I’ve worked as a staff writer and web editor for the news magazines Alberta Report and the Western Standard. My writing has appeared in such publications as the American Spectator, the National Post and Rare. In the course of my work, I have traveled to places like Afghanistan and Taiwan, etc. and in my wayward youth I hitchhiked through Europe (twice) and managing to see countries like Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia, all while they were communist run. I worked for a while in Alaska, spent time on a kibbutz in Israel, and drank a lot of cheap wine (and suffered sunstroke twice) during three months in Portugal’s Algarve.
My time at Alberta Report included a stint as art director and subsequently my news photos have been printed in magazines like Alberta Views and newspapers such as The Globe and Mail. I’ve also had a second career as a construction site supervisor, mostly on residential condo sites.
The title of this blog, yusipka, is nothing more than a word I invented (I think) many years ago while trying to set up an email account. I discovered that most variations of my name—more common than I previously realized—were already taken. I hastily typed out something that looked like a word but wasn’t and created the email account. If ‘yusipka’ means anything anywhere, in another language, in another country, on another planet, I’m not aware of it.
The original subhead of this blog–“A man should own two sets of encyclopedias; a new set and an old set to compare against the new”–is an approximate quote from my paternal grandfather, a carpenter and self-taught scholar, as told me about 35 years ago by my father, recently deceased. The picture that accompanied the subhead, now changed as well, was of the Index, Volume 29, of The Encyclopedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, The Handy Volume Issue, New York, 1911. The complete set of this Eleventh Edition was in my father’s book collection when he passed away. I was inspired to use it on this blog, along with the subhead, after seeing a picture of the writer and editor Vox Day in front of a similar set. I greatly admire his involvement with the Infogalactic project.
I never met my grandfather. He died of a sudden, massive heart attack the year I was born. He was born in Belfast; his father was a jeweller and watchmaker with a wooden leg; he was an excellent carpenter and those who knew him praised his intelligence. And he was poor all his life.
Where grandfather got this bit of wisdom about the two sets of encyclopedias from I’m not sure. Its meaning is obvious, but if you require it stated another way, here goes; keep your knowledge up to date but remain vigilant lest those who seek to control knowledge and history try to bend and/or distort it to justify their own ends.
Considering the flood of bullshit that has overwhelmed society—a stinking river of fake news, phony progress, twisted historical revisionism coupled with false science—over the last couple of decades, I can think of no better tribute to my father than to dedicate my blog to my grandfather’s advice.