Friday, August 14, 2009

Some scenes from today's visit to Moncton of Her Excellency The Rt. Hon. Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada

Canada's Governor General visited Moncton today for various events. At 11 a.m. at Moncton City Hall, she participated in a ceremony that saw the raising of the Acadian flag in honour of the Acadian National Holiday tomorrow - August 15.

Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe Member of Parliament Brian Murphy chatting with Ruben Cohen.

The crowd anxiously awaits her visit!

This little girl presented Her Excellency with a bouquet of flowers.

Moncton Mayor George LeBlanc and his wife Kathy walking down the red carpet to greet Her Excellency.

Here she comes!

And there she is!

Here, Moncton City Clerk Barb Quigley welcomes the Governor General.

Blind Guy Biking – A Canadian Progress Club cross-Canada ride

(Adapted from a Canadian Progress Club news release)

A very special event and news conference in support of Special Olympics New Brunswick will take place on Monday, August 17, at noon in Moncton. The Canadian Progress Club (local men’s and women’s chapters) invites the public to join them in welcoming Richard Holloway as he pedals his way into town during the New Brunswick leg of his cross-Canada journey.

Richard, who has only 6% sight and tunnel vision, rides on an recumbent tandem bicycle and is joined by nephew Aaron Matthews acting as his lead and "eyes" for the trip. Richard and Aaron are truly deserving of a warm Moncton welcome.

Meet Richard at Moncton City Hall Plaza and cheer him on as he rides into town from Fredericton to Moncton.

Opportunities to donate to Blind Guy Biking will be available on-site during the welcome ceremony and event. For more information, or to make a pledge through the Canadian Progress Club secure server, visit http://www.blindguybiking.com/. All funds raised in support of this local initiative stay within our community.

Please join us and participating community leaders to commemorate this very special day.

Moncton City Hall Plaza (rain location: City Hall lobby)
655 Main Street
Moncton, NB
Monday, August 17th, 2009
12:00 p.m. (noon)

Richard Holloway, in addition to representatives from the Canadian Progress Club and Special Olympics, will be on hand immediately following the news conference for media inquiries and photo opportunities.

Media contacts:

Gilles Godin
Moncton Men’s Progress Club
gilles.godin@maritimepavers.com
(506) 850-5756

Annie Breau
Moncton Women's Progress Club
alynbreau@gmail.com
(506) 874-0228

More information on Richard:

Although legally blind with about 6% sight, Richard Holloway of Brampton, Ontario, still has a vision. His is to use his disability to help others less fortunate than himself. He has run and finished 17 full marathons including Boston, New York, Hawaii and Dublin. While running, he was known as "Blind Guy Running" and raised more than $250,000 for charity. Now, as "Blind Guy Biking", he is riding a tandem recumbent bicycle from Victoria, BC, to St. Johns, NL, collecting pledges for athletes with disabilities.

Richard’s first and main goal is to raise money to help people with disabilities “reach the podium and earn medals in their sport at regional, provincial and international levels ultimately reaching the Special Olympics.” He will "Pedal for Medals" to help them "go for the gold". His second goal is to support the new blind hockey organization during its infancy, “allowing the blind and visually impaired to play and participate in our national sport”.

The primary sponsor for the ride is the Canadian Progress Club of which Richard is a member and president of his hometown Brampton Chapter. Through their charitable foundation, they have created the structure for collecting donations, issuing tax receipts and administering the funds. The Canadian Progress Club Cross-Canada Ride will raise money from pledges made in support of the Blind Guy Biking. Local Special Olympics groups will benefit directly as the proceeds are intended to help them pay expenses such as swimming pool fees, busses to and from events and equipment purchases.

The ride started in Victoria on June 7 and ends in St. John's on September 1. The route has been organized into six legs of about 1,650 kilometers each including side trips to meet, as Richard says, “as many Special Olympians as I can”. The total distance is 10,000 kilometres. Pledges are being requested in a range from one quarter of a cent to one cent per kilometer or $25 to $100. Tax receipts are available for donations of $25 or more. Pledges may be made online at www.blindguybiking.com and the Canadian Progress website www.progressclub.ca.

Richard, the Blind Guy Biking, will be riding in the rear of a recumbent tandem bicycle built specially for his needs. His lead Rrder is his nephew Aaron Matthews of Wasaga Beach, ON. Anna Holloway, Richard's wife, is ride director and will drive the main support vehicle behind the riders for safety on the road. Additional support will be provided by Don Simmons, documentarian, who will be videotaping the ride, Len Ashby, equipment manager and second rider, and Judy Bachmann, web communications, who will upload video and images to the website during the ride.

This is not Richard's first effort as Blind Guy Biking. Last year he conducted a trial ride of 750 kilometres around Georgian Bay following the Georgian Bay Coastal Route. Together with wife Anna and nephew Aaron, he travelled for eight days from Wasaga Beach through Collingwood, Owen Sound, Tobermory, Manitoulin Island, Sudbury, Parry Sound and Midland back to Wasaga Beach. Special Olympics groups along the way greeted him with handmade signs and heartfelt thanks. The success of the trial ride and the moving response of the Special Olympians inspired Richard to pursue his dream to ride across Canada proving, in his words, "You don't need sight to have a vision".

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Mysteries of adulthood revealed... maybe too much

Hump Day
By Brian Cormier
Moncton Times & Transcript
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Editorial Page

I never know how much I should censor myself around my friends' children now that most of them are hitting their teenage years. I keep talking to them like their babies, when in reality they could probably make me blush with what they know about the world.

Most of my friends are quite open with their kids about sex. To my knowledge, none of them have ever told them any tall tales about storks delivering them to mommy and daddy or about finding them in the garden among the cabbages. The garden analogy would be difficult to explain once the kid realizes that gardens don't grow in February, so why is his birthday during that month?

My own parents were quite open about it all. I still remember my shock when I found out where babies came from, feelings ranging from abject horror to wanting to burst out laughing.

"You're kidding me, right? I may only be five years old, but I didn't just fall off the Tonka turnip truck, you know!"

After that, I'd hear 'true stories' of how babies were made, mostly from kids whose parents decided to tell them tales along the lines of the stork and cabbage patch so as to avoid the truth.

One I can remember clearly, was simply bumping backsides with someone else and bam! Instant parenthood!

We barely knew the real names for all the parts, but somehow managed to convince the poor kid of the 'real way,' which pretty much horrified him to no end.

Many kids find out on the playground from their more curious friends who've already had 'the talk' with their parents. My god daughter and her brother first heard how babies were made from their friends. I happened to be visiting when they asked their parents if what they'd heard was true. Their parents promptly confirmed that what they'd heard was indeed accurate.

The son then exclaimed, 'My friend's mother said it feels really good!,' to which the adults in the room all burst out laughing at the innocent comment -- obviously in response to a perfectly understandable question from a child on whether or not the entire process was painful.

Of course, the friend's mother was eventually ribbed about the comment and wanted to die right there, only then realizing that her son was broadcasting her answer to the entire neighbourhood. I can't even remember her name, but when we laugh about the incident, I just call her 'Mrs. Feel Good.'

Seeing all these kids hit puberty has been an experience. The girls getting figures. The boys growing tall and strapping... and needing to shave.

If they ever get uppity with their parents in front me, I simply tell them, "Hey buddy, I remember when you used to go hide in the corner to do 'number two' in your diaper, so don't think you're so grown up!" Of course, it has more effect when they're friends are in the room at the same time, leading to much laughter and finger pointing.

Things are so open now. I remember that when I hit puberty, I didn't go around announcing it to everyone. When your voice cracks and you get whiskers, it's kind of obvious, but before then it's a bit more 'hidden,' so to speak... if you get my drift.

One friend's son, though, decided to announce at the kitchen table during supper that he -- uhm -- started to grow a 'lawn.' He was so proud and was grinning ear-to-ear as he announced his new 'crop' to me.

I sat there a bit stunned (not that that's anything new) and wondered how the heck to respond, until his father nudged me and said, "Well, say something!" What do you say to that?

"Well, congratulations," I managed to spit out, half wanting to laugh.

I always wondered what the big deal was about teaching sexual education in schools. I think it's a good idea for kids to get the proper information in a factual, scientific way. Perhaps it doesn't have to be done in Kindergarten, but at some point everyone needs to get the correct information, otherwise we'd have young married couples running around town searching for babies in cabbage patches or trying to shoot down storks as they flew over.

I had sex ed in high school and, quite frankly, am glad I did. Although I thought I knew everything, I obviously didn't. To this day, I remember a light going off and going, 'Oh, that's why!' when menstruation was explained. Until then, I had no clue.

Before that, I thought it was just horribly bad luck or some unexplained terrible affliction that females had to suffer all their lives.

Only then did I clue in to why I was being sent so frantically to the grocery store every so often as a kid to buy that box of 'baby mattresses' in the purple box with dandelions on the front.

Sex ed should be taught in school at an early age for scientific reasons, not religious or moral reasons.

We can't pretend that dinosaurs didn't walk the Earth no less than we can pretend babies are made by kissing, holding hands or playing dominoes.

And little kids sent to the stores by their mothers to buy 'baby mattresses' should at least realize the urgent need for their trip so they don't waste their time talking back!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Today's Hump Day column...

... is about having "the talk" with your kids - especially now that they likely know more than you!

Check out today's Hump Day column on the editorial page of the Moncton Times & Transcript, New Brunswick's highest-circulation newspaper. It will also be posted online here tomorrow.

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

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Animal cruelty at Westmorland County Agricultural Fair

How can anyone in their right mind think this is fun??? Check out the kid dragging the pig on the ground. Someone needs to put a stop to this nonsense. This video was taken August 8, 2009, at the Westmorland County Agricultural Fair in Petitcodiac, NB. Take a moment to e-mail them to tell this this is unacceptable.

R.I.P. Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founder of the Special Olympics

Eunice Kennedy Shriver died today surrounded by her entire family, including Maria Shriver, wife of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Her brothers are President John F. Kennedy and Senators Robert and Edward (Ted) Kennedy. Quite an accomplished family, to say the least. Mrs. Shriver founded the Special Olympics in the 1960s.

Monday, August 10, 2009