802 Online | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Seven Days needs your financial support!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Winter Reading

Posted By on Tue, Dec 27, 2005 at 2:47 PM

There are few things I enjoy more than spending a few hours sprawled out in my living room reading a good book. My life is pretty hectic these days — whose isn't? — and I only get to read when I intentionally carve out the time, which isn't nearly as often as I'd like. I feel lucky this week to have time to read. I've got a bunch of other items on my to do list, but so far I've managed to get engrossed in several new books, some of them I actually have a chance of finishing before I officially go back to work on Monday.

So instead of adding a bunch of new blogs to my list, which I swear I'll do any day now, I'll tell you what I'm reading, and ask that you share what's on your bedside or couchside table (or bathroom shelf).

I'm plodding through The End of Faith, by Sam Harris. I got two copies of this for Christmas — ironically. I kept one, and returned the other for The Johnstown Flood, the first book by David McCullough, one of my favorite writers. I remember reading excerpts of this book in a Reader's Digest when I was probably 10 or 11. It made quite an impression. It's a great book, by a talented writer. It's timely, too, considering this year's surfeit of natural disasters. The Johnstown flood is eerily similar to the flooding of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Makes you wonder what the hell else is about to break in this country.

I'm also engrossed in Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder, by Richard Luov. I got this from my sister Karen, who works as an environmental educator in Charlotte, NC. A fascinating and frightening book that makes me want to spend more time in the woods and less time in front of my computer. I've also started Collapse, by Jared Diamond, and Everything Bad is Good For You, by Stephen Johnson, but haven't gotten very far in either. Also started Families Like Mine: Children of Gay Parents Tell it Like it is, by Abigail Garner. Got that from my 7 Days secret santa. Thanks! And I have yet to start Home Land, by Sam Lipsyte, the only fiction book on my list.

I confess that, though I was recently able to read the 6th Harry Potter book for the second time, I am hopelessly mired in Post Captain, the second Aubrey/Maturin book by Patrick O'Brien. I'm disappointed. It's so boring that I don't think I can finish. Let me sum up what I've read in the first 2/3: Jack's broke, Stephen is a spy (uh, for the English?) and they're sailing in some boat that's not as good as the boat they were on in the last book. Also, they think they're in love with the same woman, when in fact they are in love with each other. Every time I pick up this book to read it, I feel like I'm on a boat that's sailing around in circles, going nowhere, making me vaguely seasick. I think it's time to stop.

And it's not a book, but this morning I finished the Dec. 2005 issue of the Atlantic Monthly, which has this thought-provoking article by James Fallows about Iraq's army, or lack thereof.

So, readers — if anyone read this far — what are you reading?

Friday, December 23, 2005

On vacation!

Posted By on Fri, Dec 23, 2005 at 3:55 PM

Expect light posting from me over the next week or so. I'm officially on vacation — Seven Days closes the office for a couple weeks at the end of the year and gives us all a break. We sent the Dec. 28th issue to the press last week, so I don't have anything to write until the first week of January.

I'm spending my time nesting, reading, watching movies, eating good food and tying up loose ends before our baby arrives in February. Sometime in there I'll be posting a new list of Vermont blogs. But not today. I've got furniture from IKEA to assemble.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Free Press blogging article

Posted By on Tue, Dec 20, 2005 at 4:12 PM

I meant to post about this Burlington Free Press front-page story on political blogging earlier this morning, but forgot. A comment from "tod" in another thread reminded me to get with it.

Not that I have much to say. I think Terri Hallenbeck got it right. I *was* surprised that they omitted The Carpetbagger Report, since that's probably the most highly trafficked political blog in the state, but it seemed like their focus was on statewide politics.

They're right to do the story now — when I wrote about political blogging last October, almost nobody was doing it at a statewide level. The field has definitely expanded.

Give the gift of gem jams!

Posted By on Tue, Dec 20, 2005 at 1:50 PM

I did a phone interview with Leslie Hall for our December 28th end-of-the-year update in the paper, but it turns out we didn't have space for it. Ah well. Good thing I can shamelessly plug the remarkable Keeper of the Gems online.

Here's the scoop since last we saw her at the Art Hop in September — she's in Iowa. The mobile gem sweater museum broke down in Worcester, Mass, after a couple shows in New Hampshire and Boston. "We need a new radiator," says Leslie.

That's the bad news. Good news is that Leslie has a new video out, commissioned by design firm Space 150. They flew her to MN to film it. She's also got this Christmas rap e-card.

And the Gem Sweater lady has been interviewed by reporters from Bust, Instinct and a new magazine called Swindle. She thinks the stories will come out in January and February. In March, the CBS Morning Show might air a segment about her, and in April, her museum will be at the Museum School in Boston. She'll be competing for a $100,000 prize.

"'06 is my year!" she says.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Real VT: Christmas caroling Burlington style

Posted By on Mon, Dec 19, 2005 at 6:13 PM

I just came from a clever Queer Liberation Army protest. A group of the "queer elves" stood outside the General Dynamics building and sang Christmas carols. Er, sort of. They rewrote the songs for the occasion. Some lyrics from their version of "Jingle Bells":

Dashing through the snow
In leftie Burlington
Oh how much we want

The QLA sings
Making spirits bright
Oh what fun it is
To fight the radical right!

Jingle Bells, George Bush smells,
Make him go away.
The neocon empire is in its final days, hey!

You get the idea. More in Wednesday's paper.

Real VT: Senator Leahy goes shopping

Posted By on Mon, Dec 19, 2005 at 1:56 PM

Reason # 347827859 why I love Vermont: from Hall Monitor's Darren Allen, who ran into Senator Patrick Leahy at the Hunger Mountain Food Co-op on Saturday. Leahy spent the weekend at home before returning to DC as the session winds down.

After a brief chat with the senator very much in the news latelyfor opposing President Bush's approach to renewing the Patriot Act --and for angrily denouncing a domestic spying program that has Bush verymuch on the defensive -- he bade goodbye.

As he left thecheckout line, a woman in the aisle spotted him, and started clappingloudly. Soon the entire store erupted into cheers.

I'll bet you that most senators in the country don't get that kind of a reception while stocking up on a few provisions.

I love it that it's possible to run into one of our two senators at the local co-op.

Alarming NYT story

Posted By on Mon, Dec 19, 2005 at 1:38 PM

Just finished reading this front page New York Times story about the online child porn business and feel compelled to recommend it. It's extremely disturbing, a real wake-up call to parents and child welfare advocates. It's also an excellent example of why we need reporters. Kurt Eichenwald does an incredible job of addressing a problem law enforcement agencies and advocacy organizations didn't know existed.

I often hear people over 40 talking about how their kids know more than they do about computers. It's great that our kids are technologically savvy, but parents and guardians and people who work with kids need to keep up. You can't read the warning signs if you don't know what to look for.

UPDATE: Here's another take on this story, from Boing-Boing. Thanks, Bill. I have to say, my gut reaction — as someone who didn't go to journalism school — is that this NYT reporter did the right thing by encouraging this kid to get out of the porn biz, and by contacting authorities. It seems like the kind of journalistic detachment opponants of this story are advocating is part of why people don't trust or are skeptical of the mainstream media. We're human beings, too, and we should be careful about censoring our human responses to devastation — physical or emotional — when we report it. I don't think anyone objected to the TV anchors who reported on hurricane Katrina and helped rescue survivors off-camera.

Frankly, I'm not concerned about compromising "objectivity" here. How can anybody be objective about a kid selling images of his body online? I doubt there are any credible people who would argue that this behavior is healthy and deserves to be protected.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Back online

Posted By on Sun, Dec 18, 2005 at 8:52 PM

The title of this post refers both to my poor blog, which temporarily lost a week's worth of posts on Friday due to a system-wide Typepad malfunction, and to my heat, which was switched on last Wednesday.

On Thursday, I interviewed the guys who put it in for this month's WORK column. That's a monthly Seven Days feature that profiles Vermonters on the job. Incidentally, WORK is one of my favorite parts of the paper. I love writing it. I love talking to regular people (as opposed to activists and government officials) about their jobs. I find that there's something artful about every occupation, and I enjoy getting people to talk about the art in what they do.

The art in this case is the boiler itself, a Weil-McLain Ultra 80. I snapped these boiler porn photos on Thursday. They show the insides of the boiler after Cary took its cover off — yep, it's tiny — and the actual flame flickering inside it. The third one is a close-up of the boiler with its cover on. I could stare at this thing all day.

I better like it. I'm not going to pay it off until our soon-to-be-born child is in 1st grade.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Pat Hejny memorial service

Posted By on Thu, Dec 15, 2005 at 4:19 PM

Morgan just emailed to say that Pat Hejny's obituary appeared today in the Times Argus. From the last paragraph:

"Patricia's memorial service is scheduled for 10 a.m., Saturday, Dec.17, 2005, at the Church of the Good Shephard in Barre, followed by a social gathering and food. In lieu of flowers or other memorial gifts please make a donation to the local food bank."

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Real VT: Zephyr's new campaign

Posted By on Wed, Dec 14, 2005 at 5:54 PM

No, she's not running for anything...Russ Ellis is. Russ is a former headmaster of Rock Point School, where I worked as a dorm counselor a few years back. He's running for Burlington City Council, for a seat he used to occupy before he was unseated in the last election.

On Vermont Daily Briefing, Philip Baruth spins a good yarn about a campaign strategy session at which Zephyr Teachout volunteered to help set up Russ's email list. That's kind of like holding tryouts for your band's new drummer, and having Jon Fishman drop in and ask to back you up. Or like playing a pick-up basketball game at the Y, and having Taylor Coppenrath ask to be on your team. Or like, um, uh... I'm running out of Vermont celebrities...

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative

All content © 2022 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401

Advertising Policy  |  Privacy Policy  |  Contact Us  |  About Us  |  Help
Website powered by Foundation