REDCOATS IN IRAQ
In “Bullets and Bandages” [August 5], your pullquote attributed to Thomas Middleton jumped off the page: “We’re facing an enemy that wears civilian clothes, melts into the civilian populace and triggers IEDs with cellphones.” It could just as easily read, “...melts into the civilian populace and shoots from behind trees and stone walls.” A medic for King George’s redcoats could have written it. We are the redcoats. We went in to Iraq on a lie. Let’s get out.
The UVM players you mentioned in the Baseball Issue [August 5] are certainly worthy of distinction. However, you omitted the two most successful baseball players to graduate from UVM: Vermont natives Ray Collins, a left-handed pitcher from Colchester; and Larry Gardner, a third baseman from Enosburg.
Both of them helped UVM win the conference championship, graduated sometime in the Taft administration (1908-1909, thereabouts) and went on to enjoy success as big-league ballplayers. Both played major roles in helping the Red Sox win the 1912 World Series against the mighty New York Giants and their immortal pitcher, Christy Mathewson.
Growing up in Colchester, it was my pleasure to meet both men: Collins at his Route 15 farmhouse, and Gardner at a Colchester Point camp where he was visiting friends. In their post-baseball lives, Gardner and Collins both gave back to the community in many ways, and also raised fine sons who were skilled, compassionate professionals in education and medicine, respectively.
Their legacies, both on and off the field, should not be forgotten. Tom Simon’s excellent book, The Green Mountain Boys of Summer, tells their stories in detail. And speaking of writers: Robert B. Parker, author of the Spenser series of detective novels, wrote in one sentence the best explanation I have ever heard or read about the inexplicable appeal of our national pasttime: “Baseball is the most important thing in the world that doesn’t matter.”
Ed Flanagan’s political, professional and personal friends need to sit down with him and get things worked out, but we now know this will not happen. A bulldog has no friends. Sad.
THE ‘WHOLE’ TRUTH
After reading the first round of opinions published about Whole Foods coming to South Burlington [Letters, August 5], I am struck by the naiveté of those who wrote in support. Given the tremendous volume of information available about the true cost of cheap food, it is thoroughly depressing to hear folks harkening back to this narrow-minded and tired rationalization for competition and scale.
Holding price as our highest and only food value is what bought us our dangerously centralized industrial food system of monocultures that has sterilized our soil, polluted our water, killed our bees, and poisoned whole regions of our country. That’s what you buy when you buy cheap food.
Instead of looking only at price, think about the multiplier effect of shopping at a local and independent business. Think about the distance food travels, think about packaging, and think about traffic and asphalt and noise. We should have much more faith in the power of our dollar votes than our ballot votes in terms of creating the world we want.
It’s not about cachet or elitism, it’s about having food worth eating in a food-secure community worth living in. Eat a little less if you have to, economize on your cable package, eat out less, or buy fewer clothes. Think about making your own granola instead of buying it for $9 a pound! More importantly, demand regulations that encourage rather than hamstring small-scale local producers so they can produce more efficiently and pass the savings on to their customers.
Healthy, fresh, sustainable food produced by and for our community is too vital to our wellbeing and security to be judged by uninformed, knee-jerk niggardliness at the register.
SOMALI IS AMERICAN
I enjoyed reading Alice Levitt’s article on the Community Halal Store [“Somali Tastes,” August 12]. I want to correct Ms. Levitt on one point, however. She says that Mr. Sharif, the store’s owner, “looks at first like any young American,” but once he starts interacting actually seems “foreign.” Mr. Sharif, with his accent and Somali culture, is in fact as American as anyone else in Vermont.
All Americans come from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, and many of us are recent immigrants. I realize that Vermont is one of the whitest states in the Union. We should not forget, however, that much of the U.S. is heavily populated with people who are not descendents of Europe.
Ms. Levitt’s article, in the end, did highlight one of the greatest things about the U.S.: the ability of a plurality of people and cultures to live in a safe place, participate in free enterprise, and enjoy civil rights. Kudos to Mr. Sharif for inviting all of the recent immigrants in our area into his store.
LAY OFF FLANAGAN
It always surprises me to see Seven Days and [its political columnist] Shay [Totten] shill for the Progs. Ninety-nine percent of the problems presented are none of our business.
While it is true that [Sen.] Ed [Flanagan] has a traumatic brain injury, that does not make him an ineffectual senator, and he wouldn’t be any worse than the present one. Show some humanity and allow the voters of Vermont to decide without this campaign of innuendo and half-truths to besmirch the reputation of a good man. If he has committed a crime, charge him. It is time to put up or shut up.
William A. McLaughlin
My husband and I saw Julie & Julia the day it opened [“Being Julia,” August 12]. Julia Child became very popular while I was a young married woman with a very small son. I would feed him his messy baby food while watching her reveal the secrets of “real” cooking. I had been cooking with my grandmother since the age of 3, so I always loved playing in the kitchen. But with the TV show and the book, it opened up a world of food and travel and markets etc. all over the world for me.
I actually can’t wait for the sequel with just the story of Julia Child’s success as a TV chef. I actually did meet her once in Boston, when she and Jacques Pepin were promoting their new book. After a prepared demo, they opened questions from the audience. One young man asked Julia how she could still continue to cook with all that butter, when we now know about the dangers of cholesterol. Julia got very quiet and stared down at this person. Then after what seemed like several minutes, she replied in her very strong voice: “Young man, I am a cook. I never professed to be a doctor!” I’ll never forget that moment.