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Writer & Historian

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Cultures

Balkan Roots – A Travel Essay

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August 16, 2018
Balkan Roots – A Travel Essay

It is pouring a hard, unforgiving Balkan rain that threatens to scupper my plans to visit Lukovdol, a small village in Croatia where I hope to find the ancestral home of my grandfather Francisus Verzuh. We are in the mountainous region of Gorski Kotar, a county near the Slovenian border. Wikipedia dubs it Croatia’s...
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A Poetic Memory of Canada

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August 2, 2018
A Poetic Memory of Canada

An American friend sent me a poem the other day by way of a belated celebration of Canada Day. It was written by famous American poet Billy Collins in 1995. Collins served two terms as U.S. Poet Laureate. I’m not sure what his connection is to my home and native land. But the poem...
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Reds Under Beds – A Spy Story

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August 1, 2018
Reds Under Beds – A Spy Story

RCMP secret agents were still looking for Reds under every bed during British Columbia’s 1983 “Solidarity Coalition” protests against the austerity budget of the right-wing Social Credit government of Bill Bennett. Maybe I shouldn’t be shocked that taxpayers’ money could once again be spent wastefully searching for a miniscule group of people who might...
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Signs of Bad Times

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July 9, 2018
Signs of Bad Times

A scan of New York Times headlines for July 8, 2018, reveals several signs of deteriorating times. So much for mother’s milk  The United States delegation to the World Health Organization opposed the promotion of mother’s milk as healthiest for children, thus “embracing the interests of infant formula manufacturers,” reports the Times. “The Americans were...
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How the West Was Really Won – A Book Review

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July 5, 2018
How the West Was Really Won – A Book Review

Richard White, The Republic for Which It Stands(New York: Oxford, 2017). Western historian Richard White has long provided us with insights into why the United States are the way they are. In Railroaded, he described the role of the railway barons in bettering and worsening the western United States. In The Organic Machine, he...
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Mad Man of B.C. Advertising – A Book Review

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July 4, 2018
Mad Man of B.C. Advertising – A Book Review

Robin Brunet, Let’s Get Frank: Canada’s Mad Man of Advertising(Madeira Park, B.C.: Douglas & McIntyre, 2018), 232 pages, $29.95. Anyone who watched the award-winning TV series Mad Menwill be equally discomfited with the advertising industry as depicted in Let’s Get Frank, a biography of Vancouver advertising tycoon Frank Palmer. Perhaps tycoon is too strong...
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Marching for Immigrant Family Rights – A Photo Essay

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July 1, 2018
Marching for Immigrant Family Rights – A Photo Essay

We marched to the courthouse on June 30 to protest Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy regarding immigrants, but many also spoke against other aspects of his increasingly corrupt Administration. Billed as the Families Belong Together rally, the organizers provided little direction about what we were to do. Steering a march through town to display our...
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We Need Our Troubadours – A Music and Poetry Review

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June 15, 2018
We Need Our Troubadours – A Music and Poetry Review

John Paul O’Connor, Half the Truth: Poems(Valdosta, Georgia: Snake-Nation-Press, 2016) Orders:  http://www.snakenationpress.org/product/half-the-truth/. John O’Connor, Rare Songs, Hegel Creek Music, 2017, www.johnpauloconnor.com. Orders: https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/johnoconnor3. Sometime in the mid-1960s, I was sitting on some grass in a Vancouver park not far from a makeshift stage waiting for a folk concert to begin. There would be many...
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Why America Doesn’t Work

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April 24, 2018
Why America Doesn’t Work

We recently saw an Oregon Contemporary Theater production of Buried Child, the 1978 play about family dysfunction by the late American playwright and actor Sam Sheppard. In my ways it is a multi-layered statement about what’s wrong with America. In the program notes, Sheppard offers this view of the history of his country: “I...
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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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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