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Thursday, October 08, 2009

The Working Waterfront Can Be A Bit Much

I enjoy the Working Waterfront but sometimes I think they take advocacy too far. For example, sometimes their articles suggest that islanders are a completely different species of human and that this distinction entitles them to special privileges. It’s like they’re writing about the indigenous tribes of the Amazon.

Let’s take the recent article on Ethanol. They act as if we on the mainland have different Ethanol concerns than those who live on the islands. Moreover, I hardly think they can compare the fuel requirements and idiosyncrasies of an airplane to those of a lawn mower. Also, I should point out . . . water isn’t the worst problem of phase separation.

You can get rid of the water by draining, filtering or siphoning it out. The big problem is that once the Ethanol goes through phase separation, the fuel’s overall octane rating drops below a functional minimum. Best thing to do is keep fuel tanks and fuel cans full. If this isn’t possible, simply transfer unused fuel from a large storage container to a smaller one. How hard is that?

The second article that caught my attention was the one on the Reader’s Program. I love the idea of the Reader’s Program, but I was a little concerned by Van Dusen’s comment: “… it’s OK to take a true story and turn it around to make a new story from it.” Granted, the quote is a little out of context, and I understand the subtext. However, I wouldn’t want the message to confuse kids. History should be sacrosanct. Do we want people one hundred years from now to take the story of 9/11 and “make a new story from it?”

Speaking of which, according to most accounts, the boiler didn’t actually blow in the Royal Tar. The engineer lit the firebox not realizing the boiler had been drained the night before. The boiler became red hot and set fire to the ship.

Last but not least on the subject, the paper mentioned Van Dusen’s adherence to the truth in his artistic depictions of the event. I would like to add that his whimsical drawings of The Circus Ship seem to capture the magic of sea and boats.

The third article that caught my attention was on the Maine Lobster Task Force: You mean to tell me that after all this time and money the best they could come up with is a plan to spend more money on advertising and create what is essentially another task force? And why would we want to get into a shooting match with the Canadians over product quality? Do we really think we can convince the public there’s a difference between a Canadian lobster and a Maine lobster?

The lobster task force should analyze what other states and even other countries do to advertise and promote their natural resources; pick the best of the best of these methods and implement them here. It would also help if the state provided a directory of industry services and resources, including names and contact information for Maine fishermen who want to participate. Perhaps a direct link between fishermen and public will open up new sources of revenue.

Meanwhile, what’s presently killing a fisherman’s bottom line is the simple fact that a pound of lobster is worth less than a gallon of diesel fuel. I don’t have an answer but I don’t think anything will can change until this ratio changes. Clearly, selling more lobster isn’t the solution.


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