Saturday, August 18, 2007

A nice pic I took tonight...

I was at my cousin's housewarming and was taking various pics around the house. I took one of her lamp and people kept laughing at me. Well... holy geez! I think it turned out pretty nice! Click on the pic for a larger size!

Very cool egg-peeling technique!

I'm gonna try this!

A poison dart would be useful right now... hehe

How to shave your head

21 facts about U.S. presidents

Friday, August 17, 2007

The great Pearl Bailey died 17 years ago today

Entertainer extraordinaire Pearl Bailey died on August 17, 1990, at the age of 72. Watch this amazing performance with Dinah Shore:

Here she is on an episode of Silver Spoons:

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Elvis Presley died 30 years ago today at the age of 42

And finally... Love Me Tender...

School reunion showed a profile in true courage

Brian Cormier
Hump day
Published Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Appeared on page D6, Moncton Times & Transcript

Time goes by so fast. I remember my high school graduation like it was yesterday. It was a sweltering hot day... June 20, 1982, to be exact.

The nearly 500 graduates in my class were huddled together in a sweltering arena fanning ourselves with our programs as we sat through seemingly interminable speeches and presentations. Finally, we were called one by one in alphabetical order to receive our diploma - our "pink slip" from the public school system.

I found out this weekend at our 25th reunion that six of us have died since then. As with my university reunion held earlier this year - my high school reunion committee fretted over how to honour those who have passed. After all, at such a happy event, it is difficult to fit in such sad memories. But sad memories have their place in reunions, too.

For some bizarre reason, I always look forward to the "memories reel" portion of the Oscar and Emmy broadcasts when they feature people who've passed away in the last year. I sincerely enjoy remembering their contributions. We shouldn't avoid having to dab a tear or two away at a reunion. It's perfectly normal to miss those who have left us.

I think it's important for reunions to mix a bit of the sad in with the pleasure. Reunions are a celebration of life and memories. We bring our matured personalities with us, too, and thank goodness for that, eh? I noticed a big enough (positive) difference in people at my university reunion, but my 25-year high school reunion held this past weekend was pretty much mind-boggling! We all grew up - in a good way.

The reunion was a total blast. Before I attended, though, I debated whether to go at all because I wasn't sure that I needed to see a bunch of people that I rarely see anyway. After all, I do keep in touch with a core group of high school friends already and couldn't imagine having much to say to the others.

Boy, was I wrong! Thankfully, a classmate (and member of the organizing committee) ended up talking me into attending after cornering me in line at the grocery store a few weeks ago. I tried to fend her off, but I honestly can say that after our brief conversation that I quickly came to realize that I really wanted to go! Having been on my university reunion committee, it was maddening how many locals wouldn't attend - and I could definitely sympathize with her efforts at increasing the numbers. I had no excuse.

So I whipped out $25 right then and there and paid my fee. I was not going to be one of those people who stayed at home and washed their hair on the evening of their 25th high school reunion. Besides, I have no hair left, so that excuse was down the drain.

The reunion - held over two nights - was very special. I had a wonderful time meeting old friends and getting caught up. In fact, I can definitely say that I didn't realize how many people I never saw around town anymore - even though we live in the same city. You'd think we all lived in different countries.

Like I said, what I found frustrating about this reunion and the one I helped to organize earlier this year was the large number of local grads who didn't come despite being called, begged, cajoled and repeatedly asked. Of course, many of them had perfectly good excuses such as obligations to their children or work. But others, well, they just didn't feel like going. To each his own, I guess.

It's too bad, because they really did miss an event that I truly believe they would have remembered forever. And I can tell you that it did my soul a lot of good to see one our classmates who'd been severely injured in a horrible car accident a few years ago. She's made great strides in her recovery. Her strength, courage and determination are something to be seen in order to be believed.

Although I didn't really know her in high school, many of my classmates did. They danced with her, chatted and kept her company. I know she had a good time, especially when I saw her motioning playfully to one of my friends from across the floor to come dirty dance with her.

It was clear that while many didn't attend the reunion simply because they "didn't feel like it," she attended proudly and happily, knowing that she came close to being on that dreaded "memories reel" herself. She learned never to take any reunion for granted.

When I saw her there, I made a promise to myself never to even consider missing another one of our reunions. Here she was, someone who's working very hard to overcome severe injuries . . . someone who was lucky to be alive in order to even attend her 25th reunion. And then there was me, who debated attending in the first place because I thought I'd be bored - and the others, who just couldn't be bothered to show up.

Well, if she could make it - and others could fly in from France, Switzerland and from all across the country for it . . . then I certainly wasn't going to sit home and watch TV while the reunion was being held a five-minute drive away. The guts, courage and friendship I witnessed this weekend were definitely better than any TV show ever will be.

It's easy to be judgmental on the reasons why people don't attend these things. Maybe they were sincerely busy. Maybe they didn't like anyone. Maybe they're ashamed of their current lot in life compared to others. Maybe they just didn't care. Regardless, they missed an opportunity to see the words "courage" and "determination" personified this weekend. All I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt is that it's truly their loss.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Bonne FĂȘte nationale de l'Acadie! Happy Acadian National Holiday!

Click here for CBC Archives entries on the Acadians. Click here for the Wikipedia entry on the Acadians.

Harper and Dion snub each other at Acadian celebrations in Caraquet today

"Canada's two major political leaders joined in the parade as Acadians in New Brunswick celebrated their national holiday on Wednesday with a raucous celebration.

Although they never spoke to each other, both Prime Minister Stephen Harper and federal Liberal Leader Stephane Dion joined the throngs of brightly costumed people as they paraded down the main street of Caraquet to mark Acadian Day.

Harper praised the resilience and courage of the Acadian people, who fought back from segregation and expulsion to carve out a place for themselves in the Canadian and New Brunswick societies.

"The battle for the survival and vitality of the French fact in Canada was fought and won by communities like Caraquet and many other Acadian communities,'' the prime minister said in French to dignitaries at town hall.

"Long before Canada's founding, it was Acadian men and women who provided the most impressive example of the loyalty of a community to its values and its culture.''

Harper said the success of the francophone community in New Brunswick, Canada's only officially bilingual province, demonstrates the importance of protecting the two linguistic communities.

"Canada today is an example to the world in our embrace of diversity and the ability of Canadian federalism to preserve what distinguishes our communities while strengthening what unites us as a country,'' he said."

Click here for more. OK, I'm sorry, but they could have at least greeted each other in the spirit of the celebration. Oh brother!

Today's Hump Day column: School reunion showed a profile in true courage

Today's Hump Day column is all about the high school reunion I attended over the weekend. I can't believe it's been 25 years. Seems like it was yesterday! After seeing the courage and determination that it took one classmate to attend, I'll never miss another reunion again! Check it out on the editorial page (pg. D6) of today's Moncton Times & Transcript.

Moncton SPCA 2007 Dog Jog: Sunday, September 23

For more information or for a pledge sheet, call the Moncton SPCA at (506) 857-8698. Click on the photo for a larger, easier-to-read version.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Canadian Idol surprise: Tara Oram takes an early exit

In Newfoundland and Labrador's worst-ever showing on Canadian Idol, Tara Oram was voted off the show tonight. Normally, the province is rabidly behind their contestants. This time, however, as I said all along, the buzz for Tara just didn't seem to be there and she was sent home tonight. I really didn't think it would happen this soon, but I never thought she'd win anyway. Thankfully, Brian Melo was safe this week! Jaydee Bixby, despite several weeks of jaw-droppingly bad performances, was also safe, as was Matt Rapley. Dwight d'Eon and Carly Rae Jepsen rounded out the bottom three. There was no bottom two this week. Tara's exit was announced from the bottom three. Tara was a great performer, despite lacking in the charisma department. Good luck! Click on her photo for more information.

Consumer warning: Buy something at Battery House on Mountain Road in Moncton and you'll never get your money back - for any reason!

For anyone living in the Metro Moncton area, I just want to provide you all with a consumer alert regarding the return policy at Battery House located at the Northwest Centre (formerly Moncton Mall) on Mountain Road.

This place does not give refunds for any reason and only provides exchanges within 10 days of purchase. Period. It's one of the strictest refund policies I've seen in this era of "keeping the customer happy." Well, this customer (me) wasn't happy because I had to return a nearly $60 battery because they gave me the wrong size. The idiot who sold it to me (despite my providing them with a make and model number of what I needed it for) obviously gave me the wrong one. It definitely wasn't the right one. Thinking they do not know what they're talking about, I brought it back today and decided I'd go to Future Shop instead. Well, to my surprise, they pointed to the receipt that said no refunds and then to a sign that said no refunds.


With that said, I ended up leaving with $60 worth of AAA, AA and 9-volt batteries in exchange for what I brought back.

Just remember folks, you were warned. Buy something from these people and - even if they give you the wrong battery - they WILL NOT return your money. Period.

Let's just say, the next time I shop there will be a cold day in hell.

Just for the record, the battery package that I was trying to return was NOT opened and it was only purchased on Saturday (three days ago).

So buyer beware! Once you give your money to Battery House, you will never see it again even if what they sell you is NOT what you needed.

My advice to consumers: Buy your batteries anywhere else but Battery House!

Hope the $60 was worth it.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Canadian Idol review - August 13th - Pop Hits

Well tonight's show pretty much sucked. The absence of Greg Neufeld was sorely felt, I found. Many of the performances were sub-par or disappointing, at best. With that said, here is my review and prediction for tomorrow night's results show:

Tara Oram (Walking on Sunshine): Just awful. I thought her voice was all over the place. I normally like her - although I'll repeat once again that I find that there's little buzz surrounding her compared to previous Newfoundland contestants - but tonight I really found her singing was just pitiful. As usual, she performed well and was energetic, though. 5/10

Jaydee Bixby (Amazed): The pressure must be getting to him because he looks bloated to me. It also looks like he's got a few zits that they're trying to cover up with makeup. Regardless, I can still imagine the girls falling all over him... and the screams from the audience made it pretty clear that this kid is popular. But what I once found charming in him (the awkward movements, winks, etc.), I now find really really really really annoying. Tonight, his singing was one notch above a dying cat. This was the first night that the judges universally trashed him. 3/10

Matt Rapley (Everything): Surprisingly, I really liked Matt's performance this week. I thought he was awful last week - but this week, I found myself really enjoying it. His smiling throughout the song really reflected the intent of the lyrics. I even found myself smiling along! 8.5/10

Carly Rae Jepsen (Come to My Window): Meh. I thought it was passable. Didn't do much for me, but I thought it was definitely better than Jaydee and Tara. 7/10

Brian Melo (The Dolphin's Cry): Brian did a fantastic job on this!! He was so entertaining. I absolutely love his voice. Hopefully Greg fans will flock to Brian this week to save him from imminent elimination. He SO does not deseve to go home after this. The one problem I had was that the song is obscure for many. That could hurt him! 10/10

Dwight d'Eon (Smooth): A great performance, I found. I really didn't think he was choppy on the singing. Maybe they heard something different than I did. I normally am OK with Dwight - just OK - but tonight I really enjoyed him! Great guitar playing, too! 9.5/10 from me.

Prediction: Well, I'm pretty sure you'll agree that after last week's shocker (Greg's elimination), it's true that anything can happen on Canadian Idol. I do truly believe that Greg's elimination will be good for Carly Rae (reason: she'll get Greg's regional votes) and Brian (Greg's public endorsement of him will send many fans to him).

Tara: Newfoundland voters are insanely loyal. I can't see her being in the bottom three this week.

Jaydee: His likeability factor is still huge (hey, I like the kid, too), but will this be the week he finally hits the bottom three?

Matt: If he wasn't in the bottom three last week after that insanely bad rendition of Under Pressure, he shouldn't be there this week, when he did much better!

Carly Rae: I think Greg's regional votes were pretty weak, actually. I think he had more pan-Canadian support. But with that said, the BC'ers who feel guilty about assuming Greg was safe should help her - but will they be enough?

Brian: Perpetually in the bottom three and/or bottom two, he's way too good to have it happen again. He lacks a strong regional vote, which is his major weakness (as far as getting votes goes). Ontario normally doesn't vote as a block.

Dwight: Nova Scotians are strongly behind Dwight and I think he did well enough this week to keep the rocker vote... but Brian sure as heck may put a dent in it.

Bottom three? Carly Rae, Dwight and Jaydee. Yes, Jaydee. I think the bloom may be coming off the rose. Even his fans in the forums are feeling the dwindling buzz. Who goes home? I think we'll be saying bye to Carly Rae, although Jaydee deserves to go. (By the way, I'm finding this week really difficult to predict, so I'll be shocked if I'm actually right!) I'm only choosing Dwight because my thinking is that Brian may steal some rocker votes away from him this week.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Merv Griffin dead at 82

Entertainer, talk show host and media mogul Merv Griffin has died at the age of 82. Griffin created the popular game shows Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune, in addition to hosting his own popular talk show for many years.

Here's a wonderful clip from his old talk show featuring actor Carroll O'Connor (All in the Family) and jazz vocalist Helen Merrill.