Friday, April 17, 2009

Lindsay Lohan's eHarmony rofile

My choice for this week's #1 performance on American Idol

Quelle surprise... Adam Lambert's rendition of Born to Be Wild!

A cat's version of a very disappointed Homer Simpson-like "D'oh!!"

Incredible footage of fox hunting mice scurrying under the snow...

Their hearing must be incredible! And to pinpoint exactly where they are is simply amazing...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

American Idol: Idol Chatter for Thursday, April 16, 2009

Last night's American Idol Top 7 episode finally saw the judges use their one Judges' Save of the season.

Although I was correct in my prediction of this week's bottom three, I was incorrect in choosing Anoop as the one to go. Lil and Matt joined Anoop in the bottom three - and then Anoop was sent back to safety. I was happy about that because Anoop didn't deserve to go this week, I just couldn't see how he could survive much longer.

That left Lil and Matt in the bottom two. And although Lil was definitely the one who deserved to go, Matt was announced as the contestant who received the fewest number of votes.

He then sang for his life, so to speak, trying to convince the judges to use their one Judges' Save of the season on him. After much deliberation and frantic encouragement from the audience and the other contestants, Simon announced (after some hemming and hawing) that Matt would indeed be saved and will be given another chance next week.

The crowd went nuts. The Idols went nuts. The other judges went nuts. Ryan hugged Matt. Matt cried.

Then Simon threw some cold water on the joy by reminding everyone that next week's theme is disco - not exactly Matt's forte.

With no contestant eliminated this week, that means that two will be eliminated next week. "Disco Week" will certainly be a tough theme for many of the contestants. Should be interesting.

Click here to read my Idol Chatter column in today's edition of the Moncton Times & Transcript.

Gladly paying one's income tax with a smile

Hump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial Page

One thing I like about being inundated with so much American culture here is the fact that their income tax deadline is April 15, more than two weeks before our own deadline of April 30.

By the time April 15 comes around, I'm so freaked out about being late with my income tax return that I'm busy as a bee getting everything together to take to my accountant so that he can get everything ready for the end of the month. I'm not one of those people who come close to having a brain hemorrhage just thinking about paying tax, but I'm not going to give the government money before I need to, so that's why I wait until the last minute. It can accumulate interest in my account in the meantime.

I always get nervous at tax time because I'm never sure that I put enough away to pay the piper, but I always have. When you know what you're doing and have an accountant who knows what they're doing, you can write off a lot of stuff perfectly legitimately. There's nothing wrong with that. In fact, I think of it as kind of a sport.

I think governments at the municipal, provincial and federal levels provide valuable services to citizens. Our roads are paved (even though they're in a mess right now because it's pothole season), we get cared for without having to worry about it when we're sick, and if we have an emergency we only have to wait a few minutes before hearing the sirens of the ambulance, fire truck or police cruiser speeding toward us to help after simply pushing 9-1-1 on our telephone keypad.

Governments also employ a lot of people. It's always essential to be effective and efficient, but I don't know many civil servants sitting around all day picking their noses because they have nothing else to do.

I guess I'm just one of those weirdos who thinks that -- for the most part (there are exceptions) -- our tax dollars aren't completely wasted by evil politicians who sit around in private meetings bathing in caviar, eating babies and using $100 bills to light their Cuban cigars. I'm just not that cynical -- and I never will be.

Oh, of course, there's always room for improvement. There are some politicians who are so far past their "best before" date that they should have been gone a long time ago -- either retired of their own accord or been chucked out of office by the electorate. But you know, most of the politicians I'm personally acquainted with are good people who want to sincerely do good work.

I think that one of the main reasons I feel this way is that I try not to blame others for my own difficulties. In my mind, that is a recipe for disaster because you're giving all your power away to someone else, i.e. "I have no power over myself, so I have to blame this politician or that politician for the bad things going on in my life."

Poppycock, I say! If each and every one of us took responsibility for our own lives without blaming others, we would be empowered beyond our wildest dreams. If you're unemployed, it's not the government's fault or some politician's fault. Don't give away your power to someone else. Take it back and keep it!

If we act like victims, we can only remain a victim.

It drives me crazy when I see people sitting around blaming the entire world for their problems when all they have to do is look in the mirror and know that the power to fix any of their problems resides in the person looking right back at them. That's not a scary thing at all. It's a great thing . . . because it means you can do something about it! After all, you can't control others, but you can certainly control your own actions, thoughts and dreams.

That's why it doesn't jar me much to pay income tax. I do work on the side, so I have the ability to write off some things. I claim all my income, but in return I also claim all my deductions. Someone once asked me why I didn't just do all my work under the table. Quite frankly, it would be just too stressful worrying about the consequences, and secondly, when all my deductions are taken into account, the amount of tax I end up paying isn't enough to make it even close to worthwhile trying do things behind the government's back.

I'm not a fan of sleepless nights filled with worry, nor of ending up in jail with a roommate named Big Bubba who hands me a tube of used lipstick on my first night there and tells me to put some on so that I'll be pretty for him after "lights out".

You know what? I want to eventually pay $1 million per year in income tax. Initially, many people would probably scoff at that and wonder whether or not I've lost my pretty little mind.

Well, let me tell you, folks, if I'm paying $1 million annually in income tax, you can be sure I'm making a boatload of money on top of that. And if paying $1 million per year in income tax is the price I have to pay to society, then so be it. I'll gladly take what's left over. Wouldn't you?

Paying income tax by the wheelbarrow full is not necessarily a bad thing. It means that you're making a lot of money, too. Don't forget that not so insignificant part of the so-called "problem".

Soon, I'll be paying the government for what I owe in taxes this year. And, if I work hard, I look forward to owing much -- much -- more next year. I can't wait!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

American Idol: Idol Chatter for Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Last night, the Idols sang their favourites songs featured in movies. Adam, as usual, gave a stellar performance - "Born to Be Wild" from the movie "Easy Rider". He's just amazing.

Once again, Lil completely tanked, but as only one of two girls left on the show and the only African-American, has her fan base eroded to the point of being eliminated? Personally, I don't think so. Clearly, she's the one who deserves to go, however I think someone else is toast tonight... even though they did well last night.

To find out who, click here to read my Idol Chatter column from today's Moncton Times & Transcript! And tune in to Fox/CTV tonight at 10 p.m. Atlantic / 9 p.m. Eastern to see who gets the least number of votes... and to find out if the judges decide to save the contestant's skin through their only "Judges' Save" of the season, something that has yet to be used.

Former Dominos employees film themselves mishandling food, post on YouTube

"Two Dominos employees in North Carolina have been fired after posting a video of themselves on YouTube showing them mishandling food. They claim it was just a prank but a Dominos spokesperson said they are appalled at the actions of the two former employees."

Click here for more. Here's the video referred to in the news item:

Today's Hump Day column...

... is about paying taxes and why I can't wait to pay even more than I already do. Sound intriguing -- or crazy? Check out this week's Hump Day column on the editorial page of today's Moncton Times & Transcript or return here tomorrow when it will be posted online.

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

The world's next star: Susan Boyle

47-year-old, frumpy-looking Susan Boyle appeared recently on Britain's Got Talent and wowed the audience. People laughed at her openly... until she opened her mouth and started singing.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Cat Yawning

The newest viral video song...

Playing pranks on children...

Monday, April 13, 2009

Moncton teen travels to World Stacking Championships

NEWS RELEASE

Moncton teen travels to World Stacking Championships

Thirteen-year-old Mark Dennis is counting down the days as he prepares to attend the World Sport Stacking Championships in Denver, Colorado. To prepare, the teen from Moncton practises each day and has been fundraising in local markets.

This is not the first time Mark has attended the world championships. Last year he was the only Canadian to advance to the finals and he placed second and third in two events, setting new Canadian records in the process.

Sport Stacking is a timed event where competitors stack specially designed plastic cups into pyramids. Mark has been stacking for about two-and-a-half years, and was introduced to the sport through his school.

The stacking championships happen annually in Denver. Last year more than 1,000 competitors from eight countries and 34 states took part. This year the competition will take place April 18-19. Mark will depart from Moncton on April 16 and return April 20.

To qualify, participants must meet minimum times for each event, which are certified and signed by applicants’ sponsors. At the event, competitors have two warm-ups and three tries. Only competitors with the fastest times advance to the finals in each category.

Mark, a grade seven student at Hillcrest School, practises one-to-two hours each day. To enhance his training, Mark compares technique with stacking friends on YouTube and posts his own videos.

While Mark is competing, a daily update of his events will be posted at http://www.onfireletter.com/On%20The%20Road%20to%20Denver.htm

More info on Sport Stacking http://www.worldsportstackingassociation.org/

Mark at the Worlds last year http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qhjy_Cr0Pxc http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSqtX2S_kAI

Mark on Live at Five, April 14, 2008 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFBm1l5tQd0

Dobson High Rocks to be staged in Riverview on April 18 and 19

I was pleased to open up my e-mail the other day to find another report from my highly unpaid yet highly efficient unofficial correspodent, Walt Forsey.

"Hi Brian,

The theatre group of the Riverview Arts Centre is presenting "Dobson High Rocks" as a fundraiser next Friday and Saturday (April 17 and 18, 2009).

It was written by three local people and, as far as I know, is the first-ever play with Riverview as its setting.

Tickets are $15 in advance or $18 at the door and are available at Sobeys Smoke Shop and Jean Coutu in Riverview, or Ford's Apothecary in Moncton.

Thanks,

Walt"


See Walt's great video below:

Sunday, April 12, 2009