WEEKLY HUM ( 08-28-06 )

Considerable Hum on the street about Essex gunman Chris Williams and why he was still on the street. Here's his rap sheet as published by the St. Albans Messenger.

The HumDrum award for letter of the week goes to Norman Scolaro and his missive to the Barre Times-Argus: Don't Bring Politics To Funerals. Read it here.

Fox News journalists freed by captors in Gaza. Just for kicks, check and see where your local or national paper put the story placement. Check out this take of the story from the New York Sun.

Our coverage of native Vermonters running for office continues with Jericho's John Stewart, who is running for Vt Senate, Chittenden County. No, he's not the same John Stewart who sang the monster hit "Gold" or the sarcastic host on Comedy Central. But he's well known in Jericho, where he is presently town treasurer. Access his personal story now.

FIVE CORNERS UPDATE - Essential Collection
Long wait at the Essex Junction Five Corners Light this morning. I had time to get out of the car, walk over to the senior center, play a couple games of cribbage with the ladies before I had to back to the idling. It was a good break.

WEEKLY HUM ( 08-21-06 )

Boy! Bronx bombers blast baseballs; bury Bosox batters.
Long weekend from hell in Beantown with Yanks scoring 49 runs in five games to up their division lead to 6 1/2 games. Damon big catalyst in the series - he seems happy as heck to be on the same team with best bud Jason Giambi. Johnny D heading for arguably his best season ever - he will post personal bests for homers and possibly ribbies, along with stealing around 30 bases.
Sox-Yanks notes:
  • Jason Giambi not only slugs home runs, he's fourth in the league in OBP, with .419. He's walked 93 times; in comparison Posada has walked 50 times, and Jeter 55.
  • Manny Ramirez never fails to amaze. He's having a signature year, and along with his homers and everything else, he's also leading the league in OBP, with an incredible .444. He's occasionally maligned for his fielding, but the way he plays the angles in left is impressive; sometimes it looks like he's not hustling when actually he's got a logical bead on where the ball will end up. We've seen him turn many possible doubles into singles.
  • What in blazes was skipper Francona chewing on yesterday. It looked like he had an entire Baby Ruth in his mouth and spit-per-minute ratio was high.
  • We hope the Sox stick with Crisp. He's a good guy and if he avoids injury, will shine next year. On the Yankee side, we agree with an announcer who predicted Cano will lead the league in hitting in the near future.
  • Overheard from a Sox fan talking to a Yanks fan: "Gee, you guys scored big landing Abreu." Well, at least for this series. Abreu seemed to be on base every time we turned around.
Considerable Hum in New England regarding the recent release, Feeding The Monster, which is on the independent bookstore bestseller list this week. Written by Seth Mnookin (Vanity Fair, Newsweek), the book gives a brief yet exacting history of the Red Sox and then delves into the background of years 2003 and 2004. Fascinating read from a Boston native who had a key to Fenway and a desk in the front office.
Editor's note - This report is from a correspondent who, unbelievably, likes the Yankees AND the Red Sox!

Best and worst from the air show:

  1. Thunderbirds, despite a short performance, electrified the crowd. One Thunderbird performed two stealth flyovers, afterburners a blazin', scarin' the heck out of people. At some air shows, they'll do just one. The Saturday show was truncated on account of the weather but attendees at the Friday practice run said the weather was divine and the jets flew for hours.
  2. Cockpit cam. If you could see the big screen monitor, you could see the flight from the pilot's perch. How cool is that. In fact, most of the tech stuff was great, from the clarity of the announcements to the sound at the various tune stations.
  3. The crowd. Not a lot of problems considering there were 25,000+ at the waterfront alone. Credit VTANG, Burlington Police, Parks and Rec among others for creating a safe and enjoyable experience. Now about the weather... Naw, it wasn't that bad.
  4. Local fliers, especially the VTANG F-16s and the T-47, along with the incredible faux rescue performed by a Coast Guard helicopter crew, complete with rain-shattered stormy seas, like something off a movie set. It was spellbinding.
  1. The lines for the port-o-lets were dreadfully long, and the lines to catch the buses at the end of the show were long, as well. But, as one spectator said, "Whadduyudu?"
  2. Too much time between performances, especially if one couldn't hear the PR guy. But the performers were certainly worth the wait.
Recent radio ratings reveal rockers, rollers, roilers and riff-raff. WOKO riding high and WEZF STAR 92.9 solid as Arbitron spring book finally appears. But remember - ratings can be twisted around like a pretzel to accomodate a stations's approach. If station X does terribly with 12+ but scores with 40 something males, well, sell it. Or a station can have bad ratings but have a niche market and keep on going forever.
It's too early to tell if Kool 105's switch to classic hits will bear ratings fruit, but MP103 seems to have more listeners, from both anecdotal and ratings sources. The Buzz seems strong and The Point has a nice, tidy loyal listenership. Champ and WIZN are still rockin', though there is some debate about the whether the genre is, well, growing old. Triple X still gets the kiddies, but they have potty mouths, and should be ashamed of their ribald presentation, when they know a bunch of eight year olds are listening. All in all, we have a lot of choices in this area, in fact, more than some middle markets, 'cuz we are farther away from the big cities than say, Springfield, Ma which has to deal with Hartford bleedover.
That's it for now. Whatever...whenever.

FIVE CORNERS UPDATE - Essential collection
We waited for so long at the Essex Junction Five Corners Light yesterday that a local cop came along and arrested us for loitering! When I tried to explain that I was waiting for the light to change, the cop just laughed and said," That's life in the junction, Baby!"


WEEKLY HUM ( 08-013-06 )

I'm Not Speeding, I'm Qualifying! That, folks is the latest addition to the bumper sticker hall of fame.
Speaking of bumper stickers, have you noticed how the Tarrant campaign has produced different versions of their stickers; for example, Small Business Owners for Tarrant and Veterans for Tarrant. Have yet to see one that reads, Dems for Tarrant.

Ratings from the latest Arb book have been released and we'll give you a rundown next week. Radio stations WOKO 98.9 and STAR 92.9 at the top of the heap.

Remember, a few months ago, hearing the story of weathervanes being stolen in small towns. Well, no wonder. A wethervane at a New Hampshire auction just sold for 1.2 million. Jeezum crow! That's more than A-Rod makes per game. The weathervane, which was perched on top of a Rhode Island train depot for over 80 years, was copper plated, which drives thieves batty. Lately, anything copper is like, um, gold.

Bet we know one dude who's all for the invasion of Iraq. Lee Greenwood, whose career had been steadily declining, is back, folks, with his patriotic song, God Bless the U.S.A. Greenwood will be appearing live at Norwich University's Kreitzberg Arena on September 23rd to welcome back the troops. The show, which will cost between $20 and $35, will also feature fireworks.

Need some help understanding the situation in southern Lebanon? Our HumDrum award for letter of the week goes to Yasima Kamal of Sheldon,Vt. His Burlington Free Press My Turn piece is a powerful presentation, illustrating some particulars of the Israeli-Hezbollah-Lebanese conflict which, in our opinion, have received little attention. Even if you have zero opinion on the strife, please take 7 minutes of your time and read this gem from August 12.

FIVE CORNERS UPDATE - The Essential Collection
Got caught up with some photographs yesterday at the Essex Junction Five Corners Light. I was able to organize and fill three photo albums before the light finally changed. The Five Corners is rapidly becoming a place where I get a helluva lot accomplished! I don't know what I would do if they put a roundabout in there and I had to keep moving.


WEEKLY HUM ( 08-06-06 )

With 'An Inconvenient Truth' and a couple of other documentaries making the rounds, the global warming/climate change awareness level has been elevated appreciably. We here at Vermont Hum have sedulously, for years, pored over materials on the subject, trying to separate the wheat from the chaff. To put it mildly, we are uneasy thinking about the whole damn thing. We now submit to you two links which are disturbing at best and chilling at their worst. Eugene Linden's article from the L.A. Times is creepy; here's an excerpt: "But at some point, the frequency, severity and ubiquity of the unusual weather will produce a sense of foreboding, a sense that something is happening beyond our control."
The USA Today link describes how this July was the second hottest month EVER. Here's an excerpt:
"Scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say that no single heat wave can be blamed exclusively on human-induced global warming. However, they added that in coming decades heat waves will become more likely and progressively more intense."


So, no wonder Mel Gibson was going almost 90 on the PCH and no wonder Mel was swearing at and belittling the cops who pulled him over - he was drinking tequila! Yeah! Mel was not out for a drive with a Bud Light like people we all know - he was gulping frickin' tequila!
Vermont Hum conducted an informal survey on the subject of tequila and nearly all respondants stated that tequila makes one act crazier than other liquors. Colt 45 was a close second with Wisconsin grain alcohol a distant third.
Stacey from Barre said, " If you're gonna drink tequila, you might as well do it in the police department parking lot, cuz sooner or later you're gonna be arrested." Well said, Stacey. With that, we move on.

Our HumDrum award for letter of the week goes to Bob Ullrich and Dick Walters, writing on behalf of End-of-Life Choices Vermont and Death With Dignity Vermont, respectively. The letter starts out, "We are very proud and excited to let you know about a new television ad airing all across Vermont over the next few weeks. Lt. Governor Barbara Snelling and Governors Phil Hoff and Madeline Kunin have joined together to speak out in favor of the End-of-Life Choices legislation modeled on the Oregon Death with Dignity act."
Thanks, guys. We hadn't heard about the ad and will be looking for it. For more info about the spot and the org, go to Death with Dignity Vermont.
This letter appeared in the August 3 issue of the Colchester Sun.

By August 3rd, candidates for state office had to disclose how much cashola they've raised so far. Here's the Hum on the street:
  • Governor Douglas does not seem to be too worried about either raising money or spending money. He's got the confidence of an incumbent who is generally well liked. What's surprising is the amount Scudder Parker has spent already; nearly 200,000 dollars, about 8k more than Gov D.
  • Lt. Governor hopeful John Tracy has raised a mere $40,000 and change, much less than the 100k Dubie has raised and the amazing 132k that Matt Dunne has gathered.
Remember, candidates will be filing again in a couple of weeks.

Ponied up to the Essex Junction Five Corners Light Bar & Grille on Saturday and asked for a shot of patience. As I looked around at the fellow idlers at the intersection, I noticed more smokers than usual. I also noticed a lot of bumper stickers with numbers on them, like 3 and 8. And the drivers and passengers in these vehicles didn't exactly look like IT techs. What was going on? But then I realized! Up ahead at the fairgrounds the Monster Truck Jamboree was starting, and the pungent odors of machismo, stale alcohol and Orajel drifted through the Five Corners, prompting me to silently quote the indefatigable John Surrey, "Oh, civilization - where art thou leading us?"

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    Location: Essex Junction, Vermont

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