Monday, August 30, 2021

My Instagram Page In Action

A Forever Question: On Direction

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

Sir. Would 'left and right' read more properly as 'left and wrong'?

Thursday, August 26, 2021

When Shooting Video With a Smartphone....


V i s t a V i s i o n




Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Fritz Lang on the Wide Screen

"Cinemascope is not for men, but for snakes and funerals."

Er hat recht.

Monday, August 23, 2021

Fritz Lang on a Fairy Tale

"You cannot make a social-conscious picture in which you say that the intermediary between the hand and the brain is the heart. I mean, that's a fairy tale - definitely."

Perhaps. But what a movie!

A Forever Question: Plumbing

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

Sir. Can a brain drain leak?

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Pass the Lemonade....

Toronto weather this day would be best described as hot and humid. My Electro Thermostat is reading 29 degrees Celsius right now -- it's just noon hour.

Relaxing on my balcony is one way to fight this heat. A Premiere League football match is in play: Arsenal vs Chelsea.

The second half is now underway. Chelsea leads 2 goals to nil....

Friday, August 20, 2021

Animated Erin O'Toole

It's Uncle Giggles. When I first saw a picture of the Conservative Party of Canada leader, I almost immediately made the connection.

"Hi, fellow Canadians! I was in the RCAF. Were you?"

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Notes from a Brat: Oh Hercules, Oh Hercules (Repeat)

A "flip" on a Canadian Armed Forces CC-130 Hercules built some of my fondest memories. As a military "dependent", or "brat", one gets occasional lifts on transport aircraft. In my case, a trip to England from West Germany, and back again, involved hopping onto a Herc.

Kids, brat kids, don't care about the luxury of a commercial airliner as much as the raw and open power of four Allison turboprops propelling noisily a military transport aircraft. During takeoff, especially, the racket is invigorating. But, my mother hated it. I can still picture her sitting opposite me. She slumped in her seat, obviously hoping the flight would be brief.

I remember a flight back to West Germany out of Gatwick Airport. The aircraft was packed: service people and their families, and individuals, occupying all available seating -- there is no designated seating on a Herc, by the way; no seat 12A. As a matter of fact, the seats would be better described as "webbing". As I sat against the forward starboard bulkhead, the flight suddenly, and without any warning, became a joy ride. We shot straight up from our seats and seconds later we were dropped with great force back down. Mere inches from my right foot a blur and a great sound: "Clack-cla-ClackClack!" The tethered cargo retaining shackles that were normally affixed to the bulkhead immediately beside me had also risen during the aircraft drop, but instead of falling back into position, they fell to the floor, missing me....barely. I asked my dad years later about that incident. He remembered it, too:

"If those hadda hit you there would've been hell to pay."

"What happened?"

"The loadmaster wasn't doing his job."

My sister served in our Forces for a few years in the 1980's. She was stationed for some time at CFB Cold Lake, Alberta. "Maple Flag", a training exercise, is hosted at the base every summer. A participant in these games is the Hercules. One day a compatriot asked Karen if she wanted to jump on board. She said yes.

During Maple Flag, Hercs will execute a series of evasive maneuvers. This process involves the pilot (a "Herc Driver") putting his or her machine into various attitudes: skids; power back; power full; turns; and so on. The idea is you are being attacked and such changes in the aircraft's flight attitude increases your chances of survival. During the twists and turns, flares are dropped in order to help 'confuse' any intercepting missiles.

It was hot. The Herc flew its special maneuvers over prairie fields. Karen started to feel unwell. It was too much for her system; too much to take. It was bound to happen.

As she held the special receiving bag in front of her mouth, she unloaded. A steady stream of stomach contents. A crewmember rubbed her back.

The aircraft landed back at the base. Karen: "The most humiliating part was I had to carry my bag of vomit off the plane."

I asked her recently who the crewmember was. "It might have been the flight engineer." I doubt it. He would have been in the cockpit, with the pilots. It was probably the loadmaster.

Monday, August 16, 2021

A Forever Question: Quatloos and Sense

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

Sir. What does it mean if you buy a Blu-ray set of one of your favourite television series' but watch just one episode in four years?

Sunday, August 15, 2021

You Have No New Messages

As I wrote yesterday, Premier League football action came back. This morning, Toronto time, are two more matches. Two in a row.

I'll be asking my secretary to hold all my calls till 1:30pm (Eastern Time).

I wonder how Tottenham will do this year....

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Ennio Morricone (1928 - 2020) Repeat

Early yesterday morning [06-07-20] I read the breaking news that Ennio Morricone had died. Just last week I got into a discussion with someone about the great Italian film and television scorer.

Like many movie fans I was introduced to Mr Morricone's work through the "Spagetti Westerns", such as The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and Once Upon a Time in the West. Even as a kid I sensed these flicks were a little off-kilter. The vistas looked slightly different than what permeated the American-produced westerns, and the music too sounded off the usual beaten path -- there was no mistaking this for Ferde Grofé. I will now claim that director Sergio Leone's takes on the wild, wild west, were elevated, shot sky-high, by the underscoring.

Though Morricone lacked the musical range of some of his contemporaries, he more than made up for it by forging a unique sound.

His concert hall performances were well attended. Years ago my brother journeyed to Radio City Music Hall in New York City, and despite the anemic acoustics, he thoroughly enjoyed the performances as guided by the maestro himself.

Ennio Morricone was a special composer.

Football's Back! (Premiere)

August 14th arrived in no time.

Just when I thought I was making some progress, this happened....

I can take my pick. Norwich City and Liverpool? Chelsea vs Crystal Palace.

Then there's tomorrow's matchups....

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

NFB Documentary: The Art of the Possible (1978)

Director: Peter Raymont
Narrator: Peter Raymont
Cinematography: Douglas Kiefer, Allan Morgan
Producer: Michael McKennirey
Executive Producer: Arthur Hammond
Photographed in January and February of 1978
Running Time: 58 minutes

National Film Board of Canada, 1978

Monday, August 9, 2021

The Art of the Possible (Original: July 21, 2019)

Last evening I caught a documentary on TV Ontario with the enticing title, The Art of the Possible (1978). Filmmakers followed then Ontario Premier William "Bill" Davis as he prepared to make some big decisions: details in the province's budget, text of the throne speech, and demands to be made during the First Ministers Conference (with special guest stars including then Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau).

My biggest takeaway, which I formulated at about the one-minute mark of the documentary, was the overall balance of civility; even in the "question period" -- make no mistake, it was still fiery.

Mr Davis spoke at my high school when I was a "minor niner" (grade 9 student). I remember his gentlemanly manner and sharp articulation....which last night I compared to our current premier, Doug Ford (a bully and a simpleton).

"My approach has always been to listen to both sides of the discussion, because I discovered very early that once I stated a point of view, then others who held a contrary point of view would be reluctant to express it... you just see the heads go up and down, et cetera. And I've tried to avoid that because I want to get a very frank discussion of the views of my colleagues."

-- William Davis

The Art of the Possible is available for viewing on TVO's website, here.

Watch for: Then Toronto Sun "Queen's Park" columnist Claire Hoy is interviewed; he almost angrily criticizes Bill Davis and his Progressive Conservatives' out-of-control spending. (A twist in time and space.)

Four by Three: The Long Climb

A Forever Question: Tales from the....

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

Sir. Does a river bank serve fish?

Sunday, August 8, 2021

It's International Cat Day

Yes, it's International Cat Day. Some of us must celebrate.

As much as we cat lovers joke about cats training us, and controlling our lives, the previous seven postings were done under my own free will....

Will & Mist (02-01-2019) Repeat

Will & Mist (26-12-2018) Repeat

Why Do I Like Cats? (Revisting)

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."

Cat Get Mad Even (Repeat)

Here's something I should have posted during this year's International Cat Day:

A joke among cat lovers is you can't get mad at the little beasts, even when they do something that, if it were a human, would get you upset and angry. Kitty commits an indiscretion and we break into a giddy laugh.

"You can't get mad at them."

Willie could have pulled a hand phaser, one set at "Dematerialize", on me and I would not have gotten upset. He could have pulled the trigger, same answer. The red beam travelling past me and taking out the Qing vase, now glowing red and expanding and dissipating, leaving a scorch mark on the paper-lined shelf where it stood for centuries, not upsetting me the least.

That's the power cats have over some of us. They're just too cute to get mad at.

We laugh giddily.

A Purrfect Relationship (Repeat)

Yesterday I read an article on how the domestic cat is one step away from world domination. Of course they are everywhere, even on the high seas.

There is some debate among those who study cats in an academic way as to how humans and cats have learned to get along with one another. There are other animals that we have managed to domesticate but the cat is the least afraid of us.

There is one thing that cats are unarguably not afraid of: our pocketbooks.

Cats and Bats (Repeat)

"Your bloody cat brought a bat into the house!"

I was bleary eyed, still plenty tired, but I knew what my mother was trying to tell me through my bedroom door.

"My cat" had done something bad, so I wasted no time in waking up to face the challenge of extracting a cute little bat. There it lay, dead, a poor unfortunate victim of a wayward pussy cat, on the floor outside my bedroom. ("A present? For me?! Thanks so much, Willie.")

Training in expired-bat removal was not something I had taken formally, but I knew that in the back room hung the Runkko "Bat Extractor": Two tennis rackets. (Of course I did not use my own lemon-yellow racket.)

The next day my mother explained to all what she had witnessed: "He would run to the top of the stairs with the bat in his mouth. He would then spit it out and bat it with his paw to the bottom of the stairs. Then he would run to the bottom, grab the bat with his teeth, run to the top of the stairs...."

Willie was a nice cat. Great personality.

Katzen, Chats, Gatos, γάτες, Catti, Koty, коты, Cathod, Cats.... (Again)

My posting from yesterday, "A Swinging Cat", spoke of cat-fights and cat-sitters, and cats. While I grew up with both a cat and a dog as family pets, I much prefer the feline due to that type's lower maintenance requirements in addition to its rudimentary affection characteristics. (Notice I did not mention veterinary costs.)

Many years ago I came up with two little and hardly original bits to sum up my admiration for Felis silvestris catus.

* I do not trust any man who doesn't like cats.

* There cannot be a more blissful existence than that of the pet cat of a loving owner.

You were saying?....

A Measuring Stick

This sunshine morning, soon after lowering myself to street level, I looked away to see the CN Tower rendered in light grey.

Oh, it's going to be that kind of day....

Cheers! Welcome to England, Mates! (Again)

My first trip to England as an adult happened in April of 1990. After my Air Canada Boeing 747 landed at Heathrow, and I had been processed at customs, I made the necessary trip down the airport's moving walkway to the exit doors: to be ejected into British society.

My stand on the walkway was the introduction part. A newly arrived Canadian needed a good taste of that 'angry Brit' behaviour -- that stereotypical behaviour.

I heard a fast approaching voice behind me. "Excuse me, excuse me, excuse me...." A young woman, with hands up, was pleasantly pushing her way past the standing crowd, obviously in a rush to get somewhere, like the end of the moving walkway. Another voice caught my attention; I looked over to see a scruffy-looking gentleman, a guy who looked like he could have been a grumpy brother of film director Stanley Kubrick.

"Ah, what makes you so privileged?" The happy vaulter answered: "Just making my way through." Like a schoolmaster who had to educate his Canadian students (tourists) he addressed us with a sweep of his saucer-like eyes: "She must be from Birmingham!"

All I could come up with was: "Welcome to England!" -- to myself.

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Smile: Sheer Who?

Minutes ago a gent stopped beside me. He was wearing a mask....

ME: Sir, has anyone told you that, with a mask on, you look like Andrew Scheer?
GENT: (Smiling) I don't know who that is?
ME: Perfect response sir. Absolutely perfect. Are you American?
GENT: (Continuing smile) No. I just don't know who that is.
ME: Don't bother Googling his name. Believe me, it's not worth the effort.

Before we departed I should have asked the gent if he knew who Erin O'Toole was. We wonder why the Conservative Party of Canada is out of action....

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Book: Becoming Superman (Straczynski)

Becoming Superman
- My Journey From Poverty to Hollywood -

Written by
J. Michael Straczynski

Harper Voyager
Reprint Edition, 2019

Monday, August 2, 2021

A Forever Question: Ends in Eight

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

Sir. Is there a motel chain called "Regular 8"?

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Do You Care About What Other People Think of You?

That was a question I saw online.


Having the ability to self analyze is a skill. Knowing one's own foibles, quirks, and negatives, is informative, life-shaping, and helpful in relationships of all kinds.


"An odd mix of mixed metaphors and non sequiturs."