Archive for June, 2010

Vermont’s Alex Connection

June 30, 2010

I just think this visible satellite picture taken this afternoon is so cool.

You can see Hurricane Alex nearing the Mexican coast just south of Brownsville, Texas.

Then there’s a long channel of clouds heading northeast and then curving back to that swirl of clouds over Quebec. (Here in Vermont, we’re on the edge of that swirl, which is causing a few showers and cool weather today.)

All this just illustrates how all the world’s weather is somehow connected. It’s a metaphor for how everything, including all us humans, are somehow connected to everybody else on the globe.

Not that everything affects us dramatically. For instance, it looks like Hurricane Alex will have no direct impact on Vermont’s weather.

For a little humor, and for an illustration of how unconnected a lot of us feel toward the rest of the world, watch this great Onion News Network parody of how American media might cover this storm. Hey, it’s only Mexico, who cares? :

Vermont Summer Sunset, (ctd.)

June 30, 2010

As promised, a few more pics of the colorful evening over Richmond, Vermont Tuesday evening. In these shots, the rainbow had disappeared in favor of an intricate light show to the west:

Beautiful Vermont Evening

June 30, 2010

Richmond, Vermont, evening, June 29, 2010 (More pics tomorrow)

Gaga and Geezers

June 29, 2010

It’s a known fact that I am a big fan of Lady Gaga.

It’s also been suggested that I”m too old to enjoy and dance to her songs.

As a rebuttal, I offer you the following video.

He Wants To Shop!!!!

June 29, 2010

This video in this post will soon be everywhere, as it’s going viral. But I can’t resist.

The interior of Toronto Eaton Centre beckons. Our shopping hero was not able to get inside over the weekend

The G-20 summit was in Toronto over the weekend. Some people who objected to the whole shebang rioted. That, in turn, prompted the Toronto Eaton Centre mall in Toronto to go into lockdown.

Apparently, the  mall operators have an aversion to smashed windows and Molotov Cocktails.  

The customer in the following video was somewhat displeased by the early closure. It’s well worth the watch and the laugh:

As always, this whole episode raised questions for me. I always have questions.

Our fearless shopper’s attitude suggests that shopping is a basic human right, that we must be free to do it at any time. I completely missed this. When did the world human rights commission, or whoever controls that type of thing, decide this?

The secondary question is: I’m not an enthusiastic shopper. I usually prefer to do other things. Does my lack of enthusiasm mean I’m taking away the human rights  of people who do like to visit malls, because I’m such a killjoy?

What was our shopper intending to buy, anyway? It looks like it was terribly important. Not to be mean, but he does not appear to be the Abercrombrie & Fitch type of person. He was certainly cranky. Maybe he hadn’t had enough sleep. Maybe those damn G-20 rioters kept him up the night before. Maybe he wanted to buy earplugs. Did the Toronto Eaton Centre pre-empt a sale on ear plugs during the shutdown?

I think our hero has hit upon a new protest slogan that fits this day and age perfectly. “We are the public! We want to shop!!!!” Although I could tell he was disturbed the rest of the public did not seem to take the desire to shop seriously enough. “Doesn’t anyone else care?” he demands.

Well, uh, no, not really.

Mr. Ding-A-Ling Dings Me.

June 28, 2010

Ok, here’s proof I can sort of change my mind.

Gary Hathaway, in his Mr. Ding-a-Ling ice cream truck, sells some goodies to two guys. Photo by Emily McManamy of the Burlington Free Press.

Mr. Ding-A-Ling is the ice cream truck that cruises city streets and suburban neighborhoods in and near Burlington, Vermont.  A tinny off-tune version of “Home On The Range” constantly screeches from the damn thing.  If you can imagine a talentless flute player performing in a half-flooded culvert, that’s what it sounds like.

One day the truck parked itself in the neighborhood where I was landscaping practically all afternoon, playing that awful thing over and over and over and over…..

I think this is one of the torture methods Dick Cheney came up with, when he was looking for something worse than waterboarding. I still have post-traumatic stress syndrome from that afternoon. It really made me pull my hair out, which explains why my hair is so short.

The Burlington Free Press has just done an article and slide show on Mr. Ding-A-Ling, much to my consternation. But, as it turns out, maybe due to the talent of report Matt Ryan and photographer Emily McManamy, I’m beginning to reconsider my dread of Mr. Ding-A-Ling. (When reading Ryan’s article, click on “multimedia” to see McManamy’s slide show)

I especially liked McManamy’s decision to display her photo slide show in black and white. The whole thing  with the ice cream truck is old-timey, so the black and white photos fit perfectly.

The guy who drives the Mr. Ding-a-Ling truck, Gary Hathaway, comes off like a decent guy, an Average Joe bloke with a Vermont accent. I have to admit the kids like the ice cream, which shuts them up momentarily, always a good thing. His truck seems like a comforting presence to people in the neighborhoods he cruises, so who am I to argue with that?

Judging from McManamy’s Free Press slide show, Hathaway seems perfectly sane, which I can’t believe given the noise he’s subject to all day. I thought maybe he was deaf and couldn’t hear the “Home on the Range” racket,  but he seems to hear his customers just fine, and always manages to have an easy banter with them.

So, Mr. Ding-A-Ling, despite my dirty-mind questions about the name of your  business and my continued trauma over your “Home On The Range,” I apologize. I hope you and your ice cream truck live long and prosper.  I’ll probably end up buying ice cream from you. I’ll just make sure and wear my ear plugs when I do.

Scary, Funny Vermont Booze News

June 28, 2010

My alcohol consumption over the past weekend amounted to two, 12-ounce bottles of Long Trail Blackberry Wheat beer, but other people’s drinking gave me a full boozy experience, let me tell you.

The first one was scary. I’d always wondered why there are so many fatal crashes on Route 78 between Swanton and Alburgh, Vt. Now I know why.

I had a job Saturday out in Alburgh. Finishing up for the day, I started heading home on aforementioned Route 78 as the sun sank toward the western horizen. It’s a wonder I made it home alive.

That stretch of Route 78 is a relatively flat, straight route along the bottomlands of the Mississquoi River, near the point where it empties into Lake Champlain. There’s plenty of pulloffs along the road where people fish, and apparently a lot of those fishing enthusiasts drink. A lot.

Three times as I cruised along the road, I had to drive off the edge of the road as people veered uncontrollably into my lane. Plus, two people coming toward me passed slow moving vehicles and almost collided with me  head on.  I’m sure most of these people were drunk, the way they were driving.

In one case, I had to fully drive onto the front lawn of a house to avoid being hit. Thankfully, there were no trees, mailboxes or other debris in the way.

So a word to the wise: If you value your life, don’t drive Route 78 between Swanton and Alburgh on a Saturday evening.

My next boozy encounter, Sunday morning, was much funnier. On the way out of town for a day of mowing and brush clearing, I stopped at the busy On the Run convenience store in St. Albans to stock up on Gatorade.

As I pulled in, so did a large pickup truck. The young driver was fine. He wore a green t-shirt and gray Carhartts, and looked bright eyed and bushy tailed.

His two passengers were another story. One guy, a tall, broad-shouldered blonde guy eased his way out of the truck. It looked painful. He wore an incredible rumpled black business suit that I’m sure he slept in.

As he got out of the truck, a woman in a nearby minvan saw a person she knew, and yelled in the loudest, cheeriest, sunniest voice, “Hey Doris, How are ya!”

Our hero practically melted under the noise of this onslaught. Clearly, the last thing he needed was loud, cheery and sunny. It was funny how a friendly woman’s  voice could almost kill such a big, strapping guy.  He tottered, pushed his sunglasses against his eyes, and staggered into the store.

A third guy was even worse. He was also in his 20s, and wore a limp green dress shirt and sagging tan khakis.  I’ve seen 95 year old men get out of a truck with more skill and grace than this guy. He had to weigh close to 200 pounds, but I swear the breeze  was threatening to blow him over.  The wind at the time was gusting to almost 10 mph.  He, too, managed to stagger into the store. 

The three men all went to the coffee bar. The first guy poured his coffee, paid, and returned to his truck. I could see him chuckling to himself over his friends’ predicament.

 The other two had trouble working the coffee dispensers, but finally pulled it off. The trip back to the truck was especially painful, since the sun was out and the sunglasses were no match for their aching eyes.   

Clearly, somebody was at a party last night.

I returned to my truck, popped open a Gatorade for the road and took off, incredibly happy that I’ve not been in the mood to drink ’til I drop for a long, long time.

Media: Best TV Intro

June 27, 2010

For some odd reason, I’ve always had an interest in how TV shows are introduced, how the opening credits appear visually. Most are stupid, as so many TV shows are stupid.

A still from the "True Blood" opening credits

The best ever  TV intro is for “True Blood,” the HBO vampire series. The show’s great, but the opening credits are so visually arresting, oozing with evil, secrets, weirdness and Southern Gothic darkness.

On the radio, they’re starting to play the theme song, a superb dark, lascivious tune called “Bad Things” by  Jace Everett.

Oil Spill Time Lapse

June 26, 2010

Yeah, yeah, I know I’ve been obsessing about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, but there are so many facets to this whole disaster that simultaneously horrify and fascinate me.

That includes everything from the physics of the spill to the politics related to it. The whole thing is revealing so many truths about the natural world and human nature

Today, I offer a nature perspective. NASA/Goddard Institute has released a time lapse video of the spill, from satellite views. It’s mesmerizing and grim.

Drying Flowers?

June 26, 2010

“You got da dead flowers dere hanging in the corner, why that,?” said Darlusz Zabagaiski, the Polish frog that is my muse in this house.

Cut flowers drying in my house.

“That’s Jeff good idea,” I said. “He’s trying to dry flowers, to see how they come out. He’s got some roses in his house that are a few years old, all dried out, and they look great,” I said.

“Where you put dem, when day done?,” Dalusz asked.

“Ah, you’re too impatient. We haven’t figured that out yet. First things first. Let’s see if this experiment works first. But they’d maybe make a nice, pleasant decoration in the bathroom,” I said.

“You got so many liddle projects,” Darlusz observed.

Yep, and there’s another one. The more the merrier,” I replied.