Thursday, December 17, 2009

Go ahead, boycott!

Baseball-cap-wearing Michael-Moore-mouthpiece Michael Moore has called for a boycott of Connecticut in reaction to Sen. Joe Lieberman's nightmarish, self-centered manipulation of the national health-care legislation now before Congress. Moore blames the people of Connecticut, who voted Lieberman into office, for the current weakened state of the bill. He states in a recent tweet that "we'll boycott your state" if those of us here in Connecticut don't immediately begin a recall process against Lieberman.
Well, first of all, we don't have a recall provision for a situation like this. But secondly, and far more interestingly, I wonder just what form such a boycott might take. I guess primarily it would mean that Moore himself would refuse to enter Connecticut. I don't think most people here would qualify that as a great loss. I don't think we see much of him, or his spending power, anyway. But then there are the others who constitute the "we" in his threat. Does Michael Moore have a large posse of followers who stand ready to do his bidding? Could there be another Jonestown somewhere in our future? (Well, at least it doesn't look like the carnage would take place in Connecticut.) Or is Moore now speaking on behalf of all the people in America who are unhappy with Sen. Lieberman? This would be a significantly larger group, and it'd represent quite a leap in Moore's already heady sense of self-importance. Of course many of those who are fed up with Lieberman live in Connecticut, which would make it especially hard for them to boycott it.
Finally, practically speaking, how would the boycott work? Moore could order his minions to stop buying Pez and Wiffle balls, I suppose. He could refuse to step aboard an Otis elevator (using the stairs might do him some good). But could he afford to abandon the campuses here (Yale, Wesleyan and others) that serve as incubators for his followers? Could he afford to turn up his nose at the many Connecticut residents from the entertainment world who help fund his adventures?
Like most successful agitators, Michael Moore notoriously sees the world in black and white. He has trouble fixing his jowly gaze upon the likes of a Joe Lieberman, who, unlike stolid Charleton Heston or Roger Smith, changes his coloration from day to day. It's much easier for him to take a shot instead at the entire state of Connecticut, which, I might point out, excepting Lieberman, has elected what is likely the most Michael-Moore-friendly slate of legislators in America.
So bring on the boycott, big guy! Dazzle us with your powers to deny and demean. Maybe we'll put your head on the top of a Pez dispenser.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Broken Budget

Anyone looking for a prime example of how mindless and broken Connecticut's budget-making process has become need look no further than the state's own efforts to market itself to visitors and residents. According to the recently approved state budget, some $2.7 million has been allocated so that everyone working in the Commission on Culture and Tourism will keep his or her job, but only $1 (that's right, $1) will be available for marketing programs. That means the effort that formerly included things like the Connecticut Vacation Guide, the website, television commercials, press releases, welcome centers, seminars, press events and more--in short, all the support for the billion-dollar culture and tourism industry--will disappear even though all the state employees responsible for them will remain at their desks. How will these public employees spend their time? No one knows. Likewise, who knows how many similar situations there are out there across all of state government?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Ready or Not . . .

Today at noon television stations in Connecticut and around the country began the historic switch from analog to digital transmission, as required by federal law. Cable and satellite customers won’t be inconvenienced in any way, but those who still depend on a roof antenna or the rabbit-eared set to receive a signal will no longer have TV service unless they purchase a converter box.

Savvy consumers may have already purchased the latest HD TVs to get the optimum results but the FCC predicts that millions of people are not yet prepared, and hordes of viewers are probably panicked and clamoring right about now. (Actually, it would be a good idea to check on some of the older folks in your neighborhood -they might have just lost their best friend.)

It’s always hard to make a change but things will settle down eventually and we’ll all be enjoying wireless broadband, TV on our cell phones and of course the great new TV picture quality that “looks like real life.” And what about real life? It’s as clear as the nose on Big Bird’s never-aging face that what was once deemed newfangled technology is the dawn of a new era. Let’s all make sure we’re prepared for it. For more information, visit

Monday, April 13, 2009

Connecticut Classics

As the weather is finally getting warmer, is it too optimistic to start thinking about summer? Believe it or not, we're already working on our annual summer fun issue, thinking about all the warm weather "classics" we've come to love here in Connecticut, from laying on the beach at Hammonasset or riding the Wildcat at Lake Compounce to feasting on hot lobster roll at Lenny & Joe's or lapping up ice cream from Wentworth's. It's all good, all summer long . . .

What are some of your favorite summertime favorites here in Connecticut? Tell us in our monthly FIRST survey by clicking here.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Hyping in Connecticut

As you all might be well aware, the movie The Haunting in Connecticut opens this weekend. It stars Virginia Madsen as a woman whose family is besieged by nefarious otherworldly forces, and from the commercials and trailers, it looks like your standard Amityville Horror-type scarefest.

The story is based on "true events" that allegedly occurred in the 1980s in a Southington house that had been a funeral home -- a family claims that their son started seeing all sorts of unusual things in the basement, which led them to calling in renowned ghosthunters Ed and Lorraine Warren, which in turn, led to claims of a haunting. Some accused the family and Warrens of making up (or embellishing) the story, which eventually led to the book (In A Dark Place), a TV special and now the movie.

It's been interesting to watch the story unfold in the past few weeks as interest has mounted, from the family currently living in the house now saying they've never had any problems in the house (aside from nosy curiosity seekers) to others speaking out against the veracity of the original claims to discovering that U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy used to live in the house. It's been all over the local news, and has generated quite a bit of web-based discussion over the "truthiness" of the story.

As matter of fact, the only question that I haven't seen asked about The Haunting in Connecticut is one of the most important ones: Is the movie any good?

Of course, the answer to that probably won't stop the majority of horror aficionados who will go to see the film this weekend (myself included). As they famously say in Hollywood, "Any publicity is good publicity."

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Curb the Destruction

At the risk of sounding like a cranky old man -- has anyone else noticed that this winter has been especially harsh on Connecticut curbs?

From the parking lot here at the magazine's office in Trumbull to my street in Shelton and on lots of the roads in between, it seems as though there has been an especially high level of curb carnage -- curbs that have been torn up and knocked asunder by snow plows. Why?

Is it because of all the snowfall this past winter and the multiple plowings that have come with it, regular curbs just wore down and gave way? Or do they just not make 'em like they used to (all asphalt, no concrete, nothing below the road's surface)? Or are snowplow drivers not as careful any more? Or is it a combination of all these reasons? It seems as though there are lots of potholes this year, too, so I don't doubt that it was an especially rough season on roads.

I know in my case, at the request of my neighbor, the city has said they may come out and repair the section of asphalt curb in front our houses -- I don't want them to bother because unless they do it with a solid concrete curb (unlikely in this economy) or they can guarantee it won't snow next winter (come on global warming!). Otherwise, we'll be right back in the same spot next spring.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Connecticut Specialties to Try

In conjunction with an upcoming article in our May issue, we're running a survey to find Connecticut specialties that everyone who calls themself a proper Connecticut resident should try at least once. We're looking for particular dishes from Connecticut restaurants -- from the white clam pizza at Pepe's in New Haven to the steamed cheeseburgers at Ted's to the clam hash at Pat's Kountry Kitchen.

Have any suggestions? Please click here and share what local dish you think everyone should try.