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?
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 ...
Are you ready to rumble Rhubarb Crumble?
Recipe: Rhubarb, Oat and Pecan Crumble
Destined to give your lips a pucker, those first shoots of rhubarb are a sign that spring has sprung, and it's time to cook up some soul-soothing oat, pecan crumble
By Louise Crosby
(May 19, 2017) Yes, it has stopped raining and, yes, the tulips are out, but how do we know that spring has truly arrived? Rhubarb is here, of course, and it’s time to make crumble. Legend has it that, as a child, I would eat rhubarb straight out of the ground, not minding its tart taste. Kids do crazy things. These days I like it gently cooked and sweetened, in upside-down cakes, pies, crisps, cobblers and crumbles. I especially like these comforting, homey desserts warmed and topped with plain yogurt or a scoop of good vanilla ice cream. This crumble, from Rustic Fruit Desserts by Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson, is a classic, and so quick and easy to put together. The contrast between the soft, stewed fruit and the crunchy oat-and-pecan topping ...
Disney, duty and doodie
Daddy Diary #9: Freaky Friday Father
Seeing through the eyes of his infant daughter, a first-time father learns parenting is a precious lesson in learning from an altered perspective
By Chris Lackner
I’ve decided fatherhood is a life-long version of Freaky Friday. My baby girl and I haven’t swapped bodies (I’m holding out hope it happens before I have to do my taxes). But as a newbie dad, I often find myself trying to think like my baby (some would claim this isn’t a real stretch). My goal is to see the world anew through her wondrously wide, exploring eyes. In the original 1976 film, and 2002 remake starring Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis, daughter and mother learned a lot from their fantastical body switch. A change in perspective was a catalyst for growth, wisdom – and comedy. The same goes for this daughter-daddy combo. Just by putting myself in her tiny shoes, our little girl (now seven months old) has already taught me many valuable lessons. For ...
Move over Pinocchio, this new Daddy’s got strings
Daddy Diary #8: The Puppetry of Parenting
What does a puppet parent looks like? Imagine a new form of entertainment if choreographed by a drunk, one-legged Danny Kaye and a zombie cheerleader.
By Chris Lackner
“I've got no strings so I have fun, I'm not tied to anyone. How I love my liberty, there are no strings on me!” Sure, Pinocchio made those words famous. But they also describe my motto before becoming a first-time, 37-year-old father.
For the last 10 years, I have enjoyed a rare combination: disposable income and disposable time. With apologies to Walt Disney, I’d add an extra verse or two to my own song (e.g. “I’ve got no strings, so I drink beer. If I sleep in, I’m in the clear. How I love my drinks sudsy, there are no strings on me!”)
As the father of a five-month old, I now have a different kind of fun… but the puppet strings are both many and unbreakable. Mommy and Daddy often feel like puppets – our daughter a mad-cap, unpredictable puppeteer...
Bob Dylan don’t need Nobel, or stinking badge
Comment: On Bob Dylan, Nobel laureate
Looking back on a close encounter of the Dylan kind reveals a slightly rumpled honouree who has a hard time accepting praise, let alone the Nobel Prize
*Caution: This article contains a top-100 list of Bob Dylan songs.
By Rod Mickleburgh
In the winter of 1990, I waited with a handful of reporters and photographers in a grand salon of the Palais-Royal in Paris for Bob Dylan. More than 25 years ahead of the Nobel Prize people, the French had decided that Dylan’s lyrical prowess was worthy of the country’s highest cultural honour, Commandeur dans l’ Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. T.S. Eliot was one of the first to receive the award in 1960. Borges followed in 1962. And now, following in the footsteps of Sean Connery (1987), it was Bob’s turn. Finally, the gilded, ceiling-high white doors opened, and there he was, ambling into the opulent room, followed by France’s flamboyant minister of culture at the time, Jack Lang. He was wearing a ...