Monthly Archives: June 2011

Old Moncton-area family movies from the 1960s

I am beyond thrilled that my aunt Betty Cormier let me borrow my uncle Louis’s old 8mm reels to have digitized. They were transferred to DVD by Spicer’s Copy and Transfer on St. George Street in Moncton. Very happy with the results. I subsequently edited the footage into various movies. Here are a few:

Wedding of Lucille Cormier (my father’s sister) and Norman Bourque and Cathédrale Notre Dame de l’Assomption on St. George Street (1963):

New Year’s Day party (1963’ish):

And last but not least… it’s l’il ol’ me as a baby (1965’ish) with hair that makes me look like the love child of Princess Leia and Alfalfa:

This week’s Social Media Matters column (originally published June 24, 2011)

Social Media MattersSocial Media Matters
By Brian Cormier
Moncton Times & Transcript
Friday, June 24, 2011
Metro section

Gaga’s Twitter reign continues

Lady Gaga’s dominance of Twitter continued this week when she increased her followers by 10 per cent in record time to just over 11 million.

According to an article by Shea Bennett posted to AllTwitter.com, Lady Gaga “reached nine million Twitter followers on March 25, 2011. It took her 50 days to reach 10 million (from nine million) (May 14), and just 37 days to reach 11 million (June 20).”

Canadian teen singer Justin Bieber is only the second Twitter user to hit 10 million users, a milestone he reached on May 28.

Celebrity Twitter shame

Meanwhile, the same AllTwitter.com writer posted an interesting article on June 14 that called out a number of celebrities for not following anyone on Twitter despite enjoying the benefits of having millions of followers. These include: Eminem, Kanye West, Stephen Colbert, Rev Run and the Dalai Lama.

Celebrities called out for only following one other account include Jim Carrey and Conan O’Brien. Twitter’s top user – Lady Gaga – follows more than 200,000 other accounts.

Featured YouTube channels

Every week, I highlight three YouTube channels for you to check out:

KurtHugoSchneider – youtube.com/kurthugoschneider (1 million subscribers): Kurt is a music producer who makes videos with his friends, including the amazing Sam Tsui whose cover of Lady Gaga’s Born This Way and an incredible mash-up of Love the Way You Lie, Dynamite and Teenage Dream have close to 25 million views between them.

Thecomputernerd01 – youtube.com/thecomputernerd01 (710,000 subscribers): Josh is another one of those goofy (but very friendly and likeable) teens who just started making videos in their bedrooms – only to find that there was a market for their antics. Josh and his buddies make fun little comedy and music videos about various things going on in their lives. Josh’s videos are pretty family-friendly, so not a lot of worries about your kids learning too many bad habits when they watch.

FluffeeTalks – youtube.com/fluffeetalks (566,000 subscribers): This Canadian vlogger from Brampton, Ont., is definitely not family-friendly. Lots of profanity and adult themes, but his sarcasm is quite entertaining if that’s your bag. He usually takes a news story and then does a funny rant about it, starting with his tagline, “Hey, what’s up?” Again, definitely not exactly family-friendly, but still hilarious!

Facebook’s most engaging pages

According to an AllFacebook.com article by Brian Ward posted June 20, religious Facebook pages are flexing their muscles on Facebook for engaging with their followers. In fact, it seems that even Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber can’t compete with Jesus and the Bible.

According to the article, Facebook top engaging pages are: 1) Jesus Daily (5,948,071 followers and 1,645,286 interactions); 2) The Bible (7,609,076 followers and 1,071,096 interactions); 3) Justin Bieber (29,756,538 followers and 933,719 interactions); 4) Mario Teguh (an Indonesian motivational speaker) (4,221,188 followers and 838,761 interactions) and 5) Lady Gaga (38,213,784 followers and 739,791 interactions).

It’s interesting to see the difference in Lady Gaga’s and Justin Bieber’s fans. While Gaga eclipses Bieber’s numbers on Facebook by nearly nine million followers, his fans are clearly more engaged. What is more important? Sheer numbers or the level of engagement? Both are important, but engagement is the lifeblood of social media, so Bieber has to be given kudos for that despite the fact that he trails in Facebook followers.

Roger Ebert in hot water over tweet

Film critic Roger Ebert is in a heap of trouble after a tweet that offended many. Earlier this week, Jackass star Ryan Dunn was killed along with two others in a fiery car crash in Pennsylvania. Ebert – who has had part of his jaw removed due to cancer – tweeted that “Friends don’t let jackasses drink and drive,” in response to reports that Dunn may have been drinking before the accident.

Dunn’s friend and castmate Bam Margera responded angrily, according to a report by Kathleen Perricone in New York’s Daily News. “I just lost my best friend. I have been crying hysterical for a full day and piece of (crap) roger ebert has the gall to put in his 2 cents… Millions of people are crying right now, shut your fat … mouth!”

Celebrity gossip blogger Perez Hilton also chimed in, chastising Ebert for the insensitive reaction to Dunn’s death.

Ebert, who has benefited greatly from widespread compassion and good wishes in regard to his battle with cancer, was unmoved and refused to apologize. Regardless of the alleged circumstances behind Dunn’s death (autopsy results are pending), I think Ebert could have opted to hold off judgment at a horribly sad time for Dunn’s family and friends. What good did it do?

Subsequently, even Facebook got into the swing of things and inexplicably removed Ebert’s page, causing Ebert to complain on Twitter. Facebook eventually announced that the page was removed in error. My guess is that Jackass fans sabotaged Ebert’s page by revenge-clicking en masse on “Report Page,” resulting in Facebook automatically putting the page on hold for review. Goes to show that freedom of speech comes with freedom of reaction, too!

Hump Day: Hospital staff care for patients in both senses of the word

Hump DayHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial section

Two weeks ago today, my father suffered his second stroke since 2007. This meant a return to the same hospital ward on which he was patient during an extended stay between October and December of last year for other health issues.

When he arrived on the ward, he was greeted by several familiar and friendly faces. The staff remembered him from his stay last year. When I went to visit, we said our hellos like old friends.

When he was in the hospital for seven weeks last year, I certainly got to know the nurses, aides and other staff since I visited often.

What I found sad, though, was that there were a few patients on the ward who were still there from my father’s previous stay. They continue to wait for a bed in a nursing home. From what I could see, most of them required a high level of care. Perhaps their families wanted them in specific homes, I’m not sure. All I know is that they’re still there. My father, however, has since been released and his back in his seniors’ residence.

The hospital patients are treated well. The staff care for all of them – both in physical terms and, as I could certainly see, in emotional terms, too. You can’t give intimate care and comfort to someone for months on end without becoming emotionally attached – at least a little bit.

One lady – obviously deep into her own world of Alzheimer’s – was often chatty. She’d roll up her wheelchair to where I and other visitors would be talking to my father. She asked us if we were there for the CNR meeting. Apparently, there was a big crowd coming. We humoured her and told her, “Yes.” This seemed to please her.

Another day, I heard her crying in her room and talking to herself in quite a panicked manner. From what I could gather, she was reliving some sort of fire or other incident that caused her to want to flee from the scene along with “the children.”

She called out repeatedly for everyone to follow her. She left her room in a harried state and propelled herself as quickly as possible down the hospital corridor, all while looking back to make sure the people she was trying to rescue were behind her. “Come! Come!” she implored. “We have to get out!” She could go no further than the ward because a bracelet she wore sent a signal to lock the exit door when she was near it.

Knowing that she was safe inside the hospital and that whatever was going on in her mind was not actually happening, I didn’t concern myself too much with her personal safety. I knew nothing would happen, but one look into her panic-stricken eyes told you that all was not right in her imaginary world and that it was very real to her. Too real.

I don’t know this lady. She was in a pleasant mood most of the time and perfectly harmless. She was just lost . . . so unbelievably lost in her own dysfunctional mind that trying to carry on a normal conversation with her would prove virtually futile.

I wondered what kind of life she led when she was a younger woman. Did she have family? Did she, her husband or father work at the CNR? Is this why she kept asking us if we were there for a meeting? I wondered about her children . . . her husband . . . and what she was like before her mind divorced her. I would never know, but whenever I looked into her confused eyes, I couldn’t help but wonder.

And there she was, still waiting for a nursing home bed . . . for months on end.

Also on the ward was a developmentally challenged gentleman who roamed the corridors constantly. He seemed to be a very gentle soul.

He would grunt constantly as he made his way down the hallway in his wheelchair. Sometimes, he’d have his shirt pulled up over the bottom half of his face and grunt through the fabric. In a way, it was cute and it made me smile.

The staff clearly loved him and would pay a lot of attention to him. I told my father that he likely lived with his parents or other family members for many years until they either died or got too old to care for him. My father asked me whether or not I thought he knew where he was. I honestly didn’t know, but I said he likely didn’t.

I loved watching hospital staff interact with him. They would say his name and put their face next to his. One even gave him a friendly peck on the cheek and held his face close to hers. It was a very sweet moment. I hope a part of him knew he is well cared for and that his family knows that the paid professionals who care for his physical needs also genuinely care for him as a person, too. They treat him with great dignity.

Another lady would walk around the ward over and over on the same route. She was quite pretty and had some snazzy pink pyjamas. She walked slowly and deliberately around “the block” throughout the day and always held her hands in front of her in a demure fashion. I never saw her talk to anyone. She just walked . . . and walked . . . in silence. I often wondered why she was there.

Perhaps she was lost in her mind, too. I’m not sure. Despite her silence and calmness, she seemed to look scared and nervous. I worried about her when I saw her walk by. I wanted to tell her that everything would be OK.

Looking into the eyes of those dear souls, I could only be grateful for my health and think, “There but for the grace of God go I.”

Good News Monday: Enbridge Gas New Brunswick’s “Fix it in 5” initiative helps local communities

Welcome to Good News Monday, a new weekly feature that will highlight a good news story each week. Do you know an individual or company who deserves to be featured? Contact me to give me the details!

This week’s “thumbs up” goes to Enbridge Gas New Brunswick (EGNB). Company employees recently took on a initiative called Fix it in 5 which saw up to 10 EGNB employees and other volunteers take on projects in each of the nine communities served by the company in the province.

The nine projects were:

  • Oromocto – A breath of fresh air: Lintuhtine Music Academy of Oromocto
  • Dieppe – Interior and exterior yards: École Mathieu-Martin
  • St. Stephen – Town of St. Stephen Boys and Girls Club
  • Sackville – Restore Baseball in Sackville (RBIs): Sackville Minor Baseball Association
  • St. George – Dynamite Dragons in need of a dynamite paint job: St. George Elementary
  • Moncton – Help Us Help Them: Greater Moncton SPCA
  • Saint John – Critters in Crisis Campaign – Animal Rescue League
  • Riverview – God Also Likes Pretty: Whitepine Baptist Church
  • Fredericton – Fredericton SPCA Operation Pet Projects: Fredericton SPCA

Nominations were finalized in May and communities voted on which projects they wanted EGNB to adopt. Nine projects were undertaken in nine communities over five days with more than 15,000 votes cast in the selection process! For details and photos of each project, click here.

Congratulations to Enbridge Gas New Brunswick and their dedicated employees for this much-needed boost to nine deserving community groups!