Literature

Comic Relief: Reading ‘The Codfathers’ in 2021

Comic Relief: Reading ‘The Codfathers’ in 2021

June 2, 2021 at 1:21 pm

Had I read Gordon Pitts’ The Codfathers: Lessons from the Atlantic Business Elite when it first came out in 2005, I think it would have annoyed me — it’s just a collection of fawning portraits of wealthy Atlantic Canadian business types. But in 2021, post-financial crisis, mid-plague, as the worldRead More

Fort Worth Library Public Access computers, 2009. (Photo by

Patrons of Public Infrastructure

May 26, 2021 at 12:21 pm

I am absolutely furious that the CBRM council has once again decided a new library is not important enough, despite the present structure being aged and decrepit and inadequate to the community’s needs. The Public Library system is a vital, democratizing tool, providing access to services and information to allRead More

Time Travel and the Black Death

Time Travel and the Black Death

May 26, 2021 at 12:18 pm

Author’s Note: In this series of columns (see the first one here and the second here) I am using various works of science fiction and fantasy to consider some of the ethical issues generated by our current situation.   As I write this, the weather is warming and the pandemicRead More

Fast & Curious: Short Takes on Random Things

Fast & Curious: Short Takes on Random Things

May 14, 2021 at 11:15 am

Awards season (I) I first met Rob Csernyik in April 2019. We had coffee at Dr. Luke’s and he interviewed me for a J-Source article he was writing about the Cape Breton journalism scene. We went back and forth by email for months afterward because J-Source is serious to theRead...

Talking With ‘Closing Sysco’ Author Lachlan MacKinnon

Talking With ‘Closing Sysco’ Author Lachlan MacKinnon

April 28, 2021 at 1:04 pm

There’s a passage in Lachlan MacKinnon’s book, Closing Sysco: Industrial Decline in Atlantic Canada’s Steel City, in which a former steelworker, Adrian Murphy, describes what it’s like to visit Open Hearth Park, the greenspace that’s replaced the plant in the heart of Sydney: I was there a couple of times withRead More

Canappalachia

Canappalachia

April 21, 2021 at 12:36 pm

I‘ve been learning about Appalachia (beginning with how to pronounce it) through a variety of means lately and what keeps jumping out at me are the similarities between that region and our own (by which I mean, variously, Cape Breton, the Maritimes and the Atlantic Provinces). These similarities include theRead More

Fast & Curious: Short Takes on Random Things

Fast & Curious: Short Takes on Random Things

April 16, 2021 at 9:45 am

Shots! I’m betting when you read that you knew I was talking about COVID vaccine and not tequila. That is a sad but I hope not enduring effect of the ongoing pandemic. I got my first AstraZeneca shot on Monday. On Tuesday, I had a sore arm and fatigue seriousRead...

(Clockwise from top left): René Descartes, Ursual K. Le Guin, J.S. Mill, Margaret Atwood, J.R.R. Tolkien, Immanuel Kant.

Distorted Mirrors: Sci-Fi, Fantasy & Philosophy

March 10, 2021 at 11:47 am

As I write this month’s column, Ontario, where I live, is still in the grip of the COVID pandemic. The government issued a stay-at-home order on Boxing Day, which closed restaurants for in-person dining, university classes remain virtual, and we have been told that we should only leave the houseRead More

COVID and the Meaning of Apocalypse

COVID and the Meaning of Apocalypse

February 10, 2021 at 12:45 pm

I recently had a strange dream. In it, I was moving through the crowded food court at my local mall. In my dream, I had visited my favorite haunts — the tea store and the bookshop — and was on my way out to the parking lot. Suddenly, the sleepingRead More

The Latest on the Library

The Latest on the Library

February 3, 2021 at 11:21 am

Have you read latest CBRM Central Library study? Anyone outside CBRM reading about the private developer who has been given control over the project would probably write it off as fiction, but we know better, don’t we? The study in question is the service, programs and operational plan commissioned fromRead More