Saturday, June 06, 2009

Time is running out to apply to be one of 21inc's top 21 new and emerging leaders!

Apply today to be one of New Brunswick's top 21 new and emerging leaders! Click here!

MetroTones to hold concert for charity on Saturday, June 13, at Wesleyan Celebration Centre in Moncton

The MetroTones singing group is holding its eighth concert for charity on Saturday, June 13, at the Wesleyan Celebration Centre, 960 St. George Boulevard, in Moncton.

Their last seven concerts have raised more than $30,000 for charity and have collected more than 5,000 lb of groceries for area food banks.

Admission is $10 plus one or more non-perishable food items.

Tickets are now available at the door or in advance at:

- Read's Newstand & Cafe, Riverview
- Point Park PetroCan, Riverview
- Morning Glory Gifts, Riverview
- Rae Fraser's, Highfield Square, Moncton
- Irving Mainway, St. George Boulevard, Moncton
- Jean Coutu, 1789 Mountain Road, Moncton
- or from any chorus member.

My highly (un)paid correspondent Walt Forsey recently checked out one of their rehearsals and sent in this report. Thanks again for this, Walt! The cheque's in the mail. *cough*

Friday, June 05, 2009

Adam Lambert's duet with Susan Boyle

Win a $700,000 home and support a great cause at the same time!

Click on the photo for a larger version. Click here for more information.

New Brunswick Youth Orchestra officials visit the Montalbán Children's Education Centre of El Sistema

Yesterday, the NBYO team visited Montalbán Children's Education Centre of El Sistema. This Centre serves 1,500 children from ages three and up. They enjoyed performances from four different orchestras at different age levels -- all of which were nothing short of inspiring. This clip is a performance by the Caracas Children's Orchestra conducted by 16-year-old prodigy Maestro Abreu and Gustavo Dudamel. This orchestra is comprised of 16-to-18-year-olds selected from various groups from throughout Caracas, Venezuela.

NBYO officials are currently on a week-long learning tour of Venezuela to study the possibility of bringing the El Sistema program to Canada.

Fred Gets Dissed at Bible School

1.17 million subscribers... incredible...

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Making it mandatory to merge in merge lanes

Hump Day
By Brian Cormier
Moncton Times & Transcript
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Editorial Page

I've got to say, we New Brunswickers are a welcoming lot when it comes to tourists. Even my legendary and self-admitted road rage takes a back seat when I see that the bad driver has out-of-province plates. I'll at least give them the benefit of the doubt when they're doing something like stopping in a merge lane.

Resident New Brunswickers, though, are fair game. If I'm ever elected to public office, I plan on advocating for the permanent installation of snipers at every merge lane in the city. If you slow down unnecessarily, you get a warning shot over the car. Stop, and then all bets are off and you'd better hope the steel plate in your head is bulletproof.

I remember when we were kids and used to cry. My mother would say, "If you don't stop crying, I'll give you something to cry about." This was usually said in frustration after asking for 10 minutes what the problem was and I wasn't able to spit out between sobs that the kid down the street stole one of my dinky cars -- a tragedy of epic proportions when you're only six years old.

Along that same vein of logic, anyone caught stopping in a merge lane will be dealt with severely, i.e. "If you're going to stop, I'll give you a darn good reason to stop!" Bang! Bang!

If for some bizarre reason the authorities don't like my sniper idea, then let me suggest that merge lanes be liberally coated with Teflon or some other slippery substance that prevents people from stopping. "Look, grandpa, the reason why you couldn't stop in the merge lane was because you... weren't... supposed... to. Now, make like a fried egg in a non-stick pan and slide away."

That would solve the problem rather nicely, don't you think? And I suppose it would get me into a lot less trouble than the sniper idea, although you have to admit that armed gunmen at the beginning of every merge lane would make traffic speed up rather nicely.

At the bottom of Shediac Road in Moncton, if you hang a right onto Lewisville Road, there's a merge lane there. This is a drive I take nearly every single day of my life either going to work or running errands on weekends.

The other day, a senior lady (I'm not picking on seniors, but I do find that seniors tend to not understand merge lanes) was stopped dead in her tracks. There was plenty of room and not a lot of traffic. There was no need whatsoever to be completely immobile in the middle of the road waiting. The car behind her stopped. I came up behind that car. I beeped my horn incessantly and eventually we were all forced to drive around her since she refused to move.

As you can probably ascertain by now, the inability of some drivers to properly enter merge lanes is a major annoyance. In fact, I firmly believe that every licensed driver -- regardless of their age -- should be forced to take their driver's exam over every year after the appearance of their first grey hair. In my experience, the more grey hair a person has, the more magically the "Merge" sign turns into a "Stop Here Until You Die" sign.

The exam would not be extensive. It wouldn't add a lot of costs into the system. In fact, it would only take about one minute from start to end. At the office, you would be given a piece of paper with one question on it. "When you enter a merge lane, do you: 1. Slam on the brakes, stop the car, and then wait until Christmas to proceed safely (napping is optional), or; 2. continue driving and signal your intent to turn into the left lane if applicable.

Those who answer correctly, i.e. "2", get their licence back for another year. Those who answer incorrectly, i.e. "1", are sent to an internment camp for an intensive six-month course -- complete with drill sergeants and electric cattle prods -- where they are slowly but surely indoctrinated into the correct way of entering a merge lane.

This may sound like a radical idea, I know. I realize that this idea would be controversial, but as one of the main causes of (my) road rage, I can assure you that it would make the world a much nicer place to live.

Besides, there are already one too many graves in town inscribed with, "Here lies a good man whose only sin was to slam on the brakes while entering a merge lane in front of Brian Cormier."

Laugh not, dear reader. I've done it before and I'll do it again. I know how to make these things look like an accident. I've been brushing up on my crime skills while reading old Scooby-Doo comic books and am pretty sure I've perfected the techniques for covering up my tracks.

Now, as long as some big goofy dog and his pack of friends don't start investigating the crimes, I'll be able to get away with it all.

Speaking of comic books, did you hear the news that the publisher of the Archie series has announced that everyone's favourite teenager will finally choose between Betty and Veronica in the September issue?

Subsequently, the cover art for that issue was released to the media and it showed Archie proposing to Veronica.

Archie fans have been up in arms ever since, with many of them advocating an engagement to the ever-faithful Betty instead of the rich and spoiled Veronica.

Personally, I think the choice is a very easy one.

Archie, my friend, pick whichever one knows what to do when entering a merge lane.

Case closed!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The Astounding World of the Future!

More NBYO video updates from Venezuela...

Officials from the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra (NBYO) are in Caracas, Venezuela, learning about a world-leading program in social change through music. Here are some clips from their trip posted today to YouTube:

NBYO president Ken MacLeod talking about El Sistema and why the NBYO is checking out the program in Venezuela:

A visit to Nucleo Los Chorros, a site that involves more that 4,000 children in the El Sistema music program - June 3, 2009:

A group of children auditioning for El Sistema - June 3, 2009:

Click here for more about the NBYO's trip to Venezuela.

Today's Hump Day column...

Do you know what this sign means? If you don't, you're in good company because I find that a huge percentage of drivers on the road don't know how to properly merge. Yes, that sign means "merge".

Read all about it on the editorial page of today's Moncton Times & Transcript. It will also be posted online here tomorrow.

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

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

New Brunswick Youth Orchestra officials to tour Venezuela

The New Brunswick Youth Orchestra (NBYO) will seek to be the latest musical organization to align itself with the success of Venezuela’s “El Sistema” program. NBYO officials will tour the South American country in early June to research what is known as one of the world’s great musical and social success stories for young people.

The National System of Youth and Children’s Orchestras of Venezuela, known locally as “El Sistema”, brings together the country’s most disadvantaged youth and nurtures their talent through free instruments and instruction. The program has been replicated throughout the world and may soon make its debut in Canada right here in New Brunswick.

NBYO president Ken MacLeod is excited about the prospect of potentially bringing a version of El Sistema to Canada. “The initiative’s success has been nothing short of phenomenal,” Mr. MacLeod said. “What started back in 1975 has grown to today include more than a quarter-million young people who now have access to a quality music education. In fact, one of its graduates – Gustavo Dudamel – will be making his debut in October as the musical director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.”

The NBYO’s learning tour of El Sistema will allow them to see and experience the program first-hand, as well as identify and evaluate the elements that make the program successful in Venezuela.

“We’ll need to assess to what extent those elements are conditioned by the Venezuelan circumstances and context and then determine the elements that are transferrable to the New Brunswick context,” Mr. MacLeod said. “We’ll also need to determine the levels of support required and develop a plan and a budget to implement the program here in the province. It is our hope to implement a three-year pilot in five or six locations throughout New Brunswick.”

“I’m particularly excited about exploring the possibility of inviting a Venezuelan youth orchestra to New Brunswick and Canada as a way to introduce El Sistema and to enable our orchestras to collaborate in performances.”

El Sistema is funded by private sponsors and government and offers free music classes to any child regardless of their ability to pay. It also provides the instruments. Not only a flagship of national achievement, it is producing transformative social change, artistic excellence, and producing and exporting musicians of extraordinary quality.

It is based on the premise that it is not just the lack of a roof, bread or literacy skills that hold children back, it is also a spiritual lack – a loneliness, a lack of recognition and achievement. It is based on the belief that children are born into the world as assets – not liabilities, and that poor people deserve to see beauty.

The El Sistema spirit:
• Music is taught as play rather than a chore;
• The objective is discipline, respect and achievement through work;
• The goal is excellence: not to be the best, but the best you can be;
• Everything is communal. Everything is about the team. The culture is one of mutual support.

“El Sistema New Brunswick would be a program of the NBYO,” explained Mr. MacLeod. “We would target specific outreach and opportunities for at-risk children and youth. Specifically, we want to tackle illiteracy and social alienation.”

“Through the program, we want to produce transformational change through music, enhancing society, creating affluence of spirit and producing artistic excellence,” he said. “We want to create a new musical culture as a way to make music a way of life and to create citizens with all the values they need to exist in society: responsibility, teamwork, respect, co-operation and work ethic.”

Accompanying Mr. MacLeod on the week-long fact-finding tour will be David Hawkins, NBYO board member and president of Colour Co-création, a Moncton-based communications firm, and David Adams, NBYO board member and concertmaster of the New Brunswick Symphony Orchestra. Colour has also been announced as the first corporate sponsor of El Sistema in Canada and is sponsoring Mr. Hawkins’ trip to Venezuela. As well, a crew from Hemmings House Pictures will also accompany the tour to shoot footage for a documentary on the story as it unfolds over the next number of months.

The group will tour Venezuela from June 1-8 and hope to have a final report and recommendations delivered to the NBYO’s board of directors by September.

For more information, please contact:

Ken MacLeod
(506) 384-1255
Here's a report on El Sistema from CBS's 60 Minutes news magazine:

And here's a video made this morning in Caracas, Venezuela, upon the arrival of the NBYO:

Monday, June 01, 2009

Total Eclipse of the Heart: Literal Video Version

Controversial rapper Eminem storms out of MTV Movie Awards

Apparently, rapper Eminem wasn't impressed with a little prank played on him by comedian Sasha Baron Cohen who was in character as gay fashion designer Bruno at last night's MTV Movie Awards. Cohen landed on Eminem, nearly bare-bummed, and the rapper was not impressed.

Not that I'd want a stranger's arse in my face either, but he could have laughed and made a joke out of it. He was on live TV for heaven's sake! Read more about the incident by clicking here.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Just in case the guys were wondering how to...

This is an actual Gillette video available on their website. (I did check it out and it's there!)

For more tips, click here.