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Mob Rule: Part 25
After receiving an offer that could put him in the Oval Office, Jack takes a moment to reflect on the big picture, and the twisted route to power
By John Armstrong
Well, of course he is. Why not? My grandfather wants to drag the country back into the Dark Ages and he sends the daughter of the Prime Minister of England to seduce me so I can become president. Let’s not even mention this is the country we fought a war with to gain independence from in the first place, and now they’re the allies of the new revolution.
You’ve heard the expression, “the mind reels”? Let me assure you that it does, and “reel” is scarcely the word for it. Mine was doing the Lindy Hop, as demonstrated by spastics.
“Your father is the prime Minister of England,” I said.
“Yes, he is,” she replied. “Edmund Hilliard, the Progressive Conservative party.”
“Isn’t that a contradiction in terms? What’s a ‘progressive conservative’ believe in?”
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Fear of the 'foreigner' all too familiar
Recent Remembrance Day tributes included a special acknowledgement of 120 Japanese-Canadians who fought for the Allies while branded "enemy aliens"
By Rod Mickleburgh
VANCOUVER, B.C. -- Last week, two days before the numbing atrocities of Paris, I went to the annual Remembrance Day ceremony at the Japanese-Canadian War Memorial in Stanley Park. It was a simple, almost homespun occasion, far removed from the military-like precision of the packed event at the main cenotaph downtown. A black-robed priest gave a purification prayer, clapped three times and performed a spiritual cleansing by waving about a long baton festooned with white paper streamers. He then talked six minutes past the proscribed 11 a.m. time for the two minutes of silence. No one seemed to mind. Beside me, a teen-aged girl wiped away tears, while an elderly Japanese-Canadian woman in an ordinary gray kimono stood with head bowed, eyes tightly closed.
There was also a ...
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Olive Oil & Maple Granola
Retailers waste no time putting up the wreaths and red bows, but surviving the holiday season can be an emotional marathon that demands a hearty breakfast
By Louise Crosby
Apparently Christmas is coming. Here we were, meandering our way through a long, leisurely fall full of colour and unseasonably warm temperatures, gorgeous afternoons with soft light, long shadows, beauty all around. Then suddenly, out of the blue, it seems, we’re bombarded with evergreen boughs, sparkly lights and commercial enticements to spend money. Bing Crosby and I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas piped over the sound system in my grocery store five weeks before the big day. It’s enough to put you off the whole thing.
Grumble, grumble. Christmas will get you in the end, though. It’s inevitable that one of these days a switch will go off, and I’ll be all for it, heading out to get a tree, setting out the candles, baking cookies. In fact, I’m already planning the ...
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Julia Roberts removes makeup in U.S. remake
The Oscar-winning film from Argentina gets an American reboot with the help of Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman and the star of Pretty Woman, but director Billy Ray fails to craft the chaos in a meaningful way
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Superbad with seasonal wrapping
Seth Rogen, Anthony Mackie and Joseph Gordon-Levitt rip a page from Charles Dickens and Timothy Leary in a well-intended holiday comedy that would have been Scrooged if not for Michael Shannon's performance as angelic weed dealer
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Katniss still kicks ass as dramatic scope broadens
You can almost feel director Francis Lawrence stiffening up as he approaches the finish line, eager to break the tape without falling down in the last mile. The goofiness and the spontaneity are gone, replaced by an official sense of duty, as Jennifer Lawrence loads her bow and fires an arrow into the abyss of adulthood in Hunger Games finale.
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The Sick Days: Part 17
I relished the feeling of safety... Perhaps that wasn’t enough to build a relationship on, but I was enveloped in the narcissism of illness and fearful another flare would strike at any time.
By Shelley Page
He’d cared for me before diagnosis, pulling me out of snow banks when I fell. Later, he rode the prednisone rollercoaster with me, as my spirits sunk then soared and I dealt with a swollen face and ripped skin, immunosuppression and insomnia.
During the three years we’d worked in different cities, we saw each other every few months and vacationed together. He’d take my woeful phone calls, reminding me, “You can do it.”
When he was posted to Toronto, we decided to move in together, without much thought.
In marriages involving chronic illness, divorce rates are said to be more than 75 per cent. A study I found in the Journal of Oncology reported that spouses are actually lonelier than their ill partners and have lower levels of ...
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Mob Rule: Part 24
They’d been playing me, but why they bothered I didn’t understand. If they knew I was working both sides why all this subterfuge, pretending they wanted me in their conspiracy. President? The only thing I was going to have in common with Lincoln and Washington was being dead.
By John Armstrong
Vanessa must have been waiting right outside the door. She came in and sat down, looking a little bit wary, or maybe cautious is the better word, like someone investigating noises in the basement. If she expected some kind of eruption from me she’d have to wait. I was still trying to find a way to grab hold of reality and climb back on as it went whirling past me.
I felt like someone had punched me in the stomach without warning. I couldn’t breathe and my sense of time went screwy, everything gone into a sort of dreamy, slow motion but at the same time my brain was racing, a hundred miles an hour. It was the exact same feeling I remembered from the only ...
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Mob Rule: Part 23
Jack sits down with Bobby and Joe and a clutch of white-haired power players to discuss the prospect of a Presidential bid
By John Armstrong
I would have been less shocked if I were at an audience with the Pope and he winked and said, ‘Will you look at the knockers on that one?’ I choked on my drink and spat a mouthful up onto my jacket. When I stopped coughing they were still sitting there, waiting for me to say something. I dabbed at myself with a hanky.
No one was laughing. Neither was I.
“What the hell are you talking about,” I said. It seemed to me a very reasonable question.
Bobby looked at his father and Joe nodded at him to go on.
“Jack, we’re not saying that the old government was a good one, but it was at least a democratically elected one and this country was founded on the principle of every man having a say in how he’s governed. One man, one vote. That’s something that everyone here feels very strongly about.” He put ...
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The Sick Days: Part 16
Journalism 201: Remember to bring your prednisone to prison
By Shelley Page
“Don’t forget to take their picture.”
As I’d find out, not the best advice for a reporter sent to sneak into a third-world prison.
I was heading to Trinidad to interview two imprisoned teenage drug mules who had attempted to smuggle three suitcases of marijuana back to Canada. Both 17, they’d been sentenced to eight years in an adult prison, filled with murderers on death row.
The Star wanted the boys’ story.
It hadn’t started out as my story. A new hire, a summer student heading to Columbia University’s journalism school in the fall, had been following the case and already called the prison warden asking to interview the boys. Although she had a hunger for foreign assignments and a passport filled with stamps, she was too green to go.
Instead, I was assigned to show up at the prison, say I was a cousin, get their story and a photo: proof of life for ...