Monthly Archives: August 2012

Hump Day: Passing of loved one unleashes emotions

Hump DayHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial section

If you’ve ever had a loved one in the hospital in New Brunswick and have caller ID, you know that seeing “PNB” (for Province of New Brunswick) come up on the screen when your telephone rings is likely not good news.

I’d received several of those calls since my father was hospitalized on June 2. Most of the time, they were to advise me of appointments or it would be a doctor updating me on Dad’s condition.

On Sunday just after 6 p.m., though, I knew the “PNB” on the caller ID bore bad news. Dad had been admitted to palliative care a few weeks ago. Since then he had declined steadily. In the past three or four days, that decline sped up to lightning speed. Since Friday, he was basically in a coma with his eyes open and breathing erratically. On the weekend, we went in to say our goodbyes and say what needed to be said. He was hugged and kissed. I’d caress his bald head and he seemed to lean into my hand. It was nearing the end. It was time for him to go. We just didn’t know exactly when.

I answered the telephone and a palliative care nurse told me the news that Dad had passed away. It was not unexpected. I kept my cool and said we’d be there in a few minutes. I made a few quick telephone calls to family and tried to talk as best I could. I had to practically hang up on my uncle because I felt the volcano of tears coming that had been pent up for so many months. There was nothing I could do to stop it.

And they came in an uncontrollable torrent. My self-imposed composure flew out the window and reality set in. Relief. Sadness. Grief.

After a few minutes of bawling into my son’s shoulder, I composed myself and managed to get to the hospital in one piece. I’m not so sure I should have been driving at that point, but I did.

The family members I could muster up on such short notice ended up in the now-quiet room looking down at Dad. He was so very still. His eyes and mouth were open. His dentures were in, something they told me they would do after he passed away. He was no longer struggling to breathe, moaning or twitching. He was at peace.

After spending a few minutes with him – and me trying quite unsuccessfully to close his eyes – we gathered his things and headed out just as the porters arrived to remove his body from the room.

In such a long lead-up to his death, we had ample time to plan the funeral and make all the necessary arrangements, but the news still hit like a ton of bricks. I was told that would happen and I didn’t believe it. I certainly do now.

Today will be spent greeting family, friends, colleagues and neighbours at the funeral home, while tomorrow there will be tears shed during Dad’s funeral. My cousin Kelley Mooney will sing her spiritual adaptation of Leonard Cohen’s iconic Hallelujah, the same version (minus the choir) on her viral YouTube video that has more than 450,000 views – and a version that can actually be sung in church. We’ll hear the homily about Dad.

There will be Amazing Grace, Ave Maria, Bread of Life, Be Not Afraid. We’ll all be a mess of tears and emotion. There will be that dreaded walk behind the casket upon arriving and leaving the church. The reception. The burial afterwards.

Rest in peace, Dad. You were loved. I’ll miss you. A little white dog named Milane will miss you, too. I brought Milane to see him often at his special care home and he loved petting her – and so did many of the other residents.

Before I end this sad edition of Hump Day, I must point out the passings of two other parents in the past few days. First, Genny LeBlanc, the mother of Moncton Mayor George LeBlanc. If you grew up around Moncton, you most likely recognize her as the manager of the Paramount Cinemas on Main Street. I went there often as a boy and clearly remember her there at her desk in the office just off the lobby.

My cousin is married to a first cousin of the mayor’s and he told me a few stories of Aunt Genny letting him in for free from time to time. What luck to have an aunt who managed a cinema! I visited the funeral home to pay my respects and saw many photos of that large grin of hers. What a smile! I’m sure it’s a smile that will be deeply missed – and one that will brighten up Heaven just a little bit more.

And finally, I must mention dear Shirley Capson, one of my readers who passed away a mere seven hours before my father. Her son Jason and I were updating friends on Facebook and were quick to point out (privately to each other) the connection of having our parent pass away on the same day within just a few hours of each other. I like to think Shirley held open the Pearly Gates for Dad when he got there just shortly after she did.

Shirley was a big fan of Hump Day and called me late last year to tell me how much she enjoyed the columns. I was touched, of course, and even dropped off a few handmade scarves from my on-again off-again knitting obsession as a Christmas present. I knew she had cancer and was grateful that she chose me as one of the people to whom she was going to express her gratitude. Rest in peace, Shirley. Such a sweet lady.

Suffice it to say, it’s been a rough week for parents. Now, it’s time for their adult children to live on without them. All three of these dear souls will be missed. You were all deeply loved.

RIP Dad — Bernard “Bernie” Cormier (1933-2012)

Bernard CormierMy father passed away on Sunday. Thanks to all those who have sent their condolences. They are truly appreciated. Here is his obituary:

The death of Bernard (“Bernie”) Léonide Cormier, 79, of Moncton, occurred at The Moncton Hospital on Sunday, August 26, 2012, following a long period of failing health and a battle with cancer.

Born in Moncton on July 11, 1933, he was the son of the late Émile and Léonie (Cormier) Cormier. He was a previously a longtime resident of Greenhill Drive in the Lewisville area and grew up in Moncton’s East End on Wesley Street. Most recently, he was a resident of Manoir Notre-Dame.

He is survived by two sons, Brian Cormier and Roger “T-Boy” Cormier (Sue Langin and her children James Langin and Kristopher Langin) and one daughter, Sherri Cormier, all of Moncton; grandchildren Vanessa Cormier, Miguel Cormier, Ethan Wylie and Ryan Jewkes; brother Camille “Cammy” Cormier (Marguerite) of Moncton; sisters-in-law Maria Cormier (late Gérard “Gerry”) of Ashburnham, Mass., Shirley Cormier (late Normand “Blackie”), Betty Cormier (late Louis), both of Moncton, Bertha Cormier (late Patrice), of Windsor, Ont., brothers-in-law Gérard Julien (late Thérèse, Noëlla), of Dieppe, and Alfred Randall (late Lucille), of Mississauga, Ont., as well as several nieces, nephews and cousins.

He is also survived by the mother of his children and former wife Freda (Pineau) Cormier, of Saint-Philippe, and is fondly remembered by Freda’s family: Omer “Joe” Pineau (Claudia) of Hope River, PEI, Enid Watson and Eunice Leger (late Roger) of Dieppe, and Cynthia Mooney (Gerard) of Iona, PEI.

Besides his parents, he was predeceased by his brothers Gérard “Gerry” (Maria), Romeo (late Barbara), Normand “Blackie” (Shirley), Louis (Betty), Patrice (Bertha), Camille (in infancy), and his sisters Thérèse (Gérard Julien) and Lucille (Alfred Randall).

He retired from The Moncton Hospital’s Materials Management Department in 1999 after 15 years of service. Previous to that, he was an employee of DRG Globe Envelopes and a longtime employee of Marven’s Biscuits from 1949 until its closing in 1978. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, playing cards, watching Hockey Night in Canada (especially Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins), gardening, and was an award-winning pool player. He was a past member of the former Champlain Club in Dieppe. He also enjoyed spending time at Dooly’s on Elmwood Drive, as well as at Sports Rock and Tim Hortons with “the boys” on Paul Street.

The family would like to express their deep gratitude to the staff and residents at Manoir Notre-Dame for their kindness, care, concern and friendship toward Bernie during his stay with them from December 2010 until he was hospitalized on June 2. Thanks also to Dr. Scott Cameron, Dr. Peter Forbes, Dr. Dhany Charest, Dr. Kathy Ferguson, Dr. Linda LeBlanc, Dr. Hazem Assi and Dr. Pamela Mansfield, as well as to the wonderful nurses and staff of the 4100 unit, 4600 unit and the palliative care unit (3600) at The Moncton Hospital for their outstanding care.

Resting at Frenette’s Funeral Home, 88 Church Street, Moncton, with visitation from 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. on Wednesday and on Thursday from 8:30 a.m. until departure at 9:20 a.m. Funeral mass will be held at St. Bernard’s Church, 43 Botsford Street, Moncton, at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday with Father Allison Carroll presiding. Reception to follow in the church basement. Interment will take place in Our Lady of Calvary Cemetery, Dieppe.

For those wishing to remember Bernie, a donation may be made to the Atlantic Cancer Research Institute, 35 Providence Street, Moncton NB E1C 8X3 or the Friends of The Moncton Hospital Foundation, 135 MacBeath Avenue, Moncton NB E1C 6Z8. (Click on the links to donate online.)

Arrangements are in the care of Frenette’s Funeral Home, 506-858-1900.

Social Media Matters: Facebook scams continue to pile up

Social Media MattersSocial Media Matters
By Brian Cormier
Moncton Times & Transcript
Friday, Aug. 24, 2012
Metro section

Facebook scams continue to pile up

You know it’s just a matter of time before the following scams pop up in your Facebook friends’ newsfeeds.

According to Facecrooks.com, some of the latest hoaxes currently making the rounds are: Facebook Profile Viewer: This is such a common scam and one that has been making the rounds forever. Yes, we’d all love to see who’s been checking out our profile, right?

Well, if you’re friends with someone on Facebook, it’s pretty normal for them to check out your profile from time to time, right? Right!

The problem is that there are no legitimate applications out there that allow you to see who’s been looking at your profiles in the past 24 hours. They just don’t exist. All the Facebook Profile Viewer does is to urge you to download a rogue Facebook application to satisfy your ego and see who’s been checking you out. It then randomly posts a message supposedly telling you who’s looked at your profile in the past 24 hours.

It’s a scam. All they want is access to your account and to get you to fill out surveys. The application also tags your friends in an effort to get them to download the application, as well. Resist the urge to take the bait! Delete the tag or ignore it.

While the Facebook Profile Viewer has been around for quite some time, the Free iTunes Card Codes scam is a new one. In this hoax, the scammer wants to get you to fill out a survey by promising non-existent free iTunes codes. And honestly, if you fall for this, you’re practically asking for the dunce cap!

The same goes with free Walmart, Costco, Tim Hortons and other scams that regular people keep propagating ‘just in case it’s true.’ What can it hurt, after all, right? I’ll tell you: your credibility.

Also keep a look out for the following hoaxes: 1) Robert Pattinson of TWILIGHT Died becuase (sic) nervous breakdown due of emotional stress; 2) [VIDEO] Giant Snake EATS MAN WHOLE!; 3) Warning: We received from other users that your account has violated a policy that is considered to disturb or offend other users; 4) My total profile views today (followed by the number of male viewers and female viewers). See your total views and who is viewing you here; 5) Facebook is having a promo! I just went shopping and spent like $1000 for free!

All fake, of course! As I’ve said before and will say again: Stop the insanity! Don’t spread too-good-to-be-true Facebook hoaxes just because they may look legitimate.

If it looks too good to be true, it likely is. And when in doubt, Google a few key words. If it’s a hoax, it will show up right at the top of the results.

Twitter may be banned in India

TwitterThe Indian government is no fan of Twitter these days after the social media giant didn’t respond quickly enough to demands that it reveal the sources of hate propaganda aimed at citizens in northeastern India. Similar misinformation was spread via text messages, Facebook and YouTube, but Facebook and Google (YouTube’s parent company) have offices in India, so the government can crack down on them easier. Twitter has no corporate presence in India.

According to an Aug. 21 report in The Times of India, “a senior government official has said that Twitter has already been told that legal action may be taken against it as it had failed to cooperate with the Indian government in its efforts to find the source of and curtail the inflammatory messages against north-east citizens.” The article explains that Facebook and Google admit the offensive messages originated from Pakistan.

The Indian government is seeking Twitter’s co-operation in blocking the objectionable content that it considers to be hate speech against its citizens.

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 Aug. 21. (Editor’s note: Due to a publication error on this website, the videos were updated on Feb. 17, 2013. Statistics and videos are current to that date.)

1) Dave’s World of Fun Stuff!!! (7,763 subscribers): Dave is a Canadian whose YouTube channel focuses on ‘music, comedy, cooking, guitar repairs and other funny stuff.’ There’s a large amount of content here: 761 videos with more than 3.4 million total views. If you’re into guitars, you should enjoy this channel. Many thanks to Alan Cochrane for suggesting this channel. (Most popular video: This Taylor Acoustic Guitar is Crap – 174,231 views.)

2) National Geographic (740,479 subscribers): No introduction is needed for this iconic magazine’s sister television network’s official YouTube channel. There’s lots of great content here – much of it absolutely fascinating. And as far as content goes, there’s lots of it – 3,675 videos with about 778 million views! The videos are organized into a number of playlists, including National Geographic Channel, Locked Up Abroad, Amazing Animals, Dog Whisperer, and Nature’s Fury, to name but a few! (Most popular video: Cobra vs. Mongoose – 44,027,522 views.)

3) Adam Sacks (1,161 subscribers): Adam makes funny YouTube videos that he hopes entertain people. With more than four million views, he seems to be succeeding! Check out his website at adamthinks.com and his Twitter feed at @AdamSacks.His iPhone commercial parodies are especially popular! (Most popular video: The iPhone 5 is For Food Photography – 8,257,498 views.)

Hump Day: If I’d known you were coming I’d have locked up my spatula

Hump DayHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial section

It seems like every time I see my very handsome godson, he does something that sparks an idea for a column. That’s the joy of having an even more handsome godfather who writes a newspaper column.

Anything you say or do may end up in print.

I dropped by his house for a visit over the weekend for parental payback after years of buying tickets on various school and hockey team raffles. This time, I was the one selling tickets for my Rotary Club. Come to find out when I dropped by that he was helping his mother bake a cake.

My godson is 15 years old, and I have to admit that not many 15-year-olds jump up and down with excitement to help their mothers bake cakes except, of course, when it’s for their girlfriend! Ah yes, throw a girlfriend into the mix and it’s time to step up to the plate and start showing some love by demonstrating your domestic abilities.

Yeah, I know. It was adorable. It was all I could do not to pinch his cheeks and give him a lollipop.

Not only was it a nice gesture, I’m pretty sure he now has all his friends mad at him, too. Baking a birthday cake for your girlfriend is a lot more personal than just a card and a date to the movies. Now, they have to beat that!

But what got to me was watching his mother bake. I’m sure everything turned out very well, but her measurements were approximate. She’d just half measure things and cook by eye.

I’ve always loved to cook, but I’m also a stickler for following the instructions, perhaps too much so. When I told her that she was making me hyperventilate by not measuring everything exactly, I nearly took over. “Move over, woman! You need to measure everything with the anal-retentive exactitude of a surgeon!” Well, maybe I didn’t exactly say it that way. After all, I still didn’t have her money for the Rotary Club ticket I was trying to sell her, so I had to at least be half nice. Not completely nice, mind you, but at least half nice.

She just poo-poo’d my concern and went along her merry way following the recipe “pretty much” as opposed to the exact letter right down to counting the grains of salt like I would. I’ve always teased her husband for being fussy, but I told her I was with him on this. Recipes are supposed to be followed to the exact, well, everything.

Now, don’t tell anyone I told you this, but I’ve found myself driving all over town for a certain ingredient even though a substitute was clearly allowed for in the recipe. I hate substitutes unless it’s something that I literally can’t buy in this country. Otherwise, there’s always the Internet and mail order! For example, let’s just say that key lime pie calls for real key limes and not regular limes. Am I right, folks? Of course I am! Finding real key limes is hit-and-miss in stores, so when I decided to make key lime pie one day, I insisted on using real ones, not bottled key lime juice or regular limes that you can find year-round.

I used real key limes once – and never again. Have you ever tried to juice those tiny little suckers? I thought I was going to go nuts!

Each of those tiny key limes has about a teaspoon of juice, so you’d better plan on spending a good half hour getting the amount of juice you need to make that stupid pie.

Regular lime juice for key lime pie is one of the few times I’ll use a substitute in a recipe. (Call the media! Stop the presses!) And if something calls for a cup of flour, one should use a measuring cup and hold it up in the air and squint at the lines through the glass to make sure it’s the exact amount. What’s up with estimating the amount and just chucking it in the bowl? Are you trying to give me a nervous breakdown, oh mother of my most handsome godson?

I love to watch America’s Test Kitchen on PBS and its sister show, Cook’s Country. These are great shows that rely on pretty exact techniques to get recipes just right. Recipes are tried and tried again until they’re perfect.

When you watch the shows, it becomes apparent that they use a certain spatula for nearly everything they do. It has a large heat-proof silicone scraper attached to a long red handle. Suffice it to say, I wanted it. No, I needed it. I was going to die if I didn’t have one. Literally, kerplunk… dead.

No other spatula would do. I needed that one. Now!

Of course, I drove all over the place looking for that spatula – department stores, specialty stores, you name it. No other spatula could do spatula-like work like that spatula could! (Say that 10 times!) I ended up ordering it online.

To this day, I refuse to tell people what I paid for it because it was so horribly expensive after shipping costs were included. There are starving children in the world and I can’t believe I spent that much money on a spatula. For that amount of money, that spatula should do my laundry and spit money out its rear-end.

And the craziness doesn’t stop there. Now, I’m desperately scared to use it because I don’t want to break it. Yup, needed it so badly that I was going to die without it and now I’m too scared to use it just in case it breaks. Thank goodness all my hobbies aren’t this stressful.

It’s enough to make you want to eat an entire cake — from the bakery!

Social Media Matters: Owner of pirated content website jailed

Social Media MattersSocial Media Matters
By Brian Cormier
Moncton Times & Transcript
Friday, Aug. 17, 2012
Metro section

Owner of pirated content website jailed

If you’ve ever visited surfthechannel.com to watch pirated versions of movies and television shows, those days are over. Site owner Anton Vickerman has been sent to jail for four years in the U.K. after being found guilty of two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud.

Surfthechannel.com homepage
Surfthechannel.com homepage

At its peak, the website had 400,000 users and was raking in more than $54,000 per month, according to an Aug. 14 news article published in the U.K. newspaper The Guardian.

According to the article by Josh Halliday, 38-year-old Vickerman “is the first British man to be jailed in the U.K. for a website linked to illegal copies of films and TV shows.” The website was originally founded in 2007.

According to Kieron Sharp, director general of FACT (Federation Against Copyright Theft), the U.K.’s leading trade organization established to protect and represent the interests of its members’ intellectual property (IP), “This case conclusively shows that running a website that deliberately sets out to direct users to illegal copies of films and TV shows will result in a criminal conviction and a long jail sentence.”

A similar U.K. website, TVshack.net, was closed down in November 2010 for linking to similar pirated content. Its owner, Richard O’Dwyer, faces extradition to the U.S. and up to 10 years in jail. That site had 300,000 users per month.

What were you thinking?

Dewayne Powers
Dewayne Powers

Sometimes, someone does something online so blatantly dumb that they pay for it with their job. In Georgia, jail deputy Dewayne Powers found out the hard way that sending a Facebook friend request to a female prisoner is a big no-no.

According to an Associated Press story published on Aug. 14 in the Huffington Post, Powers was fired and another resigned after it was discovered they had each sent separate Facebook friend requests to a 23-year-old female inmate. According to the article, “Oconee County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Lee Weems said that both deputies also had face-to-face conversations of a sexual nature” with the woman.

Top sites on the web

AlexaAlexa ranks the most popular websites based on a number of metrics, including analyzing the online usage of Alexa Toolbar users and data obtained from a number of other traffic data sources. These rankings are updated on a regular basis.

Currently, the top websites in Canada are: 1) Google.ca; 2) Facebook.com; 3) Google.com; 4) You-Tube.com; 5) Yahoo.com; 6) Live.com (Windows Live); 7) Wikipedia. org; 8) Twitter.com; 9) LinkedIn.com; 10) Kijiji.ca.

The top websites in the U.S. are: 1) Google.com; 2) Facebook.com; 3) YouTube.com; 4) Yahoo.com; 5) Amazon.com; 6) eBay.com; 7) Wikipedia.org; 8) Craigslist.com; 9) Twitter.com; 10) Live.com (Windows Live).

Internationally, the top websites are: 1) Facebook.com; 2) Google.com; 3) YouTube.com; 4) Yahoo.com; 5) Baidu.com (most popular Chinese search engine); 6) Wikipedia.org; 7) Live.com (Windows Live); 8) Twitter.com; 9) QQ.com (China’s largest and most popular Internet usage portal); 10) Amazon.com.

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 Aug. 14.

1) Virtual Canada eBook (1,722 subscribers): This You-Tube channel features a variety of travel-related videos from throughout Canada, including the Quebec Winter Carnival, Ukrainian museums in Saskatchewan, potato farming on P.E.I. and the National Acadian Day parade in Caraquet.

The channel’s 119 videos have a total of more than 3.4 million views. The videos are part of a virtual travel e-book available at www.virtualcanada.tv. Many of the videos are a bit dated, but the overall content seems to be reasonably accurate for travel purposes. (Most popular video: Toronto -Capital of Province of Ontario, Canada – 658,600 views.)

2) Canadian Tourism (2,727 subscribers): This is the official YouTube channel for the Canadian Tourism Commission and provides an assortment of travel videos from across the country, according to its channel description.

The channel’s huge bank of 445 videos has been viewed a total of nearly 2.7 million times and is divided into 51 playlists, including Aboriginal Canada, Royally Curious, Montreal Jazz Festival 2010, Nunavut, New Brunswick (and every other province), Sustainable Living and Other Eco-friendly Sites in Canada, and Culture, to name but a few. (Most popular video: We Are More by Shane Koyczan – 172,397 views.)

3) LeCDENE’s channel (6 subscribers): This is the official YouTube channel for the Conseil de développement économique de la Nouvelle-Écosse (or “CDÉNÉ” – a francophone economic development agency in Nova Scotia). The non-profit org anization’s is committed to improving the economic well-being and quality of life for Nova Scotia Acadians and francophones. The channel hosts 12 videos that have been viewed a total of 5,224 times. (Most popular video: Nova Scotia Acadian Tourism – Clare – 2,166 views.)