Archive for 2005

How to make 2,000 crosses

posted by Mike on November 8th, 2005

2000 crosses on Worcester CommonTo mark the deaths of 2,000 U.S. soldiers in Iraq, 2,000 white crosses were made and installed on Worcester Common. Here’s what we learned about making crosses.

Step 1: Materials

Ideally you’d find some scrap latticework, or some white, waxed corrugated cardboard. If a cemetary-supply company sells crosses cheap in bulk, that would be even better.

I was stuck using wood.

I used “pine strapping,” boards 1″x3″x8′. I could haul 50 boards in my minivan at a time.

I cut the boards in half widthwise, then into 1-foot sections, then cut these in thirds by thickness. I used a table saw. Some of the cuts were tricky.

Mike Leslie: You’re cutting the house in thirds?

Mike Benedetti: I’m cutting the halves in thirds.

The pieces are thus about a foot long, 1.5 inches wide, and 1/3 inch thick. (Actually, they’re a little smaller, because as you know a 1×3 board is not 1-inch by 3-inches. You knew that, right?)

One person with one saw can cut enough wood for 2,000 crosses in three solid work days.

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posted by Mike on November 7th, 2005

Today: Homeless camp, South Bend CW zoning update, Pit Stop Ploughshares, Dwight Smith talks, Massachusetts parish comes out against Iraq war, Darfur, artists abroad.

posted by Mike in Items, South Bend Catholic Worker | on November 7th, 2005 | Permanent Link to “Items” | No Comments »

Catholic Peace Fellowship 2005 Retreat

posted by Mike on November 5th, 2005

On October 29, 2005, I attended the Catholic Peace Fellowship conference in South Bend, Indiana. This was the end of a week of travel for me, so I was fatigued and didn’t take good notes. But I have happy memories.
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Stopping plastic shopping bags

posted by Mike on November 4th, 2005

James and Abby Hannaford-RicardiThe Saints Francis & Therese Catholic Worker community here in Worcester worries about plastic shopping bags. They fill up landfills, clog storm drains, and litter the city.

The worst part is, nobody even needs them.

A few sturdy cloth bags can do the job as well as plastic (or paper) bags, and can be used over and over for years.

Making the transition requires two steps:

Step 1: Get the cloth bags. The Catholic Worker is making this step easy for dozens of Worcester shoppers. We’ll be giving out homemade canvas bags Nov. 9 to shoppers at the Big Y supermarket on Mayfield Street. These were made possible by generous donations and lots of sewing work.

(See also our instructions on sewing canvas shopping bags.)

Step 2: Change your shopping habits. This one isn’t too hard, either.

My parents live in a 2-story house, with the kitchen upstairs. My father made the transition from plastic bags by either using a couple of cloth bags for small shopping trips, or by putting groceries straight from his shopping cart into his car. He’s set up a sort of pantry downstairs by the garage, so he can move the groceries from the car to the pantry easily. He moves the groceries upstairs as needed.

At my own house, we always used some cloth bags, but always used plastic bags, too. Then we made a chart listing how many plastic bags we were using, how many paper bags, and how many times we used cloth bags.

Using plastic bags became a cause for shame. If you used a plastic bag, someone would look at the chart and say, “Hey, who used a plastic bag today?” It became competitive, and our plastic bag use quickly dropped to zero.

Here’s an article previewing the project in the Catholic Free Press: Canvas shopping bags to replace plastic.

Update: See our articles on making your own shopping bag out of canvas or old plastic bags.

Pictured: James Hannaford-Ricardi outside Big Y, rejoicing at his new canvas bag while his mother, Abby, looks on.

Beheadings of Christian Schoolgirls in Indonesia

posted by Adam (Southern California) on October 30th, 2005

I came across this report on the beheadings of 3 Christian schoolgirls in Indonesia and was viscerally shaken:
BBC Report

Here are the extremely disturbing photos:
From a blogger

What can we possibly do in the face of such evil? What madness has possessed this world?

posted by Adam (Southern California) in General | on October 30th, 2005 | Permanent Link to “Beheadings of Christian Schoolgirls in Indonesia” | 1 Comment »

Remembering 2,000 US dead in Iraq

posted by Mike on October 26th, 2005

Two thousand U.S. troops have died in Iraq. In Indiana, where I am travelling, there are some statewide rallies planned for the weekend to use the 2,000 number to call for an end to the war/occupation. I think it is important to remember our fallen troops locally as well.

A memorial was held today at Worcester Common with 2,000 white crosses. Many photos at Indymedia.

The photo below is from the Worcester Telegram & Gazette of yesterday’s Lincoln Square peace vigil, held weekly since 9-11-01.
Lincoln Square, Worcester
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posted by Mike on October 20th, 2005
  • There will not be much Worcester news on this blog for the next couple weeks; I’m heading for the Catholic Peace Fellowship gathering in Indiana. Retreat leaders will include Paul Keim, Kathy Kelly, Bishop John Michael Botean, and Father Daniel Berrigan, SJ.
  • Worcester Magazine reports on a “west side crimewave” that neighbors are blaming on the hobo jungle in Beaver Brook Park.

    Word on the street is that the guys are vacating the lot now anyway as the weather turns cold. I think as many as a dozen people were sleeping there over the summer, although the cops would periodically raid the area and arrest some of the guys. When they were released from jail, they’d head right back to Beaver Brook.

    Also in WoMag, Phil Reid presents his vision for a compassionate city.

  • Catholic schoolteacher Stephen Kobasa lost his job because a new policy clashed with his longstanding distaste for saying the Pledge of Allegiance and for posting a flag in his classroom. The full story is worth reading.
  • The latest Pit Stop Ploughshares trial is coming up in Ireland. The last one ended in an early mistrial.
  • The South Bend Catholic Worker, which the city is trying to shut down through zoning violations, is playing the zoning game itself, thus far with no luck.

    Members of the Area Plan Commission of St. Joseph County voted to recommend that the South Bend Common Council turn down a request that zoning of the house at 1126 W. Washington St. be changed from single family to multifamily.

    (Full story in South Bend Tribune)

posted by Mike in Items, South Bend Catholic Worker | on October 20th, 2005 | Permanent Link to “Items” | No Comments »

Cairo 2

posted by Justin Duffy on October 18th, 2005

Last night, I taught another English class. For some reason, this time people saying bebsi (pepsi), sank yo (thank you), swotr (sweater), and ce…tly (certainly, which seems to be a constant pronounciation problem for everyone) made me laugh just a bit in class. To be fair, I think that they have laughed at my Arabic since day 2. It may be a sign that my students and I are getting closer.
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posted by Justin Duffy in General | on October 18th, 2005 | Permanent Link to “Cairo 2” | 1 Comment »

Checks for people who don’t like money

posted by Mike Ciul on October 17th, 2005

Editor’s Note: Mike Ciul needed to order some checks. He decided to make a statement by having them printed with his own background designs. I’ve seen the checks made from the watercolor design; they are beautiful. Click on the picture for a high-res version.

“Capitalism is a pyramid scheme”
Capitalism is a pyramid scheme

“The love of money is the root of all evil”
The love of money is the root of all evil

As far as I know, there is only one company that will print your design on a check. That company is Checks Your Way.

You should specify that you want to use my (Mike Ciul’s) design in the special instructions at the end of the ordering process, and specify that you have my permission to use it. (I hereby give everyone permission to use my designs.)

If you make checks from these designs, please send an email to captainmikee at yahoo dot com to let me know. Thank you!

Checks for people who dont like money

Cairo 1

posted by Justin Duffy on October 15th, 2005

Man, I wish it would rain. Somehow that really sums Cairo up for me at the moment. I guess it may also seem somehow incongruous for those of you in Worcester, which has been getting drenched as far as I can understand. But rain falling on Cairo would be…magnificent.

OK, back up. I’m not sure if these posts will even really be appropriate for pieandcoffee, as I don’t expect to write anything really socio-politically relevant. However, I do hope these posts will be interesting in one form or another or for some reason or another.

At the moment I am about mid-way through a fever which has yet to turn belligerent, lying on our uncomfortable couch typing with my housemate Simon‘s laptop, watching my other housemate Lee eat some Pizza Hut pizza, and listening to Beck’s “Lost Cause”. Lee just said “God, since I came here to, you know, ‘find myself’ I promised myself I wouldn’t party or eat Pizza Hut or anything.” Chomp.
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posted by Justin Duffy in General | on October 15th, 2005 | Permanent Link to “Cairo 1” | No Comments »