Blurt: Seven Days Staff Blog

NOTE: Blurt has been retired and is no longer updated regularly. For new content, follow these links:

OFF MESSAGE: Vermont News and Politics
BITE CLUB: Food and Drink Blog

« October 2009 | Main | December 2009 »

November 2009

November 23, 2009

Corm & The Coach Return to the Local Airwaves ... Tomorrow

Corm&CoachUPDATED: TUESDAY 11:45 A.M.

It's official, Steve Cormier ("Corm") and Tom Brennan ("The Coach") will bring their morning talk show back to the Vermont airwaves — tomorrow.

In August, Cormier announced the pair would return to the air this fall, reviving their popular morning show that once aired on Champ 101.3 FM. Tomorrow, the new Corm & the Coach show will air on WNMR-FM (107.1 FM) from 6-9 a.m.

The show will differ from its previous incarnation, said Cormier. "This new show is going to be a talk show with very little music," he said. "That means we're going to have more guests and more listener involvement."

Brennen and Cormier announced the return of the show at the site of their last on-the-road broadcast — Burlington Bay Market & Cafe. That show aired July 1, 2008.

The revamped show's first guests will be Bob Ryan, sports columnist for the Boston Globe, and U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT).

Continue reading "Corm & The Coach Return to the Local Airwaves ... Tomorrow" »

The Great Turkey Chase

Turkey_chase_2009_large On a normal Saturday in November, I'd be sitting on the couch, twiddling my thumbs and cursing myself for ever moving to this god forsaken land of Canada Minor. But this past Saturday, I got up off my fat duff and did something productive — I rode in the second annual Great Turkey Chase.

The Great Turkey Chase is the brainchild of my friend Elgee (we'll use pseudonyms to protect the innocent) and a bitchin' way to get exercise while simultaneously doing something good for the community and scaring the living bejesus out of yourself. Here's the gist of it:

The event is an alley cat race, or an informal urban bike race that pits cool fixie kids against other cool fixie kids in a battle of radness and bikemanship. Think Brooklyn bike messengers riding bikes with handlebars narrower than my waist. These are not folks who wear Spandex clown kits or tip-tap bike shoes. They wear skinny jeans, Vans and neon sunglasses. Most don't even wear helmets. And if they do, they're limited edish and rad.

Alley cat races normally involve a series of checkpoints and large quantities of utility beer like PBR, Genny Cream Ale or Stroh's. Instead, this race involved collecting Thanksgiving food items for the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf. Altruism mixed with bicycling and tomfoolery. What could be better?

This race was based on a series of 10 checkpoints, each one a corner store, a supermarket or a gas station. At each location, racers were required to buy a foodstuff — gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, etc. We had to hit the checkpoints in order, but we could pick the route.

Continue reading "The Great Turkey Chase " »

November 22, 2009

Sharon Jones, I Love You

20071003_sharon_jones Dear Sharon Jones,

I think I love you. But not in that way.

I, like most other white people, have never been to a soul show, so I wasn't sure what to expect Friday night when I went to see you at Higher Ground. Sure, I've liked your music for a couple years now and had a feeling what the live version might be like, but you never know. You could be a total clanger live, like Liz Phair or Bob Dylan.

When I arrived at the venue, having timed it just right to miss the opener, I was amazed at what I saw — a room full of white people. But not just one kind of white people — all different types of pale. Hipster white people and oldster white people. Fratty white people and conservative-looking white people. And then there were folks like me: boring-ass, garden variety white people. If you are not already on the list of Stuff White People Like, then we need to get you on it.

Of course, there were some people of color there as well. The seven black people who live in Vermont showed up, and for that I am grateful. It would have been embarrassing for all involved if the crowd was composed solely of a bunch of uncoordinated, pasty people.

Continue reading "Sharon Jones, I Love You" »

Whatever Happened to Mike Ives?

Mike-Ives Staff writer Mike Ives left Seven Days in May, after spending two years writing news and feature stories about Vermont life. He's been traveling in Asia ever since.

We get dispatches from him every once in a while — he sent an email last week to let us know that he's been picking up freelance writing gigs overseas, using Hanoi, Vietnam, as a home base. Next month he'll be following the Vietnamese national soccer team to a tournament.

He sent along a links to three blog posts he wrote for Outside magazine, about a rock climbing festival he attended in Yangshuo, China. Read them if you want to live vicariously through our friend, the foreign correspondent.

Continue reading "Whatever Happened to Mike Ives?" »

November 20, 2009

Full Text of Auditor Tom Salmon's Speech

Auditor Tom Salmon Speaks On Government Transparency and Personal Responsibility

As Dickens wrote: “It was the best of times ... it was the worst of times.” This press conference is dedicated to warrior within all of us.

Thank you all for coming ... Vermonters ...

Today is a day for facts, transparency and clarity. One of the main reasons is because after today, I will not be available for comments on certain issues until after December 3.

On Transparency:
I’ve made myself available- have fielded lots of questions over the past several weeks. Some would say I took too many … but as a statewide elected official, I need to be questioned, transparent, and available. My position as auditor is charged with holding  people, agencies and departments accountable for spending taxpayer dollars. I get lots of questions ... one of the most unique, “Do you believe in God?”  Of course I believe. I need faith to do my job, in order to say what I mean and mean what I say as a public servant and a Vermonter, unafraid of any issue or any person.

Continue reading "Full Text of Auditor Tom Salmon's Speech" »

State Auditor Answers Questions about DUI, Finances

Salmon In a wide-ranging and at times rambling press conference Friday, State Auditor Tom Salmon addressed a number of personal and public shortcomings that have come to light in recent weeks

He dedicated his Statehouse press conference to "the warrior in all of us."

For 45 minutes, Salmon walked reporters through his political and personal biography, offering his assessment of the state's financial condition and his own private failings along the way. Those include his recent arrest for driving while under the influence, and racking up nearly $30,000 in debt while living in Los Angeles and not repaying it until after he was sworn in as the state's fiscal watchdog.

"What I want to say to Vermonters is, 'I am sorry and I apologize,'" said Salmon. "I screwed up and made a mistake."

To get a sense of the variety of topics, and Salmon's comments, check out my Twitter feed. To read the prepared text of his speech, click here.

Salmon did tackle a few issues head on, including what prompted his own financial struggles, and why he is giving promotions and pay raises in his office while simultaneously calling for state government and unemployed workers to do more with less.

Salmon said a $48,000 stock loss due the collapse of Enron prompted his financial troubles. He also tackled questions about his DUI arrest, which came after a night of drinking with colleagues celebrating promotions and pay raises in the office.

Continue reading "State Auditor Answers Questions about DUI, Finances" »

Immigration and Customs Enforcement Crack Down on VT Dairy Farms

Continuing its fine coverage of the plight of undocumented workers on Vermont's dairy farms, the Addison County Independent reported yesterday that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has begun inspecting Vermont dairy farms and subpoenaing their employment records. According to a Vermont Agency of Agriculture spokesperson, at least four Vermont dairy farms were issued subpoenas in an effort by ICE to ferret out farm laborers who've either overstayed their work visas or entered the country illegally. The inspections and subpoenas are part of a larger, nationwide sweep of more than 1000 workplaces, the Addy Indy's Kathryn Flagg reports.

Although the Agency of Ag hasn't identified which farms were targeted, the Burlington Free Press reported this morning that the affected farms were in Orleans and Franklin counties. It's estimated that more than 2000 undocumented laborers are employed in Vermont's dairy industry, though experts caution that reliable estimates are hard to come by.

Back in 2003, Seven Days first profiled the plight of Vermont's undocumented workers, who comprise an estimated 75 percent of all ag laborers in the region. Immigration advocates say that the vast majority are Mexican men, many of whom work long hours for minimal pay and support families back home.

November 19, 2009

Democratic Gubernatorial Forum: Follow Along!

Around 6:30 p.m., the five Democratic candidates for governor will take the stage in Burlington for an hourlong forum where each will answer four questions about Vermont's environment.

This is the second time the candidates will meet to talk about how they, as governor, would tackle various environmental challenges. The last time, however, Sen. Doug Racine (D-Chittenden), was out of the country at the time.

Tonight's forum is being hosted by the Vermont League of Conservation Voters, and will be streamed live on WPTZ. It's being held inside the Main Street Performing Arts Center in Burlington.

Continue reading "Democratic Gubernatorial Forum: Follow Along!" »

November Is So Noir

Big-sleep If I had 16 hours to spend in Montpelier this weekend, you would find me at the Savoy Theater's annual Noir November mini-fest. This Saturday and Sunday at the Savoy, you can watch classic films noirs (as the French call 'em) at 10 a.m., noon, 2 and 4 — for free.

First there's The Killers, starring Burt Lancaster and Ava Gardner (va-va-voom!). Then Orson Welles' Touch of Evil. Then Rififi, the famous '50s heist movie that influenced later stylish flicks like Reservoir Dogs. Saturday ends with The Big Sleep, featuring Bogie, Bacall, Raymond Chandler's immortal dialogue, and a plot so tangled that the screenwriters (who included William Faulkner) asked the author to explain it, please. (Chandler wrote to a friend, "They sent me a wire... asking me, and dammit I didn't know either.")

Continue reading "November Is So Noir" »

Get the Free Press for (Almost) Free


If you haven't heard the news, the state's largest daily newspaper is offering a "special introductory rate" for friends and family of Burlington Free Press employees.

The deal?

For the low, low price of $2 you can have the Thursday and Sunday papers delivered to your home (along with the advertising flyers and circulars stuffed inside) for one year. Given the cost to create the content, print and deliver the paper, it sounds like a losing proposition for the Freeps, but quite the deal for readers.

But hurry — the deadline to sign up is tomorrow. We've been told that Free Press staffers will even personally come to your door and collect the $2.

Can't say we blame the Freeps for trying. As Andy Bromage reported a couple of weeks ago, circulation at the Freeps and other daily papers has plummeted over the years.

Continue reading "Get the Free Press for (Almost) Free" »

Stuck in VT (VIDEOS)

Solid State (Music)

Mistress Maeve (Sex)

All Rights Reserved © Da Capo Publishing Inc. 1995-2012 | PO Box 1164, Burlington, VT 05402-1164 | 802-864-5684