Monday, January 30, 2023

A Forever Question: We What?

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

Sir. Are humans too violent a species for our needs?

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Vid Clip: TTC Subway Train Leaving Yorkdale Station

Riding the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) subway system: The video clip starts as the train pulls out of "Yorkdale" station, heading north to "Wilson". No, I did not record this today... today had heavy snowfall.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

A Forever Question: Turn Away

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

Sir. Is it safe to leave memories pining?

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Vladimir Shatalov on Us

"When we look into the sky it seems to us to be endless. We breathe without thinking about it, as is natural... and then you sit aboard a spacecraft, you tear away from Earth, and within ten minutes you have been carried straight through the layer of air, and beyond there is nothing! The 'boundless' blue sky, the ocean which gives us breath and protects us from endless black and death, is but an infinitesimally thin film. How dangerous it is to threaten even the smallest part of this gossamer covering, this conserver of life."

A Cosmonaut's special view is true.

Alan Shepard on Us

"I realized up there that our planet is not infinite. It's fragile. That may not be obvious to a lot of folks, and it's tough that people are fighting each other here on Earth instead of trying to get together and live on this planet. We look pretty vulnerable in the darkness of space."

We are vulnerable, indeed.

Monday, January 16, 2023

A Forever Question: Mixed-up Emotions?

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

Sir. Why do the hateful hate love?"

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Soviet Space Program Short Film "Four in the Cosmos"

Studying up on the Soviet space program is one of my research pleasures. The above 20 minute film from 1969 is a fine if unrevealing motion picture document on the Soyuz 4 and Soyuz 5 orbital docking from January that year.

Used to good effect is Georgy Sviridov's brilliant orchestral piece, "Time, Forward!", originally composed for a film of the same name just four years earlier but already finding a life outside its original intent. (It rolls with driving steel works machinery rhythms similar in collective spirit to those of Alexander Mosolov's 1927 piece, "Iron Foundry".)

My Russian is non-existent, so I asked a Russian friend of mine to translate the screen chatter in basic terms: He said that nothing much is revealed; in particular, the voice-over is a "near-to-empty official story of the flight"; nothing to give anything away. (Not advertised was Soyuz 5's bumpy return to Earth.)

As short-form filmmaking, Four in the Cosmos is effective and, at times, almost poetic.

Book: The Sea Shall Embrace Them (Shaw)

The Sea Shall Embrace Them
- The Tragic Story of the Steamship Arctic -

David W. Shaw

The Free Press

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

... the Budget Will Balance Itself ― In Context

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau gets some people going. A frequent attack on him 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.

Monday, January 9, 2023

A Forever Question: The Blue Mats

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

Sir. There are physical exercises and mental exercises, but are there emotional exercises?

Sunday, January 8, 2023

Guidebook: Baden-Baden, West Germany (circa 1970)

Baden-Baden, Germany, is beautiful. It was near that historic town where I spent four years of my childhood, and the memories are strong, especially when I look at pictures in this guidebook from the time I was there.

Welcome to Baden-Baden in "Der Schwarzwald", and these sample pages:

(click to enlarge)

The photo immediately above is of the Rastatt pool. It is where my swimming skills were fine tuned by my swim coach mother. The pool complex was, and still is, I'm sure, a great place. (If the kid who stole my Fina swim ring reads this he should feel bad. At least he had the decency to replace my new one with his old one.)

The racetrack above is in Iffezheim and it's just a few minutes' walk from where I lived. Not only did I see a few horse races at the track, but there was a smashup derby held one night by we Canadians which was a lot of fun. (Cars smashed up, not horses.)

Thursday, January 5, 2023

Flash Poem: whenever

My mind waits
on the day

While in the
daze of sleep

my mind
wanders in
a nightie
and slippers


Simon St. Laurent

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

A Forever Question: A Link In Time

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

Sir. Why is it 2023 when I remember 1966?