Commentary Series http://digital.vpr.net en Guyon: Remembering Robin Williams http://digital.vpr.net/post/guyon-remembering-robin-williams <p> Actor and comedian Robin Williams touched many lives, including mine, and the first time was the most memorable.<br /><br />I was a college student in the early 80’s and one of my favorite pastimes was going to comedy clubs where I saw many young comics who have since become household names, like Whoopi Goldberg, Ellen DeGeneres and Jerry Seinfeld.<br /><br />One night, a friend and I went to see comedian Barry Sobel, a rock star in the San Francisco comedy club scene and we were really looking forward to the show.<br /> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 15:06:32 +0000 Annie Guyon 31072 at http://digital.vpr.net Levin: Sue Moves On http://digital.vpr.net/post/levin-sue-moves <p>At 90% complete, Sue is the largest, most intact and best-preserved Tyrannosaurus rex ever found. The Chicago Field Museum, after using an industrial CAT scan to examine the fossil, purchased Sue for $8.6 million at auction. Once the bones were painstakingly removed from their stone overcoat, each was cast in plastic. The fossil itself was assembled for exhibit in Chicago, and exact, full-size replicas of the nearly complete fossilized skeleton were created to tour around the United States and the world. One of them has been on display at the Montshire Museum in Norwich all summer.</p> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 21:35:38 +0000 Ted Levin 31066 at http://digital.vpr.net Lange: River Trail http://digital.vpr.net/post/lange-river-trail <p>The silver maple likes to get its feet wet. It grows in groves along silty river banks, hanging over the water. When it dies, or is undermined by the river, it often falls into the water. During floods, the river flows through its groves, easing the pressure on the valley below; and when the floods subside, they leave fresh layers of silt behind.</p> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 19:35:22 +0000 Willem Lange 31063 at http://digital.vpr.net Stafford: Freshtracks Road Pitch http://digital.vpr.net/post/stafford-freshtracks-road-pitch <p>I eased off the throttle of my 1971 Triumph Bonneville and turned into the parking lot of the Bellows Falls train station. This was no ordinary workday. I found myself cruising through a gauntlet of Ducatis, Harley-Davidsons and BMWs.</p><p></p><p>Men and women of all ages were easing out of their helmets and peeling off leather jackets. 10 minutes later, I was listening to a business pitch from an artist who needed investment money - to offset the expense of a huge woodworking router, so he could carve bear-shaped sculptures at a rapid clip and sell them quickly.</p> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 21:50:14 +0000 Luke Stafford 31050 at http://digital.vpr.net Stafford: Freshtracks Road Pitch Greene: Dyed In Vermont http://digital.vpr.net/post/greene-dyed-vermont <p>“Friends don’t let friends craft with insipid yarns.” That’s the motto of Lisa Bass’s web-based business, White Birch Fiber Arts.<br /><br />About a year ago, Bass posted pictures of a few skeins of her hand dyed self-striping sock yarn on the fiber site, Ravelry. Then, at the urging of an online acquaintance, she began selling them on Etsy, the crafters site; and they sold out quickly. Since early this year, Bass has sold more than 2000 skeins online, doubling her business every month. She now produces about 200 skeins in a two week cycle, assisted by her son.<br /> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 16:45:40 +0000 Stephanie Greene 31033 at http://digital.vpr.net Slayton: Wendell Berry Birthday http://digital.vpr.net/post/slayton-wendell-berry-birthday <p> Earlier this month about 40 Vermonters got together in a candlelit barn in Fayston to celebrate the 80th birthday of a Kentuckian who did not attend, the writer and farmer Wendell Berry.<br /><br />Berry’s poems, essays and novels are part of the intellectual foundation of the American environmental movement. He has written that we humans must learn to live in closer harmony with nature, and that small-scale farming and locally grown food are a key part of any coherent environmental ethic.<br /> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 16:22:49 +0000 Tom Slayton 31031 at http://digital.vpr.net Spencer Rendahl: 'The Last Irene' http://digital.vpr.net/post/spencer-rendahl-last-irene <p>On Monday August 29th, 2011, I sat on a Seattle runway with my 5-year-old daughter next to me and my 20-month-old son on my lap in the middle seat of an overbooked airplane. Normally I’d dread the impending 6-hour flight, but that day I was grateful. Boston’s Logan Airport, where we’d land, had just reopened after tropical storm Irene.</p> Mon, 25 Aug 2014 20:55:38 +0000 Betty Smith-Mastaler 31025 at http://digital.vpr.net Wallis: Supermoon http://digital.vpr.net/post/wallis-supermoon <p>Fall doesn’t officially begin until the autumnal equinox on September 22nd – and on the 9th, the third Supermoon of the summer will appear in the sky. And if you haven’t seen one yet, be sure to mark your calendar.<br /><br />I find the moon’s path confusing. In our view at home, the Sun marches predictably with the seasons from North to South along the Spine of Mount Mansfield. The Moon however, appears capriciously, waxing and waning and darting about.<br /> Mon, 25 Aug 2014 16:50:31 +0000 Tasha Wallis 31014 at http://digital.vpr.net Nadworny: The Money Effect http://digital.vpr.net/post/nadworny-money-effect <p>I’m reading a fascinating book by Daniel Kahneman called <em>Thinking Fast and Slow</em>. Kahneman won a Nobel Prize in economics for his work in psychology challenging the rational model of decision-making. His new book further examines the systems that drive the way we think - and act.<br /> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 18:49:37 +0000 Rich Nadworny 31005 at http://digital.vpr.net Coffin: Summer Chores http://digital.vpr.net/post/coffin-summer-chores <p> My maternal grandparents, Hal and Anna Jillson, had a house and barn on two acres just outside South Pomfret. Years before, they’d farmed nearly 200 acres, but sold them to a Boston doctor as they aged. Gramp was now caretaker of the old place.<br /><br />Some boyhood summer evenings I went to South Pomfret, often joining gramp listening to a Red Sox game. But he turned in about the fifth inning. “Call you at five,” he’d say as he went upstairs, his white hair softly glowing in the stair light.<br /> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 18:46:08 +0000 Howard Coffin 31004 at http://digital.vpr.net