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Letters to the Editor (3/19/14) 

Got Dictionary?

I am a faithful reader of the Fair Game column, but I was appalled at Paul Heintz's description of Lenore Broughton as "an infamous sportswoman" [February 26]. According to Webster, "infamous" means "having a reputation of the worst kind: notorious, as being vicious, contemptible or criminal in character." Lenore Broughton, whom I know well, is hardly a "sportswoman," but she is a kind, gentle, decent and concerned citizen. There is nothing "infamous" about her. Paul owes her an apology, and whoever edits Paul's columns needs to gain additional experience with the English language.

John McClaughry

Kirby

Deadly Logic

[Re Last 7: "Big Votes, Small City," March 5]: I find it disconcerting and worrisome that a Vermont resident mentions drunken college kids knocking on the door at 2 a.m. as a justification for gun ownership. It would be such a tragedy if that played out — an unnecessary, worst-case scenario involving a firearm.

People in Vermont and elsewhere need to understand the use of harmful retaliation in any situation: If and only if your life or someone else's is seriously threatened with bodily harm, on your property, in your home or in public, can the use of harmful or deadly force be justified.

Bob Prall

Waterbury

Cooking for Generations

[Re "Vintage Vermont Victuals," February 19]: Many years ago, I inherited my great-grandmother's cookbooks, and one of them was the original Out of Vermont Kitchens cookbook. I remember my great-grandmother very well, and I love the notion that I am holding her cookbook with its aged, tattered pages, looking through the same recipes she did so many years ago. 

I was raised on a fifth-generation dairy farm. My dad often tells stories from his childhood days living on the farm where his grandparents also lived in the same house with his family — not an unusual thing in those days! But he recalls that they always had dessert for each lunch and supper meal: One day would be cake and the next day would be pie.

His grandmother and his mother took turns cooking either the meal or the dessert each day for the family of eight. I have several handwritten recipes from both of these family matriarchs — some on the corner of a brown paper bag, the back of an envelope or the back of a letter — all of which are stained from being made several times, all precious pieces of my family's history.

Since my mother helped my father milk the cows, I became the baker in the house at age 9 and, even today, I continue to bake and pass out all "the goods" to my three daughters and their families. Even when my grandchildren visit, one of their favorite things to do is help me bake — just passing on the tradition!

I have printed off the Seven Days article and placed it in the original cookbook for one of my daughters to find when I hand down this precious cookbook to them.

Linny Curtis

Jeffersonville

Freedom to Slaughter

I enjoyed Kathryn Flagg's article about her experience with Green Pasture Meats' mobile slaughter unit ["A Gentler Exit," March 5]. However, Vermonters have humanely and safely slaughtered animals on-farm for generations without the benefit of fuel-guzzling, $225,000 mobile facilities that must sit idle waiting for lost federal inspectors. While I wish Mark Smith nothing but the best with his ambitious endeavor, let us not forget that the very assumption of the necessity for such infrastructure is emblematic of our severely eroded rights with regard to how we feed ourselves. According to Flagg's article, many Agency of Agriculture officials acknowledge the existence of a so-called "black market" in farm-slaughtered meat. To those consciously participating in that market, either as producer or consumer, I encourage you to remember that you're dealing in something far more important than meat and money. You're dealing in your freedom.

Ben Hewitt

Cabot

Kinder and Even More Gentle

[Re "A Gentler Exit," March 5]: Whenever I read the honest and emotional reflections of someone who has to slaughter their beloved farm animals for meat — the kind of reflections that Kathryn Flagg shared recently — I can't help but think back to when humans were hunter-gatherers. We never had a relationship with the animals we killed and ate back then; the practice of spending our days with animals and then seeing them slaughtered is a relatively recent phenomenon, one that grew up with farming. So of course slaughter day is hard for us — we who evolved over tens of thousands of years with more distance from the animals we ate. Does the sadness we feel mean it's wrong to take the lives of animals for meat? Some would say yes, but I don't think so. It just means we're human. And it's our humanity that is leading us to seek kinder, more humane ways of raising and processing farm animals. We should thank our sadness for what it inspires us to do, and worry only when the sadness is no longer there.

Caroline Abels

Montpelier

Abels is founder and editor of the website Humaneitarian.org.

Hateful Letter

We published a letter to the editor last week that generated some strong reactions from readers. Some people think we shouldn't have printed the views of Brian King, who strongly disagrees with some of the content in the personals section of Seven Days, which he has nicknamed 'The Fag Rag." Others, of course, were concerned about the man's ferret, whose litter box is lined with those pages he finds distasteful. Only in Vermont...

I am normally a big fan of your paper but was shocked to see that you printed the 'The Fag Rag' letter in your Feedback section. I understand that you must get your fair share of bigoted hate speech from the dregs of society, but I would hope that you throw those letters in the garbage where they belong or, for that matter, hand them to the police — not print them in your paper giving bigots the voice and influence they crave but certainly don't deserve. I am far more offended by you printing Mr. King's letter than anything people, gay or straight, post in the personals. Please consider more carefully what you print and do not spread hate speech and bigoted slurs.

Andy Whitaker

Burlington

After reading last week's Feedback, I'd like to take a moment to thank Seven Days for not filtering it out. I think that it's important for us to see what our LGBTQ community has to put up with. I'm sure most of our gay community can let this roll off effortlessly by heeding the same advice my parents gave me when kids in school were mean: "Consider the source." I almost feel more for Brian than for the people he was trying to hurt with this letter. Maybe he should take a minute to look through the personal ads; maybe he'll find someone willing to look past his painful sexual repressions and open his mind a little. I don't know what happened to make sex such a sore subject, but there are people out there who can help you. Lashing out at people who are different than you won't ease your pain or your fears.

Brandon Hosier

Burlington

You, Brian King, should be grateful for the light that illuminates the darkness in which you wallow.

Noel Bumpas

Burlington

The letter to the editor, 'The Fag Rag,' which at first stunned me with its sheer stupidity and general Neanderthal timbre, eventually made me think how proud I am to be one of "those people" with "the sick sex problems." Of course, sick to one person isn't the same as sick to another, which to me would be living with ferrets and carrying a constant aura of musk and urine around with you everywhere you travel. But I digress. I'll stick to reading Seven Days and not lining my apartment with it, thanks.

Christopher Maloney

Barre

I'm writing in regard to 'The Fag Rag' and Brian King's use of the personals section. While I understand the need for inexpensive (in this case free — thank you, Seven Days!) options for filling your ferret's litter box, I urge you to consider a healthier option. Ferrets who are exposed to the content in the personals section have been shown to experience severe medical and behavioral problems, including but not limited to broadened horizons, euphoria, smiling, laughing, increased curiosity, sense of adventure, belief in hope and possibility, and an overall sense of boredom at being owned by the most boring person to read Seven Days. Also: The young woman at Rite Aid was most definitely right: You don't have to read it. You could spend money on another newspaper for your ferret to use, but something tells me you get a certain satisfaction out of sneaking a peek at the dirty personals before your ferret makes them even dirtier. There's nothing wrong with that; I only hope your ferret is on board.

Rachel Venooker

Williston

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