Saturday, May 10, 2008

Actress Joan Crawford died 31 years ago today...

Actress Joan Crawford died 31 years ago today on May 10, 1977, at the age of 72. Here she is giving an interview in the late 1960s:

Excerpts - Launch - George LeBlanc campaign for Mayor of Moncton - February 7, 2008

Charlie bit me!

Moncton Times & Transcript endorses George LeBlanc for Mayor of Moncton

In a thoughtful editorial published today, the Moncton Times & Transcript endorsed George LeBlanc as the logical choice for Mayor of Moncton when citizens go to the polls on Monday:

Our choice for Moncton's mayor
Published Saturday May 10, 2008
Moncton Times & Transcript

There appears to be a mood and wish for change in the municipal government in Moncton this year, something reflected in the number of good candidates for council seats, and also in the race for mayor between two credible contenders, George LeBlanc and Pierre Michaud.

There are several important issues residents would like to see moved forward or acted upon, including the development of the downtown which has largely stalled for the past four years. The city has to figure out exactly what it wants downtown and then move ahead with its decision.

Environmental and quality of life concerns continue. Codiac Transit needs to be improved, our airport needs more customs service, and there remain questions about city hall staff, transparency and taxation to address.

We have been impressed by the campaigns of both Mr. LeBlanc and Mr. Michaud and believe that no matter who wins, both have a lot to contribute to the city and we encourage them do do so. Only one can be mayor, however, and our choice at this time in the city's history is George LeBlanc.

Mr. LeBlanc has not only experience on council and dealing with city staff, but his track record while on council was impressive. This alone gives him the edge over Mr. Michaud.

We have been impressed with the tremendous amount of thought Mr. LeBlanc has put into his platform, which is outlined in his seven-page "Action Plan." It is a comprehensive, detailed, clear and concise outline of the major issues and where he stands. It heralds a fresh start for the city and the council.

One big issue is accountability and openness at city hall and by council, something on which LeBlanc has a good record. The public first became aware of the sale of a piece of Mapleton Park after Mr. LeBlanc, at the time not on council, raised the alarm. Council had done the deal in such a way the public was in the dark, even after it was approved in open council! There was no public consultation. Mr. LeBlanc is able to ensure this kind of thing does not happen again.

He also intends to review staffing, and again he is correct. Has the bureaucracy been allowed to grow like a weed garden? There is considerable evidence it has. Is this why the council didn't think it could afford tax cuts? Perhaps. Mr. LeBlanc wants to find out. On taxation, Mr. LeBlanc knows the importance of lower taxes and is prepared to try to get there. He also, refreshingly, intends to meet with the province and premier to try to work out a deal to ease the pain of escalating property assessments. No buck passing there!

These things are illustrative of Mr. LeBlanc's approach. Combined with his experience, it makes Mr. LeBlanc the most prepared and logical choice.

Click here to read the editorial as it appears on their website today.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Cars no match for this twister

The joys of live TV...

Sod-turning for Habitat for Humanity homes in Moncton

Thanks again to Brian Cormier's Blogtastic World! contributor Walt Forsey for yet another wonderful video for your enjoyment. As I've said, I never know when these little gems will arrive, but they're always very appreciated and informative. Thanks, Walt! Habitat for Humanity is an amazing organization and I urge you all to support it.

For more information on the Moncton-based chapter, contact:

Habitat for Humanity, Moncton Area
212 Halifax Street
Moncton NB E1C 9S2

... or click here to visit their website for North America.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Billboard's #1 country music artist of all time dies

Country music superstar Eddy Arnold has died at the age of 89. He was considered the top country star of the 20th century.

If Facebook was real life... too funny!

Another World star Beverlee McKinsey (Iris Carrington) dead at 72

Beverlee McKinsey, famous for her role as the bitchy Iris Carrington in Another World and Texas, has died at the age of 72 following complications from a kidney transplant.

Like many, I watched Another World after school in the 1970s and 1980s - actually right up until the end in 1999. McKinsey was always a favourite and I have fond memories of her wonderful portrayal of Iris.

Here are some scenes from Another World:

Idol Chatter for May 8, 2008: "Who'll make it to the Top 3?"

Last night, a member of the Top 4 was sent home, giving us a new Top 3 who will go on to compete next week and determine who will be in the finale the following week.

In 2002, 2004 and 2006, the Top 4 elimination show brought shocker eliminations. This being 2008, I was expecting that this two-year "curse" could be repeated. Was it? Did David Cook or David Archuleta get the boot? Have you looked outside today and there are riots on the streets? *wink* Was it Jason who went home, as everyone predicted? Or was Syesha finally sent packing after landing in the bottom two or three several times this season?

Click here to read my column in today's Moncton Times & Transcript and find out! The Top 3 perform next week on Fox on Tuesday at 9 p.m. Atlantic / 8 p.m. Eastern. Don't miss it!

If you want a job, try to at least be presentable

Hump Day
Moncton Times & Transcript
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Page D6

If you can't find a job, listen up! There are jobs aplenty!

Recently, every senior person in my office was headhunted by job recruiters on the same day. With a shortage of talent available in the province and an exodus of workers out west to take advantage of the oil boom, employers in this part of the country have been left scrambling for staff, be they senior, junior or even entry level.

The good news is that if you're unemployed, you won't be for long if you have two bits of sense in you. Got a pulse? Can you count to 10? OK... we're desperate... can you count to five? Yes? You're hired!

But the bad news is that job seekers have become so sloppy that some don't even appear to care how they present themselves. They know that some employers are so desperate that they're willing to overlook nearly every red flag short of a life sentence in prison for sleigh-jacking Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. In this day and age, employers can no longer afford to be fussy.

Recently, I was part of a job competition process for a non-profit organization I'm involved with. We're hiring someone for senior-level administrative work. Out of two rounds of advertising, we received about 40 applications. We asked for three simple things: a cover letter, salary expectations and a resume.

At least 90 per cent of applicants failed to apply properly. While everyone submitted a resume and most submitted a letter, the vast majority failed to disclose salary expectations. While I realize that this is the "nightmare" question, it's asked simply to see if you're in the range. If you're lower than what the salary really is, it doesn't mean that the salary will be decreased. It simply means that you'll likely be screened in because you're not asking (and expecting) a lot more than the employer has budgeted.

In turn, if everyone who submits salary expectations is above what the employer is willing to pay, then the employer has two options: either raise the salary to something more appropriate for the job or reduce the qualifications and find someone more "junior".

It was simply baffling to me to see the individuals applying for this position just willy-nilly ignore what was in the job ad. I mean, really... What were they thinking? We were hiring someone for a relatively senior position to do very serious and demanding administrative work and you expected an interview when you couldn't even follow the simplest of instructions? Letter... salary expectations... resume. That's not that complicated. Really, it's not.

It's not as if we asked for Colonel Sanders' secret KFC recipe or how they get the caramel in the Caramilk bar, right?

I was also involved in job interviews recently for another position within the same organization. Once again, what I saw was not promising for employers.

People arrived scruffy, wearing sunglasses on their head and carrying cups of coffee... to a job interview!

Apparently, gone are the days when people would at least try to look presentable. The job being filled wasn't glamorous by any means, but one guy showed up so rough looking that I was half wondering whether or not he'd just been released from the drunk tank. Like I said, the job wasn't fancy and the chances of Queen Elizabeth calling for strategic constitutional advice were pretty slim, but he could have at least run a comb through his hair.

What's an employer to do? I guess that if you pay enough, the people will flock to you. With that said, what are non-profits to do, especially those who usually can't afford to pay top wages, relying on their employees' sense of accomplishment to fill a void that money can't fill?

It must be tough for some employers. People who normally would not have lasted a day in the job 10 years ago are being kept out of desperation. I went to a major department store a few days ago and was served by a human version of a snail. This cashier was so slow that I'm pretty sure I saw the clock going backwards. The two-year-old kid in back of me with his mother hit puberty, earned two university degrees and raised a family before they even made it to the cashier to pay for his candy.

For someone with little patience like me, I found this to be excruciating. I almost felt like I was on Candid Camera. That's how bad it was. But I bet you that the cashier will still be there six months from now because they're so desperate for staff that even poor performers are kept on. A slow cashier or no cashier at all? If I owned a business, the snail would get the job.

I've been unemployed in a bad job market. It's no fun... no fun at all. But I remember spiffying myself up to go meet employers and shovelling out the ears to ensure I could hear everything correctly during the interview. It should still be that way. I don't expect someone to show up in a tuxedo, but for heaven's sakes at least try to make the tiniest effort to make a good impression, would you?

A good first impression is always something to strive for, so leave your sunglasses off your head, leave the cup of coffee in the car, run a comb through your hair and get rid of the beard stubble. (This is especially important for female job applicants.)

Remember, folks, I'll be watching!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

An interesting talent...

Idol Chatter for May 7, 2008: "Idols take on Hall of Fame"

We're down to the bottom four - when the rubber really hits the road. Last night, one contestant completely tanked, two did well, and one "crushed" the competition, so to speak, and has now earned the nickname "Crusher" by host Ryan Seacrest.

Is it Syesha's turn to go home despite her improving reviews and performances? Did Jason's downhill slide toward elimination continue? Were the two Davids their usual invincible selves?

Click here to read my column in today's Moncton Times & Transcript and find out! To see who's leaving this week, tune in to Fox at 10 p.m. Atlantic / 9 p.m. Eastern tonight. Only two weeks left in this season, folks!

Time for Hillary Clinton to call it a day...

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

This week's Hump Day...

... is about how far job applicants have fallen in properly applying for jobs and for their appearance when actually showing up. I've been conducting some job interviews lately and it's quite appalling how some people show up... messy hair, coffee, sunglasses on head, etc. And don't even get me started on the job applications themselves! Can't anyone follow simple instructions anymore?

Read this week's Hump Day column on the editorial page of tomorrow's Moncton Times & Transcript. It will be posted here online on Thursday.

Monday, May 05, 2008

This is cool!

From the YouTube video description:

"Metronomes (or "pendula"), when on table, oscillate with random phases, since that is how they started and they are "uncoupled" (no energy/information flows from one to other so they do not "know" each other.) When they are all together on the cans, notice that the cans themselves oscillate a little, thus providing coupling/information crossover which forces "synchronization" in periodic systems (discovered by Huygens in 17th century)."

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Is it just me...

... or is the number of police officers descending on two suspects a bit excessive?