Friday, August 12, 2005

A satellite peek at Lakewood and Jamestown

LAKEWOOD, New York - I'm reading a book by Thomas Friedman called The World is Flat, a look at how much the world has changed in the last 15 years - let alone in the nearly 40 years since we graduated from SWCS.

And as I was looking around today - trying to find a nice exterior shot of the Jamestown Post-Journal so I could rail more about their circulation policies - I stumbled across the satellite photos on Google that people have been telling me about, which are as astounding as I have been told.

I've played with the images a little in the past, but today when I zoomed in on Jamestown and then moved the cursor around a little, it was great fun to see Lakewood, Chautaqua Gorge, Mayville - even Frewsburg.

When the first U.S. spacecraft first landed on the moon, I was sitting watching TV with my grandmother (she was in her late 70s or early 80s at the time) who was stunned at what she saw. I was awed, too, but being a science fiction buff even then, it seemed, well, so natural for a spaceship to land and people to go stomping around.

After watching that first step out of the spacecraft, my grandmother - nicknamed Shotgun by my friends - got up and left the room, muttering to herself.

I later asked her what was going on and she just said, "NO..."


"I don't believe it," she said. "I just don't believe it."

My grandmother had been born in the 1880s, seen electricity come to her part of New York City, was the first woman in her social set ride in an automobile, lived through the inventions of the phonograph, radio, television - and God-knows-what-all - and she had simply reached her capacity for swallowing change. I believe when she died some years later, she still refused to believe that someone had walked on the moon.

We've had a few changes ourselves since the Class of '66 went careening out into the night: incredible medical advances, computers, digital photography, the Internet and on and on...

Kee-rist, I had my eyes operated on eight years ago and after a life of myopia, now have 20-20 vision. (That would have helped a lot in sports in 1966...)

Friedman's book is going to help me explain to my granddaughter about what's going on in the world today, though one of the main tenets is that things are changing so rapidly, it's hard to predict what's next.

But in the meantime, I think I'll check the Google satellite shots of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico to see if the surf is up.

The Post Journal story about Cummins

LAKEWOOD, New York - Thanks to Sue Siecker - who has a subscription to the online edition of the P-J, here's the story I was trying to access the other day when I ran that photo of Hillary Clinton with a diatribe about the newspaper.

More on that exchange with the publisher, in another posting.

In the meantime, here's what went on for all you Cummins fans.


Senator Visits Cummins Plant
To Mark 750,000th Engine


LAKEWOOD — Sen. Hillary
Clinton leaned over a massive
engine in the middle of a stuffy
Cummins Inc. plant, signing her
name next to nearly 1,000 others
sprawled across the glossy red metal.
The U.S. Senator and former first
lady visited the plant to celebrate a
Cummins milestone — the
750,000th engine produced — and
tout the passage of three bills to
improve diesel emissions.
She also praised the competitiveness
of Cummins Inc. and the importance
of the manufacturing industry
to the American economy.
‘‘What you’re doing in this plant,
building these engines, is maintaining
American competitiveness and
American jobs,’’ Mrs. Clinton told a
crowd of about 400 gathered at the
plant. ‘‘If we don’t continue to compete,
and out-compete other countries,
we’re not going to have the
quality of living we have here in
Chautauqua County and in America.’’
Before her speech, Mrs. Clinton
took a tour of the plant along with
Cummins Inc. corporate officials.
As her entourage passed different
areas, workers in t-shirts and shorts
stopped to watch for a few seconds
before filtering back to their stations.
Near the end of her tour, she
stopped at a world map poster with
push-pins to show Cummins
employees and family members stationed
overseas in the military. Later
in her speech, she spoke of a conversation
with an employee who recently
returned from serving in Iraq.
County Executive Mark Thomas,
who accompanied Mrs. Clinton during
the tour, praised the plant’s
diversity and employees’ strong
work ethic, which has allowed it to
make significant growth in the last
few years.
‘‘It takes all of us to make this
work, make this plant work, make this
county work,’’ Thomas said.
During her speech, Mrs. Clinton
told the crowd how important Cummins
has been in building engines to
help reduce diesel emissions and gave
details of her own efforts to reduce
The first, an amendment to a federal
highway transportation bill, allows
state and local governments to tap
into an $8.6 billion clean air program
to reduce pollution from construction
equipment used in federal highway
projects in areas with poor air quality.
Another amendment authorizes
$100 million to retrofit old school
buses or buy new ones to reduce emissions.
The third measure, the Diesel
Emissions Reduction Act of 2005,
establishes a five-year, $1 billion program
to fund technology to reduce
diesel pollution.
‘‘Clean diesel to me is one of the
best investments we could make, and
we couldn’t do it if Cummins wasn’t
ready to produce,’’ Mrs. Clinton said.
She also spoke about the launch of
the Senate Manufacturing Caucus,
which is intended to address the root
problems facing American manufacturers.
One of the main goals of the
Caucus is to find out how to prevent
manufacturing jobs from going overseas.
One of the main issues will be
removing roadblocks, Mrs. Clinton
‘‘You’ve got to have a level playing
field,’’ Mrs. Clinton said. ‘‘If you
want to be competitive, you’ve got to
make sure no one throws road blocks
in your way.’’
Send comments to

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

My gripe with the Jamestown Post-Journal

JAMESTOWN, New York - While ruminating about this website (and thinking about what my next posting might be) I went to the Jamestown Post-Journal website and ran across the following teaser:

Senator Visits Cummins Plant
To Mark 750,000th Engine

LAKEWOOD - Sen. Hillary Clinton leaned over a massive engine in the middle of a stuffy Cummins Inc. plant, signing her name next to nearly 1,000 others sprawled across the glossy red metal.


Now I know that some of the members of the Class of '66, their spouses, maybe even their children, work at Cummins, so I clicked for details and got the obnoxious "You Must Subscribe" window that so infuriates me when I see it on any newspaper website that I usually write a detailed letter (on real paper even) to the newspaper in question to explain some facts of life about the Internet and why charging for these kinds of stories is, well, nothing short of bullshit.

Yes, I know. The Wall Street Journal does it. But the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times don't.

Neither should the P-J. It's Bush-league bull... (and that's not a reference to the President, unless you want to take it that way).

Then I went in search of a photo of Sen. Clinton to run with this entry and found her official photo, along with tons of others. (When you are thinking about a presidential bid, you better have a hot web site. She does.)

This picture (the one in which her facial expression makes it look like its really a picture of her wax likeness at Madame Tussaud's Museum) is her official Senatorial photo. As in, this is the best she is ever going to look.

I've fired photographers for better shots than the one I have posted here. Her official photo. Kee-rist!

But I digress.

I reluctantly realize that the Jamestown Post-Journal is probably the only source of certain kinds of information about members of the Class of '66. So, for those of you who do have online subscriptions, if you run across any news of our classmates - and think it should be posted - email them in my direction.

In the meantime, I'm going to draft a letter to the publisher of the P-J (James Austin, - to offer some advice about the economics of web publishing and suggest that he give the Class of '66 a free subscription.

Maybe a lot of free subscriptions.