Poet Donald Hall


'I see no reason to spend your life writing poems unless your goal is to write great poems. To desire to write poems that endure -- we undertake such a goal certain of two things: that in all likelihood we will fail and that if we succeed we will never know it.' Donald Hall


Poet Donald Hall was born in Hamden in 1928. While a child, he recalled taking the bus into New Haven on Sundays to go to the movies theaters to watch the horror films he loved so much. One day a neighbor told him that if enjoyed horror so much he might enjoy the work of Edgar Allan Poe. Finding a copy of Poe’s works, they inspired him to write his first poem 'The End of All,', which is about death. He continued writing, practicing several hours a day. Hall attended Phillips Exeter Academy and Harvard (51) and Oxford. He eventually published a series of books of poetry (15 in all) and in 2006 was named poet laureate of the United States.

Roger Griswold


Matthew Lyon (Above)

One of the worst cases of bad behavior in political life happened in 1798 and involved an Irishman Republican Representative Matthew Lyon against a Connecticut Federalist Roger Griswold, after Lyons spat in the Griswold’s face. All this had been preceded by a round of insults with the entire ugly episode having started over Griswold’s assault on Lyons voting record from the house floor.
Griswold responded to the spitting and insults by striking Lyons about twenty times with a hickory cane, which prompted Griswold to respond with a pair of fire tongs. All this happened while other members of the house gathered round in a circle in watched the two men beat each other up.
Roger Griswold (May 21, 1762 – October 25, 1812) was governor of Connecticut and a member of the US House of Representatives, serving as a Federalist. Born in Lyme, Connecticut, he was the son of Matthew Griswold and Ursula Wolcott Griswold. His maternal grandfather, Roger Wolcott, his uncle, Oliver Wolcott, and his cousin Oliver Wolcott, Jr., had each served as Governors of Connecticut
A student of the classics, Griswold graduated from Yale College in 1780; studied law; was admitted to the bar in 1783 and opened a law practice in Norwich, Connecticut.
Eleven years later, he returned to Lyme and was elected as a Federalist to the US House of Representatives. He served from March 4, 1795, until his resignation in 1805. In 1801, he declined an offer to become Secretary of War (Defense) under President John Adams. His grandson, Matthew Griswold, would also serve Connecticut in the House.
In the last years of his term in office, 1803, Griswold and several other New England Federalist politicians, proposed secession from the union due to the growing influence of Jeffersonian Democrats and the Louisiana Purchase which they felt would dilute Northern influence.
Matthew Lyon (July 14, 1749 - August 1, 1822) was born near Dublin, Ireland. He learned his trade as a printer and in 1765, at age 15, immigrated to Connecticut. Arriving to the state as a redemptioner (An emigrant who paid for the voyage by serving for a specified period as a bondservant) Lyons worked on a farm in Woodbury, while continuing his education.
In 1774, the ambitious Irishman moved to Wallingford, Vermont and eventually organized a company of militia and served as its adjutant and was later commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the regiment known as the Green Mountain Boys in July 1776.
He resigned from the Army in 1778 and became a member of the Vermont House of Representatives from 1779-1783, founded the town of Fair Haven, Vermont in 1779, operated various kinds of mills, owned a paper factory and a printing office and published the Farmers' Library, which would become the Fair Haven Gazette. He also returned to the state House of Representatives for ten years. (1783-1796.)
In 1797, after several defeats for office, he was elected to the US House of Representatives. Lyon problems with Griswold started after an exchange of insults which lead to the spitting incident on January 30, 1798. A group of members were chatting informally by the fireplace during a pause to count votes. Lyon, who was a rabid anti-Federalist, accused Griswold of opposing the interests of their constituents in order to enrich himself and noted that he owned a large printing company and might go after Griswold and the other federalists that way. Griswold, who was across the room heard the remark and shouted at Lyon “If you go into Connecticut,” you had better bring your wooden sword.” an allusion to Lyon’s Revolutionary War record.
The insult sprang from a rumor that Lyon had been forced to wear a wooden sword as a symbol of cowardice in 1776 after men under Lyon’s command had mutinied during an isolated and unpopular mission near the Canadian border. A military court investigated the matter and cashiered Lyon and his fellow officers, out of the service. It was a purely political decision made to restore discipline among the raw and undisciplined Continental troops. Lyon, for the benefit of the new Republic, accepted the courts decision and was later readmitted into the Army at a higher rank.
Lyon responded by spitting in Griswold's face. A Federalist member of the House immediately moved to expel Lyon and the House spent two weeks debating the momentous question. On February 14 the House voted in favor of expulsion by a party line vote of 52 to 44, short of the necessary two-thirds majority. For his part, Lyon issued an apology for his action.
Griswold decided to defend his honor on the morning of February 15, when, without any warning, Griswold rushed across the House floor to Lyon who was sitting at his desk writing a letter. He was armed with a thick hickory stick that he had purchased the day before with the single intention of beating Lyon senseless
In a letter, Griswold later described what happened “I gave him the first blow—I call’d him a scoundrel & struck him with my cane, and pursued him with more than twenty blows on his head and back until he got possession of a pair of tongues [i.e., tongs], when I threw him down and after giving him several blows with my fist, I was taken off by his friends.”
Representative George Thacher of Massachusetts recalled “I was suddenly, and unsuspectedly interrupted by the sound of a violent blow I raised my head, & directly before me stood Mr. Griswald [sic] laying on blows with all his might upon Mr. Lyon, who seemed to be in the act of rising out of his seat Lyon made an attempt to catch his cane, but failed--he pressed towards Griswald and endeavoured to close with him, but Griswald fell back and continued his blows on the head, shoulder, & arms of Lyon[who] protecting his head & face as well as he could then turned & made for the fire place& took up the [fire] tongs. Griswald drop[p]ed his stick & seized the tongs with one hand, & the collar of Lyon by the other, in which pos[i]tion they struggled for an instant when Griswald trip[p]ed Lyon & threw him on the floor & gave him one or two blows in the face”
The combatants were separated and Lyon walked over to the House water table, loudly making the statement “I wish I had been left alone awhile.” Griswold then re-approached him and Lyon came at him with a set of fire tongs, setting off a second brawl. Jonathan Mason commented that the incident caused the central legislative body of the United States of America had been reduced to "an assembly of Gladiators."
The ever arrogant Griswold later said “I might perhaps have given him a second beating but the House was called to order.”
Griswold, who was born to rank and privilege, ascribed Lyon's temperament to his working class Irish roots. In 1798, he wrote to a friend "The stories of his being sold for his passage from Ireland are likewise true--in short he is literally one of the most ignorant contemptible and brutal fellows in Congress--and that is saying a great deal."
As a result of the incident, Lyon had the distinction of being the first member of the House to have an ethics violation charge filed against him for "gross indecency" for spitting on Griswold, although the Ethics Committee recommended censure, the House as a whole rejected the motion to censure him while the blue blooded Griswold will forever be the first congressman to engage in a physical altercation with another congressman.
Lyon was reelected to Congress while in jail in 1798, after he was found guilty of violating the Alien and Sedition Acts, which prohibited malicious writing of the American government or its officials.
Lyon was the first person to be put to trial for violating the acts and charged with criticizing Federalist president John Adams and disagreeing with Adams' decision to go to war against France. He was found guilty and sentenced to four months in jail and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and court costs. While in jail, Lyon won election to the Sixth Congress. In the election of 1800, it was Lyon cast the deciding vote for Jefferson after the election went to the House of Representatives because of an electoral tie.
Lyon left the Congress in 1801 and moved to Kentucky where he settled in Caldwell County (now Lyon County) and became a member of the Kentucky House of Representatives in 1802. He was reelected to Congresses in 1803 and was appointed United States factor to the Cherokee Nation in Arkansas Territory in 1820. he died Spadra Bluff, Arkansas, August 1, 1822.
Griswold served as a judge of the Supreme Court of Connecticut in 1807, Lieutenant Governor from 1809 to 1811 and Governor from 1811 until his death in Norwich. He is buried Old Lyme.

Gertrude Noone

Gertrude Noone was a 44-year-old insurance policy clerk for Travelers in Hartford, Conn., in 1943 when she enlisted in the Women's Army Corps.When she died peacefully at age 110 in September of 2009, at an assisted-living facility in Milford, Conn., she was the oldest known living military veteran in the world -- a fact that made her proud.

"Oh, she loved it," Deborah Woods, a grandniece, said Friday. "She felt it was important to serve when she did during World War II."Noone, who rose to the rank of sergeant first class, was chief clerk of the large dispensary at Ft. Myer, Va., by the time she left the Army in 1949. She then worked as an administrative assistant at a private psychiatric hospital in Stamford, Conn., until retiring in 1962.Bob Johnson, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who has spent the last 19 years helping World War I and World War II veterans receive recognition and awards, said the title of the world's oldest known living military veteran passed to Noone when British World War I veteran Harry Patch died July 25 at 111.Johnson first heard of Noone last fall and worked to have the Department of Veterans Affairs recognize her as America's oldest living veteran.

"As a World War II veteran," he said, "she was older than the two living World War I veterans living in the United States," Canadian-born John Babcock, 109; and Frank Buckles, 108.Woods, who praised Johnson's efforts in getting recognition for her great-aunt, said one of the highlights of Noone's life came in March when Secretary of the Army Pete Geren visited her at her home at the Carriage Green assisted-living facility.

Honoring her in recognition of Women's History Month and the Army's Year of the Non-Commissioned Officer, Geren called Noone "a woman who has served with great distinction.""What better representative of those two occasions," he is reported to have said.

"She has lived a life that has been part of the history of our country and our Army."One of 10 children, Noone was born Dec. 30, 1898, in Ansonia, Conn.All nine of Noone's siblings predeceased her.

The most recent was her sister Esther Balogh, who served as an Army nurse during World War II and died in 2003 at 103.Noone, who never married, lived with Balogh for many years until 2002, when she moved into Carriage Green, where she joined the gardening club and participated in a weekly exercise group.Although Woods said her "fiercely independent" great-aunt "was winding down a bit" over the last year, she continued to read the daily newspaper and watch CNN.

She also made a point of voting in the presidential election in November."She voted for John McCain," Woods said, "but she wondered if maybe he was too old to be president."

As for Noone, Woods said, "she never gave into age, never complained about anything. She was a very upbeat person, smart as a tack and had a very clever sense of humor."Indeed, Woods said, "she never thought of herself as elderly. She absolutely did not. Somebody told her once that she didn't look a day over 80, and she said, 'Do you think I look that old?' "Noone will be buried with full military honors today at Mount St. Peter's Cemetery in Derby, Conn.

The Connecticut River Valley trackways

The Connecticut River Valley trackways are the fossilised footprints of a number of Late Triassic dinosaurs or other archosauromorphs from the sandstone beds of South Hadley, Massachusetts. The finding has the distinction of being the first known discovery of dinosaur remains in North America. A farm boy, Plinius Moody, came across the trackways in 1802.


They were popularly regarded as bird footprints and they were so identified by the clergyman and president of Amherst College E. B. Hitchcock in his work Ichnology of New England (1858). They were of significance to the naturalist and supporter of Darwin, Thomas Huxley.
Huxley believed that birds evolved from an ancestral ratite, and the large Massachusetts tracks seemed to support this. However, when Archaeopteryx was discovered in 1861 it became apparent that the Connecticut River remains could not be those of birds and have since been reidentified as dinosaurs. Hitchcock had the trackways removed and taken to the Amherst College Museum of Natural History, where they are displayed.



The Connecticut Compromise


The Connecticut Compromise, also known as the Great Compromise, was an agreement between large and small states reached during the Philadelphia Convention of 1787 that in part defined the legislative structure and representation that each state would have under the United States Constitution. It proposed a bicameral legislature, resulting in the current United States Senate and House of Representatives.

On May 29, 1787, Edmund Randolph of the Virginia delegation proposed the creation of a bicameral legislature. Membership in the lower house was to be allocated in proportion to state population, and candidates were to be nominated and elected by the people of each state. Membership in the upper house was to be allocated in the same way, but candidates were to be nominated by the state legislatures and elected by the members of the lower house. This proposal was known as the Virginia Plan.

Less populous states like Delaware were afraid that such an arrangement would result in their voices and interests being drowned out by the larger states. Many delegates also felt that the Convention did not have the authority to completely scrap the Articles of Confederation, as the Virginia Plan would have. In response, on June 15, 1787, William Paterson of the New Jersey delegation proposed a legislature consisting of a single house. Each state was to have equal representation in this body, regardless of population.

The New Jersey Plan, as it was called, would have left the Articles of Confederation in place, but would have amended them to somewhat increase Congress' powers. On July 16, 1787, Roger Sherman and Oliver Ellsworth, both of the Connecticut delegation, forged a compromise for a bicameral, or two-part, legislature consisting of a lower and upper house.

In favor of the larger states, membership in the lower house, as in the Virginia Plan, was to be allocated in proportion to state population and candidates were to be nominated and elected by the people of each state. A census of all inhabitants of the United States was to be taken every 10 years. Also all bills for raising taxes, spending or appropriating money, and setting the salaries of Federal officers were to originate in the lower house and be unamendable by the upper house.

In exchange, membership in the upper house, however, was more similar to the New Jersey Plan and was to be allocated two seats to each state, regardless of size, with members being chosen by the state legislatures. Members of the Upper House, or Senators, were elected by the State Legislature until the ratification of the Seventeenth Amendment, which called for the direct election of Senators by the people.

The compromise passed after eleven days of debate by one vote — five to four.

By and large the compromise was accepted into the final form of the U.S. Constitution. The provision that all fiscal bills should start in the House was incorporated as Art. 1, §7, Clause 1 (known as the Origination Clause), albeit in a limited form applying only to tax bills and allowing the Senate to amend.

This agreement allowed deliberations to continue and thus led to the Three-Fifths Compromise, which further wrangled the issue of popular representation in the House. More populous Southern States were allowed to count three-fifths of all non-free, non-Native American people towards population counts and allocations.

Erich Kunzel


Erich Kunzel, Jr. (March 21, 1935 – September 1, 2009) was an orchestra conductor and longtime leader of the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. Kunzel was born to German-American immigrant parents in New York City but raised in Connecticut. At Greenwich High School in Connecticut, he arranged music and played the piano, string bass, and timpani. Initially a chemistry major, Kunzel graduated from Dartmouth College with a degree in music, then studied at Harvard and Brown universities. Early in his career, he conducted for the Santa Fe Opera and studied at the Pierre Monteux School.[2] From 1960 to 1965, he conducted the Rhode Island Philharmonic. From 1965 to 1977, Kunzel served as resident conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.
When the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra board of trustees created the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra (CPO) in 1977, Kunzel was named conductor. His popular recordings of classical music on the Telarc label were mostly made as director of the CPO. During this time he was leader of the 8 o'clock popular concert series. He also made jazz recordings with Dave Brubeck and Duke Ellington. Kunzel also conducted the National Symphony Orchestra in televised concerts every Memorial Day and every Fourth of July until he was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
Since then Erich Kunzel's efforts made the "Pops" into an internationally known ensemble with half a dozen best-selling recordings a year and almost weekly subscription concerts. Once a major contender to succeed Arthur Fiedler at the Boston Pops, his popular recordings of classical music, Broadway musicals, and movie scores topped worldwide crossover charts more than any other conductor or orchestra in the world. The Cincinnati Pops are particularly popular in Asia, where they have toured several times. In 1984, Kunzel expanded the Pops program to include a summer concert series at a newly-built Riverbend Music Center.
In April 2009, Kunzel was diagnosed with pancreatic, liver and colon cancer and received chemotherapy treatments in Cincinnati. He died September 1, 2009 at Bar Harbor, Maine, near his home at Swan's Island.