Venus, Westport history, grocery shopping online and . . .

Hey, did you see the transit? Were you thrilled?IMG_0005_cropped.jpg Well, I was, but I'm not sure why. I guess because the history associated with the event, plus its rareness, makes it interesting. For photos and a few asides, go here.

Meanwhile, what I've really been busy with is a new photo/text exhibit for the Wetsport History site. I love these old pictures - especially when folks supply some interesting information about them, and that's what Bette and Jack DeVeuve have done in this case. I designed and built the site and taught them how to use MovableType to upload images - they did all the research and hard work. Check it out!

Oh - and if you're wondering how I sustain such bad habits as astronomy, bird watching and digital photography, i do it by having a very understanding and hard-working wife and by doing a little honest work once in a while. Not much, mind you, but enough to purchase some neat toys. My prime example is Lees Market which now is offering shopping online. Hey, I didn't build that part of the site - but I did totally redo the home page and the rest of the site so it all works together. If the home page looks like a blog it's because it is! That's right, MovableType provides the underpinnings. It all starts here.

You may wonder who wants to do their grocery shopping online. Well, remember, Westport is a big-time summer place. Now if you're coming here for a long weekend, you don't want to waste quality time in the grocery store. So you place your order in advance - maybe from the office - and when you arrive it's all packed up and waiting for you. Pretty cool, really. The Lees are real nice folks to work with - and I've always been thankfull to have such an excellent market just a couple miles from home, so this is a fun project.

Besides all that, Lees supports the history site by paying the Web hosting bill and by providing all sorts of material from their own collection of photos and text. In fact, that's where all the photos for the new exhibit came from.

All of which is a wonderful distraction from the steady drum beat of the Reagan funeral procession. I don't begrudge the man some praise - he really did some remarkable things - most of which I didn't agree with, but, he had an amazing career and terrible last decade . . . That said, I also feel very much like the person who wrote a letter-to-the-editor in this morning's Standard-Times. He said:

It is quite odd that upon someone's death, some make a person what they were not. I swear if Hitler died today he would be described as being someone's best paperboy, as a kid. The latest example is the death of President Ronald Reagan. To hear the television media you would believe that this was a great man of unequaled stature. They are tripping over each other trying to outdo each other with praise.

I remember a man that turned his back on the poor and the less fortunate, a man whose policies stripped forests of trees and growth. He relaxed regulations on emission controls and was no friend of the environment. He ran record deficits that hurt a generation of our people.

He cut college aid while lining the pockets for military contractors with billions of dollars in projects. He traded arms for hostages. He never once uttered the word AIDS in a speech for eight years while the disease was killing people around the world.

I remember when Reagan ordered all the air traffic controllers fired when they simply sought a better wage and better work standards. I remember an air traffic controller who was filled with angst over his plight and deep in debt, killed himself, leaving a wife and children behind.

While Reagan's suffering with such a terrible disease was sad, let us not go over the edge trying to outdo each other to describe his "greatness." It needs to be in context.

Today, I remember that air traffic controller who took his life because he lost his job loss. He is in my thoughts and prayers along with his family. A forgotten man, not to me.

ADAM F. ABELHA
Fairhaven



Uh huh!

Posted by Greg Stone at June 8, 2004 10:45 AM
Comments

I am so glad to read Adam's words. I thought I might be the only American who remembers the damage Reagan caused during his tenure.

While I grieve over his death, and feel for his family, as I hope I would for any person, I also remember that this was the man that brought us the Iran-Contra scandal, who supported despots in Central and South America, never mind the Middle East. This was the man who fired 1000s of ATCs. This was the man who nearly wrecked our economy by running up unheard of deficits. This was the man who ignored a wasting epidemic that swept across the country and world during his administration. This was the man who wasted 10s of billions of dollars on SDI, while thousands of American citizens went hungry and had no health insurance. And this was the man who did more than anyone else to speed up the destruction of our environment, thus causing the un-necessary deaths of thousands of citizens.

And most of the political pundits I've heard are praising him as one of the "great" or "near-great" presidents of the 20th century, comparing him to TR and FDR! Please! I predict he will go down in history as one of our worst presidents -- ever.

It just proves what I've know since college: Americans suffer from severe memory loss.

Posted by: Peter McDonald at June 9, 2004 01:58 PM

There is a facetious virus that goes 'round here in Washington DC, we call Potomac Fever. I don't know who coined the term but it's symptoms include an "Inside the beltway" myopia and a somtmes twisted sense of humor.

This is to give you a sense of background from which to apppreciate the following comments over heard in DC during the parading of Mr Reagan's body 'round the country... "Folk arn't here to mourn him, they're here to make sure he's gone."
"A toast to the Great Terminator from those who have been trickeled down upon." (Air traffic controlers)

Posted by: Tula at June 13, 2004 03:00 PM
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