Columns & Series 40 results

Finding comfort in Bedroom’s soft breath of companionship

Column: The Balm of Poetry, Part One - “Bedroom" Rod Mickleburgh finds affirmation in the written word and shares some favourite selections to help us “soothe our worried souls in these perilous times.”    

Frozen memories of Finland warm a chilled soul

Travel: Finding A Sense of Faith in Finland So far, so bad... The New Year's promise of a fresh start turns sour, forcing an old scribe to seek spiritual sustenance from the past via memories of a visit to Scandinavia. By Rod Mickleburgh Well, here we are in yet another decade, And, like much of the previous 10 years, with a few exceptions, so far so bad. As the outside world turns increasingly partisan and dark, I found myself seeking some spiritual sustenance from the past. I fastened on a similar passing of time 30 years ago: the last days of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s, a decade which proved pivotal in my life and career in a way I never thought possible. My reflections were likely heightened by the fact that it all took place in the country where my mother was born, Finland. I was lucky enough to be living in Paris that year, so it had seemed only natural to spend Christmas and New Year’s revisiting my ancestral roots. It was wonderful. Sparkling snow covered the ...

One, two, three strikes — and Canada is out!

History: The Winnipeg General Strike of 1919, Part Two The workers of Canada united behind strikers in Winnipeg, leading to the largest labour action in Canadian history and a class division that continues to create friction and distrust 100 years on.  

Holy Fuck! I Just Turned 40

Pop Culture Decoder: Turning 40 Though society still tends to value youth and beauty over age and experience, culture writer Misty Harris discovered she was filled with as much optimism as dread at the thought of turning 40. ‘I feel like I’m finally where I need to be – and with the tribe I’m supposed to be with.’

Lest We Forget the heroes once branded “enemy aliens”

Mickleburgh: Japanese-Canadian Veterans Huddled under a colourful autumn canopy, in a secluded corner of Vancouver’s Stanley Park, Rod Mickleburgh found a Remembrance Day ceremony that refused to forget Canada’s racist past.

Dave Barrett Broke Down Walls of Government

* In light of Dave Barrett's recent passing, we took the opportunity to republish Rod Mickleburgh's thoughtful look at the quiet, yet revolutionary, BC Premier. Politics: Looking back at the first BC NDP victory in 1972 Rod Mickleburgh remembers the day the "socialist hordes" stormed the gates of Government House and Dave Barrett took the oath of office. There was no ceremony, no dancers, no tweets, but British Columbia would never be the same. By Rod Mickleburgh Watching the joyous, almost giddy swearing-in of the province’s new premier and his gender-balanced cabinet, I couldn’t help thinking of BC’s very first transition of power to the NDP, so long ago the Vancouver Sun had two full-time labour reporters. That historic ground-breaker took place way back in 1972, or five years before David Eby, the province’s new Attorney General, was born. July 18 was only the third such right-to-left tilt in BC history. Of course, that’s three more than the zero Stanley Cups won by the ...

Discovering a Finnish Beginning

Travel: Celebrating Finland's 100th anniversary Rod Mickleburgh returns to the land of his ancestors to discover an almost genetic propensity to fight for social justice and a rather bizarre predilection for odd sports By Rod Mickleburgh You may have missed it, but the land of my ancestors recently celebrated it’s centennial. On Dec. 6, 1917, small but mighty Finland officially severed itself from Russia, becoming an independent country for the first time. Russia’s new Bolshevik rulers did not protest. I remember leafing through one of my great aunt’s photo albums and seeing a grainy picture of the raising of the Finnish flag in their small community for the first time. A bit more than two and a half years after independence, my mother was born in the fishing/farming village of Sideby. When I first visited “the relatives” in the winter of 1971, I was given the very room where her birth took place. Under the mountain of blankets my two great aunts supplied, I remember ...

What The Knuckler?

Sports: Baseball When everything about baseball is new, having a knowledgeable buddy to help you get a grip on balls, strikes and four-seam fastballs can be more fun than shagging a can of corn (The following is part of a continuing correspondence between Charley Gordon, journalist and veteran baseball fan, and novelist Brian Doyle, author of books such as Martin Marten, The Plover and Angel Square. He is also a newly minted follower of the boys of summer.)   May 3, 2016 Dear Dr. Gordon: I have a friend who has been a baseball fan for 70 years. I am, as you know, a neophyte baseball watcher. My friend (let's call him "Mike") has a superior attitude and is sneeringly patronizing when it comes to baseball comments. I fear, when I come out of the closet, he is going to dismiss and even scoff  at any observation I might make about the game. I want to say something about knuckle ball pitchers in general and R.A. Dickey in particular. I want my comment to ...

There Is Power in a Union Movie

Movies: Top Ten Movies About Labour Issues In a world where the salaried worker is becoming an endangered species and the income gap is now the Grand Canyon, the only place to find solace may be on the silver screen -- where workers of the world can still win By Rod Mickleburgh (September 4, 2017) I had fun doing this a few years ago, compiling a list of my top ten films for Labour Day viewing. This was in 2014, when BC teachers, instead of heading back to school, were still on strike from the previous June. They would have several more weeks to go, before the longest province-wide teachers strike in BC history was over. And, just like in some of these movies, there was a happy ending. Last November, the teachers won a resounding victory in the Supreme Court of Canada, restoring classroom limits and other staffing measures the BC Liberals (remember them?) had illegally stripped from their contracts way back in 2002 (Jean Chretien was still Prime Minister!) The result has been the ...

Right to Left: Watching the Political Pendulum Swing

Politics: Looking back at the first BC NDP victory in 1972 Rod Mickleburgh remembers the day the "socialist hordes" stormed the gates of Government House and Dave Barrett took the oath of office. There was no ceremony, no dancers, no tweets, but British Columbia would never be the same. By Rod Mickleburgh Watching the joyous, almost giddy swearing-in of the province’s new premier and his gender-balanced cabinet, I couldn’t help thinking of BC’s very first transition of power to the NDP, so long ago the Vancouver Sun had two full-time labour reporters. That historic ground-breaker took place way back in 1972, or five years before David Eby, the province’s new Attorney General, was born. July 18 was only the third such right-to-left tilt in BC history. Of course, that’s three more than the zero Stanley Cups won by the hapless Canucks, and just enough to keep politics interesting and a semblance of two-party democracy alive in BC’s polarized environment. No wonder John ...