Sedentary Journeys

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Over the holiday break my daughter turned us onto Lucifer, a tv show based on a spin-off character from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman comics. It is entertaining and also inspires some genuine reflection on the nature of evil and punishment and desire. Television can absolutely be a time suck and a distraction. There are points in my life where I have power watched through 24 episode seasons of things. I used it as a distraction and an escape.

Television can also be an emotional and philosophical journey. And television can be surprisingly connective with people you know and care about. Watching a show or shows in community can bring folks together. For years, I have had the convention of gathering with friends and family to watch a show in the course of a season. And being to reflect on character motivations and actions with friends and family can be a way to clarify personal ethics and morals, in addition to the fun of the show and the story line. It was something my partner and I did with our children, both to understand what they were viewing and how they thought about things and to provide our own reflections and perspectives.

During these cold winter months, I find myself drawn towards sedentary activities. Good television watched with people I care about can also be a journey of sharing and discovery.

Also, it’s fun.

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Snake Oil

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Modern people are obsessed with health but do we even know what it is?

Summary

Coconut oil is pure poison. 10,000 steps a day is not necessarily the goal. In an age of "science" and seemingly endless advice on how to be healthy, what do you believe? We talked with Dr. A of What the Woo podcast about some of these modern snake oils.

Check out her podcast at: http://bit.ly/2AaLHBs

Articles and items we referenced for this podcast:

Watch your step_ why the 10,000 daily goal is built on bad science _ Life and style _ The Guardian, Sep 3, 2018 http://bit.ly/2EBCuW6

Coconut oil is 'pure poison', says Harvard professor _ Food _ The Guardian, Aug 22, 2018 http://bit.ly/2BBN3p7

BiCurean Moment

Planned Parenthood Is Accused of Mistreating Pregnant Employees - The New York Times, Dec 20, 2018 https://nyti.ms/2QP0dcR

London Gatwick drone sighting again shuts airport, Dec 21, 2018 https://cnb.cx/2PXeD54

Behind the Curtain

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Erik and I have been doing the BiCurean podcast for a little over a year. Our first episode was posted on Feb 15, 2018. I was so scared and excited. Erik has been a professional musician for most of his adult life, so his comfort with microphones was enviable as far as I was concerned. I struggled with feeling awkward and incompetent our first few episodes. I cringed when I listened to them to do show notes and updates. Erik was supportive and patient with me. Nowadays I almost don't notice the microphone.

Our original vision for the show was to interview guests and bring out the different contradictions they embody. We decided to start with just us. I didn't realize the amount of work I was signing on for. With guests, we can have them be the source material for the topic. Without guests, we are the source material. Being the source material means lots and lots of research. We are both committed to accuracy and strongly concerned with the impact of confirmation bias in our culture. Which means we want our content to be fair and as free of confirmation bias as we can achieve. This commitment means researching a show topic is somewhere between 3 and 6 hours. Depending on how much Erik or I already know about the topic and the availability of reliable resources.

Recording is usually the quickest part of the process. Erik has the skill and equipment to make our episodes sound the way we want them to sound. Once we are done with the show, he adds in the intro and outro. Sometimes he cuts a large pause or something a guest asked us to redo. And then he uploads it for me to work on. I upload it to our hosting service (Pippa) and request a transcript. They have an AI program that gives a rough transcription of the show. Once that finishes processing, I go through and correct the transcript. This takes about 2 times the length of the show. Then I listen through and create the show notes. I type out anything substantive that we reference that wasn’t in our original body of research and source materials. I double check anything we reference as a fact. I type out the keywords for the show and I create the short show description.

Next I create the snippets, those snazzy videos with the text of what we are saying. I publish the snippets on our different media streams to start getting the word out about our next episode. I update the show with the keywords, references, and any necessary corrections. Then I schedule it to publish.

All together the show research, recording, updates, and promotion can take 6-11 hours per show. And I love it, most every minute. It has been such an amazing experience to have the freedom to create this project that I have been

Happy Holidays

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We hold these truths to be self-evident ... that among these [rights] are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

One of the founding principles of our country is the pursuit of happiness. And yet it is often elusive. What do happy people do differently? Erik and Aicila discuss some of the habits happy people have as presented by psychologists.

Transcript here: http://bit.ly/BiCur123

Further reading:

How Should Psychology Define Happiness_ _ Psychology Today, May 03, 2014 http://bit.ly/BiCur123psych

What Happy People Do Differently _ Psychology Today, Jul 02,2013 http://bit.ly/123HHarticle

Declaration of Independence http://bit.ly/2A89KRD

Sweet Cases _ Family Team Building Activities To Benefit Foster Children http://bit.ly/2EwEqz3

The First Step is Embracing

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“The cure to polarization is to embrace our own complexity.” Tyler Elliot Bettilyon

This is the heart of the BiCurean belief. The belief and understanding that our external experiences are motivated by our internal world. I wanted to start the podcast as a way of showing this in a more tangible. Sometimes I feel like we get it spot on. Other times, not so much. The idea of embracing ourselves as full humans can be watered down into a catchphrase or a used as a weapon or an excuse.

I am reminded of a friend of mine in college. He was born with, in his words, the body of a football player. Short and broad, he built muscle easily, and he loved sports. He was actively recruited for his high school football team. However, he really wanted to play basketball. He accepted himself as he was. Physically he had a lot more work to do to become a good basketball player than if he had been interested in playing football. And he set himself to the task of developing those skills. He worked on dexterity, speed, and accuracy. Practicing long hours after school and doing extra training drills, to get himself to a point where he was able to make the team and become first string.

Accepting our complexities without judgement or reaction is the first step. It can be uncomfortable. In my friend’s case, it was tinged with the possibility of disappointment. He could have accepted that as his end point. He took a different path. One that required more of him to create his desired future.

I am inspired by the people like my friend, who can see the challenges before them and still take that first step. In the midst of the confusion and the chaos of our modern world, these are the lighthouses I look to for hope.

Nutritious News

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Erik and Aicila had the pleasure of talking to Vanessa Otero Founder of Adfontes Media. Otero created the media bias chart to give consumers an objective way to evaluate the quality of the news they read. Listen to our podcast to get more understanding of her methods, what inspired her, and her next steps.

Transcript here: http://bit.ly/BiCurNN122

Further reading:

Junk Food and Junk News_ The Case for “Information Fitness” - ad fontes media: http://bit.ly/2rjjSm0

Deep Fake_ Videos Created By AI Just Got Even More Terrifying _ IFLScience, Jun 7, 2018: http://bit.ly/2Rx3cCG

BiCurean Moment:

Read Senator-elect Kyrsten Sinema's victory speech, Nov 12, 2018: http://bit.ly/2FUs324

Unite and Conquer: https://amzn.to/2rhiDnh

What Happens When You Shop Local - Independent We Stand _ Independent We Stand: http://bit.ly/2rrcF3n

Honesty Compels Me

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Honesty compels me to acknowledge that I knew what I was getting into. Honesty demands I say that's totally hogwash. As if anyone can know the future. That's for the science fiction writers and philosophers to figure out. So I didn't know. I did choose. This was no accidental action. I embraced the consequences with 100% ignorance and leaped into my life.

And from the first moment, I was fully committed. I changed my daily routine, my work schedule, my diet... Everything was impacted. Everything was changed. I was serene. I knew I'd chosen well. You captivated my heart, my mind, my soul. I would do anything to care for you. I remember feeling rage overcome me, like the slow relentless flow of lava from the mouth of the volcano. I'd realized the world would hound you for your gentle heart, cause you to question your worth, never fully appreciate you. I wanted to protect you with my lava rage, surround you with it, make you an island, safe. I resisted. My rage poured through me, carving paths of sorrow and regret, melting me.

So when you say, don't worry mom, you don't understand. How can I explain it isn't worry that drives me. Or not mostly worry. Yes. I worry. I don't usually share those started-awake-scared-you-are-in-pain-or-lost-and-I'm-not-there moments. You both had nightmares, I don't have to imagine your screams. I don't worry about you. Any more than I worry about my breathing. I care for you, from the first moment you were conceived until my consciousness is no longer capable of perceiving you.

The process of mom-ing is a constant hold and release. And sometimes I was too slow to hold, others I was too quick to release. And there were those rare jewels when it all came together and it shone with the working out. With the sparkle in your eyes when you did it. I was so proud.

The best way to hold you now is to release you.  

I believe in you. And I believe that you will always do your best and that you will remember to do so with grace and compassion.

I know I have to accept that you will be ... everything. And that part of everything is pain. And suffering. I've seen what happens to people who are sheltered from the painful realities. I chose never to cripple you that way. And I had to resist the urge, like Satan's offer of water in the wilderness, so tempting the desire to make it easier for you.

I succumbed. Too often I am sure. Less often than I wanted to. I protect my tea cup collection because I value it. How much more do I value you? And I showed it by not protecting you.

Freedom to Commit

Subtitle

Polyamory is a balance of commitment and freedom. We spoke with Magenta, a polyamory coach, on her approach to supporting people in this type of relationship.

Summary

Non traditional relationships are becoming more common and yet are at odds with a lot of societal norms. We asked Magenta, as someone who hosts workshops and coaches people, what do they say makes it worth it?

Transcript here: http://bit.ly/2QJlGiV


Articles and items we referenced:

Magenta's Coaching Site https://www.polycoach.org/

Magenta on Facebook facebook.com/@polyamorycoaching

Is Serial Monogamy Worth Pursuing, Psychology Today, Oct 31, 2008 http://bit.ly/2PhY3RS

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs https://simplypsychology.org/maslow.html

Ethical Slut https://amzn.to/2PHL77u

Hidden Brain: When Did Marriage Become So Hard? https://n.pr/2OxbGaT

Polyamory_ When three isn't a crowd - CNN, Oct 26, 2013 https://cnn.it/2QmTN0c

BiCurean Moment:

Elizabeth Warren's DNA Test Fact Check, Independenct, Oct 22, 2018 https://ind.pn/2QpdBQl

On Feeling Safe

Heading to a church service in college

Heading to a church service in college

Feb, 1993. I was 18 years old, sitting with my best friend at a ‘Fireside Chat’, a talk on spiritual or religious topics, by one of the leaders of my faith. We sang a hymn together and then bowed our heads for the prayer. As the speaker, one of the church leaders, started to talk, an audience member strode up to the dais. He was carrying a suitcase, shouting, and waving something with his hand.

Bomb.

The word was shouted. I didn’t actually understand it when I heard it. I was waiting to hear inspired words of faith. Instead, the man rushed the podium, ordered everyone off, and handed the speaker a paper.

Bomb.

I suddenly understood the word. I felt my heart race as I sat, watching from my seat. Scared and uncertain, I gripped the hand of my companion. Was I about to watch our leader and several classmates be blown to bits? The helplessness of being only able to watch was indescribably awful. Someone started singing a hymn and I gratefully joined in.

Bomb.

Singing and watching, we poured our fear into our faith. For ten minutes, we watched the terrorist angrily argue with the church leader. We watched the leader indicate no, shaking his head.

Bomb.

Something happened to embolden the two body guards for the speaker. They moved with purpose and disarmed the terrorist, with young audience members joining them. It was over. The man was escorted out. We breathed a collective sigh of relief. The leader stood up to continue his spiritual talk and we moved on.

That wasn’t the first time I experienced the possibility of violence in my life. It was the first time I felt it as a result of something wholly unrelated to the idea of violence. To worship, to pray, to follow your faith, is most usually about connection- the opposite of violence and terrorist threats. Fall of 2018 we have seen pipe bombs delivered to political officials and reporters and faithful people gunned down in their place of worship.

Domestic terrorism.

Twice this year I have attended conferences that were threatened with violence. I run in the mornings and in the back of my mind, I usually remember the women who have been killed, attacked, assaulted while running. I go to the movie theater and wonder if there is another Batman shooter at my fun action-movie premiere. I attend open air concerts and occasionally feel a twitch and wonder if this is the concert someone will copy cat the Vegas shooter and open up on a concert in Colorado. The last open air concert I attended, two of the band members were survivors of a massacre at a concert in Paris.

The politics of fear.

I have evidence that my politics and my interests put me in danger of being shot and killed. And I am a white girl. I don’t have the additional layer of race to increase the odds of violence I might experience.

I won’t let it stop me from going out or supporting the causes I believe in. And, for those of you that wonder why people make ‘a big deal’ about the rhetoric of violence, this is why. Because, for some of us, the reality that we may be killed in a house of worship, attending a movie, doing our job, or attending a conference is very real. It matters when leaders speak in ways that imply or outright state violence is acceptable. Or violence is a solution. Or violence is inevitable. Or that some people are more valuable than others. We have become the countries we used to look down on. The countries with bomb threats in coffee houses, where people terrorize each other on the streets. America’s beacon of light is tarnished with the blood of the innocent and the fear of the privileged. And it is time to wake up and notice if you are part of the problem.

Civil Discourse Over Dinner

Subtitle

If you have people in your life that have vastly different political beliefs or ideologies, how do you keep your relationship honest and also keep the relationship strong and connective?

Summary

Using the power of the internet and our own experiences, we attempted to come up with some ideas for you to take on the task of keeping your family gatherings more about connection. If that is your goal, of course.


Transcript here: http://bit.ly/120Civil


Articles and items we referenced:


How to talk politics at your family holiday meal - CNN, Nov 22, 2017 https://cnn.it/2qjAMjG

How the night before Thanksgiving became the 'biggest drinking day of year' - StarTribune.com, Nov 22, 2017 http://strib.mn/2ACy4vE

Why Families Fight During Holidays - The Atlantic, Dec 23, 2013 http://bit.ly/2EUvVjj

Non Violent Communication http://www.cnvc.org/

Christians and the Pagans https://binged.it/2CVi0HI

Romeo and Juliet in Kigali https://n.pr/2Q7U3A7


BiCurean

Hannah Gadsby: Nannette https://www.netflix.com/title/80233611

As a Black Woman Everything I Love is Problematic, Huffpost, Jan 25, 2018 http://bit.ly/2PujrCN

Not exercising worse for your health than smoking, diabetes and heart disease - CNN, Oct 28, 2018 https://cnn.it/2AAV4va