Small Streams


Wax On
November 23, 2013, 3:17 am
Filed under: art, awareness, business, cities, community, media, observer | Tags: , ,

Last week, I wrote about a tech workshop at Rough Trade East. But don’t go looking up “rough trade” on Craigslist, look it up in the New York Times which has a story on the new branch of Rough Trade in NYC. The old medium of vinyl is growing, perhaps not on a scale that economists recognize (e•con•o•mist, a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing — Oscar Wilde), but enough that more and more people have access to the joy of records.

“As more and more business moves online and also to the malls,” [Martin Mills of Beggars Group, an independent record company] wrote in an email, “there is an increasing countervailing human demand for community, for localness, for tangible beauty, for specialist knowledge, for range, for retail experiences that are not price-dependent but make you feel good.”



Saving PA Money
June 27, 2010, 7:04 am
Filed under: community, politics | Tags: , ,

Evan Trowbridge, an intern for the Post-Gazette, writes about a website created to solicit opinions for saving the state money. The site, yourpabudget.com, was created by five legislators and allows readers to give a thumbs up or thumbs down to the suggestions.

My favorite suggestion, poised between spam and parsimony, is this one:

Buy genuine HP toner cartridges online for half the price your vendor is charging for remanufactured junk.

Ryan
Elizabethtown, PA

I’m starting to write my own suggestion:

Greetings,

Allow me to introduce myself. I am the minister of finance for a far away country. Through a third party, I heard that your commonwealth can be trusted with a large amount of money . . .



Low-Hanging Fruit
June 13, 2010, 8:18 am
Filed under: awareness, community, ecology, food, gardening, networking, walking | Tags:

I haven’t written anything here in four months and have felt bad about not dedicating myself to long form writing, that is, anything longer than a sentence. Why feel bad, though? Why not just write?

One thing I’d like to write about is free food, not freegan food, like you find in a dumpster, but all the nuts and berries you can find all over.

Anyway, I’m going to start documenting this with a Twitter tag: #lhfpgh.

Gotta go. so much for long form.



Another Pittsburgh Diaspora
September 7, 2009, 9:05 am
Filed under: business, community, education, eutechnics, railbelt, walking | Tags: , ,

We are wealthy in direct proportion to the ability we have to act on our dreams, to make what we only imagine.

Recently, our city has lost the capacity to make a million barrels of beer — not that the Iron City Brewery has made that much beer in a while. Sales have been below 200,000 barrels for years. Much of that capacity was used to make crappy beer, malt liquor and light beers. I for one found myself a lone defender of Iron City beer, though it could give you both a headache and a stomach ache after two beers (which probably had to do with how much adjunct grains they used).

The big loss is not the beer. There is no lack of beer. The loss of the skills, talents, and connections that were part of the workforce of the brewery, the nearly hundred workers who knew how to run a boiler, create a valve, maintain the flow of thousands of gallons of water, or fill thousand of cans a minute will be lost. A shop full of artisans is a hard thing to create, but in deciding to close shop, the owners of the brewery have undone what had taken years to do.

The oldest parts of the brewery buildings will remain, maintained perhaps by the mechanisms of preservation law. What mechanisms do we have to preserve the artisanal and craft abilities of a hundred workers?



Some Reasonable Thoughts
August 8, 2009, 8:35 am
Filed under: community, health, politics | Tags:

The New York Times Opinionator column has a long and edifying post, complete with videoclips about the townhall and healthcare kerfuffle. Aside from the public theatre, which I think might be healthy, you occasionally get someone who has more reasoned thoughts like commenter David D.

The basic fact is that everybody wants to live, nobody wants to pay. Rationing is a fact of life. Health care reform is simply a matter of trying to change people who are currently in charge with a different group of people. Those who are being replaced will fight against change, those who stand to benefit from such change will also try hard to make it happen.
Insurance companies are currently in charge, so they don’t want change. Lawyers are also benefiting from the current health care system, so they want to keep it as is. Specialists who make a lot of money don’t want change. Most primary care doctors bear the brunt of the work, so they want change. Most patients who understand that they are one illness away from bankruptcy want change.