Category Archives: Uncategorized

Not In My Name, Please

by Categorized: Politix, Uncategorized Date:

Last year I wrote about the unsightly danger of Dan Malloy turning into a hockey goon for the national Democratic party.

Twelve months passed and — guess what? — here he is in full goon mode, lining up the same spindly opposition player.

“He must have been beaten up really bad on the playground. Really bad, I think,” Malloy told BuzzFeed News when describing Jindal’s demeanor and what he said was a similar sharp-elbowed persona on and off camera.

I cannot tell you how distasteful I find this. First, the smirking suggestion that kids who get bullied on the playground grow up to be men who merit our disdain is repellent coming from anybody  but especially from a man who has whined ad nauseam about the treatment he received as a misunderstood, disability-laden boy.  Make up your mind, Governor. Do wretched little creatures deserve our scorn or our understanding?

I also fail to see how this serves the people who elected Malloy. We elected him to do a job, and in no way does that job involve kicking Bobby Jindal around or carrying water for politicos in the other 49 states. In particular, I expect him to make at least some effort to work cooperatively with Republicans and forge compromises that serve everybody’s best interests.

Renting himself out as a Chris Christie-style jerk-provocateur, he is unlikely to do this.  He already has pushed the drama button — which is a mile wide and set on a hair trigger — of Minority Leader Themis Klarides. How does this help us, here in Connecticut.

Malloy and Klarides photos by Chion Wolf for WNPR

Malloy and Klarides photos by Chion Wolf for WNPR


Northern Courage

by Categorized: Colin's Theories of Culture, Deep thoughts, Show ideas, Uncategorized Date:

Johan Christian Claussen Dahl - Nordiske landskapet
On days like the one we’re having here, it’s not uncommon to see one of us northerners post something on social media and see, in response, a comment from a transplant: “I wouldn’t know. It’s 76 today here in South Carogeorgialorida. So glad I’ll be out on my boat today instead of shiviering with the rest of you!”

And I reflexively think: I’d rather be freezing my cheeks off up here than wedged up against a d****ebag frothing with self-congratulation because he figured out it gets warmer as you approach the equator. I’d like to be warmer too, but not if it means being surrounded by people with no sense of irony, people who are more likely to be depicted in than entertained by Coen Brothers movies. To re-phrase “Repo Man,” sometimes it seems like the more you drive South, the stupider you get.

But that’s too easy, and it’s probably wrong to exalt one’s choices at the expense of a whole region of people many of whom are perfectly nice. Why the hell ARE we here? And then somebody sent me this essay, which feels more like the beginning of a conversation — and therefore a radio show idea! — than a solid answer.

Could northmanship be a thing? I mean, is there a connection that we make to truth and beauty here in the north? Of course, the north itself is retreating from us. One of McEnroe’s Immutable Theories of Culture is that the more we celebrate a thing, the more likely it is that it’s dying. And right now, we celebrate the north. I mean Joakim Zander is the new Henning Mankell who is the new Stieg Larsson. Iceland is hip. Cultural conservatives are shook about Lady Thor. Nordic pop and Canadian comedy. Holla!

I stray from my point. I wonder if there’s something mystical and meaningful about the cold and the darkness and the starkness. In which case, we should embrace it, rather than curse it. We should be content with the notion that Rilke is cooler than Jimmy Buffet. And not — as one voice in the Gould piece says — not throw away our North for a mess of pottage.

Often when I imagine you your wholeness cascades into many shapes. You run like a herd of luminous deer and I am dark, I am forest.

Malloy: I Look Better Through Beer Goggles

by Categorized: Uncategorized Date:


Dan Malloy has adopted a peculiar strategy for the roll-out of his new fiscal plan. He shows up for his interviews armed with booze to press into the hands of the press.

This week, he visited Crazy Ira and the Douche, excuse me, the Chaz and AJ show and brought them tequila in celebration of his new vision: cheap booze, longer hours, free hookers and firecrackers. 

Pander much?

But wait, there’s more. Malloy then showed up for his “Face the State” appearance with a sixpack, and he and Dennis House proceeded to spend the entire telecast pounding brews and checking out babes discussing his budget plan.

Would any other CT governor whose name did not rhyme with Don Schmoland contemplate such a strategery?  I covered Bill O’Neill, who owned a dive bar, and he would not have done this.

I fear it’s part of the changing of the guard.  Malloy is no longer advised by Roy Occhiogrosso, his shrewd, transactional and sometimes excessively Sicilian vizier of yore. In place of Mr. O — at the Capitol and state central — is bunch of pop-collared frat-molded bros. It’s as if Malloy swapped out Vizzini for Otter and Bluto. So you get: “Dude, bring some beer.”

vizzini bluto


Blumenthal Re-Shafted

by Categorized: Uncategorized Date:

Richard Blumenthal speaking with Scott SlifkaThe collateral damage from the whole Brian Williams mess is the revival of “the Richard Blumenthal case,” mentioned in about 75 percent of the Williams stories. There’s a kind of “stepped on” quality to the way the New York Times repeats the mistakes it originally made in its largely disgraceful reporting of the Blumenthal story.

So here’s Alessandra Stanley in today’s Times:

Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut stumbled during his 2010 campaign when The New York Times found a videotape of him telling a veterans group in 2008 that he had served in Vietnam. He hadn’t. Mr. Blumenthal sought multiple deferments, and when he ran out of them in 1970, he won a coveted niche in the Marine Reserve in Washington.

That videotape was the biggest hammer Blumenthal got hit with when the Times broke the story on page one. In fact, it was ultimately discredited. Raymond Hernandez, whose reporting on this story was just horrible and hand-fed to him by operatives for Linda McMahon, had never seen the whole speech, just the part that was selectively leaked to him.

As the AP later reported, the full version of the speech “shows Blumenthal at the beginning of his speech correctly characterizing his service by saying that he ‘served in the military, during the Vietnam era.’ “

Now go back and read what Stanley wrote today. She’s repeating the original mistake because the Times institutionally “remembers” something that’s not really true.

I’m not offering an exoneration of Blumenthal. There were pretty clearly other more blameworthy occasions.  But it intrigues me that the Times, in the course of ripping up Williams, commits a similar offense of misremembering its own bad reporting as gospel.

Gawker’s Feeble Troll Attempt

by Categorized: Uncategorized Date:

I love Connecticut and I love New York City.  I don’t have to hate one to love the other, which distinguishes me from Gawker and many of its miserable, snarling commenteers. Doesn’t every state have something its Rotary Club can boast of? Some product that the state produces the most of? (Warning: Connecticut is omitted from song.)

But I’ll answer the question. I don’t know much about muffins. It’s not how I live my life, worrying about whether I have access to good enough muffins.

If we started with stuff invented in Connecticut, we’d be here all day. There’s the stuff definitely invented here: the vacuum cleaner, the sewing machine, the can opener, the helicopter, the submarine, etc.. And stuff we can make an interesting case for: like anesthesia and airplanes.

Here’s one close to your hearts, Brookyln hipsters. You can thank us for birth control. 

But that’s all ancient history, right? New York, the last Tory stronghold, has never been crazy about American history.

You want now, right? Well, we got Darko. He won the, you know, Tony. You probably hate “Annie,” but it started here.  So did the “Hunger Games.” We’ve got Wally Lamb and Phillip Roth and Amy Bloom and Luanne Rice. Streep lives here. Gilmore Girls is set here.  ESPN is here. We gave you Gretchen Mol and Anika Noni Rose. Here’s an odd little thing. I’ve been told there was a New Haven High School production of a Gilbert and Sullivan show in which Lauren Ambrose and Ross Douthat appeared. Paul Newman. Arthur Miller, Katharine Hepburn. You’ve heard of these people, right? When you pack St. John the Divine, thank us for Paul Winter, who lives here. Last week the Times gushed over this. 

The Wiffle Ball. The Frisbee.Ken Westerfield freestyle scissors catch 1977

The best stuff about Connecticut is the stuff you’ll never know about.  Because you’ll never come here, which is fine. You know how you wait in line for 90 minutes at some cool brunch place? We never do that. We hardly ever have long lines for anything, because you’re not here in line ahead of us. Thank you. And we don’t have to worry about being cool, because we know we’re not. We rarely stress about whether we’re having the most awesome muffin or bagel available on the Eastern Seaboard. It’s very relaxing.

UPDATE: I have been instructed to add Pez and Wallace Stevens.

Call the roller of big cigars,
The muscular one, and bid him whip
In kitchen cups concupiscent Pez.


Robin Hood, Packing

by Categorized: Politix, Uncategorized, Year in Review Date:

I’m going to reserve judgment.

I’m not going to call this the lunatic bill of the 2015 session. Not yet. There’s a lot I don’t understand about this, I’m sure. But it sounds like a Daryl Dixon and Sarah Palin blind date. (Unless you buy into the whole thing about Daryl maybe being gay.)

It does raise a bunch of questions, starting with: what predators are we talking about? We don’t — officially speaking — have mountain lions or wolves. Except in North Stonington. Black bears? You’re going to drop your bow and bust off a cap in a black bear? Zombies? Is this about zombies?

Anyway, I always thought the whole idea of bowhunting was to even the playing field, a little.


The First Family of Aggression

by Categorized: Uncategorized Date:

You really have wonder what kind of person says this from the stage  on Inauguration Day:

The most emotional moments of the inaugural ceremonies came not from Malloy but from his wife, Catherine Lambert Malloy. “My kids are going to be freaked out if I start crying,” she said at the start of her remarks, which included a quick “campaign commercial” that she didn’t get to do during the actual campaign. “Unlike the other guy,” Connecticut’s first lady said, “he’s got a plan.”

I’m no big fan of Tom Foley, but that’s a cheap shot under the most inappropriate of circumstances. The mood of this day — even among people who are probably going to be brawling on the ice come April — was otherwise noble and conciliatory.  I was especially –well, “moved” is not the right word — impressed by the fuss the House Democrats made over the new Republican minority leader Themis Klarides. Her opposite, majority leader Joe Aresimowicz, went on at some length about how much he valued her friendship and their working relationship. Time will take care of that, but it’s the right way to act on swearing-in day.

Never remember anybody kicking a vanquished opponent from the inaugural stage. Let’s nip this new tradition in the bud. What is wrong with these people?

Cathy and Dannel Malloy kiss as they enter the House Chambers before Malloy delivered his State of the State Address. (Mark Mirko)

Cathy and Dannel Malloy kiss as they enter the House Chambers before Malloy delivered his State of the State Address. (Mark Mirko)


by Categorized: Moon Pitchers, Uncategorized Date:

mrturner THE IMITATION GAME“The Imitation Game” does not trust us to love a movie about its subject — the sad, brilliant, socially stunted mathematician Alan Turing. As the film tumbles along, you can feel director Morton Tyldum pulling out organ stops and dumping ballast out of the hot air balloon basket. About two-thirds of the way in, you can feel him panic and bolt, like a rabbit, in the direction crowd-pleasing nonsense. It may please the crowd, but it did not please me.

“Mr. Turner,” director Mike Leigh’s biopic about the painter J.M.W. Turner, is a more trusting creature. Eschewing all conventions of plot and narrative, Leigh imagines an audience that will trundle and grunt across the English landscape with its trundling, grunting protagonist. That audience may not exist in droves, but some of us embody it.

You should see both of these movies, but you should make a special effort to see “Mr. Turner” on a big screen with good equipment. There are some movies that don’t make any sense on a 46-inch Samsung, and this is one of them. “The Imitation Game,” by contrast, will wait. Turing is important. His story is important. But you can watch it the way you watch “Masterpiece Theater” and not miss out terribly.

“Mr. Turner” is almost entirely about seeing. Timothy Spall, as the painter, suggests a man so ravished and overwhelmed by the way the world looks to him that he has let pretty much everything else — from the power of speech to human relationships — slide into a ramshackle matter-of-factness. You will notice the word “suggests.” Leigh is never pushy.  One of the best dramatizations of an artist is not a movie but Sondheim’s “Sunday in the Park with George,” but “Mr. Turner” is blissfully free of feverish exhalations about color and design and harmony. Only once, in a fumbling art class speech about reflective surfaces, does Turner tell us anything, and even then he seems like a caveman struggling to acquire language. Spall is fabulous in the role, and his gruff and grunting Turner makes Brando sound like the Great Enunicator.

Leigh uses the same actors over and over, and this film makes me want to go back and re-watch “Topsy Turvy,” another movie about how artistic greatness comes at the expense of something, maybe everything. But certainly Leigh has never made a movie so visually arresting. Taking on a subject like Turner amounts to pointing to the bleachers, right? You’ve got to hit the long ball, optically speaking, and that is what Leigh does.

I wish I liked the “Imitation Game” better. I’m fascinated by Turing and spent a lot of time recently getting ready for a show about him. Like all citizens of 2015, I am also a dedicated Cumberbatchean. The man can do no wrong, and he is an excellent Turing, dancing neatly on the edge that divides the know-it-all from the man who actually does know it all and a second edge that divides the mere milquetoast from man whose mental life has rendered his physical self nearly meaningless.

But, risking a mild spoiler, I can tell you the precise moment at which this movie exhausted my patience. Turing and his team of math geeks have cracked the Nazi code. Seconds later, his friend with no benefits Joan Clarke (Keira Knightley) decodes a German message. Clarke whips her head toward a map with pins in it. Oh my goodness! She can somehow tell that a convoy is about to be hit by the Germans. We have only minutes to stop it! We can’t, not without letting on that we’ve cracked the Enigma code, says Turing. Wait!, says one of the other geeks. My brother is on one of those boats! This all happens in the space of two minutes, and by the end of it, you’re rooting for Graham Chapman to march in and say things have gotten too silly.  Which they have.

None of that constitutes an excuse from seeing “Imitation Game.” We are not excused from anything. But one does wish the movie truckled less and trusted more.