More breaking (egg) news -- 06/18/04

A while back I mentioned how I enjoy the Friday edition of one of our local newspapers -- What? Did I say "one of our newspapers"? Indeed I did. We have two! (And you thought this was a small town.) Yes, two newspapers -- the weekly South County Independent (the new kid on the block, a weekly, started maybe six years or so ago) and the Narragansett Times (since 1855, Wednesdays and Fridays) -- anyway, the Friday Narraganssett Times has a feature on its editorial page called Times Past, featuring news items from 100, 50, 25, and 10 years ago. (I'm looking forward to next year, when they could add 150 years ago to this feature -- but, I may have to buy the Friday issue on the newsstand because their editorial position on certain school issues and in support of a certain candidate for the state senate has Nancy so angry she does not want to renew our subscription.)

Anyway, apparently eggs were a hot local topic in 1904 (read that March entry for details) because the topic came up again in today's 100 years ago news: "Two big eggs have been left at the Times office the past week. They were from the poultry yard of Stephen Gardiner of Point Judith. Each weighed four and one-half ounces, were laid within a week, and it is supposed that the same fowl produced both."

I'm sorry, but this stuff just cracks me up.

You may have read my recent entry called Jailbreak! which told about a Historical Society play about colonial era counterfeiting. That apparently continued into more relatively modern times because the 100 years ago news also included an item reporting that the president of the Crahan Engraving Company of Providence, who was familiar to Narragansett Times readers because he had supplied many of the pictures that had appeared in the paper, had been convicted of counterfeiting and sentenced to fifteen years in prison. "Crahan's conviction of this crime was a surprise to his friends as his reputation in Providence was good and he had built up a successful business." They also report that his plan had been "to get rid of the money at racetracks." (Whereas our local colonial era counterfeiting scheme had apparently involved the stage coach line.)

Of course not much ever changes in Rhode Island... or "Rogue's Island" as is sometimes called. We are currently in the middle of a high-priced public relations campaign between the Narragansett Tribal Nation (with the considerable financial backing of the Harrah's casino corporation of Las Vegas) which wants to build a huge casino complex (absolutely anywhere in the state where they can con the local residents into falling for their pitch) and the combined efforts of the Newport Grand and Lincoln Park (the Newport Grand had begun as a Jai Alai fonton, had gradually added slot machines and simulcast racing, and then recently dumped the Jai Alai to be totally a pseudo-casino -- Lincoln Park is a dog racing track that likewise has added slot machines and video poker and simulcast racing to become a pseudo-casino and which has recently been the subject of some federal charges of bribery of state officials.) [Oh, my goodness, a Rhode Island politician accept a bribe -- why I can't believe it!] The voices of those who think the whole idea of government supported casino gambling may not be a good thing seem to be lost in the noise of this high-stakes competition between the Narragansetts and Harrah's who want a casino and the Newport Grand and Lincoln Park who are totally against it because they don't want the competition for emptying sucker's wallets.

(One of these days I'm going to write a letter-to-the-editor -- a modest proposal -- that we should cut to the chase and have government-sponsored prostitution and government-sponsored cocaine sales franchises -- why think of the money it would raise for schools and for senior citizen centers -- just think of the children -- and the starving elderly citizens who need our help.)

Okay, one more century-old news flash: the Providence police commissioners "have declared war upon the selling of revolvers and cartridges to youths for the purpose of celebrating the Fourth of July." Wow! These days they worry about people setting off contraband fireworks and in 1904 they were worried about kids buying handguns to make noise on the 4th of July. Well, in most of the state they worry about that; in Providence they are probably more worried about teenage gangs using automatic weapons in drive-by shootings, either drug-traffic related or in retaliation for prior drive-by shootings or maybe just because. [Last year a Providence teen (and gang member) was accidentally shot and killed by his best friend -- they had both been shooting at people in a car and one inadvertently stepped into the other's line of fire -- the mother of the deceased was screaming her outrage on the front page because this was obviously the fault of the police. Yes, I'm politically incorrect. I just recall of the slogan "Think of it as evolution in action."]

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