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 ...
For Auld Lang Dies
Tribute: Dal Richards
The Bandleader who rang in New Year's Eve for decades rings out on the New Year's Day, five days shy of 98
By Rod Mickleburgh
VANCOUVER - I certainly didn’t know Dal Richards well. But I knew all about him, and I loved running into him. How often do you get to shake hands and say ‘hello’ and ‘thanks’ to a living legend? Vancouver’s King of Swing had a gig every New Year’s Eve for 79 years, which, as the whimsical Richards never tired of pointing out, must be some kind of world record.
This year, Dal didn’t make it. The bandleader, who really did seem like he would live forever, passed away five days short of his 98th birthday on, yes, New Year’s Eve. No one ever accused Dal Richards of not having a sense of occasion.
The thing about Dal was not only his accomplishments as a terrific bandleader and musician, but that he kept on playing. The years rolled by, and you kept wondering, will this be the year Dal Richards finally hangs up ...
Dan Halldorson: Unsung star of Canadian golf
In the modern era of professional showmanship, Dan Halldorson defined low-profile sportsmanship
By Rod Mickleburgh
You probably didn’t notice, but one of my favourite golfers recently shuffled off this mortal coil. In fact, most of you probably don’t even have a favourite golfer. But never mind.
Apart from that, the reason you may not have noticed his demise, is that Dan Halldorson, tragically done in by a stroke at 63, defined the phrase “low profile.” Not only was he a Canadian professional golfer before Mike Weir, he had the on-course charisma of a dozing accountant. Not many noticed him during his golfing career, and after he retired, he was soon unjustly forgotten. Me, I loved the guy.
There was something so unassuming about Dan Halldorson, so unlike any other golfer on the PGA tour. Shunning the flashy polyester slacks and other riotous garb of the time, Dan preferred loose, almost baggy, dark pants. When the weather fell below 80 degrees, he often ...
Yogi Berra: More than Mr. Malaprop
The late legend was a perennial MVP and one of few good reasons to root for the New York Yankees
Sure, Mantle might hit a homer, but he might just as easily strike out. Berra, notorious for swinging at balls so far out of the strike zone they might have been in Poughkeepsie, almost never fanned – just 414 times in 19 seasons, writes Rod Mickleburgh
By Rod Mickleburgh
A few words on the late, great Lawrence Peter Berra, known to one and all, except Yankee manager Casey Stengel, as Yogi. The Old Perfessor always referred to him as “my man” or “Mr. Berra.” It was his show of respect for the team’s catcher and long-time clean-up hitter. While others might mock and deride Berra’s squat stature, homely mug and lack of verbal sophistication, wise Casey knew just how key Berra was to the success of the Yankees in those long-ago years when they seemed to win the World Series every year. From behind the plate, he guided the team’s often far from brilliant pitching staff ...
Wes Craven was horrified by horror crown
Wes Craven faced his lapsed Baptist fears and exorcised personal demons through his work, but the man with the graduate degree from Johns Hopkins said his biggest victory was overcoming his anxiety around "The Master of Horror" label
By Katherine Monk
Wes Craven is dead, but his characters will haunt us forever. The master of cinematic Screams and A Nightmare on Elm Street passed away of brain cancer August 30 at the age of 76, but he leaves more than a scar on our collective subconscious thanks to the razor-fingered Freddy Krueger. Like many horror auteurs, Craven’s work forced us to experience the world differently: To feel fear, and in turn, to feel more alive.
“My films are about waking up... and no matter what you do, don’t fall asleep. The idea is to be here now; to live in the moment, and to understand what’s happening between yourself and the other,” Craven once told me in an interview.
It was over the phone, done when George W. Bush ...
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...
Ornette Coleman’s death prompts a dramatic resurrection
Among the people at the bar in 1959 when the jazz revolutionary Ornette Coleman played his historic engagement at the Five Spot in New York was Charley Gordon, then a political science student who would have rather been a trumpet player. He worked that episode into a play, as yet unproduced. Coleman's death this week brought the play out of a desk drawer. This is a scene from A Different Drummer.
A nightclub, jazz playing in the background. Rich and George and a total stranger are sitting at the bar. Rich is drunk, talking to the Total Stranger.
You know the way I am, first thing I notice is the drummer. But I don’t know who this guy his. He’s just driving like crazy. The horn stuff is odd, but I’m just fixating on him. I’m trying to figure out who this drummer is. I’m 20 years-old, right, and I read Downbeat, cover to cover, memorize the fucking thing. But I never heard of this guy, never saw his picture. I know ...