Archive for July, 2008

Sorry, Mom is wrong!
July 21, 2008

 

As you may know,  the name of the former Connecticut governor, U.S. Senator, Aetna president, and Baseball Hall of Famer Morgan Bulkeley is often pronounced two ways:  BULK-lee and BUCK-lee.    Only one is correct: BULK-lee.

I spoke to Bulkeley’s great-grandson, Morgan G. Bulkeley IV,  who told me BULK-lee is the correct way to pronounce his family name and everyone in the family says it that way and always has.      The Bulkeley Bridge and Bulkeley High School are named after the late governor, and those are both pronounced BULK-lee.    There is some belief that the bridge is BULK-lee and the school is BUCK-lee, but the authority on the pronunciation says that is not true. 

So why do so many people pronounce it the incorrect way?    For some, BULK-lee may be difficult to say.    People who mispronounced the name in 1925 then taught their children this wrong way, and then those children passed it on to the next generation, and so on.    If you grow up being told that is how to pronounce it, you believe it.   That’s why I often hear “my mother went to Bulkeley and she pronounced it BUCK-lee, and they are vehement in their defense of the incorrect pronunciation. 

 

Ideas for Improving Hartford
July 19, 2008

On this week’s Face the State we are talking about ways to improve Hartford.  Your capital city is in the middle of a billion dollar renaissance but the city is still plagued by some crime-ridden neighborhoods, empty storefronts, and companies leaving for the suburbs.

 This Sunday we have three local figures in the city of Hartford ..but they are not elected officials.

Ben Jensen, an attorney , Susie Hatch, a realtor, and Phil Schonberger, a developer.  We would like to hear from you.

A Long Overdue Honor
July 15, 2008

As we reported on Eyewitness News earlier this year Ann Street in downtown Hartford has been renamed “Ann Uccello Street.”    The signs (there are 3 of them) on I-84 went up over the past two weeks.   City signs are being made and will be put up later.   

Check out my blog from December 2006 to learn more about Mayor Ann Uccello, and her place in history.    http://dennishouse.wordpress.com/2006/12/02/nutmeg-names-ann-uccello/

 When I interviewed the honorable Miss Uccello I asked her if anything was named after her, and she said “no.”   I was really surprised since there is a school named for former Mayor Thirman Milner and a post office named for former congresswoman Barbara Kennelly.  Both served after Uccello, and both are younger.   Uccello is a very down to worth woman who doesn’t sit around talking about the good old days.   When I asked around, the belief was that Uccello wasn’t honored because she is a Republican, and the city has been controlled by Democrats since the days she left office nearly 38 years ago.     She was friends with President Nixon and later hired by him, and maybe some held that against her. 

Anyway, this trailblazer  is finally being recognized for her accomplishments and more importantly her contributions to the city, the state, women, Italian-Americans, and the federal government.

Congratulations, Ann Uccello!!       Look for news of an official unveiling ceremony coming up.

Campaign 2010
July 14, 2008

Campaign ’08 isn’t over yet and already the race for governor in 2010 is starting to percolate.  One of the leading possible candidates was our guest this past weekend on Face the State.

Here is my interview with Dan Malloy http://www.wfsb.com/facethestate/index.html

What do you think?  Will Governor Rell run for re-election?  Who do you think will run?

Swingtown
July 10, 2008

The  biggest TV hit of the summer of ’08 is a show about the summer of ’76.     Swingtown is seen each and every Thursday at 10PM right here on Channel 3, and based on the ratings, you like it..quite a bit.

I confess, I watch it, too.   It’s about three couples and their children during the Bicentennial summer in suburban Chicago.    They don’t say exactly where, but judging by references to Lake Michigan and the “village” it’s likely Winnetka, Wilmette or one of those affluent north shore burbs.    Think Westport, or Fairfield.   

Swinging is one of the sub-plots,  but I love the sets, the music,  the clothing, the props that remind me of the 70s.   My parents had an avocado green bathroom, and a harvest gold telephone that matched the stove, dishwasher and refrigerator.   My mom had the same tupperware that Janet sells. In last week’s episode they showed a Ford Pinto wagon.  I vividly remember going to the Ford dealership with my mother and father to look at one during the gas crisis.   They thought about trading in our big green Ford wagon for something more fuel efficient.   They wisely decided against the Pinto, which later made headlines for its deadly feature of exploding gas tanks.

Also last week, the issue of women’s rights came up.  It was a different time then.  Women were coming into their own and realizing their power at home, society and in the workplace.   In the 70s my mother wanted to get her ears pierced, and my father actually forbade it.  I remember this day like it was yesterday.   My mother’s response?  She immediately called her friend and they went to the salon and got holes put in their ear lobes, openly defying my father’s silly comment “if God wanted you to have holes in your ears, he would have put them there.”   

Swingtown brings up all sorts of memories for me.  Riding my bike to Norwood Center to see a movie, or riding around town.   In a previous episode the kids were playing Gnip Gnop.   We had that same game. 

Alright, children of the 70s, let’s hear from you.  Don’t forget your city or town.

Hartford-by-the-sea
July 7, 2008

A parking lot dotted with cars with Connecticut license plates, many of them with frames that read “Gengras, Schaller, and Hoffman.”    Beachgoers with Hartford Whalers hats and UConn t-shirts.    A CVS where the Hartford Courant sells out every morning.   Where am I? 

Not in Connecticut, but rather Newport, Rhode Island, known as the “city by the sea.”  For  more and more people it is becoming “Hartford-by-sea.”   Only 87 miles from downtown to downtown, Newport is loaded with vacationers from Metro Hartford, and across the state, many who have summer homes and cottages there.    Kara and I have been vacationing in Newport for years, and we constantly run into people from our capital city and its suburbs.   Just this past weekend we ran into New Britain native Tebucky Jones. Former Hartford Whalers owner Richard Gordon can also be spotted in town.   A popular restaurant on famous Thames Street is owned by Lisa Wilson-Foley and her husband Brian,  and a well known West Hartford family, the Zyskowskis of Central Optica,  runs an inn in town.    The Newport Winefest is run by Hartford Magazine publisher Michael Guinan.

I wasn’t kidding about the Courant selling out at CVS.  If you’re not there early, you’re not going to get a copy.    

Newport is popular among people from our area because of its attractions and proximity.    Growing up in suburban Boston, we used to go to the Cape…still a great place, but a tough commute from Hartford.   It also seems to have something for everyone.   The downtown is very walkable with shops and restaurants.  The beaches have plenty of parking.  There are plenty of nightclubs for young people, and attractions (the mansions) when it rains.

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