Saturday, October 31, 2009

End of an Era in Fairhaven

It's the end of an era in the Fairhaven district in my home town of Bellingham, WA.

This afternoon, a crew of workmen used a large crane to remove the first two of the three Great Northern Railroad Pullman cars that have for years occupied the northeast corner of 12th Avenue and Harris Street, to make way for a new 5-story building.

Over the years, these cars have served as home for numerous businesses, including a dog grooming service and an espresso stand. But for more than a year, they have been empty, available to just about anyone who would pay to take them away.

Someone finally has. A woman in Pennsylvania has purchased all three cars and will eventually convert them into a restaurant. She is spending nearly $100,000 to move the cars. At one time, I had considered taking ownership, moving one to my property and the other two to Alger where they could become part of the Bellingham Society of Model Engineers. But the cost of moving them was too prohibitive.

By the end of the afternoon, only one car remained. It will be lifted onto a flatbed truck on Monday morning and taken to join the other two down in Burlington, WA. From there, they will be fitted onto specially made frames and loaded onto railroad flat cars for the cross-country trip to their new home in Pennsylvania.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Should Third-World Dictators Determine US Gun Policy

I am not a political person. But this morning I received a phone call that really burned me up.

I could tell from the caller ID that the call was from the NRA, as in National Rifle Association. So I was intrigued.

The woman on the other end identified herself and stated that she was calling on behalf of the NRA as part of a national survey. Would I be willing to listen to a recorded statement from the president of the NRA and then answer one question. So I said, sure.

In the recording, the president of the NRA stated that the United Nations is currently meeting in secret behind closed doors to pass a treaty that will ban guns worldwide.

After the recording completed, the nice lady came back on the line and asked me the single question:

"Do you trust third world dictators and Hillary Clinton to set gun policy in the United States?"

I kid you not. What kind of stacked, stupid question is that?

First of all, if the UN meetings are such a secret, how does the NRA know about them? Second, when has the United States ever signed a UN treaty without approval of Congress? We never signed the Kyoto Accord. And even if there was such a treaty and the US did sign it, how would that ever trump the Second Amendment?

So, of course, you know what my answer was, right?

I said, "Sure. I trust them."