Wednesday, November 29, 2006

1,032: RED SKIES AT NIGHT, SHERATON'S DELIGHT

The Towering Sheraton
Which of the following statements about the picture above is true?

1) The Sheraton Centre is being used for exterior shots for a made-for-TV remake of The Towering Inferno.

2) A portal to the netherworld was opened by somebody fooling around with black magic in a 13th floor room.

3) The sun is going supernova.

4) The combination of fog, street lights, red spotlights on City Hall and no camera flash produced this effect. - JB

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

1,031: VINTAGE SATURDAY NIGHT AD OF THE DAY

Vintage Ad #87 - City TV, Channel 79 Cable 7
Another break from the vintage CBC ads this week for a peek at how CITY-TV advertised itself in the late 70s. Little flash or uber-hipness here, just strong lettering and increasing shades of grey.

On air for five years when this ad appeared, CITY had upped its signal the year before, when the CN Tower went into service. Note that the station was way up the dial at channel 79, where it stayed until 1983. The station had a mixed ownership, including Moses Znaimer - CHUM wouldn't buy its first stake until the following year and wouldn't gain full control of the station until 1981.

Brian Linehan's City Lights enjoyed a healthy run on the station and in syndication (1973-89). Known for digging deep into the background of those he interviewed, he was later parodied by Martin Short as "Brock Linehan" on SCTV. Linehan's 2004 obituary from the Globe and Mail.

Another CITY regular spoofed on SCTV was Morton Shulman, whose life included stints as Toronto's chief coroner in the 60s, a provincial MPP (High Park, 1971-75), talk show host (The Shulman File, 1977-82) and financial adviser. His controversial methods as a coroner inspired the 60s CBC drama Wojeck.

On the information end, CityPulse launched in '77. Looking at the current CITY bios page, longtime anchor Gord Martineau joined the station that year, with Anne Mroczkowski and JoJo Chintoh coming aboard the following year.

While nothing resembling a "Baby Blue" movie is mentioned among the station's upcoming flicks, there are a few whose content wouldn't have made it onto network TV unless they were heavily chopped (I'm looking at you, Straw Dogs).

Source: Saturday Night, April 1977 - JB

Monday, November 27, 2006

1,030: CACTUS AND SNO-CONES

Heavy Duty Sno-Cone Making (1)
My new kitchen was given its baptism of fire Saturday night, when I invited friends over for dinner. There literally was fire at one point, as some smoking tuna cakes proved my smoke detector is fully functional.

While ringing in the new, one old item finally saw use after sitting around for five years. I've had a sno-cone maker sitting around that has always been forgotten about at the last minute when friends are over. Since it was visible among a stack of unpacked boxes, somebody had the bright idea to finally use it.

Heavy-Duty Sno-Cone Making (2)
Turns out it still worked. It took two people to keep the maker steady, but a steady stream of glasses full of snowy, syrupy goodness emerged.

***

Discovered another successful recipe from the Anness cookbook series (Mexican volume), "Pork with Green Sauce and Cactus"...except that I used chicken.

If you've never eaten cactus, aka nopalitos, the easiest way to describe it is like a softer, slightly fruitier green pepper. First tried nopalitos with shrimp at a restaurant in Detroit and I often buy jars whenever I'm in Motown. In Toronto, look for jars in Latin American groceries or any No Frills with a larger-than-normal Mexican food section.

So, here's my adaptation of the recipe. Main changes: chicken breast instead of boneless pork shoulder, fresh oregano instead of dried (snip a few leaves) and canned green salsa instead of canned tomatillos (if using the latter, use two cups). Unfortunately, I didn't take a picture of the dish.

INGREDIENTS:
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1-1/4 lbs chicken breast, cubed (I used closer to 2 lbs)
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp dried oregano
3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
2 small cans of green salsa/salsa verde
2/3 cup vegetable stock
11 oz jar nopalitos (cactus), drained
salt and pepper

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the chicken cubes and cook over high heat, turning several times, until browned all over. Add the onion and garlic and saute gently until soft, then stir in the oregano and chopped jalapenos. Cook for 2 more minutes.

2. Pour the green salsa and vegetable stock directly into the pan. Cover and cook for 30 minutes.

(Note: If using canned tomatillos, place in a blender, add vegetable stock and process until smooth, then add to the chicken)

3. Meanwhile, soak the nopalitos in cold water for 10 minutes. Drain, then add to the pork and continue cooking for 10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and tender.

4,. Season the mixture with salt and pepper.

Option: serve with warm corn tortillas. - JB
1,029: THIS NEWSPAPER WILL EXPLODE IN 10 SECONDS

Do Not Touch My Newspaper!
Now here's something I've never seen before...

The Sunday New York Times made its debut at the new digs this weekend, with a red sticker on the bag. This sticker provided a dire warning to whoever might want to snatch my afternoon reading. Anyone have statistics on the conviction rate for people pilfering their neighbour's papers?

There were times I could have used a notice like this at my old place, especially one month several years ago where the person housesitting the apartment above me ensured that my morning Globe and Mail made it into my hands 50% of the time, often appearing pre-read (it took several reminders before they left the paper alone). - JB

Friday, November 24, 2006

1,028: VINTAGE TORONTO LIFE AD OF THE DAY

Vintage Ad #86 - It Takes All Kinds to Park at the Don Mills Centre

Don Mills Centre was a pioneer, as one of the first large suburban shopping plazas in Toronto. It formed the core of the postwar Don Mills development, in an area originally earmarked for a brewery. Note how the ad touts the ideals of wide spaces and free parking. Judging from the drawing, VW Beetles did not qualify for the luxury of a roomy spot to park. As for the free parking, I'm sure this would have pleased types like a landlord I had in university who railed against the evils of paying for a spot to leave the car.

I dimly remember shopping there a few times as a kid during visits to my grandparents in Leaside (most of our suburban shopping trips were to Yorkdale or Scarborough Town Centre). The only thing that sticks out in my mind are the fountain and the Druxy's sign (don't know why).

The centre is currently being redeveloped, with most of the mall now demolished to make way for an open-air "lifestyle centre". Spacing Votes story on the controversies behind the redevelopment.

Official history of the Don Mills Centre. Highlights:

1954 - Construction begins. Opens the following year as an outdoor plaza with Dominion, Koffler's (the forerunner of Shoppers Drug Mart) and Brewers Retail among its tenants.

1961 - Eaton's joins the exodus to the burbs, opening its first suburban store.

1965 - Zellers opens, plaza contains 65 tenants. No idea when this departed, or where it would have been in the centre (if it survived the overhaul in '78, I'm going to guess it was where Home Hardware eventually located).

1978 - Plaza becomes an enclosed mall, expands to 120 tenants.

1999 - Eaton's closes. A Sears Outlet briefly followed, then several other retailers
in the old department store space.

2006 - Demolition begins.

Source: Toronto Life, December 1968 - JB

Thursday, November 23, 2006

1,027: THURSDAY TIDBITS

Weird thing about my new morning walk to work: the trip takes ten minutes longer than the trek from the bunker, but feels the same or shorter. More distractions on Eglinton?

***

In between the final cleanup sessions at the bunker over the weekend, I snuck away for Maria's birthday celebration.

Gettin' Ready To Blow Out The Candles Arm Au Gratin
Among the treats: chicken wings (with a nice, fiery sauce), birthday cake and severed limbs.

***

New disgusting Jones Soda flavours to celebrate the holidays: Green Pea, Dinner Roll and Antacid (complete with medicinal cup). Can Glazed Ham or Mixed Leftovers be far behind? An Iowa newspaper dared to drink this year's batch. - JB

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

1,026: A NOT-SO-LONG GOODBYE

M*A*S*H. McCabe & Mrs. Miller. Nashville. The Player. Short Cuts. Gosford Park. A Prairie Home Companion. All directed by Robert Altman, who passed away on Monday.

Besides the multiple narratives and layering of sound, what often struck me in Altman movies, especially the earlier ones, were the odd ways the cast credits were presented. These included a PA announcement in M*A*S*H, a circus troupe entering the Astrodome in Brewster McCloud and a late night record ad in Nashville. Beats a long, monotonous scrolling list.

A post from the Music Annex about the music from Nashville, my introduction to Altman thanks to Dad's copy of the soundtrack. To compensate for the song clips that are no longer there, here's the trailer.



One more trailer, for 1973;s The Long Goodbye, featuring Elliott Gould as Raymond Chandler's private detective, Philip Marlowe. - JB

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

1,025: MOVIN' RIGHT ALONG

Once upon a time, I moved around a lot. It wasn't uncommon to move my junk in and out of residences, houses and sublets two, three times a year in university. But I didn't have as many possessions as I built up in the bunker over the past seven years, so moving was never particularly taxing.

There were times I had wished this was the case now.

The past week was almost pure packing. There had been dribbles over the previous month, but it was mostly tossing a few clothes in donation bins or donating cannned goods to local food banks. There was life to live, and my old landlord wanted to show the apartment. Only when my target date began to dawn on me did I get down to business.

I was proud I moved around 20 boxes in the Official Warehouse Car on my first two runs...then collapsed from total exhaustion. Pacing was going to be the key, especially as I discovered just how much of a packrat I'd been...

An old-fashioned, writing-university-essay style panic attack struck Thursday night, as the scale of how much stuff I had crammed into the bunker fully dawned on me. Did I have enough boxes? Even though several friends had indicated they could help, would that be enough? I wrote a frantic e-mail, which hopefully didn't annoy too many people. About five minutes after I sent off the note, I calmed back down - maybe getting my panic on paper was the tonic my nerves needed, even if unwillingly involved a dozen others (whoopsie).

Tip: Food Basics, or at least those around East York and the Don Valley, had a steady supply of good condition, bottom-included cardboard boxes.

Friday I felt more relaxed and continued with packing, trying to clear off the lingering items on my shelves. Made the last box run in Thorncliffe Park, stopping for a quick bite at Iqbal Sweets - tasty lunch thali special, including one of the meatiest, least greasy tandoori chicken thighs I've ever had. Several responses to my panicky note eased my mind more.

I was about to head over to Yonge St to pick up the cargo van when I received a call from the rental agency. Turned out somebody was tardy in returning a van and none were available from any of their Toronto locations.

My feeling of ease evaporated.

I headed over to check out their first substitute option, a pickup. Totally inadequate. After some calling around, a Dodge Grand Caravan was secured near Yorkdale (navy, not the grey pictured at left). The agency reduced the rental price, then drove me over to pick up the van. Due to tight spacing, a corner of the lot that turned into a cramped dead end and general inexperience driving large vehicles, it took me 10-15 minutes just to leave the lot, accompanied by a high volume of cussing.

I arrived back at the bunker to the find the first round of help waiting. For the next seven hours, furniture and boxes were shuttled over. I discovered I was lousy at backing the van into the bunker's driveway, which one of the helpers noticed. After the second trip, I was relieved from backing-in duty. Many thanks to Greg and Mark for their skillful coordination and talent for fully utilizing the space in the

van, as well as thanks to Nile, Elizabeth and James for their help.

A running joke was that I was using the "Yanoush, Hands of Fate" moving service (combining two cheesy things longtime readers of this site may recognize).

***

The rest of the weekend was spent cleaning out the last dregs from the bunker. Like one friend said, it was the small stuff that would kill me, as items kept popping up. By this point, I was in full purge mode - if it wasn't absolutely necessary, it went. A few large items didn't survive this cull, ranging from the living room rug to my George Foreman grill (RIP - you offered service above and beyond the call of duty, but you were wearing down. You'll be replaced sometime soon).

The Official Warehouse Car was rewarded for its dutiful service by being babied at the garage yesterday.

I suspect there will be further purging before the apartment assumes its full shape. If I have learned one thing from this experience, it's that my stockpiling habits were growing out of control. Better organization should ensure that I don't continually buy items I have hidden elsewhere, like tape, storage bags and gift wrap. That it is OK to toss out the odd book or CD. That I don't need a nuclear stockpile of food. That I don't want to be found dead when I'm 66 under a mound of...whatever.

But first, I have to unpack. - JB
1,024: VINTAGE CBC TELEVISION AD OF THE DAY

Vintage Ad #99 - Was He Safe at Second?
A classic baseball pose. The second baseman leaps for the ball as the opposing runner slides into the plate. Unfortunately, after running through several baseball sites, I cannot identify the heroic Expo, as no players wore #4 for the team in the mid-70s. Is it posed? Spring training shot? A number blotted out?

Perhaps that's the true controversy in this ad!

1974 was the Expos' sixth season and their best-to-date, finishing just under .500 at 79-82 (they had to wait until 1979 to finish with a winning record). The season was notable for the debuts of future stars Gary Carter and Warren Cromartie.

As for the announcers, Dave Van Horne covered most of the team's existence (1969-2000), while Duke Snider spent over a decade with the team (1973-86). A Hall of Fame outfielder, Snider had played for the Montreal Royals in the 40s, the top farm team of the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Complete 1974 Montreal Expos stats from Baseball Reference. Bonus feature: from the CBC archives, clips from the Expos' debut in 1969.

Source: Toronto Life, May 1974 - JB

Sunday, November 19, 2006

1,023: RANDOM NOTES

The move is over. YEEHaa...

(falls over in a heap)

More deets later in the week.

***

Weird Coincidence Department: Flipping through the radio dial while driving down the Bayview Extension, catch a snatch of Loudon Wainwright III's Dead Skunk. Turn onto Rosedale Valley, sure enough there's a dead skunk in the middle of the road, stinkin' to high heaven...

***

Weekend Reading: Cancer: A day in the life, from Saturday's Globe and Mail. Among those profiled are a couple of friends who have made a few appearances at the Warehouse.

***

Blue Rinse
Discovery Department: Among the 6,343,981 items I sorted while packing, I came across a stack of photos I once attempted to print on my crappy old Epson inkjet. Some neat effects emerged from the printer with a mind of its own. Above is a sheet where blue is the overwhelming colour, for pics including campening at Guelph Lake. the Jem Halloween and the Santa Claus Parade (which I forgot was this weekend). Below, a set of shots from a trip to New York City in 2004, mostly taken at the Met, the Museum of Natural History and around the East Village.

Scenes from a New York Trip, 2004

***

Movie Department: After a recent discussion about old Detroit TV anchors, I hit YouTube in search of any oddball clips. Among those that cropped up was a clip featuring longtime WDIV (channel 4) anchor Mort Crim, when he worked for KYW in Philadelphia in the 70s.



I dig the "mystery meters". - JB

Friday, November 17, 2006

1,022: VINTAGE TORONTO LIFE AD OF THE DAY

Vintage Ad #81 - Pierre Berton moves to Eleven!
Another old CHCH ad, this time from the second issue of Toronto Life. November marks the 40th anniversary of the magazine, whose early issues were usually devoted to a swingin' 60s lifestyle.

The cover of the second issue was one of the few from the early days that didn't feature a fashion model with little-to-no ties to the content inside. Instead, veteran journalist Gordon Sinclair was shown riding a tricycle, amidst Christmas gifts. A change in publishers in the early 70s led to the more familiar logo and content.

The Pierre Berton Show ran on various stations for a decade, starting on CTV in 1962. The "9" you see on the left? CTV's Toronto flagship, CFTO.

Note: Due to problems with the source material, I performed some restoration work on this ad in Photoshop, mostly fixing the colour on the "11".

Source: Toronto Life, December 1966 - JB

***

This is the last entry to be posted from the old Warehouse headquarters. The official move into the new, above-ground headquarters is this weekend. My nerves can't wait until the move is completed...

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

1,020: VINTAGE TORONTO LIFE AD OF THE DAY

Vintage Ad #83 - The Tuned-In Look
A short break from the usual Tuesday CBC ad for a look at one of its competitors.

CHCH started off as Hamilton's CBC affiliate in 1954, severing its ties around 1960-61. For the next three decades, it was one of Canada's strongest independent stations, developing programs such as Hillarious House of Frightenstein, Party Game and Smith & Smith. A number of sales followed, until it formed the basis of CanWest Global's CH network after the station was acquired from WIC.

The introduction of colour programming spurred this series of trippy ads, featuring the station's "flower" logo. Also note that while the ad is tuned in and turned out, it doesn't suggest that the audience "drop out". The bean counters wouldn't have appreciated the audience numbers had that happened...

Source: Toronto Life, December 1967 - JB

Monday, November 13, 2006

1,019: VINTAGE Q AD OF THE DAY

Vintage Ad #93 - Tower Records Comes to London
One anniversary I missed last month - the 20th for British rock magazine Q.

Amy and I started to pick it up around '93 and were regular readers for the rest of the decade, before price increases forced us to the back issue market. We'd howl at its humourous edge, especially the "Who the Hell" interviews and the side comments used for photos. English words drawn from article headlines slowly crept into our vocabulary. It was much fresher than the North American press - did we really need to know everything about a tired 70s act's latest project, as Rolling Stone often featured?

Cover stories on the premiere issue were Paul McCartney, Big Audio Dynamite, Lenny Henry and cocaine. Among the pieces inside:

* How digital audio tape threatens to sink the then-still-new compact disc
* The collapse of Stiff Records
* The new face of British horror fiction (featuring Alan Moore, Ramsey Campbell and Clive Barker)
* Reviews of albums by Elvis Costello (Blood & Chocolate, 3 of 5 stars), Human League (Crash, 4 stars), Huey Lewis & The News (Fore, 3 stars), R.E.M. (Life's Rich Pageant, 4 stars), Lionel Richie (Dancing On The Ceiling, 4 stars), Paul Simon (Graceland, 5 stars) and Talking Heads (True Stories, 4 stars). Stinking up the joint? One star each for The Bolshoi, Love & Rockets and The Lover Speaks.
* New movies in the UK that month: About Last Night..., Day Of The Dead, Highlander and Mona Lisa

As for Tower Piccadilly, I often browsed there while living in London. Problem was UK CD prices were out of my range, about double what the going rate was in North America (they certainly didn't slide down to the record/tape prices shown in the ad). Tower sold the Piccadilly store to Virgin in 2001, who still run it as one of their Megastores.

Source: Q #1, October 1986 - JB

Sunday, November 12, 2006

1,018: VINTAGE NEW YORKER AD OF THE DAY

Note: as I'm in the middle of a move right now, this seems like a good time to catch up with the volumes of vintage material I have sitting around...which means lots of "Vintage" features over the next week. You've been warned.

Vintage Ad #96 - Think Pink Booze
When I "think pink" in terms of advertising, I usually think of the Pink Panther pitching Owens Corning insulation (a job he still holds - he even has his own corporate blog). In this case, it's Portuguese wine, available in normal and carbonated forms.

Perhaps it's the aging of the paper this ad was printed on, but I doubt even in '71 I would have been tempted to taste this treat, given that the glass looks as if it is full of clear Pepto-Bismoll.

Based on a thread from a wine message board, a '71 Isabel Rose would not have stood the test of time.

Source: The New Yorker, December 11, 1971 - JB

Saturday, November 11, 2006

1,017: WAREHOUSE MOVIE DEPARTMENT

While listening to Definitely Not the Opera in the car this afternoon, there was a story about a clip of a throughly over-the-top audition tape made during an open call for Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket back in 1984 that has found its way onto YouTube.

I'm usually the last to find out about clips spreading 'round the net. How much mustard would you like with this ham?



We'll wait for your jaw to roll back up from the floor.

As for the director Mr. Atene prefered over Kubrick, Michael Curtiz (1886-1962) had a long career, beginning in pre-WWI Hungary. He spent much of his Hollywood career at Warner Bros - his credits there include The Adventures of Robin Hood, Angels With Dirty Faces, Casablanca, Yankee Doodle Dandy and Mildred Pierce. The Sea Hawk (1940) was an Errol Flynn swashbuckler film, set in the Elizabethan era. - JB

Friday, November 10, 2006

1,016: SNEAK PREVIEW

AUG - Inside Cover: Self Quiz
Can you answer the questions on this World War II era quiz?

With Remembrance Day around the corner, it seems an appropriate time to launch a look at how the auto industry guided the homefront on how to better maintain their vehicles and gain more miles to the gallon...with the help of politically incorrect cartoons.

The Automobile User's Guide With Wartime Suggestions
Will you thank the person that heeded GM's advice and did not throw this guide away? Stay tuned... - JB

Thursday, November 09, 2006


1,015: OPEN THE GIFT BASKET FLOODGATES!

The deluge has begun...

A couple of examples of the exquisite gift ideas that have fallen out of my morning paper over the past two weeks. There have been so many that I may already have enough material to cover the run-up to the holidays.

Nutcracker Sweet
Icelandic Ice Bucket ($110): Pictured at left. Features those well-known staples of Icelandic cuisine, brie, water crackers and smoked salmon pate. Sadly, no mention of anything to do with Bjork. Aside: anyone have any good Icelandic recipes?

Great Plains Platter ($50-$225): "There's nothing plain about these exquisite platters overflowing with tasty treats like Hershey Kisses, Honey Almonds and Mixed Nuts". Don't those items conjure up images of wheat fields, badlands, cowboys and roaming buffalo?

Peter & Paul's
Cutter & Buck ($175): "This ravishing travelling bag carries a carries a stainless steel thermos and 2 mugs, adorned with high quality leather." Classified as a "corporate gift". Didn't know coffee carriers could be "ravishing" - maybe this could be paired with a "sensual" Gatorade cooler covered in rich Corinthian leather.

Feng Shui ($225): Pictured at left. "This spectacular chest from the Orient is filled with tempting treats that will surely impress that special someone." Why does the chest make me think of a chest or dressing gown used by a "Chinese" magician c. 1890? Can any feng shui experts out there verify that the arrangement shown will bring you harmony?

Previously on Catalogue Review...Ice Beanery. - JB

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

1,014: political party notes

Warehouse Election Central

Random notes from The Political Party Monday night...

* Arrived around 7:45 and the place was already packed...though I managed to snag a parking space directly across the street. The joys of running late.

* I've been to Revival twice before and couldn't believe how different the space looked with full lighting. Surprisingly bright.

* To indicate that time was up when answering a question, the TTC chimes were used. Some confuson was caused when a bicycle The only real abuse of this came during Jane Pitfield's last question, when she rambled on about crime in the city (summed up as people don't feel safe in the city because "crime is unpredictable").

* It was quickly clear that the house was pro-David Miller. It felt as if there were a few strategically-placed designated clappers for Pitfield, especially one near the front of the room, who at times literally was the only person clapping. Miller seemed more relaxed than his challenger, in dress, tone and speaking style.

* Despite pleas not to boo or show similar behaviour, a few items Pitfield brought up produced a few razzberries. The first boos came when she mentioned New York mayor Michael Bloomberg in relation to homeless issues (she also developed a slight stutter in trying not to say the word "ghetto", going as far as "ghe". A proposal to extend corporate naming into the subway system did not go down well.

* Most of the audience razzberries toward Miller came during a question on the street furniture contract and the much-loathed eucans, which he admitted were probably a mistake. One or two groans could be heard when he indicated tolls on the Gardiner and DVP weren't coming anytime soon (he made a good point that tollswouldn't drive people in outlying areas of the city to transit unless service was expanded).

* Odd tangent when Pitfield, replying to a question about trash, mentioned her close ties to the aboriginal community. When a snicker was heard in the crowd, she discussed her work with them and how they needed to be "lifted up".

* A recurring villain was councillor Case Ootes and his opposition to bike lanes in his ward, especially the existing one on Cosburn. While she didn't mention Ootes by name, Pitfield made a nice slam dunk of his obstructions of the city bike plan.

* Other takes on the evening: Campaign Bubble, Funkaoshi, Spacing Votes, Toronto Star - JB

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

1,013: VINTAGE CBC TELEVISION AD OF THE DAY

Vintage Ad #82 - The Paper People
Colour programming debuted on CBC in September 1966 with a documentary on the Calgary Stampede on Telescope (video clip). Slowly, colour worked its way across the schedule, which
brings us to today's ad.

A description of The Paper People from a 1991 article on author Timothy Findley's dramatic work in Theatre Research in Canada:

The 1967 broadcast of The Paper People, CBC's first feature-length colour film, caused an immediate controversy. Members of Parliament joined the public and critics in an outcry over the film's high cost and subject matter. The film focuses on an artist who fashions life-size figures out of papier-mâché then burns them in a kind of early performance art, filming the conflagration. The filming of a documentary about the artist's work frames the story. Findley came up with the plot idea after producer Mervyn Rosenzveig said he wanted a script to capture the essence of the sixties. Script editor Doris Gauntlett and director David Gardner helped shape the text and shooting script of the film.

For Findley, 1967 was a "people"-filled year, as it also saw the publication of his first novel Last of the Crazy People.

(Annoying autobiographical pause: Last of the Crazy People was my introduction to Findley, thanks to a reading Dad took me to when I was a kid. It was at a Chinese restaurant in downtown Windsor - don't remember the name of it (Oriental Express?), other than it was at the corner of Pitt and Ferry and was demolished years ago for the Daimler Chrysler building. All I remember is that it may have been the first time I ate a spring roll, Dad thought it was sweet Findley's partner William Whitehead was in attendance and I got a signed book out of it.)

The guest cast features an interesting contrast: Kate Reid, one of Canada's most distinguished actresses of the period, and Brett Somers, a few years removed from 70s game show immortality on Match Game.

Festival (1960-69) was an arts program whose productions ranged from remounts of shows from Stratford to ballet, original dramas to literary classics.

Source: Toronto Life, December 1967 - JB

Monday, November 06, 2006

1,012: VINTAGE ONTARIO SCIENCE CENTRE AD OF THE DAY

Vintage Ad #85 - The Mounties Take Over the Science Centre!
1973 marked the 100th anniversary of the Mounties, which prompted celebrations ranging from commemorative quarters (which my Dad insisted I hoard in my younger days) to this exhibit at the four-year-old Ontario Science Centre.

It'd be interesting to see what were considered the most advanced "detection skills of the present" in this display. I'm also guessing it Wouldn't have included small displays on 70s TV gumshoes like Columbo, McCloud and McGarrett (if done today, would there be comparisons to CSI?).

Question: is the Mountie just being friendly with this family, or is he secretly arresting the father?

Note: This ad originally included red spot colour on the Mountie's jacket and the OSC logo. Due to limitations with the source material and a few snafus while attempting to recolour the ad, it is presented to you in glorious black and white.

Source: Toronto Life, July 1973 - JB

Sunday, November 05, 2006

1,011: WEIRD WEEKEND SIGHTS

* In a Borders in Cheektowaga on Saturday, a woman in the chair next to me may have been a little too deep into the book she was reading. Her son kept asking if she was finished, punctuated with requests for a book. Speaking in one of those loud whispers that is more conspicuous than a normal vocal tone, she kept insisting "I only have ___ pages left!"

* While driving on Queensway this afternoon (on a furniture run for the new digs), I noticed odd movements in the car behind me. A middle-aged front seat passenger was in the middle of shaving with an electric razor. While he wasn't driving, it must have unnerved the driver, judging from the way they nearly jumped the curb while turning onto Islington. - JB
1,010: WAREHOUSE MOVIE DEPARTMENT

Today's treat: the very first Merrie Melodie, 1931's Lady, Play Your Mandolin!



The success of the first year of Looney Tunes (featuring happy-go-lucky Bosko) prompted Warner Bros to buy a second series of cartoons from producer Leon Schlesinger and the Hugh Harman-Rudolf Ising studio. Merrie Melodies would take advantage of the increasingly deep Warner music publishing catalogue to make song-based cartoons. After a couple of early attempts at continuing characters (the Mickey Mouse ripoffs Foxy, featured in today's feature, and Piggy), Merrie Melodies used one-shot characters until the late 30s.

That there is a resemblance to the early Disney cartoons is no coincidence, as much of the Harman-Ising staff had worked with Walt in the 1920s. Also of note is the original Merrie Melodies theme music, Get Happy, a tune nowadays associated with Judy Garland after she sang it in Summer Stock (1950). The familiar MM title music, Merrily We Roll Along, wasn't used until 1936.

For more on this period of WB cartoons, check out Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies: The Early Years. - JB

Friday, November 03, 2006


1,009: FIRST CAME THE NIGHT, THEN DAWN, THEN DAY, THEN LAND, NOW THE SCARIEST ONE OF ALL...POOLHALL OF THE DEAD!

Forgive me, I watched a pile of George Romero flicks pre-Halloween...

Spent Halloween night shooting a few games of pool at the Rivoli. As has been the case the past few years, dressing up was a last-minute thing, so I arrived in an undead state. While cleaning out my closet earlier in the evening, I had discovered last year's emergency Halloween bag, which I had forgotten about when I picked up a makeup kit over the weekend. I didn't go anywhere last year, but it looked like I had been well prepared - I still have an unused hollwed-out-eye FX appliance I think I had planned on using as the farmer who meets a grisy fate in The Birds (yeah, I like the semi-obscure movie references...). There was a vial of scar tissue mix I had enough time to whip up and slap on my cheek.

Pool Break Courtney and Kurt

Among the folks who showed up: a tree, a woman in black and the richest dead guy in the music biz, Kurt Cobain (with the still-living Courtney Love) (more photos from the evening at these links).

Courtney Shoots Maria Shoots
Action shots from the evening.

We were later joined by a girl who quickly became a groupie for our version of Ms. Love, to the point of assisting her with her coat at the end of the evening!

Taking Aim
A lot of the photos I shot were suitable for Photoshop trickery, which I also used on a few pics I took of myself when I got home. By this point, most of the makeup had faded away, so I looked more like an extra in a spaghetti western or cannon fodder in a Sam Peckinpah bloodbath. A few of the results:

Zombie Fun, Photoshop Style (1) Zombie Fun, Photoshop Style (2) Zombie Fun, Photoshop Style (4) Zombie Fun, Photoshop Style (5) Zombie Fun, Photoshop Style (6)

Yes, the fu manchu is real in those pics - I had let my beard grow so that if any potential outfit needed any style of facial hair, I could trim to fit. Since I hadn't done any facial hair tricks for awhile, I went with this 70s classic. It was gone the next morning. - JB

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

1,008: A COUPLE OF SHOTS FROM...

Opening the Presents Look, They're Out!
...my friend Meagan's recent birthday/housewarming. The birthday girl is holding one of her presents on the left, which the living crowd described as anything from a vase to products unmentionable on a family-friendly site. The place looks like it's off to a good start.

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Nighthawks at the Vesta Wookie Go Home
...another recent Psychogeography walk, which circled the train tracks running alongside Dupont. Left: Nighthawks at the Vesta Lunch. This was my first visit to the venerable greasy spoon and I was happy to discover my stomach could handle it (mind you, I only had a roast beef sandwich, but the meat was thrown on the griddle). On the right, one of Toronto's darkest secrets - its quiet strain of anti-Wookieism. More photos from this trek on over here (Oct 20th pics).

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Miles of Aisles of Peppers Sample an Orange?
...Marche Jean-Talon in Montreal. I drove back from la belle province with a back seat full of produce, ranging from peppers to pattypan squash. Made a fantastic spaghetti sauce from a large $1 bag of baby eggplants. The orange samples on the right are typical for the market - they lived up to their "very, very sweet" billing. I could have made a light lunch out of all the chunks of apples, pears, pineapples and cucumbers that were up for grabs. I also blew a bundle on local ciders and preserves at Le Marche des Saveurs du Quebec, a store on the south side of the market specializing in oddball Quebec items. We'll see if the small jar of spruce jelly I picked up remains a conversation piece. - JB