All posts by codyraisch

Why aren’t more people talking about cults?

I remember a while back I read about a cult called NXIVM that operated at a pyramid scheme, but was basically a sex cult that was exposed for manipulating women into getting branded. I was like “Whoa! This is a thing?” and then I realized that of course its a thing, and the only reason we aren’t hearing more about cults right now is because cults don’t want to be exposed for what they are to the public.

I am definitely just a person who is fascinated by the mystery of the cult. I played a video game last year called Far Cry 5 that was based on a red neck cult taking over rural Montana, and I watch basically any documentary or television show about cults that I come across.

The most recent documentary on a cult I saw was about a cult I have always been fascinated by called the Bhagwan Shree Rashneesh. The documentary was called Wild Wild Country, and they basically did take over a rural city in Oregon, and eventually their practices lead to violence, and ultimately the poisoning of 700 people by contaminating the local water system with Salmonella.

Many people think that cults are a thing of the past, simply because the extreme cult groups of the 70’s-90’s have crumbled from within, with a few ultimately leading to criminal convictions or mass suicide.

We still clearly live alongside cults, but they have gotten better at hiding their intentions. Many say (myself included) that Scientology is a cult, and clearly we just found out about NXIVM and the brainwashing and manipulation of many young women who were branded with their logo.

To learn more about cults of old and new, read this list of podcasts about cults.

I call it like I see it, and I only see a lake named Bde Maka Ska.

A couple years ago there was a petition to change the name of Lake Calhoun back to its original Dakota name Mde Maka Ska, which in modern Dakota is spelled Bde Maka Ska (BeDAY -Mah-KAH-Ska). It was named that until the 16th century or so, and it meant Lake White Earth. But after the petition was passed and they changed the name back to its indigenous name, there was a huge uproar about how we can’t change history, and the lake is named Lake Calhoun.

The name change was originally brought on because people thought it was inappropriate to have a lake named after a man who was a slave owner, and pro-slavery. Recently it was decided that they would change the name back to Lake Calhoun, which started new debates on the name change.

Many people in the greater Minneapolis area are split two ways:

  1. They believe that we shouldn’t honor slave owners and colonialism, and instead we should honor the Indigenous people who were pushed from their land.
  2. Its hard to say Bde Maka Ska, and they like how Lake Calhoun sounds, and its all they’ve known it as, so why question it?

As an indigenous woman(I may not be Dakota, but I am Ojibwe from the north) I have seen what colonialism has done to my people, and many non-natives would like for us to move on from the past. But its not like white people showed up in Minnesota and asked for the land, and we surely didn’t suggest that they take it from us and force us to live on reservations, all to have our lakes named after racist white men.

Another hilarious aspect that non-natives express is how its hard to say the name Bde Maka Ska, but they sure as heck can say Anoka, Minnetonka, Wayzata, and Shakopee… all names in the Dakota language, Why is it so hard for them to google how to say this name?

Like, soooo… you can say Hermoine Granger, but you cant say BeDAY MahKAH Ska? Okay, cool cool cool cool cool.

All I am saying is its not like you have to apologize to Indigenous people right now for something that your racist ancestors did, but you could at least be on the right side of history and stand with the people who your great, great, great grandparents stole land from. A really easy way to do this is to not protest when there’s a request to change a name of a lake back to what it once was.

I CBDon’t get it.

Marijuana use is fairly common these days, and I don’t judge anybody who uses it for health or personal reasons, but something that has been on the rise as of late that I truly don’t understand is the CBD oil craze. CBD stands for Cannabidoil Oil, which is another part of the marijuana plant that doesn’t make you high, but is advertised as a miracle treatment for a myriad of things.

I’ve recently noticed a couple places in Minnesota promoting CBD as a viable business option, and others who like myself are confused. The Star Tribune write about how Mayor Frey attended the opening of the first hemp and CBD dispensary, and explaining that Marijuana is a viable business for the state of Minnesota. The only thing I don’t understand about CBD is that its not FDA regulated, so anyone can claim its some sort of miracle product.

The Star Tribune article sounds very uplifting to the idea of this product, only mentioning its lack of regulation once, and I think that if anyone should do a deep dive with a little skepticism, it should be the Star Tribune.

The funny thing is I saw an article in the City Pages on a new CBD infused energy drink in Dinkytown, and even though they are a local free publication that mainly publishes news on twin cities style, events, and features… They actually approached the topic of CBD with a little bit of skepticism and sarcasm. I don’t usually have an opinion on something like an oil, but when its being used as a miracle cure for anything from severe pain to stress relief, I think we should be asking more questions, and put more research behind how its being used.

If anyone is supposed to be skeptical, you think it would be our main newspaper, but ironically someone at the dramatic and hilarious City Pages has more questions on this topic.

It’s 2019: Does the US Finally understand the Power of K-Pop?

It was a casual Sunday morning in my small Minneapolis apartment, and I was desperately looking for something to watch. I opened my Youtube to watch literally anything interesting, and settled on the skits from SNL the night before. Little did I know I was in for a pleasant surprise, because the night before the K-Pop juggernauts BTS took to the stage as the musical act.

I will be the first to admit that I knew what K-Pop was and who BTS was, but was never remotely interested in finding out what they were about. I can admit now that it was just a personal bias because I knew a lot of BTS fanatics in real life, and I didn’t want to feed into the hype, but their two perfect SNL performances had me eating my words. I felt like I was let in on the world’s biggest secret. After watching both performances more times than I’d like to admit, I said aloud, “Ah, I get it now.”

The performance that had my jaw on the floor

I know I’m not the only person who felt standoffish toward K-Pop, and a lot of it just has to do with living in a western state of mind. I remember reading an article called “Can We Stop Pretending K-Pop is Popular?” completely disregarding K-Pop as an international phenomenon, pointing out how quickly the charts drop for these artists. Written in June of 2018, this article already sounds bitter and outdated.

BTS was the first K-Pop artist to be featured as a musical guest, debuting their new song “Boy With Luv” which features Halsey, an up and coming heavy hitter in the music industry. This goes along with their music video debut, which broke Youtube records by receiving the most views on a video in 24 hours, and also the fastest video to get 100 million views.

The Boys of BTS are not the only K-Pop stars breaking into the United States. The previous record for most Youtube views in 24 hours was held by BLACKPINK, an all girl K-Pop group that was recently featured in the 2019 Coachella line-up.

BLACKPINK performing Coachella

With all the attention on K-Pop groups, and an overall acceptance of the K-Pop genre into the US mainstream, the end is not in sight. BTS won two Billboard Awards, one for “Top Duo/Group” (a first for the group), and another for “Top Social Artist” for the 3rd year in a row. They shared the Social Artist category alongside two more well known K-Pop band nominees, EXO and GOT7.

As someone who just entered the K-Pop atmosphere, I feel like I have been let out of a small box, and I can now finally breathe. I’m excited to give these young talented artists a chance, simply because Pop music doesn’t always fit into a certain mold, and I hope others realize this.

The other day my boyfriend texted me to say he heard “Boy With Luv” by BTS on the radio, and I couldn’t help but smile.

When a Podcast Solves a Crime

Something I have always found interesting is the phenomenon of true crime podcasts. There’s an entire community of podcast listeners who specifically listen to podcasts about crime, and spooky unexplainable encounters. There are crime podcasts for all kinds of true crime addicts. You could always check out the classic: Serial. If you like to keep it serious at all times, you’d probably like Sword and Scale. If you like your heavy subjects with a little humor, you’d likely love listening to My Favorite Murder or Last Podcast on the Left.

Most of these are retellings with great detail on crimes of the past, but none can compare to the fascinating tale of Up and Vanished, a podcast that lead to the arrests of two men in a missing persons case that went cold for 11 years, that was declared a murder investigation.

Tara Grinstead, A history teacher and beauty pageant enthusiast who’s missing persons case inspired the Up and Vanished Podcast

I first discovered Up and Vanished in 2016 while searching Spotify for a true crime podcast to listen to. It sounded captivating, and it had about 9 episodes at that point, and I listened weekly. The host, Payne Lindsay, posted episodes every 2 to 3 weeks, but between the regular investigation episodes, he would do side episodes with case updates, and Q&A’s with listener calls. As a listener, I could just feel that Payne Lindsay along with his private investigator, Maurice Godwin, were onto something with this case. I listened diligently for the updates, when one day in early 2017, I got the listen of a lifetime when they posted an episode stating there were two arrests made in the Tara Grinstead case.

The cover of Up and Vanished season 1

The state of Georgia ultimately put a gag order on the case, so nobody involved in the case was allowed to speak to the media at all, but the podcast continued, and kept up with the case details, the suspects who were arrested, and the motive behind the case.

The most interesting part about the Up and Vanished podcast is that it originally started as an investigation into a missing person that lead to traction and increased interest in a case that went cold for 11 years. Payne Lindsay even admits in an episode after the suspects are named that he had heard from multiple Ocilla townsfolk that he needed to look into the two men who eventually were convicted with the crime, meaning that Up and Vanished might not have solved the crime single-handedly, but they were hard on the heels of the discovering the convicted suspects on their own. Their passion for solving this mysterious case ended up leading to the arrests and eventually, the recorded confessions to the crime.

For more information on the case, and a link to episodes, head to

Up and Vanished is also available on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.