Newfoundland is a story-teller’s moveable feast

Lisa Moore's Giller-nominated novel February languished on my bookshelf for over a year before I could bring myself to open it. Much as I wanted to read this acclaimed author, I was afraid the subject matter would upset or depress me. The book is a fictionalized account of the real-life events surrounding the sinking of the oil rig Ocean Ranger off the coast of Newfoundland in 1982. Moore assumes the first-person voice of Helen O'Mara, fictional widowed wife of one of the eighty-four workers who lost their lives when the…

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Thank you for no smart phones at the table this Thanksgiving

My art instructor posted an interesting photograph on her Facebook page the other day. It showed half a dozen teenagers sitting on a bench in front of a famous masterpiece at an art gallery. Every single one of them was looking down at their smart phones, oblivious to each other and their backs to the artwork. We witness similar scenarios every day; a group of people sitting around the table in a food court or coffee shop, individually intently texting or reading something on their personal device instead of engaging…

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Boomers will relate to The Intern

If you're a fan of movies with multiple earth-shattering explosions, alien attackers, juicy sex scenes or heart-stopping car chases, then The Intern is not your kind of movie. The fact that it was relatable by our demographic was just one reason to go see The Intern starring Robert DeNiro and Anne Hathaway. The other is obviously the popcorn and Diet Coke which is at least half the reason for going to the movies. When a seventy-year-old widower played by DeNiro becomes bored doing all the usual activities associated with retirement, he decides…

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Am I the only dirty old lady left?

The other day I was walking through Square One Shopping Mall in Mississauga admiring the cute denim-clad backsides of three young construction workers in hard hats walking ahead of me. I've always had a weakness for construction workers and there's something particularly sweet about nice tight male bums framed in leather tool belts. Then, with the precision and synchronization of a military marching band, all three heads instantly snapped to the right when a twenty-something girl wearing very snug white shorts and a sparkly tight pink tank top went strutting…

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The dichotomy of whether to veil or not to veil

The current kerfuffle about Zunera Ishaq's quest to take her oath of citizenship while wearing a niqab has me totally confused. On one hand, as a liberal-thinking Canadian, I'm trying to be inclusive and say what harm can it do? On the other hand, I'm questioning the deeper motives and merits of her position. We've all read copious newspaper articles and columns both pro and con and it's difficult to judge what is truly right or wrong. I think the answer lies somewhere in the middle. Perhaps the best solution…

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The Evening Chorus sings

Helen Humphreys knows how to tell a good story. Her latest book, The Evening Chorus is about a marriage, a love affair and the effects of war on both. James and Rose marry in England during World War Two amidst uncertainty and turmoil. When James is taken prisoner by the Germans, he fills his days behind barbed wire studying birds while his young wife tries to fill her days back in England by growing a Victory garden, tending to her parents and falling in love with another man. When James's…

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