Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Fringe Benefits

I have lived in nutty places most of my life and still do. Actually, I live just outside of a nutty place -- Brattleboro, Vermont -- perhaps you've heard about it. They've been all over the news because of the recent successful petition drive to vote at Town Meeting on March 4th for the following resolution:

Shall the Selectboard instruct the Town Attorney to draft indictments against President Bush and Vice President Cheney for crimes against our Constitution, and publish said indictments for consideration by other authorities and shall it be the law of the Town of Brattleboro that the Brattleboro Police, pursuant to the above-mentioned indictments, arrest and detain George Bush and Richard Cheney in Brattleboro if they are not duly impeached, and prosecute or extradite them to other authorities that may reasonably contend to prosecute them?

Never mind that the measure has no legal standing, is extra-constitutional itself, and would be directing town officials to commit a felony. Those are details best left alone. They only ruin the fun.

Homer, Alaska, where I lived most of my adult life, passed an ordinance some years ago making it the nation's first Nuclear Free Zone. That means if you were, say, the commander of a nuclear powered attack submarine and needed to lay-up in the Homer harbor that you would be looking down the double barreled justice machine that is the Homer Police Department. Laugh if you will, but the measure has so far worked. The US Navy got the memo and have prudently steered clear. Just as I'm sure that George Bush and Dick Cheney will be steering clear of Brattleboro.

If you find this whole business distressing, disgusting or treasonous you are missing the point. The point is there is no point. I could get you 500 signatures on a petition in Brattleboro requiring all men to wear bowler hats, tip them when I walk past, and call me Charlie. This is the place that last year hired strippers -- uh, excuse me, professional dancers -- to stand naked on a street corner behind a banner demanding people stop wearing fur. The simple fact that somebody thought of that makes life here worth living.

By the way, if you're thinking of visiting, I see in the paper there is a Psychic Fair taking place this Saturday featuring aural photography, mediumship, creative transformation and shamanic healing. It starts at 11a and goes until 5p. As if we needed to be told.

Friday, January 11, 2008

January Thaw

Last week Thursday we had a foot of powdery new snow on top of another foot of base blowing around the hilltop with temperatures in the single digits. When it is zero degrees -- absolutely nada degrees -- and blowing thirty in Vermont, I still cannot force myself to utter the phrase, "Boy, it's cold." People I know in Fairbanks, Alaska dust off their golf clubs when the temps rise above zero. That is a place where your truck tires can get so cold they break. I don't mean go flat. I mean fracture. School is not canceled for cold up there until all molecular activity ceases. So even though I can step out into that brisk Vermont breeze and feel my blood and entire reproductive plumbing charge inward toward my heart, I can't say It's cold. Only once all of my steadfast old Alaskan friends are either dead or living on Molokai will I confess in this or any public forum that it has been freaking cold out here.

But that was then and this is now. Within four days of our big chill, temperatures across New England reached near record levels. We logged fifty-nine degrees up here on Tuesday, but it's back in the thirties today. It's raining. The snow has turned to dirty ice. The driveway is the consistency of stone ground mustard. As they say up north, "You gotta love springtime."

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