What is it about a ukulele? This four-stringed flyweight relation of the guitar has got to be a top contender for “friendliest instrument.” Accessible, engaging, and utterly cute, the uke can never take itself too seriously. If you could turn a giggle into a musical instrument, it would look like a ukulele. Enthusiasm for the ukulele seems almost universal.More...
Tree biologist Nalini Nadkarni moves easily across her University of Utah lab on this cold, early winter morning, showing no signs of the trauma her body sustained in July, when she fell 50 feet from a big leaf maple, fracturing her ribs, pelvis and spine. She is a slight woman with calm eyes. Her speech is quick, clear and concise.More...
Human beings aren’t great at incorporating information that goes against feeling or “common sense.” We’re afraid of the wrong things. Like, all of the wrong things. Every day, something comes across my Facebook feed that tells me I’m in danger; and, without fail, the comments on the stories are full of misinformed, hyper-reactive crazy. We get worked up easily, and it usually has nothing to do with reality, but rather with kneejerk reaction.More...
In October, Pax Rasmussen wrote about CATALYST receiving a special status from the State of Utah, the L3C (low profit/limited liability corporation). This means we have a mission bigger than making money. But that’s probably something you’ve known all along.More...
The holidays, for me, are best defined by the season’s many libations. Egg nog. Wassail. Hot apple cider with rum. Dark clove and nutmeg stouts. Christmas punch. New Year’s champagne. But, as the years add up, there isn’t as much in my cup as there once was. The memory of hangovers past keeps me more on the sober side. This had me wondering recently: Is it just me or do hangovers really get worse as we get older? Or, after so much practice, are we simply less willing to face the inevitable outcome a night of drinking offers?More...
We invite you to support CATALYST this holiday season by patronizing the businesses that support us — they are who allow us to keep publishing! And, because they are all local establishments, we all win: If you spend $100 at a national retailer, only $13.60 will stay in Utah’s economy*. If you spend it at a locally owned business, $55.30 or more stays here, creating jobs and building our community.More...
Utah is at a pivotal moment in chocolate-related history: We are about to unseat Oregon from their premier position in having the highest per-capita number of artisanal bean-to-bar chocolate makers in the nation. I talked to six of our local bean-to-bar makers and toured three of their facilities and it’s apparent that Utah may, in fact, be the most perfect spot on the planet for making chocolate.More...
We’re in the final six weeks of an extraordinary year, a year that stretched boundaries so far that the minds of even the most imaginative visionaries had to struggle to keep a hold on reality. And while it is great to be surprised, the bombardment of violence, coupled with the constant barrage of startling plot twists, has left many fatigued, overwhelmed, and exhausted. Yes...there are plenty of people benefitting from reversals of fortune, but even the fortunate need time to integrate all that has changed.
Last week, before the attacks in Paris, I was speaking with a friend about what the Uranus/Pluto squares had put in motion in my personal life, as well as how the series of seven squares has affected how we live as a collective. (For those new to this column: From Spring 2012 until Spring 2015 there were seven exact Uranus/Pluto squares. A delineation of each can be found in the Archives on this site.) I quoted Dickens to my friend, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
It’s a week of contrasts: The sky is relatively quiet, but daily life continues to be busy. Feelings run deep but emotional resolution stays just out of reach. New endeavors encourage excitement, but old efforts require additional attention. And even though these comparisons suggest polarized positions, nothing in the astrological picture suggests mean-spirited conflict. (For those who thrive on a fight, opportunities for battle are coming around again in a few weeks. But just for the record, there’s already enough conflict in the world to last an eternity.) Use the relative calm of the week as another chance to take stock and sort through any number of issues still in need of clarity.
We’re entering the season of reflection, when the days grow shorter and darker, attention turns inward instead of outward, and preparations for hibernation begin (at least here in the northern hemisphere). 2015 was a year of massive shifts, personal as well as collective, physical as well as psychic, social as well as spiritual, and because of that constant barrage of change, looking back is likely to be a deeply emotional, almost Herculean, labor.
Environmental news from around the state and the West.
—by Amy Brunvand
Utah's health(don't)care system.
—by John deJong
Ignite your digestive fire.
—by Charlotte Bell
Regardless of what others may think.
—by Suzanne Wagner
What's new around town.
Closing your year with presence: Questions to ask yourself.
—by Marla Dee
Here’s the scoop about the Next New Thing in the gardening world.
—by James Loomis
A monthly compendium of random wisdom for the home, garden and natural world.
Editor’s note: Diane Olson, a veteran CATALYST staffer, wrote the “Almanac” column for 17 years (1995 to 2012), taking a break after writing A Nature Love’s Almanac: Kinky Bugs, Stealthy Critters, Prosperous Plants and Celestial Wonders (Gibbs Smith Publishing, illustrated by Adele Flail). CATALYST is so happy to welcome back on a regular basis this beloved and celebrated writer and this column!
—by Dennis Hinkamp