Milk: The New Mushroom Cloud
Facing the white menace: Life was so much simpler when our biggest fear was nuclear Armageddon instead of the fat, systemic antibiotics and the now-intolerable lactose in once-benign moo-juice... and we didn't even mention the dairy board conspiracy
By Charley Gordon
If you truly want to know what’s dangerous in the world, you have to read the Style and Living section of the newspaper. The dangers in the rest of the paper are predictable. They haven’t changed in centuries — war, flood, earthquake, pestilence, terrorism and undercooked pork. But the other dangers are changing all the time, particularly the ones that attack you in your home and in unfashionable restaurants. Keeping track of them is a bit of a chore, but worth it. Otherwise, there are diseases and syndromes that would catch you unawares. Plus, there are new letters every day that follow LGBT and you don’t want to seem insensitive. *
If you want to know what’s hot now in the list of things to be wary ...
Rod Mickleburgh writes of Blythe spirit
Canadian actor Jonathan Crombie leaves a latent impression on the Canadian film landscape after playing the sweet-natured soul perpetually burned by the flinty Anne... of Green Gables
By Rod Mickleburgh
Social media reaction to the unexpected death this month of Canadian actor Jonathan Crombie, who so memorably played Gilbert Blythe in Anne of Green Gables, came almost entirely from the distaff side. Not too many guys were fans of the movie, I guess. Well, I’m a fan. A big one. Like many of my gender, it seems, I was originally pretty dismissive of the whole Anne of Green Gables thing. Who cares about the adventures of some spunky 11-year old orphan girl in turn-of-the-20th century Prince Edward Island? She hates her red hair. Boo hoo. Bring on Anna Karenina. But my mind was changed when I went to what I had hoped would be a party at a friend’s house, only to discover all the women heading into the TV room to watch Anne of Green Gables. Thinking they couldn’t ...
Ex Machina dangles a divine equation
Movie review: Ex Machina
Writer Alex Garland makes an impressive directing debut retooling Greek tragedy with silicon parts, writes Katherine Monk
Fusing foodie fare with fancy film houses: A recipe for disaster – and salad
By Charley Gordon
One of those fancy movie houses has opened in Ottawa, where you can order food and wine and have them brought to your seat. Many people, not thinking it through, think this represents sophistication, but it doesn’t. It represents doom. And not just for the reasons you think. Drunkenness will be a bit of problem, but more of an inconvenience than anything. It just means that when people say: “What did he say?” they’ll say it louder, and similarly with: “Hey that’s the guy who was in that other movie, with the that woman who ran off with that other guy!” There may be bit of vomiting too but you’re probably used to that by now. There are published assurances that all is working well. You can believe those if you want. It is reassuring that for some movies, you can avoid the so-called VIP experience if you choose, and just watch the movie in the traditional way, without wine and calamari. It’s also reassuring that the wine-and-calamari ...
What did Singapore’s late patriarch do during infamous UBC sit-in?… He just sat there…
Rod Mickleburgh reveals little-known encounter between Lee Kuan Yew, Jerry Rubin and hordes of hippies in the hallowed halls of The University of British Columbia - back in the day
By Rod Mickleburgh
So, farewell then, Lee Kuan Yew, grand patriarch of Singapore, who never saw a critic he didn’t want to jail or sue, or a gum chewer he didn’t want to fine. Much has been written extolling the great man, beloved of entrepreneurs and capitalists for creating a safe, uncorrupt haven for their money and by hordes of ex-pats in Asia for providing a tiny, perfect oasis for a few days’ R and R, coupled with a chance to down a Singapore Sling at the famed Long Bar of the Raffles Hotel. But none of the lengthy obituaries has included one of the more remarkable confluences of Lee’s long career. That occurred, of all places, on the scenic, normally placid campus of the University of B.C., where he encountered an invasion of raucous ragamuffins imbued with the heady, counter-culture ...
Rod Mickleburgh has a Burroughs flashback
The Beats go on in North Vancouver: Presentation House Gallery mounts visual chronicle of the era as witnessed by Allen Ginsberg
By Rod Mickleburgh
I met William Burroughs once. It was during my magical year in Paris (sigh). I’d read in Libération that morning that the legendary icon of the Beats would be at the City of Light’s annual Salon du Livre at the Grand Palais. I thought ‘what the hell’, and went down to catch a glimpse of the famous man, who had been such a part of the Kerouac/Ginsberg Beat generation of writers. In On the Road, the book that changed my life, Burroughs appears as Old Bull Lee. An insatiable consumer of drugs, Burroughs fatally shot his wife during a crazed William Tell re-enactment in Mexico, hung out in Tangiers where the less said about his proclivity for underage boys the better, and found time to write such underground classics as Junkie and Naked Lunch, turned into a movie by the strange David Cronenberg. (My parents ...
There is power in a union… If Christy Clark says it’s okay
By Rod Mickleburgh That Christy Clark can sure be a funny premier. And I don’t mean Hamish jokes. Take the recent flare-up over who gets to build that farm-flooding, massive Site C dam in northeastern B.C. Please… Until recently, attempts by the province’s once-powerful construction unions to secure a fair crack at the work had received no more than the bureaucratic equivalent of a bucket of warm spit from the powers that be at BC Hydro and the Liberal government’s own representatives. Not only was Hydro insisting on a construction site open to union and non-union contractors, which was not all that surprising, the Crown corporation wanted to ban the building trades from even trying to organize dam workers who were not unionized. Unions? Unions? Don’t need no stinking unions. It was all very reminiscent of the distaste for union labour that prevailed during the 10-year premiership of Gordon Campbell. Egged on all the way by Phil Hochstein of the strident, ...
Searching for newspapers and the soul of David Carr
By Rod Mickleburgh
The late, great David Carr, media reporter for the New York Times, continued to value newspapers, even as he covered the rapidly-changing online media world that is threatening their existence with free, easily-accessible, short-attention span hits. Carr read two or three papers every morning before heading into work, and whenever he was in a new city, he relished reading the local newspaper. He said it gave him a sense of the buzz and mood of the place that no travel guide or web site provided. I, too, always buy the local paper when I’m travelling. There is never a dearth of stories offering a glimpse of life outside one’s own navel-gazing metropolis (vote ‘Yes’). So it was recently, as I passed through LA’s International Airport and the world’s busiest airport, Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta. At both terminals, I seemed to be the only person reading a newspaper. The LA Times, a slimmed-down sylph of its former bulky self, cost a buck. The ...