Saturday, January 12, 2008

Another tragedy rocks a New Brunswick community to its very core

Well, there's been another tragic accident involving high school students in New Brunswick. This time, seven members of the Bathurst High School boys' basketball team and a female teacher were killed earlier today in a horrible head-on collision with a tractor trailer. To my knowledge, it's the worst loss of life from one school in recent Canadian history.

It's the number one news story in the nation. Everyone from the prime minister to the premier have sent their condolences. Coverage is basically non-stop online and on TV. Facebook tribute groups have sprouted up. Both of them have 1,000+ members already - after only about 12 hours of existence.

As in past tragedies since last summer in New Brunswick, the grief is palpable. It almost seems like it's too much.

But human spirit being what it is, people will come together and support each other. New friendships will be formed. Compassion will abound, as it should. The grief will be enormous... A community will be stronger.

Everyone in Canada, I'm sure, sends their thoughts and prayers to the families and friends affected by this horrible accident.

The students killed are:

- Daniel Hains
- Nathan Cleland
- Justin Cormier
- Javier Acevedo
- Codey Branch
- Nick Kelly
- Nick Quinn

The teacher (wife of the coach, who was driving) killed is:

- Beth Lord

Rest in peace, kids, Rest in peace, Mrs. Lord.

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day;
Earth's joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.

Not a brief glance I beg, a passing word,
But as Thou dwell'st with Thy disciples, Lord,
Familiar, condescending, patient, free.
Come not to sojourn, but abide with me.

Come not in terrors, as the King of kings,
But kind and good, with healing in Thy wings;
Tears for all woes, a heart for every plea.
Come, Friend of sinners, thus abide with me.

Thou on my head in early youth didst smile,
And though rebellious and perverse meanwhile,
Thou hast not left me, oft as I left Thee.
On to the close, O Lord, abide with me.

I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter's power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.

I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death's sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.

Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven's morning breaks, and earth's vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Delusional Toronto Maple Leafs Fan

This video was produced by the Halifax office of Colour, the company I work for. The star is Colour's president, Chris Keevill. It's a spoof of the Dove Evolution ad.

Here's Colour's version - a tribute to Toronto Maple Leafs' fans:

And here's the original Dove ad:

Thursday, January 10, 2008

26 years ago: 5.9 earthquake hit New Brunswick!

On January 9, 1982, a relatively strong earthquake measuring 5.9 hit New Brunswick. I remember it well. It was a Saturday morning and the house started shaking and rattling. My mother got out of bed wondering whether the furnace was going to blow up! We soon figured out that it was, in fact, an earthquake!

Click here for archived CBC News coverage of the event - with a very young Peter Mansbridge!

Getting pumped for the year and $1 million

Hump Day
Published Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Appeared on page D5, Moncton Times & Transcript

I'm pretty pumped about 2008, let me tell you.

I've been reading a lot of motivational books lately, mostly ones affiliated with The Secret, the popular book and video that explain the Law of Attraction, or how we attract things into our lives -- good and bad -- by focusing on them.

For example, you must know a whiner. We all have those in our lives . . . the people who constantly complain about the black cloud over their heads. You know the type. If they won a million bucks in the lottery, they'd complain about having to trudge to the bank through the snow to cash the cheque.

Well, the more a person whines and complains, the more bad stuff they attract. The more someone complains about their health -- well, the sicker they get. The more someone bellyaches about their loneliness -- the lonelier they get. Of course they do. Who wants to hang around with a constant complainer?

I'm changing my own thoughts in 2008 through positive affirmations and visualizations. You've often heard about how athletes visualize themselves winning as part of their motivation, right? Well, they do it because it works! Anyone can do the same thing for all aspects of their life, too.

I got so much accomplished over my two-week Christmas break from work. For the first time in years, I'm actually looking forward to going back to work because I managed to clear up so much garbage at home . . . things that needed to get done. I'm not facing another January with the previous year's paperwork all over the house . . . or the place in complete disarray because I haven't taken the time to put things away.

Of course, there are things that have to be done here and there. That's normal in any household, but 2008 is different. This year, I'm in control. Period. And it feels great.

I don't want to sound mean, but I'm not going to have much time for whiners and complainers this year. I'm going to be spending too much time motivating myself and planning for the future. And, of course, taking action -- the most important part.

There are so many things that I want to accomplish. This past weekend, I created my first vision board, a large cardboard panel full of photos, words and quotes. I've got it set up in my office where I can see it all the time. I use it to remind myself constantly about where I want to go.

I've always made a lot of progress when I've written down my goals. Goals are something to strive for... something big to achieve. They're a challenge... like a personal Mount Everest just waiting to be conquered.

Whether it's becoming your ideal weight, becoming rich or becoming a non-smoker, we all have that certain Mount Everest in our life -- that goal that seems insurmountable but is perfectly realistic and achievable once we put our minds to it.

I spent an hour this past Sunday afternoon sitting on my sofa with my cat Casey perched on my shoulder -- his new favourite place to sit. Usually, he only hangs out there when I'm eating. He gawks over my shoulder like some 12-pound furry vulture who purrs. Although he's just eaten his own supper, he puts on his best "I'm starving" act and begs for a taste of my grub. His success rate at getting this is not good.

Anyway, I was listening to a really cool motivational DVD by T. Harv Eker, the author of Secrets of the Millionaire Mind. It was a recording of a group seminar he recently led in Toronto. Well let me tell you, this guy had some really interesting stuff to say about attitudes that keep us poor. I thought it was fascinating. Before long, I was screaming along with the crowd when Harv urged us to.

I'd turn to Casey and yell, "You've got a millionaire mind!" -- or something to that effect -- whenever Harv told me to. I was whoopin' and hollerin' right along with the rest of the crowd. Whenever Harv told us to high-five our neighbour, I'd turn around and slap ol' Casey on the back -- startling him from his kitty nap. C'mon, cat! This is exciting stuff. There's no time for sleep!

About the fifth time I high-fived him, he gave me a look of kitty death that only meant one thing. "So help me, Big Man Who Feeds Me, if you slap me one more time and scare me out of my skin, I will do something nasty the next time I catch you snoring." He would, too.

"But Casey, don't you want that really expensive cat food with authentic gold flakes in it?" I wondered out loud. Again, he gave me a look that pretty much said, "Give me a break. No matter how much money you have, you'll still be dragging my dirty kitty litter in a garbage bag to the roadside every week, Mr. Rich Man."

Actually, it's good exercise, I thought -- turning this whole thing around into a positive thing for me.

Exercise is a good thing!

Man, I'd better become rich one day. I'll need to invest in some pretty expensive psychiatric help if I'm having an argument with my cat about money. I guess that'll teach me for eating those furry mushrooms I found in back of the refrigerator.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Quit crapping on low-carb!

I heard someone on the radio this morning talking about the low-carb lifestyle and they added the word "loathsome" in front of it.

I was not impressed... because this person obviously knows nothing about low-carb or the studies that show it is a perfectly safe and effective way to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight after that. In fact, the American Diabetes Association finally came out and said that low-carb diets are a safe and effective way to lose weight.

Well duh.

The fact is that the real "fad" here is LOW FAT... not low carb. Before the introduction of white flour, white sugar, white pasta and packaged food to western civilization's diet, obesity was hardly rampant - except among the rich... who could afford -- guess what -- expensive white sugar, white flour, etc.

If you want to fatten up a bunch of pigs on a farm, nothing will do it faster than lots and lots of white bread.

I'm so sick of the popular notion that fat makes you fat. It doesn't. Sugar makes you fat.

A generation of low-fat eating has given us a huge obesity and diabetes problem.

Low-carbers eat from the low end of the glycemic food index. All that means is that we eat like we're the worst diabetics on Earth. We eat like diabetics SHOULD eat.

Check out some recipes on diabetic websites. They include SUGAR and WHITE FLOUR. Can you imagine?? Great way to regulate blood glucose, eh?

I eat low-carb and I eat fresh foods... meats, cheeses, nuts, non-starchy vegetables, fruits (berries). Do I feel deprived? No. For the first time in years, I'm making my own food. I'm not spending $100/week at take-outs like I used to. And I'm not stopping at the corner store before work every day to pick up $10 worth of candy to munch on during the day.

I'm eating real food and the scales prove that it's working. And yes, it's absolutely 100% sustainable. I can live without potatoes, bread, pasta and sugar, thanks very much. No potato or piece of bread is going to regulate my life.

Loathsome indeed. Tell that to the 82.5 lb I've lost so far.

Today's Hump Day column: Getting pumped for the year and $1 million

Hi everyone! Check out today's Hump Day on the editorial page of the Moncton Times & Transcript! Today's column is all about motivation and the fact that my cat Casey didn't exactly share my enthusiasm after I got all excited during a DVD I was watching.

Check it out on page D5 of today's paper. It will be posted here online tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Maggie snores!

This week's Hump Day...

... is about my level of motivation in 2008 and how my cat Casey didn't appreciate my enthusiasm this past weekend when I tried to include him in the fun of watching a great DVD.

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

Monday, January 07, 2008

I love these old school films...

We've all seen them... the films they would show in school about keeping yourself clean, puberty or whatever. I remember seeing a film about puberty in grade six. The boys were allowed to watch the girls' puberty film, but only if no one laughed. Of course, one idiot started chuckling and we were tossed out on our ears. It was YEARS before I knew why girls had their periods - honestly. I wish we would have stayed. Maybe I would have learned something. Anyway, here's one of those old films about how to use soap to stay clean:

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Today is Epiphany

Epiphany is considered to be the last day of the Christmas season... the 12th day of the 12 days of Christmas, so to speak. It's also considered to be the day the Magi visited Baby Jesus (the "Three Kings" in the carol "We Three Kings".)

So in honour of Ephiphany -- and for one last kick at the can at blogging about Christmas, here's a cute little video of "We Three Kings"...

... and The Muppets' version of "The 12 Days of Christmas" with John Denver:

With that, Christmas is officially over!

I created my first "vision board" today

A vision board is where you put down all your dreams, affirmations, goals, etc., on a large piece of poster board (typically) so that you can visualize your goals in one glance on a daily basis. I created one today - version #1, as I call it. It will progress and get larger as I evolve.

All this visioning and planning got me thinking of a song I hadn't heard... well... in years...

Information scarce for a lapsed Catholic trying to unlapse himself

One of my new year's resolutions was to start going to church again despite my deep and permanent disagreement with some of the Roman Catholic Church's stances on social issues. No need to go into what they are now, but suffice it to say that nearly every time the pope opens his mouth to give advice on social issues, I cringe at the neanderthalness of it all.

I know I'm not the only Catholic who feels that way - especially in the developed, modern and educated world.

Despite that, I was raised Roman Catholic and just because I disagree with the political organization of the church, I can't imagine being comfortable anywhere else. Besides, when you're Acadian, it's pretty much part of the deal that you be Roman Catholic. The only other religion I could see myself joining is the United Church, which seems to be much more socially liberal and open-minded. However, I'm afraid it would be too much of a "culture shock."

With that said, I have to criticize the Archdiocese of Moncton for being nearly impossible to get information out of online. One parish that seems to have an up-to-date website is Queen of All Saints - which includes St. Augustine's on Mountain Road, St. Michael's just off Elmwood Drive, and St. Lawrence O'Toole in Irishtown. The website is basic but very informative. Mass times are given - which to me is the real information many people want to find. Another very informative site is the Unité pastorale Marie Reine de l'Acadie, which includes St-Anselme on Amirault Street, Ste-Thérèse on Acadie and Notre-Dame-de-Lorette in Lakeburn.

But why don't these websites link back to one another? With so many bilingual Catholics, you'd think they would at least have each other's links on their websites. I had to go digging. And you know what happens when people need to dig for information - they don't. They give up and move on. And they'll start going to church "next week" - which never comes. I realize that I can't blame the Archdiocese for me not going to church, but they could at least make it easier for me to find information online. Not having a decent website in 2008 is like not having a telephone number.

The Archdiocese of Moncton's website itself is Pitiful - yes, the capital "P" is on purpose. Surely to God (!!) there must be someone willing and able to work on a decent website. Actually, considering that the Archdiocese just raised several million dollars in a fundraising campaign, they should be able to afford to have a nice professional website designed and maintained on behalf of all parishes. That, to me, would be a very valuable service for all area Catholics.

I suppose I could just start calling around every church to find out when masses are. I don't necessarily want to go to the one in my neighbourhood. (Maybe I do... but maybe I don't...) Also, do I want to go to church in English or French? I don't know. Probably French... but to tell you the truth, all the family funerals I've been going to have mostly been in English... so perhaps I should just to St. Bernard's, where I was baptized and where everyone in the family has been having funerals lately.

I just don't know.

Is asking for mass times posted online too much to ask? I don't think so. Not in 2008! And since all the parish offices keep banker's hours, it's difficult to talk to someone unless I call from work - and sometimes I'm just too darn busy!

So anyway, that's my Sunday rant.

If anyone has any information that would be helpful, please send it along.