Archive for the ‘Connecticut & Newington’ Category

Ugh, powder blue

Friday, June 27th, 2008

Clinton and Obama wore (nearly) matching outfits at their Unity event this afternoon: her pantsuit and his tie were both, according to Politico‘s color-spectrum analysis, powder blue.


Powder blue, of course, used to be a UCLA school color, back when I was at USC. But the Bruins switched in 2003 to a different shade of blue, so I guess I can forgive the Dems for their use of what I’ve always considered a rather distasteful shade of an otherwise fine color. Still… for future reference, I’d recommend either Notre Dame blue or Newington blue. :)

Anyway, here are some more photos from the Obama-Clinton rally in Unity.

A Dodd scandal, and a Courant catastrophe

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

The Waterbury Republican-American evidently does not believe in God and Senator Dodd. Well, maybe the former, but certainly not the latter. :) In an editorial Monday, the Rep-Am‘s editorial board calls Dodd "Tammany Hall’s senior senator" and scolds the national media — as well as, in a subsequent editorial, the Hartford Courant — for failing to more vigorously cover "the sweetheart mortgages he got from Countrywide Financial CEO Angelo Nozilo." (Countrywide is described as "the Enron of subprime mortgages.") "This scandal has legs," the editors assert.

I haven’t followed this at all, so I have no idea whether it’s a big deal; I just saw the link on InstaPundit, and since it involves Connecticut’s, er, other senator, I figured it deserved a post.

Meanwhile, in other Connecticut news — and speaking of the Courant — the Nutmeg State’s paper of record is eliminating 60 newsroom staffers and reducing the number of news pages in the paper per week from 273 to 206. Here’s the memo to staff. (Hat tip: my dad.)

It’s times like these I’m really happy I went into law instead of journalism.

In welcome (& lucky) bit of comic relief, CT bomb squad detonates IED hidden in poultry

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

In the tony Hartford outer suburb of Simsbury, law enforcement authorities (alerted by a vigilant citizen) recently thwarted a Terror plot whose perpetrator(s) had deployed a Chicken with an unusually sinister Stuffing:

…A motorist on Powder Forest Drive Friday morning noticed what looked like a whole chicken — the kind bought at grocery stores for roasting — with a pipe bomb stuffed inside, police said Monday.

When they arrived on the scene around 9 a.m. officers found the roaster had an improvised explosive device where the fowl’s innards should have been.

They closed the road for part of the morning as the Hartford Police Department’s bomb squad was called to detonate the device, police said.

In its recent history, Simsbury and local residents have had their problems with hungry black bears, roaming coyotes and escaped emus. Now town folks can add store-bought chicken, stuffed with a bomb, to the list of odd animal incidents.

With the chicken and bomb taken care of, police are left to investigate who’s responsible for the strange incident.

Police Capt. Matthew Catania would not describe the bomb Monday, but said it was “capable of causing harm to a person.”…

Which, thank God it didn’t occur, would definitionally have been Worse than the Irreparable harm already inflicted upon the Chicken :>.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Now ~ not to abruptly Pivot to the Negative or anything like that ;> ~ of course the reason Connecticut in general, and our Capital region of Hartford in particular, may Welcome this (only-by-the-grace-of-God) bit of Comic relief ~ is, that over the past week or so we have been quite-understandably Pounded all to Pieces, on the Cablenewsies & the Internets, about the astonishingly-tepid Videotaped response of his Lower Park Street neighbors to the depravedly-indifferent hit-&-run Rundown of Angel Arce Torres, age 78, who (it now develops) will spend whatever remains of his life on a ventilator in the hospital.

Following closely on the heels of various other recent Hartford horrors, including the brutal mugging/beating of 71-year-old former Deputy Mayor Nick Carbone ~ who has probably done more to help All the people of Hartford than any other living person ~ all this has set off some considerable sociological soul-searching in & around the city of my birth, and my son’s. / Also, on a purely Practical level, the Staties are coming in ~ Again ~ to give the Local constabulary a hand. Hey ~ it’s a Start.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

So. You can perhaps see why we kind of Like the Simsbury Chickenbomb story. At least it has a happy Ending. (Well. Apart from the Chicken. / Fire in the Hole, indeed. :)

Steve Ludlow, class act

Monday, May 19th, 2008

Anybody who’s ever had C. Stephen Ludlow as either an English teacher or a tennis coach at Newington High School knows he’s a great guy and a class act. Now the Hartford Courant‘s readers know, too, thanks to an act of kindness toward an arch-rival last week that got written up in today’s paper:

Tom Chauvin called it one of the most moving experiences he’s had in 34
years of coaching the girls tennis team at Bristol Eastern.

what Chauvin called an intense, closely contested 5-2 victory over rival
Newington on Monday, he was talking with his players as they sat on the court.
The victory gave Eastern at least a share of the CCC South championship. Then he
noticed Newington coach Steve Ludlow walking toward his team with his players
lined up and Chauvin quickly told his team to get up.

Ludlow handed
Chauvin an envelope, which contained a donation to a [scholarship] fund that Bristol Eastern
started in memory of former player Holly Getler, who died last summer at 22
after a lifelong battle with kidney disease. … More than $100 was collected. [That’s roughly 5 percent of the total amount that Eastern needs to reach its fundraising goal.]

"It blew us all away," Chauvin said. "I didn’t know how he even knew about it.
We’ve been chief rivals for years now. I call them the New York Yankees of our division.

"This is what sport is supposed to be
about. What those 20 kids or so learned at that moment collectively, that is the
learning value that will stay with them."

It makes me proud to be a Newington alum (and a Ludlow alum!).

P.S. It should be noted that Chauvin isn’t exaggerating about the rivalry — though I prefer to think of Bristol Eastern as the evil Yankees, and Newington as the lovable Red Sox. :) Actually, Michigan-Ohio State is probably a better analogy: like the Wolverines-Buckeyes football game, the Indians-Lancers tennis match is always the last game of the season, and it’s a battle for the conference championship pretty much every year. But anyway, the point is, with CCC re-alignment diminishing the Newington-Southington rivalries in several sports, the NHS-BEHS rivalry in girls tennis is probably one of the biggest and fiercest old rivalries left. So this act of good sportsmanship and kindness by Mr. Ludlow and the Indians is all the more admirable against that backdrop.

So which team are you going to root for now, Brendan??

Friday, April 25th, 2008

The Connecticut legislature reached a compromise with UConn that will allow the university’s football team to schedule a six-year series against Notre Dame, even though none of the games will be played in Connecticut. The Irish balked at playing at the Huskies’ 40,000-seat home stadium, Rentschler Field in East Hartford, insisting instead that UConn’s "home" games played in larger stadiums elsewhere, most likely in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and/or New York. However, Connecticut lawmakers were unimpressed with the idea of UConn outsourcing its home games to other states. In the words of State Rep. Michael Christ,
D-East Hartford, who proposed an earlier bill that would have
required UConn to play all its home games at Rentschler, "Many of us felt we already had a beautiful facility in
Connecticut and it was built for UConn."

The newly announced deal requires UConn to play six home games at Rentschler Field each year, "as long as the NCAA rules permit a
12-game season and permits a team to use one Football Championship
Subdivision win per season as a bowl-eligible win." It also reduces the length of the series between UConn and Notre Dame from ten years to six. "I
believe we have crafted a reasonable solution," said Christ, who added that he hopes UConn can persuade the Irish to play at
Rentschler Field in the future. (Ha! Fat chance.)

The series will start in the 2011 season and go through 2017.  The three home games for the Irish will, of course, be played at Notre Dame Stadium.  The deal still needs to be approved by Notre Dame and venue officials.  Connecticut and Notre Dame already have a separate deal to play next season in South Bend.

UPDATE BY BRENDAN:  Rep. Christ wrote a scathing op-ed about this topic last week in the Hartford Courant. My dad suggested the headline, "Christ to Notre Dame: Screw you." Heh.

Anyway, here’s an excerpt:

Loyal Husky fans flock with family and friends to Rentschler for every home
game, rain or shine, in support of their beloved team. There are hundreds of
stadium workers who depend on a game day payday from parking cars, working
concessions and post-game clean-up. Many local school bands and clubs as well as
charities also use games to bolster fundraising. Should all those benefits move
to Massachusetts? I say no!

If Rentschler Field is too confining for the
Leprechaun army the Fighting Irish deploy each week, how come the similar
capacity stadium of the Boston College Eagles (formerly of the Big East) is not
too small? That series alternates between South Bend and Chestnut Hill,
Mass. …

There is no question Notre Dame will remain the "Wal-Mart" of college football as long as it is able to keep its national television
network deal. However, UConn officials can come out of this looking like heroes
both here in Connecticut and nationally by saying "no thanks." They could brag
that no one, not even the legendary Notre Dame, can tell Connecticut where to
play its home games. Even if the Fighting Leprechauns, after a few more years of
two-win seasons
, do eventually find their television revenue dried up and are
forced to finally join a conference, it is very possible that the Irish will
abandon their pseudo Big East affiliation and join the Big 10 anyway.

Ahem. It was a three-win season, thank you very much.

Incidentally, to answer the question posed by the title, I will, of course, root for Notre Dame, my alma mater. But as I said in comments, "if I had to pick one game (other than USC) for ND to lose, it would be
the UConn game. Imagine what a huge win that would be for the Huskies

That said: Gooooo Irish! Beeeeeat Huskies! :)

Only 334 days till Selection Sunday!

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

Joe Lunardi has published his initial, ridiculously early, meaningless yet fun, pre-pre-season 2009 Bracketology projections. (Hat tip: BK.) His #1 seeds are North Carolina, Duke, Texas and Pittsburgh. 2007 finalists Kansas and Memphis drop to #2 and #3, respectively, and UCLA plummets to a #7. w00t! :)

More importantly, Notre Dame is a #2 seed (without Gene Cross? Hmm…), Gonzaga is a #5, and USC is a #9. Frankly, those all seem high to me, but maybe I’m just a pessimist about my own teams. (Although, if so, it didn’t prevent my irrational Zag-xuberance last year.)

Tennessee falls all the way to #9… where they’re matched up in a brutal first-round game against #8 Davidson. (Stephen Curry FTW!) This year’s mid-major superpower that almost beat UT, Butler, is on the bubble but out, as are the Washington Huskies. The UConn Huskies, though, are sitting pretty as a #2 seed. Oh, and the University of Hartford Hawks, after falling one game short in 2008, make their NCAA Tournament debut in 2009 as a #16 seed. Hurrah!

Yeah, so, we have a college football season to start — and finish — before I’ll get really excited about any of this, but it’s fun to look ahead. :)

The fandom that dare not speak its name

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

While watching a SportsCenter commercial last night featuring the Tennessee Lady Vols’ head basketball coach, I came to a horrifying realization:

I think I’m starting to like Pat Summitt.

This is simply not acceptable. Pat Summitt is the enemy! She is UConn’s nemesis! She is the anti-Geno! She is the devil-woman! It is the solemn duty of every good Connecticutian to resist the Evil Pat and all Her Works! I’m allowed to grudgingly respect her, but under no circumstances am I supposed to like her! Must… resist…

"We are the Big Orange Army… you will be assimilated… resistance is futile…"


Oh, no, they didn’t! Tattle-tale Tennessee reports UConn recruiting violation

Thursday, March 13th, 2008

In the latest escalation of the Pat Summitt-Geno Auriemma War, Tennessee recently reported UConn for an alleged recruiting violation — arranging a tour of ESPN’s studios in Bristol for star freshman Maya Moore  back when she was a recruit who was heavily prized by both schools.

ESPN, obviously keen to avoid "becoming the story" again in the future, says that "to avoid future incidents, our tour policy will now prohibit high school
athletes from receiving tours at the request of a college or university
athletic official."

But the bigger story here, in my mind, is the Summitt-Auriemma angle. It has become increasingly clear that these two really don’t like each other. In fact, here is some exclusive footage of Pat and Geno going at it before a recent ballgame:

Correction: I’m told those are the Oral Roberts and IUPUI mascots. My bad. But if Connecticut and Tennessee meet in the Final Four, that’s pretty much what it’ll be like.

Mount St. Mary’s upsets Sacred Heart

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

Moments ago on ESPN2, #4-seed Mount St. Mary’s defeated #3-seed Sacred Heart, 68-55, on SHU’s home floor in Fairfield, Connecticut, to earn the Northeast Conference title. So that leaves just Hartford and UConn still alive from the Nutmeg State. (Hartford plays for the America East title on Saturday morning. UConn plays West Virginia in the Big East quarters tomorrow, but is, of course, going dancing regardless.)

The NCAA bid for the Mountaineers is their first since 1999. Between Mount St. Mary’s from the NEC, St. Mary’s from the WCC, and Notre Dame from the Big East, the Blessed Virgin will be very well-represented in this year’s NCAA Tournament. :)

Nutmeg pride & George Mason’s return

Sunday, March 9th, 2008

NEC #3-seed Sacred Heart this evening became the second Connecticut men’s basketball team to reach a conference championship today, joining Hartford from the America East conference. Sacred Heart beat #2 Wagner to set up a Wednesday meeting on ESPN2 against #4 Mount St. Mary’s. Because SHU has the better seed, they’ll host the title game on their home floor (an unexpected treat made possible by the Mount St. Mary’s upset of #1 Robert Morris).

In other Championship Week news, I mentioned earlier that #5-seed William & Mary upset #1 VCU, putting the latter on the bubble — well, now we know who will be the Pride’s opponent in tomorrow night’s CAA title game, and it’s none other than #3-seed George Mason. This will be Mason’s second straight year playing in the CAA final; last year, they made a Cinderella run as a #6 seed, but lost 65-59 to VCU. (In 2006, the year they went to the Final Four, they were actually booted in the semifinals of the CAA tourney!) Tomorrow’s game will be at 7:00 PM on ESPN.

Also tomorrow night, at 9:00 PM on ESPN2, it’ll be Southern Conference top seed Davidson vs. the Cinderella story of this year’s Championship Week to date, #7 Elon — a team with a 14-18 record and an RPI of #231, now one win from the Big Dance (or rather, the play-in game).

Gonzaga hopes they’ll be playing tomorrow night at 9:00 PM on ESPN, in the WCC title game. But first they need to beat Santa Clara in the semis, and right now they’re trailing 35-34 with 13:04 left. Go Zags!

UPDATE: Gonzaga wins, 52-48! Not a great game for the Zags — Pargo only scored 4 points — but they survived and advanced (albeit with the help of yet another terrible call by the refs down the stretch, as a blatant charge was wrongly called a defensive foul, increasing Gonzaga’s lead from 1 to 3). Tomorrow, they’ll go for their ninth WCC title in ten years against either St. Mary’s or homestanding San Diego.

No love for Geno

Saturday, March 8th, 2008

We're at the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame here in Knoxville with Kristy. Geno Auriemma's book doesn't seen to be selling to well at the gift shop. I'm shocked, SHOCKED… :)

10 years on: the Alumni Road shootings

Thursday, March 6th, 2008

Today is the tenth anniversary of the Newington lottery shootings  — a.k.a. the "lottery massacre," or as I called it in The Living Room Times the next day, the "Alumni Road massacre." Disgruntled state lottery employee Matthew Beck shot and killed four co-workers, then himself, at the Connecticut lottery headquarters on the road behind the high school’s athletic fields, with the last two deaths literally occurring in the NHS football parking lot.

There was a moment of silence at 8:45 this morning in
memory of the slain employees: state lotto director Otho Brown; chief
financial officer and former New Britain mayor Linda Mlynarczyk
(formerly Blogoslawski); vice president of operations Rick Rubelmann;
and information systems director Michael Logan. Governor Jodi Rell, who
was lieutenant governor on March 6, 1998, issued the following statement:

On that horrible morning,
four devoted public servants were killed and the lives of their
colleagues were forever altered. Sadly, Connecticut has all too often
seen state employees such as highway workers and state police officers
killed in the line of duty. Yet the events of March 6, 1998, are etched
in our memory with particular shock. I ask that state residents pause
with me on Thursday morning to pray for the victims, their fellow
lottery employees and their families.


I was out sick from school that day, and slept till sometime after noon. When I woke up, I found several messages on the answering machine from my parents, telling me there’d been a shooting at lottery headquarters, near the high school. (If I remember correctly, they’d heard about it because the shooter had been a member of their union.) I quickly turned on CNN, to find live coverage of the tragedy in my hometown. Helicopters were hovering overhead; satellite trucks were everywhere. While I’d been sleeping, Newington had become the center of the nation’s attention. I logged on to AOL and saw an article beginning with words I never thought I’d read: "NEWINGTON, Conn. (AP)." The article went on to describe Newington as a "small, sleepy town" — my hometown was a cliché for a day.

This was during my junior year, only a few months after the deaths of Bob and Jen. Those tragedies had hit the NHS community harder, of course, since they were more personal and specific to the high school, rather than being a mere matter of traumatic proximity. Still, the lottery massacre certainly contributed to the overall sense of 1997-98 being a rather hellish year at Newington High School. It also came at a time when school shootings were becoming major news items: the Pearl and Peducah tragedies had occurred a few months earlier, and the Jonesboro massacre would take place 2 1/2 weeks later. (Columbine was over a year away.) Although the lottery shootings were not actually at the school, they were close enough that I’d say they definitely reinforced a general feeling of edginess about such things.

Long term, the shootings led to a new gun control law in Connecticut, which has since been used to confiscate more than 1,200 guns from "people who are considered a serious danger to themselves or others." Also, the Hartford Courant won a Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the shootings.

Almost March

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

It’s February 28, but who says “March Madness” can’t get started a little early? Check out this wild ending in New Britain, Connecticut:


It’s unlikely we’ll be seeing either Quinnipiac — which is better known for polls than for basketball — or Central Connecticut State in the Big Dance, but they’re certainly doing their best to whet our appetites for it anyway. Anybody else excited for next month?

Dodd endorses Obama

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

Rejecting "entreaties from the Clintons," Chris Dodd, former presidential candidate and senior senator/superdelegate from Connecticut, will endorse Barack Obama at a Cleveland news conference this morning. Dodd is a longtime friend of the Clintons; Bill named him general chairman of the Democratic National Committee back in the mid-90s. Mark Halperin calls it "one of the ten most back-breaking nods Clinton has lost to Obama."

P.S. If Obama were looking for an "attack dog" runningmate, he could do far worse than Dodd, who can growl and bark with the best of  ’em. :) Dodd also has experience/gravitas; he’s been in the Senate for 28 years, is chairman of the Banking Committee, has been on the Foreign Relations Committee forever, etc. He’d be an unexciting choice, though. I don’t see anything about Dodd that would be attractive enough to overcome the two-senators problem, or the Northeastern-liberal problem. Besides, do Democrats really want to risk putting another Democratic senator from Connecticut on the national ticket? :) We all know what happened to the last guy they did that with… heh. (Not a fair comparison, of course; Dodd is as solid of a partisan liberal Democrat as they come. But still.)

All in all, I don’t see it happening. If Obama is willing to go with a Northeastern U.S. Senator for the sake of experience/gravitas, I think Biden would be the better choice. The only thing Dodd might have on Biden is that I think he’s seen as more of a straight-shooter — which, admittedly, might be a big deal for the Prophet of Hope and Change. :) But I still think Biden’s the pick if Obama wants to solidify his foreign-policy credentials. More likely, though, I suspect we’ll be seeing someone like Webb, Sebelius, Schweitzer… or perhaps Bredesen? (But cf., Schweitzer and Bredesen haven’t endorsed yet.)

UPDATE: The Boston Globe speculates that Clinton and/or Obama — more likely Clinton — may choose a runningmate before the race is over if the battle rages on past March 4. (Hat tip: Reagan’s GOP.)

More on Tim Aher

Thursday, February 21st, 2008

Here is the obituary of Notre Dame 2L Timothy Aher, who died in London over the weekend. News articles about his sad and untimely passing have also been published in the Notre Dame newspaper and in the local Connecticut newspaper of the area where he grew up. A memorial mass was held at the Basilica on Tuesday (video here) for Tim and Connor McGrath, the Notre Dame sophomore who also died over the weekend.

There’s much more, including a photo from the CT paper, in the Tim Aher & Connor McGrath memorial post, which I’ve updated several times. (There’s a fair amount of search-engine traffic coming to that page, so I’m trying to keep everything related to the tragedies consolidated there.) You can also find more photos of Tim at this Photobucket page. According to Chicago radio station WHPK, "friends from law school have started [it] to compile a photo album to give to Tim’s family."

Also, from the obituary: "In lieu of flowers, the family asks
that contributions be made to Connecticut Legal Services, Inc., 62
Washington St., Middletown, CT 06457, in Tim’s name."