Archive for October, 2010

First Snow in St. Albans

October 31, 2010

Lookit out dare in da yard!” said Darlusz, the Polish frog who lives with me, at first light this morning.

Darlusz the frog this morning in my yard with the first snowball of the season.

A thin, wet dusting of snow covered the yard, the truck, the trees. It was the first accumulation of snow of the season at my place.

Come! We go have snowball fight. It be fun,!” Darlusz said, hopping excitedly out the door.

Just like a kid, Darlusz loves the first snow of the season. Me, I’m not ready, as I still have LOTS of fall chores to do.

It’s only  a dusting of snow, and Darlusz had to scrape and scrape enough to get a decent snowball. But he did.

His was the first Halloween snowball I’ve seen in close to 20 years. Many years ago, I think it was 1993, it snowed hard on Halloween night, and I had a snowball fight on Burlington’s Church Street with a gorilla, a pregnant nun and Bernie Sanders.

No such weirdness today. “Hey, dis snowball, it delicious,” he said, taking a bite out of it.

Darn frog is always hungry.

Cockatoo Gets Crunk?

October 30, 2010

The kids tell me that “getting crunk” means to go crazy and party and have a really good time. So I guess that’s what this hip hop cockatoo was doing in the video below.

Apparently, cockatoos and other birds and animals can have a sense of rhythm. There is another video out there of a cockaoo dancing to “Another One Bites the Dust” by Queen.

The song this cockatoo is dancing to is dreadful, but I know you will be smiling big time at this anyway:

Urban Autumn in Vermont

October 30, 2010

People come to Vermont in the fall to look at the foliage on the mountains, and they pretty much avoid the state’s small cities while doing so.

Blue sky is reflected in the windows of a brick building in Burlington, Vermont, covered in autumn-colored ivy.

But after most of the leaves are gone from the hills, the towns put on one last, late breaking show.

Pictures here are in Burlington, Vermont on Thursday. Since then, even the city leaves have pretty much blown off the trees, and stick season is here.

Burlington, Vermont's bike path on Thursday

Stopping The Bullies (ctd.)

October 29, 2010

That onslaught of publicity last month concerning the spate of suicides among youths who were bullied because they were gay, or perceived to be gay, is continuing to have repercussions, many of them good.

In Vermont yesterday, all 770 or so students at  Colchester High School in Colchester Vermont listened to education speaker Josh Gunderson talk about some of the pitfalls of social media like Facebook, especially as it relates to bullying. I explain it all in today’s Burlington Free Press.

Education speaker Josh Gunderson (left) talks to Colchester, Vermont high school students after his talk on bullying on line. Photo by me, for the Burlington Free Press.

Colchester school administrators say they have anti-bullying policies in place, but figured the message would resonate more if they had an entertaining, funny young person like Gunderson talk to students about it. The students seemed to like Gunderson, and fell silent with interest when he described how he was bullied in high school, and almost committed suicide because of it.

Gunderson has one of the many videos in the “It Gets Better” project, which seeks to tell bullied gay kids that life gets better and they should hang in there. Here’s Gunderson’s video:

Interestingly, in Colchester yesterday, Gunderson brought up Clint McCance, the Arkansas school board member who caused an uproar this week with an anti-gay, bullying rant on Facebook. Gunderson used McCance as an example of the type of bullying he’s fighting, and the risk to everyone when they post inappropriate comments on line.

McCance got a lot of hate mail, many calls for his resignation and even death threats. (Which I don’t condone, since such threats are as bad as McCance’s hate-filled comments)

On CNN Thursday, Anderson Cooper interviewed McCance, who said he is resigning from the school board and regrets publishing his rant. He said his words were wrong and over the top. I’ll say.

Still, I wasn’t impressed, since McCance said he was sorry for the words, but didn’t really apologize for the gist of what he said.

I am impressed with Cooper, who has been doing a lot of work and reporting on this anti-gay bullying problem.  Cooper seems to have no patience with evasive answers, which is great, and he persists and hangs on like a bulldog until he gets a complete answer to his questions. And he does it in a relatively civilized way, not like the screaming talking heads I’m used to on cable TV.

Betcha Can’t Do This

October 28, 2010

I noticed this video on Andrew Sullivan’s Daily Dish blog.

Don’t try any of these at home, but geez, I’m impressed by these people. The laws of physics don’t apply to them, apparently:

Last Bright Fall Day?

October 28, 2010

Yesterday turned unexpectedly sunny and warm in Vermont, and the sun lit up the few remaining leaves on the trees.

The yellow leaves of a locust tree glow warmly in yesterday's sun in downtown Burlington, Vermont

The sidewalks, streets and outdoor restaurant tables were crowded because everybody knows there might not be any more days like that until spring.

This morning, it’s windier and a little cloudier, and I see my big poplar trees, which were filled with golden leaves yesterday, are suddenly looking pretty naked.

People enjoyed yesterday's warm sun at City Hall Park in downtown Burlington, Vermont

Do The Rand Paul Stomp!

October 27, 2010

The latest dance craze sweeping the nation is the Rand Paul Stomp.

It was invented yesterday by Tim Profitt, a supporter of Kentucky Republican/Tea Party Senate Candidate Rand Paul.

Kentucky Senate Candidate Rand Paul says he was not amused by one of his supporters, who stomped on the head of a liberal activist.

Watch the vid:

Doing the dance is easy. All you have to do is be a conservative, encounter a noisy liberal activist, wrestle her to the ground and stomp on her head. Then you demand an apology to the poor woman whose head you just stomped on.

Rand is apparently not much of a dancer, since he deplored the incident (As did me and 99.9 percent of the rest of America) But I guess Profitt’s little dance opens a fun new way for some of the most ridiculous Tea Partiers to, well, party.

Jim Miller up in Alaska is infected with a version of this new dancing  craze. His goons handcuffed a reporter/blogger who kept asking questions that Miller thought were rude.

I guess the dance is done whenever a perceived annoying liberal is around.

I wonder if there should be a counter trend, a dance for liberals to do when super annoying conservatives are around.  Before you lob accusations, I am NOT, repeat NOT advocating doing anything violent to anybody. But we should have some fun.

I’m thinking of just doing a dance that slightly humiliates the annoying conservative.  And we can’t do this to reasonable, thinking conservatives. That’s no fun. Just do it to the wackos.

If the ultra right winger is spouting anti gay hate, just drap him with a nice pink boa. He’s hating Mexican immigrants? put a nice Mexican hat on him.  Now the conservative is saying president Obama is a socialist/communist? Pin that old Russian flag symbol on the conservative’s chest. There’s potentially no end to this. 

Anybody got a good song to go along with this liberal dance?

Gay Bullying From the School Board

October 27, 2010

I found this infuriating post on the JoeMyGod blog about a school board member in Arkansas who is apparently delighted that gay teenagers are committing suicide.

This loser, Clint McCance, is on the Midland School District Board in Independence County, Arkansas.

The least of this idiot’s problems is that he’s practically illiterate and on the school board, as the following quote from his Facebook page shows:

“Seriously. They want me to wear purple because five queers committed suicide. I can’t believe the people of this world have gotten so stupid. We are honoring  the fact that they killed thereselves (sic) because of their sin. REALLY PEOPLE.”

“Thereselves?”

And he’s stupid enough to post these moronic comments on Facebook for the world to see?

The dangerous thing here is he’s on the School Board. The group that is supposed to act in the best interest of the kids. He’s giving kids permission to beat up on the gay kids. The blood of these teen suicide victims is on McCance’s hands.

Of course, people who are offended by this loser’s comments are mobilizing to get him off the board already, as well they should.

It will be interesting to see what happens and whether more crap will come out of McCance’s mouth.

Stop The Political Ads

October 26, 2010

I’m not sure why any politican thinks that if they show the same advertisement every minute or so on TV, so that I see the damn thing approximatly 1,487,561,908 time,  that’s going to make me vote for that person.

They’re using that mysterious adage that seems to permeate the advertising world: If you annoy the viewer to the point of insanity, they’ll buy your product.

 Hint: If the mere thought of your name makes me think of your awful commercial and thereby makes me pull my hair out and run screaming from the building and doing other rash, embarrassing things, I’m probably not going to vote for you. 

I don’t know why annoying people is the central tennant of advertising, political and otherwise, but there you go. I guess it makes no sense to advertisers or politicians that if you offer an intelligent, informative and entertaining message, but don’t do it too often,  people might be receptive.  

Like regular advertising, political ads are also illogical. Most of the candidates ads I see say something like “My opponent is a scumbag who will quadruple your taxes, destroy the economy, legalize depravity and eat your toddler for lunch.”

Now, if said opponent really did all that, he would not have been re-elected, and would not even be able to raise enough money to run his own advertising that calls his rival a scumbag.  So there might be a teensy little bit of exaggeration in these ads. What do you think? 

Republican ads seem to tie their opponents to Nancy Pelosi, who is depicted as somebody so evil as to make Hitler look like a pussycat.  If you don’t like Pelosi, fine, but I don’t think she’s a mass murderer. 

Democrats all seem to rope their opponents to Wall Street, which is depicted as a despicable  haven for billionaire fat cats who have stolen all our money and still want more.  Sure, I can show you examples of banker billionaires who are selfish, possibly criminal and just complete turds.   But does Wall Street consist 100 percent of legalized theft? Do the Wall Street bankers all eat poor peoples’ kids for lunch, served with a nice Pino Noir?

CNN reported that political television ad spending in this year’s mid-term elections might go above $1 billion. So for the next few days, until election day next Tuesday, it will be all bad political ads, all the time. That’s a fate worse than being locked in a room for a month to constantly watch “Jersey Shore.”

Right after that, the ads for the 2012 elections will surely start. A reason to go on living. Ugh.

Few Fall Leaves, Early Winter Snow

October 25, 2010

Mount Mansfield, as viewed from Underhill, Vermont, Monday, Oct. 25, 2010.

The last of the autumn leaves are coming down, and the mountain top is white.

Winter approaches, even as we enjoy a brief Indian Summer.