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Enlightening Vacation! 

Outside Track

Editor's note: Peter Freyne is away this week.

Yours truly got off his duff and out of Burlap this week. Not to Saratoga but Plainfield, where we conducted an undercover investigation of accounting irregularities at the Monks of the Plainly Held Truths Community in the abandoned buildings of Goddard College. Holy Hippie!

While there were certain discrepancies in the recording of taxable garden-produce barters, we found little else, and so, to better root out rumors surrounding the community, we enrolled under a pseudonym in a three-day workshop called "Finding Your Inner Goddess." The workshop was held in a surprisingly comfortable yurt in this Birkenstock vale of zaftig women, sensitive males and clueless sheep.

Our first day was a revelation. We began to develop an understanding of what makes the people we have been writing about for years behave so badly, and felt a stir of compassion for what motivates their missteps --our own as well as those of our many subjects. Or should we say victims? Yours truly also quit drinking.

We will not bore you with details of our own transcendent migration from political cynic to compassionate hack, but would urge faithful readers to look inward and follow their own goddesses. Ours is a brunette.

Just kidding.

For the next few weeks, we will be visiting Bill Boettcher in prison and bringing him word of progress on the cracks in his parking garage, which have now been repaired at no additional cost to the community, and have lost their worrisome aspect. We will be attending a 12-step meeting together, and yours truly has offered to sail one of his boats back from Mexico for him. In truth, Big Bad Bill had some charming qualities that we missed in prior columns and hope to revisit in future ones.

Got a call last week from wannabe pol Rich Tarrant, whose substantial wealth has frankly been a barrier to our relationship, as well as the object of some, yes, personal envy. In our sylvan journey of self-discovery, we learned that great wealth changes people, and so does the lack of it. Richie Rich and yours truly are going to shoot some hoops together, enjoy a smoothie, and then see if our bicycle fits in the boot of the Bentley.

Gov. Jim Douglas is back from vacation and hard at it. Not just policy-making but poetry-writing. He'll be sharing some of his own verse at a reading we organized at our apartment next week. Although it is commonly known that the guv, like most Republicans, can't dance, it is largely unknown that, in his quieter moments, he pens deep and thoughtful trochees. Topics range from a lovely, seven-stanza poem on captive insurance to a haiku on the Universal Commercial Code.

On discovering this side of our governor, we came to rue our many cynical portrayals of him as a relentless ribbon-cutter. The Vermont Republican Party will be publishing a somewhat bowdlerized anthology of Governor Jim's verses next year, if they can find a Republican editor capable of understanding poetry.

Sam Hemingway is at it again, maundering to the Gannett Goddess of Trivial Pursuits. A recent column concerned a couple in Hardwick's Mobile Estates Trailer Park whose cynical landlord had urged them to heat their defective home by connecting the dryer outlet to their open bedroom window. Sam the Sham blew more regulatory hootie about the dangers of heating one's home with a dryer unless each family member is provided with a lint-filtering dust mask. Sam, adjust your meds.

Having raised liberal millions, Howard Dean is considering a national progressive lottery to raise more Dem Dollars. Asked for advice on its feasibility, yours truly proffered some lottery themes for his consideration.

HoHoHo, the Santa Claus of the Somnambulist National Committee, thought a national lottery called "Liberal Guilt" might appeal. Our recent workshop experience suggested that this was an artifact of his Park Avenue childhood and we disabused him of the notion. Humility and editorial distance prevent us from sharing our many great ideas, but the best was "Have Your Chardonnay and Drink It, Too." Let's see what the fall brings, eh?

We are trying to envision Vermont's Bernie Sanders in the august House of Lords --read: the U.S. Senate. Although not noted for our sartorial dash, we will be shepherding Ol' Bernardo on a trip to Montréal to gussy him up a bit for the elite side of Congress. After a foray to Le Club Sexie and a smoked-meat sandwich at the Barbie Barn, we plan to visit the Centre de Cuir (that would be leather) and see if we can get Ol' Bernardo trussed into a nice, three-piece leather suit. He has often admired the leather couch in our apartment, an avocado-colored artifact of the '50s. Surely, Bernie, we can do better than that!

Finally, a word about our vacation . . . you probably thought yours truly was knee-walking through the back streets of Dublin collecting tidbits for future vituperations. Not so! We were nailing chipboard sheathing to studs at a Habitat for Humanity house in Milton with our former media target and newfound friend Marselis Parsons and his breathtaking, brunette anchor sidekick. It was the first annual Anchor/Corres-pondent/Muckracker erection (oops) of a Habitat house.

The construction manager left to get more lumber and we applied the sheathing on the wrong side of the studs (oops again). This unusual house will be sheet-rocked entirely on the exterior and will have a chipboard and Tyvek interior. But then again, it's Milton.

Say, how would Ol' Bernardo look in Tyvek ?

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

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Bill Schubart


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