Fresh and Tasty News Across the Spectrum

A pile of newspapers in purple light.Because American politics are so volatile now—or at least, because the volatility now feels personal to me—I’m finally reading the news. Lots of news.

It’s been painful, during the campaign, election, and first 100 days of the new administration, to realize how little I’ve understood my own political identity.

I was raised by liberal progressives in a libertarian state. That’s shaped me. That’s not going anywhere.

But my own beliefs, I’m realizing, are more centrist. And I feel more and more frustrated with liberal discourse and media. There’s a lot of arm-waving and chest-beating and hair-tearing-out, less of an attempt to truly understand oppositional viewpoints.

So I’ve settled on a news diet that feels pretty nutritious. Your mileage may vary, and I’m not saying that the following are The Only Sources. But they’re helping me feel better informed, and less stuck in my liberal/progressive echo chamber.

From left to right on the political spectrum, here’s where I’m getting my news.

I listen to National Public Radio in the morning. I like the warmth and breadth of their coverage, and it’s also been great to see them bringing in intelligent Republican and conservative commentators. Listening every day feels calming and empowering. My station is WBUR and I kick over a monthly donation to help them do their good work.

I also just subscribed to The Washington Post and read their online edition. I grew up in a household of New York Times devotees, and wanted another well-respected publication with a slightly different point of view. So far their overview of politics seems pretty good, though their journalists vary in the rigor of their reporting and in their writing style. Still, I like this publication for helping me get a big-picture view of what’s happening in DC.

On paper, I read The Economist, which has done more than any other news source to keep me sane over the last few months. They have a dry British humor, and are fiscally conservative, socially more liberal. It’s enthralling to watch their reaction to our new administration, and to compare them with US news sources.

On the right, I read Jonah Goldberg’s weekly email newsletter for the National Review. I first heard Jonah talk on NPR, and was struck right away by his quick wit and broad knowledge. We differ on a lot of points, but he always gives me something to think about and a new lens to view politics through.

Also on the right, I just started reading The Federalist. Again, a lot of their writers are coming from a different viewpoint from mine—which is uncomfortable, but useful, for me as a reader.

I especially admire their senior editor, Mollie Hemingway. Her recent takedown of sloppy journalism in widely read liberal sources is crisp and well researched, and reveals some fundamental issues facing all sides of the press today.

There are many other great pubs out there, both online and in print. Which ones are you turning to in these tumultuous times?

Photo by Jon S via Creative Commons on Flickr.

I’ve got the dirt

A spider plant on a bookshelf.Since last summer, the plants in my office had been distressed.

Don’t get me wrong–I’m not a bad parent. They were doing OK. I watered them and stuff. They always got compliments from visitors.

But I could tell they were getting too big for their pots.

So, after much delay and a journey to Home Depot…

Plants on a bookshelfMy plants have room to spread their roots and grow. See how happy they are?

A big plant in a blue pot.People can easily get into a similar situation. Even if we’re lucky enough to have soil and water and sunlight, if we’re stuck in a pot that’s too small, we’ll wither.

These days, I’m thinking about ways to re-pot myself. I have soil (health and home), water (income and stimulation), and sunlight (love and respect). I’m fortunate, and I’ve worked hard to get those things.

But my roots are getting tight.

A small spider plant in a pink pot.Have you ever re-potted or transplanted yourself? What did that mean? How did it go?

Striking a Match

A multicolored box of matchesI just signed up with a matchmaking service.

It was expensive. It was terrifying. And I’m incredibly excited.

I signed up because, at the age of 42, I’m single and looking for a wonderful man. I’ve been on and off of dating sites for 6+ years. I tried Rachel Greenwald’s program. My friends have set me up with their friends. I go to Meetups. I volunteer. I’ve checked out every venue from contra dances to church services.

In other words, I’ve been working hard on this.

I have my flaws and issues, for sure. But I’m also a catch.

Yet somehow, I’m still on my own.

*

Since the definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over when it hasn’t worked, I am now done with Match.com, Bumble, and their ilk.

I’m trying something new.

This matchmaking service interviews its clients and gives each of us a dating lesson via Skype or Facetime. I haven’t done that part yet, but it sounds fascinating.

Then my “dating director” starts sending me descriptions and pictures of her clients, one at a time, whom she thinks I’ll enjoy meeting (and vice versa).

This leads to a date—usually after-work drinks or a weekend brunch. The service handles everything. They pick the venue where we meet, make a reservation for us if needed, coordinate the logistics.

My date and I don’t have each other’s contact info. We can ask for that at the end of the date, or go our separate ways.

*

So far I’ve been sent my first match, and my wingwoman at the dating service is lining up a time for us to meet.

I will keep you all posted.

Have you ever tried a matchmaking service? If so, what was your experience like?


Photo by Jeff, via Creative Commons license.

2017: Year of the Tumbling Elephant

A tarot card depicting an elephant in midair, falling off a cliff.I often do a tarot reading for myself on New Year’s Eve, to get perspective on the coming year. The card above is one of the nine I drew in this year’s reading. It shows an elephant tumbling off a cliff into turbulent ocean waters.

Traditionally, this card (the 5 of Pentacles) signifies discontent with the material aspects of life. It can mean going begging for something, especially something tangible like financial security.

The artists who created this deck put a different spin on the card. This is more about upheaval, and about launching yourself into something new and potentially dangerous.

The elephant’s eyes are open. She’s either jumped, or she’s been pushed, but at this point it doesn’t matter. The foamy waves are just below and there’s no telling how deep the water is, or how hard she’ll hit it.

This card came up when I asked about career, so it may indicate getting laid off, or instability at my workplace. It could also mean a dramatic job change.

But it also resonates with our country’s political situation, and my attempts to understand it and to get involved in a way I haven’t been before.

I didn’t even think about the Republican = elephant significance, but this isn’t a partisan card. Many of us are feeling like we’re in midair right now, and are wondering what kind of an impact is racing toward us.

At least my eyes are open. This elephant can swim. Maybe those coins falling off the cliff with me will act like life preservers.

How would you interpret the image on this card?


Photo by me, of the 5 of Pentacles from the Roots of Asia Tarot.