Basement Medicine

Vermont Higher Ed. Funding: Broken policies and a broken law

Vermont Higher Ed. Funding: Broken policies and a broken law

Analysis by Don Eaton

February 18, 2015

According to a recent report, compiled by the State Higher Education Executive Officers, which analyzes higher education funding, Vermont ranked 49th among the states, next to last, in state appropriations per $1,000 of personal income. A senate report to legislators noted that "81 percent of the stud...

Hard living in the soft underbelly: the suppository possibility in Springfield

Hard living in the soft underbelly: the suppository possibility in Springfield

Tom Benton

February 18, 2015

Lilly says the meth-heads she knows are too scary, though when I see her for the first time in two years, she cries, "Did you see the end of Breaking Bad?!" Anyway, I have a methamphetamine user in mind. She’s an in-law, five or six times removed, which is the approximate number of times she’s rem...

Hard living in the soft underbelly of Springfield

Hard living in the soft underbelly of Springfield

Tom Benton

February 10, 2015

The following interviews and, subsequently, portions of this piece, were collected, compiled, and composed between March and November 2014.  One interview/portion of “The Suppository Possibility” was lost entirely except to my memory, when my notes were seized by the interviewee, a mother-to-be,...

Dorms can offer creature comforts

Dorms can offer creature comforts

Maya Viens

December 4, 2014

According to the JSC student handbook , animals are not allowed in the resident halls. However, Johnson has recently experienced an influx of pets on campus. Thanks to the efforts of last year’s Martinetti  hall advisor Aleda Boomhower, all HA’s are now allowed to have cats on campus. In some...

“Process.” Zebrowski on architecture, art, and LOG-ing

“Process.” Zebrowski on architecture, art, and LOG-ing

Max Van Wie

November 12, 2014

Michael Zebrowski is an assistant professor at JSC who uses his background in architecture to help teach sculpture. Zebrowski’s intro to sculpture class recently presented their projects outside of the library on campus. The project, entitled LOG, encouraged students to respond to an object by using...

St. Lewis: Canada does not want to be 51st state

St. Lewis: Canada does not want to be 51st state

Max Van Wie

October 30, 2014

Joanne St. Lewis, a renowned Canadian law professor at the University of Ottawa, visited Johnson the week of Oct. 20 to present a series of talks. St. Lewis is also a distinguished human rights activist and feminist who uses her knowledge to help confront racial inequality and poverty around the world. St....

Chapter 2: D. B. Cooper and the Woman’s Hips

Chapter 2: D. B. Cooper and the Woman’s Hips

Tom Benton

September 24, 2014

Oh, Zia. You future space waitress you. I know it’s the year 3128 A.D., but aren’t we over the D. B. Cooper case? D. B. Cooper, the pseudonym used by the brilliant and sophisticated hijacker who stole the equivalent of $1.6 million whilst riding a Boeing 747 in 1971? Not a single lead in that case?...

Chapter 1: D. B. Cooper and the Lost in the Space

Chapter 1: D. B. Cooper and the Lost in the Space

Tom Benton

September 18, 2014

So there was Zia in the kitchen, and it was still 3128. She was fixing Old USAs for an elderly couple, just waiting on the french fries. Leaning against the steel over the grease bucket, grease steam snaking up and curling her hair. Greg was, of course, manning the bucket, and in the meantime, as was...

Cuban men put the art back in flirting

Cuban men put the art back in flirting

Victoria Greenia

May 8, 2014

“You have beautiful eyes,” says a young Antonio Banderas, cutting in front of my friend in the middle of the street. Her face lights up and she beams, although it’s the third time that day a hunky Cuban has nearly stepped on her to admire those blue orbs. They always do the same thing: sing praises...

The strays of Cuba

The strays of Cuba

Kayla Friedrich

May 8, 2014

  Stepping off of La Terrazza de Manolo that Sunday afternoon began a week-long journey through a cloud of smoke and diesel. 1950s Chevrolets, Studebakers and other antique cars populated the roadways, their exhaust clashing with the malodorous cigarette smoke that wafted through every street,...

Patrick gives the finger

Patrick gives the finger

Interview by Max Van Wie

April 24, 2014

Pat McGinn, Johnson State College junior, has been a professional fingerboarder for almost a decade and continues to be involved in the fingerboard community. While the idea of a fingerboard may seem odd to some, generations have grown up around these small skateboards and some have taken them quite...

The Living Headlights

The Living Headlights

Jim Union

March 15, 2014

Editor’s note: Jim Union’s Christian name is Richard Schlong, and he was once a private eye; kidnapped by his former nemesis, Kaufman (now known as “K.”), and subjected to plastic surgery, Richard has now become an agent for an agency that doesn’t exist--operating under the name: Jim Union. I...

You Only Live Twice, or Actually Once

You Only Live Twice, or Actually Once

Richard Schlong

February 6, 2014

Editor’s note: Jim Union’s Christian name is Richard Schlong, and he was once a private eye; kidnapped by his former nemesis, Kaufman, and subjected to plastic surgery, Richard has now become an agent for an agency that doesn’t exist--operating under the name: Jim Union. I was going to Russi...

On Her Majesty’s Secret Sir Vice

On Her Majesty’s Secret Sir Vice

Richard Schlong, Private Eye Superspy

December 10, 2013

Note: Prince William's name changed to protect him. Four months ago I was lying in my own stew, reeking of scotch, breath, and an unnatural amount of natural human filth in my mildewed office in Johnson, Vt. Four months later, I was lying in a post-coital honeydew glaze, smelling intoxicatingly of impec...

Susan Calza on art, Nepal, and heaven’s buffet

Susan Calza on art, Nepal, and heaven’s buffet

November 27, 2013

A Johnson State College professor for of 21 years, Susan Calza, talks about her art, life, and her future.  At the end of the spring semester she will be retiring to focus on her personal art and travel. She has a studio in Barre that she describes as “twelve hundred square feet of drawings and t...

Doctor Yes

Doctor Yes

Richard Schlong, Private Eye

November 14, 2013

  "Rather enjoyed the John Gardner thrillers... he has a very sophisticated style, yes, I like that... rather like Agatha Christie doing 007, ‘ey, old chap?” As I struggled to open my eyes, I could make out a faint but familiar form: a plump Englishman. Kaufman. He was smiling. ...

The Cold Shrink

The Cold Shrink

Richard Schlong

November 10, 2013

I had a toothache from my molar to my cerebellum. What I mean is the sheer thought of teeth was the same kind of infuriating ache I got when I remembered those lovely, happy girls I didn’t date in high school, or that reduced-price drink I passed up at the bar. I didn’t want to hear about teeth....

The Bitter Toothache

The Bitter Toothache

Richard Schlong, Private Detective

September 25, 2013

As a private dick I’ve had to look into a lot of unpleasant things, but one thing I’ve never gotten sick of looking into is open mouths. So it was a pleasant surprise when my degree in dentistry finally came in the mail. It came in a manilla 8x10 envelope. First I thought it was those photographs...

The Lost Girl

The Lost Girl

Richard Schlong

September 11, 2013

I stopped wondering how normal people celebrate their birthday when I stopped believing there were normal people. It came late, long after I’d stopped believing there was a Tooth Fairy. Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, Normal People. My birthday’s not a celebration. That’ll be my funeral. My b...

Melvis, the Backwoods King

Melvis, the Backwoods King

Tom Benton

May 3, 2013

"You don’t have to saaaay you love me/Just be close at haaand/You don’t have to staaaaay forever/I will understaaand." The singer is a fifty-something guy with a t-shirt that shows off his beer gut, which he happily slaps -- he’s aware of it -- and which gives no indication of his pipes, which ar...

Full of Crêpe

Full of Crêpe

Samuel Bridges

April 18, 2013

  It seems every time I visit Church Street there’s something new that catches my eye, or the store I’m looking for has moved, at the least. Burlington never disappoints. It was a nippy, but not unbearable Thursday afternoon. I noticed a rather unassuming "Mr. Crepe" sign. The restaurant was heav...

Sticky, sweet and rewarding: maple sugaring at home

Kassandra Cousineau

April 18, 2013

Are you tired of paying $50 for a gallon of maple syrup? Do you want to know where your food products are coming from? Want to be environmentally friendly and keep a few extra Benjamins in your pocket while you're at it? At Vermont Harvest Sun, in rural Bristol, Vermont, Jacob Roy has found a way to ...

Carrie Cook loses her Samurai but finds a new bass

Carrie Cook loses her Samurai but finds a new bass

Elizabeth Beatty-Owens

April 18, 2013

The restaurant was filled with bodies. The employees were dragging tables and chairs out from the front of the bar, attempting to make a little more standing room for the people who were packed in along the bar stools. Feet were tapping, many seated hips were wiggling, and even a few brave souls took ...

How High is Denver, Really?

How High is Denver, Really?

Phil O'Neil

April 18, 2013

"Take everything out of your pockets and hold your hands in the air." It doesn’t sound like the start of a promising night for concertgoers heading into the 1st Bank Arena outside Denver, Colorado, but another look around yields a surprising discovery. Most people carry keys and wallets in their pocket...

Springfield: Vt.’s seventh circle

Springfield: Vt.’s seventh circle

Thomas Benton

March 28, 2013

Here’s the scene: There’s a body on the side of the road in southern Vermont. Maybe alive, maybe dead, but no one cares. They just drive on past, and if they take their eyes off the road to glance in the rearview or, god forbid, over their shoulders, they keep their feet on the gas pedal. I was...

The Dame in the Diner Dream

The Dame in the Diner Dream

Richard Schlong

March 28, 2013

The New Mexican mountains had all the jagged curvatures of a lie-detector test, and in the sunset on the other side I saw truth. Time to stop slacking in Sante Fe, put on my slacks and head back to the city that never sleeps. On the way there, I slept. I dreamed in a hotel room that had never heard...

Dan and Clint: a friendship begining

Dan and Clint: a friendship begining

Dan Schwartz

March 28, 2013

I was going to tell you about my sex life, but that’s not much of a story anymore. Then I got 1,800 words into an essay about crippling depression, but we’ll save that for later; that’s not first date material. Yesterday I whittled away a 600-word nugget about a backpacking trip to the northeast...

Kevin and Cara’s Crazy Caravan II

Kevin and Cara’s Crazy Caravan II

Kevin Paquet

March 14, 2013

Kevin Paquet is a 2009 JSC graduate. He, his wife, and their cats are currently crawling south in a camper from 1969 hooked to an SUV from 1994. For earlier installments see Basementmedicine.org. On the morning of Jan. 23, there was a knock on the camper door. This was the first knock we’d gotte...

To Have and Want Not

To Have and Want Not

Richard Schlong, Private Eye

February 21, 2013

I’d been ransacking Robert Parker’s body like Sharon Stone on her wedding night. Body of work, that is. So I gave it a break. Ernest Hemingway was on the shelf. I took him off. “To Have and Have Not.” I always choose to have and end up having not. Except with Hemingway. The first night I read...

Kevin and Cara’s Crazy Caravan

Kevin and Cara’s Crazy Caravan

Kevin Paquet

February 7, 2013

My name is Kevin Paquet. Let me tell you a story. I graduated from Johnson State College, as many of you will someday do, in May of 2009. Our commencement speaker was the former U.S. ambassador to Pakistan. I fell asleep during his speech. It was the first and only time I ever fell asleep in school. ...

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