Items and gadgets

posted by Mike on February 12th, 2009

A personal note
The 100 Days is going great. Nice to be working so hard on something positive. Starting to think about what I should do (for money or for free) when I return to Worcester in May. Ideas? You know how to reach me.

I’ve been thinking about how we pick our causes, inspired by the following 2 articles about causes that have arguably not done well.

Save Darfur Can’t Save Darfur:

In all the activist rhetoric about genocide, one critical fact is lost – as bad as the situation is, it could be far worse. If you don’t understand this simple point, you don’t understand the stakes involved.

(See also Some Defend Save Darfur and The Janjaweed Speak, by the same author.)

Life For March:

At 36 years old, the pro-life movement is still energetic and indignant—and trapped. Every year of Republican rule has increased the suspicion that pro-lifers are the GOP’s useful idiots.

Gadgets
Some opinions I have formed on gadgets this past year:

  • I am happy with the Asus Eee PC 901 (Linux) mini-laptop, to the point where I use it more than my full-size laptop. I am not happy with the Chumby, after more than a year of playing with it, because it remains a powerful alarm clock (without reliable battery backup) but I don’t find myself using it for much else, and it’s 10 or 20 times as expensive as an ordinary alarm clock (with reliable battery backup). The Chumby is well-made and well-designed, but it’s not for me.
  • I am not happy with my standard-def camcorder that uses miniDV tapes, because I am sick of playing tapes into a computer, and sick of struggling to get the Firewire connector to work. I am happy with the Flip Ultra, which is worse than the camcorder in every respect but 3—it’s smaller, simpler, and I can move videos to a computer by dragging and dropping. As it turns out, those benefits are worth all sorts of trade-offs.
  • I am no longer happy with Moleskine notebooks, because I think they are getting more cheaply made–the last one I bought required 3 manual repairs in the first week I owned it, and started looking like crap in months. I am happy with Field Notes notebooks, which wear out like jeans–they develop character. They’re small enough that I fill them up before they truly fall apart.

Fiacre Gardens Microfarm
Heard from former Worcesterite Chris Phillips after a long silence. He’s ramping up the currently nonresidential, Catholic Worker-style St. Fiacre Gardens microfarm in Rochester, NY. Best wishes!

“Miraculous Metals raises funds for Catholic Worker”
Here’s an article about a metal recycling program that’s funding the South Bend Catholic Worker’s Our Lady of the Road drop-in center. It’s worth noting that many of South Bend’s down-and-out residents sell scrap metal now and again, and that some of the Catholic Workers are passionate about scrap themselves.

Mike Baxter rejoices
Mike Baxter in a dust cloud during the renovation of “Our Lady of the Road.”

Olympia sorta-CW to sorta close
Bread and Roses must transform, starting at top:

Bread and Roses, an Olympia-based nonprofit organization, will close its advocacy center April 1. The BRAC, as it’s called, has offered the homeless a warm and dry place to find housing or work, get connected with social services, pick up mail, make phone calls or prepare a resume.

I spent a nice afternoon there in 2003, back when they were still a Catholic Worker community, but no longer with much of a CW identity. I recall several community members asking me for info on the CW. My first response was: “Why are you asking me? You’re Catholic Workers!” Sounds like later that year there was some real turmoil.

Also at P&C: Early history of the Olympia Catholic Worker.

Published in: Items | on February 12th, 2009 | Permanent Link to “Items and gadgets” | 1 Comment »

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  1. On February 18, 2009 at 03:24 Adam Villani said:

    Good article on abortion. If someone asks me how I can support pro-choice Democrats, I tell them it’s because Republicans in power have barely lifted a finger to stop abortion, so I might as well vote based on other issues.

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