Scripturient: Guillermo, monsters and me

Tucked away at the bottom of a tall display case in the ‘At Home With Monsters’ exhibit at the AGO is a small collection of seven old, well-thumbed books, all by the 19th century French naturalist and entomologist, Jean-Henri Fabre. At the very bottom of the pile, its title almost hidden in the shadows, is ...

Scripturient: Kong and his films

Kong: Skull Island is the 19th movie in my collection about apes.* Or at least ape-ish creatures (not including those about cave people or yetis). We watched the recently-released Kong: Skull Island this past weekend, even devouring all of the special features on the second disc. I give Kong: Skull Island second place in the great ...

Scripturient: Legends of Horror

Legends of Horror is the title of one multi-DVD collections of films I own. Fifty films in this package. They’re B-films for the most part (and a few of lesser quality), dating from 1927 (silent) to 1980, mostly in B&W, but those dating from the mid-1960s on are usually colour. The collection title is misleading: ...

Scripturient: The strange life of Bobby Fischer

Forty five years ago this month, a momentous event took place in Iceland that shook the world. After 21 games spread over almost two months, the eccentric American chess master, Bobby Fischer, ended 24 years of Soviet dominance in chess after beating Soviet grandmaster, Boris Spassky. It shook the world at the apex of the ...

Scripturient: As Elvis leaves the building, so do we all

No one gets out of here alive. We all die. And with us go into the dustbin the dreams, the values, the ideals, the culture we grew up with, we shared, we ensconced in our daily existence. And the clutter we accumulated during our lives. Elvis has left the building and, sooner or later, so ...

Scripturient: The Bard’s Best? Nope…

To help celebrate the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birthday (April 23), the website Mashable has put together a “battle” for the “Best Shakespeare Play Ever.” It’s done up as a sort of sports playoff grid (a tournament bracket), broken into four categories. Four? That’s right. Even though the First Folio was only divided into three ...

The Adventures of Diva Rachel: Stacey Dash’s Little Black Lies: When Blacks Agree with Bigots

Alternate title : Stacey Dash — Human Shield of House Negro ? It’s painful to watch someone pimp themselves out for a paycheque. But Black people do it every day. Why? To “go along to get a long”, to make colleagues comfortable, to insure the few strands of opportunities that may come their way despite ...

The Adventures of Diva Rachel: Stacey Dash’s Little Black Lies: When Blacks Agree with Bigots

Alternate title : Stacey Dash — Human Shield of House Negro ? It’s painful to watch someone pimp themselves out for a paycheque. But Black people do it every day. Why? To “go along to get a long”, to make colleagues comfortable, to insure the few strands of opportunities that may come their way despite ...

The Adventures of Diva Rachel: Stacey Dash’s Little Black Lies: When Blacks Agree with Bigots

Alternate title : Stacey Dash — Human Shield of House Negro ? It’s painful to watch someone pimp themselves out for a paycheque. But Black people do it every day. Why? To “go along to get a long”, to make colleagues comfortable, to insure the few strands of opportunities that may come their way despite ...

Dead Wild Roses: The Science in Sci-Fi Explained. :)

A concise guide to the levels of Science in popular science fiction:   Star Trek:   This is science-fiction, but we want our science to at least sound plausible. Therefore, most of the time, our scientific explanations will be rooted in scientific fact or at the very least solid, generally accepted theory. Stargate:   We’re about half ...

Scripturient: Who By Fire

I’ve been reading a biography of Leonard Cohen, recently: the 2012 I’m Your Man, by Sylvie Simmons. It’s an interesting journey through the life and thoughts of an exquisite artist who is, by nature, somewhat reclusive and stays out of the spotlight, but is deeply dedicated to his art. I don’t normally read “star” bios or autobiographies ...

Scripturient: Why I Still Watch M*A*S*H

The news of Harry Morgan’s death at 96, back in 2011, saddened me. I’m at the age when it seems far too many icons of my youth are dying off. Not from some misspent life or accident; from old age. And the process accelerates as I age. I now understand why my grandparents and then parents read ...

Scripturient: Is This Your Bar of Soap?

This is side five. Follow in your book and repeat after me as we learn three new words in Turkish: Towel. Bath. Border. So begins Waiting for the Electrician or Someone Like Him, from the first album released by the Firesign Theater, in 1968 (on later albums spelled as Theatre). Everything in it is a ...

Scripturient: The Last Case of Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes. Iconic detective, 93 years old. Tending his bees in bucolic self-exile near the Dover coast. Mycroft gone. Watson gone. Mrs. Hudson gone. Even the band of villains and criminals who made him who he was are gone. All he has left are his memories and his bees. And his memories are failing. It’s ...

The Adventures of Diva Rachel: Pope Francis pontificates on ‘new colonialism,’ Africa still reeling from the old one

Thirty years ago Pope John Paul II chose Cameroon as the location to apologize to black Africa for the involvement of white Christians in the slave trade. This time, it is Pope Francis who uses Sub-Saharan Africa as a backdrop to speak out against colonialism. This week in his inaugural trip to Africa, Pope Francis, ...

The Adventures of Diva Rachel: Pope Francis pontificates on ‘new colonialism,’ Africa still reeling from the old one

Thirty years ago Pope John Paul II chose Cameroon as the location to apologize to black Africa for the involvement of white Christians in the slave trade. This time, it is Pope Francis who uses Sub-Saharan Africa as a backdrop to speak out against colonialism. This week in his inaugural trip to Africa, Pope Francis, ...

The Adventures of Diva Rachel: Pope Francis pontificates on ‘new colonialism,’ Africa still reeling from the old one

Thirty years ago Pope John Paul II chose Cameroon as the location to apologize to black Africa for the involvement of white Christians in the slave trade. This time, it is Pope Francis who uses Sub-Saharan Africa as a backdrop to speak out against colonialism. This week in his inaugural trip to Africa, Pope Francis, ...

The Adventures of Diva Rachel: Harvesting Fear of Foreigners: A Winning Conservative Tactic… in 1911

Autumn is upon us. Election Day is fast approaching. Canadians are asked to weigh the most important issues of the day when choosing their Prime Minister. Apparently, it’s a race between the Liberals and the Conservatives. The Conservatives win the election on the strength of their xenophobic indulgences betrayed by a telling slogan: “A White ...

The Adventures of Diva Rachel: Harvesting Fear of Foreigners: A Winning Conservative Tactic… in 1911

Autumn is upon us. Election Day is fast approaching. Canadians are asked to weigh the most important issues of the day when choosing their Prime Minister. Apparently, it’s a race between the Liberals and the Conservatives. The Conservatives win the election on the strength of their xenophobic indulgences betrayed by a telling slogan: “A White ...

The Adventures of Diva Rachel: Harvesting Fear of Foreigners: A Winning Conservative Tactic… in 1911

Autumn is upon us. Election Day is fast approaching. Canadians are asked to weigh the most important issues of the day when choosing their Prime Minister. Apparently, it’s a race between the Liberals and the Conservatives. The Conservatives win the election on the strength of their xenophobic indulgences betrayed by a telling slogan: “A White ...

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Shakespeare Changed Everything

I have been reading an entertaining little book called How Shakespeare Changed Everything, which, as the title suggests, is about the pervasive influence the Bard has had on pretty much everything in our lives ever since he started putting quill to paper. Stephen Marche’s book was described in the NatPost as a, “sprightly, erudite sampling ...

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Rethinking John Carter

After recently going through the first five of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ 11 Barsoom books, I decided to give the 2012 Disney film, John Carter, another viewing. This two-hour-eleven-minute film bombed at the box office, and when I first saw it, I was deeply disappointed. But on reflection after a second viewing, it isn’t all that ...

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month in Canada. I don’t know if this gets widespread acknowledgement much less appreciation among the public and in the schools, but it should. Poetry is an important part of our cultural lives, although it seems to me our collective passion for it has waned over the past few decades. I ...

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: 47 Ronin Reviewed

This week, after watching the 2013 film, 47 Ronin, starring Keanu Reeves, I had to wonder why Hollywood felt it necessary to take a powerful story, a great historical drama, and mess with it. And, of course, why they would put Keanu Reeves into a film about 18th century Japanese samurai. Or, for that matter, ...

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Falling Skies: Aliens as Metaphor

We watched the last of Season Two of the Falling Skies series last night. After a bit of research this morning, I learned I have two more seasons to watch and a fifth season has been scheduled. Something to look forward to. I wasn’t sure about how it would turn out, but the series has ...