The Cheapskate Intellectual

A journey through matters of spirit, sustainability, and self-reliance

Learning to submit?: Economies of womanhood, personhood, and love.

I believe that what rules us is less the material world of goods and services than the immaterial one of whims, assumptions, delusions, and lies; that only by studying this world can we hope to shape how it shapes us; that only by attempting to understand what used to be called, in a less embarrassed […]

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Occupiers and pseudo-Victorians.

This afternoon was held the first-ever meeting of “Occupy Decorah,” organized through the Northeast Iowa Peace and Justice Center.  We gathered with signs reading everything from POWER TO THE PEACEFUL to IN GOD WE TRUSTED, IN WALL STREET WE BUSTED to REINSTATE GLASS-STEAGALL to I DON’T WANT TO BUY THE KOCHS A WORLD to WE […]

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Impromptu Friday poem.

What Work Is For Hurry home through the warm bright afternoon with a load of students’ work to read, your laptop wheezing in your bag, to whirl white sheets into the cold machine and pin them to the line to catch the last two hours of sunlight in the last September of the year, and […]

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Why the copyright sign?

Much as I hate the reasons for having to do this, and despite its corporate appearance, on the advice of a good and savvy friend I’ve added the copyright sign to the CI masthead, as you can see. “That’s a great name,” she said, “and take it from me, I’ve had it happen — names […]

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Gardening in reality.

“A garden, you know, is a very usual refuge of a disappointed politician.” — Alexander Hamilton, 1802 (qtd. in NY Times, 9/15/11) As a society, we’ve got a reality problem.  A know-nothing right-wing anarchism designed to starve government to death while enriching the anarchists’ own careers is being accorded a respectability and freedom of movement […]

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September 11, in my own backyard.

I can’t remember when this country has ever been so afraid, even more than it was in the days and months following 9/11.  Except that what is clouding our hearts and our minds and our lives right now is not immediately recognizable as fear. Even as their average constituent swallows hard and keeps looking for […]

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Early fall, in fragrance and light.

Last night it became impossible to ignore.  Clipping a stem from my backdoor rosemary pot and stripping its leaves into a pork, tomato, onion, and garlic stuffing for peppers (thank you, dear Nigel Slater), I smelled the green cedary tang as it hit the hot oil, and knew, in my senses before my brain, that […]

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