Saturday, April 26, 2008

Friday, April 25, 2008

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Idol Chatter for April 24, 2008: "Who's out this week?"

The contestant sent home last night was a bit of a surprise - but not a surprise at the same time. In my own way of analyzing the show, there were six contestants: three guys and three girls. I firmly believe that the Top 3 will be Jason and the two Davids, leaving the three girls to be eliminated over the next three weeks. With that said, I thought Brooke was being sent home (for sure!!) this week, but it wasn't to be. Which of the other two girls - Syesha and Carly - were given their walking papers last night? Click here to find out. The Top 5 perform under the mentorship of legendary pop star Neil Diamond next Tuesday at 9 p.m. Atlantic / 8 p.m. Eastern on Fox.

Lack of discipline for child isn't a favour

Hump Day
Published Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Moncton Times & Transcript, pg. D8

Like you, I come across children whenever I'm out in public. It's bound to happen, of course. The little imps seem to be everywhere. A bottle of wine, a wink from the wife, and the next thing you know, she's screaming "I hate you! Don't ever touch me again!" in the delivery room as yet another tax deduction enters the world.

Earlier this week, I was at a grocery store paying for my stuff when a young mother and her little boy came up behind me to wait in line. She looked impossibly young to have a child, let alone one that old -- about five. The dead look in her eyes portrayed someone who'd had a baby when she was just a baby herself.

Regardless, her son seemed well cared for and was cheerful and friendly. A bit too friendly, actually. He darted in and out of the line wanting to help. He grabbed the plastic divider that customers put between their order and the next person in line so that the orders don't get confused by the cashier.

He peppered his mother with questions and demands. "I want this! I want that!" Typical kid stuff. He was too cute to actually be annoying per se, but I have to admit that he was starting to get on my nerves when he started poking one of my packages of meat with the plastic divider. His mother said and did nothing as he did this. I felt an honest-to-goodness glare coming on until he got distracted by something else and stopped.

Then he asked the cashier for a quarter for some candy from the vending machine. I thought to myself, "Wow, talk about bold or what!" Fully expecting his mother to chastise him, I listened as the good-natured cashier laughed and told him that she didn't have a quarter. Dead-eyed mom, meanwhile, said nonchalantly, "He thinks everyone is made of money." She barely managed to draw out some semblance of emotion.

As he ran over to the vending machine, quarterless but still in a good mood, I couldn't help but become terribly judgmental about his chances in life if his mother didn't even have the common sense to stop him from groping other people's groceries and asking complete strangers for money.

Had that been me at that age, I'd still be sitting in the corner crying from the whack I would have received and still be having nightmares from being brought before the Court of Childhood Crimes consisting of Baby Jesus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. And God forbid if they had to call in Chief Justice Santa Claus!

Crimes dealt with in the Court of Childhood Crimes were the usual, ranging from not going to bed when you were told, begging for candy when accompanying one or both parents to the grocery store, and needing to go to the bathroom the minute you were bundled up in your snowsuit. And, of course, we can't forget that oldie but a goodie: using your little brother as a human dartboard. Ahhh... good times... good times... well, at least for me, not my brother.

I really was more than a bit surprised at the lack of discipline that boy saw that day. It's times like those that I think to myself, "Kid, if that would have been me doing that, I would have been looking all over the store for my face after it would have been slapped clean off my skull."

My friends down the street, for example, would have never let something like that go unpunished in a million years. There would have been speeches and time-outs in the corner.

With my parents' generation, there would have been a glare, a stern warning barely audible through tightly pursed lips (the more muffled the warning, the more trouble you were in!), the promise that Santa Claus was skipping the house until pigs flew unicorns to Mars, and a treasure hunt around the grocery store for the teeth that formerly resided in your mouth.

Of course, I exaggerate. Don't worry. There's no tell-all book coming. I'm perfectly normal, so the voices in my head tell me. It does seem that parental disciplinary options are becoming more and more limited, though. Some of that is good, of course, but I still think that little Bobby does merit a spanking after setting fire to grandma.

It's funny how discipline has changed. Corporal punishment today is seen as completely politically incorrect, especially in public. When I was growing up, it wasn't uncommon to see a kid getting spanked or otherwise physically disciplined in public. In fact, some teachers even practised physical discipline. To say that any of those public measures would be frowned upon today is an understatement.

Of course, I didn't want that mother in line at the grocery store to hit or scream at her kid. But holy moly, she could have at least pursed her lips impossibly tight and issued a stern warning in an unintelligible, muffled tone.

I would have hoped that her son's prodding of my package of pork ribs would have at least been an incentive for a mild intervention along the lines of "Don't do that!" All I got from her was her watching him do it, leaving any potential (verbal only, of course) discipline up to me, thus making me look like a big bully.

All I know is that she'd better start stopping him from doing stuff like that because she may not like the way other people will discipline him if she's not doing her job. When he's 15 instead of five, the discipline others will bestow upon him will be a lot more than just a stranger's dirty look in the checkout line. His discipline then will be from fists... or jail... or worse.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Idol Chatter for April 23, 2008: "Idol Top 6 take on show tunes"

American Idol's Top 6 went Broadway last night, taking on the formidable songs of British musical theatre composer Andrew Lloyd Webber. This was not a good show for at least two contestants, although my online research is telling me this morning that someone who I thought was safe may actually go home. We'll see! To find out who's voted off the show this week, tune in to Fox at 10 p.m. Atlantic / 9 p.m. Eastern tonight. Click here to read the full online version of my Idol Chatter column in today's Moncton Times & Transcript.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

This week's Hump Day...

... is about parental discipline and how things have changed since I was a kid. I was in line buying groceries the other day and saw some behaviour that would have put me in intensive care if I would have done that as a kid. Now, it wasn't horrible behaviour, just impolite... but I can guarantee you that my mother would have disciplined me had I done it. Check out Hump Day on the editorial page of tomorrow's Moncton Times & Transcript or visit this blog on Thursday when it will be posted online.

Monday, April 21, 2008

A momentous occasion!

As some of you may know, I started eating low-carb on June 17, 2007. I no longer eat bread, pasta, potatoes, refined sugar, high-glycemic fruits and starchy vegetables.

Today, I finally hit the -100 lb mark after 44 weeks of this new way of living! Woohoo! Hallelujah!

Does low-carb work? Enough said!

Next two goals are -111 and -120 respectively, for reasons that will be announced once I get there.

I'd like to personally thank myself for sticking to it and to everyone for their undying support.

No excuses! No excuses! No excuses!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

YouTube's "Extreme Funny" video - 20 million views!

This is actually very entertaining! Take a look...