By Gerry Barker
Posted December 20, 2015
City Council’s Dear Santa letters
Conrad Black, Vladimir Putin and The Donald
Barbara Barker’s Scottish shortbread
City Council’s letters to Santa
Leanne Piper – Dear Santa, please put financial administration for dummies under my Christmas tree. If you can’t manage that I’ll settle for an abacus. Don’t eat too many cookies as you go around the world. Leanne
June Hofland – Dear Santa, my smart phone isn’t smart at all. Please give me a landline for Christmas. Wait a minute, I think I have one of those at home. June
Cathy Downer – Dear Santa, please give me a chair so I can sit higher in the council horseshow, er horseshoe, horse feathers, heck, you know what I mean. Cathy
Christine Billings – Dear Santa, ditto for the better council chamber chair. You’re not going to get me on the horse thing. I’d also like a vacation in St. Lucia if it can be arranged. Christine
Karl Wettstein – Dear Santa, I’d like a leather-bound copy of Bartlett’s Quotations so I can add some zingers to my presentations during committee and council meetings, Karl
James Gordon – Dear Santa, please set up a concert in Carnegie Hall so I can present my folk music repertoire to a new audience. Santa, I have some great new material to introduce. James
Andy Van Hellemond – Dear Santa, please leave the morning line on a horse named Doubling Down at Santa Anita. Hey, that’s a double Santa, Santa! Help me out here. Andy
Mark McKinnon – Dear Santa, I could really use a new snow blower. The prices on snow removal equipment are really low right now. Make sure it’s assembled in my garage, thanks muchly. Mark
Phil Allt – Dear Santa, Do you think you could move June over to the other side of the council table, to be next to Leanne? While you’re at it, I’d like a Darth Vader outfit to wear at the next union meeting. Phil
Dan Gibson – Dear Santa, I’d like to have a full-service grocery store in the east end. If that’s not possible how about building a public washroom downtown? Say hello to Rudolf or is it Randolph? Dan
Mike Salisbury – Dear Santa, My Harley needs a new tranny and I need a pair of Foster Grants for the open road. A Swiss Chalet gift card would go well over the Holidays. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, send some roses to Marie at Tim’s. Mike
Bob Bell – Dear Santa, if you ever need a stand-in double I’m your man. I could use a couple of elves to work in my shop to help us keep up with the demand for my bike accessories. Bob
Mayor Cam Guthrie – Dear Santa, I could use some vacation with my family. I really need a new set of drums to play with the band. Most of all, I want to wish the citizens of Guelph happy holidays and a prosperous New Year. Think you can handle that, Big Guy? Cam
* * * *
A troika for all seasons: The Donald, Conrad and Vladimir Putin
Conrad Black, that non-Canadian allowed to live here, expressed his support for U.S. Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump. Black still carries and undying hatred for U.S. justice system that locked him up for six years. He was charged for attempting to cover up evidence in his trial of stealing money from his American Publishing enterprise.
Black was never convicted of stealing from his own company. His partner, David Radler, was convicted and brokered a deal to spend his time in a Canadian jail in return for testifying against his old partner and former friend, Conrad Black.
When Black was finally released, the Harper government allowed him and his wife to return to Canada and their Bridle Path mansion in Toronto. Trouble is that Black renounced his Canadian citizenship when the British government made him Lord Black of Cross Harbour and a member of the House of Lords.
Jean Chretien, who was Prime Minister at the time, refused Black’s attempt to keep both Canadian citizenship and his House of Lords gig. The PM said no and Black opted out.
Now he is supporting Donald Trump the realty TV star and billionaire builder who is trampling and insulting almost every faction of U.S. and foreign citizens. He has single-handily destroyed the Republican Party with his racist and personal attacks on individuals, organizations, allies of America and the National Rifle Association.
Now isn’t that the odd couple?
But wait there’s more. Enter the President of Russia who endorses Trump for the presidency.
Bumper sticker of the day “Trump-Putin in 2016.”
Kinda restores your faith in the political process, no matter where it happens. Also, it’s time for Conrad to leave Canada, the country he has renounced, for Britain where he belongs.
Question: Is Black receiving the Canada Pension and other benefits unique to Canada?
* * * *
A Christmas ritual at our house, baking shortbread
About two weeks before Christmas, Barbara gets out the biggest mixing bowl in her collection and prepares to make shortbread. The recipe is basic but the system of making melt-in-your mouth shortbread is a real test of endurance and stamina.
What is shortbread? It’s a delicious treat that we believe originated in Scotland many, many years ago.
This year it was no different except that both of us struggled to mix the butter, sugar and flour, there’s a lot of that, by hand using a wooden spatula, (it’s a Scottish thing). As you gradually add flour the batter get harder to blend. It calls for determination and muscle to create the final product.
Once the ingredients are thoroughly blended, it’s time to fold into a shallow glass-baking pan measuring 9 inches by 13 inches. Final step is to score the batter into squares. Some folks like to bake their batter in those non-stick cupped pans.
Barbara prefers flat shortbread like her mother used to make. The final step is to use the spatula to flatten the air out of the batter and make it as even as possible across the breadth of the pan.
The ingredients: Butter – one pound; Icing Sugar – one cup; Flour – four cups; sprinkle salt very lightly.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes until the edges turn brown. Allow to cool then cut into squares with a sharp knife.
Taste and have a have a Merry Christmas sharing shortbread with your family and friends.
Enjoy! Barbara and Gerry.