Saturday, March 03, 2007

Well, I would have liked it! Sheesh...

Lunar eclipse... wow!

My buddy Brian Branch over at the Moncton Pixels blog took this awesome photo of the lunar eclipse tonight. Amazing! Click on the photo to visit his most excellent photo blog.

Other March 3rd happenings...

Since it's my birthday, today's postings are all about March 3rd. Here are a few events that happened on this day:

March 3, 1923: TIME magazine published its first issue, making it the first weekly news magazine in the United States. Here's their first cover from 84 years ago today:

March 3, 1938: Oil was discovered in Saudi Arabia. And we all know how that turned out for those poor, downtrodden Saudis.

March 3, 1959: Comic great Lou Costello died. He was one-half of the famous Abbott and Costello comedy team with Bud Abbott. Their "Who's on First" routine remains a classic to this day. That's Lou Costello on the right:


March 3, 1987: Comedian, actor and singer Danny Kaye died. Here he is performing with Miss Piggy on The Muppet Show 29 years ago (!!!) in 1978:


Other people born on the same day as me...



Here are some other "Happy Birthday" pop culture moments...

Marilyn Monroe serenading President John F. Kennedy on his 45th birthday on May 19, 1962



Singer Kipp Lennon imitates Michael Jackson on "Happy Birthday, Lisa" from "The Simpsons" episode "Stark Raving Mad" that originally aired on September 19, 1991.

It's March 3... and that means "Happy Birthday" to moi!

Just say my name when they mumble. Hehe ;)

Friday, March 02, 2007

Rosie O'Donnell feels bad for "not teaching" Elisabeth on The View the other day

I read Rosie O'Donnell's blog quite often. I admire her openness with her life, her family and her feelings. It takes a lot of guts and a lot of courage to open yourself up like that. It's so easy for anonymous people to tear her down and insult her when she's putting her whole life out there for people to see. (She can take it... and of course she can give it, too!) She posted an interesting entry on her blog the other day about a run-in she had with co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck on The View earlier this week. Whenever those gals talk about the war in Iraq, things usually get quite animated. Click here to watch the video. This is what Rosie had to say on her blog about the incident:

i said some of elisabeths comments were ignorant
which was ignorant itself
2 try to teach not scold
encourage not injure

it is a hard job
there on the view
where the lines between tv and truth
overlap and blur

watch us b real
but ur observing
turns us into performers
we present

r selves
r lives
r friendships
r views

i love elisabeth
i hurt her feelings
i feel badly
she has forgiven me
i have not myself

It's evident that Rosie is beating herself up over a missed opportunity to teach by rushing to judge. Oh boy... I know how that feels! Forgive yourself, Rosie. Everything is a learning experience. Everything... Elisabeth is not a child. She can take it. Let's give her more credit than what she's being given. It's so easy to be an anonymous basher in this world. It's a lot more difficult to be open and honest and put your name on things. Just remember, no one ever built a statue to honour an anonymous vandal or critic. Rosie and the gang at The View offer up open and honest discussions every day. It's TV at its best because it makes people think. They put their names on their opinions and don't hide between anonymous screen names. Even if you disagree with them from time to time, you have to at least admire them for that.

Congrats to Dooly's Inc. for donating $100,000 to cancer research

For the second year in a row, Dooly's Inc. has donated $100,000 to the Atlantic Cancer Research Institute, Moncton, New Brunswick's leader in breast cancer research. The donation is another installment in Dooly's $1-million fundraising goal for the Institute, bringing the company's total contribution so far to $200,000. Drew Lapointe, one of Dooly's managers (Mountain Road, Moncton), showed off his permanent contribution -- a tattoo of a pink ribbon on his leg, which he promised to get if his staff raised at least $1,000 in a 30-day period. Very cool! Congrats to Drew and everyone at Dooly's Inc. for their very generous contributions to cancer research.

Alice has been adopted!

There's a blizzard here tonight, so what a fitting evening for Alice -- a long-term resident of the Moncton SPCA -- to have finally found a nice cozy home to curl up in and keep warm. I'm pleased to announce that the pretty girl has been adopted! *applause* Good for you, Alice! I wish you many years of happiness in your new home and congratulations to your new family on their new "baby"! :) And to Alice's new family: In a few days, you'll never know how you managed without her!

Bank robbers thought they had it made in the shade(s)

Remember these two brainiacs who robbed an Acworth, Georgia, bank while laughing like it was no big deal? Well, apparently the teller they "robbed" was in on it, too. "Two teenage women suspected of donning sunglasses as they robbed a supermarket bank branch were arrested along with a bank teller following a brief car chase Thursday, authorities said. The women, both 19, and the bank teller were stopped by police in Douglas County, about 20 miles from where the robbery occurred Tuesday afternoon, said sheriff's Maj. M.O. Harper. Ashley Miller and Heather Johnson, and bank teller Benny Herman Allen III, 22, were charged with felony theft and marijuana possession, said Cobb County Police spokeswoman Cassie Reece." No wonder they were so relaxed about it. Unfortunately, they didn't think of being taped by the bank's video cameras, so their casualness probably raised some suspicion. It was almost like they knew the teller, eh? Experienced investigators would have picked up on this right away. (I certainly didn't. I just thought they were idiots. Well, they are... but that's beside the point.) Anyway, all have now been carted off to jail for trial, etc. So the next time you conspire with a teller to rob a bank, try to remind yourself not to make dinner plans with them during the robbery itself, OK -- or at least pick a bank teller named "Rambo Shotgun Jones" or something... not the criminally uninspiring "Benny Herman Allen III."

Thursday, March 01, 2007

American Idol travesty!

Nobody ever said American Idol was fair, eh? AJ Tabaldo was eliminated from American Idol tonight despite a stellar performance this week. Unbelievable. What a travesty! What a shame! Sanjaya Malakar was shocked that he wasn't the one going home -- as well he should have been. Sanjaya's popularity saved him for this week... but will his luck run out next week unless he takes it up a notch? It can't last forever unless this popular kid proves his mettle next week. Looks like they're trying to take Sanjaya down a few notches by making him the bad guy this week. They could have had anyone next to AJ on stage at the end, but they picked Sanjaya because he was the worst performance this week by far... and it made AJ's exit even more dramatic. The haters will be out for Sanjaya now. Give the kid a break. It's the audience who keeps him in! On the girls' side, sad to see that the terrible Antonella Barba is still in there. Having sex pics of yourself posted online can do wonders for your popularity!

The first child gets a whole album of photos

Brian Cormier
Hump Day
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Moncton Times & Transcript, pg. D6

I'm back in the habit of taking photos at family gatherings and events after a break of several years. With the arrival of digital cameras, it's just so easy these days. It's instantaneous and, best yet, you don't have to wait for your film to get developed to see how the photos turned out.

This would have likely helped a lot when I was a kid, because whoever took many of our family photos ended up putting their thumb in front of the lens.

There's one photo of both my grandmothers together after my first communion. I, of course, was the star of the day so was being spoiled rotten. And right in front of what should have been a photo that I would have wanted to be buried with, there's a huge thumb. Great! Ruined. But that was only one of many, don't ya know. Being so long ago, I can't blame the culprit. It could have been any one of the adults around at the time.

But I guess I shouldn't complain. Being the first-born in a family of three, I got the benefit - I think - of having photos galore taken of me. When you're the first-born child, no occasion is ever trivial enough not to whip out the camera!

Every family seems to be the same. Each move made by the first born is carefully documented. I have a baby book with a list of all the gifts given to me on my first birthday - the item, the colour, who gave it, etc. There's a lock of hair from my first haircut. Every date of every milestone is carefully noted, i.e. when I first sat up alone, crawled, took my first steps, etc.

And, of course, there are the photos. Scads and scads of photos. My mother and father were either proud of me or, being first-time parents, knew they'd need lots of photos for the police to identify me with if I somehow flew out of the car window in those days of non-existent baby seats and seatbelts.

There are photos of me playing in the snow. Photos of me under the Christmas tree. Photos of me eating birthday cake. Photos of me lying buck naked on the floor - the necessary baby nudes that somehow every parent feels the need to take. Luckily, my brother and sister avoided such humiliating photos of themselves lying around the house in their birthday suits.

Then again, my brother and sister pretty much avoided having any kind of photo taken of them at all - clothed or otherwise. They've both grown into adulthood, so I'm pretty sure - at least - that they were fed and their diapers were changed. (As you can now guess, I actually have documented proof of my own diapers being changed because there's a photo my mother holding my ankles up in the air as she prepares to splatter some sort of godforsaken 1960s ointment on my bottom - something likely eventually banned for causing lab rats to grow three heads. That would explain a few things.)

Compared to my oodles of baby pictures, my brother has one photo of him looking sad and pitiful that was taken at his first birthday party. My sister, too, has exactly one photo of her taken at a family gathering when she was about two years old. It's taken far away and she's pretty blurry, but at least I think it's her.

So much for the childhood memories of kid number two and three, eh? These two could have been kidnapped and no one would have known who they were. "You mean," the police would ask, "that there's barely a photo of your two youngest children, but your oldest son has an entire album - even a photo of a diaper change? What were you thinking? They're human, too!"

My parents would sob . . . "We're sorry! Everyone does it! The first one gets all the attention! We pretty much just left the other two some food and water in dishes on the floor and they raised themselves. We could probably pick them out at the morgue, if that helps. Here, take along this fistful of photos of our eldest. That may help to identify the other two when you find them frozen naked under a melting snowbank in the spring."

I don't think I'm the only eldest child with this story. Other friends I've talked to have told similar tales of every aspect of their upbringing being documented to the point of Encyclopaedia Britannica offering their parents jobs as archivists. Meanwhile, kids number two, three and beyond are lucky to get a high school graduation photo.

And, God forbid, had anything tragic ever happened to my brother or sister, my parents would have been lucky to remember to take a photo for posterity at the wake. "Quick! Take a picture! They're closing the casket!" my mother would yell to my father, throwing the camera through the air like a football in the funeral home. Click! "Phew! That was close," my father would reply. "I think I got a good one of his sleeve!"

Parents, it's up to you to remember to take photos of all your children throughout their lives. Not only will it give you something to embarrass them with when they bring home their first girlfriend or boyfriend, but it can be used as some very interesting filler during the digital photo slideshow at the wedding reception. The joy of embarrassing all of your children - not just the eldest - is one that you should not deny yourselves.

And if either one of my siblings ever verbalizes their bitterness and resentment at having virtually no photos of themselves as babies, I'll whip out my album, turn to the page with that photo of me getting my diaper changed, ankles held high in the air by our mother, and say to them, "Yeah, but at least you avoided this!" Don't ever say that I never took one for the team.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Wouldn't you just love to slap these two?

These two idiots decided to rob a bank today in Acworth, Georgia. During the robbery, they laughed and looked nice and relaxed. Evidently, they thought it was a joke. Yeah, I'm sure the teller was laughing afterwards. Not the brightest things on Earth, they didn't even bother to cover up their faces except for wearing sunglasses. According to this report, "one of the girls appears to be laughing in a bank surveillance camera image -- as though "it's all fun and games to them."" Let's see how much they laugh when they get sent to a juvenile detention facility (if indeed they're only 16, as thought) and get initiated in the shower "à la Linda Blair" in the 1974 movie "Born Innocent." Just hilarious, I tell ya. Sounds like two little rich girls who have no clue what it's going to be like in jail.

Check out "Hump Day" in today's Times & Transcript: "The first child gets a whole album of photos"

Don't forget to check out "Hump Day" appearing on the editorial page (pg. D6) of today's Moncton Times & Transcript. Today's column is about being the first-born in a family of three siblings and how my parents documented every moment of my babyhood in photos -- while ignoring my brother's and sister's. While there are many great photos, some of them just shouldn't have been taken. I'll let you read it to figure out why. :) It will be posted here tomorrow if you don't have access to the password-protected area of the online edition or are not in the Moncton area.

It's Robert Sean Leonard's 38th birthday today

Robert Sean Leonard starred in my favourite movie -- Dead Poets Society. What a great movie! I've seen it at least 20 times. I didn't see the movie's major pivotal twist coming at all and remember sitting in the cinema, my mouth agape in shock! Here's a scene from the movie. Leonard plays Neil Perry, the character reading from the book at the beginning of the scene.

Another update on Noah the cat

I saw on Tuesday's ATV Evening News that Noah -- the cat who broke his leg after being thown out of a second-storey window in Halifax -- is doing just fine and is back home. The Atlantic Cat Hospital has raised $4,500 for his care, which is more than needed. The excess will be donated to the Nova Scotia SPCA. His previous owners -- the ones who threw him out of the window -- are denying any wrongdoing. Quelle surprise! The case, however, has been handed over to prosecutors who will be determining whether or not there is enough evidence to lay charges. Let's hope so! Congratulations to everyone who stepped forward to help this little cat -- his new owners, the Atlantic Cat Hospital, the Atlantic Veterinary College, ATV News and everyone who donated through the Maritime Provinces and Canada. The positive power of the media at work!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Von Smith discovered on YouTube by Rosie O'Donnell

This 20-year-old kid was discovered on YouTube by Rosie O'Donnell. So what happens when you're discovered by a TV talk show host? You get featured on her show, of course! He made his national TV debut today on The View... all because Rosie found him on the Internet. Cool! Here's the video she saw:



Wow! Très bon! And here's his performance on The View:

Pet peeve: Real estate agents who carelessly disregard your pets when they show your home

I don't expect a real estate agent to bathe and feed my pets when they show my home, but simple respect would be nice, like NOT closing the door to the furnace room where their litterboxes are located. (I have three cats.) I got home today from work and noticed that one of the cats had peed on the bath mat in my bathroom. They never do that... and are extremely good at using the litterbox. Come to find out that a real estate agent (not the one I have listed my house with, by the way) who showed my house today closed the door without thinking. The door was NOT closed when they arrived here, obviously. *sigh* So careless. Another real estate agent who showed the house previously didn't close the front door properly, causing it to be taken by the wind and slam against my front steps' railing. Wake up!!

Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow turns 200 years old today!

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow turns 200 years old today. Among others, the American poet penned the epic poem revered across Acadie and Louisiana: "Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie." The beloved character of Evangeline has since been immortalized in song, business and the media. Three things of note regarding Evangeline: 1) the stunningly beautiful song "Évangéline" sung by Marie-Jo Thério and Rosemarie Landry; 2) a humorous hommage to Evangeline in song by Angèle Arsenault; and 3) a now-defunct French-language daily newspaper in New Brunswick -- a newspaper that awarded me a $100 first prize in a Christmas story writing contest way back in 1981. From the Université de Moncton website: "Evangeline's poem, written by the American Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, was published in 1847. Today, there are more than 200 different editions of the poem and about 130 translations. In Acadia, two young people engaged to be married, Evangeline Bellefontaine and Gabriel Lajeunesse, were separated during the Deportation. A single thought dominated Evangeline's life; she wanted to find her Gabriel. Thus she spent her life searching for him across the American Midwest. When she did eventually find him, however, he as an old man, dying in a poorhouse. The poem created one of the most significant Acadian myths. It was responsible for the awakening of a collective and national consciousness during the second half of the 19th century. The literary and historical criticism it provoked had little effect on the enchanted public. The Acadians defines this symbol in their handicraft, sculpture, costume, theatre, song, painting, and in the names of people and places." More on Longfellow can be found on a tribute website to him by the Maine Historical Society. Click here for more on Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie.

Frankie Lymon died 39 years ago today

Frankie Lymon was a teenage singing sensation in the 1950s. He was the lead singer of the group The Teenagers, who had a big hit in 1956 with "Why Do Fools Fall in Love?" I remember Frankie Lymon, however, as the singer of "Goody Goody," a song that was on one of the records we had at home when I was a kid. (Apparently, "Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers" were credited on the record, but it was really the Ray Charles Singers backing up Lymon.) Could have listened to it all day! Unfortunately, Lymon died at the young age of 25 on February 27, 1968, after falling into heroin addiction. Here he is singing "Goody Goody" from 1957, when he would have been only 15 years old:



Here are The Teenagers in their first national TV appearance in 1956 on The Frankie Laine Show. "Why Do Fools Fall in Love?" had just hit #1 and they were a hot commodity! (It should be noted that Frankie Laine just died just three weeks ago today.)

Check your cookware for apparitions of the Virgin Mary, folks!

According to this report: "There's a custody battle underway over a pizza pan that some says bears a vision of the Virgin Mary. The pan has attracted national attention, and brought in hundreds of faithful from around the area hoping to see a miracle. But the pan has returned to where it originated -- Pugh Elementary School in east Houston." You can be sure that if this ever gets on eBay, it will sell for a fortune. From what I've seen, images of the Virgin Mary, Jesus, etc. that "appear" on wood, toast, etc., are usually snatched up for pretty hefty prices. I think I'll leave an old pizza pan on the counter overnight tonight and see what happens! Papa needs a new pair of shoes! The photo above shows how a shrine to the Virgin Mary has been created with the pizza pan in question as the centrepiece. I'm not saying that the Virgin Mary wouldn't make an appearance here on Earth (I'm really not...), but somehow I think she'd pick a better place to show up than a pizza pan.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Newseum

Newseum brands itself as an "interactive museum of news" and is located in Washington, D.C. One of the very cool features of the museum's website is its archive of front pages of newspapers from around the world... updated daily! At left is today's front page of The Times of Indoa. Fascinating. Check it out.

Constance Ford died 14 years ago today -- Ada on "Another World"

Constance Ford, who played Ada Hobson on "Another World" for 25 years from 1967 to 1992, died 14 years ago today on February 26, 1993. If you read her entry on Wikipedia, you'll discover that she was also an Elizabeth Arden lipstick model in the 1940s!

Dr. Pepper marketing idea deep-sixed over fears of grave desecration

Yeah, you read the headline right. I'm shaking my head in disbelief. Maybe Cadbury Schweppes' PR people were the same ones who told Telus that selling porn directly to their customers would be a smart idea. As you may have heard, Cadbury Schweppes has apologized for a marketing stunt (The Hunt for More) gone oh so bloody wrong in Boston. Seems they planted a valuable gold coin for contestants to find as part of a national treasure hunt. The only thing is, they planted the Boston coin in an historic cemetery where such people as John Hancock and Paul Revere are buried. And yeah, people were expected to dig around the graveyard to find the coin. Yes, a company sent people to DIG in a GRAVEYARD as part of a treasure hunt contest. Can someone honestly tell me that no red flags went up anywhere in that company? Not one PR-sensitive company official or legal counsel raised their hand and said that desecrating a graveyard may not be a great marketing stunt... even completely freakin' illegal? It boggles the mind. It truly does.

This week's "Hump Day" column...

... will be about family photos and the phenomenon of the oldest child in a group of siblings having tons of baby photos while the rest get practically nothing. It certainly happened in my family! But... that can be a curse, too, when the parents decide to document every aspect of their eldest child's life -- and I do mean every. Check out "Hump Day" on Wednesday exclusively on the editorial page of the Moncton Times & Transcript.

How did I do on my Oscar predictions?

Pretty good, as it turns out, except that Eddie Murphy lost Best Supporting Actor to Alan Arkin. Click here for my original predictions. I got everything else right. Click here for a list of winners from last night. Click here for a CNN news report. Click here for a review of how host Ellen Degeneres did.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek used to be a CBC Radio news anchor

I didn't know that! I was looking for stuff in the CBC Archives and came across this newscast anchored by Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek on October 25, 1965 -- nearly 42 years ago! He was only 25 when he anchored this particular newscast, having been born in July 1940. Really good voice!

Truth or Consequences

Before Bob Barker hosted The Price is Right, he hosted Truth or Consequences. Used to watch this all the time. I really liked the segments where they would surprise a family by bringing back a soldier from Vietnam. (Whoa... that dates me, eh?) Here's the opening to Truth or Consequences:

The New Adventures of Pinocchio

Oh Lord. And yeah... we watched it anyway. The New Adventures of Pinocchio...

With only 10 months to go... let me be the first to say...

Donald Duck Gets Drafted

I love Donald Duck although I never could (and still can't) understand a word he said. I love his temper tantrums! Here's his classic "Donald Gets Drafted" from 1942.

The Pink Panther

The Pink Panther cartoons had virtually no spoken dialogue so had to rely on gags and visual humour.

Tales of the Wizard of Oz

Tales of the Wizard of Oz ran for years locally where I grew up. Used to watch it before going to school. Horrible animation but -- all together now! -- we watched it anyway! :)

Rocket Robin Hood

I can't get over how horrible the animation was... but we watched Rocket Robin Hood anyway.

Johnny Sokko and his Flying Robot, a.k.a. Giant Robot

Remember this? I don't remember the animation being this horrible, but in a three-channel universe back in the early 1970s, this is all we had to watch on Saturday mornings. Ah... good ol' Johnny Sokko and his Flying Robot, a.k.a "Giant Robot"...

H.R. Pufnstuf

There's probably a reason why I've never tried drugs. Who needed them after growing up on H.R. Pufnstuf? So-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o freakin' bizarre. Gives me the willies these days. Ha!

Little Beau Pépé

Francophones will appreciate the hilarious translations in the Pépé le Pew cartoons. Poor ol' macho and smelly Pépé. :) I love the female cat who keeps trying to get away from him. My cat Cindy does the exact same thing when she tries to get out of my arms.

The cold medicine fried my brain...

... but that's no excuse! The show must go on! When your brain is fried from cold medication, simply think back to something that gives you comfort and voilà... blog material! And there's nothing that gives me comfort more than old Bugs Bunny cartoons. Ahhhhh... Saturday mornings as a kid. So here ya go!

The Oscars are tonight!

The 79th annual Academy Awards air tonight at 9:30 p.m. (Atlantic Standard Time) on ABC. Movie buffs will be all bleary-eyed on Monday morning from staying up late to watch the festivities. I usually watch it every year, depending on how tired I get. Since I have a bad cold this year, I may not make it through the entire show. Thank goodness for PVR! (... which is sort of like TiVo) I wonder how Ellen Degeneres will do as host? Risky move, since the choice of host is usually a more risqué entertainer. Will she be too nice?

Holy moly @ Perez Hilton

Warning: Content on the site I'm about to discuss may offend some. Consider yourself warned before clicking through.

If you've never heard of Perez Hilton, he's likely the world's #1 celebrity gossip blogger right at the moment. How many hits can a blog get, you ask? Well, considering the plethora (I love that word) of celebrity scandals that have hit the headlines lately, Perez is more popular than ever. He announced on his site that he had more than 5 million (!!) unique visitors to his blog last Monday. Unbelievable. Obviously, people love their celebrity gossip!