The recent article "Killer Instinct" [November 7] by Patrick Ripley made it sound like hunting is an embarrassing hobby for only backwoods rednecks. But this is not true, and nobody should be ashamed to call him or herself a hunter. Hunting is an honorable tradition. There is no shame in it. It has been going on for many centuries and is how our ancestors survived. In today's world, everyone is different and has different likes and dislikes. I personally am a hunter and love it. It is not all about going out and shooting things for the fun of it. It is about actually going out into nature and enjoying yourself. Just because someone hunts doesn't mean that they are a redneck and stupid. This I have never understood.
Yes, there are redneck hunters out there. But what's the problem with that? They just love to do it, and they have probably grown up hunting with their families. I think that's a great thing. It really creates a bond with friends and family.
To most hunters, the best part of hunting is the stories of old hunting adventures and the little pranks played on one another. Everyone has a different passion, and that's great. Enjoy doing what you like to do and don't hold back.
The thought of college students dressed in wizard wear and attempting to keep a broomstick between their legs is ridiculous ["Harry Potter-Inspired World Cup Comes to Vermont," November 7].
The Quidditch Association spent $5000 to put on the competition. Middlebury College put in $2000 to help with equipment. Maybe the Quidditch team should spend more time studying. Maybe they should have used the money to help the less fortunate. If the college has money to share for such a ridiculous competition, maybe they should look into the priorities of the college.
The Quidditch team should get out of the fantasy world and get back to reality.
NOW OR NEVER
I recently read the November 7 article [by Dan Bolles], "Broken, But Still Sociable" [about Canadian indie supergroup Broken Social Scene]. In the middle of the article, [BSS founder] Kevin Drew says, "I wanted to address being in the moment as opposed to focusing on what the past is or what's to come." I was glad that Kevin Drew brought this up in the interview. I agree that our society's too focused on the past and future. Life becomes so much more meaningful when you live life in the moment. Being wrapped around what could or should happen only brings stress and false hope.
I've never been in the music business, but I have done theater and I know the role time takes when it is opening night and you have moments before going on stage. You shouldn't think of what people will think of the play, but, instead, have fun doing what you love. Live life in the moment without regret.
I love the way the wealthy politician with extreme access to power is cast as an underdog, whereas average, working-class Vermonters who are affected by his policies are cast as a Goliath in Peter Freyne's November 14 column ["Is He, or Isn't He?"]. Were Vermonters who elected Welch with a strong antiwar mandate in 2006 not supposed to ask questions when Welch approved $12 billion for the war on September 26? Should the same antiwar Welch voters celebrate Welch's August 5 vote for $440 billion in defense spending that should be going to health care, jobs and education? Ignore Welch's May 10 vote to give $42.8 billion more to the failed occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan?
It's interesting Freyne omitted how Welch defended his vote to censure the antiwar movement in order to, in Welch's words, "support the troops," while simultaneously Congressman Welch admitted knowing nothing about depleted uranium's effects on soldiers' health. Freyne also omitted Welch's "entitlement" not to vote for impeachment, despite the Vermont State House passing an impeachment bill on April 20 because, Welch thought, impeachment wouldn't be an electable strategy for the Democratic Party.
Additionally, it's important to note that, unlike Seven Days' columnist, not every paper is cozying up to wealthy governmental elite and their support of this war. The Caledonian Record in a November 14 editorial wrote: "Wouldn't it be revolutionary if all Vermonters showed the tenacity and backbone of the folks who challenged Welch on Sunday and demanded he do what he said he would do?"
It would. If Seven Days columnists returned to opposing the war, instead of blowing soft kisses to those funding it, it would also.
RAISING THE BAR
I recently read the article, "Townies and Gownies Square Off Over Bar Proposal" [November 7], about Middlebury College's intentions to open a public bar off campus. The idea sounds wonderful to me, but I was somewhat put off by the reactions of the local residents.
In my opinion, any bar or restaurant - whether it is for blue collars, white collars or "gowns" - is always a good thing. These establishments provide additional jobs and revenue for the surrounding area, as well as a place for people to develop social and professional relationships. It seems ridiculous to me that any of the preexisting bar and eatery owners are fearful of new competition in town. This fear might suggest that these business owners are aware of faults in their own establishments and feel that a new bar in town may upstage their own. This could lead these restaurants to better their own products and create healthy competition and improvement in many of the surrounding eateries.
I wholeheartedly agree that the college students and local residents should have a communal place where friendly and open interaction is encouraged. I find the fear of violent incident ridiculous. There is no reason to expect brawls and shootings just because another college - in Hamilton, New York - had such issues. And I doubt that there is a conspiracy among college-run institutions to inspire riots and gun fights in their eating establishments. I wish only the best of luck to Middlebury College in its efforts there, and I hope that this new establishment will be a positive and profitable venture for both the school and the community.
THE FINEST FASHION
When it comes down to it, the world needs more women like the Japanese designer Aya Tsukioka ["News Quirks," November 7]. She designs unique clothes and accessories for both adults and children. I, for one, think that what she is doing is admirable. She designs awesomely unique clothes that help those afraid of street crime. There should be more people like her in this crazy, hectic world.
I have no connection with the University of Vermont's production of Miss Firecracker, or with UVM at all, but I'd like to point out that stage directions in contemporary scripts almost always reflect the work of the play's original director and designers ["Southern Discomfort," November 7]. They rarely originate with the playwright.
There may be many valid reasons why a designer chooses to disregard such directions. The director's concept may be wildly different. The architecture of the theater may be different. And sometimes, the subsequent designer just has a better idea.
Jeffrey E. Salzberg
JERSEY CITY, NJ
YOU AREN'T ALONE
In your October 24 issue, the first letter to the editor was entitled "A Soldier's Story." It was written by Jon Turner. I found Jon's comments to be extremely honest, open and right on the mark. As a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War, I applaud Jon and his organization's effort to tell people what's happening in Iraq as a result of an ill-conceived, failed, flawed war.
I've tried to help at least a half-dozen Vietnam vets still suffering from posttraumatic stress. I became especially close with a decorated soldier named Bob Hoot. He had the horrendous job of being a "tunnel rat," which meant searching for the enemy in booby-trapped tunnels with poisonous snakes, bombs and AK 47s lurking. My friend Bob asked if he could come to my shack in the mountains seeking quiet and privacy. I witnessed an intelligent, compassionate man snap in a second while encountering a police roadblock on our way to a concert. I witnessed a man who became extremely agitated and freaked out, speaking Vietnamese, thinking the police were North Vietnamese soldiers.
I'm sickened by the callous disrespect shown by the Bush/Cheney regime for those who comprise our military.
Thank you Jon for having the courage to tell your "Soldier's Story." I shudder to think how many shared Jon's experiences and haven't been able to reach the stage of recuperation . . . to talk about the real nightmare that war creates.
Jon: If you or another recent vet want someone to talk to, I will listen. I'm in the phone book in Warren. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
We're sure that Seven Days readers were relieved to learn that state officials and advocates alike agreed that the Washington, D.C., think tank, the Economic Policy Institute, was way off base in its assertion of a dramatic drop in "the number of Vermont kids receiving employer-based health insurance" ["Are Vermont's Employers Leaving Kids Behind?" November 21].
To put things in perspective, Vermont has historically had one of the highest rates of employer-based insurance in the nation. Combined with the state's generous Medicaid program and Dr. Dynasaur, it shouldn't be surprising that Vermont also has one of the lowest rates of uninsurance in the country.
In 1989, when Vermont started Dr. Dynasaur, Vermont employers warned the state that a likely outcome would be that both employers and employees would make the obvious economic determination that it was best for all concerned to drop dependent coverage and enroll children in the program. That warning was ignored. It seems a little disingenuous to come back 18 years later and somehow blame this on employers.
Are there problems ahead? You bet. Vermont employers, like our employees, are struggling to keep up with continued double-digit increases in health insurance costs. Adding insult to injury, in the past two years Medicaid has shifted $180 million of its hospital costs onto the privately insured.
Despite these problems, our legislature appears largely focused on providing access to a benefit that is quickly becoming unaffordable for the majority of Vermonters. Until we get serious about controlling costs and get beyond vague and hopeful projections of future savings from chronic care management, all of us, as well as our children, are at risk.
BURLINGTON Fuller is managing director of the Employers Health Alliance.