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Mass murder isn’t a bug; it’s a feature.

People can get used to anything. Cannibalism if you’re hungry enough. Genocide if you’re evil enough. Driving to Buffalo for surgery if your hip is screaming enough. Cheating on your Harvard application if you’re ambitious enough. But the incidence of mass killings in America is now so mundane and predictable that there’s a 200-page handbook for Mayors and city managers to use when the daily slaughter of the innocents hits their city. And it is daily. So far this year, there have been 351 mass shootings in America, but that figure will be out of date depending on what day you’re reading this. While it’s small consolation that in Canada, we measure mass shootings in decades vs. days, it speaks to America’s extreme and lethal worship of its constitution where “We the people” feels like “Let us pray.”

Meanwhile…

1. If you’re flying this summer, you need this link. It tracks flight delays and cancellations in real time across Canada. After all, last weekend Toronto’s Pearson Airport had the second-worst rate of cancelled and delayed flights in the world.

2. From he to she. A National Geographic photographer documents her own gender transition.

3. Thanks, Grandma. Britain’s Katie Boulter thanks her grandmother, Jill, who died two days before Kate won her third-round match at Wimbledon.

4. A sad week for iconic Canadian storytellers. First, Patrick Watson, who co-hosted “This Hour Has Seven Days” in the 60s and wrote the Heritage Minutes, died at age 92. Then  Irving Abella, co-author of None is Too Many,  died at 82. “None” revealed that between the rise of the Nazis in 1933 and the creation of Israel in 1948, Canada accepted just 5,000 Jewish refugees – a legacy he called “the worst record of any nation in the world.”

But the death closest to home was David Blackwood’s (Jean and I were married in his Port Hope garden 29 years ago). His dark prints of Newfoundland sealing days made him one of Canada’s great visual storytellers. But he could also tell a mean story with words too. Here he is, interviewed by Seamus O’Regan in The Rooms in St. John’s.

5. Your spaceship is ready. Airbnb has hundreds of out of this world. places to spend the night.

6. Extreme survival backpack. Check out the ultimate in new hiking gear. Plus the dangers of watching too much video on your phone.

7. Why you should subscribe to Delanceyplace.com. One, it offers daily excerpts from great book passages, on everything from how The Godfather got green-lighted, to how our self-control shrinks as the day goes on. And two, it’s free.

8. The Abortion War. While hundreds of US companies will now pay employees’ travel expenses to get an abortion, Patagonia will pay their bail if employees are arrested in an abortion protest. Also, the Mississauga-based software company, Prophix, announced yesterday that it will cover its US employees’ costs if they want to get an abortion in Canada. On the other hand, Texas-based  Buffer Insurance “will pay the medical costs for our employees who birth babies” and will also pay the costs to adopt a baby.

The issue is not Americans’ conservatism, but as Doug Saunders’ points out, America’s institutions’ rising intolerance of social norms. This year, a record-low 13% of Americans say abortion should be illegal, while between 63% and 72% support Roe vs. Wade.

9. North American toddlers never do this. Japanese toddlers, all the time. In fact, their journeys are one of Japan’s longest-running reality shows, now on Netflix.

10. Warming up in different musical styles. Let’s compare pre-performance exercises in western opera, Chinese opera, and Carnatic singing.

Also, please meet Peter Bence, one of the most ‘up’ piano cover artists anywhere, as Rocketman shows.

*****

Summer is selling out. Don’t say ‘I’ll book it later’ and

be caught You Know Where.

 

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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