Saturday, September 08, 2007

Response to The Mean Kitty Song video

Click here for the original (hilarious!!) video. Here's the follow-up to the video and Sparta's story:

Magnum Opus: Gala Art Auction for Moncton Public Library - Friday, September 28

UPDATE - Oct. 4/07: Wow! What a tremendous success this event was! The art auction raised $20,000 for the Moncton Library. Congratulations to the organizing committee and to the artists who participated.

Click on the photo for a larger version of the poster.

Prestigious list of artists! (click on linked names for samples of work - but not necessarily exact samples of what will be available at the auction)

Tribute to Pavarotti, whose funeral was held today

Click here for news coverage of the funeral.

Tough guys not so tough after getting Tasered

Warning: Strong language in this one:

Friday, September 07, 2007

Canadian Idol news release: 2% Difference Between Brian & Jaydee in Race for Idol Crown

"It's anybody's game. CTV revealed today that Brian Melo and Jaydee Bixby are in a neck-and-neck race to capture the 2007 Canadian Idol crown, separated by just 2 per cent of the 4.1 million votes cast this past Monday. The Top 2 take to the stage for their final competitive performance on Monday, Sept. 10 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CTV when they sing three songs each, including the new 2007 Winner's Single "All I Ever Wanted." The following night, Canada's choice to become the next Canadian Idol will be revealed in a two-hour, star-studded season finale featuring special guests Bon Jovi, Avril Lavigne, Eva Avila and the remaining eight 2007 Canadian Idol finalists, airing Tuesday, Sept. 11 at 8 p.m. ET on CTV (go to to confirm local broadcast times)."

Click here for the rest of the news release.

Pfffft! Who can't do that? Amateur. *cough*

I like this anti-suicide PSA for 1-800-SUICIDE

Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Mean Kitty Song

This is cute! :)

Hump Day: We all experience death, taxes and . . . uhm

Hump day
Published Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Appeared on page D4, Moncton Times & Transcript

There are two things that all humans will experience. One is death. The other is taxes.

But there's one other thing that's also part of our mutual life experience. It's a mark of shame that we all carry. No one discusses it -- not even with our doctor. It's the dirty little secret that remains unspoken.

Oh, get your minds out of the gutter! I wasn't talking about anything naughty, for gosh sakes. (Sheesh! I really have to aim for a higher class of readers, I swear. . .)

I speak, of course, of having to return to your house after wondering whether or not you left the oven on (or iron, or TV etc.). We've all done it. I seem to be getting worse, though. If I don't purposely remember that I did all my "shutting off" before leaving for work, it's pretty much guaranteed that I'll be returning home to check before I get too far down the street.

I guess we're all a bit obsessive compulsive in our own way. I only return home a couple of times per year to check on something that I really don't remember doing. In the routine of morning habits, sometimes you do things like a robot without even thinking about them. You likely did shut off the burner on the range, but how can you be sure?

So to be certain, you turn around and go home like an idiot to find everything as it should be. You giggle to yourself that you're just getting old and that you're pretty much ready for a nursing home, until that one time you return and the burner is, in fact, still on and glowing bright red, hotter than a volcano and ready to set the entire neighbourhood on fire. Leave it to me to put my modest little bungalow-lined street on the evening news.

OK, so it's highly unlikely, but it could happen! Unlikely things happen all the time. In fact, one of my aunts recently found that out when she had a string of bad luck.

One day, while working in her garden, she somehow lost her glasses. She couldn't have needed them that badly in order to do her work, because it's my understanding that they fell right off her face without her even noticing.

Wow. Her eyesight must be much better than mine! My prescription is so strong that I could likely use the lenses to reflect the sun and burn my initials into the backside of an alien on another planet. If they fell off my face, I would certainly notice.

My aunt never did find them, but unfortunately for her, that wasn't the end of her story. More bad luck was right around the corner.

A few days later, she went with friends to a restaurant and ordered a lobster roll. Delicious as it was, it didn't sit well with her and things just went from bad to worse after she arrived home. Apparently a victim of food poisoning, she proceeded to be violently sick all evening and well into the night.

I don't think I need to draw you a picture. I'm sure we've all spent a few hours on our knees in the bathroom after eating something that had gone bad without our knowing it . . . until our tummies made it quite clear that something was desperately wrong.

The next morning, after the bout of illness had passed, she went looking for her dentures. Well, as you may have guessed, they had gone for a trip down the sewer with the lobster roll. She was so sick that she hadn't even noticed when they were flushed away by mistake.

Rendered blind by losing her glasses, the poor dear was now toothless, too. She declared herself unfit for public viewing -- not even at Bingo (gasp!) -- and stayed home until her new eyes and teeth came in. She must have been quite the sight. Somehow, I doubt she spent the next few days fending off a flurry of unwanted marriage proposals.

Since then, she's acquired new glasses so that she can see and new teeth so that she can eat something without having to put it through a blender first. Like the Bionic Woman, she's now been put back together -- better than ever!

I tell that story not to poke fun at my aunt (it's true! . . . kinda), but to point out that we all can get forgetful at times -- you know, like the friend who got distracted after deciding to do her dishes. She turned on the water in the sink, went to tend to her baby and came back to the kitchen later to find the water still on and the sink overflowing, causing tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage to the house.

There's also another aunt of mine who somehow forgot the security code to her office alarm a few weeks ago. She's entered the number hundreds of times over two years, but that day just hit a complete mental roadblock and forgot it. This, of course, caused the mind-numbing alarm to go off for a half-hour before she figured out how to turn it off.

If you've ever heard one of those alarms, they go right through your head, so you can imagine the state she was in by the time she succeeded in silencing it.

As we age, our memories may fail, but I hope we get to keep our sense of humour. After all, it's important to be able to laugh at ourselves.

I, too, will do my best to keep this sense of humour about myself.

I just hope that I don't have a snotty nephew with a newspaper column who feels the need to write about it just because he was short on ideas that week.

That would be awful.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Cindy Day to replace Peter Coade as ATV's meteorologist

UPDATE - Sept. 13/07: Well, apparently he hasn't retired after all! He actually moved over to CBC! Click here for more.

As viewers of ATV's Live At Five and the ATV Evening News know by now, meteorologist Peter Coade has retired. ATV announced today that he will be replaced by Cindy Day, previously with Global Maritimes. Congratulations and best wishes to both Peter and Cindy in these new chapters of their lives! Click here for more.

Pavarotti gravely ill

UPDATE Sept. 6/07: Pavarotti has died. The world has lost a great talent.

According to this news report:

"Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti was in "very serious" condition after his health deteriorated, the Italian news agency AGI reported Wednesday.

Pavarotti, 71, has been fighting pancreatic cancer. In July 2006 he underwent surgery at a New York hospital to remove a pancreatic tumour. He cancelled all remaining concerts for his Worldwide Farewell Tour and has not made any public appearances to this day.

He was released from hospital in his hometown of Modena on Aug. 25 after undergoing more than two weeks of tests and treatment, and was being attended to at home by cancer specialists, according to AGI.

The news comes on the day after Pavarotti received a new government award for his work in promoting Italian culture in Italy and abroad.

He becomes the first recipient of the Excellence in Italian Culture Award, the Italian Culture Ministry said in a statement Tuesday evening. No date has been set for the award ceremony."

Click on the above link for more. Sounds like it could be the end of the road for the formidable singer. Here he is singing Ave Maria:

Incredible. This hymn always sends chills down my spine.

Today's Hump Day column: We all experience death, taxes and . . . uhm

Hi everyone! Don't forget to check out today's Hump Day column on the editorial page of the Moncton Times & Transcript. There are three sure things in life: death, taxes and... I forget what else! ;-) Check it out on page D4 of today's newspaper.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Canadian Idol: Buh-bye, Carly Rae!

As I predicted, Carly Rae Jepsen was eliminated from Canadian Idol tonight, leaving next week's showdown for the 2007 crown between country boy-wonder Jaydee Bixby and alternative rocker Brian Melo.

Tonight's results show was really good. Fans were treated to performances by Hedley (led by Jacob Hoggard, season two's third runner-up), Low Level Flight (led by season one winner Ryan Malcolm) and Kalan Porter, season two's winner. Although the other two were very popular with the crowd, it was obvious that Kalan's star power has not diminished one iota. The crowd went completely ballistic. Good to see! I find he looked much better this year. He gained a bit of weight (he was so incredibly scrawny a couple of years ago) and was much more outgoing. I like his new single, Down In Heaven, but I prefer Hooray.

Congratulations to Carly Rae for being a class act all the way and a very fine competitor. Click on her photo for more information on her.

I have to say that I found that Jaydee - for once - was completely shocked with the realization that he had made it to the final. It's the first all-male final since season one, so it should be interesting.

Can't wait until next week!

Before the world changed...

Video clips from U.S. news shows on the morning of the terrorist attacks on 9/11 (September 11, 2001). These are from the hour or so before the planes hit. You can even see the World Trade Center at the end of the video. By the end of the day, the towers were nothing but rubble and - for all intents and purposes - North Americans' sense of safety was dealt a severe blow.

Who would have known? I can't even imagine that time, now. Today, 9/11 is all you hear about. The war in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Taliban. Seems like a million years ago.

This week's Hump Day column...

... is all about forgetfulness and that one embarrassing little secret we all have. Check it out on the editorial page of tomorrow's Moncton Times & Transcript.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Canadian Idol review - September 3rd - Judges' Choice / People's Choice

So we're down to the Top 3 - Jaydee Bixby, Brian Melo and Carly Rae Jepsen. Tonight, each competitor sang twice: one song chosen by a judge and one song chosen by fans via an Internet poll. This week's "coach" was judge Sass Jordan. I thought she was a great choice for coach because she's seen them from Day One on the show, so she's certainly in a position to give good advice.

First up was Jaydee Bixby, whose song was chosen by judge Farley Flex. Farley chose the Burton Cummings hit "Break It To Them Gently." Jaydee faltered in recent weeks but seems to have really hit his stride again in the last three. This performance was no exception. It was an excellent, soulful performance, despite the fact that it appeared that he was holding back a smirk the entire time. He's so happy to be performing that his natural inclination is to smile, something that he really has to consciously stop himself from doing. Despite that, this was one of his best performances of the year and he got high marks from every judge. 10/10

Brian Melo was up next. Judge Jake Gold chose Procul Harem's "Whiter Shade of Pale" for Brian. I'm not a real connoisseur of the song, although I've heard it often. I can't claim to know what it's all about. I just sing along because I like the tune, which is what I think most people do. Brian's voice is instantly recognizable, something that I love. I did find him a bit screechy at times, but he didn't disappoint. 9/10

Carly Rae Jepsen was up next with a song chosen by judge Zack Werner: "At Seventeen" originally sung by Janis Ian. Trivia: It was the first song ever performed on Saturday Night Live way back in 1975! Well, I have to say that the judges went completely apesh*t over Carly Rae's performance. Sass was crying. Zack was verklempt. The other two were equally moved. Personally, I thought it was a very convoluted, forced and manipulative performance. I find that she just turned on the "little girl" voice and tried to charm everyone. Good for her, but for me - it didn't work. I really thought it was overdone. Also, the lyric "ugly girls like me, at seventeen" just didn't seem believable because she's absolutely beautiful. Her voice was just not suited to this song and I find it needs to be sung by someone older with a smokier voice. Sorry. People may think I'm nuts, but I really thought this was a bust. 6/10

Next up were the people's choices.

Jaydee was first up with Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire." Meh. He didn't blow me away with this one. He smiled way too much and I thought his foray into the audience did NOT go well because the lady he stopped in front of to charm looked like she was about as interested in Jaydee as a cat is interested in taking a bath. (Trust me, as a cat owner, a cat is NOT interested in taking a bath.) Jaydee stood there singing for an uncomfortably long time, fully expecting her to wet herself with glee, but she could have cared less. (Maybe it was a relative, I'm not sure. Then "wetting herself with glee" would have been entirely inappropriate.) Anyway, I felt that the song seemed rushed. 7/10

Brian's people's choice was Live's "Lightning Crashes." I've barely recognized any of Brian's songs this year, and this week was no exception. Never heard it before. With that said, I thought it was a good, solid performance. Brian's weakness, I find, is that his song choices are a bit too sophisticated for the Canadian Idol audience. I do admit, however, that I'm not a typical audience member (43-yr-old male), so I may just be showing my age. 8/10

Carly Rae's final song of the night was Dido's "White Flags." Again, the judges went bonkers and I was left underwhelmed. I found her "little girl voice" didn't suit the song. The voice should have been a more mature one -- not the high-pitched Carly Rae style. I thought the performance was OK, but a bit too energetic to suit the song. I found myself trying to understand half the words as I found she tended to mumble a bit tonight. 7/10

I realize that my comments about Carly Rae's performances go totally against the judges, but I stand behind them. I'm just a fan, not a music expert. Perhaps I'm out to lunch and she was technically brilliant tonight... but that doesn't matter. She got on my nerves. (But I think she's a very sweet girl! Don't get me wrong.)

Jaydee's first song tonight was definitely a winner and he guaranteed himself a spot in the final, I believe.

Brian was solid, as usual.

So who goes home tomorrow night? I think it's no contest: Carly Rae's been in the bottom two or three so often this year that I don't believe she has the fan base to keep her in. I think Brian has been soaring, although he may have peaked a bit early. Jaydee, meanwhile, has never been in the bottom two or three - not even once - and the country fans and little girls will vote their fingers off for him, guaranteeing him a spot in the final. I think that the timing of "comeback" (so to speak) couldn't be better, too.

So... bye-bye Carly Rae and we're looking at a Brian/Jaydee showdown.

That's the way I see it... and you?

Happy 34th birthday to singer Jennifer Paige

You may not remember Jennifer Paige's name, but you'll certainly remember this song -- Crush -- which was a huge hit for her in 1998:

I'll dedicate this to my late buddy Rob Chapman. It was his favourite song.

There's something in my eye... Part II

Sunday, September 02, 2007

There's something in my eye... sniff...

Comedians I've seen live in concert

Howie Mandel:

Phyllis Diller:

Bella Cucina's Death by Chocolate Cookies may have taken the product name a bit too literally!

If you're deathly allergic to walnuts, stay away from Bella Cucina Death by Chocolate cookies. According to this new release, there are undeclared walnuts in the product. "Consumption of this product may cause a serious or life-threatening reaction in persons with allergies to walnuts." Click on the photo for a larger version. Looks like the company took the name of their product a bit too literally!

People I've seen in concert - Part II

Nana Mouskouri (Don't laugh! She was excellent... both times! hehe):

Chris de Burgh:

OMD (the lead singer was a complete a**hole at the concert):

Beach Boys:

The Irish Rovers:

Marie-Jo Thério: