The Cheapskate Intellectual

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

Bacon and Brussels sprouts.

Next time you want a quick, warm, good winter supper — or a dish for Thanksgiving — especially if you are a Southerner in the Upper Midwest, here’s what you do: Go out in your garden and break off some Brussels sprouts. Brush off snow as necessary.  Bring the individual sprouts cupped in your shirt […]

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Shadow work and academia.

Reading Craig Lambert’s new book Shadow Work for research on my own manuscript, my thoughts went immediately to faculty, at my college and elsewhere. “We are living in the most prosperous era in human history,” Lambert writes, “and prosperity supposedly brings leisure. Yet, quietly, subtly, even furtively, new tasks have infiltrated our days, nibbling off […]

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Parents, college, and the student self.

The recent controversies about “free-range parenting” have me thinking about something every college professor deals with: the relationship between parents and their college-age children, which is often very different from what we experienced with our own parents when we left home.  Recently a prospective student’s parents asked me, “So, everything you are saying about self-motivation […]

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Harpooning the comet.

Struggling to absorb the wondrousness of Philae, the observatory device shot into space this week to stick to and photograph a comet, I can only fasten on the verb: harpooning.  It’s a suitable invocation of an attempt to fasten ourselves to mystery, to the curved back of the large beast hurtling past our limited world […]

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The October garden.

It’s late October, getting on for evening, and in a backyard chair, wrapped against the chill, I find the same rare spot of unexpected contentment I find on my favorite path in the woods, at the place where the trees arch in a denser ceiling over the trail, swept sideways by the winds that blow […]

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