Sunday, October 31, 2021

Happy Halloween! Monster from "Hyper-Reality" (Repeat)

On Sunday [October 29, 2017] I posted another piece about my uncompleted 35mm short film epic, Hyper-Reality. It's Halloween today and I thought I would post an on-set photograph of the film's monster.

Actor Mike Garr rehearses a fight scene with the monster -- actually a guy [my brother] in a costume that I designed and built (with some valued assistance from Erminia Diamantopoulos).

When the fight choreographer first saw the costume, she said: "I find that really disturbing."

Charles Bukowski on Cats

"Having a bunch of cats around is good. If you're feeling bad, you just look at the cats, you'll feel better because they know that everything is just as it is. There's nothing to get excited about. They just know. They're saviours."

Cats know.

Charles Bukowski on The Cat

"A cat is only itself, representative of the strong forces of life that won't let go."

The cat knows.

Andrew Cartmel Writes Again

One of my favourite active writers is Andrew Cartmel. His fiction and non-fiction works have me waiting for the next in line.

His blog, Narrative Drive, is a series of thoughts on books and movies, old and new. The Brit's infectious enthusiasm is apparent in the various postings, with the recent bits on a number of pulp crime novels making me want to explore the genre beyond the book covers....which are fab!

The "Vinyl Detective" series is now five strong, with the latest book scheduled to be released later this year. I've read the first two in the chain, and have reviewed them ("Written in Dead Wax"", "The Run-Out Groove"), with the third ("Victory Disc") sitting on the reading table waiting to be enjoyed -- Turk and Fanny await their biscuits, so get on with it, mate!

Script Doctor: The Inside Story of Doctor Who 1986-1989 is an absorbing non-fiction work about Cartmel's tenure on Doctor Who, just as that long-running British science fiction series was winding down -- though they did not know it at the time, of course. (I rarely, if not barely, mention the new "Who". It does not offend me; it just bores me. I tried watching a few eps recently.) The show's encumbrance by a static budget, with a BBC "sixth floor" in stasis, makes one who is interested in TV production appreciate what DW's new script editor had to deal with when producing product. These television makers weren't the first to experience "if it's not one thing, it's another", so much a part of any production, big or small, and their tasking of reinvigorating and maintaining a series that BBC controller Michael Grade so vocally despised, albeit not always without reason, should make one realize that what went-out to your telly was often a simple reduction and compression of uncontrollable chaos. (Sitting in a pub till late at night instead of working on that special makeup might not sit well with those who hoped for more; even considering the restrictive budget. And in the control room, that televised cricket match may very well be more interesting than what's playing on the in-studio monitors.)

Script Doctor is outstanding. The fact that Cartmel drew much of the book's source material from a diary that he kept during Who's writing and production phases, makes for full-spectrum authenticity. I'm working on a review, with the initial draft coming fast: the piece opens with a background story on my relationship with the classic series. But I soon realized that I want to watch a few more stories from the so-called "Cartmel Masterplan" era before I publish the book review. Thank you, Britbox! They're all there.

The story's in process. I just need a little more time and space....

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Isaac Asimov on Education

"Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is."

... and then Facebook came along.

The Space Probe Golden Film Record (Repeat)

You may pick just one feature film to be included in the Golden Record on the next interstellar space probe. It must represent what mankind is capable of doing in the motion picture form; which is why Forrest Gump cannot, or should not, hitch a ride on a vehicle that may go on its forever journey -- eventually to be found by another race of beings. (Now that I think about it, Forrest Gump himself might be a prime candidate for the trip to somewhere, some millennium, never to be seen again; at least not by humans.)

Back to the probe: My own pick might just be:

Metropolis, Fritz Lang's 1927 epic. The imagery is so forever, the film as a whole, so quoted and referred to, that, to me, there is no better representative feature-length motion picture.

A few years ago I got into a discussion with a friend about the matter and he said his pick would be 2001: A Space Odyssey, another "forever" piece of film art.

As much as I like Annie Hall, Bicycle Thieves, and Patton, I don't feel they best represent the 'bandwidth' possible in the art form.

What? Plan 9 from Outer Space? I had forgotten about that one....

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Book: The Rebel Christ (Coren)

The Rebel Christ

Written by
Michael Coren

Dundurn Press

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

The Toronto Maple Leafs Lost Last Night

“Obviously losing sucks, especially when you lose a couple in a row."

... so stated mathematically-challenged Leafs player Auston Matthews after a fourth straight loss; this time to the Carolina Hurricanes.

Well, Mr Matthews, welcome to playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs. I've been following them since the 1970/71 NHL season. And following them has been easy simply because they are easy to keep up with -- even in my slippers....

Monday, October 25, 2021

A Forever Question: Poverty Row

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

Sir. Why is life close in spirit to a B movie?

Picturing: Fresh Broccoli Stem

Sunday, October 24, 2021

What A Match! (MUN vs LIV)

I took the above snap seconds after Liverpool FC forward Mohamed Salah netted a hat trick; each of his three goals a beauty.

History was made today in Premier League football.

The play-by-play announcer noted that, before today's match, Manchester United had never gone into half-time while down by four goals to nil.

I'm Anarkyvist: Time Warp Television - CKVR - Adverts and Bumpers (Repeat)


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....

"While in the process of digitizing a mass of VHS tapes, I came across some material that I recorded off of CKVR television in 1991-92. Back in the day when they used to be a great station, "VR" ran a framework concept titled "Time Warp Television" which showcased old television classics such as "Gilligan's Island", "All In The Family", "WKRP in Cincinnati", "Star Trek", "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea", "Lost in Space", and (the less classic) "Land of the Giants". I popped together this little clip of bumpers, adverts, and promotions. There might be a Part Two...."

I will correct the recording period specified in my YouTube intro: it should read as "1992-93". The "Time Warp Television" framework programme started in the 1991-1992 television year with an offbeat host by the name of Nabu Perini (spelling?). Unfortunately for regular viewers, he, and his Elvis bust, left after Time Warp's premiere season. On the tape that I pulled the above clips from he is nowhere to be found doing his "streeter" thing. However, in one of the clips he can be seen walking ('behind' William Shatner) with a Super-8 movie camera.

Yes: Voyage, to the Bottom, of the Sea!

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Ron Hobbs: Storyboard Artist and Artist in Toronto

Note: I know Ron, and have for years -- occasionally we get together to talk all things film -- but I am not his agent, so I present the following artwork simply out of respect for his talents.

I'll let the artwork speak for itself:



A Short Graphic Story Based on the Screenplay Called:

Paul Darrow (1941 - 2019) Remembered

The late British actor Paul Darrow played many characters throughout his long career, but he's best known for his dynamic portrayal of the charismatic Kerr Avon on Blake's 7, a science fiction television series which originally ran on BBC1 from 1978 to 1981.

"Avon", whose electronics and computer skills were as tremendous as his greed, was just one of the astounding space characters in the renegade band of Roj Blake. The series' titular leader sparred often with his tenuous ally. But Avon was just the man Blake needed in his efforts to overthrow the totalitarian Terran Federation.

Blake's 7 was referred to by some as "Star Trek on a budget", but that did not matter since the scripting and characterizations set it apart from most television SF pap. (Still do.)

This was pure Avon:

"Listen to me. Wealth is the only reality. And the only way to obtain wealth is to take it away from somebody else. Wake up, Blake! You may not be tranquilized any longer, but you're still dreaming."

Great stuff.

Paul Darrow could have been born to play Avon.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

The King's Depths (Repeat)

Introduction: The following piece I wrote on October 6th [2020], but after completing it, and just before pressing the "upload" button, it struck me as being in bad taste given what little we knew of the U.S. president's overall condition at that time....

U.S. President Donald J. Trump was admitted to Walter Reed National Medical Center on Friday, not after already being tested and confirmed as COVID-19 positive, but after feeling unwell throughout the night. He was advised to seek serious medical treatment, immediately. The president has long downplayed the severity of the virus, and has ignored the deaths of more than 200,000 Americans. Deaths but a little inconvenient: for him, and for the people who've died. Yesterday he exited Walter Reed and took a joy ride in his armoured vehicle to show his faithful, who stood outside with their banners of support and reaffirmation, that the king had beaten the unseen and not-real plague.

Later in the day Trump went home triumphantly to the White House and waved with laboured breath to the crowd. All was good again in the Great Kingdom.

If this were a Brothers Grimm story, how might it end? Most of us would not wish something like this on Mr Trump, but, given his mean nature toward his fellow man and woman, one can have fun with a fanciful tale....

"King Trump, while dining late one night on food fit for kings, felt a great disturbance in his belly and breast, a rumbling of which he recalled from days and nights before. He sweated all over, and he gasped for life. His minions rushed him to the town's physicians, who, with armour and tools, battled for him through the night, only to lose the king of kings in the darkness.

His faithful villagers did not fret for long at the sight of their immobile once-proud King. They ate him all up."

Post Script: I understand that this tale is even darker in the original German.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Flash Poem: A Friend Departs

I just remembered!
How was the affair?

And just realized:
You're in the air!


Simon St. Laurent

Please Don't Key-in "Toronto Maple Leafs" Here

With the 2021/22 National Hockey League season upon us -- but not "upon" me as I much prefer Premier League football -- it is time for me to look back at my postings regarding that poor bastard of a sports franchise, the Toronto Maple Leafs. I must clarify something: That ice hockey club is one of the greatest of sports team money-makers... it's just that they don't win much of anything, certainly not the coveted, and gorgeous, Stanley Cup.

I plead with you, dear reader, that unless you want to be duly entertained, please not to do a search within this blog using the key words "toronto maple leafs". Clearly I am not a fan, but for some reason I like to mock a big-name sports team that has not won a league championship since 1967. Yep, nineteen sixty-seven. That was before man landed on the moon and pre New York Islanders and Philadelphia Flyers. That long ago....

Please let me introduce you to my Toronto Maple Leafs world, with the subject's kick-off piece I wrote in March of 2016, and one which explains, fully, where I am coming from:

An Admission 45 Years Later (Maple Leafs Forever)

On Saturday, February the 13th , I came clean by making a long awaited admission of misplaced support from 1970.

Today I will admit something about "misplaced support" from 1971.

In April of that year, deep in the National Hockey League playoffs, I, for some bizarre and inexplicable reason, was hopeful for the Toronto Maple Leafs. The team in eternal question was playing against the New York Rangers, a good, solid club, and one coached by the great Emile Francis.

The date was April 15th, it was game 6 of the quarter final round between these two members of the "original six". The Rangers led the best-of-seven series by three games to two.

Overtime: This match, tied at 1-1, was resolved with venomous brutality when a Rangers player (Jean Ratelle? Walt Tkaczuk?) scooted down the ice over the Leafs blue-line, through a hapless Leafs defenceman (Jim McKenny?), and snapped off a quick shot. Goaltender Jacques Plante shot out his right leg, he stretched out his toes, but failed to stop or deflect the smoking disc-shaped piece of vulcanized rubber from fulfilling its Nomad-like programming. The next event was more acoustic in nature; the sound of what happens after a speeding 6-ounce hockey puck motions past a Leafs goalie at such a critical time in the NHL season. "Clank!!!"

(Forever Futility.)

I did my job quite well: I was a pro. I (got a wee bit upset).

My dad laughed, no doubt amused by a hockey-loving kid who had yet to snap out of a silly phase. I can still picture him, to my right, getting a kick out of my "upset". Translation: "Kid, it's just a bleedin' game. It means absolutely nothing in and among the grand schemes of life." (My dad was right, of course; except when his beloved Habs lost.)

For decades I've asked myself the question: "Why?" Not the question of why a Leafs goalie would fail to stop or deflect an ice hockey puck, which even an answer of "42" could not explain away, but why I would waste allegiances on a total, complete, absolute, non-achiever. This memorable match had played out mere weeks after my 10th birthday, and after the Leafs team began to brush up on all the interesting local golf courses and beer halls, I would, in guided prescience and with great leaps of maturation, shoot my affections to the Montreal Canadiens. This would pay off -- sorry for the spoiler, young ones -- and my reaction this time around would be one of: Joy.

Toronto-based sports journalist Peter Gross reported on the wireless this morning that the Toronto Maple Leafs are just one loss away from being "mathematically eliminated" from making the playoffs this year.

This cynic must admit: That loosey-goosey sports organization has been improving since 1971. By way of avoiding playoff games on a regular yearly basis they spare many a 10-year-old from having certain hopes and, more importantly, breakdowns. And from having anything of relevant interest to write about 45 years later.

(Replay: "Claaaaank"!)

Monday, October 18, 2021

A Forever Question: Canadian Media Needs

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

Sir. Can Canadian media have another Michael Maclear?

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Sunday Fun: Football Matches Score

Multitasking? What, like doing actual career-type work while watching Premier League football matches?

At 9am, now: Everton vs West Ham
At 11:30am: Newcastle vs Tottenham

Yesterday's matchup between Leicester and Man City was pretty thrilling. Three goals were scored within five minutes, with goals two and three just fifty-five seconds apart: City; United; City. (Minutes 78, 82, and 83.)

After that flurry, I yelled out: "This is a bleedin' ice hockey game!"

Back to 'work'....

Saturday, October 16, 2021

'Davros' on Absolute Power

"They talk of democracy, freedom, fairness. Those are the creeds of cowards. The ones who will listen to a thousand viewpoints and try to satisfy them all. Achievement comes through absolute power, and power through strength."

Too many people believe this, including some of those in power.

Friday, October 15, 2021

On William Shatner's Wednesday Zoom-Up to Space

An old friend emailed me late Wednesday as we had agreed the previous day to catch up on the telephone, and when I noted that I had been on the phone earlier in the day with another old buddy, he smarked: "I guess you and Bill Shatner had a lot to talk about."

My only possible retort:

"What a great ambassador he was.

I'd go up if 'they' retrograded me to a fetus, popped me into a translucent egg-shaped container, and left me floating around the Earth....

'I will think of something.' "

Wayne and Shuster Play City Golf in Toronto (1971) Repeat

When I was a kid I looked forward to the Wayne and Shuster television specials.  Though the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) was the electronic home of Johnny Wayne and Frank Shuster, Canada's greatest comedy duo, they travelled outside our borders. Perhaps the biggest proof of their comedic mobility is the number of times they met with Ed Sullivan stateside on his long-running and highly-rated series, The Ed Sullivan Show (CBS, 1948 - 1971): a total of 67, according to one source.

The above clip, from a Wayne and Shuster special from September 19, 1971, is funny because it's absurd. Playing a game of golf among pedestrian and automobile traffic is not something you would've seen in 1971; try it now and you'll get arrested. By the way: Did Toronto police officers 'dress' like that back then?

My guess is I saw the above when it first aired. Watching it now, I find I'm playing a game of "Name the Location". Our stellar city has changed so much since then. The CN Tower was on the drawing board.

Tee up!

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Poem: Who's Flattery? (Repeat)

How much is too
much flattery?

It depends on who it
is you are flattering

It might fly
or lie flat.


Simon St. Laurent

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Sea Things (Repeat)

Like many artists I draw what Archie Bunker might call "normal tings": Humans, buildings, oxen pulling plows, and a house cat playing with a ball of yarn.

However, I remind myself that I am not afraid to conjure up strange things. Fastened above, from my archives, is a pencil sketch that I commissioned myself to render back in December of 1984. It is titled, simply enough, "Sea Thing (on the beach)". The original is approximately 8" by 8".

Looking at the drawing now, the workmanship is not particularly good, but it is an example of what I can pull out of my hat... well, the subject matter, not the actual subject. Cripes, if I were to pull that out of my hat...

My excuse is that when I was in my formative years I was living in West Germany. As anyone would tell you who was in that lovely country back in those days (1960s/1970s) there was a lot of kids, around my own age, who were physically deformed, some horribly. All thanks to a little drug called Thalidomide. Pretty upsetting stuff.

It was very common to see children with flippers for arms, or malformed legs.

I remember my family driving across the German countryside and my mother blurting out with some emotion, "oh, look at that little boy, he's horribly deformed". Due the speed that my dad was driving, I was not able to see anything -- probably a good thing. The description my mother gave me was more interesting than anything else. Kids are inquisitive.

And some of them go on to draw and paint. I've drawn more offbeat things than just this, but it is a sampling.

Next: "My Mind"

Monday, October 11, 2021

Ink & Acrylic On Packing Paper Keeps On Asking

This is the second time I've repeated the above pic, as it keeps on ticking in relevance....

A Forever Question: Police Action

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

Sir. Can a police officer be known to police?

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Sunday Fun: Laurel & Yanny


On May the 16th of 2018, I posted a bit on something that was hot at the time, but for some reason I did not include the above video clip so the reader could reference what it was I was referring to. Below is the original text piece....

There's that debate going around about "Yanny" or "Laurel". Which one do you hear when you listen to the computer-generated audio clip?

Apparently science has an explanation as to what you decipher. I hear "Laurel".

That explains a few things; especially this one: I asked Jennifer if she would like to spend an evening with me....

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Me On Sans Lyrics

"Instrumental music allows one's brain to paint pictures without literality."

... in 3-strip Technicolor or gorgeous black-and-white.

Friday, October 8, 2021

USS Enterprise at Film Effects of Hollywood, 1966

The eleven-footer at Film Effects of Hollywood.

The days of large-scale miniatures: the above picture is a sample bluescreen shot from a television series called Star Trek. Linwood Dunn's company, with Dunn himself behind the camera, photographed lots of "beauty-pass" material of the USS Enterprise, including this original footage for the first season episode "Space Seed". (The Howard Anderson Company had the model for the two pilot shows and the first few episodes, before it was shipped to Dunn.)

That's enough Trek postings for a while. I've done a few in the last few weeks to celebrate the stellar show's premiere fifty-five years ago.

Back down to Earth, and 2021....

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

'Scotty' on More Diplomacy

"Of course, I could treat them to a few dozen photon torpedoes."

You could. lol

'Scotty' on the Art and Technique of Diplomacy

"Diplomacy! The best diplomat I know is a fully activated phaser bank!"

Some might agree with that, at times.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

It Was Scotty Who Fixed Facebook Yesterday

"No problem, Mark. Your wee bairn will be up and running again in no time."

Monday, October 4, 2021

Three Big Big Bad Bad Days for Canada's CPC Party

October 19, 2015 (the dispatched: Stephen Harper)
October 21, 2019 (the dispatched: Andrew Scheer)
October 20, 2021 (the dispatched: Erin O'Toole)

The Conservative Party of Canada and its brethren have enjoyed three consecutive losses; losses made more potent when one considers that the Liberal Party of Canada was considered to be vulnerable in the federal elections of 2019 and 2021. The final tally wrote a minority, albeit a healthy minority, in both cases.

What gives? Well, for starters, the CPC giveth away and the LPC taketh away.

Much has been made in some quarters about the fact, and it is an incontrovertible fact, that the Conservatives won more votes.

I make much of the fact, and it is a dirty little fact, that Pierre Trudeau and the Liberals won many many more votes in total than did Joe Clark and his Progressive Conservatives in the 1979 federal election.

Liberals: 4,595,319
Progressive Conservatives: 4,111,606

Guess who became Prime Minister of Canada....

A Forever Question: Sides of a Fence

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

Sir. Why does name-calling travel more right-to-left than left-to-right?

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Matching Liverpool and Man City - What a Match!

Minutes ago ended one of the most exciting football matches I've seen in a while. It was the back-and-forth, at least in the second half, that made the contest exciting -- more than having any real importance so early in the season. ("Hey, mate! Every match is important!")

Liverpool was almost MIA in the first half, but the score remained at nil-nil. After the half-time, that FC came out knowing what sport they were participating in, and at minute 59, Sadio Mané broke the ice by driving in a range-rover just metres from the goal. The home crowd went nuts. But just ten minutes later Man City's Phil Foden tied it all up with some style. The fans fell silent, save for the visiting supporters.

The Liverpool Crowd again went ballistic: Mohamed Salah felt that seven minutes was too long to ride out a tie and decided to do something about it with another pretty match point.

Man City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne had a problem with being down for five minutes. A pinball strike to tie the field once again and for good.

(In case you lost count due to the back-and-forth, the final score was 2 - 2.)

Jürgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola, managers of Liverpool and Manchester City, respectively, hugged at the end, both happy.

As the play-by-play announcer stated after the fourth sensational goal today: "I wish every week was like this!"

CQD; SOS; LOL (Repeat, Please!)

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”....