FRIDAY'S HUM ( 9-29-06 )

One of the most tasteless headlines we've seen in some time, comes from the D.C. insider site Wonkette, which has an estimated page viewership of about 3 million per month. The headline screams, Jim Jeffords to Give Important Speech This Afternoon, If He Remembers.
Check out the article and the comments here.

Indulge yourself in this 'shake your head' story from WCAX.
"A Burlington woman is going to jail for holding up her sister at a convienence store. Tonya Sprano was caught on tape last winter holding up Spillane's Mobile in South Burlington. Her sister -- Amanda Sprano -- was working behind the counter. Authorities say Amanda was NOT an accomplice in the crime. Tonya says she held up her sister because she felt it would be safer than robbing a stranger. Tonya has been sentenced to four to 15 years in prison. She will undergo drug treatment in jail."

Vermont Buzz, that is. Excellent 9-28 post by Terri Hallenbeck, on the particulars of inviting everyone to the congressional debate.
Her opening sentence was pretty funny. "The table of candidates at Tuesday night’s congressional debate stretched on for so long it looked like the head table at a very large wedding."
Her closing thoughts suggest that too many candidates spoil the rhetorical soup. Catch the Buzz now.

FIVE CORNERS UPDATE - Essential collection
The Essex Junction Five Corners Light is the place to complete your personal hygiene tasks. Why, just yesterday, the light took so long to change I was able to floss, pluck my back hair, cut my toenails AND take a spongebath, all the while watching every episode of The Waltons on my portable DVD player. It was a mighty pleasurable experience.


WEDNESDAY'S HUM ( 9-26-06 )

Lt. Gov Brian Dubie welcomed back from Iraq with solid poll numbers. Not receiving a lot of press was Repub chair Jim Barnett's rebuttal to Dem speaker Gaye Symington and her criticism of Dubie's hurried deployment. Read Barnett's terse, stinging statement here.

Fox started it - you know - the whole breaking news thing when it wasn't really breaking news. Well, MSNBC took it to another level yesterday with a screaming BREAKING NEWS tag and then, "Paris Hilton sentenced for DUI!" My God, what is next? BREAKING NEWS "John Travolta seen yanking nose hair on the Pacific Coast Highway!" Oh death - where is thy sting?

A few chuckles from Shamy's column yesterday in the Free Press. Oh no, is he growing on us?
By the way, Ed - the only way to make it through Essex Junction Five Corners intersection hell without becoming shepherd's pie is to use one of those pedestrian buttons.


MONDAY'S HUM ( 09-25-06 )

The HumDrum Award for best weekly letter goes to Lynne Roberts of Arlington for her thoughts on how Bernie Sanders is slinging the mud with the best of them. The letter appeared in the Manchester Journal on Friday.

New WCAX poll has Brian Dubie up 46-27 over Matt Dunne but Dunne will likely close that gap as the election gets closer. Final results will be more like 51-39 with Dubie on top.

FIVE CORNERS UPDATE - Essential collection
Was able to finish the entire New York Times Crossword at the Essex Junction Five Corners Light this morning. In fact, I had some time left over and thought about reading some of the articles but decided I wasn't in the mood for media bias so early in the day.


FRIDAY'S HUM ( 9-22-06 )

Maybe. He was in Essex Junction taking a tour of IBM with Gov. Douglas. They also stopped at ADL Middle School where Charest chatted in french with the french students and briefly mentioned his distaste for a initiative reqiring passports to cross the border into Canada (or U.S.). Catch the whole story on the new and improved Essex Reporter website.

Thanks to the National Street Rod Association Jamboree or whatever the stupid thing is called, traffic at the Essex Junction Five Corners Light was backed up all the way to Rutland. Ok - we're exaggerating. Maybe it was Brandon.
Anyway, the wait for the light was so long we were able to put the car on blocks, repair and grease a pesky ball joint, flush the transmission and rotate the tires.
When the light finally changed, we were so crazed we challenged a hot rod to a drag race on the Route 15 Speedway, where we promptly kicked its out-of state ass back to Maryland or wherever all those PT Cruiser wannabees come from. Don't mess with a '96 minivan in overdrive!
Editors note: We really shouldn't be so hard on the hot rodders. Like the BMWers, they bring tons of cash into the area and are generally well-behaved.


THURSDAY'S HUM ( 9-21-06 )

Liberty Union candidate Bob Skold laid down the law Tuesday evening, telling the Republicrats it was time to move to a single payer health system, it was time to eliminate fossil fuel usage and it was time to throw the Dems and the Repubs out, saying, " I think Republicans and Democrats have had our lifetime tosolve these basic problems, and they haven't."
By the way, the debate atmosphere was tense; Parker and Douglas are not exactly best friends. More on the debate later in the week.

Saturday, Sept 30 at 7 p.m. at Champlain College . Reservations only. How do the rest of us see it? Channel 22 will run the tape the next day, Sunday, at 10 a.m.

One of our favorite blogs, She's Right, has been posting, posting, posting. We erroneously reported the blog was one of several who had not been delivering, when actually it was our own techical problem, and her site had been stuck on August 18 in our techsphere. She's Right, rapidly becoming an icon the Vermont blog community, is continuing to offer thoughtful and informative pol-based presentations.



TUESDAY'S HUM (9-19-06 )

Probably not, but the Welch Terrier looked leashed and luminous in the big debate last night sponsored by the AARP. Welch wondered aloud how he could be annoyed by "Martha Rainville" after moderator Steve Delaney tried to stir up the nest by asking both candidates what annoyed them about the other. Rainville successfully ducked the question and the civilfest kept going.
Rainville performed strongly and consistently during the debate, staying on message for the most part. She clarified her stance on many issues, including term limits and medicare. On the subject of term limits, Rainville put Welch on the defensive, suggesting that some career politicians are good and some not so good.
Rainville has been accused of not being specific enough, charges which could dissipate after her many detailed answers given last night. She avoided the appearance of nervousness, in fact, she appeared polished and poised, with an easy smile and a forthright manner.
Peter Welch also performed strongly, and appeared to be enjoying himself. He was at his best when he was describing various political moments in his long career of public service. His worst moments were his incessant gripes about the failed Bush strategies, even apologizing at one juncture. With Welch's experience and dedication, he would be better served focusing less on Bush and Rumsfeld and more on his ideas and successes. With an opponent like the ebullient Rainville, if Welch is increasingly perceived as a whiner/naysayer, he'll lose.
This debate was a big one. It fell on a night where many people are at home, and it was televised statewide. The first debate, at the Tunbridge Fair was missed by many. There will be nine other debates in the near future.
Vermont Hum thought the debate was dead even, not unlike the current poll numbers. It's gonna be a helluva race.

P.S. - Have you noticed the dearth of coverage with regards to the debate. The Burlington Free Press ran a small piece on page 3 in the Local section, Channel 3 had weak coverage this morning, and many online venues had little or no coverage. The BEST coverage on the debate will be local news blogs.


MONDAY'S HUM ( 09-18-06 )

Rich T. spending big bucks to smear Bernard Sanders? Not according to Jim in Williston. "All he's doing [Tarrant] is pointing out how Sanders has voted on specific legislation. Since when is highlighting a candidate's voting record a smear campaign?"
Dems feel differently. Many feel Tarrant using big bucks to blast Bernie any chance he gets, warranted or otherwise. Check out this Sunday political editorial from the Rutland Herald.

Some of the blogs frequented by Vermont Hum have not delivered lately, most notably She's Right, Green Mountain Hard Right and Dwinell Political Report. Conversely, other blogs have been especially fecund in their postings, such as Cool Blue and Cut To the Chase. Our favorite blog, the paradisiacal Vermont Gardener, continues to create wonderfully peaceful and informative transmissions.

It's good to see some action from From The News and Sports Desk (hey, how often does a writer get to use back-to-back froms). It's good to have a blog producing local sports stuff. Three cheers from the bleachers!
As usual, 802 online is our grounding wire, the site we usually start things off with. And Freyneland has been providing readers with a ton of bits, bytes, brickbats and beeps.

The Professional Firefighters of Vermont have endorsed Peter Welch for Congress. So, why was John McCain able to visit the Hinesburg Fire House yesterday? Because Hinesburg's fire department is volunteer and not part of the union. Repubs snickering as McCain's fire house visit will stick in voter's minds much more than the PFV endorsement of Welch.

Essex Junction Five Corners Light interminably long this morning. Good thing I had a copy of William Alexander's The $64 Tomato, a must-read if one favors gardening, humor and storytelling. I was able to read the book twice before the stinky light changed.


FRIDAY'S HUM ( 9-15-06 )

Considerable Hum regarding the status of lefty network Air America. Here are thoughts from lefty site Think Progress and righty site The Radio Equalizer.

Gov. James "Jim" Douglas on the attack with ads calling opponent Scudder Parker "Mr. Property Tax." Strategically, it's a brilliant move; a moniker like "Mr. Property Tax" can be deadly if it sticks, think John Kerry being saddled with "Flipper." It was a death blow to an already faltering campaign.

Ol' Charlie in Burlington thinks Douglas is making a big mistake by focusing on Parker. "Why is Douglas going after Parker when he already has the election sewed up. Cripes, if the election was held today, Douglas would win easily, with probably something like 60% of the votes. What the hell is he doing!"

Vermont Hum tends to agree with Ol' Charlie. Governor Douglas would be better served taking the high road, focusing on his successes, and ignoring Parker, whose campaign has yet to gain any type of substantive and substantial traction. By labeling Parker "Mr. Property Tax", Douglas is putting himself at risk of being charged with name-calling and negativity, which would not be harmless over time.

FIVE CORNERS UPDATE - Essential collection
Had a great time yesterday waiting for the Essex Junction Five Corners Light to change. I left my car idling, hailed a cab for the airport, flew to New York, scalped a ticket, watched the Yanks win, flew back, and reached my vehicle just as the light turned green. It was simply marvelous,darling.


MONDAY'S HUM ( 09-11-06 )

* Sparse coverage of Saturday's Green Mountain Power Energy Fair, which is strange considering who was there and what was going on.
  • Seen strolling the grounds were Martha Rainville, Matt Dunne, John Tracy, Peter Welch and JohnStewart. We found a Rob Backus leaflet on our windshield.
  • Bluegrassers Steel Rail entertained and were much more than a filler band; they were really good!
  • Star 92.9 personality Jennifer Foxx could be seen listening and listening and listening to Attorney General candidate Karen Kerin.
  • GMP unveiled their new program Greener Power, in which customers can support GMP's quest for renewable source energy by paying some extra dough per kilowatt hour. Credit to WCAX for their short report later that evening.
  • The Energy Fair is growing yearly; the first year around 400 people showed up, last year about 1000 and this year probably more than that.
  • Yummy treats included cotton candy, popcorn, ice cream and a thousand hot dogs! There was also Green Mountain Coffee and Adirondack seltzer. Oh, and banana smoothies. Best of all, everything was free!

Chris Bohjalian's columns in the Free Press are usually fluffy, or silly, or a bit thin on top. We read them only if our Sunday schedule is a bit on the light side. This week is different, though, as Mr. Bohjalian checks in with a solid piece, a column entitled The Best Way To Eulogize The 6,000. It's a thought provoking take on the post 9/11 world, with some fresh ideas on what's wrong and what we can do.

FIVE CORNERS UPDATE - Essential collection
Was able to polish an entire set of Gunucci silverware at the Essex Junction Five Corners Light this morning.
Was not able to sort them back in the tray 'cuz the stupid light changed, which irked me. You know, sometimes that darn light changes too quickly!

WEEKLY HUM ( 09-04-06 )


The HumDrum award for letter of the week goes to Jon Margolis of Barton for his response to a grossly misleading letter re: Israel by a one Kristin Sweeney of Colchester. Margolis logically and laboriously disputes Sweeney's assertions that Israel is THE problem and lands a roundhouse blow at the end of the letter, wondering aloud if Ms. Sweeney might want Israel 'expunged.' The letter appears in the 8/30 issue of Seven Days.


On Monday, the damn light at the Essex Junction Five Corners took so long to change, I left the car idling and walked over to the fair, 'cuz I was starving to death! I wolfed down a corndog, a large order of onion rings, three cheeseburgers from the Lion's Club booth, two fried dough(s) covered with cinnamon sugar, a pint of fries from Al's, a maple creemee and a partridge in a pear tree! By the time I waddled back to the intersection, the light was about ready to change. I knew that because I could hear the walk signal, which meant my lane was next up. I put the rig in drive just as I saw green. It was perfect!



Well, not exactly. But try guessing where The Punisher started his pro career. You're right or wrong! It was Stratton, in the summer of '86, and your beloved Vermont Hum correspondent was in seat 8, right next to the beer tent, which sold beers, by the way, for a buck and a quarter. Agassi was adorned like a Brazilian samba dancer, with feathery two-color hair and flowing ribbons and chains. But, boy, could he slap that ball. He was one of the new members of the power set, kids who were taught to hit the crap out of the ball and take names later. AA made a good showing at Stratton, but eventually fell to a guy named McEnroe.
I enjoyed following Agassi's career for a number of reasons.

First, he was so human. At times he looked alternately powerful and vulnerable; other times he exuded such savvy and a passion for the game that he locked people in with his intensity. We saw him cry, or laugh, or be as gracious and gentlemanly as a player, or person could be. We saw him nervous, a nervousness so acute you almost wanted to jump through the screen and give him a hand. But we also saw confidence, a confidence so unwavering you knew 'Andre would pull it out.'

Second, his work ethic in his later years was unparalled. Whether he was running hills or benching a weight most of us could not, he took training to a higher level, and his endurance on the court was a thing to marvel at. His surgically precise groundstrokes were borne of sacrifice, hours and hours and years and years of practice. His behavior on the court was exemplary; he worked fast and hard and complained infrequently, going about his business in a workmanlike manner. Yeah, that's it. A workmanlike manner. That's what a lot of fans liked about him, the way he would just keep going, no matter what.

Third, as a wise old woman once remarked, " He seems nice and he has kind eyes." Agassi hasn't mentioned it a lot, but he's given countless hours of his time to worthy causes, and donated millions to help the less fortunate. You get the feeling, even though he's rich and famous, that he gets it. He gets it.

Farewell, Andre. You don't know who the hell I am, but I've spent many years arranging my schedule around your schedule, just to watch your sterling brand of tennis, which I referred to as artistry on the court. I've grown as you've grown, and remember certain years as being better years, collectively, through your successes and my successes. We've had down years, but have fought through them, and learned from them.
So move on, old boy ( an old boy in the tennis world, anyway ) and give us a shout if you're ever back at Stratton.


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