August 21, 2014

Deadline approaching for Williston Rec soccer registration

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Williston Recreation Soccer registration is still open. The deadline to register is Aug. 31 and games start Sept .6. The cost is $30 per child or $50 per family.
You can find the form on the Town’s website: town.williston.vt.us. Call the recreation department with any questions at 878-1239.

POPCORN: “Guardians of the Galaxy” Defenseless

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2 popcorns

2 popcorns

“Guardians of the Galaxy” Defenseless

2 popcorns 

By Michael S. Goldberger

Special to the Observer

 

If director James Gunn’s “Guardians of the Galaxy,” the latest action adventure to spring from Marvel Comics’s voluminous library, had to list its content in FDA style, the first ingredient, occupying fully 90 percent of the film, would read Special Effects. Then, in descending order by quantity, would be listed: Typical Rehashed Plot; Numerous Familiar Intergalactic Characters, synthetically modified; Entertainingly Anomalous Rock Tunes to get the oldsters tapping their toes; and 4 percent partially redeeming witticisms.

 

Adherents and fanatics of the Marvel Empire who’d doubtless skip Grandma’s funeral to attend Comic-Con, will see this modern effervescence in pilgrimage droves, mostly to be amused, but also to ensure that the adaptation from page to reel meets kosher standards. The rest of us, the Great Unwashed inescapably reminded by such fare that we are no longer the guardians of popular culture, must wonder what circumstance caused our presence in the theater where this contemporary calliope was spewing its steam.

 

Serving as the Lewis and Clark for others who share my beside the point status, I am here to report that, alas, a viewing of the colorful cacophony, which might have been a real boon back when we were dropping out and tuning in, has no Ponce De león effect. Gazing into the mirror the morning after straining my gray matter trying to assimilate all the places and characters in the “Guardians of the Galaxy” realm, there they still were…Mom and Dad. Ah, who wants to look like Errol Flynn in his prime anyway?

 

However, approaching the point of the review where I proclaim truth be told, it would take little stretch of the imagination to propose that this so-called cutting edge, sci-fi fantasy is merely a repurposed, space-aged version of “The Maltese Falcon” (1941). The protagonist, Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord, played by Chris Pratt, even alludes to the similarity when inquiring into the mysterious powers of the orb he has just stolen…that objet d’ obsession Hitchcock dubbed the McGuffin.

 

Yep, everyone from here to infinity is after it. While we’re not exactly sure what it does, the aggressive portion of the universe is counting on it facilitating world domination, while those on the idealistic side of the aisle hope it holds the secret of life. Of course Pete, our all-American drifter antihero, rebuffs any ambitions other than a quick buck, or unit, as money is now called. For reasons scatteringly outlined in the prologue, he is a cynic, beholden to no ethos or creed other than his survival. Think that’ll change?

 

Putting his iconoclastic stance in perspective, we are soon introduced to those multifarious life forms perhaps even more roguish than he. This includes four disparate sorts who, proving that politics makes strange bedfellows even in the Brave New World, will form the title alliance. Some join in for the possible fortune, others to settle a score.

 

Supplying the potential love interest, Zoe Saldana is Gamora, discontent adopted daughter of the supervillain, Thanos. She’s got a grudge. Seeking plunder, Rocket Raccoon, a genetically engineered curmudgeon described as a freelance criminal by those websites in the know, has loyalty only to his bodyguard/foil, Groot, who Joyce Kilmer would more or less agree is a tree. Rounding out our motley worthies is Drax, a Skull Murphy look-alike who, were he an Earthling, would probably wrestle professionally.

 

The Guardians travel the galaxy hither and thither, hesitant to relinquish their mutual mistrust. Either running toward or away from those evil powers that would vaporize them in a Neptunian minute, they make stops at locales and watering holes reminiscent of those imagined in “Star Wars” (1977). Along the way, director Gunn feeds us crumbs of lore and exposition in Hansel and Gretel fashion.

 

The metaphors run rampant as the curious quintet exchange barbs, bon mots and, in the unintentional pursuit of egalitarian comradery, verbalize every begrudging conciliation short of singing “Getting to Know You.” Too bad the wit that results from the gang’s incessantly sarcastic repartees is compromised by the same old, same old.

 

The example in movie history is obvious. The Westerns of the 1920s and ‘30’s were reconfigured into the detective/film noir movies of the 1940s and ‘50’s, and ultimately impressed into service for this genre. While this is all well and good for those who haven’t yet burned a few decades of storylines onto their hard drives, there just isn’t enough variation on the theme to pique the interest of more educated cinema palates.

 

Still, it behooves to note that my young emissary to the generation for whom this film was intended informs that his high priests have deemed the space opera a proper homage to its comic book source. A respectful tear in his eye, he evidently despaired that, in my distant and unperceiving world, “Guardians of the Galaxy” is just a derivative mass of special effects.

..

“Guardians of the Galaxy,” rated PG-13, is a Walt Disney Motion Pictures release directed by James Gunn and stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana and the voice of Bradley Cooper. Running time: 121 minutes

 

 

PHOTOS: Pint Night at Burlington Beer Company

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Burlington Beer Company on Omega Drive in Williston – owned by Essex Junction native Joe Lemnah – hosted its first in a series of Community Pint Nights on Aug. 9. The event featured a potpourri of activities including a “spirit animal” art show, exercise demos, live music, localvore food, ping pong and craft beer tastings. Trevor Thompson serves one of the six craft beers brewed on site. (Observer photos by Marianne Apfelbaum)

Burlington Beer Company on Omega Drive in Williston – owned by Essex Junction native Joe Lemnah – hosted its first in a series of Community Pint Nights on Aug. 9. The event featured a potpourri of activities including a “spirit animal” art show, exercise demos, live music, localvore food, ping pong and craft beer tastings. Pictured, Trevor Thompson serves one of the six craft beers brewed on site. (Observer photos by Marianne Apfelbaum)

 

The Verbing Nouns perform for the crowd.

The Verbing Nouns perform for the crowd.

Acroyoga

Maren Hill and Robert Strukelj, instructors with Burlington Acroyoga, demonstrate this new form of exercise which “blends the mindfulness and breath of yoga with the playfulness and strength of acrobatics.”

Members of the community enjoy a pint.

Burlington Beer owners Joe and Beth Lemnah (foreground) mingle with the crowd.

 

PHOTOS: Williston Farmer’s Market

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Williston Farmers Market vendors and attendees enjoyed a warm, sunny day on Wednesday. (Observer photos by Al Frey)

Williston Farmers Market vendors and attendees enjoyed a warm, sunny day on Wednesday. (Observer photos by Al Frey)

A basket of baguettes from Artisan Baked Goods of Underhill

A basket of baguettes from Artisan Baked Goods of Underhill

Penny from Mediterranean Mix dishes up a serving of five-layer meat lasagna. The market is held on the lawn of New England Federal Credit Union every Wednesday from 3:30 - 6:30 p.m.

Penny from Mediterranean Mix dishes up a serving of five-layer meat lasagna. The market is held on the lawn of New England Federal Credit Union every Wednesday from 3:30 – 6:30 p.m.

Lisa Boutin from Boutin Family Farm in Williston, and her young helper, chat with a customer over the blueberries and jars of jams, jellies and pickles

Lisa Boutin from Boutin Family Farm in Williston, and her young helper, chat with a customer over the blueberries and jars of jams, jellies and pickles.

Grape tomatoes from Scratch N’ Earth Farm of Williston glow in the sun.

Grape tomatoes from Scratch N’ Earth Farm of Williston glow in the sun.

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PHOTOS: Sustainable Garden Tour

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Eighteen locals—from beginners to master gardeners— traveled earlier this month to five gardens around Williston for the Sustainable Gardens Tour, hosted by Sustainable Williston. Tour-goers explored the different gardens, heard the experiences of gardeners, tasted produce and more. (Observer courtesy photos by Marie-Claude Beaudette)

 

Pictured here (left to right) Luc Reid, Leah Rosenthal, Ben Rose, Alice Batson, Heidi Willoughby, Nancy Hulett, Kevin Batson Joan Fox-Cota, John Ambrose and Chapin Kaynor.

Pictured here (left to right) Luc Reid, Leah Rosenthal, Ben Rose, Alice Batson, Heidi Willoughby, Nancy Hulett, Kevin Batson Joan Fox-Cota, John Ambrose and Chapin Kaynor.

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PHOTOS: Little League baseball

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Williston Little Leaguers finished their 1-3 run in the New England Regional Tournament in Bristol, Conn. last week in an exciting match against Bangor, Maine. Behind 4-0, Williston’s Aiden Johnson hit a three-run homer to put them back in the game, only to have Bangor go on to score four more runs in the bottom of the inning. (Observer photos by David Herskowitz)

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How much is your old stuff worth?

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Dear Savvy Senior,
What resources can you recommend for finding the value of old items? I inherited a large number of old antiques and unique art from my great aunt, and I would like to find out what some of these items are worth.
—Seeking Answers

Dear Seeking,
There are actually a number of resources and online tools available today that can help you find out the value of almost any item. Here are some tips to help you proceed.

Get an Appraisal
While many people use local antique shops or collectible dealers to find out the value of old and/or unique items, it’s usually best to use a certified appraiser who’s accredited and meets professional and ethical standards. Certified appraisers are more likely to give you a fair judgment because there’s no conflict of interest. It’s actually a violation of professional ethics for an appraiser to offer to buy an item he or she has appraised.
A professional appraiser will provide a written report that includes a full description of the item and the procedure used to estimate its current value. For his service, you can expect to pay either a flat fee or an hourly rate from $200 to $400 depending on expertise and location. Avoid appraisers who base their fees on a percentage of the item’s value.
If an appraiser thinks an object isn’t worth a written appraisal, he or she might recommend other resources to arrive at a value.
To locate an appraiser either by location or specialty, search online at one of the three professional appraising organizations: The American Society of Appraisers (appraisers.org, 800-272-8258) which has around 5,000 members worldwide; Appraisers Association of America (appraisersassoc.org) that has around 700 members; and the International Society of Appraisers (isa-appraisers.org) that has about 900 members.

Online Resources
You can also get estimates by professional appraisers and other experts through a number of websites. You upload photos of your items and provide descriptions, and the sites send back valuations usually within a week.
Value My Stuff (valuemystuff.com/us), charges $10 for one appraisal, $25 for three or $75 for 10.
WorthPoint (worthpoint.com), charges $30 for one item or $75 for three, or you can pay $20 for a monthly membership that provides unlimited access to their antique and collectibles valuations.

Another resource for finding out what antiques and collectables are worth is Kovels (kovels.com, 800-829-9158), which offers a free basic membership granting you access to its online price guide, or you can purchase one of its premium services that run $39 or $60 a year. It also sells the “Kovels’ Antiques & Collectibles Price Guide 2014” for $28 that reports on recent prices paid for 35,000 items in more than 700 categories at auctions, shops, shows, flea markets and online.
You may also be able to get an idea of what others are willing to pay for your stuff by searching similar items on the online auction site ebay.com, or the classified ads site craigslist.org. Both of these sites are free to search.

Recipe Corner: Desserts and Sauces

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By Ginger Isham

We are enjoying an abundance of fresh blueberries. I think our chickens are, too. In addition to cobbler, pie, muffins and breads, blueberries make a wonderful sauce for ice cream, pancakes, waffles, yellow cake, etc.

Blueberry Ginger Sauce
1 and 1/2 cups blueberries (be generous)
1/2 cup sugar (I used 1/3 cup)
1/2 cup light corn syrup (I used a generous 1/3 cup of maple syrup)
1/4 cup water
1 small piece of ginger, peeled and smashed (I used candied ginger, cut up)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Combine berries, sugar, syrup, water and ginger in a saucepan. Bring to boil, turn down to simmer for about 25 minutes to break down the berries, stirring now and then. Pour berry mix into a wire strainer set over a bowl. Add lemon juice.

Maple Pecan Sundae Sauce
1 cup dark robust maple syrup
1/2 cup heavy cream (I use Half and Half)
2 tablespoons corn starch
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup pecans or walnuts
2 tablespoons butter
Heat syrup and cream until warm. Mix cornstarch and water and add to syrup mixture. Cook until thickens. Remove from heat and add butter and nuts.

Poor Man’s Cake
This recipe is taken from a 1932 Rumford Complete Cookbook that belonged to my neighbor Bill’s aunt.
1 cup sugar  (I always use a little less – 3/4 cup)
1 egg
2 level tablespoons butter, melted (I like this amount!)
2/3 cup milk
2 scant cups flour
3 level teaspoons Rumford Baking Powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or other extract
1/3 level teaspoon salt (I like this amount!)
Beat the egg and sugar until light; add the milk, then the melted butter and extract. Sift flour, salt and baking powder twice, add the liquid mixture to them and beat well. Bake about 45 minutes at 350 degrees and use a greased 9 x 9 baking pan.

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

Williston playwrights featured in annual event

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The Valley Players is very pleased to be collaborating once again with the Vermont Playwrights Circle’s 7th annual presentation of ten 10-minute plays by local playwrights.
Williston residents’ plays at the event are:
“At Death’s Door” by Ethan Reid — What happens when a girl comes to deliver a package, literally “At Death’s Door?”
“The Joke About the Small Bird” by Luc Reid — Two leaders work loyally to keep their republic alive, but at what price? And where in all of their struggles does a lively humor come into the world?

Show dates are Aug. 14-17 and tickets are $10, $8 for students/seniors. For more information, call 583-1674 or email [email protected]

Fall sports underway at CVU

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By Mal Boright
Observer correspondent

Some 90 varsity and junior varsity candidates turned out late Monday afternoon for the opening football tryouts and practices at Champlain Valley Union High School.
Another 20 to 25 were expected to be on hand later this week for freshman team tryouts.
Were the gridiron hopefuls in good physical condition on opening day?
“Comparatively speaking to last year I would say yes,” said head football coach Jim Provost.
One coaching change was announced. Defensive coordinator Brendan McCarthy is off for law school. Mike Mazzella, who coached freshmen last year, will take over for McCarthy.
Other sports will be on the huff and puff schedule come Thursday.
The boys soccer candidates under new head coach Katie Mack will run the annual gauntlet starting at 7 a.m., which consists of a mile, half-mile, 400-meter, 200-meter and 100-meter runs under strict times.
The defending Div. 1 champion girls, under Stan Williams, take to the field at 8 a.m. Thursday for a gauntlet of their own.
Field hockey and cross-country open their sessions next week.