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Letters to the Editor 

Plattsburger With Cheese

I am writing in response to “Eating Plattsburgh” [July 28]. I just recently relocated to Plattsburgh, N.Y., after spending the last nine years in Burlington. I am a huge fan of dining out and have visited most of the restaurants in the Burlington area on numerous occasions. I was happy to see Seven Days reaching out across the lake. I have just started sampling some of what Plattsburgh has to offer. I have yet to visit Café Mooney Bay, so it was great to learn a bit more about that restaurant.

I saw Livingoods was mentioned but not reviewed. I have fallen in love with this restaurant since moving to Plattsburgh. I haven’t had a dish yet that disappoints. The food is very well executed, the drink selection is more than adequate, the staff is friendly and the atmosphere is very modern and comfortable. It almost gives you the sense of being in a bigger city, or one at least as big as Burlington. Their “7 Deadly Burgers” are delicious and cooked to perfection. I would say their burgers are the best I have ever had, and I have sampled a lot of burgers. Their menu is quite expansive, so burgers are certainly not what they are all about. The flatbread pizzas and pasta dishes are incredible, as well. Give it a try!

Kristine Zaker

Plattsburgh, N.Y.

Off Course

I was disappointed by Lauren Ober’s recent piece on unique classes in Vermont colleges’ curricula [“Gut Reactions,” August 18]. Instead of looking at the reasons for such changes — which include many schools’ practice of judging professors on raw enrollment numbers rather than teaching quality, which forces professors to “market” their courses with ever-more inventive titles — Ms. Ober chose to mock the courses without any substantive analysis. Although Ms. Ober may not be able to imagine how the biology of cosmetics is an interesting and worthy topic of study, a good professor could make such a course more challenging than basic Biology 101.

I was also disturbed at her suggestion that it is a waste of money for students to learn about “comic books and circus freaks.” Comic books and other cultural ephemera are objects worthy of much study; they surround us daily, shaping our modes of understanding, and interacting with, the world. And, to my mind, dismissing the value of studying “circus freaks” and their history is to say that there is nothing worth examining in our culture’s perennial difficulty in incorporating those who are “different” into the public sphere without “other”-ing and mocking them.

I expect more from Seven Days than a reflexive and substance-free implicit endorsement of academia remaining in the safe and boring boundaries of tradition. There is much to be learned from studying subjects and ideas that those in power previously felt were not deserving of attention or examination.

Nicole Morse

Weybridge

Visibly Annoyed

[Re: “Let’s Get Visible,” July 21]: I am a gay woman. I’ve been married to my wife for almost five years, and we have a beautiful daughter. I have never been ashamed of my sexuality. I am for equal rights for the gay community, and I am proud of who I am. However, I have many issues with this article, and gay pride festivals in general. Why hasn’t the gay community received political and social equality? It’s because gay activists are making the gay community unrelatable.

Maybe we should stop referring to ourselves as “queer,” and society will stop seeing us in such a way. Maybe we should stop throwing parades with participants half-naked, wearing outlandish outfits, and our communities will be able to relate to us and want to fight for equality with us. I’m gay and I cannot relate to this at all. You say you want to be visible, and that’s completely understandable, but there’s a way to be visible that can promote gay issues, and it’s not dressing and acting the way the gay community does in a pride parade.

Amanda Guinness

Burlington

Go West

Thank you for writing such a positive article about Eat ’n Meet Grill and Larder [“’Dacks Dining,” July 28]. I am a frequent goer, and I love to see that Seven Days cares enough to write about us west of Lake Champlain. It is obvious to see the local food movement throughout Vermont’s eateries, but you really have to search down places like Eat ’n Meet in this area, and to promote and advertise is even harder. Thanks again, and don’t forget about us!

Marina Potter

St. Regis Falls, N.Y.

Cocktails To-Go

Great feature about unusual bars-bartenders-drinks around the state [“Drink Up,” August 11]. Will clip this for my next road trip!

Andrea Grayson

Charlotte

Daysie Dues

We are really honored and excited to have won the Seven Daisy award for Best Bar Outside Chittenden County [“Seven Daysies Readers Picks,” August 4]. We love doing what we do, and we really appreciate that the larger Vermont community has responded so enthusiastically to craft beer and the little space in Montpelier that we managed to create to celebrate and enjoy craft beer.

That said, a large part of what we’ve always tried to incorporate into the Three Penny Taproom experience is educational — not in a stuffy, formal, condescending or self-righteous way, but rather in a fun, casual, “hey-isn’t-this-beer-really-amazing-and-delicious” way. It is with this in mind that we scratched our heads and felt the need to write to clarify something to everyone who voted for us as Best Brew Pub Outside Chittenden County: We don’t brew beer, making us not a brew pub!

Of course, we’re again honored to receive so much support from craft-beer lovers throughout Vermont, but despite the flattery of being named runner-up in what is possibly our favorite category personally, the fact is, a brew pub is a place (a pub) that brews beer. And we don’t brew beer!

Just thought we’d try to clarify; it’s what we do. And, again, thanks so much for all your support and your votes! And keep drinking good beer!

Matt McCarthy, Scott Kerner, Wes Hamilton

Montpelier

The signers are co-owners of Three Penny Taproom.

“Foie” Facts

I was concerned that a letter writer [“Feedback,” August 4] was misinformed about the production of foie gras. There are only two foie gras producers in the country: D’Artagnan, which was started by a French family and has been around since the ’80s; and Hudson Valley Foie Gras, which is a newer operation. They are not factory farms. The ducks do not live in cages. If anyone wants to see video proof that the ducks flock to the tube at both of these producers, you only need to go as far as YouTube. The only bad thing I can see happening is ducks fighting each other to get the tube down their throats first. They want the extra food as much as a typical American does. We don’t seem to mind overeating, and neither do the ducks.

Pete Millar

Essex Junction

Bed bug or Bedbug?

Last week’s bed bug story, “Vermont’s Got a Growing Bedbug Problem — and, Yes, They Bite,” generated a lot of reader interest. And, alas, a correction from a professional in the field. Despite our best efforts to locate entomologically accurate images of the little buggers, it seems our sources were not sufficiently scientific. The email exchange below is between letters editor Paula Routly and Dr. Kurt Pickett, curator of invertebrates in the University of Vermont department of biology. At least someone is paying attention.

KP: The image associated with this article is not a bed bug, nor a particularly close relative of bed bugs. On the contrary, it is a very common, free-living member of the family Pentatomidae, commonly known as stink bugs. Stink bugs are not blood-feeding (rather, they feed on plants or other insects), and as they are very common in Vermont, your readers will no doubt now be confused and concerned when they see them in the wild. I recommend publishing a clarification. Also, as the bed bug is, in fact, a true bug (Hemiptera: Heteroptera), the word “bug” must be separated from “bed.” The combination “bedbug” denotes a non-heteropteran creature.

PR: This is very disappointing news. The last time we wrote about bugs — ticks, actually — we used the wrong image. I made a special effort to ensure that our graphics department research and verify the bedbug image they used. They got the photo from “iStockphoto,” where it was clearly labeled “bedbug.” Scientific name: Tessaratomidae.

Also, our proofreader went to Merriam Webster for the correct spelling of bedbug. She said the New York Times uses the one-word version, too.

Next time we write about bugs, would you like to be our consulting entomologist? I’m serious.

KP: I’d be happy to consult with you in the future, if I can be of some help. Also, I’d like to point out the State of Vermont’s insect collections are housed on the UVM campus in the Zadock Thompson Natural History Collection. I am the curator of these collections, and we could certainly arrange for reliably identified specimens to be available to your photographers.

Also, bed bugs are all in the family Cimicidae. It’s true, your photo could be of a tessaratomid (which, unlike bed bugs, are close relatives of pentatomids, but some authorities have treated Tessaratomidae as a group within Pentatomidae, thus stripping it of its family status). Either way, the critter you show is within the Pentatomoidea (superfamily including both of these latter families), and it ain’t no bed bug. I also point out that the true bugs are among the most diverse lineages of life, so it’s not as if I’m splitting hairs here; these things are distant relatives.

As for the common name usage, yes, well the NYT has been using the combination “honeybee” for quite some time, too, despite multiple attempts to have them change. The rule is as follows: If it’s really a fly, then the word “fly” must be separated (viz., “horse fly” versus “dragonfly”). Same for “bee,” “wasp” and so on.

CORRECTION:

In our story last week about Hungry Headies at the University of Vermont [“Head Trip,” August 18], an editing error resulted in changing the name of the owners’ fraternity. The correct house is Sigma Phi. Our apologies for the mistake.

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