Saturday, May 28, 2011


Just yesterday I was thinking about how NHL player Bill Masterton of the Minnesota North Stars died as the result of striking the back of his head on the ice during a game back in January of 1968.

Those were the days when very few players wore helmets.

A look back at that terrible day in ice hockey, in today's Toronto Star...

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Have you seen U.S. conservative politician Sarah Palin speak, in person or on telly? What is it she is trying to say? It's all in code, if you listen carefully...

She wants to "shore up". "Shore up."


Last night I spent a few minutes copying some music CDs to my computer's hard drive.

Then it hit me: I do not recall seeing Candide since moving three years ago. Leonard Bernstein's Candide; where John Williams got his "Luke and Leia" theme.

When I get more time, I will look for Bernstein.


This news watchdog has an admission to make. When I tune in to Canada's Sun News Network, I always end up feeling... pathos.

They are so pathetic. Your heart goes out to them.

The only person I have any respect for is Pat Bolland. (I remember watching his early morning biz reports, a few years ago.) However, the man is surrounded by amateurs.


While doing my morning news roundup I learned that former NHL (National Hockey League) player Stan Mikita is being treated for 'Stage 1' oral cancer.

I remember that great Chicago Blackhawks team from the early 1970s: Jim Pappin, Bill White, Tony Esposito, Pit Martin, Keith Magnuson, Chico Maki, Dennis & Bobby Hull, and "the rest"...

Of course, for you movie fans, Stan Mikita was immortalized in Wayne's World (1992): "Stan Mikita's" donut shop was a play on "Tim Horton's".

The Globe and Mail...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Conservative filmmaker Stephen K. Bannon has bankrolled, to the tune of 1 million dollars, a two-hour movie about conservative clown Sarah Palin.

As Stewie Griffin would say, this is too easy:

I ask, quite innocently, will there be subtitles?

In no time flat someone will give this magnum opus the What's Up, Tiger Lily? treatment. Guaranteed to put you on the floor!

As Sam Kinison might have said, let's watch...

Sunday, May 22, 2011


The answer to my earlier posting regarding the Family Guy take on Star Wars - Return of the Jedi (IT'S A TRAP! REALLY?!) is: It was okay. Nothing special.

The SW prequel films are asking for the royal treatment next, even if they are parodies of themselves.

Episodes I, II, and III are crap. A colossal and tragic waste of man-hours; making them, and watching them.


Sarah Palin speaks metaphorically, without realizing what it is that she is actually doing, when she says that she has "the fire in my belly" to take a run for U.S. prez.

Now, if only she had the brains in her head.

An article on Ms. Palin that she probably would not be able to make heads or tails of...


One day last week I was in "my local video store" when I noticed a certain DVD on the shelf: It's a Trap!

I knew that a takeoff on Star Wars - Return of the Jedi was being planned for the animated TV series Family Guy, but I could not understand why I had missed it on first broadcast. (I had seen that series' spins on A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back when they hit the airwaves.)

When I got home later I happened to learn from that this week's episode of Family Guy is "It's a Trap!"

Suddenly I was confused... I'll just leave it at that, and tune in Global (television network) at 7 o'clock tonight. (Fox premieres the episode later, at 9pm.)


Isaac Newton died almost three-hundred years ago; he figured out so much -- that still holds true today.

A remarkable man. I can't even figure out why my cat sometimes ignores me. Admittedly, Sir Isaac probably tried that equation and came up empty.

Notes on Newton...


Yesterday's non-events reminded me of a prediction that famed physicist Sir Isaac Newton made regarding the year 2060.

I took a moment to find a good overview...

So, does this mean that we have roughly 48.55 years left of existence-bliss before the Big Day? Something like that....

Saturday, May 21, 2011


The end of the world was today? Awesome!

Hold on a minute... why am I able to write this? You'd think the communications grid would have gone down if there was a 'Judgement Day'. We'd probably get billed for it anyway.

Another lunatic spoke today (besides me).

I remember back in the Spring of 1976 when the same thing was predicted. After school I hung around with a friend for the countdown; we put out our plastic 'army men', not to play with but to use as a first alert. We figured if they started melting then we would not have to worry about doing our homework anymore. I walked home late that night, disappointed.

From here on in -- to the real end of the world -- let's ignore these clownish biblical scholars and just go about our business of heavy drinking and cavorting. A life of sin. Frak, yah!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Ad executives and members of the press were gathered at the Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall in New York City, yesterday, to get the pitch from television network ABC. It was a first look at what the corp thinks the public will want to sit down and watch this coming Autumn. The lead-in to cooler temperatures.

The Washington Post's Lisa de Moraes was one of the press, and her copy is at times so honest that you feel for the ABC pitch people -- including Tim Allen -- when they drum-roll their bits only to be acknowledged with an unenthusiastic applause. "Polite applause."

Some of the programs to come are a mix of the old (Charlie's Angels), and the 'please, not another one'. I'm referring to a Lost-like show... which leads to my favourite funny line from Ms. de Moraes: "In truth, it’s a sort of Lost meets Brigadoon meets Disney animation licensing lawyers."

Article in the Washington Post...

Monday, May 16, 2011


After posting my previous entry (SUPER 8 - FILM), I got thinking. (Duck.)

I came up with what I think is a cool science fiction movie premise: omitted

As Woody Allen said in one of his early stand-up acts: "It'll make millions!"


Minutes ago, I finished watching an episode of Family Guy. As I was ready to press the television's "off" button a trailer for a feature film played.

For some reason I felt like I had seen this kind of movie 20,000 times before. What's with the James Horner-type score? (Sounds an awful lot like his music to 1985's Cocoon.)

Then I discovered why everything felt well-worn... even in trailer form: Super 8 is "A Steven Spielberg Production, A J.J. Abrams Film."


Double click.


Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane wants to make a new Flintstones television series...,0,948505.story

Like many of my generation, The Flintstones was required viewing... every day... at lunchtime. In my case, courtesy of station CFTO.

Go, Seth!

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Canadian frozen-foods magnate Wallace McCain died today at the age of 81.

I never met the man even though I have long been fascinated by him and his empire, McCain Foods Limited. He and his sons got into a big legal power-play a few years ago over control of the highly successful "McCain's" brand. (I can't remember if Wallace's brother Harrison was involved or not.)

About ten years ago I worked for a guy who was a former corporate exec. I had to ask him: "Do you know Wallace McCain?" He rolled his eyes, finished taking a puff of his cigar, and answered, "Wallace McCain's a..."

McCain was probably a great man in many ways.


As I referenced in my previous post (SERGEI KOROLEV - RUSSIAN ROCKET MAN) the 'R-7' rocket is a favourite of mine; including from an industrial design perspective.

Yuri Gagarin is rocketed into space aboard Vostok 1.

The R-7 rocket family with off-shoots.

Wikipedia article on the R-7 family...


David E. Kelley's take on Wonder Woman is not going "to series". The pilot was screened for NBC execs who decided to save their money. Word is the reaction was lukewarm.

Maybe Siffy (SyFy) will pick it up.

The news...


Bit by bit, page by page, I'm making my way through the excellent and revealing book, Space Race: The Epic Battle Between America and the Soviet Union For Dominion of Space.

Sergei Pavlovich Korolev was the brilliant designer and organizer of the early Russian space program. His greatest creation, in my own opinion, is the 'R-7' rocket booster. It launched Sputnik 1, Yuri Gagarin, and many a satellite. Not only that, but the basic idea, that of strap-on booster rockets, is still used to this day.

Korolev lived a roller coaster of a life; one with too many heart-breaking moments.

Here is a fine article on Sergei Korolev, written by James Harford...

(Photo above: Sergei Korolev, right, with Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space.)


Back in the 1960s, and early 1970s, the Soviets were developing a major booster rocket as part of their own project to land cosmonauts on the moon. Woefully underfunded, not to mention being behind the Americans who started designing the "Saturn V" about four years earlier, in 1962, the N1 was beset by problems, chiefly the engines. When the final design was settled on, the "first stage" booster had 30 separate engines. By comparison, the Saturn V had just five. You don't have to be a mathematician to understand that you are increasing your chances of an engine failure (to whatever degree) by six times. Having to synchronize so many engines is perhaps the greater problem.

It was more complicated than that, of course, but the end result was not only were the Russians not able to put a man on the moon -- thwarted in a big way by the death of chief rocket designer Sergei Korolev in January of 1966 -- but the rocket itself was not even put successfully into an L.E.O. (low Earth orbit). As a matter of fact, one rocket exploded on the launch pad -- a major disaster, but luckily nobody was killed. (Keep in mind that a rocket detonating at such an early part of the flight is a major event. The fuel tanks are topped-off.)

The last attempt at uploading an N1 was done in 1972... the program was finally cancelled two years later.

Details on the N1 rocket were not made public until 1990.

This looks like something out of a Gerry Anderson show, such as Thunderbirds.

Yeah, it looks like model-work that Derek Meddings would have done for Thunderbirds. You can almost imagine the Airfix kit parts. And the brilliant, joyous, and almost martial-like, Barry Gray music accompanying all the above photos.

Article on the N1, comparing it with the American Saturn IV rocket...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


I had never heard of the CBS television drama series The Good Wife until I read today that funny-beauty Sarah Silverman is a guest star on tonight's episode; which is a good reason for me to become familiar with the show.

I will tune in to Global television at 10:00pm.

Interesting how this works.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


Interesting observation, I have made and will state: Torontonians pronounce major Toronto length-of-pavement, Spadina (includes "Road" [north of Bloor Street] and "Avenue" [south of Bloor Street]), as "Spa-dye-na", while many tourists to this great city say the word as "Spa-dee-na".

The joke is, "Spa-dee-na" is actually the proper pronunciation.

I told you my observation would be "interesting".


Fellow blogger "J-Man" posted this review of the new movie, Thor...

I have not seen this film yet and therefore have not experienced its 3-D pleasures, but, in principle, J-Man is right about 3-D.

By the way, J-Man's blog ( is a good one... anyone who reviews giant-monster films is cool. Go Gamera!

Friday, May 6, 2011


On Wednesday evening I attended my first Toronto FC football match in two years (almost to the day). This game -- Toronto versus Edmonton -- was much better than the last one I saw at BMO Field. Beautiful goal by "a Toronto FC player" in the first half, which ended up being unanswered to give Toronto the win.

Two observations...

1. The real grass is so much better than the greasy plastic carpet which used to represent the 'field'.

2. It was a good night for the players: Cool but not cold.


Canada's Bell Satellite TV recently dumped upstart channel Sun News Network from their package. Some subscribers are upset; they are threatening to go elsewhere.

To be honest, viewership for Sun News is very small, and the few who would decide ultimately to dump Bell as their 'tv addiction supplier' hardly constitutes a threat.

It's all about the numbers.

I have no love for Bell Canada, but facts are facts.

The story...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


I've put in my observations and two-cents worth regarding the elections here in Canada. Try these tweets from friend JD Rouette...!/jdrouette

"... by a long-horned sheep"? That sounds painful.


The elections in Canada were historic. The NDP formed the "official opposition" (to the Conservative Party of Canada).

I admit that I'm not too disappointed by the result: The fact is Canada's economy, on balance, in comparison those of other countries, is in pretty good shape. Not that the Conservatives are the reason why this is so, but why screw with things?

Voter turnout was much lower than what was expected -- based on the high advance polling numbers: Just over 60% of eligible voters turned out to cast their say. (In 1993 the number was around 74%.)

The Bloc Quebecois has been all but vapourized.

Michael Ignatieff and his Liberals have taken third place; they have not formed the opposition for the first time since Confederation. Bring in Justin Trudeau!

Oh, Canada!

About last night and yesterday...

Monday, May 2, 2011


I popped on the television to the CBC and saw that the Conservatives have a "majority" win. The number of seats needed for a majority is 155... the Conservatives had 166 at the point of my tuning in. Not to dismiss this result, and I won't, but the stunning part of all this is the fact that the NDP party has so far -- the votes out west are still being counted -- captured 105 seats (!). Wow! Of course, this is fluid, and the final tallies will not be known for a couple of hours.

The Liberal Party of Canada will be in rebuild mode.

Congrats to Stephen Harper. I do not like him and a lot of his policies, but it does not matter. Canadians voted. It will be interesting to see how many eligible voters did the deed....


Okay. Fellow Canadians of voting age: Today is the day. Let's look good. (And that is a tall order for me.)

Some Canadians have called this country "the best in the world". We are not known for such impudicity, so let's prove that Canada is a great nation. Talk is cheap, and a trip to the voting booth is almost as easy.

Tim Harper of the Toronto Star...

Sunday, May 1, 2011


Breaking news...

I don't know what it really means outside of the symbolic aspect. The year is 2011.

U.S. Special Forces have Bin Laden's body, but they should handle it with care... a lot of U.S. money was invested in that thing.

Someone is now a martyr.


Maybe it's the fact that tomorrow is election day here in Canada, that I checked a list of Canadian Prime Ministers. (Wikipedia is good for this sort of thing. Almost all of those guys lived to old age.)

While I consider myself to be a very patriotic Canadian, even I admit I'm not up on a lot of relevant things that I should. Going through the list made me realize I don't know much about some of our top leaders: Yes, Canada's first Prime Minister was Sir John A. Macdonald. I know about Tupper, Borden, King, and of course the more recent ones like Pearson, Trudeau, and Mulroney.

But... MacKenzie Bowell?! I've never heard of him. That's like thinking you know the names to all the episodes of one of your favourite television shows and, while looking over a list, stumbling across... "The Enterprise Factor"?!

Wikipedia entry on Canadian Prime Minister Sir Mackenzie Bowell...
... and Canadian Prime Ministers...