Thursday, December 18, 2014


I was watching TVOntario tonight as part of my one bit of appointment television on weekday evenings; The Agenda With Steve Paikin. After the episode wrapped up there was an advert for a program, scheduled to run this coming Saturday (December 20th) at 9 o'clock, titled Jingle Bell Rocks.

I've seen this ad a few times over the last couple of weeks and there is a moment within, as part of quick pic/sound bites usual of the form, that makes me laugh every time. An interview subject says: "The worst music in the world is bad Christmas music." This one line alone guarantees I will not miss the show.

One of the guests, no surprise, is filmmaker/writer John Waters. Another reason for me to not miss the documentary Jingle Bell Rocks.

I'll be there with bells on....


I heard while listening to my radio news this morning that some movie is being released one year from today (December 18, 2014). My mouth was salivatin' when I heard just exactly what flick it is: Star Wars - The Force Awakens

(Okay... it wasn't the news that got my mouth watering, but the piece of chocolate cake I was anticipating for breakfast.)

Saturday, December 13, 2014


I can't believe I missed this, especially considering I was planning "this" months ago: The photo attached above is a 35mm film trim from principle photography on "The Cage"; Star Trek's first pilot episode. ("Where No Man Has Gone Before" is the second.)

My point: The slate is dated "12-3-64".

Fifty years ago -- hard to believe.

Saturday, November 8, 2014


Two days ago it was revealed what the next Star Wars movie is to be subtitled...

The Force Awakens

... The Audience Sleeps

(The non-fanatics, that is.)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


I'm enjoying the book These Are the Voyages - TOS - Season One
(I blogged about the book here.)

The author, Marc Cushman, makes the all-too-common mistake of using a 'cost of living' calculator to compare production costs from then (mid '60s) to now, but, he uses some examples to give the reader some perspective; what $200,000 (Trek's per episode cost, roughly) amounted to in its time. When Star Trek began "regular series production" in the spring of 1966 the sticker price on a Ford Mustang was $2,400 and the median price for a house was $14,000.

Some extra trivia on that theme: Of the 29 episodes of Season One, just 4 came in on or under budget. Trek was vying with I Spy for the title of 'Most Expensive Series on Television'. (Both shows, due to their 'architecture', required more money than the norm in order to realize them. In dramatic-series television production, certainly the SF type, there is almost never enough time and money; you do the best you can with what you have.)

I must thank the show's producers for ensuring that the scripts often backed-up the finances.

Also, and this was publicized in the pre-release info: The book busts the myth of Trek having low ratings in its original run. As a matter of fact, both The Hollywood Reporter and Variety estimated at the time that the series, in its first year, was attracting about 20 million viewers every week. It was directly up against some stiff competition: My Three Sons and Bewitched, for example.

One of these days I should get Star Trek on Blu-ray and go through the show again. I don't have it on DVD or on any format.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


The magnificent country of Canada, my country, and it is magnificent, generally, is sending six CF-18 jet fighters to Iraq to combat ISIS. I heard someone say this on the radio minutes ago: 'Canada needs a combat mission for the RCAF... this is one it needs.'

This is a combat mission? What, lobbing bombs at indefinite targets?

Decisions such as the above are made by politicians who have never read a history book. (I don't mean a history-of-law book.)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


Rare is it that I see an advert on television for a "exciting premiere" of a new one-hour series and reciprocate with dedicated viewing. Well, my day was long and hard so I decided to relax in front of my telescreen this evening and watch episode one of The Flash.

I needn't have bothered. Mere minutes in I realized it was all an ugly mistake. The lead actor -- I've forgotten his name and I'm not wasting time looking it up -- is all wrong as the titular character: He lacks weight and screen presence. The rest of the cast is too young and too pretty. Bad acting is rampant. The CGI is typical cheapness. The script is overloaded with convention. And the direction lacks aim... like a random static charge; or flicks of light off an opera ball.

The obvious joke here is that The Flash will be gone in a flash, but let's not kid ourselves. Lots of equally crappy series' seem to find a non-discriminating audience.

My advice is to take a pass and let The Flash speed past you into oblivion....

Woof, woof, lil' doggie.


PS: I'm not a big fan of the 1990 - 1991 television version of The Flash, but I admit that John Wesley Shipp was well-cast as the speedy man. Also, that series had some style and a sense of grandeur; two things distinctly missing from the new Flash.

Monday, October 6, 2014


My regular readers will know how much I (have little regard for) Sun Media and its fine line of newspapers. Imagine my non-surprise this morning when I awoke to the news that Québecor has sold its Sun Media English-language 'newspaper' operations to Postmedia. In relative terms, the deal was an inexpensive one: 175 'newspapers' for 316 million dollars. (Borrowing costs are low at the moment.)

The human cost, after all, many of these people will soon lose their jobs, is 2,400 employees. It's the usual line, being held this morning in board rooms filled with marshalled workers: "Don't worry, your jobs are safe."

Postmedia honcho Paul Godfrey (one of the Toronto Sun's founding fathers) says that Sun will be allowed to live as a separate entity... alongside Post properties, even in the same markets. Yeah... right.

Rumour has it that the Toronto Sun was sold separately and symbolically for "one dollar"....

Saturday, October 4, 2014


On Friday morning while undertaking my daily ablutions, something emanated from the radio which stopped my razor in its tracks...

“Ford — what does it stand for? Falsify. Overstate. Repeat. Deny.”

Once I stopped laughing I went back to work; eliminating unwanted facial hair.

When I looked good enough -- almost -- to go out in public I forgot about the spot-on summation of Toronto mayoral candidate Doug Ford (brother of Rob).

When I had some time later in the day to investigate further I did an Internet search and came across this...

Ari Goldkind spells out criticism of Doug Ford

The funny quip was made by some guy -- who Doug Ford describes as a "big, rich defence attorney" who is out of touch with "hard-working people" -- also running for mayor of Toronto, named Ari Goldkind.

Two things: A) Mr. Goldkind has a sense of humour. B) I am sooo hard done by, Mr. Ford.

I'm readying to go to work; yes, it's an early day for me.

Friday, October 3, 2014


Much to my surprise this morning I came across a review on a new Star Wars animated half-hour television series. As reviewed by Washington Post TV critic Hank Stuever, Star Wars Rebels looks like something worth checking out; even for this non Star Wars fan (as in: not against Star Wars, just not a fanatic).

One thing jettisoned, which is good news to a Design Head like me, is the "failed art-deco/hotel atrium aesthetics of the prequel era". The extra good news for someone like me is the fact that the animators referenced original Star Wars conceptual artist Ralph McQuarrie's early concept sketches and paintings.

The stories are the most important thing; someone like me will have to see how good they are before committing to the new series. (Like many a Star Trek fan, the Star Wars type tends to be non discriminating. "Lightsabres!!!")

While aimed principally at kids, Star Wars Rebels will, or should, click with fans -- certainly fans of the previous animated series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars. (There were loads of lightsabre battles. And I suspect there will be numbers to match in Rebels.)

Special note, and a possible taste of what 'attitude' is to come in Star Wars VII... Star Wars Rebels is the first SW product under the stewardship of Disney; the new owner of that universe.

‘Star Wars Rebels’: In visuals and in spirit, it’s a new hope

Thursday, October 2, 2014


"Hey, what can I say? I know the difference between those two words."

A fine, fine put-down column by the Toronto Sun...

Trudeau’s not Reagan, he’s more like JFK 57
by David Jones, Guest Column

The usual and expected Sun Media rhythmic attack on Justin Trudeau; a man who more than likely will be Canada's next Prime Minister... which is exactly why Sun Media and its witless faithful eat that stuff up.

Maybe 'they' can eat this up: At the end of his piece, guest columnist David Jones writes something which comes off as odd; I think he meant to use the word "averse", not "adverse". Looks like it got by not only the Toronto Sun editors, but their faithful keyboard-warriors (commenters), too. Come on, are we really surprised?

Monday, September 29, 2014


"Brain and brain, what is brain?"

I hear you, Kara.


For the last three days I've been hearing, on the radio, about the "Ryder Cup". The funny thing is, I kid you not, never has it been said exactly what the Ryder Cup is.

I've had a busy last few days, so I admit that I've been getting my news from 680 News (here in Toronto). The "Sports" broadcasters should identify the game being played when they speak of an event such as... "the Ryder Cup". (Peter Gross should know better.)

I'm sure I've known in the past but what type of athlete competes for that trophy but, believe it or not, there are lots of people like me who do not identify themselves on Census reports as 'Sports Idiot". (I'm not suggesting that you have to be one to know what sporting event a particular cup belongs to.)

Sunday, September 28, 2014


While looking for an image for my previous posting (here) I came across a cool pic of Gilligan's Island creator Sherwood Schwartz...

Sherwood Schwartz, center, stands with director Jack Arnold (to his left) and the Gilligan's cast.


On Friday afternoon I learned that it was the 50th anniversary of the premiere of Gilligan's Island. This brilliant television series, one of the all-time greats, ran for three years (1964 - 1967) and introduced a few items to our popular culture.

I discovered the program in the early 1970s after realizing I kept seeing a listing called "Gilligan's Island" in TV Guide. One fateful day I popped the television on and tuned in to Global Television, a brand-new mini network here in Ontario, Canada.

There is not much I can add about Gilligan's Island that has not been said before; including me, here on this blog.

Friday, September 26, 2014


"Tanks for nuttin'!"

Word has it that Sun News Network -- a "fair and balanced" television news organization here in Canada -- has been unceremoniously "dispatching" key employees.

Apparently the interstellar Sun Media Corporation wants to unload the video-version arm of their right-wing propaganda machine. (SNN has been losing money fist over hand.)

How can Québecor Média prez Robert Dépatie sleep at night? Really comfortably, it would seem; especially after he lances that festering boil called Sun News Network.


I find it odd that this news-soaker has never heard of New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter.

On the radio just now was "680 News" sports guru Peter Gross excitedly recounting the veteran's fine performance last night against the Baltimore Orioles. Jeter's walk-off single popped the Yankees to a 6-5 win.

So little did I know about Derek Jeter that I had to source Wikipedia. "He has a full entry and everything..."

Monday, September 22, 2014


Some things bring a smile to one's morning. This is one of them: The City of Toronto has been altering its "Neighbourhood Watch" street signs with pop icons. Thirty-year-old graphic designer Andrew Lamb is the man behind the initiative.

Some references so far are Dirty Harry, Star Trek, and He-Man. In the works are graphics for Doctor Who and the Village People.

This leads me, of course, to paraphrasing Mr. Spock's great line from the Star Trek episode "Mirror, Mirror"...

"Ter-ror must be maintained or the city is doomed."

Sunday, September 21, 2014


What's with all the advertising campaigns for movie and sports streaming services?

"More movies than you can watch."

"More sports... that's more than 1000 NHL games..."

What the?...

Do we live in a world of addiction?

Regular life things aren't good enough for you?....


This irregular television watcher saw, recently, a commercial for the Canadian campaign of The famous pitchman, and starship captain, William Shatner, has returned to one of his many roots. And, as the "Priceline Negotiator", he is as great as ever.

After I finished laughing at his many "hijinks" I again renewed my respect for the man. What is it about that guy?....

Friday, September 19, 2014

307 +

Yesterday, this opinionated blowhard made a prediction -- here -- regarding the "historic vote for Scottish independence". I'll save myself keying-in too much text today and just copy and paste yesterday's posting, with a minor adjustment: The new stuff is highlighted in red ink...

The Scottish Independence referendum is very interesting to me, and the final result of today's vote is highly anticipated. I am not a Scot but my own feeling is for a "yes" vote.

Most polls are calling for a very (extremely) close win; yes or no. Tomorrow morning, we will know.

History shows that whenever a like referendum is voted upon, the "yes" side tends to be triumphant. (Here in Canada, back in 1995, the Quebec vote for independence provided one of the few "no" ways. Oh, and there's the Scotland vote of 2014... I had forgotten about that one.)

Thursday, September 18, 2014


The Scottish Independence referendum is very interesting to me, and the final result of today's vote is highly anticipated. I am not a Scot but my own feeling is for a "yes" vote.

Most polls are calling for a very (extremely) close win; yes or no. Tomorrow morning, we will know.

History shows that whenever a like referendum is voted upon, the "yes" side tends to be triumphant. (Here in Canada, back in 1995, the Quebec vote for independence provided one of the few "no" ways.)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Not long ago I was handed a copy of These Are the Voyages TOS - Season One, Marc Cushman's book detailing production of Star Trek's opening salvo of 29 episodes, and two pilots. As per my usual habit I quickly sampled a few sections, with the intention to read it later from head-to-tail. My brief sneak peek resulted in me thinking one key word; "magnificent". Running almost 700 pages, the document will require some time for me to fully cover.

TOS - Season One has been winning rave reviews, from the reading public and reviewers. I can see why -- the level of research is stunning! So much of immense interest to Trekkers like me is contained within: Memos; ratings; budgets; rare photos; and general behind-the-scenes stories.

The delay in reading These Are the Voyages TOS - Season One has been long enough. Maybe I should just book-off the next week from life to read this. (Then I can get a life.)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


After reading this article I'll be more reluctant to dip my toes into Lake Ontario...

Colossal squid exam gives rare glimpse of legendary creature
The squid is a female, and its eight arms are each well over a metre (3.3 feet) long.

No, the Giant Squid is not the largest known species of... over-sized tentacled thing that jets through the world's oceans.

Monday, September 15, 2014


Through some accident we Torontonians get stuck with two Fords: Rob and his brother Doug.

Current Toronto 'mayor' Rob Ford has been diagnosed with an abdominal tumour -- we hope he gets better -- and because of this he had to pull out of the mayoral race. His brother Doug has taken his place for the run to October's election.

As more than one person has said, you cannot make-up this stuff. Rob Ford is hospitalized mere days before the final registrations can be filed before the door is closed. Doug squeaked in on that day.

I used to think that Doug was less an evil fool than his brother but I've begun to believe that he is worse. We'll see what the voters think, next month.

Sunday, September 14, 2014


Ann Hornaday, Style writer for the Washington Post, outlines in summary the titles at this year's Toronto International Film Festival. I did not bother reading the story, but have decided to post it based on the article's title bit: "... but Brian Wilson biopic steals the show."

Now that I would like to see.

At film festival, Bill Murray makes a splash, but Brian Wilson biopic steals the show

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


Catherine Rampell, opinion writer for the Washington Post, posts a piece today of interest regarding the University degree and the job search ...

The college degree has become the new high school degree

Yes, welcome to "degree inflation". The college degree has become the new high school diploma.

To adjust for Jed Clampett's classic line: "Jethro's the one with the high school diploma."

My faithful readers will notice I spoke this morning about the high number of Canadians with university/college degrees/diplomas (here). Well, it seems that in the U.S., people looking for work should probably possess a baccalaureate education when applying. ("Those without a baccalaureate education need not apply.")

One reason for the demand, I think, and I've noticed this happening here in Canada, is that it significantly reduces the number of submissions. A two inch stack of resumes automatically gets lowered to one inch. More than a few times I've seen job postings which specify "must have a university degree". My retort is direct and succinct: "You need a university degree for that?"....


While working away at home here I maintain an audio-stream of what some people may call "useless trivia". Here it goes...

Many Canadians possess a post-secondary school diploma or degree; as a matter of fact, this is the highest average (per population) in the entire solar system... I mean, "developed world".

The bad news is our math skills have slipped since 2003. My math skills have slipped since birth....

Monday, September 8, 2014


What I had originally intended in June as a one-off post on snap shots taken behind the scenes on the Star Trek television series turned out to be a fairly regular thing. I made the decision to keep rolling after noting the large number of hits... and so on, and so on, and so on....

With a small bank of "Star Trek Behind the Scenes Images" postings I thought I would list them all here for fellow geeks...

I guess the joke is I'll end up having a "The Star Trek Images Bank 2" posting....

Sunday, September 7, 2014


One news bit this morning is the detailing of the upcoming funeral for late comedian Joan Rivers. Even though the veteran comedian was someone I saw quite a bit on those 1970s talk shows -- Merv Griffin; Mike Douglas -- I know very little about her. Apparently Rivers (and her daughter?) did the red carpet treatment with the Oscars every year, which probably helps explain my lack of... awareness.

I'm sure Youtube has more than a few files on Joan Rivers. As per normal with me, I'll brush-up after.

I can start with the standard Wikipedia entry and go from there...


A highlight of my lightweight mornings is the news bits. This great city (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) has one of the most exciting events of the year: The Toronto International Film Festival; "tiff".

On the radio, minutes ago: "Toronto's buzzing with stars."

In my head, one second later: "Well... maybe they can buzz off, then." (The sound pleases me.)

Friday, September 5, 2014


Drama is in the details: Even though I knew today's temps here in Toronto were going to be high, hearing the weather report just now on the radio made me think, "really?... that high?"

We Torontonians plan today to swim in a predicted temperature of 32 degrees Celsius; or 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Not bad in itself but the "Humidex" (humidity index) is expected to be 41 Celsius; or 106 Fahrenheit.

As a friend of mine from Columbia says, "... but not this hot!" (It's the high humidity that kills him.)

At any rate, let's enjoy it while we can; both the U.S. Weather Service and Environment Canada are predicting a "harsh winter"... courtesy of the "Polar Vortex".

"... And loving it!" (I have a theory that those who complain about the weather all the time are miserable people, period.)

Thursday, September 4, 2014


Star Trek has an embarrassment of riches; for example, the awesome spaceship designs did not stop at the U.S.S. Enterprise and the Klingon Battlecruiser. The Romulan "Bird of Prey" is another smasher of a craft.

Seen below is the miniature built by Wah Chang and Film Effects of Hollywood for the episode "Balance of Terror". This 35mm motion picture clip is from the optical house. They started the starfield in at the beginning, over the slate. (It may be a composite test; which would include exposure and density levels.) The black background is actually the bluescreen at Film Effects.


Come on! Who doesn't like dinosaurs? Put up you hands if you don't. I knew it.

When I was a kid I sure loved those prehistoric beings; as do most young people. There is something exotic and grande about a giant animal. Especially one long gone.

Just when you think that the dinosaur silhouette chart on your wall is up-to-date, scientists discover a "65 ton" dinosaur in Argentina. The wee-beasty's name?: "Dreadnoughtus schrani"

That's a good name for it. If an even bigger species is found I suggest the name of "Monsterus".

Wonderful stuff.

Newly discovered dinosaur, Dreadnoughtus, takes title of largest terrestrial animal


One lovely early morning this week I was sitting at my laptop computer near my opened balcony door. In the corner of my eye appeared a dark blur; it was a squirrel making its merry way into my apartment. The problem was that the door was open a sliver, enough for a well-fed, but agile, Toronto squirrel to pass through, but not enough for it to get back out again when I shouted "hey!". The little bugger was startled out of its mind. It spun in the air, not far from my left shoulder, landed and ran up onto my desk... looking at me with that sweet, innocent little face. I got up, opened the balcony door so my fat friend could get leave without much fuss. "Come on. Out."

That's it, you flip your bushy tail at me, you piece a... get outta heea!

An old friend of mine has it right: Scientists at the University of Toronto should genetically engineer some sort of glommer for squirrels. (And a really mean one for raccoons).

In the service of feeble humour I'm willing to toss aside my love for animals.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


A recent conversation with an old friend, over coffee, made us realize something...

* No work at all: Stress
* Some work: Stress
* Gainfully employed: Stress

Is life not good enough for us?

The coffee, however, is always fine....

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


Toronto is competing with several other Torontos for coveted "offshore" film and television production -- productions which traditionally hugged Hollywood.

Pinewood Toronto Studios, the super-studio down on the lakefront, was built 15-20 years too late. Filmmaker Guillermo del Toro has been utilizing the facility as of late, but one big-timer such as he is not enough to tent-pole the complex. Other productions rent space at PTS but as a friend of mine who is down there from time-to-time says, "it's pretty quiet".

The peak for film and television (including commercials) production, here in Toronto, was in the early to late 1990s. Don't believe it when certain official bodies or agencies use inflated dollars to try and convince you that the biz is at an all-time high.

You might think that we in Toronto have it bad; part of the same equation...

California to triple film tax credits

Monday, September 1, 2014


As the early 1970s played-out I became insatiably drawn to the N.H.L. (National Hockey League). To this day, as much as I love football (soccer), ice hockey is the greatest team sport, in my opinion. While I almost never watch a hockey game these days, I continue to replay my memories of the N.H.L.'s great past. (Psst: I don't like that league anymore; which I've blogged about before.)

This morning I heard the news that former veteran defenceman Carol Vadnais died yesterday at the age of 68. My earliest memory of him was when he played for the California Golden Seals. I do recall Vadnais winning a Stanley Cup with the Boston Bruins in 1972, but I had not realized until today that he was with the Montreal Canadiens in 1968 when they won the cup that year.

Mr. Vadnais enjoyed a long N.H.L. career, playing for 17 seasons with a mix of teams including the New York Rangers and the New Jersey Devils.

Wikipedia info...


The last two days have been busy enough for me that I have not had a chance to try out the new Toronto Transit Commission's streetcars; the spicy-looking vehicles that they are.

Maybe this week. And after my premiere ride I will file a report.

I'm looking forward to the experience; the beginning of many....

Friday, August 29, 2014


Are those jets I hear flying about? Yes, the "Canadian International Airshow" takes place this coming long weekend.

It's been a long time since I've been there, mainly because for a few years running I worked not too far from the C.N.E. (Canadian National Exhibition) grounds and I could watch from the company's roof. It was great!

Thursday, August 28, 2014


Was the best part of Close Encounters of the Third Kind the ending?

A couple of nights ago I had an enjoyable and enlightening telephone conversation with an old friend of mine. We do these updates every couple of months or so. And they are always fun.

Something of interest came out of this most recent talk: I mentioned to my friend that my brother and I had a conversation of our own, recently. It went like this...

Guess what movie I just saw again for the first time in many years... Close Encounters (of the Third Kind).

What'd you think?

Man, it's not very good.

Really? It's been a long time since I've seen it.

I spoke about the issue of "looking back" before, as recently as a few days ago, concerning my seeing Star Trek: The Next Generation again after many years (here).

Controversial Doctor Who producer John Nathan-Turner had a favourite saying in regards to Who fans looking again at something that they have fond memories of: "The memory cheats."

While I don't necessarily agree with JN-T's all too easily dispensed wisdom in regards to some Doctor Who "stories", he is most correct in a general sense. The passage of time changes things; the heart grows fonder. Not much can possibly compete with the malleable and often inaccurate human memory, especially one governed or influenced by warm nostalgia. This isn't meant to suggest that movies or television programs from our earlier years are somehow intrinsically decrepit -- many are -- but times change, we change, including our expectations.

Movies of note, of late, which someday will more than likely generate howls of "the memory cheats", are: Titanic; Star Wars - The Phantom Menace; Forrest Gump; The Shawshank Redemption; and more than a few more.

Some television series' promoting exhortations of "I remember it being better than this", may include: E.R; Beverly Hills 90210; Game of Thrones; Lost; and many more.

It's almost inevitable.

(Gilligan's Island never cheats me.)

Yes, the memory does cheat. If not now, it will later.

(Even though I don't consider myself a fan of The X-Files or Seinfeld, they are examples of television shows that will travel well through the years, I think.)

I must watch Close Encounters of the Third Kind again to see how unfaithful my memories have been. Wait a minute; I never thought that that movie was very good in 1977!

Oh, my friend disagrees with my original assessment.


Maybe the headline says it all; but I will explain.

I went out for a stroll along Bloor Street, between Spadina and Bathurst, here in Toronto last night and noticed the large volume of other strollers. Then it hit me: "Of course, the students are back."

This long-time "Annex" resident uses this sudden population spike to mark the end of summer; perhaps even more than the start of "The Ex" (The Canadian National Exhibition).

While I will not deride the influx of students, after all I was one, there is a marked increase of people in my local coffee shop and diner making it more difficult to find a seat, especially when you are with one or more friends.

Hey, the University of Toronto -- and Ryerson University, and George Brown College -- are supplying those degree and diploma graduates all important to our future. You certainly need one these days; and "it" will only get worse.

Welcome back! Oh, you'll find "The Maddy" over there... and here.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


News has hit this morning here in Toronto that this great city -- even with the sorry Maple Leafs -- might be getting a new NHL (National Hockey League) franchise. My reaction upon hearing the news was a mighty "yes!".

The bumbling league wants to expand with four more teams... like in Las Vegas; makes total sense to me!

A new Toronto team does not mean necessarily that it will be within the city boundaries; it could be Hamilton, or Markham (just outside the city proper). My pick would be for the former, although I would like to see it in Toronto's "Downsview" neighbourhood -- there is a subway line to that location, which means we could have a "Subway Series" should both teams meet up in the playoff... wait a minute, how could that happen?

The Toronto Maple Leafs meet the Toronto Authentics?....

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


"Since before your sun burned hot in space and before your race was born, I have awaited a question.”

Okay, Mr. Guardian of Forever....


Like the question, "Ginger or Mary Anne?", "Kirk or Picard?" is an important enough one to toss in bars or post in blogs.

So... James T. Kirk or Jean-Luc Picard?

Steve Tilley and Jim Slotek, of QMI (from Planet Q?), do a cute little debate here...

'Star Trek': Kirk vs. Picard: Who is the ultimate captain?

While both writers -- obvious Cambridge debaters -- are simplistic at times, it's all in good fun.

I'll drink to that.

Sunday, August 24, 2014


First year crew of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Were things rotten?

Program: William Shatner Presents: Chaos on the Bridge
Running Time: 1 hour
Airdate: Monday, August 25th
Network: HBO Canada

William Shatner conducts candid interviews with cast and crew, not to mention studio heads, in a look back at Star Trek: The Next Generation's first two seasons. (Hard to believe that "The Next Gen", or "TNG", finished its run twenty years ago.)

Before things settled down and the producers were able to figure out what it was that TNG was trying to be, they had to make it through years one and two. After that what the viewer got was more soap opera than anything else, but there were some shiny bits in among the sand particles: "Family" and "The Best of Both Worlds", for instance.

Earlier this morning I read this: “The first and second seasons of The Next Generation are almost unwatchable,” says Ronald D. Moore.

Uh... I would apply "almost unwatchable" to Mr. Moore's reboot of Battlestar Galactica. Actually, I think that the first year of ST:TNG is not that bad. While it is obvious that the ride is often bumpy, there are some solid science fiction ideas, as opposed to the later "Love Boat in Space" malady which had taken a firm hold on the series.

To be honest, I went through the DVDs of Star Trek: The Next Generation earlier this year and I was surprised at how "okay" it was. (I watched three episodes from each of the series' seven seasons.) Now that I think about it Toronto television station Citytv "stripped" the series on weekday mornings about twelve or thirteen years ago. Back then I noticed, looking at TNG just a few years after it finished-up, how badly the show had aged.

The cute line is: "Have you seen it lately?"

I might add: "... Ouch."

Maybe I should watch "Family" and "The Best of Both Worlds" again.


Last night, on BBC One, a new "Doctor" took over the controls of the Tardis. Peter Capaldi's name was mentioned a full year ago, but fans in the U.K. only now got to see his first episode as the famous Time Lord.

Naturally fans are directly comparing him to Matt Smith, the previous tenant of the Tardis, and they are cautiously optimistic. (This is the standard, ever since Patrick Troughton took over from the first doc, William Hartnell, back in 1966.)

I would compare Capaldi most directly against Christopher Eccleston, the first Doctor of the rebooted series, as I have rarely watched Doctor Who since his series. The CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) here in Canada premiered the new take in March of 2005. The overabundance of visual effects was to be expected, but Eccleston was interesting enough as an actor for me to keep watching every week. (I should not forget to mention Billie Piper; not only did she enjoy good chemistry with her Guv, but she was electric as "Rose Tyler".)

David Tennant? Who's he? Oh, I had forgotten about him....

Thursday, August 21, 2014


Yesterday I blogged about the new and improved TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) subway station, "Union", here.

Well, as promised I made a trip today to the work-in-progress: It's a fine new arrangement; it has "collectors", not just ticket collectors, but the kind we normally apply in highway usage. Here, instead of motor vehicles, we mean people.

There is also lots of standing space; ready to absorb the large crowds that utilize Union station.


A U.K. company, Reaction Engines, is in the process of developing a new aero engine (the "Sabre") that could be used to help propel a passenger aircraft at Mach 5...

UK project brings us a step closer to ultra high-speed air travel - along with simpler satellite deployment
Development is well underway for a new type of engine that could revolutionize high-speed air travel - making the supersonic Concorde of old look like a slowpoke. A derivative of that engine can also switch to a rocket mode, meaning it could be used to deliver satellites to orbit.

When I saw the picture accompanying the Toronto Star article above I immediately thought about the super-speed airliner from the old television series, Thunderbirds.

"Fireflash" was featured in two episodes:  "Trapped in the Sky" (the series premiere), and "Operation Crash-Dive".

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


For a few years I worked in downtown Toronto, and I would regularly travel on the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) subway train through "Union" station; or "Onion" station, as I call it. It was a skin-thin subway station, to be sure. You would not want to have your back to the railway tracks if you were going to sneeze. The blast off the facing wall would push you off the platform; that narrow it was... until the big change. My work takes me away from the downtown these days, so this transportation enthusiast will have to make a special trip -- not a problem -- to check out the new "Union" platform.

Christopher Hume, of the Toronto Star, has shared his impressions about the fix...

TTC remake brings Union Station to life: Hume
Though incomplete, the newly renovated Union Station brings space and light to Canada's busiest transportation hub.

Sunday, August 17, 2014


Cat people are everywhere; especially in the arts. Some noted cat people of note, the living and the dead, include Stanley Kubrick, John Lennon, Marlon Brando, Bob Dylan, Anthony Hopkins, Morgan Freeman, Steve McQueen, Steve Martin, and many more.

Alan Parker, mild-mannered blogger, has this to say...