Winter and summer, contrast

Whither the weather?

A friend of mine who spent a year in Leavenworth said: “You can get used to anything.” But getting used to summer sunshine in March one day, followed by a brutal snowstorm the next, will take some getting used to. I get that our punishment for overwarming the earth is extreme weather. But I can see a huge uptick in the sale of suitcases, for example, so that we can put our summer duds in one and our winter ones in another when we go to Montreal for the weekend. Or when we pack our bathing suit in the trunk, to think: “Where’s my toque?” No wonder North Americans consume well over two-thirds of the world’s production of antidepressant drugs. It’s the weather.


1. Restaurant noise drive you nuts? Get your free Sound print app. It measures the noise level where you’re eating or drinking, directs you to quieter restaurants, and even submits your noise complaints to management.

2. Is short beautiful? I teach a course called Get to the Point, about using fewer, shorter words in writing. Like: “Put down the candy, sir, and step back from the child.” That sentence is 11 words, and 10 are one syllable, and you saw the police officer and the pedophile and the child, didn’t you? But now Literary Hub has a long essay in praise of the long, complicated sentence. As Ed Simon says: “To those who hold that the only good sentence is a short one, I’m happy to offer an interjection that’s simply two words: The first a curse and the second a pronoun.”

3. Danielle Smith, meet Marjorie Taylor Greene. Alberta’s new Premier has launched something rarely seen in politics, a Perpetual Apology Tour. But at least she has the grace to occasionally say sorry. Not so Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, whose comments were excised by the Republican-led Homeland Security Committee last week.

4. Who do we spend our time with? When we’re 60, we spend 413 minutes a day alone, 204 minutes with our partner, and just 65 minutes with our families and 35 minutes with our friends. This doesn’t bode well for when we’re 80 and social connection can keep us alive and happier, longer.

Speaking of happiness, Morgan Housel says what actually brings you happiness is the contrast between what you have now and whatever you were just doing. And in case you think happiness is a warm gun, listen to South Dakota’s governor on the subject.

5. What didn’t happen at this year’s Boston Marathon. First, Eliud Kipchoge didn’t win it, though it’s almost inevitable he will be the first human to run a marathon in under two hours. How fast is that to run a distance from the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto to the Ford Assembly Plant in Oakville? Try it for yourself.

The second thing that didn’t happen was a bomb at the finish line. But Monday marked the 10th anniversary of the Boston bombing. Back in 2013 my wife Jean crossed the finish line 10 minutes before it exploded. Many people said: “You’re fast. “No,” she replied. “Lucky.”

6. 35 ways real people are using AI right now. Finally, someone shows us how to put this Angel/Devil to work. That someone is the New York Times, so this piece may be lurking behind their paywall. If you can’t access it, I urge you to subscribe to the Times. It costs just 50 cents to 75 cents a week, and is a huge source of wisdom, eight days a week.

7. Driving home a point. You think you’re self-sufficient? This man epitomizes You think advice columnists are reckless? One of them confesses here. Think Obama really compiles his Reading Lists? Think Russians don’t stage harassment scenes?

8. Anti-semitism in the oddest places. CUNY, the City University of New York, opened in 1961. It was “the university of the street,” reflecting the city’s diversity and especially its Jewish community which today represents 20% of the city’s population. No more. This spring, the last two Jewish faculty members were expunged from CUNY’s 80-member senior leadership team (yes, 80). Even more odd because CUNY grew out of the City College of New York which PBS profiled in a documentary called Arguing the World, about how it spawned the rise of the “Jewish New York intellectual.”

9. You’ll love new Dove. You can argue the flaws of stakeholder capitalism, but one certain merit is companies using advertising to promote causes that fall within their expanded moral ambit. Dove Soap is more about face-washing than green-washing. But its campaign to build self-esteem in young girls cuts across the lethal effects of social media. Like this.

10. Save the performing hearts. Dan Tepfer is a pianist and coder who not only plays the Goldberg Variations, but ‘paints’ them at the same time, like creating the Goldberg Variations Variations. See here. [No, in this one case, it’s See hear because you hear the music and see it as well].

11. What I’m Liking. The protean Wade Davis spoke twice this week in Toronto. Here’s the recording of his RamsayTalk on psychedelics. Also, the winner of the Best Book Title Award this year goes to The Liars of Nature and the Nature of Liars: Cheating and Deception in the Living World.





Here are the trips RamsayTravels is hosting in the coming months.

Jean and I invite you to come with us on any (and all) of them.

You should join our happy band of gentle adventurers because…..? …..the sights and tastes and lessons and sweet surprises on these trips are exceeded only by your fellow travelers who are doing the same thing.

So, in order of appearance…

May 25-28, 2023 – Fogo Island Inn, Newfoundland.

October 2-10, 2023 — Bicycling and the Kardamyli Literary Festival in Greece.

February 25 – March 9, 2024 — Lindblad Expedition to the South Pacific.

May 29 – June 5, 2024 — Northern Italy under Sail, aboard the Sea Cloud II.

September 2-9, 2024 — Lindblad Expedition with Wade Davis to the Great Bear Rainforest.

Just e-mail Bob Ramsay at if you have questions.

Thanks for coming this far with us.

Bob Ramsay

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