Saturday, July 19, 2008

Elton John sells out Moncton in 82 minutes!

Elton John's Moncton concert sold out at 10:22 a.m. Eye-witness Roland Gauvin of Grand-Barachois told me that he watched the people in line at the Moncton Coliseum turn around "en masse" at exactly that time. People were very upset - some of them crying.

Luckily, I scored two EXCELLENT tickets in the lower bowl next to the stage. I bought them online. When I say excellent... I mean excellent. I'll be in section 14:

Disappointed Elton John fans are shown here leaving the Moncton Coliseum after the tickets were completely sold out at 10:22 a.m. this morning. There were reports that online sales ended before 10:22, however the lineup at the Coliseum was not told to go home until that time. (Photo courtesy of Roland Gauvin)

Friday, July 18, 2008

'Beer Guy' won't be reinstated, lawyer says

Courtesy of CTV:

"A 61-year-old vendor known as the "Beer Guy" to Toronto Blue Jays fans will not be given his job back, the man's lawyer says.

Daniel Lublin, the employment lawyer representing Wayne McMahon, says Aramark told him they will not re-hire McMahon to work ballgames at the Rogers Centre.

"I have now been advised by Mr. McMahon's former employer that it has completed its investigation into the matter and that it is not prepared to reinstate Mr. McMahon as an employee," Lublin said in a statement late Friday afternoon.

"We find this decision truly regrettable, especially considering the overwhelming support that Mr. McMahon has received from the public, Toronto Blue Jays fans and the media."

McMahon, known for his trademark "ICE COLD BEER" holler, was let go on July 8 because he sold beer to someone without checking their identification first."

Click here for the complete news item. See below for a sample of his trademark sales pitch:

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Ouch! Becoming 'green' is starting to hurt

Hump Day
Times & Transcript
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Pg. D6

Is it wrong that I'm probably not as environmentally conscious as I should be? I mean, I care about the environment, sure, but let's just say that I'm not going to start buying into the gimmick of turning off my lights for an hour once every year in the misguided thought that it will actually make a difference.

I realize, of course, that those who take part are doing so with good intentions. Reducing our carbon footprint in the world should be a lifelong goal, however is turning off our lights for an hour going to change anything? I think not.

Corporations are now jumping on the bandwagon, too. Last weekend, I went to a major office supplies retailer (the back-to-school sales are already on, by the way) only to find the store darkened because of some sort of "green" promotion. Apparently, the company has joined up with others to reduce the amount of light in their store in order to save the environment.

OK, you may have saved the environment, but I can say without exaggeration that all it did was turn off this consumer. The store looked dark and completely uninviting -- like when a place turns off its lights 15 minutes before closing to tell shoppers that they'd better head to the cashier right then and there or risk getting locked up in the store for the night with Fifi, the starving guard dog with rabies.

In fact, pretty much the universal sign for a store's imminent closing is to turn down the lights, so after years of consumers having this drilled into their heads, what do the brainiacs at this office supplies outlet do? They decide to turn down their lights for the entire day. The message they wanted to transmit was: "We care about the environment." The message I received was: "Get out! Get out, now! Here, Fifi!"

And if you've ever shopped for office supplies, looking for certain items -- like ink refills or other items only differentiated by an obscure code somewhere on the package -- is hard enough with all the lights on, but turn off half the lights and then try searching for a replacement cartridge for your "Barbie Goes to College" dot matrix printer! Let's just say that it ain't no fun.

So what did I do when I went in the store? Well, I spied exactly what I wanted (thankfully near the front of the store where a person could actually see) and bought it, feeling very uncomfortable even thinking about walking around the rest of the cavernous, darkened store. I felt unwelcome, rushed and annoyed that one of my favourite stores made it so difficult for me to shop there in an effort to be supposedly "green".

And furthermore, what about personal safety? I'm not particularly worried about my own safety, but what about others? Rats congregate in the dark, after all, and they'll congregate in the darkened corners of a store, too. A bad person will do the same.

Another thing I'm having a real problem doing is having to practically cash in my retirement savings in order to pay for more energy-efficient light bulbs. Can someone tell me how paying 10 times the usual cost of a "regular"

light bulb to save a few cents per month is helping anyone except the manufacturer of the light bulb? Is anyone really keeping track of how long these bulbs last? I'm sure I'm not the only one who's purchased these so-called miracle bulbs only to see them conk out a few months later.

Oh heck, even if I admitted that the bulbs may save you a bit of cash over time, they are so dim that I can't imagine having a house full of them. You might as well keep the lights off in middle of the night and walk round with a jar full of fireflies leading your way. You'd get about as much candlepower from that as you would from one of those energy-efficient jobbies.

Well, I guess there goes my political career as environment minister, huh?

There's hope for me yet, though! Don't worry, I'm not completely environmentally ignorant! I'm hell-bent on upgrading my windows here at home, as well as my heating system. My current system is a dog's breakfast of knitted-together technologies that make no sense when I could literally just get a completely new heating system and it would pay for itself by consolidating my energy sources and increasing the efficiency of my home. Right now, I'm throwing money out the window... literally!

My current furnace is so ancient that the oldest date on the service record was written in Roman numerals, so it's probably time to upgrade. Besides, I can't imagine that a new system -- no matter what I get -- won't be a million times more efficient than the 45-year-old clunker that takes up half my basement. It's older than I am!

Since my mortgage comes due this fall, I've started researching costs and ways to get this work done, including a bit of an upgrade to my poor bathroom, a room stuck in the 1970s if there ever was one. The kitchen will have to wait for now, but the windows, furnace, perhaps the siding, and that poor out-of-date bathroom are at the top of the priority list. After that and a bit of juggling around of other debt, I should be able to afford some of those pricey bulbs that promise to pay for themselves over 50 years.

If I don't upgrade my heating system soon and start saving money, I'm probably going to have to start turning off my lights not because I want to, but because I can't afford not to. And therein lies the main impetus for energy conservation: if it hurts enough, we'll change our bad habits. Maybe that carbon tax isn't such a bad thing?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Today's Hump Day column...

... is all about my being environmentally (un)conscious. Is the cost of those fancy-wancy light bulbs really worth it? Will they really save me all that money? I'm not sure, but I know that I really didn't enjoy one trip to a local retailer because of a gimmick they were promoting where the lighting in their store was turned way down, causing them to lose some of the money that I planned to spend there. Ya can't buy what ya can't see! Check out Hump Day on the editorial page of today's Moncton Times & Transcript. It will be posted online here tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Rosie O'Donnell was in Saint John today!

Rosie's R Family Vacations made a stop in Saint John today where several American same-sex couples took advantage of Canada's modern marriage laws to get married! Here are some exclusive pics courtesy of reader Mike Bacon of Saint John:

Rosie being interviewed by the media:

The cruise ship that Rosie's group was using for the cruise, the Norwegian Dawn:

Click on the photos for full-size versions.

Simon's Cat 'TV Dinner'

Dogfighting public service announcement: Warning - difficult to watch

Last night's Canadian Idol was more or less awful

Mark Day's performance of Dancing in the Streets on last night's Canadian Idol was the worst thing I've ever seen on Canadian Idol or American Idol. It was a complete mess. That "twirl" he did during the song while spinning his arm in the air was so cringe-worthy that it was painful to even watch.

Amberly Thiessen was equally pathetic with her anemic and uninspiring rendition of Space Oddity, made famous (Idol-wise, at least) in Season 2 by Jacob Hoggard. Check out both versions below.

Space Oddity - Jacob Hoggard

Set Your Self On Fire | MySpace Video

Amberly was PATHETIC compared to this:

Thankfully, Theo Tams redeemed the evening with an amazing version of Silly Boy Blue.

Judge Zack Warner needs either glasses or a hearing aid.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Have you seen Archie? He was stolen from the Moncton SPCA!

Archie is a brindle-coloured pug who was stolen from the Moncton SPCA sometime during the afternoon of Sunday, July 13. If you have seen Archie or know where he is, please contact the Moncton SPCA at 857-8698 or the Codiac RCMP at 857-2400 immediately.

Please help find Archie!!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Some flowers from my garden and the neighbour's

All photos taken today - July 13, 2008. Click on the photo for the large version.

A marigold from my neighbour's garden:

A yellow lily from my neighbour's garden:

A red lily from my neighbour's garden:

An orange lily from my garden: