Columns & Series 44 results

Touring small town journalism and finding the Koots

Journalism: The Decline of Local Newspapers Big city papers are nowhere to be found in B.C.'s Kootenays, but you can still find a local weekly with birthday announcements, the lost and found, and reader mail damning CBC Radio for just about anything. By Rod Mickleburgh The first of two parts. (Be be still your beating heart.) I spent two rewarding weeks last month travelling the highways and communities of BC’s historic West Kootenays. As I always do when on the road, I looked for local newspapers to give me a sense of what was happening in the places where my squeaky sneakers touched down. At the same time, I still wanted to keep up with events in the rest of the province. Unfortunately, and I’m not sure I should have been surprised, I could not find a single, big-city daily east of the Okanagan.  No Sun, no Province, no National Post (yay! oops….), no Globe and Mail. I could not find a single, big-city daily east of the Okanagan.  No Sun, no Province, no National ...

The joy of wearing a mask when you’re facially disfigured

Health: COVID-19 Facial Coverings The Coronavirus Pandemic has disturbed the delicate balance of daily life, but one writer found a strange symmetry in suddenly being asymmetrical. “Is the mask magic?" he demanded with sudden, passionate interest. "Yes." I bowed my head, so that our eyes no longer met. "I made it magic to keep you safe. The mask is your friend, Erik. As long as you wear it, no mirror can ever show you the face again." - Phantom of the Opera, Gaston Leroux By Katherine Monk VANCOUVER, BC — I woke up around midnight after passing out on the couch. I’d made a fire to get cozy after an hour-long swim in the ocean late in the afternoon, and I still felt cold. I plodded off to the bathroom to get ready for bed, and when I looked in the mirror — something looked a little off. I wrote it off to the awkward sleep position and the hard pillow. My face looked, well, saggy. It wouldn’t have been the first time I was a little shocked by a late night encoun...

Launching a Rocket in the Living Room

DIY Column: The Apollo XIII Project A New Year’s resolution to reuse, recycle or purge was already in progress, then the pandemic happened, and what started as a creative bid to turn garbage into art suddenly morphed into a personal Apollo XIII mission: Without access to Home Depot, can you find a way to repurpose what you already have?    

Tell the Ones You Love, now more than ever

Column: The Balm of Poetry Part 6 - Dennis Lee’s Tell the Ones You Love Tell the Ones You Love - A short, sweet poem about love. As we struggle to cope with the terrible sweep of this unforgiving virus, Rod Mickleburgh says he finds it particularly apt.    

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 ...