Editorial: Thoughts in Summer: Potholes, Playing Catch, Pickpockets

Here are a few things we have been thinking about lately.

∎ Has there been in recent memory a better late spring/early summer of weather in the Upper Valley than this one? Sunny, cool to moderate temperatures, rain when it has been needed: The gardens couldn’t be happier, and neither could we. Let’s hope it lasts.

∎ Has that yawning pothole on Interchange Drive in back of Wal-Mart in Lebanon swallowed any small vehicles whole yet? It’s a scary proposition to try to avoid it by putting your vehicle in the oncoming traffic lane on a blind curve.

∎ Speaking of scary, who exactly will be bidding when Fortress Brown goes on the auction block next month in U.S. District Court in Concord? The 100-acre compound in Plainfield that tax resisters Ed and Elaine Brown turned into an armed camp in 2007 was larded with explosive devices before the couple was arrested, convicted and imprisoned, and the U.S. Marshal’s office is not allowing prospective bidders to tour the property before the auction. Apparently the site has been cleared to the best of the federal government’s ability, but nobody’s making any guarantees. It occurs to us that activities as quotidian as digging a garden or taking a walk in the woods might be a nerve-wracking experience for the new owners, whoever they are.

∎ Don’t kids play catch anymore? We have hardly seen anybody tossing around a baseball all summer long — at least anybody who wasn’t wearing a uniform and under the direction of an adult. Those who happily whiled away many a youthful hour in the steady repetition of throw and catch surely find it a little depressing to discover that today’s youngsters have better things to do.

∎ When did fireworks displays cease to be confined to the Fourth of July holiday? We’re not sure there’s enough to celebrate in the world just now to justify the summer-long explosive accompaniment. Besides, we don’t hold with any activity that frightens the animals.

∎ If Peter Shumlin suffers an upset of Eric-Cantorian proportions and Scott Milne becomes the next governor of Vermont, what happens to the $30-million Quechee Highlands commercial-residential project Milne is trying to build off Interstate 89 in Hartford? It makes for an interesting hypothetical.

∎ Speaking of building things, the plan by the Vermont Agency of Transportation to build new Interstate 91 bridges over Route 5 in Hartford, then demolish the old ones and slide the new ones into place — lateral slide construction it’s called — strikes us as an astonishing feat of engineering.

∎ Sunday’s New York Times carried a fascinating profile of one of New York City’s most accomplished pickpockets, 58-year-old Wilfred Rose, based on a series of jailhouse interviews. The story contained a lot we didn’t know about lifting wallets, to be sure, but one passage struck a familiar note in a “kids today” kind of way: “Mr. Rose is dismissive of the younger generation of street criminals and refused to train apprentice pickpockets. ‘Young people, they aren’t interested in this,’ Mr. Rose said. ‘It takes too much patience.’ ”