I’ll be 74 next month, so I’m used to forgetting things like my best friend’s name, or my PIN number, or my glasses and keys, one of which I always eventually find on the top of my head. This is the slow, steady drip into decrepitude.
But what’s shocking is to do something you’ve done well all your life, and suddenly you can’t do it at all. This has happened three times this summer.
I used to sing well and was the “Head Choir Boy” in high school. But on July 1st, I tried to sing O Canada and could barely carry the tune. Instead of three octaves, my range was cut to what seemed like three notes, except as I later learned, in the shower where I’m still The Boss. Still, to suddenly not be able to carry a tune was a shock.
In June, I went skipping with the grandkids over the rocks at our cottage on Georgian Bay. I have to tell you I’m a great rock-walker, deftly leaping from one uneven surface to the next, and have been all my life. But suddenly, I got wobbly. These rocks weren’t a challenge; they were a deathtrap. We all know what happens when you’re old and ‘fall.’ I quickly retreated to the sandy shore.
Then last week, some friends asked me to join a beanbag-throwing game. The hole was 20 yards away and you just had to throw the bag into it. Mine never got near that hole. It splayed everywhere but. I’ve been great at ‘ball’ games all my life and beanbags should be no different. What was this fresh hell?
So I can’t throw anymore. I can’t sing any more, and I can’t rock-walk any more. Maybe if I’d been doing these things every day, their loss would appear gradual and not sudden. But it’s been some time since I’d sung or thrown anything or walked on rocks. As F. Scott Fitzgerald said of this kind of breaking down, it “happens almost without your knowing it but is realized suddenly indeed.”
1. Robots have no intention of killing us. At least that’s what they tell us. As one robot said at the world’s first AI press conference held last week in Geneva: “My creator has been nothing but kind to me and I am very happy with my current situation.” Right.
2. Mission Impossible opened this week. Even the toney reviewers are ecstatic. The Financial Times called it “a delirious thrill-ride of intricate action, villainous AI and thoughtful reinvention.” The trailer shows why, as does this mini-doc on the longest stunt-scene ever made with Tom Cruise, at 61, doing all his own stunts. And I bet you didn’t know the music is based on Morse Code for “M” and “I.”
4. Amusing ourselves to death. First, undercover economist Tim Harford on what amusement parks can teach us about central banks. Next, what the MSG Sphere in Las Vegas can do. It cost $2.3 billion to build on the Strip. It seats 17,500 and stands 20,000 more, displays 256 million different colours and has 160,000 speakers. And speaking of giant fantasies, try this nuclear-powered sky hotel.
5. Mamas for DeSantis. Florida governor Ron DeSantis, who shot out of the Republican chutes, is now stumbling at every turn. It seems he has a low likeability quotient. So his wife Casey has created a national movement based on this idea: “When you come after our kids, we fight back. We are no longer silent. We are united. We are Mamas for DeSantis.” Gag me.
7. Fighting words (UK division). Former Israel Prime Minister Naftali Bennett didn’t back down when a BBC interviewer accused Israel of being happy to kill children. Meanwhile, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is all for literacy, but what we really need is oracy.
8. Easy to join. Hard to leave. Unsubscribing is easy if you didn’t pay to subscribe. Otherwise, it can be like leaving a cult. Here’s an atlas to this unbrave new world. But wait…here’s something else that’s hard to leave.
9. No mercy. No malice. That’s the title of Scott Galloway’s free weekly blog. I urge you to subscribe. He’s consistently the source for facts and patterns in modern America that are hard to pin down, including the defining role of luck in shaping our lives. Not talent. Not work. Plain old good fortune. Here’s Origin Story.
10. The sky is not the limit. The Space Force, launched in 2019, is the newest branch of America’s military. But unlike The Marines (Marine Hymn), The Air Force (Nothing Can Beat the US Air Force), The Navy (Anchors Aweigh) and The Army (The Army Goes Rolling Along), it didn’t have a song, until Semper Supra was unveiled. And check out their recruiting film.
11. What I’m liking. A hole-in-the-wall restaurant called Sunny’s Chinese that was born as a pop-up during the pandemic. Finding it in Toronto’s Kensington Market is like searching for a speak-easy. The ambiance is loud; the crowd, young; and the food, fresh and wild.
YOUR SAIL DOWN THE WEST COAST OF ITALY WON’T BOOK ITSELF
This is not a cruise, but a sail. All we do is bask in the historic luxury of this unique ship and the tender expertise of Lindblad Expeditions. So join Jean and me, next year from May 29 to June 5, on the sea from Nice to Amalfi.
For more information, click here.
Here are the other trips RamsayTravels is hosting in the coming months.
In order of appearance…
October 2-10, 2023 — Bicycling and the Kardamyli Literary Festival in Greece.
February 25 to March 9, 2024 – Sailing off to the Pacific
September 2-9, 2024 — Lindblad Expedition to the Great Bear Rainforest.
Just e-mail Bob Ramsay at email@example.com if you have questions.
Thanks for coming this far with us.