Don't Dis McDonald's
I was reading your disclaimer in the new edition of 7 Nights. It states "Don't look for McDonald's or Burger King in these pages; 7 Nights is a celebration of indigenous eating and entertainment — not venti-size chains."
It so happens that most of these chains, such as the two mentioned — as well as the local IHOP, Bueno y Sano and Ramunto's — are owned by local people. It's too bad Seven Days needs to be so pretentious in this presentation. While those restaurants are not my cup of tea for their food, I think stating it in your disclaimer is in poor taste and alienates a lot of local Vermonters.
Diversity is not only based on color; it is based on thought and should be welcomed by "independent" publications. It's also not good business sense to disparage or discard revenue opportunities. Given the publication's "statewide" claim, you should at least give other viewpoints some thought.
Maybe that's why liberals have so much trouble understanding how this president won the 2016 election. There are other people in other parts of Vermont who may be insulted by the wording of your small print.
Editor's note: Among the 1,400-plus restaurant write-ups in the 7 Nights dining guide are some local chains, including Bueno y Sano and Vermont's five Ramunto's. The logic for leaving out Burger King, McDonald's, KFC, IHOP, Olive Garden and Denny's? With their standardized menus and national marketing campaigns, these eateries require no explanation.
I Feel Disappointed
How does a movie critic come up with 611 words about a movie he found insipid [Movie Reviews: I Feel Pretty, April 25]? Let's have a look. Oh, clever. He picks apart another movie critic's review, resorts to the "classic film critic tactic" of plot description to fill space, and so on. Brilliant. Could you just put the New York Times review in quotes so I don't waste my time?
Jernigan Pontiac's Scottish-born passenger repeated the timeworn, tartan-clad and shortbread-infused myth of the banning of the pipes by the English [Hackie: "The Pipes Are Calling," April 4]. For generations, many of Scotland's finest pipers have believed and repeated the myth. However, extensive and exhaustive research in the past 20 years or so has demonstrated the myth to be false.
Scholarship has included such full-length works as John Gibson's Traditional Gaelic Bagpiping 1745-1945 and William Donaldson's The Highland Pipe and Scottish Society, 1750-1950. Other well-known scholars looking into the myth are Allan MacDonald, Hugh Cheape and Roderick Cannon. The Disarming Act of 1746, the law in question, is entirely silent on the issue of pipes. The "instrument of war" language pertains to a long-held misreading of the trial of piper Robert Reid.
This is all, of course, not particularly important. But James MacNeil could greatly enhance his understanding of his family's impressive piping heritage by reading Gibson, Donaldson, etc.
For what it's worth, I am a piper. In 1989, I, along with world-renowned piper Hamish Moore, founded the Vermont Bellowspipe School, attracting students from the U.S., Canada, Scotland and beyond. This August, the school will be enjoying its 30th annual event. The piping tradition is, indeed, ancient and grand.
NRA Protects Kids
In signing S.55, Gov. Phil Scott did more to divide Vermont than unite it [Off Message: "As Scott Signs Historic Gun Laws, Protesters Call Him a 'Traitor'," April 11]. He claims to have approved this bill to protect our schoolchildren and everyone else. If that were true, why did he sign the marijuana law before the committee he appointed came up with a solution for detecting pot in people when the police stop them on the highway? Why did he veto the bill that would have outlawed toxic chemicals used in our state? Why is he proposing to establish safe shoot-up stations in Burlington and Barre for heroin addicts?
We all want a safe environment for children. Scott should have conferred with experts in the field of firearms and safety, like the National Rifle Association's National School Shield program that helps with assessment and implementation of school security for free! His decision to sign S.55 before researching this caused problems that did not have to happen. Banning magazines and making universal background checks mandated is unenforceable. Jack Sawyer from Fair Haven is going free. Nikolas Cruz in Florida we now know used 10-round mags. So, what's next — single shots? There are now so many 30-round and larger magazines around that a ban won't make any difference.
Secure the schools. We can all work on that together.
Many thanks for the excellent article Melissa Pasanen wrote on the Real Organic Project's efforts to create an add-on label ["Food Fight," April 18]. I want to offer one clarification. I do believe that there are inherent differences in the quality of food grown hydroponically as compared to soil grown. That is even truer if the soil is well managed as part of an organic system.
While serving on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Hydroponic Task Force, I got to interview many soil scientists, and one question I always asked is whether hydroponic produce is nutritionally different from soil-grown. The universal answer was, "Yes, it must be." Just as wine is different based on the terroir (soil, climate, etc.) in which the grapes are grown, so surely all food is nutritionally affected by the soil in which it is grown. As one scientist said, "I don't think that a diet of all hydroponic food for 20 years would work out well for the eater."
One scientist gave the example of ergothioneine, a naturally occurring amino acid found in healthy soils but missing in hydroponic production. Researchers have recently learned that ergothioneine is a potent anticarcinogen. This is just one example of the very complex soil-plant ecosystem that we are a part of. Hydroponics is about greatly simplifying biological systems to make them easier to manage profitably. Organic agriculture is about embracing biological complexity for the many benefits it offers us. We abandon that complexity at our peril.