Thursday, October 31, 2019

There Was a World Series?

This morning I heard that the Washington Nationals won the World Series. I had not realized that event was being staged right now. When I was a kid that baseball event was a loud event. And of course in the early 1990s, Toronto's own Blue Jays won back-to-back Series'.

I had not realized that the Washington Nationals are an offshoot of the Montreal Expos.

The Expos: Yep, I remember watching them and Boots Day on television when they played at Jarry Park.

Major League Baseball seems to have lost its lustre.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Sober Bar - A Sobering Thought

I understand there is a non-alcohol bar called a "sober bar". Cool name. It feels like a regular bar, but its tender has little need to shout: “You’re cut off!” Until I met a certain Aussie in London, England, I had no desire to consume alcoholic drinks.

On a beautifully sunny day by the River Thames, north bank, I exercised my 35mm still camera gear and noticed an older gentleman exercising full 35mm still camera gear. He too was clicking away, firing at and across the river. I figured the gent was Australian since he bore a faint resemblance to Crocodile Dundee -- the match was in the hat.

We soon synced and started talking.

“Fancy going for a pint?”

I could not refuse. (For this round I’d skip the replacement drink: ginger ale.)

We walked to a pub that sat just across the street from St. Paul’s Cathedral. Sir Christopher Wren’s mighty architectural masterpiece would stand overlooking my first serious foray into beer.

My mate brought a couple of pints from the bar to this simple waiting Canadian lad. During our table talk I sipped a brand I’ve long forgotten, if I even knew what it was then. (As noted in chalk on the sandwich board outside, the pub sold a fine Canadian brand, Molson; in that case spelled as “Molsen”.)

After depleting the drink by a mere two centimetres, I thought through the haze of suds: “Why are the overhead quartz lights streaking?”

Monday, October 28, 2019

A Forever Question: A Cat Hearing

“Since before your sun burned hot in space and before your race was born, I have awaited a question.”

Sir. Why do cats often hear but not listen?

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Re Scan Poem: Scanning Between the Lines

The Lines are out of Raster
The Raster is out of Lines

Is gone the picture tube
information in pictures
might reassemble

someplace eclectic
a placement of ideas
and thoughts electric

to home base time correction
no Minow needs
correcting for no reason

but what we
see on
the flat screen


Simon St. Laurent


The above was first posted as "Poem: Scanning Between the Lines" on October 11, 2017.

Bay Street Video Story

A few weeks back I heard that Toronto's premier video store, Bay Street Video, has had almost no press. It seems that Toronto's press won't do a story unless it's something sexy, like: "Yet another longtime Toronto video store closes its doors."

Time to rectify this oversight.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Saturday, Day, Canada

That was the week that was. The Liberals hold onto the top seat while the Conservatives cannot accept defeat. Monday's federal election set a new table. One guest, it seems, did not take his place. In essence, the Cons forgot to dress for dinner.

The Greens, the NDP, and perhaps the Bloc to some extent, might work together; perhaps go bowling as one. The Conservative Party of Canada wants no part of it. They're fixated on being a loud and obnoxious dinner guest. Issue Andrew Scheer a bib.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Post Election Post: Plunging Fire

“I’m glad the Liberals won.”

That text message sent to me by a friend the morning after Monday’s Canadian federal election undoubtedly reflected the morning-after feelings of a lot of Canadians. “I’m glad the Liberals won” would more often than not decode as “Anybody but Scheer”. Andrew Scheer, the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, is poison; not only to his party, but to Canada.

(Sorry, I’m reading John Lydon’s autobiography Anger is an Energy - My Life Uncensored and the author’s scrappy style is influencing me here.)

“Admiral” Scheer misdirected his fleet of ships. His party needs to reassign him to shore duty. Janitorial.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

I Was Off By a Little

Yesterday I predicted that the Liberals would win the Canadian Federal Election. I was off a little in my seat counts:

Liberals - 127
Conservatives - 118

What really happened was, at least with the two front-runners:

Liberals - 157
Conservatives - 121

I really thought the Cons would gain more seats. Andrew Scheer was not able to grow his base. Victory was his for the taking and he blew it.

Author Tom Holden on the Creative Type

“For some reason in our modern, sterile and sometimes harsh world, creativity is something that is frowned upon. Never be ashamed of this talent -- it marks you out as different from huge swatches of the population.”


Monday, October 21, 2019

Take a Vote Prediction

Today is election day here in Canada. Will Prime Minister Justin Trudeau keep his seat? The sitting Liberal has some competition.

I've read some predictions as to whether the Liberals or Conservatives will come up with the most seats won. Essentially it's a two-horse race.

My own prediction, which I will not erase in the morning even if it is way off:

Liberals - 127
Conservatives - 118

Note: There are 338 ridings, which leaves 93 for the NDP, the Bloc, the People's Party of Canada, and the Greens.

A Forever Question: To Cast

“Since before your sun burned hot in space and before your race was born, I have awaited a question.”

Sir. Why will eligible voters in a democracy not cast a ballot?

Monday, October 14, 2019

A Double Feature Challenge

Watching a home-programmed double feature of Steven Spielberg and J.J. Abrams movies is easy. We know what we're getting.

On the weekend I went random, self-programming two disparate, in time and place (and style), narrative feature films.

Beyond the Time Barrier (1960 - Edgar Ulmer)
True Stories (1986 - David Byrne)

The first picture I saw a few times in my childhood as it played often on television and at least once at my local movie theatre (the Astral in CFB Borden, Ontario). Watching it as an adult makes one appreciate its themes. For a child it was more about the interesting visual stylings, and chills. (Those horrific mutants.) The environmental theme is up front: testing of nuclear weapons 'back' in the early 1970s led to a horrible plague, all but decommissioning the human race. The survivors moved underground; the human birthrate eventually dropped to zero. There's more, all leading to a memorable ending -- I remembered it for decades. This time, Beyond was better overall than I had remembered it being. The passage of time helped. By the way, the X-80 rocket plane, which flies star Robert Clarke to the astounding year 2024, is in fact a Convair F-102 Delta Dagger.

In the mid 1980s I was a bit of a fan of the band Talking Heads, so it made sense that when band leader David Byrne released his True Stories I would arrive at Toronto's (now gone) Uptown Theatre with bells on. I left slightly disappointed. About a dozen years ago I gave the film another shot, this time on VHS. The loosely connected stories about the quirky but human inhabitants of a fictitious Texas town called Virgil resonated more with this viewer that time around. Spinning the Criterion 2018 DVD release made me appreciate True Stories even more. And there're those always cool Talking Heads tunes.

After my double feature finished I realized that both flicks were filmed in Texas. True Story.

PS: What's next? Maybe Aguirre, the Wrath of God and The Endless Summer.

A Forever Question: We the North Thanksgiving

“Since before your sun burned hot in space and before your race was born, I have awaited a question.”

Sir. Are we giving thanks or saying thanks?

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Sunday Fun: The Prisoner - "Free for All"

With the Canadian Federal Election just over a week away (Monday, October 21st) it's time perhaps for me to rewatch an episode from perhaps the greatest television series of all time.

"Free for All" first aired on October 20, 1067, and covers a subject as relevant today: The democratic process (vote) and its inherent themes of conflict, contradiction, and superficiality.

Democracy above all.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Stars on the New TVOntario Calendar

This proud TVO Supporter likes the 2020 calendar (2020?!). Inside and on the front are pictures of various past TVOntario/OECA television programmes.

Elwy Yost, front and centre above, was such an important fixture on that network for many of us. He was my first film professor. (My own father was perhaps my first film educator in that he had very broad tastes in movies, and would take me to see flicks not necessarily mainstream.)

Elwy Yost, host of Magic Shadows and Saturday Night at the Movies, was the guy who pushed me in that direction.

Thursday, October 10, 2019


“We (scientists) don’t know what happens after you die.”

Well, something to that effect. The scientific television guest got one thinking.

I will defer to my good friend G√ľnther Spatz. In mild German-accented English he offered his opinion on the subject of “death after dying” as we enjoyed our beers, and moroseness:

“As long as it’s the full death, the real deal, and not some half-assed, phony death; where I’m forever playing the bongos on a downtown street corner.”

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Who Do I Vote For? (Got a Penny?)

If it weren't for the fact that I continue to like Justin Trudeau as Canada's prime minister, my vote scheduled for the 21st of this month (or earlier in the advance polls) would be an almost torturous affair. As far as I'm concerned, Andrew Scheer, Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, is a write-off; he and his boys are a joke. That leaves the Greens and the NDP. I like both Elizabeth May (Green Party of Canada) and Jagmeet Singh (New Democratic Party), but it's the old dilemma. As one of my teachers said back in high school, nobody wants to waste a vote on the low-polling.

And. The reality is, my riding of "University-Rosedale" is heavily Liberal. I'll toss a penny into a barrel of pennies.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Last Night's Leaders' Debate

The first time Conservative Party of Canada leader Andrew Scheer spoke last night during the federal leaders' debate, he attacked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with vehemence. The problem was the question asked of each party leader was not about the PM's leadership or lack of, but rather how each would represent Canada's values and interests internationally. (Make no mistake, emotion complete with sniping came to the fore when the 'proper' time came.)

It reminded me of a debate held on TVOntario's superb public affairs show The Agenda a few years ago. Show host Steve Paikin asked Doug Ford (that Doug Ford) to state why Ontarians should vote for the Conservatives. The answer consisted of a tirade about the Liberals.

I'm convinced.

Liberals: 20 percent emotion; 80 percent logic/knowledge.
Conservatives: 20 percent logic/knowledge; 80 percent emotion.

Monday, October 7, 2019

A Forever Question: A Talk Show

“Since before your sun burned hot in space and before your race was born, I have awaited a question.”

Sir. Why do humans talk so much?

Sunday, October 6, 2019

... The Budget Will Balance Itself - The Partial Quote

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau gets some people going. A frequent attack on the PM is the very selective extraction of a certain quote by him; a line from a greater idea. This method is commonly referred to as "quote mining". (Out of context.)

In fact, Mr Trudeau was speaking about the Stephen Harper government's inability to present a strategy to stimulate economic growth. Economists disagree with one another to various degrees on how much such growth leads down the line to less government expenditures. The theory is that increased government revenues through taxation rolls ultimately to a decreased demand for outlays to departments such as employment insurance and welfare. Part of the PM's platform was to support infrastructure building, which hopefully would get the ball rolling and help lead to the above.

The original quote:

"The commitment needs to be a commitment to grow the economy and the budget will balance itself."

In its proper context the idea doesn't sound so harebrained.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

The Vandals' Graffiti


The above illustration was first posted as "Graphic Vandalism Graphic" on August 24, 2016.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Conductor Christopher Keene


This picture was originally posted on August 25, 2016, as "My Old Sketchbook: Conductor Christopher Keene".

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Flat Heads Go 'Round

On Monday night’s edition of TVOntario’s outstanding current affairs television program The Agenda was a segment on the subject of science and some people’s resistance to science.

The special guest was Lee McIntyre, a Research Fellow at the Center for Philosophy and History of Science at Boston University, and author of The Scientific Attitude: Defending Science from Denial, Fraud, and Pseudoscience.

He spent a few minutes talking about The Flat Earth Society, and similar societies, and recounted an experience he had attending a conference for one such group. Mr McIntyre spoke at the meeting but, no surprise, took the alternative view.

I too will deny the concept of a flat Earth by presenting some incontrovertible evidence.

I doubt very much The Big Cheese was able to cast a large enough adhesive sheet for a disc-shaped Earth’s backside, and it was probably for this very reason that he made the bold decision to build the Earth as a sphere. Problem solved. It was so successful, he modelled all the solar system’s planets in the same manner. (Of course, our home planet was the template. Maybe it was Planet X.)

For some reason those bodies lack deniers. (Martians stick with hard science. Their planet's rarefied atmosphere helps in that regard.)

Science, baby! Science!

Wednesday, October 2, 2019


The rowboat is leaking. You’re in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. There’s a sandbar up ahead.

Made it.

The ratty old duffle bag holds emergency supplies: the infamous “desert island” physical media.

I discovered what was in my hastily-packed bag.

My discipline held to one of each:

Music: Carmina Burana
Movie: Metropolis


I just realized that while I had remembered to pack a disc player, I forgot the a/c (alternating current) plug and adaptor.

I cheated in that I had packed quite a few books: Kafka; Allen; Hesse; Kerouac; “The English Channel” (Calder); “The Pearl” (Steinbeck); “The Mysterious Island” (Verne); “Roy Hinkley’s Guide to Making Coconut-based Electronics”....

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

A Forever Question: Doug Dennis

“Since before your sun burned hot in space and before your race was born, I have awaited a question.”

Sir. Who elected Dennis Moore as Ontario’s current premier?