Saturday, December 26, 2009

Happy Boxing Day!

It's December 26 -- the day after Christmas -- traditionally known as Boxing Day here in Canada. In many parts of the country, the stores are open and the after-Christmas sales will be in full swing today! And there are lots of leftovers to munch on, too!

In other parts of the country where today is still a holiday (like here in New Brunswick), the stores will open tomorrow... leaving today to visiting friends and family and resting up after a busy Christmas Day!

Today is also St. Stephen's Day -- you know, the "Feast of Stephen" mentioned in the Good King Wenceslas Christmas carol.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

It's finally the big day! I hope you all have a wonderful day full of surprises, family, friendship... and peace. Enjoy yourselves!

"I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" by Johnny Cash.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Memories of midnight mass

Here is "Venez divin messie" sung by Raoul Jobin -- a wonderful Christmas carol that was sung at church when I was a youngster when my paternal grandmother would accompany us.

Lots of memories. I hope this Christmas Eve has many great memories for you all, too!

What one writer is hoping Santa will do this year

Hump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial page

Dear Santa:

This is Brian. You know, the guy with two cats who talks about himself a lot. The guy who hates wind chimes. The guy with road rage who screams at other drivers when he's alone in the car (and hopes no one else is looking). I know I'm weird. My brain is clogged with cat fur. It was bound to happen.

Anyway, sir, since it's nearly Christmas, I was hoping that I could send in this last-minute wish list. Since this will be posted online, I assume your media monitoring service will pick it up and someone in your public relations department will flag it for follow-up and action. If there's one way to get the attention of an international celebrity, it's writing about him in the newspaper.

First of all, this Christmas, I want you to give the ability to drivers to learn what "right of way" means. The other day, another drive cut me off (I clearly had the right of way) and she gave me the finger when I oh so gently beeped my horn at her. Well, perhaps "oh so gently" isn't exactly characterized by leaning on it for 10 seconds and screaming at her. But still, her finger was rude, especially during the holidays. Feel free to ask the reindeer to leave -- uhm -- a "special gift" in her stocking tomorrow night.

Also, it would be greatly appreciated if you would drop a how-to guide in everyone's stocking about how to return shopping carts to the outside collection areas instead of just leaving them in the middle of the parking lot for other cars to run into. I realize that walking two spots over to drop the cart off is a tough job, but our cars and bumpers would greatly appreciate it.

When I'm sitting with someone in a restaurant with someone and they blow their nose, please make it common knowledge that it's really gross to deposit the tissue right in front of me on the table. I cannot tell you how many people do this. It happens all the time. It baffles me.

I care about the environment as much as anyone else, but could you please leave a lump of coal in the stockings of those who berate others for sending Christmas cards because -- in their opinion -- it's not "environmentally friendly"? I mean, come on. It's Christmas, for heaven's sake. Sending a personal greeting in the mail isn't going to make the sun dim. Not everyone has e-mail, so a card is often a nice way to send an actual hand-written note, a rarity these days. The quality of my handwriting is deteriorating year after year, so I plan on keeping up the tradition, if only to keep from writing like a gorilla holding a pencil for the first time.

Now, those are my rather selfish requests for this Christmas -- you know, the stuff that will make me personally happy. However, here are some other requests.

For all those experiencing hunger and homeless this year, I hope you are able to provide them with hope and a sense of inner self-worth so that they may heal and move forward with their lives to become self-sustainable and happy. Everyone deserves a warm bed to sleep in and a belly full of food.

Speaking of the homeless, please don't forget all those animals in shelters around the world looking for families to take care of them. Let's hope that after the holidays many of them will be adopted into new homes and will know the joy of curling up to someone on the sofa on the many cold winter nights that are ahead of us.

And please don't forget the children who need parents, too. I'm not too concerned about the babies because they find homes almost immediately, but the older children and sibling groups are a bit harder to place and are just as cute and worthy. Adopting an instant family would be a wonderful gift for a single parent or couple (and the children!) in the coming year, don't you think?

I personally know four couples who'd been together for more than 20 years each who separated this year, Santa. This will be a "different" Christmas for all of them, to say the least. It's my hope that they'll all be able to find a bit of happiness in this first Christmas of their new family situation. It can't be easy, but I hope you're able to say a few more "Ho Ho Hos" when you come down their chimneys on Christmas Eve.

For all those who lost a family member this year or a close friend, please send them a bit of cheer, too. The empty seat at the dinner table will be obvious to everyone, but please give them strength to start new traditions that will continue to bring joy during the holiday season -- and lessen their pain and grief.

Okay, now I'm back to the selfish stuff. I realize you're on vacation during the NHL playoffs, but if you could somehow give some extra "oomph" to the Canadian teams this year, I think I speak for everyone in the country when I say it would be great if one of our teams won the Stanley Cup. Quite frankly, I don't care which one. As long as Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton or Vancouver is in the name of the team, I'll be happy... and so will many others! I even predict a few will leave an extra cookie for you and an extra carrot for the reindeer next Christmas Eve!

And one last thing: If one more person tells me to go off my diet just because it's Christmas, please make them gain a minimum of 10 pounds over the holidays. If you do that for me, I may even throw in a $20 bill next to the cookies next year! Thanks for listening, Santa! Love, Brian xox

Christmas 2009 countdown: 1 day!

It's Christmas Eve, folks! Not much longer to wait now!

Today: Three classics for you...

"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" by Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street

"Merry Christmas Darling" by The Carpenters

And... finally... of course... "White Christmas" by Bing Crosby:

Have a wonderful Christmas Eve, everyone!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Track Santa's journey around the globe tomorrow!

Happy Christmas Eve "Eve"! Don't forget that you can track Santa's journey around the globe tomorrow via the NORAD Tracks Santa website. Take a look at last year's trip here:

Christmas 2009 countdown: 2 days!

Today: "We Wish You a Merry Christmas"

The Muppets:

Santa Buddies:

Cannibale Vocale:

This week's Hump Day column...

... is a copy of my letter to Santa Claus this year. I've decided to share it with all of you because -- well -- it saves me from writing a column this week. *cough*

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

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

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas 2009 countdown: 3 days!

Today: "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen"

Angel Voices:

King's College Cambridge:


Monday, December 21, 2009

It's winter!

I timed this post to coincide with the exact moment that winter arrives... so if you're reading this, it's now officially winter! Drive safely and keep warm!

In memoriam: Adèle Cormier (1906-2009)

My beautiful great aunt Adèle Cormier passed away yesterday at the age of 103. She lived a long life and was healthy right up until her last 24 hours. She'd even already knitted all of her Christmas gifts this year!

What a blessing she was to everyone who knew her and we're all so happy that she was ill for only a very short time -- in fact, for a mere few hours.

Rest in peace, Adèle. You have deserved your rest after such a long journey.

The photo above was taken at her 103rd birthday party in September 2009. She was brought to the party in a limousine and treated like a queen!

Here is her obituary:

Adèle Cormier (1906-2009)

Adèle Cormier, 103, wife of the late Antoine Cormier of Adamsville and formerly of Moncton passed away on Sunday, December 20, 2009, at the Dr. Georges L. Dumont Hospital. Born September 20, 1906 in Saint-Marie-de-Kent, she was the daughter of the late Dominique Bastarache and Dina LeBlanc.

She is survived by a special niece Loretta LeBlanc (René), special nephews, Camille Cormier (Marguerite), Gérard Cormier (Maria) and Bernard Cormier, several other nieces and nephews, many great nieces and great nephews, as well as her caregiver Tina Landry and by many close friends.

Besides her husband Antoine, she is also predeceased by a daughter at birth, four brothers: Isidore, Hector, Edmond and Alyre; five sisters: Démérise, Nathalie, Ozélie, Régina and Marie-Anne.

The family will receive relatives and friends at Frenette's Funeral Home, 88 Church Street, Moncton (858-1900). Visiting hours Monday from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. and Tuesday from 10 a.m. until time of departure(10:45). The funeral mass will be held at Notre-Dame-de-Grâce Roman Catholic Church (Parkton) on Tuesday, December 22, 2009, at 11 a.m. Interment will be in Our Lady of Calvary R.C. Cemetery, Dieppe.

A contribution, in memory of Adèle, to the NB Heart and Stroke Foundation or to a charity of the donors choice would be appreciated.

Christmas 2009 countdown: 4 days!

Today: Three classic cartoons that were always aired on Christmas Day when I was a kid. They aren't Christmas cartoons per se, but many readers (of a certain age) may have also seen these growing up. I thought they were really depressing at the time, but there was nothing else on TV on Christmas Day, so we watched them anyway!

The Selfish Giant:

The Happy Prince:

The Little Mermaid:

I couldn't find an embeddable version, but you can find this wonderful 1975 version of The Little Mermaid narrated by Richard Chamberlain here:

Part 1: Click here

Part 2: Click here

Part 3: Click here

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas 2009 countdown: 5 days!

Today: Modern Christmas classics

"When My Heart Finds Christmas" by Harry Connick Jr.:

"Last Christmas" by Wham:

"God Bless Us Everyoen" by Andrea Bocelli: