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Playtime for Grownups

My enormous inner child needs constant feeding and watering. Yours should too.

Not with other kids. Just the two of you because only you know what nourishes the kid in you because…well, you were that kid a very long time ago.

You may be a grownup now, but you’re just as curious, thrill-seeking and weirdo as you were when you were caught in Mr. McGillicuddy’s garden. Which proves that we never really grow up. We only learn how to act in public.

So spend some time with these bites of condensed curiosity. And once you’ve clicked on a link, don’t be afraid to just keep going.

1. A Bitche of a town. It used to be that embarrassment kept us from mentioning places like Dildo, Newfoundland; Climax, Saskatchewan; and Crotch Lake, Ontario. But now technology is doing it for us. This month, Facebook deleted the town of Bitche in the northeast of France because the social network’s algorithm deemed the name insulting. Les Bitchois n’étaient pas amusés.

2. Fantasy passports. This is an official category of passport, along with camouflage passports, that the European Commission has catalogued and deemed unacceptable identification to cross national borders. Personally, I don’t see what’s wrong with my  Makedonia or Principality of Sealand passports. Here’s the full list.

3. Not all police unions protect their own. The Ethical Society of Police of St. Louis is one of two police unions in Missouri’s second largest city, and part of a growing movement of unions who believe loyalty to the truth is greater than loyalty to each other.

4. Master or Primary? What kind of bedroom do you have? Last week, the Toronto Real Estate Board did away with the word “Master” to describe any kind of bedroom in its listings, replacing it with “Primary.” This is the latest in a string of real estate organizations “to ditch terminology that is often seen as a reference to racism, sexism and slavery.”

5. Ten times public art has transformed New York City. One of the invisible shames of the lockdowns is that public art no longer gets many people looking at it. But the wondrous online magazine, DesignBoom, reminds us all what we’re missing.

6. Who gave the Massey Lectures in 1967, Canada’s Centennial Year? Martin Luther King. Here’s how they began: “Canada is not merely a neighbour to Negroes. Deep in our history of struggle for freedom Canada was the north star. The Negro slave, denied education, de-humanized, imprisoned on cruel plantations, knew that far to the north a land existed where a fugitive slave if he survived the horrors of the journey could find freedom.” All five of the lectures are here and make for wonderful, ironic and timely listening  — and rethinking.

7. Google Earth now has a time-lapse view to show just how close to midnight we are. The Google Earth App now has a time-lapse feature so you can see how fast and far that glacier has receded, that city has sprawled, that sea has clogged.

8. It’s true, but it sure doesn’t feel it. Earlier this month, Canada was ranked the best country in the world. According to the Best Countries Report, Canada replaced Switzerland, which had been No. 1 since 2017. In fact, Switzerland slipped to fourth place below Germany, Japan and our home and native land.

9. Beethoven’s 5th sung by an Israeli women’s Acappella group. They sing by the name of Carmel A-cappella – כרמל אקפלה – פרס ישראל and they’re wonderful. Here they are now.

At least he’s not being inconsistent.

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Sign up to hear Minouche Shafik speak about her new book, What We Owe Each Other: A New Social Contract for a Better Society with Heather Munroe-Blum, at the April 29 RamsayTalk

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