In which I disagree with faceborg’s choices

Third places, open late are going to become increasingly VITAL TO DEMOCRACY as faceborg doubles down on increasing social isolation and polarization.

I do not approve of this move, except in that it really does line faceborg up for being replaced by something less toxic to society.

If I were a jillionaire I’d take this opportunity to scoop up LJ, redesign it enough to improve the user experience, and nurture prosocial behaviors over nano-targeted ad revenue.

(Among other things, like televising the revolution, catalyzing UBI, yanking our agricultural system into regenerative methods with the speed and intensity of yanking a stray toddler out of traffic, and snorgling a bunch of bears.)

Anyhoo. The environment that typically cultivates things like faceborg don’t seem to cultivate the kinds of mindsets that do that kind of thing.

Blue ocean, baby. Blue ocean.

Anyhoo. Faceborg, I disagree with your choices.

Choosing to be more regenerative would make many things more awesome in a bunch of important ways.

 

Regenerative thinking

Last night in a letter to a new acquaintance who had asked what regenerative agriculture was and how it varied from sustainable, I made this incredibly reductive statement:

Sustainable is “we can continue this as-is indefinitely.”

Regenerative is “we are making this better over the long term.”

This of course doesn’t cover all of it, but I think it’s a pretty good entry point.

Regenerative is healing everything, or at least as many things as can be healed during the process of whatever you’re doing. It’s both nurturing and ferocious. Regenerative shakes stuck things apart and brings isolated things together.

Regenerative is nurturing the Gift — that ephemeral sense of both gratitude and generosity that I’m pretty sure is directly connected to the heart of everything.

Anyhoo. I was just thinking about that, and felt like sharing.

Crosspost from the faceborg: Papa John’s culture problem(s)

An article on RestaurantDive.com asked “Can a chief people officer change Papa John’s culture?” and this was my off the cuff response/rant, originally posted on the faceborg:

 

Well I mean, one *could,* but this one probably won’t.

Is it just me, or does it seem like a giant corporation who’ll be spending tens of millions on “brand recovery” because of the aggregious douchecanoeing of it’s racist, sexist, murdered-wildlife-humping ousted founder *might not* be looking in the right place for genuine, meaningful culture shift by bringing on a petroleum company executive to spearhead the change?
Petroleum companies are great at slapping up wafer-thin veneers of happyshiny bullshit that a blind mole rat can see through in a split second, but that’s not what actual cultural shift requires these days.
Fake = fucked, regardless of how many zeros are in the initiative’s budget, or how shiny the short term boost a bunch of media coverage and interruptive ad campaigns give you.
I feel bad for all the small business owners with franchises, whose livelihoods are being negatively impacted by a bunch of tone deaf old white rich dudes. Oh hey… there’s a theme.
Aaaanyhoo. It’s maybe not the worst thing on earth for a company peddling such unhealthy stuff in such wasteful ways to continue… inviting itself out of existence, I guess.
If I were a jillionaire in the “food space” I’d be leveraging the major shifts in the industry and partnering with newly-IPO’d but insufficiently undifferentiated brands like Beyond Meat along with platforms that enable efficient local sourcing to set up supply chains with regenerative farmers growing heirloom varieties of grains, and cauliflower, nuts, etc.
While also working with a bunch of innovative chefs to create seasonal menus using unique, healthy, and genuinely scrumptious menus with instagram-level visual appeal.
I’d work with the best designers to create regionally-variable interiors with third-placeness as a top priority, plus highly visible but aesthetically pleasant composting systems and some kind of optional rooftop farming situation where in addition to green space and out-of-arms-reach pollinator support, people could pick garnishes like basil and parsley for their pizzas and then dine in a garden atmosphere.
Maybe with performance space for local musicians who actually got paid (and fed.) The drink menu, while not overwhelming in variety, would span from kombucha to coke, and bridge-bonding elements would be worked into every touchpoint possible.
In addition to the usual tip options (for employees all paid a living wage) I’d build into the checkout process contribution options for local organizations, and meaningful portions of proceeds would go to support community land trusts that help shift gentrification situations towards actively regenerative community instead.
I’d take the concepts of “better ingredients, better pizza” and have talented writers apply it to the better social and ecological “ingredients”/better world concept.
I’d work with super fabulous immersive experience artists to bring experiential elements to the space in a way that supported variable engagement, so there was enchantment and uberwhimsy, but people wouldn’t experience non-consensual sensory overload.
And I wouldn’t be a racist, sexist, endangered-wildlife-murdering garbage human. That impacts the culture way beyond what anything short of radical restructuring around real purpose can do.
Anyhoo! That’s just what I would do if I were a jillionaire in the food space. But I’m not, as evidenced by the fact that there aren’t already super delicious, aggressively healthy, economically and ecologically regenerative fast casual drive throughs chains of all kinds replacing fast food joints across the nation.
It’s not even really on “the list,” because it or similar will evolve organically as a result of successfully accelerating the shift towards a vibrant and regenerative society.
Aaaanyhoo. Good luck with your oil executive leading a change initiative, papa Johns, there’s every possibility that throwing tens of millions of dollars into the bonfire without actually having any purpose will keep you in business a few more years.

(Franchisees, I’d start looking at what other options are available to you.)

Posted elsewhere, repeated here: twang.

Thank you Jimmy Purkey for introducing me to both Aesop Rock and Brother Ali. Years ago I used to be one of those musically uppity/self righteous people who’d day the thing about liking all kinds of music except for twangy country* and rap.

Turns out that’s not the case.

There are genres I don’t dig, but there’s so much more I *love* than I realized because I had my assumptions and wasn’t consciously open to hearing more about it. Because human. Which so often translates to silly, but also translates to capable of delight.

What I (think I) know now is that I love most kinds of music especially where people are openly sharing their truth in a way that, consciously or otherwise, is aimed at uplifting and expanding the consciousness and connectedness of humanity, (and/or sounds fucking awesome.)

Anyhoo. Much appreciation, and someday maybe there’ll be words about the bridge bonding metaphors woven through these kinds of things.

How artists are points of coalescence between the mundane and the divine.

They can be wayfinders, though the strongest of those aren’t *usually* the ones who end up being mainstream/commercially popular.
Shushing now ~ and sharing the love. ❤

Addendum: Back to the “twangy” thing. Twangy drives me up a wall. It’s probably nothing to do with the actual soundwaves but rather every associated negative metaphor rolled up into one little element but still. Not a fan of the twang.

Twang is offset a lot ~ not enough, but a lot ~ by lyrics, and vibe.

Like Dave Carter’s prophetic When I Go (https://youtu.be/uZk1CvsDSZc), or Gentle Solder of My Soul (https://youtu.be/_a-qgq9QWgU), etc. Or the spirit of a thing, like Big Crow Medicine Show’s I Hear Them All (https://youtu.be/ug7IgB8MfWE), Willie Nelson’s Write Your Own Songs — that kinda thing.

Not that it needed any clarification but damn near every time I type the word “twangy” I’m likely to get at least a couple of these stuck in my head until I listen them out, so yay youtubes and yammering 🙂

Biggest culprit? This one right here.

(Though I swear to all that is holy ~ which is everything ~ if ever I have the resources to do so I will commission covers of this particular song in styles that have ZERO freaking twang, lol!)

Alive, precious and sacred

Here, have a delightful clip from Russell Brand’s podcast Under the Skin where he talks with Charles Eisenstein, author of Sacred Economics about the impact of a reductive climate change narrative, power dynamics, and moving away from the qualitative mindset [the economic metanarrative] and being initiated into a new kind of relationship with Earth [such as a community metanarrative in which all life systems are recognized as alive and possessing inherent value.]

Also, have some miscellaneous commentary and reactions, from me, a ridiculous fangirl of both of these wise hearts and fine minds:

02:02: I ferociously adore that tattoo.

Here’s to a society in which we are more inclined to appreciate and delight in the variety of expressions of the divine and in which the exploration of different spiritual paths has been normalized, rather than seeing/using organized religion as a tool for “othering” and whatnot. (Because at the heart of things, there is no them.)

02:08: The baby I held at the blueberry farm when the Eisenstein family came to visit is a five year old. That’s.. so odd. Time is zany, man.

02:18: “a reductionism that also has us has us reduce the living complexity to a single cause” YES!! THANK YOU. Yes!

We have a monoculture of myth in our society. Our attention/entertainment industry is designed in a way that continues to amplify this, to the detriment of our collective ability to conceive of anything different, much less envision better (or even arguably, more realistic given the kinds of resources we have that have never before existed in human history.)

Although cracks have been forming and light has been pouring through in the form of transformative narratives like Moana, The Book of Life, etc. It’s kind of beautiful that kids’ movies are leading the way. Something something metaphor.

03:24: <3<3<3
Russell: “What advantage does the climate change narrative give the powerful that is not in the deforestation and habitat destruction narrative in order for the climate change narrative to be favored?”

Charles: “It lends itself to quantitative solutions that you can make money off of.”

03:55: THIS. This this this THIS. (Say it with me, kids: read Doughnut Economics)

“The numbers look good. The metrics look good. But what’s happening on the ground is subsistence peasants are being forced out of their traditional lifestyles, pristine ecosystems are being leveled to plant fast-growing trees, communal land holdings are being converted into titled property, indigenous people are getting evicted from their land. When things get monetized and reduced to a number, the things that you cannot reduce to a number get left out.

05:59: ALL OF THIS. “..the alternative narrative that I like to work with which is the living Earth narrative, which says that Earth is alive. That its health depends on the health of its organs and tissues. And what are those?

Those are the forests, the wetlands, the seagrass meadows, the mangroves, the elephants, the whales, the fish, the corals, everything that is destroyed by development is necessary.

If you are in the carbon mind frame, then even if you value a forest for its carbon storage and sequestration, once you’ve reduced it to that number, you could cut it down if there’s, say, gold to mine underneath it or oil, and plant another forest somewhere else to make up for it.

Because it’s just the numbers, right? Or you could cut it down but install lots of solar panels to offset that carbon.

We’re not treating Earth as alive, and precious and sacred, by operating in that quantitative mindset.

And I don’t think that’s a big enough revolution. We are being initiated into a new kind of relationship to Earth. Not initiated into ‘let’s be a little bit more clever in working the numbers.’”

Poolside Podcast York

So the other day (week? Jebus time goes fast) I had the good fortune to sit down with Jonathan Smith, the lovely and talented host of Poolside Podcast York, to talk about the new Dr Sketchy’s branch in York (every 2nd friday of the month at Parliament.)

Which I did for maybe two minutes before doing that diverging tangents thing I tend to do, and we ended up talking about almost everything else under the sun.

Jonathan is a delightful host, the podcast is highly enjoyable, the goal is admirable (to shine a light on creatives and nifty humans doing cool stuff in York that might otherwise go unnoticed) and if you have any interest in the episode I was on, you can check it out here: Episode 33 (love those double numbers!)

We touched on so many subjects briefly  that I felt like I should share some more info and links and maybe some photos.

Sketchy-11-17-IMG_3334Valeria Voxx, the brilliant burlesque performer and model extraordinaire who graced our first, awkward but earnest Dr Sketchy’s York branch debut at Parliament, can be seen making things happen at Dr Sketchy’s Baltimore at The Windup Space the first monday of every month. (Really, she’s an amazing performer, stellar model, and fabulous human being.)

DSC_0263-L-L

Valeria Voxx at one of the creative get-togethers mentioned in the podcast.

Rory the rooster was mentioned in there, so here are a couple of shots of him in all his pre-egg-eating glory:

 

I mentioned the farm a few times, and how beautiful it was, so here is a smattering of photos, none of which capture a quarter of its beauty:

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I mentioned hugelkultur, and here are a few good introductory bits about it:
Hugelkultur benefits article in Permaculture Magazine and a good how-to article in the same source.  Paul Wheaton’s intro to hugelkultur article on RichSoil  (the video in the article is here, in case you didn’t scroll all the way down.) And here’s a quick clip of my little hugelkultur experiment, which was delightful.

I think I mentioned that Permies.com is an excellent resource for all things permaculture, and I highly, highly recommend checking out almost anything Sepp Holzer has done, starting with his book Sepp Holzer Permaculture, or the many videos about the Krameterhof and his other projects on the youtubes. Acres USA is also a good source for permaculture and other sustainable/regenerative farming methods, and their Acres USA Primer oughta be required reading.

(Sepp Holzer and Paul Wheaton should really be household names, and then folks could stop flipping out about this whole “feeding the world” thing.)
I mentioned the Penn Street Art Bridge, and below are a few photos — go check it out, and if you’d like to get involved in any of the projects the York Time Bank is cooking up, just join/sign up (be sure to verify your email address please and thank you!!)

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I mentioned my colorful ancestor Augustine Hermann, and the Susquehannock Indian fort in York that was on the map he made in the 1600s. (I also mentioned an ancestor from Ireland who moved to York, but finding her in my MyHeritage family tree was taking more than a couple of minutes.)

Hermann-map-SusquehanaIndianFort

We touched super-briefly on the Susquehanna River being one of the oldest rivers on the planet, which I think is amazing and magical and we should really be working towards being better stewards of the water.

Geologically, the river is extremely ancient, often regarded as the oldest or second oldest major system in the world. It is far older than the mountain ridges through which it turns, most of which were formed in uplift events of the early Cenozoic era. Like the Hudson, Delaware and Potomac rivers, the basin was well-established in the flat plains that existed during the Mesozoic era.

There is evidence that the flow of the ancient Susquehanna was established early enough that it predated the Appalachian orogeny over 300 million years ago, meaning that the river was in existence well before Pangea broke up and formed the Atlantic Ocean.
[source]

 

There was talk about how we like to think that we’re logical but we’re really just big balls of feels, and copping to that could ironically help us be more logical.

There was brief discussion of Lillie Bell Allen, and how as a society we would benefit from acknowledging injustices and unhealed wounds.

I mentioned a Community Land Trust, and if the concept is new to you you should totally read up on it.

We said stuff about how there are converging macro trends — mainly associated with AI and 3D manufacturing but also transportation — that are going to obliterate millions of jobs (seriously, like 50% of all jobs, y’all) and that UBI is going to be super important so we should really be experimenting with it. (Elon Musk agrees!)

The phrase “regulatory capture” was used, and if that’s new to you and especially if you’re in America or the UK, you should read up on it because it’s kind of an enormous deal.

A bunch of books were recommended — Happy City, The Geography of Genius, Sepp Holzer’s Permaculture, Mycellium Running, Smart Swarm, Restoration Agriculture, and.. hm, I can’t remember what else. Check out The Great Good Place, Cognitive Surplus, and Bold, too.

We also talked about the York Time Bank, a local alternative currency in which time replaces money, and if you like the idea that our economy could be less toxic and more sustainable you might enjoy Sacred Economics by Charles Eisenstein. And this TEDx talk from Black Rock City a few years ago about the Woergl Experiment.

I can’t remember if we talked about UpCollective, or Gratitude Gatherings, or a dozen other things going on, but we covered a pretty broad territory. You should check it out. Or any of the other episodes, which are proving to be good listenin’ — here’s to smart, kind and funny folks lifting people up and just generally making York even more sparkly and magnificent. It’s a real treat to have been on Poolside Podcast.

(And I have even more respect and appreciation for the kinds of folks who “link info below” when they do videos or posts and whatnot because omg how do you keep track of it all!)