Friday, February 27, 2009


Now this is really interesting...

A French study shows that there can be a tendency for hostile men to amass a lot of pounds over time compared with their more laid-back brothers; they may also be less likely to pay attention to diet and exercise.

(While such research is always revealing, my fear is it runs the risk of stereotyping.)


The Canadian government revealed today that a Russian Tupolev Tu-95 "Bear" bomber tested our northern border a week ago. As per normal procedure, two CF-18 fighter jets were scrambled to intercept and tell the imposing Russian pilots (through easily understood hand signals known to airmen the world over) to "take off, eh".

This is just like the old days. Obviously, the act was symbolic since U.S. president Barack Obama was visiting Ottawa (the Canadian capital) the same day.

Toronto Star...

Wikipedia entry on the Tu-95...

Thursday, February 26, 2009


As noted previously on this blog, I have seen a couple of Toronto Marlie ice hockey games in the last few weeks. A Marlie by the name of Tim Stapleton was a major scoring force in both games I saw. I lost track of how many goals he pocketed but there were quite a few. Later, I found out that he was named AHL (American Hockey League) "player of the week" for that period of time and the whack of goals he provided within.

A few days after the second game I saw I told an AHL fan friend of mine that the Toronto Maple Leafs should call him up from their farm team and give him a spot on the team. I was rather mystified why this was not happening or why I was not even hearing any talk of the possibility. The mathematics were so obvious.

Two weeks have passed and I read this a few minutes ago on the Toronto Star website...

Now what was so hard about that?!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


While doing my Net Patrol earlier today, I read that the 1964 Christmas Classic, and essential, movie Santa Claus Conquers the Martians is now up for grabs. Its ownership is no more and has fallen into that interstellar grey area of "public domain".

First of all I cannot believe this was allowed to happen and, second, I'm puzzled that I was never notified the moment this happened (over one year ago).

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Only just now did I find out that Heath Ledger won the Oscar for his Joker portrayal in The Dark Knight. In all honesty, I had forgotten about that whole issue of whether or not "The Academy" would award the actor, posthumously, for his superb -- from what I've heard -- spin as Gotham City's heinous henchman The Joker.

As much as I do not care about the Oscars I do find it odd that you no longer hear "water cooler talk" about the ceremonies the following day. This must be the second or third year in a row where absolutely nobody has asked me "did you watch the Oscars last night?"; nothing to that effect even within ear-shot. Have times changed that much? I do realize a big factor is how popular the litany of films is for any particular year, but the ratings have been down to big lows in recent years (although this year's are up a little).

Is the real reason because there are so many more distractions these days?

The straight story...

Monday, February 23, 2009


One of my favourite television programs is TVOntario's The Agenda, an outstanding public affairs hosted by the very -- more than -- capable Steve Paikin. He is one of those hosts who is in total control of his guests (of which there can be many, in the studio and as live video feeds) and the subject matter. His questions are frequently the "I wish he would ask" kind. Rarely do I feel that Mr. Paikin misses a beat or a point to be taken.

Having set up the above, I have to admit I take exception to his collecting over $200,000 (CDN) per year as salary. Come on, TVO! That is way too much money to be paying one person at a television network (and a small one at that). You have those donation drives from time to time. Put the money to better use than just lining the pockets of a few people who, as good as they might be, do not warrant such remuneration.

Time to get with the program.

(This is not the first time salaries at TVO have been an issue; fifteen years ago the Toronto media picked up on the fact that Steve Paikin was drawing $150,000 per year. The resulting story caused some real outrage.)


The Toronto Sun asks today -- on their website -- a poll question: Are the Oscars becoming boring? In typical fashion the poll offers just two possible responses: Yes or No

My feeling is another possible answer should have been there: Becoming boring?!

The Toronto Star's Peter Howell wrote an interesting piece about the state of the Oscars...

Sunday, February 22, 2009


One of my strongest memories of U.S. President Bill Clinton first getting into office -- and taking up residency in the Whitehouse -- is the image of his pet feline sitting on the front lawn. "Socks" was, I guess, the first Clinton to officially address press photographers at the presidential home. He graciously stayed put as the battalion of cameras fought for just the right angle on the most powerful cat in America.

The famous feline just passed on to that big front lawn in the sky.

CNN story...

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Friday, February 20, 2009


I came across this interesting blog while searching for websites dealing in Granny Smith apples...

The author of the above linked piece is Jim Emerson and he makes a case for Star Wars creator George Lucas to stop... now.

(The story reminds me of a blogger friend's desire to write a similiar article.)


The by-line of this Toronto Star story is "U.S. president turns on the charm" (while visiting Ottawa, Canada). Geez, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper could not do the same if his life depended on it. ("I would but the switch is broken.")

Toronto Star...


Yet again I will miss the outer limits of excitement!

Thursday, February 19, 2009


One thing Doctor Who fans complain about in regards to DVD releases of 'classic' episodes are the high purchase prices. Buy one off the shelf and you'll find that 25 to 35 bills is involved per single title. You should know that each story typically ran four to six 25-minute installments (sometimes more); we are talking 100 to 150 minutes in total. That is a lot of bread when you realize that a lot of classic U.S. shows can be had for a lot less money -- maybe 50 to 75 dollars for an entire season (24-30 episodes or so)... often less. I saw the first and second season of the 1960s Mission Impossible series at Bay Street Video here in Toronto for around $40 each. Last Spring I paid about $30 for the first season of The Invaders (1967) at this same store.

I remember reading somewhere that there was a concrete reason for the high cost of Doctor Who DVDs; it is the same case in England, and not just a case of imports to North America. Of course, I skim read the piece and cannot remember why.

Here is a link to a 'classic' Doctor Who Mega DVD set. Do you have almost $1000.00 (one thousand dollars!) to spare for just 27 stories? And don't forget the tax! (I like the series, but not that much! And I would not pay 1000 cents for the New Who.)


Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Barack Obama is on my television right now, live from Phoenix, Arizona, giving a speech: He wants to spend $75 billion to prevent up to 9 million Americans from losing their homes.

Mr. Obama is in Ottawa, Canada tomorrow...

This piece of trivia is stated in the linked article. It is interesting if not sobering...

"Canada's Big Five banks made a combined profit of $8.2 billion (U.S.) last year, while the top five U.S. banks lost a total of $8.3 billion."


I have never had any desire to register with Internet social networking site Facebook; and I never will sign up.

This is scary stuff...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I did my weekly visit to and this caught my eye...

Even though I have no immediate desire to buy into the Blu-ray format, I would otherwise consider buying the original series on Blu-ray now that the announcement has been made that you can get the "original broadcast" versions of the episodes. While I appreciate the fact that, for the first time, the series was transferred off the original camera negatives to aid and benefit the upper resolution of Hi-def, I was surprised when Paramount originally made it known that this format contained only the 'remastered' effects. (The effects that look as though they were done on my computer.)

The news now is that both the original broadcast and new upgraded geekcast versions will soon be available.

(As a friend blogger said earlier today when discussing some graphic novel, "geek mode, off".)

Monday, February 16, 2009


News hit the 'press' today that both a British and French submarine collided in the mid-Atlantic ocean a couple of weeks ago. It is odd, but good, that this news made it out so we could hear how close we all came to having a daily news item about the clean-up of discarded nuclear tipped missiles lying on the seabed, and broken subs spewing toxic elements. (No "slow news days" for quite a while.)

One thing that has not been released to the press as of yet -- and probably never will be -- is the fact these two subs had their respective country's farmers as the crews.

The news...

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Got together with some friends tonight for some much needed beer. After a few discussions, friend Chris changed the subject and asked me if I was intending to see the upcoming Star Trek movie. He might know that I have not seen a Trekkie movie in the theatre since 1991 (and saw Generations on video -- crap film). Fair question it is but... nnnn, no.

The original series is enough. And I have only Season 1 of that one on DVD.

(Chris feels that J.J. Abrams will do a good job on re-imaging Star Trek. Someone has to, 'they' have been making the same shit for years and years. And it is obvious very few people wanted to see the so-called "Next Gen" crew on the big screen, outside of the core fans. Those particular features did generally fair to poor biz at the box office. One brilliant move Paramount Pictures did was deciding to jettison the Next Gen crew and explore the "classic" crew, even though they will be portrayed by different actors.)

Saturday, February 14, 2009


I watch TV for a few minutes and I get smacked with movie promos. However, I'm glad I kept the tube fired up for a few extra minutes: Just saw an advert for an enticing new flick titled Fired Up. Now there is a movie I would pay to see in a nice dark cinema.


Just saw a television commercial advertising the impending release of some movie by the name of Push. Says the voice-over, quoting some critic, "the first action movie of the year". Now that is what I call a critical notice.

I say to Push: "Shove off, mate!"

(If Push does poorly, will it be pulled?)


Oh, you funny (Toronto Maple Leaf player) guys! You have passed a boundary layer, young sons. Whereas before you fought hard amongst yourselves figuratively, you now do it literally.

If I was at that combat practice session of yours, I would have whistled while throwning pennies on the ice: "Here, boys... (whistle, whistle). Good poochies."

The story...


Toronto Sun entertainment columnist Kevin Williamson posted today his picks for top romantic comedies ("rom-coms"), even though a few of them are hardly comedies...

One of my favourites of the specimen -- non comedy -- is the Canadian film Nobody Waved Good-bye. While the narrative thrust is more encompassing than just "romance", there is a real-world brightness and honesty in that ingredient; one with a 'what it's all about' importance to the story. Directed in 1964 by Don Owen and produced by Roman Kroitor for the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), Nobody stars the very natural actors Peter Kastner and Julie Biggs. Hardly a fluff piece as its depiction of romance and all its trappings ring true, helped, no doubt, by the almost documentary tone in the filmmaking.

It's a keeper.

Interview with filmmaker Don Owen...

Friday, February 13, 2009


This is awesome...

With the amount of text on the Internet in addition to sites dedicated to supplying "papers", a search engine like the above will cut down even more on University and College graduates who never did any work.


I do realize the big day is tomorrow, but thought I would wish everyone of my faithful readers -- that includes you -- a Happy Valentine's Day!


I have been having a good day. Only just found out that it is "Friday the 13th". I knew it! It has been a lucky day ever since grade 10, when I did not study at all for a Geography test and yet managed to ace it. (The joke is I rarely studied in high school. That is why I am still cleaning toilets for a living, I'm sure.)

Oh, that's why the new Friday the 13th movie was released today...

As Edith Bunker would say (in her patented falsetto vocal) when she put two and two together, "ohhhh".

(Caption for picture above: Former Toronto Maple Leaf goalie still afraid to show his face.)

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Oh, yes. A friend sent me link to this site and its respective Podcasts...

Up for grabs on the main page, at this time, is a Podcast -- number 44 -- discussing one of my favourite films, the 1969 science fiction opus Journey to the Far Side of the Sun (originally titled Doppelganger). This entertaining film has one of the best endings in any movie. Also on tap in the same show is a discussion of David Schow's outstanding book "The Outer Limits Companion", about the brilliant 1963-1965 television series The Outer Limits.

There are good Podcasts.

... although, rolling in at about the 45 minute mark of episode 44, I realize the two guys conversing (about Journey to the Far Side of the Sun) don't seem to be too well informed, in general. "Hubert Lom"? "Yes, Hubert Lom."... "Wasn't he in one of the Pink Panther movies?"; "I don't remember the name of the guy (who composed the music for Gerry Anderson's shows and the feature film in question)." Ahh, Barry Gray? (Guys, look at the DVD case!); "They shot a bunch of it at Pinehurst Studios, I believe."

Oh, boy.


No... No!!!

Why? Oh, please, why?!

Someone by the name of Joanna Pacitti has been "disqualified" from some TV show. This is not pleasant news...

(Just pull any name out of the phone directory, why don't you?)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Someone or something does not want me to see the new CBC series Being Erica. Every week I forget to set the recorder to capture an episode. I have heard the show is pretty good, particularly star Erin Karpluk.

Yes, I know I can watch episodes on (the terrific website) but I have a hard time watching television period, never mind on a computer.

If I become very lethargic, here it is...


Many an economist says that Canada is not really feeling the effects of a recession... yet. And is certainly not part of the downturn that is leaving the U.S.A. in a tizzy. (This theory conveniently excludes the auto manufacturing sector, in addition to industry in a broad sense.)

Why do I agree with some of these economists? Because my work is as busy as ever (it's nuts!), and I am having a hard time finding vacant office space needed for a project I am planning to undertake. Also, I walk down the street and all I see are "Help Wanted" signs.

Hardly a scientific observation, but one for the record from my perspective, nonetheless.


While watching the 'business report' on the CBC news a few minutes ago I realized that the economy needs people to buy, buy, buy, and, spend, spend, spend, to survive. At the end of the report the economy himself was interviewed. (He's a rather obese little fellow, looking like death warmed over.) He said something which was, I think, formerly attributed to Woody Allen: "I'm like a shark, I have to keep moving. What we have here... is a dead shark."

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


I do not understand why I am not a vegetarian by now. It's not as though I eat a lot of meat -- as in huge slabs of sirloin. The taste of pork does appeal to me, so it is going to be hard to give up those little sausages that I have been known to eat now and again. What is stopping me from becoming a vegetarian is taste.

A few minutes ago I polished off a pile of Chicken Wings that my place of work ordered in early this evening. The main course was two medium sized pizzas: I chomped into them as though they were the last pizzas to be made on planet Earth for the next few years. Two boxes of wings were ordered and were unopened when it came time for me to leave work a couple of hours ago.

Back to the wings I said I finished a few minutes ago. One piece of chicken I was working on towards the end of the feast was drenched in that special sauce which accompanies the boxed lunch. For some reason this one bit of meat made me think about the process of consumption. My mind looked at the morsel in a more abstract way and not just something I read saying it was in fact from a chicken. Perhaps "gross" is the word. Not a lot turns my stomach but dedicating a few brain cells to the equation actually produced the question, "what exactly am I eating here?" First of all, I like chickens as little beings. "Why do I feel compelled to devour one of these, albeit a prepared or 'processed' example?" Maybe it is time to leave these buggers alone.

Just what exactly was I eating? Does any of us really know?

McDonalds makes a lot of money processing "something(s)".


Like the ancient Egyptians, I worship cats... big and small. To me, our feline friends -- the domestic kind -- are the closest thing we have to tribbles: They eat, and eat, and eat, and reproduce. Unlike tribbles, however, they have those teeth which can be applied to your skin... in affection, of course.

"Like the lilies of the field, they toil not, neither do they spin. Therefore I see no practical use for them." Maybe, but they sure are cute!

Toronto Star...

(Why is it that pictures of cats "hanging around" always look like a Farside comic?)

Monday, February 9, 2009


Talking about mummies, I'm surprised the Grammies are still around. Aren't they a little anachronistic?

(I thought I heard a few years ago that ratings had plummeted to almost non-existence; relatively speaking.)


This is the kind of news that I am interested in...

Archaeologists have found a room full of mummies. (Credit must go to the Toronto Star website editor for managing to squeeze it in amongst the very important Grammy news.)

Do not miss the funny comment posted right under the story. Some guy asks if a certain piece of hockey memorabilia was found with the mummies. (Look for comment titled "no word yet".)

Sunday, February 8, 2009


Today I went to see another Toronto Marlies ice hockey game. This is going to be a regular event for me, I can see. Although the game was lopsided with Toronto beating the Grand Rapids Griffins by a score of 10 to 5, the quality of play was very high.

The Toronto Maple what?...

Saturday, February 7, 2009


Veteran actor James Whitmore has passed away at the age of 87. The easily recognizable face was in some favourite films of mine; Them! (1954), Oklahoma! (1955), Planet of the Apes (1968), and Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970). In 1975 he won a Tony Award for his role on Broadway in Give 'em Hell, Harry! Telefantasy fans will remember him from "On Thursday We Leave For Home", a memorable (hour-long) episode of the original Twilight Zone television series.

When I was a little one I used to get him mixed up with Stuart Whitman -- in name only, the two men looked quite a bit different from one another. I call James Whitmore the "exclamation mark actor" based on the fact that he appeared in many films that had that form of punctuation in the title.

CNN obit...


"There's no life like it...
There's no life like it... "

The above was the dominant lyric line in the mens' chorus in the old 1970s television advert for the Canadian Armed Forces. Accompanying the song were various shots of Iroquois-class destroyers and their armaments and manoeuvres at sea. Those spots were pretty good, actually.

The newest ads for the "Canadian Forces" (note the name change) are not too bad, either. And I hate commercials. These versions are more gritty, with desaturated colours and muted tones forging a more serious bent in promoting our military. To be honest, they play more as a right-winger's fantasy than anything else. You know the approach: The world is being overrun by a bunch of creepy "terrorists"... as if we will have to confront an actual military force of tanks or aircraft!

As recent events have proven over and over, military machinery has little strategic influence over small groups of "rogue elements".

Friday, February 6, 2009


Friend Greg Woods gave me DVD-R burns of three discs, marked, simply, "Bob Wilkins 1" and so on. The first two contain about three hours of material each, with the third running three hours and forty-five minutes. Do the math. That is a lot of Creature Features/Bob Wilkins archival footage. In typical fashion I knocked off the first 30 minutes of disc "1" then let the subject sit for a few days. Something made me pick up where I left off, and I became addicted, often watching a couple of hours at midnight to two in the morning.

As this particular Creature Features show was "West Coast" (U.S.A.), I had not seen anything before, but having watched hours of material I became fond of Mr. Wilkins and his approach to hosting a late night "Bay Area" movie show. (Needless to say the actual feature films are not on the DVDs.)

I'm about two hours into the third disc... an hour and forty five minutes to go and I can file a summing-up.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


Manufacturing crap is one thing, but to make a film like Polytechnique... Was it really necessary? By applying the art of filmmaking you are manufacturing (to even the smallest degree) sensationalism by default.

Globe and Mail...


Check out today's Internet Movie Database...

Movie and TV News
Thu 5 February 2009

* Blunt Regrets Opening Up About Buble Relationship.

* Aniston Slams Internet Dating

* Barry Smight to remake "Dino".


The Buffalo Sabres hockey club blew the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs away last night by a score of 5 - zip. Toronto off-and-on-again Justin Pogge is back down to the minors: The American Hockey League's Toronto Marlies.

I watched highlights of the game and saw that Pogge made a list of great saves -- many in breakaway situations -- in spite of the Leafs loss. Is that organization so bereft of ideas or management skill that they adjust on a game to game basis? Pogge has been up and down between the two teams as much as he has been up and down on the ice trying to stop a deluge of shots blown through or around the useless Maple Leafs defence.

Poor guy. The Toronto Maple Leafs organization -- or lack of -- is about as inept as they come.

Just what is their fucking problem?!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Some things come in cycles...

For this amateur economist, trouble really started back in 1966 when "cheap foreign" steel was allowed to be dropped on American shores.

(The trade protectionism issue is becoming a possible one here in Canada because of some noises being made south of the border. On the surface I do not think there is anything wrong with protecting your workers, but the world of trade is so complex now; certainly more so than it was in 1930 when the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act was passed. Basic principles do not change, however.)


Why bother posting a certain comment when there is Enjonze, my man!...

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Another Terminator film is being made. What would that be, the fifth one?



Yes, I did hear that The Dark Knight actor Christian Bale "lost it" on the set of his new film Terminator Salvation, but only now stumbled upon a more detailed story on the National Post newspaper website. The same thing I asked when I heard that Seinfeld actor Michael Richards did his tirade in front of an audience at a comedy club was, "why?".

Since I gravitate more towards 'techs' than actors, I sympathize with the film crew who had to witness and be victimized by the raging too-big-for-his-own-britches star (or whatever those people are called).

What this particular production needs is a producer like the one in the 1964 television feature The Movie Maker. Rod Steiger has to come down to the set and put the temperamental actor in his place (tear a strip out of).

If I was The New And Improved Terminator's producer -- and the production wasn't too far along in the shooting schedule -- I would have fired Bale on the spot. (SAG can bugger off.)

Some actors have to be dealt with very harshly.

National Post...

Monday, February 2, 2009


Go onto any U.S. news website and all you seem to see is Superbowl this and Superbowl that. It's all part of the hype, and post game hype, to shovel more and more Superbowl related junk: "Pick your favorite Superbowl commercial!", "What was your main Superbowl snack-food?", "Watch Superbowl highlights", and on and on and on and on. Opium for the masses. Noam Chomsky is so correct.

Keep 'em occupied and stupid! Nothing else really matters!

What would be the biggest Superbowl tie-in flop? A Superbowl-themed book.


A good friend of mine has a great saying -- consisting of a solitary word -- when he hears that some movie or television show is being remade: "Why?"

This question is rubbing off on me. Imagine my response when I saw an advert for the new Pink Panther movie, The Pink Panther 2. In this case an unnecessary sequel to a movie that did not do particularly well in the first place. (The 2006 Steve Martin version.)

I think the title should be Pink Panther Nein (Nicht!).

My new saying is "nein danke!"


A few years ago I worked with a Brit, a guy by the name of Tim. As a Cockney he had that great accent. I also remember him having a dedication to Arsenal Football Club. Someone in the office asked him, one day, "Hey, Tim, how often does it snow in London?" With the slightest bit of glee in his voice, Tim dispensed just two words: "Hardly ever."

Toronto Star...

Sunday, February 1, 2009


The always superb British publication The Economist writes about Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's newly released budget...


The short answer to the question "Is conservatism in Canada dead?" is "yes". As put forth in the linked article below, Canada has always really been a 'centrist' country; one with moderate swings to the left and right depending on the issue...

(I could not think of an appropriate photo to attach, so I just decided to take a digital snapshop from my 'living room' window and upload that.)