Free-falling: Canada’s SkyHawks make skydiving look easy

A blast of fierce wind tears at my face, making it hard to take a normal breath. We’re falling towards Earth at speeds of up to 260 km/h

Free-falling: Canada’s SkyHawks make skydiving look easyBefore me, the gaping rear hatch of our aircraft reveals an awe-inspiring view of British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, viewed from 3,200 metres in the air. The smell of smoke is pungent from area forest fires. The hatch of the Hercules J-130 cargo airplane is wide open, and I've just learned I'm to be the first…

‘There’s a bat in the house!’

Falling asleep with bat gear ready, you don't know what to expect. You just have that Boy Scout sense that you’re prepared

‘There’s a bat in the house!’“There’s a bat in the house!” shouted our daughter, fresh off the plane from London, just as she was preparing for a restful night in her parents’ country house. My wife and I were prepared, to tell the truth. The previous night we had heard the telltale swish of batwings in our bedroom and in…

The top 10 (bottom 10?) ugliest cars ever made

Not everything that springs from the mind of automobile designers and stylists can be a winner. In many ways, when they sit down to design, it’s a crap shoot

The top 10 (bottom 10?) ugliest cars ever madeSomething a little different this time around: ugly cars. Not everything that springs from the mind of automobile designers and stylists can be a winner. In many ways, when they sit down with their computer-aided design and manufacturing programs, or simply clay mules, it’s a crap shoot. Things like passenger ingress/egress, aerodynamics, manufacturing costs, engineering…

Quality sound for a modest price

Edifier R1280T Powered Bookshelf Speakers offer functionality and high-fidelity in a retro package

Quality sound for a modest priceSpeakers come in all shapes and sizes. And you don’t need to look far to find some pretty far-out designs. But if you’re in the market for a new high-fidelity pair with a retro flair, the Edifier R1280T Powered Bookshelf Speakers would be a good bet. The R1280T keeps with the traditional bookshelf design: a…

Mister Rogers’ well-lived life in the neighbourhood

A new documentary, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, examines the extraordinary life and career of Fred Rogers

Mister Rogers’ well-lived life in the neighbourhoodGrowing up in the 1970s, I was fortunate enough to have been exposed to some exceptional children’s television programs. My memories of Sesame Street, The Electric Company, Captain Kangaroo, Mr. Dressup and Vegetable Soup are as vivid now as they were then. But there will always be a special place for Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Fred…

Adrift and perilously close to abandoning ship

After more than a little high-seas misadventure, the Frankie finally proves seaworthy – and sanitary

Adrift and perilously close to abandoning shipBack in 2012, we had a dreamboat, an 18-foot Hourston Glascraft. It was brand-new, had a magnificent 150-horsepower Yamaha four-stroke outboard, and quickly became the envy of the Skelhp government wharf. We paid monthly wharfage dues all summer and used it to fish and cruise. We christened her the Francine, after my then 90-year-old Mom.…

Mazda CX-9 is more than just another mid-size SUV

Plenty of cargo capacity, good jump for a four-cylinder engine, sleek styling and a comfortable, quiet ride add up to a solid vehicle

Mazda CX-9 is more than just another mid-size SUVThe CX-9 is the biggest model Mazda makes and arguably the most interesting. Not because it’s extraordinarily fast or has bling styling, or even because it pampers its occupants more than anyone else. On the face of it, the CX-9 is yet another mid-size SUV, duking it out in one of the most competitive markets…

Who’s caring for the nursing home carers?

Nursing home care aides are burning out but measures can be taken to improve their work conditions. And that will result in better care for their patients

Who’s caring for the nursing home carers?By Carole A. Estabrooks and Stephanie A. Chamberlain University of Alberta Many of us have moms and dads or older friends and relatives in nursing home facilities. We care very much about their well-being and the supports they receive. But who’s caring for the care aides who do the bulk of the front-line work in…

Suffering and death have meaning … of the deepest significance

Even in the depths of suffering, there is still reason to hope for the future. Even if we are in despair today, we can embrace the joys of the past

Suffering and death have meaning … of the deepest significanceRussian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky wrote, “It’s the great mystery of human life that old grief passes gradually into quiet tender joy.” It should be no surprise that the writings of Dostoyevsky had a profound influence on Viktor Frankl, the Austrian Jewish psychiatrist, as he faced life in Nazi concentration camps. Dostoyevsky endured horrendous suffering in…

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder no laughing matter

If you are troubled by recurring disturbing thoughts and feel compelled to perform repetitive behaviours, talk to your family doctor

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder no laughing matterOne psychiatric disorder that is commonly portrayed on television and in the movies is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). We are usually given a somewhat humourous example of a neurotic person obsessed with germs and washing, who needs things to be exactly in order or who repeatedly checks to make sure the door is locked or…