Albertideationthe eleven 

Quick Links

Join our list
Join Our Mailing List
Hello and happy January.  If this is your first issue of The Eleven, welcome! In this newsletter I review what I've been up to for the past month, offer a call to action (or, in this case, inaction :) and share useful resources.  If you'd like to unsubscribe, click the button at the bottom of this e-mail.

This issue is dedicated to the word "stop" (and to the Israelis and Palestinians - ceasefire).  I've been musing about this word a lot for the past month.  Portland was snowed in with 17 inches of snow in late December which
brought the City to a halt for about 2 weeks. Since we experience big snowfalls infrequently, PDX and the surrounding areas don't have many snowplows and so we usually pause for a day or two and then get back to our normal lives. This time was different and the accumulation also coincided with holiday shopping season - a term which really deserves some further review - why do we have a holiday shopping season at all?  Anyway, local retailers which have already been hit by a consumer spend-down were suddenly lacking their income and that has had a big effect locally on many fronts.

snowy back yard 
All of this news would not be so devastating if our society was able to stop gracefully.  Instead, traditional media such as the Oregonian focused us on shopping.  In a more perfect world, we might do better by practicing stopping regularly.  

We all need food, clothing and shelter. Community is also pretty key, good friends and good health. Our society has been on a free for all - spending and thus creating a need for more stuff than we know how to keep track of. My hope is that the current economic downturn has led many to change their habits - and that through buying less, we'll have more time and money for what's really important in our lives. It's an interesting time to be alive - we're transitioning towards something and we don't know exactly how it will look.  Right now we see the numbers of the unemployed growing, homes being foreclosed on at a rapid rate and our politicians scrambling to return us to the world that once was. I take heart in knowing that our "modern" consumerist society is really not that old - and that what we think of as advertising and creating a cult of consumerism is less than 100 years old. Before that companies made mostly necessary things that people actually needed, and people were thrifty and bought less.  We may be forced to return to such a lifestyle - planning for the things we really need in life, growing our own food, cooking, taking better care of our health and our environment. Recently, I hosted a meeting of leaders who are gathering people in Portland to figure out how we might thrive during the economic downturn and plan for the future - notes and info about tomorrow's, 1/11 event here.
snowy front yard
So, in the spirit of stopping (or, as the Idler suggests, do less*) - this issue of the The Eleven will be short.  Not as many neat links, not as many recommendations of things to do and see, and the action that I'm recommending this month is simple: contemplate this: when signs say stop, can you? When signs tell a City or country to stop and change course, can we? What do we gain by keeping going instead of stopping?  What do we lose by not being able to stop?
Thanks for reading and I hope you have found something useful in this month's The Eleven.  I'd be honored if you would share this with your friends and I look forward to moving our world to a better place together.  Have a great January and year of the Ox!

Albert Kaufman
Portland, Oregon 97232
Albertideation Large

*From The Idler: The way to thrive in 2009 is simply to join the Idler's Do Less Campaign. It's simple: you just do less. That means less shopping, less driving, less holidaying, less working, less spending. And more sitting around at home, more reading, chatting and drinking. Doing less is cheap and easy and it's kind to the environment. The era which privileged the busy high achiever is coming to an end. That system has been found wanting, and there is a new world out there, a world of more fun, more freedom, more time for reflection and contemplation, community and cooking, making and mending.

snowy back yard