Columns & Series 29 results

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...

Cohen, Prince, Bowie and now… Comparelli

Tribute: R.I.P. Peter Comparelli A fellow scribe remembers the good old days when journalists spoke truth to power, a per diem could get you drunk and a guy named Peter Comparelli backstopped the labour beat By Rod Mickleburgh It has been a terrible year. Bowie and Prince taken far too early. Leonard Cohen leaving us to mourn and light candles against the dark. Long-time friends battling serious health issues. Fake news, the decline of newspapers and the mainstream media, more necessary than ever to hold governments and politicians to account. An antiquated electoral system, an FBI “announcement coup” against Hillary Clinton and Russian hackers delivering a sniveling, bullying, thin-skinned, shallow-thinking prima-donna with the attention span of a child to the White House, while the most adult of U.S. presidents takes his dignified leave. Terrorism in Europe. Aleppo. And now, to cap off this annus horribilis came news of the passing of Peter Comparelli, as lovely a person as ...

Mom is the Flash, Dad is the Slow

Daddy Diary: Part Seven Faster than an unfired bullet: A first-time father discovers his superpower has nothing to do with speed, and everything to do with slowing down to a snail's pace By Chris Lackner “This is a job for… The Slow.”That’s my superhero name at home these days — prompted by my less-than lightning flash responses to my newborn daughter’s needs.Mom may be The Flash, but dad is decidedly less so. “Faster than an unfired bullet. More powerful than your average eight-year-old. Able to leap tall stuffed animals in a single bound (on his good days). He is… The Slow.”Is Dad on diaper duty? Triple or quadruple the time required to complete the task. Is Dad sent to find some kind of baby item — cloth, blanket, toy, cream, soother etc.? Don’t wait up for him; he’ll be back before dawn.It’s not that I decided to become The Slow. No superhero chooses their destiny – their destiny is thrust upon them. With great power comes great responsibility ...

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 ...

The Lioness doesn’t sleep tonight

The Daddy Diary: Part Six A first-time father faces the surreal and sometimes lonely experience of looking in from the outside with a tender heart full of slumber-inducing song By Chris Lackner "In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight."Good for him. In my "jungle" — AKA house — there isn't much sleeping going on (especially for mom). Such is the life of newbie parents. Our little lioness has a mighty roar — mightiest after the sun goes down.Our girl’s hunger — and gas-fueled bellow — is only satiated by two things: breast milk and songs (with musical numbers finishing a distant, distant second).Our baby instinctively knows how to lay in wait and then pounce on her parental prey when we are at our most vulnerable. Is dad trying to watch the ninth-inning drama of a playoff race? Yup. Cue the crying. Are mom and dad trying for the 15th time that night to stream more than three minutes in a row of one TV episode? Yup. Cue our mighty hunter ...

What’s in a baby name? Hopes, dreams, history… guilt

The Daddy Diary: Part Four - The Name Game An expecting father navigates the dangerous waters of choosing a baby name that works in English and Portuguese -- and isn't associated with pole dancing 

Parental Mental Training Begins

The Daddy Diary: Part 3 When you feel that baby kung-fu kicking, fatherhood suddenly feels concrete and you realize that a tiny little person will see you as their Mr. Miyagi “Wax on, wax off. Don't forget to breathe, very important.” – Mr. Miyagi, Karate Kid (1984) By Chris Lackner Our baby is going to be a karate kid or, better yet, a ninja.With the amount of kicking going on in mom’s belly these days, it’s either ninja or international soccer star – which would certainly make the baby’s Brazilian grandparents happy. (I’d like to think our child will dream big, and become the world’s first double threat: a ninja footballer).While I’ve always wanted to raise a little Zen warrior (mainly for all the money I’d save on home security… but also for the free car waxing), this third trimester kicking phase is an important one for all dads-to-be. It’s the first time fatherhood feels concrete – more than an abstract concept. It’s a period where ...

Typewriters, newspapers now retro cool

Column: Mickleburgh An old scribe ventures back to the future on a recent trip to Seattle where old-fashioned print media and analog typing contraptions still have a place and a meaningful, if sentimental, sense of purpose By Rod Mickleburgh Hey, kids! Montreal Expos caps and vinyl aren’t the only hip retro around. Be the first in your group to read a print newspaper. Take time out from your busy online life, relax and turn the pages. Impress your friends. You never know what unexpected treasures of information and features might lurk deep within.As the late, great David Carr (sigh) did during all his visits outside New York, I still peruse the local newspapers whenever I venture beyond Van, man. Here are some print gleanings from a recent weekend baseball venture to Seattle. You, too, can be a newspaper explorer.1. Let’s start with a joke. You’re probably one of those who think Boise, Idaho is no laughing matter. Well, you’d be wrong. The lede of an enticing ...

What’s sex got to do with it?

The Daddy Diary: Part 2 When your wife is a grown-up tomboy and your first toy was a doll, discovering the gender of your new baby doesn't change much - not even the colour of the nursery By Chris Lackner “Girls will be boys and boys will be girls, it’s a mixed up muddled up shook up world.” Sure, The Kinks’ Ray Davies didn’t have parenting in mind when he wrote those lyrics, but they apply just the same.Boy or girl? We’ve decided to find out what the stork is bringing (That is how babies are still delivered, right? I haven’t been to a prenatal class yet.). An ultrasound will soon tell us whether our family addition will be a “daddy’s girl” or a “mamma’s boy.”For many couples, this big reveal shapes plans for the nursery, but it really won’t change the way we prepare for parenthood. We don’t plan on painting the baby’s bedroom blue or pink, or stocking up on toy trucks verses dolls. In fact, I’m pretty sure my wife is going to instigate an ...