Category Archives: Humour

Hump Day: Lions, tigers and bears oh my! It’s election time in N.B.

Hump DayHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, July 2, 2014
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial section

Lions, tigers and bears oh my! It’s election time in N.B.

The silly season is on in New Brunswick. A provincial election will be held on Sept. 22. This summer will be one of shaking hands, kissing babies, barbecues, fundraisers and New Brunswickers answering their doors to sweaty candidates out campaigning in the heat and humidity.

I’ve always loved ‍politics. In addition to mountains of strategy, you have to factor in personalities. While many politicians and candidates are perfectly nice people (in all parties), there are a number of them who aren’t fit for public office. I’ve written often that I’m not overly cynical about politicians. There are some tremendously intelligent and driven individuals who currently hold public office and who aspire to public office as candidates – again, from all parties. Like any profession, though, there are bad ones, too.

If you’ve ever sat in the viewing gallery at the New Brunswick Legislative Assembly, you’ll notice one thing very quickly – there’s usually quite a bit of camaraderie across the centre aisle. It’s definitely a myth that government and opposition MLAs don’t get along at a personal level. There are a lot of cooperative things that happen quietly in the background that would surprise many. It’s just too bad that it isn’t apparent more often. I think people would be pleasantly surprised.

Election campaigns, however, clearly don’t bring out the best in everyone’s behaviour. The gloves come off and it’s not a time to play nice. Normally (at least semi-) cordial relations between colleagues are often rubbed raw. Quite frankly, elections are like episodes of the old Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom show that I used to watch on Saturday mornings as a kid. You have the gazelles at the watering hole fighting off the crocodiles looking for a quick snack. It’s vicious and the slowest one gets eaten alive.

Like election campaigns, the gazelle at the watering hole is not a candidate for mercy from the crocodile – and sometimes you just have to look away and wait for it to be over. After all, it’s nature. People may want the gazelles and crocodiles to be best buddies, but that’s just not possible. When gazelles get thirsty, they have no choice but to drink. When crocodiles get hungry, they have no choice but to eat.

If you’re looking for a summer of peace and calm here in New Brunswick, you might as well just accept the fact now that you’re going to spend the entire summer crying yourself to sleep into a pillow every night. Unless you’re a bit of a politics-loving freak like me, it’s going to be a painful next few months. Heck, I even watch televised election results from other provinces. The recent Ontario and Quebec elections were just like Christmas for me. I didn’t know any of the candidates, but I still watched every result right up to the end. I stayed up way too late – and loved every minute of it.

Especially painful during election campaigns is the complete evaporation of online decorum. It’s bad enough on a good day, but during election campaigns it’s time to batten down the hatches as insults and rumours fly on Facebook and Twitter.

Vote meThe #nbpoli hashtag on Twitter (the hashtag for discussion on New Brunswick ‍politics) can be rough at the best of times, but it’s going to be especially nasty from now until Sept. 22, particularly from the anonymous and spoof accounts. Let’s hope that reasonable people don’t start getting into arguments with these ‍trolls or retweeting them. It will only give them the credibility they so desperately seek.

I never understand people who try to talk sense with an online ‍troll, especially during an election campaign. Nothing good ever comes of it. At the very least, think of your blood pressure! ‍Trolls will say anything to get your goat, or should say your gazelle. Don’t take the bait and don’t give them any sense of credibility by engaging them. You may not like what everyone says online during an election campaign, but you have to at least respect those who use their real names.

‍Trolls come in all political stripes – blue, red, orange and green. Don’t feed the ‍trolls! Feed debate with real people if you want, but let the anonymous online political ‍trolls starve. They’re not harmless and they’re not nice. Trying to engage an anonymous ‍troll in an intelligent debate is a fruitless endeavour. It’s waste of time and mind power.

It’s true that election campaigns are not a time to play (too) nice. The attack ads we all claim to hate (but secretly watch anyway) will be out in full force. While it’s OK to play classy and not retaliate, every candidate needs to know that these ads often work – at least up to a point. Overused, they tend to make a party look ridiculous and like a bunch of bullies – but that threshold usually takes a long time to be reached.

There are exceptions, though. The infamous attack ad over Jean Chrétien’s physical appearance during the 1993 federal election backfired so badly and quickly that it sent droves of voters away from the governing Progressive Conservatives of Kim Campbell (among a number of other reasons) right into Chrétien’s camp. The attack ad asked, “Is this a prime minister?” and showed an unflattering photo of Mr. Chrétien. Well, be careful of the question you ask in an attack ad, because the answer turned out to be a resounding ‘Yes!’ and the government ended up getting slaughtered at the polls.

This summer will be a long and arduous one for those who aren’t into ‍pol‍‍itics. Just remember to keep your pillow handy to soak up those tears and screams of frustration. Whatever happens, we still need to be able to work together on Sept. 23 as the dust settles We don’t have much of a choice, do we? Let’s hope that not too many personal bridges get burned during this summer of passionate ‍politics in New Brunswick.

Viral Video Alert: Men going through labour pains

labour painsIt seems to be all the rage to record videos of men going through simulated labour pains. Here’s the latest one that’s making the rounds. It was filmed as a tribute to Mother’s Day.

Here’s one of the originals. This features Dutch television hosts Dennis Storm and Valerio Zeno who agreed to receive electric shocks to their abdomens to simulate labour pains for their show Proefkonijnen (“Guinea Pigs”). Scroll over the video and then click on “CC” for English subtitles.

Viral Video Alert: Dancing Nana’s moves make her famous

Dancing NanaThis three-week-old video went viral shortly after being uploaded and now has more than 2.6 million views. A granddaughter recorded her spry 88-year-old grandmother as she danced down the front steps of her New Hampshire home to get into the car… and the rest is history. Now, Nana Feole has her own Facebook page and YouTube channel! She even has a mailing address for fan mail:

Nana Feole
PO Box 4525
Windham NH 03087-4525
USA

Check out Nana’s fancy footwork. Wait until the end to find out just how much she loves to dance. Apparently, it’s a lot. And she doesn’t mince words.

Viral Video Alert: After Ever After — Disney Parody

Jon Cozart
Jon Cozart

YouTuber Jon Cozart spent an entire month producing this clever and very entertaining video focusing on possible “real” endings to the lives of Disney princesses. In three days, the video went viral and has earned more than three million views so far.

Read more about the making of the video and watch an interview with Jon in this Huffington Post article published on March 15. To subscribe to Jon’s YouTube channel, click here.

Hump Day: It’s a jungle out there in the fresh produce aisle

Hump DayHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial section

Have you ever gone shopping for groceries only to find yourself next to the same person over and over no matter how often you try to get away from them? It’s like we’re living parallel lives right at that very moment. We both show up at the same grocery store and look at the same stuff. Usually when this happens, I lose my patience pretty fast.

Of course, it isn’t anyone’s fault. People are allowed to shop for groceries any time they want. It’s a free country. But how many times have I been one of only a handful of people in the store and two or three of us are looking at the exact same products at the exact same time.

And I’m not talking about something common like peanut butter, milk or pork chops. We’re talking about the aisle with the weird stuff – the international food I can’t even pronounce. I’ve decided to make a new recipe and need something like pickled duck brains and, lo and behold, the only two other people in the store are looking at something right above or below the pickled duck brains and I can’t get access to them.

In my head, I just scream, “Oh come on! Seriously? We all showed up here at the same time?” Then I get out my evil eye and stare them down. Oh, it’s a scary evil eye, too. People have started to shake. They’ve started to cry. They’ve turned pale. They’ve gotten sick to their stomach right then and there. OK, so maybe that was one kid with the flu who happened to be there with his mother. But I’m pretty sure my evil eye gave him the flu. My power is scary.

I’m not exactly known for my subtlety when someone’s driving me crazy in the grocery store, so letting go of an audible sigh is not unheard of on my part. While I try to keep it discreet, sometimes I’m about as discreet as a train whistle.

“Oh am I bothering you, buddy? Can’t a guy shop for cherry-flavoured anchovy paste without being glared at?” OK, sometimes I may sigh a bit too loudly. I admit it. When confronted with something like this, I just look around and blame the nearest senior citizen. “She did it. You know, she really should be put in a home,” and then I point at the poor woman as I deflect blame for my impatient social indiscretion. “Boy! Seniors, eh? So impatient!” For added effect, I twirl my index finger around my temple.

That’s if I’m lucky and have time to deflect my audible sigh of impatience onto an innocent bystander. Otherwise, I just end up in the emergency room with my head hanging low. “Here again, Mr. Cormier?” the nurse would ask. “Yes,” I’d reply sheepishly. And then she’d take to the intercom, “Calling Dr. Smith! Calling Dr. Smith! Mr. Cormier is here again to have something surgically removed from him. It’s a tube of cherry-flavoured anchovy paste.”

It doesn’t pay to make some big muscled guy angry in the grocery store, especially one who can hold you down as he does something terrible to you with a tube of cherry-flavoured anchovy paste. With that said, remind me never to be impatient when standing next to someone in the watermelon aisle, OK? That could be dangerous.

The cash registers are another matter. I like to use the self-serve cashes whenever possible. I’ve used them enough to have the process down pat. There are many out there, however, who insist on using them even though they haven’t got a clue. Not one. Zero!

I swear this happened to me the other day. I’m not exaggerating – as I’m prone to do. I was walking toward the self-serve cash in a local grocery store when a woman literally ran to beat me to it. She only had one item, so I thought, “Well, good for you, dear. You must be in a rush. I’m going to be an adult and not give you the evil eye. After all, your kids must be at home playing with matches or something urgent like that!”

So, she reaches the scanner, stops, and says to the attendant, “How do you use these things?” Oh come on! Seriously? That’s when I got out my worst evil eye and laser beams shot out of my head. She vaporized right then and there! Problem solved!

Three times in the past couple of months, I’ve purchased a hot deli item at the grocery store only to have the cashier pack it in with something that melts. For example, I’ll buy hot fried chicken and the cashier packs it in with the butter. Oh come on! Seriously? It’s always the young inexperienced ones, too. I’ve mentioned this to a few experienced cashiers (translation: older) and they just roll their eyes and wonder what the younger generation is coming to.

Then, there are the shoppers who get in line at the grocery store, arrive at the checkout, load all their groceries on the conveyer belt and then announce that they forgot something. Hey, it happens. Been there, done that. But then they take their good old time moseying around the store looking everywhere for the almondflavoured anchovy paste (the cherry-flavoured stuff was declared a health hazard and removed from the shelves), and don’t come back for five minutes while the lineup grows behind them and I’m sighing so loudly with impatience that I start to hyperventilate.

I really need to start taking tranquilizers before going to the grocery store. Not only will it calm me down, but it will also help me relax for that next trip to the ER to have something surgically removed from inside me when I tick off the wrong guy in the watermelon aisle.

Maybe for my own personal safety, I should just plant a garden this summer and eat what I grow.