Clinton, You’re On Notice

More to follow.

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Don’t Rain On My Drinkfest

In my world, Christmastime means one thing – less than 3 months until the New Haven St. Patrick’s Day Parade. I’ve already begun preparations – practicing my reel steps, shopping for uncomfortable sweaters, and learning how to say “The priests are eating eggs” in Gaeilge (thanks, Rosetta Stone).

Then last Thursday morning I opened up The New Haven Register (while eating a breakfast of eggs with my priest friends) and learned that the New Haven police department is planning a St. Patrick’s Day “crackdown.” For as long as I can remember, public drinking laws have been “unofficially” suspended on Parade Day, but Chief James Lewis says this year will be different. As St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland (even though post-glacial Ireland never had snakes), Chief Lewis is hoping to drive the drunks out of New Haven.

So when hundreds of thousands of people converge downtown March 14, there will be no U-Haul trucks with kegs or wagons filled with cases of beer allowed. Officers will be instructed to tell cooler-toting people to return them to their cars, Lewis said.

As for spectators who still insist on drinking, “There will be tickets written that day,” Lewis warned.

Personally, I always thought the reason that the police didn’t enforce public drinking laws on Parade Day was because they couldn’t. How can you enforce “no public drinking” when the public drinkers outnumber police officers 50 to 1? (Statistic completely made up.) What say you? What do you think of the “Great St. Patrick’s Day Parade Crackdown of 2010”?

Late Bloomfield: Boozing Our Religion

Oh, the weather outside is frightful..ish. Yesterday the ladies of OneSixNine would not be deterred by the impending snowpocalypse and ventured out into Bloomfield (which is, in fact, as beautiful its name implies, but more on that later.) Since the storm was predicted to hit New Haven in the early afternoon but not touch northern Connecticut until later, I packed my things to spend the night at Emme’s place in Hartford. After our trip to Bloomfield (beautiful as its name implies) we spent our evening doing what everyone else in Connecticut was doing – sitting at home and bracing for the PARALYZING NOR’EASTER that COULD START ANY MINUTE NOW OH MY GOD. I think I speak for everyone when I say that was the lamest snowpocalypse ever. Still, I’m glad we have that shared experience. I feel like I’ve bonded with all of you – as though you were right there with us as we played Clue and watched “How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days” on USA.

Anyway, on to Bloomfield. Bloomfield, aside from being as beautiful as its name implies, borders Windsor, East Granby, Simsbury, Avon, West Hartford and Hartford (41°50′39″N 72°44′29″W if you’re scoring at home). And what I’ve learned from my brief time there is that Bloomfield is big on two things – beer and religion.

See Something

I want to preface this bit by noting something about casual, unannounced visits in places of worship – they’re uncomfortable. Even if you’re just going there for totally innocent looking around. Even if most places of worship are very welcoming of visitors. And even if you’re at a place that’s run by your own team.

We experienced that last one at St. Thomas Seminary. The buildings there are really beautiful (even if the name doesn’t imply it). In fact, if I knew anything about architecture, I’d tell you what style they’re in.

I can tell you that The Archdiocesan Center at the Seminary offers “22,000 square feet of retreat and conference rooms, 80 dormitory style guest rooms, catering and conference services and recreational facilities.” There is also a Catholic Book Store and Gift Shop, which we did not visit. We really didn’t linger at the Seminary. The grounds were so quiet that it felt like we were trespassing even though, had we been approached by a passing Seminarian, we could have been like “It’s cool, man. We, too, enjoy incense and Bingo.”

However, if you think the Catholics have a monopoly on striking religious buildings in Bloomfield, you haven’t seen The First Cathedral. I have to admit that as we drove down Route 187 and it came into view, I took the Lord’s name in vain. (Guess we should have swung back to the seminary afterward for a quick confession.) The First Cathedral is huge, but I guess it needs to be since it’s home to 11,000 members – the largest congregation in New England. The edifice is allegedly built in the shape of a dove, a fact that we can’t verify since the OneSixNine helicopter was in the shop this weekend.

We ventured inside briefly and saw the Grand Lobby. This is one impressive non-denominational church. Unlike at the seminary, we did stop by the gift shop. The proprietors were very nice, and their merchandise included this amusing t-shirt, as well as “The Bad Girls of the Bible,” “The Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible,” and “The Really Bad Girls of the Bible.” Much like at the seminary, we didn’t hang around for too long. After all, there was a Nor’Easter coming and there was a lot of Bloomfield left to see.

Drink Something

As I’m sure all you studious students of Connecticut history know, Thomas Hooker was the puritan founder of the Colony of Connecticut. The nice thing about having a founding father like Mr. Hooker is that Connecticut companies, like the Brew Pub formerly known Trout Brook, can innocently adopt the name “Hooker” and then make a killing on hilarious merchandise.

Oh, the witty folks at Hooker Beer. The brewery is a pretty cool place. It has open houses – just make sure you obey the rules!

The scene at the brewery on a Saturday afternoon with a storm coming was pretty tame. Emme was telling me that sometimes it gets pretty crowded – like in one of the photos on the wall. Closer inspection of said photo confirmed Emme’s firsthand knowledge – she’s in it. Can you find the back of Emme’s head? You should know what it looks like by now!

The big attraction at the brewery was the Nor’Easter beer. And what an appropriate day to indulge! I made sure all our Twitter followers were updated on how much we were enjoying Nor’Easter while waiting for the Nor’Easter.

Do Something

As per the rules, we took a tour of the brewery. What I learned is that brewing beer, much like math class, is tough. There’s all this science stuff involved. Who was the dude who, thousands of years ago, discovered that fermented grain tastes good and makes you act silly? Props to him, because I still don’t understand how the stuff is made.

Mmmm, tank of Nor'Easter!

On the way out, Emme bought herself a growler of Nor’Easter (or, as Emme’s native people might say, “A growlah of Nor’Eastah”) and the Hooker folks threw in some innuendo at no extra charge.

Eat Something

After the brewery we headed to Concetta’s, an Italian restaurant located in the Bloomfield Shopping Center (which also has an Ocean State Job Lot, a definite sign of sophistication). Concetta’s was recommended to us by one of Emme’s co-workers and it did not disappoint. It was your standard, though very tasty and very plentiful, Italian fare.

Also, if some of our Jewish friends are feeling left out by the Catholic and non-denominational Christian stops on our tour, don’t fret: we made some time for your people as well.

Talk to Someone

As usual, the OneSixNine will disappoint our readers with our willingness to meet people on our journeys.  We can’t help it, we’re just such great conversationalists that it’s hard to find a reason to talk to anyone but each other.  We did get to chat up the Beer Girl at the brewery, who was super pleasant.  And she even gave us Christmas cookies!  Emme suggested getting OneSixNine business cards to pass around so people would know how legit and important we are when we go places, so if you’re looking to buy us a Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, or Solstice gift, you’re welcome for the suggestion.  And thank YOU for thinking of us!

Lessons in Connecticuting

  1. Letting Elle be in charge of writing the post and using her camera for photos cuts our turnaround time down by, like, a month.
  2. Bloomfield has a lot of religion.  Which, for at least one lapsed Catholic, is both surprising and a little overwhelming.  It’s humbling to be in really religious places when you’re slacking and your mother is judging you for not going to confession.
  3. Worshipping false idols (or no idols) does not guarantee asign from the heavens in the form of outrageous snowfall.  Hartford was surprisingly snow-limited this morning when the oft-delayed storm had finally come and gone.
  4. Don’t trust Connecticut weathermen.  Or Aonghus.  Both misled us several times yesterday.  But you can trust Curt Cameron (not to be confused with Kirk Cameron… who, ironically enough, attends a megachurch).
  5. Eating dinner across from the University of Hartford women’s basketball team is a good way to feel short and unathletic.  And old.

Come rain, snow, sleet, or hail.

While Elle hems and haws over the weather report (storm warning in New Haven County takes effect at noon… not til 4pm in Hartford County!), I’m hemming and hawing over whether it’s lame to wear my flannel lined khakis to the brewery to show how aware I am of the extreme weather conditions, thanking the automotive gods for four-wheel drive, and wondering if the extreme conditions are an angry divine response to (1) my belief in automotive gods or (2) my intentions to visit both a seminary AND a non-denominational megachurch today.

Either way, the OneSixNine girls are totally not going to be slowed down by a little national weather alert.  A toast to that!  See you at Hooker.

Turn that Frown Upside Down

The Courant shared this tidbit with me today:

Connecticut is the second least happy state in the country according to a survey of 1.3 million people across the country by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Obviously not enough Connecticut folk are reading the OneSixNine blog.  Come join our fun!  A study of the happiest countries in the world put Denmark, Finland and the Netherlands rated at the top of the list, ranking first, second and third, respectively.  Since Denmark is #7 on the heaviest drinking countries, I’ll going to assume a causal link.  Since I endeavor to make Connecticut a happier place, I will suggest all our readers join us at the Hooker Brewery this weekend.  Do it for Connecticut!

Bloomfield, Connecticut—As Beautiful as its Name Implies!

Hey, don’t ask us, ask whoever wrote the town’s website text.  They said it, not me!  Actually, we’re pretty excited to be going somewhere as beautiful as Bloomfield claims to be… even in this weather!  So we’re going to warm up with a few Hookers — only $5!  Come join us! — and then maybe seek penance at Connecticut’s first megachurch or the local seminary, which looks totally stunning.   I think we’ll skip this round of hiking — it’s cold out! — but we haven’t decided the rest of our day.  Bummer that the farm implements museum met an early demise, but there appears to be some nice looking and/or architecturally significant buildings in the Bloomfield area.  No James van der Beek,  but I guess we can settle for Indianapoliz Colts well-paid, if not well spoken, defensive end Dwight Freeney.  Hey Elle, maybe he’s single?  We’ll see…. Anyways.  Suggestions for food in Bloomfield, anyone?  One elite Yelp listmaker has some options for us, but we’re always open to other ideas.

Tweet Me

I want to take this opportunity to remind all of you that OneSixNine has a Tweety Page to go with this Bliggity Blog. (reference) We do not yet have a FaceySpace, although Emme thinks we should get one because we have a lot of friends who don’t actually read the blog but would join out of obligation.