Saturday, April 25, 2009

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Actress Beatrice Arthur dead at 86

Beloved comedienne and actress Beatrice Arthur died earlier today from cancer at her home in Los Angeles with her family by her side. She played Dorothy in the hugely popular sitcom "Golden Girls" and opinionated liberal Maude in "Maude".

Only eight months to go 'til Ho! Ho! Ho!

Christmas Day is eight months from today! (Just in case you forgot!)

Friday, April 24, 2009

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

I think everyone shook their heads in wonder when they heard that Kris Allen was going to sing Donna Summer's monster hit She Works Hard for the Money. The joke was on us, though, because Kris delivered the goods! He's my choice for this week's #1 performance.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

American Idol: Idol Chatter for Thursday, April 23, 2009

Last night, American Idol said farewell to two contestants after "Judges' Save" kept Matt Giraud in the competition last week. Matt was on the ropes this week, and was declared safe by host Ryan Seacrest during last night's results show. Lil Rounds was eliminated right off the top of the show, leaving me wondering whether or not we were going to see our first real "shock elimination" of the year. Some reviewers were speculating that Danny Gokey could be in trouble.

Eventually, Allison Iraheta and Anoop Desai found themselves the last two standing and Anoop was finally shown the door after avoiding elimination several times before. For a complete rundown of last night's show, click here to read my Idol Chatter column in today's edition of the Moncton Times & Transcript.

Susan Boyle: a heartwarming overnight sensation

Hump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial Page

Eleven days ago on April 11, an unknown Scottish woman appeared on an episode of Britain's Got Talent, the original British version of America's Got Talent, the top-rated talent search series that's aired on NBC during the past few summers. Since then, Susan Boyle has been the talk of the Internet. The original YouTube video of her appearance on the show has been viewed more than 30 million times.

She's been on Larry King and her appearance has been chronicled on nearly every TV entertainment show in the western world. The reason?

Well, primarily, she was being laughed at by the judges and everyone in the audience because of her appearance. Having seen so many of these "bad auditions" on shows such as American Idol, Canadian Idol, America's Got Talent and So You Think You Can Dance, the odds were that Susan Boyle would make a fool of herself like so many had done before.

Simon Cowell, the "mean judge" on American Idol, flies back to England every week to judge contestants on Britain's Got Talent, too, so you couldn't blame him for being extra cranky with all the travelling he's doing, despite having more money than God has angels and the heavens have stars. Even filthy rich people get tired, too.

So when Susan Boyle took to the stage, everyone snickered at her frumpy look, thick eyebrows, saucy attitude and bad hair in desperate need of a dye job. (Yes, I realize that's sexist. I'm just sayin' . . .)

They were prepared to hate her. They had every intention of boo'ing her off the stage like these television talent competitions are prone to do. They had the knives out ready to take her self-esteem, cut it up and fry it with some nice onions for supper.

And then . . . like the Whos in Whoville in How the Grinch Stole Christmas, she started to sing . . . and all those Grinches on the judges' panel and in the audience realized that she was not going to be an easy target for their animosity and prejudgement.

The voice that came out of her was unexpected, to say the least. She could really sing! In fact, she blew their socks off to the point that she got a massive standing ovation from the audience, while all three judges on the panel fawned over her like she had just walked on stage to present them each with cheques for $1 million.

Since April 11 when she appeared on the show, she's become an international superstar. Twelve days ago, we had no clue who she was. Now, 11 days after the show, she's a household name thanks to the Internet and TV talk shows.

For sure, we can expect a batch of Hollywood barracudas to descend on her like a pack of wild dogs (perhaps that should be "fish", considering they're barracudas) to do everything they can to change her. They've got rolls of duct tape ready to remove her eyebrows, boxes of blond dye on hand to change her hair colour, and a truckload of makeup for the makeover everyone thinks she needs.

Frankly, I hope she stays the same. Like many people, I've watched the video several times and admit a part of me wanted to see her get trashed by the judges. She was too confident. She was too frumpy-looking. There's a bit of bully in all of us, I guess, and even I thought that her attitude needed to be taken down a notch. Someone who looked so plain shouldn't be so confident. The look of the package certainly caused viewers, people in the audience and the judges to make up their minds before she even started to sing.

In the end, her look is what people have fallen in love with, if you ask me. She's not a Barbie doll. She looks like someone you'd see walking through a mall anywhere in the world, really. That's why I hope she stays the same. She's relatable. She's one of the true overnight sensations in the entertainment world, for sure, and hasn't even won the Britain's Got Talent competition yet.

There've been a lot of theories online about her newfound instant success and I'm certainly a believer in the one that there's a huge sense of guilt out there at having prejudged her. I did . . . everyone else did . . . and all because of how she looked. Perhaps to make ourselves feel better, we're jumping on the bandwagon to show ourselves among her supporters.

There's probably a bit of that, but there's also something a lot nicer and more genuine behind it, too. As a society, I believe we love to find undiscovered true talent.

If you look at American Idol, for instance, despite its detractors, it's been the top-rated television show in North America for years and has produced a bunch of household names who've even made appearances right here in New Brunswick, such as Carrie Underwood. I think anyone who's heard her singing or seen her in concert would agree that it would be a real shame not to have discovered her beautiful voice.

Now, Scottish lass Susan Boyle is poised to be a worldwide singing sensation, too. She admitted on the show that -- at nearly 48 years old -- she's never had a boyfriend and never been kissed. She lives alone with her cat, Pebbles. When CNN talk show host Larry King asked her how her newfound fame would change her life, her answer practically brought me to tears. "Well, I won't be lonely," she said. "I certainly won't be lonely anymore."

As one of her new fans, I'm pretty sure she's right. And I'm glad.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

American Idol: Idol Chatter for Wednesday, April 22, 2009

This week's theme was disco and a couple of the contestants shone through with great performances. At first, I wasn't fussy about Adam's performance of If I Can't Have You, originally sung by Yvonne Elliman. When I watched it back, however, I must say that it was excellent. Sometimes it's difficult to watch the show and write the column at the same time. The deadline is very tight. When I re-watched Adam's performance and actually paid closer attention, he came across as powerfully emotional. I think Kris Allen did an amazing job on She Works Hard for the Money and was certainly the surprise of the night. Allison Iraheta was excellent, as well, with Hot Stuff. So who do I think is going home tonight? Click here to read my Idol Chatter column in today's edition of the Moncton Times & Transcript.

Today's Hump Day column...

... is about the Susan Boyle phenomenon. If you haven't heard about her in the past 11 days since she became a household name from her appearance on Britain's Got Talent, then you're one of the few. She's been all over the media. Read my thoughts on her rise and why like to love her in today's Hump Day column on the editorial page of the Moncton Times & Transcript, New Brunswick's largest-circulation newspaper.

Remember, if it's Wednesday, it's Hump Day!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Happy 83rd birthday to Queen Elizabeth II

Canada's head of state - Queen Elizabeth II - turns 83 today. We wish her a happy birthday, however are puzzled at what to buy someone who owns their own realm. :)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Moncton teen stacks up at world championships

NEWS RELEASE

April 19, 2009
For immediate release

Moncton Teen Stacks Up at World Championships

13-year-old Mark Dennis has lots of reasons to smile as he displays the medals and trophies he won at the World Sport Stacking Championships held April 18-19, 2009 in Denver, Colorado.

The grade seven student at Hillcrest School placed first in two events for his age category and is waiting for video verification on four potential Canadian records.

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

The World Sport Stacking Championships happen annually in Denver Colorado. This year competitors came from at least 12 countries, including Canada, Germany, U.S., U.K., Philippines, New Zealand, Switzerland, Columbia and Singapore.

A time a 2.02 seconds won Mark first place among 13-year-olds in the 3-3-3 competition. In the “cycle” stack pattern, his first-place time was 7.28 seconds.

Mark improved his standing over last year’s Worlds, where he placed second and third in his age division.

To prepare for the Worlds, Marks practised 1-2 hours every day and compared his technique with friends on YouTube.

Mark and his mother, Jan, return to Moncton late Monday night and will have digital video of Mark’s competition.

More info on sport stacking: http://www.worldsportstackingassociation.org.

Contact info:

Troy & Jan Dennis
(506) 382-1481