Wednesday, April 30, 2014


These past two weeks (the second half of April) have been "interesting" for me. I'll just leave it at that. I did manage to knock off some vids in that time...

Kingdom (2008-09) - Brit television series starring Stephen Fry: It (Series 3) was okay
The Dana Carvey Show (1996) - a very short run U.S. skit series: It was bad beyond belief.

There is another, but I'll talk about this one in an upcoming posting.

Hopefully we in North America can shake this strange weather. Washington, D.C., is being hammered by torrential rain at this very moment, while here in Toronto some of us continue to wear light winter jackets. My brother told me the other day that N.A. is supposed to be getting a moderately warm (or cool) summer; nothing searing.

Life is pretty grande....

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


Toronto got a dusting of rain, sleet, and snow this morning. Yesterday temperatures hit 22 degrees Celsius in the city, but today leveled down at around zero (freezing).

This big shift in weather reminded me of a similar one, but of a much larger scale, in April of 1974; an event that I blogged about two days ago: here.

I have not heard yet as to what Environment Canada has predicted for us in the way of a summer. Last summer here in Toronto was not too bad; we had just one long disgusting heatwave. Not like the summer of 2005. I can't talk about that one. And 1988?... I can hardly think about the summer of that year.

The summer of 1985 was really nice; there were no heatwaves of any kind. Temps were fairly constant in the mid-upper twenties. I remember that there were just two or three days scattered over the summer where the mercury actually hit 30 Celsius -- a perfect summer.

The months are going by so quickly I soon may be blogging in sweat... or maybe not.

Monday, April 14, 2014


Back on April 11th I posted a bit (click) on my plans to self-publish a "Barry Smight" book. My reasoning for deciding to expand the BS universe is simply because POD (print on demand) book publishing is affordable and technically fine.

Originally I wanted to put my 'top' blog postings into book form, with some added stuff, of course, but after giving it some thought over a potent coffee I latched onto the idea of writing something original; expressly for the book. My rationale for this small course correction is due in part to the ubiquitous 'smart phone'. It is true that lots of folk do not have these devices, but the idea of printing a book consisting solely of pieces available on the Barry Smight blog did not sit well with me the more I thought about it. Why not make the print version more interesting than just hard-copying existing html? Having said that, I will print several of my top blog posts -- whatever "top" means -- and perhaps comment on them. (It would be too easy to output the postings with the most hits.)

Oh, no: I'm starting to think that maybe the book should simply be an edition of my blog postings. Isn't creativity fun?

Whatever course I chart I'll keep it a surprise... except the tentative title: Barry Smight Speaks - And Won't Shut Up!

Sunday, April 13, 2014


Back in April of 1974 southern Ontario (Canada) was paralyzed by a great big snow storm. The exact day that this giant "pause" button was pressed, I have long forgotten; it may have been the 11th... 14th?

(I remember my neighbour putting away his snowmobile the day before the snows came.)

To a child the event was wonderful. In my case the local one-room schoolhouse -- this is Canada, don't forget -- was closed for two days; mainly because the teachers drove in from miles around.

Yes, yes; bitching about the weather goes way back... to "The Before Time". Life's so terrible.


Last night in NHL action the Toronto Maple Leafs were beaten 1 - 0 by the Ottawa Senators to end the season for the "Buds". (Buds have to bloom, sometimes.)

The Leafs dropped 12 of their last 15 games of the season. Wow. They were mathematically eliminated two games ago from winning a playoff spot, but it was important they end the season to add to the spectacular tally.

Ex NHL player Brendan Shanahan has been named President of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Big deal. As was the case with similar past appointments, this will add up to nothing.

As a friend of mine says, "it's akin to rearranging the Titanic's debris field".

PS: While writing the above I had the radio on: The A&E television series Bates Motel has been picked up for a third season -- speaking of "Dead on Arrival". The excitement is incredible. I'll be sure to start at the beginning and waste my time going through the entire series thus far.

Saturday, April 12, 2014


I know zee-ro about those late night talk shows. So much so, I cannot even name any of them: "The Letterman Show"?

A dramatic opening is best to open with. The fact is I am more than aware of the television red-eye form the way anyone would be; through a cultural osmosis. In the late 1970s and early 1980s I did see minutes of Johnny Carson here and there. I saw this one 'live': "... creeps! You know where to find me, gentlemen." (The studio audience went nuts. Carson was referring to the hot-off-the-presses lawsuit business in the Carol Burnett/Henry Kissinger/National Enquirer affair. The court judge had ruled in favour of Burnett.)

Those are my late-night show notes. The host shufflings between the various big television networks and their respective and, to them, vital, late-night programs are generally lost on me.

Stephen Colbert, as much as his politics are in line with my own, I know mostly through his reputation of playing a raging right-winger and the fact that I watched about five minutes of an episode. The replacement action started when David Letterman (that guy I mentioned in the first paragraph) decided recently to call it quits; Colbert was chosen as the new man to keep that seat warm. (Hmm... "seat" is an apt word, the more I think about it.)

In yesterday's Washington Post, columnist Kathleen Parker, in response by a rant by Rush Limbaugh, writes that American Heartlanders should not fear Stephen Colbert. I would only fear the tedium and vapidity inherent in those late-night yaks. I don't give a toss about the culture of celebrity, so I don't give a rat's-arse if such-and-such is on Colbert tonight.

What a dreary job that must be, hosting a late-night talk show.

Kathleen Parker and her bit in the Washington Post, which has given me more information than I have ever known about Colbert. "It was satire, folks"...

America’s heartland has nothing to fear from Stephen Colbert

Friday, April 11, 2014


This blog is just three months short of celebrating its seventh birthday. Years of knowing me and hearing my opinions and stories on this and that prompted an old friend of mine to suggest I start a blog spot.

The results of my efforts are right here, around, before, and hopefully after, this piece.

Not long after I first filed my first posting, months perhaps, not much later in the grand scheme of things, another friend of mine said something like this...

"You should start thinking about producing a Barry Smight book containing your top postings... It would make great reading while on the John."

The unnecessary imagery aside, plus the dubious props (it's made for the toilet?), I liked the idea, considered it for a few days, going so far as noting my personal fave postings to that point, but then completely forgot about the project.

Now, partly because POD (print on demand) has exploded in the interim and is more than reasonably priced considering what is being produced (a book), I swung back to the concept just yesterday while listening to a podcast on writing.

It is in the works; and now comes the real work....

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


For the eighth time in nine years the Toronto Maple Leafs fail to qualify for the NHL post season -- the Stanley Cup Run.

There are two or three regular-season games left for most teams but the Leafs were "mathematically eliminated" last night: The Columbus Blue Jackets won their game against the Phoenix Coyotes and Toronto was zilched by the Tampa Bay Lightning.

What?... the Habs (Montreal Canadiens) are in the playoffs? Whatever. I've had my excitement; the Habs winning the cup would just be icing on the cake.

The Toronto Star on Leafs reckoning...

Maple Leafs fans outraged, resigned to Toronto missing NHL playoffs again
Twitter reaction to the Leafs missing the playoffs for the eighth time in nine years.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


Here is a bit from Parti Québécois Leader Pauline Marois' post-devastation resignation speech...

"We cannot forget where we come from or who we are... We come from a courageous people. We have to continue perpetuate the will of all of those generations who fought so that we could exist. Not (just) survive, not bend, to exist fully."

Wow. I had not realized that the Grande Madame's part of Quebec was so hard done by....

Monday, April 7, 2014


Quebec Liberal Party Leader Philippe Couillard and his wife Suzanne Pilote.

About thirty minutes ago I checked the Toronto Star website to catch up on the news: Stunning news that the Quebec Liberals crushed the Parti Québécois (and its loudmouth leader, Pauline Marois) in today's provincial election.

Not so stunning, to me, is that while Toronto's three major dailies all give this game-changing news front and center on their respective websites, at the time of this writing, the fourth-rate Toronto Sun has the bit half way down the page and in a small flash. I guess it pains them to admit that a Liberal party of any kind can clean-up.

The real news, from the Toronto Star...

Quebec Liberals win upset over Parti Québécois
Phillippe Couillard’s Quebec Liberals have won a stunning election upset, trouncing the Parti Québécois to win a majority government.


Two guys walk into a bar. They sit right at the bar proper in front of the big screen television to watch a football match of note. The subject, other than what is happening on the view-screen in front of them, beyond their pints of beer, is the state of film and television in Toronto. The business has really changed, especially for my mate and former coworker who works in post-production here in the city. The technology is scary; how it is redefining job positions -- often dissolving what used to be job positions -- and general reconfiguring the way 'we' do things.

Since my buddy and I go back more than a few years now we talked about something that has come up in the past more than a few times. The original Star Trek television series. The discussion was fairly brief but focused on the visual effects redos done via digital imaging: CGI. To be honest I've never had a problem with the replacements -- whatever turns one on -- but, the few times I have watched the 'new' show, it is the "popping out of the viewing experience" and feeling that I'm watching a live-action show inter-cut with clips from a computer game, that does not impress me... or my technical friend: "The CG isn't even particularly good."

As I staggered home from that bar on College Street last week, I got thinking; remembering: Years ago I read a magazine article recounting an exhibition featuring the original U.S.S. Enterprise studio model. In April of 1972, three years after Star Trek was terminated by NBC, the "eleven-footer" (actually 134 inches) was put on display at Golden West College, in Huntington Beach, California. The magazine profiling the model's profiling had a few pictures from the event. One showed a snaking lineup of folk waiting to get their glimpse. What made an impression on me when I saw that photograph was the vast age range in the visitors; from children right up to seniors.

The event was organized by Craig O. Thompson, whom had worked as an "office manager" in post-production on Star Trek, and in 1971 became staff at Golden West College; which is how he was able to 'swing' borrowing the studio prop and display it at the school.

That fictitious space vessel, the original, is my favourite, bar none.


Have a flash-back: here

And another: here

Get drunk: here

Sunday, April 6, 2014


A friend of mine called me last evening; we talked about movies this and that. He recommended a terrific short called Swingin' in the Painter's Room, then sent me the link to Youtube.

I am doing the same in kind to my valued readers. The flick is a one-continuous-shot wonder; photographed from the "arch" for the most part but it all works, and with good humour.

SHORT - Swingin in the Painter's Room

Saturday, April 5, 2014


Terry Nation is well known in these geek parts because he, along with ace BBC designer Raymond Cusick, created Doctor Who's evil Daleks.

His affiliation with telefantasy did not stop there. In 1974 he created Survivors, a post- (you know what's coming, don't you?) -apocalyptic story set in 1970s Great Britain. And in the mid 'seventies Nation initiated the outer space series Blake's 7. It was during a BBC meeting in 1975 that he was asked about any ideas he had for a new series. According to Nation he blurted out "Blake's 7", without consideration. He claimed that he didn't know where the title came from... it just happened. It sounds believable.

Back on March 18th I posted a bit on Blake's actor Paul Darrow (here); he was interviewed on San Jose, California, PBS station KTEH in 1987 where he explains his characterization of "Avon". Here is another video from KTEH that was taped that same year: This time around the guest is Terry Nation; he explains his reasoning on and for Blake's 7. To borrow a line from another fabulous SF television series, "Fascinating!"

Terry Nation (Doctor Who Blake's 7) Interview KTEH Part 1

Terry Nation (Doctor Who Blake's 7) Interview KTEH Part 2


Last night I tried to watch Martin Scorsese's 2010 film, Shutter Island. Two unfortunate problems, however: I could not make it past the 77-minute mark ("There's an hour to go?!"); and, as blissfully opinionated as I can be, and a raging bull, I admit I don't have any fight in me right now to say anything more than this: "What a boring piece of 'nonsense'! (But, as always, Leonardo DiCaprio is very good.)"

Have a nice weekend, folks. May your daily adventures be more interesting than any typically lousy feature film.

As a friend of mine says, "(feature) film is the weakest of all the arts". He's right. Hopefully I'll continue to find better things to do than frittering away time watching movies.

Friday, April 4, 2014


George W. Bush is someone to despise. His illegal actions were responsible for the deaths of thousands of people. He should probably be in prison. He'd have lots of time to paint while incarcerated.

It was this morning, while reading the Washington Post, that I became aware that the former mercenary has portrait painting in his blood. Bush's artwork on Stephen Harper is effective in that it shows the Canadian Prime Minister for what he is: Nothing at all.

My favourite Bush portraiture of Imperious World Leaders is the one he did of Vladimir Putin. This masterwork, of sorts, seemingly nails Russia's dynamic President. There is something about the eyes, and the facial expression. Does it say, "there's more to me than you think"?

As for Bush's other paintings, well, it's hard for me to decide whether I like them or not. Not that it matters; art criticism is scary.


A few weeks ago I watched, for the first time ever, the original Lethal Weapon movie (shoot back here), and while the box-office winner was well-directed by Richard Donner and played with chemistry by Mel Gibson and Danny Glover, I did not come away thinking "why didn't I see it when it came out?" All those years wasted not having a Lethal Weapon flick in my life... Why?

There are such things as straightforward leave-your-brain-at-the-door movie experiences -- I'm the first to say that -- but as I get older and wiser, I hope, I am more conscious of "waste": Time (hello, certain people), money, and film/digital-storage.

It gets worse: Last week I sat down with a friend to watch Lethal Weapon 2. While I cannot claim the experience was without merit, I did keep laughing, after all, my philosophical logic came back to tickle me. My feelings about the issue are not air-tight, arguments such as these cannot ("aha!... you're contradicting yourself"), it's just that I enjoy subjecting my theories to what Stephen Fry might call "philosophical fun".

Lethal Weapon 2 is very predictable, even by its own standards, or template. The instigation for my laughter was me appreciating my own brilliance at predicting what was next around the corner, plot-wise. As Hugh Laurie might say, while taking-in a screening of this film, "bloody ridiculous!" (In all fairness the Lethal Weapon films have been remade many times over the years.)

The homages to everything from The Three Stooges to Stanley Kubrick were cute but hardly analogous to this kind of film. What are the filmmakers saying other than, "ain't we clever... mate?" Warner Brothers! I get it, now.

The action is to be expected. Cars, people, guns, film-editing. The essential film crafts, I say. The jeopardy, while straightforward enough, is let down by idiotic logic: Helicopters, which are overused here and in the LW pilot film, fly in from the sea (again!) as whirlybird staff members discharge their forever-fire automatic weapons into Gibson's seaside abode, causing neither scratch nor consequence of any important kind; other than to illustrate "Cool Action Sequence B-9" and to convince the moviegoer that human flesh need not worry about direct projectile impact nor million-splinter-side-effects. As Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie might be prone to say: "Complete Rubbish!"

What characterizations there are exist merely to tinsel the knotted plot. Gibson, Glover, and Joe Pesci partake in a game of "catch" as stuntman union business happens around them, and often to them, but changing nothing of impetus. Fate as consequence.

The people who write these films -- in fact, in typical Hollywood fashion, their project initiations are generally overwritten (read: rewritten) to the point of being unrecognizable -- collect their paydays and move on. Like this viewer.

Mel Gibson, sorry, "Martin Riggs", did not die at the end. Of course not. Why punch a hole in the box office?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


Hard as it may seem to believe given my somewhat odd and "out there" personality I have never pulled an April Fools prank; this includes my regular life, not just this blog. As a matter of fact, I have no memory of having done even one of the basic live "just kidding" model.

Yesterday I decided, on an early morning whim, to change all that and write something inauthentic. (Okay, smarty, you know what I mean. Don't get technical on me.)

From April 1st, 2014...

It goes without saying that people who know me can claim with certainty that they knew the above posting was manufactured in the spirit of that day. Their experiences and familiarity with me enable them to see right through my "nonsense" and to readily anticipate my next volley of verbal diarrhoea. It's not as though I can stop talking for more than a few hours at a time. Oh, here comes another....


... and worse, the Toronto Sun thinks it's funny enough to print. I'm not suggesting the idea encapsulated in the drawing is devoid of intrinsic humour, but the joke is a chuckle at best -- already cracked at street level. And a Crayon job in a marginal newspaper does not help any inherent lack of import. (Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared with 239 souls aboard back on March 8th.)

I love the Toronto Sun and its Simpleton Faithful.

Oh... I'm back!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


Dear, dear Faithful Readers,

My life has gotten busy, especially considering my own low standards. Distractions come in the form of personal projects and a demanding freelance work schedule combined with regular job hunting. In simple terms I'm not so sure I can continue with this blog. The first inclination was to scale back my postings, but after some deliberation I've decided that better to archive what I have written since the summer of 2007 than to promise postings that might never come.

Over the years I have received much support, and kudos; the most common noting appreciation for my `temperament`. It became obvious to me that some people enjoy my feisty postings over the neutral ones -- I won`t argue with that. P & V comes more naturally to me than do even-handedness and placidity.

Please believe me when I say that this decision was made with much regret.

It was a slice!

Best Wishes,

Barry F. Smight


How can a big Kraftwerk fan such as myself have no idea that they were at the Sony Centre in Toronto this past weekend? On Sunday evening while I took a ten minute break I scanned the news headlines and saw this...

Kraftwerk delights the faithful at Sony Centre
If this is Kraftwerk’s final live hurrah in Toronto, they’ve left on a triumphant note.

The headline was enough to depress me -- simply because one certain "faithful" was not there -- but when I read the point about this concert being the sterne band's "final live hurrah in Toronto", well, Napoleon never knew such disappointment.

A quick remedy was to pop out my Kraftwerk albums and give them a spin!

"Neon Lights", indeed!

It`s a good thing I do not live in Deutschland: The "Autobahn" would have been too tempting....