Sunday, February 28, 2010

Move Your Money

There's an interesting story from CBS Sunday Morning today about an initiative called Move Your Money. It's a grassroots effort to end the era of banks that are too big to fail and bonuses that are too big to believe.

The link above takes you to a short video juxtaposing George Bailey's "It's a Wonderful Life" community banking virtues and Mr. Potter's unbridled greed with today's equivalent. The Move Your Money website itself does a better job than I will explaining why community banking makes sense, and gives users suggestions for community banks in their home town. For a list of community banks in Stamford, click here.

(photo from alancleaver_2000,

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Bedford Brainstorm - What about a Spa?

Bedford needs a new attraction that will bring people out in the snow. It needs a little intrigue, a destination.

The Agora Spa is not far away, but there's something inaccessible about parking in a (controversial) hotel parking complex and weaving your way through a lobby dripping with businessmen and brass fixtures toward a floating concrete box.

What about a spa on Bedford? I'm talking nature sounds and neutral paint schemes. Mysterious rooms, heated stones, water with lemon. The whole 9 yards.

I would go. I would go a lot, and I think that you would too.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Fun Saturday? How about a War Hero's Painful Transition to Normal

Ok, sure, you've seen Avatar and Precious, but have you seen The Messenger? This film, nominated for Best Supporting Actor and Best Original Screenplay is yours to enjoy at the Avon on Saturday, February 27th at 11am.

The Avon describes it as follows:

This is a powerful and tender story about a returned war hero making his first steps toward a normal life. Ben Foster stars as Will Montgomery, a U.S. Army officer who has just returned home from a tour in Iraq and is assigned to the Army’s Casualty Notification service. Partnered with fellow officer Tony Stone (Woody Harrelson) to bear the bad news to the loved ones of fallen soldiers, Will faces the challenge of completing his mission while seeking to find comfort and healing back on the home front. When he finds himself drawn to Olivia (Samantha Morton), to whom he has just delivered the news of her husband's death, Will’s emotional detachment begins to dissolve and the film reveals itself as a surprising, humorous, moving and very human portrait of grief, friendship and survival.

(photo from noii's,

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Nature and Nourriture at Audubon Greenwich

Audubon Greenwich features a few events worth your time on Saturday, February 27th:


Full Moon Hike
6:30-8:30 pm
Guides will take you exploring the Audubon property in search of owls, coyotes and other critters. RSVP required by calling Ted at 203-869-5272 x230. Seven years old and up only please. Attire: warm, soft and quiet. I guess no corduroy?

Be An Animal Tracks and Traces Detective
2:30-3:45 pm
Bunnies and birds and squirrels, oh my! This event lets you learn about tracks and traces left by animals in the area, then to put your new talents to the test on a little walk. RSVP required by calling 203-869-5272 x221. Five years old and up only please. (PS - be careful not to step in "traces")

Nourriture (aka, food)

FRESH: The Movie
2:00-4:30 pm
See this film on the local, organic and sustainable food movement and the broken food system inspiring it. It will be followed by a panel discussion and reception with organic wine and Connecticut-made cheese. Space very limited (may be sold out by now) and remaining tickets are available for $7 by going here.

(photo from foxypar4,

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Times Interview with Officer who Killed Travis the Chimp

The New York Times today features a chilling article about Frank Chiafari, the Stamford Police Officer who was called to the scene the night Travis the Chimp attacked Charla Nash. Most of the news coverage of the event has come from Ms. Nash and Travis' owner, Sandra Herold, but Officer Chiafari has a completely different perspective that hadn't yet been profiled.

He and his colleague almost thought it was a joke when they hear the call to respond to a "monkey attacking someone." They soon realized the monkey was the friendly chimpanzee Officer Chiafari had known for many years. When they arrived, he saw what the article describes as a "lump of clothing in the driveway." That lump turned out to be the faceless body of Charla Nash.

After bashing the police car's passenger side view mirror, Travis approached the driver's side, bloody from stab wounds inflicted by his owner, opened the car door and flashed his teeth. Officer Chiafari shot four times, and the chimp went back into his home, where he died.

The article focuses on the emotional impact the event had on Officer Chiafari. It's not hard to see why it did. After the shooting, the officer approached Ms. Nash to find "[h]er hands are off" and "thumbs and fingers all over the place." She reached out for his leg with what remained of her arms.

I imagine we're pretty close to the end of this event's tenure in the spotlight, but this article was a new look at just how frightening and tragic it was.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Stamford Restaurant Week

Do you like food? How about food that just got cheaper? You do?! Then you, my friend, are in luck.

Stamford Restaurant Week is underway NOW! February 21st to March 7th, you can get a sweet deal on a good meal at the following places:

-Barcelona Restaurant & Wine Bar ($20.10 lunch; $30.10 dinner)
-Bennett’s Restaurant ($20.10 lunch; $30.10 dinner)
-Black Bear Saloon ($10.10 lunch; $15.10 dinner)
-Bradford's Grill & Tavern ($10.10 lunch; $20.10 dinner)
-BUtterfield 8 Restaurant & Lounge ($10.10 lunch; $20.10 dinner)
-The Capital Grille ($20.10 lunch; $30.10 dinner)
-Columbus Park Trattoria ($20.10 lunch; $30.10 dinner)
-Emme of Capri ($20.10 lunch; $30.10 dinner)
-Ferrante ($20.10 lunch; $30.10 dinner)
-Grand Restaurant ($30.10 dinner)
-Kona Grill ($20.10 lunch; $30.10 dinner)
-Kujaku Japanese Restaurant ($10.10 lunch; $15.10 dinner)
-Market Restaurant ($20.10 lunch; $30.10 dinner)
-Mitchell's Fish Market ($20.10 lunch; $30.10 dinner)
-Remo's Brick Oven Pizza ($10.10 lunch; $20.10 dinner)
-SBC Restaurant & Brewery ($10.10 lunch; $15.10 dinner)
-Telluride ($20.10 lunch; $30.10 dinner)
-Tengda Asian Bistro ($10.10 lunch; $20.10 dinner)
-Tigin's Irish Pub & Restaurant ($10.10 lunch; $15.10 dinner)

You'll find menus and other information at the link above, a "minisite" from the Downtown Stamford Special Services District. Cheers!

(photo from moriza,

Monday, February 22, 2010

Rob Mathes Rockin the Rectory

Hi there, citizens! Glad to be back - although after a week in Buenos Aires, the weather here in Stamford was a ridiculously rude awakening.

And now that I'm awake, let's open it back up with a musical badass, shall we? His name is Rob Mathes, and on Sunday, March 7th at 4:00pm he will be bringing his blues talents to our little corner of the map. This guy's musical resume is tough to match.

-He's the music director for The Kennedy Center Honors.
-He has been collaborating with Sting on an orchestral tour.
-He will be fresh off an appearance at Carnegie Hall when he comes to Stamford.
-His Christmas concerts have lead to two specials on PBS.
-Ray Charles' Grammy winning "Genius Loves Company" includes one of his arrangements.
-He was the musical director for an inaugural concert at the Lincoln Memorial.

His accompanying band members for the Stamford performance are pretty phenomenal as well. Among others, he will appear along with Will Lee on bass from the David Letterman Show and Shawn Pelton on drums from Saturday Night Live.

You can see him (and more importantly hear him) perform at the First@First@Four Concert Series, which takes place at The First United Methodist Church, 42 Cross Road. Tickets will run you $25 for adults, $20 for seniors and $15 for students. Get yours by calling 203-324-1323 or 203-273-5231 (speak with Ruth).

Friday, February 12, 2010

See You Soon, Citizens!

We packed our warm weather duds, locked up tight and are off for a little R&R.

Meet back here on the 21st!

(photo from kthread,

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Valentine's Day Local Love

Show Stamford some love by checking out the following:

For Couples

- Live Jazz at Dragonfly Lounge. The dark, Gothic setting is filled with rich fabrics, strong drinks and sex appeal.

- Valentine's Day flowers from All Things Floral. I'm kinda digging the unconventional orange baby bouquet.

- Complimentary champagne and chocolate dipped strawberries at g/r/a/n/d with dinner and a DJ.

For Singles

- Love Stinks event at BUtterfield8. Join other singles on February 12th starting at 9pm. Open bar for free for ladies with sponsorship by Stoli Vodka and others.

- Napa & Co's “What Happens @ Napa…Stays @ Napa” Pre-Valentine’s Singles Bash on Friday February 12th at 6:30 pm. For $50, they offer fabulous food, wonderful wines and "sparks!!"

For Everybody

- Luscious Lips event at Fernando Luis Alvarez's new gallery at 96 Bedford. On February 12th from 5:30 to 8:30pm. Sponsors include Chanel, Saks, Stamford Town Center and the Avon Theatre. Chanel makeup artists will be on hand to create a room full of lovely lips. The artist himself will be creating during the event. All guests of the event will get a ticket to a morning screening of an Oscar-nominated film at the Avon.

(photo from aussiegall,

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Giving Props to your Property

The fingers behind Stamford Market News typed me a few comments today, prompting me to check out his blog.

It's a self-proclaimed "non-suger-coated" commentary on Stamford real estate authored by William Pitt Sotheby's real estate agent, Chris McClave.

Although I not-so-secretly long for the days when real estate news was heavily coated in sugar, the realist in me appreciates his thoughts on:

- how seriously to take Zillow real estate valuation numbers

- bizarre local miniature versions of national icons

- any reference whatsoever to stabilizing prices

(photo from Mozo Man,

Monday, February 8, 2010

Wish for Fish Knowledge

There's a new exhibit at The Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk called "Go Fish! Long Island Sound & Beyond."

It features a 30,000 gallon tank with local fish like striped bass, cod, tautogs, Atlantic salmon, wolffish and spiny dogfish sharks. Coming soon - a seven foot Atlantic halibut.

Check out interactive displays and learn about the connections between everyday life and the creatures in our local water (beyond just serving them with lemon and butter).

(photo from dionhinchcliffe,

Sunday, February 7, 2010

In Search of Local Color

I was excited to hear about the new gallery on Bedford, and was hopeful that it was a sign of things to come. Little did I know, there was another art space nearby just under my nose.

The University of Connecticut's Stamford Campus maintains an art gallery at One University Place, Washington Boulevard. Open Mon-Th 8:30am to 7pm and Fri 8:30am to 5pm, the gallery features art from students, faculty and staff as well as regional talent.

Currently, the gallery hosts "CT Portrait Society Show: Faces of Winter." It is a collection of over 70 paintings and sculptures, and you can learn more about it here. The exhibit will be on display until March 4th. You can see a description of future exhibits here.

(photo from (: Petra :),

Friday, February 5, 2010

Give your Child the Gift of a Bird Brain

No plans for your child's winter break? Sign them up for Winter Vacation Camp at Audubon Greenwich. Scheduled for February 16th to the 19th, it features hikes, crafts and games in the cold but very fresh air. The details are as follows:

AGES: Kindergarten - 5th Grade

* Tuesday, Feb. 16 - Predators
* Wednesday, Feb. 17 - Tracks & Traces
* Thursday, Feb. 18 - Animals on Vacation
* Friday, Feb. 19 - Wonders of Winter

HOURS: 9:30 am to 2:30 pm

COST: $50/day for members; $60/day for non-members

For registration forms and more details, visit or call the Camp Director, Lindsey DeVito at 203.869.5272 x235.

There are separate programs for different age groups. Be sure to bring lunch and a snack. Chicken nuggets and turkey sandwiches might not be very considerate.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Lonely Hearts Pub

The other day, my buddy JR (the evil genius behind Streets of Stamford) forwarded me an email with the subject line "Reality Dating." I responded saying "saw the subject line and deleted - guess I should give more of a crap..." (To which he aptly replied " a crap is overrated.").

Apparently the subject matter is not just idle internet grossness, but an actual attempt to respond to the scourge of sucky Valentine's Days.

On February 10th at 7pm, you can go to Bradford's Tavern and take advantage of the latest in matchmaking technology for free! It works like this:
- Come in the door.
- Have your information entered into a computer.
- You will be matched up with someone suitable (or hopefully suitable) for you in the room.
- You will have a little 5 minute date with your (arguably) perfect pair.
- You choose whether you want to pursue it.

If you meet someone fabulous - great! If not - well, you got your money's worth.

(photo from biskuit,

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


A big "thank you" to Mark Ketley, Chief Executive Officer of the Stamford YMCA who very graciously answered each of my questions about his organization. Below you will see our exchange:

Q: What will membership cost?
A: The rate sheet has not been finalized as of yet, but for a single adult membership, it will be in the range of 40 per month.

Q: What facilities will you offer (machines, pool, exercise rooms, sauna, etc)?
A: We will have our 6 lane pool, full size gymnasium, indoor running track, free weight room, life fitness strength equipment, cardio center, and aerobics studio.

Q: How big will the workout space be?
A: Our entire facility is 50,000 square feet.

Q: Some local gyms save money by not offering towels - will you all do the same?
A: Most likely, we will not offer towels.

Q: What classes will you offer?
A: We are planning on April classes in both the aerobic studio, gym, and pool. We have not set that schedule as of yet.

Q: Will there be a daycare service?
A: We plan on having child watch in the future, when space permits, but it is not planned with the initial opening.

Q: What will your hours be?
A: Hours are being determined, with typical YMCA opening at 530, and closing around 9- 930 pm. Plus hours on Saturday and Sunday as well. We will post the hours shortly on our web site.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Historical Horrors for Sale in Stamford

Since my primary source of cutting edge Stamford, Connecticut news is an Israeli newspaper, I was totally in the know about the Haaretz Daily's report on a disturbing piece of Holocaust history for sale by local Stamford auctioneer, Alexander Autographs.

Although Dr. Josef Mengele's diary was put up for auction on January 20/21st, perhaps unsurprisingly, it has not yet sold. Mengele was a Nazi officer best known for his brutal and criminally crazy medical experiments at Auschwitz. Proving that you can't make this stuff up, the diary is written in a children's book called "Illustrated Zoology." He wrote it after fleeing to Argentina following the war.

The auction house description of the diary makes it clear that Mengele was still festering with insanity in his later years. They note that [w]hat particularly strikes us [is] how easily Mengele is able to jump from an urgent plea that civilization undertake the "extermination" of genetically "inferior" "morons", to a child-like description of his first sighting of a monkey in the wild.

I believe I can safely say, yikes.