Saturday, May 09, 2009

I was interviewed for today's Times & Transcript re: social networking

Click here to read an article by Eric Lewis in today's Moncton Times & Transcript regarding social networking and how it's taking the world by storm. I was honoured to be interviewed for the story. (Photo by Victor Pivovarov, courtesy of Times & Transcript)

Friday, May 08, 2009

Thursday, May 07, 2009

American Idol: Adam Lambert scores cover of Entertainment Weekly!

American Idol top three finalist Adam Lambert has scored the May 15th cover of North America's #1 entertainment magazine, Entertainment Weekly. Thanks to rickey.org for the heads up on this!

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

Two choices this week...

Adam Lambert's solo performance of Whole Lotta Love:



Adam Lambert's and Allison Iraheta's duet of Slow Ride:

City Council right to "correct" budget decision

Hump Day
By Brian Cormier
Moncton Times & Transcript
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Editorial Page

The municipal leg of the recent Kay Arena-Crossman Community Centre saga is finally over. Moncton city council approved $1.17 million in funding for phase two of the project and the last phase of what's been one of the most successful community-driven projects in Moncton's history is finally ready to move forward.

The Kay-Crossman's next trial will be getting matching provincial and federal funding to leverage the promised municipal funding. This was a no-brainer, financially, as the city would receive two dollars in return for every dollar invested.

For the past several years, election candidates have been tripping over themselves left and right to court favour with the people working on the Kay-Crossman. The federal Conservatives held a big rally there during the last federal election promising their support. Meanwhile, the provincial and federal Liberals met with Kay-Crossman supporters later in the campaign to pledge their support for the project. The provincial PCs have been strong supporters since the day it was conceived.

Process is important, don't get me wrong. But to stick so dogmatically to rules that the community suffers is just another reason why the public sometimes is left holding the short end of the stick.

Some councillors were visibly annoyed that the Kay-Crossman project refused to die a death of council's own making. I don't blame them, in one way, because they worked hard at cobbling together a budget that tried to meet the needs of the city while at the same time not raising taxes. Our property tax bill is likely the biggest single bill people get all year.

It's been widely acknowledged that this year's municipal budget process was the most aggressive ever. Hours and hours were spent in debate. Difficult decisions were made. I'm sure that more than a few tempers flared when some projects were put aside in favour of others.

But when it was reported in the media that the Kay-Crossman project was one of those not included in the budget -- and apparently not even on the radar screen for the foreseeable future -- my jaw literally dropped. In the school of political no-brainers, finishing the Kay-Crossman was right up there with paving streets, policing, kissing babies and shaking hands. What was the council thinking?

I may not be an expert on politics, but I'm no dummy either. When I see politicians of all stripes fall all over themselves to support a project in election after election, you'd think they'd realize that they're doing so for one reason: the public wants that project to proceed. It's dear to their hearts.

I attended many of the meetings where this was debated by council and was pleased to see that most councillors -- even the ones who subsequently voted against it at the final vote -- were in favour of the project in principle. Some couldn't bring themselves to support it at the committee level because the budget had already been passed. Others couldn't bring themselves to vote for it because the motion did not mirror the recommendation from the finance committee.

If none of this makes sense to those in favour of getting the Kay-Crossman project finished -- including the Crossman family, who'd seen Norm Crossman dedicate 41 years of his life to Lewisville and then Moncton -- they could certainly be forgiven.

What was lost in all these motions, debates, manoeuvres between committees, endless votes and many hard feelings was the following: maybe, just maybe, the majority of councillors who decided at budget time to exclude the Kay-Crossman from the final budget were wrong. Made a mistake... Erred... Missed the boat...

How do we know this? Well, it's pretty simple. You were told in no uncertain terms that the community did not accept this decision. Presentations were made. Briefings were held. Tours were done of the facilities. Telephone calls were placed. E-mails were sent. After so many years of working too hard to see this fail, the project committee and its supporters were determined to see this proceed.

What this doesn't mean is that councillors who didn't support the project were evil or uncaring. It doesn't mean they didn't do their homework. It doesn't mean they're dumb. It simply means that they made a mistake evidenced by the fact that the community and even the media wanted to see this completed and insisted that it be resurrected from the dead and moved forward despite the previous budget decision.

While it is important to stand by one's decisions, it is also important to admit to a mistake and correct it. During the final vote last week, council corrected that mistake and a large majority voted to fix this error in judgment and give the project a second chance. Residents can be sure that the issue will be a hot topic during the next provincial and federal elections if matching funds are not approved beforehand. This project will not die.

Norm Crossman, who died over a year ago, continuously told Kay-Crossman supporters never to give up, no matter what. Now, the Mayor of Lewisville's legacy has been given a second chance -- a legacy that will serve future generations of hockey players, seniors, sports enthusiasts and community groups for years to come. Score another victory for Norm. Even from heaven, he's a force to be reckoned with.

American Idol: Idol Chatter column for Thursday, May 7, 2009

As we all know by now, Allison Iraheta was eliminated from American Idol. Despite lots of critical praise throughout the show, she never really caught on with audiences and constantly found herself in the bottom two or three. Her fan base just never solidified as the "rockers" out there flocked to vote to keep Adam Lambert in the competition, especially after Adam's surprising appearance in last week's bottom two. Now, Adam, Kris Allen and Danny Gokey move on to the final three show next week. Each contestant will sing one song of their own choosing and one song chosen by the judges. Click here to read my Idol Chatter column reviewing last night's show. Idol Chatter appears the morning after every American Idol show in the Moncton Times & Transcript.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Moncton photographer Nick Gaines' "1111 Faces" project

My highly talented (and highly unpaid) regular correspondent Walt Forsey sent in this great report today. Always a pleasure to receive these, Walt! Thanks!

Today's Hump Day column...

... is about Moncton city council's recent decision to resurrect phase two of the Kay Arena-Crossman Community Centre from the dead. During this year's budget deliberations, council voted to leave phase two out in the cold. After much pressure from the public, media and some councillors, funding was reconsidered and a majority of councillors voted last week to reinsert funding for phase two in the budget. Quite frankly, I was very surprised that the project never made it into the budget in the first place, considering how popular it's been with politicians since its beginnings.

Check out the editorial page of today's Moncton Times & Transcript for more. It will also be posted here online tomorrow.

And remember... if it's Wednesday, it's Hump Day!

American Idol: Idol Chatter for Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Two contestants shone brightly last night during this week's rock-and-roll theme: Adam and Allison. Both were predictably excellent with this theme being right up their respective alleys. While Kris sang OK, he just didn't have the stage presence to pull it off. Danny, meanwhile, completely tanked but is so popular that he won't be going home this week unless we're in for a big shocker. Last night's show was also the first time that duets were featured during the regular portion of the competition. Adam and Allison paired up for one, while Danny and Kris sang together on the other. For a complete rundown and review of this week's performances, click here to read my Idol Chatter column in today's edition of the Moncton Times & Transcript.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

I always wondered...

Britain's Got Talent star Susan Boyle's new look

The frizzy grey hair has been replaced by a dyed stylish 'do! Will her fans who loved the dowdy look like the "new" her?

Monday, May 04, 2009

American Idol: David Cook gets emotional about his late brother

2008 American Idol winner David Cook got emotional at a Race for Hope event in Washington, D.C., yesterday. His brother Adam passed away the day before from a brain tumour. Very touching.

Whisperin' Bill Anderson coming to Moncton on May 11th!

When I was a kid, my aunt had an 8-track of Bill Anderson's greatest hits. We'd listen to it often on trips to see my grandparents on PEI. I was excited to hear that he's coming to Moncton on May 11th at the Capitol Theatre. Lots of childhood memories of twangy, heartbreaking old country stuff. Click here if you're interested in seeing Bill Anderson live in concert. Here are some of his hits:

Still:



I Love You Drops:



For Loving You (with Jan Howard):



Po' Folks:

Sunday, May 03, 2009

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

Last week's theme was songs from the Rat Pack era. Allison Iraheta's version of Someone to Watch Over Me was a beautifully performed rendition of the song written by George Gershwin in 1926 for the musical Oh, Kay! She's my pick for the latest #1 performance on Idol. Click on the thumbnail below:

American Idol: Sad news to report...

American Idol fans who followed the show last season will be saddened to hear of the passing of winner David Cook's brother, Adam. Adam died of brain cancer this morning after an 11-year battle with the disease. He was 36. May he rest in pease. Adam is shown at the end of the following video after host Ryan Seacrest comments that David has tears in his eyes.

Michael Ignatieff officially elected leader of the Liberal Party of Canada

Michael Ignatieff was officially elected leader of the Liberal Party of Canada yesterday at the party's convention in Vancouver.

Introduction video:



Acceptance speech:

Michael's Convention Speech from Liberal on Vimeo.