Archive for the 'Vermont' Category

So We Beat On.

Most of the big shore places were closed now and there were hardly any lights except the shadowy, moving glow of a ferryboat across the Sound. And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors’ eyes – a fresh, green breast of the new world. Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby’s house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder.

>>F. Scott Fitzgerald

As for those vanished trees — I say good riddance.

I’ve lived in bucolic Vermont my whole life. As I write, the leaves on all them frikkin trees around here burst irrepressibly — irrepressibly as death itself — into whoop dee doo color. A local woodland transformed; it will be a brief leafy fireworks display. One people — we call them Leaf Peepers — come each year from all over the world to see.

Jaws will drop awed by the beauty.

Whatever.

I’ve lived among Vermont’s abundant forestry for the better part — well, let’s instead say the bulk — of my 36 years. Now I am dry heave sick of trees. I think they’re all retards.

And I sure don’t give a fart about no pretty leaves!

Shit these days every time I lay eyes on a tree all I see is a building waiting to happen. A real tall fucker. YES. Skyscraper! Lit up like a disco ball blown from a cannon.

That’s where the action is.

Good thing for the trees that I am human and thus essentially decent. At least — so goes the theory. I believe humans — one & all — are a good & worthwhile being.

Every human alive is good for something.

My friend paddymac points reassuringly out:

The fact is, anger and negativity are reported on often because they are news; they are not the norm.

I dig that way of thinking. I believe the human folk are genetically hard-wired for Goodness. We’re compelled to be Good. Because we want to live. And we’ll need cosmic jackpot-loads of essential goodness to side-step our species’ hard-looming self extermination problem. Self extermination is not good. Concur?

Goodness is the solution.

Hell I’ll go so far as to try to believe in the essential goodness of trees.That don’t mean I’m gonna hug the dumb looking things. But I respect trees. I won’t cut them down just because I don’t like their attitudes.

I know better.

I know better enough to know I am no better than a tree.

Come to think of it…I like trees.

My true beef is not with the trees themselves but with the scenery. I direly need a change of scenery.

Dig:

Nestled pristinely amidst the Bronx’s abundant green spaces (the borough is fully 25% City Park land) is a 50 acre tract, on the banks of the Bronx river, of deciduous forest — astonishingly untouched since precolonial days.

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That’s so awesome it’s berserk.

Outside of the California Redwoods I’ve never personally seen a grove of original growth trees. Not in Vermont for certain. The state was entirely clearcut for timber. As — save precious few exceptions — were all early America’s vast Northeast woodlands. But down in the Bronx — the mo’frikkin Bad Newz Bronx! — some wizened soul had the foresight to finagle this miraculous preservation.

Just upriver from where Fitzgerald imagined a fresh, green breast of the New World — perhaps where her lips may be — an ancient forest lives. She lives! And whispers still.

A rare kind of gift; bequeathed to a stranger’s great grand children’s grand children. A gift from human kind to their own.

Evidence, I submit, of the categorically irrepressible goodness — or at least the randomly occasional good sense —– of people.

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superstar love revisited

Dear Batya,

Remember how we thought we could sell a short book of our emails? My old & fiesty friend: we were On To It! Which is why I no longer fuck with email much even; just slap this letter here, my first to you in 5 years, straight on open container speedWay!

Where everything is for sale.

+$!

They were on the counter. Flowers. No one had — or has since thank goodness — ever fired me up a bouquet from afar. Dudes: bouquets suck! In Lieu of Flowers just replenish my online gambling account. From now on. Thanks!

But one thing about these flowers was so good it changed me.

Probably I cruised up to the Godz Club — the old place to be — to smoke pot in the walk in cooler. Hits from a carved parsnip bong. Cauldrons of Alien Turd Tea. Stirred with giant chocolate speed-dipped sporks. Yep. First they got the sporks banned. Then outlawed hallucinations altogether. What next? The dreaded ‘nuclear option;’ the US Supreme Court upholds a Texas verdict outlawing possession, manufacture or distribution of make-believe. Whoa!

Did they really?

For sure they banned smoking pot in the walk in cooler. Ask anyone — the place has gone sharp down hill since. Plus they changed their name: they’re the Organo Plug Butt-crunch Restaurant & Pimphouse now.

This! After all the hard work you & me put into that hell hole?

All a friend can say is ain’t it a Shame!!

+$!

Last time I seen her Batya wore a tank-top with 2 words — Oui on her right & WIN! on her left — emblazoned with a green Sharpie across her boob-flesh. The upper & meatier parts of each. Exposed brilliantly when flashed from her tank top; a creme colored affair with miniature lace whips, dangled like hells bells, where her spine curved crater-like into the small of her back. Two words were embroidered in scorpion-apple red across the back pockets of her vintage cut-off Sergio Valenti jeans.

Bitchen Dinero.

I always thought she meant her stack of cash was bitchin’ — Super cool.

But before I got the chance to ask off she go — amid a wild chorus of woohoOz! — with whoever says they’re sober to drive, on a daybreak airport run.

Absynthies says: “That’s the coolest thing about being Batya — must be! She comes. She whoops everyone’s asses, parties harder & harder every second until she leaves — then wooshOO! Gone. Like a hundred dollar bill on a drug run.

Fuckin rock star that Batya!!”

Hero. She does the stuff of heroes.

One time Batya emailed me a few hours after her latest stunning daybreak departure. Said she jumped a straight-shot taxi ride to her workplace’s front curb. About 10AM Chicago time. To cook food for the health conscious People. Except she inadvertently switched the blender flip on while she dislodged a root of ginger with her fingers from the industrial strength high speed blade.

It was just me & her on email back then. She fired off a detailed ‘still drunk’ missive of the incident moments later from the computer at her work. I replied: “Batya: I’m proud of you!!” Then jumped on the phone to tell all our friends! Gossip? No — this is news.

“Yep.” I said. “Last thing said was she planned to commandeer OJ & Champagne for Emergency Room Mimosas. And trade lesbian sex for loose doses of opiate pain yummiez!”

Who does that? Seriously. 2 cool!

I remember another time.

“A’right you guys I just bought every Beastie Boys cd ever made.” She commanded. “So look out.”

It was awesome after that.

Awesome but like all the good things in this world — not for long. I don’t remember when Batya left town exactly. I just remember, protestation aside, I admitted I couldn’t blame her.

Batya lives in New York City and I like the way New York City moves me.

I hit the top stair and swung to my right & into the once epic hangout now known as the Plug Butt-Crunch.

“Whose got me birthday doobages?!” I blurted.

“Right here,” Absynthies proffered the boquet Batya sent me. “Smoke up Johnny!!” “Shit yes,” another concurred. “Smoke ’em way the fuck up!!”

“Give it to Mike E: He’ll smoke anything!” Absynthies said of the daffidol or whatever the shit was. She picked on me, of course, but with deliberate kindness — it was after all my birthday.

“You should smoke the card Batya wrote you dude!” Absynthies assured. “For real. That will get you high. Like Mike E likes it!!”

That good? I thought. Someone else In The Know said, “Read it.”

It read:

Superstar Love!

GollygulpWe’eheeez!!!

It was — & very much is — among the coolest well wishes offered me by anyone ever.

I read it again. Thought about it ever since.

Back at yooz like a boOmSlang 180. Batya: I’m proud to be your friend!!

From one superstar to another: Dang. We superstars gotz to stick together these days!!

Oh..an entire medium-size Vermont town wishes you happy birthday Batya!

The crowd goes wild.

Superstar Love (spiked with XXX make-believe),
Mike E

the Warning Shot

“You guys,” I asked. “What’s going to happen to all the people who live there when God flicks the entire state of New Hampshire off the face of the Earth like a booger?”

“Who gives a fuck??” Mommacake demanded. Mind you: this is the same Mommacake who gathered 50 friends into a circle at her 30th birthday party and sang us “You Are My Sunshine.” Solo. Just so we all knew she cared.

Mommacake does genuinely give a fuck. Just not about people from New Hampshire.

Can you blame her?

I leaned back into the cool early morning dirt and downed a fat swig of alien turd tea. Offered it around to the half-dozen friends who were still up with swerves still on from the previous night’s party. No takers: so I downed another. And popped a Dexadrine for good measure.

We sat on the bank of the river — the Connecticut — which forms the border between Vermont & New Hampshire.

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That’s Vermont on the left, New Hampshire on the right. Brattleboro, where I live, is in the south-east corner of Vermont — so close to New Hampshire that we’re forced to look at that dumb lump of lousy bull every single day.

There’s a joke told in these parts:

Q. What’s the best thing about New Hampshire?

A. The view of Vermont.

I gazed across the river. But quickly covered my eyes & turned away; so blindingly did the mere sight offend me.

“I know, I know. I hate them to!” I assured Mommacake. “But…is it really their fault that they’re so stupid? I mean — we know that the southern part of their state is a polar ice cap flood plane. Why don’t they?”

“Because we’re smarter than they are!” Said Mommacake.

“And faster!” Someone said.

“Better looking!” Said someone else.

“YEAH — and we have more fun then they do!!”

Suddenly everyone eyed me with suspicion, there on the banks of the Connecticut River.

The whole New Hampshire thing is a running joke sort of deal we have around here. Like this one other morning. We were at a party on the 4th floor of a warehouse. When the sun came up we noticed that you could see New Hampshire; so Mommacake drew a middle finger sticking up at it with a sharpie marker on the window.

That kind of thing.

Why?

Besides the mentioned reasons — we’re smarter & better looking etc. — I’d say it’s because we’re bored. Maybe we’re trying to cheer ourselves up about the fact that it ain’t so great in Vermont, either. And it would be a gigantic improvment for us personally if New Hampshire was covered by seawater. That way the Connecticut River would be part of the Atlantic Ocean. And the riverbank we lounged on, all looped out of our skulls on drugs that summer morning, would be the Beach.

A very popular idea on our side of the river.

And god wants Vermont to have New Hampshire’s beach because we’re incontestably superior.

Not everyone agrees. Like right wing jerkoff Bill Oreilly from the Fox pretendaNews channel. He loathes us passionately. Hell we pissed him off — yet again — just this week.

It’s awesome when we do that dudes!!

“I feel sorry for Vermonters.” He said, after my hometown newspaper proposed in an editorial that George W. Bush was the worst president in American history. “They’re being held hostage by a bunch of extremists who put ideology over the safety of children and the good of their nation.”

Bill Oreilly is on New Hampshire’s side. He thinks the state “Gets it.” Says the people who live there are the “Stars of New England.”

Plus he kidnaps children and sells them to al-Queada for money to buy crack rocks. Yep — I know for a fact.

I’m Bill Oreilly’s crack dealer.

So obviously God made us Vermonters better than the New Hampshireites. But is that their fault? I’m just wondering…

“HEY!!” Mommacake shouted & roughed me up with her glare. “Whose side are you on, anyway?!”

She wore cut-off fatigue shorts with a wrap around belt. Doc Martin boots. And a tank-top that said Ass Grass or Gas in money-green glitter across the chest.

“Yo I’m on God’s side!” I swore. “But…I dunno. Maybe there’s some people over there worth saving?”

‘Dude.” She corrected me. “Those people are so dumb they teach their kids that babies come from Wal-Mart!”

It’s true. I was shoplifting at the Wal Mart just across the bridge in Hinsdale yesterday — and saw a New Hampshire youngster try to exchange himself for a PlayStation.

But he was a human being of sorts and I am a humanitarian.

“I think we should fire them a warning shot.” I insisted. “Yeah. It’s the right thing to do. They can take it or leave it — stay or go, don’t give a hoot — but they have a right to know.”

Mommacake’s eyes threw a spark.

“YEAH!” She exclaimed. Whistled & simmered with controlled combustion like a fresh-lit pyrotechnic fuse. I mean — should we??”

I looked in her eyes and saw she was laughing — silently, at the joke only she knows.

The rest of our early morning riverside party crew laughed helplessly out loud though we weren’t yet certain why.

Mommacake stood, hands on her hips, directly between the river & me. Stomped her foot twice and turned her back to the crowd. Her tattooed angel wings unfurled from beneath the tank top, spread over the width of her shoulders. The back of her shirt was emblazoned with the words: nobody rides for free!!

Then in one unreal motion she unloosed the wrap-around belt from her cut-off shorts. Shrugged her shoulders. Laughed wildly. Dropped her shorts half down to her knees. Bent over, swung out, wheeled round & wagged her freshly bared ass in a seismic Fuck Off to New Hampshire – and all the dumb shit it stands for.

Kaboom.

Guts rupture.

Bodies hit dirt.

“Oh we hate them that fucking much!!” I gasped.

Then our early morning party crew choked gleefully near to death on hairball spasms of laughter.

Some time passed before we could breathe. When we could, finally, Mommacake rolled to her feet, shook her fist eastward & said:

“There’s your Warning Shot ASSHOLES!!!”

Chernobyl, Vermont

A local yahoo from around here has put together an impressive display of photos he shot inside the Chernobyl “exclusion zone” — proximal to the doomed reactor, where radiation levels remain too high for human safety for any amount of time — combined with pictures of the eerily similar landscape here in Windham County, Vermont (smack in the Vermont Yankee evacuation zone).

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Freaky shit. Much respect to the yahoo. Please check it.

Beer Go Up

Ray wears a T-shirt that says Beer Is The Reason I Get Up Each Afternoon. That’s because Ray makes the beer at Mcneil’s Brewery. Ray enjoys the beer he makes at his brewery. So much that he long ago hired other folks to actually brew the beer — so he can better concentrate on enjoyment.

The man is a drunkard. But not a fool.

Ray is divorced with grown children. He takes milk thistle for his liver and rides his ten speed bicycle to stay trim. Ray plays cello — sometimes with a jazz band. Sometimes with a symphony. An admirably fair employer; On my first day working for him, years ago, he said “Mike E: I don’t mind if you drink on the job. As a matter of fact I encourage it!” He fired me, of course, but only after I didn’t show up to work for 3 weeks.

One time Ray’s daughter suggested that he had drank more than plenty already. Ray was very, very drunk that day. But — as evidenced by his prodigious swigs from a fresh-poured 4-pint ale pitcher — he disagreed.

Ray thought in fact he had yet to drink quite nearly enough.

An age-old struggle ensued: between a drunk and the daughter who wanted him to hang his beer-pitcher up & call it an afternoon.

Going for the daughter was the fact that he didn’t have far to go: Ray built himself an apartment right upstairs from his bar. Going for the drunk was the fact that he is far too large for his daughter to carry.

“Dad.” Said daughter. “It’s time to go home.”

Drunk said “But I am home!!”

“No dad.” Daughter corrected him. “All the way home.”

“Close enough!” Drunk slurred.

“Not for me.” Daughter insisted.

“Yeah — but who the hell are you?” The drunk asked.

She answered. “I’m your daughter.”

“No you’re not!”

“Am so.”

“Prove it!”

“No.”

“Well but.” Ray looked bewildered for a long moment. Until he remembered. “You don’t have to prove anything to me! Do you?”

“Nope.”

“Because you’re my daughter.”

“Exactly.”

He put down the pitcher. Dejected. The drunk knew he was beat.

“I have to go home now.” Said he.

“You have to go home now.” Said she.

Everyone in the crowd who gathered to watch nodded their heads in agreement.

Ray threw his head down and wrapped his arms in a giant bear hug around the bar. Like a protester fearlessly hugs — and often chains their self to — a soon to be felled redwood tree.

“I’m not going.” He defiantly cried. “You can’t make me!!”

His daughter reached toward him. Ray gripped the bar with all his might. But her hands passed straight over him. Ray gritted his teeth for the Showdown that never came. He assumed his daughter would forcibly ply him loose from the bar. Instead she skillfully un-plied his mind.

She grabbed the half-full beer pitcher. Ray opened his eyes. She raised the pitcher up in front of her own eyes, slowly. Ray followed the beer pitcher droopingly, first with his eyes, then he raised his head from the bar, stood wobbly, stared hypnotically deep into the beer. And held his hands out to Receive it.

She stepped back. Ray stepped forward. Beer steps back. Ray step forward. Beer step. Ray step. Beer go Ray go. Beer go up stairs.

Ray go up stairs!

The crowd goes wild.

Beer is the reason.

VT Criminal Statute § 4230.

Marijuana (a) Possession and cultivation.

(1) A person knowingly and unlawfully possessing marijuana [or cultivating 1 to 3 plants] shall be imprisoned not more than six months or fined not more than $500.00, or both. A person convicted of a second or subsequent offense under this subdivision shall be imprisoned not more than two years or fined not more than $2,000.00, or both.

(2) A person knowingly and unlawfully cultivating more than three plants of marijuana shall be imprisoned not more than three years or fined not more than $10,000.00, or both.

+$!

It is estimated that 52,000 Vermonters use marijuana each month. Suppose each of these spends $100 of their monthly income on pot imported from Canada. That’s $60 million per year– about 3% of our $21 billion Gross State Product — siphoned forever from our personal & local economies.

Now triple the figures to reflect the real cost of an honest marijuana predilection. $180 million yearly. 10% of Vermont’s gross annual revenue. $300 a month — garnished unforgivably from the hard earned pay of our Peoples!

Whether $60 or $180 mil per annual — it’s likely somewhere between — we’re loading dough out by the truck-full; a billion dollars in a decade. So we can smoke some Canuck Baloney!

Why exactly? Oh right. We do it for the Children.

But marijuana is more readily had by high schoolers than alcohol or tobacco.

Case in point: I bought a 20 sack from an 18-year old friend recently. He asked me to buy him beer. I told him to stop talking Crazy. I’m too old for that shit! He pleaded. I didn’t budge — even when he offered me the 20-bag for $15.

And don’t you reckon the children may rightfully prefer to have a billion extra dollars in the state when they come of age?

+$!

We need signatures from 400 registered voters — by mid-January — to score a spot for this question on Brattleboro’s Town Meeting ballot. Like, no problem dudes! It’s a total toke-O-rama around here. And no one gives a Hoot.

I got $50 sayin we get a Yes from 85% of Brattleboro voters on March 6, 2007.

Heads Up: Vermonters!

With signatures from 5% of the vote-roll this question can be put to a vote in your town too.

+$!

Petition of Legal Voters of Brattleboro to the Selectboard

 

The undersigned registered voters of the Town of Brattleboro hereby petition the Selectboard to add the following advisory article to the Town Meeting Warning:

 

Shall the Town of Brattleboro vote to advise our legislative contingent to amend VT criminal statute § 4230 by adjusting its’ penalty structure to the following?

 

Knowingly & unlawfully cultivating no more than 10 female marijuana plants — or possessing their harvested equivalent — shall constitute a civil infraction. Persons found in violation may be subject to the following maximum penalties:

 

First offense: A slap on the wrist.

 

Subsequent offeneses: A pat on the back!

 

Signature ++ Please print name

 

1. ________________________ ++ _________________________

 

2. ________________________ ++ _________________________

 

3. ________________________ ++ _________________________

 

4. ________________________ ++ _________________________

 

5. ________________________ ++ _________________________

No Room at the Chateau

There is a fairly well-done article about homelessness in Brattleboro in the weekend paper.

Click for musical accompaniment.