Saturday, November 17, 2007

Moncton SPCA: Snowball needs a home!

Update: Snowball's been adopted! One of the longest residents at the shelter needs a home! Snowball (yup... a black cat named Snowball!) has been at the shelter since May!! She's a very friendly cat who's looking for a forever home! Click here for her profile on the Moncton SPCA website. Click here for information on how to adopt her! Click on her photo for a larger version.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Kevjumba: Butthash Hero

I looked up "Jenkem" online and this stuff "may" actually exist, but it's likely a hoax. How the heck did someone even dream up this concoction? Gross!!!

Book recommendation: Acadian Christmas Traditions by Georges Arsenault

I read constantly, but rarely do I actually read a book from cover to cover. Of course, I read Ten Needles from beginning to end because I edited it, however I've gotten into the horrible habit of not finishing books that I buy.

On a whim, I purchased Acadian Christmas Traditions by Georges Arsenault last weekend. I love local history books and really need to buy more of them. It seems that these are the ones that I actually read - and they're educational, too!

Published by Acorn Press, Acadian Christmas Traditions was released just this month and is the English translation (by Sally Ross) of Noël en Acadie published by Éditions La Grande Marée in 2005.

I found this book really interesting because it's basically about the evolution of Christmas in Acadie. Many aspects are touched upon, including the move away from emphasis on Baby Jesus toward Santa Claus, holiday baking and food, gift giving, shopping, Christmas trees, concerts and bazaars. If you believe that Christmas hasn't evolved in Acadie over the past 125 years, think again! The book is full of tidbits, testimonials and even copies of newspaper ads.

If you're a lover of Christmas and Acadian culture, this is an easy and informative read. If you're thinking of giving books as a gift this year, pick up a copy of Acadian Christmas Traditions (after you've bought your copy of Ten Needles, of course).

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Ten Needles book project was a labour of love

UPDATE - Dec. 10/07: To order, contact: Les Éditions de la Francophonie - 55, rue des Cascades - Lévis QC G6V 6T9 - - - 1-866-230-9840 toll-free or (418) 833-9840.

Hump Day
Published Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Appeared on page D6, Moncton Times & Transcript

Back on July 10th of this year, I blogged about the passing of a young boy I'd never met. His name is Sean Collins. He's the son of Moncton East MLA Chris Collins and his wife Lisette Richard.

Note that I'm using the present tense here. Although his body may have died, Sean is very much alive with a legacy that's touching people throughout this area. Soon, his words and philosophy will spread throughout the country . . . and eventually the world.

Several months after my July 10th blog post, I received an e-mail from Chris thanking me for what I wrote and for the note that I'd left for him and Lisette on the funeral home's website. It was nice to receive an acknowledgement, but I certainly hadn't expected anything, especially considering that I'd only met Chris a few times at political events and -- other than a friendly nod, handshake and small talk -- had never really spent any time getting to know him. But, like I said, it was nice to get the e-mail.

Shortly after that exchange of e-mails, I received an e-mail from Chris asking if I'd be willing to get involved in editing the English version of a book about Sean's life. The book was being written by Martin Latulippe. As luck would have it, I'd met Martin years ago, so I knew him and his excellent reputation as a motivational speaker with outstanding leadership skills.

It didn't take me long to say "yes." The French version of the book would be called "Dix aiguilles," while the English version would be called "Ten Needles." Sean received an average of 10 needles per day during his cancer treatment, hence the title.

The timeframe was short -- very short -- and I worked hard at getting the translation ready for printing. After being sent off to the printer with only minutes to spare before the deadline, we all sat and waited for the original French version and the English adaptation to roll off the presses.

Last week, I sat proudly among Sean's family, classmates, teachers and friends at École Le Mascaret in Moncton for the launch of this highly anticipated book by Martin.

What an incredible honour to be asked to be part of this amazing project. This wasn't just another editing job. In fact, it became a labour of love. During the short period of time that I had to edit the book, I placed a photo of Sean on my desk next to my computer. The photo by Daniel St. Louis is on the back of Ten Needles and shows Sean peeking around a corner, grinning and wearing his hat from Australia -- the dream trip he took before he died. Hard to procrastinate when your "boss" is staring at you! (Note from Brian: Click on the photo for a larger version of how I was set up to edit.)

No one got paid for writing, editing, translating or promoting Dix aiguilles / Ten Needles. All the profits are going toward helping sick kids -- just as Sean asked. After all, this was a boy who had to endure an average of 10 needles daily while at the same time suffering from a phobia about them. The constant anxiety must have been horrible. But when he was told that he could help kids with cancer by accepting to have even more needles so that they could research a cure, this young hero gamely put his arm out for more.

Author Martin Latulippe has captured Sean's passion for life beautifully. Sean was a boy with a big dream -- a dream to inspire people to live each day as if it were their last. Thanks to Martin's talent and Sean's parents' drive to preserve their son's very worthwhile legacy, Sean's courage, wisdom and generosity will live on forever through this wonderful and inspiring book.

This is not just a book about a boy who died from cancer. In fact, it's more of a book about living than a book about death. Throughout its pages, Sean slowly comes to terms with his fate with the help of his parents. The journey they embark upon is both inspiring and heartbreaking.

You'll cry when you read this book. You'll cry when you read about Sean's understandable great distress when being told of his options for cancer treatment on the way back to Moncton from Halifax. You'll cry when you read about the day Sean died -- and about how his parents, in an act of unimaginable love, told him it was OK to go to Heaven and urged him to go to the place where there would be no more pain, no more cancer, no more fear. A place where there would be no more of those damn needles.

And if you aren't already a blubbering mess by then, it'll only get worse when you read his last words to his parents.

Expect to cry. Expect to smile. Expect to be surprised at the wisdom that this boy spoke. His advice to all of us can be life-changing if you truly take it to heart.

If you can read and understand French, I urge you to pick up a French copy since Sean's quotes are much more charming and true-to-life since the original interviews were done in French. But the English is pretty good, too!

Dix aiguilles / Ten Needles is available for $10 each at any branch of the National Bank in New Brunswick and Jean Coutu Pharmacies in Metro Moncton.

This is an important book about a boy who has something meaningful to say. Martin may have written it and I may have adapted it into English, but Sean -- you're the real author here. I truly believe you worked through us. Great job, kiddo!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

New Kalan Porter video: "Destination"

Very creative! I like it!

Cat overlow crisis at the Moncton SPCA

Although the Moncton SPCA is always experiencing an overflow of cats, it’s particular bad right now. They absolutely need new homes for the many cats at the shelter so that they can put more up for adoption. If you or someone you know are considering a new pet, please consider one of the beautiful cats at the Moncton SPCA.

Today's Hump Day column: Ten Needles book project was a labour of love

Good morning, folks! Please don't forget to check out my weekly Hump Day column on page D6 of today's Moncton Times & Transcript. Today's column is about Dix aiguilles / Ten Needles, the book about Sean Collins' life written by Martin Latulippe that I edited in English.

Pick up a copy of today's paper and check it out. I'll also be posting it online here tomorrow.

Dix aiguilles / Ten Needles is available at any branch of the National Bank in New Brunswick or at Jean Coutu Pharmacies in Greater Moncton.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Can post office people please TRY to be neat?

I went to a postal outlet this evening to mail a letter to a relative. First of all, I had to insist to the clerk that I hadn't paid enough postage. She eventually agreed, then proceeded to add more stamps. (The letter would have simply been returned to me anyway.)

Here's my problem: Why can't people at the post office even TRY to be neat when putting stamps on people's mail? Now, I don't expect them to use a ruler and measure the exact distance between each stamp or anything, but by the time this particular clerk was done "throwing" the stamps the letter, it looked like someone who had brain damage had done it. I kid you not. What an unprofessional mess! I was asking to please put the stamps on myself, but they kept putting them on and making quite a mess. Stamps were sideways, crooked and upside down.

How do they know that I wasn't sending off an important business document or something? I would have looked like a complete nutjob.

To postal clerks: Please take the time to place stamps reasonably neatly on customers' mail. I know this sounds really petty, but every time they put stamps on an envelope it looks like a monkey did it... and not a bright monkey at that!

This week's Hump Day column...

... is about Dix aiguilles / Ten Needles, an amazing new book by Martin Latulippe. The book tells the life story and philosophy of Sean Collins of Moncton. Sean died of cancer on July 9. He was only 13. I'm proud to have been involved in the project as the editor of the English edition. All profits from the book go toward helping sick kids.

Read all about it on the editorial page of tomorrow's Moncton Times & Transcript!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Another great song! "Having a Party" by Shania Twain and Mark McGrath

"Take a Picture" by Filter

One of my favourite songs ever!

Celebrity deaths for November 12

Actor William Holden died in 1981 at the age of 63.

Actress Eve Arden died at the age of 82 in 1990. Here she is from Grease, where she played the principal. (On the right in the first scene.)

Actress Penny Singleton died at the age of 95 in 2003. She played "Blondie" in the "Blondie" movies and was also the voice of Jane Jetson (the mother) in The Jetsons cartoons. Here she is singing in a movie from 1930.

Actor Jonathan Brandis died in 2003 at the age of 27 after committing suicide. Here he is from The Neverending Story.

Celebrity birthdays for November 12

Singer Jo Stafford is 90.

Singer Neil Young is 62.

Actress Megan Mullally is 49. (On the Tonight Show shortly after 9/11 in 2001.)

Olympic gold medal gymnast Nadia Comaneci is 46.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A very snowy Remembrance Day here in Moncton!

Click on the photo for a larger version. This was taken from my front door at about 9:30 a.m. Hopefully the guy I hired to plow the driveway this winter will come even though I haven't paid him yet! Eek! (UPDATE - 12:30 p.m.: They came to do the driveway about an hour ago and did a great job!! I think this first snowstorm caught everyone off guard.)

Remembrance Day 2007

Today is Remembrance Day in Canada - a day for honouring our veterans and those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. Click here for more details about Remembrance Day.

For the past few weeks throughout the country, Canadians have been wearing a poppy in honour of our veterans. According to Veterans Affairs Canada, "the Poppy Campaign is one of the Royal Canadian Legion's most important programs. The money raised from poppy sales provides direct assistance for ex-service people in financial distress, as well as funding for medical appliances and research, home services, care facilities, and numerous other purposes."

Pittance of Time by Terry Kelly. Click on the song title for the remarkable story behind this song.

In Flanders Fields.

Green Fields of France by John McDermott - an absolutely breathtaking song.

And the Band Played Waltzing Mathilda by the Clancy Brothers.

At 11 a.m. today, please bow your heads for two minutes of silence in remembrance.