The Horse’s Mouth

Far too few of us get our information from it. We only have time to gnaw at the click-bait, and my mirror reflects who the biggest culprit is.


So let’s see what lies at the other end of the world: the original reports and enquiries that spawn the snappy headlines. They’re incredibly easy to find online, and here’s what I learned from three of them this week:


For the first time, those of us 50 and older now buy most things and services – yet we’re targeted with only 10% of the marketing dollars. Ever wonder why millennials, who buy about 12% of new cars, are featured in 99.9% of new car ads? Ageism.


Also, music listening is up 10% this year, one of many surprising trends revealed in a report detailing how we find, consume, and enjoy music. I also learned there are now 500 genres of music, from dangdut and  disco polo to sertanejo.


Finally, and horrifyingly, The Special Commission of Inquiry into LGBTIQ Hate Crimes in New South Wales reveals that in the 1980s dozens of gays in Australia’s most populous province were murdered when police were notoriously indifferent to such violence.




1. What’s the price of cutting corners? Let’s take jay-walking as an example. The Quebec Government put up this bus shelter board to illustrate the cost. Yet this month, California legalized jay-walking. Naturally, it’s called the Freedom to Walk Act.


2. Everybody knows. This month the Art Gallery of Ontario hosts the biggest exhibition yet of Leonard Cohen’s life, work and times. Everybody Knows opens Dec. 7 for members and Dec. 13 to the public, and runs till April 10. It’s good to see a blockbuster show for a Canadian artist.


3. Big numbers don’t count for much any more. A trillion is so Last Year, just as “nano” (meaning a “billionth of” isn’t so tiny any more). So you may be hearing more about a yotta (10 to the power of 24) or a quetta (10 to the power of 30). Both were born this month in Paris at the General Conference on Weights and Measures. But as computers start coughing out a yottabyte of data each year now, the yotta, is “starting to seem notta lotta.”


4. Is quiet quitting real? Where did that Tim Hortons’ take-out kid disappear to? Or that brain surgeon at Toronto General? A Gallup Report claims that 50% of the US workforce is quietly quitting. This doesn’t mean they leave work politely never to return, but they no longer go above and beyond at work and will just meet their job description.


5. Now this is service. Last week I took my car in to the Midland Honda dealership on Georgian Bay to get its winter tires installed. As I sat sipping my cappuccino in the lounge, I checked my phone and there was an e-mail with a video from the mechanic changing those tires 100 feet away. Here’s what he said. Now why can’t other places do this, like…hospitals?


6. Not invited to the ball? At least you’re not Carolyn Maloney, the 15-term US Congresswoman who lobbied for a ticket to the Met Gala in New York and sparked an ethics inquiry.


And speaking of power imbalances, here in Canada does male and pale mean stale at the top of our big arts groups? A study in August asked that question, and no surprise, the answer was “yes.”  “For example, among 125 Canadian Arts Summit organizations, “…only 5.7% of CEOs are racialized compared to 94.3% who are White.”


7. How to spot a chess cheater. Chess, like road racing, fishing and fat-bear spotting, is plagued by cheating. With road racing, you use ‘mechanical doping’. Fish, you add lead weights to the fish, and fat bears, you spam the online poll. But how exactly do you cheat in chess?


8. I’ll just wait in the car. Here are some things not on my bucket list.


9. My PR day of yes. A senior journalist does the impossible: says yes to every pitch that anyone sends him for one day. The result is not what he thought.


10. Heed your teacher. Watch two of the best dancers on earth, Marianela Núñez and Reece Clarke, rehearsing Balanchine’s Diamonds – with still lots to learn from their rehearsal director, Christopher Saunders.




It’s only going to get colder and snowier. Time to engineer your escape.


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.


Our 8-day trip starts when we land in Panama City, Panama, and ends in San José, Costa Rica. The cost is from $6,479 USD per person, depending on what level of cabin you choose (this includes a special savings for our group of 5% off the standard rates). Airfare, of course, is extra.


So – a good deal on a great break in a hot place with nice people in the hands of the best in the business. As founder Sven Lindblad said: “Think of us as a conduit to exhilaration.”


You may already know RamsayTravels does group travel for people who don’t do group travel. People like you. So as we all sit and freeze this winter, think about what you could be doing, and where you’d like to be (and with whom) in January and join us.


So please spend some time with the links above. Then, if you like what you see but you have questions, please e-mail or call me at, or 416-822-3452.


If you’re planning on joining please act soon. And if you want more information, here’s the webinar we hosted recently that will give you more details of the trip. To book your cabin, please call the Lindblad folks directly at1-888-773-9007 or email them at


One last thought: now that we can lift our heads on a different world, isn’t it time to plan what you may have promised yourself you’d do?


If not now, when?


If not you and your family, who?

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