Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Tale of Evolution and Revolution

An article by Francois Steichen, a noted wine expert and writer, has come out in the Greenwich Citizen, called Connecticut Wines: A Tale of Evolution and Revolution. We met Francois at the Hopkins Barrel Tasting event, and he included our book in this tour-de-force defense of the blossoming Connecticut Wine Industry.

My favorite bit (that doesn't talk about our book):

"I would never suggest that Connecticut wines are "world-class," if by that it means that they will rival Hermitage, Piedmont, Rioja, the Mosel or the Rutherford Bench for complexity. Then again, while I would never pass up an invitation to dine at Jean-Georges, neither would I tell a friend who is offering me a perfectly-grilled steak with spring corn and a baked potato, 'Sorry, chum, but tonight, it's fast-food for me. The price is right, the service is in-and-out, and I won't waste time savoring the experience afterwards.'

In other words, it is downright ignorant to overlook Connecticut wines while simultaneously reaching for over-processed grape syrup on toast of the $12 to $15 ilk. There are few, if any, downright unpalatable wines made anymore in Connecticut. Moreover, the wines have a freshness that is only found in locally made products."

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Beardsley Zoo Poem

I have a poem up at the Bridgeport History Center website (which I have helped provide content for). It's about Beardsley Zoo. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Along the Metacomet Trail

Hiking along the Metacomet Trail off of New Britain Avenue, near the old radar site.

A friendly garter snake along the way.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Why Museums Fail

I've been thinking on the subject of why museums fail during my travels around the country the last few years. We see a primary reason in the always cash-strapped used bookstores all the time, and the same goes for museums - lazy inertia - people not adapting to changing times. Maybe the fact that curators or directors are sometimes not monetarily invested, the way a small business owner is, could be causing this disconnect. Whatever it is, if we want to preserve the past, someone has to step up.

Something as simple as a lack of taste, or sense of interor decoration, can sink a place. I have seen this time and time again. For Keats' sake, spend the money to get a designer and make the place look professional. Plant flowers outside. Use one kind of descriptive placard throughout the whole museum. Avoid posterboards on painters' easels; they look ridiculous. Make sure you have enough justification for a room or a display, but don't try to shove everything into one. And how about being clear where people can park? These are basic principles of a business, like a restaurant, and of course that is why they fail, too.

My advice, as a travel writer, a historian, and a customer, is to be professional in all things. We will enjoy the museum more, and maybe even recommend it to our friends. In the meantime, a lack of imagination and an inability to understand capitalism is destroying our nation's history faster than the bulldozers of condominium developers.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Three Poems

Amy has three poems up at the SNReview: Loving the Maybes, Embargo, and Caesura. I can't decide whether my favorite is the one about smuggling Cuban cigars or camping in the autumn. They are all from her new book, Nomad's End, published by Finishing Line Press. Buy it here.

Saturday, May 7, 2011



by William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

This woman, my wife, taught me the meaning of that poem, not by explaining it, but by showing me, every day, by example. She knows the fell clutch of circumstance, and has defeated it, and continues to defeat it, every day.