Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Upcoming Book: Heaping Coals (Coren)

Last year I read Michael Coren's 2021 book The Rebel Christ, and I was impressed to the point where I felt compelled to commit my feelings to html: Read: The Rebel Christ (Coren)

Heaping Coals - From Media Firebrand to Anglican Priest is his latest book, and, no surprise, I'm looking forward to its release in October.

Reverend Coren announced on his Twitter page today that he's "read the proofs and finished the photo captions".

From the publisher, Dundurn:

"From England’s working class to high profile media personality, Michael Coren charts his encounters with people of faith, fame, and fortune.

Michael Coren writes of his life leading up to entering the seminary and being ordained. Growing up in a working-class mixed-religion family, then entering a career in media, Coren was, and in some ways still is, the consummate outsider. He records his encounters and work with Oscar-winning writers, celebrities, and authors, and his early successes as a journalist.

After marrying and settling in Canada, Coren became a darling of the Christian right, with his TV and radio shows and syndicated column. He describes his shift to more progressive Christianity and politics, and what happened personally and professionally when this occurred.

Not just a humble admission of fault, but an articulate and convincing account of a spiritual awakening."

... and a special note from Stephen Fry:

“Coren tells us the stories of his fascinating life with clarity, self-deprecating wit, and page-turning verve.”

Thursday, February 15, 2024

CD: UFO (Gray)

- Original Television Soundtrack -

Music by
Barry Gray

Silva Screen Records


On Tuesday nights during the 1970/71 television season I was there with my parents in front of the Zenith colour set tuned to Canada's CTV network. British husband and wife producing team Gerry and Sylvia Anderson left their "Supermarionation" puppet show empire behind to launch UFO, a live-action science fiction series set on the moon's surface and here on good ol' Earth, principally in England. "U-Fo" was superior in many areas: one being the music department.

Barry Gray had long been the producers' main scorer, and his efforts for this short-lived dramatic programme were top-drawer, injecting just the right amount of funky Hammond organ fun ― dig that wonderfully spot-on opening theme tune ― and otherworldly bizarreness and genuine heartbreak. While the series could be silly at times, with some episodes seemingly asking, "What were we thinking?", when UFO was good, it was more than good. And its background music was no small contributor, certainly in a telly-series out of this world, even when based here on Sol III.

The perfect capper to any UFO episode, especially one ending on a particularly serious note, was the dissonant and creepy end title music ― not only did it reinforce a sense of darkness that tended to pervade the show format, it functioned as a counterpoint to the (then) contemporary feel of the opening title theme.

End note: This CD of a 72-minute total running time is a fine sampling of episode scores; around five hours of music was recorded for UFO.

The Canadian Flag is 59 Today

And what a flag it is!

On February 15th, 1965, the "National Flag of Canada" was inaugurated in a ceremony on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

When I was a teenager a certain subject came up for discussion while I was hanging out with a friend. He said: "I like our flag."

Next to the "Nisshoki" (Japan's national flag), our own red-and-white may pack the most visual punch of all national flags.

She's a beauty! Let's keep honouring her....

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Angel Hair Is On Tonight


Recently I had a discussion with one of my clients, a lovely lady from the Philippines. When I mentioned (mentioned, yes) that I love Filipino dishes, she asked me if I've had Angel Hair.

I asked her:

"Like that from my shedding cat?"

Magic words tickled my ears:

"I would love to bring a container of Angel Hair to give to you next time we meet."


Did I mention that I love Filipino food?

Thursday, February 8, 2024

ReBook: Dreaming Aloud (Heard)

Dreaming Aloud
- The Life and Films of James Cameron -

Christopher Heard

Doubleday Canada Limited


A few years ago a friend of mine met James Cameron here in Toronto ― it was arranged by a client of ours, a mate of the filmmaker's. Mr Cameron was very cordial and a true gent in giving my buddy, a huge fan, some time. The only disappointing part of the brief talk was when Cameron declined, gently, signing Dreaming Aloud. "I'm sorry, Carl, I can't sign that."

Dreaming Aloud is actually a good book. Christopher Heard comes across as being fair to his subject. It's far from being trash writing even when he does speak of some negatives regarding the 'animated' Canadian filmmaker.

Titanic (1997) was still in production when the book's publisher sent it to the presses, so we are blessedly spared the suffering and grating squeaks of "My Heart Will Go On". Heard would have had to go on about that song, otherwise.

James Cameron is a fascinating filmmaker and man.

Toronto Not as Cold as These Pics

Today: 6 Celsius (43 Fahrenheit)
Tomorrow: 12 (54)
Saturday: 8 (46)

Now: scary

The Mystery Books of Sunday Past (Classics)

This past Sunday, I asked two questions: Two Classic Books Need to Be Revisited

It's been a long time since I first read Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1870) and H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds (1898).

Two classic books, deserving of a re-read. First, the Nautilus....

Sunday, February 4, 2024

Two Classic Books Need to Be Revisited

From a book I first read in elementary school, its first sentence....

"The year 1866 was marked by a strange event, an unexplainable occurrence which is undoubtedly still fresh in everyone's memory."

Also from my schoolboy years, a book with a most provocative opening sentence....

"No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water."

Without Googling, try to identify the above classic books.

As any writing instructor will tell you, you must hook the reader from page one; even better if you can do it from sentence one.

Now, to honour my post's title, I must pick one and dig in; revisit.