Saturday, May 23, 2009

In memoriam: Don "P.I" Richard

One of the first features I go to when I open the newspaper every morning is the obituaries. From time to time, I'll see a familiar face - either someone I knew vaguely from around town, or the relative of someone I know... someone distant, you know?

On Wednesday, I turned to the obituaries page in the Moncton Times & Transcript and nearly fell to the floor when I saw Don Richard there. Don ran P.I. Richard Meat Market, a business founded years ago by his father. The business is currently on Milner Road in Moncton and I dropped by there often. They have the best service in town thanks in no small part to Don's friendly demeanor and eagerness to please the customer.

He and I had some wonderful chats during the times I visited the store. He knew my father's family and we chatted often about mutual acquaintances, issues going in the world, etc. He was also a fan of my Hump Day column in the Moncton Times & Transcript.

Last Saturday, I dropped by the store and Don wasn't there. "He's sick," I was told. "Boy," I thought, "Don MUST be sick not to be at work." This is a man who worked very hard. He told me that he got up at 4 a.m. some days just to make head cheese - the best head cheese in Moncton, might I add.

I was shocked and saddened to open the paper on Wednesday to see Don's ever-smiling face staring back at me from the obituaries. When you hear about people's jaws dropping, mine literally did!

Don's funeral is today (Saturday, May 23, 2009) at 10:30 a.m. I would like to take this opportunity - as a loyal customer - to offer my sincere condolences to Don's family, his co-workers at the store, and his close friends. I'm sure I'm not the only customer who was heartsick to hear of Don's passing.

I've been hearing a lot of people around town talking about Don since his death. The same words are being said of him by everyone: A very nice man who offered excellent customer service.

Rest in peace, Don. We will miss you.

Click here for Don's obituary from Frenette's Funeral Home.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Videos from my co-hosting stint today on CBC Radio Moncton's Information Morning show

Every Friday, CBC Radio Moncton's Information Morning show invites someone from the community to co-host from 7-8:30 a.m. I was honoured to be asked this week and had a great time with guest host Christine Manore. A wonderful experience...

My arrival at the studio:

Talking about blogging:

Reading the weather:

Introducing Heartbeat, It's a Lovebeat by Tony DeFranco and the DeFranco Family:

Talking about Captain Trevor Greene, my classmate from the University of King's College:

Chiac pour les dummies

Fred: Fred throws a party!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Tune in to CBC Radio Moncton tomorrow morning...

I'll be co-hosting CBC Radio Moncton's Information Morning show tomorrow (Friday, May 22, 2009) from 7 - 8:30 a.m. with guest host Christine Manore! Check out the show at 106.1 FM if you're in Moncton, 97.9 Bathurst, 103.3 Bon Accord, 90.5 Campbellton, 97.9 Miramichi. As the Friday co-host, I get to choose three songs I want to hear, two of which will make the cut. Here are my choices for tomorrow... all for different reasons. To know what those are, you'll have to tune in tomorrow!

... and maybe I'll even post some blog videos from the show, too!

American Idol: Idol Chatter for Thursday, May 21, 2009

This is IT, folks... the last Idol Chatter column of 2009! Last night, Kris Allen - the underdog - was crowned the 2009 American Idol winner after 100,000 auditions and three months of shows. More than 100 million votes were cast THIS WEEK ALONE! Incredible!

Read the rundown of last night's season finale by clicking here for my Idol Chatter column in today's Moncton Times & Transcript.

Thanks to everyone for the e-mails and comments for the past couple of months! It's been a blast and lots of fun! I'm grateful to all those who read the column and also want to sincerely thank the Moncton Times & Transcript for asking me to write the column again this year!

Since Canadian Idol is taking a year off, all us Idol fans will have to be patient until the next season of American Idol starts in January 2010! See y'all then!

Trevor Greene an inspiration for Canadians

Hump Day
By Brian Cormier
Moncton Times & Transcript
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Editorial Page

During my university years, there were two people who seemed to be friends with everyone. George and Trevor both studied journalism with me at the University of King's College in Halifax in the mid-1980s. George was in my year, while Trevor was two years younger. Both were popular and had a ton of friends.

On March 4, 2003, George committed suicide after a long battle with depression. He was not yet 40, and could not bear to keep on going. Several days after his death, friends gathered in Halifax at the Economy Shoe Shop to celebrate George's life. There was laughter... and tears. People who hadn't seen each other in nearly 20 years since our days at university were brought together to remember an old friend.

Trevor was there, too. I remember that he arrived late. We didn't get a chance to talk, but said "Hi!" to each other in passing as we made our mutual social rounds. Trevor had arrived just before I headed out. "I'll talk to him next time," I thought to myself. There was talk of a reunion and Trevor would likely be there. I'll get caught up then.

Exactly three years later on March 4, 2006, news came to many of the same people in attendance at George's celebration that a certain Captain Trevor Greene had been seriously injured in Afghanistan. While meeting with a group of village elders, Captain Greene had removed his helmet as a sign of respect. Little did he know that a 16-year-old insurgent was hiding nearby, waiting for his opportunity to strike.

The attack with an axe to the back of Captain Greene's head left him near death. His companions openly admit today that they fully expected him to die. After his army buddies shot the youth dead, they noticed bits of Trevor's brain on the ground. It was pretty much the most severe injury anyone had ever seen. His friends were in shock.

When news reached Canada that a "Captain Trevor Greene" had been seriously injured, e-mails started flying around between King's people asking whether or not it was "our" Trevor. Since our get-together for George, many of us did not know that "our" Trevor had indeed started serving with the military in Afghanistan.

Needless to say, everyone was devastated. Not only was it "our" Trevor, but it did not go unnoticed that the incident happened exactly three years to the day of George's suicide. March 4 was not turning out to be a good day for King's friends.

There wasn't much we could do on this end of the ocean but wait and pray. Trevor's family flew to his side at a hospital in Germany. I was able to do my own small part by crafting some urgent written messages for the university alumni association. Being a small, close-knit university, the association was being flooded with inquiries about Trevor, wondering if there was any further news. In the end, there wasn't much we could do but wait for updates. For Trevor's friends, the waiting was excruciating.

Trevor's ongoing journey of recovery from the devastating attack on him in 2006 has been well documented, including an hour-long profile that aired on CTV called Peace Warrior. If you haven't seen it, you need to.

Today, Trevor and his fiancée Debbie Lepore live with their daughter Grace in Nanaimo, British Columbia. Trevor's dream is to one day get out of the wheelchair he has been confined to since being injured and walk down the aisle at his wedding.

Trevor was luckier than George. He did not succumb to the depression that took hold of him after the attack when he had a choice to make. He could either give up and wait to die, or he could try to find the strength to fight back and continue making a positive difference in the world. He had gone to Afghanistan to help people. The rest of his life would be dedicated to that same cause. He would not abandon his post.

Trevor continues to be a strident advocate for the people of Afghanistan and urges us not to give up our fight to save them from the Taliban insurgents who wish to govern the country by fear and oppression -- especially of women and girls. A man with a huge social conscience, he has forgiven his attacker, and believes in the words of Ghandi: "Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong."

Friends from King's -- and many others -- gathered last week to welcome Trevor back to Halifax. It was the first time that most of us had seen him since he was injured. Earlier in the day, he'd received an honourary degree from our university. In the evening, he headlined a motivational event called Victims 2 Victors (, where he urged the world not to forget the people of Afghanistan. One could easily understand if he'd be against Canada's involvement in Afghanistan, but he'd been there and seen their plight. He could not give up on them.

After the event, we all talked to Trevor and surrounded him with an outpouring of love and friendship. There were hugs, smiles and tears. Our mutual friend Stephen went up to Trevor and said, "I don't normally kiss guys, but for you I'll make an exception," and gave him a peck on the cheek. Trevor grinned.

Later that evening, a group of friends found ourselves at the Economy Shoe Shop again, the same place where we (along with Trevor) mourned for George six years ago.

This time, however, we celebrated life instead. George will have to wait to see Trevor again because he still has valuable work to do down here.

The world isn't done with him yet -- nor is Trevor done with us. And thank God for that!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

American Idol: Kris Allen upsets Adam Lambert to win!

One of the biggest upsets in American Idol history happened tonight when Kris Allen beat Adam Lambert to win the title of American Idol 2009! Check out my Idol Chatter column tomorrow morning in the Moncton Times & Transcript to read all about tonight's show and how the dramatic evening played out!

Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff's response to the Conservative attack ads

American Idol: Last season's Jason Castro will be at the finale tonight!

American Idol: Idol Chatter for Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Last night was the final performance show of American Idol's 2009 season. Tonight, either Adam Lambert or Kris Allen will hear their name called by host Ryan Seacrest and become the newest American singing star.

While it seems like everyone in the world is predicting an Adam win, there's certainly a backlash going on in the "assumption" that no one else can beat him. Although I stuck with my long-held prediction that Adam will win, after sleeping on it and reading up a bit this morning (it's only 6:30 a.m. as I write this), it's a toss-up as to whether Adam will actually hear his name called tonight.

There's a real possibility that Kris will win - and many people seem to be OK with that.

This will certainly be a tension-filled night for fans. Adam is madly talented, while Kris is the sincere young singer who worked hard and played for the middle-of-the-road audience. Quite honestly, they're my two top favourites and I'm OK with either one winning... however I believe that Adam deserves it more because his performances this season were nearly impeccable in a more consistent manner.

Click here to read by Idol Chatter column in this morning's Moncton Times & Transcript. Don't forget to watch tonight's results show beginning at 9 p.m. Atlantic / 8 p.m. Eastern on Fox!

This week's Hump Day column...

Captain Trevor Greene and Brian Cormier

Captain Trevor Greene and a group of friends from
the University of King's College
who attended his first motivational speech in Halifax on May 14, 2009

... is about a recent trip to Halifax when I went on to see an old college friend, Captain Trevor Greene, give his first motivational speech after being injured while serving with the Canadian military in Afghanistan on March 4, 2006. Trevor's fight back from almost-fatal injuries has been chronicled often in the media - and last week was the first time that most of his university friends had the opportunity to see him again since his injury.

Although a 1,000-word column hardly does justice to Captain Greene's courage and determination, I hope that I managed to portray something of the man and his selfless dedication to the people of Afghanistan.

Read Hump Day on the editorial page of today's Moncton Times & Transcript. It will also be posted here tomorrow.

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

American Idol: Fans can be very passionate

Watch these girls react last year to news that their favourite - David Archuleta - did not win American Idol. They are devastated. Whoever wins tonight, there will be similar reactions all over American Idol fandom!

Don't miss tonight's season finale of American Idol on Fox at 9 p.m. Atlantic / 8 p.m. Eastern.

EMBED-Teens Wail Over American Idol Finale - Watch more free videos

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Monday, May 18, 2009

There's always an a-hole on the Internet

This barely has 200 views on YouTube now, but you can be sure it's the next YouTube sensation. It's so true.

The beginning of the era of TV remote controls!

Celebrities on Sesame Street

Why? Just because...

Neil Patrick Harris (1):

Neil Patrick Harris (2):

Michelle Obama:

Yo Yo Ma:


Paul Rudd:

Ray Romano:

John Leguizamo:

Anderson Cooper:

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Eurovision 2009 winner: Norway's Alexander Rybak with "Fairytale"

Click here to read more about Eurovision.

Still not sure what Eurovision is? According to Wikipedia (edited):

"The Eurovision Song Contest is an annual competition held among active member countries of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU).

Each member country submits a song to be performed on live television and then casts votes for the other countries' songs to determine the most popular song in the competition. Each country participates via one of their national EBU-member television stations, whose task it is to select a singer and a song to represent their country in the international competition. The Contest has been broadcast every year since its inauguration in 1956 and is one of the longest-running television programmes in the world. It is also one of the most-watched non-sporting events in the world, with audience figures having been quoted in recent years as anything between 100 million and 600 million internationally. Eurovision has also been broadcast outside Europe to such places as Australia, Canada, Egypt, Hong Kong, India, Jordan, New Zealand, South Korea and the USA, despite the fact that these countries do not compete. Since the year 2000, the Contest has also been broadcast over the Internet, with more than 74,000 people in almost 140 countries having watched the 2006 edition online."