Sunday, May 31, 2009


The husband and wife team of Louis and Bebe Barron composed the score (or “electronic tonalities”) for the 1956 MGM science fiction film classic, Forbidden Planet.

Here is an article and complementing radio interview with Bebe Barron by the excellent NPR (National Public Radio)...


This is why I like this Eric Margolis guy...

... he just says how it is; in this case, the issue about North Korea now possessing "nukes".

Friday, May 29, 2009


Like most writers and artists -- if that is what I can call myself -- I have the need for some caffeine. I've been sucking back instant coffee for the first time in a few years, so I needed, craved, the numbers: How many milligrams of caffeine are in a cup of instant coffee compared to "freshly brewed"?...


The filmmaker I mentioned in a post yesterday (MISTRESS OF THE APES), Larry Buchanan, is unknown to a lot of people. But here is a web page written by Buchanan scholar Rob Craig…

… Mr. Craig wrote a book on the filmmaker, titled, appropriately enough, “The Films of Larry Buchanan: A Critical Examination"...


There never was a film and television "industry" in Toronto, really. It was an artificial beast constructed and supported by U.S. companies with some indigenous production thrown in. Now that things have settled down, all we have left is... nothing, which just goes to show you there never was anything much.

Playback Magazine continues to publish, and in a new glossy format, but there is not a lot happening in the business for them to report. Executives, and amazing ones at that, are tracked moving about the various companies as though they were pieces on a chess board -- a soggy piece of cardboard with faded squares and chewed corners.

Absolutely nothing to report, sir.


Biz report: Canadian Dollar at $91.24 U.S. "Up a cent and a half."

I was standing on a street, chatting with a friend a couple of nights ago, and watched as a "White's" (William F. White) truck drove by. My friend and I stopped our conversation mid stride, whatever we were talking about was suddenly not important, and we both joked "they must be looking for a film shoot... any film shoot (in Toronto)".

Thursday, May 28, 2009


I pulled this off the Toronto Star website...

"Meanwhile, CBC says its Sunday morning news show airs its last episode this weekend.

A spokesman for the corporation says CBC News: Sunday with Evan Solomon and Carole MacNeil was cancelled as part of an ongoing "news renewal" program and was not directly related to ongoing cuts.

"CBC says Solomon and MacNeil will continue hosting CBC News: Sunday Night until the fall, when that show will be replaced by a weekend version of The National

... Just what exactly is the CBC doing?! How inept can that organization be? (Let them count the ways.) These are serious questions, as far as I’m concerned. My support for that ‘company’ has been downsized to a sawed off crutch.

The whole piece...


There is a saying at the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) these days. It goes like this: "Let's be indiscriminate!"

The reason for my wrath...


I kid you not, there is a film by the name of Mistress of the Apes. Made by master-of-entertainment filmmaker Larry Buchanan, this 1979 motion picture... I have not seen. If it's as much fun as Mars Needs Women, a film my roommate ended up watching with me and who enjoyed it every bit as much as I, then Mistress is one on my radar. Calling Mr. Woods...

A review of Mistress of the Apes...


680 News (CFTR) just had a news bit about Cinematheque (a screening series at Jackman Hall at the Art Gallery of Ontario, here in Toronto) playing an upcoming retrospective on film director Otto Preminger. The programme, titled "Fallen Angels", runs from May 29th - June 2nd.

Cinematheque's info on Preminger film series...


As heard on the 680 News (here in Toronto) "Business Report", the Canadian Dollar flew up half a cent to hit $89.97 U.S.

Here we go again. The question is, can this be a good thing for Canada? Our economy, while no great shakes, is no where near as bad as the U.S.'s, and, we export a lot (an actual biz term) to our American neighbours.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Actor Christopher Lee turns 87 today. One of my favourite movies of his, still, is Beat Girl. The famous and Energizer Bunny Thespian is absolutely slimy and elegant in that fun 1959 British flick.

(Beat Girl was scored by "the John Barry Seven", and was John Barry's first film score.)

It is claimed that Lee's least favourite of his own films is Starship Invasions (1977). (No doubt he said this before he appeared in the Star Wars prequels. The difference being Starship Invasions is good, and fun.)


How long do you hang on to your stuff? Do you need to get the latest cool (often unnecessary) gadget? Do you want to replace those jeans even before you have to throw them into the laundry for the first time?

These are important questions...

The current result (at the time of this 'keying') is interesting. Are these really "Globe readers"?


A Soyuz rocket lifted off today from Baikonur (Russia's "Cape Canaveral") with Canadian astronaut Robert Thirsk as one of its passengers. The Astrocanuck will be in space, orbiting the Earth, for six months... barring any unforeseen problems, of course.

The Soyuz delivery system, with its variations, has been around for years and years; for longer than many of my readers. It is dependable, with an impressive safety record, and relatively cheap, especially when compared to the United States' space shuttle. (There are things the shuttle can do that a simple rocket cannot, but its high operating costs are ammunition for the critics.) The French have a rocket by the name of Ariane, which also shares the Soyuz advantage.

Soyuz article on Wikipedia...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


A note from a friend of mine -- in italics -- regarding the television series Firefly, then my response (I put this up as it could have been a posting by me anyway)...

"One of the things I liked right away was that the galaxy *wasn't* at risk every week."

Yes! I agree. A too common affliction in episodic SF television today, to be sure, but the new Doctor Who really suffers from this: A sun is about to "go", the Universe is about to "end", a timeline or temporal this or that is about to go somewhere else. It is so 'beeping' tiring... for this viewer; when I do try to watch. It is very fatiguing.


This is hardly news -- I remember telling a friend quite a while ago about free HDTV and he was so "unconvinced"; I thought, "one more victory for the cable operators". However, facts are facts...

(That was a "Digital Schadenfreude Moment", brought to you by Barry Smight.)

Monday, May 25, 2009


The name "Kelly Clarkson" came to mind after filing my CNN POLL QUESTION, below. (I seemed to remember that this name was synonymous with American Idol.) I looked the name up on Wikipedia.

(?!) For some reason I thought this Kelly was a guy!

I had no idea.


As seen on CNN this morning:

Quick Vote

Kris Allen Wins “American Idol”: Did America get it right?

* Yes
* No

... my additional option 'click on' would be "get what right?".

(Surprising enough, the question was not "Does the underground nuclear detonation by North Korea pose a significant threat to world peace?". My answer to that would be "No". What are they going to do, start lobbing nukes? Give me a break... it just gives that country significant options; a reaction to certain folk who like pushing people around. You will not be hearing happy talk such as what George W. Bush-baby was lobbing Iraq's way a few years ago.)

Sunday, May 24, 2009


I've been on this website before, but some link drew me back...

... I first heard of the short-lived 1961 anthology TV series Way Out (hosted by author Roald Dahl) many years ago, but have never seen it. Yes, I would...

... a few episodes were directed by Paul Bogart (All in the Family). And the guest stars were a "who's who" of character actors from the day. Way Out was produced in New York City by David Susskind; who kindly donated the master tapes to that city's Museum of Broadcasting.


Ladies and Gentlemen; it's called the "DV Revolution". Wonderful...

... I'm piecing something together right now -- one of the projects I juggle constantly -- and it has cost virtually nothing to make in the way of cash. (I have so much junk in my 'stores'. "What don't I have.") And it's making me learn some new software.

(The only expenses would be my computer, including add-ons, cameras, bits and pieces -- all, of course, amortized.)

Saturday, May 23, 2009


The Chicago Blackhawks won in overtime last night. Pretty goal.


Benny Goodman would be 100 on May 30th, which is a week tomorrow. For some reason I thought he was born earlier than that.

This factoid reminds me: I have not played any of my Benny music in a while. Something to put on with all this work I have to do... which needs some pleasant underscoring.

Friday, May 22, 2009


How do I put this? I tried watching "Serenity" (the premiere episode of Firefly) two nights ago: It was painful. Maybe I was tired. It was closing in on midnight, after all. I never made it. And ended up forward chapter searching through the episode, trying to find something... anything that did not bore me to tears; anything that might simply engage me. Yes, it was a tall order.

Last night, somewhere between all the work I am doing at this juncture, I tried watching an episode by the name of "Bushwacked". I decided on this installment of the short lived series (hey...) by reading the backs of the different DVD cases -- there are around three eps on each disc. By the way, 'medical supplies', or 'medicine', was featured in a few of the plot descriptions. Cripes, the blurbs were boring me, never mind spinning the DVDs. At any rate, I put in "Disc 1" and... (almost) went out of my mind! (The CIA should know about this.)

The characters in Firefly are about as stimulating and appealing as shedding epidermal matter.

Being the studious type that I am, I decided to watch, at least, the 28 minute "Making of" extra -- a self indulgent, wankfest documentary, if there ever was one -- and then bounced over to my computer to read this, admittedly, interesting essay on Wikipedia...

I know -- I have the attention span of a firefly.

The good news in all this is -- there's a hockey game on! The Detroit Red Wings and the Chicago Blackhawks are about to battle it out in game three in NHL semi-final ice hockey action. A man's game it is!

Thursday, May 21, 2009


So this is Joss Whedon...

Based on the amount of traffic on two of my postings from yesterday, I decided to do a little bit of the ol' research.

I think that was the first time I had seen J.W.'s picture. He's quite the geeky-looking guy. Or a "gomer" as some would say.

Looks don't count for much, however; I am a textbook example of that. While Mr. Whedon has created a couple of viable television franchises, this pretty-boy lacks the ability to produce a properly cooked Eggo Waffle [TM].


Once in a while I will "pull up" a commenter's point to an earlier posting that I did. Generally I do this to avoid commenting too much on commenter's comments -- which I do too much, anyway.

"Enjonze" made this comment to my comment posted to my blog posting from yesterday titled FIREFLYING...

"When I saw STAR TREK, there were previews for G.I. JOE, TERMINATOR: SALVATION, and TRANSFORMERS 2. I couldn't in all honesty tell you where one trailer ended and another started."

My comment is "I thought that was just me!"

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


As I filed my blog posting below (FIREFLYING), I realized there is a show called Farscape. And just a minute ago I remembered that the same dear friend, who slipped me the Firefly DVDs, had already lent me -- last year -- a few Farscape DVDs. Holy crap this is confusing!

I barely remember anything about Farscape, outside of the prosthetics and puppet stuff; not sure how much I watched.

I'm the guy who, as I was watching Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, thought I was watching Star Wars. Just kidding.


This beautiful sunny afternoon, a good ol' friend of mine lent me the boxed DVD set of producer-creator Joss Whedon's television series Firefly. He knows I ultimately prefer 'character' over special visual wanking effects, so he thought I might be interested. I am; and will check out the opening episode tonight on my break.

To tell you the truth, I don't know, or know of, anyone in my circle of friends, outside of the owner of these discs, who is a Firefly fan. As I know virtually nothing about the show (although I did read the brief series-description on the back of the box just now; sounds a bit like the series Blake's 7), this will allow me to go in fresh...


When I got home a few minutes ago, I went on one of those cleaning drives, and came across a Globe and Mail newspaper from -- I cannot believe I am admitting this -- Friday, April 24, 2009. On the back page of the "Globe Life" section was the Thought Du Jour from that day...

"People have to talk about something just to keep their voice boxes in working order so they'll have good voice boxes in case there's ever anything really meaningful to say."

-- Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Oooh, I'm going to get you for that, Kurt.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Had a discussion with a fellow writer last evening -- he's had some Fantasy stories published. We dipped briefly into the idea of Big Villain in science-fiction & fantasy films, and he came back with this quip...

"Yep, you can have drama and conflict without a revenge-crazed villain. What a concept."

Monday, May 18, 2009


Yesterday, I had the pleasure of watching -- live, via communications satellite -- the football match between Chelsea F.C. and the Blackburn Rovers. You can really see the difference in quality of play between them and North America's 'Major League Soccer'.

Even though Blackburn lost by a score of 2-0, they are leaps beyond what we have over here.

Wikipedia entry on England's 'Premiere League'...


As heard on Toronto radio station 680 News (CFTR) two minutes ago: “It’s another season finale night on television… “

As heard rattling around in my head, a few seconds after two minutes ago: “Cripes, I need to take a… “



"Staycations"? Nooo...

That's pretty funny, actually.


J.J. Abrams' New Trek beamed up another 43 million bucks this past weekend. Mighty impressive numbers for a blockbuster film in its second week, and one maintaining superior "per screen" attendance. The generally glowing word-of-mouth is a factor; something you don't see or hear enough.

Little Ronnie Howard's Angels & Demons did good, but not spectacular, business dropping 48* million credits into the collection plate in its opening weekend. It needs positive word-of-mouth, especially, since the projected number of followers did not show up. (I was expecting 60 - 80 million dollars to be the tally.)

(I'm just trying to sound like a real Box Office Analyst. This posting was not planned until I received a "glowing word-of-mouth" e-mail from a friend last night.)

*Figure was adjusted down to 46 million later in the day. Star Trek was actually the number one film on Saturday and Sunday. As much as film is an art, it is mainly a business, especially is the case with expensive films. Yes, I admit I am torn between two lovers -- art and commerce. It is an affliction from which I have found no antidote.

Friday, May 15, 2009


Because I have been spending a lot of time, lately, on my laptop, I decided to do a search on "proper laptop ergonomics".

This is interesting...

I call my laptop, "my tricorder" (no surprise), as it has been known to be with me much of the time. With all due respects to uber-video-guru Gerry Todd, "Honey, you know I need at least 25 foot candles for my webcam".

Thursday, May 14, 2009


While I am enjoying the game between the Detroit Red Wings and the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, as I write this, I am unpleasantly reminded of the lousy Hockey Night in Canada theme music that the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) paid for last year. Hopefully, after this season's complement of television broadcasts, the Ceeb will dump the theme and commission a new one. (The first, and new, music was obtained as part of a Canada-wide contest... to write a replacement theme, as composer Doloris Claman's classic signature tune had to be given up.)

Here's an idea: Sell the current tune to one of the broadcasters that carry NFL games. This is the kind of loser theme that a sport like that deserves. Imagine it playing over a quick succession of hyperactive visual cuts showing guys... carrying a football.


In serious photographic research for my previous blog post below (LINDSAY LOHAN SPLITTING ATOMS?), I did the right thing and executed a picture search on Google. Was there ever a lot of photos to choose from. (Go to a search engine, any search engine, and key in "lindsay lohan". You will see what I mean.)

Imagine the daunting task of going through all those search results to pick just the right one for my posting. I never want to have to go through that again.

And where the heck have I been these last few months or years, Talos IV?

I had no idea what I was getting myself into. And I might not have started had I known what was involved.

There's a hockey game on tonight that I want to see. In the final deal-breaking game of a best-of-seven in NHL quarter-final Stanley Cup playoff action, the Detroit Red Wings face off against the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.


Earlier this morning, while doing my news research on-line, I came across a little story about actress Lindsay Lohan keeping a messy home. Apparently, so the story goes, the LAPD were called when a security alarm went off demanding they get there as soon as they had a chance. ("My human client pays lots of taxes... at least, I think she does.")

When the officers got to the superstar's house they found that it appeared to have been ransacked. It had all the markings as someone looking for something: Jewellery, money (if she even has any), and clothes. After a few moments the cops came under the big realization bomb that Ms. Lohan's home had not, in fact, been the victim of a break-in... it was just its normal state, or layout.

My question is, should there not be some code of ethics in a police department in regards to privacy -- and what they come across in a celebrity's home -- no matter how enticing it might be to let the media know about a "funny story" made for a throwaway news item? (I say "informant!")

If there is not, there should be as far as I'm concerned. So people like me can recount important stories; other than those I describe under the guise of social comment or concern.


... While I understand this is just one review, and the first I have read on director Ron Howard's adaptation of the Dan Brown novel Angels & Demons, it immediately reminded me of a book I am reading on the art of writing. There is a item in the pages of Robert Masello's Robert's Rules of Writing about film "adaptations" from novels tending not to work as the screenplay is a different beast; a short & stubby one. "Very true", I thought, "how many Gone With the Winds have there been?"

While there are exceptions to the rule, this fact holds water. How many times have we heard "the book was better", or "it was nothing like the book"? (The second quote is often uttered about a film where the filmmakers made a certain smart decision. There are exceptions, of course.)

To wash my hands, at this early juncture, of making any potential or perceived comments on the quality of the film adaptation of Angels & Demons (in all probability I will not bother seeing it anyway), I will go no further than the books-on-film point.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


The hockey game ended a few minutes ago. The match was the seventh and deciding game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals, which the birds won handily, 6 - 2.

I had a drink with a friend of mine late this afternoon and I parted with "so, I guess you're going to watch the hockey game, tonight". He made a sarcastic remark. I have been trying to get him excited by the NHL playoffs of the world's greatest team sport.

Now that I think about it, I don't know what sport he likes or follows. Maybe he has a life...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


I must have missed another NHL hockey game: Game seven ("where is game six?"), between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals, is tomorrow night.

"I thought Pittsburgh was up a game. What happened?"

I have work to do. (And I sent Lance to the minors. He is a pain in the butt; and he says the wrong things when I'm in a bar.)

Go Capitals!


For a guy who considers himself to be an NHL hockey playoffs action fan, I am surprised how out-to-lunch I have been these last few days (as I discovered last night).

"Barry, you have work to do... Barry, am I not making myself clear? Shut that fucking 'Vancouver Canucks versus the Chicago Blackhawks is the shit and exciting as all heck' hockey game off! You have work to do!"

I did answer to this rather tempestuous soul, the one named "Lance", who sits on my shoulder and who hurls insults when I watch Gilligan's Island instead of finishing that article (sometimes the "definite" kind). "Okay, Matts Sundin just scored to put the Canucks ahead 3 - 2. Looks like they are going to win. What could happen now?"

Well, faithful readers, if not equally zestful NHL hockey playoff action fans -- I cheated. Yes, I did get back to work and got a fair bit done, but I could not resist: After glancing at my wrist watch, and seeing that the hands carefully explained to me that it was just past 11:30 pm, I got curious, all of a sudden. I popped the CRT back on and saw that the game clock was at 45 seconds (remaining) and rapidly decaying (as only time can do). My eyes glanced up to the score. (For some reason -- must have been the tone of the commentators' voices -- I assumed Vancouver was racing to victory.) Imagine my surprise when I saw that the score was actually 7 - 5 for the Blackhawks.

I was so disappointed! Not only did I miss a whole raft of fluttering netting, but I did not see the Blackhawks fire back to win. The horn sounded (including the ship's horn) and the play-by-play announcer yelled "the Chicago Blackhawks have eliminated the Vancouver Canucks!"

"What?! I thought Chicago was a game in deficit... What happened?! I must have missed one. Was there a game on Sunday afternoon, or something?"

I wanted to see the Chicago Blackhawks eliminate the Vancouver Canucks. And that included the 'tying up the series' match.

"Where have I been these past few days?... Talos IV?"

Monday, May 11, 2009


I just read a news headline from Thursday, May 7th, which rang out as "U.K.'s Channel 4 To Halt Buying U.S. Shows".

Cool. Channel 4 has solid reasons for making this move.

Now if only the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) would do the same thing...

Saturday, May 9, 2009


I'm watching the CBC's Hockey Night in Canada presentation of the NHL "quarter final" match-up between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals. As I write this it is the intermission between the 3rd and 1st overtime period. The game is tied 3 - 3 as the "Caps" tied it up with about four minutes left in 'regulation'. (The series is tied 2 games to 2 since Pittsburgh won last night.)

Just a few minutes ago, the broadcast did a little video bit accompanied by the music to the 1950's Adventures of Superman television series. It gave me chills... that only my favourite Superman theme can give me. Odd, really, as I was just thinking about that tune a couple of hours ago.

As much as I like John Williams' theme music to the 1978 Superman film, it is not my favourite. It does not give me "the chill". (Sorry, Johnny T., Leon Klatzkin is my man.)

The overtime is starting: I'm cheering for Washington.


Some rich person bought my way into a screening of Star Trek, today: For a movie I had no intention of seeing 'first run', this one delivered.

Some minor quibbles aside (including a barely serviceable score... until Alexander Courage's magnificent "Enterprise" and original series themes fire up), Star Trek was simply outstanding. Director J.J. Abrams (sounds like a Starfleet Commander's name) should be given a medal for reinvigorating a franchise which was so, so very tired... and, in the last few (many) years and movies, so, so lame. This Trek, at times, is surprisingly touching.

(Lest you think a "medal" is making too much of the situation and which might sound overwrought in needless ceremony, do not forget that it's really about money; and Abrams has opened the bank door -- not the back, the front -- to bags and bags of cash for, in all probability, some time to come.)

And, Mr. Lucas, this is how it is done! Observe.

I could have written this review...


One of my favourite Globe and Mail columnists, Ivor Tossell, posted his last one in yesterday's paper. I particularly liked it when the resident 'web' writer did his periodic updates on the state of "Facebook". As a matter of fact, I first heard of the 'social networking' (and time-sucking) website when Tossell did a nice overview complete with pros and cons of the, then, burgeoning service.

Here is Ivor Tossell's final column, and one very much of this moment...

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Last night I trekked down to BMO Field to see my very first Toronto FC match. (I've seen a few on TV, however. Great sport.) It was a blast! The crowd was energized; as they are for every game, I understand. I heard that watching these games on television does not do justice to the "environment": Absolutely right.

Toronto FC beat the Vancouver Whitecaps by a score of 1 - 0.

A recap...


That's enough of "Don't Ask". Time to come back to reality. And time to hand over the reigns to the new guys: Let the games begin!

(Hey, have you ever heard of a show called Star Quest? It ran in the 1990s and, apparently, it is really good. I've been looking all day on the Internet for anything but could only find stuff for the feature film that was made from the TV series. Oh well, I have lots of time on my hands. I had better get back to looking for info... any info... Need some cool pictures. Hopefully there are lots of ship battles.)


"I thought you were working on your time/space computations."

"I am."


Film Effects of Hollywood: Bluescreen photography of the 11 foot Enterprise, and Botany Bay, for "Space Seed".


Blueprint of Stage 9 for a Trek shoot in September of 1967. Geez, all I ever got to work on were 'home renovation' shows.


Deforest Kelley on "Arena".


"I'm eating meat and I'm actually enjoying it."

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


A 'Mitchell BNC' 35mm camera is readied to shoot a scene on the Star Trek episode "Plato's Stepchildren". (Lousy story, by the way, but still better than 90% of the crap on television; then and now.)


This morning I was speaking with a friend who is going to be at tomorrow's midnight screening for Star Trek. I came home this afternoon after some intense work, took a break and followed a link on the Net. There is this guy, you see, who runs a blog... some rare photos.

It's all in the spirit!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Years ago, I saw a Donny Most LP record in a remainder bin. I could not resist and picked the treasure up; just to read the provocative liner notes. (Any Donny Most LP's liner notes must be provocative. Admittedly, I might have been looking for an explanation -- to my question, "why would they do this?")

Why, oh why, did I not buy the Donny Most record for the low asking price of $1.99? I'd have a great story to tell instead of "I almost bought the Donny Most record".

That "$1.99" sticker price would be about 5 or 6 bucks in today's money. I promise that if I see the LP again, I will put the money down, even if it's a lot more than "$1.99". (The joke is, it might now be a collectors' piece.)


Toronto's National Post newspaper is doing a "Star Trek Week" this week in anticipation of some low-key movie to be released on Friday.

This is a look at the infamous "Canon" of Star Trek, which I, for the most part, do not acknowledge, by the way...

... 'They' can mess with it all they want. The only canon for me would be what was established in the original series. Gene Roddenberry was the great bird of the galaxy (great overseer) for that production -- although, not so much in the third season -- and that, to me, makes it more a bound volume than any of the later series'.

If the die-hards don't like reboots, adjustments, or amendments, well... they can bugger off! Geeks! My advice to you is stay in your parents' basements.

I was speaking with a woman yesterday who saw J.J. Abrams Star Trek last week at some industry screening, so, of course, I asked her what she thought. Answer: "It was wonderful! And I don't even like Star Trek."

Maybe I will go, after all.