The outrage after the outage.

H.L. Mencken said that for every complex problem there’s an answer that is clear, simple and wrong. It’s tempting to link the problems of Rogers, Air Canada, and our hospital emergency units to this epigram. Just ask anyone who’s actually had to find “more staff” or to “fix tech” how hard it can be. But what is glaringly clear in these failures is how badly they’ve been communicated and how easily all of us could have been told the bad news sooner and better. In the same way that “it’s not the crime, but the coverup,” it’s also not the crisis, but the follow-up that dooms you in the court of public opinion. Meanwhile, a site to check that your network/flight/ER or credit card company really is down.

1. Avalanche! It’s rare that someone in the direct path of an avalanche lives to record it on his iPhone. But that’s what this crazy-lucky Brit did this week in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan.

2. Eat your light. Of course making and tasting edible candles is now a course. All the more appetizing that it’s led by chef and food fantasist Jen Monroe, creator of the Bad Taste project.

3. Learning architecture. Cruising YouTube in search of one clip invariably leads to others. I fell across the oddly-titled “5 Types of New York Apartments” and was instantly entranced by its host, architect Michael Wyetzner.  But who is this man? It took one minute to discover not just that he’s the host of a series on New York buildings, but to find the key to his 5-episode Architectural Digest video series. Remarkable, and bookmarkable too.

Speaking of design, Apple has launched a new app that lets you scan your home with your iPhone and turn it into a RoomPlan.

4. The stealth bombers of tourism. Greece and Turkey have been wary frenemies for centuries. But the Turks have upped the ante of modern warfare, not by invading their rival, but rather by swallowing it up in its tourism ads. Last month, the Turkish Tourism Board produced a slick video titled “Turkaegean” that had Greek background music and scenes of famous Greek sites like the Theatre of Epidaurus. Did they ask the Greeks they were appropriating their country? Tell them? Not really.

5. There’s rich and then there’s…They say that money can buy you happiness, but only up to $75,000 a year. But the richer you grow beyond that, the less your wealth will make you happy. We know the meaning of happiness is changing wildly these days, but what about the meaning of wealth? Here’s a snapshot of how much you need to count as wealthy and an essay on why the process of becoming wealthier feels better than having wealth.

Speaking of wealth, it’s also a function of where you live. While a dollar anywhere doesn’t go as far as it did two years ago, it also doesn’t go as far in Tel Aviv as it does in Ottawa. In fact, the most expensive city in the world today is Hamilton, Bermuda, which costs twice as much to live in as New York. Twice.

6. Thank God for David Attenborough. “This spring, a polling company surveyed Brits to find the nation’s most beloved exports. Beating out William Shakespeare and afternoon tea for the top three spots were the Sunday roast dinner, fish and chips, and the naturalist and television presenter Sir David Attenborough. A few years earlier, Attenborough, now ninety-six years old, was voted the most popular person in Britain.” This is the opening to a trenchant essay on the strange hold Attenborough has, beyond his posh and plummy accent,  on our memories and motivations.

7. Scams and flim-flams. Do you get random texts from people you don’t know but seem to know you? Read on. And what does it take to catch a rare-book thief?

8. “In the name of God, go!” But Boris Johnson hasn’t gone yet. Here’s a mashup of recordings that say he’ll be in our minds, if not our hearts, for many years yet. First, an audiotape of Boris mollifying a young woman he tried to get a job for. Then this 2009 audiotape of him conspiring to have a reporter beaten up. Then in 2019, actor Rory Stewart read the classic letter about Boris by his prep school headmaster. And finally, Boris (and others) using “shocked and appalled” in odd new ways.

9. Surviving in scrubs. Robyn Doolittle has a revealing new series in The Globe and Mail about how female doctors are abused, marginalized, paid less, and hit on more. While the growing majority of students in our med schools are female, as are interns and residents, the power gap with men is huge. In fact, Britain’s women doctors have set up a website to raise awareness about sexism and sexual assault in their workplace.

10. The band plays on.  There hasn’t been a new musical instrument invented in hundreds of years. Synthesizers, yes. But I mean the things you blow and beat and bow. They’re coming.

And to end with a different kind of mashup, here are 60 famous song and dance scenes from old movies.


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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