Category: Ramsay Writes

Cheaters never prosper.

Talk about an obsolete idea. It seems the people who prosper too much these days are the cheaters themselves.   But I leave that discussion to the clerics and philosophers. What gets me is the speed of cheating. It’s spreading from poker to fishing, to chess, where a report this week found that American phenom Hans Niemann had likely cheated over 100 times. As one  pharma executive told me years ago, cheating is behind pretty much every scandal in his industry, and lest we forget, it’s not only rampant in American and global politics, it’s their defining quality.


Today’s new word is “carminative.”

It describes something, usually a drug, that stops farting. I fell across it in an odd place: an essay about Shackleton’s medical kit from his expedition to Antarctica in 1914, and which shows that brilliant writing can turn the most distant, indifferent subject into a pulpit for new thoughts on science, medicine, ‘life back then,’ and of course, endurance.


“Most successful people are just a walking anxiety disorder harnessed for productivity.”

Andrew Wilkinson’s idea won’t leave my head as I scratch it to come up with any successful person it doesn’t describe. Which got me to thinking about that other earwig, Donald Trump. He doesn’t seem anxious, except maybe this week he finally will, as New York Attorney General

Letitia James filed a 222-page lawsuit claiming he and his kids have engaged in massive fraud over many years. The document makes astringent reading. And speaking of reports, Wachtell Lipton’s on the racist and misogynist actions of Robert Sarver, the owner of the NBA Phoenix Suns, exemplifies how law firms are now policing workplace misconduct. But the most shocking of this week’s reports comes from the US Congress which revealed just how much energy companies have misled Americans on the industry’s role in climate change. 


It’s Speech Season

Instagram is jammed with shots of proud parents and their mortarboarded kids, degrees in hand (surely the most expensive paper on earth). Critical to this life passage is the convocation speech. Most of them are forgotten the second their words leave the speaker’s lips. A few, like Steve Jobs’, and Gloria Steinem’s, and Barack Obama’s, live on.

Here are three worthies from this year: The ahhhhmazing Jacinda Ardern at Harvard; Scott Galloway with advice to grads and lifers alike; and Elizabeth Bonker at Rollins College. Bonker, who lives with non-speaking autism and communicates solely by typing, urges her fellow graduates to use their voices to serve others.


Sumer is Icumen In

Odd that this is the title of an English round composed in 1260, because there hasn’t been a summer in the past many years more envied in its arrival than this one. Here are some places to help you get ready: sexy camping gear, plus where to get your next and best bike, plus 10 gardening mistakes to avoid, and the most beautiful coffee shops in the world (including Toronto’s Café Neo).

So, pour yourself a cup and breathe in this week’s Omnium Gatherum…

Changing Weathers.

My Grade 10 geography class taught me that weather is what’s happening outside my door now, and climate is what the weather’s like in three month chunks and more, usually beyond my door. But one of the scarier things about climate change is weather change. Toronto was equatorial last weekend, then overnight it was cold and droopy. While the leaves bloomed like mad, the Leafs predictably died. Time to build a bigger mud room on to your home, and a bigger sun room.

Meanwhile, other vexing questions.

Too hot. Too soon.

It feels we just skipped from winter to summer. But is this one swallow or is it a trend? Will shoulder seasons like spring and fall now last a couple of weeks, then be swallowed up whole by their extreme siblings? Will we all be forced to take up extreme lifestyles in order to weather The New Weather? It feels that way. But before all that, here’s what’s hot this weekend.

The ice is melting on Georgian Bay

Enough to get the kayaks out of the garage onto the dock and into the water. Thus begins our annual rite of spring.

As Andy Grove, the co-founder of Intel, noted, “When spring comes, snow melts first at the periphery, because that’s where it’s most exposed”. This may seem dead-cert obvious, both in business and in kayaking. But it really says to not just keep your eyes on the bullseye, but on the edges, where real change begins. Happy paddling with these little waves from that very place.

The truck stops here.

Of the hundreds of millions of dollars lost by merchants who can’t open their stores, or the billions more lost in trade because the world’s longest undefended border is upended, or the thousands of Ottawans deprived of sleep, the homeless who had their food stolen, the hundred-plus kids living in their parents’ trucks, the indifference of truckers in expelling the racists and anti-Semites among them, of the millions of words and images spent in explaining this nonsense to ourselves and the world, this says it all.

There’s no such thing as bad weather; there’s only bad gear.

Unless, of course, you’re getting old: you feel cold more no matter what you’re wearing.  But there are other defences against the snowy blast. The “seven-day forecast” is one. Another is Vitamin D, especially if it’s cold and dark. Here’s a third: Yuma, Arizona, which is the only place on earth that has more than 4,000 hours of sunshine a year.

So, to brighten up your weekend, here’s the week’s Omnium-Gatherum blog.

Obscure Sorrows

Three old Major League umpires were teaching their trainees how to call strikes.

“I calls ‘em as I sees ‘em,” the first umpire said.

“I calls ‘em as they are,” said the second.

“Gentleman,” the third one said: “They ain’t nuthin’ till I call ‘em.”


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