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December is (just barely) here! I am not going to pretend that I am always an expedient gift giver. However, with backorders and shipping delays and everything else I am actually trying this year. This brings me to one of my most important December messages: do NOT ever gift pets. There are …

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Have you ever felt like there’s something you can’t accomplish? That it’s beyond your ability, and you don’t even bother to try? The older I get, the more I realize I have no idea why I feel that way. Some things in life only appear more complicated than they are, and once you give them a ch…

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Many readers read a book and then watch the movie (or the reverse). But there are some great books that play off of others, as an homage, critique or – less often successfully – parody. I was lucky enough in college to do a terrific course in postcolonial lit that looked at some canonical wo…

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It is now officially autumn — time for leaf-peeping, cider pressing, and of course, the first cold viruses of the season. I have a 4-year-old daughter and a 7-month-old son, and with my daughter’s entrance into preschool this year, the little ones have had two colds already since the start o…

TV Review

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Let’s start with what “Shrill” isn’t: it isn’t a show about a fat woman taking pratfalls or being a cruel, easy punchline. It’s a confident, gently funny, slice-of-life show that benefits from the streaming model, where niche shows can find an audience, as it explores issues and characters y…

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In Silicon Valley, the old adage “fake it ’til you make it” is often a guiding principle of fledgling startup companies. Sometimes, turning a good idea into a viable business and, potentially, revolutionizing society, requires a bit of smoke and mirrors. The danger, of course, is knowing how…

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Watching “Arrested Development” is a lot like hanging out with an old friend. No matter how long you’ve been apart, you’re always happy to see them. And, like spending time with an old friend, that pull of nostalgia and shared memories makes it easy to fall into the same old routine. But at …

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Growing up reading “X-Men” comic books, I never really considered the psychological toll fighting crime and saving the world would have on the young super-powered characters that often populated the teams. With few exceptions, the books often glossed over how traumatizing all that violence a…

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It’s difficult to critique longstanding institutions. Over time, aged bodies like the Catholic Church or Congress become so towering and entrenched that even the sharpest criticisms tend to bounce off them or are waved off by defenders who dismiss them as subjective, petty, facile or ignoran…

Local

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George Frederic Handel’s “Messiah” is perhaps the most universal piece of music, being performed at Christmastime nearly everywhere on Earth — though the oratorio is perhaps more appropriate for Easter.

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Dueling was once a common way of settling disputes. Although other weapons were used, the dueling pistol was the most popular weapon of choice. The first duel reported in America occurred in 1621 in Massachusetts. By the advent of the war for independence it was a widespread practice, especi…

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When the Rutland Herald first contacted us to ask if we’d like to write a column, the first reaction was, “Wow! What an opportunity!” So, the first thing is to thank the editors for asking. After all, the Poultney Area Chamber of Commerce isn’t the largest in the state. It doesn’t make news …

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One of Vermont’s most established and compelling bands, lauded blues-soul-pop group Dwight + Nicole — guitarist Dwight Ritcher, singer Nicole Nelson and bassist Ezra Oklan — takes it up a notch on a new five-song EP, “Further.” Released Oct. 22, it’s one of the best EPs to ever come out of t…

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When Tommy Hyde was a student at Middlebury College 10 years ago he took a class called “Adventure Writing and Digital Storytelling.” In it, students went out into the community for a month and followed around a local character, wrote something about them, and made a short film.

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Electric vehicle sales in Vermont are increasing in sales but only when models are available from local dealerships. In recent months, a shortage of computer chips used in all new vehicles has led to a slowdown of deliveries of cars and trucks at many car dealerships nationally and Vermont i…

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One recent day did not go as planned, but after starting with sadness, tension and adrenaline, it came to an end with an incredible feeling of happiness.