dry february

What you can’t measure, you can’t improve.

This is one reason the alcohol lobby is fighting so hard against instituting a common definition of “a drink” on its bottles. If that happened, people would know how much alcohol is in their glass of wine or bottle of beer.


The drinks industry is reeling. In the US last year, 20% of drinking-age Americans took part in Dry January. This year, it’s 35%. No wonder Tito’s Vodka hired Martha Stewart to create off-label ways to consume vodka. The “dry” movement is also spreading: this week I got an email from the Canadian Cancer Society urging me to sign up for Dry February.


To foretell the liquor lobby’s fight-back tactics, check out the following playbooks from the past: tobacco, sugar, opioids, fossil fuels and long ago, seatbelts.




1. The Montreal Mafia Murders. It’s not often Canadian mobsters make it into the pages of Vanity Fair. But it seems the Calabrians and the Sicilians view Montreal as the gateway to North America. The opening sentence says it all: “On the morning they were arrested for allegedly burning bodies as part of a series of Mafia murders, Marie-Josée Viau and Guy Dion had already finished breakfast and packed their daughter off to elementary school.”


2. Let’s just quit. A lovely 9-minute movie about leaving the office and setting out on your own.


3. Seals, toads and mooses. First, rare footage of a moose shedding its antlers. Again, rare, the birth of seal pups. Finally, a giant cane toad.


4. Wonder why your Netflix fees are rising? The streaming service is paying $385,000 for a flight attendant on its corporate jet.


5. Letters you don’t want to be the subject of. This week, Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak fired Nadhim Zahawi, the Conservative Party Chairman and  Chancellor of the Exchequer under Boris Johnson. It seems Zahawi was being investigated by the tax department, which reported to him when he was Chancellor, without mentioning the investigation to anyone and denying it when asked. This letter to the PM from his ethics adviser, Sir Laurie Magnus, lays out the cringeworthy case against Zahawi.


6. Relationships, love, divorce, loneliness, love again. Here are more facts on all of these realities than you could possibly absorb at once.


7. Notes on The End. First, the odds that you’ll die accidentally (don’t drive your car!).  Next, a microscopic view of death, how microbes are born, live and die. Finally, blogs from the edge of death. Last Christmas, on holiday in Rome, British novelist and screenwriter Hanif Kureishi suddenly collapsed onto the pavement, twisted his neck, lost the use of his arms and legs and is now in a special rehab hospital. But from the outset he has been dictating blog posts like this one to his son Carlo. They’re worth reading – and not just at The End.


8. ‘Pre-colonial’ does not describe an Indigenous paradise. Says Georgetown University’s  Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò.  It’s vacuous, racist and plain wrong, especially about Africa.


9. “Don’t invite your thoughts to tea.” The clearest-headed way to keep discouragement away.


10. Big numbers. Here are 50 movies that turn 50 this year – and are worth a re-watch, from #1 The Sting, to #50, The Way We Were. Plus 10,000 Japanese sing Beethoven’s 9th.




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 groups@expeditions.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 ecottis@goway.com, 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.

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