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Frances McDormand, for myself, is the best reason to watch anything she is in. Watching the new film NOMADLAND ( ) ny attention was caught when one woman, terminally ill with cancer, said she had bought Dr. Kevorkian‘s book, FINAL EXIT.

I googled the book. I learned it was written not by Kevorkian but by Derek Humphry.

I have always felt, since I first thought in my early teens about death and the reality of dying which we all must face that there is no point in dragging out the end in a manner that imposes heavy burdens and heavier costs (both emotional and financial) on those e love and leave behind.

In studying Native American culture I learned the elderly would quietly go off to have a talk with the bears.

That moment to talk with the bears has not come in my life (despite the efforts and wishes of at least one determined person).

Nonetheless, the inevitable is something we all should prepare for.

I am grounded in faith. I don’t call myself a Christian. Neither Jesus, his Apostles and their first followers used the term. In fact the word “Christian” was first used at Antioch I learned reading Luke’s ACTS OF THE APOSTLES as an insult and it seems to me modern usage of the word makes it an insult to what Jesus teaches.

I have, in fact, an eagerness to get out of bed each morning because I don’t know what the day will bring. As well each day brings at least one (and usually many more) meaningful moment of joy into my life even amidst this Covid lock-down.

As I prepare to leave this life I am sad for those I leave behind. I have, through faith, made the world a better place by inviting strangers I met through my films programs to live with me. Many who took up the offer arrived at my door seemingly lost. While here they not only discovered they were not lost but also that they could do something far more exciting and richly rewarding with their lives than they imagined before coming here.

This welcoming of strangers has been and continues to be the real work I do here.

The movies I show, the programs I do pale beside that.

The City Of Toronto, however, has told me that this house is zoned only for three people including myself as tenants.

Luckily, there is no law against having guests.

As well I have used my knowledge of the cinema to amass from around the world a first rate digital library that I wish to see preserved and built upon for the future.

I offered it to a few universities. I explained  the collection is a  working collection to which, for the work I do, I need continued access. I was told they would be happy to take the books, cds, DVDS and Blu-rays but their lawyers advised against allowing me to have access to the materials.

Then there is the matter of my cats.

Now, while I can do it, there are things I need to take care of.

My high school principal roared at me one day in his office that I had the wrong attitude. He shouted, “If you leave this school today you will starve in two weeks!”

Had I not left I would have starved.

For decades The City Of Toronto has told me I have the wrong attitude. City By-law enforcement officers have made repeat visits. I have been told more than once it is time for me to move on.

One person in particular has exerted and continues to exert every effort to have me murdered. If that sounds like I am exaggerating I assure you I am not.

One of the fellows who used to live here wrote me on facebook to say, “I dreamed I visited you last night. You had bough the land behind the house. You had a whole lot of wonderful people living there.”

Part of that is true. I have had and continue to have a whole lot of wonderful people living here.

There are more to come.

In my youth I was a Boy Scout. The Boy Scout motto is: Be Prepared.

It is the best one I know of.

But the world I am leaving behind is a dying world.

When I came to Toronto in the 1960s beer was ten cents a glass. There was a line on the glass the beer had top measure up to (no foam). Beer was 25 cents a bottle. A room could be rented for $12 a week.

Those days are long.

The poor, especially the dirt poor, are the life of cities.

I said to Jane Jacobs’ son, “The reason educated middle and upper class people have such a problem understanding your mother’s book (THE DEATH AND LIFE OF GREAT AMERICAN CITIES) is because she wrote it from the perspective of the dirt poor.”

“Yes! We were dirt poor when she wrote that,” he said.

It’s no surprise to me the colleges, schools and universities don’t get it.

Said Mrs. Jacobs, “I had wonderful teachers in the first and second grades who taught me everything I know. After that, I’m afraid, the teachers were nice, but they were dopes…I have a lack of ideology, and not because I have an animus against any particular ideology; it’s just that they don’t make sense to me…they get in the way of thinking. I don’t see what use they are…University and uniformity, as ideals, have subtly influenced how people thought about education, politics, economics, government, everything…We are misled by universities and other intellectual institutions to believe that there are separate fields of knowledge. But it’s clear there are no separate fields of knowledge. It is a seamless web.”

Jesus was dirt poor. The folks who say they have Jesus in their heart seem not to know that. Whatever they have in their heart, it is not Jesus. How can I say that?  Because Jesus in the last judgment says what you do or do not do to the hungry, the thirsty, the homeless, the naked, the sick, the jailbird, the stranger you do to me.

People have arrived at my door hungry, thirsty, homeless, naked, sick, fresh out of jail, a stranger and they have found a home.

That, not parking my ass in a church once a week, is how I worship.

The chief difference between the rich and those the world sees as poor is  that the poor are more generous.

The rich always have the excuse ready.

We owe the culinary arts to the poor who developed them to mask the fact the food they ate stank and tasted so  bad it could not otherwise be eaten.

“Where in the wide history of the world do we find art created by the excessively wealthy, powerful, or educated?” states David Mamet in his book TRUE AND FALSE.

It once was the arts were the home of us degenerates.

Today unless you are a saint you dare not enter them.

I am not pleased with the world the newly born will inherit.

It looks pretty much to me to be a world in which life is not possible.

Nonetheless while I still breathe I gladly welcome the stranger to my door.

“You will encounter in your travels folks of your own age who chose the institutional path, who became administrators rather than doers. These folks chose to serve an institutional authority in exchange for a paycheck, and these folks are going to be with you for the rest of your life, and you who come up off the street, who live without certainty day to day and year to year are going to have to bear with being called children by these institutional types; you will, as Shakespeare tells us, endure ‘the spurns that patient merit of the unworthy takes.’ “It is not childish to live with uncertainty, to devote oneself to an idea rather than an institution. It’s courageous and requires a courage of the order that the institutionally co-opted are ill equipped to perceive. They are so unequipped to perceive it that they can only call it childish, and so excuse their exploitation of you.”– David Mamet, TRUE AND FALSE. (Edited)

The future is always exciting.

One city inspector after another has told me it is time to move on. One wrote to my landlord offering to help him get me out of here. My landlord is a decent person. This city’s making life Hell for them as well.

I’ll move on in my own time which is not now.

Still, it would be neat to take THE CINEFORUM on the road. That would be fun. There are many parts of this country I have yet to see.  As I think about it I feel the answer for the future is that the next generation must take its cue from NOMADLAND, become nomads who deliberately forsake the car, go back to the horse and wander the earth as our ancestors before us.

It was Alex (above) who said, “I dreamed I visited you. You had bought the property. You had filled it witch exciting people.”

It appears to me that is  a dream worth making into a reality.

Join me.

As can be  seen although this city’s bureaucrats see no value in myself and the work that has been done here a very great many people from around the world do.

“There doesn’t seem to be much creativity at the top. It seems to me that Toronto has a split personality, a civic schizophrenia. On one level there is the spirit of individuals and small groups who do things…what you might call the vernacular spirit. This is all very informal, ingenious, quite romantic and full of fun, a great deal of fun. It seems to me that the official spirit of Toronto is stamp out fun. It’s pompous, impressed with mediocrity if its very, very big and expensive,”–Jane Jacobs…

Toronto is a city worth saving.

I determined at 17 to achieve success in Canada without leaving this country.

Many say that is impossible. I say how do we know unless we try.

At any rate it has been a great adventure.

As the lead character in this year’s film COWBOYS says to his son, “They practically invented adventure in Canada.”

This country has a future.–Reg Hartt


Jane Jacobs’ last book is a warning ignored about the mass dumbing down we now find ourselves mired in.













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