Friday, August 7, 2009

The state of the State according to cranky ole me

Back in June, my sister Karen said she wanted to bring her son Eric over to Trenton so we could go to the State Planetarium. There's a distinction between the Trenton that the state runs, and the part the city runs, but STILL, I was a happy little ambassador. I like to show off the local attractions, because it proves the whole city has not gone to shit. I took a peek at the museum's website to check on hours, reported back to Karen, and we started to make a plan.

But I've been conditioned in Trenton to not make plans (or even get my hopes up) without calling first, since hours at most establishments are arbitrary here, regardless of who (state, city or private) runs the shop, so I called the number listed on the website, and the recorded voice told me that the planetarium was currently closed for renovations.

Irritating. But no huge deal. We'd try again in a few weeks.

Karen called last night and asked again about the Planetarium. We figured, in terms of summer vacation, it's been nearly the whole summer; the repairs MUST have been made, right? But rather than operating on blind hope and optimism, Karen called Planetarium after hanging up with me, and found that it is STILL closed.

Maybe I am just a big friggin' jerk. Maybe all I am is a big stupid complainer. I realize the State is having trouble paying bills, and artsy stuff like museums are likely the first to see the belt-tightening. There have been furloughs and layoffs and all of that; I get it. I really do. And I realize, too, that timing sucks occasionally, and buildings and the technology within need repairs. But I just can't shake the thought that it's absolutely retarded for a state-run institution, in a state strapped for cash, to close a tourist destination in the summer months when people are sitting around bored, unable or unwilling to spend the money for the week away this year, and are looking for affordable and interesting day trips for their families. The Planetarium would have been a great destination this summer, but it wasn't. DUH.

There are so many stupid things going on in this state right now, the least of all is the summer closing of the Planetarium. There's a former rest stop near Burlington on I-295, that's been closed for years. Yet, all of the parking lights are still on at night. How much money does that cost? Also, I wonder how much money was spent to introduce yesterday's new handgun bill? I have mixed feelings on guns, at best, but in general, don't really like them, not from my perspective as a reasonable, law-abiding city resident. I hate gun trafficking just as much as the next gal, but it just strikes me that our new "one handgun a month" bill is superfluous. Are gun traffickers and criminals actually going to give a shit? I have no idea how many handgun purchases the normal, law-abiding gun enthusiast makes in a year in New Jersey prior to this new legislation, but now he (or she) can make 12, well, technically 13, based on the law. While the law is on the books, that's quite an arsenal over the years. Again, maybe I'm just a big friggin' jerk and complainer. Maybe this new law will slow down the flow of a particular type of weapon into the black market. I hope it does, even though I'm not terribly hopeful.

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