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April 2009

April 29, 2009

The Simpsons on Your Mail!

Image011 You all probably know by now that the USPO is adding a Simpsons stamp to its repertoire of American luminaries, sports figures, flags, the Forever, etc. Can I get a doh?

Anyway, the Simpsons being from a certain Springfield, OUR Springfield is holding a daylong cancellation event at its PO on May 7, the day the stamp comes out. You'll recall that the Vermont town was the winner in a national vote for its locally produced video representing the fictional setting of the tv show.

S'field is a bit of a hike for us up here in Burlington, but the place will no doubt be swarming with area fans of the country's favorite dysfunctional family. Hours, of course, are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Customers can feel free to pester, I mean, call the Springfield PO at 802-885-4103.

Finkerman's Redux

For us meat lovers, the world is looking up. First brunch returned at Souza's – by the way, since going back to its regular price, the offerings have greatly expanded. My brunch there two weeks ago was their best yet! – now hog hogs can get their fill at Finkerman'sBarbecue. Well, sort of.
From now until May 3, Ariel's Riverside Café and Bar is offering the Finkerman's menu as a special. I am planning on heading to Montpelier at least once to chow down on my favorite pulled pork sandwich ever. I hope they have their local cheddar mac and cheese, always so sharp and creamy. What I know the Fink-Dubermans will be offering is bottles of their trademark barbecue sauce in regular and hot. I will have to make an investment in more than one bottle of the smoky, vinegary and just-spicy-enough hot variety. My heart is beating faster just thinking about it. See you there?

Ariel's Riverside Café and Bar

188 River Street, Montpelier 229-2295

B of P Needs You!

I don't know why, but I found the following line in an email today hilarious:
"The Battle of Plattsburgh Commemoration Committee, originally formed in 1997, is in urgent need of more help if they are to maintain the quality of program that we have all become accustomed to over the past 11 years."

What's so funny about that? I have no idea. Nothing to the beleagured B of P folks over in P'burg. The commemoration weekend--surely not to be outdone by the Champlain Quadricentennial--includes all sorts of history-centric activities, including the intriguingly named Plucky Rooster contest. I'm thinking of entering, as soon as I find out what it is.

Seriously, though, the Battle of Plattsburgh was a turning point in saving us from British domination (I personally succumbed to the British Invasion of the 1960s, however). And btw, it was on 9/11. In 1814. And if these good folks need help keeping the history, spirit and plucky roosters alive, well, there are worse ways to serve your country.

If this has swayed any patriots' minds, contact Kit Booth at 518-563-4275 or Gary VanCour at 518-563-7077 for details. And check out this website.

April 28, 2009

What the World Needs Now

Besides love? A good guffaw. And one opportunity is the Vermont "Laugh In" event, for World Laughter Day on Sunday, May 3. The Richmond Free Library, at 201 Bridge Street, is allowing silence to be broken "to contribute to the international movement of world peace through laughter."

Whatever it takes, right?

Organizers are hoping for at least 100 folks to show up and laugh their asses off--you know, the 100th monkey theory. But if you go you'll be in the cosmic company of 100s of thousands of participants around the globe who participate in this "laughter yoga movement," conceived in 1995 by a Indian medical doctor by the name of Madan Kataria. Laughter is the best medicine, he probably figured.

From what we heard about the last local event, in Burlington, the giggles really were contagious. Sure beats the swine flu.

For more info, call Dawn at 802-349-5404, email [email protected] or visit the website.

North Beach "Discovery"

We’ve all seen those Discovery Channel shows that document the mass mating rituals of animals, whereupon some species — be it turtles, penguins, seals, horseshoe crabs — briefly takes over the beach in a reproductive frenzy. So it was at North Beach on Saturday when thousands of scantily clad college students converged for a massive, rite-of-spring party.

You could hear the roar of the rock-concert-sized crowd well in advance of seeing it, but the scene itself — virtually every inch of the park was occupied by a young body — was an eye-popper. Stunned travelers on the bike path stopped and stared at the sea of people sunbathing, parading around in bikinis, playing frisbee, drinking beer and smoking pot. A few brave souls even ventured into the frigid water. Not a Burlington cop in sight.

Despite their alcohol-enhanced oblivion, you couldn’t hate these kids too much for seizing an impossibly warm day to celebrate the end of a long, cold winter. And, I guess, finals. Too bad no one has learned them to pick up their freakin’ trash.

Vermont's Flu Pandemic Preparedness

Last fall, Seven Days ran a cover story evaluating Vermont's level of preparedness for the next flu pandemic. As I discovered at the time, there was a wide spectrum of awareness in Vermont on this issue, from the "Yes, we're on top of it," to "the pan-what now?" Some organizations and businesses, such as public utilities, banks and major corporations, have spent considerable time and money on their planning, in large part because the feds require them to. Meanwhile, others in Vermont, such as many small businesses and, shockingly, Vermont's funeral industry, seemed woefully ill-prepared for it.

Unfortunately, the story was poorly timed, as it hit the streets on November 5, just as another pandemic was sweeping the globe: Obama-mania. Sadly, the story didn't make much of a splash at the time. In fact, several loyal 7D readers wrote to bitch us out for dropping a monstrous turd in Obama's inaugural punchbowl. "How could you run such a bummer of a story," they wailed, "on the day after the most jubilant and historic election of our lives?"

F-pandemic-Careless_SpittingSorry to bust your bubble, readers, but sometimes the truth hurts. As Dr. Christopher Grace, director of infectious disease at Fletcher Allen Health Care, pointed out, "The longest time period in the last 300 years between pandemics was 42 years. Our last pandemic was 40 years ago. You do the math."

It's worth checking out the article again — or for the first time, if you missed it. And, FYI, if you're interested in tracking the coming plague in real time, here are a few interesting links for bypassing the mainstream media's coverage and getting your info straight from the swine's mouth. 

Now cover that mouth when you sneeze, and for God's sake, wash those hands!

And, for the truly obsessed...

Please feel free to send us some of your own.

[Ed. note: The video shows Ken discussing the story on Inside Seven Days.]

A Schpadoinkle Tuesday Link Dump

The sky is blue, and all the leaves are green.  Enjoy your Vermont blog links for the day, but don't stay inside for too long.

  • Current events songs seem to be all the rage lately.  The Gregory Brothers out of Brooklyn have been making a splash by auto-tuning the news:

(H/T False 45th)

The Smart Way to Use Twitter to Learn About Swine Flu

Twitter_logo_header In a blog post Sunday night, I recommended using Twitter — specifically the hashtag #swineflu — to keep up with the latest news of the outbreak.

Since then, I've seen critical blog posts and stories charging that Twitter is spreading misinformation, and does more harm than good. Here's the latest report from CNN, entitled "Swine flu creates controversy on Twitter" (which I found on Twitter). It cites four sources, including Evgeny Morozov — who wrote the cautionary blog post I cited Sunday — all of whom essentially warn users to take information on Twitter "with a grain of salt."

Well duh.

Have you seen the #swineflu hashtag? Click over there if you like. You'll see a random sampling of information, some of which is useful, some of which is not. How can you tell which is which? Here are a few tweets from the stream. See if you can tell the good info from the bad. I'll put my reactions in parentheses.

NameInAHat: Want to know how Name In A Hat can help your business cope with Swine Flu? Email [email protected] for more info #swineflu
(not surprisingly, swine flu attracts spam).

rolando: looking forward to the rest of the plagues the End Times bring us. #swineflu
(ha ha)

wsredneck: I wonder if the #swineflu came from people putting lipstick on a pig the last campaign season? #tcot
(good one)

vdovault: Okay for Americans concerned about #swineflu you can follow @CDCemergency Good info from the Centers for Disease Control there :)
(true enough)

Thyladyinred: spread the facts about #swineflu : visit @CDCemergency and retweat valid information
(good advice)

gbattle: This just about explains everything: #swineflu
(very funny picture -- laughter is the best medicine, right?)

SwineFluWatch: WORLD NEWS: New Zealand confirms cases of swine flu  #swineflu
(link to article from Reuters)

iHomeTech: HT - News - RT @GenevaMWilgus: great Q&A on #SwineFlu by the BBC
(link to Q&A from the BBC)

It can take some time to sort the signal from the noise, but the process is definitely entertaining. Just ignore the spam and the alarmist tweets and look for the good stuff.

I should add that Twitter is not for everyone — news junkies like me love wading through Twitter chatter, but my partner, Ann-Elise, is not interested. I was trying to explain it to her Sunday night, and telling her how we could use it to find links to all kinds of info. She cut me off. "I just don't want to know about Twitter," she said. "This is where I draw the line."

FYI — the Vermont Department of Health now has a Twitter feed. Click here to follow it. Not much going on there, but it's a start. Hat tip to Morgan Brown of Vermont Watch for suggesting the idea.

Herb and the BBC

Henrietta Henspecker of the BBC recently interviewed local rock star/sketch comedian Herb van der Poll in his basement dwelling also known as Pure Pop Records:

Community Sailing Center Video

Torrey Paquette made this cool video about the Community Sailing Center.  This warm weather makes me want to get on a boat and float away (except for the getting up early part)!

Stuck in VT (VIDEOS)

Solid State (Music)

Mistress Maeve (Sex)

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