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Not Novelty Seeking

I was on a flight home from Frankfurt last week playing with one of the things Air Canada got right: its storehouse of movies you can watch for 8 solid hours. But rather than try to find a new first-run film I’d never seen, which all looked like lighter-than-air objects, fluffy and predictable, I did the opposite.

I went on the hunt for my favourite old movies, like Bonnie & Clyde and Catch Me If You Can and Dog Day Afternoon and Field of Dreams, Gladiator, and A Few Good Men. I didn’t want to see these faves in their entirety; I just wanted to see my favourite parts, the scenes whose action and dialogue will forever be imprinted in my brain.

Like when Bonnie and Clyde die in a hail of bullets.

When FBI agent Tom Hanks catches up to fake-pilot Leonardo di Caprio and says: “Nobody’s chasing you.”

When bank robber Al Pacino says: “Kiss me….When I’m being fucked, I like to get kissed.” 

When dreamer Kevin Costner hears: “If you build it, they will come.”

When gladiator Russell Crowe says: “My name is Maximus.”

And of course when Marine Colonel Jack Nicholson says to Tom Cruise: “You can’t handle the truth.”

I enjoyed my tour of great scenes from memorable movies enormously.

Rummaging around in these old scenes, and who I was when I first watched them, was new for me. It was much much more fun than trying to focus on the thin gruel of bot-like dialogue and stick-man actions in so many new films.

This is another good part of getting older. You don’t have to keep the plot and all the characters in your head that a new movie demands. You can focus on something else, the way you can when you re-read a favourite book, or hear your favourite music. Even by the time you’re listening for the 100th time, it doesn’t seem to get stale or grow old. Think of how many times you’ve heard Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. Indeed, because your brain is searching for different things, it reveals new pleasures from old things in the way that Jane Jacobs spoke of buildings: “Old ideas can sometimes use new buildings. New ideas must use old buildings.”

So when you’re next on a flight and aren’t sure you want to watch what’s new, find your own new way to watch what’s not.


1. Yes, AI does have feelings. Just be sure not to hurt them. This, from Ian Brown’s interview with the godfather of AI, Geoffrey Hinton. Plus, how you can turn the tables on AI: Don’t ask AI, let AI ask you.

2. Men refuse a raise? In what world does that happen? In Denmark where the country’s top soccer team refused a raise to ensure their pay is equal to the top women’s team.

Plus, women don’t want to be exceptional

Plus, I never knew there was a Women’s Prize, or rather Prizes, one for fiction and one for non-fiction. This year’s fiction prize went to V.V. Ganeshananthan who won the Carol Shields Prize for Brotherless Night, announced last month in Toronto, and the non-fiction prize went to Canadian Naomi Klein for Doppelganger.

3. Bye bye, Viagra? There may be a new over-the-counter treatment for erectile dysfunction.

4. Painting cows and Van Goghs and French Opens. First, the subjects. Then, the artist. Then the tennis.

5. Take one classic opera. Mix with one aging aircraft carrier…et voila, as The Times reports: “It is the pride of the Italian navy and has been deployed in combat air operations in Libya, Afghanistan and Kosovo during more than 40 years of service. Now the Giuseppe Garibaldi, a veteran aircraft carrier that will be decommissioned later this year, will bow out in style with what is billed as the first opera performance aboard a naval ship… [the Giuseppe Garibaldi] will steam into the Gulf of La Spezia, southeast of Genoa, later this week for two staged performances of Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly.” The poster tells the tale. As one friend noted: “It is such a brilliant, passionate, imaginative, totally Italian thing to do.”

6. “Canada is a middle power. If we’re not at the table, we’re on the menu”. Mark Carney said that to a conference on how the Canada-US partnership can change global economics. And speaking of the centre not holding, let’s listen to WB Yeats.

7. The first taco stand to be awarded a Michelin star. It goes to El Califa de León in Mexico City. For a different kind of cuisine art, there’s this year’s annual cheese rollingrace in Gloucestershire which has been running since the early 1800s. You can enter next year’s race here.

8. How to be a better interrupter. Not only will this technique forestall mansplainers and talk-radio hosts, but political foes and screamers of all stripes. But get ready to be ‘rude.’

Next, how to get people to open up. Especially older people who have amazing love stories.A fascinating Instagram site.

9. Big questions… “Why do skateboarders skate where it’s not allowed?” Why does distilled water almost never freeze? Why is Simon Cowell still so popular? And can travel be a substitute for therapy?

10. The youngest conductor on earth? It’s 23-year-old Talmo Peltokowski, music director of the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra. The most expensive arts group on earth? New York’s Metropolitan Opera with a budget of $312 million.

Finally, The most feared animals on earth.

11. What I’m liking. My wife, Jean, took me for dinner on Father’s Day to the Takja BBQ House (ranked #3 in Toronto Life’s list of the top new restaurants,) and it changed our view of Korean dining – from street food, to an all-together-now tasting menu of wild and wonderful new flavours. But quick, book your table soon, before the world discovers this place, which…uh… this mention might hasten rather than impede. So go, but don’t tell anyone, okay?



Yes, it’s a Lindblad National Geographic expedition. But this time, Jean and I are taking friends on what was once America’s largest private yacht, the famed four-masted sailing ship, the Sea Cloud.

We’ll be with the ghost of Marjorie Merriweather Post, whose husband, financier E.F. Hutton, gave it to her as a wedding present when they married in 1931.

Today, the Sea Cloud holds 64 passengers in classic luxury. (Just look at the cabins!).

We also know the Sea Cloud’s younger sister, Sea Cloud II, which we took 16 friends earlier this month down the coast of Italy, and …..oh la la, was it ever wonderful!

Our warm-winter trip begins on January 19, 2025, in Barbados and ends there a week later on January 26. In between, we’ll visit some of the Caribbean’s most storied destinations.

Coming with us means you save 5% off the prices you see here (prices listed in USD). And of course you’ll be travelling with a band of gentle adventurers eager to take on the best the world has to offer.

So please join us where it’s hot when Toronto is cold. Just call Lindblad at 1.833.985.1261 or email and be sure to mention that you’re with “RamsayTravels.”

Sail on…



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