Friday, September 30, 2011

Wishing Upon A Star – a postscript.

It should be patently obvious that Side has lost a few mph on its fast ball over the summer months, and that a rigorous training plan is necessary to get us back in the game.  Ironically, we may remind you of the ‘Sox, but that proves you’re conditioned to accept major disappointment and then rise above it.

Wow….existential philosophizing and psycho-babble all in one paragraph.  We may have lost something off our fast ball, but our screwball is still working!

We realized post-posting that we should have embellished our essay with appropriate audio-visual content, and we hope you’ll excuse our tardiness in doing so.  Though late, the sentiments expressed in this clip are so germane to local attitudes and machinations that they still hit the target, whatever it might be.

There it is: Fantasyland on the Androscoggin.  (That IS the Androscoggin, isn’t it????)

The real point of this follow-up, however, is to bring up the issue of global warming and greenhouse gas emissions as they relate to bringing the train to Brunswick.  Brunswick and the surrounding area are privileged to be the home of many who would gladly give up their homes, their children, and their jobs if only it would result in one less milligram of CO2 being emitted into the atmosphere. 

It’s our version of “An Inconvenient Truth.”

Given local quasi-religious commitment to mitigating global ‘climate change,’ shouldn’t the comparison between huge diesel locomotives pulling railroad cars and conventional diesel powered buses (rubber tired, to be clear) be at the core of this planning, even though it’s a fait accompli because of overriding electro-political factors?

Here’s some info on the Concord Coach buses currently running between Brunswick and Portland:

Our bus model is a Prevost x345 which has 375 horsepower. We encourage you to go to the American Bus Association’s website ( as they have emissions research and reports information.  They also have under the For Travelers tab on the right, The Green Choice which you may find as equally interesting.

Ride a Motorcoach -- The Greenest Approach


Motorcoaches currently provide 206.6 passenger miles per gallon (MPG), more than double the second most fuel-efficient sector, commuter rail at 92.4 passenger MPG.

Transit buses achieve 31.4 passenger MPG, domestic air carriers achieve 44 passenger MPG, and single passenger automobiles achieve 27.2 passenger MPG. Each motorcoach has the potential of removing 55 autos from the highway. That's millions of cars not driven, saving fuel, cutting emissions and reducing congestion.

Click here to read a report from The Union of Concerned Scientists, which finds that travel by motorcoach is the greenest way to go.

Is there anyone out there who seriously wants to argue that running trains between Brunswick and Portland is more ‘earth-friendly’ and ‘climate-friendly’ than running buses?  We’re not sure exactly which engine model will be used in the trains coming to town, but as you can see here, they all are in the 3000hp to 4000hp range. 

We may be many years from our college engineering studies, but we’re pretty sure engines with thousands of horsepower burn a lot more fuel (and generate a lot more dreaded greenhouse gases) than engines with hundreds of horsepower.  While we drank a lot of refreshing liquids in our college days, we assure you it wasn’t kool-aid.

None of this matters, though, when you’re a train-zealot committed to arguing that laws of economics and physics don’t matter when it comes to OUR town.  The Brunswick Exception to said laws makes it all OK.

There’s a reason, or more accurately, multiple reasons that passenger trains have long since gone the way of the buggy whip, except in rare cases where public support justifies deep deficit operation.  And even that is usually on extremely busy operating corridors.

Portland to Brunswick?  Given the existence of bus service and all the other economic parameters, Side concludes that Amtrak service between the two points is the consequence of archetypical municipal-political-egomania.

This is a pervasive symptom of a plague infecting our nation, the most prevalent consequence of which is severe depletion of economic health.  There are a number of ways to catch this plague, but it’s most easily contracted when you consume pork, no matter the recipe.

On a related note, we are convinced that a buggy-whip mill could reinvigorate the local economy, and we’d like to refurbish Fort Andross to start one.  Does anyone have a connection that could get us a loan for $500 million or so to do so?  We’ll even put solar panels on top of the building!

Like we’ve said before, you can trust us on this; we’re not like the others.  And you know who they are.

At least you should.

By the way, if you don’t see any penguins strolling around town, you know who to blame.  It won’t be the polar bears, so don’t try selling us that crazy.  Polar bears haven’t been seen in Brunswick for years, ever since the icebergs in Coffin Pond melted.


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