Trying to make sense of 2006? Here are 10 Top 7 lists of data from the past calendar year that offer a snapshot of life in Vermont in the mid-aughties.
Top 7 Rentals at Waterfront Video in Burlington
(According to buyer Seth Jarvis)
1. The Squid and the Whale
3. Good Night and Good Luck
5. Thank You For Smoking
6. The Family Stone
7. Match Point
Jarvis expected to see TransAmerica or Brick on the list instead of The Family Stone, a romantic comedy. He speculates that Family Stone star Diane Keaton had something to do with the film's popularity. "It was a good year for her," he says. TV series have also become increasingly popular rentals, and Jarvis was surprised that shows such as "Six Feet Under," "The Sopranos" and "24" didn't make the cut, but that could be because each disc in a season's multi-disc set is counted separately.
Top 7 Used CDs
Sold to Downtown Discs in Burlington
(According to marketing manager Julia Mueller)
1. The Marshall Mathers LP, Eminem
2. Get Rich or Die Trying, 50 Cent
3. Come on Over, Shania Twain
4. Pieces of You, Jewel
5. Human Clay, Creed
6. Bark at the Moon, Ozzy Osborne
7. Follow the Leader, Korn
"We've seen a ton of these come back this year," says Mueller. "I think people really want to get rid of these guys."
Top 7 Most Popular Books at the Bristol Library
(According to Librarian Nancy Wilson)
1. Dark Harbor by Stuart Woods
2. Two Little Girls in Blue by Mary Higgins Clark
3. Sea Change by Robert Parker
4. School Daze by Robert Parker
5. The Lighthouse by P.D. James
6. Blood Hunt by Ian Rankin
7. The Cold Moon by Jeffrey Deaver
Wilson notes that all these titles are mysteries; the list would have had to be twice as long to include even one novel. The Last Days of Dogtown, by Anita Diamant, was #14.
Top 7 Events Sold Through the Flynn Box Office
(According to A.J. Fucile, Regional Box Office Manager)
1. Keith Urban
2. Rascal Flats
3. Phil Lesh & Friends (including Trey Anastasio)
4. Paul Simon
5. Cats (three shows)
6. Fiddler on the Roof (six shows)
Fucile notes that the first four shows took place at the Champlain Valley Fairgrounds, which has 10,000 seats. He gives an honorable mention to Ani DiFranco, who played a sold-out show at the Flynn in November. And he says tickets to see Vermont's new pro basketball team, the Frost Heaves, have been selling well. Fucile predicts the Heaves will make the list in 2007 - "They're going to become a thing."
Top 7 Crimes in Hinesburg (January to November)
(According to Chief Chris Morrell of the Hinesburg Community Police)
1. Vehicular crimes, 160 incidents
2. Burglary or theft, 99 incidents: Includes all break-ins.
3. Property crimes, 97 incidents: Includes vandalism and larceny.
4. Crimes against people, 89 incidents: Assaults, including domestic assaults.
5. Financial, 29 incidents: Bad checks, identity theft.
6. Juvenile, 17 incidents: Crimes committed by juveniles.
7. Drugs, 9 incidents: Includes possession and distribution.
Hinesburg has a relatively low crime rate, but Chief Morrell says the rural town is not immune to big-city problems such as heroin. "It always surprises people when you say, 'Yeah, we have heroin here in Hinesburg,'" he says. Morrell notes there weren't many drug busts, but he says drugs drive other offenses. "Somebody that has a heroin addiction can do so many crimes," he says, "that they can change the whole scale of the thing by themselves."
Top 7 Most Viewed Videos on YouTube That Come Up in a Search for "Burlington Vermont"
(According to http://www.youtube.com, as of December 17, 2006)
1. "Scaring People With a Train Horn" - Guy installs a train horn on his truck, then videotapes himself driving around Burlington honking his horn and terrifying people. (5267 views)
2. "The Secret Life of the Maxi Pad" - Promotional video for Seventh Generation's unbleached menstrual product line, featuring a man dressed as a giant maxi pad who shops at Healthy Living, does yoga, and drinks a Bloody Mary at Penny Cluse. (5239 views)
3. "Please Save My Earth - Moon Eternal" - Anime music video entered in the AMV contest at the Bakuretsu Gaming Convention in Burlington. (4321 views)
4. "John Cameron Mitchell Sings Phish's Waste" - The creator of Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Shortbus sings a Phish song at his brother's wedding near Burlington. (3356 views)
5. "Miss Vermont USA and Vermont Teen USA 2007 Crownings" (2679 views)
6. "Zombie Make-Up Two" - Make-up artist Sara Glasgow zombiefies Chris Audesey for Nightmare Vermont. (2521 views)
7. "Sleater Kinney - Everything" - Seattle band Sleater Kinney at Higher Ground. (2348 views)
It's easy to find out what people are watching at YouTube, a website that allows users to upload and share videos for free. Though the popular online video site appeared in 2005, it took off in 2006; Google bought it in November for $1.65 billion. Search for "Vermont" on YouTube and you can already choose from more than 1700 offerings.
Top 7 First Names of Incoming Statewide Elected Officials
(According to the Secretary of State's office)
1. William, or "Bill" - Yep, there are 11 Bills in the statehouse. Coincidence?
2. David, 7
3. James, 7
4. John, 7
5. Richard, 7
6. Ann, 5
7. Michael, 5
Not many quirky names under the golden dome. Just one woman's name made the list, though there are also three Alices, three Susans, three Virginias and three people named Sarah or Sara. There are two state legislators named Francis - both male.
Top 7 Stories Most Frequently Visited
on the Seven Days Website
(According to Google Analytics)
1. "Behind the Crime Scene," November 6: An anonymous cop responds to a Burlington murder case.
2. "Life Drawing," May 6: Margot Harrison profiles Alison Bechdel, Dykes to Watch Out For cartoonist and author of Fun Home.
3. "The Whole Truth," September 6: Project Censored's report on 10 stories ignored by big media in the last year.
4. "Bomb's Away," June 28: Cathy Resmer investigates the former nuclear missile silos in Vermont and New York.
5. "Where the Girls Are," September 6: Margot Harrison reviews Packaging Girlhood, a book by Sharon Lamb and Lyn Mikel Brown.
6. "Biz Kids," May 17: Profiles of young Vermont entrepreneurs.
7. "Tales from the Cryptographer," June 6: Ken Picard interviews emerging security-threat expert Bruce Schneier.
These statistics track feature stories only; Peter Freyne's "Inside Track" column is consistently Seven Days' most popular online feature.
Top 7 Vermont Agricultural
(According to the Vermont Agency of Agriculture)
2. Fruits and vegetables
3. Greenhouse nursery items
4. Maple syrup
Yep, dairy is still number one, though the number of Vermont dairy farms diminishes yearly. "Vermont is the most dairy-dependent state in the nation," observes Beth Kennet, chair of the Vermont Farms Association. In many states, growing pretty flowers has taken over as the top agricultural activity, she notes, adding, "Vermont is very unique."
Top 7 Items Pawned at Avenue Market Pawnbrokers in St. Johnsbury
(According to owner Mike Lenahan)
1. Musical instruments
2. Diamonds and gold jewelry: "Engagement rings are big."
3. Silver coins: "pre-'64"
5. Video-game systems such as Playstation 2 and XBox
6. Snap-on Tools
7. Old film cameras and binoculars
Lenahan says the biggest change in recent years is that most electronic equipment is now essentially worthless. Prices drop so fast on the latest appliances - color TVs, for example - that he won't even take them. Occasionally he'll accept digital cameras, but he's more likely to accept older film cameras that are becoming harder to find. Though the items he accepts have changed over the years, the reasons people give for pawning their stuff stays the same. "'Taxes are due.' That's a big one," he says. "Basically, people live from paycheck to paycheck."