Friday, October 28, 2016

The Swell

4. Wow :: Beck

Reverend Rathke slinging tunes in our sweet wall tent on wheels...

Photo credits go to the guy with no pants on.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Rise Up

The Equality State ranks 49th in the United States when it comes to the wage gap (Louisiana gets the distinction of coming in dead last)... 

In Fremont County, where I live, women make an average of 67 cents on the dollar compared to men (the national average is around 80 cents on the dollar). And according to a recent study, it will take Wyoming 136 years to equalize pay at the rate we're going.

I am all for following Iceland's lead and rallying women in Lander to walk out 67% of the way through the work day. 


Because I refuse to imply my consent through inaction or silence on the subject. 

This shit is ridiculous. And it gets even worse if you are a black or hispanic woman...

Not surprisingly, education and reproductive rights help women address this injustice in tangible and measurable ways.

A woman who has obtained an advanced degree makes on average 20 cents more on the dollar, compared to men, than a women who is unable to graduate high school or attend college. 

Women who carry unwanted pregnancies to term rather than have an abortion have three times greater odds of ending up below the federal poverty line two years later. One in seven women in the United States already live in poverty, with one in four women of color trying to make ends meet below the poverty line.

This ought to be a shared (and catalyzing) heartbreak. 

I would love to see women become a celebrated and valued part of the American workforce in my lifetime.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Women Crowned

The artists collective, Treti Pivni (aka Third Rooster), pays tribute to the Ukrainian tradition of floral crowns for young women and girls...

These wreaths, called vinok, are designed to ward off evil spirits during celebrations such as weddings or festivities honoring the season at hand.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Our (Crazymaking) Election

By relying on social media for political news, we run the risk of inadvertently backing ourselves into partisan echo chambers or feverish debates in which some, if not many, of the facts are wrong. 

A recent look at hyper-partisan links on Facebook found that a high percentage of the pages examined included misleading or false content. Approximately 38% of the hyper-republican "news" reviewed was deemed untrustworthy, while nearly 20% of the hyper-democratic "facts" Buzzfeed staff combed through proved suspect. 

Biologically, we are ill-equipped to favor facts over belief. We experience a dopamine release when our ideas about the world are confirmed and tend to double-down on our pre-existing beliefs when our views are challenged. Social media is rife with algorithms tuned to our engagement and reactions.

If we explore hyper-partisan links on Facebook, we are more likely to see similar content in the future. Our browsing behavior thus reinforces any political extremism we may be experiencing. It has the dangerous potential of polarizing us while simultaneously divorcing us from reality. 

We increasingly find ourselves in bewildering conversations where information we hold to be self-evident and true is met with utter disbelief by the people with whom we share our country and our lives.

Since Facebook has no vested interest in vetting the information shared on its platform for reliability, the onus is on us to reestablish common news sources that are held to rigorous standards of accurate reporting and to root ourselves in respectful civic relationships that go beyond the bounds of social media.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Abe Chabon, Prince of Fashion

Michael Chabon just wrote a beautiful ode to his son and the adventures of parenthood in GQ of all places. The tenderness it captures slays me.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Let's Talk About The Word "Deplorable"...

Behaviors, not people, are ugly. I find Trump's behavior deplorable. That does not give me, or anyone else, leave to dismiss him and his supporters as "The Deplorables". 

We cannot and should not ignore that there are a lot of people in America who are desperate enough to use Trump as a weapon of mass destruction, who see Trump as their only option and sole champion. We need to offer viable alternatives to Trump's unmoored extremism and to do that we need to change tactics. 

We need to listen to the fears and anger of those who feel abandoned by our political system. We need to address and heal the very real wounds of our neighbors. We need to ensure each other's access to personal dignity. We need to re-establish our hope and faith in the common good. 

I was born and raised in a liberal city and call a small town in Wyoming home. From that vantage point, David Wong's assessment of Trump's appeal resonates as true. Maps of rural/urban America in the 2012 election are stunning.  

I am reminded of 9/11. How it felt like we were at a crossroads. Were we going to take responsibility for the pain and suffering American policy caused abroad or use the tragedy as an excuse to wage an impossible "War on Terror"? We chose to escalate rather than de-escalate the situation.

I think we have arrived at a similar pivot point in the history of our nation. We need to choose whether to narrow or expand our definition of humanity.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Cooking With Fire

Francis Mallmann has made an international name for himself cooking over fire in Argentine Patagonia. For my introduction to him, Scott referred me to episode three of the Netflix series, Chef's Table.

Niklas Ekstedt, a former pro-snowboarder, cooks exclusively with fire at his restaurant in Stockholm. There are beautiful scenes of him working in his kitchen on Amazon's new foodie offering, Eat the World.

Meanwhile, in Lander and thanks to visionary leadership on Nate's part, we have been enjoying some of the finest meals I can remember, cooking on a plow disc over an open fire with friends by a small creek and under a vaulted sky of stars.

Elemental (and fundamental) joys.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Emotional Agility

I recently read an article about a new book by Susan David...

The emotional skills Dr. David encourages us to teach our children are ones I need to put into mindful practice:

Feel It

Show It

Label It

Watch It Go

Our moment in history seems to be providing a rich learning opportunity...

A chance to experience and name the ugliness of the world and, rather than absorb and harbor it, transform it through love into beauty and let it go.

I'm drawn to the quote, "Everything will be okay in the end. If it's not okay, it's not the end." That's a hard faith to maintain when history consistently marries the thriving of one population to the suffering of another. But what else is there to do but try and manifest a future that outshines the present?

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Julie Flett

Julie Flett is a Cree-M├ętis artist, illustrator, author whose work has focused on the creation of First Nation children's books. Nimiweyihten.