July 30, 2011
July 24, 2011
Stove and oven
At least one VCR
More than one television
At least one DVD player
Cable or satellite television
Answering machine [my phone plan includes voice mail]
More than two televisions
Video game system
More than one VCR
More than one DVD player
More than one refrigerator
Photocopier [our printer includes a scanner]
(The Foundation seems to have skipped over car ownership costs, but maybe they're saving that for another study.)
I've crossed off the stuff we don't have. Seems to me a couple of the items don't really belong on the list anymore - VCRs, for example, are obsolete, as are cordless phones and answering machines.
I'm a fan of sustainability and simple living, but mostly in the abstract; I fantasize about having so few possessions that I can strap everything I own to the back of a bicycle and relocate at will. I'd love to pare down to a list such as the 10 essentials by mnmlist. But I'm a suburban householder, and I've accumulated some baggage. (My personal "ten essentials" would be half-filled with items from the above list: refrigerator, stove and oven, air conditioning, clothes washer and dryer, and cell phone. I suppose I could pare it down more by going to the laundromat or washing my clothes in the sink. And I could trade a cellphone for an internet connection and a wifi device. I text and e-mail more often than I talk.)
I can't really see doing away with the refrigerator or the stove, and getting rid of any of another half-dozen items on the list might cause considerable household friction. But it's interesting to see how much stuff on the list is simply for entertainment, and I wonder if it wouldn't be good to pare those items down. It'd be like living in the 30s without all the household drudgery.
I'm guessing that most of the world's population still sees most everything on the list as luxuries, and I can envision a time where none of us have any of these things. Someday we might be making lists of essentials that only include things like clean water or adequate food. But I think the Heritage Foundation is overlooking the real plight of poverty - choosing between the transmission and the cable, paying for health care, fuel, transportation, etc.
We don't have a jacuzzi, but we do have a blue plastic swimming pool for the dogs. I suppose cable would be the next easiest thing to cross off the list. I could live without the video game system (I've only ever used it to get to Netflix - I haven't actually played a video game since Centipede).
Meanwhile, back in the real world...
July 21, 2011
The holes were already dug, and they set to work. Winterborne's fingers were endowed with a gentle conjuror's touch in spreading the roots of each little tree, resulting in a sort of caress, under which the delicate fibres all laid themselves out in their proper directions for growth. He put most of these roots towards the south-west; for, he said, in forty years' time, when some great gale is blowing from that quarter, the trees will require the strongest holdfast on that side to stand against it and not fall.
"How they sigh directly we put 'em upright, though while they are lying down they don't sigh at all," said Marty.
"Do they?" said Giles. "I've never noticed it."
She erected one of the young pines into its hole, and held up her finger; the soft musical breathing instantly set in, which was not to cease night or day till the grown tree should be felled--probably long after the two planters should be felled themselves.
"It seems to me," the girl continued, "as if they sigh because they are very sorry to begin life in earnest--just as we be."
"Just as we be?" He looked critically at her. "You ought not to feel like that, Marty."
Her only reply was turning to take up the next tree; and they planted on through a great part of the day, almost without another word.
- The Woodlanders, Thomas Hardy
July 19, 2011
July 18, 2011
July 16, 2011
July 15, 2011
July 10, 2011
July 8, 2011
I bought a Cocoon silk sleeping bag liner and an Exped utility mat and tried them out last night. I bought the mat with the notion of using it to protect the tent floor from the dogs' nails, but I used it alone last night to see if it would work as a sleeping pad. Turns out it's a bit thin for that. The liner is nice - good stand-in for a bag on a hot night.
Nice morning - woke to chimney swallows and cardinals.