Saturday, October 31, 2020

Happy Halloween 2020

Sean Connery (1930 - 2020)

Like many folk I awoke this morning to the news that veteran actor Sean Connery passed away earlier today. Much is made in this sad news about the proud Scotsman being the first actor to play James Bond in feature films. It's a role for which he'll always be remembered, no matter the many and varied roles he played until he retired from acting a few years ago. While not my favourite "Bond", that prestigious title goes to George Lazenby, Connery is remembered by many as the 007. "Bond, James Bond."

The actor first made an impression on me when I was eleven or twelve years of age. I was watching a black & white film on television, and my mother said: "That's Sean Connery. He's Welsh [sic]."

Minutes ago I did some research. It did not take long as I had remembered two vital research clues: a reporter; the Second World War.

The flick: Another Time, Another Place (1958).

One film I noted as not being mentioned in Sean Connery's obituaries: Zardoz (1974, director John Boorman).

As for my favourite....I'd have to think about that one. The Great Train Robbery (1978) is a fun one; there's The Untouchables (1987). Okay: Goldfinger (1964).

Book: Practical Dreamers (Hoolboom)

Practical Dreamers
- Conversations With Movie Artists -

Written and Edited by
Mike Hoolboom

Coach House Books, Toronto, 2008

Friday, October 30, 2020

Jennifer Smith on Taking a Risk

The only chance that we have of achieving our dreams is to take a risk, and most people who are consumed with negative self talk do not find the risk to be worth it.

It's all too common.

Book: Inside the Pleasure Dome (Hoolboom)

Inside the Pleasure Dome
- Fringe Film in Canada -

Written and Edited by Mike Hoolboom

Coach House Books, Toronto, 1997

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Dale Carnegie on Taking Chances

Take a chance! All life is a chance. The man who goes farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare.

Here's to willpower....

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Book: Midnight Mavericks (Gregorits)

Midnight Mavericks
- Reports from the Underground -

Written by
Gene Gregorits

FAB Press, 2007

The Silent Series'

Minutes ago I saw a headline: "L.A. Dodgers Win World Series."

I had no idea the World Series was in process. Has Major League Baseball shrunk to golf ball size? "Next on Sports" is something I don't hear, so that would put me at a deficit for knowing what sports events are playing right now, but I've not overheard people talking about the series, nor have friends brought up the subject.

Now that I think about it, the NHL's Stanley Cup was won and I knew nothing about it till days later. And I have no idea who won the prize.

By the way, I was a "carded" baseball umpire. I knew that rulebook (National League Rules) like the back of my hand; though a few players and coaches would have begged to differ: "Hey, Umpy! Pull your hands out of your pockets!"

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Toronto's Greg's Ice Cream Is No More

On the weekend I strolled past the Bloor Street Side of the Jewish Community Centre and noticed something: Greg's Ice Cream was gone.

At first I thought I was just not being too observant, given that I walk often in that area. Later I did some online research. Greg's shuttered last month. The store opened in 1981 at another location: the north side of Bloor Street, between Bedford and Avenue Roads. The closures are permanent.

I stepped into neither store location (including the now-gone one down in the Distillery District), as I very rarely eat ice cream, but it's still sad to see a venerable Toronto brand close shop.

Monday, October 26, 2020

"Taxi Driver!"

Movie-lovers love to quote their favourite lines. ("You talkin' to me?")

There are the usual suspects. Say the famous line and some people will know its source.

I have my own faves. Just a samplin'....

"You get what you pay for, Franz."
- The Doctor (John Considine), Doctor Death: Seeker of Souls (1973)

"He's dying."
- Barrot, the camp warden (William Smithers), Papillon (1973)

"Good afternoon, my ass."
- The farmer (John Baskcomb), Battle of Britain (1969)

"I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do."
- HAL 9000 (Douglas Rain, voice), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

"I'm a lawyer from Denver, Colorado."
- Lt. Harry Brubaker (William Holden), The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1954)

Any recent movies? I'll work on it....


First Posted as "You Talkin' To Me?" on December 29, 2019.

A Forever Question: E-question

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

Sir. When one is in E-Space, can one access e-mail?

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Book: Underground (Hoolboom)

- The Untold Story of The Funnel Film Collective -

Written by
Mike Hoolboom

Canadian Film Institute, 2016

Picturing: Pooled Water Details

Friday, October 23, 2020

The Mercury Spikes

Toronto is going to hit 23 degrees Celsius today. Perhaps I should do something picnic-like in my local park instead of staying inside working.

It's a spike. We're off to 8 or 9 Celsius over the next few days. Much more reasonable....seasonable.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Why Do I Like Cats?

The very odd person asks me that now and again. Yes, why am I a "cat lover"? It's a good question, and one I can answer readily.

Well, besides the strikingly obvious qualities of a cat, like the quirky and unique from-cat-to-cat personalities, it's that look the average feline carries: "All systems normal."

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

It Was One Year Ago Today

Justin Trudeau and his Liberal Party of Canada swept back into power (stayed put) a year ago today. He was counted out; not supposed to win given the mighty scandals he and his cronies faced since taking power back in October of 2015.

This time around it was a "minority" government, not the "majority" of five years ago. I had predicted that the Liberals would again win the top office, but, remembering Pierre Trudeau's squeaking-in of 1972, my feeling was son Justin would pull off something similar. His win was most convincing.

And the Conservatives -- with no real leader -- are bitter to this day. They can't seem to do anything right....not even score on an "open net".

The NDP (New Democratic Party) was just a no-show.

Maxime Bernier, and his LOL "People's Party of Canada", was, as a German might say: "Núll."

Mr Trudeau will face a confidence vote in the House of Commons today. If passed, we Canadians could be forced back to the polls very soon....

Monday, October 19, 2020

A Forever Question: Warp Factor Nine

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

Sir. Why is the concept of time travel dismissed as impossible when we travel forward in time most efficiently?

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Tottenham's Special Luck Ran Out

I was about to write a piece about Tottenham Hotsput F.C. and their special luck whenever I sit down to watch them play a match.

Tottenham was up by a score of 3 to nil as I started to sketch out the blog post idea. Then: Two quick goals from West Ham within the last ten minutes of regulation time. Then, at about three minutes of stoppage time, seconds after the play-by-play announcer said "this should be about it", goal number three. (As I noodled on the keyboard, certain football players noodled in the goal.) The game was officially over; the West Ham squad went nuts.

By the way, what a beautiful game-tying goal: just inside the goal net's top right-hand corner. And I thought only ice hockey could be that exciting.

The Council of Elders

On Wednesday the Washington Post published a piece about meetings of the Council for National Policy, a little-known group that has been around for decades and functions as a hub for conservative activists and their financial supporters. The article goes on to outline subjects discussed within a typical get-together: planned election tactics; concerns about inevitable voter fraud; how the U.S. will go to the dumpster should the Democrats win the next election; the all-important ramping-up of conspiracy theories; and "how the left plans to steal this election", thereby ushering in "totalitarianism". (It seems these conference delegates have no understanding of the word "irony".)

Perhaps my favourite segment of the Post article....

The sessions are closed to the public, and participants are told not to talk to the media about the group or its proceedings. “It absolutely could be open to the media, except that the media is known to be left, and then creates a distorted vision of their conversations,” McEwen said.

What? So you're not talking about pickle fishing?

Mouth Rinse Washout

Who knew that buying a bottle of mouthwash could be so decision-based.

"Alcohol Free - Sans Alcool" on every bottle. But I must have my alcohol-based mouthwash!

After a few seconds of this I walked to the cashier with a bottle. It might go well with a bottle of red wine....

DVD: Planet of the Vampires

Planet of the Vampires

Directed by
Mario Bava

Kino Lorber  2014

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

DVD: Llik Your Idols

Llik Your Idols

Directed by
Angelique Bosio

MVDvisual  2009

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Monday, October 12, 2020

A Forever Question: On Thanksgiving

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

Sir. In the 1970s was it acceptable to call someone "Turkey!" on Thanksgiving?

Miwk Publishing to Close

This morning I awoke to the news that British boutique publisher and bookstore Miwk is to close its doors. The above tweet was from their account, but even then I believed that I had simply misread it and thought they just meant they were closing on "December 24th" due to the Christmas holidays, and not closing for good.

What's my interest in this company? I've bought a few titles from their online store; but that too will be no more.

"We won't be having a massive blow-out sale as most of our remaining stock can be sold online."

Miwk Publishing, based in Reigate, UK, specializes in fandom-based books on films and television programmes. Script Doctor (Andrew Carmel), Jaunt (Andy Davidson), and Totally Tasteless (Richard Marson) fill a certain need admirably well. These are well-written and absorbing books in their own right.

Postscript: Beware of a Conservative government....

Book: A Thread Across the Ocean (Gordon)

A Thread Across the Ocean
- The Heroic Story of the Transatlantic Cable -

Written by
John Steele Gordon

Simon & Schuster  2002

Friday, October 9, 2020

Some Uplifting Quotes Are Spot-on

"You're so busy doubting yourself while so many others are intimidated by your potential."

I should send that to someone.

I'd adapt it slightly for some people I know:

"You're so busy doubting yourself while so many others are intimidated by what good things you do and have done."

Some people take one's accomplishments so personally.

Picturing: Is That a Bird Nest? Look at the Size of It!

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

I'm Anarkyvist: CBC "Venture" - Canadian Television Production - 1990

In early 2011 I felt it was time to start digitizing my VHS collection of over 200 tapes. To YouTube I went and signed up under the improbable and somewhat mysterious name of "Anarkyvist". The project got off to a good start, but after the initial volley, I seemed to lose interest while gaining other convenient distractions. It.'s time to go back to those VHS boxes and the conversion process, but for now I will take a look back here on this blog....

"Story from the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) television program "Venture", on the state of Canadian television production and export. Produced and aired in 1990, this segment was somewhat hopeful. Now, of course, the state of affairs is pretty rough; with the exception of children's, and reality, or "lifestyle", programming."

The above video is now an important historical document, certainly for those who work in the biz. How successful were we? The film and television business here in Canada grew and exploded a palette of colours after the time in which this journalistic bit was broadcast. I remember very well the "all-nighters". My thing for years was dropping 35mm (and 16mm) film off at the lab during the wee hours of the morning. Next day: all over again. Shoot and deliver.

The reporter's voice-over offers at one point: "There's never enough money in Canada (to finance independently television productions)." That's not entirely true as there are billions of dollars just a ten minute subway ride from where I live in Toronto. But our banks do safe real estate. (How much of Manhattan, for instance, is owned by Canadian banks?)

Wayne Sterloff, then CEO of B.C. Film, makes a vital point, one prescient: The U.S. television broadcast market at the time was becoming more and more fractured, where financial returns were smaller. Co-productions became the way. Shooting overseas, where production costs are a small fraction of what they are over here, especially in so-called former Eastern Bloc countries, allows smaller television players to make dramatic television series' on much lower budgets.

I'm hardly a television business analyst, so it would be interesting talking to one to learn how successful this game has been for Canadian television producers, given that many other regions have dressed to play.

By the way, Venture was a good programme.

It Takes Allsorts

Having a British mother introduces one to all sorts of wonderful things: Marmite, which I blogged about a few weeks ago; Monty Python, my intro to which I have yet to write about; and Liquorice Allsorts candies.

Our kitchen cupboards were short of sweets, for which I'm now grateful. I've never been much of a sweet tooth, but if someone offers me sugary treats, they are gone.

While strolling through my local Metro supermarket in the search for certain and reasonably-priced items, something at eye level caught my attention. I ignored the price and grabbed the bag, displayed in the above photo after it was relieved of its contents.

"It" took me but two days. Did the British invent gluttony?

Monday, October 5, 2020

Misreading a Boston Globe Headline

In addition to the Washington Post, I have sent to me daily an email 'copy' of the Boston Globe. The dominant and most prominent headline in this morning's edition:

"Despite Trump's illness, supporters still aren't sure about masks"

Pardon me, please, but somehow I read that as:

"Despite Trump's illness, supporters still aren't sure about brains"

A Forever Question: It's Called a Done Deal!

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

Sir. Does "Two cats for the price of one!" sound like a good deal to you?

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Book: Monty Python Speaks!

Monty Python Speaks!

by David Morgan

Avon Books, Inc. 1999

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Book: The English Channel (Calder)

The English Channel

by Nigel Calder

Penguin Books  1986

Friday, October 2, 2020

I Had Just One Answer

In response to my posting from Monday, Pierre Elliott Trudeau's Death Affected Me, a reader asked what PET would think of the job his son is doing leading this great country.

My answer:

Good question. I'm sure he'd be proud. "But don't be afraid to be more decisive. You can't please those entrenched in feeble-minded ideology." I just made that up, but I can almost hear his voice.

I still can.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

One Can See How This Sort of Thing Happens

Early last year a friend was visiting from out of town and we popped into Bay Street Video, Toronto's super video store known to many movie fans who don't live in this great city. While there he and I each picked up a few titles. In my hands were the 1972 Bob Clark horror movie Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things, and director Steven Spielberg's 1993 powerhouse, Schindler's List. Both are worth checking out.

My buddy snapped the following picture of me and my two picks. There was something we both didn't notice at the time, and I only caught later on when I spent a few minutes preparing the pic for a blog post. The 'connection' made me uncomfortable enough that I stripped out the DVD on the right side and wrote a post including just Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things.

When I brought the original photo's odd but unintentional content relationship to the attention of my movie mate, he didn't have a problem with it. It's just one of those random things.