Saturday, June 07, 2008

My Top 10 favourite Canadian Idol performances: #10

Hi everyone! Now that Canadian Idol has started another season, I've decided to post my Top 10 favourite performances from the show. They'll be posted over the next 10 days until I reach the #1 position.

My #10 favourite performance comes from none other than Jacob Hoggard. Jacob was the consummate showman in Canadian Idol's second season during the summer of 2004. Fans just never knew what he was going to do - but they knew it would be entertaining. Jacob is currently the lead singer for Hedley - and very successful.

On August 19, 2004, the show paid tribute to Canadian music legend Gordon Lightfoot. In my opinion, that specific episode was the best one ever for Canadian Idol (or even American Idol). Several of the contestants' performances that night were absolutely stellar.

For his song choice, Jacob chose Sundown. Although a couple of the judges trashed his performance, it's become one of my favourites. I absolutely love Jacob's take on it. I've listened to it dozens of times over the years.

So... starting off my Top 10 favourites, here's Jacob Hoggard with Sundown:

Friday, June 06, 2008

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Obsessing lately over unlikely occurrences

Hump Day
Moncton Times & Transcript
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Pg. D6

I'm starting to get a bit worried about myself because I've been obsessing lately over relatively minor things and unlikely occurrences.

For some reason yet to be determined, I've become a clean freak about my cat Casey's eyes. Yes, his eyes. You know how people get "sleep" in their eyes during the night? Everyone does, right? Well, Casey gets "sleep" in his eyes, too, and I've somehow come to an epiphany and decided that it's my mission in life to keep his eyes cleaner than surgical equipment.

And since cats sleep 83 hours per day, it's a big job.

Every time I'm near him, I check his eyes for "sleep gunk" and feel the need to scrape it away with an urgency that would only be appropriate if it were radioactive waste or actually in flames. He's such a good cat that he usually tolerates it, allowing me to clean out the corners of his eyes with my finger. I do it gently, of course, but still... I mean, he's a cat! It's not as if he's going to get invited to meet the queen. "Buckingham Palace regrets to inform you, Casey, that you may no longer dine with Her Majesty today because of the utter filth in the corners of your eyes. You will be beheaded at once."

When I say that he tolerates it, it's likely because the alternative -- not getting petted, scratched, rubbed and otherwise poked and prodded -- is not an option for him. You see, this is one affectionate cat. There's no place better he likes to be other than draped over my shoulders like a shawl (he's a big cat!) and getting his face rubbed as I work at the computer. He'll just lie there and purr his furry little brains out as I slave away writing hilariously entertaining and life-affirming columns for you, dear readers.

Eventually, though, I have to put him down on the floor, not because he's uncomfortable, but because he's basically a 13-pound furnace that sheds.

I've got to admit, though, that his warm belly feels nice on my neck when he's purring. It's like a living "magic bag" -- you know . . . those bean-filled cloth-covered bags that you throw in the microwave that ease muscle tension and a variety of other aches and pains.

Not to be outdone, Casey's partner in crime -- Cindy -- has also grown to enjoy spending time with "Big Man Who Feeds Me" while I'm at the computer in my home office. While Casey just jumps on the desk for attention, Little Miss Demanding sneaks up between my feet, stands on her hind legs and then taps with her paw on my "nether regions" to get my attention. Crude, but effective, especially when it's the morning and I'm wearing a bathrobe and not much else. Thankfully, she keeps her claws in. Otherwise, she'd likely end up looking like a stepped-on packet of ketchup from my instinctive reaction to slam my legs together to protect the "merchandise".

Cindy never liked to be held, but for some reason now loves being in my arms as long as she's on her back and rolled up into a ball so tight that she looks like an armadillo. I could hold her that way for hours, I think. She purrs loudly and her two paws manage to stretch out as she kneads the air happily, a cat's sign that they're in ecstasy.

This brings me to my next obsession. A work colleague recently sent me a link to a video of the country song Feed Jake by Pirates of the Mississippi.

If you've never heard of it, it's one of the saddest songs ever. It's about two friends, one of whom makes the other promise to feed his dog (Jake) if he ever dies. The two buddies are shown at the beginning of the video as young teenagers. Jake is just a puppy. By the end of the video, one friend (now a young adult) is going to the other's funeral -- and calls to Jake -- now an old dog, who's standing guard at the freshly filled-in grave of his late master.

Now that his friend has died, it's up to him to "feed Jake", as the title goes. Jake runs to him, starving -- we're to assume. The car drives away with Jake and his new owner. As you can imagine, it's a real tearjerker of a video.

Like the song, I often wonder what would happen to the cats should I somehow kick the bucket while I'm either sleeping or after my head explodes trying to figure out who in the world actually purchases the bottled clam juice I see in the grocery stores.

Anyhoo . . . I always make sure their water dish is full before I go to bed. I also make sure that they get a little snack of dental and hairball treats to tide them over until morning. At least their teeth will be clean and they won't be coughing up fur at the funeral. That would be in bad taste, even for cats.

I guess I'm so concerned that they'll go hungry if I suddenly show up at the Pearly Gates because I'm half afraid that no one will notice I'm gone. Now, I wouldn't expect my house to be strewn with bouquets of flowers from mourners like after Princess Diana died, but it would be nice if someone noticed that I hadn't showed up to work in a week.

What could be worse? I keep hearing stories of people who live by themselves, die, and then someone finds them two or three years later. "He was such a quiet neighbour. Never caused any trouble for anyone." No wonder, huh? Try being dead and causing trouble at the same time. It's not easy.

I can't be the only one who worries about those things. In fact, the local animal shelter does a swift business selling stickers that tell rescue workers that there are pets in your home should something happen to you.

Needless to say, I've purchased said stickers and have them now placed on my front and back doors -- slightly altered to include, "After checking my pulse, please don't forget to clean the sleep out of Casey's eyes, too."

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

bigwhale's "Run" released as free download in honour of Sean Collins

Singer/songwriter Peter Post and his band bigwhale have released the song "Run" written about and in memory of Sean Collins. Sean was a 13-year-old boy who succumbed to Rhabdomyosarcoma, a soft tissue cancer, in July 2007 after fighting the cancer three times in four years.

The goal of the song is to celebrate Sean's courage and exceptional attitude while also generating awareness of Children’s Cancer in Canada. It will be performed live for the first time on Friday, June 6, at approximately 10 p.m. as part of bigwhale’s set during the Relay For Life at Centennial Park in Moncton. The Canadian Cancer Society’s Relay for Life raised approximately $190,000 last year.

The song was written by Peter Post and performed by his band, bigwhale. The band includes Post on vocals and guitar, Brent O’Hara on bass and Maurice Fougere on drums was also augmented for the recording by Neil Kennedy (programming) as well as Robin Anne Ettles who produced and mixed the track and also contributed additional guitar.

Run is available for free download at any of the following sites:

Peter Post’s website:

bigwhale’s website:

For more information, e-mail

Click here for the Dix aiguilles / Ten Needles Facebook group for fans of the book about Sean Collins' life written by Martin Latulippe.

Today's Hump Day: Obsessing lately over unlikely occurrences

Hi everyone! Don't forget to check out this week's Hump Day column on the editorial age of today's Moncton Times & Transcript (page D6). Today's column is about a few weird obsessions that I have developed with my cats. They're quite odd... but hey... they're mine! :) It will be posted online here tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Monday, June 02, 2008

Fred gets babysat

"Fred" is the creation of a teenage actor named Lucas. Fred is an overly dramatic six-year-old with anger management issues and an alcoholic mom. He's not supposed to be using her video camera to post videos. Fred's also in love with a girl at school named Judy. Unfortunately, Judy hates him.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Moment of silence for New Brunswick native Luc Bourdon at last night's Stanley Cup game between the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins

Meet Fred! "Fred goes to the dentist"

"Fred" is the creation of a teenage actor named Lucas. Fred is an overly dramatic six-year-old with anger management issues and an alcoholic mom. He's not supposed to be using her video camera to post videos. I think these are quite funny and clever once you get past the slightly annoying sped-up voice track. Once you get used to it, it's pretty entertaining! Fred's also in love with a girl at school named Judy. Unfortunately, Judy hates him. I'll be posting these when new ones are posted and will be posting old ones, as well.