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Our exits and our entrances.

One great lesson the pandemic taught us is how to buy everything online. I take great pride that, just by typing a few keys, a world of goods and services can land at my door.

But last weekend when Jean and I wanted to see The Fall Guy, with Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt. I discovered that, despite being in movie theatres for an entire two days, the film still wasn’t available online. Not Netflix. Not Prime. Not even Cineplex.com, in whose theatres it was playing.

WTF.

So I was doubly annoyed when I logged on to buy two seniors’ tickets to actually go to the theatre, something I haven’t done in two years, and discovered I couldn’t buy those tickets online because I kept keying in the wrong password, then got locked out after the third try, then when I tried to open a new account, was told that another account already exists with that same username.

Arrrrghh.

But hold on, I thought. We live two blocks from the Varsity Cinema in the Manulife Centre at Bay and Bloor in Toronto.

I could…..walk to the theatre, buy the tickets and be home in 10 minutes.

During that walk, my thoughts naturally turned to growing old and dying.

True, I’ve trained myself to stay fluent online. I walk my 10,000 steps each day. I even use AI every day! But my memory is a sieve, and growing sieve-ier every day.

Last summer, I wrote about not being able to gambol on the rocks of Georgian Bay, or to throw a ball where I wanted it to go, not even to carry a tune so that a child listening to me wouldn’t flee in terror.

But now, even my mental workarounds to remember everything from people’s names and banking passwords, to where my glasses and car keys went, are beginning to fail me. Forget remembering where the remote is. Forget even the system I used to remember how to remember where the remote is. There are days when I can’t remember what I had for lunch, though as my physician-wife says: “Don’t worry: you can still remember you had lunch, and you remember there’s a meal that’s called lunch.”

The upside to losing my mental and physical capacities is that I’m also losing my capacity for worrying about it. And maybe this slowing makes the prospect of death more tolerable. As Montaigne wrote in his essay Of Experience in 1580: “When we are led by Nature’s hand down a gentle and virtually imperceptible slope, bit by bit, one step at a time, she rolls us into this wretched state and makes us familiar with it.”

“I no longer cling so hard to the good things of life when I begin to lose the use and pleasure of them…I come to view death with much less frightened eyes.”

Well, perhaps a little less frightened.

Meanwhile….

1. How DEI went wrong. Niall Ferguson tells us.

2. What if your emotional-support alligator goes missing? Wally may be a cold-blooded companion, but he’s not unlovable. Nor is this self-healing Orangutan. Nor these cats with OCD. Nor is this free-diver who finds belonging in the depths. But maybe Canada’s newest invasive species is. 

3. Old training films. We marvel at how simple (and racist and sexist) life was back then. But these films take us to a safely-distant world where even a nuclear holocaust can be managed. From how to succeed with brunettes, and stories from the Great Depression, to The Enemy Within, and how to build a step-saving kitchen.

New training films? Director Wes Anderson meets Mount Blanc Pens. And The Economist parses how our brains change as we age.

4.The Amish and technology. The Amish don’t reject all technology. They do use it better than most of us. Speaking of which, last week Ukraine began using a ‘digital person’ to announce news from its foreign ministry.

5. Fat people risk. In America, obesity is a national security risk. (The military can’t find enough fit young people to meet their standards). In Germany, obesity is not just a health crisis, it’s a drag on fulfilling your dreams.

6. Latest Trump affronts. Last week, the SEC shut down Trump Media’s auditors for “massive fraud.” BF Borgers was running a sham audit mill’ for Trump and 1,500 other US public companies.

Next, how Trump gets his news. It’s been 8 years since he changed the news media landscape. But as this Politico report says: “…while Trump has dabbled in this new universe, some things haven’t changed: He still prefers reading print papers and will catch recordings from his favourite cable news shows.”

 7. Lists worth listicling. The 30 best architecture firms in Canada. Plus famous books a lot of people hate. Plus 15 universities around the world with extraordinary architecture.Plus 7 computer maintenance tasks you should do every month.

Plus 12 signs that you’re mature. Plus people who find their doppelgangers in museums.

8. Golda Mier speaks in Chicago. In 1948, she was not the Prime Minister of Israel, but the head of the Jewish agency touring America desperate to raise money for her new country.

Douglas Murphy picks up the story: “Meir arrived in Chicago in the middle of a freezing cold winter “without a dime in her pocketbook even to take a taxi.” Wealthy and influential Jews in Chicago were not especially keen on meeting with her. As Henry Montor, the executive vice president of the United Jewish Appeal, recalled, Meir was, to his mind, “an impecunious, unimportant representative, a schnorrer—Yiddish for beggar or layabout.”

“Meir, for her part, was terrified. On the one hand, she knew that war in the Middle East was imminent, and she had no choice but to bring home money for much-needed weapons—or there wouldn’t be any Israel. On the other hand, she understood all too well that there was, among some upper-crust American Jews, a wariness of the idea of a Jewish state—a desire, often unstated, not to appear too Jewish. She later recalled: “I was terribly afraid of going to these people who didn’t know me from Adam. I admit I was shaking. I had no idea what was going to happen.”

“Her goal had been to raise $25 million in America…. She came away with $50 million—aid that would prove critical in the months ahead.”

Here is her speech to the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds in Chicago.

9. Warren’s last meeting? It was Berkshire Hathaway’s annual general meeting last week, and CEO Warren Buffet, at 93 one of the most successful investors of all time, was in fine form. He answered shareholder questions for five hours and honoured the firm’s co-founder, Charlie Munger, who died last year at 99. As Buffett noted: “I not only hope you come next year, I hope I come next year.”

10. Women owning the podium. Ten years ago, few if any women led professional orchestras or opera companies. There are more on the podium today. To make sure there are many many more 10 years from now, Tapestry Opera, The Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Pacific Opera Victoria  have created Women in Musical Leadership.

One highly visible part of that program is an open master class led by TSO Maestro Gustavo Gimeno at Roy Thomson Hall on Wednesday, June 5th from 7:00 p.m. Tickets are free and you’ll see just how much harder conducting is than waving a baton in time with the music.

11. What I’m liking. GoodFoot Courier Service. They “provide meaningful employment for the neurodiverse community through a reliable, professional courier service delivered via public transit and on foot.” We used them before the pandemic, and now that everyone’s back at the office or working from home, they’re even more good.

_________________

IT’S GETTING LATE TO PLAN A SUMMER TRIP. BUT THERE’S STILL TIME TO COME WITH US ON A LINDBLAD NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC EXPEDITION TO BC’S GREAT BEAR RAINFOREST.

 

So join us …in BC’s fabled Great Bear Rainforest…. aboard the National Geographic Venture… on a Lindblad Expedition.  The adventure starts in Ketchikan, Alaska, on September 2nd, 2024, and ends on September 9th, 2024  in Prince Rupert, BC.

It’s May right now and summer is just a month away. Time’s running short to book the trip of a lifetime in your home and native land.

So if you want this summer to be deep and memorable, join us.

Here are the details of the trip.

You can register in one of two ways:

1.  Download the application form and fill it out by hand, click here and then email it to the Lindblad Groups at groups@expeditions.com.

2.  Fill  out the form online, click here and your completed copy will automatically be sent to Lindblad Groups and to RamsayTravel.

Onward,

Bob

 

 

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