Saturday, May 17, 2008

Will the Triple Crown finally be won this year?

Looks like Big Brown has a better-than-decent chance to win the Triple Crown this year after winning convincingly in the Kentucky Derby and - today - in the Preakness Stakes. The Triple Crown (Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes) hasn't been won since Affirmed won in 1978... 30 years ago!

Here's Big Brown's win in the Kentucky Derby back on May 3:

And here's his win today in the Preakness:

Obviously a force to be reckoned with!

Journalist and Canadian TV personality Gordon Sinclair died 24 years ago today

Famous journalist and Canadian TV personality Gordon Sinclair died 24 years ago today. If you watched the long-running CBC news headline quiz show Front Page Challenge, he was certainly a familiar person to you. Click here for a news item that ran on CBC's The National on the day he died. Here's his famous 1973 commentary called "The Americans", which defended the United States against overwhelming criticism, likely from fallout from the Vietnam war.

And here he is in a Front Page Challenge segment from 1972.

The next David Archuleta?

Uhm... no.

Here's the real deal:

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Idol Chatter for May 15, 2008: "And the final two are..."

We're finally down to the last two standing in the competition for the title of American Idol 2008.

Syesha was widely thought to be going home last night. Were the pundits (including me) correct? Is the final everyone was hoping for - the two Davids - a reality?

Click here to find out.

There are only two shows left, folks - which means only two columns left, too! Watch the final performance show of this year's American Idol next Tuesday at 9 p.m. Atlantic / 8 p.m. Eastern on Fox.

When you put yourself in the public eye...

Hump Day
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Moncton Times & Transcript
Pg. D6

It's always kind of intimidating to hear from people who read your column in the newspaper. You just never know who's out there.

Recently, I was campaigning in a convent with a municipal election candidate (yes, a convent), when two of the nuns came up to me and said that I looked very familiar. Well, I didn't look like Charlton Heston from the Ten Commandments, Pope Benedict or Jesus himself, so I couldn't for the life of me figure out where they would have seen me. Surely they'd mistaken me for someone else.

"Uhm, well I write for the newspaper," I said, never thinking in a million years that l'il ol' me was the hit of the nunnery. "That's it!" one of the sisters said. "We read your column all the time!"

"Oh no," I thought. If nuns are reading my column, surely I am going to have to water down my humour and think twice about writing about anything controversial? What if I offend them? What if one of them was to faint after reading a slightly off-colour joke that I managed to slip through the editors' eagle-like eyes?

Well, my fears about offending them too easily were quelled after they started grilling the candidate with very pointed questions about social policies. What about the poor people in the city? What would he do to help them? What did he think about the pseudo-ghettos where they lived?

To say the least, these nuns were no shrinking violets. Indeed, they were much worldlier than I'd anticipated. Goes to show how much I know about nuns... and about how my preconceived notions of their imagined isolation from the world were completely wrong on my part.

While in line at the grocery store the other day, I heard someone say a cheery "Hi Brian!" from the cash register next to the one I was at. I looked over and saw two complete strangers. I think it was obvious to them that I'd blanked out completely because I stared at them for a few seconds that I'm sure felt like 10 hours.

Finally, the man piped up. "We're your old neighbours!" Oh God, I thought. Now I'm really lost. I just don't have a clue who these people are.

By time I was ready to smile nicely and run out of the store while dialling 9-1-1 on my cell phone, my memory banks started kicking in. The lady told me their last name and that did it. Of course I knew who they were! Well for heaven sakes! It had literally been at least 25 years since I'd spoken to them or even seen them around town. They told me they'd moved about a half-hour out of the city back in 1985. Not only were they my old neighbours, but I'd babysat their two sons a few times, including the day of an earthquake back in 1981 and, apparently, one New Year's Eve, so the lady reminded me.

Wow, talk about bringing back memories or what! They brought me up to date on the kids, who were now 34 and 36. Internally, I screamed, because I thought they would be something like 18 or 19 now. Makes no sense, considering I was babysitting them in the early 1980s, but denial about ageing can be a powerful delusion.

I didn't do a lot of babysitting, but they were good kids to care for. I remember making them hotdogs for lunch and then washing the dishes afterwards. The lady told me afterwards that I didn't have to wash them, but I certainly was brought up better than that! (Besides, I probably thought she'd slip me an extra $5 if she came home to a clean house. Also, I remember that she worked at a place called House of Knives, so I sure as heck wasn't going to give her an excuse to try out some of the products on me after coming home to a messy house!)

Once, the youngest son fell and hurt himself and the older boy presented me with his sobbing little brother, expecting me to fix whatever had happened. Sheesh, what the heck was I supposed to do? Well, he didn't seem to be bleeding or holding any internal organs in his hand that should have been on the inside, so I just told him everything would be OK and then prayed that he'd stop crying. Thankfully, he did.

A few times, I babysat at night while their parents went out. The kids' bedrooms were just down the hall and they were shipped to bed before the parents left for the night. They were good kids and never got up after they fell asleep, but I always wondered how they never woke each other up because those two snored like 400-pound truckers! I couldn't believe it. In fact, I answered the door once to find a corpse from the nearby cemetery knocking at the door. "Excuse me sir. Don't mean to bother you at this late hour, but my friends and I were wondering if you wouldn't mind asking the boys to turn down the volume on that snoring. We're trying to be dead here!"

I would have screamed, but the snoring would have drowned me out anyway. Nice family, though -- despite the snoring kiddies. I was glad that I got to catch up with their news at the grocery store. I'd often wondered how they were doing.

The connection with the nuns to this part of the story is that the former neighbour also told me that she read my column faithfully and never missed it. In fact, she already knew a lot of what was going on in my life because I'd written about it.

Moral of the story? If you write a column, try to be nice to everyone! You never know when nuns or neighbours may be reading.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Today's Hump Day: When you put yourself in the public eye...

... is all about the fact that one never knows who's reading what you write in the newspaper. In the past week, a couple of incidents happened that reminded me that you just never know who's out there... people you never dreamed that would read your column... and people you haven't seen in decades who you assumed had forgotten who you even were! Read this week's Hump Day on the editorial page of today's Moncton Times & Transcript. It will be posted online here tomorrow.

Idol Chatter for May 14, 2008: "Who's headed to the final?"

The countdown is on to next week's final. The Top 3 (David Archuleta, David Cook and Syesha Mercado) performed three songs each last night: one song chosen by the judges, one song of their own choice, and one song chosen by the producers.

The general wisdom from anyone watching the show is that the two Davids will be in the final, but of course anything can happen in American Idol. Did Syesha pull a rabbit out of her hat? She needed to blow the roof off the building last night if she even had a chance to take down either of the Davids.

Did she do it? Click here to read today's column to find out. To see who's leaving this week, tune in to Fox tonight at 10 p.m. Atlantic / 9 p.m. Eastern tonight.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Celebrity deaths for May 13th

Actor Gary Cooper died on May 13, 1961. He died of prostate cancer at the age of 60.

"Bonanza" actor Dan Blocker died on May 13, 1972, of a pulmonary embolism following routine gall bladder surgery. He was 43.

Musician Chet Baker died mysteriously on May 13, 1988. He was found dead on a sidewalk in Amsterdam with head injuries and drugs in his system. He was 58.

Monday, May 12, 2008

George LeBlanc: The new Mayor of Moncton!

Congratulations to George LeBlanc for being elected the new mayor of Moncton this evening by a wide margin.


George LeBlanc: 12,898 (77%)
Pierre Michaud: 3,868 (23%)

Also, Moncton made history this evening by electing the first female francophone councillor in its history, Paulette Thériault in Ward 1. Félicitations!


Today is municipal election day in New Brunswick. Please exercise your right ... your duty! ... to vote. If you're not sure where to vote, click here for a list of returning offices. Call your local returning office for more information. Click here for results after 8 p.m. (Atlantic) tonight.

Good luck to all the candidates!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Plastic toy figurines in Fluffs cereal

Does anyone else remember these?

Happy Mother's Day 2008!