The Full Monthy Python

Twenty years ago, at 4:10 p.m. on August 14, the power went out across eastern Canada and the US, sparking the largest blackout in history. Jean and I both walked home from work and decided to stroll along Toronto’s Bloor Street where members of the public were directing traffic and restaurants were serving meals on the streets because their freezers were kaput and the food would spoil.

As it got dark, we headed south down Bay Street. It was hard to see people walking up the same sidewalk. Pitch blackness is rare in the city, let alone in its centre, and after our eyes adjusted, the surprise of seeing someone at the very last second fell away.  Then suddenly, three middle-aged men were almost on top of us.  They were chatting and laughing and the man in the middle had something around his neck. As we crossed paths, I saw what that was: a python, clearly alive, draped around his neck.

I remember this all so clearly even though it happened 20 years ago. I saw the python and kept on walking. Then, a few seconds after, I turned around to see what I thought I saw because I couldn’t believe my eyes. And finally, I got terrified. Jean saw it too, and we spent the next half hour walking home, trying to figure out why someone would take their pet python for an evening walk.


1. Body painting at a whole new level. Artist Johannes Stoetter is way waaaaay out there.

2. I’m sweet on Vicki McClure. She’s my fave star from BBC’s Line of Duty. She got married this month, and had Our Dementia Choir, which she founded, sing at her wedding.

3. Clarence Thomas loves rich friends. Not only is he a Conservative US Supreme Court Justice, he has enjoyed, without revealing they were all paid for by billionaire Conservatives, “At least 38 destination vacations, including a previously unreported voyage on a yacht around the Bahamas; 26 private jet flights, plus an additional eight by helicopter; a dozen VIP passes to professional and college sporting events, typically perched in the skybox; two stays at luxury resorts in Florida and Jamaica; and one standing invitation to an uber-exclusive golf club overlooking the Atlantic coast.” It’s all here, with digging by ProPublica.

4. Even you are a natural navigator. Natural navigation is “the rare art of finding your way using nature.” You can find your way in the bleakest landscape or at Bloor and Bay just by paying attention. Here’s how Tristan Gooley can help you do that.

5. The world’s 25 largest landowners. No. 1 by far is King Charles, and a big reason for that is he owns one-sixth of the surface of the planet, most of that in Canada. Here he is, along with the next 24.

6. What do Gen-Zers really want – and fear? The generation born between 1996 and 2010 are different in big ways, like being the first ‘digital natives’. Here’s how.

7. Women own this summer. First, the movie Barbie passed the $1 billion box-office mark, making it not only the biggest-grossing movie directed by a woman, Greta Gerwig,  but one of the fastest to reach that number in the history of movies. Next, Beyoncé’s Renaissance tour sold one million tickets in Europe alone, and Taylor Swift’s Era’s Tour is kick-starting the economy of every city she lands in. Even the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said May was the city’s strongest month for hotel revenue since the onset of the pandemic, largely due to her Era’s Tour.

So here’s a tribute to women doing men’s things incredibly well.

8. Tasting the threads of god. To eat the world’s rarest pasta, you first have to hike 20 miles.

9. The atlas of surveillance. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has created this database of surveillance technologies deployed by law enforcement in communities across the United States. It includes drones, body-worn cameras, automated license plate readers, facial recognition, and more. We need a site like this in Canada.

10. In-flight music. Etihad Airways is the airline sponsor for Tom Cruise’s Mission Impossible – Dead Reckoning, Part One. They did something fresh, dangerous and new to tell the world.




If you have the time (Feb. 25 to March 9, 2024) and the money (from $US14,830), you can make that dream come true, have the time of your life, and a lifetime of memories too. So if not you, now, when?

For more information, click here.

Bob Ramsay

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.

May 29-June 5, 2024 — Sail down the west coast of Italy, from Nice and Genoa, to Naples and Amalfi.

September 2-9, 2024 — Lindblad Expedition to the Great Bear Rainforest.

Just e-mail Bob Ramsay at if you have questions.

Thanks for coming this far with us.

Bob Ramsay

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