A Slap in the Face

My wife says don’t plant anything in Ontario until the May 24th weekend. But the impulse to declare winter over (spring officially started last week) lies deep within us. Why else would we worship cherry blossom season when the blossoms are covered in ice?  At least they tell the truth on Fogo Island: “Pack Ice Season follows winter, bringing multi-year sparkling ice floes to surround our shores.” Meanwhile, here in Toronto, it’s still a Hobson’s Choice: the parka or the chilly walk.

But these should warm you up:

1. Days without an accident. You see those signs outside factories. The bigger the number, the safer the plant. So what about days without a record high temperature?  They’re a sign of climate change. As data scientist Dr. Robert Rohde told the New York Times, “What were hot days in the past are becoming more common. What were very, very hot days in the past are now two or three times more common than they used to be.”

2. One concert, 5 conductors, 100 years. Next Saturday, April 9th, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra celebrates its 100th anniversary with a concert led by 5 of its 10 musical directors, including Gustavo Gimeno, who stepped up to the podium during COVID.

3. On which the sun never sets. It seems the British Empire really is fading into nothing. When the Palace sends their absolute A-Team of Kate and William to the Caribbean,  and the people of Belize, Jamaica, and the Bahamas pelt them with insults, you know your days are done. Here’s who’s gained independence from Britain – from the United States in 1776 to Barbados in 2021.

4. Margaret Atwood’s Dream Dinner Party. You get to host any three people, fictional or real, dead or alive. Who’s invited? Atwood’s answers are lovely. Maybe she’s feeling chuffed by the fact that we didn’t just stream more during the pandemic, we read more books.

5. Alchemy makes gold from dross. Britain’s Royal Mint, “The Original Maker”,  is doing what alchemy never could. It’s building a plant in South Wales to recover gold from the UK’s mountains of electronic waste.

6. See Dick run, and other adventures in the Plain Language movement. But what exactly does make writing more readable?

7. 27 Epic Trips. What makes this list different from all those others is the monthly calendar for each trip that tells you the best and worst times to go – not just in terms of weather, but cost too.

8. Toronto the new Technopolis. Toronto has more tech workers than Seattle, Chicago,  Los Angeles, and Washington, and its tech workforce is growing faster than any US city.

Speaking of tech, here’s A Latecomer’s Guide to Crypto, a world that baffles me a bit less now that I’ve read this.

9. The queen of basketball. Apple and Netflix are winning Oscars, but so is the New York Times whose short documentary about the career of Lusia Harris won an Academy Award last Sunday. Well worth watching.

10. Down by the Henry Moore. Murray McLauchlan’s classic about Toronto. It reached #1 on the CHUM hit parade in August 1975. Were we ever so young?


Join us next spring for an extraordinary visit to Israel.

In 2018, we took a group of friends to Israel. It was our first trip there, and aside from having some of the best meals of our lives, we were awestruck by this tiny land, its mighty culture – and challenges.

So from next March 9th to the 20th, 2023 we’ll be touring Israel again and we’d love it if you could come along. In fact, journalist Susan Ormiston, the foreign correspondent who’s reported from 30 countries, will be our “Chief Guest”, and will speak from her first-hand coverage of events in the Middle East.

Here are the details and the application for our trip, which has already started to fill up.

We hope you can join us — next year in Jerusalem.

For more information on this and other RamsayTravels adventures, click here. And, please also forward to your like-spirited friends.

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