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NOTE: Blurt has been retired and is no longer updated regularly.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

19 posts categorized "Weblogs" Feed

September 17, 2012

Blurt Is No More. Here's Where to Find New Seven Days Content

You may have seen the new blogs that we've been launching here in Seven Days-land in recent weeks. Now that those are up, it's official: We're retiring the Blurt blog. R.I.P., Blurt.

Our dear friend Blurt, in all its green-tentacled, drooling glory, has served us well since early 2008. But it's changed a lot through the years — from odd photos and video clips from all over the internet in the early days to its recent life as a place primarily for longer stories that popped up outside of the usual weekly publishing cycle of our dead-tree edition. There's nothing wrong with that, but, being an internet-friendly, 21st-century news organization, we want our blogs to feel like, well, blogs. 

So that's why we started two separate blogs dedicated to two of our most popular areas of coverage: the news-and-politics blog Off Message, and the food-and-drink blog Bite Club. On both blogs, expect a more frequent publishing schedule, more photos and video, and more links to stuff our staffers are reading around the web.

Content that used to be on Blurt that doesn't fit in with those two blogs, such as arts news and the Movies You Missed DVD reviews, will be posted on our main website at There's now a big widget for web-exclusive stories outside the usual weekly publishing schedule on the website. And the best way to make sure you don't miss any Seven Days content is to subscribe to our email newsletters and follows us on Twitter and Facebook.

It's important to note: no content is going away! Old links will continue to work here, and future posts in longtime Blurt staples will have a new home — Grazing and Alice Eats are both now on Bite Club, for example. We're just doing some reshuffling to make our web structure more sensible and, we hope, better.

We'll miss the little green monster, though. Sleep well, little guy.

August 08, 2012

Cruiser-Crushin' Vermont Farmer Becomes an Internet Hero

Tractor-memeBy now you're probably familiar with Roger Pion, the Newport farmer who went all HULK SMASH on seven Orleans County Sheriff's Department vehicles last week. Pion, who was reportedly angry over a previous marijuana arrest, is now facing more than a dozen charges in connection with his tractor rampage.

But it's not all bad news for Pion — he's got the Internet on his side. Shortly after Pion's story hit the news, someone created a Facebook page called "Roger Pion, the magnificent," which has accumulated 1512 likes as of this writing. On that page you'll find some excellent works of Photoshop — Pion in his finest Ethan Allen get-up, his now-infamous tractor in progressively wilder situations, plus other takeoffs on popular online memes. That's right: Roger Pion is now an Internet folk hero.

Continue reading "Cruiser-Crushin' Vermont Farmer Becomes an Internet Hero" »

June 01, 2012

A "Two-Fisted" or "Ham-Fisted" Attorney General?

When Attorney General Bill Sorrell launched his reelection campaign Wednesday at the Statehouse, he had clearly settled on a metaphor to describe his 15 years in office: that of a hard-charging fighter, ready to take the gloves off and beat his big, bad corporate opponents to smithereens.

Just a few lines into his announcement, the boxer/lawyer said, "I have been called a 'two-fisted attorney general,' and there's a reason for that: I have never backed away from aggressively but fairly enforcing our laws — even when confronting wealthy and powerful opponents."

Sorrell was so taken with the image, he repeated it again near the end of his prepared remarks: "Zealous and impartial enforcement of our campaign finance laws will remain a priority — and this 'two-fisted attorney general' will fight, fight, fight to uphold Vermont's laws, giving Vermonters a real say as to the future of Entergy's operations in the state."

So who exactly referred to the AG as he with the two fists? The New York Times? The Harvard Law Review? The Rutland Herald editorial page?

Not so much.

Continue reading "A "Two-Fisted" or "Ham-Fisted" Attorney General?" »

January 20, 2012

Reid Postpones Vote on PROTECT IP Act; Leahy Criticizes Senate Colleagues

Wiki-blackoutWednesday was the day the internet stood still to protest a pair of antipiracy bills in the U.S. Congress — and it looks like it worked. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has postponed a vote on the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA), a much-criticized bill sponsored by Sen. Patrick Leahy.

"In light of recent events, I have decided to postpone Tuesday's vote on the PROTECT I.P. Act," Reid said in a statement. This doesn't mean PIPA is dead, though — just sleeping for now. Reid, who supported the bill, praised Leahy's work on PIPA and stressed that there remains a need for strong antipiracy legislation.

In a statement of his own, Leahy said he understood Reid's decision to indefinitely postpone the vote, but he blasted his Senate colleagues for making a "knee-jerk reaction," and said that criminals are "smugly watching how the United States Senate decided it was not even worth debating how to stop the overseas criminals from draining our economy." Leahy's full statement is after the jump.

Continue reading "Reid Postpones Vote on PROTECT IP Act; Leahy Criticizes Senate Colleagues" »

January 02, 2012

New Commenting System on Blurt: Introducing Disqus

With a new year comes a new way of leaving comments here on Blurt. We've installed the Disqus commenting widget, which you may have seen before — more than a million websites use Disqus to handle their comments now. We're considering this a trial run, so if it fails miserably, we'll switch back to the old way or do something new. But we like Disqus so far, and we think you'll like it too.

Here are some preemptive answers to questions. If you have other questions, leave a comment in the shiny new Disqus widget box below, or email me (tyler at sevendaysvt dot com).

Continue reading "New Commenting System on Blurt: Introducing Disqus" »

August 03, 2011

WTF Was With All That (802) Crap On Facebook?

One of Stephen King's greatest skills as a horror writer is how he uses the misinformation spun in small town rumor mills as a character itself to expose the vulnerability of his subjects' fragile collective subconscious. Then he turns that vulnerability against them, and against us as readers. The scariest things in his books aren't vampires, plagues, ax-wielding writers or killer clowns. The scariest things are regular people and their capacity for evil when presented with mistruths. (OK, Pennywise from "It" was flippin' terrifying. But I digress.)  

Tuesday, Burlingtonites experienced a similar phenomenon, albeit far less sinister, with the first (we think) Fake Burlington Rumor Day on Facebook. Local Facebook users were prompted to update their FB statuses with fake local rumors and tag them with 802 in parentheses. (VT's area code, obviously, but also the day's date, August 2.)

Status updates ranged from inside jokes between friends to "secondhand" info about local businesses closing (or burning down, or being busted for dealing meth) to pregnancies to … well, you name it. On Tuesday, Facebook in the Queen City was turned upside down and inside out. It was as though some great hand reached down and lifted the veneer from the real, and ever-active Burlington rumor mill, exposing its twisted inner workings for all to see. It was a fascinating social experiment. It was frightening theater. For many, especially BTV expats, it was just really confusing. And more often than not, it was downright hilarious.

Continue reading "WTF Was With All That (802) Crap On Facebook?" »

July 02, 2011

Shay Totten Retains Crown, Alice Levitt Named Top Social Foodie on Burlington Social Media Day

Party Burlington's social media mavens came together to celebrate the second annual Social Media Day on Thursday, and Seven Days political columnist Shay Totten was once again heralded as their "social media king." Digital strategist Rich Nadworny, Earl Handy of Handy's Lunch and write-in candidate David Farré of the Burlington Free Press made valiant efforts to unseat the reigning Tweeter, but King Totten wielded his powerful iron fist and cruelly put down the rebellion. Either that, or more people voted for him in the awards contest.

The Social Media Queen crown went to Nicole Ravlin of PMG Public Relations. It was her second straight win, too. Wait, does this mean the local social media community is more like a dictatorship?

Organizers handed out the king and queen awards at a nighttime party at Bluebird Tavern. There were other prizes, too. Shay Totten also took home the award for best print media personality, and Seven Days food writer Alice Levitt was named the top "social foodie." Full results are listed at the end of this post.

Continue reading "Shay Totten Retains Crown, Alice Levitt Named Top Social Foodie on Burlington Social Media Day" »

June 14, 2011

7 Questions For ... Greenpeace Activist Hannah McHardy

GP02E3F Sterling College graduate Hannah McHardy is back home after her high-stakes hijacking of a deep-water oil rig off the coast of Greenland — and she's got a story to tell.

McHardy, 25, and another Greenpeace activist spent four days inside an "Arctic survival pod" underneath the oil rig earlier this month, protesting the planned drilling by Scottish company Cairn Energy. Using a spotty Internet signal from a nearby support vessel, she tweeted, blogged and v-logged the action live and gave media interviews using a satellite phone.

The stand-off ended on June 2 when the Danish navy arrested McHardy  and her cohort (pictured) for trespassing inside an "exclusion zone" around the rig.

Now back in the U.S.A., Seven Days caught up with McHardy by phone from her home in New York, where she's recuperating from an Arctic cold.

SEVEN DAYS: Last we knew you were in Vermont researching bioremediation at an old asbestos mine in Lowell. How in the world did you end up in an Arctic survival pod on an oil rig near Greenland?

Continue reading "7 Questions For ... Greenpeace Activist Hannah McHardy" »

April 07, 2011

Vermonter Who Threatened on Twitter to Kill Obama Will Plead Guilty

CKPI Chris King, the stand-up comedian who was arrested by U.S. Secret Service agents after tweeting death threats to the White House, has agreed to plead guilty.

According to filings in federal court in Burlington, King (pictured) will plead guilty on April 13 to a single count of threatening to kill the President of the United States. The plea comes with a possible sentence of up to five years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and up to $250,000 in fines, according to the plea agreement.

In August, the 43-year-old King, who lives in Bellows Falls, tweeted a message to @WhiteHouse, from the handle @SmellyOlTerriss, that read "I am dying inside. And I am plainly stating to you that I am going to kill the president." 

Secret Service agents arrested King at his home shortly after for the federal crime of "threats against the president and successors to the presidency." Agents had visited King at home at least once before for things he wrote on his blog.

Click here and here for previous Seven Days coverage of King.

Raised in Vermont, King worked as a stand-up comic in the Orlando, Florida area under the name "Chris King Pop Icon" in venues like Will's Pub before moving back to Vermont in 2005 to care for his ailing father, according to published reports and court records. His stand-up material was a mix of political humor, gonzo rants, conspiracy theories and penis jokes, according to those who knew him in Florida.

Nothing suggests King's threat was a joke, though federal prosecutors have said they do not believe King attempted to carry out his threat against Obama. (Side note: King did pay a visit to Sen. Patrick Leahy's office in Washington D.C. on June 28, 2010 — and filmed it. Ustream video below).

Continue reading "Vermonter Who Threatened on Twitter to Kill Obama Will Plead Guilty" »

March 08, 2011

Jim Douglas on Twitter? Could He Possibly Be This Bland?

Picture 1 At first glance, everything about the Twitter account @JimDouglasVT looks plausible.

The official-looking photo. The Vermont state flag wallpaper. The just-the-facts-ma'am bio ("I just retired after four terms as Governor and am teaching at Middlebury College.") His list of followers (@ShayTotten, @WCAXnewsdesk).

Most convincingly, the tweets are every bit as bland as you'd expect from the recently retired gov. Check out this sampling of recent tweets:

Fmr Gov Jim Douglas
JimDouglasVT Fmr Gov Jim Douglas
Choc chip pancakes and real vt maple syrup? Breakfast for dinner is the best!

Fmr Gov Jim Douglas
JimDouglasVT Fmr Gov Jim Douglas
I can't handle this freezing and thawing every day. Pick a side, Vermont!
Fmr Gov Jim Douglas
JimDouglasVT Fmr Gov Jim Douglas
This office is like a sauna. I bet #MiddleburyCollege could close their deficit by just turning down the heat

And my personal favorite....

Fmr Gov Jim Douglas
JimDouglasVT Fmr Gov Jim Douglas
Finally heard that song #YesWeCan on uTube. . . surprisingly catchy.

Call me gullible, but I was totally ready to believe this was the real Douglas. I just figured that this is what happens when politicians start tweeting for themselves rather than having their relatively more tech-savvy aides do it for them.

Continue reading "Jim Douglas on Twitter? Could He Possibly Be This Bland?" »

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