Winter travel in yellowstone country

New article: 7 incredible winter experiences in Montana’s Yellowstone Country

My latest article out from Matador Network: 7 incredible experiences in Montana’s Yellowstone Country.

There are so many winter experiences you can have in Yellowstone country, it was hard to narrow it down to just seven. I had a great time writing about the places I enjoy in this area. And researching this piece reminded me how many places I still have to hit.

I’m getting the feeling that this winter is going to be epic. Enjoy!

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Project Tandem

I had a couple of friends visit me yesterday at the bike shop.  I hadn’t seen Alan Winslow or Morrigan McCarthy since they left on their year-long bicycle tour to document, through photography and audio, rural Americans’ often overlooked efforts at sustainability, and the environment.  Doing the 11,000 mile trip by bicycle broke down the social barriers people often have talking to strangers.  Their subjects open up in a way that most journalists only dream of.  I haven’t heard/seen most of their footage, yet, but I’m expecting it will add much texture to the public discourse on Americans’ views on the environment.

Check out their work at:

www.projecttandem.org

These guys are the real deal: artists and adventurers.

Democracy’s End…?

The recent decision by the Supreme Court to allow corporations the ability to openly fund political candidates seems to usher in what Alexander Tytler described as the final stages of the fall of Democracy.  Tytler, a Scottish history professor living between 1747 and 1813, wrote a paper titled, “Downfall of Democracies” siting his research of democracies from Athens and Rome through his time.  Quotes paraphrasing his work have popped up all over the internet for the last decade bestowing the fall of our democracy due to everything from our lack of spirituality, to the “liberal” expansion of government.  The unverified quote often attributed to Tytler is this: “A democracy will continue to exist up until the voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury.  From that moment on, the majority will always vote for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, (which is) always followed by a dictatorship.”  Up until the Supreme Court gave free-reign to corporations to openly finance political campaigns, I believed we had something that other failed democracies didn’t have, namely the historical research of people like Tytler telling us what we need to watch out for.

Not everyone learns from history, it seems.  Modern corporations take voting themselves “generous gifts” several steps further, not only bleeding the treasury dry, but all of the nation’s resources, natural and human, plus seeking the unfettered right to pollute in single-minded search for profits (which they, through no fault of their own, are designed to do).  These actions not only put our democracy in jeopardy, but all of humanity in danger.  Corporations are not people.  They do not have the ability to fairly judge their needs within a community of others.

Airports: A Culture Condensed

Whatever happened to the old airports?  I expected to spend my layover in the stark terminals and stiff rows of plastic chairs I remembered from the youth.  As I wandered about, searching for the gate to my connector flight, I was stunned to find this would not be the case.  Instead, I’d be spending the next several hours trapped inside a shopping mall.  Now, rather than sleeping sprawled across three uncomfortable chairs, or getting drunk on $8 Budweiser, I could buy  gadgets for my computer, foreign language CDs, or even a stylish jacket at Wilson’s Leather.  I could even get a massage or manicure while I waited for my new purchase to be gift-wrapped.  There is even a store exclusively selling luggage, in case you forgot yours at home and are tired of carrying your clothes and PDAs stuffed into your pockets.  The choices are endless.

The really disturbing part is that the people crowding the shops and the immense food-courts are the most beautiful people you’ve ever seen.  Many young.  Stylish.  Glamourous.  It’s as if the teeny-boppers of the shopping malls graduated up to milling around airports on their 19th birthday.  Of course, all races seemed to be represented, but if you’re not white, chances are you’re standing behind a counter, wearing some kind of uniform, serving these pale, perfect people.