Columns & Series 32 results

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 ...

Preparing for Parenthood

The Daddy Diary Part 1 – The NeverEnding Story A veteran journalist tackles his hardest assignment yet: parenthood. A long-time fatherhood fence sitter, he takes his inspiration from a family of storytellers - not to mention the adventures of a boy and his dragon.

Feeling all pains and needles

The Sick Days: Part 22 After toughing out the chronic pain of inflamed joints and fever flashes, a young reporter hits the wall and lands in the hospital where hiding the truth about her illness is no longer an option By Shelley Page An ‘X’ was drawn on my back to mark the spot where the biopsy needle was to be plunged. That’s when the nephrologist executed the bait and switch. “Ok, how about you do it?” “The biopsy? Me?” Hovering over me — face down, backside up— the attending nephrologist discussed the procedure with the resident, who’d been at his side since I met them the previous afternoon. (It was a teaching hospital). “Yes, you’ve watched enough of these. You’re ready.” “It’s a straight shot?” “More or less.” One of them touched my shoulder. “How are you feeling?” Uh. I lifted my head, twisted my neck to look them both in the eyes. I’d read somewhere that you’re supposed to make eye contact with ...

A reporter on the run

The Sick Days: Part 20 - Into the Frying Pan When I was a young reporter, there were no “self-help” books about how to manage your workload, ask for support from your employer, or even disclose an illness. By Shelley Page I’d like to torque my personal narrative and claim that I left my ‘dream job’ because I’d had an epiphany: journalism would never be a cure for lupus. Except, I wasn’t that clever. These days, there are many books written for the chronically ill about how to scale back your dreams and still find career success: Despite Lupus, written by a former NBC producer who quit her job to control the constant flares of her illness, which eventually attacked her kidneys, arguably the most serious manifestation of lupus (a stage I didn’t yet have to worry about). The writer encouraged readers to work smart, or in bite-sized chunks, and sometimes not at all. Fabulupus (yes, that’s really the title), is filled with similar advice. When I was a ...

Wine Pairings for your Failed New Year’s Resolutions

Pop Culture Decoder Choosing the right wine to toast your success at failure!  

The joy of general assignment lost on next generation

Journal: The Sick Days, Part 19 The Death Knock is among one of the most unpleasant tasks in any newsroom, but the uncomfortable face-to-face with a grief-stricken relative has now been replaced by social media trolling and scalping Tweets By Shelley Page It’s called a “pick up” or a “death knock,” and it’s among the most unpleasant tasks a general assignment reporter on the city desk can draw. The most experienced of our breed can get a grieving mother to unchain her door, make a pot of tea, and unspool woeful stories of her lost love, usually urged on by an invitation to “set the record straight” about son Jimmy the Bank Robber or make sure Little Emily the Heroin Addict isn’t misremembered. The most tenacious of us leave the widow’s home with an entire photo album under our arm so there are no pictures left for media outlets late to the tea party. This is another one of those tasks that journalism school can’t prepare you for. So many years ago, ...

The Ultimate Christmas Music Playlist

Or, Learn to Love Christmas Music in Just 15 Songs By Misty Harris “I don’t care about a war on Christmas but I could totally get behind a war on Christmas music.” So said my friend Shauna Wright, a Someecards writer who’s brilliant and funny even when she is wrong. Christmas music, you see, is simply misunderstood. Like spotting a pit bull at an off-leash park, people recoil at its appearance thanks to years of media conditioning, and in doing so, are denied the chance to make a real emotional connection. DO NOT DENY YOURSELF LOVE, PEOPLE. There are countless reasons to love Christmas music – a genre I defend in this month’s Pop Culture Decoder. But for those who need extra help learning to love the much-maligned genre, I offer these 15 songs to kick-start the holiday reprogramming. The Christmas Song by Mindy Gledhill God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings by Barenaked Ladies and Sarah McLachlan O Come, O Come Emmanuel by The Piano Guys I ...

Pop Culture Decoder: Christmas Music

Christmas music is more maligned than soul patches; Misty Harris jumps to its defence By Misty Harris Every holiday season, the masses profess their hatred of Christmas music with a level of zeal normally reserved for discussions about politics, refugees, or Starbucks cup designs. As with hearing police sirens in a song on your car radio, the genre has a way of unsettling even the most mild-mannered of folks. I, however, am not one of the masses. Call me punk rock but I LOVE Christmas music – so much, in fact, that it’s virtually the only thing I listen to between mid-November and Boxing Day. Cut me and I’ll bleed tinsel. Why, you ask? Allow me to decode. * Happiness: Admittedly, most holiday tunes lack complexity in terms of lyrics, melody and variety of plant life. But like Hugh Hefner bedding women in their 20s, Christmas music isn’t there to impress so much as to belabour a point: Fa la la la la (la la la la)! Surrendering to its unshakable optimism ...