Monthly Archives: July 2012

Social Media Matters: Assault victim tweets names of attackers

Social Media MattersSocial Media Matters
By Brian Cormier
Moncton Times & Transcript
Friday, July 27, 2012
Metro section

Assault victim tweets names of attackers

Savannah Dietrich, 17, of Kentucky, became very frustrated recently by what she saw as light sentences handed down to two boys who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting her in an attack that occurred in August 2011.

Following the assault, the juveniles even posted photos of the incident online.

Out of frustration, Dietrich posted the names of the juveniles online via Twitter after a plea bargain by the boys that got them lighter sentences than they would have received otherwise. Publicizing the names of juveniles is not allowed under Kentucky law due to the confidentiality of juvenile court proceedings. (Publishing the names of juveniles convicted of crimes is generally frowned upon in many jurisdictions.)

The boys’ lawyers threatened to seek to have Dietrich charged with contempt until a huge public outcry occurred. Coincidentally or not, the lawyers backed down soon after the news hit the streets, causing Dietrich to receive a huge amount of public support, including an online petition with more than 60,000 signatures.

Send deodorant anonymously to a friend who smells

DeodorgramsWell, now I’ve heard everything. Know someone you’d like to introduce to a stick of deodorant? We all probably do, but there’s a website out there that will allow you to send deodorant anonymously to the offensively odorous friend.

G.B. Proudfoot’s, a purveyor of natural body care products, carries a line of deodorant called For Pits’ Sake available in lavender, citrus, lime and cloves, as well as unscented. Not only can you buy the deodorant online from the Scottsdale, Arizona-based retailer, but you can send a stick anonymously to someone you know who needs a gentle prod to start using the stuff.

Called a Deodorgram, the deodorant can be sent as a non-anonymous gift or anonymously. According to the website, “For the first time ever, you can send your stinky loved ones a thoughtful ‘Deodorgram.’ This tastefully gift wrapped stick of our hard working For Pits’ Sake Natural Deodorant can be sent anonymously or as a gift. Have one of our messages included with the gift, or choose no message at all.”

Unless you want to write your own, a number of pre-written messages are available to be included in your Deodorgram, including: 1) You’ve always been such a cute little stinker, now you can just be cute and little! Please enjoy this hard working natural deodorant sent to you from a caring friend; and 2) For Pits Sake! Throw out your current deodorant and give this one a try. You deserve a natural deodorant that works!

A Deodorgram isn’t cheap, though. One stick costs US$9.99 plus $5 for shipping — nearly $15 for one stick of deodorant! For easily offended funky-smelling Canadians, however, rest easy because Deodorgrams are only available in the U.S.

This week’s featured YouTube channels

Every week, I feature three YouTube channels for you to check out. Have a favourite channel? Let me know about it and I may feature it here! Statistics are current to July 24.

Aaron Collins
Aaron Collins

1) SethCollins (536 subscribers): When 30-year-old Aaron Collins of Lexington, Kentucky, died on July 7, his will stated, among other things, that he wanted his family to leave a large tip to a random waiter or waitress. And this wouldn’t be just $20, either. Aaron wanted a $500 tip to be given.

After Aaron’s brother Seth started a blog about the wish and posted a video of the $500 tip being given to a shocked waitress, money started pouring that would allow them to repeat the surprise week after week. Since then, two videos have been posted and $44,000 has been raised (as of July 18). The two Aaron’s Last Wish videos posted so far have gone viral with the first one garnering nearly 2.2 million views in only one week. A great use of YouTube for good! (Most popular video: Aaron’s Last Wish – A $500 Tip For Pizza – 2,166,782 views.)

Mike Massé and son Noah
Mike Massé and son Noah

2) Mike Massé (22,505 subscribers): On July 5, Mike Massé’s 11-month-old son Noah was diagnosed with a brain tumour. To raise funds for his son’s treatment and to keep the family afloat financially, Massé recorded a cover of The Beatles’ Let It Be and made it available for digital download for a donation. Noah has since had the tumour removed and will be undergoing chemotherapy.

A professional singer by trade, Massé is based in Salt Lake City, Utah. His channel boasts more than 80 videos of his various music performances. (Most popular video: Africa (acoustic Toto cover) – Mike Masse and Jeff Hall – 731,721 views.)

And here’s the video of Mike singing Let It Be…

Happy Tree Friends
Giggles from Happy Tree Friends

3) Mondo (1,103,872 subscribers): Mondo is an extremely popular YouTube channel with more than 1.2 billion video views (yes, that’s billion). My favourite playlist is the definitely-not-suitable-for-children Happy Tree Friends, a series of cartoons featuring cute-as-button cheerful characters who suffer incredibly awful deaths in a variety of imaginative and outlandish ways. Remember, these are definitely meant for adults. Don’t be fooled by the cute characters and plunk down your three-year-old in front of the laptop to watch these. The videos are so over the top that you can’t help but snicker. (Most popular Happy Tree Friends video: Mondo Mini Shows Web Originals – Eyes Cold Lemonade (Ep #33) – 44,768,390 views.)

Hump Day: Making the most of summer and pining for Christmas

Hump DayHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial section

For all of you folks sweltering in the heat with no air conditioning, take heed! Christmas is only five months away!

According to online reports, the snowsuits are already out at Costco and the Christmas ornaments are on sale at Hallmark. Yup! Those Christmas goblins are lurking right around the corner ready to pounce when you’re least expecting it.

I promised myself I wouldn’t write about Christmas so early this year, but I had to break that promise when I discovered that today’s column would land on “Christmas in July” – July 25. To those dying in the heat, just thinking about the snow could bring some welcome relief, while those who love the balmy temperatures we’ve been having are already searching online for my address to find out where to send the letter bomb.

Every time I write about Christmas so early, especially on Facebook, I get people reacting angrily, some in jest, some not in jest. Those who love the heat, sun and beach spend the next hour wiping down their walls after reading my updates because their heads have literally exploded in rage.

A minority, meanwhile, chime in and add their voices for a return to weather that is not so extreme. If it were up to me, it would between Oct. 1 and 15 all year round. That just seems to be the most perfect time of year for weather. Not too warm. Not too cold. Everything is right in the middle. The leaves are just turning. Things are good.

It’s these extremes that I can’t handle. Who in their right mind enjoys a humidex of nearly 40? I know I don’t! But some do, I know.

I don’t know how firefighters, paramedics, police officers or others who have to wear uniforms handle it. The heat must just get unbearable at times, especially for firefighters. They’re dressed in heavy uniforms for safety and in the middle of fire at the same time. I wouldn’t last long as a firefighter in the middle of a July heat wave.

“Mommy, what’s that big white whale doing with the fire hose?” “Dear, that’s actually a firefighter who stood in the sun for too long and who’s about to get fired for being naked on the job. Stop looking or you’ll lose your lunch.”

I’ve had central air conditioning in my home for the past 10 years thanks to a heat pump. It’s the best decision I ever made. It certainly changed my life for the better during summer months. Previous to that, I would spend all day in an air conditioned office, then drive home in an air conditioned car, then arrive in a house you cook a turkey in without using the oven!

How can anyone relax in that?

Oh, I’d try. I’d have fans galore pointed at me, of course. Half the time, I’d be doing my impression of that white whale I mentioned earlier, but my biggest secret: soaking my bare feet in cold water.

I’m telling you, if you’re suffering from the heat right now, get a basin or some other container and fill it up with water as cold as you can stand it.

Soak your feet in there for a bit and I can guarantee you that you’ll be as fresh as a daisy on a spring day in May afterwards. Butterflies will land on your forehead to kiss you. Rainbows will shoot out of your ears. A baby deer will curl up at your feet and fall asleep purring.

I don’t even know if they even purr, but this one would.

You’d feel all nice and refreshed, that is until you take your feet out, realize you forgot a towel and then slip on the floor and crack your head open on the corner of the coffee table as you try to get to the linen closet. Oh well, at least you have a basin of water handy to clean the blood off the floor.

My dislike for summer is well known among friends and family. They would often give helpful tips, such as sleeping with the bedroom window open. Oh sure! And that’s relaxing? Hearing people walking down the street and yelling at night? How about the skunks, racoons and stray cats lurking around outside?

I once heard two stray cats mating outside my window years ago. It was one of the most horrific sounds ever. For something they’re pretty good at (if you remember all those kittens being given up to animal shelters), it sure as heck sounds like they’re having a horrible time.

Who needs the sounds of ghosts and goblins at Halloween? Just play back the sounds of two cats mating and you’ll make those ghosts and goblins sound like a babbling brook on one of those relaxation CDs filled with nature sounds.

There isn’t much use of me wishing summer away. It will be over soon enough. As one of the few people in the world who dislike summer, I just have to count the days that are already getting shorter.

But there are good things about summer, too, like flowers, fresh local produce such as string beans and berries, and no real need to check every weather forecast to make sure you won’t get stranded if you have to travel somewhere for business or pleasure. Planning events is easy, too, unless you’re hell bent on having them outside. The chances of the weather cancelling an entire function is pretty slim unless a hurricane rolls through the area. In the winter, lots of hard work can go to waste because of a storm.

Whether you’re a summer lover, summer hater or are just happy to be alive, it’s important to never forget to make the most it, regardless.