Murdoch Mysteries – then and now

Murdoch Mysteries – then and nowMurdoch Mysteries: the Movies were much darker than the TV show Ah, Detective William Murdoch. It’s been a while since we last spoke … err, wrote. I’ve had a near-annual tradition of writing a column or two about CBC’s Murdoch Mysteries. It’s one of Canada’s most successful TV series, with a loyal fanbase that rivals…

The Search for Bridey Murphy a tale of reincarnation

The Search for Bridey Murphy a tale of reincarnationSales of the book far outpaced expectations I was 12 years of age when I first became aware of reincarnation. And it came courtesy of the movies. That happened a lot. While it would be too pretentious to call our local cinema a theatre, the Sunday matinee was a staple and one Sunday’s featured film…

The tragedy of Oscar Wilde

The Anglo-Irish playwright, poet and novelist ended up imprisoned, the casualty of his own foolishness

The tragedy of Oscar WildeOnce upon a time, I had an uncomplicated view of capital punishment. I was against it. Period. And a reading of the poem The Ballad of Reading Gaol by Oscar Wilde could reduce me to tears. Even now, with a much more nuanced view of the subject, the power of the language still moves me.…

The legend of King Arthur is a gift that keeps on giving

Although it may be a fabrication, the story has powerful resonance

The legend of King Arthur is a gift that keeps on givingKing Arthur is back in the news, thanks to an archeological dig in Herefordshire, England. The dig site in question is Arthur’s Stone, a Neolithic-era burial chamber that’s somewhere in the vicinity of 4,000 years old. It’s technically a dolmen with a capstone resting on nine uprights. And with an estimated weight of around 25…

Are we seeing the destruction of democratic capitalism?

More than 100 years after H.G. Wells forecast big changes in the world order, the tide is turning

Are we seeing the destruction of democratic capitalism?Democratic capitalism is a remarkably empowering and wealth-generating structure. Although wealth is not a zero-sum game, power may well be. In his 2011 book The Fruits of Graft: Great Depressions Then and Now, Wayne Jett explores how certain elitists have actively sought to undermine the masses and usurp political and economic power for themselves. In H.G.…

A direct call on a pocket phone from 100 years ago

Cartoonist W.K. Haselden was known for making bold predictions, including some that are eerily accurate

A direct call on a pocket phone from 100 years agoCan people see into the future and predict what’s about to come? Most of us recognize that the answer is, sadly, an emphatic “No.” Nevertheless, our society has long been fascinated with religious and non-religious prophets, seers and others making predictions. Several works – including the seventh-century Chinese book Tui bei tu, Geoffrey of Monmouth’s…

Wandering into the world of fantasy for a mental break

Steve Skurka has written an intriguing historical legal thriller intertwined with several real-life people, places and events

Wandering into the world of fantasy for a mental breakI’m regularly inundated with requests for writing, commentary and analysis on a wide variety of topics. This includes domestic and international politics, history, philosophy, military invasions and the ongoing global pandemic. Don’t get me wrong. I thoroughly enjoy what I do. At the same time, taking small breaks from reality and delving into fantasy helps…

A true story that inspired a classic western movie

Kidnapped by Commanches then rescued, Cynthia Ann Parker was a victim of cultural genocide twice over

A true story that inspired a classic western movieMovie enthusiasts invariably sing the praises of John Ford’s The Searchers. Released in 1956 and starring John Wayne, the film has been described as a masterpiece and shows prominently in critical lists of the best films ever made. It’s inspired by a true story. Or maybe that should be stories in the plural. The Searchers…

Inuk author sends up settler stereotypes in short stories

Norma Dunning’s latest subversive collection has earned her a Governor General’s Literary Award

Inuk author sends up settler stereotypes in short storiesInuk author Norma Dunning loves to court the absurd. In one of her short stories, called “Eskimo Heaven,” an Inuit ancestral spirit visits a priest from the North. “The spirit says, ‘Come with me, we’re gonna take a walk on the wild side,’” explained Dunning, a lecturer in the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Education…

Politicians intent on twisting truth to pursue their agenda

Orwell's 1984 should be renamed 2021 because our times are more like his novel than any in history

Politicians intent on twisting truth to pursue their agendaIn his novel 1984, George Orwell envisioned a future that’s arguably unfolding before our eyes, where government authority is supreme, and truth and freedom are not to be found. Perhaps Orwell should have named his novel 2021 because our times seem more like his novel than any in previous history. For Canadians, the examples abound.…
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