Monday, June 30, 2008

Juicy Political Gossip! Local Candidate Whitnum Doesn't Like That Internet Leaves a Record, Doesn't Like Immigrants

Jim Himes, the Democratic Congressional candidate, walked from Greenwich to Bridgeport yesterday to show that our district is connected. Cool. Himes is the endorsed candidate on the ballot this fall vs. incumbent Republican Shays. A woman named Lee Whitnum just got enough signatures to challenge Himes in the August 12 Democratic primary. Whitnum lives in Greenwich and is a substitute teacher in Stamford.

Here’s the gossip: Whitnum appears to be bonkers. I feel bad saying that, but I can’t think of another explanation. Get ready for a lurid/goofy webpage, light S&M and, most importantly, Whitnum’s lack of understanding that everything we do and say on the internet leaves a permanent record about us.

The best account of Whitnum’s strange internet past is at My Left Nutmeg (MLN), a liberal political blog. "A Voter's Guide to Lee Whitnum" starts with Whitnum's 1990 relationship with John Kerry (he was single at the time). She told the press about it during promotion of her fictional book Hedge Fund Mistress in 2004. The book was written under the name Lee Roystone, but Whitnum said the events in the chapter about a Massachusetts senator Presidential candidate are all true. The chapter includes a sex scene with light spanking. But that's not even the gossip.

MLN also includes a link to a bizarre webpage by Whitnum (rather, Roystone) that looks like a collage about a high school boyfriend... but it’s about John Kerry. The page, part of the HFM site, was taken down, but a cached copy exists. Memorabilia on the collage include photos of Whitnum with Kerry, a phone message written on a pink heart and newspaper clippings.

On Whitnum’s current book site, a note says: “This page has been removed. This page never contained G-rated photos of the candidate at the podium...the candidate at a tree planting... etc. Do not believe the bloggers. Lee”

However, the cache page does show Kerry at a podium. What is Lee talking about? Is she trying to say the webpage never existed at all? Does she mean that bloggers altered it? Why does it even matter if he was at a podium? Was the collage meant to be fictitious and created by the character? If so, Whitnum should state that. She’s running for Congress and voters will want to know if that collage was serious, a joke, or a mix of the two that makes you pity the collage-maker.

I’d say, “I’m confused,” but I can tell Whitnum is the confused one. Galley Cat, one of mediabistro’s blogs, has a post from last summer about an author who emailed to ask them to remove any reference of her from their site. Guess who? Yup. Why does Whitnum think she can edit the internet record to her liking?

What’s freaky is that her political webpage says she got a degree in computer science. That makes her actions even more puzzling.

Even the Greenwich Time got confused by Whitnum. (Who can keep up with her? I’ll provide article links at the end of this post if you want to try to untangle the convoluted stories.) From a recent GT article: “In a case of ‘he said, she said,’ Congressional hopeful Jim Himes is accusing fellow Democrat and Greenwich resident Lee Whitnum of calling him a Nazi on her campaign Web site and on a popular Internet blog.”

CT Local Politics points out how misleading the GT article is: First of all, this is not “a case of ‘he said, she said’.” The post by Lee Whitnum, which has been removed from her website, is still available, right here, where she posted it on My Left Nutmeg. Helpfully, it is entitled Jim Himes Nazi Connecticut, by Lee Whitnum Candidate for Congress. In it, she writes, “I went to bed a congressional candidate and I woke up to find myself in Jim Himes’ version of Nazi, Germany.” There is no “he said” here - her words have been immortalized online.

In this case, maybe the Greenwich Time is confused, but I’m going to bet their mistake involves Whitnum saying she never said that... which, again, she obviously did.

All you can do is shake your head, right?

No- because Whitnum does more just say all the wrong things. Not only does her campaign website have typos and grammar errors, it has inflammatory comments about immigrants. I can take the typos, I can take the grammar errors (just barely), but don’t call people “illegals” as if they are things.

You can read my analysis of her website. Imagine the most racist, anti-immigrant person you know; that’s what her comments about illegal immigrants sound like. (Although, if she sees this, she might take it down.)

Before looking at her sloppy Whitnum 2008 site, I might have turned a kind shoulder and dismissed her as a tactless but harmless person who I should leave alone to bumble her hapless way along.

Instead, I found a person who comes off as if she is entitled to say whatever she wants with no consequences. Those kinds of people bother me, because even while they purport to be the “average” person who gets shat upon by a “tiny, elitist group: the wealthy, Greenwich, Wall Street male,” they are the ones who sound like they think they are better than others. Quoted words in this paragraph are from LW’s campaign home page.

Whitnum is blustering about how Himes should debate her. Can you imagine?

If you want further reading, try these links:

--A post by Whitnum called "Jim Himes Nazi Connecticut, by Lee Whitnum Candidate for Congress" on My Left Nutmeg. She rails on local bloggers big time, who respond in commments. Dec 18, 2007

--Another self-righteous post by Whitnum at MLN: "Lee Whitnum Returning Your Hired Assassin" Jun 27, 2008 She calls Himes a “wimpy candidate” and tells an MLN blogger that he has "no soul."

--A CT Local Politics post: “Lee Whitnum and the Greenwich Time” Read more on how she tried to explain her Nazi comment. 6/13/08

June 2008- Slightly Positive Advocate article about Whitnum possibly debating Himes

Feb 7, 2008--Whitnum responds to being named Clown of the Year by a local paper; staff at the paper responds.

--Aug 8, 2004-Kerry's Ex-Lover - Is Her Web Site A Plant Or A Scam?
Click here to read more.

Lee Whitnum's Campaign Website: Sloppy, Unprofessional

Lee Whitnum just got on the ballot to challenge Jim Himes in the Democratic primary Aug. 12. In my post "Juicy Political Gossip! Local Candidate Lee Whitnum Doesn't Understand That Internet Leaves a Record, Doesn't Like Immigrants", I made sure you know that she has been far too chatty on the internet and has left a trail of foolish comments. Her campaign website, which should be a professional, mature piece of work, only adds to the impression that she is slipshod and reckless.

Whitnum’s current campaign website is a study in strangeness. There are typos, grammar errors, and bizarre statements. (I have highlighted them in red.) I don’t feel like looking at her whole site right now, because she tires me out with her obnoxiously worded writing. I’ll focus on her intro page and illegal immigration page for now.

Let’s look at the obvious stuff first: typos and ‘sounds-like-your-racist-grandpa’ rhetoric. From Lee Whitnum 2008:

Illegal immigrants must apply for a tax payer identification, and a background check to ensure we are not harbouring fugitives. Many illegals make more hourly than many Americans (waitresses, retail employees, teaching assistants and substitute teachers) but the Americans have to pay taxes. Everyone need to contribute.

We need immigrants but, there has to be limits and respect for the law. Also, society pays in other ways:

Whitnum then lists 14 statements about immigration that include statistics. At the end of the statements, there is an asterisk with “The aforementioned 14 have not been verified.

Well, then, why are they on her site? Is there any other explanation other than straight-up craziness? Or is she just a really terrible researcher? If she’s too busy to locate verifiable facts for her website, she shouldn’t write anything. Sometimes it's good just to be quiet.

I like 10 and 14, which are followed by a 4th grade level misspelling.

10. The illegal aliens in the United States have a crime rate that's
two-and-a-half times that of white non-illegal aliens. In particular, their children, are going to make a huge additional crime problem in the US.

Doesn’t that translate to “Watch out for darker-skinned people who don’t speak English”? As best I can tell, that fact comes from a transcript of a Lou Dobbs show. Robert Rector, a research fellow at conservative thinktank Heritage Foundation, said on the show, "I'll say another thing that can't be said here, which is the fact that Hispanics in the United States have a crime rate that's two and a half times that of white non-Hispanics, and it seems very clear that if you basically bring in a lot of low-skilled Hispanics with dysfunctional family structure from the Central America, that both they and, in particular, their children, are going to make a huge additional crime problem in the United States. The data is very clear on that. But it can't be discussed. We can't really also discuss the fact that, my goodness, if you're bringing in high school dropouts who aren't married and have children out of wedlock, what are they going to do? They're going to be on welfare."

Pretty interesting to see where Whitnum pulls her research, huh?

14. "The Dark Side of Illegal Immigration: Nearly One Million Sex
Crimes Committed by Illegal Immigrants in The United States ".

Why is that in quotes? Oh, I see, it’s an article. I googled the title to find it. LW’s site seems like a rushed, unprofessional job; why else wouldn’t a computer science major provide a link to an article? The author of the article is a criminal profiler. The one million figure is an estimate based on the 1500 cases she studied of violent crimes committed by illegal immigrants. That author is also quoted in an article called "Illegal aliens linked to gang-rape wave: The crime epidemic no one will talk about?"

Total cost is a whooping... $338.3 BILLION A YEAR!!!

(Double o makes a long o sound: “oooooh.” She means whopping, as in big, not "whooping," as in screaming.)

Second, Whitnum’s statements about herself are awkward. On the intro page she proclaims herself as:
-Cancer survivor
-Single woman.
Is this a profile or Congressional candidate?

Third, further down the page, she writes in bold font, “I am the average American woman.
If so, this is a good reason not to have her in Congress. I’d like someone at least a little above average to be running this country. However, I don’t think the average American woman acts this oddly. Maybe she writes this badly, but if so, she has the sense to have someone proofread her website. No, I don’t think Lee is average.

Fourth, there are more typos on the intro page. One of her positions:

Take a hard stand on illegal immigration. Enforce existing laws.
Danbury recently passes the Immigration and Custom's Enforcement (ICE).

There’s no apostrophe in Customs. And did she mean Danbury passed it, not "passes" it? I have typos in this blog sometimes, but I work alone. Is she doing this all by herself or does she have a bad copy editor? Or does she get emotional when typing about immigrants? Most typos seem to be in paragraphs about immigrants. There’s only one on her health care page, and it’s a common one:
Governor Rell has threatened to veto the bill in it's current state.

It’s is short for it is; the possessive is an exception and takes no apostrophe.

It’s exhausting dealing with this; maybe that’s one of Whitnum’s strategies: to wear people down. I’m going to bed.

By the way, Whitnum also has a problem with legal immigrants. From a Stamford Times article: Whitnum speaks of repealing laws that allow legal immigrants to come to America for work. A former software engineer for the U.S. Army, Whitnum lost her job after lawmakers passed a law granting more work visas.

Mmm-hmm. I’m sure that’s why she lost her job. It’s those damn foreigners!
Click here to read more.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Sante Fe Indian School's Spoken Word Poetry Team

I try not to go off the topic of Stamford too often- this blog is called Stamford Talk, after all- but there is an article in the NY Times about a college friend of mine, Tim McLaughlin. Tim coaches the spoken word poetry team at Sante Fe Indian School. He started it as a club, and now the kids travel around and compete at events from DC to San Francisco. An HBO camera crew is currently following the team around, so when the documentary comes out, you'll have the inside scoop.

The team is receiving a lot of attention for their poetry because of the incredibly interesting cultural issues the kids deal with, such as the conflict over whether to stay in their communities, which are very tightly-knit, or go to college, which could be seen as abandoning the traditional ways. Tribes need people to stay to learn the language, songs, and stories. I interviewed Tim for several hours last year for an article I wrote about him for our college alumni magazine. He had so many stories and thoughts, way too many for my 750 word article to address. I'm glad HBO is going to get the story on film.

You can hear the kids' poetry and see photos at the Times multimedia site. I am so proud and impressed of the work Tim and his students are doing. Here is a photo of Tim; sometimes he performs with his students. How 'bout them braids, on a basketball playing Irish boy from Va.?
Click here to read more.

Friday, June 27, 2008

This Weekend! Legos, Jazz, Etc.

Weekend Stuff!

The Yerwood Center's Community Jazz and Art Fair from 9-6 Saturday. The arts and crafts are in Jackie Robinson Park, on Route 1 East near the Dunkin Donuts. The Jazz is in the Yerwood Center which is on the West Side off exit 6 just south of the highway. It’s the Yerwood’s 65th anniversary. I can’t tell from the website or newspapers, but sounds like the jazz gets going in the afternoon. I would have liked to go to this; the center was built while I was living in Southfield and I always wondered what it was. Click for directions.

Master Lego Builder Nathan Sawaya builds new piece at Stamford Museum, Sunday 11-430. He's going to answer questions and sign autographs. Free with gate admission. A bunch of his work in on display until Aug 17. That's a pic of Nathan above with his Lego sculpture.

Also at Stamford Museum, Stamford Amateur Radio on Sat and Sun. Set-up at 10 a.m., on-air activity begins at 2. From the Advocate: Residents are invited to learn about amateur radio's newest digital and satellite capabilities, voice communications and the Morse Code. Operators from across the country will demonstrate emergency communications capabilities. That sounds cool!

Walk to Cure Scleroderma at Stamford High. Register for $15 beforehand (call 800-867-0885) and $20 the day of. Registration 9am, walk at 10. Register online.

Last days of Arts and Ideas Festival in New Haven. See schedule.
Click here to read more.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Bikes, Cycles, Scooters, Oh My: How to Survive Each Other on the Road During Gas Price Surges

I like the most recent editorial in the Stamford Advocate. It’s balanced and makes a good point. We always hear, “Watch out for motorcyclists and cyclists!” but the editorial reminds bikers and cyclists to watch out for cars and trucks.

I’ll second that. I was surprised a couple of weeks ago when a cyclist in a fancy spandex outfit rolled up to a stop sign- and rolled right through!

Oh! I’m sorry! You looked all pro, so I thought that meant you’d follow rules at a busy intersection! Just in case I missed his first move, the cyclist also blew through the red light on route 1, rode against traffic for a few seconds, then swung wide across Rt 1 to the other side. I could tell the other cars were surprised by the Lance Armstrong poser coming out of nowhere with his erratic moves. Whoops! I’m just a cyclist!

No way. Riding like that can cause an accident. Unpredictable moves on the road are dangerous. Don’t surprise me on the road.

I don’t know what rules cyclists are supposed to follow, but I’m not going to look it up. The rules should be obvious: stop at stop signs and red lights. This isn’t the Tour de France! Rules for cyclists should be the same as for motorcyclists: obey the lights and stay in one lane. If there aren’t bikes lanes, and you’re in a road going 35 mph, do what drivers expect, and don’t act like you are Frogger.

With gas prices rising, more people are going to be riding bikes and motorcycles. We all need to watch out for each other.

My message to cars:
Please slow down! We’ve got to calm our lives down so we don’t drive like maniacs.

Message to SUVs:
Get with the program! Just because you are big and can’t see what is in your blind spots does not mean you should merge anyway.

To bikers, cyclists, and scooterists:
Drivers in this area are out of control. Do not trust them! I feel bad saying that, but I worry about you. And for goodness’ sake, wear your helmet. A man was severely injured this week when someone cut him off on Colonial Road, a road on which people, including me, go too fast. He was not wearing a helmet, and his injuries are life-threatening.

We all have to slow down, and we all have to watch out for each other.

Cyclists, don’t cut cars off.
Cars, don't cut motorcycles off. Don’t think just because bikes are small that they are always easily maneuverable.
Bikers... stop tailgating cars on 95! It boggles my mind when I see you do that. Don't you know traffic can go from 55 mph to stopped in an instant?

Also, cyclists, read my friend Christopher's post "The Cycling Doctrine: Pedestrians are Prey" about how you need to watch out for people when you're riding in parks.

Let's try not to kill and injure each other. Life is so lovely; let's make it last.

Photo Courtesy of Vincent Rodriguez Photography. Vincent is a local photog who has a website of cool shots of the J. Seward Johnson Sculptures that he updates regularly. He also has a book of photos taken in Stamford.

Check out Blog Stamford's Transportation section to read more about biking in the area, especially his post about trying to commute to work via Route 1 by bike.

Late addition: The Conn. Post reports that a motorcyclist collided with a tractor-trailor in Milford. Biker is seriously injured. It's really disturbing to have so many incidents in one week.
Click here to read more.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

What to Put in a Tourist Video of Stamford?

I’m blogging live from Mississippi this week, fueled by Cheezits and Sunkist!

I'm very suspicious of press releases, because it means someone wants something from me, but I got one that I'm going to share because it relates to our city and some of the good and bad things about Stamford we've been discussing here. And, most importantly, there is a prize involved.

Good Magazine emailed to suggest I tell my readers about their contest. I'll steal their very succinct words: "...Good Magazine is launching a project to encourage people to show off their hometowns and highlight what makes them stand apart from any other blip on a map. Anyone interested in serving as a tour guide for their neighborhood can submit a video to Good that showcases their favorite local spots and answers the question “What is it that would make someone want to travel to where you are?” The most illuminating tour guide will be rewarded with two roundtrip domestic plane tickets to anywhere JetBue flies."

So, what would we put in our Stamford video? Let's get a list going!

I am tempted to make one. I was also tempted to not tell you all so I could beat you out and win the tickets, but then I realized, I am probably too lazy to make the video, and it's so much easier just to have someone I know do it. With that said, I'm going to think about making a video. I'd put in Cove Beach, Capriccio, the Avon, Alive at Five, um... duh, those are all obvious...

However... not to bash Stamford... but the description says, "What would make someone want to travel to where you are?" What do we have here that would draw people in for a visit? You could certainly make a good summer weekend out of Alive at Five, lunch at Capriccio, day at the beach, dinner at Napa, but what else? We have the shore, but you can't easily rent a kayak anywhere, can you? Non-residents can get a $20 day pass to the beach, but I’ve only seen kayaks up for grabs at a Rocky Point Yacht Club in Greenwich. I fear you’d have to have some bucks to have a good time on a visit here. (Or, know someone with a boat.)

About Good Magazine. Their website looks a bit like New York Magazine, but it's not geographically focused, so it's a little scattered. I googled it and found a blurb about them from 2006: "Launching nationwide this Fall, GOOD magazine strives to elevate the level of debate among its target demographic of intelligent, ambitious, youthful people aged 21 through 35... GOOD is focused on the people, ideas, and institutions affecting change in the world. The magazine intends to examine the intersection of idealism and capitalism, and living well by doing “good”. GOOD will serve as a platform for talented contributors and writers to bring to the forefront issues and ideas that matter."

Looking at their website, I couldn't see that focus, so in your video, I wouldn't worry about trying to- well, maybe you should try to aim the video toward young do-gooders. You know, make it seem like we care about politics and/or the environment.

But um... is Stamford really the place for that population? We have got a lot of intelligent, ambitious, youthful people, but I don't see them doing much good; I see them drinking out at Tigin after making money all day. (Oh snap, did I just say that?) You can’t debate that Stamford has the capitalism covered.

About that idealism. Today in the car I said to my sis, “I wish my only job was to blog about Stamford and be a Stamford expert. If it was, I would interview people and... be an ESL volunteer.” Selfishly, I’d like to work with a Haitian person so I can practice my French and learn Kreyol. Oh man, I am so not good!

Does one have to be good to be idealistic?
Click here to read more.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Fairfield County Sucks for Young People. And?

I just found a quality blog called Connecticut Local Politics. Politics hurt my head, but I found a post about “Brain Drain” I can relate to. CTLP author Genghis Conn writes about a post from Mayor Malloy’s blog (who knew!?) that referenced an Advocate article about how young people are leaving CT because of the high cost of living.

Me to husband: What should I blog about today? I just found an article about Brain Drain, but aren’t we just bitching about the same old stuff?
Husband: Yeah, but it’s interesting. That’s what people want to talk about.
Me: Should my post be on what we should do about it?
H: There’s nothing you can do about it.

Then I guess my question is, why do we stay?

I stay for a few reasons.
I have a good job.
I like being around smart, educated people.
I was too lazy and torpid to move 5 years ago when I really, really hated this area.
Now that I’ve met my husband, I am happy. I can deal with Stamford. Sure, I’d like to be somewhere where there are more cheap music and art events that I don’t have to drive to (yup, I idealize Charlottesville, VA), but my parents-in-law are in Long Island, and we want to be close to them.

I also like that Stamford is diverse and has interesting issues to talk about. Much as I complain about the area, it’s not boring; frustrating, maybe, but not boring.

I like Stamford, but I can’t say I actively like this area. If I had a house on the water and a boat, I might be more psyched about it. Truth be told, I’d love to move somewhere where people are more into just hanging out. I'm tired of all of my friends (the wonderful coworkers I’ve had for ten years) not being able to hang out because they live in Trumbull or Fairfield and have to put the kids to bed. F that! Why can’t we all just BBQ in the backyard like we did yesterday? Why does that only happen once a year?

I’ll tell ya why: because most people who work down here can’t comfortably afford a house here. I’ll rent for the rest of my life before I commute from Norwalk again (worst year of my impatient life), so I feel pretty certain I’ll be in Stamford for a while. I guess I'm staying here for my job and my family, then.

Well. Turns out bitching about the same old stuff isn’t boring, because that rant was very satisfying.
Click here to read more.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Watch Out for Trump Crane on Sunday, Stamford!

I am almost- almost!!!!- tempted to go watch them raise the Trump Crane this weekend. That's what they were doing to that crane in NYC when it collapsed in May. According to the Stamford Times, roads around the site will be closed from 5 a.m. to 12 p.m. this Sunday.

Don't plan on driving on Broad or Washington, and watch your head if you are anywhere in the area. I wouldn't go shopping at Target on Sunday if I were you, nor would I picnic in Mill River Park, just in case. I do not trust that construction site.

Visit my flickr site to see my pics of Stamford's cranes over the past 8 months.

By the way, here is a pic of the littlest crane in Stamford:

It's building something near Greyrock Place, I think. I feel better about this crane since it's half the size of the Trump one.
Click here to read more.

First Alive at Five a Smashing Success

"Guys, I saw a snapping turtle today, and it was spectacular." -me to my dining companions after Alive at Five.

AAF was soooo crowded, but in a good way. No one was stumbling-drunk until 8:30. People were patient and didn't mind other people bumping into them. Goooooo Alive at Five, you were great!

I got there at 4:45-ish. I met old friends- from 5 years ago- and new friends- from 2 days ago- hey, Trivia Girls! Music was good, glasses of white wine were full, and the crowd was motley. Verdict: not like a frat party. Please see more pics at my flickr gallery.

My friends got claustrophobic and left around 7:30, but I think they were just tired. I personally did not mind rubbing up against a bunch of strangers. In fact, I loved it.

About the snapping turtle. You may recall I saved an unsavable turtle last weekend. Well, yesterday on the way home from work, I saw a creature scuttling across the road. I realized he was a large turtle- imagine the size of a large cat- so I pulled over to make sure he made it. By then, the turtle was across, and a Direct TV guy had pulled over and was taking a pic of the turtle with his camera phone. I jogged over to get a good look at the turtle with his badass jagged shell, then I went home to get ready for AAF.

Oh- the bad news- walking to Morton’s for a burger after AAF, I saw some Lacoste-wearing punk push over a human statue! I reported it to the UBS biking security guard, who said, "Thanks- it should be on camera.” Yeah, Stamford, with your fancy businesses and their fancy cameras!

Turns out Morton’s does not have burgers, so go to Napa for your fancy burgers. After apps and salad, the statue of the hula-hooping girl was back up.

You know, and this is just a thought, maybe it's not safe to have small children around those statues. Can you imagine if a statue fell over and a kid got smushed between the statue and a concrete sidewalk? Consider yourself warned, people.
Click here to read more.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Stamford Alive@Five Concerts: Drunken Frat Party?

a. "Of course! That's the point!"
b. "If you think that's a drunken frat party, you haven't been to a real frat party."

I think the truth is somewhere in between those 2 opposing responses.

AAF, Stamford's Thursday rock concert series, is like a frat party in that it's outdoors with beer as the main beverage.

However, it's much better people watching than a frat party because there is a wider variety of partiers.

And, like b. suggests, people don't get that drunk or crazy. First, most of us have to work the next day. Second, you aren't allowed to bring in your own coolers anymore. Finally, with all those strangers around, it's best to maintain some self-composure.

To me, these concerts are a good chance to hear OK music and see who else is out. I like to be near people.

Some people I know have said they hate the concerts, but I think as long as you know they are a CONCERT, you should know to expect beer and a crowd. Don't expect to hold a conversation. If you want a relaxed outdoor festival, go to an outdoor festival and sit on a picnic blanket, OR, go to the Wednesday classical music series at Columbus Park. Those are very nice and low key.

We'll see how it all turns out tomorrow... Always Home and Uncool reports that lead singer of Blues Traveler, John Popper, grew up in Stamford.

Good news: Fairfield County Happy Hour Club is having their Thursday happy hour in Stamford, at Rack and Roll on Atlantic, right after AAF ends! So, don't bother trying to wedge yourself into Tiernan's.
Click here to read more.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Stamford Talk Likes the Day Laborer Clinic

Ha! Ha! Ha! YES!
I beat the crazy people to a post about immigrants!!!!

There was a post- I mean, an article- in the Advocate today about a legal clinic for day laborers in Stamford. Workers can go there to get help in suing employers who have not paid them. I actually knew about this clinic a good six months ago because I randomly ran into an old friend from Virginia who happened to be on her way to volunteer there.

Every post that mentions immigrants in the Advocate generates the most annoying, asinine, xenophobic, stupid, lowest level comments you can imagine. To my delight, I was the first one to comment on the day laborer clinic article. I couldn't resist throwing some dirt in the face of the crazy Advocate commenters. Here is what I wrote:

Before a crazy xenophobe rants about how immigrants should go home, I want to say two things: 1. A friend of mine who I've known since high school is a lawyer in Greenwich and does this program. I'm really proud of her for giving her time and skills for this program even though she lives in Brooklyn. The program is obviously needed if they collected that much money. 2. This program could actually be seen as something to decrease use of day laborers. If a scummy contractor knows he can't cheat people out of hard-earned wages, maybe he will hire someone who is in the country legally. Great article, Stephen P. Clark!

And of course, the commment after mine was a generic "Why should illegals even be here" comment. Why do people say the same dull stuff over and over?
Click here to read more.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Summer: Yellow Nails, Blues Traveler, Dead Animals

Sign of Summer 1: I don’t mean to be flip about the dead animals. Last weekend, I screeched my car to a halt on the side of the road to rescue a turtle. Turns out someone had already run it over and cracked the poor thing’s shell.

I know he was going to die a slow death after I placed him on the side of the road, but I don’t think there is anything else I could have done. Someone should have stopped long before he got that far out into the road. If there is any animal that’s easy to save, it’s a turtle. I’m sure none of you passed a turtle on Cold Spring on Saturday, because if you are the type to read this blog, you’re the type to save an easy to save animal.

An increase in animal encounters is a sign of summer. Whether it’s ticks, frogs, owls, baby deer, mosquitos, jelly fish, or snakes, let’s be on the lookout for our non-human neighbors. I’m busy monitoring a pack of young chipmunks running amok in my yard, so the rest of you need to pick up my slack with the other species.

Sign of Summer 2: Thursday summer concerts downtown! It’s got some fancy name, like Live at Five, or Alive at Five, which I get mixed up with the Fridays at Five concerts in college. All you have to know is that there is lots of beer and rock/R and B music.

This Thursday-- and I’ve already got an image of what it’s going to be like running through my head-- is BLUES TRAVELER!!!

Here’s what it’s gonna look like: all the girls are in tank tops, it’s hot as hell (although my weather widget says 77 and sunny), the music is so loud, and we’re dancing and singing along. Yeah! No coolers, no pets, etc. Just bring yourself and some cash to buy water and beer. I’d also plan ahead for parking; I’m scheming as we speak.

Sign of Summer 3: I kicked off the start of summer today by getting a bright yellow manicure. Ever since my bright blue manicure garnered me tons of attention, I’ve been picturing lime green as my next color. Zen Nails didn’t have that, so I went with yellow. It’s pretty bonkers.

Zen Nails, again, was a disaster. Understaffed, unaggressive cuticle grooming, no one to give me a massage while my nails dried... but all the equipment is new and they have great colors! Do not go there if you have any sort of time constraint. It took me almost an hour and a half to get a mani-pedi, but my nails look awesome. My toenails are magenta.

Oh- and my ATV riding neighbor who illegally rides on the street, with his kid, with no helmet? Well... now, at least, the kid has a helmet on... a helmet that’s adult-sized. Great. Just great.

Related Stamford Talk posts:

--March 16, 2008-- Spring in Stamford=Illegal ATV Riding

--April 27, 2008-- Girly Day in Stamford: Zen Spa and Nails
Click here to read more.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Apple Store on Greenwich Ave: Are We OK w/ It?

The Stamford-based commuter blog Station Stops has the scoop on rumors of a new Apple store on Greenwich Ave. An Apple store on the Ave makes sense, I suppose. While traffic volume would be much lower than the Stamford Mall, it would be made up of big spenders. I like the idea of not going to the mall if I want to ogle high-tech stuff, but I don't like the idea of business traffic being taken away from the city with which I am obsessed. I want Greenwich people to have to come to Stamford.

OK, you got me. This post is just an excuse to say that I GOT AN IPHONE YESTERDAY!

It's a used one that my husband's coworker was selling, so my darling husband bought it for me, sneakily set it up, and put the phone in my hand, ready to use, when he got home from work. I'm still in shock... both from the glorious gadget that is now my best friend, and from how sweet my husband is.

I have been wanting an iPhone ever since I started getting busier with Stamford Talk a few months ago. Warmer weather = more Stamford action. I want to check email every hour or so to see if I have new comments or to correspond with someone who has an interesting scoop. It was getting annoying to have to ask my husband if I could use his iPhone while we were out at Capriccio or driving to dinner in Greenwich.

("You know, if you'd stop eating out so much, you could afford a house in Stamford," Always Home and Uncool said to me yesterday. Please keep on me about that, AHUC.)

The husband and I had been in discussions about whether or not to get the new iPhone coming out July 11 for me- rather, for him, and I'd get his old one. However, the new iPhone won't be hackable, meaning we'd be stuck with ATandT. We really needed a used one so I could keep my convenient, affordable T-mobile plan.

Fate, via my husband, brought this used iPhone into my life less than 24 hours ago.

(Oh, FREAK yeah, I see a neighbor setting up a tag sale! What in this house can I bring over to them? That reminds me, I think Union Baptist over on Newfield Ave is having a tag sale today, too. I work with the assistant preacher's wife and she is totally cool.)
Click here to read more.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Rrrrr Stamford Talk Angry at Advocate Editorial

There is a ridiculous editorial in the Advocate today. It's so pointless that I'm surprised it ran. The title was "School closings require good reason” and, after a paragraph of jibberish about how superintendents make a lot of money, it made the point that kids should not have been sent home in the 97 degree heat on Monday and Tuesday.

Well, what a koinkydink, I'm a teacher in a room with no AC, so I whipped out a response. Here it is below. I posted it as a comment on Topix and sent another version (without the Stamford Talk "DUH") to the editor. I hope it gets published.

Dear editor:

You SHOULD have visited the schools before you wrote this.

I teach in one of the un-ACd schools and it was by far the worst in my ten years of teaching. The heat and humidity were nauseating to all of us. You didn't do much research if you only heard a "few reports."

I don't understand your nasty attitude about kids needing to toughen up. If you were in the schools, you would know how nice most kids are and how hard they work. The kids tried to tough it out, but all we could do was sit and look at each other listlessly, and then when it was time to change classes, wade through slick, humid halls with 700 middle schoolers. School is for learning, not for toughening up, and no learning could go on in humid, hot, 100 degree rooms.

It's laughable that you say the "creative" teachers moved to the ACd spaces. I'm going to give you a big Stamford Talk DUH on that. That's what we all did, but there was not enough space for the hundreds of kids who were in the un-ACd rooms. That's why kids were sent home. It was the right decision.

You seem to want kids to suffer. If it makes you feel better, don't worry, it's "uncomfortable" all of June and August. Please, feel free to pick a 95 degree day to come visit and sit in my room for an hour at 2pm. Actually, I'll sit; you can stand and teach.

I think it is so odd that whoever wrote the piece was not even IN a school building on those hot days! It seemed like someone just felt like complaining about schools... maybe that person should toughen up!
Click here to read more.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Yuppie Stamford: Vacuums, Blogs, Me

Um... I googled "yuppie blogs" just for fun, and the first result was a New York Times article called "The Latest Must-Have for Yuppies: A Blog About the Neighborhood." If I had any doubt that I'm in yuppie-ville, the article dispels it... oh, that and the reflection I glimpsed of myself leaving Target at 9pm Monday night with a $500 vacuum. (Already worth it!!!) I saw myself pushing the cart and thought, yup, Stuff Yuppies Like: expensive vacuums.

The Times article is about Brooklyn, but it clearly applies to Stamford: First come the renovated condominiums, the latte bars and the expensive baby strollers. Next, apparently, come the bloggers. Well, Stamford has new condos, and we don't push strollers because we don't walk anywhere, but we have a lot of bloggers. Scroll down to see my Fellow Bloggers in the right-hand margin.

Just like in Brooklyn, we Stamford urbanites closely watch what goes on in our 'hoods: One Web site’s survey of the prevalence of blogs in urban neighborhoods found a link between gentrification and the number of people who feel compelled to think out loud about the changes in their backyards...

Yup. I was all riled up about Whole Foods, and Trump Parc irritates me every morning when I stare at it on my drive through Stamford to I-95. Always Home and Uncool wrote about Advocate editor Joe Pisani leaving after Hearst took over. Blog Stamford writes about new buildings going up over town. Mr. Stamford posts about development in town, too.
Joey K took furtive pictures of mystery construction that turned out to be part of a very confusing situation with the fire department. Manager Mom covers gas prices and recycling. Station Stops is all up in MetroNorth's beeswax. We are ON this city.

The leading Brooklyn blogger said, "This either means we’ve got a lot of creative, community-minded people in the neighborhood or a lot of recluses with too much time on their hands.” I think it's mostly the first one.

About that vacuum. I have a short haired dog whose white hair sticks like glued needles to any fabric. This vacuum has already changed my life and self-image. I can now host slumber parties and not feel guilty that my couches/air mattresses are near hair-slicked surfaces. Here's a pic of my dog with her boyfriend, Murray.

Related Stamford Talk articles:

April 16, 2008: "Stuff White People Like" Update: I Still Hate It

March 24, 2008: I Don't Like 'Stuff White People Like'

January 23, 2008: Whole Foods Mess Might Benefit Tawa

June 7, 2008: More Falling Objects in Stamford: Oh No You DI'IN'T, Trump Parc!
Click here to read more.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Sculptor J. Seward Johnson Judges Marilyn Contest

Dudes, I am so breaking this story! There was media everywhere at the Marilyn contest- J. Seward Johnson was one of the judges- but I’m putting it up first, because I’m competitive like that.

The contest, in honor of Stamford Downtown's outdoor exhibit of JSJ's sculptures, was hilarious- see all pics at my flickr site. I got to meet and see some of Stamford’s glitterati: the SDSSD staff including their cool bloggers, the head of Keep Stamford Beautiful, a guy on the board at the Avon Theatre, and... the sculptor himself!

A friend’s husband peer pressured me into saying hi to J. Seward Johnson. I do not like to bother celebs, but he said JSJ is really nice and likes talking to people. On the way out, I happened to pass JSJ just as he finished signing a Marilyn’s book, so I said, “Hi, I have a website about Stamford, and I have a silly question. Do you have a message for Stamford?”

JSJ actually took some time to think, and he looked me in the eye and said something to the effect of, “Stamford is going places. There are many sides of it, and every time I come, I see a different side.”


Sandy Goldstein, head of SDSSD, said she was proud of us for coming, and proud of the Marilyns... I am too. Life can be so shittily dull, and we’ve got to spice it up by putting on wigs, drinking wine, and taking pictures of each other.

GO SDSSD and Avon, for putting on this cool event! Now I’m expecting more amazing ones... please!

I regret that I left too soon to get a photo of the winning Marilyn, in fuchsia satin, petting a white pit bull. Dammit!!! I saw the shot as I drove by the Avon on the way home. I am sure someone else got it. News 12 was there, a photographer for SDSSD, and a guy doing a documentary on JSJ.

Here all the judges, Marilyns, and important people who made the event/exhibit happen:

Click here to read more.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Socializing Opps with FC Happy Hour Club

If you are someone who complains that it's hard to meet people in Stamford, you need to shut your yap and come to a Fairfield County Happy Hour Club event. I went last Thursday night to its happy hour at SBC and it was really fun.
Three friends and I saw Sex and the City at the Majestic, then walked over to SBC. From a movie theatre full of women to a bar full of men? Sounds good to me. Actually, FCHHC draws plenty of women, which makes sense, because what single woman would avoid a crowd of cute men? Not me, and I'm not even single!

Two very cool guys, Vin and Travis, run the club. Their chill attitudes are ideal. FCHHC events are relaxed and friendly. I think it's the magic of the nametags. Not only are they how you get the drink deals, many have funny sayings, so they are conversation starters. My tag said, "And I even read the blog," another guy's said, "Nanny Hunter," and my friend's said, "I'm new." Two people- two!- introduced themselves to me. That is a freakin' record from my ten years up here. I even got to meet Blog Stamford in person and we had dorky blog chat.

After that, my husband met up with us girls, and we walked downtown to do some "Stamford Talk Research." First, we checked out g/r/a/n/d. It was a little slow, but on the way out, a woman kicked me in the thigh with a dramatic spin move while talking to her friends. That was exciting, and it didn't hurt. You've got to love it when you get randomly round-house kicked and come out unscathed. As for the other bars, Twenty was medium slow, Black Bear was hopping, and Thirsty Turtle was having a big event. That was 11:15 pm ish. I was proud to see so many Stamford-ites out on Thursday night, but still, I think more of us could be out.

I also caught the first part of the FCHHC pub crawl yesterday (Saturday) afternoon. It looked like it was going to be a great day, but I had to cut out early at 430 pm to go to a bachelorette party at Mohegan Sun. Again, people were very friendly; even other women talked to me. Does that ever happen in the FC? No. Usually women ignore each other, but FCHHC is different. There is a happy hour every Thursday, but this week's location has yet to be announced. Check the website for info!
Click here to read more.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

More Falling Objects in Stamford: Oh No You DI'IN'T, Trump Parc!

WHAT- THE- HECK. One of us is going to get killed by Trump Parc.

Last week, I took this pic of the busy intersection by TP.

Today's Advocate Headline: Object falls at the site of Trump Parc

The article text: For the second time in two weeks, an object fell yesterday from the Trump Parc construction site and struck a vehicle, police said. A 3-foot-long piece of cable about a half-inch in diameter fell from the 29th floor, said Lt. Sean Cooney, a city police spokesman. Cooney said the object hit the back of a VW Jetta occupied by an unidentified Greenwich man at about 2:50 p.m. The driver was not injured, but the car's roof caved in, and its rear and side windows shattered on impact, he said.

CAN YOU IMAGINE? What if there had been a baby in the backseat by those windows? I am PISSED.

Stamford Mayor Dannel Malloy said he will speak with the city engineer, the building department and those in charge of construction at the Trump Parc site. "We're going to have to sit down with these folks, maybe close the job, until we get some level of satisfaction about these procedures," he said. "A second incident in a short period of time tells me people are being reckless."

YES, Malloy, you tell those f#&kers. SHUT DOWN TRUMP UNTIL WE HAVE SOME ANSWERS. Stuff falling 20 stories onto cars below is unacceptable!!!

SHUT- DOWN- TRUMP. No "maybe." Shut it down. And invite the public to the meeting.

For your gawking pleasure, here are a four pictures I took of the TP construction site, which looms over the busiest part of the city. You can see how huge the crane is. The last shot is of a concrete truck blocking traffic on May 1; that's my steering wheel in the bottom left corner. I know- I'm an amazing photographer.

Click here to read more.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Check Out a Cool Advocate Photoblog!

By sheer Stamford Talk karma, the same karma that put me in a situation to repeatedly pretend to ignore Robert DeNiro as he rolled a wheelie suitcase toward me, I discovered a fantastic photoblog by the Stamford Advocate photographers.

This beautiful shot by Chris Preovolos grabbed my attention. The sun and color of the building make it look like it could be in the Caribbean, but it's from Stamford's Great American Clean-Up Day last weekend. The photoblog is great because you get the stories behind the photos with comments from the photogs. Hell yeah. Anytime talented people want to show me their work for free, I'm all over it. No, not just for free; they are making it easy for me. I appreciate that. In this internet age, the word "easy" is key. There is so much vying for our attention, and we're all busy. The photoblog is a simple, straightforward, well-organized site.

There is also a multimedia section where you can see slide shows, some with voice overs. Kick ass, Advocate! Yes! Finally you are giving me something cool that does not disappear from the face of the world after two weeks, like your articles- oh yeah. I've got a big post planned on that bitter subject.

It looks like the blog has only been up since January. That's pretty young for a blog, so I'm not going to complain about how the Advocate should have publicized it better. Heck, maybe there is a big logo on the Stamford Advocate home page that says, "CLICK HERE FOR THE ADVOCATE PHOTOBLOG," but a) I read so fast on the internet that it's easy for me to miss things and b) the big animated "Cancer" logo from the first week of the new Advocate website really turned me off and took a toll on my patience. However, a quick browse of the site shows no sign of "link here for awesome photos of your city that provide a new perspective on the people and places you take for granted and are too rushed to notice."

Advocate, we love you, but step it up! Give us good stuff, make it easily accessible online, and don’t make your articles go away after two weeks. We all hate that and talk about you behind your back for it.
Click here to read more.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Let's Get Rid of the Nasty Stuff in Our Garages

One thing I love about doing Stamford Talk is that I find out about awesome events like Hazardous Waste Disposal Day. Doesn't that sound great? If not, then at least the flier looks dramatic. YOW, that is yellow!

Always Home and Uncool sent me this link, along with, I think, some sort of insult relating me to toxic waste. Man. The Stamford blogger scene is getting intense.

The event (I call it an event because I expect great things) is June 14, from 8am-2pm, at Scalzi Park. That's next Saturday. The Stamford Skatepark is also at Scalzi, so you should drive to the back of the park and see the skaters, too.
Click here to read more.

Stamford Talk Slumber Partying in NoHo

I hate to be a slacker blogger but I am busy eating Skittles in a NoHo apartment at midnight. I just spent 3 hours at a Prom in a loft in the meat packing district. Not my prom. My friend from college teaches at a fancy private school in the city, and our photographer friend from Philly has done their photos for the past 5 years. This year I got to be his assisstant, meaning I got to drink wine around teenagers.

"Is this worth publishing?" I said to my sis, who I am keeping awake even though I'm waking up in 5 hours to drive back to Stamford. "That sounds fine to me," she muttered.

I actually did assist; I passed out a card with the website and school code so the kids can see the pics, and I... helped put up and take down the backdrop.

Yup. Tonight I'm a loser with nothing to say except... I'm glad I'm still young and carefree with no kids so I can do fun stuff like stay over in the city.

And I really only had one glass of wine.
Click here to read more.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Marilyn Monroe Look-Alike Prize: $750!

Good Golly! The top prize in this contest is $750!!! Runner up, $250. That is some serious cash. We should all try to round up an exhibitionist co-worker or two and drag him or her to the contest.

Here are the important details you can get from the Stamford Downtown site:
Contests will be judged on voice, style, posture, mannerism, personality/charisma, body, face, hair and makeup by judges selected by the DSSD.

Download the application at, then email, mail or fax your intention to enter the Marilyn Monroe Look-Alike Contest by filling out entry form by June 4. On June 10 report to the Avon Theatre between 5:00 and 6:00 p.m. completely dressed. The contest will begin at 7 p.m.

So, it looks like you don't even have to sing! I wonder what else you could wear besides a white dress... old fashioned bathing suit and heels?

I repeat, I am so going to this, even though it's my Bull's Head Traffic Calming feedback session night. I love the Avon and all the crazy events they throw, although it's really the freakishly initialed SDSSD (Stamford Downtown Special Services District) that is in charge of it... That organization does very cool things for us all the time (farmer's market, Alive at Five concerts), yet obscures their coolness with a boring name and impossible to remember initials... even "Stamford Downtown Special Events" would be an improvement! Sigh. I just can't let it go. That name drives me mad.

Related posts:

--May 31, 2008- Let the Statue Parade Hi-Jinx Begin!

--Here's an Advocate article about the traffic calming sessions from my Stamford Talk Resources site
Click here to read more.