January 9, 2008
BABIES NOT BOUGHT
Re: Mike Ives’ article, “Foreign Baby Delay Impacts Vermonters” [December 19, 2007] , I was glad to see an article about adoption, particularly about the extended wait faced by many prospective adoptive parents in the China program, in a recent issue of Seven Days.
As an adoptive mom of two, however, I must take issue with two items in the article. First is the off-handed way of describing the expenses associated with adoption, e.g. “at a price of $30,000 each” and “at $10,000 per kid.” Such uncareful choice of language perpetuates the myth that adoptive children are “bought.” Yes, there are fees associated with adoption: U.S. government form fees, fingerprinting, acquisition of birth, marriage and other records, agency fees, home study fees, etc. These fees can vary widely among social workers, states, and international adoption agencies. By far the greatest expense with many foreign adoptions is travel associated with meeting your child. For instance, China adoptions require international air travel, booked less than a week or two before travel, as well as a two-week stay in China (think hotels, meals, flights in country). Despite the expenses, children are not “$30,000 each,” which is a very demeaning way of describing a much more complex situation.
Second, 90 percent of adopting couples are not infertile (though clearly a reasonably high percentage are). Our two groups had several families with biological children, a number of them with more than one [bio] child. My point is that many, many couples choose adoption as a way to build their families regardless of their reproductive status.
Pamela [Polston] did a good job on Norbert Ender’s Speaking Volumes store [“Stacking Up,” December 19, 2007] . For those who have never been there or met the man, you could visit both for years and just barely scratch the surface. Want to go on a vacation, but are financially challenged? Go to the store. It is an adventure. Have fun!
I can’t believe a movie theater in the Burlington area will not be showing the great series of live HD broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera on weekends this season. I am a frequent visitor to Burlington because two of my children have settled there, and I will not be able to see the Met production of Macbeth during my next visit. Surely there are enough cultured people in Burlington to support a series like this, which is selling out many movie theaters around the world. What is the matter with the movie theater owners or chains that not one town or city in Vermont is showing this series, and the local residents are not demanding it? The nearest venue is at Dartmouth College, 70 miles away [Calendar, December 12, 2007]. For shame, Burlingtonians!
TIMELY AND TRUE
I guess Kirk Kardashian has had good practice taking depositions, so accuracy in his writing has become finely honed. In all of the many articles written about clocks, and about The British Clockmaker in particular, his was the most accurate, even including my quoted remarks! [“Big Hand, Little Hand,” December 26, 2007]  He captured the essence of what we do and who we are, and with charm and sensitivity. Thank you!
Note: One error. In the penultimate paragraph Kirk referred to a wooden works clock from the American Revolution as having been made by Howard. The E. Howard Clock Company in Waltham, Mass., was famous for their watches and public clocks, but was not founded until the 19th century. Most wooden works clock were made in Connecticut.
Bates is president of The British Clockmaker, Inc.
I think it is great that someone is bringing the topic of animal slaughter to light [“A Cut Above,” December 12, 2007] . I drive for a wholesale company and distribute some of these slaughterhouse products. They have always been really easygoing folk and great to work with. I personally would rather eat Vermont meats that were slaughtered here in my state.
Bah humbug, these copycat upstarts! (Compare their web page wording!) As much as I appreciate them [Synchronized Global Orgasm Day for Peace, “Global Orgasm—Just Do It,” December 19, 2007]  casting the event on my birthday, I must point out that the 9th Annual International Orgasm Day already occurred on 8 August 2007 — started by this Winooski artist — and covered by various international media over the years. Ask me about the Arthur C. Clarke correspondence!
And celebrate #10 in 2008: www.alexhirka.com/OWO.html 
Enjoyed [Ken Picard’s] article “Name Game” [December 19, 2007] . Of course, you must realize that this article is going to make everyone who reads it want to share any ironical moniker that they may have come across. In that spirit, here’s my user-created contribution:
About 10 years ago, when I was co-hosting a talk show on the old WKDR, we interviewed a veterinarian who was a spokesperson for “Neuticles.” These were saline-filled replacement prosthetic dog testicles. His name was Dr. Dick Holder. I kid you not.
UNION TACTICS OFFENSIVE
I fully support the right of UVM employees to organize, and of the union to court a potential constituency, but I am always offended when union supporters paint standard unionizing protocol as obstructive on the part of the university [“UVM Accused of Blocking Workers’ Union,” December 19, 2007] .
The fair play requirement that unionizing activities be conducted away from the workplace, not on working time, is mandated straight from the Federal Labor Relations Board; the clause is standard to contract agreements between unions and affected workplace administrations governing the start of unionizing activity. So the organizing union has first agreed to be governed by this basic tenet of fair play in their activity, then loudly rants about how the admin’s enforcement of the letter of the agreement is “legalistic,” “oppressive” and “anti-union.”
Union supporters manufacturing a perception of admin bad faith in furtherance of their own organizing agenda insults my intelligence, is cynically manipulative and fundamentally dishonest. We’re supposed to be reasonable, educated people. Surely there are enough perfectly legitimate, real considerations to argue the pro-union position at the University of Vermont, without resorting to this sorry, typical organizing “make a demon, knock it down” crap!
Leavitt is a tech support in the CatCard Service Center.
KEEP CROSSINGS LEGAL
Iraq veteran Adrienne Kinne [“Border Orders,” December 5, 2007]  should have stopped writing her heartfelt play-by-play of her attempt (legally speaking) to circumvent the U.S. border entry process when she stated, “Huge error on my part, I realize now.”
I read another letter recently describing arriving at another major checkpoint at night from Canada and there being no one (visible) at the booth. The driver waited, honked the horn several times, and then edged the car forward a few yards at a time. When there was still no sign of border guards, he drove into the U.S., telling himself, “They’ll come after us if it’s a problem.”
Hell, they might shoot, too!
Both parties reveal a dearth of common sense (especially for an Iraq vet!) and a sad reflection upon how many North Americans do not “realize” the importance of proper border procedure. Their level of comprehension is about on the same level as Mayor Kiss’ “Ooh, let’s make Burlington a free zone for all illegal immigrants.” Tra-la-la. Wake up and smell the roses.
It’s a scary thought that Republican Mitt Romney sounds right on the money on border issues while Dems are predictably wishy-washy. What do they not understand about the word “no”? No, you cannot cross the border illegally (i.e., not by your rules).
That person the guards are nice and liberal with could be the next one to slip heavy drugs to your kids, take your job, or be about to topple a few 100-story office towers.
J. Dylan Rivis
Thank you, thank you, thank you, for the article highlighting the Center for Northern Studies at Sterling College! [“Keeping Cool,” December 5, 2007]  I graduated with a degree in Northern Studies and had the privilege to study with Dick Smyth and Steve Young, along with their former colleague Kati Dana. Their brilliance, intensity and generosity changed my schooling and, in fact, my life. My young children were included in courses, my whole family traveled to Labrador and Newfoundland, and my classmates and I enjoyed a tightknit community that ate together, played together and were exposed to incredible ideas together.
As I go back to my career as an early childhood educator in the Northeast Kingdom, I bring with me the life and history of the North: stories, ecology, wisdom of elders and a knowledge about ecology and winter I could not have gained anywhere else. I also bring a dynamic vision of community- and place-based learning that I gathered from a Center trip to a small community on the Isle of Unst, in Scotland.
I have only one complaint: I can guarantee you Steve does not wear ragged sweaters! His wife and many friends knit, and he is often bedecked in Shetland wool!
It is a disappointment that while Dan Bolles couldn’t spare any column space to raise awareness of the Magnetix show on November 11 — how often does a punk band from Bordeaux, France, play Burlington? And for free, no less? — he saw fit to waste some of that same precious space to make an irrelevant dig at the Fatal Flaws in his December 12 “Soundbites.” Good thing he’s gone on record saying he bears the Fatal Flaws no ill will.
Mr. Bolles apparently misunderstands who his critics are: The Fatal Flaws, as a band, have never commented in the public forum about Seven Days or any of its writers. The two undersigned members (who play in other bands, yet to be maligned) have individually written letters to the paper’s editor voicing their grievances, but they never claimed to speak for the band as a whole.
Mr. Bolles has provided us with another example of the same half-assed journalism that prompted the initial complaints. Perhaps we should expect no better from the author of such howlers as “the event is still gathering its feet” (Solid State blahg, Nov. 16)?
Chris Beneke and Sasha Rodriguez