Tuesday, June 30, 2020

What Happened to Film Design?

"The rocket ships on sci-fi screens today are simply boring, whether they are piloted by earthlings or space aliens."

That is a provocative statement from Toronto Star movie critic Peter Howell in his piece, Where have all the UFOs gone? Blame the movies. I've not seen many SF flicks of recent years, but from what I have seen, in promotional pictures and clips, I would agree.

I'm also in synchronous orbit with Mr Howell in his summations of three space vessels: the flying saucer from The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951); the Aries moon lander from 2001: A Space Odyssey; and the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars (1977 and beyond).

Why all the mundane design work in science-fiction movies today? The Lookalike Film Designers Club has an active membership.


"Remember when humans and aliens used to take pride in the design of their spaceships?"

Well, for starters, Walter "Matt" Jefferies died back in 2003.


First posted as "Day of the Science Fiction Movie Spaceship" on September 28, 2018.

A "Costly Epic" That Paid for Itself

This morning I was reading up on legendary television producer Quinn Martin when I came across a Los Angeles Times article from three years ago. The newspaper story is actually a reprint from September 21, 1966.

"Star Trek is Costly Sci Fi Epic"

I find articles like that fascinating. Yes, what did they think back then of a given show, especially one that would go into the history books, and endless reruns?

In the above example, then LA Times staff writer Don Page was just visiting the sound stages very early in Star Trek's production, so he was not speaking of a completed episode.

If he only knew....


First posted as "LA Times Look at Star Trek - September 1966" on September 22, 2018.

Parisian Cemetery Cats

I wish it was me. No, it's my old friend JD, and he's on a creative writing holiday in Paris, France. (That sentence is like a rich French pastry. I got gout just writing it.)

He sent me some holiday snaps of cats hanging around aimlessly in the Montmartre Cemetery. JD is planning to go back, this time with some "enticements" in order to bag some closeups of the beasts.

For now:

That's my kind of cemetery!


First posted as "Hanging Out With Cats in a French Cemetery" on September 20, 2018.

Monday, June 29, 2020

A New Conservative Breakdown

After some serious research online as to what makes up a real Conservative, I've come to the conclusion that they possess great knowledge on any number of subjects. Just read the comments below any posting or newspaper article that invites an angry right-winger to set the record straight -- or to reaffirm what was stated in the 'above'.

They are experts on, but not limited to, the following....

The Sciences (don't exist)
Liberal Arts (but, as we all know, only Liberals take "Liberal Arts")
Cognition (?!)

Note: I left out Philosophy as that may invite Semantics; and Pragmatics.

A Forever Question: Covered in Bark

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

Sir. Have dogs run out of ideas?

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Picturing: A Bug on Plasticworld


“Hugh Grant!”

I had barely gotten “do you know who I look like to some?” out, when he thrust his hand towards me and said: “Don’t! I know who!....”

That was a brief conversation with a client after I brought up the subject by saying, “you bear a faint resemblance to Ben Affleck”. His answer: “You think so?”

He said he had never heard that before.

An acquaintance of mine told me she gets “Alanis Morissette” and a lot of looks when she walks through Toronto’s Yorkville neighbourhood.

So that’s why people look at me when I walk through Yorkville during the Toronto International Film Festival. I’ve long thought it was because I bear a strong resemblance to a stock drug-past “old” rock star.

If only I had Hugh Grant’s charms….


First posted as "It's Called The Vanity Press" on September 19, 2018.

North American Special Fighter

A few years ago I got into a discussion with a friend: "What jet fighter aircraft is most representative of a jet fighter?" We both picked the North American F-100 "Super Sabre". That easy.

Its look is classic.


First posted as "What Jet Fighter Says Jet Fighter" on September 18, 2018.

Bernier Who/What?

Maxime Bernier is calling his new political initiative the People's Party of Canada (the PPC). The fiery Quebec MP clashed with Andrew Scheer, the Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, and decided to set up his own club.

The new party has not yet been registered with Elections Canada. I hope that Bernier changes the name. Minus the "Canada" part, to me the name People's Party of Canada sounds too much like a right-wing party from the Weimar Republic.


First posted as "Canadian Political Party Game - Sounds Like...." on September 14, 2018.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Against a Starfield Sky

Recently I spoke with a UFO researcher on the discipline of Ufology. He explained a bit about some of his cases: "plasma" was a big one. During our conversation I remembered my own personal story.

Early 1980s.

It was evening and the winter sky was dark -- with the exception of a sky field flicked with stars. I was walking along the street in a small city here in Ontario where the above is fresher and clearer than it is here in the big city, Toronto. Something made me look up. Above, way up, streaked a tiny burning bright. Immediately I discounted it being a satellite or meteorite: the speedy light zigged and zagged as if undertaking evasive maneuvers. The star-field relief gave my eyes some 'registration'; a reference point for the non-static light to play against, confirming to me that what I was seeing might have been piloted by an indecisive, albeit quick-thinking, navigator.

The Ufologist nodded. He looked as though he believed that I had seen something not of this Earth. I'm not sure I believe it. But that's my UFO story.


First posted as "Keep Watching the Skies!" on September 13, 2018.

D.C. Honour

A headline in today's Boston Globe:

John McCain is remembered as a hero, patriot, and inspiration

How will Donald Trump be remembered?

During yesterday's honouring of McCain at the Washington National Cathedral former U.S. president Barack Obama said this: “So much of our politics, our public life, our public discourse, can seem small and mean and petty, trafficking in bombast and insult, in phony controversies and manufactured outrage.”

Perhaps that is how Trump will be remembered.


First posted as "Honour in Washington, D.C." on September 2, 2018.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Toronto Sun Funnies

Sunday mornings are my newspaper reading time -- even though news reading kicks off my day every morning.

Longtime U.S. senator John McCain died yesterday and the news hit hard. For some reason a certain Toronto-based newspaper refuses to cover his passing front and centre on its website.

The missing news was obvious. Even I was not looking for trouble.

Of course the Toronto Sun won't mention John McCain: the fearless man turned against and frequently called-out President Donald Trump, whom the fine folk at the Sun love.

A few weeks ago the Sun gave no ink to the issue of Ontario Conservatives "clapping out" reporters' questions. Can you imagine if Liberal or NDP members did that? We'd never hear the end of it.

The motto at the Toronto Sun: "Whatever's Convenient."

I love my Sunday funnies.


First posted as "I Love My Sunday Funnies" on August 26, 2018.

We Know What Happened Here....

A guest column in yesterday's Toronto Sun extols the virtues of a "Prime Minister Andrew Scheer".

It opens:

"Like almost every conservative I know, I believe Andrew Scheer would make an infinitely better prime minister than Justin Trudeau."


I continue reading.

This feels like an advertisement for the Conservative Party of Canada. (A Toronto Sun specialty. What is "newspaper"?)


The editorial was authored by Kory Keneycke, a man with quite the work history.

It ends:

— Kory Teneycke was director of communications to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, founder of the Sun News Network, and campaign manager for Ontario Premier Doug Ford

I find that funny.

(Note: In his list of Scheer attributes, Mr Kenycke conveniently forgot to mention certain financial indiscretions.)


First posted as "Supporting the Toronto Sun's Party Line" on August 24, 2018.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Papillon Again

I learned minutes ago that there is a new film called Papillon. For weeks I've been meaning to post the first in a series along the lines of "Movies that Hit Us". Now I have a natural lead-in courtesy of something I discovered this morning.

(The few scenes I saw looked grim, thematically, and pictorially. The picture "light" was wrong, and I found out why. It was shot in Europe. Its sunlight, direct or indirect, is not right for a story that takes place in French Guiana.)

Prelude to the Piece:

Papillon (1973 - Franklin Schaffner)

My buddies and I loved it when we saw it at the Terra Theatre in CFB Borden. Since we were young at that time we couldn't necessarily articulate why. But we raved outside the theatre doors, nonetheless. (Some answers: great performances, Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman; and a brilliant score, Jerry Goldsmith.)


First posted as "There's a New Butterfly in Town" on August 22, 2018.

A TV Hall of Mirrors

Like many Torontonians, I'm aware of CITY television's morning show Breakfast Television. We know it through osmosis if we're not regular watchers. One thing struck me as I watched a "BT" program very recently:

I remember Jennifer Valentyne posting her usual morning "remotes". She'd be there, wherever, live with her microphone, covering an event or place. What I also remember is the news from two years ago where she was being relieved of her mic by Rogers Communications, runner of BT; they wanted to "go in a different direction".


So why is there now a new host doing exactly the same thing Ms Valentyne was known for? (I ask, very well knowing the answer.)


First posted as "A Certain Toronto Morning Show" on August 21, 2018.

They're So Cute

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.


First posted as "Cat Get Mad Even" on August 20, 2018.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Another Day of Premier League Football Riches


Manchester United vs. Sheffield United (1pm)
Newcastle vs. Aston Villa (1pm)
Norwich vs. Everton (1pm)
Wolves vs. Bournemouth (1pm)
Liverpool vs. Crystal Palace (3:15pm)

The good news is it's a good thing I have nothing to do today....

The Turfer is Right

Television highlights this morning of last night's Blue Jays and Yankees game: It was a blowout, with New York winning 10 to 2.

The highlight for me was the Toronto manager being thrown out of the game early for contesting a call at first base.

This former umpire threw a manager or two out; and more than a few players. A fellow ump, a friend of mine, kidded me one day about my infield moves.

"You're always throwing guys out of games." He laughed. He called me "The Turfer".

But not once did I ever abuse such great powers. (And I knew that National League rule book like the back of my hand, even if some did not like my "interpretation" of it at times.)


First posted as "Hey Umpy!" on August 20, 2018.

Scheer's Fate Was Easy to Predict

Andrew Scheer, current leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, and Leader of the Official Opposition, has had a difficult time connecting with many Canadians. A lot will rest on his shoulders come the next federal election. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau continues to rate relatively well in most popularity polls.

As I described Andrew Scheer to someone today:

The problem is Admiral Scheer's flotilla is made up of leaky ships. And he cannot command or unify.

Nothing will change, otherwise.

Trudeau will almost certainly win again. Our Prime Minister is far from perfect (who is?) but he has much going for him.

With Scheer on the bridge, the Conservatives are dead in the water.


First posted as "As I Described Andrew Scheer Today" on August 17, 2018.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

"That's a Big Mouse!" (A Cat Might Say)

"Humans? What about them?"

"Sounds like a complete waste of time."

"That's a big mouse!"

"Sleep replenishes the soul."

"Those curtains had to go."

"No! Don't clean up the garage. Bad idea!"

"Can openers? That's putting it politely."

"Even I don't like all cats."

"Why mice and rats? Human infants are too easy to catch."

"Ah, piss on it."


First posted as "10 Quotable Lines from Cats" on August 16, 2018.

Shadow People!

"It was fifteen years ago today." (August 14, 2003.)

I was at my place of work in downtown Toronto. My co-worker and I stood in front of the bank of VTR (Video Tape Recorder) equipment and chatted some technical business. Suddenly, a harmony of clicks and clacks. And lights going out: overhead fluorescent tubes and the video decks' myriad of little indicator lamps. The shutdown was dramatic. And it meant that every video feed and recording we had going at the moment was rendered useless.

At first my partner and I both thought it was that bloody little local transformer station that too often failed in the middle of a work day. No doubt it'll pop back on in seconds or minutes.

Minutes passed.

Our manager popped out of his office and exclaimed: "There's a blackout on the entire eastern part of North America!" That was drama. Then it set in. We would have no need to finish our shift. Time to go home.

Wait a moment. That means there's no subway. Then, as now, I lived in Toronto's Annex neighbourhood.

Fine. I'll walk home.

As I propelled west along King Street I bumped into a friend and former co-worker who was making his way home. The fifty-minute walk was a great chance to catch up.

That evening I went for a stroll: Shadow People!


First posted as "The Great Power Outage of 2003" on August 14, 2018.

Monday, June 22, 2020

A Forever Question: Perhaps it is Bliss

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

Sir. Why do so many people think it's cool to be ignorant?

A Scene from Mainz, Germany

Courtesy of my Germany correspondent. (I wish I was in Mainz right now.)


First posted as "A Scene Today from Mainz, Germany" on August 13, 2018.

It's No Double Impact

For a few years a running gag between my brother and I involved a special kind of shorthand. Its editorial power was such that just a certain short sentence was all I had to say to sum up my feelings regarding a movie.

One beautifully sunny summer day in 1991 an acquaintance came by my apartment and asked me if I wanted to see a new movie release with him:

"Double Impact, Van Damme's new movie, is playing at the Cumberland (theatre)."

I said yes. My tastes are and were broad. It would also be a chance for us to hookup one last time since he was to leave Toronto the next day for a new job. Even though you would not know it by looking at him at the time, Mark was into the martial arts. His interest in the new picture made sense.

As we exited the movie theatre I told Mark that I enjoyed Double Impact. In fact, I found it to be a profoundly enriching and fun movie. (Yes, it had quite the impact.)

Jean-Claude Van Damme's then latest cinematic effort became a marker, a bar of platinum, if you like, whenever my brother and I would discuss a movie and our respective opinions came to the fore. My preferred comment might be a thoughtful: "It's good, but it's no Double Impact."

(My brother might laugh and editorialize: "Come on, man, that movie's s**t.")


First posted as "It's Good But It's No...." on August 12, 2018.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Father's Day 2020

How could I almost forget about posting something on this Father's Day?

My father was aircrew with RAF Bomber Command in the last few months of WWII. He was a mid-upper gunner on Lancasters. Pictured above is the very "Lanc" he flew on during a couple of raids, including the Berchtesgaden operation on 25 April 1945: the bombing of Hitler's Eagles Nest and the nearby S.S. barracks.

6200, That's It (Trump's Disappointing Day)

Several reliable sources have pegged last night's Donald Trump Tulsa rally attendance at about 6,200. The stadium was less than half full, with no overflow venue crowd outside at all.

I've come up with a new adjective, one best applied to an anticipated huge turnout that turns out to be a small fraction: Tulsaic. ("The turnout was best described as Tulsaic.")

A Crazy Day of Football Action (My Pitch)

What a day this is going to be. As I learned yesterday, today's lineup of Premier League football action will fill my day:

Cardiff City vs. Leeds United (CC leads 2 - 0 at 83 minutes into the match)
Newcastle vs. Sheffield United (9am)
Aston Villa vs. Chelsea (11:15am)
Everton vs. Liverpool (2pm)

It's a good thing I actually have a life. (Meaning: Football action will run as background, and foreground, while I work.)

Make America Great Again Is Taking Some Time

Last night I watched too much of Donald Trump's Tulsa (Oklahoma) rally. The turnout was much less than expected.

Expected were the number of "Make America Great Again" signs. Wait a minute. Trump's been in office for well over three years. What's taking so long?

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Watching Trump's Epic Rally (Half-full Stadium)

Where are all the people? Outside in the "overflow" space is empty space.

Donald Trump keeps repeating "Radical Left".

Just now: "The Chinese virus." He's nuts. (The dimasses go nuts.) "Kung Flu"?

Now Trump is yelling.

This history buff is reminded of something....chilling.

What's the Latest on This?

Today's Evening Edition of the Washington Post came in late this afternoon and one headline in particular got my subdivided attention: Best popular film? Academy announces changes for the Oscars, including a shorter telecast.

I've never seen an Oscars show; okay, I've seen minutes here and there over the decades, but nothing to give me a sense of what a complete edition offers other than excessive running times. Almost every year I hear "it ended late". The new version is to clock in at no more than three hours. Three hours?! What was it before?

By the way: What exactly would constitute a "Best Popular Film"? (Titles, please!) Sounds to me like that will be one competitive category!


First posted as "A Trimlined Oscars Telecast For Now" on August 8, 2018.

VFX Has the Centre Seat

During a discussion I had recently with an old friend, a "film" editor friend, we touched upon visual effects technology today and the "tent-pole picture". As I told him, I am no Luddite. The technology is wonderful, and filmmakers with little money can compete with the big boys, to some degree. (And television producers can work with smaller budgets than ever before.) The problem with this wonderful technology is producers go crazy with its processing power.

With today's blockbusters, at least, narrative drive is often propelled by the visual effects, where it should be the story. The narrative drive should be the natural exponent of "story".

Give me a good book. There, any special visual effects are in one's head and they never take over from the story.


First posted as "A Quota Quickie: VFX Narrative Driving Films" on August 6, 2018.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Football Fans Computed and on the Board

On Wednesday I watched live the Premier League football match between Manchester City and Arsenal. The game was a bit of a blowout, certainly in football terms, with Man City scoring three unanswered goals. The mismatch surprised me a little bit. What I was expecting was an artificial ambient crowd sound. It worked very well, contributing thousands of fans who were not in the stadium, as per the COVID-19 lockdown.

That simple but effective audio technology reminded me of this....

A Languages & Names Question

Further to my post from about an hour ago, Jean-Luc! Jean-Luc!, many of Star Trek: The Next Generation's most dedicated fans have a problem with the good captain of the starship Enterprise (D!) having a French name but speaking seasoned English. I've never had a problem with that; in 1987, or now.

Look at my name: Simon St. Laurent

Actor Patrick Stewart's French may be bad, but mine is non-existent. (Hi, Jean-Denis!)


First posted as "Jean-Luc Picard and the English & French Question" on August 5, 2018.

The Verdict Came In Recently (Not Good)

The news is out that Sir Patrick Stewart is to reprise his Star Trek role of Jean-Luc Picard for CBS All Access. (Them again.)

A few years ago I re-viewed a few episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation and was reminded how generally bland that series is: including a surfeit of two-dimensional characters. (TNG has not aged well, at all.)

To repeat something I read recently: 'A good actor in a generally thankless role.'

The good news, for some, at least, is this will be a new series; a new shot at the character of Jean-Luc Picard. (His life after his captaincy.)


First posted as "Jean-Luc! Jean-Luc" on August 5, 2018.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

2001 Is Magnificent

On Monday I wrote a piece about the 2018 book "Space Odyssey - Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke, and the Making of a Masterpiece". Writer Michael Benson tells an absorbing tale of how one of the greatest motion pictures came to be -- its birth and life, and continuing life. Kubrick's masterpiece refuses to give easy answers. For me, thinking about 2001: A Space Odyssey is as pleasurable and natural as watching and listening to it.

2001 is magnificent, something I've 'known' since I first saw it at the age of ten. That screening is perhaps the most profound movie-going experience of my life to this point in time and space. (From what I can gather, there are no threats on the horizon). And it resonated with me to such a degree that it stayed with me for weeks; months. Of course being so young did not exactly help me understand the film from a thematic perspective. I saw the flick at CFB Borden's Terra Theatre with my next door neighbour and friend, Glen. We were shuttled home by his older brother who gave us the rundown as to what we had just seen and not entirely understood. Our chauffeur had read Arthur C. Clarke's book version, which functioned, and still does, as published footnotes for 2001 the movie. (A few months later I grabbed the book from the Ontario Science Centre bookstore during a school trip. So eager was I to assimilate the code-book that I started reading it on the bus ride back to the base.)

Every screening of 2001: A Space Odyssey renews my love and respect for one of my favourite pictures (a picture of art). And more is revealed.

Mr Benson's "Space Odyssey" gave me a much greater understanding of how the cosmic mind work was conceived, developed, and constructed: a special universe built by many talented people. That story is a page turner.


First posted as "Space Odyssey on Paper and Film" on July 28, 2018.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Emotions Do Like Regret

"As you get older one of the strongest emotions is regret."

That line could be attributed to many folk.

There are big regrets and small. Mine tend to fall into the latter. Sample....

During one of my trips to England I took a day trip to the east coast seaside town of Felixstowe. It was a pilgrimage, or sorts, to a place of a strong memory from my childhood. One such strong: At that time the Royal Navy had a base at the nearby coastal town of Harwich. As I sat on the beach one day a RN nuclear submarine sat still on the surface; I was fascinated by this sight. The day was clear and sunny, rendering the boat more as a silhouette on the horizon than anything of textured details. Sailors walked about the deck, and this naval action grabbed my attention in bits and pieces as I built my sand castle. Then it was gone, much like the crab that I had enclosed in a fortress wall. Those pesky buggers. Cunning, aren't they all?

Back, or forward, to 1990. I strolled the beach's length hoping to see some sea traffic. There was none that day -- at least not during the hours I was there. Another beautiful sunny day; just the way I had remembered Felixstowe.

As I walked about the town's streets on my circuitous way back to the railway station I happened upon a fetching poster. "Ron Goodwin conducts his movie themes!" Tonight! Felixstowe? I had left my stuff in a London bed and breakfast. Logistics. Why not call the owner, a super nice guy, and ask him to store my travel belongings for the night?

"You should have called me. I would have stored your stuff in the back room."


First posted as "Emotions Like Regret" on July 25, 2018.

Portrait of Photo Me

(Photo by William La Rochelle)

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

The Making of a Space Masterpiece in Book Form

Yesterday I posted a review of writer Andrew Cartmel's terrific book The Vinyl Detective - Written in Dead Wax. After I finished reading a fictional account of a special detective I almost immediately picked up a non-fiction book about a certain great movie. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), for me, is one of the best ever, if not the best -- an example of how good the motion picture form can be.

Space Odyssey - Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke, and the Making of a Masterpiece was written by Michael Benson and it's an addictive read. At times I have to force myself to put it down.

While reading about the genesis of 2001: A Space Odyssey I'm becoming convinced the film is a great work of art.


First Posted as "From a Vinyl Detective to a Space Odyssey" on July 23, 2018.

Big Movie Ads in Summer of 1970

The summer of 1970 was big for me in the movie television adverts department: Airport and Tora! Tora! Tora! were hitting theatres and you had better know it!

I don't think I've ever seen movies advertised on television as much as those two were. (Both movies feature aeroplanes.)

Airport was directed by George Seaton and it flew a very large cast of name actors. A terminal soap opera. But one that made a lot of money.

Tora! Tora! Tora! was a war epic when epic movies really were epic. It's all there, folks! No funny computer picture stuff! The reel deal! The monster of a movie was directed by veteran helmer Richard Fleisher (with Toshio Masuda and Kinji Fukasaku covering the Japanese side of the story), and it's not bad; or better than it might have been considering there's a lot of story, lots of details to cover, which is not easy to do in a one-off feature film. Of course, the ending is powerful.

Skyscraper?! Who the (heck) cares?!


First posted as "Two Big Movie Television Adverts of 1970" on July 20, 2018.

Post Close Encounters

My yesterday posting covered my closing early the cover of the Close Encounters of the Third Kind tie-in novelization. "Close Encounters" was directed by Steven Spielberg and originally released theatrically in 1977. The first version; a version of a film which to me was lacking.

The last two reels were very good, as was the opening, but the middle act was a long section that seemingly missed the Movieola/flatbed.  What worked for me was Vilmos Zsigmond's cinematography, Douglas Trumbull's visual effects, and Johnny Williams' Holst-influenced score.

In February a friend and fan of CE3K explained to me the more recent versions. I've seen the original theatrical release and the "World Television Premiere". Since then Spielberg has made efforts to improve the film. As my authoritative buddy explained, the director greatly improved those (to me) poor middle reels. This version is available on home video. So too are the earlier cuts.

My comparison yesterday was of the novelization to the original release. I was speaking of Close Encounters as an overall film. Perhaps it's time I check out the most recent version.


First posted as "Explaining My Close Encounters of Yesterday " on July 19, 2018.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Not Close to Finishing Close Encounters Tie-In Book

While discussing abandoned books with a friend today, my example was the Close Encounters of the Third Kind tie-in novelization.

I started digging in in late 1979, and in November of that year I packed it in. The real part of this story is the fact that for almost thirty-nine years the bookmark was exactly where I left it: Chapter 10.

The book was unremarkable, like most of that kind, and added nothing to what to me was an unremarkable movie -- sans a few show pieces.

The bookmark: "Half Back - The Ontario Rebate Program that turns old Wintario tickets into discounts", valid from May 1 - September 30, 1979.


First posted as "Show Tell: Close Encounters Novelization Abandoned" on July 18, 2018.

It Is the Most Beautiful Game

Having watched about ten matches of the 2018 World Cup has convinced me that football is indeed "the world's most beautiful game". Ice hockey, as much as I love it, is, unfortunately, represented by the NHL here in North America. To me, the National Hockey League has too many problems; including but not limited to: too many teams, and representation in soft-ice markets -- ice hockey in the southern U.S.? (Gary Bettman knows! He always knows!)

International ice hockey I much prefer, mainly because of the larger, therefore more proper, ice surface.

The World Cup match yesterday between England and Croatia was bloody exciting!

This coming Sunday: The deciding cup match between France and Croatia.


First posted as "The Most Beautiful Game - Match Point!" on July 12, 2018.

Films of Influence On Me Not To Be Underestimated

Film director Martin Scorsese has teamed up with Steven Spielberg and Universal Studios to help preserve some early American motion pictures which exist only on (highly unstable) nitrate-based film.

In this article Scorsese talks about films that have influenced him; his big three: On the Waterfront; Citizen Kane; and Shadows.

This non-working filmmaker, if I were a working filmmaker, too would pick Orson Welles' Kane and John Cassevetes' Shadows as two that have influenced me. Mr Scorsese's picks got me thinking:

Metropolis (1927)
Battle of Britain (1969)
Five (1951)
The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933)
Der Schweigende Stern (1960)
Bicycle Thieves (1948)
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Dr. Strangelove (1964)

There are more, no doubt.

Television I grew up with would also be a big influence: a later post.


First posted as "Films of Influence on Me" on July 11, 2018.

A Forever Question: A New Threat?

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

Sir. When did "law enforcement" become a societal threat?