Garbage Wars

Seattle has gone too far in trying to ensure people recycle properly, and compost their garbage. In my town, over the summer we switched to town-supplied trash and recycle barrels that will work with shiny new hands-off garbage trucks. Reduces labor, except all the workers who no longer man the trucks remain employed by the town. Makes things safer. Especially when the new trucks actually work. My theory on the whole thing was “follow the money.” Who would benefit from the purchase of the new trucks and all those barrels? Who would make money on a dramatic increase in recyclables? And yes, the town was being held over a barrel by the regional trash facility planning to hike its fees, giving them an incentive.

While it has surprised us just how much recycling we generate, and most such stuff does go the right place, we, and other in town, were horrified by the word, before the thing rolled out, that cameras on the ruck would allow them to monitor and penalize you. We started using opaque trash bags, which were better in other ways, in case they did this. On the plus side, while they’d prefer that people compast garbage, it is not required. For many of us, it would not be viable, unless it were a third category of stuff being picked up by the town. Further, that still leaves foods that aren’t compostable, like raw meat trimmings. Or sad incidents like an entire package of spoiled chicken or – gasp! – bacon.


I can remember being deeply offended by this sort of thing as far back as childhood, and I am no longer young by most standards. If you are there and things are how they are, it is entirely wrong for people to come along later and complain, just because they had the audacity to build or occupy new construction in your area. The story I remember from my youth is of new neighbors shutting down a small airport that long preceded them. Bad enough that new arrivals can change the character of an area in more subtle ways, like making it less purple and more blue in nature.

The Thing About Common Core

Is that it just plain sucks. However, you could do worse than to oppose it as a matter of principle, not of values, and perhaps not even of educational malfeasance. It’s making us want to home school, despite our town’s good schools and great teachers, and we haven’t even seen any of the ridiculous, inaccurate authoritarian-worshipping materials yet that have caused such an uproar.

On a side note, I had never heard of Champion v. Ames. Add one to the list of dangerously wrong precedents that have spiraled us to the current environment.

Cups Revisited

Devin Gallant, a local 11 year old, took me back a couple years with her excellent rendition of Cups:

Recently I’d caught the song on the radio a few times, in parts, the way you do when switching around. It was OK, but I wasn’t that impressed. What I assumed was that I was finally hearing the original, as opposed to the famous cover by Anna Burden that introduced me to the song a couple years ago:

Turns out that Anna inspired an industry of sorts, of Cups covers and video tutorials. She also inspired someone named Anna Kendrick to have a hit. The video is cute, and sounds better to me while entertained by watching it than it did on the radio. On the reasonable assumption that’s the version I was catching.

Devin is clearly talented, especially for her age, but Cups going viral has been done, so not sure how far this will go.

What I found fascinating about Cups is that the original dates back to 1931. What Anna Burden covered was a 2009 update and expansion on that. Not quite as unexpected as a song having been written by a future US vice-president decades before it was a hit, but deep roots nonetheless.