Saturday, September 13, 2008

Another World memories - Mac and Rachel (1979)

Check out the view from my seats for the Elton John concert later this month in Moncton

Woohoo! My friend Roland Gauvin was at the Moncton Coliseum today and offered to take a photo from my seats for the Elton John concert. The stage will be where the hockey net is. Yessssssssssss...

Friday, September 12, 2008

Poopie poopie poopie

Click here for The Poopie List.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Theo Tams' winning moment on Canadian Idol

This was a really touching and amazing moment.

Holding fast to all those old family routines

Hump Day
By Brian Cormier
Moncton Times & Transcript
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Editorial Page (pg. D6)

For years, Sunday evenings have been the most ingrained as far as routines go.

When I was a kid, that was bath night (other nights were, too -- but Sunday evening was for sure!) and the time when weekend homework was done. I remember vividly the baths, clean pyjamas, steamy bathroom and soapy smell that permeated the house as the Cormier clan got ready for another week of work and school.

These days, not much has changed, except that I don't take baths anymore and I save showers for the morning. Sunday evenings, however, have become nailed down in what has become a very rigid routine.

First, I make a more elaborate supper than usual. Sunday night suppers when I was a kid were usually a treat. Often, we got a bucket of fried chicken and a few orders of large French fries for the family. Other times, we had homemade pizza, which was always a big hit! And, of course, we waited impatiently for the Wonderful World of Disney on television. If we were lucky, it would be a cartoon featuring Donald Duck, Goofy, Pluto or Mickey Mouse. Nature documentaries were always a favourite, too.

After the fancy-shmancy supper I make for myself, it's then time for laundry, which for some inexplicable reason has become a staple of my Sunday evenings. I'm not sure why I chose Sunday, but it seems like doing laundry on any other night of the week just doesn't seem right.

Once the laundry is in, it's time to write this column, which usually eats up a few hours of my time while the laundry is churning away downstairs. The cats get their Sunday night exercise following me on my several trips to the basement to check on the status of the clothes. If they don't escort me down the stairs (I think they're trying to trip me to get their inheritance early), they run ahead of me when I'm going up the stairs, probably to make sure I don't get lost.

If they're trying to trip me, the little buggers haven't yet figured out that falling while going up the stairs isn't quite as likely to snap my neck as a fall going down. They sit contentedly and watch me sort dirty clothes into different colour groupings. This inevitably tires them out before they disappear to take their 643rd nap of the day.

Sunday night is also a night for taping a ton of TV shows. Usually, the recorder is taping from 8 p.m. straight through to 2 a.m. to tape shows from the west coast satellite feeds that were conflicting with other shows earlier in the evening.

Like Sunday, other nights just scream for routine, as well.

When I was a kid, Thursday was as predictable as snow in January. Thursday was groceries night!

For a long time, my father would do the food shopping. Usually, I tagged along because I could usually whine my way into getting a treat -- usually a pack of suckers that were sold in a bin near the checkout.

I would only be able to get them under strict orders to share with my brother and sister, which usually resulted in trying my darndest to eat the red, black and green ones before I got home, leaving them with the yucky yellow ones and so-so orange ones.

The cashiers had their work cut out for them, too. There was none of this modern scanning of UPC codes, let me tell you! Each price had to be read and then individually punched into the cash register.

I remember we used to go to Dewares on Elmwood Drive before we switched to Dominion at Champlain Place. Dewares had the big heavy paper bags that were packed for you by a (usually male) teenager who would then load everything in your car for you.

If you were buying a 50-pound bag of potatoes, then he usually lugged that out, too, along with your grocery order.

Younger readers won't remember this, but Dominion once stood basically where the food court is now at the mall. In fact, the entire mall pretty much finished there. The section going toward Sobeys didn't even exist.

We would have supper, then head out to get groceries as a family. It would give us an opportunity to get stuff for the week. I remember my parents -- who both smoked -- would also run over to the pharmacy to buy a couple of cartons of cigarettes for the week.

Pharmacies don't sell cigarettes anymore, but they did back then.

I remember heading down to Champlain Place with everyone in the car in the middle of the winter listening to Donna Summer's Bad Girls playing on CKCW.

We'd get our groceries, the cigarettes at the pharmacy, a treat at the ice cream store (if we were lucky!), and then head back home just in time to get homework done, another bath and then watch television.

Saturday nights when I was a kid was, of course, spent watching Hockey Night in Canada and rooting for the Montreal Canadiens. To make us mad, my mother would always cheer for whomever was playing against the Canadiens.

If it wasn't hockey season, I would try to stay up late to watch the old Academy Performance movie of the week on CTV.

One of my favourites was The Poseidon Adventure, which I think was the only one that riveted me so much that I didn't fall asleep.

Routines can be drudgery, but they can also hold nice memories, too.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

And the new Canadian Idol is...



(As I predicted, by the way!)

Congratulations to Theo for his amazing performances this season and for winning Canadian Idol 2008!

Also, thanks and congratulations to Maritimer Mitch MacDonald for doing us proud!

Both class acts!

Canadian Idol review and prediction for week of September 8, 2008: THE FINAL WEEK!

This is it, folks! The climax of the 2008 season of Canadian Idol airs tonight when the winner of this year's singing competition will be crowned.

We've been inundated with Idol shows since January - first with American Idol - and then with Canadian Idol... and it's always thrilling and sad at the same time to see another competition come to an end.

The two finalists in Canadian Idol this year are Theo Tams (22, Lethbridge AB) and Mitch Macdonald (22, Port Hood NS). Quite frankly, both Theo and Mitch are great in my books. There are some people who aren't fans of Mitch's high-pitched voice, but I personally really like it and it works miracles on certain songs. Theo has been the most consistently excellent contestant all season and has rarely been criticized by the judges. Some have called him one of the best singers that the show has ever seen.

Both contestants had great performances on Monday's performance show. Here are my favourite performances from both:

Theo Tams: I Want to Know What Love Is

Mitch MacDonald: Where We Begin

So who's going to win? Let's look at both...


PROS: He's been consistently excellent throughout the season and has proven to be a real pro. I haven't heard anyone who doesn't think he's an excellent singer. His performances have often been the "talk of the water cooler" in offices the next day.

UNKNOWN: He's openly gay. Does that matter? It should neutralize itself. Some will vote for him specifically because he's gay. Others will not vote for him specifically because he's gay. Most (hopefully) won't care either way. To those who think it's a big deal... two words: Elton John.

CONS: He could be a bit eccentric for more conservative Idol voters. He's likeable, but not as likeable as Mitch. And then there's that "sweaty armpits" audition - oyyyy... Gross.


PROS: He's extremely likeable, cool, calm and steady. He has a rabid regional vote - likely more rabid that Theo's.

UNKNOWN: His voice. You either like it or hate it. Also, he's also the only Idol who's never been in the bottom two/three - but there have been lots of examples of contestants who've never been in the bottom two/three who end up losing (David Archuleta anyone?).

CONS: He's not as polished as Theo and doesn't have Theo's range. Mitch needs his guitar, while Theo is more versatile on stage.

So who's going to win? I'm going to have to tear up my "Maritimer" membership card and say Theo. Not that I don't think Mitch is worthy. He's really really good. He's extremely likeable. Not a cocky bone in his body.

But Theo has been so consistently excellent that I think people will look at him and say he deserves to win. He's had several amazing and memorable performances this season that I believe have earned him the respect of voters and the Canadian music industry.

In my books, Theo will be crowned the victor on tonight's season finale of Canadian Idol.

We'll see what happens! It's been a wonderful season! Thanks to everyone who followed my predictions and reviews.

Like you, I can't wait until American Idol kicks into gear again in January!

Today's Hump Day column...

... is about some of the routines of my childhood (and adulthood) and the pleasant memories those routines bring to mind. Check out Hump Day on the editorial page of today's Moncton Times & Transcript or come back tomorrow to read it posted online.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Looking for a "râpe électrique"?

If you make poutine râpée, having an electric potato grater (in French: "râpe électrique") is a major timesaver. Finding one is nearly impossible.

Well, I've found someone who makes them! His name is Telex Goguen and he can be reached at He charges $300 + shipping (if it needs to be shipped - or it can be picked up in Moncton).

With Christmas coming, you may want to get your order in now before poutine-making season arrives!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Some longtime residents of the Moncton SPCA need new homes!

These three longtime residents of the Moncton SPCA desperately need a home and have been waiting a very long time for a new family. Please consider them if you are looking for a new animal friend.

Jessie - Click here for his profile.

Socks - Click here for his profile.

Meko - Click here for his profile.

Today is the first anniversary of the Harrison Trimble High School tragedy

Today is the first anniversary of the tragic car accident that took the lives of four Harrison Trimble High School students on September 8, 2007. Killed in the accident were Brandon Hupman, Jimmy Dunphy, Jared Storey and Corey Doucet. An entire year has passed since their deaths, but their memories live on through their families and friends.

Little did New Brunswickers know at the time, however, that this was just a taste of an even bigger tragedy that would grip the nation just a few short months later when seven students from Bathurst High School and a teacher were killed in another motor vehicle accident.

In honour of Brandon, Jimmy, Jared and Corey, I am re-posting a very popular Hump Day column that ran on September 19, 2007, in the Moncton Times & Transcript. Here it is:

Hump Day
Published Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Editorial Page (pg. D8)
Moncton Times & Transcript

If someone had asked me at 7:59 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2007, who Brandon Hupman, Jimmy Dunphy, Jared Storey and Corey Doucet were, I would have told them that I didn't have a clue. And had a car accident not happened a minute or so later, I probably would have never known they even existed.

Today, their faces are burned into my memory and I can recite their names at the drop of a hat.

Four decent young men dead. Three girls following in a car traumatized by witnessing something that no one ever deserves to see. Two people in an oncoming truck faced with the lifelong burden of wondering whether things could have been different had they been 30 seconds ahead or behind schedule. Neighbours sitting quietly in their homes one minute and putting out fires at a horrific accident scene the next.

The world changed for many that night. Harrison Trimble High School lost four loyal Trojans at once. Combined with the death of Satara Steeves earlier in the summer, herself also the victim of a car-related incident, this brought to five the number of young lives that ended barely before the school year began. It's almost too much to bear.

While many turned to the Internet to express their grief, I can't help but think about what was happening offline in "real life".

Perhaps one of the boys' friends whispering "I love you, buddy" while crying himself to sleep, hoping that his expression of affection would be heard in some other dimension. (I know it was!)

Or that same friend's parents listening to him crying in his room, heartbroken over his pain while at the same time thankful that he was safe -- and not able to even imagine the grief in four homes that night as other moms and dads stared in shock and disbelief at empty beds that would not be slept in.

Or maybe the family dog waiting for their boy to get home, wondering where the warm body it curls up next to every night has gone. He'll surely be home soon to give them their nightly pat on the head and belly rub, right? They wait . . . and wait some more for the boy who never arrives.

There are the brothers and sisters not knowing what to do with seeing their parents so distraught . . . and grieving themselves over a brother who left them too soon. A brother they were supposed to fight with as teenagers and then get along with as adults. A brother they were supposed to grow old with. A brother who was supposed to be there forever. A brother who was supposed to spoil nieces and nephews. A brother who was supposed to be an amazing life partner and father in his own family one day.

There are the teachers who looked forward to helping to mold these young men into students who would go on to careers that would make a difference in the world.

And there are the boys' parents, of course, with holes in their hearts seemingly too large to ever heal. And the aunts and uncles, grief-stricken over not only their siblings' despair, but over the loss of a beloved nephew they've known from birth.

And the grandparents, wanting to take away their children's pain but not knowing how.

A year from now, when we mark the first anniversary of this event, we'll wonder where the time went. The boys' high school class will be in its graduation year.

Many will shed a tear in remembrance. Some -- hopefully just a few -- will not have been able to work through their grief to a point where they could regain some sense of normality. Others -- hopefully most -- will have moved on as best they could with their lives.

If we could hear the boys right now, I believe they would be saying this, "Honour us by living your lives to the fullest. Grieve because you are human, but remember to live because you are human, too."

"One day in the future when you find yourselves laughing at something, don't feel guilty because we're not there to laugh with you. When you find yourselves able to feel joy again, laugh with all your heart -- and laugh loudly and heartily. Talk to us often. We can hear you. And remember that we'll see you again one day."

It is my sincere wish that these boys' lives leave a legacy of hope, generosity and kindness among their families, their friends, the teachers and staff at Harrison Trimble and in the community.

Any other outcome would be the true tragedy in all of this.

To the boys' siblings, friends and the students of Harrison Trimble High School: When you're older and have families of your own, teach your children the compassion that you've experienced and that you'll continue to experience through all of this.

Teach them that it's OK to tell someone that you love them. Teach them that it's essential to grieve, but that it's also essential to move on, too. . . and that moving on doesn't mean you don't love your friends who are gone. It just means that they inspired you to do great things because their lives truly mattered!

If you had told me at 7:59 p.m. on Sept. 8, 2007, that I would soon be learning life lessons from four teenagers I didn't even know, I would have told you that you're nuts. After all, what could these kids teach me, anyway? Me -- an adult.

Well . . . compassion, empathy and a renewed sense of community, among many other things. And that's not bad for four 16-year-old boys I'd never met. Not bad at all, don't you think?

(Photo credit: Cindy Wilson, Telegraph-Journal, September 13, 2007 - taken at Brandon Hupman's funeral held on September 12, 2007)

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Tim Conway's hilarious circus elephant story

There was nothing funnier than Tim Conway ad-libbing on The Carol Burnett Show. Watch how he cracks up the cast with his ridiculous circus elephant story. But it's Vicky Lawrence who brings down the house at the end.

Today's advice...