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Baby, it’s cold outside.

And snowy and bleary and no fun because no sun. But here’s Michael Bublé and Idina Menzel singing (and dancing) the song that titles this blog. Can 50 million viewers be wrong? Speaking of cold, did you hear about the Finnish Olympic skier who, according to the BBC, froze a crucial body part during the 50 men’s km cross-country? And finally on the cold front, read how Montreal masters snow. So why can’t Toronto do this, even though we get half the snow they do?

And now, your Omnium-Gatherum for this weekend.

1. Nazis invade Winnipeg. On February 19, 1942, German forces occupied Winnipeg, arresting officials, boarding up synagogues and shooting Canadian troops in the Battle of Portage and Main. There was no Nazi occupation, of course. ‘If Day’ was all a set-up for a propaganda film by the National War Finance Committee and the Manitoba War Savings Program. It was a fundraiser.

2. Eating other people. “You didn’t need us to tell you that eating people is generally frowned upon. However, as with most things that we now realize are completely terrible ideas, humans had to try eating each other for a while before they could really have an informed opinion about it. Besides, our ancestors had to take a stab at using one another for medicine — if for no other reason than that they had tried pretty much everything else in some cases.” That’s from Delanceyplace.com, eclectic excerpts delivered free every day.

3. The particulars of fame. Margaret Atwood is a hyper-talented, hyper-busy 82-year-old. Here’s how she deals with her relentless cascade of requests. Other writers are piling on, like Montreal’s Gretchen McCulloch, author of Because Internet whose ‘contact’ page includes 466 words on how to pronounce and spell her name.

4. Credit Suisse and ‘Don’t Know Your Client.’ KYC is short for Know your Client. Every financial institution goes through hoops to make sure their clients aren’t drug dealers, torturers, child molesters, etc. Many of them use the Thomson Reuters World-Check platform, to flag when people are arrested, charged, investigated or convicted of a serious crime.

Except perhaps one. This week, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) revealed that Credit Suisse remains the bank of choice for bad billionaires the world over.

5. Quilts skyrocket in value, become tool of political protest. The Financial Times reported last week that grandma’s lovely quilt has become commoditized: “A patchwork quilt by Rosie Lee Tompkins (1936-2006) was sold at Bonhams in Los Angeles for nearly $88,000. Measuring one metre by 1.5 metres, and made up of irregular patches of velvet and other fabrics with a dramatic black edge. It had carried an estimate of $8,000. A further three, with estimates of $3,000-$5,000, fetched between $35,000 and $44,000. “We knew there was interest, but we didn’t know a price point,” says specialist David Trujillo, who ran the sale. Now, he does.

One reason for the stunning rise in value of this ultimate folk art is the Tiny Pricks Project which takes on Donald Trump one patch at a time. Perhaps the quiltmakers of Fogo Island can be persuaded to go political.

6. International Garden Photographs of the Year. The IGPOTY is a competition and a book of the best garden photographs you’ve ever seen, made so by the pairing of plants and animals. See here.

7. The Godfather will be 50 this year. And its creator Francis Ford Coppolla is 82. He has one more very big project, and he’s “putting up over $100 million of his own money to prove his best work is still ahead of him.”

8. How long will humans and 49 animals live? Our average lifespan is 79, and the oldest human lived to be 122. But the longest-living creature on earth, the Greenland Shark, has lived to be 272. But let’s not forget the Turritopsis Dohrnii, the Immortal Jellyfish which can revert from sexual maturity to “a sexually immature colonial stage and repeat the process indefinitely.”

9. Why Hannibal Lecter kills to Bach. It’s not just to contrast the extreme violence and chaos of his killing with the extreme order and loveliness of Bach’s music. That’s a time-worn movie trope. It’s more.

10. Bob Rae, Canada’s Ambassador to the UN, is also a poet. Here’s his latest: “A truck is not a speech. A horn is not a voice. An occupation is not a protest. A blockade is not freedom, it blocks the liberty of all. A demand to overthrow a government is not a dialogue.  The expression of hatred is not a difference of opinion. A lie is not the truth.”

11. Did this nice musician really invade Ukraine? He did.  But he’s not the only strange singer. Here’s Karaoke night at the G20.

Forbidden Words. This week’s word we cannot use is “squaw”. The US Department of the Interior is changing 600 place names on the lands it oversees that use “squaw” and other offensive references to Native Americans.


It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.

We’ve all been sent to our rooms. Our rooms in cold, dark Canada. Not for the first time, either. COVID still has that power over us. But very soon the sun will shine, the days will be warm and our hearts will follow.

Next winter you’ll have a different choice. You can stay here or you can go south. That’s what we’re doing, and we’re inviting you to join us.

If you know about our trips, they don’t involve lying on a beach for a week, but doing adventurous things with fascinating people.

So from January 22 – 29, 2023, we’ll be aboard the 100-guest National Geographic Quest with 50 of our friends as it sails through the Panama Canal and up the west coast of Costa Rica.

This is with Lindblad Expeditions and we’ve been on two of their luxury adventure cruises before, to Antarctica and the Spanish-Portuguese coast. On board and on shore, we were in the hands of the most experienced experts and crew on earth. One evening during “Recap” with cocktails and appetizers in hand, we saw “The Monster of the Day” that our expedition divers filmed from the ocean floor. Oh, and it’s one thing to kayak on Georgian Bay; it’s another to kayak on the Antarctic Ocean. For one, it’s safer in the Antarctic because the Lindblad people are so on top of it.

All to say, we’ve come to expect the best in comfort, dining, adventure and safety from Lindblad, a view confirmed by Condé Nast Traveler, who last year declared them to be the #1 Small Ship Cruise Line in the world.

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


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1 thought on “Baby, it’s cold outside.”

  1. joseph rosenthal

    Bob we just want say, this , as always, was a most wonderful read . you have started my day on a happy note with a big smile. people will wonder what the heck i have been into so early in the day.
    please , you two kids , keep safe and well
    joe and Diane

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