Pent-Up Demand Goes Panting

Last weekend all across Ontario, the entire 15 million of us, poured into theatres, museums, gyms, hair-dressers and border crossings. Even though none of what was suddenly open could accommodate more than a half or even a quarter of us, we didn’t care.

We were free at last!

Meanwhile, back here on your screen, where there’s never a crowd or a surge, please enjoy this solitary part of your day where you get to play and explore like a kid.

1. How to live with lions. Dean Schneider is “a 28-year-old Swiss guy, who dedicated his entire life to the animal world. Nowadays, I live in Africa, I am a member of a lion pride, my wife is a hyena and I’m a daddy of two monkeys.” Yes, he was a financial advisor before he became a lion-whisperer. But it’s all true.

2. 10 Odd Books for Summer Reading. Remember Ralph Nader? Now 87, he was the original American political activist. Here’s his list of best summer reads, every single choice as revealing and in-your-face as he is.

3. Why can’t our airports be this fun? Denver Airport has a 243-year-old gargoyle who kibitzes with passengers.

4. Augmented star-gazing. What’s better than gazing up into a sky full of stars? Using augmented reality to see them differently – and name them. As the CBC reports, “An outdoor recreation outfitter in the Sutton mountain range has developed the world’s first augmented reality planetarium experience. The headsets allow people to look up at the sky and identify the stars, planets and constellations.”

5. Michael Pollan on our invisible addiction. The boundary-busting food writer equates coffee as the fuel of capitalism and a drug you don’t want to go cold turkey trying to stop drinking.

6. Joy Generator. Names like that make me want to gag. But when NPR creates this rabbit-hole site that will have you unblocking your brain and heart, well…I believe!

7. Copper-hearted. The American tough-guy novelist, Raymond Chandler, who turned to detective fiction after losing his job as an oil company executive in the Depression, kept a notebook filled with street, drug and prison slang, words like “blinker” for “camera”, “fluff” for “baby doll”, and “copper-hearted” for “an informer by nature.”

8. The art of motorcycle maintenance. British film-maker Paul Bush made this astounding frame-by-frame homage to motorcycle design in the 50s and 60s.

9. Why do so few men read books by women? For the top 10 bestselling female authors, including Margaret Atwood, only 19% of their readers are men. Yet women make up close to half the readers of books written by men. What gives?

10. What a wonderful world. A gorgeous mashup of Louis Armstrong’s voice and David Attenborough’s visuals on BBC. And here it is as well with Attenborough speaking what Armstrong is singing.

Forbidden Words: This week’s word no longer welcome in polite company is gypsy moth.

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To order a copy of my book Love or Die Tryingclick here for Canadian orders, click here for US orders, or visit your favourite bookstore.

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