Sue Dreamwalker is on a roll. Every one of her recent posts has been an inspiration to look at our lives and change. Simplicity, food, environmental awareness. — John
Tag Archives: Essentials
Couldn’t resist posting one more video. A most energetic and inspiring older couple. I guess local food and organic food is possible. All you need is dirt and work.
A most interesting take on sustainable food and local food. I’m particularly fascinated by the part about training young people for meaningful work. A great alternative to college for many, perhaps.
Let’s think seriously about “apocalypse.” Stay with me. This will be brief. The dictionary definition is:
“noun, the complete final destruction of the world, esp. as described in the biblical book of Revelation; an event involving destruction or damage on an awesome or catastrophic scale: a stock market apocalypse / an era of ecological apocalypse.”
However, I’m not thinking of “apocalypse” in the biblical sense; or in the nuclear-annihilation sense.
Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Hurricane Sandy this past week provided us with a vivid picture of how the apocalypse of modern civilization might go. The suffering of the people of New Orleans, New Jersey, and New York could be widespread in the not-too-distant future. (Any city or state with “New” in its name has reason to be frightened.)
A respectable business magazine is out with the cover headline:
“It’s Global Warming, Stupid”
Fair enough. Quibble about the causes and terminology, if you must, but face reality.
I suggest two related subjects clamoring for serious consideration in the public square (or in smoke-filled back rooms) going forward:
“Geography Is Destiny”
“It’s Infrastructure, Stupid”
What do you think? Suggestions for additional subjects to include in the syllabus? Extra credit for class participation.
— John Hayden
- PHOTO: Businessweek’s Bold Hurricane Sandy Cover (huffingtonpost.com)
- Scientists Unsure if Climate Change Is to Blame for Hurricane Sandy (nytimes.com)
- ‘Meteorological bomb’ or climate change? Experts eye Sandy’s cause. (smh.com.au)
- Global Warming and Hurricane Sandy? (bigthink.com)
- Climate change, or crap shoot? Experts weigh Sandy’s causes (reuters.com)
- Oh Sandy… (thereinventshop.com)
10:30 p.m. Sunday, still above water in West Ocean City, MD. (Although my roof is leaking again.) Just finished writing a detailed news report over at Ocean City Blog. It’s raining hard and the wind’s picking up. But this baby is only beginning. They’re calling Sandy a hybrid hurricane/nor’easter now. Continue reading
It’s too soon to know whether the Austerity Project will be a success. I’m defining “success” to mean reducing my spending to match my income.
The total damage for Austerity Project, Week No. 1, was $189.13. Issues from Week No. 1: I ate pizza three times. That number has to come down. My biggest single expenditure was a fill-up at the gas station, with regular at $2.76 a gallon, for a total of $33.68. After rent, health insurance, and food, gas for the car is my next highest monthly expense. Soon I’m going to need an oil change and some regular maintenance, which is not included in the monthly budget. And looming in February is the $700 annual payment for car insurance, which is also off-budget.
The first day of Week No. 2 was my first day with no expenditures. Not a penny. Tuesday was $16.23 for miscellaneous household goods at Walmart.
Today, I signed up with a health club, aka “gym,” with a commitment of $19.95 a month for the next year! I did not make this decision lightly. There is no health club line in my monthly budget. I don’t know where the $19.95 a month is coming from. But you have to admit it’s a good price for a health club membership.
With a fancy new health club opening, there’s something of a price war going on among health clubs in my area. I found the $19.95 price at a so-called “bare bones” club. It doesn’t have a sauna or whirlpool or spa. The locker room is small. No towel service. But the place is bright and airy, and they’ve got more equipment than I’ll ever use.
I’m thinking that at age 62, with creakiness in the bones and weakness in the muscles, the health club membership comes close to qualifying as an essential.
It’s not as if I’ve been inactive in the past year. For much of that time, I worked as a security guard, which was mostly walking, walking, walking around a large building and grounds. In other words, my job was to be a moving, human scarecrow. Since August, I’ve spent a lot of time on political campaigning, which also involved lots of walking. I got a sunburn, and then a tan, on my face, but I can’t say I feel any healthier for all the walking. The campaigning resulted in two disappointing losses, first my own in the primary, and then the candidate I volunteered for in the general election.
Now, with the security guard job and the campaign over, and winter coming on, I feel like I’m facing rapid deterioration if I don’t keep these old bones moving. The health club is less than $1 a day, and it will give me another place (in addition to the library) where I can go to get out of the rain and snow.
I’m starting the health club adventure at near rock bottom (I always feel rock bottom this time of year, with the shortening daylight and the sun low in the sky). Job one is to get myself to the health club almost every day. It will be interesting to see if the exercise makes a difference. Any improvement in health of mind and/or body will be well worth the $19.95.
Stay tuned. I’ll keep you posted.
— John Hayden
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I can compromise on cola, for the sake of frugality, but you gotta take a stand on principle somewhere.
I think I’ll draw my line at computers and operating systems. Two years ago, I paid twice the price for my Mac iBook from Apple, compared to a generic Windows laptop. Never regretted it. Would do it again (not that I can afford a new computer right now).
The point is, I don’t NEED a new computer. Apple keeps sending me free software updates over the Net. If I had bought the Windows laptop two years ago, that balky version of Windows would be obsolete, and I’d be faced with buying the new Windows or a new computer.
My brand loyalty to Apple is stronger than ever. I’m determined to hold out for an iPhone, or at least an iPod, when I can afford it. Right now, Apple is still coming out with significant improvements to the iPhone on a regular basis, and reducing the price as well. So I’m content to wait another year or two until the iPhone is fully evolved, and the price is lower.
Waiting to make an important purchase is a good approach to frugality. Paying more for a product that won’t be obsolete in six months can be thrifty in the long run. Immediate gratification is over-rated.