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Does death still have dominion?

Yes. Although the end is getting easier. You can choose the time and place of your exit. You can memorialize your life more memorably. You can demystify death by filming it. You can put death at one remove with the 50 greatest fictional deaths of all time. If you live in Chicago, where “no one gets shot just once anymore”, you can walk out of the ER. You can even turn one of the most enduring touchstones of music and popular culture, Don McLean’s American Pie, into a movie, The Day the Music Died.

Meanwhile, back among the living…

1. How to stay cool in a heat wave. Some good advice for the season. More worrisome is that climatologists don’t just predict this will be normal during the summer, but get even hotter.

2. Some people do their jobs perfectly. Not me. Likely not you. But them.

3. Multi-generational TMI. Leah McLaren’s memoir, Where You End and I Begin, reveals that her mother Cecily Ross, was in a sexual relationship for two years with a man that began when he was 45 and she was 12. It seems Leah’s mom wasn’t too keen about this revelation, and replied way back in 2020 with The Story is Mine, and Why I’m Finally Telling It.

4. Do you speak English? Mais oui!

5. The dangerous spread of cacoethes sribendi. It means the compulsion to write, as described by physician and writer Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. in 1890.  Now that most gatekeepers to publishing have fled, over a million new books are published each year – and half of them are self-published. Doctor!

6. Inside the Antiquities Theft Task Force. Recovering stolen art and antiquities is a strange world, as this prosecutor retells, including how a photo of Kim Kardashian at the Met Gala sent an Egyptian coffin back to its rightful home.

7. The world’s 50 best restaurants. The list is just out. Noma’s no longer number 1, though its hometown of Copenhagen still is, with Geranium.  No Canadian restaurants made the Top 50, and only two Americans did, both in New York: Atomix (33) and Le Bernardin (44). The world’s top female chef is Leonor Espinosa from Bogota.

At the other end of the food chain, here’s the latest Big Mac Index, which measures the purchasing power of the local currency in cities the world over.

8. Would you pay for heated seats? Especially if you already own the BMW whose plush leather seats you sit in? That’s what the automaker is asking its clients to “subscribe” to – though not in Canada, at least not yet. Maybe they know not to mess with clients who drive in one of the coldest winters anywhere.

Meanwhile, on the ‘pay for what used to be free’ front, some Ottawa restaurants will now charge more for better seats. What’s next, front-of-the-line access at Tim Horton’s with your Platinum Amex card?

9. Delayed gratification. It’s not just a psychological concept. It’s the world’s first Slow Journalism magazine “which revisits the events of the last three months to offer in-depth, independent journalism in an increasingly frantic world.” See here.

10. Both sides now. Last week, Joni Mitchell, 78, sang at the Newport Folk Festival. She made me weep.

Speaking of enduring popularity, this animated infographic shows the most popular musical artists from 1969 to 2019.

*****

Are you doing anything ecstatic at the end of August?

 

Join us on the mountains this summer.

 

We all thought last summer we’d really get out there and do something truly new. We’d really travel again. Treat our family. See just how gob-smackingly beautiful our country is.

Most of us were off by a year, or two. But this year…well, this August we want you to join us on one of the easiest and most exhilarating adventures anywhere – heli-hiking in B.C.

No skill or endurance is required. Just a sense of adventure (which may have been dormant in your heart during COVID) and a desire to smell the wild roses. And just as there are no conditioning or skill requirements, there are no age limits either. You can be, 8, 18 or 81 and be enlivened by the whole thing. You can be a marathon runner or mountain climber. Or you can also be wearing your Medic Alert bracelet the entire trip, as five of us recently did. You can bring your partner, your grandkids, your bestie.

We’ve taken friends heli-hiking for the past few summers and all of them (and I mean all) have come home raving about how gorgeous, different and wonderful it all was. And from door to door, the whole amazing experience is just five summer days.

So yes, Heaven can wait. But can you?

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

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