Saturday, June 6

The Canadians on D Day

Canadian Wounded on D Day

On June 6, 1944, Britain, Canada and the US Allied armies landed on the coast of Normandy. The 3rd Canadian Infantry Division landed on Juno Beach where they stormed ashore, seeking victory. The Germans were fierce opposition, sweeping the beach with machine gun fire. The Canadians braved the storm and, while fighting hand-to-hand, infiltrated enemy territory and made their way into the towns of Bernieres, Courseulles and St. Aubin. From there they moved inland and secured a critical bridgehead for the invasion. This victory was a turning point in WWII and lead to the defeat of Nazi Germany and the Liberation of Europe.

German POWs taken by Canadians are being marched to ships leaving for England

Canadians in House Clearing Exercise D Day

Fourteen thousand Canadians landed on Juno Beach. Their determination and courage allowed victory in those most critical hours. 340 men lost their lives and 574 were wounded. The Canadian 3rd Division penetrated further into France on D Day than any other division.

Hats off to the men and women (yes, 50,000 women) who served Canada on D Day and throughout WWII. They were all heroes and if not for their bravery and courage, Canada and the world would be a much different place today. We must never forget.
Photos courtesy of the National Archives of Canada

Friday, June 5

It's Been a Long Week

Monday was a busy day and I was running from the time my feet hit the floor in the morning until 10pm that evening. While talking to my mother at 11pm, I felt really nauseous. I was up all night and finally feel asleep about 8am. I woke up at 1:30 in the afternoon and slept on and off until the Wednesday morning. I ate very little and had no energy.

Thursday was a little better. I started feeling like I was alive. By the time the boys were out of school, I felt like going to the garden center, so off we went. We bought enough annuals to fill the front beds and a couple of other plants. By then it was too late and I was too exhausted to plant, so we took them home. Hopefully they are coming on the weekend to help get everything in the ground, as they want to help with the planting.

Today I was a little tired because I didn't sleep well last night but was back on regular food instead of jello and liquids. If I can just get a good night's sleep tonight, I will be fine.

This is the same nasty flu that I had in January and I'm hoping I never have it again. The first symptom is a headache and the next is indigestion. It gets worse from there. It can last, my pharmacist informed me, anywhere from 24 hours to two weeks. It's something that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy.

Take care and have a wonderful weekend. It was a beautiful day here today and I'm hoping it lasts.

Thursday, June 4

Just to Let You Know...

Just letting everyone know that once again, Blogger has me shut out. It's the same problem that occured two weeks ago. Everytime I try to view my blog, I get an error message stating, "operation aborted." Like last time, Blogger is the only site I'm having trouble with. I will be back when the powers that be once again have this issue under control.

PS. Many thanks to Airman Mom for helping me solve my problem. Seems that the "followers" widget was causing the problem. Airman Mom suggested I got to "dashboard" and then "help" then "known issues" and "following." Here I found a statement from blogger that said the follower widget should be moved further down the sidebar and if that didn't correct the situation, remove it.

I tried moving it to the very bottom of my blog, but still received the "operation aborted" message. I removed the followers widget and haven't had any problems since.

Mari and Mama Bear, if you see this, I can't view your blogs. As soon as I try to view, I get the "Operation aborted" message.

Hope this may help someone else and once again, thank you, Airman Mom.

Wednesday, June 3

Do You Remember?

The Four Lads is a Canadian male singing quartet. They grew up together in Toronto, Ontario, and were members of St. Michael's Choir School, where they learned to sing. The founding members were Corrado "Connie" Codarini, bass; John Bernard "Bernie" Toorish (born March 2, 1931), tenor; James F. "Jimmy" Arnold, (January 4, 1932 - June 15, 2004) lead; and Frank Busseri, baritone and group manager. Codarini and Toorish had formed a group with two other St. Michael's students, Rudi Maugeri and John Perkins, who were later to become founding members of another group, The Crew-Cuts.

From choir practice at St. Michael's in Toronto, Canada as The Jordanaires, , to a fledgling start in pop music as The Four Dukes, the quartet known the world over as The Four Lads had one of the true signature sounds of the nineteen fifties. The original group consisted of tenors Bernie Toorish and James Arnold, baritone Frank Busseri, and bass Corrado Codarini. The way they were supposedly discovered, is one of the great show business legends of the fifties. As the story is told, one night in 1950, the Lads were appearing at Casino Theater in Toronto, and part of their act was a very good impression of famed gospel and pop group from the 40s, The Golden Gate Quartet. It just so happens that in the audience was one Orlando Wilson, who also happened to be the lead singer of the Golden Gaters. Wilson rang up his manager in New York (Mike Stewart) from stage front and held up the phone so he could hear the group. Without further ado Stewart became the manager of The Four Lads.

The Canadian foursome traveled to New York and got a booking at one of the smart set's hangouts of the time, La Reuben Bleu. Ten days turned into a thirty week extended engagement and the group was seen by none other than Mitch Miller who signed them to Columbia Records. On NBC television in 1950 The Four Lads appeared on the Ransom Sherman Show with Johnny Bradford, Nancy Wright, and the Art Van Damme Quartet. Mitch Miller rather than producing the group for their own recordings had them sing backup for a new untried singer named Johnny Ray. Because they didn't quite know how to package Ray, the initial record was released on the Okeh label which was pushing hard in the R & B field under Danny Kessler. The Ray - Four Lads collaboration resulted in five big hits for Columbia - "Cry", "The Little White Cloud That Cried", "Please Mr. Sun", "Here Am I Broken Hearted", and "What's The Use". Then in 1952 Miller and Columbia agreed to record the Four Lads on their own.

In July of 1952 Columbia released Okeh #6885 "The Mockingbird" by The Four Lads. This first release by the group was a good sized hit and made the top 25 in the country. Next year Mitch Miller produced and led the orchestra for "Somebody Loves Me", the standard from the 1920s back on the Columbia label on #39865. That record got on the charts for one week as did "He Who Has Love" on #39953. Another old standard "Down By The Riverside" (#40005) did better as a top 20 seller and a five week charter. In late October of 1953 The Four Lads had their first big hit, a somewhat ridiculous tune called "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)" with Norman Leyden's orchestra that made the top ten and remained a big seller for more than three months. The flip side "I Should Have Told You Long Ago" even charted for a week.

In 1954 "Oh That Will Be Joyful" (#40220) briefly charted followed by the flowery named "Gilly Gilly Ossenfeffer Katzenellen Bogen By The Sea" (#40236) which actually was a top twenty seller and a chart record for five weeks. In the studio with Neal Hefti's band the Lads recorded a vocal version of a South African song called "Skokiaan" which was a hit for the originators, The Bulawayo Sweet Rhythms Band" on London Records. The Four Lads version on #40306 was a surprise hit for them selling well into the American top ten and remaining on the charts for three months. The group closed out the year with a song recorded with Frankie Laine and the Buddy Cole Quartet called "Rain Rain Rain" on#40295.

In late summer of 1955, as the rock 'n roll age was gathering steam, The Four Lads recorded a song that told the story of remembering happy times for the post war generation during the late forties. This sentimental tune so heavy on nostalgia turned out to be a monster hit for the group and their signature song. "Moments To Remember" on Columbia #40539 seemed to appeal to everyone across the entire spectrum of record buyers. It was kept out of the number one spot by of all people, Mitch Miller with his sing along hit "Yellow Rose Of Texas". The Lads "Moments" held the number two position and remained a top seller on the charts for six months. It was the group's first million seller. Their follow up was almost as big a hit. "No, Not Much" on #40629 held on to number two for four weeks (kept out by Dean Martin's "Memories Are Made Of This") and charted for five months. In late April the quartet made it three huge hits in a row with "Standing On The Corner" from the Broadway hit "The Most Happy Fella". The song topped out at number three and stayed for four and a half months on the charts. The flip side did fairly well also, with "My Little Angel" getting in the top twenty five. Another good selling two sided record was released in late 1956 - "The Bus Stop Song" (from the film) and "A House With Love In It" on #40736 both reached the top twenty. During the year The Four Lads also had a top selling LP album called "On The Sunny Side" for Columbia #912.

Well into the rock age The Four Lads kept the hits coming. "Who Needs You" on #40811 was a good steady seller in early 1957. It was a top ten hit and stayed for four months on the charts. Later in the year "I Just Don't Know" on #40914 became another top twenty seller. Late in the year The Lads recorded a song that was a hit for them with "Put A Light In The Window" on #41058. The song was a solid top ten hit and a nine week charter. The group kept it up into 1958 with a solid seller on #41136 - "There's Only One Of You", another top ten record. In the summer, "Enchanted Island" was another good seller for the group on #41194, and the last of The Four Lads chart hits came at the tail end of the year as the group comes full circle as they record a new version of their very first hit on their own - "The Mockingbird" on #41266.

At the close of the decade they recorded a few more tunes for Columbia but their successes as a hit recording artists were over. "The Girl On Page 44", "The Fountain Of Youth" and "Happy Anniversary" all recorded in 1959 did not do much in either sales or airplay. The original group broke up in the early sixties after more than a decade at the top of their profession. We are fortunate there are a number of CD recordings that have preserved the sound of The Four Lads.

Monday, June 1

New Rules for Crossing the 49th Parallel

Today, Monday June 1, 2009, is the first day of the new rules for crossing the border from Canada into the US. We now have to have passports in order to enjoy visiting our closest neighbor. This has taken eight years to be put into force and the first time in history that the border is defended. In a way, it's kind of sad.

In order for us to visit friends in the US, we now have to pay $85 per person for a passport. Not everyone that would like to visit the US has money to spend on something that they only use once or twice a year, or even once every two or three years.

I see both the pros and cons to this new criteria. The negative is that when visiting Niagara Falls, we can't just decide to cross over to the US for a few hours...something that we've done many times in the past.

What do you think of the new laws that prohibit both Canadians and Mexicans from passing freely over the border into the US?

Sunday, May 31

Brandon's 14th Birthday Bash

Brandon's birthday was earlier this week and some of the family got together today to help him celebrate his 14th. It doesn't seem like that long ago when I stood in the delivery room and watched him come into the world. Where does the time go?

Jack, Melissa and their boys came. Here is Griffyn playing the Guitar He*ro drums. He takes drumming at the Native Center.

Melissa, Griffyn and Tarryn. Tarryn is teething and had a bit of a fever. It was down while he was at the party, but Melissa let me know that it is up again. I told her it's common for fevers to go up at night.

Great-grandma (my mother) Melissa and the boys. Both of those boys adore Mom.

Well, the party has begun and Brandon is opening his gifts. Here, he's reading a card from great-Grandma. She gave him two golf shirts and $10 for a school trip later in June.

Brandon with his take for the day. Yeap, that is good old Canadian dollars. He loves getting money.
Here he is on his new bike. He picked it out himself yesterday. It's maroon and is a Mongoose Sting. I've never heard of that kind of bike, but it is a beauty.

You can see it a little better in this photo. He's watching Jordan who's riding his bike down the street.

And above, Jordan on his bike. It was new last summer. He got it for his 11th birthday.
Brandon's paternal grandfather's birthday was today, so Michelle had the cake decorated for both of them.

We had a BBQ. The hotdogs and sausage was delicious. The cake was chocolate and was very good. I allowed myself a very small piece. After all, Brandon will never turn 14 again. I had to celebrate a little.

Hope everyone had a nice weekend. It was cool and breezy here. Friday and Saturday was very wet and it is to rain again tomorrow.