Bear in mind


I love it that for the past few years woodland animals have been all the rage in DIY design circles. Some are nouveau-cutesy, others realistic, and almost always rendered in ways that instantly make you love the object — whether it's a stuffed animal, tee shirt, print, bedding, drinking glasses, wall mounted fake taxidermy or whatever. Very hip, very fun. Of course, from Lascaux to Frank … [Read more...]

I’m better off, but…


The US presidential election has taken a predictable turn with the rhetoric du jour that asks, “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” The implication being that, in the Great Recession, you can’t possibly be better off than you were in the good ol' days of Dubya Bush & Company. With that inevitable conclusion the suggestion is that what’s needed is regime change. Romney to … [Read more...]

Yes, you can brew kombucha

Kombucha brewing

I live a pretty spartan existence. Our family doesn't live high on the hog, always out shopping or dining at the most expensive places. We don't vacation much, and when we do, it's all about going local — Virginia inns, wineries, and natural and historic sites. Basically, I'm pretty frugal, do many things DIY style, and otherwise am so into conservation that I don't want to buy much … [Read more...]

Junk food for Jesus

Jesus at Chick-fil-A

I'm a Christian. But I wouldn't eat at Chick-fil-A even if the company's CEO were St. Francis of Assisi, Mother Theresa or Dietrich Bonhoeffer. And it's not really because I disagree with the views of the company's actual CEO about gay marriage. It's because I think that Chick-fil-A's whole business model is itself basically un-Christian, despoiling God's creation in all too many ways. All that … [Read more...]

Indian grid failure offers lesson to us all

US electricity at night

A Washington Post story yesterday about the (so far) two-day electricity blackout that affected 600 million citizens was a study in trying to find an answer to the acute predicament facing Mother India. Numerous officials are cited in the article, mainly scratching their heads, baffled over the cause of grid collapse. Yet one paragraph stood out for its more definitive take on the problem. Indian … [Read more...]

Hocus pocus as national strategy. Review: ‘Too Much Magic’


In the Waldorf method of education, founded by scientist and mystic Rudolf Steiner, each year the child experiences a different central focus in class. This central focus informs everything from storytelling to math to language acquisition to handwork skills like knitting, sewing, or wood working. For example, in the first grade the central focus is fairy tales and in second grade it is myths, … [Read more...]

Battening down the hatches


It's been almost two weeks since the debilitating derecho descended almost stealth-like on half of America, a heat-breathing storm of epic proportions. It came on the heels of several days of equally epic heat engulfing that same wide swath of American terrain. The difference was that the storm came and went whereas the heat lingered on interminably. In the wake of both events a predictable … [Read more...]

World made by hand

Letterpress Bike

My friend Cate Fitt, an artist and fellow blogger, shared a video that really blew my mind. It inspired this piece. Thanks Cate! Ink it, don't think it I love of old school printing presses. I love the quality and the raw nature of the medium. I also love that it's done by hand. As a writer and graphic designer, I've long harbored the fantasy that when the world hits the skids after peak oil … [Read more...]

Two words to win the presidency: food freedom


This past weekend I attended the state meeting of VICFA, the Virginia Independent Consumers and Farmers Association. Hosted at Joel Salatin's Polyface Farms, this casual potluck held under a shade tree included a gathering of, as Salatin put it, "fierce loose canons" all of whom hold passionate convictions about his or her God given right to choose what to eat, what to produce and how to buy … [Read more...]

Clothesline art, laundry activism, cash savings

Vintage paperdolls.

Make a clothesline and post it in a storefront to encourage line drying.As tempting as it is to take a break from your life to join the activities at an  Occupy Wall Street encampment, this isn't necessarily possible for everyone. But that doesn't mean you don't get to enjoy the opportunity to make a statement, flout mainstream culture, and help influence others toward the good. In fact all you … [Read more...]