Saturday, February 28, 2009

Friday, February 27, 2009

Some Friday brain candy for you

It's Friday and I'm exhausted. It's been a long week and it's time for some brain candy. Here are some funny cat images from the wonderfully silly website I Can Has Cheezburger.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Kids are just great until diaper changing time

Hump Day
By Brian Cormier
Moncton Times & Transcript
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Editorial Page

I get along pretty well with kids, even though some people I know are really intimidated by them. They don't intimidate me at all. I just engage them in conversation until they spot something shiny and off they go to other things.

I've been around younger kids for about 15 years since my friends and siblings started to have children. I'm godfather to two and uncle to three. I'm also an "uncle" (in quotation marks) to a few more who aren't technically related by blood, but when you're friends with someone for more than 30 years, the "Law of Friendship" says you can claim the honourary title of "uncle" to their kids, so I do.

I buy gifts, give cards and have taken them places here and there every now and then. I've been to baptisms and birthday parties. I've even babysat a few times. Usually, my free babysitting gigs were pretty uneventful because the kids were already in bed when I showed up and they didn't even know I was there. During the odd time one of them would wake up, I just shuffled quietly into the room, put the soother back in their mouth or gave them the teddy bear they'd lost, and back to sleep they went.

I met my match one night, however, when my brother and his wife went out for the evening. Having remembered my offer to babysit, they asked me to take care of my niece for a few hours. This was before the era when everyone had a cell phone, so when they dropped her off, they were pretty much unreachable even though I knew where they were in case of an emergency.

When they dropped her off, she seemed content. She was cooing and gurgling like most babies do. They'd left me with various supplies, including diapers.

I must digress and say that I will pretty much do anything for my nieces and nephews, blood-related or otherwise. I will jump in front of a transport truck to save their lives. I will donate a kidney. I will pay for their college tuition. Diapers, however, are not part of the deal. Those walking fertilizer factories either have to learn to hold it in, change their own, or wait until the parents arrive. Uncle Brian doesn't do diapers.

I know that no one -- even parents -- loves to change diapers, but this task pretty much sends me screaming to the other side of the country whenever a parent just non-chalantly opens up the diaper and exposes their baby to the world -- and exposes me to the last night's dinner of strained carrots.

I don't know how they do it. And what's worse, parents don't even seem to notice the odour after a few months because they're so used to it.

One buddy of mine left me in a hot car with his daughter who clearly needed to be changed -- the day before! I swear he didn't smell a thing. Meanwhile my eyes were burning and my gag reflex was starting as he got back into the car after running an errand. "Oh, I think she needs to be changed," he said eventually. "Do ya think?" I asked sarcastically between gags.

But anyway, back to my niece. My brother and his wife left a perfectly happy baby with me that night. I remember being told she would fall asleep after her bottle, which she'd just had.

As soon as they were out the door, she opened her mouth and screamed. She was inconsolable. Her little face was contorted as she completely freaked out on me.

After nearly two hours (!!) of this, I was getting paranoid that my neighbours in the apartment building I lived in would call the police and report me for what was surely child abuse. I tried to calm her down. I put her in a darkened room by herself, hoping she'd fall asleep. I even checked her diaper and would have gladly broken my self-imposed rule of never changing a baby if it would have calmed her down. She was dry as a bone, however. She wouldn't take her bottle and she spit out her soother.

Frustrated, I called my mother for help.

Hearing the screams on the other end of the telephone, she gave me a few tips -- all of which I'd already tried. "Mother. . . get. . . over. . . here. . ." I said through clenched teeth. I had one nerve left. I couldn't imagine going through this every day. My respect for parents with colicky babies grew that day.

Of course, by the time my mother arrived, my niece had fallen asleep in my arms, completely worn out and exhausted from her two-hour temper tantrum. I'd finally outlasted the little bugger and she'd dozed off.

I never babysat much after that. I think I developed a kind of post-traumatic stress syndrome. Whenever I heard a baby cry on television, I'd drop to the floor, curl up in the fetal position, suck my thumb and start humming "Put on a Happy Face."

Of course, she laughs about it now that she's in her teens and likes to hear the story about how she bawled for two hours the one night that I babysat her.

My friends' son and his brothers also find it amusing when I regale them with the story about how he spit up all over me like Niagara Falls when I was burping him once when he was a baby.

Hey, if I was expected to change my own diapers and clean myself up when I got sick, so should they, eh? One sec. I have to answer the telephone.

"Hi Mom! Oh. . . . Stop screaming. . . Slow down. . . It's a joke, Mom. OK I know you don't think it's funny. No, no one will think you were a bad mother. Calm down." Uhm, I have to go. Disgruntled reader on the phone.

"Mom. . . think about your heart. . ."

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Today is Ash Wednesday - the beginning of Lent

Happy Lent!

For more information on Ash Wednesday, click here.

For more information on Lent, click here.

10 months to go 'til Ho! Ho! Ho!

Better start your shopping early!

This week's Hump Day column...

... is about changing diapers and babysitting adventures!

Read all about it on the editorial page of today's Moncton Times & Transcript, New Brunswick's largest-circulation daily newspaper.

It will also be posted online here tomorrow.

If it's Wednesday, it's Hump Day!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Canada's Worst Driver show auditioning in Moncton!

Here is the text of a news release recently issued by the producers of Canada's Worst Driver on the Discovery Channel:

Help to Make Moncton Roads Safer!

The record-breaking Discovery Channel series Canada’s Worst Driver is on a mission to make Moncton streets less dangerous by rehabilitating the worst drivers in the city. But finding these drivers isn’t easy, so Proper Television, the company behind the show, is enlisting the help of Moncton residents. People in the area are being asked to put forth their Canada’s Worst Driver nomination for the fifth season of the hit show.

To submit a nomination, email or call 1-866-598-2591.

Every single nomination from the Moncton area will be reviewed immediately. Producers have scheduled a trip to Moncton early in April to meet with the worst of the worst. Final selections for the program will take place shortly after. Drivers bad enough to make the cut will earn a coveted spot at the nation’s most intense training hub, the Driver’s Rehabilitation Centre.

The idea of the program is to resolve the serious and dangerous behaviour of these drivers through a series of challenges based on core driving skills. As each driver shows improvement, they graduate back onto real roads. At the end, one of the eight candidates will be crowned with the dubious title of Canada’s Worst Driver.

“At the end of the show, someone will be given the title of ‘Canada’s Worst Driver’ but more importantly, a handful of the country’s worst drivers will be exposed to skills that they can use in everyday situations,” says Andrew Younghusband, host and writer.

Why would anyone want to put themselves forward for such a title? The training is unlike any driver’s training in the world. The challenges and courses have been designed to improve the driver’s core driving skills by mimicking real life situations on a grand scale.

“The training is truly extraordinary, especially when it comes to helping those who need a more than just a refresher course behind the wheel,” says Guy O’Sullivan, Executive Producer of Canada’s Worst Driver. “Whether it’s a relative, neighbour, colleague or friend, we have the resources to help.“

To give the bad driver in your life an opportunity to learn from the country’s best at a state of the art driver’s rehabilitation centre, email or call 1-866-598-2591. Filming is slated for June 2009.

For more information and to view past episodes of Canada’s Worst Driver, you can visit

Interviews and high resolution stills available upon request

Canada’s Worst Driver is produced by Proper Television, a Toronto based indie headed up by ex-BBC director Guy O’Sullivan. Proper specializes in factual entertainment and specialist factual programming, and has been named among the Realscreen Global 100 indies for 2008.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Celebrity birthdays for February 22

Actress Rebecca Schull is 80. You may remember her as Fay on the sitcom Wings:

Singer Oliver (d. 2000) would have been 64 today:

Steve "Crocodile Hunter" Irwin (d. 2006) would have been 47 today:

New Brunswick Premier Shawn Graham is 41 today:

Singer James Blunt is 35:

Actress Drew Barrymore is 34 today:

Soccer players learn a hard lesson about showing off too much after a goal