Sunday, December 23, 2007
YouTube of the Day
This isn't a Vermont video, but I couldn't resist sharing.
My son Graham is really into construction equipment of any kind, but he especially loves excavators. Sometimes I let him sit on my lap and look at pictures of excavators on my laptop. Today I searched for excavators on YouTube and turned up some entertaining videos.
Graham liked the ones where the excavators were moving dirt, but I was surprised and delighted to find this excavator ballet. You have to see it to believe it.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
That's the title of this awesome graphic short story by Joseph Lambert in this week's Winter Reading Issue. It looks cool online, but I highly recommend viewing it in print form, so you can take it all in at once.
Joseph is a student at the Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction. I'd love to see more from CCS students in the paper. They rock.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
From the Archives
I spent a little time this week uploading some articles from January 2001 into our drupal site (with assistance from Brooke Dooley — thanks, Brooke).
I basically have to proofread and tag each article that goes up, so I actually end up reading most of these stories. It's a time-consuming process, but it's also fun.
Here are a couple forgotten gems I found this week, both of which are now available online, should you ever wish to read them in their entirety:
From Rick Kisonak's now defunct Tubefed column (1.10.01 — 7 years ago, can you believe it?!?):
Listen, the country survived the presidencies of Nixon, Reagan — even the pantless antics of Bill Clinton. I’m not worried that a barely literate frat boy like George W. Bush is going to do irreparable damage to the United States of America when he takes office days from now. I’m worried that he’ll do irreparable damage to American TV.
Ha! I think TV is actually better now than it was then. Er, of course, I don't own a TV. I watch all my TV on DVD, which I couldn't have done back then, since I didn't even own a laptop until 2003.
Here's a snippet from Peter Freyne's Inside Track (1.10.01) that made me smile:
In the Senate, before the gavel even fell, two distinguished members of the ever-expanding Senate Granny Caucus collided in an Opening Day heavyweight turf battle.
The Senate Granny Caucus, composed of Sens. Jean Ankeney, 78, and Janet Munt, 77, both Chittenden County Democrats, grew by 50 percent last week as they were joined by the only Republican to win a seat from Chittenden — Barbara Snelling, 72. Babs was the first to arrive in the 30-seat chamber last Wednesday morning, and she promptly parked herself in Seat 7, the prime, inside aisle seat in the front row.
Later, Granny Ankeney arrived and saw Granny Snelling settling in. Granny Ankeney told Seven Days Granny Snelling “had unpacked her things and appeared firmly entrenched” in Seat 7.
Sen. Ankeney said she informed Sen. Snelling that she was the senior member from Chittenden. And had decided on the way down that morning that she would occupy Seat 7 in the coming session. Get out of my seat, Babs!
Granny Snelling said she pointed out to Granny Ankeney that Seat 7 had been occupied by Republican Sen. Helen Riehle in the previous session. Babs also noted that a few years before, when Republicans were in the majority, it had been her own seat.
So much for nostalgia.
“Feeling my anger rising,” Sen. Ankeney said, “I decided to leave the chamber” to cool off a little.
As the remainder of the delegation arrived, the Great Granny Clash was all the buzz. A consensus was reached to allow the senior senator from Chittenden, Sen. Ankeney, to make the seating assignments. She did.
Ankeney got Seat 7. Snelling was assigned to Seat 12, the seat farthest away at the other end of the aisle.
“She has seniority,” Sen. Snelling told Seven Days. “That made the difference.”
“If she had not been so aggressive,” said Sen. Ankeney, “I would have given the seat to her.”
Sen. Ankeney told us she “felt miserable all day long” about the morning turf battle between Senate Grannies. In fact, Granny Ankeney later expressed a grandmotherly preference that the story of the Great Granny Clash not make it into this week’s edition.
Sadly, Sen. Ankeney passed away in 2005.
There's more to come. We're starting with 2001, and working our way back. We'll also be filling in the holes in 2002-2007. If you want to check our progress, click on the Search/Index page of our site, scroll to the bottom, and click to the last page of results. Those are the oldest stories, and they're getting older all the time.
Monday, December 17, 2007
YouTube Videos of the Weekend Storm
I just searched YouTube for Vermont videos of the weekend's storm, but I had a hard time finding any. There seem to be lots of videos from Canada though.
This one's my favorite. Some guys in an apartment above an icy road in Toronto put their camera on traffic. I feel a little guilty about laughing at this video, but it is funny. And there don't appear to have been any fatalities...
Here's a longish video from Vermont, called Vermont Storm, or "We Come From the Land of the Ice and Snow."
Here's a very short video from somewhere in Canada. I call it, "We Love You, MySpace Friends!"
Friday, December 14, 2007
Dan Gillmor Strikes Again
It's refreshing to read an articulate defense of citizen journalism from someone with legitimate Old Media cred.
The relationship between "citizen media" and "traditional media" is complicated and evolving. I think it's an exciting time to be a professional journalist. It's important for us to be engaged in the evolution of our craft.
But I still see many traditional media-types — in both the mainstream and the alternative press — instinctively take a defensive stance every time the subject comes up. I think they have some legitimate concerns, but I often see those concerns obscured by anger and fear. It's disheartening. And frustrating.
Thanks, Dan, for having an open mind, and for being a kindred spirit.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Staffing Cuts at Alt-Weeklies
Not sure if anyone else around here is paying attention to this, but there have been a bunch of staffing cuts recently at Creative Loafing-owned alt-weeklies, including the Chicago Reader and the Washington City Paper.
Creative Loafing Atlanta Editor Ken Edelstein gives an overview of the carnage:
In Atlanta, we laid off four sales people, a marketing assistant, a sales assistant and our wonderful assistant distribution manager — seven employees total. No Edit staff member was among those cuts, but that’s partly because we have a couple of open positions right now.
The edit departments at the Chicago Reader and the Washington City Paper – altweeklies that Creative Loafing Inc. bought last August — were hit a bit harder. Reader Editor Alison True had to lay off John Conroy and three other highly respected, longtime staff writers on Friday. City Paper Erik Wemple laid off four writers and an editorial assistant.
At the Reader, the cuts included Steve Bogira, who was on leave working on a book.
I'm pretty sure I saw Steve Bogira speak at an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies conference a few years ago. He wrote Courtroom 302, a widely-acclaimed account of a year in the life of a Chicago courtroom.
If memory serves, he talked about investigative reporting, about the importance of developing sources and building a sound fundamental understanding of your beat, about how there are lots and lots of important stories out there in the world for reporters who take the time to find them.
I remember that he advised the writers in the audience to spend time in courthouses, to spend the day watching trial proceedings, even if we didn't necessarily have a story to cover. He said that's how he found some of his best stories.
I remember thinking, Yeah right, like I have the time to just hang out in a courthouse. I don't have the luxury of being able to do all of this background research.
Now, I guess, neither does he.
It's too bad. He's a great reporter.
I want to point out that the editorial staff at Seven Days is growing — we added a 2nd Staff Writer and a Food Editor in 2005, an Online Editor, a Videographer and a News Editor in 2007 — but I have to admit that it's still hard for us to do the kind of research that Bogira recommended. I wonder how he'll subsidize his reporting from now on?
Friday, December 07, 2007
Good audio slideshows
This is good stuff!
Beautiful photos. And the audio editing on this cow slideshow makes me jealous. I really need to hone my Audacity skills.
Too bad I can't read more of the Valley News articles online. I actually went to the site trying to find an article. The article was linked from another website, but the link was broken. I went to the site to find the story, then I realized that they don't archive anything. And they don't post the entire paper online. What a bummer! Also a bummer that I can't tell when these slideshows appeared. And there's no contact info or masthead. So I don't really know what James Patterson does at the Valley News.
But his slideshows look great!
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
That's the name of our new winter sports blog.
And this is our blogger, Jason Starr. He'll be posting about skiing, snowboarding, sledding and other downhill-type activities.
Jason emailed me and pitched this blog a couple months ago. He really wanted to launch it in early November, but he contacted me right as we were poised to finish our web redesign, so it took a little while to get this site up and running.
Check it out, leave some comments, tell us what you think.
The name is a play on "toboggan." I wanted to put an umlaut on the 2nd "o" — just for the hell of it — but it seemed too cute.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
We heart Goma
Somehow I have neglected to mention last week's episode of Stuck in Vermont, starring Goma, this super-cute Himalayan cat. My apologies!
I mentioned Goma once before on my blog, when I introduced Sachie Tani's My Himalayan Cat Goma Blog. When I first wrote about Goma, I dismissed Sachie as just another cat blogger. But now I know that Sachie's love for Goma is real. And powerful. Watching Eva's video made me love him, too!
I wrote about Goma in my Web Page column in the paper, to draw attention to the video Eva posted online. That's what Goma is looking at in this photo from the Goma blog.
I am powerless to resist the cuteness of Goma.
Monday, December 03, 2007
Vermont YouTube of the Day
Woman mounting hay bale at Shelburne Farms. Will she make it?