Saturday, October 23, 2010

Canadian Veterans' Week: November 5-11, 2010

Veterans Affairs Canada is asking Canadians to honour our soldiers during Veterans' Week 2010 by spreading the word through social media.

"This November, Canadians from coast to coast to coast will come together to mark Veterans' Week.

At hundreds of ceremonies and events, we will remember and recognize the sacrifices and accomplishments of our veterans those of past missions and conflicts, and those who are still returning home today.

So, how will you remember?

Tell us and the world. Leave a comment. Upload a video. Or join us on Facebook, where you'll find tools that let you find, organize and promote events in your community. Share virtual poppies. View photos and videos. Join an online network. And a whole lot more."

For more information on Veterans' Week 2010 in Canada, click here.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Entering the bizarre world of specialty Christmas gifts

Hump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial section

I received a specialty Christmas catalogue in the mail last week that targets those who are difficult to buy for during the holidays. I'm getting to that point, too. Already, I'm being asked by relatives what I want for Christmas and have started keeping a list.

Some of the stuff in the catalogue is pretty unique. There's a DVD that teaches you how to play the ukulele. For the $149.95 price tag, they also throw in the ukulele.

Not interested in the ukulele? Then how about the banjo? They have a system to teach you how to play that, too.

And there's a video camera in the shape of a ballpoint pen. Just put it in your shirt pocket and you can secretly record your meetings.

There's a genuine handmade Irish shillelagh. Oh c'mon, now. You don't know what that is? Neither did I until I saw the photo of a walking stick that accompanied the description.

There are specialty pillows for people who sleep on their arms and people who sleep on their sides. There are "the best" toasters, shavers, binoculars and electric can openers. There are head wraps for migraines and cranial massages.

For some reason, the catalogue is also chock full of shoes, slippers and braces specifically for people suffering from plantar fasciitis, a painful foot condition.

Germaphobes may be interested in "germ eliminating smartphone sanitizer" and the "H1N1 destroying handheld wand" that you scan over surface areas to (supposedly) destroy the virus.

Got a hankering for sweets? How about the tabletop cotton candy maker?

Scared of bugs? There's a portable bug vacuum with an extendable arm that allows you to suck up the little buggers. Not only that, they land on an electric grid inside the vacuum that kills them instantly.

Do you have ice running through your veins? If so, you'll be interested in the wide variety of portable heaters, heated vests, blankets and leg massagers.

And if you still haven't found what you want for that hard-to-buy-for person, how about a stainless steel wallet? Yup, a wallet made out of 25,000 flexible stainless steel threads that are three times thinner than a sheet of paper.

As for me, I'm still at a bit of a loss as to what to put on my Christmas list.

My mother's like me. She pretty much has everything she wants and just buys what she needs as she goes along.

Each year, I keep grasping at more and more straws. This year, one of my gifts for her is a thermal gravy boat - you know, to keep the gravy warm at the dinner table.

At first, I thought it was bit of a stretch for a gift, but the clerk at the store where I purchased it said it was a very popular item and they had a hard time keeping them in stock. Who knew that cold gravy was such a societal problem?

I have an aunt who buys me gifts and she starts asking in August what I'd like for Christmas. So far, my list includes underwear (feel the sizzling excitement of Christmas morning!) and a nutmeg grater - you know, because a house without a nutmeg grater is just not fit to live in.

I need to start my list early because if I end up giving it in December, I'll be so desperate that I'll just throw anything on there... like those ukulele or banjo tutorial DVDs complete with the instruments, too!

I suppose I could hire myself out to play at weddings and funerals, although I haven't been to many funerals featuring an Ave Maria banjo solo. Time for churches to get with the times, eh? They're so addicted to their beautiful majestic pipe organs that the poor little banjos and ukuleles get thrown aside. It's discrimination, I tell ya! I'm sure the pope will have that at the top of the agenda at his next meeting on pope-related stuff.

Maybe I could use a good space-age nose hair trimmer? A quick call to my dental hygienist would probably determine that - since she's spent the most time of anyone I know looking up my nose while I'm upside down.

Actually, she's the only person I know who has spent any time doing that.

There's one in the catalogue that has an integrated vacuum to collect the clippings. Ingenious and gross at the same time!

The most expensive gift I found in the catalogue was a whole body massage chair that massages you from your neck to your feet. The description says, "This is the only massage chair that massages your back, neck, shoulders, arms and legs, providing the most comprehensive, soothing robotic massage available." I want to marry it, but at $6,800 and another $375 for shipping, I may take a pass.

Hmmm... I wonder how generous my aunt is feeling? Maybe if I get her drunk on egg nog...

Featured on the cover of the catalogue is a hand-held espresso maker.

For $189.95, you get a device that looks like a space-age hammer that holds hot water and ground espresso coffee beans.

Pulling the trigger activates a gas cartridge that exerts pressure "on the coffee and water, producing rich, complex espresso with a thick crema." Not being a terribly sophisticated coffee drinker, I'm not even sure what "crema" is, but apparently it's good to have a thick one.

I suppose, though, before worrying about Christmas, that I should start shopping for Halloween candy. I wonder how many trick-or-treaters want a banjo-learnin' DVD in their pillow case this year?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

RIP Tom Bosley (1927-2010)

Tom Bosley, who played the father Howard Cunningham on Happy Days from 1974 to 1984 died today of heart failure after a long battle with lung cancer. He was 83.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Surprise party

Craigery Morgan's take on Kristen Wiig's "Sue" character from Saturday Night Live has gone viral and hit 4 million+ views after only days on YouTube. Check it out. Funny stuff! His dream is to be a Saturday Night Live cast member.