Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Citizens All, Vote This November 3rd!!

This is important, but its kind of a secret. Whisper this to your friends: There's a stealth election coming up on Nov. 3, and though no governor, senator or president is on the ballet, there's enough on the line to make it worth going to the voting booth on November 3.

Princetonians assume that the only politician representing them that poo poos climate change is Governor Christie. Not so.

In addition to the governor, our current representatives in the NJ state general assembly, think that climate change isn't a big deal and can wait. Unfortunately, the sort of stubborn resistance to overwhelming evidence that leads to this profoundly irresponsible position is broadly enforced within the Republican Party, and that's what Princeton currently is represented by in the 16th legislative district. That leaves the Democratic candidates, Andrew Zwicker and Maureen Vella, if one wants representatives who understand the serious threat human-caused climate change poses.

According to a article, no Democrat has been elected in the 16th district (I only know we're in the 16th legislative district because my 15 year old daughter is working for one of the campaigns--guess which) since 1976.

During redistricting in 2011, Democrats added Princeton to the district to try to swing it to the Democrats, without success thus far. The colored portions of the map show the seahorse shape of the district, with Princeton the green at the bottom.

The expected low voter turnout makes each vote all the more important.

Though I tried without success to find any statements by our current representatives (there are two representing us in the state legislature) on the danger posed by climate change, you can check out a video of the debate between the four candidates here.

Three school board members will also be elected, chosen from four candidates.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Seeing the World From Outside In and Upside Down

Recently, while driving down Route 1 towards Trenton, I saw a bicyclist riding the wrong way on the side of the road. It was in one of the most dangerous places along Route 1, where cars are changing lanes to enter or exit the freeways. According to society's rules, he was in the wrong place for a bicyclist, riding the wrong direction. His judgement and even his sanity might be questioned, and yet if we were to observe the scene from high above the earth, from where our collective transformation of the planet can be witnessed as a whole, the errant bicyclist would be the only one who appears to be sane. This is one of the many ways that climate change turns the world on its head.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Crazy Weird Self-Repairing Appliance

This post takes us deep below life's superficial gleam, to a place few dare to go, that world lurking just beneath the shine and luster of the kitchen sink. Next to the trash bin lives a beast that gobbles food waste at the push of a button, or at least used to. Its role in the town's digestive tract is mandibular, grinding vegetable scraps into bits before sending them further down the pipe for their ultimate digestion at the River Road wastewater treatment plant.

The garbage disposal has long seemed content with its role, resigned to its less than glamorous name and catch-as-catch-can diet. But about six months ago--hard to say just how long it's been--the disposal stopped working. There's a fuse on its bottomside, and also on the wall switch, and one or the other would be tripped every time I turned the disposal on. Something was making the grinding mechanism very hard to rotate.

Thus began a protracted period of inaction, during which the sink would periodically back up, requiring that I get down on hands and knees and manually crank the disposal from below. We compost foodwaste, so the annoyance was minor, but still. Internet research suggested that a few robust crankings would dislodge the obstruction. But they didn't. I had resigned myself to either a life of weekly disposal crankings or a trip to the hardware store to buy a replacement. The disposal had narrowly escaped replacement before, and now its continued existence seemed completely dependent on my powers of procrastination.

And then, just a few days ago, the cranking suddenly became easier. I re-engaged the fuses, flicked the switch, and voila, that fine whir of a functional garbage disposal greeted my ears. Maybe it was a change in the weather, a la Mary Poppins. Or maybe some appliances really do heal themselves in the fullness of time. Life really shouldn't reward procrastination, but at least in this one case, it did.