Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Dateline Woodstock:
Last Friday, the good people of Woodstock, Vermont celebrated U.S. Independence Day (the 4th of July) with a slate of events starting with a noontime band concert on the Town Green, followed by a chicken barbeque at the Woodstock Fire Station, to a gala picnic and fireworks display at dusk. As is our custom, townspeople gathered at the Woodstock Athletic Field (aka the Football Field) for the annual Tableau du Pavillon (Flag Table). We believe the original idea for this event came from far, far away in China where an array of local citizens are pressed into service holding colored cards over their heads to create an image observable from the Moon. When it comes to creating human display panels, our Chinese friends (with an estimated population of 1,321,851,888) have a distinct edge over Woodstockers when it comes to creating High Definition displays. But our enthusiasm prevails and this year a record 1,841 people registered for the event. This is not to say that we can create an image with 1,841 pixels because half to two-thirds of these people are "designated alternates." In China they don't have any designated alternates. In Woodstock, we like to create a big image of the American flag in honor of the occasion. When everyone is properly aligned to create the stars and stripes of the American flag, their designated alternates are invited to hike up Woodstock Mountain to see how it looks. When the alternates hike back down and return to the Football Field, the question they are most often asked is "So, how does it look?" This is where the designated alternates come into play: they are free to ask anyone currently holding a card if they would like to be relieved to see how it looks. So starts the shuffle of colored cards and new people hiking up Woodstock Mountain just to see how it looks. Because of the large turn-out this year, the Tableau du Pavill on event took over three hours to complete, but everyone enjoyed the view and the camaraderie. Next month, when you are watching the Olympic events featuring at least one 1080p image of the Olympic Emblem, stop for a moment to contemplate what it might look like from the top of Woodstock Mountain.

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