February 24, 2008

B-Town's Little Big Easy


Mardi Gras was crazy and crazy busy. I began my shift when the parade ended around five and, for the next 10 hours, I was flat-out. Img_0305 What a boon to the local economy, including we cabbies! I'm blogging this the day after, so it's all still a blur. But I do have some bead pics I managed to shoot.

I asked this one woman if I could take a photo of her beads. Img_0303_3 She said, "Sure, do you also want to see my breasts?" I didn't miss a beat. Img_0301 "You bet," says I, "but let's talk about that the next time I drive you without your husband."

Oh, yeah - Jernigan still got game!Img_0300

February 24, 2008 at 04:56 PM in Just Shoot Me | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 21, 2008

Political Hackie

About five years ago, Damon Brink and a couple of partners bought out the venerable Nectar Rorris and became the new owners of Nectar's Lounge and Restaurant. The town held its collective breath.Img_0296

Nectars, with its inimitable rotating orange neon sign, is the heart and soul of downtown Burlington. True, it had grown a little shabby over the last few year's of Rorris' stewardship, but I don't think anyone desired a radical change; the place was just too perfect, from the memories of early Phish to the velvet brown gravy - vats and vats over the years.

Well, Damon and his mates did great. The place has been sensitively refurbished and refreshed; the character kept intact in all the important ways. Best of all, Nectars has reestablished its place at the heart of the downtown music scene.

A couple of weeks ago, a huge political campaign sign appeared in the front window. It read, "Ron Paul 2008." Img_0295

I don't support Ron Paul, although I do appreciate his convictions and forthrightness. I find his libertarian viewpoint - trim government, leave us alone - to be unsuited for the modern, global world. For better or worse, I believe, we (all the people of the world) are on this boat together, and it is only through collective action can the pressing problems of the age be effectively addressed.

But never mind that. My problem with the Ron Paul sign is not my feelings about Ron Paul. I just don't think it's appropriate for a retail store, particularly a public gathering space like Nectars. I think that the owners are forcing, in a way, their personal politics on their customers, making them feel like, by patronizing the establishment, they are endorsing the views of the owners.

Well, I emailed to Damon and he wrote back. He made some really good points, particularly about his not wanting to separate his public and private selves, and about the Ron Paul sign being a spur to further conversation and debate. Though I still disagree with him about the propriety of the sign, I came away impressed with his thoughtfulness and honesty.

What do you think about political signage in store windows? Maybe my thinking needs to evolve on this one . . .

February 21, 2008 at 06:48 PM in Just Shoot Me | Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBack

February 15, 2008

Still a Flower Child

On V-day I discovered a winter sanctuary: the Four Seasons greenhouse at Taft's Corner. For some reason, I hadn't been there in years. Img_0275

My wife and I were shopping for a Valentine's Day plant which led us into their greenhouse which they call - I love this - "the conservatory." I find that baroque.Img_0278

The two large connected rooms are kept warm, perhaps mid-seventies, and slightly humid. This alone makes it a delightful place to be in Vermont in February.Img_0271

The array of plant life is thrilling to the eye and nose, including a selection of orchids, for goodness sake, arranged on tiered shelves.

The far end of the room features a pool of water with a bright orange goldfish big enough for a dinner for two. Img_0282 (I guess I was a tad hungry during the visit.)

What a calming setting to loll away an hour or so on a winter day. We might make this a yearly ritual.





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February 15, 2008 at 05:40 PM in Just Shoot Me | Permalink | Comments (13) | TrackBack

February 11, 2008

Ice, Ice, Baby

Something's always going on in this town. It's easy to get jaded, but let's not. We are fortunate to live in such a lively place. By contrast, my chum in Rutland said to me:   What's the difference between yogurt and Rutland? Yogurt's got an active culture. Rim Shot!Img_0266

This past weekend was the Winter Festival. It seems this event is mostly for the kiddies, but one year I'd like to get up early enough to witness the Penguin Plunge. I'm shivering just thinking about it.

On the Church Street Marketplace, ice sculptors had created some terrific pieces. I found a bittersweet quality to these works of art of such fleeting shelf life. Apparently, each work was sponsored by, and in tribute to, the restaurant in front of which it sat. Fair enough.


I took these shots at night. As you can see, each sculpture was lit up by a colored light. The mini-Eiffel-Tower in front of Leunig's was slowly dripping in the slightly-below-freezing temperature. It was trippy, baby!


February 11, 2008 at 02:40 PM in Just Shoot Me | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 20, 2007

Oh, Christmas Tree

Dont'cha just love Christmas trees in public spaces? The Burlington area has some great specimens. One of the neat parts of my job is, like the Beach Boys, I get around. Here's my picks for the three top tree jobs:

1. Honorable Mention:  The St. Michael's tree located in the field in front of the observatory on Route 15. This is a gigantous, gorgeous tree decorated with splendor every year by our friends, the Purple Knights.

(My favorite line from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail": A troop of English knights confront a French guard soldier played by John Cleese sitting lookout atop a castle wall. Cleese looks down at them with a pure distillation of French disdain, and says, "You stupid English ka-nig-its - I will fart in your general direction, I will wave my private parts at your aunties.")

2. First Runner-up:  The Church Street Marketplace tree at the foot (head?) of Church Street. It too is ginormous, and this year it's features some violet lights, which you have to love. Img_0252 The year-round Marketplace trees are bedecked with zillions of little white lights, which seem to pay tribute to the Christmas tree itself.

3. First Place:  The Shelburne Village Green Christmas tree. This beauty is located on Route 7, at the intersection of the Mt. Philo Road. There's something about this tree, it's classic simplicity, that melts my heart. Img_0245 The night of this photograph it had recently snowed and, like James Taylor sang, the Berkshires seemed dreamlike on account of that frosting . . .

December 20, 2007 at 06:35 PM in Just Shoot Me | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 18, 2007

Best Pics of 2007

Cathy Resmer, Seven Days Queen-of-All-Things-Virtual, recently asked me about the lack of pictures of late on the Yo, Hackie! blog. "Tis true, I replied, I haven't yanked out the camera for quite a while. I do intend to remedy that situation over the winter months. Until then, allow me to present the Best Pics of 2007:


Back in the spring, I had the unique pleasure of interviewing Ollie the camel from Ferrisburgh. Don't you just love his eyebrows?


Here, gazing down at us from the center of the UVM green, is Ira Allen, Vermont's hero of the Revolutionary War and founder of the University. Stern looking dude, isn't he?


What a glorious summer day this was. These are the kayaks you can rent by the hour at Perkins Pier.


This is the Johnson Cold Spring in Johnson Vermont. This is flat-out the best picture I think I've ever shot! Just blind luck on my part . . .


What a mug on this guy! Merry Christmas, friends . . .

December 18, 2007 at 09:35 PM in Just Shoot Me | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

October 21, 2007

Little Pink Houses For You and Me

Fall in Vermont is not supposed to be like this, not that I'm complaining. This past weekend the temperatures bumped against 70, and on Sunday the sky was blue as Paul Newman's eyes in Cool Hand Luke. Img_0242_2

Taking advantage of the gifts of the day, I wandered around the Old North End, taking pics of pastel-colored houses. The trend started a few years ago, and continues to spread. There's a rash of them in the Convent Square neighborhood, where I shot these.

So, when it's time to repaint the castle, be bold and get out the rainbow colors. And not just in Burlington; you folks in the mini-mansions out on Spear Street:  who says a big old house must be only dark green, gray or white?







October 21, 2007 at 05:23 PM in Just Shoot Me | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 20, 2007

My Day at the Beach or Hooking Up Catherine

This is my favorite time of year to wander around the waterfront. The weather is sumptuous and the summer crowds have dwindled. Img_0234


I strolled onto Perkins Pier, my eyes focused on the sprawling blue ahead of me, my handy camera at the ready. I am still hoping, once in this lifetime, to spot the great lake monster.

Img_0223 At my feet, I heard a scurrying and looked down. A graying brown chihuahua, the size of a squirrel, paused and gave me the once over before continuing on his way. I followed him and snapped a picture. If Champ does appear today, I thought, this pooch better move away from the water's edge because he would make a tasty hors d'oeuvre for the great beast.Img_0227

"Peanut, c'mere girl!" a woman called from the benches behind me. The mini-dog responded to her master's voice and headed towards her. I followed.

"Hey," I said, "I hope you don't mind that I snapped Peanut's picture. I thought I might post her on my blog."

"Sure," the woman replied. "What kind of blog do you write?"

"Oh, it's for Seven Days."

"You're not the taxi guy, are you?"

"I am indeed. Are you a fan of the column?"

"I love the column. You may not remember, but I emailed you a few months ago. I said that from your writing I could tell that you really understand women. I'm widowed, and it's been the hardest time finding a suitable man in this town."

I looked down at the grinning chihuahua at the feet of this warm and vivacious woman. If a hottie like this can't find a good mate, I thought to myself - well, that's just wrong.

I said, "I do remember your note, though I don't even understand toasters, so I sure don't know about women. But, anyway, how's about we post you on my blog and get you hooked up? Hackie readers are pretty cool people, if I say so myself. I bet we can dig up a good man for you."

"Well," she replied, "I'll give that a try! I mean, why not?"

So, here we go. Though this is a decent picture, I really should have taken a few more because it doesn't do justice to a very attractive woman. BTW, and not that this matters to the enlightened man, but she was wearing short shorts the day of this photo, and, let me tell you, she looked good in them. Boys, I mean good.Img_0231 She's widowed with some grown children.

So, let's hook up Catherine. If you're interested, or can recommend someone, post a comment or email me humbly stating your qualifications as a boyfriend. Broadly speaking, the winning candidate will be stout-hearted, kind-spirited to a fault, and between the ages of 40-60. I'll pass on the responses to the lady-in-waiting.



September 20, 2007 at 06:45 PM in Just Shoot Me | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 14, 2007

Digging Johnson

The past couple of weeks have delivered the most beautiful days of the summer. Could it be any sunnier? Could the breezes be more delightful? When the Fletcher Allen Hospital called me with an afternoon fare to Johnson, the smile on my face was Julia Roberts-like.

Praise be to Allah, the universe deposited me in the Green Mountains when I young man, barely out of my teens. My first Vermont home was located in the village of Johnson, just up 100C, a stone's throw from the Power House covered bridge. Img_0189

Vermonters love their covered bridges. Like family members - and there's just over 100 still standing - each one has its own name. The Power House bridge is a classic beauty, spanning the Gihon River. In the spring, the run-off from the surrounding mountains creates some terrific white water, and the river sections north and south of the bridge lure the kayakers.

Here's a shot from the western side.Img_0194_3  Can you see my taxi hanging out on the pull-off on the left?

Downtown Johnson features a community - I don't know what to call it - drinking hole right on Route 15. Img_0186 To me, it feels like a shrine, with clear mountain water streaming through every moment of every day, year after year.

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On the trip out to Johnson, I was held up in traffic along three stretches of Route 15 due to road construction squeezing the passage down to a single lane. So, for the return ride to B-town, I took an alternate route, the Pleasant Valley Road out of Jeffersonville. As I came upon a farm in Cambridge, I noticed stacks of picked pumpkins, giant and glorious, like basketballs on steroids.

On the crest of a hill appeared a collection of beauties on the vine. What stopped me in my tracks was their color, so brilliantly orange, nearly fluorescent in the late afternoon sunbeams.Img_0197  Maybe, I thought to myself, the gourds are more vibrant of color before they are harvested and begin their slow decline?Img_0198

One final note: after shooting the pumpkin pics, I began my march down from the ridge. Thirty yards from my taxi, a farm dog exploded from the barn across the road, yelping like a jackal and tearing towards me. I paused for a second, my eyeballs bulging like the actor, Marty Feldman, before bolting towards the cab. I beat the pooch by 2 seconds, leaping into the front seat and slamming the door. Photography is dangerous, people!

September 14, 2007 at 04:27 PM in Just Shoot Me | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

September 10, 2007

Female Nuptialian Behavior

The steady march towards full rights for women has certainly reached the domain of marriage ritual. Bachelor parties - a long-time staple for the groom and his cohorts - have given rise to the bachelorette parties (originally dubbed "hen" parties), where the bride gets to, well, go nuts and embarrass herself as much as her future husband.

I'm not sure how this ritual plays out in other parts of the country, but, here in the Queen City, it has become de rigueur for the bride and her pals to eventually wind up downtown carousing the bars and clubs.

These bachelorette posses are immediately identifiable amid the hubbub of a weekend night crowd:  they are the ones whooping it up on the street, arms in the air, dancing and yelling like maniacs. The matron-of-honor is generally the organizer and instigator-in-chief, leading the pack from club to club. But the women of the evening is, of course, the bride-to-be, and she is identifiable by the tiara and veil. (The demure and oh-so-dainty accoutrement of a giant inflatable penis has also become a popular carry-along.)

A beautiful and giddy bride graciously agreed to a photo by an anonymous cabbie this past weekend. Please rise in your seats - here comes the bride:



September 10, 2007 at 12:29 PM in Just Shoot Me | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack