Sometimes you have to dig a hole to stay alive

Remembering Orme Payne, Part Two of Two From the Great Depression and prairie drought, to mano-a-mano combat with the Germans in the waning days of war, Orme Payne's life wove a tapestry of the Twentieth Century. By Rod Mickleburgh My friend Orme went through a lot in his final years. But when you’ve been through a Depression and a World War, you learn to take things as they come. During our many conversations, he never complained, never felt he was hard done by, even when he experienced the long months of isolation imposed by COVID-19. “I’m confined to barracks” was his matter-of-fact assessment. Over the phone, he was always cheerful. His yarns and colourful expressions never dried up, aided by a memory that remained intact until the end. And damn, he was funny…. Orme died this past September, his body finally giving up the ghost, after 98 years and five months of a very good life. I miss him terribly. On Remembrance Day, the first Orme has missed in 75 years, ...

How Orme weathered the storm of war in the Signals Corps

Canadian History: Remembering Orme Payne, Part One This year on Remembrance Day, Rod Mickleburgh felt the loss of a friend, a veteran and a Second World War combat survivor who found strength in his fellow men, and one in particular. By Rod Mickleburgh I lost a good friend of mine this fall. Orme Payne, who fought in Italy and Holland during World War Two, passed away at the George Derby Care Home in Burnaby. He was 98 years and five months young, and I use the word “young” advisedly. Through the years, no matter how rough a time the rest of him was having, the strength of his voice never wavered, his mind and memory remained razor sharp, and he never failed to make me laugh. So, Remembrance Day in this most terrible of years will be even more sombre for me than usual. I will be thinking of Orme. I first met him in 2015, when I wrote a Remembrance Day story for the Globe and Mail on the long, remarkable friendship between Orme and his boyhood prairie buddy, Gordie Bannerm...

Touring small town journalism and finding the Koots

Journalism: The Decline of Local Newspapers Big city papers are nowhere to be found in B.C.'s Kootenays, but you can still find a local weekly with birthday announcements, the lost and found, and reader mail damning CBC Radio for just about anything. By Rod Mickleburgh The first of two parts. (Be be still your beating heart.) I spent two rewarding weeks last month travelling the highways and communities of BC’s historic West Kootenays. As I always do when on the road, I looked for local newspapers to give me a sense of what was happening in the places where my squeaky sneakers touched down. At the same time, I still wanted to keep up with events in the rest of the province. Unfortunately, and I’m not sure I should have been surprised, I could not find a single, big-city daily east of the Okanagan.  No Sun, no Province, no National Post (yay! oops….), no Globe and Mail. I could not find a single, big-city daily east of the Okanagan.  No Sun, no Province, no National ...

The joy of wearing a mask when you’re facially disfigured

Health: COVID-19 Facial Coverings The Coronavirus Pandemic has disturbed the delicate balance of daily life, but one writer found a strange symmetry in suddenly being asymmetrical. “Is the mask magic?" he demanded with sudden, passionate interest. "Yes." I bowed my head, so that our eyes no longer met. "I made it magic to keep you safe. The mask is your friend, Erik. As long as you wear it, no mirror can ever show you the face again." - Phantom of the Opera, Gaston Leroux By Katherine Monk VANCOUVER, BC — I woke up around midnight after passing out on the couch. I’d made a fire to get cozy after an hour-long swim in the ocean late in the afternoon, and I still felt cold. I plodded off to the bathroom to get ready for bed, and when I looked in the mirror — something looked a little off. I wrote it off to the awkward sleep position and the hard pillow. My face looked, well, saggy. It wouldn’t have been the first time I was a little shocked by a late night encoun...
4, 3.5, 3Score

The White House shines again in The Way I See It

What’s On October 16, 2020 The Way I See It is a must-see view at the White House through the lens of official photographer Pete Souza, I Am Greta goes on an epic journey to save the world, and Aaron Sorkin's Trial of the Chicago 7 fails to find a West Wing moment.
3, 3, 3.5Score

Double-barrelled shot of Southern Gothic and a clean shot of Chastain

What’s On: September 18, 2020 Janelle Monae wakes up in unwoke South, Tom Holland practices his drawl in the holler and Jessica Chastain gets shaken and stirred as a super-assassin in Ava.  
3.5Score

Movie review: Mulan redeems Disney’s lust for remakes

Movie Review: Mulan Whale Rider director Niki Caro finds new dimensions in an ancient tale by focusing on the coming-of-age story struggling for articulation under the heavy, old armour of a man's world.  
3Score

Tenet Movie Review: It All Depends On How You Look at It

Movie Review: Tenet Christopher Nolan looks to recapture a memento of his past in palindromic Tenet, a movie that wrestles with itself in the moment but finds meaning when you read it backward.
3.5Score

Ash pulls us into the personal crucible of obsessive-compulsive disorder

Movie review: Ash Set against the backdrop of the scorched British Columbia landscape during fire season, director Andrew Huculiak pulls off the near-impossible by delivering a sympathetic portrait of Interior spaces singed by fear and loathing.

Launching a Rocket in the Living Room

DIY Column: The Apollo XIII Project A New Year’s resolution to reuse, recycle or purge was already in progress, then the pandemic happened, and what started as a creative bid to turn garbage into art suddenly morphed into a personal Apollo XIII mission: Without access to Home Depot, can you find a way to repurpose what you already have?