Saturday, March 10, 2007

I love pet stories like this...

This is Lucy. Her owner -- Randy Gurchin -- saved her life by performing mouth-to-snout (?) on her when she was unresponsive after being pulled from icy water. She'd jumped in chasing ducks and geese. According to this report: "Once you get a pet, it's truly part of your family,'' Gurchin said. "You just tend to do whatever it takes to save their life.'' For more on how to save a dog's life from drowning, click here.

Canada's first (and so far only) female prime minister turns 60 today

Former Canadian Prime Minister and Progressive Conservative Party Leader Kim Campbell turns 60 today. She won the leadership of the party on June 13, 1993, and was sworn in as Prime Minister on June 25, 1993. Exactly four months later in the October 25, 1993, federal election, Campbell's PC Party was decimated, winning only two seats across the entire country -- Jean Charest's (now the Premier of Quebec and currently in the middle of his own re-election campaign) in Quebec and Elsie Wayne's in New Brunswick. Her campaign went in to a speed-of-light tailspin after the now infamous and horribly ill-advised negative "Is this a prime minister?" ads that ran to discredit Liberal Leader Jean Chrétien. She remained Prime Minister of Canada until November 4, 1993, when the new Liberal government under Jean Chrétien was sworn in. Click here for the CBC Archives section devoted to Campbell. I always liked her and thought she was ahead of her time. It's too bad that her disastrous 1993 campaign has tainted her forever, politically. I think she'd be a breath of fresh air in the Conservative Party today and would help them shed the ultra socially conservative image that they are trying to neutralize.

When hockey players lose their tempers

This is self-explanatory -- from a New York Islanders / New York Rangers NHL game on Thursday, March 8. New York Islanders player Chris Simon (photo at right) shmucked New York Rangers player Ryan Hollweg. He's been suspended indefinitely and met with NHL "disciplinarian" Chris Campbell today. Crazy!

CRTC considering taking The Weather Network off basic cable?

This is the dumbest thing I've ever heard. The Weather Network is an essential service to all people no matter where you live -- Canada, the U.S., or elsewhere. It should be available on basic cable in order to access the most people. Information about weather is a safety necessity, not a luxury along the lines of knowing what fashion is in or out this season. Apparently, thousands have submitted their opinions to the CRTC, as well. Let's hope that common sense prevails and that The Weather Network remains on basic cable. In a climate like North America where there is snow, freezing rain, etc., the information this service provides can mean life or death. It only takes a major disaster like Hurricane Katrina or the Quebec ice storm to prove that.

Letter to the editor in today's Times & Transcript

Times & Transcript
March 10, 2007

Columnist commended

To The Editor:

I commend the wonderful writing of Brian Cormier in his "Political action leads to a new church!" (Mar 7, D6). Wielding the scalpel of satire with a hand of humour, columnist Cormier punctures the platitudes and posturing of many religious and political pundits. And, incidentally, opens minds and eyes to our too-prevalent provincial prejudices. Keep up the creative communicating - kudos to Cormier!

Eldon Hay, Sackville


Wow! Thanks for the great letter, Mr. Hay. It made my day!

Shannon Tweed turns 50 today

I'm a big fan of the A&E reality show Gene Simmons Family Jewels. Shannon Tweed is Simmons' partner of many years. Together, they have two teenage children. Anyway, Tweed turns 50 today -- so happy birthday! And if you didn't know, she's Canadian -- and a Newfoundlander at that! She was Playboy's Playmate of the Year for 1982.

NB Justice Minister mending fences with minorities

New Brunswick Justice Minister T.J. Burke was on CBC Radio this morning announcing amendments to provincial adoption and custody laws that would close a loop-hole that negatively affected same-sex couples. I was half asleep when I heard the report, but it's interesting to see that the Minister now wants to be seen as a pro-active champion of equal rights after last week's PR debacle over equal access to the law. The Liberal Party is the party that brought in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and they, above all others, should be championing human rights, so it's refreshing to see that the Minister will be updating New Brunswick's adoption and custody laws without having to be brought to court over it. All children deserve a good home with responsible, loving adults. For the Minister, it was an excellent move to publicly announce this relatively low-profile change because it showed him to be pro-actively caring about minority rights -- a reputation he had to regain after last week's complete mess. So far, so good. I hope some of the people who criticized him last week for the marriage issue will now congratulate him for the adoption/custody move. He deserves it. So consider yourself congratulated, Minister.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Sunday shopping: You've come a long way, baby!

100 years ago today, a Hamilton, Ontario, news seller was fined the (then) astronomical amount of $30 for selling U.S. newspapers on Sunday. I wonder what authorities from back then would think of the wide-open Sunday shopping that exists today? They'd be horrified, no doubt.

Belated happy birthday to an old college roomie

My first day at the University of King's College was petrifying. I didn't know a soul and the university was definitely a culture shock for this Acadian who went to a school where everyone spoke French and everyone was Roman Catholic -- and white. I remember meeting my roomie, Mark Mackenzie, on my first day there. He'd just returned from buying a kettle downtown. He needed it for tea, don't ya know! He was a leader. Everyone liked him. Everyone respected him. He eventually became student union president. Today, he's married and is a doctor in British Columbia. I've only seen him once in the 21 years since we graduated university. He was driving through Fredericton, New Brunswick, where I lived at the time -- 1992'ish. He was a great roomie to have because I met a lot of people through him... and to this day is one of the most decent people I've ever met in my life. He used to play "Love Plus One" by Haircut 100 while he was getting ready in the morning. It was a ritual. I still remember his birthday -- February 24 -- and thought of sending him a note, but never got around to it. Today, whenever I hear "Love Plus One", I always think of Mark. So here's a little birthday present for ya, roomie. Happy belated birthday.

Guilty pleasure: The Waltons

One of my guilty pleasures is The Waltons. I even have the box sets of the first three seasons on DVD. I find it so relaxing. When I hear that familiar guitar riff at the beginning followed by the trumpet, well my eyes just glass over and I go into the fetal position with a smile on my face and ready to enjoy some good ol' American family TV. Maybe my attraction to it was John-Boy being a writer. With my penchant for writing -- even back in the early 1970s, I could certainly relate. After all, I've been writing forever. My aunt still has letters I sent her nearly 35 years ago when I regaled her with how we all laughed in the schoolyard when a girl fell and we saw her panties. *gasp* Anyway, what got me thinking about The Waltons is that it's Will Geer's (Grandpa's) 105th birthday today. He was born on March 9, 1902. He died on April 22, 1978, while the show was on hiatus between seasons. This forced the show to write his death into the first episode of the next season. I remember being really shocked and sad when he died. It was like losing a part of the family. There are a few good Waltons memory and trivia sites out there. Here's one... and another.

Barbie turns 48 today

The Barbie doll turns 48 today. It was formally launched on March 9, 1959, at the American International Toy Fair. When I was a kid, I would make my sister angry by stripping her Barbie and my G.I. Joe naked and putting them in bed together. She'd come home from school, go looking for her Barbie and then go ballistic when she found them lying there... the little condom wrapper lying on the floor of her Barbie Dream House. (OK, so there was no condom wrapper, but it makes for a silly visual. :) ) Click here for Mattel's official Barbie site.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Happy birthday to Gary Numan

It's singer Gary Numan's 49th birthday today. If you're a fan of 80s music, you'll certainly remember this -- "Cars" -- which hit #1 in 1980. A good way to start a decade of great music.

International Women's Day

Today -- March 8 -- is International Women's Day. To commemmorate this occasion, here is the Hump Day column that ran on December 13, 2006 -- "Greatest gift is a mother's walk to freedom." Although my intention wasn't to make people cry, I had several women come up to me afterwards and tell me that they were deeply touched and cried their eyes out. It's a true story of a friend's mother's "walk to freedom." So... happy International Women's Day!

Greatest gift is a mother's walk to freedom

Hump Day
Published on page D6, Times & Transcript
December 13, 2006

I have this friend who I'll call "John" for the sake of this story. I first met John on our first day of high school back in 1979 - an unbelievable 27 years ago now that I think about it.

He was a good-looking, smart guy who was affable, decent and caring. We were assigned the same homeroom. Having come from different junior high schools, we'd never met previously. He and his best friend ("Eddie" for the sake of the story) were in my class and we three became friends.

Little by little, through talking to John and backed up with snippets from Eddie and others, I quickly grew to learn that John's home life was anything but roses. My own upbringing was thankfully quite vanilla and traditional compared to John's. So was Eddie's. To this day, I still wonder at how decent John turned out - except that he obviously took after his mother.

Flash ahead to 2006. We're all settled into careers in different cities but still keep in touch. We get together whenever either one of them comes to town to visit. John called me last week to invite me to lunch, which of course I eagerly accepted.

I hadn't thought much about John's home life in recent years, assuming that his parents had settled into a life of misery that somehow worked for them. I always remembered that it had been difficult, but I really wasn't intimately knowledgeable of the day-to-day machinations of life in their home.

I remembered that John's father wasn't a very nice man to his mother, his brother or to John himself. I remembered that John was always very protective of his mother, especially when his father went on one of his frequent emotionally and verbally abusive rants.

So come to find out last week that after more than 40 years of marriage - well let's rephrase that for what it really was: more than 40 years of hell - John's mother finally said, "Enough is enough!" and called John's brother to come pick her up. She was leaving! It was over! I'm not sure what the proverbial "straw that broke the camel's back" was, but whatever it was, it also shot the camel, buried it and then spit on its grave.

When John told me that his mother had left his father, I wasn't surprised. In fact, the news was practically met with cheers of joy from family and friends alike. After more than 40 years of a prison sentence called "marriage," John's mother had found that magical second wind inside of her that gave her the incredible courage to make a move that would change her life for the better.

Even though she's over 70, she could no longer live a life that wasn't her own and needed to break free of the confines of her torturous marital cocoon.

In the few short weeks since she left, family and friends have helped her find a new place to live, got her set up and have done everything they could to make her transition to freedom easier. In fact, it was like the entire universe was "on hold" just waiting to mobilize when she said the word. And mobilize, it certainly did!

Before we went to lunch last week, John asked if I minded if his mother tagged along. "Of course not," I said. I'd met her only once or twice in 27 years because, as you can imagine, John didn't exactly bring friends home. I remembered her being very reserved and nervous during our previous meetings, evidently trying to avoid somehow displeasing her husband who, himself, seemed quite nice as long as others were around watching.

At the restaurant, I found a friendly, relaxed, chatty woman eager to verbalize some of the troubles she'd had with her husband. What I noticed most was the determination in her eyes and in her words. There was no going back.

It was like she'd been born again. In fact, I wouldn't have been surprised had she jumped on the table right there in the restaurant and started singing Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus" for everyone to hear. For the first time in more than 40 years, she had peace and quiet despite the financial worries that come from leaving home with nothing.

But quite frankly, it was all worth it to her and her newfound confidence led her to believe that everything would somehow by OK.

I should say that John, being the good and caring son that he is, is also trying to help his aging father adjust by setting him up with various social and government services to assist him. Despite their past, the man is still his father and John's inherent decency would not allow him to abandon him. They say that sometimes the fruit doesn't fall far from the tree. Thankfully, this time, it fell and rolled far down a very steep hill, because John is nothing like his father - ironically, much to the benefit of his father.

During lunch, a demonstration against government budget cuts to women's organizations wound itself down the street. John's mother waved to them from our window seat. "You go, sisters!" she said, literally pumping her fist in the air while drawing on her freshly minted pluck.

Yes, Christmas came early for John's mother this year. Like the cowardly lion in The Wizard of Oz, she found the strength inside herself to make a move that gave her back her long-forgotten gumption. It was a gift a long time in the making, but it's the sweetest gift she'd ever received. And the gift card read: "From: Me / To: Me."

Great news!

When my alarm went off at 5:57 a.m. today, I was thrilled to hear on CBC Radio Moncton's Information Morning that the government has dropped their plans to support the opposition bill I wrote about in yesterday's column. (See the post directly below this one.) After hearing the news on the radio, I checked out the Times & Transcript coverage. Here are a few excerpts from the article "Grits drop support for marriage law change" that appears on pg. A4 of today's Moncton Times & Transcript:

"The provincial Liberals have divorced themselves from legislation that would allow marriage clerks to refuse services to same-sex couples - less than a week after declaring their support for it.

Justice Minister T.J. Burke says the amendment to the Marriage Act, which would give New Brunswick civil servants the right to refuse to marry a gay or lesbian couple based on religious beliefs, is flawed and his party will be opposing it."


...

"Burke said he supported the principle of the bill last week after only reading it for 15 minutes.

Since that time the justice minister said he examined previous rulings from the Supreme Court of Canada, human rights tribunals and he consulted with his staff and he has determined the Marriage Act amendment cannot be supported.

Burke says this is the same legislation the former Conservative government tabled in June 2005 and then failed to bring it up again for the remainder of their term in office.

"They didn't have support for it in their caucus then I don't believe they have support for it now. They are bringing it forward to open up and stir controversy," Burke says."


Everyone is allowed a rookie mistake. Although this is a biggie, I hope that it will serve as a lesson that doing the right thing is far more respected (and respectable) than catering to the lowest common denominator. Congratulations to the minister for realizing this mistake and for reversing this decision. There's nothing wrong with saying you were wrong.


Political action leads to a new church!

Hump Day
Published Wednesday, March 7, 2007
Appeared on page D6, Times & Transcript

I was happy to see that the entire Legislative Assembly will be supporting an Opposition bill to allow civil servants not to serve same-sex couples wanting to get married if it offends their religious beliefs.

The Opposition introduced the bill in the final session of their mandate last year when they were still on the government side. They hoped to shore up support among Angry Old White Guys in the Bible belt in western New Brunswick. It worked. They won nearly every seat there in last year's provincial election.

Now finding themselves in Opposition, they want to keep that support so they brought back the Angry Old White Guy-friendly bill. Furthermore, it's impossible for the government not to support the bill if they ever hope themselves to get all those Angry Old White Guy votes in the next election. It's a brilliant strategy by the Opposition and has the government caught between a rock and a hard place.

I, for one, am thrilled, because it's just given me a great idea. I'm starting up my own religion - the Provincial Church of Latter Day Neanderthals. Our motto: Taking Human Rights Back to Where They Belong . . . the Dark Ages.

My plan? Simple. We discriminate against everyone.

Then, we get a job as a civil servant and sit back and watch TV all day because there's no work for us to do because everything offends our religious beliefs. The beauty of this is that they can't fire us because that would be religious discrimination. Full pay. No work. Brilliant, no?

After all, doesn't everyone have a few dark prejudices buried way down there in their gut? I'm pretty sure there'll be line-ups down the street when regular Sunday services begin at our shiny new Chapel of Our Lady of All-Terrain Vehicles.

First of all, my church will be prejudiced against Natives. We don't like 'em. No sir, not one bit. If you're Native, don't show up at my government wicket expecting me to serve you a glass of water, let alone take a payment for your vehicle registration. Why oh why did we ever close down those nice comfy residential schools? I know you were born that way, but I don't care. It offends my religious beliefs.

Are you disabled? Well, we don't like you either. If you show up at my wicket and want anything - be it a driver's licence or even a tissue to blow your nose, I will ship you to the back of the line so fast that your crutches will leave skid marks on the floor. What happened to the good old days when you were all institutionalized as infants? I know you can't help it, but I don't care. It offends my religious beliefs.

Are you diabetic? Ever had a heart attack? Then you'd better not show up at my wicket wanting to renew your Medicare card. You're wasting taxpayers' money with your illnesses. In my religion, you'd be euthanized to save us all money. I know you can't help it, but I don't care. It offends my religious beliefs.

Do you speak French with a heavy English accent? It doesn't matter how hard you're trying. Show up at my wicket and it's no soup for you! Same goes for all you Frenchies trying to speak English. I know you were born that way, but I don't care. It offends my religious beliefs.

And women? They shouldn't be handling money and shouldn't have any responsibilities other than giving birth, baking bread and cleaning the house. Show up at my wicket and be prepared to be ignored like the non-entities that you are. I know you were born that way, but I don't care. It offends my religious beliefs.

And we certainly can't forget about people not born in Canada. We believe in the purity of the Canadian race. If you weren't born in Canada, don't expect any service from me at my wicket until you die and are reincarnated as a Canuck. I know you were born that way, but I don't care. It offends my religious beliefs.

Are you fat? Sorry, do not pass "Go" and do not collect 200 Timbits. We hate you, too. Only the Imperial Grand Poobah and Founding Couch Potato of the Provincial Church of Latter Day Neanderthals is permitted to be fluffy, and that's yours truly. Whether you can help it or not, I don't care. It offends my religious beliefs.

Our first open-house session will be held this week. Needless to say, it will not be accessible for the disabled and simultaneous translation will not be provided. Racial profiling will take place at the front entrance to ensure the purity of the audience. If you're no fan of politics, rest assured that provincial politicians will not be in attendance because every one of them is part of a minority we hate in one way or another.

How ironic, considering their bill gave me the idea for this religion in the first place. Well done, honourable members! Well done!

I couldn't have written a better law myself.

And lastly, no maps to the meeting location will be provided. Just follow the knuckle-drag tracks in the snow.

Immediately following the session, stick around to watch a great documentary entitled, "The Art of Getting Re-elected While Increasing Gay Teen Suicides - Killing Two Birds With One Stone." Enjoy the hilarity as these young kids witness their elected officials actively discriminating against them. You'll laugh 'til you cry.

Or maybe you'll just cry.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

It's Wanda Sykes' 43rd birthday

Wanda Sykes cracks me up! I think she is absolutely hilarious. I love her appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Here's a clip:

Bizarre: Singer killed in 1959 dug up and given autopsy based on rumours

On February 3, 1959 -- forever remembered as "The Day the Music Died" in Don McLean's song "American Pie" -- Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper (J.P. Richardson) perished in a plane crash. An Associated Press story carried today on CNN reported: "J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson suffered massive fractures and likely died immediately in the 1959 plane crash that also killed early rock 'n' rollers Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens, a forensic anthropologist said Tuesday after exhuming the body. The performer's son, Jay Richardson, hired Dr. Bill Bass, a well-known forensic anthropologist at the University of Tennessee, to look at the remains in Beaumont, Texas. There have been rumors a gun might have been fired on board the plane and that the Big Bopper might have survived the crash and died trying to get help. Bass took X-rays of the body and found nothing Tuesday to support those theories. "There was no indication of foul play," Bass said in a telephone interview from Beaumont. "There are fractures from head to toe. Massive fractures. ... (He) died immediately. He didn't crawl away. He didn't walk away from the plane."" Good Lord... digging someone up nearly 50 years after their death based solely on rumours. Crazy! Anyway, never one not to find a reason to post some obscure YouTube video, here's The Big Bopper singing Chantilly Lace -- must be from American Bandstand because Dick Clark introduces him:



Here's Buddy Holly singing "That'll Be the Day":




And here's Ritchie Valens singing "Ooh My Head":




So many stars back then died in plane crashes, including Patsy Cline who I blogged about the other day.

Phyllis Diller will be 90 this year!

I saw Phyllis Diller give a live performance in Halifax in the mid-1980s. Hilarious. She's actually kinda dirty in person! Loved it! She was on The View today. Physically, she's starting to show her age, unfortunately, but her mind is all there. Here she is on a recent episode of Megan Mullaly's now-cancelled talk show.



Click here for "Phyllis Diller: Still out for a laugh," a piece that ran in 2005 on National Public Radio (NPR) in the U.S.

Here are some unsolicited comments I received for today's column...

I think I've caused a bit of a stir. Who moi? *looks around all innocent-like* Here are some comments I received today for today's Times & Transcript column. It will be posted online here tomorrow.

"Just wanted to let you know I think your column today is brilliant."

"This should be submitted nationally, Brian."

"... it seems abundantly clear that it's unconstitutional and will be struck down, thus wasting precious time that could be put to solving NBers real problems."

"I believe that civil servants should be required to uphold the law and leave the civil service if they do not. The name implies that they are in the service of citizens.Its kind of like being in the army and disobeying orders since you are morally opposed to killing under absolutely any circumstance. If that is the case, either don't join the army or in the case of wartime, state that you are a conscientious objector. People wanting to become civil servants should do so because they want to put the law and then needs of civil society above their own. If they want to pick and choose which laws they follow, they have no business being in the civil service. There is a separation of church and state in this country and if you want to put the requirements of the state above your own, you have no business in the civil service (especially if it has a direct impact on somebody else's ability to become full participants in the civil society)."

"I fully applaud your splendid column in this morning's Times & Transcript. You targeted the problem very well in an excellent style. I really felt your legitimate indignation toward this injustice." (loose translation)

Thanks to everyone who submitted comments. I don't normally receive so much feedback. This issue is just starting folks, so stay tuned.

Oh wait... what's this?

It's a New Brunswick civil servant whose religion discriminates against African-Canadians. He's saving drowning people -- with the full support and blessing of the Legislative Assembly. The others aren't considered people in his book. But don't worry, the civil servant will be radio'ing in for someone to come help the others... eventually.

The "Spink About It" blog mentions me today

Well-known New Brunswick blogger Spinks (click on above header to visit his blog) mentioned my "Hump Day" column in his blog today. I'm not so sure I'd classify Karl Csazar as "reasoned," but I have to admit his comments in the media on this issue in the past couple of days have been toned down compared to his usual more extreme language, even though I vehemently disagree with his point of view. Click here to read Spinks' comments on my column. I guess that means I gotta link ya, eh? ;-)

Stupid human tricks

There was this guy. He decided to jump off the roof of a five-storey building into a pool. His buddies were there to film it, so it looks like it was a dare. It may have sounded like a cool idea at the time... until he miscalculated and only got half his body in the water. Kids, don't try this at home.

Today's "Hump Day" column: "Political action leads to a new church!"

Hi everyone! Check out today's "Hump Day" column on pg. D6 of today's Moncton Times & Transcript -- "Political action leads to a new church." As I mentioned in this post yesterday, today's column is about how I am proposing a new church here in New Brunswick that will cut to the chase and just discriminate against... well... everyone!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Canada: Meet your future queen

British media are reporting that Prince William and Kate Middleton will indeed be getting married. The fact has apparently been confirmed to British Members of Parliament. According to this entry in Wikipedia: "The Royal Marriages Act of 1772 is an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain (12 Geo III c. 11) which made it illegal for any member of the British royal family (defined as all descendants of King George II, excluding descendants of princesses who marry "into foreign families") under the age of 25 to marry without the consent of the ruling monarch. Any member of the Royal Family over the age of 25 who has been refused the sovereign's consent may marry one year after giving notice to the Privy Council of their intention to so marry, unless Parliament passes an act against the marriage in the interim." Wow! Talk about red tape. But consider that William's grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, is still healthy and could live for another 15 years or so. If she died at 95, Prince Charles would become king at the age of 74 in 2022'ish. Let's say he lived to 85, then that would see William becoming king at the age of 51 in 2033'ish. He shouldn't be getting the crown adjusted for his head just yet. And on a related subject, I'm sorry but I really don't think Camilla is that unattractive. I don't get all the "ugly" jokes.

We're #1! We're #1! We're #1!

News item: "Canada is ranked No. 1 in a new world popularity poll that looked at attitudes toward 12 major nations." In honour of this incredible achievement, here's our national anthem being sung -- fittingly -- at an NHL hockey playoff game. *sniff* I'm getting choked up already. (Edmonton Oilers vs. Anaheim Mighty Ducks in Edmonton, May 23/06.)

Corner Gas is ending season four next week... damn damn damn!

Corner Gas ends its fourth season next Monday. Oh poop on a friggin' stick!! Sorry. That is in no way meant to be discriminatory against poop... or sticks. (See my previous post. That is actually a funny line... if you actually read my previous post.) I love Corner Gas. It makes me laugh. The parents are a scream. Wanda is a sarcastic little witch. I'd be friends with her, I think. You just know Lacey and Brent want to do the nasty. I could go on and on. *sigh* The season finale is a biggie! According to this CTV news release today: "In Monday's monumental episode, entitled "Gopher It," Dog River is runrampant with prairie dogs - or gophers - among other alarming events. When Prime Minister Stephen Harper becomes the second PM since Diefenbaker to visit Dog River, he wades into a local controversy which he blames on the previous Liberal government. As the episode unfolds, Brent closes shop, Lacey moves home, and the fate of Hank, Oscar, Emma, Wanda, Karen and Davis are put into question - not to mention Corner Gas itself." And here's a question. Why in the world does the season for Canadian TV shows end in March instead of May like American shows? Are we not worthy of a couple more months' worth of Corner Gas, This Hour Has 22 Minutes, Air Farce and the Rick Mercer Report? Is it a money thing? If you read the entire Corner Gas news release, it seems like the ratings for the show are through the roof. Can't they afford another seven or eight episodes to bring us in to May? Here's what I have to say to Corner Gas ending season four next week:

Tomorrow's "Hump Day" column...

... will be about yet another attack on minority rights, this time by the New Brunswick Legislative Assembly. Well, I, for one, wholeheartedly back this discriminatory new anti-gay bill. But hey... why not bring it one step further? Tomorrow, read about how I'm starting my own religion to not only bash those pesky gays, but everyone else, too! Why should the gay-bashers have all the fun? Let's stick it to the Natives, the disabled, the obese, the French and the sick, too! And don't even get me started on those non-entity female folk. Read "Hump Day" exclusively on the editorial page of tomorrow's Moncton Times & Transcript.

Top 50 web VIPs

"Despite what Time magazine would have you believe, you are not the most powerful or influential person on the Web. At PC World we love online personals, social networks, and videos of people falling on their keisters as much as the next person, but without the folks who create the Craigslists, MySpaces, and YouTubes of the world, much of the Web's potential would be lost among spam sites and other online detritus.

So who's making the biggest impact online? We considered hundreds of the Web's most noteworthy power brokers, bloggers, brainiacs, and entrepreneurs to figure out whose contributions are shaping the way we use the Web. We whittled the list down to the top 50--well, actually the top 62--people, but as you'll see, there are some you just can't separate. And don't despair: Get a little more traffic on your Web site, and you may show up on the list next year."

Click here for more from PC World. I think I may have clocked in at 50... million. ;) Maybe next year!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Good luck to Cameron and Adam DuPlessis at the Canada Winter Games!

Team New Brunswick Alpine Ski Team Members Adam and Cameron DuPlessis

My friend Paul DuPlessis' sons Cameron and Adam are both on New Brunswick's Alpine Ski Team for the Canada Winter Games currently underway in Whitehorse, Yukon. They both start competing tomorrow. Man, I feel old. I used to help those kids with their homework when I lived in Fredericton! (They were in French immersion, so I was called upon from time to time.) Now, Cameron's 18 and 6'3" and Adam is 16 and just under 6'0". *gets out my walker* Best of luck, boys! I'll be rootin' for ya! Click here for Cameron's Team New Brunswick profile and click here for Adam's. Click here for Canada Winter Games schedule and results. Click on the boys' photo for Team New Brunswick's website. Click on the Whitehorse 2007 logo to visit the Canada Winter Games website.

Remembering Patsy Cline

When I was a kid, one of the country records we had at home featured "I Fall to Pieces" by Patsy Cline. I've been a fan ever since. Patsy Cline died 44 years today (March 5, 1963) in a plane crash at the young age of 30. Here she is singing "Blue Moon of Kentucky":



And here she is singing "Crazy":



Also killed in the same plane crash as Patsy were Cowboy Copas (click here for a video of the two singing together) and Hawkshaw Hawkins.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

First anniversary of Captain Trevor Greene's attack in Afghanistan

Captain Trevor Greene was severely injured in an axe attack in Afghanistan one year ago today. If you look at the blog entry directly below this, you'll see that March 4th is also the anniversary of our mutual friend George Earles' passing. (Trevor, George and I all went to the University of King's College in the mid-1980s. In fact, we all graduated with the same degree - Bachelor of Journalism (Honours).) Click here for a previous post about Trevor and information on a trust fund set up to help he and his family with the costs associated with his rehabilitation. Click here for a CanWest News Service story published to commemorate the first anniversary of Trevor's attack. Here are some other photos of Trevor:

That's a scanned photo from our King's yearbook. Trevor can be seen in the middle of the photo, reading a book with his knee in the air. George is also outside sunning himself right above Trevor's knee. (March 4th has turned out to be a bad day for King's alumni.)

That's a cast photo from the musical "Little Mary Sunshine" that King's put on in the 1985-86 school year. Trevor is the tall one in the back row with his arms resting on George. The guy in the bottom right-hand corner with the long blond hair and large glasses is Jody Daye, who is today a famous makeup artist.

And, finally, here's a photo of Trevor in attendance at a memorial get-together in Halifax at the Economy Shoe Shop shortly after George's death in March 2003. Trevor is in the front row with his hands on his knees. Also in the photo from left to right are King's alumni Stuart Moore, Veronica Newport, Steve MacLean, Julianne MacLean, Elaine Wright and Greg Guy.

And, finally, here's a toast that I thought appropriate for Trevor today:

A toast to your coffin.
May it be made of 100-year-old oak.
And may we plant the tree together... tomorrow.

In memoriam: George S. Earles (1964-2003)

My good friend George Earles died four years ago today on March 4, 2003. After suffering another bout of debilitating depression, he succeeded in taking his own life after a number of previous attempts. If you or someone you know suffers from depression, please try to get help before it's too late. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Click on his photo to visit a website dealing with suicide prevention. I went to university with George. Whenever this song came on at a university dance, he would always be the first one on the floor, dancing up a storm. Rest in peace, buddy -- and dance a l'il jig up in Heaven to this:



If you're reading this blog and actually knew George, check out this Yahoo! Group that was set up as a tribute to his memory.