Here we were all complaining that winters aren’t what they used to be. Gray and dark, with an odd sprinkling of indifferent snow, white winters are now like glaciers, a victim of global warming. But as we all (and especially the people of BC) have learned, climate change simply means perpetual extremes. So naturally Toronto gets more snow than it’s had in 28 years. Naturally, too, Canada is now ranked as the sixth most miserable place on earth, though not just because of our weather.
But here’s a long lovely essay on what winter meant and is coming to mean for northern hemispheric earthlings everywhere.
1. When Harry Met Santa. Now this is social change, brought to you by the Norwegian Postal Service.
2. How airlines became banks. An in-depth video explaining how airlines’ frequent flier programs are often worth more than the airlines themselves.
3. For the 9th year in a row. The Toronto Public Library System, with 100 branches, is already the largest in North America and the busiest in the world. But as the Washington Post reported last week: “In 2021, a record number of public library systems reported lending more than one million e-books, audiobooks and digital magazines…..22 library systems around the world have joined the Million-plus Circulation Club for the first time.” This year, the Toronto Public Library was ranked number 1 for the 9th year in a row, beating out the Singapore National Library and, at number 5, the New York Public Library.
4. What values do we cherish most? It seems many universal values are just….national ones. We care desperately about freedom of speech. Most countries hardly care at all. Meanwhile, Europe ranks lowest in its concern for tradition and religion, while Latin America ranks highest.
5. The best ‘before and after’ photos of all. British street photographer Chris Porsz took lots of shots in the 80s. Then he tracked down 350 of the people in those photos and had them restage those shots today. They’re collected in his Reunion books and they make addictive viewing.
6. The Phil Lind Initiative. It’s a great speaker series – and free – underwritten by Torontonian Phil Lind at his alma mater, the University of British Columbia. Upcoming this spring on The Future of Media are: Douglas Rushkoff, Soledad O’Brien, Matt Taibbi, Kara Swisher, and Ed Yong.
7. The Top 10 Deep-Sea Animals. Not gross and slug-like, but magical and mysterious. See for yourself.
8. The Restaurant of Mistaken Orders. Expectations are all. If you go into most restaurants and the waiter confuses your order, you’re not happy. But if you go into this restaurant in Japan where all the waiters suffer from dementia, you’ll be very happy. Which goes to show, a problem redefined is a problem half-solved.
9. A nostalgic look at cool. Not that any of us is as cool as this, though there was a time when…..and speaking of cool shots, check out these 30 amazing ones from the Nature Photographer of the Year.
Or….maybe more than a song can help us. If you’re confused about COVID, here’s some advice from the Family Doctors at the University of Toronto.
Forbidden Words – The words you may not use in polite company any longer are “energetic” and “enthusiastic.”