Vote early and often. Your superdelegates do.

We're all quite excited here in Vermont to have the opportunity to vote in a March 4 presidential primary that actually matters.

Or does it?

Turns out that Vermont's "super delegates" are aligned quite nicely with Obamamania.

Already pledging a delegate to Barack are Congressman Peter Welch, Senator Patrick Leahy and the DNC's Judy Bevans, Ian Carleton, and Chuck Ross Jr.

Bill Gosh is the only Clinton backer at this point.

And the sole remaining undecided superdelegate? None other than our old friend Howard Dean.


A view from Nebraska

Band concert public square Nebraska city. Flowing and circling dresses, summer-white dresses. Faces, flesh tints flung like sprays of cherry blossoms. And gigglers, God knows, gigglers, rivaling the pony whinnies of the Livery Stable Blues.

Cowboy rags and black rags. And boys driving sorrel horses hurl a cornfield laughter at the girls in dresses, summer-white dresses. Amid the cornet staccato and the tuba oompa, gigglers, God knows, gigglers daffy with life’s razzle dazzle....

I spent a few days in Nebraska last week. Not the "big time" of Omaha and Lincoln, not the rolling hills of the Northwest where the sandhills like to hang out. It was heartland Nebraska, great plains Nebraska, the homestead country where people came because the land was free, stayed because hard work was all they knew, and left ... for the most part ... because the earth rose up against them and choked the sky with dust.

Lois Winterhalter Simmons was buried in the Plainfield Cemetery, a peaceful but wind-battered square of land. She was 93. From her gravestone, you can see the land her grandfather Nathaniel homesteaded. And from the corner of his land, you can see the grain silo and cluster of houses that make up Bradshaw where Lois grew up. And from there ... it's cornfields and dirt roads to the horizon in every direction.

Even in good times, Nebraska was a tough haul: one of the last to adopt suffrage and one of the first to sign on for Prohibition. And when the Depression delivered an economic curse, Nebraska endured the added blight of a massive, lengthy drought. So they left for California.

A few days after the SIA Vegas show, I rented a Mustang and drove to Los Angeles to see Lois one last time. With Hertz and Sirius, driving through Death Valley was about as easy and natural as breathing. Seventy years earlier, traveling with a spare axle in the trunk, waterbags hanging out the window, and case of grapefruit to keep the distributor cap cool, it would've been a very different experience.

Lois smiled when I arrived. I can't say for sure if she truly recognized me, but she seemed to enjoy having me around. After a few days of watching me from her bed, she shushed me out of the room with brushing fingers. Whether accident or irony, the last words of my grandmother meant everything.

"Go play," she whispered. "Go play."

... Slow good-night melodies and Home Sweet Home. And the snare drummer bookkeeper in a hardware store nods hello to the daughter of a railroad conductor—a giggler, God knows, a giggler—and the summer-white dresses filter fanwise out of the public square.

The crushed strawberries of ice cream soda places, the night wind in cottonwoods and willows, the lattice shadows of doorsteps and porches, these know more of the story.

- Carl Sandburg


Hydration nation

This picture is brought to you by the American thirst for disposable plastic water bottles.

Every five minutes.


Thanks, Clyde.


Headlines you'll never see

"Subdivision welcomed by neighbors."

"Americans taking too much vacation."

"Ski test declares clear winners, losers."

"Vermont announces massive property tax cuts."

"Jake: I'm not a skier, I just like the way it feels."

Speaking the Language

Already, the language is becoming tiresome: Green. Local. Sustainable. Maybe it’s because, to a certain extent, these are all abstractions. What do any of them really mean? Or maybe it’s just the curse of the liberal effete, the ugly truth that those with the means to champion these causes are too often viewed through the disdainful eye of the commoner.

So he wonders: Do we cling to these monikers, wringing our collective hands as their value steadily erodes? Do we throw in the towel? Or do we develop a new way of talking about the future that’s inclusive and modest and urgent? And what does that language sound like?

He’s not sure what will work; he only knows what’s not working. Slowly, reluctantly, America’s green awakening is opening a sleepy eye. But that’s a far cry from getting the damn thing out of bed, and if that doesn’t happen soon, it’s gonna drift back into dreamland, where the skies are always blue, the economy’s always booming, and no one scorns it.


There's gotta be a localvore joke in here somewhere

Just in time for Valentine's Day ...

RED GOLD: Major jewelers (Tiffany's, Helzberg Diamonds, Fortunoff) are drawing the line against Pebble Mine gold. Even at 900 bucks an once, protecting the Bristol Bay salmon fishery is worth more. WalMart, the nation's largest trinket seller, has not yet joined the pledge. LINK

WHITE GOLD: One year after MRG practically gave away the farm with discount tickets during a Valentine's Day Noreaster ... it's happening again. LINK.

WOOD: Always an appropriate gift. LINK


Green trendwatch!

OUT: High priced gas
Don't ask, don't tell.

OUT: Carbon offsets
Easy to avoid when you don't feel guilty in the first place.

OUT: Alternative transportation
Not carpooling is way more fun in the winter.

OUT: Eating local
How do I love baseball-size strawberries in February? Let me count the ways.


T is for Trustafarian

The word Trustafarian is not a compliment. It’s tossed out from a distance, and (in my experience) has just as much to do with the explaining why one person has the ability to live an outdoor lifestyle as it does with justifying why another one doesn’t.

So when an old business friend of mine recently asked me if I had a trust fund. (“How do you make a living?”), I couldn’t help but wonder if I’d ever been tagged with the term.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a trust fund. If I did, I’d be doing this instead of this.

T is for the Tradeshow Diaper

Available this summer. Ideal for meetings that run long in convention halls that serve only 3.2 beer.

T is for Treehugger

After feeling the firm handshake of a splintery new friend in the thick of a hardwood glade, it struck me that there are two types of Treehuggers.

There are those who embrace environmentalism in all its myriad forms, and there are those who ski in Vermont.



Rejected topics for Feb. 21 'Today' at Sugarbush

1. Where in the world is Lewie's hair?
2. How to ditch Dr. Phil on a powder day.
3. Powder Moms unite to find last minute child care.
4. Al Roker does the Granville weather.

LINK: Win's Word


This is your brain on a redeye from Long Beach

Thursday, Jan. 17
GREENIFICATION: If we could green up 10% of the PGA, it would probably be the same as greening 90% of the outdoor world.

Friday, Jan 18

SNARKY OBSERVATION: Zamfir is not dead. He is working a wine bar in Orlando.

Monday, Jan. 21

LOCA-GAWKER: Andy Brewer is an excellent driver. Even after a lengthy "layover" in Chicago. While driving, he bears a slight resemblance to a younger, taller Zamfir.

Tuesday, Jan. 22
OUTDOOR STREET CRED: Ducked a couple ropes at Snow Basin in a viking helmet. Lost a horn, but gained a good conversation starter.

Wednesday, Jan. 23
FLASHBACK: Catching a cab in Salt Lake City during Sundance is like trying to get a date in 1990 at the Mangy Moose.

Thursday, Jan. 24
WORLD'S WORST GETS WORSE: There are now six WickedOutdoorsy.com stickers in Burt's Tiki Lounge. Send me a picture and I'll send you some of my leftover Moldy Chum stickers.

Friday, Jan. 25
DEAR MOM: Dressed like viking again today. Starting to enjoy it. Gathered a crowd of 400 and gave a trip to Iceland to a woman who's dying mother wants to "visit the place her husband served (Reykjavik) during world War II." Wish I'd thought of that one.

Saturday, Jan. 26
MOUNTAIN MEMOIR: Ripped up the 'Bird with Bear. Highlight one? Twenty inches of fresh on the road to Provo. Highlight two? Missing the bus and hitchiking back to SLC.

Sunday, Jan. 27
KROSS DRESSING: Dear Mom. The viking came back today. Once again, there were photographers around. Sometimes I think they're following me.

Monday, Jan. 28
ESCAPE FROM SLC: Slipped out of Salt Lake City on one of the last few flights before a nuclear whiteout crushed the Utah front range. Roads closed. Towns closed. Even CD stopped driving. Arrived in Vegas just in time to see Howie Mandel, Jack Hanna, and Jose Canseco wandering around and looking celebrity like.

Tuesday, Jan. 29

SHRED FASHION: Wore a Spacecraft shirt. Accused by Dukich of "being not nearly cool enough to wear that thing." Dukich then asked if I could get him one.

Wednesday, Jan. 30
RSN PLUG: Wrapped the RSN "The Goods" shoot at SIA Vegas (available on iTunes podcasts). Rented a black Ford Mustang with satellite radio and busted out for LA. Made it in 3 hours, 20 minutes. Carbon footprint officially exceeded.