Read what you want – and pay what you will.
For the past three years the Omnium-Gatherum blog has opened your Saturday morning Inbox with news of driven people, eye-popping places, and new ideas that may have escaped your gaze.
These blog posts have been free for you to receive and read. But some readers have said: “How can I pay?” So if you’d like to make a non-tax-deductible contribution to support this blog, please pay what you will.
If you don’t want to pay anything, that’s fine too. We’re not going to withhold our affections, and you’ll keep getting your blog post on Saturday no matter what. But if you think what you read here is worth your time, then please share in what you think it’s worth.
Many thanks, and here’s to curiosity and the freedom to pursue its joys down any lane.
$20, $50, $100, $250, $999,999.99 or Pay What I Can
Now, for this week’s Omnium Gatherum…
TURN EVERY PAGE
You’ll get much more from the original sources of a story than even the deepest in-depth article. From this month…
A landmark privacy ruling: The Supreme Court of Great Britain ruled that a group of luxury condo owners in London could close the Tate Modern’s viewing platform that’s let “hundreds of thousands” of people gaze into their homes and lives.
Billionaire blow-up. Gautam Adani used to be worth $120 billion. Today, he’s worth $61 billion. The difference is from a scathing report by Wall Street’s Hindenburg Research whose title says it all: “Adani Group: How the world’s 3rd richest man is pulling the largest con in corporate history.”
A saint, a monster. Canadian Jean Vanier founded L’Arche, a global organization for the intellectually disabled which creates communities of people with developmental disabilities. He was seen by many as a saint who died in 2019. But then in 2020, it was revealed he sexually abused at least 25 women who worked at L’Arche over seven decades.
Last month, L’Arche revealed its entire 900-page report on that abuse. Here it is in English.
1. The glories of dining out alone. What used to be a mark of ineptitude is now a badge of individuality.
Speaking of happiness, here are two measures of where your happiness stands beside the other 8 billion of us just trying to make our way in the world: the UN’s Annual Study of Human Happiness, now in its 10th year. Check out the biological basis for happiness. Plus Harvard’s Adult Development Study on what makes a good life.
2. We all need subtitles now. If you’re having a hard time understanding what’s said on the screen, you’re not getting deafer; dialogue is just harder to hear.
Further on movies, what is the most profitable of all time? Avatar? Not even close. Try My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
3. Where corruption is rampant. Before we get too smug, knowing we’re worlds away from Somalia, Syria and South Sudan, know that Canada stood 13th last year, far below the least corrupt country on earth, New Zealand.
4. Curiosity-driven breakthroughs. Canada’s Gairdner Awards are one of the world’s top prizes for medical research. One in four Gairdner awardees goes on to win the Nobel Prize. The Gairdner Foundation is starting a bookmarkable newsletter worthy of your time and hope.
5. “I will never work on a film more important than this one.” Ken Burns said that about a documentary far too few of us have seen, The U.S. and the Holocaust, the 3-part, six-hour series about America’s response to the Holocaust. No surprise, the “nation of immigrants” did not welcome Europe’s Jews fleeing the Nazis. Nor did Canada either, as historians Irving Abella and Harold Troper exposed in None Is Too Many.
6. How to behave. 2023 is a lot different than 2019. Here are the new rules of personal civilization, like “”On a date, all individuals present should gently and politely compete to pay the entire bill.”
Speaking of misbehaving, Forbes has started a compilation of every lie US Congressman George Santos has told, like being a producer of Broadway hits. But Vanity Fair may be ahead.
7. Two old essayists, and two new. By old, I just mean known to you and me because they’ve appeared here before, like Morgan Housel, writing now on Everything You Can’t Have, and Scott Galloway, on our misplaced fears of AI.
By new, I mean Canadian Dan Gardner whose blog brings fresh new views to the politics of today, including his introduction to Jon Haidt, another Substack writer well worth reading.
8. Popular mechanics. It’s amazing how food production is now so fast because of mechanized agriculture. But when mechanics, or rather robotics, goes wrong, it goes very wrong.
9. Fox News host demands fortified boundary at Canadian border. It seems more people have illegally crossed into the U.S. from Canada in the last three months than in the last two years combined. Which drew this comment.
10. Job-sharing at the podium. Canadian Barbara Hannigan will not only conduct the London Symphony Orchestra in March, she’ll sing the last movement of Mahler’s 4th.
And just in from Houston, two subscribers of the Houston Grand Opera have just donated $22 million for new works and young artists.
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.
The cost is from $14,830 USD per person, depending on what cabin level you choose. This is less than $1,000 a day and includes a special saving for our group of 5% off the standard rates.
And, if you have kids or grandkids you’d like to bring, they’ll take $500 off for each one under the age of 18.
So, what you have is a good deal on a grand trip to a warm place at the end of the world, with nice people, in the hands of the best in the business.
You may have time to even lasso your family into a multi-generational odyssey. Or perhaps your best friends, and feel free to pass this invitation on to them. But bear in mind that the average occupancy rate for all Lindblad voyages before the pandemic in 2019 was 91%, and this South Pacific destination sold out. Lindblad expects the same in 2024.
I urge you to spend some time with the links above. Then, to confirm your place onboard, just complete the registration form and send it to the Lindblad team at email@example.com, or call them at 1-888-773-9007. Lindblad can also book your flights for you.
If you want to hear more about the trip, here’s the link to the recording from the information session we hosted last month. And here again is the link to the trip itself.
And, If you’re thinking of continuing on after our expedition, and heading to Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Korea and other Pacific Rim countries, you might want to connect with Emma Cottis from GoWay Travel in Toronto, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 1-800-387-8850 ext 5376. She planned a wonderful trip for us to the Australian Outback five years ago and we have a high degree of confidence in both her and GoWay.
For more information on this and other RamsayTravels adventures, click here. And, please also forward to your like-spirited friends.