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Now is the winter of our discontent.

Shakespeare’s words from Richard III express “the idea that we have reached the depth of our unhappiness and that better times are ahead.” That sums up what our health experts and politicians have been telling us about COVID. I just hope the next line – “Made glorious summer by this sun of York” comes true in New York and here in the County of York too. Bring us the sun, please, in great shiny gobs.

Meanwhile……

0. Sorry about that. Last Saturday’s blog listed the richest women in the world. I said there were no Canadians on the list. As many (many!) of you pointed out, I was wrong. Taylor Thomson is #34 with $8.64 billion and Sherry Brydson is #19 with $14 billion.  

1. Generate your own snowflakes. I don’t mean someone with an inflated sense of their own uniqueness. I mean the six-sided precipitation that falls from the sky in winter, or did. Now you can make your own.

2. How to fix your online reputation. In line for that big medal, but don’t want them to know the 4-year hole in your resume was spent in prison? The problem is, once you pay the ‘cleaners’, they’ll dig up more dirt to create more business.

3. The vast pursuit of COVID therapeutics. Toronto’s Bloom Burton has produced this list of companies hunting for COVID therapeutics, including on Page 11, the failures so far.  Hopefully, all this heat will generate some light.

Sadly, the world of start-ups is rife with hype, as the Gartner Hype Cycle illustrates, complete with the Peak of Inflated Expectations and the Trough of Disillusionment.

4. World’s best hospitals and places to retire. These two lists came out last week, with the best places to retire being Panama, Mexico, Costa Rica, Portugal and Colombia, in that order. As for the best hospitals in the world, they are the Mayo Clinic, the Cleveland Clinic, Massachusetts General and Toronto General. Unfortunately, none of the best places to grow old are the best places to get sick.

Speaking of bests, it appears Canada itself has the world’s second-best brand. Germany has been Number 1 for the past five years, but both Canada and Japan have risen to the podium. In the 2021 Anholt-Ipsos Nation Brands Index, both nations overtook the UK, which slipped to fifth, which could be a result of…..

5. The Boris show may be closing. No one beats the Brits for political invective. So here’s a very ‘on the button’ report by BBC newscaster Ros Atkins on Boris’ current pickle, followed by Fintan O’Toole’s acerbic audio analysis of same, titled “Arum-Arum-Araaaaagh,” followed on Wednesday by Johnson’s apology in the House, followed by James O’Brien analyzing exactly how Johnson feels he “should be free of the network of obligation which binds everyone else.”

6. How do you make your coffee? Spend 12 minutes with the Bialetti Moka Express, “the most iconic coffee brewer ever made”.

7. How long does it take Amazon to process your order? I mean from when you send it online to when it’s in the truck/plane/ship/truck/drone on its way to your place. Here’s the math behind how Amazon does it, courtesy of Scott Galloway. (Oh, and it takes just 45 minutes).

8. The most scathing book reviews of 2021. Even the most famous authors get lacerated by the critics. Generally, these tend to go like this: “At its best, First Person Singular is limp, insipid and apathetic; at worst, it seems to express outright contempt for its readers. So if you’re a fan of Niall Ferguson, Sally Rooney, Malcolm Gladwell or Jonathan Franzen, read it – and weep.

9. Did you know we shackle our refugees? Canada does it electronically, of course. But too often, the electronics don’t work, spawning predictable human rights and legal issues.

10. Odd songfellows. “A Boy Like That” is one of the best-loved songs from West Side Story. But Carol Burnett and Julie Andrews singing it in concert at Carnegie Hall? Yup, and it’s a weeper – as is the tribute to Joni Mitchell last week at the Kennedy Center Honors.

Forbidden Words. Here are 10 phrases you may no longer use in polite company.In fact, I agree; you shouldn’t say them

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