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The old hacks who make The Ex-Press the glorious, old-school rag that it is.

Pop Culture Decoder: Cosmetic Dermatology

Misty Harris suffers the horrors of Thermage so you don't have to By Misty Harris I always intended to grow old gracefully, like Audrey Hepburn or a chunk of parmesan cheese. Things did not go as planned. Around the time I turned 30, a collection of creases made camp on my face – the human equivalent of rings on a tree – and proceeded to mock my age every time I looked in a mirror. Now, I’ve never thought of myself as vain, but I also never thought I’d look between my eyebrows and see skin pleats that resembled a vagina. So there’s that. This is how, about four years ago, I wound up forking over nearly two weeks’ salary for Thermage – a cosmetic dermatology procedure that proved so traumatic, I’m only just now able to discuss it. My consultation went something like this: A physician identifying himself as Dr. Bob* (in the grand tradition of quackery, he omitted his last name) escorted me into his office and asked me to describe my “most urgent” ...

Escape the Labour Day pains with a movie

The trials and tribulations of organized labour powered more than one Hollywood epic before the idolatry of corporatism took hold in the wake of Wall Street, but even in the age of a Donald Trump presidential bid and Wal-Mart wages, the union cause still looks heroic though a high-end lens By Rod Mickleburgh My mother hated Labour Day. For her, a high school English teacher, it was not only a day to pay tribute to workers and unions, but a signal that the lazy, hazy days of summer were over, and it was time to go back to work. Every year, the prospect of facing classroom after classroom of demanding new students caused a thick knot of apprehension in her stomach. And my mother was an excellent teacher. Long after she retired, she continued to feel those same old familiar twinges of Labour Day dread.   Last year. B.C. teachers were on the picket line. Classrooms sat empty. This year, one hopes some of them reflect back on the original purpose of Labour Day, a ...

Peachy! It’s jam without all the sugar

Preserves can be tedious, frustrating and totally fattening, but if you're able to consume your compotes quickly, you can feast on fast late-summer peach jam and cream biscuits By Louise Crosby There’s one way of making jam that involves sterilizing jars, adding pectin, cooking the daylights out of the fruit and possibly sealing the jars with wax. Thankfully for those of us who aren’t up for all that rigamarole but still like the occasional spread of home-made jam on a biscuit hot from the oven, there’s another, much easier way.  Granted, you have to eat it up quick or store it in the freezer, but somehow it tastes fresher, less sweet, more like the fruit itself.   Thanks goes to Mark Bittman for this easy recipe for peach or nectarine jam, as published in the New York Times. He adds just the right amount of ginger to not overpower the fruit, and honey instead of sugar. Since 1 1/2 pounds of peaches equals only four good-sized peaches, and you probably bought ...

Orbiting ball lore with the Spaceman

Southpaw pitcher Bill Lee climbs back on a mound of memories created during the Montreal Expos' brief run at greatness from 1979 to 1981, when the storied team fell just one inning short of a trip to the World Series By Rod Mickleburgh Suddenly, baseball is fun again, at least if you’re a fan of the Toronto Blue Jays. Although the Montreal Expos remain closest to my heart, I still root for the Jays. Those World Series years of 1992-93 were wonderful. (Devon White!) Of course, it’s been mighty lean pickings, since then. Now, finally, as they tussle with the hated Yankees for first place, Canada is back on the Jays’ bandwagon.   With this renewed whiff of baseball in the air, I offer a special Mickle treat for Canadian ball fans, especially those who remember the Expos from 1979, when they first drove for the pennant, and 1981, when they fell an inning short of the World Series, done in by Rick Monday’s cruel home run off Steve Rogers, a starting pitcher ...

It’s never too late to remember the fallen

REMEMBRANCE DAY SPECIAL Seventy years ago, fighting men and women returned home from the battlefields and POW camps in the Pacific to a less-than-warm welcome, a sad testament to the forgotten sacrifices of veterans that continues to this day   By Rod Mickleburgh Amid all the wonderful crazy sports stuff going on, there was a very sombre anniversary. Seventy years ago this past weekend, the last, bloody gasp of World War Two came to end, with the surrender of Japan, after years of unimaginable killing. Canada was involved in the war at the very outset, when this country dispatched about 2,000 raw recruits in a hopeless move to buttress British forces in Hong Kong shortly before Pearl Harbour. A month later, the Japanese invaded. After a relatively-brief, murderous skirmish that lasted perhaps a week, Hong Kong fell to the Japanese. More than 550 Canadians were killed in the fighting or died later as starved, over-worked prisoners of war, their bodies reduced to little ...

Rod Mickleburgh is Still mourning

Tribute: Larry Still, Journalist Larry Still, the late Vancouver Sun courts reporter and the author behind the Limits of Sanity possessed old-school skills, a sharp wit and reliable shorthand that allowed him to write long about the law By Rod Mickleburgh We’ve lost another of those legendary reporters from what, in retrospect, was a golden age of journalism at the Vancouver Sun. You know, the days when newspapers told you everything you needed to know about your community, your country and the world at large, and more. For 30 years at the Sun, Larry Still was perhaps the best court reporter in the land, undoubtedly the best in B.C. by a country mile. His immaculately-worded coverage of Vancouver’s many long, gripping, often grisly, trials in the last three decades of the twentieth century stand as a tribute to the craft – clear, concise, comprehensive and oh, so readable. As dramatic testimony and give-and-take from the city’s best lawyers played out in the courtro...

Pop Culture Decoder: Why Cilantro is the Devil

Cilantro has more enemies than Cersei Lannister; Misty Harris breaks down the reasons By Misty Harris There’s an old chestnut about never discussing politics, religion or money at the dinner table. To that list I would respectfully add cilantro, an herb more divisive than the finale of How I Met Your Mother.   I don’t pretend to be an unbiased journalist on this matter. My personal feeling about cilantro is that it’s the Donald Trump of herbs: too loud, always showing up in places you don’t want it, leaves a bad taste in your mouth. The flavour experience can best be described as an unholy marriage between Thrills gum and an old penny – both plucked from the mouth of a rotting corpse.   So before you continue reading today’s Decoder, please remember that it’s not nonpartisan; I’m coming at cilantro with the extreme prejudice of someone who has just bitten into an oatmeal-raisin cookie thinking that it was chocolate-chip. The struggle is ...

Hey sister, go sister: This is Celeriac Rémoulade

Crunchy and creamy at the same time, celery root salad is a Gallic standard that will make you want more, more, more!   By Louise Crosby Many summers ago, I studied French for a month at an exclusive language school in Villefranche-sur-Mer, situated between Nice and Monaco on the Côte d’Azur. It was très exotique. Villefranche is a town of apricot and turquoise-painted buildings sloping down to a sparkling blue Mediterranean. People drink crisp, cold rosé wines, lavender perfumes the air, and cicadas buzz in the dry afternoon heat. I did as best I could through the morning language labs and grammar drills, but really perked up when we broke for lunch. That’s because the food was very good.   Of all the delicious homemade dishes we were served, one stands out in my mind, and that is celery root rémoulade, also known as celeriac rémoulade or céleri rémoulade. It was crunchy and creamy at the same time, and I couldn’t get enough of it. You might ...

Extra! Extra! There are still a few stories in the naked city

Newspapers may be fading to black, but there's still gold in those grey pages, you just have to pan with patience By Rod Mickleburgh As regular readers know by now, I remain a big fan of newspapers, despite their ever-diminishing state. Why, just this week, I found all sorts of goodies distributed among their varied pages. The treasures are still there. You just have to look a bit harder and be a bit more patient these days. So I thought I would share a few.     1. I hadn’t quite realized before that the state most affected by climate change is not media-saturated, rain-starved California, but, of course, Alaska. So far, this summer, wildfires have burned through more than 20,000 square kilometres of Alaskan forestry, a swath larger than all of Connecticut. Other bad stuff, too. An excellent story from Saturday’s Vancouver Sun, written by the Washington Post’s environment reporter, Chris Mooney. http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2...

Rod Mickleburgh gets folked up

The annual running of the Birkenstock 500 may get tougher, and the bass may get louder, but the Vancouver Folk Music Festival remains an alternate universe where peace, love and political correctness rule -- in a non-fascist way By Rod Mickleburgh For the first time in many years, I was without my constant companion at this year’s Vancouver Folk Festival. And my cousin’s young ‘un had the nerve to get hitched on Friday, the Folk Fest’s opening day, so I missed the fabulous Pokey Lafarge, when he still had a voice. Still, I had a blast. Artistic director Linda Tanaka managed once again to assemble a vintage brew of the known, the barely known and the unknown into an eclectic, heady mix of outstanding music. There were fewer ultra-headliners than unusual this year, and yet the festival was terrific. All these people I’d never heard of. How dare they be both young and great…? Not everything was perfect. The legendary Birkenstock 500 dash to earn a good tarp ...