Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Schadenfreude all over again….

A letter appeared in today’s Ostrich, using our commentary of last week as a launch point for the same old, same old tired talking points about the MLF issue.  We present it here for your reading pleasure, in its ‘native’ columnar format.


In response to
‘Wrong Town’

Wrong town? What’s Pem Schaeffer
talking about?
Brunswick has always been a
train town. Trains and railroads
were in Brunswick from the beginning.
Rails helped build
Brunswick, moving people and
freight in and out of Brunswick
and the Mid-coast area all before
Mr. Schaeffer, Mr. Gerzofsky and
most everyone in the Bouchard
Drive neighborhood were even
So, trains are right for
Brunswick. Trains could and do
help with Bowdoin College,
Brunswick Landing business park
and airport, Bath Iron Works and
tourism, in general.
One locomotive can move a lot of
cars, no matter what’s in those cars
— passengers or freight. I guess
there will be some pollution in the
air and stormwater runoff, anything’s
possible, but that one locomotive
or two or three, compared
to the hundreds or thousands of
passenger cars and freight trucks
we have in Brunswick and the Midcoast.
I bet it would surprise people
how much pollution is put out in
the Bouchard Drive neighborhood.
Let’s see, each house has oil/gas
furnace in the house that pollutes.
Each house had a car or two that
pollute when they idle and move
about the town. They wash their
cars, water the grass and gardens,
there’s pollution with stormwater
Wrong town? What’s wrong is
that Brunswick and the towns in
the state don’t embrace mass transit.
Rail service would take more
traffic off the roads. Maine roads
are bad and need repair because of
too much car and truck traffic on
them, and more cars and trucks
means more pollution, and wear
and tear on the roads. One locomotive
moves many cars with freight
or people, meaning less pollution,
and less wear and tear on our crappy
Regardless of the outcome with
Amtrak and layover facility in
Brunswick, I only hope that the
people that make up the Bouchard
Drive neighborhood, Mr. Gerzofsky
and the Brunswick West group put
their time, mouths, money and
energy into other causes like better
jobs, welfare abuse, better schools,
roads and lower taxes.
But they won’t, because all they
care about is their own backyard,
not the betterment of the town,
Mid-coast and state as a whole.
Remember, they built or moved to
that neighborhood with train
tracks there, the train didn’t build
in their backyard. They live in the
railroad’s backyard.

Tim Halpin, Harpswell


We thought we recognized the name of the author, and sure enough, we were right.  Turns out he wrote a similar letter little more than a year ago, to which we responded with the following post, titled:

Schadenfreude, Harpswell Variety


(Ed note: File this one under schadenfreude, which we introduced you to yesterday.)

Remember the Harpswell LNG tanker terminal controversy of some years back?  The idea was to ‘repurpose’ the decommissioned fuel supply terminal in Harpswell that once delivered aviation fuel to the Brunswick Naval Air Station.

Here’s at least one archived article to remind you of what it was about:

As it happens, we came upon a letter to the editor in today’s Ostrich from a Harpswell resident.  It reads as follows:

Enough already with the train foes

To the Editor:

Enough already with Save Brunswick West.

After three years of bellyaching over the train layover area, I’ve said before and I’ll say it again: The trains and their tracks have been in the same spot for very long.

I’m 45 and they have been in the same spot. My grandma used to tell stories about her using the train in her younger days. My point is that those tracks and the trains have in Brunswick longer than most of the Save Brunswick West members have been alive.

Why did you move in to a house so close the tracks if you’re a railroad hater?

Asking the Town Council for their support is wrong. The Town Council is there for the entire town of Brunswick and the taxpayers of Brunswick, not just your street.

Timothy Halpin

This letter, after a bit of cobweb removal, reminded us of that controversy.

So we posted this comment to the letter on line:

If you don't know the difference between a train and a 600 + foot long 40 foot high building, maybe you should abstain from this conversation. Hint: It's a BIG difference, kind of like the difference between a lobster boat passing your waterfront property, and a supertanker mooring off your deck.

Doesn’t anyone these days have the ability to stop for a moment and think critically?  Is the general public so information starved that they have no sense of proportion and context?

If this is typical of society these days, we’ve got far bigger problems than running loss leader Amtrak ego-trips to Brunswick, so they can cart area residents and their shekels elsewhere. 

Though perhaps none more illuminating.


A few days later, we posted these additional thoughts on our blog:

While we’re at it, we’d like to add a note to get rid of a yellow sticky we’ve had on our keyboard since we posted about Schadenfreude, Harpswell Variety.


We’d like to hear back from Timothy Halpin, the Harpswell resident who wrote the subject letter, whether he wrote a similar letter indicting his fellow residents when they groused over the potential for an LNG tanker depot on their fair shores.

We imagine he could have said something like this:

Enough already with Save Harpswell’s Waterfront

After years of bellyaching over the LNG depot area, I’ve said before and I’ll say it again: the coastline, the water, the boats, and their sea lanes have been in the same spot for very long.

I’m 35 and they been in the same spot, even when my grandma told stories about riding on boats in her younger days.  My point is that the water and the boats have been in Harpswell longer than most of the Save Harpswell’s Waterfront members have been alive.

Why did you move in to a house so close to the water if you’re a ship hater?

Asking the selectmen and the public for support is wrong.  The selectmen are there for the entire town and the taxpayers of Harpswell, not just your property.

We hope he’ll get back to us on this, just as we hope we wake up tomorrow with a full head of hair, and find ourselves 20 years younger, 50 pounds lighter, and with a winning lottery ticket.

Who knows; maybe in a few years the LNG tanker proposal will come back, and we can schaden some freude in Timothy’s general direction.


So we offer this response to his letter of today:  Back at you, pal.  Try writing something new that might advance the discussion, instead of offering the same old baloney.


Not that baloney isn’t a favored treat of engaged locals.  Think of it as the equivalent of Spam in the great debate over passenger rail rebirth.  Or if you wish, food for thought for the easily influenced. 

Neither Spam nor baloney have GMO content, which makes them all the more popular and trendy in our midst.

No comments:

Post a Comment