Category Archives: lifestyle

Do You Take Your Ice Cream Maker to the Beach?

Hmmm … not to the beach itself, but do you stuff it in your trunk to use over the weekend?

If so, Amiel Stanek thinks you need a wake up call. Beach weekends are times to go simple. And going simple means planning. Planning means relying on expertise.

That is why you might want to read Amiel’s BA piece for planning some cool beach weekend bits.


BTW, I will still bring the cocktail shaker and simple syrup for daiquiris!

Food Porn Alert! America’s 50 Best Restaurants … and More!

If you have some spare cash burning a hole in your pocket, here is a list that might solve your problem. The fifty so called best restaurants in the US. None of them are cheap!

Go for it! And if you don’t bring your wife, you probably should not tell her about it either. That is the theme of this wonderfule episode of “The Good Life”, one of the best TV sitcomes of all time. It is the story of two neighboring couples living in a London suburb. One couple is committed to “sustainable living”. The other couple are social climbers.  And yes, a restaurant does play a role in this episdoe in the wonderful ending. Enjoy!

Gin Popsicles? It’s Freezing here in Tartu!

In a normal month of July, I would be tempted by the idea of making  gin popsicles for sitting on the beach or lounging by the pool of a rich friend, while soaking up a few rays.

Not this summer here in Tartu! It is freezing! Just this morning, we had to give up our outdoor seats in the town square where we were sipping lattes. Too cold!

Image result for Tartu town square

But if you find yourself in a warmer part of the world, and perhaps even in a part of the world where you can wear shorts without goose bumps appearing on your legs, here is the recipe!


A Sci Fi Summer?

Tom Peters offers an interesting thought about executives, which applies to all of us. He says that executives need more unstructured time. I agree. And I think that we all do. Tom asks

Did you ever read Leadership the Hard Way, by Dov Frohman? The two things I remember from that book are, one, that 50 percent of your time should be unscheduled. And second—and I love that this is coming from an Israeli intelligence guy—that the secret to success is daydreaming.

Why is this so important? The answer is surprisingly simple. Our minds follow storylines through time and we can only  do that one step at a time. When we are overly strucctured, we get plugged into a smaller storyline set. Maybe we just focus on a single one, for example, if we perceive that we are in crisis. And we end up forgetting why that story might add value. We just assume that it will because we want it to.

Greg Satell puts his in strategic terms

Every strategy fails eventually, because you have to match solutions to problems, not the other way around.

When we give ourselve more unstructured time, we gain the opportunity to see what we doing in a broader perspective. We get to reflect on where the value added in the story may be.  What is the problem at hand anyway? Why is it important just now?

Which brings me to science fiction. Al Wenger offers some very cool suggestions for summer reading. Stuff that will give you a very broad perspective indeed. And he offers a provocative idea

… many of problems we are pre-occupied with today as individuals, as nations, and as humanity as a whole, are nearly trivial when placed in the broader context of the universe at large. This is not to say we shouldn’t care about these problems or try to address them. But we shouldn’t let them take up all of our attention. Instead much of that attention should be freed up and directed towards progress.

Once more — we should not let our trivial problems take up all of our attention.

I agree. Have some fun!

Hungover? Head to the Sauna!

Sauna may be the best way to sweat out the late night booze. Here is the Finnish solution

According to This is Finland, the correct way to enjoy the steam is “to take off all your clothes and… sit, naked, with others for a while and sweat. Then you will go outside and jump (still naked) through a small hole in the ice on a lake, the sea or whatever and refresh yourselves in the freezing water—or roll in the snow instead.” This hot and cold back-and-forth might seem crazy, but not to Finns. A few rounds of plunging into near-freezing waters than retreating into near-boiling air is believed to be the perfect remedy to a night of heavy boozing.

Toi be honest, I don’t do the hole inthe ice or the snow thing. But a cool shower is pretty refreshing when your body temp has gone up. The rise is body temp is largely on the skin (not your innards).

Any cause to worry? I have heard that folks with heart problems might want to keep the temperature changes minor, but aside from that, I think you are good to go!

BTW,  I would moderate the boozing in the sauna. Replacing water with booze can be a bit shocking!


Who Introduced pineapples to Britain and What Happened then?

The answer is John Tradescant and his son introduced pineapples to Britain.  Here is an image of the son whose name was also John

Image result for John Tradescant

Who were these dudes? They lived in the 16th and 17th centuries and were gardeners. Well, not just gardeners.

Adventurous travellers, diplomats, horticultural pioneers, and polymaths, they were also collectors, acquiring (and asking their friends to acquire) specimens of the wonders of the world. Their growing collection was made accessible to the public in a large house — “The Ark” — in South Lambeth, London.

And what a collection they assembled! Here is a description from a German visitor

In the museum of Mr. John Tradescant are the following things: first in the courtyard there lie two ribs of a whale, also a very ingenious little boat of bark; then in the garden all kinds of foreign plants, which are to be found in a special little book which Mr. Tradescant has had printed about them. In the museum itself we saw a salamander, a chameleon, a pelican, a remora, a lanhado from Africa, a white partridge, a goose which has grown in Scotland on a tree, a flying squirrel, another squirrel like a fish, all kinds of bright colored birds from India, a number of things changed into stone, amongst others a piece of human flesh on a bone, gourds, olives, a piece of wood, an ape’s head, a cheese, etc; all kinds of shells, the hand of a mermaid, the hand of a mummy, a very natural wax hand under glass, all kinds of precious stones, coins, a picture wrought in feathers, a small piece of wood from the cross of Christ, pictures in perspective of Henry IV and Louis XIII of France, who are shown, as in nature, on a polished steel mirror when this is held against the middle of the picture, a little box in which a landscape is seen in perspective, pictures from the church of S. Sophia in Constantinople copied by a Jew into a book, two cups of rinocerode, a cup of an E. Indian alcedo which is a kind of unicorn, many Turkish and other foreign shoes and boots, a sea parrot, a toad-fish, an elk’s hoof with three claws, a bat as large as a pigeon, a human bone weighing 42 lbs., Indian arrows such as are used by the executioners in the West Indies- when a man is condemned to death, they lay open his back with them and he dies of it, an instrument used by the Jews in circumcision, some very light wood from Africa, the robe of the King of Virginia, a few goblets of agate, a girdle such as the Turks wear in Jerusalem, the passion of Christ carved very daintily on a plumstone, a large magnet stone, a S. Francis in wax under glass, as also a S. Jerome, the Pater Noster of Pope Gregory XV, pipes from the East and West Indies, a stone found in the West Indies in the water, whereon are graven Jesus, Mary and Joseph, a beautiful present from the Duke of Buckingham, which was of gold and diamonds affixed to a feather by which the four elements were signified, Isidor’s MS of de natura hominis, a scourge with which Charles V is said to have scourged himself, a hat band of snake bones’.

In other words, this was eccentric in the extreme. Or at least it seems so to us, who admire classifications of things rather than the connectedness of things. Hmmm … something to think about!  The Guardian has this comment about their guiding principles

– they brought together the natural, the artificial and the supernatural: carvings on cherry stones, seashells, the cradle of Henry VI, a stuffed crocodile, religious objects, talismans. This was more than whimsical mixology: it was a view of the world based on the connectedness of things.

We might not know about this except for the adventures of a married couple, who lived in the 20th century, Rosemary and John Nicholson. I have no idea how this came about, but they were devoted Tradescant fans. Then one day back in 1976

Rosemary Nicholson’s (discovered) in the overgrown churchyard of St Mary-at-Lambeth … the Tradescants’ tomb.

Image result for Tradescant tomb

Rather nice!

Hmmm …  but St. Mary’s was not in good shape at the time.

St Mary’s had been desconsecrated and at the time of the Nicholsons’ visit, was a desolate ruin. Soon afterwards, Rosemary Nicholson attended a function at Lambeth Palace at which the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Donald Coggan, told her that the church was scheduled for demolition to make way for a coach park for Waterloo Station, adding that it was “very, very sad”. When she expressed her horror, he suggested that if she could think of something to do with it, she should try and get the decision reversed.

What to do?

Rosemary and John Nicholson asked the Church Commissioners for a stay of execution and set about mounting a campaign to save the building and turn it and its churchyard into a museum of garden history.

And due primarily to Rosemary’s very clever networking among the rich and famous, they made it happen. But a museum of garden history?  That sounds a bit odd. It is odder when you consider that St. Mary’s is in the city, not the country. It has the only garden in the immediate area. And yet, that may be the perfect place for it.  Director Christopher Woodward has some interesting ideas about how it connects to the world around it

Woodward wants the museum to do more than preach to already converted garden enthusiasts, and to be open to children who may never have seen an earthworm. He wants it to be a place of debate about the public spaces of the city, which makes the events space in the middle of the church important. He’d like to put ideas into practice by contributing to local parks, whose budgets have been hit by local authority spending cuts. The museum’s building and gardens, nuanced, open, distinctive and responsive to its unusual setting, are a good start.

Check out the Guardian article for a review of the museum. Better yet, check out the museum itself! And you might ask yourself, does my city or town have a museum of gardening history? Perhaps it should!

BTW John Tradescant (the elder) is the subject of the novel Earthly Joys by Philippa Gregory.