Published July 11. Still timely for weekend use.

The Simpsons as New Englanders. Please.


Homah. Mahge. Baht. Santa’s Little Helpah. Don’t make us laugh.


Yeah, yeah. We know. Springfield, Vt., beat us — the good old, salt-of-the-Earth, unpretentious, typically Simpsonian Springfield — fair and square in the USA Today vote to host the premiere of “The Simpsons Movie.” They got 15,367 votes to our 14,634.


Fine. No sour grapes here.


Fans of “The Simpsons” have spoken. To be precise, 109,582 of those fans have spoken. And they want Springfield, Vt., to stand in as the hometown of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie.


Hey, terrific.


And while all you Simpsons fans are flocking to Springfield, Vt., why not check out some of the fishing there? According to vermontvacation.com, “As the tumult of the spring melt subsides, the ice will be off the more than 400 lakes and ponds where northern pike and walleye provide another sporting challenge.”


Real nice. And you probably won’t find a three-eyed fish in any of them.


Meanwhile, here in the real Springfield, we’ll be planning for the 10-year anniversary of our own Lake Springfield’s famous Leptospirosis Outbreak of 1998, when dozens of athletes got sick from swimming in our lake. Oh, and this year there’s a real big snake in our lake, too. We’ve got a picture.


And what would the Simpson family do in the fall, you wonder? Why, they probably take long drives to take in the famous Vermont colors. “The 2007 foliage season is approaching. Businesses across Vermont are gearing up to welcome our fall visitors,” brags vermontvacation, unable to contain itself.


That’s wonderful, but do you know what happens here in the real world in the fall? The corn turns brown. (Mmmm. Corn.) Homer Simpson can appreciate that, not that we care.


We’re not going to argue with USA Today. You don’t get to be The Nation’s Newspaper by conducting crooked polls that favor people who already have all the best stuff anyway. You don’t earn a national reputation like USA Today’s by ignoring the obvious and going out of your way to snub the good people in the middle of America who make this country great; people who devoted their entire summer to proving that their town was as despicable as that of a fictional TV family. We believe Allen H. Neuharth when he declares, in USA Today’s masthead, that his paper’s goal is “to help make the USA truly one nation.”


Sore losers? Us? Are you kidding?


The Vermont Cheese Council notes that “our 35 cheese making members … produce over 150 varieties of award winning artisan and farmstead cheese.” Well, la-dee-dah. And we’re sure none of them are melted, poured over hamburger patties atop white bread toast and buried under a mound of French fries. That’s right. This Springfield’s signature dish — the horseshoe sandwich — is a self-contained study of Homer Simpson cuisine.


Of course, you can’t order a horseshoe in a fancy ski lodge, like you can in Vermont. (“Vermont is a mecca for skiing and riding enthusiasts,” exults vermontvacation.com, a Web site that apparently knows no bounds in rubbing it in.) And if Homer in a future episode insists on fresh maple syrup for his pancakes, he’ll be in luck… since he’s in Vermont. (“Our maple sugarmakers will throw open their doors to let you see how they make the sweet stuff and perhaps give you a taste,” says vermontvacation. Who wrote this site? Ned Flanders? Ever hear of modesty, Vermont?)


So Springfield, Vt., congratulations. Enjoy the movie premiere and the fame it brings to your fair town. Enjoy your pristine lakes, your mountains, your fall colors, your skiing, your fancy cheese and Ben & Jerry’s.


This Springfield is happy for you. Really, we are.