Saturday, January 13, 2007

Where are they now?

See the guy on the far left? That's Trey Smith -- one of the contestants in the first season of the now-defunct Canadian reality show "The Lofters"... a cross between Big Brother, Survivor and Real World. Anyway, I was watching a CTV News item on a so-called animal shelter in Toronto that was shut down and who pops up in the report as an animal control officer with the City of Toronto? Trey! You can tell he's comfortable on camera. Click here to see the report. The link to the video is on the menu to the right of the report. For more about The Lofters, click on the photo.

If there were any justice in the world, CBC would order up another season of Hatching, Matching & Dispatching -- the funniest Canadian sitcom ever!

You have to wonder what's going on at CBC if they haven't ordered up another season of Hatching, Matching & Dispatching. If you haven't seen any of the mini first season's six episodes, then you're missing a bit of hilarious Canadiana at its best. It's hysterical. It's too bad the show's site hasn't been updated in nearly a year. Fans would at least know if there's hope for a second season. Mary Walsh is to be congratulated on this chef d'oeuvre of warped Canadian comedy. Click on the photo to visit the show's website.

Equal air time to President's Choice...

Now that I've told you about my favourite Compliments frozen seafood product, here's one of my favourite President's Choice products: Haddock & Hops -- available at the Superstore or wherever you can purchase PC products in your part of the country (Canada). Very generous portions and excellent quality. Again, I tend to cook them a bit longer than called for (2-3 minutes?) for extra crispiness. Also, the PC brand stuffed sole with crab and red pepper stuffing is really amazing. One of my favourites.

That last entry got me thinking about food...

If you're like me and really enjoy coconut shrimp, you don't have to go to a restaurant anymore. I discovered a really good frozen brand that's available at Sobeys. I love it! My only tip is to cook it a bit longer than it calls for to ensure extra crispiness. After all, soggy coconut shrimp is a no-no! This frozen version rivals many that I've had in restaurants, actually. The calorie count is quite high, so keep these for a treat as opposed to a regular meal.

My nominee for most annoying commercial ever...

The Canadian Chrisco hampers commercial has go to be the MOST ANNOYING AD ever. I literally change the channel. The company inundates the airwaves from December until at least February with their annoying Jingle Bells ditty and visions of families freaking out over receiving overpriced groceries in the mail. I couldn't find a version of the Canadian commercial online but if you're familiar with the Canadian version, compare it to the New Zealand version -- a much classier and less annoying ad. I wish the Canadian branch of the company would run an ad similar to this one instead. At least it's entertaining.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Why are obese pets considered funny???

Could someone please explain to me why incredibly fat family pets are funny? I think it's sad. The owners should have the animals taken away. My own fluffiness is my business, but a pet only has the owner to blame! Click the photo for more of this unfunny story that has been all over the Internet in the past day or so. I fail to see the humour. To be fair to this particular owner, he'd lost the cat for six months, but holy moly someone was obviously feeding him! Now that the pet is reunited with its owner, I hope the owner brings him back to a healthy weight. I admit for the sake of disclosure that a couple of my own cats could stand to lose a pound or two (literally)... but this is ridiculous!

Another wonderful comic strip to discover...

The little girl on the left is Agnes... star of her self-named strip. This is a really great comic by Tony Cochran. I literally laugh out loud at her antics. So funny! I plan on buying the compilation books, too! Click on the strip for more.

Prime Minister and Mrs. Harper support pet fostering

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his wife Laureen are actively supporting the Ottawa Humane Society's pet fostering program. Politics aside, this is a very kind, compassionate and decent thing that Prime Minister and Mrs. Harper are doing and -- as a pet person -- I believe they should be commended for it. Read more about their support by clicking on the photo of the PM.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Experiencing disruption in the old routine

Brian Cormier
Wednesday January 10, 2007
Page D6, Moncton Times & Transcript

I've been kicked out of my house for a week. No, I didn't anger the inflatable doll I call a spouse - don't laugh . . . I'm one bottle of gin away from marrying one - I've been forced to vacate due to renovations that are under way as you read this.

My hardwood floors are being redone (thanks to my insurance company) after an unfortunate incident between one of the cats and the fish tank. The cats are in a kitty hotel for a couple of weeks and I'm staying in a fully furnished luxury executive condo suite. Yeah, I know . . . life's rough.

I guess I'm lucky, but as I age I've become very attached to my stuff and the everyday routines that I take comfort in. I have the buttons on my TV remote control completely memorized, lest I miss one second of Judge Judy insulting some poor dude who left his ex-girlfriend high and dry after skipping out on child support for their pet iguana. In fact, I can walk around the house with no lights on and find everything I need.

But for the next week, I'm being forced out of my routine and I'm quite nervous about it. I know I should be more flexible, but during a regular work week I really thrive on a routine, like most people, I guess.

Ironically, I'll be closer to work - actually within walking distance, although I'll likely drive there anyway to get my money's worth out of my parking pass and in case I want to run some errands immediately after work.

After all, I don't want to waste five whole minutes walking over to the condo, then heading off to the grocery store only to find that the only thing left on the shelves is liver-flavoured yoghurt. I just know it's bound to happen. So I'd better play it safe and bring the car with me. Like they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, especially when it comes to avoiding exercise.

Being the serious TV addict that I am, what's driving me crazy the most is being taken away from my TV routine. I have satellite, but the condo has cable. Oh woe is me! Now I know what it feels like to be in one of those World Vision commercials.

I wonder if the contractors would mind if I went back to the house to set up the satellite dish again while the varnish is drying on the floors? I promise to tippy-toe gingerly!

Actually, though, I miss my pets the most. I'm used to my son being away at university, but not having pets around makes the house way too quiet for my taste. I didn't realize this until I dropped them off at the kennel and arrived home afterwards. Total silence.

No having to be home at a certain hour for feedings. No one waiting for me on the other side of the door when I came out of the bathroom. No one there to greet me when I arrived home . . . or got up in the morning.

I wouldn't be able to go back to living completely by myself again. Even though it's only been a little over three years since I got pets, I enjoy the company. Besides, they're good little heaters when they cuddle up to you on a cold winter's night.

Even though my pets are the reason for having to get my floors redone, I do miss them and wonder how they're doing at the kennel. Oh, I know they're fine. The lady who's taking care of them is obviously an animal person. Heck, I'll be lucky if they even want to come home with me because they're being so well taken care of.

But I still wonder if they think they've been abandoned - and that feeling drives me crazy, especially since they were all adopted from a shelter. They know abandonment - and I'd hate for them to think that they've been turfed permanently from my lap.

So yeah, my entire routine has been upended this week. Different living arrangements. Different "stuff". Different route to work. Different TV channels. No pets. It's just plain wrong.

What's an aging fuddy-duddy to do? There oughta be a law!And before you get all judgmental on me and say I'm stuck in my routine, let me add that sometimes not being stuck in a routine is a routine in itself. Not having a routine can be a routine, too. So there! Not that I'm bitter and overly sensitive!

When all is said and done, though, I'll be returning to brand-new hardwood floors, which will be great. Best of all, the insurance company is the one doing all the work - like moving me out, packing, unpacking, etc. It's all a blessing in disguise.

But routines are powerful mistresses and I hate to admit that I seriously contemplated calling the whole thing off so I wouldn't be thrown off mine.

With that said, routines are meant to be broken once in a while. They're great for maintaining a sense of order, but it's just not healthy to be an unquestioning slave to a routine.

I just need to remember to tell myself that when I inevitably stub my toe while walking through my temporary home in the dark. Then, I'll curse the cats for causing this entire mess in the first place and then feel guilty and want to call the kennel to make sure they're OK - all at 2 a.m.

When next week rolls around and I'm allowed back in the house after the varnish dries and the furniture is moved back in, I'm gonna give my pets great big hugs - but only after I kiss my satellite TV remote control "hello."

Priorities, don't ya know!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Don't forget to check out my column in today's Moncton Times & Transcript!

"Experiencing disruption in the old routine" appears at the bottom of the editorial page on page D7. I hope you enjoy it. If you have a subscription to any Brunswick News publication, you can access the column online through Canadaeast. Choose "Times & Transcript," then click on "Opinion."

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Here are the three furballs I mention in the column from time to time...

First up is Cindy -- my first cat adopted in September 2003 from the Moncton SPCA. She's the "boss" of the kitty household. She's a great cat. One look at the water squirt bottle and she runs like heck! She's not big on being picked up, but shows affection on her own terms.

Next is Casey -- the only boy of the three -- Cindy's "abused husband" because she bosses him around. He was adopted from the Moncton SPCA in April 2004. He's the affectionate one who's an attention freak. He's addicted to plastic, i.e. grocery bags, etc.

Then is Charlotte -- Little Miss Attitude -- adopted from the Moncton SPCA in November 2006. She's a Siamese Lynx Point. She's trying desperately to be the boss but so far the other two haven't given in. She's quite growly but you can get a loud purr out of her by gently stroking her lower back.

They're in a kennel until next week while I'm getting my hardwood floors redone. Big Man Who Feeds You misses ya! ;-)

To find a Canadian animal shelter near you, click here. In the U.S., click here. Save a life by adopting a pet (or two... or three...) today!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Excellent comic!

Hi everyone. I just wanted to bring an excellent comic to your attention. It's called "Off the Mark" by Mark Parisi. I think this guy is brilliantly clever. Even better, he responds to e-mails! I sent him a message last year telling him how much I enjoyed his work and he wrote right back to personally thank me. (And no, it wasn't an automated response.) Click the comic to go directly to Mark's website. The first time I saw this particular one, I think I laughed for half an hour.

Blog comments are welcome!

So far I'm a blog comments virgin. My poor little blog has no comments at all yet. Be a pal and send me some lovin'... or some hatin'... anything. Seeing those "0 comments" messages is getting depressing. :) The comments here are moderated so they may not appear right away. And yes, I'll even allow criticism if it's civilized.

This week's Hump Day column...

... is about "routines" -- and how I've been kicked out of my house for a week because my hardwood floors are being redone thanks to that unfortunate run-in my 55-gallon aquarium had with one of the cats. Needless to say, not being home and not having the cats around (they're in a kennel for a couple of weeks while the work is being done) has done a real job on my routine.

Look for Hump Day at the bottom of the editorial page in Wednesday's Moncton Times & Transcript. Otherwise, it will be posted here on Thursday.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

"Plutoed" is 2006's Word of the Year

According to a CNN report:

"Pluto may no longer be a planet, but it has a new claim to fame: "Plutoed" has been chosen 2006 Word of the Year by the American Dialect Society.

The society defined "to pluto" as "to demote or devalue someone or something, as happened to the former planet Pluto when the General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union decided Pluto no longer met its definition of a planet.""

I like that word!

A video welcome from me!

Welcome video to