Ithaca update: hours and dogs as presidential candidates

The Ithaca Hours, mentioned in the previous post, quantify a barter system, trading “hours worked” at one task for equivalent “hours worked” at another. For example, you might trade one “hour” of “Cranio-sacral therapy, energy healing” for 10 hours of “Speaking & consulting on non-violent symbolic action.” Most services on offer are on the order of “Gentle Reiki energy sessions for health and growth” and ” movement coaching.” Some ordinary retail shops accept hours, but only for a small percentage of your overall bill. The Hours themselves have the logo “In Ithaca We Trust”, an expression the egotism of which I trust is obvious enough. The hours are, naturally, printed on hemp paper.

As I understand it, and here I might be off, trade, even though conducted in “Hours”, must still be ultimately accounted for in green-backs for tax purpose. “Hours” received are treated as ordinary income. Which, if true, makes the system truly worthless. But enlightened, and certainly enjoyable because, as their website says, it’s “fun to get and use something other than dollars (remember how much you enjoyed or still enjoy using monopoly money).” Thus, spending “Hours” is a form of play, though I find it odd that they would tout the game Monopoly, which is a game that teaches and celebrates capitalism.

The Ithaca Festival was this weekend on the Commons. This is a typical summer outdoor festival with arts & crafts and music. I counted not less than four booths that featured tie-dyed clothing, perhaps the ugliest form of body covering ever invented.

I went into a t-shirt shop (to find for my number two son a shirt emblazoned with “Ithaca Gun”, a now-defunct company that was justly famous for their shotguns) and some middle-aged ladies were discussing the upcoming election. “I’d vote for a dog before I’d vote for a republican!” said one. “I’d vote for a parakeet before I’d vote for McCain,” said another. “I can’t see why anybody would ever vote for a republican,” quipped the last.

The only thing strange about these commonplace comments is that they imply that the democrat party, lacking candidates of substance, will soon nominate animals to their tickets.


  1. blgaarder

    Maybe the woman who would vote for a dog listens to Garrison Keillor on “A Prairie Home Companion”.

    He never tires of telling listeners that he is a yellow dog Democrat, that is someone who would vote for a yellow dog before someone from another party.

  2. Bernie

    But Matt, what about the Ithaca Gun t-shirt. Did you ask one of these ladies where you could get one? If so, the look on their faces must have been priceless.

  3. I don’t know – Monopoly does teach a typically liberal “winner take all” view of capitalism.

  4. Briggs


    I wanted the shirt, but I wasn’t about the give these people any of my money.

    But in one sense, I failed as a reporter. I should have got in there and, if I could have managed to not spout off (unlikely with me), I could have gotten some better material.

    Stand by for a report on a professor, though. When I post what he has said, it will not be believed.

  5. Bob Koss

    Monopoly money at least has the advantage of not being devalued over the years. 50 years ago you could buy an entire railroad for $200.00. As far as I know that is still the going rate. 50 years ago gas was around 20 cents a gallon and today it is more than 20 times that amount.

  6. Today my dog, Skinner, annouced her candidacy for President. Please tell the ladies of Ithaca. Also, Skinner is not a Repubican. She’s a Labrashepard.

  7. Tom Bri

    Tie dye clothing does not have to be hideous. Only hippy tie dye is.

    The Japanese make traditional kimonos and other tie dye fabrics that are stunning.

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