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Writer & Historian

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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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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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The Post – A Film Review

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January 31, 2018
The Post – A Film Review

Steven Spielberg is the quintessential Hollywood movie director. He’s often too patriotic for my liking – Saving Private Ryan comes to mind – but sometimes he chooses topics that go beyond patriotism to real cinematic studies of historic events. The Post, about the risky publication of the Pentagon Papers, is one of those. It...
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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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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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City Slicker Goes Under Ground – A Coal Mine Article

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December 5, 2017
City Slicker Goes Under Ground – A Coal Mine Article

Twenty years ago, I found myself in a coal mine two kilometers under the Atlantic Ocean in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Recently I was reminded of the experience and the article I wrote about it. The Cape Breton Post reprinted the piece under the headline “City Slicker Goes Under Ground.” The article begins as...
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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