Saturday, March 08, 2008

Hilarious Matt Damon/Ben Affleck videos from the Jimmy Kimmel Show

Talk show host Jimmy Kimmel has an ongoing joke on his show where he keeps running out of time for guest Matt Damon. Kimmel's girlfriend Sarah Silverman made a parody video of Damon's "revenge" on him. Quite hilarious! WARNING: Strong language.

So then Kimmel did his own "revenge" video with Damon's best friend, Ben Affleck. Too funny! (Check out the calibre of stars in the video!)

Friday, March 07, 2008

Idol Chatter for March 7, 2008: "And the Top 12 are..."

... appears on the front page of today's Moncton Times & Transript's Life & Times section (pg. B1). Who got into this year's Top 12 on American Idol? Click here to read the column online and find out! Don't forget to check the Times & Transcript's Life & Times section next Tuesday for a special feature I'm writing on the Top 12!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Idol Chatter for March 6, 2008: "Top 8 girls tackle songs of the '80s"

... appears on the front page of today's Moncton Times & Transript's Life & Times section. Click here to read the column online. My predictions for who's out tonight: Kady Malloy and Kristy Lee Cook, with perhaps Syesha Mercado in danger, too.

Idol Chatter: Boys vie for spot in Top 12

Brian Cormier
Idol Chatter
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Moncton Times & Transcript, page D1

Welcome to this year's first American Idol review. This week, the Top 16 guys and girls perform. Out of those, the Top 12 will be chosen - six guys and six girls - and one will be eliminated weekly until only one is left standing: the new American Idol!

The Top 8 guys performed songs from the 1980s last night. Two will be eliminated on Thursday's results show. This is how they stacked up, including my comments and those of judges Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell.

Luke Menard (29, Indiana) opened the show with Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go. I thought Luke was terrible and will be surprised if he makes it through this week. Randy said he was rushed and pitchy. Paula didn't like the song choice but loved the interpretation. Simon, meanwhile, didn't like it all and said it was "weak" and "girly". He even said that Luke can't win and will not be in the Top 12.

David Archuleta (17, Utah) sang Another Day In Paradise. "Little David," as he's affectionately called, is the odds-on favourite to win this year if you believe pretty much everyone you talk to. Tonight, however, his performance wasn't great. It was his worst so far - but still good, all things considered. Randy thought it was nice but a bit pitchy. Paula thought he was "perfect in his imperfection". Simon said he wasn't as good as last week (true!) but that he was guaranteed to be in the Top 12 and likely in the final (also true!).

Danny Noriega (18, California) came out with a bizarre and manic version of Tainted Love, one of my favourite songs. I thought he butchered it. I'm not a big fan of Danny's over-the-top attitude, but actually do like his singing. Not tonight, though. Randy loved the arrangement. Paula thought he was sensitive, but spicy at the same time. Simon wasn't as kind, using words such as "useless" and "horrible".

David Hernandez (24, Arizona) had a difficult week after it was reported that he was a former male stripper. Regardless, this stripper sure can sing! I loved his rendition of It's All Coming Back To Me Now. He knows how to belt out a tune, that's for sure! Randy thought it was a nice song choice but a bit sharp in places. Paula thought he was getting into the groove and had some of the best vocals. Simon thought it wasn't as strong as last week but that he definitely deserved a spot in the Top 12.

Michael Johns (29, Georgia) sang Don't You Forget About Me. Born in Australia, Michael has been doing a great job week after week and tonight was no exception. Randy, Paula and Simon were unanimous in their praise for Michael, definitely one of the frontrunners in the competition, while Simon suggested that he did a better job as a "song singer" as opposed to a rocker.

David Cook (25, Missouri) brought down the house with a rocked out version of Hello. This was absolutely fantastic and I loved every note. He's had two great weeks. Randy and Paula both loved it and thought it could be a hit single right now. Simon said it was a brave choice but definitely worked.

Jason Castro (20, Texas) sang Hallelujah, a beautiful ballad. He dropped the guitar this week in favour of just the microphone and wowed everyone with his touching performance. Jason's my favourite this year, actually, and I thought he was amazing. Randy thought he did a "pretty good" job. Paula thought it was effortless and vulnerable. Simon, meanwhile, gave his highest praise, calling it "brilliant" and the best of the night. He lauded Jason for getting better and better every week.

Chikezie Eze (22, California) uses only his first name now. He sang All The Woman I Need and did a decent job, but didn't stand out. Randy and Paula thought he was really good, while Simon didn't think it worked and was too cabaret. I think Chikezie will make it into the Top 12, but he won't last long in the competition.

My predictions for who goes home this week? Pretty much a no-brainer. Luke and Danny are both out. They just aren't strong enough and Danny's attitude is grating. Any other elimination would be a shock, except perhaps Chikezie instead of Luke.

Tonight, the Top 8 girls perform at 9 p.m. on CTV. Don't miss it!

Brian Cormier is a writer and communications consultant. His column appears on this page the day after every episode of American Idol. He may be contacted at or visit his blog at

Even a winter lover is now longing for spring

Brian Cormier
Hump Day
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Moncton Times & Transcript, page D6

It's official. I'm sick of winter!

The significance of this is quite astounding, really, because I don't mind winter all that much. I'm definitely not one of those people who sit around whining about the snow beginning from the first flake on some cold evening in late October and then doing everything possible to scrimp and save in order to afford a vacation down south during March Break.

Nope, not me. I quite enjoy the fluffy white stuff. I don't even mind shovelling that much. (Someone call a therapist!) I like the feeling of accomplishment at seeing the fruits of my labour.

But when March arrives, even I - an avowed winter lover - have started to lose my patience. The thrill of the "feeling of accomplishment" has worn off the shovelling task. When March arrives, shovelling has begun to evolve into pure drudgery. Now, I just let out a long disgusted sigh and drag myself outside to do the chore.

Having decided (wisely, I may add) to clean off the front walkway and steps this year, I have even more to do. After considering the danger of only one exit from the house through the back door, common sense kicked in and I decided to keep the front cleaned, too.

Now, it's not as if I have to shovel the entire driveway. I've hired a plow to come do most of the heavy stuff, but there's still a lot of cleaning up - sometimes a good hour's worth after a big storm. With different drivers working the plow, the driveway is also cleaned to various widths during the winter. Some leave me a nice wide entry, while others - if they're rushed, I guess - leave barely enough room for me to drive in to the safety of my garage. Needless to say, I prefer a nice, wide driveway.

I chuckle at some of my neighbours. You know the types... the people who scrape the snow off the driveway right down to the pave after every storm. You see them practically on their knees removing every snowflake individually, making sure the pavement is completely denuded of ice and anything remotely resembling winter.

Oh don't worry... karma indeed comes back to haunt me after I laugh at them. I usually end up slipping and falling in my driveway because I was not as fussy as they are. (I don't mind shovelling, but I'm certainly not obsessed.) I usually fall on the ice a few times per year.

Luckily, so far, I seem to have my falls down to a science. Like a cat that usually lands on its feet, I tend to aim for a butt cheek, which usually cushions the blow sufficiently to avoid serious injury.

So far, I've managed to avoid any broken bones, and I certainly hope that I'll continue on that lucky track. The only broken bone I've received in my life so far was suffered in the early 1970s when I broke my finger during summer vacation playing Star Trek with kids from the neighbourhood. Apparently, Captain Kirk here (I was too bossy to be anyone less) wasn't quite adept at avoiding tree roots.

I tripped over one, fell, and landed on my finger. I remember going to the hospital the next morning after a wait-and-see session to see if it got any better. It didn't. To this day, I remember my father pulling on the finger, thinking that maybe it was just dislocated. The pain I felt was equivalent to a chimpanzee giving birth to a hippo without the benefit of an epidural. My scream shattered glass and brought dogs running to me from miles around. Flocks of birds took off from jungles in the Amazon.

So yeah, the summer of 1974 was spent with a splint on my finger after it was determined that it actually had been fractured. That's pretty much been the extent of any broken bones and I hope it stays the way.

If you've never had a broken bone and wonder what it feels like, may I point you to the movie "Misery" and the hobbling scene where Annie Wilkes, the character played by Kathy Bates (who won an Oscar for her role), decides to keep the object of her affection (Paul Sheldon, played by James Caan) from leaving her. Annie puts a block of wood between Paul's legs, picks up a sledgehammer and then promptly snaps each leg like a twig.

I'm not squeamish, but that scene makes me cringe.

I read in the newspaper that there had been several broken bones reported at local hospitals lately, particularly broken wrists from people slipping on ice and trying to brace their fall, only to find themselves with an unexpected injury.

So far, my technique for falling has allowed me to avoid serious injury. I guess that tree root way back in 1974 taught me a lesson: aim for your rear end when you fall!

In less than three weeks, spring will be here. In fact, Daylight Savings Time arrives even before then... this weekend, in fact!

That will be nice. With the days getting noticeably longer, the sun going down after 7 p.m. will be a nice pick-me-up and yet another reminder that no matter how ornery Old Man Winter gets, he will soon have to step aside for the wonders of spring.

One day soon, when the snow melts, we'll step outside and take that first big whiff of spring air, a combination of the smell of mud and freshly thawed dog droppings.

It's the one time of the year when smelling doggie doo-doo is actually a welcome aroma. It means that the snow is gone, that spring has sprung and that the winter tires can come off.

So, dog owners, if you see me outside smelling your lawn in a few weeks, please don't call the police. I'm just welcoming spring!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

My top three female performances from tonight's American Idol - March 5

Don't forget to check out my American Idol review column on the front page of the Life & Times section of tomorrow's Moncton Times & Transcript. In the meantime, here are my three favourite female performances from tonight's show:

Amanda Overmyer - "I Hate Myself For Loving You":

Brooke White - "Love Is A Battlefield":

Carly Smithson - "I Drove All Night":

Joel Plaskett Emergency: "Fashionable People"

A quirky song, but I like it! Joel Plaskett is from Halifax, NS.

My top three male performances from last night's American Idol - March 4

Jason Castro - "Hallelujah":

David Cook - "Hello":

David Hernandez - "It's All Coming Back To Me Now":

Hugo: The Cat of 1000 Faces!

My new American Idol column!

Check out my new American Idol column on the front page of the Moncton Times & Transcript's Life & Times section today. I will be writing a review of the show after every episode. Check it out by picking up a copy of the paper today or visit here tomorrow when it will be posted online.

Today's Hump Day column: Even a winter lover is now longing for spring

Hi everyone! Don't forget to check out today's Hump Day column on the editorial page (pg. D6) of today's Moncton Times & Transcript. Today's column is all about the long winter we're having and my desire for spring to arrive - and my longing for the smell of melting dog poop.

Check it out by picking up a copy of the newspaper today or visiting here tomorrow when it will be posted online.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

In memory of George Earles (1964-2003)

My friend George Earles passed away five years ago today at the young age of 39. We had met at university in 1983 - 25 years ago... but it seems like yesterday. He was quite the character and a friend to many at the University of King's College.

(The above photo is one of his famous self-portraits. He would often grab a camera and take a photo of himself. Many friends went to get their films developed only to find a surprise gift from George among the prints!)

Last year, we played "Dancing Queen" at our university reunion to remember him by. So here it is again...

Every time I hear this song on the radio, I say, "Hi George!" :) So... Hi George!

The fastest 12-year-old cup stacker in Canada... Meet Joe!

At first glance, this seems like a really silly sport, but it's fun to watch!

For more on what's called "sport stacking", check out the website for the World Sport Stacking Association.

American Idol column starts tomorrow!

Attention American Idol fans: My new American Idol review column starts tomorrow in the Moncton Times & Transcript. The column will run the morning after each performance and results show. There will be three columns this week as we march on to deciding the Top 12, and three columns next week. There are only two shows next week, but the first column will run the day of the first Top 12 show and will be a prediction for what will happen during the rest of the season. I hope you enjoy them! They should be a lot of fun to write, too!

The column will appear on the front page of the Moncton Times & Transcript's Life & Times section.

This week's Hump Day column...

... is all about how sick I'm getting of winter. I normally don't mind winter, really, but when March arrives, I'm pretty much ready for spring! Read all about it on the editorial page of tomorrow's Moncton Times & Transcript or check back here on Thursday when it will be posted online.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Scary plane landing! Yikes!

According to a Bloomberg news report:

"Deutsche Lufthansa AG, Europe's second-largest airline, said an Airbus SAS A320 plane that almost crashed March 1 in Germany because of heavy winds has resumed service.

The jet, which was travelling from Munich with 131 passengers aboard, faced strong crosswinds upon landing in Hamburg, causing the aircraft's left wing tip to touch the ground, Lufthansa spokeswoman Claudia Lange said today. The plane aborted the approach before landing safely on the second attempt. It later underwent repairs, Lange said."

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Canadian singer and guitarist Jeff Healey dead at 41

Sad news today from the Canadian entertainment world. Renowned singer and guitarist Jeff Healey, who was blind, died today at the young age of 41 following a lifelong battle with cancer.

Celebrity deaths for March 2

Singer Dusty Springfield died in 1999 at the age of 59:

I Only Want To Be With You (1963)

You Don't Have To Say You Love Me (1966)

Son Of A Preacher Man (1969)