Saturday, June 09, 2007

Self-surgery not a good idea!

I was in the ER all day with my father. He had an infected cut on his arm which ended up swelling his hand up like a balloon. Not pretty. Anyway, after some strong antibiotics, he's on the mend. With that said, I had the pleasure of being with him in the ER when he was being treated. Of course, not being a place that has much privacy, you hear things... like the 17-year-old kid who was in the room next to us and who decided to go to ER after bleeding everywhere following a botched self-surgery. Get this: He'd decided to use a kitchen knife to extract a cyst on his tailbone. Yeah... his tailbone. So here you are at home, buck naked, twisted every which way and slicing away near your arse-end with a knife. If this didn't scream "I'm going to end up in the ER!", I don't know what did! He walked out on his own power, so the doctor must have done something right. Hopefully the kid smartens up!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Simply Red lead singer Mick Hucknall is 47 today

Mick Hucknall, lead singer of the British group Simply Red turns the big 4-7. The group has had a series of hit songs over the past years, including If You Don't Know Me By Now, Holding Back The Years, and my favourite... Sunrise:

Even high-priced lawyers can't stand in the way of justice

Paris Hilton was shipped off to jail for her full sentence today after her lawyers temporarily got her out of jail and into house arrest for "medical reasons." This infuriated a local judge and he ordered her back to jail to serve out her entire sentence, not the 23 or so days it was whittled down to previously. According to the Associated Press, "Screaming and crying, Paris Hilton was escorted from a courtroom and ordered back to jail Friday after a judge, overruling the county sheriff, said she must serve out her entire 45-day sentence behind bars rather than in her Hollywood Hills home. "It's not right!" shouted Hilton, who violated her probation in a reckless driving case. "Mom!" she called out to her mother in the audience." It's not right?? Hello?? What happened to the "mature" and "calm" Paris who said she would pay the time for the crime, huh? She was pretty brave when she knew (unknowingly to the public) that her lawyers were going to try and pull a fast one on law enforcement officials. Unfortunately, she forgot that the prison system is FULL of people with medical problems and they are treated in jail, as they should be. Sorry, Paris, no boo-hoos from me. Here are some comments from her mother and the subsequent pandemonium after Paris was brought back to jail.

I really hate to sound heartless, but I had a pinch of sympathy before her attempts at getting out of her jail sentence. She could learn a few things from Martha Stewart by just taking her medicine like an adult and moving on.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Jean Gauvin has died

One of New Brunswick's most colourful and controversial political figures has died at the age of 61. Former Tory cabinet minister Jean Gauvin passed away from heart failure yesterday in Bathurst. Click here for more from CBC New Brunswick. If you can understand French, click here for TV coverage from Radio-Canada.

That was fast! Paris Hilton out of jail already!

According to CNN:

"Paris Hilton was let out from jail Thursday morning, just days after she began serving her 45-day sentence for violating probation, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said at a press conference.

Hilton, who has been fitted with an electronic monitoring device, will serve the rest of her sentence from home, said Steve Whitmore of the sheriff's department. She will now be under the supervision of the L.A. County Probation Department, Whitmore added.

She will be confined to her home for 40 days, the remainder of her 45-day sentence.

Whitmore said the decision to have Hilton serve out her sentence at home was for medical reasons."

Click here for more. I'm assuming that the "medical issues" are stress-related. It was reported that she was seeing a psychiatrist prior to entering jail. Regardless of whether she deserved to be there or not (I think she did...), it was certainly culture shock to the n'th degree for her.

Where does all that material come from?

Brian Cormier
Hump day
Published Wednesday, June 6, 2007
Appeared on page D6, Moncton Times & Transcript

One of the most common questions that readers ask of a columnist for any newspaper or magazine -- especially someone like me who writes about a variety of things -- is this: "How do you come up with all those ideas?"

Well, I'll tell you: Pure unadulterated terror, desperation and a healthy dose of luck.

Quite scientific, eh?

When you have a deadline looming and a big chunk of a page in a large daily newspaper just waiting for your words of wisdom (work with me here, people!), it can be a daunting challenge to try to come up with something clever, entertaining and profound. Sometimes it's all three. Sometimes it's just two, and once in a while just one. On the odd day, it's a complete shutout. Well, hopefully it's just the odd day.

To come up with ideas, I usually just write about what's going on in my life at any given moment. Recently, I've written about family members who've passed away, friends whose mothers have left an abusive relationship, family relationships, university reunions, decluttering my house and various books that I've read. I try to put a humorous slant on things, when appropriate, and then hope to heck that someone finds it at least mildly entertaining enough to crack a half-hearted smile of pity.

I've written about my parents more often than some people think I should have. Not because they don't think the stories are interesting, but because they are worried what my parents may think about some of the stories I tell. "Oh I would never write that about my mother!" they tell me.

Well, you have to remember that my parents are both about 70ish years old, and for their generation, having your name mentioned in the newspaper is like meeting the pope. Even if it's because you committed murder, seeing your name in black and white means that you've arrived. So, actually, when I write about my parents, it doesn't seem to bother them at all, no matter what I write. They just seem thrilled to be mentioned.

Of course, a columnist writes a lot about their pets, too. I've already written plenty about the three feline balls of fur who chase each other around the house and shed so much that I'm surprised they're not completely naked. But there's only so much you can write about your pets before an angry mob of people allergic to cats shows up on your doorstep to put an end to it.

And, of course, I've written about myself. Every torturous faux-pas in my life seems have been written about in my quest to entertain. Now, I don't mind. If it puts a smile on people's faces, that's what I'm here for. But as I write this particular column, I've hit a bit of writer's block and can't think of one single stupid thing I've done lately that I can blow out of proportion to make myself seem like a complete nincompoop in order to please you, dear readers. (A good week can be bad for a column.)

Sigh! Why does God hate me so? C'mon! A columnist with no ideas is like a NASCAR driver with flat tires! A king with no crown! A cop with no robbers! A politician with no lies! (I'm really sorry. I didn't mean that. If you're a politician reading this, I truly don't believe that you're liars, but since I have writer's block today, you're going to have to forgive me as you take the fall for the sake of a bit of cheap humour.)

Sometimes I sit in a conversation with someone and something is said that just clicks. There's a column idea, I say!

Sometimes it's so obvious that even the person I'm talking to exclaims the same thing. "That's a good thing to write about!"

Still other times, people who are trying to be helpful will call or e-mail with column ideas that just aren't appropriate for me or this column. They're just trying to be nice, I know, but it's usually best just to leave a columnist come up with their own ideas because they have to lend their voice and passion to whatever they're writing about.

You have to write about what you know and interests you. The chances of me writing about ballet are slim.

Maybe I should start getting out and meeting more people so that I can refresh my ideas bank. There's nothing worse than trying to write when you have nothing. It's almost like I'm hoping for something weird to happen so that I have something to write a column about. Could someone in my family or circle of friends please stub your toe or fall down some stairs or something? I don't want you to get hurt. Just say something funny or thought provoking so that I can work it into some sort of column.

Be a pal, would ya? I expect a report in the morning.

I used to co-write a restaurant review column. Those were very easy columns to do because I had something tangible to write about. The food was either bad, so-so or good. I wrote about the service, the décor, the price, etc. You know, all the typical stuff that you would expect to see in a review of that sort. Well, in a general interest column like this one, the "restaurant" is life itself and, honestly, last week just wasn't that tasty.

Sure, I was super busy working on contracts. Lots of good things are happening and the future looks bright. People I never even heard of are calling me to do work for them. My office is looking the best it ever has and I'm organized up the ying-yang.

I know where everything is after finally completing my filing after six or seven years of chaos. I've written about all that stuff, too, but I can't write about it every week!

So yeah, back to the issue of writer's block. Here's what everyone who knows me can do for me this week: Twist your ankle. Do something stupid. Say something silly. Have some deep, life-altering experience and tell me about it. Then I'll have something to write about next week. You'll do it if you love me. You all have my number.

Anaheim Ducks beat Ottawa Senators to win 2007 Stanley Cup

Canadians will be crying in their beer today after our Ottawa Senators lost the Stanley Cup last night to the Anaheim Ducks. Oh well, there's always next year. *sigh* It's starting to get a bit disheartening that a team from Canada has not won the trophy since 1993.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

2007 Greater Moncton Dragon Boat Festival

Looking for something to do this weekend? The 2007 Greater Moncton Dragon Boat Festival will take place this weekend on June 8 and 9 on Jones Lake. Come one, come all! Click here for the event's website.

If you're unfamiliar with the background on dragon boat racing, here's an excerpt from the website. Very interesting! I wasn't aware of the Chinese connection.

"The Greater Moncton Dragon Boat Festival is part of a larger Chinese cultural tradition that goes back 2,400 years. It began on the life-sustaining riverbanks in the valleys of southern China as a fertility rite performed to ensure bountiful crops. The first participants held their celebration on the fifth day of the lunar month of the Chinese calendar. The race was held to avert misfortune and encourage the rains needed for prosperity. The object of their worship was the dragon.

Also known as Poet’s Day, it commemorates the death of Qu Yuan, a poet and Minister of State during the Chou Dynasty. Qu had protested against the corrupt government and was stripped of his office as Minister of State. He wandered about the countryside, unhappy and dejected. When local fishermen realized Qu had disappeared into the river, they raced out in their boats to save him, beating drums to scare off the fish that they thought would eat his body. They also dropped rice dumplings in the water as a sacrifice to his spirit. The scene of the fishermen racing out to save Qu Yuan is reenacted every year in the form of dragon boat races."

Man nearly jumps on top of Pope Benedict!

A man attempted to jump on top of Pope Benedict XVI earlier today before being tackled by bodyguards. Holy moly... the guy nearly made it! Check out Reuters video coverage by clicking here.

Hump Day: Where does all that material come from?

Hi everyone and happy Wednesday... or "Hump Day" as I like to call it! Check out my Hump Day column in today's Moncton Times & Transcript. Today's column is all about writer's block and trying to find fresh ideas every week in order to regale you all with! :) Check it out on the editorial page of today's paper.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Canadian Idol starts tonight!

Woohoo! Can't wait to see what crop of talent pops up on Canadian Idol this year. Should be good! How will this year's winner compare to last season's Eva Avila? (pictured)

Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan died three years ago today

Former U.S. President and California Governor Ronald Reagan died three years ago today at the age of 93. Here's clip of then-Governor Reagan when he appeared as a guest star on the first show of the third season of The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour that aired on September 16, 1972... nearly 35 years ago.

Remembering Mel Tormé

Renowned jazz singer Mel Tormé died eight years ago today at the age of 73. Here he is singing "Sweet Georgia Brown" and "Just in Time."

Monday, June 04, 2007

Happy birthday to Horatio Sanz

Happy 38th birthday to former Saturday Night Live (SNL) cast member Horatio Sanz. Here's a skit featuring the actor from the 600th episode of the show that aired on April 8, 2006:

Manager ejected from baseball game

Well, if you're gonna lose it, you might as well entertain people while you're at it. This guy went off the deep end. At least he made me laugh while doing it. Click here for the related news story. Enjoy Mississippi Braves' manager Phillip Wellman:

A couple of things that I find creepy are...

The Teletubbies' baby in the sun:

That kid just freaks me out!

And what about the creature from the movie Pan's Labyrinth with its eyes in its palms:

God Almighty! Enough to give you nightmares.

This week's Hump Day column...

... is all about writer's block. And let me tell you, it's difficult to write a column when you've (temporarily, I hope) run out of ideas! Read all about it on Wednesday on the editorial page of the Moncton Times & Transcript.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

HomeSense: Listen up!

For a store that has such great prices, funky merchandise and good customer service, I really have to say that I'm disappointed in one thing that HomeSense does. They insist of super-gluing price tags to the glass of their photo frames. I don't know what kind of glue they use, but surely NASA could use it to keep those heat panels on the space shuttle. I bought some frames from HomeSense recently and getting the price tags off the glass meant soaking them overnight in water, lots of scraping, etc. It's absolutely ridiculous! There must be a better way! Yeah... there is... buy my frames somewhere else... even if they're more expensive. *sigh*

Ottawa Senators win crucial game in Stanley Cup final

Well, the Ottawa Senators are keeping Canada's hopes alive of bringing the Stanley Cup home for the first time in 14 years. They beat the Anaheim Mighty Ducks last night in Ottawa by a score of 5-3. The Ducks now lead the series 2-1 in the best of seven final. Go Sens Go! For more on the Stanley Cup final, click here. The next game is tomorrow night in Ottawa.

Singer Suzi Quatro is 57 today

Suzi Quatro, who played Leather Tuscadero on Happy Days, turns 57 today. Despite her acting stint, she's primarily a singer. Her biggest by far was Stumblin' In, a duet with Chris Norman. It's been played ad nauseum on radio since 1979. In case you've been living under a rock and it doesn't ring a bell, here it is:

Happy 46th birthday one day early to El DeBarge

Singer El DeBarge will be 46 tomorrow. Is it just me or does he look like Sanjaya from Americn Idol? He had a few hits in the 1980s with songs such as "Who's Johnny?" from 1986: