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The old hacks who make The Ex-Press the glorious, old-school rag that it is.

It’s never too late to remember the fallen

REMEMBRANCE DAY SPECIAL Seventy years ago, fighting men and women returned home from the battlefields and POW camps in the Pacific to a less-than-warm welcome, a sad testament to the forgotten sacrifices of veterans that continues to this day   By Rod Mickleburgh Amid all the wonderful crazy sports stuff going on, there was a very sombre anniversary. Seventy years ago this past weekend, the last, bloody gasp of World War Two came to end, with the surrender of Japan, after years of unimaginable killing. Canada was involved in the war at the very outset, when this country dispatched about 2,000 raw recruits in a hopeless move to buttress British forces in Hong Kong shortly before Pearl Harbour. A month later, the Japanese invaded. After a relatively-brief, murderous skirmish that lasted perhaps a week, Hong Kong fell to the Japanese. More than 550 Canadians were killed in the fighting or died later as starved, over-worked prisoners of war, their bodies reduced to little ...

Rod Mickleburgh is Still mourning

Tribute: Larry Still, Journalist Larry Still, the late Vancouver Sun courts reporter and the author behind the Limits of Sanity possessed old-school skills, a sharp wit and reliable shorthand that allowed him to write long about the law By Rod Mickleburgh We’ve lost another of those legendary reporters from what, in retrospect, was a golden age of journalism at the Vancouver Sun. You know, the days when newspapers told you everything you needed to know about your community, your country and the world at large, and more. For 30 years at the Sun, Larry Still was perhaps the best court reporter in the land, undoubtedly the best in B.C. by a country mile. His immaculately-worded coverage of Vancouver’s many long, gripping, often grisly, trials in the last three decades of the twentieth century stand as a tribute to the craft – clear, concise, comprehensive and oh, so readable. As dramatic testimony and give-and-take from the city’s best lawyers played out in the courtro...

Pop Culture Decoder: Why Cilantro is the Devil

Cilantro has more enemies than Cersei Lannister; Misty Harris breaks down the reasons By Misty Harris There’s an old chestnut about never discussing politics, religion or money at the dinner table. To that list I would respectfully add cilantro, an herb more divisive than the finale of How I Met Your Mother.   I don’t pretend to be an unbiased journalist on this matter. My personal feeling about cilantro is that it’s the Donald Trump of herbs: too loud, always showing up in places you don’t want it, leaves a bad taste in your mouth. The flavour experience can best be described as an unholy marriage between Thrills gum and an old penny – both plucked from the mouth of a rotting corpse.   So before you continue reading today’s Decoder, please remember that it’s not nonpartisan; I’m coming at cilantro with the extreme prejudice of someone who has just bitten into an oatmeal-raisin cookie thinking that it was chocolate-chip. The struggle is ...

Hey sister, go sister: This is Celeriac Rémoulade

Crunchy and creamy at the same time, celery root salad is a Gallic standard that will make you want more, more, more!   By Louise Crosby Many summers ago, I studied French for a month at an exclusive language school in Villefranche-sur-Mer, situated between Nice and Monaco on the Côte d’Azur. It was très exotique. Villefranche is a town of apricot and turquoise-painted buildings sloping down to a sparkling blue Mediterranean. People drink crisp, cold rosé wines, lavender perfumes the air, and cicadas buzz in the dry afternoon heat. I did as best I could through the morning language labs and grammar drills, but really perked up when we broke for lunch. That’s because the food was very good.   Of all the delicious homemade dishes we were served, one stands out in my mind, and that is celery root rémoulade, also known as celeriac rémoulade or céleri rémoulade. It was crunchy and creamy at the same time, and I couldn’t get enough of it. You might ...

Extra! Extra! There are still a few stories in the naked city

Newspapers may be fading to black, but there's still gold in those grey pages, you just have to pan with patience By Rod Mickleburgh As regular readers know by now, I remain a big fan of newspapers, despite their ever-diminishing state. Why, just this week, I found all sorts of goodies distributed among their varied pages. The treasures are still there. You just have to look a bit harder and be a bit more patient these days. So I thought I would share a few.     1. I hadn’t quite realized before that the state most affected by climate change is not media-saturated, rain-starved California, but, of course, Alaska. So far, this summer, wildfires have burned through more than 20,000 square kilometres of Alaskan forestry, a swath larger than all of Connecticut. Other bad stuff, too. An excellent story from Saturday’s Vancouver Sun, written by the Washington Post’s environment reporter, Chris Mooney. http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2...

Rod Mickleburgh gets folked up

The annual running of the Birkenstock 500 may get tougher, and the bass may get louder, but the Vancouver Folk Music Festival remains an alternate universe where peace, love and political correctness rule -- in a non-fascist way By Rod Mickleburgh For the first time in many years, I was without my constant companion at this year’s Vancouver Folk Festival. And my cousin’s young ‘un had the nerve to get hitched on Friday, the Folk Fest’s opening day, so I missed the fabulous Pokey Lafarge, when he still had a voice. Still, I had a blast. Artistic director Linda Tanaka managed once again to assemble a vintage brew of the known, the barely known and the unknown into an eclectic, heady mix of outstanding music. There were fewer ultra-headliners than unusual this year, and yet the festival was terrific. All these people I’d never heard of. How dare they be both young and great…? Not everything was perfect. The legendary Birkenstock 500 dash to earn a good tarp ...

Pop Culture Decoder: Pregnancy

Misty Harris deciphers why society is obsessed with pregnant women By Misty Harris People love pregnancy news, which is perhaps why the tabloids are constantly making it up (a good rule is that even if “multiple sources” confirm a celebrity pregnancy, the story is not to be believed unless one of those sources is the woman’s pee stick). To observe this cultural obsession is to assume that having a baby is a kind of superpower – which, in a way, I suppose it is; pregnant women are like NFL players in their capacity to get away with almost anything.   As for why the intrigue prevails after all this time, well, that’s a question for this week’s Decoder. Let’s make like Amanda Bynes and jump into a breakdown:   Housing a human is badass: It’s impossible to overstate the awe factor of knowing that a living being is growing inside someone; just ask the producers of the Alien movies, who are probably still counting their money. Regardless of ...

Remembrance Day Special: Paying homage to the ‘Moon’

Rod Mickleburgh traces personal roots to exhume the history of more than 1,500 Canadians who defied their own government to fight for freedom, and the losing side of the Spanish Civil War By Rod Mickleburgh I have more than a few books about the tragic Spanish Civil War. Yet I can barely bring myself to read them. Well, except for Homage to Catalonia, George Orwell’s bittersweet, affecting memoir detailing both the heroic commitment of those who fought for a republican Spain and the bloody witch hunt by hard-line Stalinists against those fighting with the anarchists. I just find it all so depressing. In addition to the millions of Spaniards caught up in the ferocious struggle, thousands of young idealists from all over the world headed off to Spain, fired by a zeal to fight fascism and support a democratically-elected government that sought to make progressive change. The issues could not have been more black and white. The conflict has been rightly labelled ‘the last ...

Pop Culture Decoder: Why I hate 21 Day Fix

Misty Harris longs to shed the dead weight of dieters from social media By Misty Harris I loathe 21 Day Fix with the fire of 1,000 Hades suns. Not because I’ve actually tried the fad diet, mind you; I have not. I hate it with the special kind of aversion reserved for things so repellent,* you know without a second thought that they’re not for you (think KFC’s Double Down Dog, or Donald Trump’s presidential bid).   Some background: 21 Day Fix is a “lifestyle” program marketed by Beachbody, the multinational responsible for P90X, Insanity, Focus T25 and other previous fitness/diet crazes. People pay to go on it, lose weight, then are given the option to become “coaches” – that is, recruiting others to buy into the program – in exchange for commissions and a company discount.   In summary: Friend goes on the Fix Friend posts fitness and food statuses five times a day on every social media account, and urges you to join his or her ...

Rod Mickleburgh toasts Canada Day with a sonic brewski, eh?

Crank up the Clairtone and celebrate Canada's birthday with a selection of songs curated by a discerning music lover indulging his many shades of plaid By Rod Mickleburgh Well, hello there, Canada. Another birthday, eh? Dominion Day is my favourite holiday of the year, a time for us all to set aside those petty differences over just about everything the you-know-who gang does in Ottawa, and celebrate being Canadian. My Canada includes a Prime Minister who loves hockey and gets excited about finding Franklin’s ships up north. It doesn’t include an ugly monument to “victims of communism” beside the Supreme Court of Canada, nor a massive Mother Canada statue scarring Cape Breton’s beautiful Highlands National Park, nor…(fill in 50 blanks here)….but never mind. Happy Dominion Day! What’s that? It’s now called Canada Day, you say? Pity! I usually celebrate Canada Day with a list of good old songs that best exemplify the spirit, history, beauty and character of this ...