food porn

“Stressed” spelled backwards is “desserts.”

I think they mean stressed spelled forwards has a straight-line relationship to desserts. During the pandemic, millions of us (that’s not an exaggeration when you’re talking about the world’s first truly global event) gained weight cooped up at home, and it wasn’t all because we were learning to make sourdough bread. But to find this week’s headline in a bakery-coffee shop in the ski village at Silver Star Resort north of Vernon, BC – when you’re on holidays and getting lots of exercise, well, that’s one of the most devious, in-your-face product placements ever. And in my case, one of the most successful – as I learned every morning.

But no matter how ‘stressed’ I got, nothing beats this new Finger Licking Food Tour of Las Vegas.


1. How to fool all the people all the time. Raymond Teller of Penn & Teller, reveals how magicians fool us. As he notes: “Neuroscientists are novices at deception. Magicians have done controlled testing in human perception for thousands of years.”

Human magicians aren’t the only creatures clever at deception. Animals owe their lives to it.

2. Words that sound related but aren’t. Think ‘male’ and ‘female’ are related? ‘Rage’ and ‘outrage’? How about ‘pen and pencil’?  Nope.

Plus, do you crave to know the first time that words appear in The New York Times? Wonder when “hideous” or “Banshee” or even “FOMO” first appeared in the journal of record? There’s a site for that. The archive goes back to 1851 and holds more than 13 million articles.

There’s also a site for BBC announcer Melvyn Bragg’s nearly 1,000 episodes in the Radio 4 series In Our Time, broadcast since 1998. The series attracts two million listeners a week and has “transformed the landscape for serious ideas at peak listening time.”

3. This year’s House of the Year Award goes to…A Brazilian ‘shack’ in a Belo Horizonte favela, according to global architecture site ArchDailyIt was designed by the Levante architecture collective, which does pro bono or low-cost work in the favelas.

4. “I’m a recovering personal development addict.” McSweeney’s is the daily humour site that reaches Everestian heights of satire with this article on how to kick the habit of trying to be better at everything all the time. Also, don’t miss How to Age as a Woman.

5. “The best non-fiction book in the English language.”In 2012 Wade Davis, the Canadian polymath (anthropologist, explorer, photographer, speaker, writer and more), won Britain’s Samuel Johnson Prize (now the Baillie Gifford Prize) for the top non-fiction book published in English. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Baillie Gifford, and they have short-listed six of the best with the “winner of winners” to be announced on April 27th at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. There are three American authors, Barbara Demick, Patrick Radden Keefe, and James Shapiro on the shortlist;  two Canadians, Wade Davis and Margaret MacMillan;  and just one Brit, Craig Brown.

Davis will be speaking in person at the RamsayTalk in Toronto on Wednesday, April 19th.

6. Lots of places talk community. This one invites it to stay for the night. The Fogo Island Inn off the north shore of Newfoundland marks its 10th anniversary this year. To celebrate, it’s doing exactly what it did before it opened on May 15, 2013.

If it’s authenticity you’re looking for, try Sarah Polley’s Oscar acceptance speech which reveals who Canada has re-found.

7. “I want you for the U.S. Army!” Their latest recruitment campaign was bombarded with so many claims that it was too ‘woke’, the Army quickly disabled all comments.

Speaking of the landmines of correctness, here’s the Sierra Club’s Equity Language Guide. My view on wokeness? Language calibrated not to offend likely won’t persuade anybody of anything, either.

8. Spies everywhere. Is bad management a good espionage technique? This World War II manual says yes.

9. Poignant pictures. The best tell a story. Or throw us up against nature, or remind us to steer clear of polar bears, and especially woke bears. Meanwhile, over in the world of moving pictures, the Oscars produced these moving words why Tom Cruise deserved one.

10. Joshua and Jolene. Violinist Joshua Bell tells the story of how a 300-year old Stradivarius came into his hands and life. And here’s that story on film.

Plus Dolly Parton and Olivia Newton-John in a live recording session of Jolene, filmed not long before Newton-John’s death from cancer in 2022.



Curious about psychedelics?


If anyone knows about the promise and perils of psychedelics, it’s the renowned author and anthropologist Wade Davis.

In 1996, he wrote One River, the story of the riches of the Amazon rainforest and the extraordinary plants whose effects range from medicinal, to magical, to marginal. But his work with these plants began in 1974 and continued with constant fieldwork in the Amazon and Andes for 8 years.

Since then, he has gone on to become one of the world’s authorities on the deep connection between people and plants; and how psychedelics are enjoying a resurgence as a treatment for many mental maladies.

So what better time than now to have this daring and original thinker talk about the psychedelic journey, past, present and future?

Please join us to hear Wade Davis.

Date: Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Time: 6:45 to 8:00 p.m. (Doors open at 6:15 p.m.)

Place: The Albany Club, 91 King Street East

Tickets: $60 + HST includes your softcover copy of One River


If you are interested in spending more time with Wade Davis, join him on Retreat at Dimensions Algonquin Highlands May 18-22. Find out more here.

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