Thursday, March 29, 2007

No Needs Unmet

There are more than bricks in a city. There are hungry souls and libidos. Most needs can be met in New London, if not with the real thing then at least with a fantasy. The latest shipment of pornographic magazines arrived today at Parade News and the shelves in the back were freshly stocked by 2:00 this afternoon. Your correspondent is not familiar with the titles on offer, but the selection seems extensive enough that any connosieur will be sure to find something to suit thier tastes.

The grounds around St. Mary Star of the Sea Roman Catholic Church show all the green shades of spring grass. The Church is beautiful to begin with, and the statue of St. Mary Star of the Sea is a benevolent prescence for those driving on Huntington Street. The rectory and the nunnery are equally handsome and reassuring features on the west side of Huntington Street. The school is as dignified in its architechture as everything else on the property, including the parking lot/playground in back.

St. Mary Star of the Sea Church sits north of the intersection of Huntington and Tilley Streets and Washington Avenue. The corner of the rectory abuts the old SNET Building which has been converted to apartments. There is a triangular lawn between the rectory and the corner of Hutnington and Washington. It is well tended and kept manicured. A stainless, white statue of The Christ stands blessing Tilley Street. On one of side of the old SNET Building is the church's lawn. The other side fronts a narrow alley between the SNET Building and the Elks Lodge. Most of the windows on this side of the Elks Lodge are boarded up and were painted forest green seven years ago.

Some of the apartment windows in the old SNET Building overlook the back of the blessing Christ. Others look right at the Elks Lodge twelve feet away, others offer a view of the St Mary's School's parking lot. In the front, the apartments face the Federal style homes across Washington Avenue and a bit of Brewer Street's panorama. No one apartment or view is more coveted than any other. This is New London, after all, and every view is beautiful. This humble narrator prefers the Huntington side himself, especially the apartments from which I can see the back of the blessing Christ.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Things are not what they seem

In a city where nothing is as it appears, you never know what you will find. Be careful where you look and when you see something you shouldn't, avert your gaze. Sometimes two plus two equals a conga line in New London. They teach this in the fourth grade at Edgerton school.

What look like abandoned buildings on Bank Street are really pleasure palaces behind the boarded up windows on the third stories. Bachannals take place every night with no one suspecting. New London is home to some saucy and naughty entertainment for those who know where to find it. New London's secret floorshows are secret because this city was founded by Puritans and home to the first American Episicopalian diocese. It has a reputation for morality.  It has a reputation as pure and undriven as the unplowed streets in December.

Seek and you will find. This is a city of pleasure-seekers and lovers of the flesh. Scratch a New Londoner and you will find a hedonist under his or her facade. As the nights wear on, New Londoners live on little sleep and plenty of exercise. They are busy chasing their dreams and distractions. They are enjoying the pleasures offered to their senses.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Supermarket Specials

A lot goes on in downtown New London when Whalehead King is usually at work. Though technically a man of leisure, he does do actual paid work in the mornings. Today, after spending too late a night at the New Haven Invasion, Mr. King took the day off and ran errands and ran into people he doesn't usually see at times he doesn't usually see them.

He shared a pot of tea with a lovely friend, who tried to teach him about the computer, a machine our hero still loathes. There is no doubt, his friend found Whalehead King exasperating. They had a nice afternoon in the end though, because despite his many quirks, Mr. King can be very good company and a very good host when he chooses to be. It is easy to be good company to a good friend.

Beets are on sale at C-Town. Unlike most of the produce there, these are some beautiful beets, if you are partial to them. Mr. King purchased a bunch of three firm fresh beets for dinner. He also went to ShopRite where the leeks were as beautiful as the beets at C-Town and equally inexpensive. Well, the leeks beat the beets in the stewpot tonight. When Mr. King's guest came into the house she said it smelled wonderful. He would have offered her some, but she doesn't eat seafood and this is an alliterative stew. Leek and Lobster.

Monday, March 26, 2007

New Haven Invasion Tonight!!

Three New London writers are going out on reconnaisance tonight to the Elm City, home to Yale Univeristy and Cafe Nine. There is an open microphone night and your fearless New London writers are going to play in the big kids' sandbox. The event starts at 10:00PM, big city time when most New Londoners are snug in their beds resting up to accomplish important things in their own little city. Pity these New Londoners, sophisticated as they may be, that they have to stay awake so late. They are sure to be punchy and spunky at this late Monday night hour. Perhaps New Haven writers don't have day jobs.

David Spinelli, the Berlin Pilgrim who has made his home in New London, Davana the Coral Queen, and Whalehead King himself are embarking from the Whaling City at 8:30 to travel Interstate 95 in a straight line on a mission to the cultural capitol of the Nutmeg State. New Haveners beware. The New London School of Poets is about to invade your turf and we are not replacing the divots when we are done. We are going to clean the wax out of your ears. We are going to rattle the tiny bones in your middle ears. We are going to clear your eustachian tubes. We are going to show how it is done in a city where poetry is the meat that prevents our anemia and the mead that keeps us eloquent.

Get ready New Haveners going to Cafe Nine tonight. You are going to be bothered, bewitched and bewildered by writers outside your frame of reference. We intend to bowl you over like duck pins. We will speak proudly and loudly. It is hard to be humble when you are from New London, Conn.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Amy Hannum for President!!

Mark your calendar, social activism and the prospect for change are in the air. March 31st, at the Oasis Cafe, 14 Bank Street, I beleive, will host an event to promote New London's most promising presidential candidate. Show your support and hobnob with the possible next leader of the free world.

Amy Hannum, locally known as Paintdragon, is running for president. That's right: Commander in Chief, Head of the Administrative Branch of our Constitutional government, a breath of fresh air more full of energy, younger and more charming than Ralph Nader. Ms. Hannum is a fountainhead of ideas as powerful and as personable as a character out an an Ayn Rand novel. If you want to see a woman in the White House, cast a vote for Amy Hannum. She deserves it more than many, many other candidates.

March 31st at the Oasis. What a perfect place to launch a leader in the desert of hackworn ideas that have dominated the debates thus far.

Woonsocket, Rhode Island

Your intrepid correspondent travelled far afield today, to the romantic city of Woonsocket, Rhode Island. Foreign territory indeed, it is a city with a beautiful name, built by Canucks and now home to a large Cambodian population. While the city of Woonsocket will never compete with our beloved New London, it has much to commend it.

It is a friendly city and one in which it is easy to lose one's way. It is home to a lovely Thai/Cambodian/Laotion restaurant where the hostess is lovely and professional and discreet. She is also the cook and she accomodates special orders. The food is delicious, especially when enjoyed with delicious company.

My companion and I landed in Woonsocket by happy accident, the way most accidents should be. I would never have consciously chosen Woonsocket as a destination, but now I can recommend it wholeheartedly, should anyone, for whatever reason, want to replace New London's excitement with the thrills to be found in an old industrial city along the Blackstone River.

We started our jaunt in Providence, that queen of Rhode Island cities. No, I did not take the motor scooter to Providence. I took Amtrak, which was very convenient and very pleasant. It took an hour to get to downtown Providence and 50 minutes back to New London. Round trip cost: $45.00. The staff was pleasant and professional, as if they had been running trains for more than a century. Since Providence's train station is located right downtown, I would recommend this as a means of travel to the Ocean State's capitol. It helps especially if you have a pleasant friend to meet you when you arrive.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Tuxedo Cat

Bailey is the cutest cat you will ever see. His owner told me so. He is black and white, a formal wear type of cat, a feline in a tuxedo. He is a gentleman house cat. Bailey looks like a penguin except, of course, he walks on four legs rather than two and Bailey has a tail. Both Bailey and penguins have heard their share of symphony conductor jokes. Bailey hates water, though he does love to eat fish.

Penguins get herrings thrown to them at the zoo and they catch them from schools in the sub-zero oceans off Antacrtica. Bailey gets a double packed can of brisling sardines packed in spring water when he has been extra good, which is almost every day. With all those omega-three fatty acids in his blood, Bailey has the silkiest coat of any cat in New London County. His black fur is as sleek as the velvet on a fancy man's lapels. His white fur is as primly ruffled as a fancy groom's , a mariachi guritarist's, or an opera affecianado's silk shirt.

Bailey is polite and affectionate. It isn't only his fur that is soft. His disposition is to cuddle and rub and purr with contentment. Whalhead King had an extended conversation with the woman who shares her apartment with Bailey, the Tuxedo Cat. She has never spent the night in bed with a penguin, but she states for the record that she is sure she would prefer a night cuddled with Bailey over a night spooning with a penguin. It takes more than a black and white exterior to make an animal worth sleeping with. It is what is inside that counts.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

What Makes A Wallflower?

Sometimes the most timid maid in the room can contain a bestial zoo inside her head. Just because someone lingers by the punch bowl and looks comfortable in a folding chair, doesn't mean there is a lack of lust in that person's libido. You cannot judge a book by its cover, not even a Bible.

Human beings are many sided things, New Londoners more than most. They are aristorcrats of the gutter, they are Morlocks among the Eloi. Who is who and which is which is a matter of circumstance and situation. The most demure damsel can be a tiger in the boudoir, but you will never know. If New Londoners appear angelic, they can also be devlish. We are all human after all, containing the divine and the demonic, the pure and the purulent, perfection and perversion.

Beware the wallflower. She will eat you alive like a carnivorous plant if given the chance. "Come into my web," said the spider to the fly. Just don't get caught like an ant under a magnifying glass. You will regret it more than being brave enough to chat up the wallflower at the ball rather than the belle. Be careful what to expect.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Tricorner Mania

You may have seen a man dressed in a modern, bespoke suit strolling State Street wearing a fancy, cockaded, tricorner hat. Why did this hat ever go out of style? It was made famous by Minutemen and French Revolutionaries. It is a hat that shows off a man's head and shows the world that this is a gentleman with whom you must deal fairly and reckon with dearly. Did George Washington cross the Delaware wearing a baseball cap?

We are New Londoners, citizens of an old city, who should be proud of our old ways and traditions. Prove to the world that you don't care what they think is fashionable. Purchase a tricorner and wear it as proudly as Thomas Paine, Ben Franklin, Isreal Putman, and Cesear Romney. This is a Hip Little City, not a Hip-Hop City. Wear your tricorner with pride and show the world you are a New Londoner. To Hell with the what the rest of the world wants to wear.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Hip-Hip New London

Firstly, a shout-out to Montauk Marketplace at 553 Montauk Avenue, New London, Conn. This is the only establishment in the Connecticut's Whaling City that offers the full line of Whalehead Library merchandise currently available. They also have a wall dedicated to newspaper clippings of Mr. King's exploits as the Bard of New London and the city's Unofficial Goodwill Ambassador and unelected mayor.

On to more serious and less commercial business. Snow brings out the best in New Londoners, especially when an intrepid soul scoots by on a little motor bike encrusted with ice and a cape billowing behind him. Yes, the littlest biker is also the most intrepid. Weather, like any other obstacle life puts in your way is just a state of mind. The Scooter Man knows this. He will not let a little slush and more than a hint of danger get in the way of his patrols.

Green Street, one of the narrowest yet most culturally important streets in New London is also one of the most neglected by the plows. There was a narrow path of wet asphalt along the east gutter. Several pedestrians offered the Scooter Man advice as to how best to navigate this rutted slush pile that is Green Street. Thank you everyone for your advice. The block was navigated without a spill and the applause was so thunderous, people stuck their heads out the window thinking a Saint Patrick's Day Parade had just passed down Green Street. It was a parade of one: a dandy with a colonial cloak, a porkpie hat and a silk, aviator scarf blowing beind him. Hip-Hip New London. It is the little things that count.

Friday, March 16, 2007

The Red Sock

Gladstone Turner of apartment 2-A at 78 West Street woke up early and didn't turn on the lights before he fished through his sock drawer. He donned one navy sock and one red one. He didn't realize it until much later in the day while he was working in the mail room at Connecticut College. He realized he couldn't do anything about it at this point, so he continued sorting the mail and putting the letters in their asssigned slots.

Cindy Cornerstone, who is the youngest, most single, and prettiest female employee in the Connecticut College mailroom noticed that Gladstone Turner was wearing mismatched socks. She didn't think this was a mistake. She thought it was a mark or individuality. Only an assured man would wear such contrasting anklewear. Anyone who can wear such socks without being self-consiousness, obvisously had little to prove in the bedroom.

Cindy Conerstone asked Gladstone Turner for a drink at Mr. G's that night. One thing led to another. Apartment 2-A at 78 West Street was never louder. The tenent at apartment 1-A beat on the wall wtih a broomstick. Cindy Cornerstone and Gladstone Turner are a couple now. They keep thier relationship professional in the Connecticut College mailroom, but beyond the postal boxes, passions run high.

As Gladstone Turner will tell you, size doesn't matter. Socks do.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Paul Brockett Blowout!!

If you are not going to see Hall & Oates at Mohegan Sun on Saturday, there is a better show being performed at Hot Rod's Cafe. If you want to see home grown professional music delivered with panache and good diction, Hot Rods is the place to be on Saturday night at 8:00 PM

Paul Brockett the epiphinouous front man, is backed up by professional mucisans Dave and Meghan who don't mind sharing the spotlight with a showman supreme. It takes more than a singer with big cowboy hat to put on a satisfying show. It takes a band made up of the best. PBR deliveres all one can expect with a live show in spades with an aces up everyone's sleeves.

Your intrepid reporter will be on hand to record the proceedings and provide a review of the best little band in the Hippest Little City. Don't count on my commentary to recreate the experience. Go yourself. New London needs you. Paul Brockett and his bandmates don't need you but they will sure appreceiate your presence and applause. Boy oh boy, you won't be able to stop yourself from applauding. They are better than good.

Litter For a Good Cause

There have been a lot of empty candy bags blowing around the Sixth District. Amos, the Crossing Guard, has been driving himself batty picking up the trash. You may have read that the Connecticut Mastery Test Scores at Harbor School have gone up 35%. Most of these elementary school students have the base skills to take college courses. What is the secret of these teachers' and their principal's success. I'll tell you. Dr. Christopher Clouet can learn an easy lesson from the trash blowing around Harbor School.

Empty candy bags can raise school scores? Yes. We are not talking about ten pound bags of Dum-Dum lollipops. We are talking about one pound bags of Smarties. The Ce De Candy Company of Union, NJ knows what a name means. Smarties, a confection of dextrose, citric acid and Yellow 5 Lake, also contain a secret ingredient. The teachers at Harbor School know that.

Smarties come in a roll so that they can be sampled throughout the day, like before a pop quiz or an unexpected social studies question. Smarties work like memory enhancers Pfizer has never dreamed of. In fact, yesterday's Wall Street Journal reported secret talks between Pfizer and Ce De Candy with an acquisition in mind. Pfizer's Global Research and Development is just down the street from Harbor School. You cannot quench the curiosity of a scientist. They jog at lunch time and see the trash in the gutters of Pequot Avenue. Pfizer knows why Harbor School's scores have improved so much. Now you do too.

Looking for a promotion to middle management? Looking to write the great American novel? Looking to land tenure at Connecticut College? Looking to be appointed the next New London City Manager? Look no farther than the bulk candy section in tbe drug store. Stock up on a sack of Smarties brand, assorted flavors, candy rolls. The sky is the limit when you make Smarties a part of your diet. Just stay away from the Dum-Dum lollipops.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Hooray for the Status Quo

Well the vote on New London's charter has come and gone. A nineteen percent turnout. Apathy and government irrelevance remain the order of the day. Eighty-one percent of voters couldn't muster the effort to flip a lever. Ah, New London, a city preserved in ambergris that smells like low tide. One would imagine a city of perennial complainers would want to voice thier opinion. Apparently not when it matters.

Do not mistake me. I fell in love with Connecticut's Whaling City twelve years ago. I love it dysfunctional and inert. I love it crumbling at the foundations and full of plucky entrepreneurs doomed to failure. I am one of them after all. This is a city that seperates the adults from the children, even if it is hard to tell the difference sometimes.

If I sound heartbroken and full of bile and venom, it is because I am. I live in a city and I beleive New London is as real a city as one can find anywhere. When I imagine New London's peers, I think of Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore, Dubai, Vienna, Naples, Frankfurt, New York and Los Angeles. All these cities have mayors who make decisions and make things happen. If I wanted to live in a place run by selectmen, I would move to Pomfret, or Sprague, or Griswold, or North Stongington, all nowhere, municipal destinations located in Connecticut. I look at New Haven and Hartford, and Stamford and West Hartford, and Danbury and Bridgeport and even dysfunctionally corrupt Waterbury (also all in Connecticut). I look at cities where things are happening that also happen to have mayors who are in charge.

I am in New London and my heart belongs here. It is a love/hate relationship, the way the most passionate relationships are. New London and I have no conjugal dealings, but we do have a mutual understanding. I will stay out of the government's way if it stays out of mine. We are at cross purposes. I celebrate my city. New London's government stifles its assets the way a crack-addled mother smothers her baby. Strong words, but true ones none the less. We have no one to blame but ourselves.

I apologize for not being as light-hearted as usual.

My condolences to Gil Torres and Angelica Torres Peck. Hortencia was a wonderful woman and a wonderful cook. She was an asset to this city who will be missed. Her passing deserves more than a footnote at the end of a diatribe about the state of the Whaling City. I regret that I haven't seen her for so long, but I have only the fondest memories of chatting with her in her kitchen at el Sombrero while she worked at her big cast-iron skillet conjuring marvels our of ingredients she bought the morning before at Shop Rite. She was one of a kind. I doubt I will meet her Heaven, but I know I won't see her where I will end up.

-Matthew Whalehead King

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

We Need More Traffic Lights

The City of New London votes for a new charter today. If the referendum passes, the city will have a strong mayor in charge of its government. This will be a good thing. Hopefully one of the first things our new executive will enact is longer red lights, especially after dark when there are few cars on the streets.

The State of Connecticut surveyed the city's streets two years ago and found that New London is behind on its pothole quota by 64%. Hopefully the new mayor will dispatch the public works employees with pickaxes and correct this situation. Our streets are too smooth to meet state mandates. What our asphalt needs is a little grinding and pocking.

While on the subject of traffic, all 'Walk/Don't Walk' signs should be set off mandatorily for the nonexistent pedestrians on Colman Street and they should all employ the buzzer for the blind with the volume turned to maximum. The lengh of time they flash 'Don't Walk' should be doubled at least.

New London also needs more one-way streets and summer as well as winter parking regulations. Bus service should be expanded so that it takes two hours to traverse our five square mile city so that every street is well served. School busses should just make random stops with their mandatory stop signs extended so that people can enjoy the scenery on their way to important appointments.

These are just some of the suggestions our new mayor can consider to make our city more livable in the twenty-first century. If you agree, get out there and do your civic duty. Vote for change in New London.

Monday, March 12, 2007

What is in an 'E'????

You will see a sign on the guest door of the Casimir Pulaski Post Number One of Polish American Veterans on Central Avenue. The sign reads that the permitee it one Micheal E. Rix.

Many people have asked what is Michael Rix's middle name. He is evasaive in his answers. He isn't ashamed of his middle name, but he isn't proud of it either.

Various guesses have been offered up, all them worng. The 'E' doesn't stand for Edward, Edgar, Ernest, Ethelred, Ethelbert, Ellsworth, Ebert, Eccard, Edmund or Ezikial. Your intrepid correspondent has combed through the microfiche files at Lawrence and Memorial Hositpal dating from the 1950s. It iturns out that Micheal Rix shares a middle name with a city in Oregon. Geography students will know what it is. Those how are unfamiliar with Oregon's urban areas will have to resort to an old atlas or Google for the answer. If you are too lazy, it is Eugene.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Return of Whalehead King

Our intrepid reporter has been out of New London recently, hence the shortage of important news being posted for your edification. He has, however returned from the Sooner State and is back on the beat.

While Whalehead King was there on serious business, a funny thing happened in Oklahoma. It turns out that many people in Wewoka, the seat of Seminole County government, have never seen someone who looks or sounds like your correspondent outside of the movies or television. This caused some initial misapprehensions and misunderstandings, but everything was smoothed over and all business was finally conducted in with Yankee-quickness.

For everyone who has inundated Montauk Marketplace with inquiries as to Mr. King's whereabouts and health, not having seen him motorscootering about town for a week, he is back in New London, alive and kicking and on patrol. Keep your eyes peeled, he is sure to cut you off in traffic tomorrow.

A new sign is hanging over Carlos' restaurant picturing what the new "New York-style" condominium buildings will look like. Impressive indeed if the architect's vision comes to fruition. Remember, the Chelsea Groton Bank building is supposed to have an impressive dome that has yet to materialize. The Shaw's Landing buildings are supposed to add more visual interest than vinyl siding to Bank Street's sight lines. If the Carlos' developers' buildings turn out as imagined, bully for them. In a New London state of mind they will be Parthenons beside Columbus Square. To everyone else, they will be as attractive as anything that can be found in Oklahoma City except for the Skirvin Hotel, which is a jewel that belongs in Connecticut's Whaling City.

It is good to be home, where Whalehead King's heart is.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Gang Infiltration

Planet Fitness, a new gymnasium that has opened on Boston Post Road just over the New London border in Waterford, has rules for people who want to exercise there. The rule is that members cannot wear, skull caps, do-rags, bandannas, or other gang-related insignias.

A pale, Irish-tinted, fresh-faced, freckled, red-headed woman went one morning to Planet Fitness wearing her frayed, beige bandanna to keep her sweaty hair out of her face as she pushed her muscles to the limit on the elliptical machine. The well-trained staff at Planet Fitness recognized trouble when they spotted it. The beefiest bouncer on staff approached this woman and told her she had to remove her beige bandanna. She asked why. Well, the jig was up. She was informed that Planet Fitness Headquarters had been informed that a chapter of the notorious Bolton Notches had begun to infiltrate southeastern Connecticut.

The Bolton Notches are one of the toughest gangs in Connecticut, based in a clubhouse on Birch Mountain in Bolton, Conn. They are known for mailbox thrashings, newspaper theft, forest bonfire keg parties and other mischief too horrifying to report. Their colors are a beige bandana matched with lavender medical assistant uniforms purchased at Wal-Mart. The Planet Fitness Intelligence Department is up to date on gang activity in Connecticut. They know how to recognize trouble as soon as a hint of it happens.

The woman was asked to remove her bandanna and never wear it again on the premises. She is also not allowed to wear lavender scrubs, of the type typically worn in medical offices, either while entering or exiting the premises. Planet Fitness is a place known to be free of criminal activity and the proprietors intend to keep it that way. If you are thinking of wearing beige or lavender to exercise at Planet Fitness think twice. This is a clean gymnasium and they intend to keep it that way. They don't check for steroids or foul language, but they like to keep the color scheme royal purple and sweet corn yellow.

Keep your gang colors in your car. Build your fighting muscles at Planet Fitness, a Judgement Free Gym, just don't let on why you are going through your cardio routine or weight training. You are advised to keep your switchblade in your glove compartment as well.


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