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Writer & Historian

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A Lesson Regarding No. 1 and No. 2

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September 3, 2021
A Lesson Regarding No. 1 and No. 2

Four year olds are inquisitive. They are also quick to correct adult usage, and I’m finding that they are usually right. The other day, for example, Calliope was riding her little bike on our newly paved street. She needed some help with her protective headgear. I made the mistake of calling it a hat....
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Pilgrimage to Zuckerberg’s – A Memoir

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June 22, 2021
Pilgrimage to Zuckerberg’s  – A Memoir

Almost 50 years ago, I spent about six months living on an idyllic little island where I acted as a caretaker. Zuckerberg Island is situated at the confluence of the Kootenay and Columbia Rivers in Castlegar, British Columbia, the town were I grew up. Eli Sopow, a high school friend, was editing the Kootenay...
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A Meditation on Dandelions – A Child’s Wisdom

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June 17, 2021
A Meditation on Dandelions –  A Child’s Wisdom

During a recent walk to the park, Calliope, my four-year-old great granddaughter, raced into a well-advanced field of dandelions, the result of my long neglect of lawn mowing. This short dialogue followed with her standing knee-deep in yellow flowers: Calliope: Grandpa, what are dandelions? Grandpa: They’re weeds. Calliope: But they’re so pretty. Grandpa: They...
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Dateline Winnipeg 1919 – A Book Review

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May 22, 2021
Dateline Winnipeg 1919 – A Book Review

Michael Dupuis, The Reporter and the Winnipeg General Strike (Vancouver: Granville Island Publishing, 2020), 254 pages (paper), illustrated by Michael Kluckner, $19.95. We’ve heard many versions of the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike story. We’ve read it in history books and graphic novels, seen it in videos and plays, heard it on radio documentaries, and even hummed...
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True Crime in Northern Saskatchewan – A Book Review

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April 26, 2021
True Crime in Northern Saskatchewan – A Book Review

Michael Nest with Deanna Reder and Eric Bell, Cold Case North: The Search for James Brady and Absolom Halkett(Regina: University of Regina Press, 2020), 311 pages (illustrated), $24.95. Author Michael Nest The online streaming networks are filled with true crime dramas these days, all claiming to be based on true facts. But it’s never clear...
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Dragonville – A Children’s Story

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February 21, 2021
Dragonville – A Children’s Story

My sister Niki has written a delightful children’s story called Dragonville. Here is the video version. Enjoy.
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Doukhobor Diaspora – A Book Review

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February 18, 2021
Doukhobor Diaspora – A Book Review

Vera Maloff, Our Backs Warmed By the Sun: Memories of a Doukhobor Life (Halfmoon Bay, B.C.: Caitlin Press, 2020), 264 pages with numerous photographs (paper), $24.95. When I was in my teens, a terrible explosion rocked my West Kootenay neighbourhood. A 16-year-old boy had accidentally blown himself up while on a mission for the radical Sons...
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Riding the Rails into Canada’s History – A Book Review

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January 21, 2021
Riding the Rails into Canada’s History – A Book Review

David Laurence Jones, Railway Nation: Tales of Canadian Pacific, the World’s Greatest Travel System (Victoria: Heritage House, 2020) 304 pages, $34.95 (paper). We can still hear the distant call of a diesel engine’s whistle today in most regions of Canada and for many of us it is a sound that transports us to an earlier time,...
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Slanted Right – Media Analysis

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January 12, 2021
Slanted Right – Media Analysis

The mainstream news media gets blamed for a lot of things. Some of it is deserved, some not. The problem in today’s multiple viewing platform world is that right-wing propaganda slips silently into what you might assume is an accurate, unbiased source of information. Take one example: Sharyl Attkisson’s Full Measure.
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Three Tunes for the Times – A Musical Comment

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January 10, 2021
Three Tunes for the Times – A Musical Comment

Three songs that re-resonated for me through 2020 are part of  “Readers’ Choice,” an annual roundup of favourite songs posted at kuratedmusic.com. Kris Klaasen, my long-time music-listening companion, adviser and old friend, launched the site last year and has been using it to explore the broad reaches of the music world then sharing his findings....
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Books