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Podcasts rock

If you don’t already know, podcasts are short audio programs you can download onto your iPod or smart phone, and listen to at your leisure. Sort of like a DVR/TiVo for audio. Most of them are free downloads, and most smart phones have a built-in app for listening. I encourage you take advantage of these — there is so much wonderful creativity going on with podcasts.

Some are serial in nature, so you’ll want to listen to them in order. Others are self-contained, you can just listen to what sounds interesting. And just like programs on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon — you may find yourself binge-listening to a really good podcast.

I’ve been struck by podcasts that have me either laughing out loud or weeping on the train ride home. Embarrassing, sure. But powerful.

A few I have been enjoying lately :

  • By the Book : Two women take on self-help books. They live two weeks according to the advice of a book, then compare notes on whether it works, how their husbands reacted, and whether they would recommend the book. Funny!
  • Can He Do That? by The Washington Post : A politics and policy explainer to help us understand what the President has the legal right to do. Listen to whatever topics are interesting to you.
  • Crimetown : The story of organized crime in Providence, Rhode Island. Great characters, true stories.
  • Dumb People Town : Three comedians plus a guest examine dumb people that make it into the paper for how idiotic they were. (Often in Florida.)
  • The Grift : True stories about con artists and the lives they ruin. Just ten episodes, but they are riveting!
  • Lore : Lore covers the roots of scary stories. Why is the house haunted? Do people really have a connection with the ethereal world, or with the animal kingdom? Why would people even ask that?
  • Make Me Smart with Kai & Molly : “Because none of us is as smart as all of us.” These two have great banter, and deliver analysis about the economy, technology, and culture. They bring in experts to help explain how what is in the news will affect you.
  • S-Town by This American Life : An Alabama man is certain someone got away with murder. Sure enough someone ends up dead. Another true life story, unfolding bit by bit.
  • Serial by This American Life : An investigation into a true crime. Definitely listen in order. Season one was a huge hit.

Got one to recommend? Lay it on me in the comments!

Women’s March on Washington

Yes, I was there! With five close friends and hundreds of thousands of new buddies.

I don’t know how many people were in D.C., and in Atlanta, Cincinnati, Seattle, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, London, and Paris. But it was a LOT.

I want to share why I went. wmwmarch-6

It is imperative that those of us who don’t agree with President Trump and the Republican Congress make ourselves heard. I don’t believe a march is going to make that difference. But I do believe that a march energizes people and encourages us to act. We need to act every day.

Michael Moore talked about this – any one of us can wake up and call 202-225-3121 to reach our representatives in Congress. And all of us should do that on a regular basis. Or visit congress.gov to reach your representatives via email.

The march today showed how many people care about a number of “women’s issues.” Notably, each speaker had a different definition of what women’s issues are. And the march had a broad mission statement. The issues I am most afraid for:

  • Healthcare – the ACA/Obamacare
  • Environment
  • Education
  • Arts
  • Discrimination

I could go on, but I’ll just stick my top few there. I encourage anyone who is disappointed in the current administration to take up your pen (or your laptop) and get busy. We can’t go back and replay election day, but we will have interim elections coming, and there are plenty of opportunities to let your representatives know how you feel. Remember they are meant to represent you, hold them to it!

#whyImarch #WomensMarch

Inauguration day

I’m not rejoicing about our new President today. I’m very disappointed with the way this election went. But I’ve been through disappointing elections before, and we have survived. I would like to think we can come out ahead. (And by WE I mean Democrats and liberals.)

Losing by such a slim margin hurts a LOT for sure, but it also reminds us why we wanted to win. We will be reminded many times over the next four years why we wanted a Democrat in the White House. That should energize us. It will give us a reason to band together, rather than nitpick about small details.

I suggest anyone who is on the losing side of this or any other election check out this guide: Indivisible

This is a guide on how to communicate your views to your Congressional leadership between elections. There are more elections to come, and many votes will be called between now and the next Presidential election. Don’t get depressed and hibernate for the next four years. Get out and be heard.

Returning home

We are back from our 10-day cruise. Our first cruise, our first vegan cruise, and our first trip to the Panama Canal. We were on Holland America Line, ms Zuiderdam, with the Vegan Vacation at Sea. It was overwhelming in many ways, but there were a few things that I learned.VVAS2016 - 1.jpg

  1. Cruising is fun. All-inclusive, with so many options for how to pass your time. There were pub crawls, dance lessons, a salon, even a 5k fundraising walk to beat cancer.
  2. Vegan is good. I don’t eat vegan all the time. I eat vegetarian most of the time, and if I eat any animal products they are fish or eggs. That said, we enjoyed vegan food at all three meals for the whole cruise. We also had four vegan chefs as part of our group, there to give us great recipe demonstrations, and now a vegan diet seems much more attainable (and tasty).
  3. Traveling with a group is nice. Not only did we have the luxury of knowing that all our meals would be provided vegan for us, we also knew that we would be sharing our table with other vegan folks. We all started with something in common, and learned more about each other as the trip went on. The ship held over 1,900 people, but we enjoyed getting to know a more manageable group of around 90 people.
  4. It is good to take a break from the news. We had access to national cable news channels on the ship, but we didn’t watch them. We didn’t spend time on the internet. This separation from the 24-7 news cycle really helped me relax.

I got home from the cruise feeling like I just got home from summer camp. I miss all the friends I made, the stupendous Caribbean weather, and of course the inclusive service.

On top of all that, this break is really helping me accept the results of the presidential election. (It did not go my way.) I was able to shake off some of the stress of daily campaign ads and projections before I had to handle the results of the voting. Ultimately, I’ve always been interested in politics, and I feel it’s my responsibility to continue to let my elected officials know what I want them to work for.

My one vote wasn’t enough to turn the tables, nor is one letter to a senator or governor. But thousands of us together can make a difference. No reason to let up our messaging just because the election is over.

Election 2016

The big general election will take place while I am out of the country.

whitehouse1

Rest assured, I already cast my vote by absentee ballot. I was amazed at how easy it was. In Virginia, we can register to vote online or at the DMV, and we can request an absentee ballot online, too. My ballot was mailed to my house and I mailed it right back. Done! No lines.

I’m always amazed when talking to people from other parts of the country to find that the election is not consuming them as it does my hometown of Washington, DC. We are inundated. Of course, I work in the media. I have friends who work on Capitol Hill, I have a friend who creates campaign ads. I know some ‘pundits.’ And my parents regularly write letters to the editor of their small town paper and national publications.

Once I decided to come to college in DC, I suppose I sealed my fate. I will always be sucked into politics, though it’s never been part of my job. It is more of a neighborhood pastime. During presidential elections, it is a town obsession. It’s gone on way too long and gone way too far for my taste this year.

I hope to come back to news about something other than the election, and if it doesn’t go my way, I guess I can always just stay on vacation indefinitely.