Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Who's Got The Button?

Whalehead King went to the tailor today and they were tidying up the button department. A magpie attracted to shiny objects, Mr. King picked through the boxes of shiny, gold buttons. He let them run through his fingers like doubloons.

Some of the buttons were stamped with the crest of the Admiral Billard Academy. Here is the story about the academy. It is true.

It seems to have been a kind of private, merchant marine prep school. If you turn down Admiral Drive from Montauk Avenue, you will see a stone ledge on your right about a hundred fifty feet down. There is a plaque set in the stone commemorating the school, erected by alumni of the last graduating class. If memory serves correctly, they graduated in 1957.

It is a little known, but equally true fact that the last whale to be rendered into oil in New London was rendered at the Admiral Billard Academy. This happened during WWII. Whalehead King is far from his archives. He is working from his vast, mental storehouse of New Londonalia. A dead whale washed up on the beach across from the Admiral Billard Academy in 1946 or 1947.

To honor New London tradition and keep their skills sharp, the students flensed the blubber off the carcass. They boiled down the sperm into lamp oil like their forefathers had. They did this in the cafeteria kitchen rather than on a whaling ship’s deck, but you get the idea.

Do you want to hear about The Cheap Eats Poetry Reading that is going down next Monday? Click Here!!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Smart Women Again

Little girls grow into big women. In a theme we have spelunked before, we would like to reiterate that smart women live in New London, Conn. and smart men appreciate them. This is not a city for wallflowers. It is a city for matrons and vixens draped in mink. This is a city ripe for women to take charge. It is a city where Amazon doesn’t mean a bookseller or a bodybuilder. It is a city that wants a feminine touch. The hens rule the roost in New London, Conn. All the men are too impotent to be cock of the walk.

If a fox wanders into New London’s henhouse, he is soon beaten out the door and off his mission. He is chastised for being hungry for eggs. You can’t turn a fox into a pussy. We are not using double-entendres here, just a turn of phrase.

Thank Heaven for little girls. Maurice Chevalier said it best, and New London whistles the chorus. Little girls grow into strong women. The best settle in New London, Conn. We do not know where the rest go, but we would like to know. Smart, Strong Women of the World! New London needs you! The Chamber of Commerce would be contacting you shortly, if there were one.

To see the kind of women New London, Conn. breeds, please click this sentence to read about Chloe.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Patricia Athenian

Once, during a blue moon, Whalehead King ventured to the Athens of America during a drear, winter month. He took Amtrak from New London’s Union Station. Mr. King is a man who has taken many journeys by train. As someone who eschews the use of a car, he is used to public transportation. Listen well: Cars Are Coffins. When he lived in Fairfield County, Conn., Mr. King took Metro North both to New York but to New Haven and points between. There is always a party swinging within walking distance of a Metro North station.

Whalehead King has taken the U-Bahn and the S-Bahn in Frankfurt-am-Main. He has taken the Metropolitana in bella Napoli. He took a funiculare up to Vomero. Funiculare is the Italian word for ‘funicular railroad.’ Mr. King once took the Bullet Train from Edo to Shokoku in less time than it took him to read the New London Day. He has ridden all New York City’s subway in their long, rubber band loops.

Amtrak is a nice train. It is not efficient and it is as often overcrowded as it is not. It is comfortable and the conductors are very friendly. One conductor is our very own Pat Athenian of New London, Conn. Pat Athenian was taking tickets when she noticed Whalehead King sitting in a window seat, ticket in hand. She asked where he was headed and wished him a nice trip. Later on, she brought some other conductors to meet their celebrity guest. Everyone was cordial. Our hero got a complimentary four ounces of coffee.

When the train pulled into South Station, Mr. King thanked the train crew and encouraged his fellow passengers to offer a round of applause. After Mr. King disembarked from Amtrak, he made his way through the station and hopped onto the T. That is what they call trains in The Land of the Cod and the Bean. T stands for Transit.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

New London Camels

The camel is the mascot of Connecticut College, a private liberal arts institution located on College Hill, next to Quaker Hill in New London, Conn. Alumni like to say, “You know you are traveling if you arrive by camel.” Camels are not native to southeastern Connecticut. Few people know why the camel is Connecticut College’s mascot. Now you will know why.

The Pausipeg is New London’s resident sprite. He has lived here longer than anyone else. He lived here when New London was called Nameaug and he lived here before the place even had a name. He was all by himself for many years, which may explain why he always mutters to himself.

The Pausipeg claims to have crossed a glacier to get to the mouth of the Thames River. Everyone knows the Pausipeg hates to walk long distances, which is why he rarely leaves New London city limits. The Pausipeg acknowledges this. When pressed, he will tell the listener that he crossed the glacier riding a camel. A camel, along with the Pausipeg, was the first animal to grace New London’s shore.

If you ask the Pausipeg to draw a picture of a camel, the drawing looks like a potato stuck with four toothpicks. As the millennia roll by, the Pausipeg’s long-term memory is getting hazy. The Pausipeg says that when he reached Long Island Sound he knew he had reached his journey’s end. The Pausipeg says camel meat is the best thing he has ever eaten. He complains that he hasn’t had a good camel meal in ages.

In honor of the Pausipeg, Conn. College students hold a barbecue featuring camel steaks on the menu. It is an annual ritual. At the end of the festivities, they leave a plate out on the lawn for the Pausipeg to sample. Unfortunately, the Pausipeg doesn’t have a date book. In fact he has only a vague sense of time. He always forgets the date, and by the time he remembers he is deep on a bender in some shady downtown barroom, too stumbly to make his way up College Hill.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Manwaring Man

When the foundation of the Mohican Hotel was being dug, work crews discovered the remains of a human skeleton. The bones were carefully exhumed and assembled. The whole skeleton was exhibited in a special case in the lobby of the Mariner’s Bank on State Street. Local scholar, Silas Manwaring, who lived in the family mansion on Manwaring Hill, wrote a paper about the specimen which he read at the annual meeting of trustees at the Smithsonian Institute. The specimen was named after him.

According to reports at the time, Manwaring Man was eight feet tall and had a gold molar. He had broken his arm at one point and the fracture had healed well. Besides the bones, Manwaring Man’s stomach also survived the ages. It was full of the remains of clams. Despite his remarkable dentition, it appears Manwaring Man didn’t like to chew. He can be excused; the best way to swallow a little neck is to let it slide down whole.

It was postulated that Manwaring Man was a Pequot. Researchers went to the reservation in Mashantucket and the Pequots denied any relationship. The researchers then went to Giant’s Neck and talked to the Nehantics, who likewise wouldn’t acknowledge kinship. They went to Shantok Fort in Uncasville. The Mohegans told them that the skeleton wasn’t one of theirs. The Mohegans did tell the team that the skeleton probably belonged to one of “The Little People.”

According to Mohegan legend, The Little People really are little, except for one. It turns out that Gundiclatch was overly large for a Little Person. Because he didn’t fit in, he left the Mohegan lands and traveled south. First he lived on Mamacoke Island where there is a pork chop tree. When he got tired of eating pork chops he went further south to the shores of Winthrop Cove, where he lived off clams.

While Gundiclatch was living on Winthrop Cove, he ran into the Pausipeg, New London’s resident sprite. The two got along well for awhile, but the Pausipeg is famous for making fast enemies out of quick friends. They started to quarrel and the Pausipeg grew resentful that Gundiclatch was eating all the clams in what was then called the Pequot River.

One thing led to another and Gundiclatch met his maker. His remains were discovered five centuries later when the Mohican Hotel was built. His skeleton was on display for about ten years. Its whereabouts are currently unknown. Some people think the whole thing was an elaborate hoax. The Pausipeg is still around. You can see him rattling trash cans in downtown alleys late at night.


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