Thursday, September 23, 2021

Our Dire Situation

I have been periodically re-posting on Facebook this article from Free North News that appeared in October 2020. Since that time, at least a half dozen of the items on the list of this purported Canadian "Game Plan" have now transpired, one of the most odious being this vaccine passport that debuted here in Ontario yesterday, with many other provinces about to introduce one also. We have also been hearing a bit about Universal Basic Income (UBI) being rolled out on a trial basis at some point in the near future. At this point, I don't think this purported leaked memo can be easily dismissed as "conspiracy theory", as a lot of it has become fact.

I know my conservative friends have read this and taken it seriously, while my liberal friends (if they are actual friends) have mostly turned a blind eye to it, likely continuing to ignore what it has to say (and contemptuously adding their "laughing emojis" to any suggestion that this might be what's actually going on). This is why we are in this dire situation now, is because the Covid Cultists out there would rather slavishly believe everything our corrupt leaders tell them without questioning any of it. I really don't know where we go from here.

Also linked to within the article is this open letter to former President Trump from Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano (also from last October), which warns of the same very specific checklist of what these globalists are planning under what they call "The Great Reset". It is horrifying to see just how far reaching this plot is across the globe, and equally horrifying to see how unresponsive more than half the populace is about it, preferring to just bury their fool heads in the sand and deny what's going on all around them!

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Happy Birthday, Jim Garner!

As is my annual tradition, I always like to salute my favourite actor, James Garner with a new caricature on the anniversary of his birthday. Many times I have based it on his TV series, The Rockford Files, but I also like to acknowledge some of his film roles from time to time. This year, I decided to draw Jim from his 1966 epic racing film, Grand Prix, a film I've enjoyed numerous times over the years. But the main reason for this choice is because I'd also like to pay tribute to Jim's co-star in that film, the beautiful Jessica Walter, who has sadly just passed away in recent weeks at the age of 80.

Jessica Walter really hit it big on the screen in 1971 when she starred opposite Clint Eastwood in Play Misty For Me, in which she memorably played a psychopathic stalker who is fixated on the radio DJ portrayed by Clint. When she'd had a prominent role in Grand Prix just five years prior, it was really only her second film of note, having appeared in The Group earlier that same year. Up until that time her career had consisted mostly of TV guest star roles.

In Grand Prix, Jim Garner plays Pete Aron, an American race-car driver who's driving for the Jordan-BMR racing team. At the beginning of the film, Aron's car is having gearbox problems, which leads to a horrific accident that sends the car of Aron's British teammate, Scott Stoddard (played by Brian Bedford) crashing into a cliff wall resulting in critical injuries. Jessica Walter plays Pat Stoddard, Scott's wife, who has already long felt neglected by her husband who has obsessively been competing with the memory of his dead brother, also a racer, killed earlier after a highly successful career of major victories. With Scott in hospital painfully recuperating, Pat finds herself smitten by the American driver and the two find themselves in an adulterous affair. Fact is, Pete Aron is still a pretty decent man who does not want to add more torment to his teammate, as he feels at least partly responsible for Scott's accident, so he ends the tryst with Pat before it gets out of hand.

The entire film plays much like a soap opera set against the Formula One racing circuit, with lives touched by pain, obsession, sex and in one case, a deeply felt love. In fact it is that subplot of the tender love that blossoms between the French driver, Jean-Pierre Sarti and an American magazine reporter sent to cover the Grand Prix for a fashion magazine, Louise Frederickson that is really at the heart of the film. As much as I like Jim Garner, I have to admit that the most poignant role in the film is that of the Frenchman, Jean-Pierre Sarti, played by the singer and sometime actor, Yves Montand. I really think he's terrific in it.

As I mentioned before, I've seen the film numerous times and the racing scenes were state-of-the-art for their time and continue to impress today. Grand Prix also has the distinction of being the only film I can think of that stars two actors that I had the pleasure of meeting in real life: James Garner and the British actor, Brian Bedford, who is famous to Disney fans for having voiced the animated title character in 1973's "Robin Hood"!

The caricature of Jim Garner and Jessica Walter is based more on publicity shots I've come across (like the one pictured above), as opposed to a specific scene from the film, mostly because I wanted to depict Jim in his racing uniform and he never appears alongside Jessica Walter dressed like that in the film. Here is a segment from the film that covers most of the characters I've described. At this point, Garner's character, Pete Aron has been removed from the racing team after the horrific accident and is trying to stay in the loop by (temporarily) taking a job as a reporter covering the rest of the racing season:

Monday, December 28, 2020

Meanwhile In Mississauga...

"Our Lady of Perpetual Lockdowns", Mayor Crombie has decided that we cannot have any joy this year.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Happy Birthday, Marty Robbins!

 Remembering the great Marty Robbins on his birthday today. I was fortunate enough to get to meet Marty backstage after his performance at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa back in 1982. I was there with my Mom, as we were both huge fans of Marty, and he was so gracious in chatting with us for about 15 minutes or so, even giving my Mom a kiss on the cheek! He was quite taken with my caricature of him (I painted up two originals so I could present one to him as a gift), and he even asked us if we'd like to watch his second show from the wings backstage, which we took him up on for several songs before we had to head home. Tragically, I heard the news just later that year in December that Marty had died of a massive heart attack, having had a history of heart problems throughout his life. I was absolutely crushed, as I'd have to rate my meeting with Marty as one of the most cherished of any of my celebrity encounters. He was a very kind and elegant gentleman, and remains one of my favourite country singers to this day. Here's Marty singing his classic, El Paso, one of the greatest western ballads of all time!

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

The Sad State Of Academia And "Cancel Culture"

Mostly on this blog I talk about the things I like, particularly entertainment from the past that I admire. Only occasionally do I get political on here, but this is one of those exceptions as I think it's too important not to address.

Within the last couple of weeks a situation happened to a friend of mine that very closely resembled what I too had experienced in my last year or two of teaching college until my resignation in 2015. (Perhaps I'll finally tell that story in the near future). Cristy Maltese is a veteran of Disney feature animation, having most notably painted backgrounds for The Little Mermaid, Beauty And The Beast and several other features through to Home On The Range, for which she was background supervisor. In short, she's got a lot of talent and some pretty impressive credits to her name, so she knows her stuff. Recently, Cristy had also been teaching Visual Development in the Animation program at Laguna College of Art & Design in California. That all came to an end last week after a ridiculous situation that Cristy writes about here. Please read her account first before continuing on to what I have to add to it below.

The following is Cristy's original letter to LCAD that she also copied to her teaching colleagues, including Larissa. These segments are from Larissa's Facebook page, so you can also see the snide comments in response from she and her followers:

Now, here is Larissa's initial response to what Cristy had said:

She then followed that up with this letter of rebuttal that was sent to LCAD:

As well as airing her views about Cristy on Twitter:

As you can see, Larissa went to great pains to paint herself as a “victim” of “racism”, when it was really all much ado about nothing , i.e.  a hashtag that read #AllLivesMatter issued by one of the staff at LCAD. Yet when Cristy tried to show just how benign that statement from this well-meaning staffer was (as he was actually writing in support of BLM), Larissa decided that Cristy must also be publicly outed for not kowtowing as she was supposed to when it came to all things related to the Black Lives Matter movement (a dubious organization hiding behind a title suggesting noble intent). Anyone who has actually read Cristy’s original letter can plainly see how it was only meant to calm things down and is not “racist" in the least, as Larissa falsely claims it to be. Yet Larissa decided to write a spiteful screed in response that deliberately mischaracterized Cristy’s words while also ginning up her followers on both Facebook and Twitter, all of whom added their own vitriolic comments likely without ever having actually read Cristy’s letter in the first place. Just take a read through those comments to see how hateful they are.

The end result was that, after this debacle and the pressure that Larissa and her followers (including other faculty and students) put upon the college through a signed petition, Cristy received a phone call from LCAD letting her know that she would not be called back to teach in the next semester. In short, she was another casualty of today's "Cancel Culture".

The fact is, I know only too well how such radicals operate, having been subjected to much the same vindictive experience a number of years ago myself. As such, I know how to recognize their insidious and dishonest tactics intended to ruin the reputations of others. Teaching can be a very satisfying experience when one has students who are willing to learn, as well as colleagues and administration who are tolerant of different viewpoints. But it can devolve into a nightmare when those who are steeped in “outrage culture” are looking for any opportunity to take phony offence and seek to destroy their target by whatever nefarious means they can. So long as this intolerance of alternative views and practice of “Cancel Culture” continues, our colleges and universities will lose their brightest and their best teachers and professors, and will end up with mediocre people remaining to indoctrinate and cow their students into submission. This does not bode well for the future of higher learning or for society at large.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Happy Birthday, Jim Garner!

As is my annual tradition on The Cartoon Cave, here is this year's new caricature to honour the late, great Jim Garner on his birthday. Though I've drawn him in a number of his film and TV roles over the many years, I must admit that I always prefer to return to his familiar role as Jim Rockford in The Rockford Files. This time, however, I also wanted to showcase Jim's co-star and longtime friend, actor Stuart Margolin, in his semi-regular role as Rockford's former cellmate and professional grifter, Angel Martin, whom Jim still inexplicably remains buddies with despite how often Angel takes advantage of his good nature. For no matter how many times Angel behaves like a despicable little weasel, somehow Jim not only tolerates him but seems to genuinely like and care about the guy. So does the audience, for that matter, and it's all due to Stuart Margolin's ability to imbue the character of Angel with such a manic, yet likeable, personality.

One of the recurring situations that will be familiar to all fans of the series is when Jim and Angel are confronted by gun-wielding heavies and, while Jim attempts to calmly talk their way out of the dilemma, Angel will desperately say anything he thinks the bad guys want to hear in the hopes of saving his own skin, even if it means selling out Jim in the process! Yet somehow Jim's wits (along with a sucker punch or two) manage to eventually get them both out of the scrape and back into Jim's gold Firebird to go burning up the pavement to safety.

I based my caricature on such a scene from the episode, The No Cut Contract, but here is a similar scene (and perhaps the definitive one!) from another episode, Chicken Little Is A Little Chicken. Enjoy!

Friday, March 20, 2020

Happy Birthday, Jerry Reed!

I'm afraid I haven't been too active on this old blog for quite some time now and I do really miss it. Anyway, here's a new caricature of my favourite country singer, that crazy rascal, Jerry Reed, who had quite a successful career on both the country music charts and onscreen alongside his buddy, Burt Reynolds.

I watched a number of Jerry's performances available for viewing on YouTube before settling on this one as my main reference in developing this caricature. Here's Jerry singing a medly of songs along with the great Marty Robbins in this clip from Marty's syndicated TV show back in the late 70s. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Happy Birthday, Jim Garner!

As is my annual tradition here on The Cartoon Cave, I have created a new caricature to honour my favourite actor, James Garner on the anniversary of his birthday. This time around I decided to portray Jim in his role from his lesser known TV series, Nichols, which ran on NBC in the 1971/1972 season. This was a series that I had never seen in its initial run, nor had I ever found it available in syndication since that time, so I was entirely unfamiliar with it until several years ago when it was released on DVD.

Fact is, I've only gotten around to watching the series in the last few months, and am only about a half dozen episodes in, so I certainly make no claims to being an authority on the show. Although a western, it is certainly not a traditional western by any means, as it is set not in the 1800's but rather in 1914, when the automobile was first arriving on the scene. After a stint in the army, Nichols arrives back in the fictional border town of Nichols, Arizona, which was named after his grandfather who founded it. The town is now being run by a rather unsavoury clan called the Ketchams, and after some run-ins with the bullying, corrupt son, Nichols finds himself coerced into reluctantly accepting the position of sheriff by the family matriarch, a sly ol' gal called Ma Ketcham.

By the third episode, Nichols has imported an early motorbike, which he tools around on in lieu of a horse in his pursuit of lawbreakers. When doing so, he often wears the cap and goggles pictured in my caricature in place of his more standard cowboy hat. James Garner had high hopes for Nichols and was disappointed that it didn't catch on. I must admit, from the episodes I've watched thus far, though very good, they just haven't appealed to me in the same way as The Rockford Files had. But I still need to finish watching the series before I can make a final judgment! The series did have the distinction of being an early role for the actress, Margot Kidder, before she would go on to great fame through the Superman films. It also introduced the pairing of Stuart Margolin as a shifty deputy to Garner's sheriff, which would be a chemistry they would enjoy to much greater effect when Margolin became the equally shifty Angel Martin in The Rockford Files.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Happy Birthday, Crystal Gayle!

About a month ago I finally fulfilled a longtime wish - I got to meet one of my favourite female vocalists, Crystal Gayle! It came about quite quickly and unexpectedly, beginning with my scrolling through Facebook and seeing an advertisement for a concert Crystal was scheduled to perform the following week in St. Catherines, Ontario, which is just a 45 minute drive south from my place. I immediately checked the ticket site and found there were still some good seats available, so I made the purchase.

Four years ago I'd drawn a caricature of Crystal Gayle and posted it on her Facebook page, which I wrote about here. In response, I'd heard from a rep named Darrell in her management office telling me how much Crystal liked my picture. I was flattered and offered to send her a bunch of prints of it as a gift. So in planning my trip to see her in concert last month, I used that caricature as a way of hoping to get to see her after the show. Thanks to the same rep I'd dealt with four years ago, I was able to get permission to meet her as I'd hoped!

Crystal Gayle is such a lovely and gracious woman, and she was kind enough to pose for this photo with me and sign my caricature as well. As thanks, I'd brought her another dozen prints that she could give out to family and friends for Christmas. It's always a treat to meet celebrities whose work I've enjoyed all my life, and I'm very grateful to Crystal for her legacy of wonderful music!

Here is my caricature of Crystal Gayle once again:

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Happy Birthday, Ann-Margret!

I just love Ann-Margret, as she seems to epitomize the 1960's girl for me! There is a wonderful kinetic energy about her that just sums up all the fun and excitement I equate with the entertainment of that era. Ironically though, by her own admission, Ann-Margret claims that she really isn't like that off-screen. I remember reading a few years ago in her 1994 autobiography, Ann-Margret - My Story, where she described how she could switch that high energy movie persona on and off, and that she was in reality very shy and quiet due to her proper Swedish upbringing.

But it is that high energy, vivacious on-screen persona that we all love and remember from her major hit movies like Bye Bye Birdie and her pairing with Elvis Presley in Viva Las Vegas. For this caricature, I decided to sketch Ann-Margret from the opening and closing titles from Bye Bye Birdie, in which, over the course of the film, she has evolved from a flighty teenager infatuated with a famous pop music idol, to a (supposedly) more mature young woman who has come to the realization that her loyal high school sweetheart is a better man than the flaky pop star. This YouTube video combines both those beginning and end sequences, and it's quite amazing how Ann-Margret contrasts the evolution of her character through her vocal performance and body language:

Another quality I love about Ann-Margret is her willingness to mug for the camera, pushing her facial expressions in a song performance. This adds a slight eccentricity to her sexiness, which for me only adds to her great appeal. And look at this song sequence from Viva Las Vegas, in which she's preparing lunch for her boyfriend (Elvis), pouting over the fact he's spending more time fixing his race car while neglecting her. This performance, requiring singing (lip synching to her pre-recorded song, more specifically), while performing various perfectly timed physical feats as she travels throughout the houseboat cabin, is achieved in one continuous shot without any camera cuts! Ann-Margret has always been the consummate professional at anything she does, and she remains one of my all-time favourite actresses. Enjoy!