In the last month, I have used Craigslist several times for myriad reasons essential to my well-being and the happiness of others. Uses of mine have included: finding a place to live in San Francisco, considering part-time job opportunities, buying furniture, helping a friend considering a move from Ohio to find a job and apartment, purchasing Giants tickets, requesting resources on the teacher's wishlist, and posting a call for a missing wallet. All of this free of charge and extremely easy to use. Hmm. Sounds like Craigslist is pretty kick-ass when it comes to serving multiple, ends in someone's life.
But what makes Craigslist truly beautiful, what makes it a site I want to visit every day as if it were some girl with whom I am helplessly enamored, is the spirit of founder Craig Newmark and the majority of those that use Craigslist. Punch in "free" when looking for a material good you need or "face value" when hoping to catch the next big event in town and not only will you be pleased to discover that your search does not end in "no results found" but that your choices will frequently still abound. Two examples: I discovered a very nice couch for free for my new home in The City on the condition that I pick it up. I paid under face value to see Barry Bonds hit two homeruns last night at SBC Park from excellent seats.
Now surely there are plenty of swindles out there, but play it smartly and you’re in for a feel good experience. For me, my recent success using Craigslist has reaffirmed my faith in humanity as a species capable of altruism and empathy in light of the daily tragedies of human conflict that we are inundated with by the news media. In the last few weeks I have spoken with numerous strangers, many of whom seemed to carry the genuine value that sharing and giving, are well, nice things to do that make you feel good and inspire others to “pay it forward”.
Part of this spirit is also a sense of trust - a comforting, refreshing feeling in the U.S. as we saw a sky’s-the-limit optimism here in the Bay Area and many other regions so quickly dissipate and replaced by a more ominous, omnipresent Zeitgeist of vulnerability, fear and uncertainty. “Trust no one” is what we learned from X-Files and what 9/11 and our media makes it hard to forget. So the fact that the Craigslist community is virtual and often anonymous makes it all the more a reassuring buoy on foggy, choppy mid-ocean waters. Its setup certainly provides opportunities for sharks to sneak up and attack. But on Craigslist, good wins over evil. The sharks are often identified and tagged, or at least Craigslist surfers are alerted to the predators.
So let’s hope, considering also that eBay recently bought a 25% stake in Craigslist, that the site that started as a simple and free classified ads portal maintains its easy-to-use services and is characterized by such a good-natured spirit. Of course, this will require the continued leadership of its founder and community members with their noble guiding values and reasonable, but not hysterical vigilance. But I am not too worried about that for now. Although in an interview with the San Jose Mercury News Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster unconvincingly uses only the past tense in assuring craigslist users that “nothing has changed” in regards to their mission concerning the eBay partnership, according to Newmark one of the reasons they made the eBay deal was with hopes “to tap eBay's expertise in combating scam artists who prey on craigslist users.”
So for the time being, Craigslist is going strong, probably becoming safer, and expanding every day into new parts of the world with the same kind of spirit that is perhaps best encapsulated in the quote from Enrique Rodriguez found at the top of the Craigslist Foundation page: “When you’re dreaming that you can improve your life and the lives of other people is when you as a human being are at your best.” Take this quote for free. Take it for face value. For now, Craigslist is a beautiful thing in full bloom.
Ever do a search for say "son of a mill worker" or "son of a goat herder" only to click on one of the links in the results page and find yourself at a webpage without any idea where the original phrase you were looking for can be found? The solution to this troubling dilemma is a simple one, but only recently did a friend show me how to do it and have I realized that few of us are acquainted with this helpful tool:
In short, press Ctrl + F.
The following steps offer more detail and cover some contingencies you may run into.
1. Once you are at the page that supposedly has "son of a goat herder" on it, if you are using a PC, press 'Ctrl' + 'F' (I imagine on a Mac it is that strange double infinity button plus 'F'. Mac users please correct me if I am wrong).
2. A text box will pop up that allows you to retype the phrase you are looking for. Once you press 'Enter', the phrase you are looking for will be highlighted where it is located on the webpage.
3. If it does not locate the phrase you are looking for it probably means the phrase is on an internal page within the site, accessed by a secondary link button. If that is what you run into, and you are still determined to find your treasured phrase, you must make your own educated guesses about your internal link options. For example, if you see a link named "Barack Obama" you might guess that on that page is where you would find . . . "son of a goat herder".
Now that you have mastered a new trick, I bid you good luck in your future websurfing!
And if someone says we are just romantics, inveterate idealists, thinking the impossible, that the masses of people cannot become almost perfect human beings, we will have to answer a thousand and one times: Yes, it can be done; we are confident that humanity as a whole can advance.
- Ernesto "Che" Guevara
Che Guevara helped lead a revolution with Fidel Castro to overthrow the Batista government in Cuba in 1958 beginning in the Sierra Maestra mountains with less than twenty, mostly inexperienced, very young, and unarmed fighters. Once Fidel gained total control of the country, it was Che, the passionate communist idealist who avowed the building of a true socialist state with the hope that social justice and equality for all could be achieved.
Of course, the prototypical model of communism appears to have fatal flaws due to its conflict with many parts of human nature (at this point in our evolutionary history), and Che's particular ideas about what it meant to be "perfect human beings" were extreme. But the important matter is that Che held on to an ideal and pursued it with pragmatic action. I argue that, through whatever methods, the advance of humanity as a whole toward social justice and equality requires first the unwavering conviction that it is possible. Subsequently, action that is wholly toward that end is in order.
And if you are looking for inspiration and/or practical ways in which to make changes toward such ends, here are three books I recommend: Global Justice , by Che Guevara, Civic Revolutionaries, by Douglas Henton, John Melville, and Kim Walesh, and Living, Leading, and the American Dream, by John W. Gardner. While Guevara's writings present a radical worldview and many profound philosophical questions, Henton and Gardner offer two great guides at getting started locally in the pursuit of the American ideals.
As a boy full of wonder and fear, I used to join my father on the driveway in front of our house with his telescope. On moonless nights, all the lights off in the house and requests put in with friendly neighbors to temporarily suspend the lighting of their own porches and driveways, my father would aim and I would look. He would explain and I would listen; that is until I would again get wrapped up in my imagination and the questions about the cosmos that continually haunted me: Where does the universe end and what is there in the space beyond the ends of the universe?
This was one of my main preoccupations as a 7-year old. One I wasn’t yet ready to share with my father who voluntarily and without the typical pauses one might expect cuing me to affirm that he had my ears, would go on sharing astronomical history, the latest theories of astrophysicists, or the stories of the relationships between mythical Greek characters depicted in the sky. While I thought all that was somewhat interesting, my concerns about the limits of the universe were often all the more consuming. And I was resolute on creating my own answers, partly because I did not want my father to lose face by appearing less than omniscient in front of me.
In my mind, the universe had to end. Everything has to end at some point - that was the obsessive thought of mine in those days. So what was beyond the ends of the universe? I rationalized rudimentarily it could not be more space. I reasoned it had to be something impenetrable. Something lifeless. Something uniform. I figured it had to be concrete.
That was the best I could come up with at the time. I would check the points of my rationale as I lay restlessly trying to sleep in the dimness of my nightlight. Yes, it was inconceivable the universe could go on forever. Yes, there had to be a definite end. And what could be more definite to a suburban kid than concrete? I would imagine speeding space shuttles about to crash into the inevitable, unforgiving wall of concrete. The astronauts would reactively eject from their seats at the last second only to quickly be asphyxiated before floating forever dead in space (I had just seen 2001: A Space Odyssey). Gripped with terror, that is when I would creep to my parents’ room looking for comfort only to find my father with his hands over his lower chest, lying rigidly and staring pensively at the ceiling.
Only now do I realize I was just a kid being raised by a disdainful and proud - but aging - atheist, and we were both scared to all hell of a sudden death with no idea of what would happen to us afterwards.
1 cup butter, melted*
1 cup white sugar*
1 can (15 ounces) can cream-style corn
1/2 (4 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers, drained
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
*Some think these quantities make it too rich (and unhealthy). Use 1/2 cup butter and less sugar to taste.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.
In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time. Blend in cream corn, chiles, Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheese.
In a separate bowl, stir together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Add flour mixture to corn mixture; stir until smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted into center of the pan comes out clean.
Some Suggested Toppings
1 pound boneless and skinless chicken breasts
1 can (10 ounces) garbanzo beans
1 can (15 ounces) spicy black beans
1 can (15 ounces) chili beans
1 can (15 ounces) Mexican-style stewed tomatoes
3/4 cup bottled salsa*
Chili powder, sweet or hot, to taste
*Chunky bottled salsas are the best. Avoid a salsa fresca or picante sauce.
In a large pot, boil chicken breasts until tender; about 20 minutes, and drain. When chicken is cool enough to handle, tear into shreds.
In the same pot or a dutch oven, mix the chicken with the three types of beans, tomatoes, and salsa. Season to taste with chili powder.* Simmer mixture for 1 hour.
*For a thicker chili, drain beans, though not to an extreme as you will want some moisture.
Some Suggested Toppings
Chopped green onions
This list serves most directly the park-and-camp camper. It is not intended to be a guide for backpackers or RV owners. Many of the items on the list are obvious necessities, but they are listed anyways, the objective being that you can print and use this as a general checklist to which you can add other items specific to the trip you are planning.
Remember that resourcefulness is a great value, especially when camping. Many items listed below can have dual or multiple purposes. For example, one large bowl can function in many ways – as a container for food on the way, as a salad bowl for dinner, as a washbasin to wash dishes and silverware, then as a bowl to mix pancake batter in the morning. Clever resourcefulness cuts down on bulk and makes you feel smart.
Tent (including all poles and stakes) – check your tent beforehand to make sure you’ve
got everything to set it up correctly
Tarp – to keep ground moisture from bottom of tent
Lantern (propane or battery-powered) – propane gives brighter, better light.
Hatchet (to make kindling or cut logs)
Fire with grill/Barbeque/Portable Stove
Propane tank for stove
Hot Pads/Oven Mitt
Tea Kettle/Coffee Percolator
*Consider your foods and any preparation to know what specific utensils to bring.
Dish washing cloth
Bowl or Basin – to fill with warm, soapy water
Trash and recycle bags
Soap – in a plastic bag or container
Quarters – many campgrounds require quarters to use the showers
Clothing Extras (consider weather at all times of day where you’ll be camping for basic clothing to bring)
Sandals (for easy in and out of tent)
Other Important Items to Consider
Rope – you’ll probably need it for something like hanging clothes or a lantern
Duct tape – always useful
Water Pouch/Bottled Water/Water Jugs – most campgrounds will have drinkable
Charcoal (if you want to barbeque)
Extra lantern ‘socks’ or batteries
Extra propane tank for lantern or stove
Metal tub – You can use to keep drinks cool, then heat the water and use as a washbasin
The Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, whose real name was Neftalí Ricardo Reyes Basoalto, was politically involved in many ways throughout his life in the fight for social justice and equality. While living underground and in Argentina after he had openly and repeatedly criticized the Chilean government and its violent repression of a miner’s strike, he wrote his defining, extensive, and acclaimed work, Canto General. I recently came across the mention of the poem below, “United Fruit Co.”, which is part of the Canto General while reading the biography of Ernesto “Che” Guevara by Jon Lee Anderson. Neruda wrote this poem in 1950 to bring attention to injustices brought upon the native populations of Central and South America that were a result of American companies (and the U.S. government with the help of the CIA) and dictators throughout the region who exploited their labor and forcefully suppressed democratic movements.
United Fruit Co.
When the trumpet sounded
everything was prepared on earth,
and Jehovah gave the world
to Coca-Cola Inc., Anaconda,
Ford Motors, and other corporations.
The United Fruit Company
reserved for itself the most juicy
piece, the central coast of my world,
the delicate waist of America.
It rebaptized these countries
and over the sleeping dead,
over the unquiet heroes
who won greatness,
liberty, and banners,
it established an opera buffa:
it abolished free will,
gave out imperial crowns,
encouraged envy, attracted
the dictatorship of flies:
Trujillo flies, Tachos flies
Carias flies, Martinez flies,
Ubico flies, flies sticky with
submissive blood and marmalade,
drunken flies that buzz over
the tombs of the people,
circus flies, wise flies
expert at tyranny.
With the bloodthirsty flies
came the Fruit Company,
amassed coffee and fruit
in ships which put to sea like
overloaded trays with the treasures
from our sunken lands.
Meanwhile the Indians fall
into the sugared depths of the
harbors and are buried in the
a corpse rolls, a thing without
name, a discarded number,
a bunch of rotten fruit
thrown on the garbage heap.
AS WRITTEN IN SPANISH
La United Fruit Co.
Cuando sonó la trompeta, estuvo
todo preparado en la tierra,
y Jehova repartió el mundo
a Coca-Cola Inc., Anaconda,
Ford Motors, y otras entidades:
la Compañía Frutera Inc.
se reservó lo más jugoso,
la costa central de mi tierra,
la dulce cintura de América.
Bautizó de nuevo sus tierras
como "Repúblicas Bananas,"
y sobre los muertos dormidos,
sobre los héroes inquietos
que conquistaron la grandeza,
la libertad y las banderas,
estableció la ópera bufa:
enajenó los albedríos
regaló coronas de César,
desenvainó la envidia, atrajo
la dictadora de las moscas,
moscas Trujillos, moscas Tachos,
moscas Carías, moscas Martínez,
moscas Ubico, moscas húmedas
de sangre humilde y mermelada,
moscas borrachas que zumban
sobre las tumbas populares,
moscas de circo, sabias moscas
entendidas en tiranía.
Entre las moscas sanguinarias
la Frutera desembarca,
arrasando el café y las frutas,
en sus barcos que deslizaron
como bandejas el tesoro
de nuestras tierras sumergidas.
Mientras tanto, por los abismos
azucarados de los puertos,
caían indios sepultados
en el vapor de la mañana:
un cuerpo rueda, una cosa
sin nombre, un número caído,
un racimo de fruta muerta
derramada en el pudridero.
With nearly ten thousand new people arriving on earth every hour, a new and unfamiliar pattern of scarcity is now emerging. At the beginning of the industrial revolution, labor was overworked and relatively scarce (the population was about one-tenth of current totals), while global stocks of natural capital were abundant and unexploited. But today the situation is reversed: After two centuries of rises in labor productivity, the liquidation of natural resources at their extraction cost rather than their replacement value, and the exploitation of living systems as if they were free, infinite, and in perpetual renewal, it is people who have become an abundant resource, while nature is becoming disturbingly scarce.
Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins and L. Hunter Lovins frame the dilemma that is the impetus for a new model of capitalism laid out in the first chapter of their book Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution, published in 1999. While the excerpt is an ominous one, the book itself is an excellent balance of problem-posing and problem-solving. In great detail with reliable, straightforward statistics and real examples, the authors expose the environmental, economic, and social wastes that our current model of industrial capitalism has created. The staggering numbers will sicken you, but hope is regained as Hawken and Lovins demonstrate just as comprehensively how changes are already being made and what further work needs to be done to ensure humanity does not find its doom before the end of the century, a possibility renowned astrophysicist and Britain's Astronomer Royal, Sir Martin Rees, puts at “50-50” in his new book, Our Final Hour (Our Final Century in the U.K.)
If you want to understand in practical terms how the skies and waters of Earth can be clean again, how everyone on earth can be fed, how cars can be ultra-light and emissions free, how unemployment and crime can be minimized, how money can easily be made available for education, how neighborhoods can be designed to encourage community and connect fluidly with public transportation and commerce centers, or how the hole in the ozone layer can be permanently patched – read this book or portions of it. If nothing else, the principles of natural capitalism will inevitably bring greater awareness to your own consumption choices and offer you practical ways to conserve, save, raise your ecological standard of living - and even make incidental money - whatever your occupation or living situation.