Thursday, April 25, 2024

Picturing: A N/E Section of Bloor/Spadina ― Toronto

I miss this Bloor Street Second Cup store location... and, for that matter, its wonderful staff. Corporate interests are partially destroying those charming and essential parts of Toronto. This city is great, yes, but let's keep it great. Development isn't always a plus.

Apparently, an ugly condo tower will be going up. My predictor computer knew the answer. How?

Flash Poem: Writers' Rights!

Writers write!
Any where
Any time
Any way

it comes naturally
sans inhibition
without limitation:

in a diary
on a script
a postcard
a napkin

Writers write!
All ways....


Simon St. Laurent

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Air Canada A320 on Approach to Toronto Pearson

While testing my newest Canon zoom lens, I snapped this picture of an Air Canada Airbus A320 as it banked to port on approach to Toronto Pearson International Airport.

Friday, April 19, 2024

Space: 1999 is Live-Streaming on YouTube Again

Last week Shout! Studios began to live-stream the old television series Space: 1999. After I made the discovery I popped up a post with the embedded video feed. On Wednesday I noticed the stream was no longer available. Fine. I don't like to delete my posts, but delete it I did.

Shout! reactivated the Space stream. I kept my html: now below the video.

In September and October of last year, I wrote a series of articles looking back at the old science-fiction/horror series Space: 1999 (1975 - 1977). The premiere piece for "Space: 1999 Days" was Space: 1999 Days ― Breakaway from Earth.

While on YouTube this past week, I noticed that Shout! Studios is live-streaming Space: 1999. As I write this, the episode running is Part One of the pulp fun two-parter "The Bringers of Wonder" from the show's second, and last, season. (Year Two was an improvement over the often-irritating Year One. It certainly was for me.)

So, if you're familiar with the space adventures of the Moonbase Alpha crew, and want to relive that experience of watching a series that you may or may not have liked when it first ran, or saw in syndication: enjoy! For those of you who are perhaps too young to know what a 'space nineteen... what?' is, or was: enjoy!

Space: 1999, for all its too-often script problems, had a look all its own. While I've never been crazy about the bland (and incomplete) Moonbase Alpha sets, certainly those of the show's freshman year, the strange new worlds depicted are often unique and quite lovely ― I call them "European Art School". All one has to do is put up with the, at times, trying storylines. And a lack a believable characterizations, but, again, Year Two is much better in that regard.

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Flash Poem: Who's Flattery?

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, April 17, 2024

Enrico Nicola 'Henry' Mancini (1924 - 1994)

This morning I was reminded that the late film and television composer Henry Mancini would have celebrated his 100th birthday today. We tend to think of the maestro as the creator of the Pink Panther and Peter Gunn themes, and popular songs such as "Moon River", but previous to those impeccable hit pieces, he worked for years as a studio musician, writing music under contract for Universal Studios productions.

Below, third from the left, is Mr Mancini as he partakes in some song with a few fellow film and television composers.

Monday, April 15, 2024

Humour for a Monday Morning

Last week I told a friend that I live just a hop, skip, and a jump from Toronto's Bata Shoe Museum but I've never... set foot in there.

Some Uplifting Quotes for a Monday Morning

"You're so busy doubting yourself while so many others are intimidated by your potential."

I should send that to someone.

I'd adapt it slightly for some people I know:

"You're so busy doubting yourself while so many others are intimidated by what good things you do and have done."

Some people take one's accomplishments so personally.

Friday, April 12, 2024

Yuri Gagarin! (63 Years Ago Today)

This long time space cadet has not forgotten that today is the 63rd anniversary of Soviet Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin's historic space flight. The twenty-seven year old's one-orbit mission on Vostok 1 made him a name the world over. The news of a man travelling in space was exciting to this planet's masses, but it left many Americans stunned that such a "backwards" country could achieve such a feat and be the first to do so.

The USSR was not so backwards, after all.

First off, guidance control was so sophisticated that Gagarin's flight was totally automated, from the launch of the R-7 rocket to the cosmonaut's ejection after the capsule re-entered the Earth's atmosphere. The mission was controlled from the ground, with the space pilot having the option of taking over flight systems only if the need arose.

For all its successes, the Vostok 1 flight was not trouble-free. The scariest part for Gagarin was when the retaining straps holding his spherical capsule to the service module did not completely disconnect before the re-entry phase. The whole unwieldy vehicle tumbled wildly. The man on the ride thought the end was near. Luck, destiny, or some other force, eventually took control of the mission: Vostok 1 re-oriented itself into a proper descent attitude after the intense heat of atmospheric re-entry burned off the 'recalcitrant' metal strap.

For purely technical reasons, man and spacecraft did not land together on USSR soil, as a soft landing had not yet been perfected by the Soviet engineers. The only way to ensure complete success, not to mention comfort, was to have the cosmonaut land via parachute away from his capsule. By the way, this aspect of the flight had been kept secret, and for a good reason: Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) rules dictated that the pilot had to land in his or her vehicle, otherwise it was not a complete flight ― the secret got out when Gherman Titov admitted out loud that he had separated from his rapidly descending Vostok 2 capsule. (If one were to acknowledge and accept the FAI's requirements to the letter, it was actually U.S. astronaut Alan Shepard who accomplished the first manned space flight when he flew in his Mercury capsule just a few weeks after Gagarin's trip.)

The Soviet Union's space-travelling star landed in a farmer's field. Mission accomplished!

"Yuri Gagarin!"

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Flash Poem: You Must Find Yours (Good Luck!)

They did
you see

They said
to me


Bliss dropped from
the sky

But I

know not where
... nor why.


Simon St. Laurent