Wait, what are we celebrating?

Happy Labor Day to the United States! Most people will celebrate this federal holiday as a long weekend that marks the unofficial end of the summer, a time to get together with friends and family before kids go back to school. My family, we used to go camping every Labor Day weekend at a beautiful lake. I even got my own tent. It was a one person, a green triangular thing that was abandoned (i.e. placed by the dumpster for disposal) in the state park I grew up in. The only thing wrong with it was a broken pole, which meant that I only had to be extra careful when it rained that nothing was touching the side of the tent so that I wouldn’t get all of my things wet.

To be honest, I never thought about the reason that we had the day off from school. I just accepted it and went camping with my family. It didn’t occur to me that Labor Day was there to celebrate the strides the labor movement achieved when working for worker’s rights in America. History likes to play up men’s role in the labor movement, often because men were the ones working outside of the home as breadwinners of the family. The ladies of the Stuff Mom Never Told You (SMNTY) podcast highlight some of the most badass women of the labor movement. This is a great podcast for when you’re stuck in traffic on your way home from the beach, on a hike through the woods drinking in the last of the summer air, or if you’re just at home, getting some cleaning done after your Labor Day guests leave.

Thank you to Emilie and Bridget for this wonderful episode!

Listen here.


Ain’t nobody got time for bra problems.

As a girl growing up in the 21st century United States, I always expected to wear a bra as a grown woman. As a pre-teen, I was counting down the days until I could wear a bra. I thought that I would finally be a grown up when that happened. Driving, dating boys, starting to work, all of these things were wrapped up together. Not gonna lie, it was a big deal when I got my first training bra. I definitely did not need it, but I was psyched. It was baby blue, stretchy, and there was nothing to it. It was essentially just extra fabric. God bless my mom for humoring me.

Now, my thoughts towards bras have drastically changed since then. After years of wearing them I’ve come to realize that bras are a largely pointless article of clothing that I’m expected to wear simply because I identify as female. A lot of the time bras are uncomfortable, cause unfortunate indentation lines, and are the first thing I take off when I get home from work. Ugh sorry. Bra rant over.

As much as I have problems with this particular article of clothing, I had no idea how far back women were actually wearing bras. On this episode of the Braless podcast, host Erin Whitehead and Tawny Platis, host of the Dirty Bits podcast, dive into the Compressive History of the Bra. Take a listen and learn more than you’ve ever known about that little piece of clothing some of us wear nearly every day. Listen here.

The elephant in the classroom.

Student loan debt. It’s awkward to talk about. Personally I do have student loan debt. It’s something I try not to think about too much in my daily life. I know it would bury my spirit if I thought about it all the time. I want to go back and smack my 18 year old self for choosing a private college rather than a public university or state school. It’s one of the greatest regrets I have in my life so far. But I’m lucky, my parents and scholarships contributed to college, so I was able to graduate with significantly less debt than I would have. But it’s still something looming over my head as I try to make decisions about my life.

But I’m not alone. 44.2 million people in the United States have student loan debt. Death, Sex, and Money’s  Anna Sale talks to some of those that have student loan debt and how it  is influencing life choices. Having $20,000, $50,000, $100,000 in student loan debt can impact how you choose to live your life. When and if you have children, buy a house, even what job you hold are just some of the things that can be changed by the amount of debt you have.

Thank you to Anna and the rest of the Death, Sex, Money team for reminding us all that we’re not alone in the struggle with student loan debt. They even created a tool that allows you to find out where you fit in the student debt landscape.

Listen to both part 1 and 2 here.

Row, row, row your boat.

Although most podcasts I listen to are in an attempt to learn something new – history, politics, obscure internet knowledge – occasionally I listen to something just for the story. A story from a regular person, telling something true from their real life. These podcasts allow me to listen and not have to think critically and absorb all information. I’m allowed to just get caught up in the story.

Tim FitzHigham’s story about crossing the English Channel in a bathtub is easily one of my favorite stories. His storytelling is compelling; it snatches your attention and brings you into the bathtub with him, rowing relentlessly across those 19 nautical miles towards France. I revisit this story any time I need a good laugh, so I’d like to share it here, in the hope that it will bring you some joy today.

Audio here – https://themoth.org/stories/all-at-sea 

The city of Philadelphia did what?

Imagine this: a cop knocks on the door of your row home in West Philadelphia and tells you to evacuate the area. It’s May of 1985 and you have been dealing with a nuisance in the area. A house that constantly blares loud political messages. There is a significant bunker on the roof. The occupants have boarded up many of the windows and doors and are generally stand-offish towards outsiders.

MOVE is an organization formed by John Africa formed in 1972 in Philadelphia. Members of MOVE were engaged in public demonstrations against racism and police brutality among other things. In 1978, six years before the infamous confrontation, there was another run in with police at their previous house. This confrontation resulted in the death of a police officer and the imprisonment of nine MOVE members.

After continued attempts to reason with the members of MOVE and essentially make them better neighbors, the Philadelphia police department and the Mayor of Philadelphia decided enough was enough. In May of 1985, they set out on a plan of action. The MOVE members had barricaded the windows and doors of 6221 Osage Avenue and the police believed that they had several guns on the premises. After hours of confrontation, the house was bombed. The fire killed six adults and five children, and displaced an entire neighborhood of mostly black families who lost their houses in the aftermath of this bombing and subsequent fire. Sixty one homes surrounding the MOVE house were completely destroyed.

Check out Tracy and Holly’s episode on this event here

The aftermath of the MOVE bombing and the ensuing fire

Feature photo from here , photo in post from Stuff you Missed in History Class Podcast page

The world inside a cult.

What is it like to live in a cult? Just a brief google search brings up lists of the creepiest, weirdest cults known to history. Many of them start as religious organizations, stretching and morphing people’s beliefs to those of the leader. It is reported that people become delusional and are fully entrenched in their view of the world. Some of the most famous cults in recent history are those involving human sacrifice – including suicide of its members. In the United States in 1997, 39 members of the Heaven’s Gate cult were found dead in California. (Creepy fact – you can still visit their website). 900 members of the People’s Temple were found dead in a jungle in Guayana in 1978.

But cults don’t go from zero to suicide pact instantly. There is a build up of trust between followers and leaders that needs to happen. Those followers might not even know that they are involved in a cult until they are so far in that their entire world is intertwined with it. Elizabeth, a cult survivor, tells the story of how she got involved in a cult…and how she eventually got out.

Take a listen here.

Hello Russia, are you there?

I have to admit, when Edward Snowden leaked all the information from the NSA in 2013 I wasn’t paying enough attention. I was focused on my own world, finishing my undergraduate degree and studying abroad. I knew that something happened with some guy named Edward Snowden regarding highly classified information. That was about the extent of my knowledge. In the past four years I’ve learned more about what exactly happened and the ramifications of what Snowden did.

Pod Save the People’s DeRay Mckesson speaks with Edward Snowden about the recent firing of FBI director James Comey by President Trump. The combination of Snowden, who is still in Russia facing charges from the United States government and DeRay, a member of the Black Lives Matter movement discussing security and surveillance is absolutely fascinating. Take a listen here from 5.12.17.


Just a casual 11,000 mile drive.

Did you know that you can drive from London to Mongolia? You didn’t? It’s okay, I didn’t either. But every year, during the Mongol Rally, hundreds of teams attempt to make the trek. The catch? The 11,000 mile drive must be completed in a shit car. It’s one of the only rules from the race organizers – seriously. Part of the fun of the rally is breaking down somewhere completely random and trying to figure it out. This also means that a lot of teams don’t make it to the finish line and don’t get to take those epic finish line photos.

Scott Gurian, his brother Drew, and their friends Rosi and Jane, finished the rally in seven weeks. That’s an average of about 225 miles a day. My road trip last summer was only about 9,000 miles, and that was with the added bonus of having a reliable car. And a cell phone that worked most of the time. And no problems finding people who spoke english. This rally sounds bonkers. And I love it. I can’t stop listening to Scott’s far.from.home podcast. It makes me want to do the Mongol Rally myself one day. If you’re an aspiring traveller like myself, I highly recommend listening to all the episodes so far (and those to come). Specifically though, I’d recommend listening to Episode 8: An Eye Opening Experience about their experiences while traveling through Iran.

I know a lot of people who would dismiss travel to Iran simply because of the rhetoric of our current administration. Hate, xenophobia, and false information lead many American’s beliefs towards the people of Iran and other muslim-majority Middle East countries. They are perhaps afraid that as Americans, they will be seen as the enemy if they travel to the Middle East. This is not the experience that Scott and Drew had, however. Most Iranians were excited to meet and talk to the brothers. I wish that the American public would stop generalizing entire nations and religions as ‘bad,’ as this will not help anyone. Check out Team Donundestan’s trip through Iran.

Stalking via selfies.

How much of yourself are you really sharing when you share a selfie? If your location isn’t on, then not much right? Wrong. Note to Self’s Manoush Zomorodi has a discussion with a former chief scientist at Amazon, Andreas Weigend, about what our photos can tell strangers about us.

teeth.jpgWith everybody carrying a computer around in their pocket, access to personal privacy is getting increasingly difficult. Find out just how much someone can find out from a picture of teeth (seriously).

Listen here.

Calling all Stakeholders

There are about 3 million people in the state of Utah. According to Time, 64.9% of the state is federally owned. This includes areas that are designated as National Forest Land, wilderness, National Park, Department of Defense land, and National Monuments. Many who live in Utah (and across the country) don’t trust the federal government. Which is part of the reason why, for years, there has been a heated debate over 1.35 million acres in the southeast of Utah. President Obama established Bears Ears National Monument in December 2016, protecting the area from looters and those who do not respect the landscape and archeological sites.

While this may seem like a simple cut and dry for some, it sparked even more national debate on several topics including federal land grabs, usage rights, and which interest groups should have a say in how the monument is managed. For example, an archeologic site important to anthropologists studying the Pueblo people may mean nothing to a member of the Off-Highway Vehicle community. Two climbers may have differing views on ease of access to cliffs with one preferring to have roads established so they can drive right up to their destination, while the other may prefer to  have to hike a distance, to keep the traffic down. Managing public lands is a delicate process that includes many different stakeholders, all who have their own opinions which need to be taken into account.

This episode of the Dirtbag Diaries follows the story of how Josh Ewing got wrapped up in the fight to create Bears Ears National Monument and how that fight continues to play out today. Listen here

Find more about the Friends group Josh is working for here – Friends of Cedar Mesa