Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Vince Guaraldi's "A Charlie Brown Christmas" by the Eric Mintel Quartet

From the White House to the Kennedy Center to the United Nations and beyond, the Eric Mintel Jazz Quartet are thrilling audiences of all ages across the country.  See them live at The Buttonwood Tree as they perform Charlie Brown Jazz celebrating the 50th Ann of the legendary Charlie Brown Christmas cartoon that has sustained generations every holiday season.  

Jazz composer Vince Guaraldi’s timeless themes will be played by The Eric Mintel Quartet who will perform hits like Skating, Christmas is Coming and the timeless Linus and Lucy theme. Family, friendly and fun describes what audiences are in store for during a concert by the Eric Mintel Quartet.  Joining pianist and composer Eric Mintel will be Nelson Hill sax/flute, Dave Mohn drums and Jack Hegyi Bass.

Show starts at 8 pm, Saturday, DECEMBER 3, 2016

This show has sold out and we expect it will again. We will limit seating for comfort, please make a reservation or call ahead for availability. 860.347.4957.   RESERVE YOUR SEATS 

The Buttonwood Tree is located at 605 Main St, Middletown, between St. Vincent de Paul's soup kitchen and It's Only Natural market. Free parking. Refreshments including beer and wine.

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Wesleyan Film Students: Middletown Portraits: Four Films About the People Behind Our Storefronts

Spend an evening at The Buttonwood Tree Performing Arts & Cultural Center with student filmmakers from Wesleyan University’s College of Film and the Moving Image.


Four short films tell the stories behind local Middletown businesses: NORA’S CUPCAKES, O’ROURKE’S DINER, THE BUTTONWOOD TREE, and VINNIE’S DANCE STUDIO.
Introduction and Q&A with student filmmakers, their instructor-Sadia Shepard, Assistant Visiting Professor of Film Studies at Wesleyan University; and the course assistant, Matthew Kleppner.

Open Mic Night immediately following the films and Q&A sessions.

 Free Admission
Refreshments available

Co-sponsored by The Buttonwood Tree / North End Arts Rising, Inc. and Wesleyan University’s College of Film and the Moving Image with funding from the Mellon Foundation.

Westfield Fire Department Winter Heating Safety Tips

From the Westfield Fire Department

According to the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA), heating equipment is a leading cause of home fire deaths. Half of home heating equipment fires are reported during the months of December, January, and February. With proper precautions, they can be prevented. The Westfield Fire Department offers the following information for staying fire safe while keeping warm this winter.

“There is nothing like coming in from the bitter cold to the comfort of a warm home,” says Westfield Fire Department Deputy Chief Darrell Ponzio. “However, no matter what heat source you choose, there are fire dangers. While it’s easy to take short cuts with heating and put off having the furnace and chimney inspected and cleaned each year, it is absolutely not worth the risk.”

Here are some simple steps that can prevent most heating-related fires from happening:

  • Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, such as the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
  • Have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
  • Never use your oven to heat your home.
  • Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters, or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Have a qualified professional clean and inspect heating equipment and chimneys every year.
  • Remember to turn off portable heaters when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
  • Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
  • Test smoke alarms at least once a month.

In addition, while many enjoy sitting by an open fire on a cold night, open flames inside the home can be dangerous. Check with the local fire marshal's office before putting a fuel fed space heater in an enclosed space. Most unvented space heaters are prohibited by local and state fire codes and ordinances. When using a portable ethanol burning fireplace, be sure to store ethanol fuel in a closed container, away from the fireplace and out of the reach of children. It may not be easy to see the ethanol fuel flame. Always close the lid or use a snuffer to be sure the flame is extinguished before refueling into a cooled fireplace. Use only fuel made specifically for the fireplace. Follow this advice:

  • A portable ethanol burning fireplace, and the fuel, should only be used by adults.
  • Clean up any fuel spillage and be sure all liquid has evaporated before lighting the fireplace.
  • Light the fireplace using a utility lighter or long match.
  • An adult should always be present when a portable fireplace is burning.
  • Place the fireplace on a sturdy surface away from table edges.
  • Never try to move a lit fireplace or one that is still hot.
  • Don’t pour ethanol fuel in a device that is lit or not completely cool. It may result in a fire or injury.
  • Allow the device to cool down for at least 15 minutes before refueling.
  • Extinguish the flame when you leave the room, home or go to sleep.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Cat Tales ~ Cat of the Week ~ MOXIE!!

Cat of the Week...


Gender:  Female
Breed:  Domestic Short Hair
Color:  Black & White
Age:  2 years old

I'm such a pretty girl. I was found outside with my kittens.  They all found loving homes, so I hope I can find one too.  I am very sweet and love to be pet. I need a home with a patient person, who has a quiet home. I do need my space so you need to be able to listen to me when I tell you I've had enough attention. I need to be the only pet in the house. I'd love to curl up on the couch with you and keep you company. I know I'd make a great companion and would love a warm bed to sleep on.  Please adopt me!

No Cats / No Dogs / No Children

Phone:  (860) 344-9043
See our commercial!

"Giving Back" at The Buttonwood Tree

Theresa Govert, Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) with Yoga Alliance and a feminist activist based out of East Haddam, CT, seeking to make the gift of yoga accessible to a greater amount of people, is offering weekly yoga classes to GIVE BACK. She has fond memories of attending community yoga classes at The Buttonwood Tree when she was in high school and believes TBT is the perfect place to reach those in need.

Theresa has studied and practiced meditation and yoga in the USA and Southern Africa and completed her 200 hour yoga teacher training in Rishikesh, India at Rishikesh Yog Peeth. Along with group classes and individual sessions, she leads workshops bringing together yoga, feminism & activism and yoga hikes.

Classes will be held TUESDAYS from 1-2 pm at TBT
605 Main Street, Middletown
All are welcome, bring a mat if possible. Water & snacks are available
Donations are appreciated to support The Buttonwood Tree



Saturday: Fun Night To Benefit Project Graduation!


Join us for a fun night out, emcee’d by the fabulous Riley/Petruzzello sisters!

Chances to win great live and silent auction items - Disney Parkhopper tickets, Casserole/Soup/Dessert-of-the-month for a year, Vegas trip, bass fishing, golf rounds, restaurants, prom packages - are just SOME of the items available.

Dinner included, catered by Silvana's.

Benefits the Middletown High School Project Graduation Safe Party 2017
(see our page on the MHS website)

Saturday, December 3rd 6:30pm, Italian Society on Court Street.

TICKETS: $15 -

Monday, November 28, 2016

Cookie Sale At WWMS Saturday

Project Graduation will hold its annual Holiday Cookie Sale on Saturday, December 3rd, 10-3, at the Woodrow Wilson Middle School Craft and Vendor Fair.

Cookie Sale helps fund a safe, free party for the MHS Class of 2017.  Craft/Vendor Fair benefits WMS Athletics. Please click on flyers for details.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

First We Take Manhattan, Then We Take Berlin -- The Colonel Carries On #59

By Kay-Sara Serra and Titus A. Tixtutu

Epigraph 1:The color of truth is grey. -Andre Gide, author, Nobel laureate (1869-1951)

Epigraph 2: “Surplus wealth is a sacred trust which its possessor is bound to administer in his lifetime for the good of the community.” -Andrew Carnegie, industrialist (1835-1919)

Epigraph 3: "To be effective, a committee should consist of three people, two of them absent." --Robert Copeland

Epigraph 4:Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” --Voltaire, philosopher (1694-1778)

Epigraph 5:

Everyone who ever had a heart
Wouldn’t turn around and break it
And anyone who ever played a part
Wouldn’t turn around and hate it.
--“Sweet Jane,” Velvet Underground

Epigraph 6: “I would thank God for my creation though I knew I were a damned soul.”

Epigraph 7: “The rose, the red rose blooms for all to know.”
--Richard Thompson, “Now Be Thankful”

๐Ÿ‘ผ It’s not hard to imagine that the course of the next two years in Connecticut rests on negotiations now in progress about State Senate power sharing. As the twig is bent, so grows the tree.

๐Ÿ‘ผ Polar bears are classified as marine mammals, not land animals.

๐Ÿ‘ผ JOHNNY: Thanks to global warming, ice floes are scarce.
AUDIENCE: How scarce are they, Johnny?
JOHNNY: So scarce the Eskimos are having to shoot their elderly.

๐Ÿ‘ผ Psychologists presented picture pairs of female faces to naive experimental subjects and asked the subjects to choose which face in each pair they found more attractive. On some trials the subjects were also asked to describe the reasons for their choice.

๐Ÿ‘ผ Unknown to the subjects, the psychologists occasionally used a sleight-of-hand technique they learned from a professional magician to switch one face for the other -- after the subjects made their choice.  

๐Ÿ‘ผ The subjects noticed the switch in only 26% of the manipulated pairs.

๐Ÿ‘ผ Asked the reasons for their “choices” in cases where the cards were manipulated, the subjects gave reasons. They confabulated reasons for a choice they didn’t know they hadn’t made!

๐Ÿ‘ผ Many are the implications of the study, but what pops into my mind, perhaps illogically, is the observation of a twentieth-century demagogue: “It’s easy to get the people to fall into line: tell them they’re being attacked.

๐Ÿ‘ผ The so-called “Indian currency ban” isn’t getting the attention it deserves as a cack-handed trial run for a cashless society. Here’s what’s being done: the government has set a deadline at which most existing currency loses its legal tender status.

๐Ÿ‘ผ Anyone may trade old bills for new at banks, but the manner of the trade is that the bank takes the old bills and gives the customer an account in the corresponding amount of new currency.

๐Ÿ‘ผ Such trades above a small limit trigger the attention of taxing authorities, and there are also limits on withdrawal from the new accounts.

๐Ÿ‘ผ I pass over the convulsions the project is causing and try simply to climb the ladder of abstraction to understand what’s being done.

๐Ÿ‘ผ As nearly as I can tell, it’s as if the Federal Reserve declared all $100 bills null and void, and issued a smaller number of replacement bills to some of the people who held the old ones. In effect, it's a massive at-one-stroke confiscation of purchasing power held -- supposedly -- by “black marketeers and tax evaders.”

๐Ÿ‘ผ At least, that’s what it looks like at first blush. But there are always wheels within wheels. I take as a given that the very wealthy are held harmless or nearly harmless by one means or another. That leaves the middle class and the poor as the victims of the confiscation.

๐Ÿ‘ผ But India hasn’t much of a middle class, so perhaps the deep truth is that the whole scheme is a wealth transfer from the poor to the government under a mask of “cracking down on the underground economy.”

๐Ÿ‘ผ That sour thought doesn’t exhaust my curiosity about the scheme. Let’s say it halves the number of rupees outstanding. Crude monetarism would say that if half the money disappears, the other half instantly doubles in purchasing power. No one buys that.

๐Ÿ‘ผ But you would think that a massive monetary contraction would have a deflationary effect on prices, as the stock of goods and services chase the reduced supply of money. Lenders on existing loans would be advantaged, debtors disadvantaged.

๐Ÿ‘ผ Unless of course, the government “reflates” the currency by printing up and circulating enough to offset the contraction. “Circulating” is probably a euphemism for “spending.”

๐Ÿ‘ผ Under that lens, the effect of the whole exercise would be to transfer the purchasing power of the unredeemed old rupees from their holders to the government.

๐Ÿ‘ผ The government’s rhetorical challenge is to comfort the small losers with the thought that baddies got socked much harder, and that the money obtained is going for great stuff, like job-creating infrastructure projects. (A familiar meme.)

๐Ÿ‘ผ “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you cry.”

๐Ÿ‘ผ I simply lack the willpower not to trot out my hobby horse, the four-coin plan: revalue the dime, penny, nickel, and quarter overnight to represent 10c (unchanged), 50c, $1, and $5 respectively. Larger size represents larger value.

๐Ÿ‘ผ If desired, the scheme could be extended to make the current brass-colored dollar coin into a $10 piece; a coin the size of the JFK half-dollar into $50; and a coin like the Eisenhower dollar into $100.

๐Ÿ‘ผ Benefits of the basic plan: (1) accounts for decades of inflation by getting rid of 1c and 5c pieces; (2) allows for elimination of $1 and $5 bills, which are raw material for counterfeiters of $100 bills; (3) coins last longer than paper currency; (4) requires none but familiar, well-accepted coins; (5) holders of pennies, nickels, and quarters enjoy a windfall; nobody’s coin holdings are devalued; (6) No trading in old coins for new, although newly minted coins will show new value; (7) no more need to express prices beyond one decimal point. Call Goldman Sachs and ask that this be implemented at the next board meeting of the Illuminati.

๐Ÿ‘ผ Zen conclusion: “Know three things: the only real part of your journey is the step you are now taking; the teachers you need are the people with whom you live; and your savior is the next person who comes to you in need.”

Genealogy Training at Godfrey, Next Sunday

From Beth Mariotti, Executive Director, Godfrey Memorial Library
December 3, 9:30 am, 134 Newfield St.

This month's topic is Searching for Ancestors "Off the Grid"
Having trouble finding an ancestor who disappeared?

Many of our research requests come from people seeking information about a family member who left the family and whose whereabouts were unknown. Or someone who the family never talked about. Why did this person leave and where did they end up?

Godfrey Director Beth Mariotti and Godfrey board member Cathi Maxim will give examples of research that turned up missing ancestors. They will share strategies for locating and tacking these ancestors and provide sources that can be used for this type of research.

Participants will have time after the presentation to research at the library.
Please bring your laptop.
Genealogy Club is free to Godfrey Premium Members or $10 a session.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Arts2Go has moved to Facebook

The City's website for arts & entertainment managed by the City Arts Office has moved from (no longer an active site) to a Facebook presence where greater interactivity is possible.

You'll now find out what's happening in the arts in Middletown by going to Facebook and searching @CityArtsOffice or type in your browser - we hope you'll check us out, friend/like us, and tell your friends to do likewise. Your comments/feedback/input are also welcome and encouraged.

Thanks, and we wish you a comforting and relaxing Thanksgiving weekend.

Police Department Community Turkey Project Is Huge Success

From the Middletown Police Department.
We would like to thank everyone who donated during our two day Turkey Drive. We collected 702 turkeys and $1774 which will all go to The Middletown Community Thanksgiving Project!

We would not have gotten all of this done without all of our volunteers. We want to thank Chief McKenna for supporting and participating in the project along with Capt. Moriarty, Lt. Maturo, Officer Hertler, Ofc. Tyrseck, and Det. Semper. We also want to thank our Middletown Police Explorers and their advisors, Det. Liseo, Det. Rowland, Ofc. Austin Smith and Ofc. Murphy.

  • Thank you: E.R.E. Eight-Sixty Racing Enthusiasts volunteered their time and donated thirty turkeys.
  • Thank you: Ret. Ofc. Bill Warner helped organize this huge event.
  • Thank you: Ret. Ofc. LaTerra and the patrons of the Red Dog Saloon donated turkeys.
  • Thank you: Heidi Voight @ NBC30CT for promoting this event.
  • Mostly thank you to the Middletown Residents and surrounding towns for all of the donations, it is you that made this event a success!
  • Thank you Stop and Shop and its employees for hosting this event and keeping the turkeys coming! We emptied the coolers a few times!
  • Thank you Jukonski Truck Sales for loaning us a refrigerated box truck.
  • Thank you to Ava DeFrance for volunteering your time.
  • Thank you to all who helped make this a success!!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Cat Tales ~ Cat of the Week!! MASON

Cat Tales ~ Cat of the Week!!

Gender:  Male
Breed:  Domestic Med Hair
Color:  Black
Age:  2 years old

Hello, my name is Mason! I was rescued as a stray in Middletown. I am such a sweet boy and I am just so grateful to be off the streets. I know how lucky I am to be rescued and show my appreciation every day to the volunteers by being very affectionate! I love to be pet and will roll over for a belly scratch. I like to play and like attention. I'd love to curl up with you on the couch or in your lap. I would be okay with cat experienced children. I'm super sweet and would love to go home with you, like today! Please adopt me!

No Dogs, please!

Watch our TV commercial:

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Wesleyan Student Art & Music Exhibition @ The Buttonwood Tree

On November 10th, students from Wesleyan University presented a student band, a piano soloist, two traditional Chinese musicians and an a cappella for the concert. Here are some video excerpts from the concert to give you a taste of just how talented and fabulous our local students and performers can be.

To see more of these beautiful performances in person, by students and professionals, come visit The Buttonwood Tree Performing Arts & Cultural Center! Check out our website at and like and follow our Facebook page to keep up to date on upcoming events. ๐Ÿ˜Š

New Yorker Cartoonist Bob Weber Has Died -- The Colonel Carries On #58

by Bye Bob

Epigraph: “Justice For Some” (inscription on the entablature of the Springfield courthouse in “The Simpsons”)

"Entablature" means “a horizontal, continuous lintel on a classical building supported by columns or a wall, comprising the architrave, frieze, and cornice.”

I advise against using the verb “comprise” in any form, especially “is comprised of.” The word has become an opponym (a word that means itself and its opposite, like “sanction”), so “the United States comprises 50 states” and “50 states comprise the United States” are both proper usages, even though they mean the opposite. That advances clarity not a whit. Again I say: steer clear of it.

My own favorite Simpsons quote is Bart’s “Anyone who says there are no easy answers isn’t looking hard enough.”

But I also like Homer’s “Trying is just the first step toward failure.”

The word "ambisinistrous" means "clumsy with both hands." It has variants “ambisinister” and “ambisinistral.” “Ambidextrous” (“dextrous with both hands”) is its opposite.

“Ambisinistrous” has an even rarer synonym: "ambilevous" (from Latin "laevus," left).​

“Cack-handed” is a British term, meaning (literally) “left-handed” and (metaphorically) “clumsy” or “awkward.”

"Cack-handed" may go back to days when in Arabia and elsewhere, the left hand was used to remove "cack" and so was socially unacceptable. Deadly insult to offer one’s left hand to an Arab in those days.

"Cacography" means bad writing, bad spelling, or both.

My sources tell me the root is the Indo-European “kakka” or “kaka,” designating defecation or its, ah, fruit.

Of course that was thousands of years ago, so we might not have known about it if Nancy Pelosi hadn’t happened to remember it.

It’s fun to run across an unfamiliar ancient Greek philosopher who has both a sense of humor and a sympathetic heart. I speak of Bion of Borysthenes (c. 325-250 B.C.). Two of his surviving gems are:

"It is useless to tear our hair when we are in grief, since sorrow is not cured by baldness." (Quoted by Cicero.)

Though boys throw stones at frogs in sport, the frogs die not in sport, but in earnest.”

For the latter, the translator deserves kudos, for there is no more powerful rhetorical structure in English than a series of monosyllables with one disyllable carrying the hot potato of meaning. If you read it slowly aloud, you may cry without knowing whether from the sadness of the thought or the beauty of its expression.

Great news! No African proverbs this issue. But instead, seven famous G.K. Chesterton quotes that he probably never said.

(1) “Love means loving the unlovable, or it is no virtue at all.”

This may be a tweak of “Stated baldly, charity certainly means one of two things–pardoning unpardonable acts, or loving unlovable people.”

(2) “The great thing fairy tales teach children is not that dragons exist, for they know that from an early age, but that dragons can be beaten.”

That one is doubtless the work of a skilled condenser who labored over the following:

“The timidity of the child or the savage is entirely reasonable; they are alarmed at this world, because this world is a very alarming place. They dislike being alone because it is verily and indeed an awful idea to be alone. Barbarians fear the unknown for the same reason that Agnostics worship it– because it is a fact. Fairy tales, then, are not responsible for producing in children fear, or any of the shapes of fear; fairy tales do not give the child the idea of the evil or the ugly; that is in the child already, because it is in the world already. Fairy tales do not give the child his first idea of bogey. What fairy tales give the child is his first clear idea of the possible defeat of bogey. The baby has known the dragon intimately ever since he had an imagination. What the fairy tale provides for him is a St. George to kill the dragon.

“Exactly what the fairy tale does is this: it accustoms him for a series of clear pictures to the idea that these limitless terrors had a limit, that these shapeless enemies have enemies in the knights of God, that there is something in the universe more mystical than darkness, and stronger than strong fear. When I was a child I have stared at the darkness until the whole black bulk of it turned into one negro giant taller than heaven. If there was one star in the sky it only made him a Cyclops. But fairy tales restored my mental health, for next day I read an authentic account of how a negro giant with one eye, of quite equal dimensions, had been baffled by a little boy like myself (of similar inexperience and even lower social status) by means of a sword, some bad riddles, and a brave heart. Sometimes the sea at night seemed as dreadful as any dragon. But then I was acquainted with many youngest sons and little sailors to whom a dragon or two was as simple as the sea.”

(3) “A man knocking on the door of a brothel is looking for God.”

This one is actually a near-quotation from author Bruce Marshall in The World, The Flesh, and Father Smith, in which the following appears: “The young man who rings the bell at the brothel is unconsciously looking for God.” It was likely re-attributed because it sounds Chestertonian.
(4) “If there were no God, there would be no atheists.”

That’s very nearly exact. The original is but one letter different: “If there were not God, there would be no atheists” (emphasis added). In context, however, it means not that atheists would not exist without a creator to create them, but that atheism rejects something likely real, since no organizations or movements exist to deny the existence of unicorns or leprechauns.

(5) “Meaninglessness comes not from being weary of pain, but of pleasure.”

This one is a paraphrase of a variously phrased argument that social decline begins when for some reason the good things in a society no longer work: its food does not feed, its cures do not cure, its blessings refuse to bless. It seems related to Chesterton’s point made elsewhere that struggle is necessary to happiness: “The full value of this life can only be got by fighting ... This life of ours is a very enjoyable fight, but a very miserable truce.”

(6) “When people stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing — they believe in anything.”

In one of Chesterton’s Father Brown stories, the priest-detective says, “It’s the first effect of not believing in God that you lose your common sense.” A writer discussing the passage paraphrased it as “The first effect of not believing in God is to believe in anything,” and from there it was off to the races.

(7) “What is Wrong With the World?” “Dear Sirs, I am.”

In the dedication to his book “What is Wrong With the World,” Chesterton said in part, “I accuse myself ... of having written a very shapeless and inadequate book, and one quite unworthy to be dedicated to you. As far as literature goes, this book is what is wrong and no mistake.”

In a review of the book, St. John Ervine wrote, “The book is called ‘What’s Wrong with the World,’ by G.K. Chesterton: it should have been called, ‘What’s Wrong with the World’ is G.K. Chesterton’.”

Zen P.S.: “Love reveals an existential vulnerability -- that living is living dangerously.”

P.J. O’Rourke P.S.:No drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society. If we're looking for the source of our troubles, we shouldn't test people for drugs, we should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed, and love of power.”

(c) 2016 Quality Nonsense, a tiny little division of The Entropy Corporation