31 August 2010

I know nothing about the Republican candidate for CT Attorney General...

Martha Dean, but I must admit I like her campaign slogan, "Freedom.  Faith.  Fortune.", which I noticed today for the first time on a sign in the neighborhood.  It's alliterative, which is always a good thing, but, more importantly, it's decidedly unlike most current political slogans, which stress either one's experience or one's outsider status.  Candidate Dean's, however, is wonderfully opaque and raises all sorts o' questions:
Freedom of/from what? 
Faith in whom? 
Whose fortune exactly, and is that fortune as in $$$$ or fortune as in luck/destiny? 

I guess we should find out before November.

(On a somewhat related note, I love it when states ban together to sue some big entity just so newspeople can say "attorneys general," which is even a better plural than mothers-in-law...)

Frank Sinatra's TOP and BOTTOM 10 -- "Frank, Gil, and Friends" Playlist 8/31/10

I was asked to pick and play what I consider to be the best and worst songs of Frank Sinatra on today's "Frank Gil and Friends" (Tuesdays, 8-10 AM on WFCS 107.7 FM New Britain/Hartford and www.live365.com/stations/wfcs).   The bad are bad for a variety of reasons: a bad song, badly performed, ill-suited to Sinatra, maybe all three!

Here's what I came up with in no particular order (needless to say, you may disagree):

The Worst:

I Sing the Songs
I Went Down to Virginia
Mrs. Robinson
God's Country
Satisfy Me One More Time
Tennessee Newsboy
Early American
To Love a Child

The Best:

Time after Time
I'll Never Smile Again
When the World Was Young
Don't Like Goodbyes
Angel Eyes
September of My Years
Learning the Blues
Monday Morning Quarterback
I've Got You Under My Skin

Well, that's an unexpected source!

Isn't the state of Connecticut sponsoring an "Ethics Day" akin to the famed Chicken Ranch brothel in Nevada holding an abstinence conference? 

Not that it isn't a noble idea, but the host lacks some credibility, no?

30 August 2010

The most difficult adjustment to my not being chair thus far...

...has been the dramatic decrease in email I'm receiving.  To be honest, THIS might take some getting used to.

Cue James Brown: I FEEL GOOD!

1. It's the first day of classes at CCSU.
2. I'm not serving as chairman or assistant chairman of the English Department for the first time in 12 years.
3. I'm back in a Latin classroom for the first time since 1992.
4. My two daughters are, respectively, starting the 10th and 6th grades today.
5. I've lost 10 pounds since 30 July 2010.
6. I walked two miles this morning.
7. Last week I received the 2010 CCSU Distinguished Service Award.
7. I'm wearing seersucker.

23 August 2010

And this is "Robin and the Seven Hoods" how?

So, the Broadway-bound version of Robin and the Seven Hoods has gotten rid of all the songs from the 1964 film except one -- which, I'm assuming, is "My Kind of Town (Chicago is)" and replaced them with a whole slew of other Cahn and Van Heusen songs.  This ridiculous re-write, by Rupert "The Pina Colada Song" Holmes, of all people, also means  no "Mr. Booze," "Bang, Bang", "Any Man Who Loves His Mother," "Don't be a Do-Badder," "All for One," or "Charlotte Couldn't Charleston"!

What this production should be doing is restoring "I Like to Lead When I Dance" to its proper place in the show because Frank never recorded it for the film after the production fell into a bit of chaos due to John Kennedy's assassination.

Listen, I'd go see any Cahn/Van Heusen musical (indeed what they should be doing is reviving Skyscaper!), but, if you're doing RATSH, then, by gosh, DO it.


A trio of tributes from my swell colleagues

1) In song and dance (from L to R: Phyllis, Darlene, Min, and Chris):

2) On-line:


3) In verse:

"A Classic Act"
Anthony R. Cannella

We sing the man:
his wine-dark eyes, his ties not shy,
for his blue-booked stacks, never a "Fie!"
"Bring them on," shouts he, by George.
"Of my erstwhile trade I'm naught afraid."
(Perhaps the shock is just delayed.)
Red plume in hand, brain untaxed,
he girds himself
(tho' quite relaxed)
for class upon class.
Therein work's more gruntish,
sometimes also fraught,
verily, with mighty labors bought,
in classrooms stark,
at times too light, at times too dark,
too hot or cold
for Learning's spark.
Yet will he prosper
and flourish there,
as when he ruled
from purpled chair

O, son of Cincinnati,
Of Cincinnatus too,
you led us well.
('tis true, 'tis true.)
O, chuckling Ciceronian
who, as Rumor told,
oft spake in perfect Babylonian,
(In Greek
And Roman, too.)
Classical or
'Tis no matter,
We cannot tell,
our words, our idioms scatter,
for like the Bard,
we've small Latine,
on trots, or ponies, must we lean;
yet our hearts be large
for the man who was
till now in charge.
Gil Thorpe? Gil Gamesh?
Nay, Gil Gigliotti!
With soft and silent g's,
not Gig-lee-otti.

Our wry philosophizer,
benevolent democratizer.
factions' synthesizer,
kindest sympathizer!
Heard you he has Greek?
Much he owes to Catholic U.
And much to
Cincy's Xavier, too.
But most he owes
to a sacred store,
Where, before we knew him,
before he kenned
Connecticut wit
or made his home
with his winsome three
(all four tight-knit),
a Clan of Rats he did detect,
in unformed form, of course:
just Young Blue Eyes,
no Dino, no Sammy,
no rascals choice,
but, oh,
that Voice, that Voice.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Sweet notes galore
From sacred record store.

But what of the Mob?
"Part of the job," says
our philosopher king.
"Gonna make something of it?
Ba-da-ba, ba-da-bing.
Frank, well, he soars above it.
Why so many
pick that nit?
Why not 'stead extoll
the best of men,
e'er to spin
at 33 rpm?"
But what of Virgil,
Ovid and Horace?
"Good stuff," says Gil,
"but for Frank
just chorus."

And now the summer
bows to fall,
Sybil recedes,
cruel syllabi call.
(Had I but world enough
and time,
for both the scansion
and the rhyme,
this poem, dear people,
would be no crime.)
And now on stage,
the valiant Cohen,
our noble Steve.
We'll let him know
He's not alone.
But soft:
Look ye our man,
from limelight away,
O, humble hero,
Would you might stay.
Yet still he goes,
Yet now returns
with golden throat
and silver sword,
with whiteboard marker
and wit-dressed word.
Hush. He speaks:
"Shall I fear class --after class,
after class. after class?
Nay! I utter no alas!
And no alack,
This too will pass,
this teaching track.
These classes but be dragons
For me, in sooth, to hack."

One feature persists
'mid Fate's ebb and flow:
our hero's worthy habit,
his weekly radio show.
No class will conflict
with that weekly fix;
107.7 and its
away to Heaven,
where, of course,
fair Ava dwells.
locked in all Eternity.
Gil just smiles.
"Someone to watch over me."

And now, his toga passed,
toward class his chin he casts,
No need for props, like silver sword.
He is no chairman
Of the bored.

Not to mention plenty of public and private emails saying very nice things.

Have I mentioned what great friends and colleagues comprise the Department of English at Central Connecticut State University?  You should be so lucky!

20 August 2010

Email sent to the Department on this, the last day of my chairmanship

To all my colleagues in the English Department:

Just a (very quick) note of sincerest thanks for all your support and hard work these past seven years, while I have served as chairman. 

The one thing that, I hope, I have reiterated enough to our new chairman is that one of the real joys of his duties will be realizing what a remarkable group of dedicated, talented, and giving professionals his work will be supporting – not to mention the great support he will receive from you. 

Continue your excellent work and have a great year!

Needless to say, I’m still around (Willard 329).

Many thanks again!

Your friend and colleague,


01 August 2010

For all those who know me well, here's something you wouldn't expect!

A teaser, made with students and staff from CCSU, that aired on Sunday on ESPN before their coverage of the race at Pocono.  Written and directed by Ben Reed.