Sunday, November 30, 2014

thanksgiving in claremont

it's easier to find the walmart, the mcdonalds, the public library and the trailheads before the sun goes down.

i'm in claremont, new hampshire, which is a town that's seen better days.

it's usually not too hard to find the corner of the parking lot where you can sleep at the walmart. it's the out of the way corner where pretty much nobody would notice what you were doing.

at the walmart in claremont that corner is set off from the rest of the lot, and it looks kind of like the low rent district even for a town where there are a lot of "STORE CLOSING- EVERYTHING MUST GO"  signs.

there's a car that has clearly been parked there since before the snow storm, which means it's been there at least overnight. there's a pickup truck on the inside edge, jacked up and missing a tire. a window is down, but there's nobody nearby.

it is thanksgiving afternoon.

i am here looking at this corner because my grandmother lives across the river and it is far enough from my home that it's a PROJECT to drive down and back for thanksgiving, but if i take two days and find some geocaches, it's almost like a vacation, but i need somewhere to sleep.

so here i am. i turn out of the parking lot, looking for a public library because that's how i get internet connection when i'm away and those things are easier to find before the sun goes down. when i find the public library, i have good connection to their router, but for some reason they need to reset their router and i have no connection to the internet.

it happens.

when it happens on thanksgiving, though, you're pretty much out of luck unless you can find another library.

the trailhead i was to use is in andover, so i go there and i find a public library there as well. i can get connected to the internet, but the signal is too weak to do me any good. i go to look for the trailhead.

when i get there, i realize that i should have brought skis and not a bicycle and now i need to rethink my plans. i punch my home coordinates into my map and i realize that if i leave now, i will get home around seven thirty, which is early enough if i can just go to bed but the idea of carrying the pillows into the house and taking a shower just seems like too big a project.

plus i'm TIRED and at this point what i really need is to crawl into bed and i don't know if i have the energy to stay awake until six or seven and i don't like to sleep in a walmart lot before then because there's no place to get out in the night if you need to pee.

not that i ever do, but somehow if you CAN'T, invariably you need to.

and now that i know i'm not going to ride a bicycle in the morning, i need an internet connection so i can form a plan B.

it's dark now, having passsed suddenly from the blue light of snowy afternoon to snowy night, and there's nothing open.

you know how mcdonalds is always closed on thanksgiving?

well, in claremont the mcdonalds is open 24/7, even on thanksgiving. it's the only open business on that stretch of road. i sit in their parking lot for a little while and use their internet. it's a busy place. why are all these people in the mcdonald's on thanksgiving night?

clearly, some of them are travelers. but some of them are just hanging out. whole families, with kids.

it's still kind of a lonely place.

the restrooms are clean.

eventually it's late enough for me to use the restroom and assume that i will be able to go safely until five AM without needing to pee again, so i head back to the walmart.

traffic in the left turn lane is backed up for a mile or so into claremont because THAT many people are trying to get to the walmart on thanksgiving night  and the lot is nearly full but that out of the way corner still has spots in it.

the overnight car is still there. the pickup truck without the tire is gone, which makes me happy. i pull into my spot and get ready for bed. cars pull in and out around me. a couple pulls up next to me and they get out and walk their dog. they're still there when i fall asleep.

snow falls. people come and go. there's a friendly anonymity, a camaraderie of darkness.

in the morning the lot still has cars in it. the overnight car has been pulled out, driven somewhere, and has returned. there's a minivan parked near me, and it clearly has somebody sleeping in it.

it's dark and still going to be dark for a while as i make my way to the mcdonalds, which opens at five. i use the bathroom, change my clothes, and i buy breakfast. i sit at a table in the quiet with my computer and a cup of coffee, comfortable and happy.

the workers are friendly and polite to each other and to the customers. most of the other people who file in are regulars. they are greeted by name.

after a while it is almost sunrise. i pack up and get on my way.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

shaka, brah.

so i was on the road last monday afternoon and i went by a young man all loose and gangly in the way only fifteen year old boys can be, and he was ambling along in his green t-shirt, with his droopy jeans and untied sneakers, sort walking backward the way you do when you're looking at traffic on the road.

hitchhikers do this a lot.

he wasn't hitching, though.

he looked at me and raised an arm in shaka brah.

i returned the sign.

beautiful moment, that.

Friday, November 28, 2014

niquette bay state park: management

i don't know who the ranger at niquette bay state park is; it is one of the state parks with a residential ranger station. the regional manager is rob peterson, but chances are the ranger is someone with less seniority.

but there are some things being done right here.

aside from the place being clean and well-maintained, someone (probably the ranger) has put some thought into it.

for instance, the outhouse down by the beach. anyone who is a frequent user of outhouses knows that people are slobs. and that land managers and park rangers are always trying to get people not to throw their trash in outhouses because it's a real son-of-a-bear to get out. everywhere you go, you see signs asking you not to throw your trash in the outhouse, but people throw their trash in there anyway, even if there's a trash can RIGHT NEXT TO IT.

because people are slobs.

so this ranger, putting on his thinking cap, has thoughtfully provided a little trash receptacle IN THE OUTHOUSE so that if people can't be bothered to take care of their own trash, at least nobody has to fish that trash out of the pit.

it's annoying to have to haul other people's trash, but it's annoying and disgusting to have to haul other people's latrine soaked trash.

glass isn't allowed on the beach, because glass breaks. but even if people aren't slobs (see above) and don't bring in glass and don't break glass, beaches on large bodies of water tend to get glass washed up anyway.

and people who are not slobs (yes, we exist) might pick up the broken glass when we see it, but many of us are not prepared to carry the broken glass out.

because broken glass.

so the ranger has thoughtfully provided a little receptacle into which people might put the broken glass they find. mostly people are using it for that purpose and not as a regular trash can. mostly.

still, it's a good idea.

and then we get to the thing about the dogs.

niquette bay state park used to have a large area in which dogs were allowed off leash, but they had to disallow it due to the large number of boneheads showing up with aggressive untrained dogs.

this is not my rant about people who can't be bothered to train their dogs, though.

this is my post about what's right in park management.

instead of just putting up new signs saying dogs aren't allowed off-leash, the ranger posted the letter from the regional manager explaining WHY.

that's a very good first step.

the ranger also goes on to post that dogs are still allowed to swim at the cove and THEN GIVES DIRECTIONS TO GET THERE.

so good job, mr. ranger.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

niquette bay state park: it's pretty here

earlier this month i visited niquette bay state park and i wanted to tell you about my visit.

i'm breaking it up into two posts, because part of it is just about the park, and part of it is about park management.

it's one of your lesser-known state parks, sitting kind of in the shadow and kind of on the way to some of the more famous ones, but it is lovely all the same.

it's got a nice trail network up and around some interesting ledges and cliffs, it has some nice beachfront, and some impressive views.

it used to have a lot of off-leash area (which i'll talk about later) but your dog cans still go swimming down at the cove beach, which is worth seeing even if you don't have a dog.

trail map

sand castle


island view

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

severance culverts

often when i pass through culverts, i like to play with their acoustic properties.

these are the culverts just off the parking lot on the trailhead of severance mountain.

Monday, November 24, 2014

72 miles to albany

in downtown bolton landing ny (which is nothing like bolton landing vt), there is a stone marker reading "72 mi. to albany". it's kind of a crude hand carved affair, and according to the historical society of the town of bolton, it was set in 1802:

"Stone markers like the one below were set one mile apart from Albany to Canada to mark the "Great Road". This original marker, set by Bolton's Roger Edgecomb, is still in its original location."

Sunday, November 23, 2014

stickers for hatwipes

the airport near me is the focus of a heated debate over the F-35 fighter jets. this post is not about that debate, not really.

here's the short version: increasing jet noise by the airport over the years has made a great number of homes uninhabitable. the F-35 will exacerbate the problem greatly.

i'm against the F-35 because it's a troubled and wildly expensive technology that's already obsolete and the promised jobs, i think, are or limited benefit in the face of the huge costs.

but i understand that people in my community like to eat. they want the jobs and believe the jets are a good thing.

i am telling you this so that you will understand a little of what this post is really about: hatwipes who drive around with "I HEART JET NOISE" bumperstickers.

not "i want the F-35 jobs", or "i believe the F-35 is a good thing for our community" or even "i really love planes".

no. these asshats want to tell us that they love the thing that brings the most PAIN to the people most aggrieved by the jets: the insane amount of noise that makes their lives miserable if they stay in their homes, and their homes valueless if they try to move.

it's a nice way to say "hey, neighbor. i just want you to know that i LOVE your personal misery."

i compare it kind of to that time the nuclear plant announced it was closing down and even though many of us have called for that thing to be shut down for years, the governor went out of his way to remind us all that we should not be too hasty to rejoice in a loss of jobs for our neighbors.


i'm going to propose that each end every person sporting an I HEART JET NOISE sticker be held under house arrest in a home directly beneath the flight path for an indefinite and lengthy period of time. i am furthermore going to suggest that their personal wealth be pegged to the value of the property directly under the flight path.

i have one weirdo friend who really likes planes THAT much. but most of these assholes are just privileged people who don't have to live with the consequences of it.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

immigration reform maneuvering explained

"we're not gonna do jack shit", said congress.
"i'm going to make an executive order about immigration reform", said the president.
"we would like immigration reform", said the latinos. a lot of people said this, but the latinos as a group like this a lot.
"yeah, but we are not going to do jack shit" said congress. "we don't want anything to work."
"oh, yeah? here's my executive order", said the president.
"yay!" said a moderate number of latinos and interested others.
"that is very wrong", said congress. "it is wrong to give an order without waiting to see if we were going to do this ourselves and take credit for it".
"but you said-" said the president.
"very wrong", said congress. "and now you will pay. we are going to take those new rights away from those immigrants."
"just you go ahead and do that, " said the president. "see how that plays in the 2016 elections."
"you guys all suck", said the latinos.

Friday, November 21, 2014

northwest bay

last month i went paddling on the northwest bay of lake george. although i'd been TO lake george, i'd never been ON lake george, and had therefore not given much thought to the thing they say about the "emerald green" water. i'd always thought of it as a bit of a tourism slogan.

the morning kind of started out as a comedy of errors, which you can read about here, because while i do write about some of my geocaching adventures in this blog, there is always a more cache-centric version of the story in the logs.

i like to make sure that if for some reason a person decided to read me in both places that there's at least some different material to make it worth their time clicking over.

here are some pretty pictures, though.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

things i saw

these don't really fit into a category or a narrative.  they're just things i saw that i liked enough to show them to you.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

watering tub road

i love weird road names.

last month i was on watering tub road in horicon, ny.

and i came around the corner and there's this:

the sign behind it says "water not potable" and i know that usually when there's an untreated water source, the town or the state will come and post that it's not tested or is not potable even if it is. sometimes, though, the water is NOT POTABLE and the only way to find out, really, is to go ask a local.

some half hour previous i had passed general store so i went back there and i asked about the water source the lady at the counter said "oh, duane know all about that stuff" and she called duane up from the back.

i asked him if the water from the tub was potable, and he said "oh, sure. i pote the heck outta it all the time."

then he went on to tell me that not only is it potable, but the town actually comes out and tests the water every week and they often clean out the bowl of the tub, which by the way is a fabulous pink-and-green granite affair.

the water is sweet and good, too.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

seating arrangement

the town of indian lake, ny has a collection of adirondack chairs.

you know how sometimes a town will pick a sculpture or something that their business association or whoever thinks is emblematic of their town and they maybe get a group of artists to decorate and sponsor these things. south hero has benches. bennington has moose.

indian lake has giant adirondack chairs.

Monday, November 17, 2014

big gay pete

i'm sorry, but the seventh-grader in me is unable to see "Big Pete Gay Mountain" without snickering.

i'm also not capable of not snickering when i am near Tumbledown Dick Mountain Road. (it is TOO a thing. look it up.)

anyway, recently i was at a trailhead over near big pete gay mountain and what i found most amusing was the ranger sign at the sign in kiosk.

well, amusing in the grim we-don't-want-to-have-to-keep-hauling-frozen-corpses-outta-here way, or the winter-mountain-rescues-are-expensive way.

it's hard to imagine this trail as being anything other than challenging and, uh, desolate but the need for this sign suggests that people come here more often than they should thinking it's going to be a pleasant day outing.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

bad people and good ideas

the so-called islamic state is going to mint its own currency. the reason they give for this is to free the world from the "satanic, usury-driven" currency system now in place.

i can't say i disagree.

Saturday, November 15, 2014


a couple of days ago a man i did not know shouted "yeah, bring it baby! do it to it!!" as i passed.

one might interpret this as catcalling of the aggressive kind, but i was on a bike, about halfway up a very long hill and just about to hit the steepest part.

so i did what all cyclists do: i put it in a harder gear and kicked it up.

the man applauded.

Friday, November 14, 2014

millstone trails

last month i went geocaching with my friends cindy (yes, there are two of them) at the millstone trails.  these are very beautiful trails, and include pretty views and interesting sculpture.

plus trails.

if you want to read the account in the geocaching logs (which include photos), you should go here.

here a a couple of photos not included in the logs...

...and a little video:

Thursday, November 13, 2014

waiting for whinypants

by the time this posts tomorrow morning (thursday), we will have found out if scott milne is going to ask for a recount of the ballots from the governor's race.

we know he's not going to concede.

for some reason he still thinks he might take his campaign to the legislature and he has cooked up some interesting little justifications for why a heavily democratic legislature should elect him, the republican candidate who got fewer votes than the democratic incumbent.

he keeps pointing out to anyone who will listen that he should be governor because 54% of the voters voted for SOMEBODY BESIDES PETER SHUMLIN, but he keeps neglecting to see that by this line of reasoning, 55% voted for somebody besides scott milne.

he is not the giant his mother was.

it's time to pull up your big boy pants, scott.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

the GMO debate

i'm not afraid of GMO foods. i don't think they're dangerous.

i am sick to death of people who keep framing the debate as if everyone who wants GMO labeling is afraid of GMO foods in spite of awesome science.

i want GMO labeling so i can decide whether or not i want to buy foods with GMO organisms in them. knowledge is power. i'm very much against roundup ready crops and proprietary crops that come with penalties for using seed.

i'm against large greedy corporations owning the food sources.

you want to sell me food? fine. make good food i want to eat with agricultural practices i approve of.

all this whining by huge agribusinesses that if people knew how their food was made, it would hurt business just makes me think maybe those guys shouldn't have legal protections for harmful, immoral, and / or disgusting production practices.

i don't want ag-gag laws. i want GMO labeling.

if YOU want to eat GMO foods, that's all right with me. you can spend your grocery money how you want. i want to be able to make informed choices about the sources of the food i buy. hey, i plan to continue eating some GMO foods, even.

i just want to be cable to make those decisions for myself.

i do not think people are so stupid as to be confused by the labelling, but then again, people are stupid enough to think gluten uniformly bad.

i'll tell you what's bad: processed crap.

eat real food.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


if you don't want to know about my ladybits, just skip this post.

so last monday i was out geocaching and all of a sudden my car got loud. REAL LOUD. i turned around to see if a chopper had just ridden up on my tail.

so i called my mechanic and the soonest they could see me was thursday.

ok, fine.

so then after a number of hours waiting at the mechanic, i am told that they can only do half the things that need doing, because they need a part that they can't get until friday.

oh, that's no good, i say. i have somewhere i need to go this weekend.

they tell me they'll order the part and it will be available for the appointment we schedule for monday.

but then, oh, no!! i have an appointment monday at the gynecologist!

no problem. the mechanic says they can shuttle me over to the doctor and then back. everything will be cool. it just means i have to get myself to the mechanic by seven fifteen in the morning so i can make it to my eight-thirty appointment.

so over at the doctors' office we're making chitchat about how the WILDLY unpredictable timing and flow of my periods is either garden variety approaching menopause or there could be a problem.

we all think it's just garden variety stuff, but everyone thinks it's a good idea to check it out.

one word: speculum.

see, if you're fifty years old and have had a couple of kids, a speculum is no big deal. if you're sexually active even, it's no big deal.

for me it is a BIG FAT PAINFUL DEAL.

right. so do the thing they need to do and then the doctor makes a digital exam and then the resident needs to make a digital exam.

maybe you are thinking that maybe i didn't need to allow the resident to do this, but i really, really believe in good education and for young doctors that means hands-on with real patients.

plus it's interesting.

the resident says she could feel my cervix just fine but did not feel my ovaries and the gynecologist said that SHE usually isn't able to feel much in the way of ovaries unless there's an enlargement of some sort.

the teacher in me is fascinated by this conversation.

so then the speculum has to go in again, which i think is going to be just fine because by now i'm all warmed up. the reason the speculum has to go in again is because there's going to be a little endometrial biopsy.

they say "it's going to feel a little crampy and pinchy" but what they SHOULD say is "it's going to feel like we're sticking a pointy thing up into you and scrape around to the extent that you are going to have an existential crisis and don't worry about the part where you feel dizzy and sick, because that is TOTALLY normal"

so during the procedure my phone is going crazy and i usually keep my phone turned off, but today i had it on because MECHANIC and they pick up my phone and hand it to me and the number that's calling me every thirty seconds is my mom and i think: "that can't be good news".

but it turns out it's just because my mechanic wants to tell me that the part didn't come in today and they're not working on my car and then i sat in the entranceway of the medical building for an HOUR AND A HALF waiting for the shuttle pickup.

i am beginning to think that i was being grossly and inappropriately optimistic when i pooh-poohed the idea that there might be bleeding afterward.

so i'm cranky.

Monday, November 10, 2014

a sadder, poorer world

last night i got this email, which i am quoting in its entirety:

Catherine died yesterday afternoon. We'll be heading back to MA Tuesday, (redacted) Wednesday or Thursday.
Catherine was my friend's daughter. is it too soon to put her in the past tense?

i read this thing and i just sat and cried. i can't imagine this grief. two days ago my friend wrote to say the lung transplant they hoped for wasn't going to happen.

so i wasn't completely surprised. "Catherine is going to die in the hospital," my friend wrote to me. my friend does not sugar coat things, and she calls things what they are. she also does not go on about things.

but of all the joys in her life, it was clear that Catherine was her delight and joy. i met Catherine one night when we all went to dinner. she was a lovely, funny woman. 

there is so little i can do for my friend. she and her husband will be tired and sad. i want to make sure they have hot dishes and i want them to be able to go for walks or go kayaking or do things of comfort. 

they'll never be over it. 

this child of theirs, whom they loved, whose life they cherished and nurtured, for whose future they held quiet dreams and wild hopes.

i want to go to them even though they are far away. i want to bring them casseroles and cookies, make them cups of tea, haul their boats, carry boxes, sweep corners.

i don't know what they want or need to comfort them in the face of this enormous thing.

Sunday, November 09, 2014


last month while roadtripping we went to see a roller derby match.

neither my friend nor i had ever seen roller derby before, so that was exciting. i was expecting it to be more like pro wrestling and less like a sport, so imagine my surprise and delight to find myself front row at this amazing spectacle.

sport. it is definitely a sport. but while the girls take the sport seriously, there's a veneer of not taking too much else seriously. there's a lot of wackiness in naming and costuming and the general feel of the venue, which suite me just fine.

we get to the venue early, right when they open the doors because we don't know a thing about it or how early you have to come to get a seat or even what the seats will be like. the ladies at the door are delighted to hear it's our first time and they explain the seating and the point us tot he page of the program that explains the rules.

we decide to sit on the outside edge of the "suicide zone".  flat track roller derby hasn't got anything to keep the players inside the track besides some tape lines, and outside the track there's a fifteen foot ring of tape inside which children may not stand or sit and chairs must not be placed. it's the buffer zone.

we set up our chairs right on the edge of that, on a corner of the track where the players will be coming at us as the go around.

it's very exciting.

it it the last home bout of the ithaca SufferJets (how i LOVE that name), who are hosting the gotham city Grand Central Terminators.

at first, even with the explanations we've been given, we do not have a clue what is happening. but we watch and we pay attention and fortunately there are some nice young women sitting near us who skate for the syracuse Assault City Squad, and they're happy to explain to us what just happened, so by the end of the bout we have a good grasp of the basics.

it is amazing to watch.

and while we have no particular affinity for either team, the SufferJets win the bout and it is pleasing to see the home team win if you haven't got a stake in the other team.

after the bout, they did a thing i liked very much: the SufferJets took a victory lap and the crown came down to the track and high-fived the skaters as the passed, all around the track. then the Terminators took a lap and high fived the crowd, too.

they all went of to the afterparty, but we went up to the campsite and went to bed.


Saturday, November 08, 2014

international susan youens day

today (friday) is international susan youens day.

it is my custom on this day to eat some good chocolate, have a good cup of coffee, and date everything i write INTERNATIONAL SUSAN YOUENS DAY.

i also write to susan.

this is what i wrote to her this year:

do you have your decorations up? 

i'm going to make this quick because i'm camping out tonight and it's going to be cold tonight.

my life is better because you were there. the lives of others are better because you were there. ripples spread.

it is a simple thing, and yet not.

i remember that time on an exam that (name redacted) wrote "i'm sorry, i don't remember", and you gave him half credit. 

we laughed. 

oh, how we laughed.

it was a laughter of joy and surprise and relief. it was the laughter of knowing that even if we forget some of the things we study, we're still going to be OK.

that lesson translated in odd ways to my work. 

i think what i took from it was a willingness to allow students room to forget, or to try and fail and try harder. it was a lesson about generosity with the tools for success.

it is hard to describe exactly, but it was a beautiful moment in which all of us experienced relief and a desire to do better and a confidence that we could.

two and a half points. you gave him two and a half points on a five point question and the whole truth is he'd have done pretty well on the exam if you hadn't given him any points.

over the years i multiplied and redistributed those two and a half points because you taught me how.

today i spent some time visiting with my grandmother, who is ninety-five. i also hiked to a small pond out in the nowheres and it snowed.

each time today that i signed my name in a logbook, i also wrote INTERNATIONAL SUSAN YOUENS DAY, which will be a little bit of a head scratcher to people who come after me.

i don't care. let them google you if they want. it makes me laugh.

i hope it makes you laugh, too.

i hope you are well.

with respect and affection.

Thursday, November 06, 2014


i want to go back and tell you about that party i went to at the end of september.

part of that deal was a potluck supper in the community center in eustis, maine.

the potluck is worth telling you about not just because the foods that get brought to table are so good (which they are), but because of what goes on behind the scenes.

the community hall is equipped with a full industrial kitchen and the party is equipped with kitchen ladies. to give you an idea of what the kitchen ladies do, i'll tell you how it worked when i showed up.

i had come in the morning to bring my quiches and my pie and leave them in the fridge, and i came blowing in the door in the afternoon with my new friend TAT kind of on the late side and a little bedraggled.

so i'm standing there with my bags of little quiches, starting to ask the question if there is some kind of sheet i can put these things on to warm them up in the oven, and the kitchen ladies took them right out of my hand  and put them in trays and into the oven and i went about the business of getting out the pie and the kitchen ladies swooped in and asked me if i wanted it cut.

i went off to write little label cards to identify the foods on the buffet line and before i knew it the kitchen ladies had taken care of my foods and put them out on the line.

and while we filed through the line and had dinner, the kitchen ladies moved, dishes, removed, empties, and consolidated plates.

by the time we were done eating, the kitchen ladies had FINISHED THE DISHES.

i'm not kidding. we brought our dishes in with food and our dishes got magically warmed, organized, and placed and when we were ready to pick up the empties and take them with us, we were handed CLEAN DISHES.

i am a veteran of a great many potuluck suppers, and i have been on the business end of a fair number of industrial kitchens and dishrooms.

i do not think i have EVER seen such an efficient, well-oiled machine in the kitchen. those kitchen ladies are STARS.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

concession stand

a long time ago i thought it would be really funny to run for a political office, lose, and then not concede, ever.

i wanted to found a party called the poor sportsmanship party to do this with.

you know, as a joke.

the whole idea seemed a lot less funny after bush v. gore and i kind of gave up on it.

yesterday in the vermont gubernatorial election, the incumbent peter shumlin was handed an incredibly slim margin of "victory" over the republican challenger, scott milne.

i'm happy about that. i don't like governor shumlin and i believe he deserved a slapping. i wouldn't have wanted a republican governor, though, so a race that close is a very fine way for the people to say "we don't like you, governor shumlin, but you'll do until there is a better alternative."

scott milne spent most of the campaign complaining that things were unfairly stacked against him.

last night the vote was too close to count for most of the evening. milne declined to concede until the votes were counted.

fair enough.

then he was 2500 votes behind with only two precincts yet to report. mathematically it wouldn't have been possible for those two precincts to deliver 2500 votes even if each person in the precincts (nevermind registered voters, let alone people who actually showed up to vote) had voted for him.

but he felt he owed it to his supporters and the people of vermont not to concede until every last vote was counted.

they've been counted now.

milne still has not conceded.

now, see, in the state of vermont, if no candidate receives 50% + 1 of the votes, the election is decided by the legislature.

so even if  milne who " wants to be sure he understands all the facts and the process" asks for a recount, and even if somehow he makes up those 2500 votes on a recount, neither of those candidates will have received that magic 50% + 1.

the race will still be decided by the legislature.

the heavily democratic legislature.

granted, the legislature is not obliged to vote for the candidate who got the most votes, but in the 22 times since the state of vermont has existed that the legislature has been called upon to decide a race, they usually have.

and really, if you're the heavily democratic state legislature, why on earth would you throw the election to the second place republican candidate?

so really, scott?

it's time to pull up your big boy pants.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014


today i got a lovely thing in my mailbox.

more about that later, maybe.

today i also put my ballots in the ballot box. i was happy because there were exactly six candidates i like for state senate, and six spots on the ballot.

less happy because there were three candidates i liked for representative, but could only pick two.

super happy that often i know or have met the people who run for office. it;s not because i'm well-connected, it;s because it's that kind of state.

national politics make me spit with rage. local politics make me happy.

Monday, November 03, 2014

not everyone is smart enough to vote.

i am hearing lately that somehow ebola is either the fault of the president, or the failure of the united states to declare some sort of intervention against ebola here in the united states is the fault of the president.

these people are too stupid to vote.

while ebola is a terrible disease, it's kind of hard to catch unless you're in actual contact with the body fluids of someone who is symptomatic. this does not mean that you were in a room with someone who had started to develop the fever. it means you got FLUIDS ON YOU. if someone with ebola puked on you, you should be very, very worried.

but, see, the thing is that you're not likely to be exposed to ebola without knowing it, and if you are in a panic about it, you are too stupid to vote.

if you somehow think the president is to blame for ebola, you are halfway to too stupid to breathe.

and as long as i'm ranting, the president has appointed a non-medical person to organize a response to ebola. he didn't appoint a non-medical person to treat ebola nor to make medical decisions about ebola. he appointed a getting stuff done guy to get stuff done.

it sounds reasonable to me. a competent get-stuff-done guy would be able to coordinate doctors and truck drivers and border agents and get opinions from everybody about what can and should be done, right?

but if you're a fearmonger and you mobilize your base by playing to fear that you create, you are not stupid. you are predatory and slimy and you are preying on stupid fearful people and you should be clapped in irons.

and just so we're clear, i do not like the president. there are a lot of reasons not to like the president. ebola is not one of them.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

election worker

last night at eight-fifteen, i was in my pajamas, in bed, and just rolling over to turn out the light.

this is not unusual. i am often in bed before eight.

and then the phone rang.

now, most people who know me know better than to call me after six in the afternoon, because i get cranky.

if i have to answer the phone after eight, i am downright HOSTILE.

so i picked it up and i said "GOOD GOD, WHAT??"
and the voice on the other end said "hello, is (my name) available to come to the phone?"
"my name is (nondescript girl's name from the 80's) and i'm with the vermont democratic party"

i interrupted her to go on a tirade about how their election day prospects tuesday won't brighten by calling likely democratic voters at home at bedtime and really pissing them off, but she hung up on me about two sentences in.

since it's going to be a tight election, i imagine i'll be getting more calls.

this might could be fun.

Saturday, November 01, 2014


today i was out on a road near my house. it is a place where the road used to go through, but doesn't any more. i have gone out there to pick apples and play with leaves or hang out at the cemetery, or wade in the brook.

and just as i was leaving today, a green pickup truck came screaming up purposefully and the driver whipped out his smartphone and began taking pictures in that way officious pricks who want you to KNOW you're being reported.

a pertinent little piece of information is that i live right next to the ethan allen firing range. this is a gubmint facility where sojers are trained.


but sometimes those boys and girls take WAY too seriously their charge to report everything they see out by the porta-potties.

if the guy had gotten out of the truck to talk to me, he'd have found out who i am and that i live here and what i was doing OUTSIDE THE FENCE, ON THE PUBLIC ROAD.

since he was playing power surveillance, i continued on with my business, which was driving away. he took lots of pictures, though. i giggle a little to imagine what the conversation with his superiors sounded like.

"sergeant, i have taken pictures of a middle aged lady on the public road outside the fence near the porta-potty!"

i imagine he sounded rather a self-important fool.

i can only hope.


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