WEEKLY HUM ( 06-23-06 )

Our HumDrum award, which picks out the week's best letter to the editor, goes to Roger Donegan of Hinesburg. In a dispatch appearing in the June 21 Seven Days, Donegan rails on columnist Peter Freyne with regard to Freyne's rubberstamping of candidate Bernard Sanders. Donegan then goes on to Bernie bash:
  • Sanders backed Nicaraguan general Daniel Ortega.
  • Sanders tried to halt NATO's rescue in the Balkans.
  • Sanders kibitzing with America hater, Venezuelan chief Hugo Chavez.
  • Sanders has a prob with Tarrant selling IDX to GE, but no prob with Ben & Jerry selling out to dreaded corporate monolith Unilever.
  • Sanders blasted U.S. government for hiding info about WMD's in first Gulf War.
At the end of the letter, the writer suggests that Sanders is less Nathan Hale and more Nathan Hotdog.

Editor's note: our picks are not so much the ideology of the writer, but more the power, style or humor of the submission.

"Gee, we need additional revenue. We need to increase profits. We need more money. Hey, let's build a golf course!"
Hell, yeah. That's what many garden center operators, farmers, winter resort managers and investors are saying all across the northeast. If you plan well and have a half decent location, they will come. For every senior who can't afford a 90 dollar prescription, there is a self-involved golfer who will happily pluck down 90 dollars for an afternoon chasing a little white ball. How often do you hear of a golf course going out of business? Like insurance companies, not often.
By the way, the newest golf course in the area is the Catamount Country Club, located in Williston. They've got a nice spot with a restaurant and large space for big parties.

Gem of a show on July 20 at the Round Church in Richmond. The Vermont Mozart Festival presents In His Own Words, a showcase of the little guy's sonatas, along with a reading of Mozart's letters to family and friends. Guest reader is VPR's Cheryl Willoughby.

Pick up a copy of the Vermont Times for a compelling cartoon by Mr. Brunelle on the subject of abortion
clinics. As far as we know, Vermont Times does not have a web site and anyway, they flood the market with so many copies that don't get picked up - PLEASE! - pick one up, if only to validate the death of the tree used in making the newsprint!

The wait at the Essex Junction Five Corners Light took so long, we were able to leave our vehicle, walk over to the old bowling alley site, wonder how they were going to fit the new Mac's Market in there, buy a forty at Fairgrounds Beverage and still get back to the intersection before the light changed. By the way, on a not-so- interrelated point, the state is going to give the Essex part of the Circ a FRESH PAVING! Yes!

Although the Hum is weekly during the summer months, check back frequently for updates, sentence changes, tricks and breaking stuff. See ya at the Five corners.
Over and out, Doc Ock.


MONDAY'S HUM ( 6-19-06 )


Look for a comprehensive Weekend Hum featuring increased comment on local news and review of Vermont media. It all starts this weekend!
See ya at the Five Corners.


WEEKEND HUM ( 6-17-06 )

Lowe's Home Center continues march toward Susie Wilson Road. With a story that has slipped under the media radar for the most part, the Essex Reporter gives follow-up info on the home improvement giant's plans to build store #2 in the area. Lowe's is considering a 103,000 foot store, which is their tiniest model. The usual particulars concerning drainage, parking and traffic are on the drawing board. For much more, pick up a copy of the Reporter (we'd tell you to go to their site but they still have the June 1 edition showing) and peruse it while you're waiting for the Essex Junction Five Corners Light.

Rising Hum about artist Jan Brough of East Calais. She's a trendybear waiting to happen. Check out these Vermont inspired oil paintings or go to Apple Mountain to view a special exhibit featuring a Lake Champlain series of paintings. Coming up with the marbles to buy one of these puppies is a different story.

According to DepAg reports, Vermont kicked double ass in maple syrup production. Vt had 460,000 gallons produced, with Maine a lame second with 300k. Why? increased taps and favorable conditions.
One item the report doesn't address is Quebec production. If one looks closely at mass market syrup, one just might find, occasionally, the syrupy yumminess comes from...Canada.

Vermont ended up with a raucous 7+ inches of rain in May. June is rockin', with almost 3 inches so far and a shipload of rain predicted for Monday. Also, remember last July, when the wet stuff snuffed out a lot of parties.
Well, good news, amigos. This July will be relatively dry and pleasant.

Remember when the Auditor of Accounts race was sleepyville. Every year Alexander the Great would run, would win, and nobody cared. Not any more, friends.
Prog Martha Abbott has joined Tom Salmon Jr. and Randy Brock in the battle for the state auditor position. So you have a first-term incumbent who drove shaky Liz Ready out of the building; a dashing son of a dashing former Gov; and a prog who could do damage, as they say in Jersey. Get interested.

Had a sleepover at the Essex Junction Five Corners Light last night. Arrived around 7 p.m., sensing it was going to be a long wait. So we got in our jammies, opened the bag of unshelled peanuts, and threw Caddyshack into the portable DVD player. Don't you love that movie? We think Rodney Dangerfield's death last year should have been a national day of mourning.
Anyway, when the light changed the next morning, we drove off, leaving the intersection strewn with peanut shells, or as they call them in Georgia - mulch!


THURSDAY'S HUM ( 6-15-06 )

The award winning Vermont Hum investigative reporter is on assignment, an assignment so secret even the reporter doesn't know what it is. In the meantime, please check out this Classic Hum posting from the archives.
See you at the Five Corners.

"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt."
Who said it?


WEDNESDAY'S HUM ( 6-14-06 )

Story out of Northampton, Ma. about public education grant to be used by three communities in Western Mass to raise awareness about the evils of idling. Gist of the article comes down to:
  • " If you're going to idle your vehicle for more than 10 seconds, it's better to turn your engine off."
  • " It will save you gas, but more importantly, it will reduce greenhouse emissions."
  • Idling-reduction programs have already started at certain elementary schools in Amherst, Northampton and Easthampton.
  • Did you know that Massachusetts state law limits idling to five minutes, with exceptions.
  • One drawback of turning vehicle on and off a lot ? Tough on the starter.
Access story by clicking here.

Check out the Burlingtonian for funny cartoon of Uncle Sam with the shakes.

As if Duke University needs more bad press. Squeaky clean J.J. Reddick, who along with Duke has a huge fan base in northern Vermont, was arrested on drunk driving charges in North Carolina. You'd think he could afford a cab with the big money coming his way.

To those of you who thought Licata was a new dance craze or a specialty pasta from Price Chopper, guess again. Tom Licata is a ward 6 resident of Burlington who has run for a city council seat, unsuccessfully. He's also spearheaded a tax revolt, and Monday was his night in the sun, er, spotlight. Read some of his comments here along with comments of other very unhappy people, courtesy of

It was bumper sticker heaven at the Essex Junction Five Corners Light yesterday. The car in front of me had one that read, Tailgaiters Buy My Cars, while the car up ahead in the right lane had a message stating, Your Little Princess is My Little Whore. The lady in the first vehicle looked to be a cigarette afficionado, and the gentleman driving the rusty princess whore vehicle looked, well, undereducated.
There were also numerous trucks with numbers on them, presumably carrying drivers who just can't get enough Nascar in their lives. Those drivers also looked, well, undereducated. But macho.
The best bumper sticker simply said, Breathe Deeply, which is not a good idea at the Five Corners, or as I lovingly call it, Idler's Cove. But I breathed deeply anyway, and felt better for it.

TUESDAY'S HUM (6-13-06 )

Loud Hum re: MMU student who will not be allowed to walk with her mates at graduation. TV, Free Press and WVMT's Charlie and Ernie show have all jumped on this story about honors student Elissa Roberts, who, because of illness, does not have enough credits to graduate at this point. Despite missing much time due to a neurological disorder, Roberts is a top student. She and her family have sent a letter to the principal, contacted the CESU super and petitioned the school board, all to no avail. Roberts has many friends backing her; many of these kids have been together since elementary school.
The school board rejected the petition behind closed doors, taking about an hour to decide. They stuck with policy, saying they wanted to avoid the issue of favoritism.
  • PRO - C'mon, make an exception. The kid's an honor student. Despite her illness, she has caught up and is an exemplary member of the senior class. every once in a while you gotta say to heck with the 'policy.'
  • CON- Rules are rules! There are other kids in similar circumstances who haven't got all the media attention and had to forge on. What about a kid from three years ago who couldn't walk with his class because of illness. How would he feel if an exception was made.
We at Vermont Hum feel MMU should let Roberts walk. We also feel there should be new policy, one which entrusts the decision of graduation particulars to a review group, made up of peers, educators and parents. Maybe Elissa Roberts can be a catalyst for policy change, directly or indirectly.


MONDAY'S HUM ( 6-12-06 )

Increasingly, bloggers are ruling the earth. Okay, that's a bit dramatic, but check out the guest list at the Yearly Kos 2006 Bloggers Convention in Vegas. General Wesley Clark, Senate minority leader Harry Reid, Howard Dean, Mark Warner and New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. The Daily Kos, sponsor of the blogbash, gets about 600,000 hits a day on it's left-leaning site, which handily eclipses circs of many major market newspapers. The Observer article is a good read.

Crunch time for VPR on Tuesday. House App commitee will review public broadcasting cut sheet and send to House for decision. Public broadcasting could take a hit of 100+ million with VPR possibly losing out on 100K.
Link here to VPR info.

There was a report of Anthony Pollina running down Church Street in Burlington but it turned out to be someone who looked like him.

About 30 to 40 bikers went on a spin in Burlington on Saturday in their BIRTHDAY SUITS! World Naked Bike Ride Day was a local success, with the chilled cyclists getting their point across ( too much dependency on oil ) and being able to finish the ride without anything getting caught in the spokes.

Had a nice nap at the Essex Junction Five Corners Light on Sunday morn. I got to the intersection and decided to kill some time by reading the Sunday Free Press. Things were fine until I started reading Ed Shamy's column. Suddenly I became very drowsy and fell into a deep sleep. Lucky for me it was a long light and I awakened just as I saw green. I felt refreshed and continued on to Fort Ethan Allen, where I swear I saw a giant kite flying in the breeze, emblazoned with the words Tarrant for Senate. Maybe I was just imagining it. Dunno.


FRIDAY'S HUM ( 6-09-06 )

Home improvement colossus Lowe's is checking out the old Ame's spot on Susie Wilson Road, according to the Essex Reporter. Lowe's reps and the Essex Planning Commission are having an 'informal' meeting to shoot the breeze, so to speak. Scan the story along with some nice balloon pics here.

Inside Track's Peter Freyne with update on the doings of former AP stalwart Chris Graff. Seems CG is long and hard at the keyboard, with a book about Vermont politics due to hit stores in December. Natch.
Speaking of books, Bill O'Reilly's 'Culture Warriors' is hitting the shelves in September. Think Al Franken will be mentioned?

Extremely long wait at the Essex Junction Five Corners Light yesterday. I was able to listen to all 512 Elvis songs on my Ipod and the light still hadn't changed. I then turned on Air America, bringing their total listenership up to 7. After a while I switched the dial to MP 103, 'cuz I felt like listening to...whatever, whenever.


THURSDAY'S HUM ( 6-08-06 )

People interested in learning CPR could go to the Sunset Drive-In during the day and sit in their cars while listening to the instructor, who would be parked near the movie screen, giving lessons over the car radio. It would be like a giant PowerPoint presentation, and maybe the snack bar could open up. Why not? In Williston, land of the GIANT SUVs, they started drive-through voting and were moderately successful - although environmentalists would say they were mildly...destructive. Hey, how about drive-through colonoscopies, or better yet - drive-through triple-bypass operations.
Let's get back to the Williston numbers. There were 4 times the drive-through voters than there were walk-ins and according to the Town of Williston website, the vote tally was 733 in favor of a new police station, and 537 opposed. There were no official numbers on how many gallons of gas were used during the voting process.

Chin Ho! tunes at the rest area? WCAX with a report on Big Heavy World's computer installation at the Williston welcome center. The 'puter will be programmed to play music from local musicians, with the blessing of Ed Von Turkovich, director of the Vermont Information Centers. Big Heavy World is a local non-profit which promotes local tunage. Other rest areas will eventually follow suit. Excellent idea.

We're fortunate to have many native Vermonters passionate about the state and it's welfare. Lots of Hum lately about local talent running for office, individuals born and bred in the Green Mountains. John Tracy, Matt Dunne, Mark Shepard and Brian Dubie. But let's not forget about Scott Wheeler, candidate for the Orleans district of the House of Reps. He's got Northeast Kingdomite spring water running through his veins. You might recognize his name from a few bylines with the The Chronicle or from The Northland Journal. That's his baby. The Caledonian-Record tells Scott's story much better than we ever could. Read it here.

Got really bored at the Essex Junction Five Corners Light this morning so I left my car and started talking to other idlers. We came up with a great idea!
Why not Five Corners voting?
With people stuck at the intersection for hours with little to do, why not take a cue from Williston and have voting done right from the window. Maybe Essex officials could spice it up and deliver ballots on roller skates, just like the old A&W carhops. And after we vote, we get a free root beer. Yeah!

WEDNESDAY'S HUM ( 6-7-06 )

666 LITE
Well, we made it though June 6, 2006 without any major catastrophes. Seems like yesterday would have been a good day for a terrorist to wreak havoc, what with the whole 666 thing. Maybe America is stronger than people think, or the terrorists are weaker than people think, or both.

Check out Hall Monitor for a interesting exchange between the Dwinnell Political Report and Randolph Herald's Dick Drysdale. Drysdale writes a letter to the DPR arguing with Dwinnell and seriously slamming Hall Monitor's Darren Allen, calling him a disgrace among other things.
Allen is far from a disgrace; in fact his blog is much underrated and receives less ink than some of the overrated blogs in the area, such as Candleblog. Hall Monitor is a daily read for the Hum staff, as is 802 Online. By the way, we couldn't find a link for the DPR - could someone kindly throw us one. Thanks.

Got to the Essex Junction Five Corners Light last night and rocked out. In celebration of June 6 (666) we played our Iron Maiden cassettes at level 7! We don't think the car next to us listening to VPR appreciated it, but hey, it was 666, the number of the beast!



So a man climbs ( this isn't a joke ) into a lion's enclosure at a Kiev zoo and starts shouting at the lions. He reportedly shouted, 'God will save me, if he exists.' God didn't show up and the man was killed quickly by one of the lions.
The next time you think you're crazy, think again.

Walk through the University Mall in South Burlington and ask shoppers and strollers who Vermont's Lieutenant Governor is and most people from the area will guess correctly. Brian Dubie. Ask people in the mall who John Tracy is and some will know, some won't. Comments such as, " hmmm, sounds familiar", and " He's a politician, right?" abound. Ask them who Matt Dunne is and maybe they'll tell you he's a mystery writer. No, that's Matt's wife. Matt is a state senator from Windsor and he's facing off against Tracy in the democratic primary, with the winner being awarded the not so easy task of unseating Lieutenant Governor Dubie. Here's the Dunne file:
  • Matt lives on a farm in Hartland where he grew up.
  • Matt's wife is not a native Vermonter; she grew up on Long Island and went to Middlebury College.
  • B.A from Brown University
  • National director of Americorps/Vista for 2 years
  • 4 term state rep for Hartland, first elected at age 22.
  • Founding board member of the Vermont Film Commission.
  • Years of public service and volunteer work.
In the next week or so, we'll have a different look at Mr. Dunne. How he stands on specific issues. Stay tuned.

Got a tip from an insider that the Essex Junction Five Corners Light was going to be a doozy on Sunday. Something about a village official being pissed off. So I was prepared. I got to the light, put my Festiva in park, got into a waiting limo and sped off toward Burlington. I was able to have a nice dinner at the Ice House, attend the Dianne Reeves show, spend a wild night at the Midtown Motel and still make it back to the light the next morning before it turned green. The other idlers at the intersection looked well-rested; they apparently enjoyed a wonderful 10 hour sleep while waiting. We all made out just fine!


MONDAY'S HUM ( 6-5-06 )

Think about it. What would you do if you had 5 million bucks? Well, maybe we'd rather not know.
UVM, the overpriced state school on the hill, was recently the recipient of a 5 million dollar gift from alumnus Leonard Miller, which means the spoiled out of state kids attending the university will receive even more amenities than they already have. If you've read the April 27 Hum, you know our feelings on donations to institutions of higher education.
Spread the 5M around. Give 1M to UVM, 1M to social services, 1M to fix the roads, 1M to the elderly prescription fund and 1M to Vermont Hum. What do you think?

Snippets of Hum heard in Burlington recently:

" Great! With gas prices rising and strong evidence of global warming, Williston wants to allow people to vote while they sit in their gas guzzling SUVs!"

" The Yanks are scoring six runs a game with half their team missing, just imagine when everyone is healthy!"

" Since April '05, just about every month has had higher than average rain totals. What's going on?"

The Nantucket Film Festival opens in a few days with some solid offerings, including local darling "Disappearances", the flick that brought Kristofferson to town. The film is still making the rounds, and is being received favorably, for the most part.

Impromptu entertainment yesterday at the Essex Junction Five Corners Light. The Five Corners Jazz Quartet set up shop at the intersection and people were seen dancing on top of their SUVs.


FRIDAY'S HUM ( 6-02-06 )

Terrier Peter Welch to give Demmy response to President Bush's weekly radio address. As if Mark Shepard didn't have enough to worry about. First, the Good Shepard had to deal with Martha Rainville trotting in Smilin' Laura Bush, now he's got lefty linchpin Pelosi picking Peter to peck a pack of pickled peppers. The fact that Pelosi and pals picked Peter points out how important this race is to the Dem braintrust.
The response, which is being taped today, is likely to focus on Iraq and the need to get the hell out. Bush has already taped his address, so none of this is live. Catch it on WVMT tomorrow morning.

Media home run for Rich Tarrant. Big photo of the 'The Wealthy Guy' sitting with the wonderful Lola Aiken, wife of the revered George Aiken. Mrs. Aiken has decided to endorse Tarrant, and their theme at yesterday's news conf was one of togetherness, with Repubs and Demmys clasping arms and making progress. George Aiken was well known for reaching across the aisle and 'The Wealthy Guy' wants to operate the same way.

Debates on the horizon featuring Lt. Gov candidates John Tracy and Matt Dunne. We will be focusing on this primary and next week we will bring you the particulars of the Dunne candidacy, including WHO THE HECK HE IS! He's actually well known in southern Vermont but needs a media savvy handler to rev him up in Chit County. Stay tuned.

It was wild. I was waiting at the Essex Junction Five Corners Light this morning with nothing to do. Suddenly, this giant balloon floated over my car and stopped.
The balloon guy in the basket yelled down: "Hey, aren't you sick of waiting for that stupid light."
I leaned out the window and yelled, " Normally, no. But today I forgot to bring a movie or some books."
He then asked me if I wanted a ride and I nodded my consent.
Before I knew it he had lowered two adjacent G-613 tungsten steel car clamps and attached them to my frame. In less than a minute I was rising up over the red light, waving goodbye to all my pals at the intersection.
Up through the clouds we soared until we reached a special cloud where all the runaway balloons go. Millions of balloons moved gently to the ethereal whisperings of the stratosperic breezes. Each of the balloons had an inexact facial feature, yet it was not indistinct. I felt like I had seen these balloons before, but could not understand how or remember when.
Suddenly, I woke up and I was back at the Five Corners, spewing ob-noxious fumes along with approximately. 36 other vehicle owners. Had I really been dreaming? I don't know. Maybe never will.


THURSDAY'S HUM ( 6-01-06 )

We all see 'em. Headlines that just make you stop and giggle; or make you tear up. This one stopped us dead in our tracks, and although we are bent on keeping this site local, you gotta read this.

Incessant street grumbling about meteorologist Chris Bouchard's halting delivery on VPR news reports. Actually, Bouchard is growing stronger at the microphone, and he obviously knows his turf. Initially Bouchard sounded as shaky as a vodka drinker on a Monday morning, but has recently seemed to grab ownership of his route, to put it in salesman's terms. It took a while for Maleski to settle in, but now he's a calming influence and a wise sage on his segments. Besides, we can't all be Mark Breen.

That's what legislators asked each other this morning as they were set to adjourn for the season. They decided they didn't have the votes to overturn a couple of vetoes, so they made a quick and prudent decision to adjourn, saving us money and closing the book, so to speak. Good job, guys and gals.

Got to the Essex Junction Five Corners Light this morning and was ready to curl up with Ted Kennedy's new book when - SHAZAM! - the light turned green! I was so shocked I keeled over and the much heralded Essex Rescue Squad had to come over and revive me. C'mon - if you got to the Five Corners and the light changed quickly, you'd pass out, too!

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    Location: Essex Junction, Vermont

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