Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Gun crazy

With three school shootings in a week, It's becoming increasingly bizarre to me how nobody is talking about guns. The media storm swirls around these unhappy communities, showing endless footage of memorial services and prayer meetings. But the bigger "repurcussion" story to emerge is parents demanding to know how safe their own kids' schools are, whether the doors are locked or not and how easy it is for people to gain access.

I don't understand why the easy availability of guns has not been seized upon as a key theme in these crimes. Maybe this seems more striking to me because I have been living in England for a few years now, where guns are strictly regulated and where gun crime remains rare. Why is it still so easy to get a gun here?

This piece in the Progressive raises just this issue, also linking the shootings with the other big story of the week, the disclosure of Congressman Foley's inappropriate emails to young boys. Violence begets violence. This editorial in the St. Pete Times (which, by the way, had the initial set of Foley emails before ABC did but thought they were too ambiguous to run with) calls for stricter gun control, but notes that the Republican controlled Congress seems intent on weakening existing gun control legislation as it is. This week alone we've seen evidence of corruption, deceit, moral rot, selfishness and cowardice from the Republican party. When is this nightmare going to end?

Yesterday I was in a store in town and noticed they were selling a little digital counter on a keychain, a perpetual countdown to the President's last moment in office. All of us waiting in line to pay shared a rueful laugh about it. I thought about buying one, but it was twelve bucks, which seemed a little steep. Still, the owner told me they had already sold four that day.

At least Hastert's probably on the way out. Back to the Boar's Nest for him!

Monday, October 02, 2006

The Cadillac of apples

What a great weekend. It started off Friday night at a hot-tub get-together with some old friends in Waterbury. The talk turned to financial planners, granite countertops and daycare, and I was a little freaked out by how adult everyone sounded, but it was lots of fun.

Saturday morning I went to the farmer's market in Montpelier and ran into a ton of people I knew. Didn't see any of these performance artists that I've heard about there, but a guy dressed like a pirate was running around at one point. Ate an incredible sticky bun from the fabulous Red Hen Baking Co. Bought a matching set of t-shirts for my whole family from Bo at Eat More Kale (a great stencil design which features George W. Bush's face topped by Mickey Mouse ears.)

I also tried a Honeycrisp apple for the first time. At the Ellie's farm stand they had a crate of these apples with a big sign: "Honeycrisp - The Cadillac of Apples!" And they were more expensive than all the other apples Ellies had. I was standing there wondering if this was an example of clever marketing, when some women ran up, shouting, "Hey, they got Honeycrisps!" and proceeded to load up a couple of bags like they were scared someone else might get to them first. After all that, of course we had to get one. And it was a pretty nice apple - a little too sweet for me, I prefer the tart ones - but it has a very unusual flavor. Last night we had a friend over to dinner and she was also talking about the Honeycrisps, so I guess this qualifies as a hot trend in produce.

After the farmer's market my dad, my brother and I hiked up Stowe Pinnacle. This wasn't as crowded as I'd feared it might be during the beginning of leaf peeper season. One thing I noticed, though, was a lot of the people hiking with dogs had their dogs outfitted with special strap-on dog bags. Some were carrying dog-size camelpak water carriers, complete with plastic straws. Others dogs were wearing pannier-style saddlebags. Only in Vermont!