The Editorial Declaration

April 4, 2018

“In jest, there is truth.”
William Shakespeare, King Lear

When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for the good of the municipality to severe the political bands which have connected them to their elected executive; prudence dictates, when presented with a long train of abuses and usurpations it is the right, it is the duty of the citizenry to throw of such Governance and to provide a new guard by electing a new executive.

Alas, on the 7th day in the 11th month in the first century of the 3rd millennium, came the great referendum – wherein Bristol voters resoundingly rejected the boorish and unbefitting behavior of its querulous king.

Let facts be the facts:

A petulant king, who impugned the character of anyone who endeavored to defy him.

A course king, armed with a fractious temper and a trite catalogue of pithy insults, besmirched and belittled as if it were sport.

A scurrilous king, who, with cruel and calculated malice, publicly humiliated a family member, and later offered a feeble and disingenuous apology.

A bully king, who swore an oath but violated and breached that oath thus his thrown was overthrown.

And now, reduced to nothing more than a chronic, bitter deposed king, who, in his political convalescence, when humility, grace and reflection are the order of the day, remains impish and petty like a child.

If the censured and excoriated king is incapable of learning and examining and cannot and will not look inward, why should anyone with air in their lungs take into consideration the merit of his tired words?

Alas, the lessons taught on the 7th day in the 11th month in the first century of the 3rd millennium have not been learned and undoubtedly never will.

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Archeologists Excavate Frankies Rubble

February 1, 2018

Archeologists from Tunxis Community College are excavating rubble from the former Frankies Restaurant on Route 6 in the hopes they can find hidden industrial treasures, and preserve them for future generations.

The rubble is so high and scattered over the lot that Mount Everest Sherpa’s are guiding the archaeologists through the maze of destruction. To date the excavation has produced napkins, straws, hotdog buns and burger patties. Carbon dating suggests the burger patties date back to the 1970s when the property was home to Burger Chef, and when fast-food restaurants cooked with real beef.

Two archeologists are lost within the rubble of the 2,373 square-foot building made from clapboard, drywall and asphalt shingle roofing. They are believed to have fallen into a crevasse or became wedged within the dirt and rock mound.

Due to winter conditions, a search and rescue operation will not be conducted until spring. The Sherpa guides suspect the missing archeologists are surviving by gnawing on the raw hotdogs they found prior to their disappearance.

Complicating the rescue is the City of Bristol wants to register the rubble as a historically significant cultural landmark, which would mean nothing can be touched or altered including the missing.

A prayer vigil was established in the adjacent Hobby Lobby parking lot, but for Sunday’s when the giant arts and crafts store is closed for religious observations.


The Boardman Interview: Former Mall Site

January 1, 2018

Prior to the development of the Bristol Centre Mall its location was a myriad of wooden taverns, retail stores and apartment buildings. Under the guise of an urban renewal program, the buildings were all demolished making the area look like downtown Beirut before there was a downtown Beirut.

Construction of the Bristol Centre Mall began in 1964, but it did not open for another six years. Plagued by problems from the onset it always struggled.

In the mid-1970s, I was introduced to the Bristol Centre Mall.

During the 80s, we hung out, but by the 90s, we each made new friends, and went our separate ways. It happens – don’t judge; we’ve all been there.

In the early 2000s I was surprised to see it was still hanging around, and not surprised to learn of its demise in 2005.

Recently, I caught up with the former mall site now called Centre Square. For the purposes of this interview it will be referred to as the Former Mall Site.

It was a cold, late afternoon as we spoke under a gray lifeless sky where the mall once stood. Lake-effect snow soon developed, but other than to turn up our collars and maneuver our way through our coffees, we paid no attention to winter’s bluster.

Boardman:
So, Bristol Hospital is developing a medical building on the site, are you excited?

Mall Site:
Does Hillary Clinton have a paper shredder? Yes of course I am excited! However, I am also cautious and have reason to be.

Boardman:
Let’s discuss.

Former Mall Site:
Do you mind if I smoke?

Boardman:
Do you mind if I spit?

Former Mall Site:
You haven’t changed.

Boardman:
Nor have you.

Now then. There were numerous owners.

Former Mall Site:
In a word you could say that. There was the original owner Bristol Central Realty Co., who ran out of funds before we opened so we went through foreclosure. Then we had Wadhams and May, Allen Heflin & Associates, Bristol Associates.

Boardman:
That’s quite a few.

Former Mall Site:
I ain’t done.

Boardman:
Of course. Continue.

Former Mall Site:
William Brown and Maureen Brown, Hartford National Bank via foreclosure, Mario Ottaviano and Michael Tehrani.

Boardman:
Wow I thin—

Former Mall Site (interrupting):
Reed Properties and wait for it…the City of Bristol.

Boardman:
Right tha—

Former Mall Site (interrupting):
But there were lots of “developers” like Mo Epstein, Max Borghesi, “Renaissance Downtowns” and several others.

Boardman:
Of cour—

Former Mall Site (interrupting):
Then there were the name changes. Bristol Centre Mall, The Mall at Bristol Centre, Depot Square – whatever it is now.

Boardman (through clenched teeth):
Stop…interr…upting…me.

Former Mall Site:
When did you get so testy?

Boardman:
When did you become an (Expletive deleted)?

Former Mall Site:
Please continue.

Boardman:
You have identity issues.

Former Mall Site:
Wouldn’t you?

Boardman:
Why did the mall struggle and ultimately fail?

Former Mall Site:
Major body blow was the state did not build Route 72 to downtown as was proposed, and four shopping plazas were developed on Farmington Avenue shifting the economic center thus making an isolated mall a wasteland.

Boardman:
What does the future look like there Nostradamus?

Former Mall Site:
That’s funny.

Boardman:
Thank you.

Former Mall Site:
I said that’s funny. Not that you’re funny.

Boardman:
Continue. (inaudible)

Former Mall Site:
What was that?

“(crosstalk)”

Boardman:
You were saying.

Former Mall Site:
They need to attract existing, successful Bristol businesses like they did with Bristol Hospital. Bristol Hospital ain’t sexy but it has a built-in audience – sick people, so it won’t be a ghost town like the mall was. That needs to continue. Piazzas and the Olive Garden that’s just silly talk.

Boardman:
Can that plan be executed?

Former Mall Site:
Maybe. From the beginning the mall lacked funding and vision; it was political, there was infighting and then the economic landscape changed. I predict the infighting will continue and developers will make promises and predictions that are not realistic like humans are known to do.

Public opinion will be all over the place, and the politicians and their parties will fight over control. The previous mayor got the ball in scoring position, and it will be up to the current mayor to score the touchdown. So, I ask you: Does it matter who scores the touchdown as long as we score the touchdown?

Boardman:
No cert—

Former Mall Site (interrupting):
Exactly! But we both know politics and how the world works. Consequently, they will quibble over the narrative just like they did in the 1960s and 70s. You wait and see. The Bristol Centre Mall is a cautionary tale told from the past to the present and the future. But hey what do I know?

Things to Know About the Former Mall Site:
It used to be a mall
Bristol Centre Mall was located in Bristol
The city of Bristol is located in the state of Connecticut

Random Related Things
During the Triassic period there were no buildings on the site
The Triassic period occurred 200 million years ago

Sourcing:
News Bureau Redevelopment Planned at Meeting
Hartford Courant 04 Dec. 1958: pg. 12C
Staff Merchants to Study Proposal For Mall Center Takeover
Hartford Courant 09 Jan. 1968: pg. 8A
News Bureau Centre Mall Reported Bought
Hartford Courant 12 Dec. 1973: pg. 19D
News Bureau Redevelopers Hopeful of Start
Hartford Courant 05 Jan. 1975: 6B1
Susan Howard 4th Set of Owners Undaunted by Bristol Mall’s Dismal Past
Hartford Courant 01 Feb. 1981: pg. C5
James, Sandra New York group agrees to buy mall
Hartford Courant 22 Dec. 1989: pg. 18A1
James, Sandra Reed Properties takes over Bristol Centre Mall
Hartford Courant 3 Feb. 1990: pg. C3B
James, Sandra Bristol mall has varied history
Hartford Courant 8 Sept. 1991: H1B
Stacum, Don Bristol Council Unanimously Turns Down Renaissance Plan
Hartford Courant 2 Jun. 2015: B3


Community Outraged Because History is Being Taught in School

November 17, 2017

Northeast Middle School has canceled an invitation to a British author to speak to their 7th grade Social Studies class about the American Revolution from the British perspective. The event was canceled after several parents complained.

According to sources, parents were outraged that children would be introduced to the concept that King George had a valid reason to raise taxes on the colonists in order to pay for their war debt.

“This is America! Who cares about the British?” asked one parent frothing at the mouth. “Hey not my revolution, not my problem man,” he added.

Another snarled, “Historically the American point of view is under represented when discussing the American Revolution.”

One more observed, “If they are going to have a stuffy British author speak, then they sure as hell better have a stuffy American author speak too.”

The residents of Bristol have a long history of complaining about things from painting traffic boxes to turf fields to videotaping a bear at Sessions Woods to grousing about train noises when living near railroad tracks. Consequently, the controversy surprises no one.

Sir Peter John Westmacott, British Ambassador to the United States, was disappointed that the British point of view would not be presented to history students, and addressed the matter during a press conference at the British embassy in New York early this morning, “Apparently the echoes of the American Revolution, which ended 234 years ago, are still being heard. Since the United States founding the world has been told how exceptional the United States is; how inclusive the United States is; and how diverse the United States is. Perhaps the United States isn’t so inclusive; isn’t so diverse and isn’t so exceptional after all; at least not in Bristol anyway. So much for Bristol being “All Heart”!


City of Bristol on Life Support

October 2, 2017

The City of Bristol is on life support at Bristol Hospital, where family and friends are keeping a bedside vigil as the Mum City battles injuries sustained from repeated infighting, political scandals, revenge politics, bitter social media conflicts and a host of other self-inflicted wounds.

Doctors at the hospital say Bristol’s condition has deteriorated over the last week so it was moved to the Intensive Care Unit where it is using a ventilator to help it breathe.

Forestville, Bristol’s only child, told Boardman the city previously healed from life threatening injuries, but the prognosis this time is not good. The village is praying but is preparing to grapple with life without the city.

Bristol got its start as part of Farmington in the 1600s playing a minor role in the that town’s development, before establishing itself in the following decades.

The city carved out a niche in the subsequent centuries by having a diverse population and becoming a leader in manufacturing and recreation.

It became known for its humanitarianism when it adopted Forestville and an entrepreneurial spirit with the foresight to aid and develop Lake Compounce, ESPN and a host of other businesses.

However, in recent years, the constant strain due to ceaseless bickering and name calling has taken its toll.

Reactions from the Area

Plainville
The town of Plainville, a loyal and trusted friend, released a statement, “We’re all rallying behind Bristol to do whatever we can, and give them any help they need.”

New Britain
Wearing a green military cap and dressed in its familiar military fatigues and toking on a Cohiba cigar, the City of New Britain was silent for many moments but then said through an interpreter, “This is bad news so we will pray for our lukewarm friend.”

Southington
Although the town of Southington is saying all the right things publicly, privately it’s a different matter. Intelligence agencies picked up conversations of Southington discussing Bristol’s plight, “We are sorry to hear about this but should Bristol succumb to its injuries we should have first dibs on Lake Compounce and ESPN.”


Guide to the 2017 Mum Festival Parade

September 24, 2017

For residents of Bristol and Forestville, the historic Mum Festival Parade is the bringing together of community, families and fun. So, if you are attending the parade today, here are some important details organizers would like you to consider:

* This year’s parade begins exactly at 1:30 PM. Late arrivals will not be allowed to view the parade.

* For those not able to attend the parade during the day, a second parade will be held beginning at 9PM.

* Waving is strictly prohibited. Spectators are reminded to not distract the marchers by waving at them because they need to concentrate on marching.

* Even though the parade is only hours away the route is still not determined because organizers want an organic – free flowing loosey-goosey feel to the event.

* The streets along the parade route are not closed to traffic so marchers, parade floats and spectators must remain alert.

* Unlike prior year’s the Parade Float Race will be held during the parade to give the event some death defying excitement!

A Long (Cursed) Parade History

* The first Mum Festival Parade was held in 1962, which is a long time ago.

* According the Census Report a lot of people that marched in 1962 are now dead and or deceased.

* 1976: In a bizarre accident along the Boulevard, the Shriners in their tiny cars collide. Grown men wearing fezzes are banned for a year.

* 1984: Spectators fall into a bottomless pit along South Street and are presumed “missing.” Authorities believe they are still falling.

* 1991: Parade delayed a week due to tuning a mishap. The Bristol Central Marching Band collides before the parade begins, and it takes three days to untangle the horn section.

* 2010: In a case of collective amnesia no one shows up for the parade.


London Marathon Finish Includes Local Resident?

April 26, 2017

Last Sunday’s London Marathon included one Bristol resident, Bryan Smythe Smiley.

Smiley was ebullient, but tired.  When we interviewed him at the finish line, we were struck by his pronounced British accent.

“I get that all the time,” he said.  “People think I am from Bristol, England.  Don’t let the O.B.E. after my name fool you.  That stands for ‘Order of Bristol Envelopes.’  It is something only a person from our Connecticut chapter would get.  My whole family lives in Bristol in Connecticut, U.S. of A., by George.  My grandfather was even 11th Earl of Bristol.”

Back in Connecticut, a local historian Jack Maize was beside himself.  “What Smiley claims is not true.  The voter rolls even show he resides in Bristol, England.  And Bristol never had earls.  I should know.  My great aunt was High Executioner for this town back in the war.”

We caught up with another local historian, Greg Putank, hanging outside Greer’s Chicken with a sign saying, “Will Provide Historical Context For Food.”   Putank vehemently decried these distortions of the truth.  “Both men are lying.  In fact, the second man is not even a historian.  I usually see him dumpster diving outside Price Chopper.  Believe me, no historian would go near their dumpsters.  We are loyal to Stop & Shop!”

“It is an ideal place to get a diachronic perspective for reconstructing aspects of individual and group identity shaped by current political exigencies through contextual analysis of the disposed comestible and toiletry repertoire.  I also like the bagels they toss.”

Price Chopper had no comment, but did brag that one London Marathon finisher was Georgina MacStewart, an employee with their new London store.  Or New London store?