5 Positive Things

As a way to combat summer melancholy and instill positive thoughts (while also forcing myself to update my blog with frequency) I am going to commit to posting a series called “5 Positive Things”. Throughout the rest of the summer, I plan on posting 5 positively interesting news stories, podcasts, websites, or experiences that I’ve run across in the week. My hope is that it will be a neat resource for people looking for interesting things to check out, but that it will also help me to be always looking for positive stories in the world.

Here’s this week’s.


“Rethinking Prosperity: Ideas for Fixing the Future”, on NPR’s Talk of the Nation // This is one of my favorite podcasts to listen to. I hear about everything on this show, but I am always interested in the things that they do on urban planning and initiatives for building a better future. I love to hear about the ways that people are innovating. It makes me want to drop everything and go into urban planning, most of the time. This segment of the 7.18.12 show is about a gentleman who traveled around the USA, asking people who they were re-working how they look at GDP. The really interesting part is listening to people who are profiled on the show, either those who call-in or the ideas that the documentary’s director, David Brancaccio, talks about in the show. The documentary is available on PBS in its entirety! I will have to check it out in full at some point.


Dave’s Gourmet Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce << I have never been one to spend money on expensive food, but lately I’ve been remembering something that a friend’s father once told me. He said, “We may not have a lot of money, but we always eat well. It’s a good investment; putting good food into your body.” It makes a lot of sense. I often forget that when I’m searching for deals, or whining about how expensive the local grocery stores are. Sometimes, it makes sense to spend nine dollars on a jar of pasta sauce–and let me tell you, on Monday I was very. very pleased with this purchase. It’s a very sweet sauce, so I added just maybe a 1/4th of a teaspoon of butter, salt, and sliced almonds for protein. It was absolutely the best thing I’ve cooked myself in a long, long while. It feels great just to revel in that.


“The Nuts and Bolts of High Speed Rail”, on NPR’s Talk of the Nation .. Again, still a fan of Talk of the Nation. This one is all about high speed rail initiatives in the United States, but also includes really neat facts about the reality of high speed rail. France has set the record for fastest steel-on-rail train at something like 300 miles per hour, but I believe they said in the program that it was only a test. Shanghai has a magnetic *hover train* which transports people from the airport to a suburb in eight minutes; however, they decided to build steel-on-rail for their primary national network, as it is more accepted worldwide. For a train geek like me, it’s just pretty cool to listen to this stuff.


“An American Nun Responds to Vatican Criticism” >> You can tell that I’m on a roll with NPR. This one is a fascinating interview with Sister Pat Farrell, the President of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. What I found so powerful about it was this woman’s poise, strength, and ultimately faith in responding to a world of people who don’t seem to understand her. First of all, she is struggling with the church, certainly. Second of all, she is struggling with those outside the church who don’t understand her position. Then, she is struggling at times even with the interviewer, who seems every so often to have a black-and-white, somewhat teenage view of the value of faith and church. It was inspiring for me to listen to her take all of these things in stride with a comfortable, calm demeanor, yet never backing down when she took an unpopular opinion.


New Phone!! I finally have adequate phone use. This makes me thoroughly happy. I have a Chicago number, an iPhone, and something that can track buses. So HAPPY!

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