May 27, 2018

This Week’s Popcorn – “Arthur”

Gives you a run for the money

2 & 1/2 popcorns

By Michael S. Goldberger
Special to The Citizen

Filmgoers respectful of the first “Arthur,” starring the late, great Dudley Moore, needn’t be afraid to laugh lest they commit sacrilege whence seeing this shiny new remake featuring Russell Brand as the title billionaire-dipsomaniac. Understandable, however, that possibility born of a reverence for the 1981 classic comedy does jog a fond memory.

I was a neophyte in the New York screening rooms, amazed at my good fortune to be in the same space, even if still not conversant with, my film critic idols, when Hesh and I, who would evolve into longtime movie companions, attended a preview of the original. We knew nothing of the movie; only that it was a comedy. Then the lights went down.

Dudley Moore erupted into his raucous, drunken but loveable bad boy with the force of a comedic Jack-in-the-box. The room remained silent in what seemed like conspired defiance. But Hesh and I couldn’t help it. We soon started to titter, muffling our reaction whilst looking at each other for an explanation of the otherwise Sphinx-like reception.

Then Arthur really got rolling, a gangbusters illustration of nose-thumbing impudence, a playboy who only lived for a good time, and couldn’t care less what anyone else thought. OK, so he was a fall down drunk. Who wasn’t back then? But the room stood its stodgy ground. Our snickers grew to chortles. And finally there was no containing ourselves.

We gave into the comic epiphany. Pent-up belly-laughs were released like a suddenly deflated zeppelin (so much for appearances and demeanor). We would cackle robustly. Let them throw us out of the place. It was funny! In the movies, this is when the monocled old gent in the room finally accedes, giving consent for all to join in heartily.

I like to think it happened that way, and that we were the flint that got the bonfire of mirth started. In any case, sounder funny bones prevailed, and the rest is history … until now with the arrival of what some may see as the ignoble usurper. The syndrome is common, and often as not more a patriotic defense of one’s era than an artistic criticism.

If you live the projected three score and 18, you’ll see 3.2 remakes of your favorite movie, plus the silent one you didn’t even know existed until you took that film course. But I’ll commit no blasphemy. While this “Arthur” is only a shadow of the icon, it’s not a bad silhouette at that, a contemporary homage full of its very own personality and wit.

Deserving credit for having the chutzpah to tackle the sacrosanct role, Russell Brand last imparted his stoner imprint as rock star Aldous Snow in “Get Him to the Greek” (2010). So, he is no stranger to treading on hallowed ground if you consider that said film is actually a variation on the Peter O’Toole-starring “My Favorite Year” (1982).

Borrowing from Moore but interjecting his unique style of audacious rebellion against whatever doesn’t tickle his spoiled fancy, this poor little rich kid can run amok with the best of them. All the New York City cops know him. Quickly released from jail after a night of hedonism, he bails out his fellow inmates, informing: “It wouldn’t seem fair otherwise.”

In another scene, upon hearing that there is a recession on, he unleashes the contents of an ATM in a 7-11 on a group of strangers whilst exclaiming, “free money!” He’s a goodhearted wastrel who believes that currency should be used in the pursuit of fun. To his dowager mom’s chagrin, he has no interest in working to enlarge the family fortune.

Of course Mumsy (Geraldine James) has had sonny boy’s antics and disinterest in the accumulation of wealth up to here. She’s given him everything … but love. In patrician fashion, she’s left that chore to his nanny, Hobson, nicely exacted by Helen Mirren. The governess is his only friend. Most of the other women he knows are, well, you know.

One exception, but only by the amount of money she’s interested in, is Jennifer Garner’s Susan, the daughter of a self-made industrialist (Nick Nolte). While already rich, she’d sure like the coat of arms that comes with marrying Arthur. And mother wouldn’t mind letting her believe aristocracy rubs off if it’ll harness Arthur for the good of the dynasty.

But don’t worry. This wouldn’t be the fun-filled, modern fairy tale it is if there weren’t also a poor but sweet gal like Greta Gerwig’s perfectly cast Naomi in the mix. Naturally she supports a sick dad. I know. It’s predictable. But for those who don’t mind trading a little credibility for a lot of kismet, “Arthur” proves rich with laughs and good feelings.

“Arthur,” rated PG-13, is a Warner Bros. Pictures release directed by Jason Winer and stars Russell Brand, Helen Mirren and Greta Gerwig. Running time: 110 minutes

Recipe Corner

Easter brunch or anytime

April 21, 2011

By Ginger Isham

I love recipes that can be made ahead of time that allow me to concentrate on last minute details.

Blueberry French Toast

12 slices of old white bread, crusts removed
2 packages of cream cheese (8 ounce size)
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
12 eggs
1/3 cup maple syrup or honey

1 cup sugar (use a little less)
2 tablespoons corn starch
1 cup water
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1 tablespoon butter

Cut bread into cubes and put half in a greased 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Cut cream cheese into cubes and spread evenly over bread. Sprinkle blueberries over this and rest of bread cubes on top. Beat eggs in large bowl and add milk and syrup. Mix well and pour over bread mixture. Chill 6 to 8 hours or overnight. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Cover and bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove cover and bake 25 to 30 minutes more, and serve with blueberry sauce.

Combine sugar, cornstarch and water. Bring to a boil and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in blueberries and simmer for about 8 minutes. Stir in butter (you may omit sauce and serve with maple syrup and fresh blueberries, or whipped cream, fresh blueberries and maple syrup drizzled over all)

Just before serving the French toast, prepare this Michigan’s B& B recipe for:

Mountain Top Bacon:
Mix 1/2 cup flour, 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1 teaspoon pepper in a plastic bag. Shake bacon pieces to coat and place on rack in broiler pan. Bake on 300 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. Yummy!

Ginger Fruit Salad

1 8 ounce can crushed pineapple
2 kiwis, peeled and sliced
1 apple, cored and diced
1 cup strawberries, sliced
1/2 cup orange juice
1 large banana, sliced
1 cup fat-free lemon yogurt
2 tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger

Toss fruits together, but add banana last. Serve in small bowls or one large bowl and top with yogurt and ginger.

Make little hats for place settings by folding a 5-by-4 ½-inch piece of plain colored paper (any kind) in half. Beginning with seam edge, turn the upper left corner down to form a three-sided triangle shape. Do the same with the right hand corner on the seam, bringing middle of each triangle touching. Fold up single sheet at front of open edge to make a band, covering bottom part of each triangle, and do the same with back, open edge. This makes a small hat with a backside that has no seam and a place to write someone’s name.

Decorate with streamers, flowers, stickers, etc.

Ginger Isham lives with her husband on a fifth generation family farm on Oak Hill Rd.

Need an ambulance, but don’t require a 911 call?

April 21, 2011

Trans-Care Ambulance Service is a new, locally owned “24/7 non-emergent medical transportation service,” that serves the entire Champlain Valley.

Non-emergent transport is simply a form of medical transportation provided in non-emergency situations to people who require special medical attention. Ambulances or other vehicles are used to get the patient from one location to another safely while offering medical support, rather than offer 911 emergency field treatment and rapid transport to an emergency facility.

A candidate for non-emergent medical transport is a medically stable patient, who needs “medical support .” For example, a resident of a nursing home who has just spent time in the hospital might need non-emergency transport to get back to the nursing home so that Emergency Medical Service personnel can monitor the patient’s condition and deal with any medical issues associated with the patient’s needs. Likewise, a chronically ill patient might need medical transport to get to scheduled doctors or rehabilitation appointments.
The patient is transported on a stretcher, and he or she is accompanied by at least two Emergency Medical Technicians-Basic (or higher). The vehicle has medical equipment and is inspected by the state’s EMS Department. The equipment is also utilized to monitor the patient during transport.

Trans-Care’s services are Medicare and Medicaid approved, and most insurance is accepted.

For more information, call (802) 288-1286.

Sports Notes

April 21, 2011


Hoping to get into the scoring column early and often under first year coach Sara Armstrong Donegan, the Champlain Valley Union softball team got zipped in their season opener, 17-0 to Mount Mansfield Union on April 14.

CVU’s Leah Leister collected two hits. The Redhawks generally put the ball in play, fanning five times against Cougars’ winning pitcher Emilie Moreau.

CVU travels to traditionally strong Missisquoi Valley Union Thursday. Then there will be home games Saturday against Rice Memorial (11 a.m.) and Tuesday against Vergennes (4:30 p.m.).


When the Champlain Valley Union girls lacrosse team takes on the Hornets in a visit Tuesday to Essex, it will have been nearly two weeks since their last contest.

After being nipped 8-7 at home by Rutland on April 14, the 1-1 Redhawks have been idled by vacation week. And the Rutland game had been postponed from the previous day due to wet field conditions.

Coach Julie Sloan was disappointed at the lengthy break.

“It could cost us some momentum,” she said.

Sloan’s Redhawks opened the season with a rollicking 15-13 home field triumph over Mount Anthony (Bennington) before falling to Rutland by a whisker.

“We were down by three goals, but made it close at the end,” Sloan said of the Rutland game.

Devan Wilkins, Kate Raszka and Michaela Kiley bagged a pair of goals for the Hawks, and Maddie Litchfield had a singleton.

CVU netminder Mikaela Gobeille got in front of 12 Raider shots. For Rutland, Krissie Ryan made nine saves.

-Mal Borigh

CVU boys lacrosse unleashes another offensive flurry in win

April 21, 2011

Defending champs next for surging squad

By Mal Boright
Observer correspondent

With three solid victories under its belt, the rollicking Champlain Valley Union boys lacrosse team will face a serious test Thursday with a visit to Essex to meet the defending champion Hornets at 3 p.m.

Essex, which topped the Redhawks in last year’s Division 1 title game, is 2-1. The Hornets’ latest victory was a 10-2 home decision on April 16 over BFA-St. Albans.

While the Hornets were popping the Bobwhites, the Redhawks were unleashing a 15-6 whipping on Spaulding at a windy and chilly Hinesburg nest.

The 15 goals hiked the explosive Hawks’ three-game total to 44 as their veteran offense continues to thrive by scoring early and often.

It took almost a minute before CVU had tucked away the first goal of the contest—Lawrence Dee scoring an unassisted tally—the first of four he would lodge to go with a pair of assists. It was the third time in three outings Dee scored within the opening minute of play, usually within the first 30 seconds.

Dee added two more first period goals while Nathaniel Wells and Justin Beaudry also countered for a 5-1 CVU advantage by the end of the quarter.

The teams scored only once in the second reel, so the Redhawks led 6-2 at the half. But action picked up after intermission as CVU hiked the lead to 14-5 by the start of the final reel, and coasted the rest of the way.

Taylor Gingras (also three assists), Wells and Jake Marston (three helpers) fired in a trio of goals apiece while Beaudry finished with a pair.

As the scoring parade rolled through, the defense also picked up the pace against a Spaulding team with several veterans back from last year’s unit that came within a point of the Redhawks in a regular season contest at CVU.

“We really came together today,” said co-captain and senior defense leader Ben Teasdale. “This was our best game. Guys from last year’s jayvees and others are stepping up.”
Teasdale recalled the 2010 Spaulding game in which speedy Crimson Tide forwards Cody and Tory Chouinard and others proved tough to handle despite the Redhawks’ ability to subdue them and win the playoff contest.

The Chouinards each scored a goal on April 16, but the gritty CVU defense allowed few open shots and netminder Eric Palmer made 15 stops. In the Spaulding cage, Matt Systo made 10 saves.

Miss Hockey goes above and beyond the ice

April 21, 2011

By Mal Boright
Observer correspondent

It took 10 years, but Champlain Valley Union has its first Miss Vermont Hockey.
“This is awesome,” CVU junior Sophia Steinhoff said. “It kind of came as a shock. It was a nice surprise.”

Steinhoff, of Williston,  received the 10th award given annually by the Burlington Free Press. She succeeds Essex’s graduated star Julie Pearl, who won in 2010 and 2009.
In a 13-9 season during which they were eliminated from the Division 1 playoffs by top-seeded Spaulding in the semifinals, Steinhoff began the season at forward, but was switched to defense by coach Tom Ryan early in the campaign after injuries hit the Redhawks’ blue line.

No problem for the slick skater.

“I like defense,” she said, adding with a smile that it leads to more playing time.

For the season, Steinhoff scored 19 goals and drew nine assists, averaging better than a point per game.

Ryan and some opposing coaches called her the most skillful player in Division I.

This was Steinhoff’s second season at CVU. She helped the Redhawks reach the Division I championship game in 2010, where they lost to BFA-St. Albans.

Three seasons ago, Steinhoff attended the American Hockey Academy in Stowe, where, she said, “hockey comes first.”

She said her team played some 70 games in five months, calling it “an Ivy League type prep school for hockey.”

With hockey success behind and still ahead of her, Steinhoff, upon questioning, has advice for young girls about the sport.

“It is a hard sport to simply pick up,” she said, adding that she has been playing since she was 4-years-old. ‘You don’t just pick up hockey. You have to skate.”

Steinhoff, who also played lacrosse last year, went to California last month with teammates Mollie Howard and Alyx Rivard as part of the Vermont 802 under-19 team that made it to the U.S. Hockey national semifinals.

“We won three games and the two we lost were in overtime,” she said of the tournament in Anaheim.

So what about the future?

First of all, Steinhoff is looking ahead to the soccer season where the kicking Redhawks will be out to make big noise after last year’s top-seeded outfit fell in the quarterfinals despite a big edge in territorial play.

“I was part of an undefeated jayvee team two years ago and many of those players are still around,” she said.

As for college hockey after graduation, Steinhoff says she is keeping all of her options open, whether it is Division I, Division III, or a school with a club program.

Oh yes, Miss Hockey 2011 might also like to play some soccer.

CVU Sports Schedule

April 21, 2011

Thursday: at Missisquoi Valley Union, 4;30 p.m.
Saturday: RICE MEMORIAL, 11 a.m.
Tuesday: VERGENNES, 4;30 p.m,.

Thursday: at Missisquoi Valley Union, 4;30 p.m.
Saturday: RICE MEMORIAL, 11 a.m.
Tuesday: VERGENNES, 4;30 p.m,.

Thursday: at Essex, 4 p.m.
Saturday: BFA-ST. ALBANS, 11 a.m.
Tuesday: MIDDLEBURY, 4 p.m.

Tuesday: at Essex, 4:30 p.m.
Monday: SOUTH BURLINGTON, 3:30 p.m.

Monday: at South Burlington, 3:30 p.m.

No scheduled meets


CVU baseball gets off on the right foot

April 21, 2011

By Mal Boright
Observer correspondent

A solid opening day victory over a highly regarded foe can unleash a sense of optimism toward the new season.

And the Champlain Valley Union baseball team did just that, defeating a strong Mount Mansfield Union team, 6-4, on April 15.

CVU now looks ahead to three games in six days.

The season’s second outing is Thursday, a trip to Missisquoi Valley Union (4:30 p.m.) in Swanton. The Redhawks will then be on the home diamond Saturday (11 a.m.) to meet a formidable Rice Memorial squad and on Tuesday when Vergennes rolls into Hinesburg for a 4:30 p.m. tilt.

When Mount Mansfield squared off with CVU on a sunny but chilly afternoon, the odds seemed stacked in the favor of the veteran visiting Cougars, who were coming off a 14-4 season and with senior righty Sam Spencer on the hill. Spencer threw a no-hitter against the Hawks last spring.

The possibility of another gem by Spencer quickly went by the boards when CVU’s second batter, junior shortstop Tucker Kohlash, lined a shot down the third base line. Cougar third baseman Jeff Sutherland made a nifty lunging backhand stop but had no play at first.

The Redhawks’ Drew Nick then got to second when his fly to the outfield was dropped, putting two runners in scoring position with only one out.

Up to the plate strolled sophomore Davis Mikell for his first varsity at-bat. Apparently free of rookie jitters, the husky Mikell lined a 1-1 pitch into centerfield to drive home Kohlasch and Nick. Mikell went to second when pitcher Curt Echo reached on an infield error. He then scored on Kirk Fontana’s RBI single to right.

Given an early lead, Echo was solid on the hill for the Redhawks.

After working through some wildness in the first inning, the junior right-hander took a no-hit shutout into the fourth and whiffed eight before leaving with two outs in the fifth after Spencer’s two-run homer slashed CVU’s lead to 4-3.

Echo showed a combination of pitches that included added heat to his fastball and an ability to paint the corners of the plate with speed and curve.

“(Echo) has worked hard and it has paid off,” CVU pitching coach Onnie Matthews. “He is just going to get better.”

The Cougars got their first run, unearned, in the fourth when Grant McKinstrie lined a single to right to score Sutherland, who had reached on an infield error and stolen second.

CVU got the run back in the bottom of the inning. Tim Jones got a triple on a high fly that was misjudged in the outfield, which drove home Jeff Badger, who earlier singled with two out.

After Spencer’s round tripper in the top of the fifth, CVU coach Tim Albertson brought Nick to the mound. Nick’s former American Legion teammate, MMU’s Shayne DeLabruere, unloaded a circuit clout over the fence in right that tied the score.

MMU coach Brian Chandler relieved Spencer with lefty T.J. Wesson to start the bottom of the fifth and Nick greeted the southpaw with a double. Two wild pitches later, Nick was home and CVU had a 5-4 lead it would not relinquish.

The Hawks added another tally in the sixth on a series of walks, hit batsmen, errors and an infield hit by Tim Jones.

Right to the Point

Getting lost in the middle

April 21, 2011

By Kayla Purvis

In a country where political views can harmonize on key or be in completely separate compositions, it is often tricky to determine where the middle is. In theory, the middle would be where we would find some Democrats who sometimes vote Republican, and some Republicans who sometimes vote Democrat. But as our system becomes increasingly more polarized, I’m wondering if we flat-out lost the middle.

It almost seems like the new middle is where you find a few older Democrats and Republicans, sitting there wondering what is going on as Congress struggles to get along. I feel those previously considered to be “normal” from each party now find themselves as the moderate ones in the middle as the parties polarize more and more.

On the right-hand side we have the Tea Party, which is by far the most extreme side of the Republican Party. I have not seen a comparable party emerge on the left. The Tea Party is tossing Republicans to the middle because of how heavily conservative it is.

For a while, I thought the Tea Party would be good for our system. I didn’t agree with them on a whole lot of things, but I liked that they were wedging themselves in and changing the 2010 midterm elections into a three-party race. It seems to me, however, that since they have gotten into office, they have gotten more extreme. They are trying to make big waves too quickly, and it isn’t helping them. It could be, on the other hand, that the Tea Party branch in Vermont is so toned-down from those nationally, that my impression of them is different.

Third-party candidates have never gotten a good handle on elections in the United States. That’s why the Tea Party’s win of as many seats as it got was impressive. And as the left and right continue to divide, I am wondering what will happen to voters. Will there be a third party? An independent party? A “we’re sick of both sides” party? Voting trends already show that voters are beginning to vote against candidates instead of for candidates.

I’m unimpressed by both parties. To be honest, if the Republicans can’t get their act together and find a strong candidate for 2012 that is relatively moderate, I’m not sure I’ll be voting for a Republican president. And while I don’t agree with some of Obama’s policies, he is trying to move to the middle and convince Congress to step up and compromise. If he truly becomes more moderate, and it’s not just an act for the sake of getting Congress to actually make progress, I may vote for him.

I guess I’m frustrated with Congress because it seems like nobody understands that you can cross the line dividing the sides and compromise with people. That trickles down to even the local levels. When I helped out with door knocking for Brian Dubie, I wished I had a dollar for every time someone said “Oh I’m a Democrat” and shut the door. It doesn’t matter your party, you should still listen to the other side. Some would call it knowing your opponent, and others would call it having options.

Are people going to be more interested in the candidates from the party they normally vote in? Yes. Does that mean we should completely disregard the other party? Absolutely not. Truthfully, both parties have good ideas and valid points. And in our current economic situation, Republicans and Democrats need to step up and listen to the other side so we can reach a consensus.

The middle has become a jumble of voters who are displeased with their own party, disowners of both parties, moderates, and independents. It’s where we find Libertarians and Populists. It’s people who don’t want to identify with either party, and I can’t blame them. The whole spectrum has changed. Average Democrats and Republicans are now categorized in the middle, while Liberals and Conservatives have varying degrees to each side.

I feel like we are losing the vision of this country as our party system clashes into itself repeatedly.

Williston resident Kayla Purvis is a senior at Champlain Valley Union High School.

Liberally Speaking

Connections: GE and the royal wedding

April 21, 2011

By Steve Mount

As I was recently pondering two seemingly disparate and unrelated topics the other day, the television series “Connections,” and its sequels and imitators, came to mind.

In “Connections,” historian James Burke started with an historical event and connected that event to something new and current. One made-up example might explain how the threads of history weave and intersect so that without the development of the cotton gin, we would not today have Velcro.

My connection has to do with two items in the national (and even international) news the past few weeks: the tiresome wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton and the irksome news that General Electric paid no corporate income tax in 2010.

First, to the wedding, my weekday morning schedule is such that just as I’m getting ready for work, the CBS morning news is starting its royal wedding coverage. I was tired of hearing about William and Kate after the very first report of their impending nuptials; I got more so when CBS began weekly reports; now I’m positively driven insane by the daily reports from London.

The reports are all about what dress the M.O.B. (mother of the bride) is wearing, how much the Middletons are contributing to the billionaire royal family for the ceremonies, the route the royal wedding carriage will take, the bloody nose the queen developed, and how the wedding will compare to that of Charles and Diana.

Frankly, I don’t understand why any American wants to give the wedding any more than an iota of his or her brain power. We, my fellow Americans, fought several wars, on our own soil, to throw off the reins of royalty. And not any royalty — the English royalty.

And, yet, when I want to find out about tornadoes in North Carolina, I instead am subjected to the latest from Buckingham Palace. Instead of learning about the latest movie Gwyneth Paltrow is making, I have to hear about how long Kate’s bridal train will be.

If I were king for a day (irony noted), I would ban all present and future coverage of any royal goings-on.

The other topic concerns a New York Times report that GE paid no corporate income tax in 2010. Worldwide, GE made $14.2 billion, $5.1 billion of that from U.S. operations, and $0 in taxes paid to the United States Treasury. In fact, the Times article reported that GE took a $3.2 billion tax benefit.

Since I work for GE, it might seem odd that I call such news “irksome.” But I do — in fact, I’m a bit ashamed of the tax news. I do, however, have to defend GE.

The fact that GE paid no income tax to the U.S. is not GE’s fault. In fact, if there were loopholes and exceptions in the tax code that GE knew about and did not take advantage of, its shareholders would be right to raise red flags.

As I drove by the small cadre of protesters standing on the corner of Shelburne Road and IDX Drive in South Burlington on Monday, I felt like stopping to tell them that where they should be camped out is not at my office, but at the offices of our members of Congress.

The tax code is a mess. It is incomprehensible, and it is that way virtually on purpose. The influence of lobbyists on the tax code is despicable. It should be scrapped and we should start over. Simpler is better, and our tax code is not simple.

My connection is this: we threw off the yoke of the monarchy over 200 years ago (even though a sizable portion of our population is still inexplicably fascinated by it); it is now time for us to throw off the yoke of our tax code. I’m not a proponent of a flat tax (there is such a thing as “too simple”), but we should be able to explain our tax structure in 20 pages or less, rather than the almost 15,000 pages that it currently has.

Maybe if all these people paying so much attention to the future king of England paid half as much attention to Congress and the tax code, more people might actually make this same connection, and we would have the critical mass needed to do something about it.

Steve Mount has been a Williston resident since 1996. He is a software engineer at GE Healthcare and is devoted to his family, his country and his Constitution. You can reach Steve at or read his blog at