Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Leaving a Message

Many years ago my roommate at the time and I decided to have some fun: we recorded a message for answering machine which could be best described as "daring".

Dave had a four-track audio recorder; it used cassette tape, the kind of tape used as the 'outgoing' message on my Panasonic answering machine. Inspiration hit the two of us fast and hard. We wrote the script quickly and prepared to record the message. In my music collection I have a CD titled "Hollywood's Greatest Hits". On one track Dave and I laid down Elmer Bernstein's theme from the 1956 opus The Ten Commandments, specifically, the pastoral passage right after the bombast proper -- the background music we hear playing under the voice of God.

Next: Dave's recording of the voice of God. His voice was better than my nasally own for this important document. After we had the two tracks down it was a matter of giving the commanding orator some reverb. (A dry voice track would inspire no one, no matter how persuasive the text.)

We were very happy with our effort.

As the British would say, "the show went out".

The reaction was much greater than what we were expecting. Callers who got the outgoing message thought it was very funny, hilarious. What happened was the word quickly got around about our answering machine commandments. People would call just to hear the message, and since Dave and I were busy guys, chances were that callers would get the machine.

A mutual friend went into hysterics when we gave him a live playback, but after he regained his composure, he told us his concern that some folk might not find our commandments humorous.

After some time Dave and I pulled the work. Unfortunately it's gone; we know not where.

Here is a reasonable facsimile:

"Luuuke. I mean....Mosesss. Thou shalt leave a message at the tone. Leave thy name and numberrr... (at this point Dave's voice speeds into a 'Maxwell Smart') ... And when I get a chance, I'll call you back!"

Tuesday, March 20, 2018


Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Doug Ford is looking to take the big prize come election time (on June 7th) -- if current polls are predictive.

I'm not against a change of government in the great Canadian province of Ontario, but....

Here we go: A government built of slogans; just what this large and complicated province needs.

* "The taxpayers of Ontario!"
* "Lower taxes!"
* "Stop the gravy train!"

... and possibly my favourite:

"Make this province great again!"

Monday, March 19, 2018

Hail Cesare!

Lee was a character. He still may be; I lost contact with him a few years ago. "Irreverent" is a word Lee would have called into being if it had not already existed.

One day over beers in the local pub Lee and I shot the breeze about our sports backgrounds. As we sat on our stools at the bar I told Lee that I had been a teenage hockey goaltender. He asked who I fancied myself to be when I stood between the pipes all those years ago. A young ice hockey player "pretending" to be one of his or her idols from the big leagues is natural, almost expected. (For me it was more a pre-teen road hockey thing.)

"Cesare Maniago."

Lee emitted his trademarked laugh, and said, somewhat mockingly: "You must have been a s**t goalie!"

I was not an "inadequate" puck-stop but that unimportant fact did not stop me from drooling a mouthful of beer down my shirt and onto my lap.

Origin: Latin. in 'not' + reverent 'revering'.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Meanwhile, Down at the Legion....

Toronto Maple Leafs vs The Legion of the Winged Serpent.

Face-Off and Starship Invasions, two top-ten Canadian films, have something in common: teams sporting uniforms. In the former, the "Toronto Maple Leafs"; and in the latter, the "Legion of the Winged Serpent".

There is another commonality: pyramids. While the Leafs under coach Red Kelly hoped "Pyramid Power" would give them something extra, to no avail, the Legion neutralized the pyramid, vaulting them to some success.

The Leafs are playing well right now, but the Legion (the Boston Bruins?) will zap them from the playoffs.

Now that I think about it, "Toronto Maple Leafs vs The Legion of the Winged Serpent" sounds like an old Republic serial.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Guy Maddin on Liberation

"It's so liberating to be self-destructive, at times!"

It may remind one where the walls are, sometimes.

Friday, March 16, 2018

A List of CV Things: Newest "Simon St. Laurent"

So you, the reader, know what it is you're getting into when you come here, I thought it was time I post my latest CV. And here it is, in "dust jacket bio" point form:

hospital photographer (public relations, general, haematology, surgery)
hospital A/V tech (live streaming, teleconferencing)
brewery worker (Molson Brewery: line and maintenance)
factory/warehouse worker
lighting cameraman (short film, music video, video production)
television studio camera operator
designer (feature film, television commercial, short film, web-series, exhibit)
optical camera operator (feature film, television film, television series)
set construction & prop building (feature film, TV commercial, independent production)
writer (print, short film, video production)
consultant (television commercial, 'process' screen, historical aviation screenplay)
researcher (film/television history, aviation, Soviet space program, general history, etc.)
producer / director (independent film & video production)
film programmer (Toronto Public Library)
* manager (self-storage; video duplication)
projectionist (film, digital; T.I.F.F.)
film festival technical director (R.P.F.F.)
instructor (film & video production; L.I.F.T.)
video tech (duplication, film-to-tape transfer)
web design
archivist (film/television)
baseball umpire (Ontario Baseball Association)
* ice hockey player - forward & goaltender (B.B.M.H.A.)
ice hockey coach - Bantam (Knights of Columbus)
football (soccer) player (B.B.M.S.A.)
siding installer & general construction
* sales agent / customer service

It's Friday? Again?!

We just had one. This insanity must stop!

A friend of mine is a particle physicist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. I will try to arrange an interview with him. I need answers.

Check back here soon....which will be here soon enough!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Honest Ed's Stomping Ground

Honest Ed's Sat Here

Soon to sprout up from the other side of this wall: something ugly.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

A Quote by Brit Psychologist Adam Phillips

"The sane adult is always smuggling his childhood into the future, refashioning his childhood pleasures as legitimate adult interests."

That explains a few things.

Email Fragment: Food for Thought

"Yeah, why does life get more complicated as one gets older? When we were children/teens we looked forward to the freedom of adulthood."

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Almost Great Movies

A recent discussion with a Toronto-based editor friend of mine about Steven Spielberg's 1977 science fiction epicish Close Encounters of the Third Kind got me reading up on the film. It's held in high regard today; generally. I have not seen it in many years: I was there when it hit theatres here in Ontario, Canada, but I was coolish to the picture -- a little disappointed. When "CE3K" premiered on television I found it interesting enough in that included were scenes not seen in the original release, but, again, I felt it to be good but not great.

For me there are more than a few almost-great feature films. The list could be huge, but I'm talking here of American mainstream films frequently held high. There are more titles, but this is a good start:

Apocalypse Now
Blade Runner
From Here to Eternity
Saving Private Ryan
Hot Rods to Hell

Monday, March 12, 2018

Robert Altman on Going to the Movies

"If you're not gonna pay attention, you're not gonna get it, so you might as well leave."

Most "tent-pole" movies today require little attention. Watch and leave.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

... Yes, We Are Back and We're Badder Than Ever

The return of Canada Geese in Toronto, Canada. Our population just went up.

Me on Filmmaking

"You can do anything you want to do."

Or, as Jim Jarmusch states and explains so eloquently:

"If anyone tells you there is only one way to make cinema, their way, get away from those fuckers as soon as possible."

Saturday, March 10, 2018

They're Back! (Canada Bastards Return to Toronto)

Better known as Canada Geese in Toronto.

Joseph Heller on Writing

"Every writer I know has trouble writing."

For some the affliction is so great they can't find anything to write about.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Jean-Luc Godard on Making a Movie

"All you need to make a movie is a girl and a gun."

And nerves made of gunmetal.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Time For Me to Give Twin Peaks a Try?

Of course I remember when David Lynch's Twin Peaks first ran. (1990 all the way to 1991.) Of course I ignored it. I don't need no television pap to take me away from important things, like: Reading, writing, and knowledge.

An old cinematic buddy of mine has long recommended I give Peaks a try. He raves about the original series, and now, its latest incarnation. Last night, over beers with another friend, I decided the time is now. Soon. She's going through the series and has nice things to say about it, even though, like me, she's not a big TV person. (Smart lady.)

Before I jump into Twin Peaks, I must ask this question: Do I have to watch the episodes in order?

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Too Busy to Watch Just Two Movies? One?

I know I'm not alone in experiencing something like this. Last week I borrowed two DVDs and still have not watched them. For the dramatic purposes of this story, even better: I have to return them tomorrow.

The works of Messrs Tsai and Rivette I will revisit soon.

I must make time for Mr Green, however: The Snorkel (1958). No, it's not a film about a submerged U-boat running its diesel engines; it's a thriller from the fantastic Hammer Film Productions. A film that impressed me very much when I first watched it in my early teens. Great ending!

Will it stand up after all these years? A few days ago I rewatched the fine 1987 documentary film, Hammer: The Studio That Dripped Blood. I'm sure The Snorkel will be half decent, at the very least.

What? Creatures the World Forgot (1971)? I don't know you. But I am familiar with Mr Chaffey. It should be fun.