Louise Arbour

Reporting for duty.

Big reports on bad actors used to be few, far between, and hard to get your hands on. Wait no longer. Now, you can get not just the quick headlines, but the weighty words that spark them.

Last week, the Honourable Louise Arbour released her report on sexism in the Canadian military, which the Minister of Defence reacted to immediately — and gingerly.

The University of Toronto also reported on sexism in the Faculty of Music, claiming that its “conservatory culture”, that is to say its focus on Western classical music and one-on-one instruction, all foster racism, sexism and harassment. Perhaps.

Let’s not forget two bigger blockbusters: first,  the report of the Southern Baptist Convention on how it looked away for years from allegations of sexual abuse by its ministers and staff on its parishioners. Then, British civil servant Sue Gray’s report on “Partygate” that had Londoners booing Boris Johnson when he walked into St. Paul’s and his Tory MPs in open revolt.

Meanwhile…

1. Learn odd new skills. Atlas Obscura beats you off the taken path with wondrous leads on places to visit, things to eat, drink and learn. The courses range from Creating Crossword Puzzles and How to Read A Gravestone, to Fairy Tale Writing and Life Lessons from Cephalopods.

2. Twits and Idiots. There are few better invective-injecters than Ken Whyte and Scott Galloway. Here’s Whyte on how Boris Johnson and other Oxford twits took over Britain and engineered Brexit. And Galloway, on Big Stupid, Rich Stupid and Self-Stupid. You can sign on to their weekly newsletters for free.

Speaking of what both write about, I’ve long been seduced and offended by the weekend magazine published by The Financial Times called How to Spend It. I mean, for years Forbes called everything from its magazine to its yacht to its hot-air balloons the “Capitalist Tool”, and I thought that was pretty cocky. But the Brits are masters of class war served cold. So while they finally saw that How to Spend It could offend some readers, their insolent answer doesn’t really MKSNS in rebranding their wealth porn.

3. Outhorsing your e-mails. Pushing the send button is just too hard, especially when you can get someone to do it for you. But lest you think horses are the only creatures who have feelings, buildings do too.

4. 75 new towers rise in Pickering. This is a fact. The question is, is it a good thing or a bad thing that the anonymous burb east of Toronto will soon look a bit like Manhattan? Realtor Fahad Rehman tells the story.

5. The growing cost of the Royal Family. Like everything these days, the Royals are rising in price. No one begrudges the Queen her four days of national celebration, including Paddington Bear. But what about these two who still aren’t entirely off the payroll?

Speaking of Royalty, HM The Fifth King of Bhutan will officially re-open the Trans-Bhutan Trail on September 28th. You can read about it in Sara Waxman’s dinemagazine.ca and be there too. The trip includes a week in Bhutan and a tax receipt from the Bhutan Canada Foundation who you should contact. k.d. lang will be performing a concert and joining the trip.

6. Escape chic. Check out these great hoodies and dresses made from World War II escape maps. Here also are five great reads about maps, including How to Rename a Place.

7. Improve your typing. Practice on your favourite books, track your progress, and level up as you learn to type faster and better.

8. The Depths of Wikipedia. In its 20 years, Wikipedia has grown to be the world’s largest encyclopedia. Every day some 33 million editors contribute 600 new articles and update thousands of others. Such a vast depository of information has some odd and beguiling corners. These are chronicled in a series of social media sites which point you to everything from exploding trousers and  Nuclear Gandhi, to chess on a really big board, and sexually active popes.

9. Henry Kissinger on the Ukraine War. Yes, he’s alive, and at 99 still kicking. He believes “we are now living in a totally new era.”

10. Political music. First, Led Zeppelin’s When the Levee Breaks with Jean-Paul Jones and others playing for change. Then from Russian TV last week, it seems Putin is updating the music of Stalin.

********

It’s one thing to dream of the South Pacific. It’s another to go.

 

It’s still another to let Lindblad Expeditions take you.

This is why Jean and I are gathering friends like you, 50 in all, to join us as we sail from Fiji to Tahiti from February 23 to March 10, 2024.

You might think that’s a long way off. However, Lindblad’s expeditions are like opera stars; they book up a couple of years in advance.

We’ll be aboard the 102-guest National Geographic Orion, a beautiful expedition ship that’s a conduit to exhilaration rather than a temple of excess.

We’ve been on two of Lindblad’s luxury adventure cruises before, to Antarctica and the Spanish-Portuguese coast. On board and on shore, we were in the hands of the most experienced experts and crew on the seven seas. One evening during “Recap” with cocktails and appetizers in hand, we saw “The Monster of the Day” that our expedition divers filmed from the ocean floor. And if you think kayaking in Antarctica is riskier than on Georgian Bay, well, it’s safer in Antarctica because the Lindblad people are so on top of it.

All to say, we’ve come to expect the best in comfort, dining, adventure and safety from Lindblad. Our view is confirmed by Condé Nast Traveler who last year declared them to be the #1 Small Ship Cruise Line in the world.

As for where we’ll explore, the South Pacific is not just one of the most storied and exotic places on earth, it’s down the road from Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China and all of Asia. So you can make this trip part of an even bigger foray into a purposeful global journey.

We hope you can join us.

For more information on this and other RamsayTravels adventures, click here. And, please also forward to your like-spirited friends.

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