Saturday, February 09, 2008

Friday, February 08, 2008

George LeBlanc announces candidacy for mayor of Moncton

George LeBlanc announced yesterday in front of a crowd of 200 supporters that he will be candidate for mayor of Moncton in the municipal election to be held on May 12, 2008.

Born and raised in Moncton, LeBlanc served on city council for nine years from 1995 to 2004. He is a lawyer and partner with the firm Cox & Palmer in Moncton and an accomplished community volunteer and activist. He and his wife Kathy have two children, Jordan and Brittany.

“I am humbled to have been approached and encouraged by countless people to run for the office of mayor, LeBlanc said. “I have spent the last 20 years trying to make a meaningful contribution to my community and believe that being mayor of this dynamic and bilingual city would be a great honour and privilege. It is definitely a position where I believe I can work with others to make things happen. After all, we live in the best city in the world.”

In addition to his time on Moncton city council and his successful law practice, LeBlanc has a long record of senior leadership roles in community organizations and initiatives such as Moncton Headstart, The Moncton Hospital’s “Healthy Returns” and “Mammography Matters” campaigns and the Moncton West and Riverview Rotary Club,

Although his campaign platform has not yet been released officially, LeBlanc did note that he will focus on several priorities between now and election day, including fair taxation, restoration of the Petitcodiac River, a convention centre, downtown development, regular opportunities for seniors to ride on Codiac Transit at no charge, completion of an interconnected city trails system and better promotion of Moncton’s three major parks – Mapleton, Irishtown and Centennial.

“Having been on council for nine years, I understand how to get things done at city hall. However, having been away for four years, I have the ability to take a fresh look, a fresh approach to the office of mayor,” LeBlanc said. “Together, we can build a better Moncton for our families, our children, and their children to come, where the cost of living is low and the quality of life is high.”

“I pledge to lead a council that is careful in investing your money, fair in taxation, and aggressively seeks opportunities for prosperity.”

LeBlanc also praised the current council for their work and paid tribute to Mayor Lorne Mitton, who has decided not to re-offer. “I want to commend Lorne Mitton and our city council for their commitment and hard work on behalf of the people of Moncton. I know it can be a tough and sometimes thankless job. Our mayor and council have provided a great service to the city for which they deserve our thanks and gratitude.”

Announcement of a campaign office location will be made at a later date. Those interested in assisting or offering support to the campaign should contact co-chairs Clifford Lavigne at 384-2488 or Al Baglole at 858-0235.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

There goes another... yawn... Super Bowl!

Hump Day
Published Wednesday February 6, 2008
Moncton Times & Transcript, page D6

Up until the clock ran out at Super Bowl XLII on Sunday evening, you'd think the entire world was watching this annual mega-event. Parties were in full swing. New England Patriots fans sat in shock as New York Giants fans celebrated their surprise win.

And don't forget those lucky stiffs who threw caution to the wind and won some hefty paydays by betting against the heavily favoured Patriots. I hear they bought the drinks!

I, for one, could not have cared less.

Other than watching a surprisingly funny Patriots quarterback Tom Brady host Saturday Night Live a few years ago, I pretty much stay away from this yearly NFL football love-in.

Oh, I could pretend that I had much more interesting things to do, but I was really just channel-surfing and trying to relax after a busy weekend. The truth is, I just wasn't interested.

Well, to be honest, that's only half of it. The other part of the story is that I find football to be completely nonsensical. I don't understand it.

I swear, I think a person needs a master's degree in physics to figure out all those fumbles, tumbles and mumbles.

It was much easier to figure out football's rules when I was a kid and had one of those electronic versions of the game -- the one where a bunch of plastic players buzzed randomly around a vibrating board. Thinking back, this was quite possibly the stupidest kids' game ever invented. No strategy. No nothing. Just a bunch of plastic men moving aimlessly around. Most of them ended up falling over, likely ashamed to have had their short plastic lives come to such a useless conclusion.

Man, I can't even believe we played with that thing. I kind of wish I had one these days, though. The vibrating board would probably feel nice on my neck. Sitting at a computer all day and half the night can cause a lot of muscle tension, you know.

I've never really been a big fan of sports on TV other than professional wrestling, which I used to watch religiously. After all, nothing quite beat a Saturday afternoon watching The Great Malumba chase Killer Karl Krupp out of the ring after Krupp refused to remove his infamous claw sleeper hold from some poor sucker's forehead.

Of course, I can watch hockey. Like wrestling, it's usually fast-paced enough to hold my attention. Besides, any red-blooded Canadian who doesn't like watching hockey on TV should be forced to give up their passport. In fact, the theme song from CBC's Hockey Night in Canada should be adopted as the country's national anthem and every immigrant who wants to become a citizen should be able to hum it. Period.

Watching golf on TV is another matter. I know that ratings go sky high whenever Tiger Woods is playing, but give me a break. Can you think of anything more painfully boring than watching golf? I have to give it to the commentators, though. Keeping that sport sounding exciting to viewers is the equivalent of Jesus turning water into wine -- a true miracle. Just camouflaging the snores of the crowd takes talent as it is.

Right up there with watching golf on TV is watching baseball, only it's twice as lame. At least the baseball commentators have excruciatingly obscure statistics to fill in the hours of dead time. Have you ever seen a sport with more statistics? "Up next is Johnny Smith, whose batting average is the square root of the number of blueberries in a piece of pie eaten by President Roosevelt on the day Pearl Harbor was attacked in 1941."

Surprisingly, I don't mind watching curling. All that yelling and sweeping . . . at least something is happening throughout the game.

So what do I enjoy watching? Well, I don't mind watching tennis. The temperamental players keep it interesting. During the winter Olympics, I love watching bobsleigh and luge, although I have to admit that the sportsmanship in guiding a speeding missile down an icy hill is a tad questionable. What's next? A bunch of little old ladies deliberately falling on an icy sidewalk, with the winner being the one who broke her hip in the most places? What are prizes? Gold, silver and bronze walkers?

Basketball? Well, I can't say I've seen a lot of the sport on TV, so I'll give that one a pass. At least it looks exciting and fast-paced.

Volleyball... now there's something I could watch all day. Seriously. But finding televised matches is harder than giving the queen a nosebleed by squeezing a nickel.

As a kid, I enjoyed watching Wide World of Sports every Saturday afternoon. Ski jumping was always a favourite, especially when they fell. Maybe I shouldn't admit that. Kind of mean of me, right? But sometimes when they fell, it was so cool. I'm surprised that some of those jumpers lived!

And car racing? Folks -- if I wanted to see something go round and round 500 times before it inevitably crashes into a wall, I'd watch my cat chase its tail and then stumble dizzily into the cupboard door. (Note to self: Hire private security firm to protect yourself from crazed and angry NASCAR fans who'll most certainly send hate mail.)

Soccer is pretty fun to watch. Lots of running and action, like hockey. And if I ever get bored, I can always watch the fans rioting in the stands.

Hmm . . . Maybe I should take up knitting. Much safer . . . and no one gets hurt.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Today's Hump Day column: There goes another... yawn... Super Bowl!

Hi everyone! Don't forget to check out today's Hump Day column on the editorial page of today's Moncton Times & Transcript (pg. D6). Today's piece is about my on-again / off-again habit of watching TV sports. I don't care for the biggest event of them all - the Super Bowl - but I do enjoy a few others... like volleyball. Volleyball?? Yup. Check out Hump Day by picking up a copy of today's Moncton Times & Transcript or check online here tomorrow when it will be posted.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

This week's Hump Day column...

... is all about TV sports. Since trying to avoid the annual Super Bowl frenzy is pretty much impossible these days, this week's column touches on the sports that I actually don't mind watching on TV. Some of them may surprise you! Check out Hump Day on the editorial page of Wednesday's Moncton Times & Transcript. It will also be posted online here on Thursday.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Celebrity deaths for February 4th

Singer Karen Carpenter died 25 years ago today in 1983. Here she is singing "We've Only Just Begun" with her brother Richard Carpenter ("The Carpenters") on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1970:

Pianist Liberace died in 1987. Here is performing "Boogie Woogie" on his TV show in 1969:

Singer Barbara McNair died one year ago today in 2007. Here she is performing "Nothing Can Stop Me Now" on The Dean Martin Show.

Sunday, February 03, 2008