Saturday, August 25, 2007

MTV Canada public service announcement: You know you're too high when...

At first, I was, "Well, not that there's anything wrong with that..." Well, wait 'til the punchline. Great advertising!

Four months to go 'til Ho Ho Ho!

Look what I found on the kitchen table at my uncle and aunt's today:

Finally - a couple of new Kevjumba videos: Finding Kevjumba Pt. 1 & 2

Friday, August 24, 2007

Is Fidel Castro dead?

There are rumours all over the Internet and news sites this evening that the announcement of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro's death is imminent. If so, it should be interesting to see what happens. Will the U.S. make a move?

Belly flop from 10.7 metres

Thursday, August 23, 2007

New season of Rescue Me (finally!!!!!) starts Tuesday, August 28, here in Canada

The new season of the excellent Rescue Me begins here in Canada on the Showcase network on Tuesday, August 28. The show starts at 10 p.m. Eastern / 11 p.m. Atlantic. If you've never watched Rescue Me, you are missing something! Awesome writing, lots of drama, loads of laughs, too. One of my favourite shows of all time and definitely something that I'm going to be collecting in DVD box sets! I started to read what's been going on this season but forced myself to stop. It sounds like a real barn-burner and I want to be surprised when the unexpected happens! Don't miss this show if you haven't seen it yet!

A likely story...

News item: Cleanup at kennel was underway before dogs seized, says owner

If a dog kennel owner can't (or won't) afford to keep their premises in good condition - especially when they're dealing with LIVING CREATURES - then they shouldn't be in business at all! This kennel owner is whining after her dogs were taken away due to unsafe and unhealthy conditions. I have not one single ounce of pity for her. She should NOT be in the kennel business - period - nor should be allowed to even own pets. Whoever granted her that municipal license should be fired. They obviously know NOTHING and are blind.

Terrible. Just terrible.

Is there a point to those summer vacations?

Hump Day
Published Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Appeared on page D6, Moncton Times & Transcript

As someone who's no fan of summer, I'm quite delighted to see that the 2007 version of this oh-most-hated season is fast coming to an end.

I hear that there's even a frost warning in effect for locations not too far away from here. Ah, "frost warning." Despite the fear that those two words cause in the hearts of gardeners, I relish the thought of a nice, cool fall. Oh, and throw in some strong wind, too. Can't forget the wind!

That familiar nip is in the air. The lawns have stopped growing so fast. I've seen many parents loading up on school supplies early to beat the rush. I've yet to find any Christmas decorations, but I'm 99 per cent sure they're somewhere to be found if I look hard enough. I would be surprised if there isn't a rack of Halloween costumes up, too.

With the end of August upon us, vacations are coming to an end, and I say "Amen!" to that! You see, in the past few weeks, other people's vacations have completely exhausted me -- not because I've gone on a trip with them, but because they've come home to visit family. Since I'm still living in my hometown, I'm usually made part of the itinerary after people arrive home on holiday.

That's all great because I love seeing old friends, but throw in a high school reunion, a housewarming for a cousin, various summer parties and getting together with friends for what seemed like a million meals in restaurants, and I pretty much just want to curl up into a ball and snore my tired little brains out until the snow flies.

I still don't get the concept of taking a "traditional" vacation. Aren't they supposedly meant to relax you? I remember coming back from vacation with my family as a kid and being completely exhausted. We never did much relaxing.

Today, as an adult, my version of a vacation is staying home and taking 47 naps a day on the sofa. Why would I want to spend hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars taking a "traditional" vacation that will only make me tired and broke?

Have you ever met anyone who's relaxed coming back from a long trip? I haven't. They usually come to work as complete zombies or end up in detox to cleanse their livers of those last few margaritas they imbibed just before getting on their flight home from some Caribbean island named after an obscure saint.

I guess travelling is just way down there on the priority totem pole for me. Sure, if I had tons of money, I would probably travel a bit more than I do, which isn't much.

But I guess I just don't have the travel bug and I need to be open and honest about it: I really don't care if I travel or not. If I do, great! If not, that's great, too. It's odd, because I'm genuinely curious about other cultures, lifestyles and countries. I mean, I had pen pals when I was a kid and absolutely loved corresponding with them. You'd think that it would have ignited a passion for travel, but it didn't.

I know myself well enough, though, that one big trip to a foreign country (other than the U.S.), would likely give me the bug to do much more. I exclude the U.S. here because I've been there and it's not as complete a culture shock as, let's say, Zimbabwe, Brazil or Madagascar would be -- at least the parts of the U.S. that I visited.

I would definitely like to visit Scotland. For some reason, I've always wanted to go there. I'd even try haggis! (Sorry, sheep!) I want to see Ireland, too. New Zealand, Australia, and the Scandinavian countries of Norway, Sweden and Finland would also be on my list. And yup, I would actually want to visit there in winter. I could stay in that ice hotel in Sweden I keep hearing so much about. I just hope they have a regular toilet, though, because Mr. Cormier here doesn't do outhouses or any weird commodes where you have to squat, kneel, stand on your head or wrestle a crocodile in order to "go."

Bathrooms are honestly one thing that freaks me out about visiting another country. What if you get there and you have to "go" in a hole in the floor? Or their culture encourages everyone to watch you while you're using the bathroom? Oh I wouldn't be a happy camper, especially since I have to have about 10 dead bolts, snipers and an armoured tank guarding any bathroom I use for fear that someone will barge in.

One place that you won't be seeing me any time soon is a "hot" country. I know someone who's just left for a vacation in Africa -- in the summer. Now, don't try and tell me that isn't completely warped. That's like calling in sick on a Saturday -- and your office is closed on weekends. I hope she catches a disease I can't pronounce.

And I won't be travelling to any country where I have to have 6,000 vaccinations before getting on the plane because there are so many sicknesses there that I'm pretty much guaranteed to die the instant my foot hits the tarmac at some airport that paves the runway with dry cow dung. And why would I want to vacation in a country where the insects are large enough to give me a piggyback ride? Where's the fun in that?

I ain't going nowhere where the cockroaches are used for public transit, thank you very much!

No sir! As I've said many times before, my version of "roughing it" isn't living in a tent, it's staying in a five-star hotel with outdated upholstery. I'm a proud wimp.

As fate will likely have it, how much do you want to bet that I'm going to end up marrying a travel agent who can fly around the world for free?

Start beefing up those leg muscles, you giant cockroaches! If it happens, I'm coming for a visit and I don't plan on walking anywhere!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Radio-Canada team hit by attack in Afghanistan

UPDATE - AUG. 23/07: Click here.

This is a news release issued earlier this evening by the CBC:

"The Canadian army informed Radio-Canada management that the armoured vehicle in which our correspondent Patrice Roy and his camera operator-editor Charles Dubois were travelling was heavily damaged after hitting a roadside bomb west of Kandahar. We were told that Charles Dubois had sustained a severe leg injury, while Patrice Roy was unharmed but is suffering from nervous shock. Two Canadian soldiers and an interpreter died in the attack.

Charles Dubois was evacuated to a military hospital where he was treated as a Canadian soldier injured in combat. His injuries are very serious but not life-threatening.

Radio-Canada has done everything in its power to assist the families and colleagues of our two journalists. "Today, our thoughts go out to the families of the victims and the loved ones of our professionals who were directly affected by these tragic events. We are fully aware of the dangers involved in our Afghanistan coverage, but also of its critical importance for Canadians, and we are determined to continue it," said Alain Saulnier, General Manager of Information. "However, we would like to reassure our staff and the public that, in cooperation with the Canadian army, Radio-Canada takes every precaution to protect the safety of its teams in war zones."

Journalism can be a very dangerous job. My thoughts and prayers are with those injured and killed and with their families.

Terry Fator wins 2007 season of America's Got Talent

I was very happy to see that the excellent and affable Terry Fator won the 2007 season of America's Got Talent last night! By all accounts, he's one of the most amazing ventriloquists the entertainment world has ever seen and certainly is a refreshing change from the plethora of singers that always seem to make it into the finals of the show. Meanwhile, show judge Piers Morgan worked through the show with three broken ribs and was in a lot of pain! Here's a sample of his work on the show:

Hump Day: Is there a point to those summer vacations?

Hi everyone! Check out my latest Hump Day column on the editorial page of today's Moncton Times & Transcript. Today's column is all about travel and vacations -- and how I never seem to find the time or desire for either. I've written about this before... and nothing has changed since last summer's column! hehe... Hopefully the travel bug will bite me soon! Hump Day appears every Wednesday on the editorial page of the Moncton Times & Transcript.

Parking pet peeve: Overkill on prime parking spaces

This article describes one of my pet peeves: the seemingly increasing number of "privileged" parking spots that retailers and other businesses have set up in order to woo shoppers and position themselves in the marketplace as caring for their customers. The "handicapped" parking spot has long been established and is widely accepted (even by law) as perfectly legitimate. The Loblaws grocery chain (including the Superstore here in Atlantic Canada) recently installed "expectant mothers" and "young families" parking, which I find completely ridiculous - although I can understand the "expectant mothers" one.

Meanwhile, Ikea has added to the insanity by offering preferred parking to hybrids! Can you imagine? There are now prime parking spaces for hybrids in front of all Ikea stores. This is complete elitism because it caters to those who can AFFORD a hybrid. Trust me, everyone and their dog would own a hybrid if they weren't $10,000 more than a "regular" car. What's next? parking spaces for people 65 and over so they don't have to walk as far? How about spaces for those weighing 300 lb or more so they don't get winded walking to the store? Or perhaps spaces right next to the door for "blondes" so they don't get lost between the car and the store?


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Celebrity birthdays - August 21st

Singer Jackie DeShannon is 63:

Singer Kenny Rogers, now virtually unrecognizable due to excessive plastic surgery, is 69:

Tomorrow's Hump Day column...

... is all about vacations and travelling! Check it out on the editorial page of tomorrow's Moncton Times & Transcript.

Matt Rapley voted off Canadian Idol - finally!

I've been waiting for this for weeks! I'm really glad that I got the bottom two correct this week, but am even happier that I was wrong in predicting who would be voted off. I wrote that Dwight d'Eon would be sent back to Nova Scotia, but Matt Rapley was instead sent packing home to Saskatchewan.

Yessssssssssssssssssssss! His one amazing performance (Whipping Post) kept him in the competition way past his expiry date. He was always a gracious and courteous contestant, though. His mama brought him up real good, as they say! :) Click on the above photo to learn more about Matt on his official Canadian Idol page.

I think Kelly Clarkson needs some Valium. ;-)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Canadian Idol review - August 20th - Artists who inspired the Idols

Tonight's Canadian Idol show featured the top five being coached by the diva of all American or Canadian idols - Kelly Clarkson herself! (It is appropriate for all Idol fans to cross themselves or kneel at the mere mention of her name, by the way.)

Tonight's show was really good, I found... much better than last week!

Unfortunately, the first contestant up wasn't as good as the rest. Matt Rapley completely destroyed the Red Hot Chili Peppers' version of Stevie Wonder's Higher Ground. The judges loved this performance, but I thought it was a complete and utter mess. I remember Suzie Rawn singing the heck out of this a few years ago on the show and Matt just does not have the pipes or the personality to pull this off. It was like watching Marie Osmond singing Salt-N-Pepa's Push It. They just don't go together. Singing Stevie Wonder often results in getting booted off. Singing first often results in getting booted off. Regardless of what the judges said, I think Matt's days may be numbered. 5/10

Dwight d'Eon sang next and, despite a shaky start where he mumbled (or forgot?) some lyrics, he did a really fine job with Bon Jovi's Bed of Roses. He was actually "in tune," as judge Sass Jordan said. I really enjoyed tonight's performance by Dwight. The judges seemed to all agree that it was his best yet. Is it enough to keep him in, though? 8/10

Jaydee Bixby... Jaydee, Jaydee, Jaydee! Before he sang, his clip showed him telling how he wanted to prove to Canada this week that the "boy could sing." True to his comfort level, he chose Elvis Presley's version of I Can't Stop Loving You. I've been really hard on Jaydee these past few weeks. Everyone else has, too. I could tell by his song intro that he's heard these comments and was going to try his darndest to change our minds. Well, Jaydee, I'm pleased to say that you kicked the crap out of that song and sent it into the stratosphere. It was a great performance done in "Jaydee style" (translation: awkward stage movements that remain charming - but only when he sings well). I thought it was an awesome performance that showed a lot of heart and (FINALLY) true desire to win! Good for you! This week, his gumption earns him a 10/10 because he TRIED.

Carly Rae Jepsen was up next and sang Rickie Lee Jones' 1979 hit Chuck E's in Love. I thought that Carly Rae did an excellent job here. She showed a lot of joy singing the song and it greatly suited her "little girl" voice. I thought her performance was really strong on top of the singing. A real delight to watch this week. 10/10 from me!

Brian Melo tore the house down this week with Radiohead's Karma Police. This is not a song I know (or can even profess to have heard before), but I absolutely love his voice and could listen to him all day - even if he's singing songs that are unknown to me. This was the first time in the history of the show that I saw all four judges give a contestant a unanimous standing ovation. It was clear from their comments that they are hankering for this boy to win now that previous favourite Greg Neufeld took an early exit a few weeks ago. Another strong 10/10 from me!

Well, I think the bottom this week will be the first two who performed tonight - Matt and Dwight. With Tara Oram's exit last week, the country vote will go to Jaydee, while the girl vote will go to Carly Rae - the only female left in the contest. Despite his obvious popularity, Jaydee really saved himself tonight. His fans were starting to desert him, but they'll give him another chance now - and gladly so. Brian's earned newfound respect and won the coveted endorsement of Greg when he was voted off a few weeks ago. Despite Carly Rae constantly being in the bottom two or three, I really don't think it's her turn to go - and she obviously doesn't deserve to go.

So - Matt and Dwight. What will happen? I hope that Matt finally gets the boot, but I think that Dwight will be sent packing now that the rocker vote is so clearly moving en masse over to Brian.

"Queen of Mean" dead

Leona Helmsley, widely reviled as the Queen of Mean for her terrible treatment of employees, her conviction on tax evasion and her outright discrimination, has died at the age of 87. I've rarely read a good word about this woman. Although apparently she gave a lot of money to charity, she was so despicable in other ways that I'm not sure that the donations did much to change people's perception of her. They certainly didn't change mine! Something tells me that there's a big welcome party in Hell today. I bet that Satan puts her in charge of his Human Resources Department. ;-) I wonder if the worms will even bother eating her remains? I've read that they don't like the taste of acid.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Have you seen Fat March yet?

Fat March just started on August 6th on ABC. Has anyone watched it yet? I actually really like it! Let me know what you think!

Comedy legend Groucho Marx died 30 years ago today

Legendary comedic actor Groucho Marx died 30 years ago today on August 19, 1977, at the age of 86. He made 15 movies with his siblings - the Marx Brothers. Here he is from a 1959 appearance on The Dinah Shore Chevy Show singing Peesie Weesie:

Singer Johnny Nash is 67 today

Johnny Nash, who sang one of my favourite songs, 1972's I Can See Clearly Now, is 67 years old today. Here he is performing the song, as well as What A Wonderful World This Would Be.