Monday, July 28, 2008

Stuff I Found This Weekend

Stuff I Found This Weekend

It's moving week in Iowa City, and I am an unabashed curb shopper (last year's story). We had rain last night, leaving hundreds of overstuffed couches waterlogged on the streets of Iowa City. But before the rain, I scored: a desk, a couple wooden chairs, a plastic set of drawers, a folding wooden TV tray, three undamaged laundry baskets, and a dry erase board that the boys are having a blast coloring.

Us old timers know how to live cheap. Now that I'm a grandfather I get to talk about The Olden Days, and with gas prices zooming we may see a lot of old-time thrift returning. Even my parents were acknowledging that over their weekend visit that lifestyles were going to change. Maybe not in their time but certainly in mine. and we got on a tangent about oranges trucked up from Florida in January at $5 a gallon and how that was probably going to go away, replaced by the concept of locally grown food in season.

Which gave me the perfect excuse to unload a bag of zucchini from The Smallest Farm on them.

Going local is a good thing, says this article on the lost concept of neighborhood:
More and more people are coming to appreciate the advantages of being able to shop and work the same place they live—especially now that most workplaces and stores are far more benign than at the height of the industrial age. It only makes sense to arrange our lives so we can meet many of our daily needs without climbing into a car. That was the natural pattern of human settlement throughout history until about 1950.

Joel Stein of the LA Times thinks one thing that would help olks go reeeealy local would be $8 gas. He acknowledges some elitism -- "Sure, $8 gas is unfair to poor people, but so is all of capitalism" -- but says in the 50 year long run we'll be happier:
Studies show that the only thing that consistently increases personal happiness is social interaction; high gas prices have led to real estate prices falling faster in suburbs and exurbs than in cities, so we may soon have more content downtown-dwellers. Those same studies show that the thing that makes people least happy is commuting, and telecommuting is way up this year. We could use the tax revenue to fund public transportation.

A couple loose links:

E.J. Dionne says this is finally the year that young people are going to vote. It true, we'll see it coming first in Iowa City.

Relatively new blog The Iowa Brigade has loads of info on Republican legislative candidates.

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