FRIDAY'S HUM ( 12-01-06 )

Green Mountain Daily, quick on their feet, reported on the story soon after it broke, just another example of how blogs are changing the face of news reporting. Read their report now.

Former AP head Chris Graff delivered a steady presentation last night at the Book Rack in Essex. He spoke on why Vermont has gone from Repub to Dem, answered questions, and read a bit from the book, Dateline Vermont. The book is 240 pages long, or short, depending on your point of view.
With Graff being such an important part of Vermont's recent press history, and the book eagerly awaited, we couldn't figure out why only a handful of people showed up. Hmmm.
More on the book later.


Our Better Letter award goes to Heather Matthews of Colchester with her missive entitled, Brighten holidays, smile at neighbors. She describes, in Thursday's BFP, what happens when one smiles at a given number of people in a supermarket. Interesting stuff.

Vermont Hum, in a focus group with seniors, asked what they would do if someone they didn't know smiled at them in a supermarket.
  • Respondent A said he would ignore the smiler.
  • Respondent B said she would think they were up to something.
  • Respondent C said she would punch the person in the nose.
  • Respondent D said there is no reason to smile.
  • And so on.

So much for the tune: " When you smile, the whole world smiles with you."

To read the Burlington Free Press Letters to the Editor (and comments), click here. But first, can you guess how many people smiled back?

Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse for Air America, read this. Now, according to Maloney, there's lib infighting.

I really didn't feel like driving this morning, so I was glad when the Essex Junction Five Corners light went on interminably. I nestled in the seat and pulled out Howard Coffin's An Inland See from the backseat bookcase. The book, chronicling the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington, is actually a fun read, believe it or not. No, I'm serious! For example, did you know that former Bishop John Marshall was a HUGE Boston Red Sox fan. We're talkin' addicted. He loved the Celts, too.
And,of course, a book about the Catholics in Burlington wouldn't be complete without a McClintock in there somewhere, but that's another post.
Go here to see the beautiful picture that graces the cover of the book and for more info.


WEDNESDAY'S HUM ( 11-29-06 )

Locker room Hum about the Danville deer-jacking case. Here goes.

Game wardens set up a trap in a Danville meadow to nab possible poachers. Along comes 31-year-old Joseph Clark of St. J. Clark sees a fake buck in the meadow, revs the car and bashes the decoy, sending it flying. Wardens and deputies move in a and arrest Clark. End of story? Not.
In the car with Clark was his girlfriend, a 4-month-old baby AND some pot! And Clark was driving without a license. Too much.
Too bad the Department of Social Services is overwhelmed; they're probably needed on this one.

Ed. note - Although this story appeared almost two weeks ago, people are still bringing it up.

Geez. Sometimes it's more dangerous off the ice. Two women were arrested and a couple more injured at a youth hockey game in Rome, N.Y. Check out the gory details here

Almost went CUCKOO at the Essex Junction Five Corners light yesterday. The wait at the intersection was very long, forcing me to endure approximately 26 Perrywinkle Jewelers commercials as I radio surfed.
I am now considering satellite.


MONDAY'S HUM ( 11-27-06 )

With all the businesses tiptoeing around the word Christmas, it's refreshing to see or hear some local spots mentioning the dreaded word. Here's a sampling:

Gardenside Nurseries - " Shop Gardenside Nurseries for Christmas Decor."
Agway - " Agway for Christmas."
Paper Peddler - " Christmas is in the Air."
Frame Game - " Custom Picture Frames for Christmas. "

The University Mall is really sticking its corporate neck out. They've unveiled large print ads stating:
"We Wish You A Merry Christmas...And A Happy New Year."
Good for them.

Stay tuned for ongoing coverage of the Christmas/Holiday dilemma.

Brought a conversion van to the Essex Junction Five Corners Light yesterday and was able to lay down and get a full 8 hours of sleep while waiting. The light turned green just as I got back in the driver's seat!


Recently, deep in the bowels of the Brownell Library in Essex Junction, a discovery was made. Uncovered was an 1848 book of poetry written by noted newspaperman Charles Eastman, who, with others, was affiliated with the Vermont (Barre) Patriot. Said paper was well-received in its day; here is an advertisement from the September 15, 1850 edition for the Boston Museum.

Eastman's book of poetry, published in Montpelier, is full of gems, including this wonderful offering.


The days we've so long dreaded,
The days of frost and snow,
Of winds that sweep the frozen street,
And whistle as they go-
The days of fickle temperament,
A smile and then a blow!
Of mud and mire and dirtiness,
Again, are ' here below !'

We sit and sneeze and cough in rooms
Insufferably hot,
And tumble over old accounts
Were never worth a groat!
And looking from the window,
Into our neighbor's lot,
We really argue if 'twere best
To steal his sheep or not!

The vines, frost-bitten, from the eaves
Hang blackening in the rain,
And trickling drops, like silent tears,
All day the windows stain;
The leaves are gone, the dead weed-stalks
Grow black upon the plain,
And herds are lowing in the fields
Where stood the gathered grain.

All day you hear the noisy crow
Upon the hemlock high-
In flocks, about the mountain ash,
The chirping robins fly;
The rustling leaves and yellow, drive
In mimic whirlwinds by,
Or on the wet and muddy walks,
In heaps, together lie.

The dripping of the rain is heard
Upon the roof all night,
And dark and heavy clouds obscure
The early morning's light;
We gape and stretch and feel as dull
As our grandmother's sight,
' Some ' older than Methuselah,
And cross enough to bite!

That summer's gone, and gone for good,
'Tis useless to protest,
When all the hills that you can see
In snowy caps are dressed;
When fogs upon the valley
From morn till evening rest,
And in his journey scarce the sun
Is seen from east to west.

Alas! these days of dumps and of
Interminable rains,
Of overcoats and overshoes,
And 'pothecary grains-
Of drops for coughs, and slops for colds,
From catnip tea to Swayne's,
Make the effort to survive appear
A questionable pains!

We hope your Thanksgiving holiday is warm, safe and peaceful. Maybe Thanksgiving Day would be a good time to reflect on Eastman's poem, and notice how little has changed about how this month is viewed. Some feel November is the right time to take a deep breath, slow down, and regroup. We're not adverse to that suggestion.
Vermont Hum is taking the week off to eat , drink and visit. Don't worry, though - we'll be back next Monday, with a brand new weekly feature on Vermont media. Stay tuned.


FRIDAY'S HUM ( 11-17-06 )

In an editorial dated November 15, WPTZ Prez Paul Sands urges Montpelier's Democrats to "Work with Douglas to find solutions instead of looking for fights."
Hah! Dude has zero problem saying what he thinks, eh?
He also implores Bernie Sanders to "...look for some common ground in the center."
Yeah, right. We have a better chance of having a 70 degree day in December than seeing Bernie make that arduous trek to the center...well, wait a minute, with global warming, a 70 degree day isn't so far-fetched anymore. Anyway.
Click here to see the Sands storm.

Speaking of PTZ, 'tis funny to go on their local page and see a link for an International Paper tire-burn story, and directly below see an ad for IP, letting us know they help sponsor the closed captioniong on the station. There's no conflict of interest there, it's just funny, that's all.

With Katie ( 15 cool million a year) Couric's ratings lower than a public access cemetary board meeting (no partial pun intended), maybe CBS should ditch her and bring in proven Channel 5 anchor Stephanie Gorin. We're sure Ms. Gorin would do the job for a million a year; that would leave CBS with 14 million bucks left over to spend on quality domestic reporters and international correspondents, giving the viewing public more, uh, news and less fluff. Hmmm.

FIVE CORNERS UPDATE - Essential Collection
It was just like high school at the Essex Junction Five Corners Light yesterday. A driver started a food fight and before you know it, the fries and burgers and peaches and tacos were flying through the intersection, creating a fun, messy ruckus. All the cars had their windshield wipers on and their windows rolled up. When the light turned green a couple of hours later, we all headed for the car wash. Just another crazy day at the Five Corners!


WEDNESDAY'S HUM ( 11-15-06 )


David Usher must be bummed. One of the few proponents we've seen for the IP tire burn, Usher wrote a letter to the Burlington Free Press (11-10-06) , declaring that " IP is doing exactly the right thing..." and " A healthy business in the region is an important asset and Vermont should embrace the experiment rather than oppose it." Usher believes we need to more biz-friendly here in the Green Mountain State and put a lid on the "unfounded paranoia."

Curious why Channel 3 didn't report on the Williston landfill bash last night. On their 11 p.m. newscast, WCAX ran a story on a new law in New York banning the use of tanning beds for kids under 14, but couldn't find the time to run a piece on a jammed and lively info meeting at the Williston Central School, presented by CSWD chief Tom Moreau, a good guy who knows his stuff.
For excellent continuing coverage on the proposed landfill, don't forget about the Williston Observer, which has a decent news department for a smallish weekly.

FIVE CORNERS UPDATE - Essential Collection
Got to the Essex Junction Five Corners Light last night in a movie watching mood. So we got out the portable DVD player and threw in a copy of Mclintock!, a John Wayne classic. We even got out of the car and bought a bag of popcorn at Simon's, on the corner there. We were able to view the whole movie, even the credits, before the light changed.


MONDAY'S HUM ( 11-13-06 )

As we reported earlier, an 83 year old woman was assaulted as she and her sister walked to the polling station on election day. Betty Grady was walking on George Street in Burlington when an evil scumbag came up behind her and yanked at her purse, breaking her wrist as he dragged her. He got away and, at this point, is still at large.

Betty Grady lost all her cash in the attack. If anyone knows of a collection being taken please let us know and we'll let many others know.

Incredibly, Betty Grady STILL went to vote before having her injuries treated!

WCAX had the best coverage on this story. Link to it here and scroll down to read more.
To be continued.


WEEKEND HUM ( 11-11-06 )

Nobody does snippets better than the Hum. We know you're busy and you average 51 seconds per blog, so here we go with our crisp election summary.
  • GOVERNOR - Despite Jim's BS ( " I'm very proud of our accomplishments..."), Douglas is seen as a safe selection, sort of like a boyfriend for a woman who desires stability and security over pizazz and sex appeal. People vote for him 'cuz he seems like a nice guy, one you can trust. We don't think he's a great Gov, but he smiles, and he has that great radio voice. The Hum, along with many others, was surprised he won so handily; he wasn't dragged down by the Bush thing.
  • LT. GOVERNOR - We told Matt Dunne to take the high road with Dubie. You see, Dubie is generally perceived as a good guy, someone who, although clunky at times, gives a damn. When Dunne slammed him, people either took offense or felt sorry for Dubie, and voted accordingly. If Dunne had run a smarter race and stuck to his wonderfully inventive 'service politics', he could've forced this race to go to the legislature, and then... who knows.
  • SENATE - If you listened to Tarrant at a gathering where he spoke on the issues, particularly health care, you could see why he was running. His presentation smacked of creativity, boldness and being well-informed. Quickly, all that got swept away, and Tarrant became known for his money, his faulty advertising and his house in Florida. Wonder what would've happened if he had campaigned strictly on issues, left Bernie alone, and spent less on TV and more on charity.
  • HOUSE - Rainville left too many people wondering. Was she a moderate Republican or a Moderate Democrat? What did she REALLY think of the Iraq situation? Where the heck was she from, anyway? Or, on a simpler scale, maybe the Bush problems knocked her out. You choose.
  • AUDITOR - Salmon is a CPA, a bright guy and he looks good. He didn't get all those votes just because he's a Salmon! We ain't seen the last of him.
We end our election coverage on a sad note. An elderly woman, walking to the polling station in Burlington, was knocked to the ground and had her purse stolen. She suffered broken bones and assuredly, future psychological trauma. The Free Press tucked this story neatly on page whatever, and life goes on.
My God, can't we do something? Can we make this a bigger story?
Every time we read about something horrific like this, do we think, God, that's awful, and then move on to the next page? It's so easy to feel terrible about something like this and then be swept back to our own busy lives. We feel bad for the old lady but, gosh, we got a bus to catch. Or a plane to catch. Or life to catch.
We all care but what do we do? We have to do something. We will do something.
Vermont Hum is not through with this.
Ed. note: I'd link this important story, but couldn't find it online. Dammit.

Got to the Essex Junction Five Corners Light today and started wondering how I could help decrease the chance that another senior would be knocked down, robbed and injured. We can't have a cop on every corner. We can't get rid of all bad people. So what? what, what what?
If I have to idle here forever, I'm going to think of something.


THURSDAY'S HUM ( 11-9-06 )



Nabula correctly predicted Sanders, Douglas, Dubie, Brock, Donovan, Markowitz and Sorrell to win their respective races. The only mispick was Nabula's selection of Martha Rainville, which, according to the mysterious psychic, was not her fault. She blamed her false reading on Goerge Bush, saying, "It was in the cards for Rainville to win, but W got in the way!"
Please scroll down to see Nabula's predictions and the date of the post.

We don't have the ratings yet, but Hum on the street had a lot of northern Vermonters watching the Vermont Votes broadcast on 17. Anchored by Joel Najman's steady avuncular presence and Shay Totten's insightful and sometimes frenetic presentation (he says a lot of 'you knows' and 'ums' and can wander at times, but he's lovable), the show was fun and informative, enhanced through streaming internet transmissions, allowing the viewers to see live interviews with many of the candidates. WCAX was solid, but Ch17 had much more info.

Fell asleep at the Essex Junction Five Corners Light waiting for the MERGER results. When I woke up in the car this morning and found out the merger did not pass, I shrugged my shoulders, turned to the idler next to me and said, " Oh well, they'll try it again next year."

Ed. note - The merger actually did pass, and many media outlets were confused by the coiling complexities of the Essex voting system. A rare front page apology was included in Thursday edition of the Burlington Free Press, with Executive editor Michael Townsend penning this:
"The Free Press erred Wednesday in reporting that the Essex-Essex Junction merger measure failed. I apologize for that inaccuracy. The merger vote in fact did go through as reported Wednesday on our Web site and here today on the front page.
The responsibility for this error rests with editors - including me - who did not provide the reporter with the backup she needed on deadline.
The reporter did an excellent job covering the merger before the election, providing readers with ongoing explanation and analysis for a subject that has been debated over the years many times. No reporter covered the topic more deeply this year, and she did so in a neutral way so you could make up your mind.
And you did.
On a very hectic night, as we maneuvered between delivering a lot of information on our Web site and producing a daily newspaper, the reporter needed better backup from her editors."

Here is the merger story from Thursday's edition. Did the front page apology only go out to the Essex zone? Dunno.


MONDAY'S HUM ( 11-06-06 )

In a groundbreaking measure, Vermont Hum has enlisted the aid of award-winning psychic Nabula to give thousands of Hum readers the early results of the Vermont elections. Citing polling bias and unreliability, Vermont Hum decided to bring in the enchanting Nabula, to sort the wheat from the chaff. Here are her predictions.
GOVERNOR - Jim Douglas easily winning.
LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR - Brian Dubie in a close one.
U.S. SENATOR - Bernard Sanders on top, but Rich Tarrant with respectable showing.
U.S HOUSE - Martha Rainville narrowly upsetting Peter Welch.
AUDITOR - Randy Brock in a landslide.
ATTORNEY GENERAL - Bill Sorrell repelling pesky Dennis Carver. Nabula did mention that Carver will win next time if he runs.
STATE'S ATTORNEY - Advertising pushes Donovan to victory with St. Francis close behind.
Citing a lack of transparency, Vermont Hum management has fired senior reporter Henny Hogwash and named veteran newspaperperson Brian McClintock managing editor, chief correspondent and assistant fry clerk. McClintock, who has seen all sides of the publishing biz, will don the cloak of accountability and will guide the wildly popular newsblog through the blighted and blurry blogosphere.
When asked what his first move will be as the top Humdog, McClintock responded, "Well, I guess I'll get that bathroom door fixed."
Well said, McClintock, and good luck with the new assignment.

FIVE CORNERS UPDATE - Election special
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.
Editor's note: This Five Corners Update originally ran in June and is one of our most requested entries.

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