Monday, April 6, 2020

№ 449. Travel & Uncertainty

"Uncertainty is where things happen. It is where the opportunities — for success, for happiness, for really living — are waiting." --- Oliver Burkeman

Planning the next trip. We need a lot of insider tips.

Here's one funny, wise guy who loves to travel and monetized it. He plays the piano, too.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

№ 448. A Bucket List for an Extended Lockdown

The plague has the real world on lockdown. Thankfully, not the "Westworld."

Whittier Daily News

Here's a list of things to do during our extended free time:

1. Get involved in the community. Red Cross.

2. Visit museums.

3. Tour libraries, borrow and read books.

4. Plan the next trip. Pre-Visit or travel to countries and cities: Moscow Metro; Along Dusty Roads; and, Cool Hunting.

5. There's still free television, cable TV, Netflix, Amazon, Apple TV and other streaming services.

6. Brush up on or, at least, keep up with the unfolding current events. The pandemic will pass sooner or later. But we need to hit the ground running. We lost an entire month already. Ah yes, I faintly remember the concept of deadlines and conferences. Yup.

7. Keep in touch, stroll, curate the world, troll and stalk on social media. We could do this so well before the plague. There's so much more time to waste now.

8. House chores, laundry and sundry. Clean out the ref., that butter looks green.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

№ 446. The Plague

Viktor Frankl, writing from the madness of the Holocaust, reminded us that we don’t get to choose our difficulties, but we do have the freedom to select our responses. Meaning, he argued, comes from three things: the work we offer in times of crisis, the love we give and our ability to display courage in the face of suffering. The menace may be subhuman or superhuman, but we all have the option of asserting our own dignity, even to the end.

Suffering can be redemptive. We learn more about ourselves in these hard periods. The differences between red and blue don’t seem as acute on the gurneys of the E.R., but the inequality in the world seems more obscene when the difference between rich and poor is life or death.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

№ 445. Covid Prescription: Dogs

Broad Sheet
What is it about animals? As the bad news about the coronavirus continues, “send me dogs and cats” has become a regular cry on social media, an easy-to-grasp shorthand for “I feel terrible, cheer me up”. The response is always the same: a torrent of pictures of animals doing daft things – but somehow it has a magical, calming effect.

The therapeutic value of our relationship with our pets, particularly dogs, is increasingly recognised by researchers. Cats can be wonderful too – but dogs have been domesticated by humans for much longer, and, as even the most devoted cat lover will admit, dogs are far easier to train for companionship. Most cats, as we know, are admirable for entirely different reasons. Marion Janner, a mental health campaigner and all-round animal lover, says that dogs teach us a whole range of lessons. “Dogs love us unconditionally. They’re the ultimate in equal opportunities – entirely indifferent to race, gender, star sign, CV, clothes size or ability to throw cool moves on the dance floor. The simplicity and depth of this love is a continuous joy, along with the health benefits of daily walks and the social delights of chats with other dog walkers. They teach kids to be responsible, altruistic and compassionate and, valuably but sadly, how to cope when someone you love dies.”

Friday, March 20, 2020

№ 444. Virtual Tours in the Age of Covid

Max Gustafson

Here's a safer and cheaper way to travel while the world is on quarantine: virtual tours.

Soon, I think, we can reinvent the internet and involve the other senses in the virtual tours. For example, we can walk through the tour and touch the exhibits, if allowed. Or smell and taste them, if the curators want us to sample them.

Fast forward to science fiction reality about a hundred years from now. After this 2020 pandemic becomes an uneventful entry in history, I look forward to teleporting directly to any tourist attraction, museum, restaurant, concert on the planet or off.

Teleporting will dispense with a lot of the necessary inconveniences of travel in the present like check-in, immigration, pre-departure wait and baggage carousels. Viruses and other contaminants, like terrorists, can also be safely isolated in the ether before they reach their destinations. Some thought.

№ 443. Libraries Across the Ocean

Sensibly, the researchers also rated the libraries on the availability of snacks – behind me is a cafe with Balzac quotes on the walls and urns of Margaret Atwood-themed coffee. Not bad, though no match for Montreal’s Grande Bibliothèque, where you can get a risotto dinner with wine.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

№ 442. A Brave and Startling Truth

Understanding Humanism

Maya Angelou

We, this people, on a small and lonely planet
Traveling through casual space
Past aloof stars, across the way of indifferent suns
To a destination where all signs tell us
It is possible and imperative that we learn
A brave and startling truth