Olympic Gold Medalist Jamie Brown says she gains clarity and energy relying on quartz, moonstone, beads and her "spirit grandma." Color gems isolated on a white background.

Jamie Anderson’s ‘Spirit Grandma,’ tell us your power source

Journalists love a great “get” – the interview everyone wants. Any religion writer’s great get today would be Jamie Anderson’s “spirit grandma.”

That’s what the high flipping slopestyle snowboard gold medalist, calls the 80-something neighbor in Tahoe who helps her chill or center or whatever very cool state of clear minded energy is required for Anderson’s wild rides. So who is she and from where does she draw that power? Raise your hand if the “Spirit Grandma” concept is old hat to you, if you already have the Illini Spirit Grandma game day T-shirt  or the sold-on-Amazon “Spirit Grandma” wall decal. Maybe this all-purpose YouTube video mashup of New Age, God, Jesus, and Holy Mary is just your syncretistic cup of tea.

"Babushka and her life," by Anton Novoselov. Photo courtesy Anton Novoselov via Flickr Creative Commons.

Let’s not laugh (too much) at #SochiProblems: just say ‘no’ to poverty porn

At this moment, I’ve been living in one of the poorest countries in the world for one year, three months, and two days. I can’t use the tap water to rinse my toothbrush, much less to drink. All of the water we use must go through a high-quality, Swiss-made ceramic filter. But that’s quite a luxury, really, since one of those filters costs half a year’s salary for the average worker here. Sometimes the water in our house shuts off for a few hours — or even for most of the day, and we have to flush the toilet with water reserved in a bucket alongside.