Items and gadgets
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.
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.
At 36 years old, the pro-life movement is still energetic and indignantâ€”and trapped. Every year of Republican rule has increased the suspicion that pro-lifers are the GOPâ€™s useful idiots.
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.
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.