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Writer & Historian

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Dogtooth

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February 20, 2011
Dogtooth

The movies have always been interested in exploring family life and this is even truer with television, but Oscar nominee Dogtooth takes that exploration several steps beyond the normal examination of familial foibles and everyday crises.
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Nothing is for free, not even nothing

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February 16, 2011

A big American magazine recently offered me a year’s subscription for free. How ‘bout that! In these tight times, it’s hard to imagine that anything is free. Well, guess what? It isn’t.
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The Social Network

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February 15, 2011
The Social Network

There wasn’t a single character that I liked in The Social Network, a film about the making of Facebook. Now, maybe I wasn’t supposed to like anyone. But it saddened me to see young people portrayed as greedy, status-seeking, sex-crazed, dope- and booze-addled bimbos and wannabe billionaires.
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Radical Cheek

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February 15, 2011
Radical Cheek

In the early 1980s, I initiated a discussion about starting a new national alternative magazine to be called Goodwin’s after the British Columbia labour martyr and socialist trade union leader, Albert ‘Ginger’ Goodwin.
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Power opera

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February 14, 2011
Power opera

It isn’t really opera unless someone dies, said a friend the other night at the end of a Vancouver performance of Mozart’s last opera, La Clemenza di Tito. Well, no one died although we came close and I came away wondering about the child prodigy’s politics.
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Consumer Humour

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February 13, 2011
Consumer Humour

Starting in April 1966 I began writing a monthly column for Canadian Consumer magazine. The column ran until October 1987. That spring I had been hired as national communications director for the Consumers’ Association of Canada. It was an august title but provided no staff and the salary was modest. The column was...
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Little Media

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February 13, 2011
Little Media

In the mid-1980s, I started writing for the now defunct content, Canada's media magazine. After contributing several feature articles focused on various aspects of the media, I was asked to write a column under the heading "Little Media".
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Tea Leaves – Journeys to the Tea Lands

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February 10, 2011
Tea Leaves – Journeys to the Tea Lands

The tea lady woke me with a rap on the door of my clean but tiny room at Dolphin Square, Pimlico, in London. Tea was the last thing on my mind at 7:30 a.m. But this was London, England, where morning tea is a tradition that dates back even before Thomas Twining set...
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A mountain in Tonga

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February 10, 2011
A mountain in Tonga

Passengers gawked from the Twin Otter as the only female pilot flying Royal Tongan Airlines circled Neiafu, the capital of Vava’u in the Kingdom of Tonga’s far north. We were looking at flat-topped Mt. Talau which oversees one of the safest and prettiest harbours in the South Pacific, aptly named the Port of...
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British labour historian dies

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February 9, 2011
British labour historian dies

British labour historian Dorothy Thompson died on Jan. 29, 2011, at age 87. Thompson focused her studies on the 19th-century Chartist movement. Her spouse, the late E.P. Thompson, wrote a groundbreaking history called The Making of the English Working Class.  Together they made a formidable team of activist historians, both dedicating themselves to the Campaign for Nuclear...
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Books