour and swore an oath to always keep her faith and trust As she made this promise, beautiful harp music began to play and bells over at St. Michael’s cathedral began to peel. Then to Toby’s amazement, two huge wings floated down into the room and attached themselves to her shoulders. Toby added to her vow, “I promise to become a roving guardian angel of optimism. I will help teach people that if they have faith and trust, they will see everything more positively and I will teach them that if they have faith and trust, they will see that life really is wonderful. But we must open our hearts first.”

Toby then snapped his fingers and flicked a finger in the direction of the backyard. A sparkle of gold invisibly flew from his fingertips. “There,” said Toby using up the one angelic super act she was permitted while ‘on assignment.’ A goat’s bleat, loud and clear, came through the paper thin walls of the house.

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Gus smiled. He did it. Toby got her ‘permanents.’ His task was complete and a success. He smiled even more knowing that cathedral bells ringing meant another angelic agenda had been successfully completed and another angel had just received ‘permanents.’

 

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NFL: WK 15 results, WK 16 predictions

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Time is running out and I only have ONE winning card for the year, and that one was just 10 of 12…better than nothing. I would settle for one more of those to put a smile on my face for the season but the spread kills me every week.

Below, my picks for WEEK 16…crossing my fingers.

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BILLIARDS: Game on !!! FRI, DEC. 19, 11am

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From the desk of Convenor Don

Hello All:

Take a break from the pressures of Christmas.

Join us at Petrina’s for a round of Billiards.

Friday 19th 11:00 am

Petrina’s is accepting any food donation for the local Food Bank. Frank has always been a contributor to the community. I should not have been surprised when I walked in last week to see his regular clients had made a substantial pile of non perishable food items at the social gathering entrance area. If you have not already given and you  find an extra item in your cupboard, any little bit is welcome.

The weather has been on our side and it looks good for Friday.

Hope to see you there. The first coffee/tea is on me.

Should you not be available to attend. I wish you a very happy and prosperous Christmas.

Sincerely,

Don Voorhees

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POSITIVE THINKING: Kickin old age…(06)

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BOOK CLUB: The MASSEY MURDER

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The Massey Murder
by
Charlotte Gray

February 1915, Canada was making her mark in the war in Europe, her troops reputed as being soldiers who would get the job done, no matter what cost. Back home in Canada, life continued as well as could be expected during wartime. One in four men enlisted, most shipped over to fight after minimal training. Fear, anxiety, apprehension and tension were the emotions throughout the country. The big cities were paranoid worrying about their young men at the battle front. This facade of fear and trepidation was founded on a social fabric of the nation was as ossified as any caste system in any Asian country.

Toronto, Canada’s largest English speaking metropolis, was a socially stratification of new immigrants, new culture, new social groups, all layers in a cake topped by an elite cream of English elite. These Anglo-Protestants were the power brokers of the nation controlling finance, corporate institutions, community organizations and the print media.

However, it was an era of change. New immigrants populated the Toronto’s downtown core. Workers clamored for safer working conditions, better hours and higher pay. Women protested for greater say in their homes, in local politics and in elections. The war accelerated the changes that were fomenting everywhere.

Maid shoots Employer

Then, on a gloomy day in mid February, a maid shot her employer as he came home from work. A case of sexual harassment today, it was a crime punishable by hanging then. The victim, Charles (Bert) Massey, was a member of one of the WASP elite, the Massey of the farm equipment manufacturing Massey-Fergusons. The defendent, Carrie Davis, was accused of murder and the trial became the news sensation of that winter.

The case was was exploited by the print giants of the day, The Toronto Daily Star and the The Toronto Telegram, as they fought to increase their respective readership. The latter appealed to the working masses while the former directed itself at the WASP elite and the employers of the city. The Globe and Mail held its own with the educated, more sophisticated elite of the city.

A book of excellence

The book is excellent in so ways, describing how the flood of new immigrants escaping the troubled nations of Europe revealed the glaring power and control held by the WASP faction of society: the Eatons and the Simpsons, giants in retail, WASPS; Mulock, Denison, Dewart, the controllers of the legal system, WASPS; Atkinson, Roberston, and Brown founders or editors of the three big Toronto dailies, all WASPS. And Carrie Davis, the defendant on trial for murder, she was British born. Sympathy for her was inevitable given this atmosphere dominated by WASPS and workers.

The war acerbated the problems caused by the social polarization of the city. Foreigners were second class citizens; speaking with an accent guaranteed becoming a social outcast within the city; Germans suffered especially, targets of racism and war-fed vandalism and hooliganism.

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Compounding the social upheaval of the times was the growing power of women. Feminism was emerging as a new force of change. Women were no longer accepting the role of being accompanying passengers in the vehicle of socio-political dynamics in the nation. They wanted to be the drivers too.

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Charlotte Gray paints a vibrant literary canvas of this wartime era in Canada, an atmosphere of WASP superiority, female revolutionaries, xenophobic nationalism and jingoistic racism. Her detailed narrative is based on extensive and comprehensive research excellently capturing the flavour of the times, of the society and of the city of Toronto.

Gray balances analysis with description in polished prose that holds readers attention throughout the book. The tension grows as she describes the WASP personalities controlling the legal system that was to try Davis. Suspense increases as she describes the very heated newspaper wars. And finally, the impending jury’s verdict is like Christmas morning with the long awaited results about to be revealed.

Well written, excellently detailed and dramatically developed, The Massey Murder is a very readable historical narrative riveting the readers’ attention as anxiously read page after page to learn the final outcome of the trial. Mounting tension, enveloping excitement, growing suspense…her writing has it all.

As written in the Toronto Star, Feb. 27, 1915: “A successful appeal to the unwritten law — something almost unknown to Canadian jurisprudence — saved Carrie Davies (sic) from conviction for the confessed murder of her employer. “Bert” Masey (sic), a wealthy clubman.”

A terrific read !

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ACTIVITIES & SOCIAL EVENTS: Our thanks to two great ladies, Melanie & Shirlee

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POSITIVE THINKING: Kickin old age…(05)

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GUEST WRITERS: Beaten by a pixie

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Beat by a pixie!

Picture this: an overweight guy of average height, working at dropping weight to no avail. So I joined the badminton club at a local high school. I’d played other racquet sports over the years, tennis, squash, racquet ball, badminton couldn’t be much different. How difficult could it be hitting a little feathery knobbed thing they call a bird. Badminton should be easy peasy.

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Eye opening time !

My first night was much different than I expected. The Zoomers who play this game have a different attitude; it’s war. Dressed in their battle fatigues, made by the military suppliers, Nike, Puma and Converse. Racquets at the ready like medieval cudgels. Grunting, huffing and puffing, doing warmup stretches as they prepared for war! And that was the women, the majority of these late middle age combatants.

I had experience; I occasionally exercised; I was reasonably fit, I thought. This wasn’t going to be much of a challenge, in my eyes.

A woman, about five years older than me, seemed to be the matches coordinator. She asked my name and designated me as the final member of her competing squad of four, three of whom were women. She was playing tonight, otherwise our squad would have been a player short for proper play. With some smugness, I thought, “Three women and me, this was going to be easy pickin’s.”

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The actual game opens my eyes…wider!

I analyzed the three other players on my court more closely: women of varied physiques, ages and playing skill levels; none of these warrior garbed Amazons looked like a real threat to this experienced racquet sport tempered combatant. I was poised. I was confident. I was ready. In my eyes, this was not going to be a challenge. Visions of triumphant jigs danced through my mind.

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Player #1, Michelle, a full-bodied woman in her mid 30’s, was my designated partner. As I introduced myself, I envisaged myself as the backbone of this team. My experience, my semi-regular exercising, my previous racquet sports practise bolstered my confidence. My exercise backed confidence should have been given second thoughts. Even seals or penguins look super athletic only while in their own environment, the ocean. I was floundering in a new environment against unknown competitors. With bravado, I thought I was wading right into the deep end. To my shock, it was the middle of the Sahara !

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My first game was likely going to be a breeze

Opponent #1, Lisa, a friend of my partner, about 30 and also carrying a few extra pounds, lookd like a pushover in my eyes. Her partner, player #4, the aforementioned coordinator, notably older, very slim, a wisp in body size and short. Oh there’s nothing like the smell of victory on the battle front. I was eager to engage, err, begin play.

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The warm up, my opportunity to display my expertise

The warm up started with some routinely casual hitting. I was full attention: I hit shots with care, so as not to miss the bird. I returned far more birds than I missed. The penguin could wade well in these shoals. Surprisingly though, I did miss a few shots, swishing empty air with some embarrassment. My partner, the somewhat full figured Michelle proved to be faster than I had expected. Even more surprising, she never missed a bird. Well, it was warm-ups, no worries.

I studied our opponents. They seemed quite adept. They seldom missed returns. However, I figured that once the game started, my adrenalin flow improve my game. The opponents’ game improved too, to my surprise.

The gray haired wisp of a coordinator signaled time to play. Service was determined by a bird was toss, the direction it pointed indicated which team would serve first. We lost the toss!

Lisa choose to serve while the coordinator stayed in the back court. My partner proved to be more agile and faster than I had anticipated. I was surprised. I noticed she played with confidence and with consistency hitting excellent returns. However, ‘old gray hair’ shocked me. Every time she returned the bird, the return was to my side of the court. What was worse was that each of her returns was always just out of my reach. If I was forecourt, she flipped her shot deep. If I played deep, she plopped the damn bird short, far in front of me and out of reach. Even in the early game, my legs started to fail me. I was slowing noticeably. ‘Old gray hair’ didn’t slow down a notch. She just kept playing with a serene look on her face, always in proper position, making every return seem effortless. Worse, every return was always accurately hit to our side of the net, my side to be more accurate, and always just beyond my reach.

These women were becoming seriously competitive, but ‘old gray hair’ was really one to watch and respect. No matter where I placed myself in my court, her deft touch placed the shot in the most-difficult-to-reach area for me. My successful returns became increasingly sporadic. She was a ‘sleeper,’ a far better player than her body image suggested. She was getting on my nerves.

Another shot, the slowness of the bird’s flight gave me time to apply my tennis experience, I drew my racquet back, way back, long before the bird arrived. I smashed the bird deep. This was a guaranteed winner. The bird barely cleared the net, gently wafting toward their center court. ‘Old gray hair’ flicked another shot my way, again unplayable, another winner. My partner, Michelle, save us from total annihilation.

In no time, I was huffing and puffing, but I wasn’t going to let two women beat me at this seemingly easy game. I reminded myself of my previous racquet sports experience. Meanwhile, Lisa and ‘old gray hair’ kept scoring winning points. Michelle saved us more than I care to admit, but she couldn’t do it all.

Mr. Experience here, kept mishitting the bird, even occasionally hitting the racquet’s wooden frame, but more often simply swishing empty air to watch the bird plop to the floor. I imagined the grounded bird emitting tiny cheeps of ridiculing laughter as I bent down to pick it up. A couple of times, I just wanted to step on it and grind it into the court floor. Even more irritating, our opponents, not winded at all, smiled back at us very contentedly. That made me feel bad, but I felt even worse with the accuracy and consistency of ‘old gray hair’s’ play with not a hair out of place, her only ruffled feather, that damn bird lying at my feet. Another lost point. Hit, swish, plop, passed me again. Hit, plop, short of me again. This was awful.

Michelle and I lost. At the customary game end handshakes at the net, I took the opportunity to have a few extra words with ‘old gray hair.’ She gently chided me on my excellent tennis stroke, reminding me how badminton was a significantly different game. I asked her how long she had been playing. “Since I was thirteen,” she replied. Grrrrr! She added, “After seeing your tennis swings, I decided not to really smash any returns.” The last of the wind sighed out of my sails. I again congratulated her and her playing partner, not Lisa, but ‘experience.’ I think she was amazingly, tactful in not gloating in her victory against the three on my side of the net, Michelle, me and ‘my ego.’ Michelle still walked tall!

It was the only game I played that night!

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ACTIVITIES & SOCIAL EVENTS: Dec 12 – 19

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POSITIVE THINKING: Kicking old age…(04)

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NEWS FOR SENIORS: Protect Yourself Against Scams During the Holidays and Year-Round

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Stay suspicious
Be wary of any offer that sounds too good to be true, and always look for telltale signs that an email or website may not be legitimate, such as low resolution images, misspellings, poor grammar, or odd links.

Practice safe surfing
Find out if a website is potentially dangerous before you click on it by using a safe search plug-in such as McAfee SiteAdvisor (Free). SiteAdvisor uses easy-to-read red, yellow, and green check marks to rate websites when you search for them.

Practice safe shopping
Stick to reputable e-commerce sites and look for a trustmark that indicates that the site has been verified as safe by a trusted third-party. Also, look for a lock symbol and  “https” at the beginning of the web address (as opposed to just “http”) to see if the site uses encryption to protect your data.

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Use strong passwords
Make sure your passwords are at least eight characters long and contain a variety of letters, numbers and characters that don’t spell anything. Avoid using the same password for your important accounts, and never share your passwords with anyone.

Be careful when clicking
Don’t click on any links in messages from people you don’t know, and if you come across a shortened URL, use a URL expander to see where the link is directed to before you click.

Use a comprehensive computer security
You need complete protection that includes anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-spam, and a firewall and make sure it is up to date. Online security and safety protection can help protect all of your devices – PCs, Macs, smartphones and tablets – from holiday-related malware, phishing, spyware, and other common and emerging threats.

Educate yourself
Keep up-to-date on the latest scams and tricks cyber criminals use so you can avoid potential attacks. You can find helpful information on the Internet or at well-known antivirus developers such as McAfee.

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LINKS OF IMPORTANCE TO SENIORS: 12 CHRISTMAS SCAMS

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  1. DELIVERY/SHIPPING NOTIFICATIONS
    These are Phishing scams where the scammer is looking for you to give personal information, maybe even credit card numbers or bank account numbers. Unless you ordered something and ordered from the deliverer, this is a scam. Usually when you purchase on line, most retailers/sellers confirm the transaction with an electronic receipt almost immediately.
  2. DECEPTIVE ADVERTISING
    If it looks too good to be true, it is! Know your prices and watch out for ‘low balling’ incredibly low priced deals.
  3. UNWANTED CHARGES
    Keep an eye on your credit card invoices to catch any unwanted charges or charges which you did not incur. Balance your statement as soon as you can after receiving it, to confirm all the recorded purchases are legitimate, made by you or your spouse, and authentic. Discrepancies should be dealt with immediately.
  4. PROTECT YOUR PIN at time of purchase or at an ATM
    Be wary about people standing nearby when you are entering a PIN number. Also, with smartphones being used everywhere, be careful that the person nearby, seemingly making a phone call, isn’t video recording you as you enter your PIN number. They may not be using the camera viewfinder even though they are video recording you in transaction.
  5. E CARDS, BOGUS GIFT CARDS
    A new scam is sending you an electronic credit card. Again this could be phishing or if you download the card, you could be downloading malware, a kind of virus which infects your computer. Just delete the Ecard notification unless you specifically ordered it yourself.
  6. CHARITIES & DONATIONS
    This is the season for fund raising. Be aware of who is asking you for a donation. Unless you know the organization/institution, unless it is a major and well known, pass on being a donor. Give where you know to whom you are giving, your church, your synagogue, your club affiliation.

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  7. MALICIOUS MOBILE APPS
    Be wary of your online sources for apps. Bogus developers are willing to send you apps which may be disguised malware which will disrupt your computer’ operating system.
  8. HOLIDAY TRAVEL SCAMS
    Holiday travel deals sometimes offer deals which are too hard to believe. Don’t believe them and don’t connect with the online address for the deal either, likely another means of phishing.
  9. ROBOCALLS
    Be wary when you get a ‘robocall’ which tells you that your computer may be infected. Just hang up if you have doubts. Good anti-virus software will help protect your computer; a robocaller will not.
  10. BAD USB DRIVES
    Free thumb drives, USB drives or exceedingly low priced ones may be malware infected devices which when connected to your computer can do all kinds of malicious destruction. Buy computer hardware like USB drives from well known retailers.
  11. SOCIAL MEDIA SCAMS
    If you use Facebook or Twitter, be aware that criminals will try to obtain personal information from you. They aren’t “friends,” so if they offer you a ‘friendly’ deal, skip it.
  12. HOLIDAY GIFT SCAMS
    Cybercrooks will take advantage of new fads, new fashions, and new gadgets that are in fashion and popular at the moment. They will offer you a deal at a site where you need to give up personal information. Pass on the deal…it’s a scam.

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Posted in LINKS OF IMPORTANCE TO SENIORS, NEWS FOR SENIORS, SCAM$, SENIORS | Leave a comment

POSITIVE THINKING: Ya gotta love her !

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We all know her. She’s a Hollywood movies and TV star who has made us laugh, love and leer too.

Like Burns and Allen, Lucy and Ricky, she played second fiddle to her suave and debonair husband, Allen Ludden, host of TV game shows in the 50’s and 60’s and who died in the 1980’s.

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Today, his wife, the comical, energetic and long lasting Betty White continues in her hit TV comedy show HOT IN CLEVELAND.

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92 and still going like there are many, many tomorrows !

Bravo Betty !!! You’re one of the best !

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SAVING$ TIP$: A CHRISTMAS list to reduce stress

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The holiday season is often accompanied by worries about not being ready in time. As the festive season is approaching fast, here is a list for those in charge of organizing Christmas. It will help you make sure everything goes off without a hitch.

  1. Establish your budget.
    This is always a good starting point. It feels awful to regret all your spending once the holidays are past.
  2. Create checklists.
    Plan your menus, gifts, indoor and outdoor decorations, and schedule your beauty appointments well in advance.
  3. Set your tasks.
    Each of the previous lists brings its own share of things to do, so it is important to list them clearly along with a time frame in which to do them.
  4. Spread out the tasks.
    Note on a calendar or in your smartphone agenda all things to do each day, as this will give you a better overview. It will also be easier to add an item to the list or delete completed tasks (yay!), so that you do not forget anything.
  5. Delegate.
    Some tasks can even be as­signed to the children. You will be surprised at their creativity!
  6. Get organized in advance.
    Some things can be done well before Christmas. Think about preparing and make-ahead dishes that can be frozen until the party or Christmas dinner. Doing this will allow you to relax a bit during the party!
  7. Buy your gifts before the last minute rush.
    Shopping on December 23 is just an invitation to stress. So start shopping in late November or early December. If that is truly impossible, bear in mind that shopping malls are less crowded early in the week.

Taking the time to get organized will give you the inspiration to create some unforgettable moments for you and your loved ones this holiday season.

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ANNOUNCEMENTS & NEWS: PROBUS SOCIAL RECAP FROM NOVEMBER – Important dates

 

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What a wonderful turnout we had at November’s meeting. For those of you unable to attend, here is the latest news from the Social Calendar.

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Friday December 12th

 Christmas Luncheon 

NEW VENUEThe Waterfront Restaurant Bistro,

590 Liverpool Rd.
Hors d’oeuvres
11:45 – 12:30
Lunch 12:30pm

If you have signed up for the luncheon, you will be receiving, by separate email, a request for your lunch choice. Be sure to get back to us by Monday.

 

Ripley’s Aquarium, Wed., Feb. 18
 (NOTE: CHANGE OF DATE) 

A visit to Ripley’s by bus, a tour and tasting of the Steamwhistle Micro Brewery, and Lunch (at your own cost $49.00 per person. As full payment will be required at the January 28th meeting, call or email me asap to get on the list.

Wishing everyone  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

 Melanie and Shirlie

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