Hump Day: Willy Wonka has nothing on the jaded Halloween treat dispenser

Hump DayHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014
Moncton Times & Transcript

Halloween is upon us and I’m not even going to debate which treats to get. After being the hit of the neighbourhood for a few years because I was giving away full-size boxes of Smarties, I decided to switch things up last year and put more variety into my front-door offerings to the ghosts and goblins who came a-knockin’.

It was a colossal failure. The mixture of full-size treats I was giving out seemed to be about as popular as serving rat poison to Mickey Mouse. Sure, receiving a full-size Halloween treat at any house these days is a rarity, but the age bracket my particular choices of candy would have been popular with last year are people whose teeth soak in a glass on their nightstand overnight.

And despite my annual debate about handing out something that could potentially be remotely healthy, I’ll be giving out pure sugar again this year. Yup, sugar full of food colouring. Some advice to parents: don’t let your kids eat whatever they get from my house this year just before bedtime. The additive-filled sugar bombs that I’ll be handing out will most certainly cause a bit of hyperactivity. On the morning of Nov. 1, you’ll likely have to peel little Johnny and Suzie off the ceiling, their lips painted multiple colours from various food dyes and their eyes bugged out from way too much chocolate.

Hey, if you can’t give out healthy treats, give up and hand out the worst ones possible. If there’s a skull and crossbones on the packaging, go for it. ‘The contents of this package may cause instant diabetes, dizziness and heart palpitations.’ Yup, now there’s a real honest-to-goodness Halloween treat. If it doesn’t take two years off your life, it’s not a Halloween treat.

trick or treat

I’ve often wondered about handing out homemade treats on Halloween night, but I can’t imagine any parent actually allowing their child to eat it. Who hands out homemade Halloween treats anymore, anyway? It’s so much easier just going to the toxic waste section of the grocery store and looking for candy. ‘Here, this should kill a few brain cells in little Johnny and Suzie. It’ll take the edge off them for a couple of weeks. Mom and Dad will be able to sleep in.’

If I gave out homemade Halloween treats, it would not be fun because I’d be way too paranoid. Why waste my time if the treats are going to end up in the garbage anyway? ‘Where did you get this brownie, Johnny? What? You don’t know? Into the garbage it goes!’ I’d be more than happy to package up any homemade treats in plastic wrap or bags and put my name, address and telephone number on them – you know, for safety reasons – but what if they don’t like them? Then my house would get egged for sure.

I’d hate to be outside only to find cars slowing down in front of the house while the occupants point and laugh at me.‘Mommy, is that the man who made those disgusting homemade Halloween treats last year? Can we take a picture? We didn’t think he actually existed. Who would put their name, address and telephone number on treats that were so disgusting? Why didn’t he just hand out expired dog food?’ Apparently, kids can be a tough crowd.

I remember getting homemade treats as a kid and I’m pretty sure we threw them out unless we knew from which exact house we got them. It didn’t happen often, though. Pre-packaged commercial candy was all the rage. We thought peanuts in the shell were quite the treat, too, since they were not something we had in the house otherwise. Knowing how dirt cheap they are, it’s no wonder so many people handed them out on Halloween night. Can you imagine handing out peanuts in this day and age? With so many peanut allergies, I’d probably be charged with attempted murder.

So, I think I’ll just stick to the commercial treats again this year. No handmade decorated cookies or squares or other treats. The kids going through my neighbourhood will once again receive the old standby treat that has been such a hit for the past few years.

And to the one smartypants who comes around a second time for another full-size treat: Don’t try to outsmart the King of the Smartypants, kid. I’ve got more food colouring and sugar in me than a candy factory, which gives me keen sense of trick-or-treat fraud. The second time around, you’re getting a rice cake.

2014 Learning Partnership Tribute Luncheon to be held in Moncton on Monday, Nov. 10

Learning Partnership 2014 Tribute Luncheon

The 2014 Learning Partnership Tribute Luncheon will be held at the Delta Beauséjour in Moncton on Monday, Nov. 10, honouring two outstanding individuals who have contributed greatly to education in New Brunswick: Ken MacLeod and Bernard Richard. The keynote speaker will be former New Brunswick lieutenant-governor Margaret McCain. Click on the photo for a larger version. Click here to purchase a ticket or table for the event.

Reminder: Turn your clocks back by one hour this weekend!

back one hour

Just a reminder that clocks go back by one hour this weekend — before bed on Saturday night or by 2 a.m. on Sunday!

Congratulations to TransAqua on their rebranding!

XYZ  - Bricor - Branch congratulatory ad for TransAqaua

I was pleased to work with David Hawkins and Brian Jamieson of XYZ Stratégie-Communication and Brian Branch of Branch Graphic Design on the Greater Moncton Wastewater Commission’s recent rebranding to TransAqua. We had great teamwork with our client! I’m very proud of the work we did.

Hump Day: The case of the cursed curmudgeon and the helium of happiness

Hump DayHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014
Moncton Times & Transcript

Years ago, I worked for a summer in a communications job with a non-profit organization. Part of my duties were to prepare the newsletter. I was in journalism school. It was right up my alley. I was happy.

One day, one of the interviews I had to do for the newsletter was with a dog groomer. She was quite the character and regaled me with stories that were funny and entertaining. Who knew that being a dog groomer could be such an exciting business? I left there in a great mood and couldn’t wait to return to the office to relate some of her stories to my co-workers.

The organization was a pretty serious place. All business. Accounting, sales, membership sales, policy writing, etc. There weren’t exactly a lot of ha-ha moments. The people were nice, of course, but the work was pretty dry – that is, until I talked to the dog groomer. When I arrived at the office, I happily told my colleagues about the interview and about how interesting it was, including some of the great stories I heard. People were smiling and laughing. It was quite the interview.

angry bossThen I got called into the boss’s office. I’ve never forgotten what happened next. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was berated in a rather loud voice that everyone could hear. I was told I ruined the working atmosphere in the office with my stories about the interview I just did. Basically, I was told that what I did was unprofessional and was unproductive. Needless to say, it was the last time I ever said a thing that could even make anyone crack a smile.

I was in complete shock. It was the most ridiculous thing I’d ever heard. Now, if I did this on a daily basis, I could see his point. This was a one-time thing, though. How many more dog groomer interviews would I be doing? Not only was I shocked, my colleagues were shocked, too. The entire storytelling session with them might have lasted five minutes.

Perhaps my boss at the time thought he was making an example of me. I don’t know. What I do remember from that conversation, though, was that he was not someone who enjoyed seeing others in a good mood. As much as I had raised the spirits of the people in the office that drab afternoon, he popped that happiness balloon pretty quickly with his public rebuke. The smiles stopped after that.

It seems that some people just can’t stand to see others happy. This phenomenon is especially prevalent online. With Christmas approaching, it’s particularly bad. Already people are posting messages that the upcoming holiday season had better not see you being too happy. Why? Because others are sad at that time of the year. So because some people are sad during the holidays, everyone is supposed to be miserable?

We’re very quick to tell others not to be happy sometimes. Do you like a certain song and post it online? Expect a bunch of negative comments telling you that your taste in music should be floating down a sewer. Enjoy a certain food? Wait for the comments about how bad it is for you. How about a television show? Yup, you guessed it. You’re told you’re wasting your brain cells on that swill. No one can just say, ‘Oh good for you!’ or ‘I’m glad that makes you happy!’

And don’t even try to tell someone that you like that most delicious of fall caffeinated treats: pumpkin spice lattes. Now, to be sure, the number of pumpkin-spice-flavoured goodies has exploded since pumpkin spice lattes became all the rage a few years ago. But it seems like we’re not even allowed to like those anymore without someone trying to spread hoaxes that they’re toxic. No one should drink them every day, but for an occasional treat, they’re actually pretty delicious.

I find it refreshing when people say they’re happy about something. As long as it doesn’t hurt anyone, who am I to judge? Well, I may think you’re a bit nuts, but that’s my problem, not yours.

Let’s stop trying to rain on everyone’s parade. But hey, if you like to stand in the rain and watch parades, then go for it. If you want to drink pumpkin spice lattes until you turn orange, be my guest. Let’s celebrate happiness even if we think what makes others happy is a bit odd. Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to crank up the Christmas music. (Don’t even start!)