Thursday, February 28, 2013


A few weeks ago I saw what has to be the single funniest example of bad grammar and atrocious spelling I have ever seen on the Toronto Sun comment boards. My mistake was not to copy and paste that item of comic gold. It was hilarious. Obviously its author did not intend the sentence to read the way it did and, no doubt, was oblivious to the misfire, but the unintentional humour was impeccable for its lack of proper, and vital, punctuation. (Someone should start an awards show for right-wing dopes on the Toronto Sun comment boards.)

Well, this morning I was not to make the same mistake. Read this...

"... crawl back under your biased CBC rock wanker."

A "CBC rock wanker"?  What the?...

Are those for sale? And if they are, can you actually crawl under one?

Sunday, February 24, 2013


Canadian composer Mychael Danna is up for an Oscar tonight -- actually, two Oscars. Both for Life of Pi. They being 'best song' and 'best score'.

Mr. Danna has, a few times in the past, made it clear he does not like full-blooded music scoring in the movies. He's quoted in the current issue of the Toronto newspaper The Grid as saying something along much the same lines: "What film music used to be, a generation or more ago, was extremely manipulative and unsubtle, which is just so against my grain."

Fine. What I find is people who say such things -- and he is not alone in the current crop of film composers -- have that attitude because they themselves cannot write a simple melody. Yes, scores could be over-the-top in decades past but the music pushed buttons; made you cry and/or made your heart race. On average, music for the movies today is just orchestrations, nothing more. Yep, the 'parts' are there: The woodwinds have something to play, as do the brass, strings, and timpani. But there's no tune! I'm the first one to say that a film does not have to have a tune, or series of tunes, as it really depends on the flick's aspirations, but the continual lack of memorable and affecting melody is disconcerting... I think. Movie scores have always had 'orchestrations' but there was often a driving or floating melody which tickled or haunted the viewer.

I've met Mr. Danna (pardon the name-drop), he is a pleasant fellow. I just can't accept his take on scoring. He is letting so much get by him -- a chance to take the staff paper by the corners and sketch out some weaving melody. Be manipulative when required.

Music scoring is a vital emotional key in the motion picture language. Too many people in the biz seem to be embarrassed by affecting scoring. Admittedly, most people in the biz don't understand this neglected art. Dead on arrival.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


Jason Anderson, one of Toronto's finer film critics/writers, penned an interesting article for the current issue of The Grid newspaper. Titled "Toronto film's next generation", this piece treats the up-and-coming filmmakers in this fine city, and notes why they might matter. The writer is cautious about directly claiming any "Toronto New Wave" just yet, but he outlines a new batch of short and feature-length films produced by several young filmmakers who have something to say. The new feature film, Tower, directed by Kazik Radwanski, demonstrates that there just might be a new vitality in Toronto's film scene. It is opens next week at the Royal. I should really make an effort to journey down to College Street to see for myself. (On average, I find small, no-name films much more exciting to watch than those bloated and empty pig-budget crap-fests.)

Jason Anderson drives his article with the notion that technology is making producing micro-budgeted films easier than ever before. This reality sends most excuses for not making a film to the excuse bin. In fact many no-budget films from the past had mostly lab costs to contend with. Erase the (film) raw-stock, processing, printing, and post-production costs and you literally had films which were made for next-to-nothing.

Where's my bin? Oh, there it is, I must have used my foot to 'accidentally' push it under my desk.

Mr. Anderson's article from The Grid...


I was working away here at home when I heard a news bit on the radio about this year's Oscar contenders. The item opened up with the "Fanfare for Oscar"; composed by the late, great Jerry Goldsmith. This music fits the bill in that it is short, sweet, and to the point... unlike a few Oscar acceptance speeches. (I hear about the speeches being very long, or too long, since I'm not a viewer of the famous envelope-opening event.)

I decided to journey to Youtube to look for a video on the "Fanfare for Oscar". There is one, with the man himself conducting the music...

Saturday, February 16, 2013


Watching SCTV clips on Youtube shows why that video resource is amazing when you're in the mood to sample television you've not seen in years; or decades. Second City Television, as it was known in its earliest years, is something I want to see again -- the complete shows, that is, not just a bunch of random clips (as terrific as they are).

So, I went to the 'TV Shows on DVD' website ( to do a little research. While I do remember when the later NBC "Network 90" shows were released to DVD a few years ago, and am more than aware that the earliest skits appeared on the late night show in order to fill out the running time as much as anything else, I have a hankering to see the Melonville gang when they hit the Global Television Network back in the 1976-1977 season -- which is when I first saw the series. Imagine my disappointment when I read up on the DVD titled SCTV: The Best of the Early Years and noticed, after reading the episode descriptions, that the disc set is not really "the early years"... but rather "earlier years than the 'Network 90' shows". Nineteen-seventy eight is early, but not early enough: There are no 1976-1977 episodes at all, from the generally excellent Shout! Factory...

My demand for the earliest episodes comes about after watching a documentary on how the Second City theatre/improv group set up 'an office' in Toronto and made a move to television. Another reason for my demand: I'm getting old, and want to be reminded of my youth in any way possible....

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


I awoke to the sad news that Toronto Police had to shoot and kill a wild coyote which, with obvious criminal intent, had been roaming and cruising "Cabbagetown".

Then I read an article on the Toronto Star's website...

Read the second last paragraph in the linked story above and stop reading my blurb now. Or, if you just want the goods, I've saved you a few seconds...

"If you are confronted by a coyote, police say you should wave your arms, make loud noises and throw objects to scare it away. If this does't work, back away slowly."

Maybe it was the mood I was in early this morning, but I found that line to be a "lol".

Monday, February 11, 2013


A couple of days ago, somewhere in the mass of news headlines, the clickable kind, I saw "Monopoly adds new token". Not only did I not click on the text, I did not even venture a guess as to what it could be.

This morning: "It's a cat?! Excellent choice!" (But, should the iron be replaced?)

Henceforth, great battles will be fought....

We are fond of felines, online...


Moments ago on the radio was a story about Canadian popper Justin Bieber's less-than-impressive hosting of Saturday Night Live (SND... guess). No matter, I did not watch that traditional-waste-of-time. What the news reminded of was the curious item of me not having a television for seventeen months and counting. More accurately, not having an analogue-to-digital converter box for my two TVs which are just sitting here, for video playback uses only, which, strangely, seems to be quite sufficient.

Whoa, I just heard the news the Pope is stepping down; the first time in over 600 years that this has happened. Guess what's going to be a major news item over the next few weeks/months....

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Earlier today, while looking over the Toronto Star website, I saw the headline, "Justin Bieber's SNL promos are kinda not funny". Minutes ago I noticed the same headline was still there. This time I clicked. A biiiiig mistake, as I quickly realized.

OMG! Malene Arpe -- or the editor, the person who normally writes the headlines -- was absolutely correct. This is awful...

Saturday Night Live is rarely funny, even at the low end of the scale (around the "1" or "2" calibration), so why would a promo for that wretched program be any different?

The only thing I ask, somewhat facetiously, is, kinda not funny?! Who writes that crap? Oh, sorry....

Monday, February 4, 2013


At 6 pm, while eating my borscht, I listened to 680 News (CFTR) radio to catch up on what I may have missed while out for the day. Admittedly this station might not be the best method of learning what happened in the news. (Try CBC Radio.)

Anyway... what was the point I was going to eventually get to? Oh yes; as per normal on this station there was a 'coming-up in this half-hour' segment. In regards to "Sports", Alex Seixeiro of Sportsnet 590 "The Fan" said this: "The (Toronto) Maple Leafs run for their fifth win of the season tonight at the A.C.C."

Mr. Seixeiro has it all wrong. The Leafs are running for their fifth loss of the season. They have played eight games thus far; with four wins and four losses.

Sir, is the glass half full or half empty? That's right, you got it....

Sunday, February 3, 2013


That's right, it's Super Bowl Sunday. Hey, I don't need to attend a Super Bowl party to eat badly. Besides the good stuff, I do buy some crap: I have lot's of jumbo hot dogs; bought them on Friday. Hold on...

... I'm back from my kitchen. I knew I forgot something. No pop and potato chips ("Crisps"). Hat, scarf, coat, and back out the door....


One cannot find much more drama than what is inherent in the U.S. gun-control debate. Today's Washington Post features a couple of dudes who feel safer when they are packing heat; at one with their Glocks...

As typical of people like this, their points-of-reality are somewhat skewed. They've seen too many Hollywood movies of dream logic gun-play, where thugs are taken out so easily by a gun-toting citizen, and, of course, good guys rarely get hurt.

Gun adherent David Kenik: “Because of all the people on the face of the Earth who should be pro-gun, the Jews should be right at the top of that list... How many Jews have to die before they realize that ‘never again’ means being prepared — personally prepared?”

The "never again" Mr. Kenik speaks of will be a political determination; of humanity, not one of 'defensive' weaponry.

Also: As much as some might like to think that heavily-armed civilians could ultimately resist a well-trained and equipped military force, it don't happen that way. Sorry.

Super-stars and Super-heroes are something seen in the movies, not day-to-day life.


It's that month of the year again where too many people say Febb-yoo-airy. That's okay... just don't write "Febuary".

While I was travelling on the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) yesterday, the automated P.A. announcer was detailing a special offer for this month. He must have said "Febuary" five times. I'll be fair, maybe the script was written that way.

Friday, February 1, 2013


One of my favourite regular television events in my youth was a Sunday afternoon movie-screening program called Sci-fi Theater. Produced by WUTV, channel 29, in Grand Island, New York, this must-see series was 'hosted' by a human eye ball. It filled the screen; E.C.U. (extreme close-up), to use proper parlance. While the viewer was treated to this fresh-looking flickering thing, there was a Douglas Rain-like voice introducing us to the movie. I seem to recall the V.O. was the same every week, regardless of what movie was slotted. And slotted they were: Attack of the Monsters; Demon Planet; Queen of Blood; Five; Battle in Outer Space; (the awesome) King Kong EscapesJourney to the Seventh Planet; and Voyage to the End of the Universe.

We talked about these movies the next day at school. What we thought, and so on. In the case of Voyage, I remember my friends and I speaking in terms of 'boring'. It was a talky film. There were no monsters. 'People were looking at other people on view-screens all the time', that sort of thing.

Just a few years later I found out that Voyage to the End of the Universe was in fact a 1963 Czech-produced movie called Ikarie XB 1, which was bought by the fine folks at American International Pictures who then cut it down, and re-cut, to make a matinee picture.

I'd known about the highly-regarded original film for years as it was always profiled in any serious book on SF movies.

Cut to the future: In 2005, Ikarie XB 1 was released with English subtitles.

When I get a chance I will watch....