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Writer & Historian

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Coming of Age on Salt Spring – A Book Review

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April 22, 2018
Coming of Age on Salt Spring – A Book Review

Mod ‘n Lavender: Salt Spring Island in the ‘60s, by John Grain, Kelowna: Tadpole Publishing, 2017, $18.95  /  9780973863413. For some of us, remembering the 1960s is increasingly hindered by old age and failing memories. A few of us might prefer to forget parts of it. But if you’re willing, retired schoolteacher John Grain...
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March for Our Lives – A Photo Essay

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March 25, 2018
March for Our Lives – A Photo Essay

About 5,000 marchers took to the downtown streets of Eugene, Oregon, to show their support for gun control legislation on March 24 in conjunction with similar marches in hundreds of cities around the world. Young people, often wearing orange sweatshirts, led the peaceful and remarkable quiet crowd in protest against gun violence in schools....
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Invoking Labour History to Win in West Virginia – A Strike Analysis

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March 14, 2018
Invoking Labour History to Win in West Virginia – A Strike Analysis

“A union movement in America will always be a scandal (because) the subversive thing about labor is not the strike, but the idea of solidarity.” – Tom Geoghegan in Which Side Are You On? The nine-day West Virginia teachers’ strike that ended on March 7, 2018, revealed how workers can and will invoke labour history to...
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Beware the Creeping Nazi Beast – A TV Review

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February 26, 2018
Beware the Creeping Nazi Beast – A TV Review

Babylon Berlin, the 16-part TV series released on Netflix in late January 2018, may be the best television since Deadwood and possibly better that Breaking Bad, two of my favourites. Europe seems to think so and the North American reviews are generally positive. The New York Times predicts that it will become “an international...
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A Funeral in Sweet Home – A Personal Reflection

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January 27, 2018

I attended a funeral a while ago. No one I knew. A friend of my wife’s family. A disabled woman. Fifty-three years old. In her fifty-fourth year, as we say. Fifty-three orbits round the sun and Lynette was gone. Cremated. A family memory of both loss and some relief. Lynette left several stuffed animals...
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Hands Up If You Think You Can Win a Nuclear War – A Book Review

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January 27, 2018
Hands Up If You Think You Can Win a Nuclear War – A Book Review

Hands up all those who believe that a nuclear war is winnable and that you will survive to tell your grandchildren about it. If we trust whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg’s new book The Doomsday Machine (Bloomsbury, 2017), the answer is no there would be no winner and it “would kill nearly every human on earth.”...
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Critics Misjudge Vietnam War Series – A Film Review

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January 9, 2018
Critics Misjudge Vietnam War Series – A Film Review

The other day a friend at the gym mentioned that he had been watching the Ken Burns/Lynn Novick documentary The Vietnam War. “I was on the wrong side,” he concluded repeating a phrase heard in the film. “We didn’t know what we were fighting for and they had everything to fight for.” Not all...
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Vietnam War Truths vs. Iraq War Propaganda

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January 9, 2018
Vietnam War Truths  vs. Iraq War Propaganda

America is a confusing place to live at the best of times, but in Trump times it gets even more puzzling. Are we really back to Cold War nuclear arms rattling? Are the top generals serious about reviving the notion of a winnable nuclear war? Are we any safer in this Twitter-riddled circus than...
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Venice Observed – A Travel Booklet with Photos

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December 26, 2017
Venice Observed – A Travel Booklet with Photos

She is “like many a beautiful mistress and a strong dark wine, never entirely frank with you . . . . Her past is enigmatic, her present contradictory, her future hazed in uncertainties.” – Jan Morris in The World of Venice Why Venice? That’s what some of our friends asked when we announced that...
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Hip Capitalist Journalism – A Book Review

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December 25, 2017
Hip Capitalist Journalism – A Book Review

I just resurfaced from reading 500 pages of a new biography on Rolling Stone editor Jann Wenner. It’s called Sticky Fingers and my fingers are definitely feeling sticky. In fact, I feel icky all over after learning who Wenner has been all these years: unpleasant, greedy, boastful, untrustworthy, a cheat, and it goes on...
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Books

Venice Observed - A Travel Booklet with Photos by Ron Verzuh Radical Rag by Ron Verzuh Underground Times by Ron Verzuh Selling Labour Down Under by Ron Verzuh Changing Images by Ron Verzuh Feasting With Love by Ron Verzuh Tea Leaves by Ron Verzuh Remembering Salt by Ron Verzuh