Aloha A-bomb! A Postcard from the Edge of Armageddon
News Comment: Nuclear Scare in Hawaii
A seasoned reporter faces the End on holiday in Kauai as locals either shrug off alerts or hide behind palm trees
By Rod Mickleburgh
KAUAI, Hawaii -- It’s a while since I’ve been caught up in a world-wide news event, especially one where I MIGHT HAVE DIED. But there we were, after a five a.m. wake-up call by Kauai’s ubiquitous red roosters, on the first day of our holiday, groggily sipping our coffee in the Saturday morning sunshine. All of a sudden, the island quiet was pierced by an urgent loud buzz on our cellphone. It sounded like an Amber Alert on steroids. “What the heck was that?” I said out loud to other breakfasters gathered on the patio of our inn. No one looked up from their buttered toast. Thinking it was just some sort of glitch, we didn’t investigate further. Then, my companion reported back from the office. The woman behind the front desk had said something about a missile threat, as she busied herself with the ...
First Place Finnish
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 ...
NFB offers early gifts
Brief: Canadian Film
The National Film Board of Canada wants you to unwrap your present of Canadian presence, offering 20 award-winning movies on-line for free, starting today
By Katherine Monk
(December 7, 2017) -- Naughty? Nice? No matter. The National Film Board is giving everyone a gift by posting 20 award-winning movies on-line — for free. Starting today, Canadian film fans can take in an assortment of documentaries and animated films, including Sarah Polley’s The Stories We Tell, a timeless portrait of her own family and its secrets, as well as Mina Shum’s Ninth Floor, a documentary about racial tensions at Concordia and the scars that linger decades later.
Perhaps best suited to the Christmas season is Payback, Jennifer Baichwal’s big screen take on Margaret Atwood’s Massey Lecture outlining the unspoken balance sheet that exists between humans.
“We all have these scales of acknowledged or unacknowledged balances in our heads. Some are family things. ...
Canada’s Sundance 2018 Delegation: Sexy and Animated
News Brief: Canadian Film
Three NFB shorts and four Canadian world premieres selected for the prestigious independent film festival founded by Robert Redford
By The Ex-Press
VANCOUVER — A sexy wolf washing repairman, epic girl crushes and a Croatian co-production about a hedgehog’s quest for home will be heading to Park City as part of the National Film Board’s Sundance Film Festival delegation.
Accepted into this year’s short film competition are Diane Obomsawin’s LGBTQ-themed I Like Girls, Chintis Lundgren’s Manivald — a howling take on the Maytag man, and Eva Cvijanovic’s Hedgehog’s Home, a stop-motion story of hedgehog domesticity.
According to the news release issued Monday, the three films have already pulled in more than 40 international awards before heading to Utah in the New Year.
In addition to the three NFB shorts, the following Canadian projects will also be taking part in the recently announced feature program with several world premieres, ...
The Orillia Packet & Times: A Love Story
Newspaper Obituary: The Orillia Packet & Times
They're closing the newspaper where I made my start, and where I learned about journalism. I guess I'm still learning.
By Jay Stone
(Ottawa, ON -- Nov. 27, 2017) I’ve been in love with several newspapers in my life — journalism tends to be a promiscuous passion — but none more deeply than I was in my first affair with the Orillia Packet & Times. It was the place where I started in the business, and now they’re going to close it down, another victim of Google or smart phones or whatever it is that has driven the wayward press to the fringes of our attention.
I went there in 1968 from Toronto, where I was a 22-year-old university dropout driving a cab for a living while I plotted how to become a writer. My father, who brooked no such nonsense, sent me a note — I was living in a hippie house on St. Joseph Street, near Bloor and Yonge, with my longhaired hoodlum friends — saying that he had heard there was an ...
After the Boys of Summer Have Gone, the Iceman Cometh
Looking back at the year of ball that was, Rod Mickleburgh finds the big league diamonds were rough, but the minor games at the likes of Nat Bailey Stadium were small gem experiences in a priceless setting.
By Rod Mickleburgh
And so baseball winter has begun, made even harsher by the tragic death of Roy Halladay. The hopeful breezes of spring, the lazy hazy crazy days of summer and the beautifully slanted light of fall have all departed from the diamond, leaving us to bundle up and shiver through the bleak wintry months of no baseball. In that sweet, far-off time when I was a kid, the Series was always over by the second week of October, in time for the players to do their fall hunting. Now, with so many wildcard and playoff games piled on, the Series stretches into November, as ridiculous a month as ever was for the summer game. In November, you don’t think baseball, you think winter.
There was hardly a “wow” ending. The highly-anticipated seventh game ...
What The Knuckler? Pitching for Dummies… and Brian Doyle
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 Brian Doyle, author of Young Adult fiction and 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 sound sensible and mature and reasonable and I want it to ...
Irene Howard, History Is Her Story
People: Plaque unveiled for Helena Guttridge
Mayor's tribute to Vancouver's first female councillor strikes a personal note for Rod Mickleburgh, who in turn honours a chronicler he calls 'Auntie Irene'
By Rod Mickleburgh
(May 19, 2017) - At the age of 70, my beloved Auntie Irene, under her scholastic name of Irene Howard, published her definitive biography of Helena Gutteridge, Vancouver’s first woman “alderman”. Ten years later, when she was 80, she completed her remarkable book Gold Dust On His Shirt, a moving saga of her family’s working class life in the gold mines of British Columbia, feathered with impeccable research of the times. At 90 she published a very fine poem, which is reproduced below.
And one morning last month, at the age of 94 and a half, Auntie Irene sat in the front row of chairs arrayed in a room off the main lobby at city hall, looking as elegant and vivacious as anyone who pre-dated Vancouver’s Art Deco municipal masterpiece by 14 years ...