Saturday, December 11, 2010

leave it to peever




- "Leave lt To Peever" was just about
to finish its 16th year. It's hard to believe
that someone can stay peeved for so long.
I have enjoyed writing the column. It has
helped me to get rid of a lot of frustration
and anger. lt has served to clean out my
soul and contend with my own shortcom-
ings over the years. There are days I can't
believe what is happening, to us, to the
world, and other days I marvel at the re-
silience and determination of the human
spirit. But whatever happens, however it
all ends, that's life. Around and around we
go. I don't like the way we are ending. l
don't like that Norm is sick. That's not how
I wanted this to end. I've known Norm for
about twenty years. He walks to the beat
of a different drummer. That's what I like
and admire about him. No one thought
The Zephyr would succeed. Some guessed
one month, others a year. No one guessed
twenty-one. It came out of nowhere and
stamped its mark on Galesburg. l can't tell
you how many people have commented
and asked about Norm and The Zephyr.
Most have said that The Zephyr is needed
in Galesburg to tell the other side of the
story. To prod people into action. To up-
set them and make them uncomfortable
with the status quo. That is what I hope
the ”Leave It To Peever” column has done.
Upset, poked, prodded, turned everything
upsideldown, inside-out, made you think,
made you uncomfortable, made you reex-
amine what you believe. At the very least
I hope it left you peeved. I am grateful to
Norm for giving me the space and having
contidence in my sometimes sorry attempt
at writing. My adverbs and adjectives are
not always right. But l've always tried to
write from the heart. l've always tried to
be a voice for the underdog. I have said
what a lot of people think, but, for what-
ever reason, are not able or willing to say.
I guess that's what I'm trying to do now,
give voice to Norm, who has been dealt
a crappy hand. Norm, keep your head up.
There’s always room for a miracle. Already,
with the people crying for The Zephyr,
there has been one... A paper, molded and
shaped out of nothing, into an award win-
ning weekly journal that most everyone
will miss. Congratulations and thanks.
- It wouldn’t be fitting to end with-
out one last shot: I think what endears
The Zephyr to so many people is that we
continually put forth an effort to promote
the common good. Not everyone in the
world, or in Galesburg, does that. There are
people who are in it for themselves. Self-
gratilication, profit, ego enhancement. At
times I marvel at how self-absorbed we
all are. How deluded we all are with con-
sumerism, with carrying out our own be-
liefs at the expense of others. How can we
possibly think that aggressive, brutalizing
war can lead to freedom and democracy?
How can we allow staggering poverty and
hunger to exist in a land of abundance?
How could we let our health-care system
turn into a commodity, to be bought by
the rich, and begged for by the poor? We
destroy the environment in some kind
of schizophrenic attempt to nurture the
economy. In Galesburg, we continue to
give money to private businessmen to do
business here, taking that money out of
our schools, fire department, police de-
partment, library, in some kind of magi-
cal attempt to tind our salvation from the
outside, rather than from within. Even our
citizens look elsewhere for help, rather
than to their neighbors. The one thing that
will help Galesburg the most in its recov-
ery is the one thing that we find hardest
to do: Go next door and say-hello. lt is not
from outside that our hope and salvation
should be sought. lt is from the neighbor-
hoods. The dreams and hopes that will
come out of neighborhood organizing will
produce miracles like good health-care
for everyone, adequate housing, good
schools, good care of the Earth,'and dis-
armament. We have to break through the
fear and self-destructive anxiety that over-
whelm us. The only way to do that is to say
hello. How are you? Is there anything I can
help you with? Care for the neighborhood
and each other and all will be well not only
in Galesburg, but everywhere.
So it’s goodbye. It has been a pleasure
peeving you. The end is only a new begin-
ning. Anyone seeing that will be filled with
energy and push us forward.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Friday, July 4, 2008

Buzzing Dimmer Switch

The dimmer switch on my living room wall occasionally makes an annoying buzzing sound. I figured-out how to solve the problem using a small magnet.

Most dimmer switches contain an inductor wound on top of an iron or ferrite core. This coil acts as a "choke", to smooth the pulses of current generated by the dimmer circuitry. The buzzing sound comes from the bucking of the magnetic field in the choke coil. There must be some ferromagnetic materials in the switch and its housing that become slightly magnetized over time and vibrate in sympathy with the pulsed inductor.

I found that I can eliminate the buzz by passing a magnet near one of the screws. I used a segment from one of those "ball and stick" magnetic model kits, which is a small but strong rare-earth magnet (probably neodymium). The small magnetic bias inside the switch is disrupted by the magnet, and it falls silent. If the buzz returns, I just bring a magnet up to the switch again, touch it to the bottom screw, and *presto*, the noise is gone!