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Between the Lines: Books: My picks and pans of 2012

Posted on December 27, 2012 |
By Greg Dennis



There are few things as boring as a dinner party where the dominant subject of discussion is what movies we’ve all seen. We’re all just casual moviegoers offering up pablum about how great Meryl Streep is and wasn’t the scenery pretty.

But a dinner gathering where the discussion turns to books? That’s my kind of party.

A conversation like that forces us to actually use our brains. To offer an informed view of why the novel we just finished was so remarkable, or what was lacking in the memoir that preceded it.

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Between the Lines: The election and deja vu

Posted on November 15, 2012 |
By Greg Dennis



Has anybody else noticed that it’s the 1960s again?

We’re trying to wind down an unpopular war.

The voices of blacks, women and young voters are louder than ever.

Last week, two states approved the use of marijuana just for fun. Three states voted to approve same-sex marriage.

Gays can now serve openly in the military and have increasingly prominent roles in business and government. Wisconsin just elected the first openly gay U.S. senator.

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Between the Lines: Lessons learned in 20 years of living

Posted on August 2, 2012 |
By Greg Dennis



On the verge of turning 60, I find that I’ve learned a few things. Here are some of them:

In the face of all the misery in this world, I don’t know of a better response than to try to be happy. And while I admire people who sacrifice their own happiness to make the world a better place, I think a wiser choice is to work both on giving something back and on developing one’s own inner happiness. The responsibility goes outward and inward.

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Between the Lines: In springtime love's labors lost

Posted on June 7, 2012 |
By Greg Dennis



It was one of the hardest phone calls I’d ever had to make.

We’d been seeing each other since last fall. Now it had finally become clear that things just weren’t going to work out.

Even when you know you’ve got to end it, though, it’s always hard to tell the other party.

Our relationship had seemed so right at first.

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Between the Lines: Curmudgeonly commencement advice

Posted on May 24, 2012 |
By Greg Dennis



Once again this year, I have been asked to be a last-minute fill-in as the Middlebury College commencement speaker.

Those of you who were at last year’s commencement will find this especially puzzling. You may recall that my speech ended with a public disavowal by the college president, an escort off the premises by campus security officers, and the filing of multiple charges against me.

But my attorney assures me that most of the charges have been settled. And (more good news), the visits to my parole officer have been reduced from daily down to weekly.

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Between the Lines: Doyle Poll: Hang up and get stoned?

Posted on April 12, 2012 |
By Greg Dennis



“Legalize it!”

You don’t see that bumper sticker on many cars in Vermont. But support for the legalization of marijuana is close to a majority sentiment, if the results of a recent statewide poll are to be believed.

The state Legislature is still taking a very cautious course toward decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

But according to this year’s 42nd annual Town Meeting Day poll by Sen. Bill Doyle, a near majority of Vermonters favor not just decriminalizing marijuana, but legalizing it altogether.

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Between the lines: Eco-impacts of home sweet home

Posted on March 29, 2012 |
By Greg Dennis



“Dear Mr. Dennis,

“I recently read your article in the Addison Independent issue dated March 1, 2012, about your thoughts at building a house in Vermont. I wish to take you to task.

“Some months ago you wrote an article about how you considered yourself a ‘Vermontaholic’ citing various attributes about Vermont with which you compassionately connected…

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Between the Lines: Republicans on the political extreme

Posted on February 16, 2012 |
By Greg Dennis



As a rookie reporter in 1974, one of the first stories I covered was the Eastern Wilderness Act. To get some details on the new law, I called the office of Vermont Republican Sen. George Aiken.

I was expecting to get a junior aide on the phone. Instead, the receptionist asked, “Would you like to speak to the senator? He’s right here.”

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Between the Lines: Tips to cure the winter blues

Posted on February 2, 2012 |
By Greg Dennis



Tips to cure the winter blues

Three months into Permanent November (A.K.A., Global Warming, Vermont Style), this year it’s even harder than usual to know how to have fun getting through the rest of the winter.

Usually we can rely upon typical winter activities — skiing, snowboarding, sledding or even just a nice walk in a snow-covered park — to get us through February and March.

But with little-to-no snow this winter, all bets are off.

One solution? I’ve been making do with a lot of outdoor ice skating.

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Between the lines: Getting older, still going like 60

Posted on January 19, 2012 |
By Greg Dennis



More than a dozen of us gathered for dinner on a cold Saturday night. Cassoulet simmered on the stovetop, and a fire in the wood stove warmed the room.

Some of us there had been close friends for decades. Others barely knew one another. But we were all united by one thing: We had been in the same college class or had come with someone who was in that class.

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