A Little Off the Top

Out of the basement, into the parks

The clever people who invented Pokémon Go obviously did not have my generation in mind when they launched the new smartphone craze that’s taking the world by storm. When you give the name Snorlax to one of your ethereal and elusive characters, an oldtimer might be forgiven for assuming it’s some new bedtime potion to …

Out of the basement, into the parks Read More »

It is All Just About BBQ Jealousy?

When it comes right down to it, perhaps human evolution has all been for naught.  My mind started drifting on that particular stream recently, as I watched my neighbour gleefully set up his patio furniture and lovingly polish his brand-new stainless steel barbecue. Several millennia ago, so the story goes, we oozed our way out …

It is All Just About BBQ Jealousy? Read More »

The Other Side of a Light Story

A few weeks ago, in a light-hearted piece about bucket lists, I mentioned a trip to England with my father 20 years ago this month. I’m a little hesitant about writing a sequel some readers may find a bit too personal, or even disturbing, but you know what they say about rushing in where angels …

The Other Side of a Light Story Read More »

The Last Word in Wordsmithing

Most writers would be delighted if something they wrote could survive 10 minutes after they shuffle off this mortal coil. But 400 years? To use just a smattering of the literary inventions credited to William Shakespeare, such a “madcap” thought would be “laughable”, something to “arouse” either “excitement” or sheer “amazement”. According to various reckonings …

The Last Word in Wordsmithing Read More »

Hacking Through the Internet Maze in Search of Meaning

Enquiring (and even inquiring) minds want to know: what the heck is a hack, anyway? In response to numerous queries on that very subject (none, actually), I’ve been hacking my way through the undergrowth of lexicography trying to decode a term the internet seems to assume all of us understand intuitively. Surprisingly, the dots between …

Hacking Through the Internet Maze in Search of Meaning Read More »

Living Within Your Emotional Means on Valentine’s Day

Some people have a knack for the Grand Romantic Gesture. They’re the ones who swim the Hellespont, write soulful ballads in milady’s honour, or casually slip the keys to a Maserati under their partner’s breakfast plate. Then, there are the rest of us, the romantically-challenged, who just can’t get it right, no matter how many …

Living Within Your Emotional Means on Valentine’s Day Read More »

Sometimes Your Mind Kicks Up Things You Don’t Want to Believe

It took a king, a pope and a former prime minister to make me rethink my scepticism about extrasensory perception. Let me set the scene. August 16, 1977 was a stinking hot Tuesday in southern British Columbia. I was on Highway 3, mid-way between Hope and Princeton, when CBC Radio announced that the King, Elvis …

Sometimes Your Mind Kicks Up Things You Don’t Want to Believe Read More »

Apocalypse When?

Call me a skeptic, a cynic, I don’t care. Heck, go the distance and call me a heretic, if you wish. Truth is, I don’t believe in the Zombie Apocalypse. Or the Four Horsemen variety, for that matter. It’s not that I harbour illusions about mankind’s lease on this planet having no expiry date, or …

Apocalypse When? Read More »

A word or two about memory, memoirs and waterfowl

The kaleidoscope of memory is a wondrous thing. A quarter twist, and tiny fragments tumble themselves into a startling pattern of perception. Another twist, another vista of the past, another “aha” about the present, or the future; perhaps an insight into an unknown temporal dimension. And, like the river into which you cannot step twice, …

A word or two about memory, memoirs and waterfowl Read More »

Shovelling Smart

Call me crazy, but I kind of like shovelling snow. Given my advanced age and generally sedentary lifestyle, it would probably be wiser to delegate that task to some neighbourhood kid. But with a driveway roughly the size of Taylor Field, at today’s market rates for child labour it would probably cost the equivalent of …

Shovelling Smart Read More »

A Little Off the Top: Saluting an Icon

Anyone who comes to Yukon quickly becomes aware of several things: the vast landscape, the clean air, the soft colours, the friendliness, the compulsion of many locals to test their endurance in feats of outdoor derring-do. Something else newcomers soon discover is the remarkable depth and breadth of artistic and cultural expression available in the …

A Little Off the Top: Saluting an Icon Read More »

A Little Off the Top: Prepping for Those First Days

Exciting. But also terrifying. That’s how Paula Thompson sums up her feelings about the beginning of a new school year. She could be referring to what many students go through as summer wanes and the classroom beckons—whether it’s for the first time or something they’ve gone through several times already. “It’s one of those interesting …

A Little Off the Top: Prepping for Those First Days Read More »

A Little Off the Top: And So It Begins

Paula Thompson said it best. “I’m in awe of primary teachers. They’re amazing, amazing people. They just know what to do.” Thompson oughtta know. She’s a former teacher and a former principal. Now she helps teach teachers. So she’s well-placed to recognize the importance of kindergarten and primary teachers in setting the tone for what’s …

A Little Off the Top: And So It Begins Read More »

A Little Off the Top: Stereotypes and Beyond

On June 11, 2008, Prime Minister Stephen Harper rose in the House of Commons to issue a formal apology for Canada’s century-long Indian residential school policy. That same Wednesday evening, a new play called Where the Blood Mixes burst upon the Canadian theatre scene at the Magnetic North Theatre Festival in Vancouver, B.C. The two …

A Little Off the Top: Stereotypes and Beyond Read More »

Back to the Water

Gary Bailie can’t keep the pride out of his voice as he guides a visitor around the imposing newKwanlin Dün Cultural Centre. As manager of the $25 million construction project, Bailie knows every inch of the 40,000 square-foot waterfront complex, built to resemble the cluster of buildings typical of many First Nation villages. The first …

Back to the Water Read More »

Carving a Future from the Past

Art and healing go hand-in-hand for Wayne Price. The Tlingit master carver from Haines, Alaska, is in Whitehorse to oversee the creation of a totem pole with carvers from the Northern Cultural Expressions Society (NCES), formerly known as Sundog Carvers. Unlike all but one of the 28 previous totems Price has done, this is not …

Carving a Future from the Past Read More »

Scroll to Top