Saturday, September 29, 2007

Wind chimes are evil

I opened a window today and had to listen to the din of a neighbour's evil wind chimes whose noise was polluting the entire area.

If you love wind chimes, hang the stupid things from a ceiling indoors and put a fan on high. Ta-dah! Lots of wind chime sounds for YOUR personal enjoyment.

Why do people insist on hanging these horrible noise-makers outside for everyone in the neighbourhood to hear? And what makes them different from blasting a stereo outside?

These bloody things should be banned. I hate them. Now THERE'S something that deserves to be banned rather than licence plates on the front of cars!

Do New Brunswick vehicles need one licence plate or two?

Every few years, the issue of New Brunswick being "out of step" with neighbouring jurisdictions regarding the requirement for two licence plates on vehicles rears its ugly head.

The complaint is that the plates are too expensive for drivers and aren't needed. Furthermore, the question of aesthetics always comes up. Front plates ruin the look of the car, some say.

It shouldn't surprise anyone that 99% of the people against the two-plate system (in my unscientific opinion) are male car buffs who simply don't like the look of the plate on the front of their "babies".

They're welcome to their opinion, of course, but I, for one, am a major proponent of the two-plate system - aesthetics be damned! This is a public safety and law enforcement issue - period. Police need to identify cars speeding toward them. People who are being followed by someone who may not have their best interests at heart should be able to identify the car in their rear-view mirror. Cars with their rears ruined in accidents could easily be identified by the front plate.

Would this happen every day? Of course not. But just because something rarely happens doesn't mean that it can't. That's why safety rules are there in the first place. Just because I don't know a kid who's choked to death on a marble doesn't mean I should be advocating for "Bring Your Tiny Marbles to Kindergarten Day" in New Brunswick.

In a September 26th front-page article by Mary Moszynski in the Moncton Times & Transcript, New Brunswick Public Safety Minister John Foran - a former police superintendent - had this to say:

"Public Safety Minister John Foran said more than half of North American jurisdictions require the two plates and he doesn't expect the trend to reverse.

Foran said he doesn't expect the province to return to a single-plate system. However he said he'll consider certain requests, such as those for antique or racing cars.

"There may be limited circumstances where a single plate could be used and I'm currently examining those requests," he said. "But we also have to remember that motor vehicle licence plates are first, and foremost, a means for law enforcement."

A former superintendent of the Miramichi Police Force, Foran said the front plate proved to be a valuable tool for police officers whether they were searching for a particular car or trying to stop a speeding vehicle.

"If you were meeting a speeding car moving towards you, you'd be able to get the plate or partial plate," he said."

The Minister is bang on. Why in the world should we overrule police officers in favour of car buffs who just don't like the look of something? What's next? Elminating vehicle inspections because they're inconvenient? And besides, any real or projected "cost savings" would come at the expense of public safety and law enforcement - something that is untenable, in my opinion.

It's clear from the Minister's comments that the petition demanding that the province adopt the single-plate system doesn't stand a hope of influencing policy - nor should it. In fact, I believe that antique cars and racing cars should NOT be exempt. These vehicles travel on our highways and should bear both plates.

This province has many challenges. Let's concentrate on increasing our population, increasing our dismal literacy rates, advancing our health-care system, paying down debt, educating our children and reducing our reliance on federal handouts.

Let's not even waste another second covering this non-issue. The proponents of this petition would better serve New Brunswick by teaching a kid to read rather than worrying about a few numbers on a piece of metal attached to their cars.

Friday, September 28, 2007

I think Steve Downie will need bodyguards from now on...

Wow! Look at this vicious hit from Philadelphia Flyers' Steve Downie on the Ottawa Senators' Dean McAmmond on September 25.

"Steve Downie's NHL debut has been put on hold.

The NHL suspended the Philadelphia Flyers rookie forward for 20 games Friday for his hit on Ottawa's Dean McAmmond in an exhibition game this week.

"(Downie) crossed the line, and he crossed the line in a whole-heartedly way," Colin Campbell, the NHL executive vice-president and director of hockey operations, said during a conference call.

McAmmond suffered a concussion as a result of the hit and was taken off the ice on a stretcher during the second period of the pre-season game Tuesday night.

"It's a hit that, as soon as you see it happen live . . . you think, this is going to be a bad one," Campbell said.

The five-foot-10, 192-pound Downie received a match penalty, meaning he was automatically suspended indefinitely pending a review."

Click here for more.

Hank Williams Jr. - then and now...

Here's Hank Williams Jr. singing Jumbalaya on The Porter Wagoner show:

And here he is again (yes, that IS indeed the same Hank Williams Jr.) introducing young Hunter Hayes to sing the same song:

The Price Is Right's Rod Roddy would have been 70 today

Price Is Right fans will certainly remember the show's late announcer - Rod Roddy. Today would have been his 70th birthday. He died on October 27, 2003, of colon and breast cancer. Here's a tribute to Rod that aired on The Late Late Show with host Craig Kilborn:

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Former teen idol Shaun Cassidy is 49 today

Remember Shaun Cassidy? Well, he's the big 4-9 today... it's the big 5-0 next year! Shaun is the son of Shirley Jones (the mom in The Partridge Family) and entertainer Jack Cassidy. His half brother is David Cassidy (Keith in The Partridge Family). Here he is singing That's Rock'n'Roll.

From 1977-79, he also co-starred in the Hardy Boys TV series with Parker Stevenson.

Hump Day: Revolutionary form of marriage devised

Hump Day
Published Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Appeared on page D6, Moncton Times & Transcript

If you're sick of the same-sex marriage debate and sick of all the horror stories about divorce rates among heterosexual couples, then you're in luck!


Because today, I'm introducing a completely new concept that will revolutionize society.

Simply put, it's called "same-person marriage."

Yup. Never mind same-sex marriage or marrying someone of the opposite sex. Basically, I'm putting forward the notion that we should be allowed to marry ourselves.

OK, I know it sounds crazy. But think about it! Not only would we singles all save money on our taxes by being allowed to claim the married rate, but we'd single-handedly slash the divorce rates in the country because, quite frankly, divorcing yourself would be pretty difficult -- at least short of bathing with a plugged-in toaster.

So, yeah! You wouldn't have to stay married to someone you can't stand just to save on taxes.

You'd never have to worry about your spouse running up your credit card and running out on you -- or emptying out your joint bank account!

And the bonus in all of this: no need for birth control -- unless you're amazingly fertile and unlucky (if you're a gal) or a complete and utter freak of nature (if you're a guy).

Now, you're probably chuckling to yourself and wondering if I've lost my marbles. Well, no one's ever accused me of having an overabundance of marbles in the first place, but no one's ever accused me of being obviously short on them either -- at least not to my face. So, I do believe that I speak with a sound mind.

Coincidentally, being of sound mind and body -- well at least sound mind -- is a pre-requisite for getting married anyway . . . so at least I meet the minimum requirements.

Of course, all is not simple in the tricky world of same-person marriage.
Planning a surprise engagement can be mighty complicated at the best of times, but planning to surprise yourself by asking yourself to marry you just adds extra confusing layers to the process. Like sneezing with your eyes open, it's just not an easy thing to do.

Basically, the only way you can get engaged to yourself and keep it a secret is to plan ahead. Step one: Get stinking drunk. I mean drunk. Really drunk. Not only are there pink elephants all over the place, but you're also seeing orange gorillas and mauve unicorns to boot!

OK, now for step two: Take a grease pencil if you're a guy or a tube of lipstick if you're a girl (or really liberal guy -- not that there's anything wrong with that!) and write "Will I marry me?" on your bathroom mirror. If you're like most really drunk people, you'll forget that you even wrote anything and saunter off to bed to pass out.

Step three invariably gets a bit messy, but if you did step one really well, you'll undoubtedly get nauseous at some point in the evening or morning. This will cause you to run to the bathroom to do your "getting sick" business. Afterwards, you'll likely want to brush your teeth or pour cold water over your face, causing you to look in the mirror.

And voila! Surprise engagement taken care of! You'll cry. You'll yell "Yes!" and then hug yourself as you tell yourself that you didn't expect a thing.

Ingenious, no?

Now that the engagement part is over with, you can plan the stag party. The nice thing about marrying yourself is that you can pretty much have the wildest stag party ever because, for all intents and purposes, it's pretty difficult to cheat on yourself, right?

And besides, what are you going to do? Slap yourself across the face and stomp out of the room when the stripper gives you a lap dance? Likely not. Just turn the other cheek.

Finally, the big day! The wedding ceremony in a same-person marriage has its benefits, too. Have you ever gone to a wedding where the bride or groom doesn't show up? Well, that's one thing you don't have to worry about here. Once you show up at the church, it's pretty much all over but the confetti throwing.

After the ceremony -- which is shorter than more traditional weddings because of only one set of vows -- all there's left to do is drink too much at the reception and feed yourself some cake while shoving it playfully into your own face. And, of course, kiss yourself time and time again because guests won't stop clinking their forks on their glasses. All pretty embarrassing, but that doesn't compare to the awkwardness to come.

You see, that's one thing that same-person marriages have in common with other relationships. At some point on the wedding night, you're going to have to see yourself naked. You've planned ahead. You've gone to the gym. You've watched your carbs and you've done sit-ups until you're ready to pass out.

Tonight's your special night and nothing is going to ruin it! So you wobble up to the hotel room after the reception -- giddy on champagne and wedding cake -- draw yourself a warm romantic bubble bath, then disrobe and shyly get in -- all while averting your eyes from any mirrors or reflections in the pool, trying not to giggle like some incredibly shy newlywed bride seeing things she's never seen before.

You get in the tub . . . and promptly fall asleep snoring. Hmmm . . . well, then again, maybe same-person wedding nights aren't that different from other wedding nights, eh? Oh well!

At least you won't wake up mad at yourself and move to your mother's.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Happy 59th birthday to Olivia Newton-John!

I can't believe that Olivia Newton-John is 59. She is certainly ageing well and is as beautiful as ever.

This won the Grammy for Best Country Vocal Performance Female in 1973:

And the song that won Grammys for Record of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Performance Female in 1974:

Bath Time

Today's Hump Day column: Revolutionary form of marriage devised

Hi everyone! Don't forget to check out Hump Day on the editorial page (D6) of the Moncton Times & Transcript. Today's column is all about a new kind of marriage that I'm suggesting could revolutionize society by slashing divorce rates. It will be posted online here tomorrow, but in the meantime pick up a copy of the Times & Transcript and check it out!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Hélène Baillargeon died 10 years ago today. Who, do you ask?

If you're a Canadian in your 40s or older, you likely remember Hélène Baillargeon not from her name, but from the CBC children's show she starred in from 1959 to 1973 - Chez Hélène. According to a write-up on the show found here, "In this long-lived, 15-minute show, cheery and enthusiastic Hélène Baillargeon introduced English pre-school children to the French language through songs and dances, games and stories. Her helpers were her young woman friend Louise, played by Madeleine Kronby, and Susie, a puppet mouse. The CBC explained that Chez Hélène, in which Hélène spoke French almost exclusively, was based on the Tan-Gau method of language education (named after its developers, Drs. Tan Gwan Leang and Robert Gauthier), by which children learned French in the way children initially learn a language." Man, I used to love that show! It's too bad that video is pretty much impossible to find.

This week's Hump Day column...

... is all about a new kind of marriage that I'm proposing. If you're sick of listening to the debate over same-sex marriage or about the high divorce rates among married heterosexual couples, then tomorrow's column may be just what you're looking for! Read Hump Day tomorrow on the editorial page of the Moncton Times & Transcript.

Three months to go 'til Ho Ho Ho!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Here's something you don't see every day: African Serval cat

This beautiful African Serval and her owner attended the 2007 Moncton SPCA Dog Jog held yesterday. Her owner told me that she's 17 years old and weighs 40 lb. She got her as a kitten from a breeder in Winnipeg. She loves dogs and was very gentle with everyone who stopped to touch and pet her. African Servals are a member of the cheetah family. Is owning an animal like this even legal? I have no idea, but the cat was the hit of the event! Ironic, considering it was an event for dogs! Ha! Click on the cat's photos for a larger view.

Canadian realist painter Ken Danby dead at 67

You may not know the artist's name, but you'll likely recognize his iconic painting entitled "In the Crease," which many mistakenly believe is of legendary former Montreal Canadiens' goalie (and current Liberal MP) Ken Dryden. Ken Danby died in a canoeing accident yesterday in Algonquin Park in Ontario. Click on the photo for a larger version of the painting. Check out his official website by clicking on his name. Some of his paintings look like digital photos. Incredible!

O.J. Simpson commercials

How times have changed. Years ago, O.J. Simpson was actually sought out as an effective and popular spokesperson for companies. Today, he's such a pariah that I doubt he could get an unpaid internship as a bouncer in Hell.

And the stupidest toy ever:

An old Kodak commercial

Wow! This looks so ancient from today's point of view, but it was likely quite high-tech back then! I also find the idea of showing a Christmas tree coming down as part of a Christmastime campaign a bit depressing!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Renowned mime Marcel Marceau has died

Renowned mime Marcel Marceau has died at the age of 84.

Awwww :( Alice Ghostley has died...

Comedic actress Alice Ghostley of Bewitched and Designing Women has died at the age of 81. She played klutzy Aunt Esmerelda in Bewitched. Here she is playing Bernice in Designing Women: