Two Virgins and the Vermont Republic

Virgin Queen

Vermont road mapVA Virginia, a state – a commonwealth – in the southeastern US. Capital: Richmond. Largest city: Virginia Beach.

Since I wrote about Virginia five years ago, I’ll just note that the state was “named for Queen Elizabeth I of England, who was known as the Virgin Queen. Historians think the English adventurer Sir Walter Raleigh suggested the name about 1584.”

VI Virgin Islands, a US territory in the Caribbean. Capital and largest city: Charlotte Amalie, on the island of St. Thomas.

The US Virgin Islands were sold to the United States by Denmark in the Treaty of the Danish West Indies of 1917. Other islands in the archipelago are controlled by the United Kingdom.

“Christopher Columbus named the islands after Saint Ursula and the 11,000 Virgins (Spanish: Santa Úrsula y las Once Mil Vírgenes), shortened to the Virgins (las Vírgenes). ”

GREEN Mountain State

VT Vermont, a New England state of the US. Capital: Montpelier. Largest city: Burlington

I wrote about our 2015 vacation. The truth is, I’ve been all over Vermont. A wedding on Lake Champlain, several choir performances in my Methodist days, even shopping. Of course, I’m inherently fond of the state, since it involves the color green.

On the Travel Trivia website, it listed 5 Countries That No Longer Exist. One was the Vermont Republic.

“On January 15, 1777, Vermont became the Vermont Republic, with its own Declaration of Independence, elected assembly, money, postal service, military, and diplomatic relations. Vermont was joined in its decade and a half of sovereignty by sixteen New Hampshire towns and a few more from New York.

“They were eventually given back to their states when Vermont joined the union [in 1791 when it became the 14th state], but it was a process by which Congress, New York, and New Hampshire recognized Vermont’s sovereignty. That means Vermont’s time as an independent nation wasn’t a fun historical quirk; it was a tangible expression of North American international freedom.”

For the verdant ABC Wednesday

V is for Vermont

Pickleball is a sport easier to play than to explain.

smuggsAll of my wife’s immediate family – her parents, her two brothers, their wives, the three daughters amongst them, and our nuclear threesome – spent several days together just before Labor Day at Smugglers’ Notch Resort near remote Jeffersonsville, VT about 40 miles northeast of Burlington. It’s a ski resort in the winter but has grown into a family-friendly summer resort.

Smugglers’ Notch namesake “comes from the smugglers of the early nineteenth century, who used the thick forest on the mountain range, and the caves and caverns along the Long Trail to transport illegal or embargoed goods across the Canadian border. The notch was most likely involved in bootlegging during the Prohibition-era of the 1920s, using the same caves as a cache for smuggled Canadian beer, wine, and spirits.”

We got there on a Sunday, the day before they switched to a modified fall schedule of events. The downside is that there was much confusion about the new rotation. For instance – and there were five or six examples like this – the Wife and I call up to book disc golf lessons at the appointed time, but no one there knows what we’re talking about.

The good news is the staff, to a person, was unfailingly polite and accommodating. An employee made a call and got us transportation to a location on the massive site, and a guy gave us – and only us, as it turned out – lessons.

Disc golf, BTW, is a flying disc game – think of series of differently-weighted Frisbees – the object which, similar to golf, “is to traverse a course from beginning to end in the fewest number of throws of the disc.” As it turns out, there are a few disc golf courses in our area, notably Central Park in Schenectady.

More crowded was the pickleball class, a sport easier to play than to explain. A standard pickleball court is the same size as a doubles badminton court, but we played in a modified tennis court. The net height is a yard, a little less than a meter. The paddle is smaller than a tennis racquet but larger than a ping-pong paddle, and more like the latter. The ball itself is like a wiffleball but smaller in diameter, and slightly heavier. It plays like a mixture of tennis and badminton.

The five days there also featured hikes, some reading, and, on two nights, visits to the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. It is a lovely setting. As someone almost said, a splendid time was had by all.

abc 17 (1)
ABC Wednesday – Round 17

February rambling: expats, and the end of “Parenthood”

dance_as_tho

How America’s Sporting Events Have Turned into Mass Religious Events to Bless Wars and Militarism. Amen.

The Weekly Sift analyzes what the Atlantic article “What ISIS Really Wants” gets right and gets wrong. Also, ISIS Bans Teaching Evolution In Schools in Mosul, as well as art, music, history, literature and, of course, Christianity.

American ISIS: The Domestic Terrorist Fallout of the Iraq War.

Melanie: A Modern Day Scarlet Pimpernel and Human Trafficking.

Something most Americans know little or nothing about: The Trans-Pacific Partnership is the latest trade deal being cooked up in secret by big corporations and their lobbyists.

John Oliver Eviscerates the Stunningly Corrupt Practices of Big Pharma. This IS journalism. I also LOVE how he takes on Big Tobacco and their bullying tactics internationally.

Here are Remarks by the President at National Prayer Breakfast, February 5, 2015. Obama Attacked for Telling the Truth about Christianity’s Bloody History and The Foolish, Historically Illiterate, Incredible Response to Obama’s Prayer Breakfast Speech. True this: Using religion to brutalize other people is not a Muslim invention, nor is it foreign to the American experience.

Is The Phrase ‘Playing The Race Card’ As Racist As It Sounds? You Bet It Is.

A Latin motto for Vermont? “I thought Vermont was American, not Latin?”

When a Puerto Rican Wins the Powerball.

When Hate Stays in the Closet: “Answering the most sympathetic and reasonable arguments against same-sex marriage.”

A cautionary tale: How One Stupid Tweet Blew Up Justine Sacco’s Life.

Amy Biancolli: The Weight of a Ring.

Uthaclena: Truth in Advertising, or The Eyes Have It.

Dear Student: Should Your Granny Die Before The Midterm … “Grandmothers are 10 times more likely to die before a midterm, and 19 times more likely to die before a final exam. Grannies of students who weren’t doing well in their classes were at even higher risk of meeting their maker.”

3 Tips For Being Awake In A World That Is Asleep.

Learning stuff.

Nancy Frank, organist at First Presbyterian Church in Albany, NY, retires after 42 years. Not only is she a fine organist, but a great person as well.

Watch Middle School Kids Play A Led Zeppelin Medley … On Xylophones.

Vogue’s The 10 Greatest Oscar-Winning Songs of All Time.

Bob Dylan’s Full MusiCares Speech: How He Wrote the Songs.

Jaquandor is ranking the Bond songs!

The Real Instrument Behind The Sound In ‘Good Vibrations’.

Chuck Miller on the redemptive quality of Allan Sherman.

One of my favorite TV shows, Parenthood, ended this past month. Deleted Scenes Show Seth’s Return, Sarah’s Roast, and More.

Gary Owens of Laugh-In fame, RIP. Mark Evanier’s piece, and a story with Evanier’s mom, and the short-lived show Letters to Laugh-In. Plus Ken Levine’s appreciation.

What happens to someone who goes on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? and loses $225,000?

Clowns: Beware of the Unicycling Clown and The Toronto Circus Riot of 1855.

Muppets: Miss Piggy and Constantine, the World’s Most Dangerous Frog, accept an award, and I’ll Get You What You Want (Cockatoo in Malibu) and Cookie Monster Chase. Also, ‘Big Birdman’ starring Caroll Spinney and Big Bird [Birdman Spoof] plus Simply Delicious Shower Thoughts with Cookie Monster and I’m Going To Go Back There Someday and The Muppet Movie can’t hide a soft heart beneath the silly gags. Finally, a Sesame Street discography.

Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling.

Video Artist Eran Amir made this video that looks like magical things seem to happen because the video is being run in reverse — but this is not running in reverse…

GOOGLE ALERTS (me)

Somehow, I have helped to encourage SamuraiFrog to compile a ranking of all of “Weird Al” Yankovic’s songs. THIS is a good thing that I will share with The Daughter.

Arthur wrote a GREAT piece, E is for Expat, about being a stranger in a strange land and how that changes over time, quoting others, as well as noting his own experiences.

Jaquandor answers my questions about changing his mind, but not about pie.

GOOGLE ALERT (not me)

Roger Green, from Sudbury, was named as the regional winner of the Churches Conservation Trust Volunteer Award… This is in recognition of the work he has done for St Peter’s Church, Sudbury, where he chairs the Friends’ group, facilitates regular markets, festivals, concerts and theatre productions, and has helped boost visitor numbers to around 60,000 a year.

Not in an upstate New York State of mind

I REALLY liked Madison, Wisconsin when I was there in 1988. Always appreciate the state’s progressive tradition.

LONG-time blogger Dustbury asks a question for this round of Ask Roger Anything:

If a purely arbitrary decision was handed down to the effect that you could no longer remain in upstate New York, where would you first consider going?


I’ve thought on this a lot, actually. It’s pretty much a process of elimination.

Not moving to anywhere there is no fresh water, so desert states such as Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico are definitely out. California – well, is the big earthquake still coming?

I’d like to be out of direct range of hurricanes, which eliminates Florida, not that I wouldn’t have passed on it for other reasons; and the parts of the states on the Gulf coast and southern part of the Atlantic are unlikely.

Not Texas, because Texas is Texas.

I’m wary of being in tornado alley, which seems to encompass much of the center of the country from Oklahoma to Ohio.

Places I had considered before I’m now rethinking; I worry about Washington and Oregon after the Fukushima nuclear plant meltdown in Japan, maybe not enough to eliminate them, but it’s a factor. I wouldn’t pass on all the states along with the flood-prone Mississippi River, but any place that’s flooded in the last 15 years, I can imagine flooding again.

I hear the Deep South is more enlightened than it used to be; not sure I’d want to move there.

I REALLY liked Madison, Wisconsin when I was there in 1988. Always appreciate the state’s progressive tradition. Don’t love the current governor, though.

Do I want somewhere warmer? Certainly NOT colder, which eliminates Minnesota and Maine.

Ultimately, it would be either in a small college town or a larger college town with decent mass transit in New England, but probably not Connecticut, which often feels like suburbia. Rhode Island is a possibility. I’m fond of Northampton, Massachusetts.

My pick, all things being equal, is southern Vermont. After all, Vermont was part of New York, before it was broken off to become the 14th state. Both New York and Vermont have a maple syrup tradition. And, in spite of damage from some recent hurricanes, both tend to be out of hurricane alley.

S for Severed States

The part of Missouri Compromise allowing Congress control of slavery in the newly emerging territories was declared unconstitutional.


I saw this article recently in the Wall Street Journal about some people on Long Island wanting to secede from the rest of New York State for a bunch of reasons; it won’t happen, BTW, because the state legislature wouldn’t allow it. But it reminded me that the 50 states in the US were not always the size that they are currently.

Even before there was a United States, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New York all insisted that Vermont was a part of their state. That’s why Vermont declared itself a kingdom in 1777, and Vermonters to this day refer to the state as the “Northeast Kingdom”, though it became the first state after the original 13.

In the early days of the Union:
Connecticut laid claim on a piece of what is now northern Ohio
Kentucky would be carved out of what was part of Virginia
*Georgia included the northern portions of what is now both Alabama and Mississippi

Of course, the Louisiana Purchase changed the equation, with the federal government attempting to control all the unincorporated territories of the country, sometimes with resistance at the state level.

Read about the Wisconsin-Michigan kerfluffle.

What is now Maine was once part of Massachusetts, plus some territory claimed by Britain as part of Canada. Maine (free) and Missouri (slave) became states in 1820 and 1821, respectively, I remember from my American history, as a result of the Missouri Compromise of 1820, which “stipulated that all the Louisiana Purchase territory north of the southern boundary of Missouri, except Missouri, would be free, and the territory below that line would be slave.”

The Missouri Compromise was repealed by the 1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act, which brought those states into the Union but eliminated the provision limiting slavery. Indeed, the part of the Missouri Compromise that allowing Congress to control slavery in the newly emerging territories was declared unconstitutional in the horrific 1857 Dred Scott decision by the Supreme Court.

This led to the American Civil War, during which the northwest counties of Virginia seceded from Virginia to become West Virginia. (WV is the answer to the trivia question: “Which state east of the Mississippi River was the last to join the union?”

Read about some of the United States’ international boundary disputes here, and about the curious case of the Republic of Texas here.


ABC Wednesday