Saturday, January 19, 2008

Character actor Allan Melvin dies at 84

Like many character actors, you may not recognize the name, but you certainly recognize Allan Melvin's face. Remember "Sam the Butcher" from The Brady Bunch - Alice's boyfriend? And remember Archie Bunker's neighbour Barney Hefner from All in the Family? Yup, that's him. Sorry to see him go. Always entertaining.

Here he is from a Liquid Plumr commercial from the 1970s.

Friday, January 18, 2008

There's a doggie in my computer!

Click here.

In memory of Beth Lord

The final funeral of last weekend's horrific Bathurst accident was held yesterday. Beth Lord was 51 and a very popular teacher. I heard on news reports that her favourite song was "People"... so here's Barbra Streisand singing that very song. Rest in peace.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Artist D'Arcy Quinlan exhibit at Moncton City Hall during month of January

Thanks again to Walt Forsey for producing this great report for Brian Cormier's Blogtastic World! He makes me feel like I have my own TV network! Always a nice surprise to get these reports, Walt!

Again New Brunswick weeps for its children

Brian Cormier
Hump Day
Published Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Appeared on page D6, Moncton Times & Transcript

Back in September, when the four boys from Harrison Trimble High School died, I'm sure everyone thought we'd seen the worst possible situation that one school could experience in this province.

In fact, only one other community in Canada -- to my knowledge -- had seen something worse, that being Thornbury, Ontario, which saw five young people around the same ages die in one accident last year.

This past weekend, lightning struck twice when an accident involving the Bathurst High School basketball team killed a mind-boggling seven players and an adult chaperone, a popular teacher in her own right and the wife of the team's coach who was driving the van when it hit the tractor trailer.

The enormity of this calamity has sent shockwaves of grief through this small city already hurting from job losses. Indeed, the entire country has taken notice. Sports teams all over have held moments of silence before games. Memorials abound.

Dignitaries from across Canada have sent their condolences to the school and the community. Thousands upon thousands have joined Facebook groups set up to remember those who died.

We will remember Codey Branch, Daniel Hains, Nick Quinn, Nick Kelly, Javier Acevedo, Justin Cormier, Nathan Cleland and Beth Lord.

We also must remember those who were injured in the accident, including two other players, coach Wayne Lord and his daughter.

The ordeal for Mr. Lord is enormous. Not only did he lose most of his team, but his wife, as well. His daughter who was accompanying them on the trip was also injured. As the driver of the vehicle, I can only imagine the intense grief he is experiencing. I hope, however, that he knows he is not to blame. Weather conditions have done in the best of drivers regardless of how careful they were. Be strong.

I can only imagine, also, the immense sadness and shock that permeated these eight homes early Saturday morning when the news was made known. The telephone calls to relatives, the brothers and sisters awakened in the middle of the night, the grandparents receiving calls from their own distraught children. The tears... oh, the endless rivers of tears! The cries of parents finding out that their child had died.

The online messages have been heartbreaking, from relatives and friends... teachers... and those who didn't even know the victims. A grief-stricken uncle of one of the boys noted his frustration at being stuck at a work camp in Alberta, but promised to be home right away. In the meantime, he thanked those online for the condolences and for making him feel better by seeing that his family was not alone in their grief.

Today, the funeral for the seven boys is being held at the K.C. Irving Regional Civic Centre. Thousands will be on hand to celebrate their lives and to say goodbye -- or as I prefer to think of it -- to say simply "see you later."

They played as a team. They died as a team. They leave as a team.

Back in September 2007, I wrote the following about what I believed Brandon, Corey, Jared and Jimmy from Harrison Trimble would want to say:

"Honour us by living your lives to the fullest. Grieve because you are human, but remember to live because you are human, too.”

"One day in the future when you find yourselves laughing at something, don't feel guilty because we're not there to laugh with you. When you find yourselves able to feel joy again, laugh with all your heart -- and laugh loudly and heartily. Talk to us often. We can hear you. And remember that we'll see you again one day."

Codey, Daniel, Nick Q., Nick K., Javier, Justin, Nathan and Beth would, I dare say, likely say something similar. They can hear you.

By the sheer mathematical odds of the huge number of people intensely affected by this accident, it's a realistic affirmation that some will never get over this and be able to move on with their lives. The loss may be too great to bear. It is my sincere hope that the country's compassion gives you strength at this time of sorrow and that one day you will be able to laugh again and to truly enjoy life.

In time, most will move on, albeit with a hole in their heart. As time passes, it will get easier. You will never forget, but you'll be able to forge ahead as best you can.

And one day, hopefully when you're a little old lady or a little old man, you'll take that walk toward the light that we'll all take one day... and in the distance will be that boy you raised... the brother you haven't seen in eons... the friend you cried yourself to sleep over. You'll smile a smile as bright as a thousand suns as he and the rest of that heavenly welcoming committee walk you across the threshold into eternity.

Until then, don't forget to live. Laugh. Love. Travel. Raise your children. Enjoy life... maybe not this week... or even this year... but you will enjoy it again one day once today's terrible grief fades. Do it for yourself. Do it for them. Do it for all those young New Brunswickers who have so tragically lost their lives in the past six months on our roads.

In the meantime, a heartbroken province once again weeps for its lost children.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Today's Hump Day column: Again New Brunswick weeps for its children

Today's Hump Day column appears on the editorial page of the Moncton Times & Transcript (pg. D6) and deals with my observations surrounding the Bathurst High School tragedy that occurred on Saturday, January 12, when seven members of the school's basketball team died along with an adult chaperone in a horrific accident just five minutes from home. The column will be posted online here tomorrow or pick up a copy of the Moncton Times & Transcript today.

Actor Brad Renfro dead

According to the Associated Press:

"Actor Brad Renfro, whose career began promisingly with a childhood role in "The Client" but rapidly faded as he struggled with drugs and alcohol, was found dead Tuesday in his home. He was 25.

Paramedics pronounced him dead at 9 a.m., said Craig Harvey, chief investigator for the Los Angeles County coroner's office. The cause of death was not immediately determined, Harvey said, but an autopsy could be conducted as early as Wednesday.

Renfro had reportedly been drinking with friends the evening before his death, Harvey said."

Bathurst High School Memorial

This is a video I produced in memory of those who died in the Bathurst High School tragedy on Saturday, January 12, 2008. I hope it is meaningful to you. A funeral for the seven boys is being held today.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

CBC to carry Bathurst teens' funeral live on TV and radio

CBC has announced that it will carry the funeral for Nick Quinn, Nick Kelly, Daniel Hains, Nathan Cleland, Javier Acevedo, Codey Branch and Justin Cormier live on CBC TV, CBC Newsworld and CBC Radio beginning at 2 p.m. (Atlantic Time, 1 p.m. Eastern Time) on Wednesday, January 16.

Viewers from across the province and the country will be able to tune in and share in a goodbye to the seven members of Bathurst High School's basketball team who died on Saturday in a horrific traffic accident that also killed Beth Lord, the wife of coach Wayne Lord. Mrs. Lord's funeral will be held the following day at First United Church.

The team was on its way back from a tournament in Moncton and was only five minutes from home when it collided with a tractor trailer. Coach Wayne Lord, his daughter and two other players were injured.

Dave MacDonald (radio), Terry Seguin (TV) and Heather Hiscox (TV) will host the broadcasts live from the K.C. Irving Regional Civic Centre in Bathurst, where the joint funeral service will take place. (Photo courtesy of CBC)

Good God... That's the biggest mouse I've EVER seen!

I guess deer don't see too many housecats in the woods. And I bet housecats don't see too many deer on their back decks! This photo was taken by Art Carr of Douglas near Fredericton.

Monday, January 14, 2008

A few songs for Nick, Nick, Daniel, Nathan, Javier, Codey, Justin and Beth...

In My Life - Allison Crowe

Hallelujah - Rufus Wainwright

Now And Forever - Carole King

Eric Clapton - Tears In Heaven

More Than Words - Extreme

This week's Hump Day column...

... will be about my thoughts surrounding the Bathurst High School tragedy. Look for it on the editorial page of Wednesday's Moncton Times & Transcript. It will be posted here online on Thursday.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

One lucky ski jumper!

Bathurst High School in mourning for their classmates

Here are the seven members of Bathurst High School's senior varsity basketball team who died in yesterday's tragic accident. These are the sons, grandsons, brothers, cousins, nephews, friends, students and athletes the entire country is remembering today. Please remember them and their families in your thoughts and prayers. Please also remember Beth Lord, who passed away in the accident, as well.

Nathan Cleland, 17:

Justin Cormier, 17:

Javier Acevedo, 17:

Daniel Hains, 17:

Codey Branch, 17:

"Be Still My Soul" by Libera

Got the “write” stuff to be a writer? Plan to attend a “Writing for Profit” workshop at the Moncton Public Library

Think you have the “write” stuff to become a writer? Then plan to attend a “writing for profit” workshop, Saturday, January 26, 2008 at the Moncton Public Library (map). That’s where Moncton and area professional writers will unlock a treasure chest of trade secrets.

This interactive and informative event is a presentation of, a group of freelance writers which meets monthly to network, discuss ideas, share potential markets and generally support each other in their individual businesses and endeavours.

Members of will lead a series of sessions on the possibilities and realities of the professional writing world at this month’s workshop. Session topics include: what it takes to be a writer; opportunities for writers; writing about what you know; finding appropriate markets and protecting your rights as a writer.

Session presenters include:

- Kate Merlin, a specialist in science and nature writing and author of the book Trails of Greater Moncton;

- Brian Cormier, humour columnist and blogger with an extensive public relations background in government and corporate sectors;

- Deborah Carr, website designer, newspaper and magazine writer, who focuses on conservation, business and people profiles and travel writing;

- Allison Finnamore, an award-winning agriculture writer, columnist and author of two creative non-fiction books;

- Wendy Kitts, a children’s literature expert, columnist, and regular contributor to The Globe and Mail, and;

- Rayanne Brennan, communications consultant, former newspaper editor and press secretary to government leaders and corporations.

The presenters are also members of the Professional Writers Association of Canada, Southeast NB Chapter. PWAC is a nationwide non-profit organization with more than 600 members that works to improve rates and working conditions for writers in Canada's magazine and newspaper industries.

The workshop will be held in Room AB from 1-5 p.m.

Cost is $35 on or before January 19 and $40 at the door. Payment can be made by cheque payable to "PWAC SE New Brunswick Chapter". For complete details on the workshop and the presenters, visit the group’s website at

To register for the workshop, e-mail or call Allison Finnamore at 860-7761.