Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
We are an inquiring, skeptical, centrist, capitalist commune of humans and animals with many interests beyond politics. All have had high school educations (or GEDs) but we all had a touch of ADD (especially the dogs) and didn't pay attention very closely. None of us enjoy working for others, and each of us truly does "try my best to be just like I am."
Bird Dog likes to be masked and anonymous. With Mayflower and Revolutionary War ancestral "credentials," the Bird Dog has deep Yankee blood, and it means a lot to him. As Editor in Chief, he founded the blog, created the general concept, and carefully selected the contributors for IQ, writing potential, achievement, big-world experience, and ability to commit to reason-supported opinions and judgements.
Opie is a cosmopolitan, multi-national, multi-lingual, suburban German Wire-Haired Pointer. Reluctant to label her a bitch. A graduate of a fine obedience school but has a mind of her own and can be willful. Can't retrieve, but points at subjects of special interest, namely Latin American politics, travel, Christianity, and literary and intellectual topics. Favorite poet: Czeslaw Milocz. Favorite book: The Holy Bible. Favorite drink: Grey Goose martini, very dry, very cold, straight up, with three olives.
The Barrister is a 67 year-old Yale-educated country lawyer who practices general law in a semi-rural town of 12,000. Lives with his first wife on a 60-acre mini-farm which happens to abut a nice little trout stream. Has three grown kids. Likes to think of himself as a sober, balanced person who adds perspective, but he can get pissed off about things. Involved in his Town Meeting and their minimal, all-volunteer government, and many charities, including Ducks Unlimited and the United Way. Does a bit of golf and deer hunting, but the deer are more convenient. Favorite drink: a triple Dewars straight up, wiith a nice Cuban.
The Dylanologist is a brooding, introspective goateed young fellow who reports for a medium-sized western Massachusetts newspaper. A science-nerd physics major from UMass Amherst, he discovered a love for writing when taking a required Lit course in his junior year in college. Now he wants to write novels. Realized Dylan had something to say one night in the dorm, smoking pot and doing shots, and dug into Dylanology pretty deep.Favorite complaint: "How come there are no gals out here under 200 pounds?" Favorite drink: Any cheap beer. Favorite book: Moby Dick. Best Dylan song: "Aw, man, c'mon - I can't commit on that. Visions of Johanna? Stuck Inside of Mobile? It's impossible, really. It's a whole canon, man."
The Chairman is Chairman and CEO of a major, semi-household name US manufacturing company, based in New York City. He insists on no identifying information, but is willing to let it be known that he is irascible, does not tolerate fools gladly, and never bothered with an MBA. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College, where he majored in beer. As a daily commuter to Connecticut, he counts as an adopted New Englander, although he was born in Texas. He is opinionated and unsentimental - a hard-ass. And smart as hell. He is a Vietnam veteran, and a crack shot with either a shotgun or a handgun. Probably rifle too, but he hasn't touched one since 'Nam, where he was a Company Commander in the jungle.
Favorite book: No comment. Favorite drink: Anything red from my wine cellar.
The News Junkie is a "money manager" in a regional brokerage firm in Massachusetts. With less than $100,000,000 to manage, he isn't too busy, and spends a lot of time jumping between his Bloomberg and his favorite newsy websites. Pretending to work. In his 30s, married, has three Springers who can hunt the butt off of anyone else's. With no kids yet, he has time to train them. And train them he does. He handles some of the Bird Dog's money, and we must say he does a mediocre job of it. But he always has a good reason, and provides hope for the future. And he hasn't lost any money yet. Well, not too much anyway. Favorite book: Churchill's The Second World War. Favorite drink: Tequila shots. Favorite bird to hunt: woodcock.
Gwynnie is a young, intelligent Pembroke Welsh Corgi. Unlike whazzizzname who feeds her, she does not care to hunt, but finds fishing sufficiently amusing to accompany whazzizzname from time to time. As a herding dog specializing in cows, she likes her people to be together, and is upset by separations between people she knows. All she can do is try to bring the outlying far right and far left toward the fertile pastures that lie between, and away from the cow guano where they stand today. She also believes, as does her family in the power of the Great Herder, and loves to lie in the middle of the Bible Studies that take place in her home and appreciate each and every human who attends (although exhibiting a preference for whomever is reaching clumsily into the popcorn bowl -- astute as she is, she remains a dog and clean-up is one of her preferred chores).
The Laconic Yankee Farmer
is a tough old-time Yankee, whose grizzly ancestors were up there back when Vermont was still part of the Massachusetts colony. A Korea vet – a supply officer - and a Green Mountain boy to the core. Takes no crap from no-one, and God forbid anyone from the Gummint come to call – or anyone else, for that matter. Has a slight case of wholesome misanthropy and is tough on any people different from his own type, is disgusted with skiers and leaf-peepers, but is toughest on his fellow Vermont farmers, none of whom apparently know how to farm worth a ---ing damn – it’s a God-damn wonder they don’t ----ing starve and go on the ----ing dole.
He is damned if he’ll ever let on that he has a heart as big as a mountain. Won't go to church until he goes there in a box…grandfather helped build the 60-seat First (and only) Congregational Church which is now next door to the only laundromat for 20 miles. Guess which is busier on Sunday morning. He is never "nice" to anyone, including me. Lives alone on the ramshackle farm he inherited from his Dad in the Northeast Kingdom. The barns and outbuildings don’t look as if they have ever been painted, but the farmhouse has been in process of being painted – in sections – for about ten years. Hasn’t gotten to the front porch yet. Started in the rear, of course. A "Take Back Vermont" guy around 80years old, with a nice-looking dairy herd, two tractors, one 1972 two-ton dump truck, and one and a half cars that run.
With a hand-me-down Dell laptop his "city" daughter gave him with, believe it or not, a phone-line connection. Has a phone but has no-one to call. Reads blogs for company and gets news from the Internet. Daughter set him up with Yahoo. Doesn’t get the local paper. Won't watch TV and hasn’t had one since his 1967 B&W Zenith caught on fire and scorched a patch of the faded pink flowered wallpaper in the front parlor. No vacation for 17 years, wife dead, doesn't bathe, shaves when necessary, hunts deer and moose in and out of eason, has daughters in Boston and Worcester, and a son who works at the mill across the river in New Hampshire.
A crusty real American with cow-pie on his shoes and hands so scarred and gnarly they look like old boots. Opinionated, with very rough language ever since the wife died. Clearly not a Dean voter – but votes religiously. Has never been on an airplane, and does not care to. Drives a rusty old Fairlane 63 miles to the nearest Wallmart in New Hampshire for his monthly shopping, which is about as far from home as he ever goes. they don't allow almarts in Vermont. His slow driving drives the Yuppies nuts, with their Thule roof racks on their new Suburbans, Saabs, and Lexi. Has a lot of dogs around the place – there is sadly no Planned Parenthood available to the neighborhood dogs. Mean, dirty, low-down, snarly, slinking nasty mutts, every one of them. Last time those dogs saw a veterinarian was the last time they saw a purple elephant in the cow barn. Also, a bunch of feral cats and kittens in the barn – rat-killers who only eat what they kill, like commissioned salesmen.He was very kind to a bunch of us on our way home from a hunting trip in Maine four years ago, in a grumpy sort of way, when we got lost and then our car broke down (a friend’s Euristan “luxury” SUV – yeah – it’s a luxury when it runs!). I bring LYF a handle-bottle of the Canadian whiskey he likes when I pass by, which is once a year in October, during partridge season. (He would no sooner eat a partridge than he would eat chicken or fish). He doesn't recycle the bottles - in fact, he’s been tossing all of his household garbage -
and worn-out cars and tractors and transmissions and rusted barbed wire - into the hollow down behind Field #2 for 37 years. When the bears come, he shoots ‘em. Eats ‘em, too. I taught him to marinate the bear meat overnight and he’s been slightly happy with that. Cuisine is not really his shtick but un-marinated bear steaks can be a bit of an acquired taste, like raccoon and snapping turtle. He is also known to pop rats in that same dump with his .357 Magnum when he is feeling cranky and needs to express his inner self. You can hear it from the road.
Roger de Hauteville was left on our doorstep- the wolves wouldn't have him. Though not particularly extraordinary, he is unable to offer even anonymous details about his life, because there literally is no one else like him- you'd know it was him in an instant. He is possessed of an enormously sunny disposition, is kind to animals before he eats them, opens doors for ladies -- especially of the bedroom type-- and is pleasant to children.
He is also renowned for becoming five hundred miles of bad road, one part remorse, ten pounds of black cat bone, a gallon of Chaos and the Formless Void, two cupfuls of bloody murder, ten legions of incubi, one gill of death-hell-and-the-grave, and four fingers of clarified brimstone with a gleaming misericord if you piss him off.
What are you looking at?