Thursday, April 30, 2009


The CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) is running some distasteful adverts for their late evening series The Hour, starring (I wish it didn't) the incomparable George Stroumboulopoulos. I have noticed that in the bits of this hour I have watched in the last few weeks, Georgie-pie introduces himself as "your boyfriend", and now the brains at the CBC are using this delectable morsel in these promos. My answer is, "hey, he ain't my boyfriend".

Now I know why I'm as straight as a ruler -- if the pickin's are that lean; the choices that limited...

Unless I was drunk out of my mind -- which has been known to happen with me -- and for some reason I "ended up" with George one day, then he's the kind of boyfriend I would keep hidden away in the basement. The only problem is, my basement has barely five feet plus an inch or two of clearance...

... Perfect!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


If you ever wondered what happened to Don Cherry's NHL coaching career, well, it is said that the reason is here...

... This Habs fan watched this one live and almost had a heart malfunction during "overtime" when Boston Bruins forward Wayne Cashman, from the slot position, fired the puck off of Montreal Canadiens goaltender Ken Dryden's chest.

Oh, my, God!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


'Tis the season to be (for me) in the hockey spirit: I just found this on the CBC website archives...

... It is a selection of clips from the New Year's Eve (1975) ice hockey game between two of the best teams in the world at that time -- the National Hockey League's Montreal Canadiens, and the Soviet Red Army.

Sweet stuff; and the one of a kind play-by-play announcer, Danny Gallivan. There will never be another one like him.

Yes, I did watch that game live... way back then; in the "before time".

(Photo above: Danny Gallivan at his Hockey Night in Canada post.)


Man, oh man, are the National Hockey League (NHL) playoffs ever good this year. The overtime period in the final game between the Vancouver Canucks and the St. Louis Blues featured some of the most exciting hockey I have seen in years. (Vancouver scored in "sudden death", eliminating the Blues. I was rooting for St. Louis. Oh well.)

Last night I was watching some highlights of various playoff match-ups and realized the Chicago Blackhawks are in the running. For some reason I thought they never made it past the regular season.

The jock in me is winning.


I am pretty cynical about the state of movie posters, or "showbills", or "one-sheets", today. But, I was alerted to the one for -- you guessed it -- J.J. Abrams new Star Trek movie.

That man "gets it". I admit that this poster is superb! Even though it doesn't mean it will appear in the actual film's credits, that typeface is one of the most iconic elements from the original show. And putting it on the poster is brilliant. A teaser.

A smart producer in Hollywood?


Sunday, April 26, 2009


During conversation yesterday, with a friend, over a fine pot of tea, the topic of J.J. Abrams and his venture into Trekking, came up. For two minutes we discussed the anticipated performance of Star Trek (no suffix). My guess was that it will do big business as a reaction to the many insipid versions of anything called Trek, while my friend's estimation is that it could open well and then tank just like certain comic book-based films have done of late. I agreed: You never know until it happens.

(I'm not planning to see the new spin on Star Trek at this point, and have yet to see what look to be essential viewing: Obsessed, and Fighting. As Archie Bunker might have said, "I know what my priororities are".)


While leafing through the Globe and Mail television guide just now, I came across a feature story on Star Trek: The Motion Picture. ("Space Channel" is playing it tonight at 8 pm... sorry, I'll be watching some Allan King films.) Normally I would have not bothered posting a blog entry until the piece reminded us that this picture came out 30 years ago (on December 7th) and the latest Trekkie incarnation hits theatres in two weeks. "That was thirty years ago (on December 7th)?!"

I was there with ten other guys. (Notice I did not mention any ladies. I'm sure there must have been some at my high school.) When the end credits went up, the general feeling was that the big screen, big budget version was a disappointment. Watching it again a few years ago gave me a more balanced, objective, and fresh re-evaluation of ST: TMP. It's not that bad and thinking about the ones I did later see -- they being the following five, before the brutally boring and utterly unappealing Next Generation cast took over the Burke chairs -- makes me appreciate the first feature even more. After all, "The Motionless Picture" was the only film in the franchise (until J.J. Abrams's upcoming take) considered an "A-status" film. Not that size matters (I know all about that) but the trivia is interesting, nonetheless.

More trivia: My favourite Trekkie film is still "the one about the whales".


This week, TVO (TVOntario) is playing documentary films by renowned Canadian cinéma vérité filmmaker Allan King. Tonight at 9 pm the whole thing kicks off with the screening of the director's 1956 short doc Skidrow; followed by Rickshaw (1960). At around 10:20 pm is the 60 minute (and too short) documentary on King, Actuality: The Art and Life of Allan King. All Recommended, I say.

During the week the King theme continues on TVO's The Allan King Festival...

Monday at 10 pm: Warrendale (1967)
Tuesday at 9 pm: A Married Couple (1969)
Wednesday at 10 pm: Who Has Seen the Wind (1977)
Thursday at 9 pm: EMPz 4 Life (2006)
Friday at 9 pm: Dying at Grace (2003)

I saw Who Has Seen the Wind in a theatre when it was released; so nice to see a Canadian(a) dramatic film at the "picture show".

Time to warm up the ole Telly.

(What would be interesting, and to study differences and similarities in Canadian and U.S. society at certain periods, in addition to being an obvious social document, would be to run a ping pong-type festival where King's stuff is shown along with American equivalent Frederick Wiseman's films.)


Eric Margolis writes today about an issue some do not want to know or admit...

Two morsels:

"In 1945, the U.S. hanged Japanese officers for war crimes for inflicting "water-boarding" (near drowning) on U.S. prisoners -- exactly what the CIA inflicted on its Muslim captives."

(and a few paragraphs later... )

"Now, Obama claims he won't prosecute the torturers because they were following proper legal advice and orders. So did Nazi officials who killed millions. Nazi lawyers legally dismembered Germany's Weimar democracy and imposed Nazi dictatorship in only two months after the "terrorist attack" on the Reichstag in Feb. 1933.

When I served in the U.S. Army I was taught that any illegal order, even from the president, must be refused."

Monday, April 20, 2009


Here are 10 television shows in danger of being cancelled...

Good bye! I have never seen any of you and will not miss you.

As Archie Bunker once said, "good ribbons!"

Sunday, April 19, 2009


The Toronto Star has a daily column titled "TV Tonight: Five things worth watching" (as if there are actually five things worth watching on any given night). Here is a funny item in today's log, reproduced here for your enjoyment:

What a Ziro: If you're a Star Wars fanatic, the sudden blooming arrival of spring means nothing to you because there's a new episode of Clone Wars on tonight. "Hostage Crisis" sees bounty hunters seize the Senate to force the release of Ziro the Hutt. Who needs the outdoors or friends? (CTV at 7)

I told you it was funny; unless you're a Star Wars fanatic, of course. "This is outrageous!"


This is sad news...

Thursday, April 16, 2009


The CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) has a terrific website; especially the "Digital Archives".

Check this out...

... Listen to what legendary Montreal Canadiens goaltender Ken Dryden says in the last 30 seconds or so of this 1972 edition of Telescope.

It's beautiful.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


At the risk of posting something that comes across as a 'twitter', I must say that as I have been working from home these last few days I sometimes put the television on for background chatter. Bad, I know. And not like me.

"SunTV plays the 1970s/80s series The Incredible Hulk. I have seen a couple in the last week. Have it on right now. It is really bad!"

Monday, April 13, 2009


I watched The Brood at the Bloor Cinema with a friend last night. Before the film ran, and after Art Hindle, the jovial star of David Cronenberg's 1979 flick, did a brief introduction, we were treated to the original trailer to the director's earlier film They Came From Within, better known as Shivers. After the screening my movie-mate and I talked about Marilyn Chambers being the star of Cronenberg's follow up movie, Rabid (1977).

After coming home this afternoon from some work I had been doing, I fired up the computer, checked the Toronto Star website and saw this...

Thursday, April 9, 2009


I just watched the Bizarro Billy Bob Thornton clip again; this time on Youtube...

He's being a TFI! I can be pretty wacky and off-the-wall, myself, but Mr. Thornton is out of line, here.

Dear Billy Bob,

When someone says "first love" in the context given by Q host Jian Ghomeshi they mean it in the colloquial sense. You know this and you certainly are not funny in the way you answer the question. That's high school shit.

Dear Readers,

I have interviewed quite a few people and no one has ever given me attitude or acted in a impertinent manner. As a matter of fact, they have been not only gracious but guiding in their answers if they feel I was a little awkward in a particular question I may have asked them.

Oh, I guess it's because I have never interviewed someone the stature of Billy Bob Thornton.


This is really weird...

If CBC "Q" host Jian Ghomeshi was quick on his feet (during the big altercation) he would have turned to the producer and said something like, "Do we want to just shut this thing down? We can run some Hinterland Who's Who spots to fill out the rest of the time".

Hey, Billy Bob Thornton is a big fan of Forrest J. Ackerman.

I think...

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


It is easy to post death notices as so many people of note are passing away. Every time one turns around someone we have heard of clocks out.

There are those souls, however, who just keep on ticking. Freeman Dyson is one...

I was aware he is still around and working, but I guess I needed to read up again on the brilliant man. One of my memories of the physicist actually getting it all wrong, as history would show, is an interview I read with him years ago that had been conducted in the 1960s. (I think it was done during production of the landmark picture 2001: A Space Odyssey.) Mr. Dyson, while talking about computer processing power, speculated that we were at the limits of miniaturization and could probably not go much smaller. This little fact or piece of trivia does not the super-scientist any less brilliant. Remember that Bill Gates, in the 1970s, was reported to have said something like "No one will need more than 637 kb of memory for a personal computer."

Monday, April 6, 2009


Further to my posts below regarding the sorry state of film and television affairs in Toronto, mainly the lack of industry, as in manufacturing, another problem is there seems to be no incentive to truly create something special that shakes up the television production business; making others rethink what they are doing -- which tends to be crap.

There are two companies in Toronto that exist to make the so-called 'reality' shows. You know the kind: Makeover this, makeover that, sell this, resell that, make me over, do me over, and over and over... again. Baby! I'm not sure who actually produces the most garbage, Tricon Films & Television or Cineflix/Nextfilm. If there were to be a contest, it truly would be a neck-and-neck affair.

As a friend of mine -- who is an RN -- told me recently, "If I see Canadian Tax Credit one more time on those shows, I'm going to puke".


I read the following on (Toronto) Filmport’s website

“Filmport is expected to generate thousands of construction and film and media sector jobs.”

… and I felt genuine pathos.

… okay, maybe a little schadenfreude, too.


Absolute Location Support Services, a company which supplied Toronto 'geography' information for film and television companies looking to this lovely city to shoot their latest productions, is closing its lending library...

Paul Kenyon, managing director of Absolute, realized that the company cannot go on; business is very slow.

Another hammer has fallen on Toronto as a major production centre. There are too many other cities, districts, and countries out there which want a piece of the pie.

Just to illustrate how bad things have gotten for Toronto film crews, a friend of mine who was always busy as a grip, has had to go back to waiting tables. Many others have just gotten out, period.

Canadians -- and Canadian banks -- do not invest in film and television production but are leaders in Real Estate. It's much more safe. The traditional Canadian conservative nature is the real problem that will forever prevent this country from having an indigenous film industry.

It is no mystery, really. The math is simple.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


Two weeks ago I had a chance to finally watch an episode of Being Erica. While I am quite capable of writing a long-winded review I will keep it simple. Erica, played by the charismatic and charming Erin Karpluk, has not much to work with here. It's one of the many go-through-the-motions dramatic shows out there. While the producers may think they are doing something a little different or fresh -- or just trying to make a quality show -- the fact is Being Erica is okay dramatic television.

It suffers from what I call "bars and tone drama": There is picture and there is sound. The drama matches those technical settings. (Television broadcast tapes have a patch at the head: The audio portion has a whining sound, the 1000 hertz tone; the video has what are termed "colour bars", with a peak white level of 100 units. The station's tape operators make sure these settings are where they should be; then the show can be played for the viewers at home.)

Nothing more, and nothing less.