We saw the newest trailer for The Adventures of Tintin this weekend, when Nick and I ducked out to catch Captain America. Until now, the previews have been true teases, and while this one reveals more detail (including some of the plot points), it also holds its cards close to its chest; notice how Steven Spielberg & co. hold off on even showing you what Tintin himself looks like.
If you know the Avalon Mall (also just often known as "the Mall" or even "da Mall" in much of St. John's) at all well, you'll know this place. It's the top of a staircase that connects the pedway between the parking lot by Thorburn Road with a section of the upper level of the mall, near the cinemas. If you ever need to prove to a kid that heat rises, take them here; not only does the heat lift, but the glass enclosure is like a solarium to boot.
I've been reading with shock over the last day of the attacks in Norway, apparently by a single man whose extreme right-wing vision for his country led him to bomb a government building and then open fire at a youth camp.
Amy Winehouse was found dead today. She was 27 - the age of enough rock stars that a perversely named 27 Club has long been named for those (Jim Morrison to Brian Jones to Jimi Hendrix) who belong. Sadly, there was little shocking about the death of Amy Winehouse, who came to fame with a basket of troubles with substance abuse already in tow.
The song of the day is Back to Black, a reminder that she left enough to be remembered, and respected.
This is a detail from a billboard covering a renovation underway at the California Adventure park in Disneyland, in California. Nick and I noticed that the stylized eyes drawn on Mickey in the retro-themed versions bore a strong similarity to Pac-Man.
Here's a similar poster about Goofy ... with the same kind of eyes.
One of my favourite walks, any time of the year, is around Kent's Pond, which is not that far from our house, and a place that is instantly relaxing. You're in the woods in moments, and you forget that a few hundred metres away cars are zooming on the Parkway, Higgins Line or Portugal Cove Road. You can't hear much except the birds, the ducks on the pond, the wind weaving through the trees and sometimes just the reeds scratching each other.
Some of my favourite T-shirts are in my son's dresser. Martha bought this "Voodoo Jazz" T-shirt in New Orleans when she was there for a conference; it's been one that Nick will reach for again and again, even as he is getting quite close to outgrowing it.
I get up, at least on weekday mornings when I'm doing the early online shift for CBC News in St. John's, around 5 a.m. There's a nice period before and after the summer solstice when it's already bright when my alarm goes off.
That's now come and gone for another year. It's darkish now when my eyes pop open, although a little less so by the time I boil water for a cup of tea. In a week or two, it'll be darker again ... and soon enough it'll be the fall, when darkness will become an expected and lengthy part of my first working hours.
But it's nice while it lasts. Above is a view from our CBC webcam, which sits at The Rooms and points to the harbour, taken just a few minutes ago.
When I was in Grade 7 or so, my father handed me a book and said, "Here. You should read this."
It was The Gutenberg Galaxy, one of Marshall McLuhan's books. That was the kind of household I grew up in. I didn't get very far with the book - it didn't make sense, at the time - but I got around to it later. My dad had more than a passing interest in McLuhan; he actually spent much of his life studying his work. Indeed, we moved to Toronto for a year in the 1960s when Dad, who was on sabbatical, worked with McLuhan's team.
Today is the cenntennial of McLuhan's birth, which has prompted a lot of media chatter - well, there's always been media chatter about him, hasn't there - about what McLuhan foresaw, or did not. (Personally, I think McLuhan's value was less his ability to predict, rather to observe.) Hearing old clips, I've been thunderstruck by the naivete of those interviewing him, and sometimes the obnoxiousness. Of course, such judgments are oh-so-easy with the benefit of hindsight.
For some interesting revelations, hear Nora Young's interview with Eric McLuhan about his father, done for special called Tomorrow is Our Permanent Address. You can listen to it here.
Meanwhile, I can't let the day pass without including one of my favourite movie scenes of all time, from Woody Allen's Annie Hall. It's about intellectuals (the very kind, by the way, that drives my professor father to distraction!), oneupmanship ... and happening to have an expert at the ready.
We went to see Makin' Time with the Yanks, the remounting that Resource Centre for the Arts has done at the LSPU Hall of a Mummers Troupe show from (believe it or not) 30 years ago. Mary Walsh returned to direct the show, which is about young women in St. John's meeting up with young Americans while the war was raging in Europe.
I was in high school when the first production was made, and there was plenty I didn't appreciate at the time - the history and complexities of the U.S. presence in Newfoundland during the Second World War, for starters, plus how lucky we were at the time to have had so many original productions that were written and performed by the casts. Like others, Makin' Time With the Yanks followed interviews and research, and three decades later, those stories (clarified through comedy) are more precious because there are far fewer people around to recall the era.
I found the new production much more polished, even elegant, and more tuneful somehow. Still, I remember laughing more during the original show. It was certainly a pleasure, though, to have the characters back, and the stories.
Dot Dot Dot is Morse code for the letter 'S,' the full message Guglielmo Marconi claimed to have received atop Signal Hill in St. John's in 1901. It ushered in the age of telecommunications. My maternal grandfather worked as a telegraph operator for Canadian Marconi on Signal Hill for many years.
As well, I have a habit of overusing the ellipsis when I write ... as frequent readers might notice.