Guess what?

TEDx is coming to Missoula!

And guess what again?

I'm speaking!

I'm forbidden to tell you what my talk is about, but here are three possible titles I'm tossing around:

  • My Recipe for Happiness: Submit to Corporate America
  • Let's Try Group Levitation -- Right NOW!
  • Everyone Needs Friends: The Inspiring Story of My Fight to Bring Back America's Best Sitcom

I can't wait to share my Powerful and Profound thoughts with you about one of these topics. (Many of the words I'll be using will be Capitalized so you know they are Important.)

But seriously: I'm so honored to get to be part of this event. The theme of the conference is language, and a few of the other speakers include Turning the Wheel's Lizzi Juda and Lulu Steinberg, Missoula Mayor John Engen, Salish and Pend d’Oreille language school Executive Director April Charlo, climate change communicator SusanJoy Hassol, journalist Clay Scott and Raptors of the Rockies Director Kate Davis. And that's not all! Click here to see all the speakers, and watch a short video about the conference. And if you're in Missoula and you see Jace Laakso out and about, please thank him for making this event happen. He and a fantastic team of dedicated volunteers are working their tails off to bring this together. It's a labor of love, and they all deserve a ton of kudos.

Order your tickets here -- and they're encouraging folks to do so quickly, as there is a good possibility they'll sell out. The event is Friday, February 20 at the Dennison Theater on the UM campus.

For those who aren't familiar with TED, it's an amazing organization which hosts conferences around the world and publishes the talks of their presenters in video form online. TEDx is sort of like TED's younger, scrappier cousin -- it follows the format of TED, but conferences are shorter and ticket prices are lower. In both cases, though, the tagline is "ideas worth spreading," and the emphasis is on short, dynamic talks that teach and inspire. Once you start watching TED talks (or listening to NPR's spin-off program, the TED Radio Hour), you can get sort of addicted. Each talk is sort of like a high-protein power shake for your mind which happens to taste good too.

Or at least, that's the hope. I better quit telling you about it and get back to work on my own little power shake. Hmmm....levitation? Submission to corporate America? Friends? I wonder...

Lead, by Mary Oliver

Here is a story
to break your heart.
Are you willing?
This winter
the loons came to our harbor
and died, one by one,
of nothing we could see.
A friend told me
of one on the shore
that lifted its head and opened
the elegant beak and cried out
in the long, sweet savoring of its life
which, if you have heard it,
you know is a sacred thing.,
and for which, if you have not heard it,
you had better hurry to where
they still sing.
And, believe me, tell no one
just where that is.
The next morning
this loon, speckled
and iridescent and with a plan
to fly home
to some hidden lake,
was dead on the shore.
I tell you this
to break your heart,
by which I mean only
that it break open and never close again
to the rest of the world.

Meet Me in Master Control

I prefer to call it Mistress Control, actually.

Either way, it's my new home -- that room with all the buttons and knobs and things you push to make Melissa Block and Audie Cornish and Robert Siegel come dancing out of the ether and land in your car or kitchen or ear bud.

This is a convoluted way of saying: I'm on staff at Montana Public Radio!

I'm hosting All Things Considered and Montana Evening Edition on Mondays and Fridays, and in a month or so I'll also be on Sundays from 6 a.m. to 1 pm. I''m filling in on lots of other shifts too.

Good folks. Good radio. Good stuff!