Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Donald Trump is Obsessed With Canada

U.S. president Donald J. Trump is now accusing Canadians, all Canadians, no doubt, of tripping down south, buying shoes and wearing them back in order to avoid the huge "tariffs". I saw the news vid of him ranting about the issue. He's positively obsessed with this country and its lowly inhabitants.

He'll really freak when this news gets out:

Canadians are venturing down to the States to buy underwear off all kinds. When they get back to the home country they execute a sneaky little wardrobe change; what had been worn in the usual position to pass customs is methodically moved: The underwear is now worn on the outside.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Marijuana Legalization Bill C-45 Passes Senate Vote

An important vote happened in Ottawa, Canada, just minutes ago:

The Senate has voted 52 to 29 in favour of accepting the federal Liberal's push to legalize marijuana.

Bill C-45 now needs royal assent before it can be passed into law. Expected time frame: about two to three months.

Align your bongs....

Monday, June 18, 2018

Space Force: From the Files of Donald J. Trump

U.S. president Donald J. Trump announced today that he wants to build a sixth branch of the United States Armed Forces. He calls it "Space Force". (No doubt he wants an exclamation mark as part of the name. "Space Force!")

Exclamation mark or not it sounds an awful lot to me like an old ZIV television program.

Space Force

Television Production

... A touch of procedurals such as Highway Patrol and Sea Hunt combined with the rocketship excitement of Men Into Space.

"Stories of the American men and women who face unknown enemy interstellar forces -- drawn from the top secret (but available on Twitter) files of Donald J. Trump!"

Back to Earth:

United States Space Force

the U.S.S.F.

Wait a minute....that won't fly.

Re Admitting My Secret Football Fan Past

With England scheduled to play Tunisia today in 2018 World Cup football action, I felt it time to re-admit something.

In February of 2016 I came clean regarding my 'misplaced' support....

An Admission 46 Years Later (Emotional Football)

Something has been bugging me lately: I've been prone to tossing and turning at two or three o'clock in the morning, unable to sleep, because I did a certain "bad" almost forty-six years ago.

In June of 1970 my family and I were visiting relatives in Bristol, UK; that month the 1970 FIFA World Cup was being played, or rather, resolved, in Mexico. On the 14th of June, England matched with West Germany as part of the quarter-finals round and I watched this contest on television, live and in colour, with my British cousins. (This was just the year after the Beeb switched to colour broadcasting). All is fine in my admissions thus far.

The problems start now: I was rooting for West Germany. Needless to say, appreciating the Brits' pride for their national football team, I kept my cheers a private matter. Even at such a young age I was hyper-aware that in the interest of self preservation it would be prudent of me to keep any elation to myself: I was contained in a room with British supporters; off-side behaviour of any colour could be bloody dangerous!

West Germany went on to win the match by a score of 3-2 and I was a happy young man.

Shortly after returning to West Germany, a German might have asked me: "Schadenfreude?"

"Me? No. For a reason of which I am not aware, known only to the recesses of my still-developing brain, I chose to support the Germans."

"Du bist ein guter Deutscher."


Knowing the English football fans' predilection for being unwilling or unable to let certain histories "go", and having more than a few British relatives of my own, I decided to withhold this sensitive bit from my past. Only now am I able to come to terms with my Yellow Card.

I doubt – hope – they'll ever stumble upon this posting.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

2018 World Cup Action on CTV Today

At this moment: Costa Rica vs. Serbia. (The match is lacking a spark; thus far.)

The most important match of the day, for me, is Germany vs. Mexico. That one plays out starting at 11:00am, my time.

And at 2:00pm, Brazil vs. Switzerland. While clearly the underdogs, the Swiss squad will probably come out kicking.

Post Note: It's so nice watching a World Cup match and not having to listen to those infernal giant bees.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Imagine a Professional Ice Hockey Team in Toronto

The Toronto Marlies of the AHL (American Hockey League) won the 2018 Calder Cup playoffs two nights ago. It was their first Calder Cup hoist. They won four games to the Texas Stars' three.

The Toronto Maple Leafs
continue to sputter and spin

without a Stanley Cup win;
not since 1967.

The Marlies are a Toronto-based professional ice hockey team. Congrats to them on their great victory, and for showing the lowly Leafs how it's done.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Twin Peaks - Watched Five Episodes

It's not grabbing me. While David Lynch's 1990 - 1991 television series Twin Peaks is held in high regard by some, including a friend of mine, it has all but lost me. It happened suddenly: episode four was my favourite; after I knocked off the fifth one I realized I was watching a soap opera. (This began to happen during the fourth episode, but I let it go.) Also, the atmosphere is beginning to wear thin. And the background music is starting to annoy me.

Who killed Laura Palmer? Do I care enough to finish all 30 episodes?

Admission: I've never been big on murder mysteries. I've never read an Agatha Christie novel, for instance. (Cut to the chase: Colonel Green did it with the hand-phaser on the bridge.)

I'm well aware it's the journey that matters; and there are some interesting characters that inhabit the town of Twin Peaks. Character is the most important part to me; which is why I like Richard Linklater's films, for instance.

I will stick with Twin Peaks. Give it a fair shake.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

FIFA World Cup Will Come to the Northern Americas

An announcement was made at FIFA's 68th Congress in Moscow: A joint win by the United States of America, Canada, and Mexico to host the 2026 World Cup.

It looks as though Toronto, my town, might get four matches out of the eighty in total. (It's no surprise that the U.S. will get to host the bulk: sixty.)

BMO Field will be my destination in the summer of 2026. (The stadium will probably be renamed by that time; to something like, "Toronto Sun Stadium".)

Football rocks!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

You Know You're Getting Older When....

... you don safety goggles and a filter mask -- in order to do some machining -- for about ten minutes, and forty-five minutes after you finish, the indentations from the elastic bands are still showing on your face.

Monday, June 11, 2018

2018 FIFA World Cup Not On the CBC

Imagine this football fan, one without 'cable', finding out on the weekend that the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) will not be presenting the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

The CTV Television Network will instead carry a few matches over-the-air; but, their dedicated sports channel, TSN, will take over from that point.

No, as much as I'm a fan of football, real football, I'm not going to call-up a cable service to watch the World Cup. After all, after the games are finished, TSN would go unwatched, and my cable left to decay. Until 2022.

No doubt these matches will be streamed online for free.

Go, Germany!

Bumping Into Journalism

Yesterday I bumped into an acquaintance who is a trained journalist. I had to ask him: "How do you feel about the (Ontario provincial) election result?"

"(Ford's) stupid! And he's mean."

That is not news to some people.

We Ontarians live in interesting times. And we will monitor Doug Ford's moves with great interest.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Ant Action on Toronto Sidewalk?

At first I thought it was a big ant action scene; then I realized it's a drone's view of Doug Ford's swearing-in ceremony to be held on June the 29th.

"There were two million people at Queen's Park."

Friday, June 8, 2018

The Common Excuse is: All Politicians Are Bad

Today I had news-radio on as I worked: it was important that I hear the fallout from yesterday's Ontario provincial election.

People were asked via "streeters" if they voted, and if they did not, why not. I heard the old excuse: It wouldn't make a difference, anyway; they're all corrupt/useless/bad.

A few years ago I read Toronto-based author Nino Ricci's absorbing biography Pierre Elliott Trudeau. Trudeau Sr thought Ottawa (Canada's capital city) was staffed with useless and corrupt politicians and had no use for that town....until he began to work there in a minor capacity. He realized then that there were in fact a lot of good people trying to make a difference.

Ditto: London; Paris; Berlin; Washington, D.C.; and on....

Ontarians Have Voted for Change

Doug Ford and his Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario have been picked to helm this great province for the next four years.

While The Man of Slogans was not my first pick for the premiership, he has been given a mandate of "majority". Hopefully his more experienced party members will help him build a knowledge base as to how our system works. (How does a bill become a law?)

Mr Ford now has to grant interviews and reveal how he's going to pay for his slogans.

His late brother Rob would say "the voter is never wrong". (The "voter" has sent the Ontario Liberal Party to the dry dock.)

Congratulations too to the Washington Capitals: I just heard they won the Stanley Cup last night.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming....

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Ontario General Election - 2018

Today's the day: Citizens of voting age here in Ontario, Canada, get to pick a new premier.

Kathleen Wynne (Ontario Liberal Party, and sitting premier)
Mike Schreiner (Green Party of Ontario)
Doug Ford (Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario)
Andrea Horwath (Ontario New Democratic Party)

Voter turnout in the last Ontario general election (2014) was estimated to have been 52.1 percent. Let's see if we can beat that stellar example.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Remembering Don Shebib on The Edison Twins

On May the 10th of last year I wrote about wanting a cable channel dedicated to Canadian films and television programs. In the piece I talked of a conversation I had with an old friend which involved quizzing one another on what Canadian films we've seen.

The name of Don Shebib came up. He was the director of Goin' Down the Road, one of the greatest films ever made in this great country.

Back in the summer of 1985 I was an extra in an episode of The Edison Twins, which was a fine youth-aimed half-hour television series produced here in Toronto. The episode, I looked it up, was called "The Fix" and it was directed by Mr. Shebib. That summer I had read a book on the filmmaker written by one Piers Handling, now the director of the Toronto International Film Festival. Shebib guided the cast and guest cast in a 'big scene': A high school basketball game; many extras were needed to fill out the school gym's bleachers. Of course I watched Shebib to see how he moved about and interacted with the actors. (The assistant directors were the production people who marshalled all us "background".)

The location was a high school -- the name of which I've long forgotten -- on Albemarle Avenue here in Toronto. A bonus for me was one of the guest actors was Reiner Schwartz. I was a bit of a fan: he had been the host of an outstanding OECA (Ontario Educational Communications Authority) series called Media 77 (1977 - 1978).

I can't remember ever seeing the completed episode. No doubt I stand right out.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

My Major Post from May 2017

While searching for something on my blog today I came across a post I wrote on May 15th of last year.

Something about Film is my Minor; my Major is:

I had an interesting discussion recently with an old friend. He loves movies. So do I. But after chatting back and forth, some 'technical' issues regarding formats and screen ratios, I realized that while I love films ("movies", if you prefer) I don't obsess over them. They're just movies, after all. That's all.

There are more important and more interesting things in the world.

For me:

Ships and Shipping (not Shops and Shopping)
Fine Art
Cats (animals in general)
Ice Hockey (not the NHL)
Football (not Gridiron Football)
Space Flight (especially that of the Soviet Union)
Reading (funny how this gets lost in our movies and television world)
Humour (it's out there and hopefully it's takin' over)

I must be missing something.

Tom Swift and His Analytical Machine

"It's a plan driven by radical NDP activists."

- Doug Ford's take on the platform of the Ontario New Democratic Party.

An interesting observation, I think, from a man who has not released a costed election campaign platform. The election is in two days. Don't tell his Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario.

'Radical activists'? What, like the kind that don't release a plan?

Monday, June 4, 2018

The French Like Jerry Lewis and Science Fiction TV

Living two kilometers from the French border allowed me to see a series of television contrasts. In then 'West' Germany back in the late 1960s and early 1970s there were two German television networks, ZDF and ARD. The rabbit ears also brought in two French networks: four channels in all on our German-made black and white television set.

I remember watching Daktari on German television, along with a mix of other programming. However, French tastes, I'm assuming, allowed me to watch the following science fiction and fantasy dramatic shows:

Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
(A childhood favourite....and back in Canada, too; cool submarine and great theme tune.)

The Invaders
(My friends and I would make a game of "The Invaders". We'd do the crooked pinky.)

The Prisoner
(I looked forward to this one every week: the "Rovers" scared me, in a good way.)

... All of the above because I watched a documentary last evening on The Prisoner. (Brilliant series; one of the best ever.)

As for the "Jerry Lewis" part of the title: I haven't seen The Geisha Boy in many years. (Maybe it's time again.)

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Shut Off and Say Something

Shane Koyczan is a Canadian spoken word artist. My introduction to his work happened last evening when I watched Shut Up And Say Something, a 2017 documentary from filmmakers Stuart Gillies and Melanie Wood.

I've been accused of being a cold fish (yeah, I know, I get it, you're in pain; aren't we all?....we're human, right?) but my cellophane bubble was burst by Mr Koyczan's poetic and passionate readings. His tumultuous experiences growing up give him so much to say. And leaves me with the realization that my background hasn't been so bad, after all. (But complain I will, still.)

What impressed me every bit as much as his honesty was his flawless delivery. I can't even remember two consecutive lines, or stanzas. I'd need a teleprompter.

The documentary reveals his life behind the scenes: conflict, emptiness, and frustration -- all crucial to his success as an artist. Koyczan is loaded with self doubt even when it's clear he commands a given talent. Several times we see people coming up to him on the street and gushing.

Something occurred to me after the end credits rolled on Shut Up: there was no discussion about Koyczan having a "significant other" -- or the issue of an other. My good friend Jean-Denis Rouette cut the picture (and cut it well). I should ask him if such material was shot but left on the cutting room floor.

Watching Shut Up And Say Something was sobering, but uplifting: For all my small-potato problems, I know I'm not alone.