Friday, October 13, 2023


I am still adjusting to my new neighborhood. Actually, in some respects I prefer it to Middlebury. I advocated Middlebury initially partly because I thought that it would provide enough activities to satisfy my partner. It didn't. Without her, I have less use for the town. I still buy food at the Middlebury co-op, which only means that I go there once a week. I also plan to attend events at the college periodically. My doctors, dentist and optometrist are still there. I may also visit my old neighborhood occasionally and talk to my former neighbors. I did recently and spoke to Jim Douglas about the Mead Chapel controversy, with which he is involved. The college changed the name because the original Mead was associated with the eugenics movement, and Mead's descendants asked him to help, so he sued the college to change it back. Eugenics was a popular idea locally when Mead was alive, and I agree that his family should not bear the brunt of it now, as his involvement was peripheral. I also spoke to my former next-door neighbor, Fred. He mowed the lawn for my partner after I left, and the house has since been sold. I had tipped him off about her psychiatric state, and he said that he noticed that some days she was friendly and other days cold.

When I lived in Middlebury, I got most of my exercise just by going outside and walking on Munger Street. That got boring after a few years, and I had other walks a short drive away. I have just worked out a walking routine for Brandon. Although there are several good trails in the Moosalamoo National Recreation Area nearby, most of them take several hours. For exercise purposes, I prefer thirty-to-sixty-minute walks, and there aren't many near this house. Pittsford, Vermont is only eight miles south of here and has a trail system that fits my requirements. Pittsford is even more rural than Brandon, with a population of about three thousand. It sits between the Green Mountains and the Taconic Mountains, so the scenery is a little more exciting than the Champlain Valley, which is mostly flat. I am in somewhat better physical condition now than I was a few months ago. My shoulder tendonitis has diminished, and I can now do pushups again. I have also been doing more hiking recently and am in very good cardiovascular condition.

Having lived in the Midwest for about forty years, I am always impressed by the local history here and the people who have lived in this area. In Middlebury, there was John Deere, who later moved to Illinois. Also, Charlie Munger, the current vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, is a descendant of the Mungers who had farms on Munger Street. The electric motor was invented by Thomas Davenport in Brandon. Pittsford had two forts during the American Revolution. The current residents in this part of Vermont seem relatively competent and resourceful compared to those in comparably-sized towns in Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.

Of course, I am still following the news. Now that the writers' strike is over, there is some good late-night comedy again, though I don't watch most of it. This seems like a bizarre historical period, particularly because of the Trump phenomenon. Previous generations would find Trump's popularity incomprehensible. Besides the fact that he obviously has little knowledge of or interest in governing, he has amassed a criminal record for which he has never been held accountable purely as a result of his lifelong abuse of the legal system. If Trump were reelected, anarchy or civil war couldn't be ruled out. One can only ask what drug his supporters are on. And then there is the Hamas-Israel war. As I wrote some time ago, the Israeli Jews would have saved themselves a lot of trouble if they had moved to Nevada instead of Israel. There are currently more Jews in the U.S. than in Israel. Furthermore, the Israelis are demonstrating that they are no better than Hamas by copying the murder of innocent civilians. Genetically, I have ancestors from the Levant: they must have left hundreds or thousands of years ago.

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