Saturday, January 26, 2008

Revenge of the birdies...

Like my mama always said, "If ya look up into a tree with your mouth open, a bird's bound to poop in it!" (Well, she never actually said that, but it sounds like something a mother would say.)

Friday, January 25, 2008

Five Facts About Kevjumba

Here's another video from popular YouTube comedian Kevjumba.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Moncton's The Old Triangle pub's kitchen shut down by Department of Health

UPDATE - Jan. 25/08: According to media reports, the kitchen has now reopened after the problems were rectified. I'll still be skipping my planned lunch there on Monday, though. Such problems in a kitchen point to a serious lack of proper management.

The provincial Department of Health has revoked the operating licence of one of Moncton's most popular hangouts - The Old Triangle, located at 751 Main Street. (Click on the photo to go to its website.)

According to the inspection report (available online here):

- Some containers were not properly closed with lids.
- Some foods were not properly labelled and dated.
- Upstairs walk-in cooler was at 6.5C during inspection.
- Temperatures were not recorded since November 18, 2007.
- Insert in upstairs kitchen was overfilled with salad.
- Scoops were found in direct contact with food in dry storage bins.
- Employee observed drinking in the kitchen.
- All staff are strongly recommended to attend next available food handler's course.
- Upstairs and downstairs cutting boards require resurfacing.
- Dirty dishes found in both compartments of double-compartment sink in upstairs kitchen.
- Knives were stored between counter.
- No sanitizer in upstairs kitchen at the beginning of inspection. (This was corrected immediately, according to the report.)
- General cleanliness is not acceptable. Dirt buildup observed on floors and walls mainly throughout all preparation and storage area.
- Rodents' droppings observed in basement dry storage area.
- Rodents' droppings observed in upstairs kitchen clean dishes.

According to the report, all outstanding items must be corrected prior to re-opening. "After reviewing licence with District Medical Health Officer, licence has been revoked," the report concludes.

I was supposed to go there for lunch on Monday. I guess there's been a change of plans, eh?

For a rare date, should you shave the cat?

Hump Day
Published Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Moncton Times & Transcript, pg. D6

Despite my confirmed bachelorhood, someone actually thought it wise to ask me out on a real honest-to-goodness date the other day. Although I usually scoff at such rare invitations -- rare as hen's teeth, actually -- I said "yes" this time, thinking it best to actually try and enjoy the experience instead of assuming a disastrous encounter.

Not being particularly adept at the dating game, I managed to figure out a good location for supper, since it was decided that I pick the place. A time was agreed upon via telephone calls and e-mails, so that was that!

Now, I have to be quite blunt. I can count the number of dates I've had on one hand. I'm more of a "lone wolf" kind of guy, but recently started thinking about finding that special someone with whom to grow old. (Translation: Someone with a better pension plan than me. Hey, a man's gotta have cable.)

Not knowing, initially, whether we were going to meet at my place first, I completely panicked, cleaning up everything in sight. Books were put away, papers were filed, knick-knacks straightened on shelves and magazines placed in neat stacks. Hey, I always live like I'm in an operating room, right?

Next decision: what to wear. Should I go really fancy, semi-formal or just plain old casual? I decided on semi-casual -- a happy medium.

Deciding on a pair of black pants that had previously been way too small but were now fitting because of my ongoing weight loss, I searched for a black dress shirt that I knew was hanging in my closet somewhere.

Eureka! Found it . . . and it fit, too! And nothing is as slimming as black, so that was a double bonus!

Unfortunately, nothing shows cat hair like black, either. Oh dear. The two furballs were going to end this date before it even happened. Despite my best attempts at using a lint brush and those sticky roller thingies, there was still hair on my pants and shirt.

Only one solution: shave the cats. Oh I know it sounds harsh. Normally I wouldn't do something so drastic, but I must stress that the date had a better pension plan than me (remember?), didn't seem to be in need of dentures any time soon, and was quite determinedly wanting to go out -- with me, of all people! Go figure.

Let's just say that Halley's Comet comes around more often than this does, OK? Thus, the cat shaving seemed to be a reasonable risk in order to reach a potentially happy end. Who knew where the evening would bring me, right?

So how was I going to do this? Trick Cindy and Casey into thinking I was giving them a bowl full of treats when, in fact, I'd pounce, pour hair removal lotion all over them, rub them quickly with a towel and then watch the fur fall off? Then, I'd get out the vacuum cleaner -- and voilĂ ! No more problem.

Or perhaps I could just lull them into a nice little snooze to the point where they didn't realize that those long strokes on their backs weren't my hand, but a razor. Hmm . . . Don't know about that one. They'd probably figure that something was up after hearing the "pfft" from the can of shaving cream.

Maybe I could just pluck them. Hey, it works for chickens, right? No, they'd never sit still for that. Fussy little things!

Sigh . . . I finally decided that the hair-on-black-clothing dilemma would just have to remain unresolved. After all, two freshly plucked cats weren't worth all the moodiness I'd get from them afterwards, especially if this date didn't turn into anything special.

So they kept their fur and I decided to tackle the extra hair with a wadded up piece of duct tape to remove the errant strands. This seemed to work well and the cats seemed relieved that my maniacal plot to render them hairless had been abandoned.
Besides, they would have put up quite a fight, I'm sure. I definitely would have showed up at the restaurant looking like I'd just tried to kiss the blades of a running lawnmower. Cats don't take too kindly to being plucked!

I guess if my date was going to be bothered by a few cat hairs, they weren't worth much, right? Besides, if a hair on my shirt put them off, I can't imagine what coming over to my place for coffee after the restaurant would have done, considering my socks are usually so full of cat hair that it looks like I'm wearing fur coats on my feet.

In the end, I decided, "Like me, like my cat hair!"

Now, if I just had a big outdoor staircase to run up and punch the air like Rocky did in the movie, I'd be all set. No, better not. Didn't want to show up all sweaty at the restaurant.

Man, this dating thing is hard on the head. First, I nearly plucked my cats clean. Now, I'm actually contemplating running up a set of stairs like a fictional movie character. No wonder I've remained single for so long. This is difficult work.

Dates are funny. Both people are on their best behaviour. Bad jokes are laughed at heartily. Personal quirks and habits are readily accepted, no matter how weird they are. I just hope they don't flinch if they ever get to see the fur coats I end up wearing on my feet whenever I'm home. I may have to resurrect that shave-the-cats plan if that ever happens.

After all, good pension plans are hard to come by.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Today's Hump Day column: For a rare date, should you shave the cat?

Hi everyone! Don't forget to check out my Hump Day column on the editorial page (pg. D6) of today's Moncton Times & Transcript! "For a rare date, should you shave the cat?" deals with what was going through my mind when I went on a recent date. Not very familiar with the dating scene, I wanted to make sure that everything was perfect. The cats, however, weren't being terribly co-operative.

Pick up your copy of today's Moncton Times & Transcript or check back here tomorrow when it will be posted online.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Actor Heath Ledger dead!

Actor Heath Ledger was found dead in his Manhattan apartment today. Quite a shock! According to a police report, pills were found near his body. He was only 28 years old. What a shame. This follows on the heels of the death of 25-year-old actor Brad Renfro, who died on January 15.

This week's Hump Day column...

... is all about dating. I don't go on many dates... but actually had one the other day. Whether you're 16, 30 or 40+, it's still stressful trying to make that good first impression. Unfortunately, my two cats weren't too co-operative in helping to keep their fur off the clothes I was going to wear to the restaurant. Read all about it on the editorial page of tomorrow's Moncton Times & Transcript. It will also be posted online here on Thursday.

Cartoon courtesy of - a brilliant strip by Mark Parisi.

Monday, January 21, 2008

1st Annual Curl for Moncton SPCA - Saturday, March 1

Join animal lovers from all over on Saturday, March 1, 2008, at the MCA Curling Club (358 Lutz Street, Moncton) for the 1st Annual Curl for Moncton SPCA. $100 per team or $25 per single player. Call (506) 389-9543 for more information on registration or e-mail Great prizes! (Click on the photo for a larger version.)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Actress Suzanne Pleshette has died

Actress Suzanne Pleshette has died at the age of 70. She starred for many years as Bob Newhart's wife on The Bob Newhart Show (1972-78).