Yearly Archives: 2012

It’s New Year’s Eve!

retronewyearWhatever your plans are for tonight — staying home or going out for a night on the town — be safe and don’t drink and drive!

Here’s a home movie from 50 years ago made by my late uncle, Louis Cormier. It’s a wonderful memory that features many of my relatives, including my parents. The man in the preview photo doing the Limbo Rock is my father, Bernie Cormier. He passed away on August 26, 2012.

I added the sound, but we can pretty much see that they’re dancing to The Twist and Limbo Rock by Chubby Checker!

Social Media Matters: BDC offers free social media ebook

Social Media MattersSocial Media Matters
By Brian Cormier
Moncton Times & Transcript
Friday, Dec. 28, 2012
Metro section

BDC offers free social media ebook

There are many free social media-related ebooks out there, but there’s always a tidbit that you learn from each one. Although some of the advice is similar, this also serves a purpose for driving home important basics about getting your business into the world of social media.

BDCBDC (also known as the Business Development Bank of Canada) recently published their entrepreneurs’ guide for social media. If you’re new to the game of promoting yourself online, it’s definitely something you’ll want to check out. Just enter ‘BDC social media‘ in your favourite search engine (I use Google) and it will likely show up at the top of the results.

More top sites from Alexa.com

Last week, I provided a number of top 10 lists for the most popular websites in the world, Canada, U.S. and in a number of categories. Here are the top 10 websites in another three categories: weight loss, dictionaries and folklore. All rankings are current to Dec. 19.

Weight WatchersTop 10 weight loss websites globally: 1) WeightWatchers.com; 2) Calorie Count; 3) MyFitness-Pal; 4) 3 Fat Chicks on a Diet!; 5) Calculate Your Body Mass Index; 6) Calorieking.com; 7) CalorieLab; 8) Caloriesperhour; 9) Australian Weight Watchers; 10) T-Tapp Total Workout.

Top 10 dictionary websites globally: 1) WordReference.com; 2) The Free Dictionary; 3) LEO English-German Dictionary; 4) Wictionary; 5) Urban Dictionary; 6) Dict.cc; 7) Merriam-Webster; 8) Investopedia.com; 9) Medicine Net: Focus on Urological Disorders; 10) YourDictionary.com.

SnopesTop 10 folklore websites globally: 1) Snopes.com Urban Legends Reference Pages; 2) About. com: Urban Legends and Folklore; 3) Hoax-Slayer; 4) Truth or Fiction; 5) Museum of Hoaxes; 6) Encyclopedia Mythica; 7) Nursery Rhymes Lyrics and Origins; 8) American Folklore; 9) Tongue Twisters, Zungenbrecher, Trabalenguas, Skorogovorki; 10) Wikipedia: Phoenix (mythology).

If you’re unsure of any of the web addresses for the websites mentioned above, simply type the name of the website into your favourite search engine and it will likely appear at the top of the results page.

How’s the pope doing on Twitter?

He’s doing quite well, apparently. According to a New York Daily News article by David Knowles published on Dec. 19, Pope Benedict’s first tweet sent on Dec. 12 was retweeted by five per cent of his 1.2 million followers, a retweet rate that far surpasses Canadian pop star Justin Bieber’s retweet rate of 0.7 per cent for his most retweeted post of the year, according to Twitter.

It should be noted that Bieber’s post was retweeted by more followers for the simple fact that 0.7 per cent of his followers is more than five per cent of the pope’s followers. Bieber is the second most popular celebrity on Twitter after Lady Gaga. As of Dec. 19, Bieber had 31.7 million followers, while Lady Gaga had 32.3 million.

The pope’s first tweet read, ‘Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart.’ According to the article, under the headline ‘Pope already beating Justin Bieber’s rate of Twitter retweets – just a week after launching account,’ Twitter is seeing a surge in religious-based tweets. ‘Ninety per cent of the head pastors at U.S. mega-churches are now on Twitter, and 99 per cent of the 77 biggest religions organizations have set up shop on the site,’ the article said.

This week’s featured YouTube channels

Every week, I feature YouTube channels for you to check out. Statistics are current to Dec. 19. Have a favourite YouTube channel? Let me know and I may feature it here.

1) Google Analytics (29,618 subscribers): Google Analytics is a service offered by Google (of course) that keeps tracks of visitors to your website. It tells you where they’re from, how long they stayed, which pages they visited, et cetera. There are number of metrics provided that offer some fascinating insight into how your website is performing. Their YouTube channel helps subscribers learn more about the service and how to make it benefit them the most. The channel has approximately 4.7 million total video views. (Most popular video: Google Analytics In Real Life – Online Checkout – 755,204 views.)

2) Google and Your Business (52,258 subscribers): This is Google’s business solutions channel where subscribers learn about advertising on Google and their other products. The channel has approximately 10.5 million total video views. (Most popular video: Ads Preferences Manager – 1,317,414 views.)

3) United States Marine Corps (34,089 subscribers): This is the official YouTube channel of the United States Marine Corps and is managed by Marine Corps Recruiting Command. Playlists include ‘Ask a Marine,’ ‘Marine Corps Leadership Traits’ and ‘America’s Marines.’ The channel has approximately 11.9 million total video views to its credit. (Most popular video: ‘America’s Marines’ (Marines commercial: 90-1,265,803 views.)

Have a very Happy New Year, everyone! Best wishes for a very successful, joyful and prosperous 2013! Thanks for reading Social Media Matters in 2012!

Hump Day: Boxing Day is a well-earned day of rest after Christmas

Hump DayHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial section

It’s the day after Christmas. Boxing Day.

Today is also called St. Stephen’s Day and the Feast of St. Stephen, a day made famous in the carol Good King Wenceslas, who determinedly trekked forth in the snow to give charity to a peasant.

Here in Canada, it’s Boxing Day, traditionally a day when servants and tradespeople would receive presents from their bosses. That tradition has long ago gone the way of the dodo bird, however, as it’s now pretty much just the ‘day after Christmas’ and a day to get some good deals in many parts of the country where the stores are open. Although our Boxing Day sales haven’t quite hit Black Friday levels yet, we’re close!

Here in New Brunswick, we’ll have to wait until tomorrow to get those deals, which suits me just fine.

After the mad rush of Christmas shopping, it’s good to give everyone a break from spending money like crazy.

Did you know that today – St. Stephen’s Day – actually has a traditional food? It’s called St. Stephen’s pie, which is the same as shepherd’s pie, except the ground beef is replaced with ham or turkey.

And, of course, there are a variety of places named after good ol’ Steve, too, including our own St. Stephen, N.B.

Regardless of whether you call it St. Stephen’s Day or Boxing Day, our reality is that it’s just the plain old day after Christmas. After the turkey dinners over the past few days, today is being spent in turkey comas looking at the now-opened gifts under the tree, leftovers in the refrigerator and crying children who’ve managed to break their first toys.

I wonder what it’s like at the North Pole today? Does Santa have friction burn on his backside from scooting down all those chimneys?

Are the elves trying to relax after pulling a few months’ worth of all-nighters?

Or maybe they’re just coming down from exhaustion-fuelled crying jags. An exhausted elf is not a pretty sight.

Are the reindeer fast asleep after their whirlwind trip around the world? Are they still mad at Rudolph for getting all the glory again this year? And did Dancer and Prancer really hold hooves all the way across Asia? Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Did the gossip about Blitzen, Mrs. Claus and their ‘plum pudding making sessions’ make it back to Santa? If you see Jolly Ol’ St. Nick firing up the barbecue and announcing that Blitzen has resigned ‘to spend more time with his family,’ you’ll know that something’s up. Oh, and I’ll pass on that steak. Thanks, anyway, Santa!

Yes, the North Pole must be a really strange place today. Exhaustion. Snoring.

The sound of Christmas music CDs being broken in half. ‘Take that, Bing Crosby!’ one frustrated elf is likely saying – the thought of hearing one more holiday tune being enough to send them over the edge. Then, there’s the sound of the odd screech from an elf who’s stepped on a leftover tack that fell on the floor during the toy-making frenzy.

Hopefully, after the latest public education effort, incidences of ‘tinsel lung’ (the leading cause of death among elves) will be way down this year. Yes, unfortunately, there are even addicts among elves. After downing too much eggnog and chowing down on one too many candy canes, some elves have gotten into the bad habit of inhaling tinsel. Some say it gives them more creativity when coming up with new toys ideas.

Today, the North Pole probably looks like the aftermath of one of those mega-concerts at Magnetic Hill. Eggnog cartons everywhere. Lost elf hats blowing around in the wind. A passed-out reindeer in the corner. (Cupid ate too many gingerbread men again.) Piles of candy cane wrappers. A bonfire made from toys rejected by the NPQAC (North Pole Quality Assuredness Council). Elmo being rushed to the hospital by ambulance after a careless elf threw him in the fire without realizing he was actually the real Elmo – and not a deficient Tickle Me Elmo toy.

And then, of course, there are the annual union complaints against Santa Claus. Local 1 of the AUETM (Amalgamated Union of Elf Toy Makers) has their annual meeting today to go over what worked and what didn’t during the holiday season. First, there are the usual complaints. Don’t let all those friendly ‘Ho Ho Hos!’ fool you. Santa Claus is quite the taskmaster.

The union’s top labour requests this year include 1) Stopping the requirement for elves to wear diapers while on the production line in order to cut down on bathroom breaks; 2) 50-per-cent reduction of sprinkles on employer-supplied sugar cookies causing unhealthy blood sugar deficiencies. Elves’ blood must be maintained at 90% sugar or more. 3) Pensionable retirement age for elves raised from 650 years old to 670 years old. This has caused increased incidents of elderly elves falling asleep on toy train tracks and being decapitated by passing toy locomotives.

Yup, the North Pole is in a bit of disarray today. Oh – and ‘Boxing’ Day does actually mean something up there, too. The elves fight in a boxing tournament to determine who’ll be elected president of their union. It’s not pretty, but it works.

If you’re bored today because mostly everything is closed, just be thankful you’re not en elf. Yesterday, they slept. Today, they clean up. Tomorrow, they start all over again. After all, to an elf, Christmas is like giving birth. As soon as it’s over, they never want it to happen again, but give it a couple of days and the memories of the discomfort melt away only to be replaced by the visions of smiling children. Hug an elf today!

Happy Boxing Day!

Good King WenceslasToday’s Boxing Day here in Canada — the day after Christmas. Time to start cleaning up and trying to figure out what to do with all that leftover turkey!

Boxing Day is also the Feast of St. Stephen, which you may remember is mentioned in the Christmas carol Good King Wenceslas — the only Boxing Day carol of which I’m aware!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas Eve and Christmas Day — as our thoughts now turn to bidding adieu to 2012 and welcoming 2013!