Spud visited the
historic state of Connecticut for the first time in March of 2002. While
he was there he learned that this tiny New England state was the birthplace
of the insurance industry. The ITT Hartford Group opened for business
in the capital of Hartford in 1810 and created a trend of skyrocketing
premiums and denied claims that would be imitated by millions the world
Its no coincidence
that the praying mantis is the official insect of Connecticut; like
most insurance companies, it sinks its teeth into its hapless victim
and slowly sucks the life from it. Fortunately, Connecticut is known
for other things besides insurance.
In fact, according
to Spud's tourbook, the state is the home to the Iwo
Jima Memorial. This stirred quite a bit of controversy as the tater
had seen the famed statue first in Harlingen,
Texas and had heard that it had moved to its permanent location at the
US Marine Corps in Arlington, Virginia . Feeling this was some kind
of ploy by the visitor's bureau to attract people to the state (perhaps
to sell them insurance!), Spud tried to seek out the giant bronze statue.
When driving through
the hamlet of New Britain, the side dish couldn't believe any of his
eyes as he noticed what appeared to be 6 bronze soliders striving to
stake their flag in the war torn rubble of Mt. Suribachi. Closer inspection
revealed that it was identical to the one he had seen in the Lone Star
state. Apparently, the soliders hooked up with promoter Don King and
are doing a 7 state tour of the Eastern seaboard.
Speaking of showmen,
Spud's next stop was Bridgeport, to visit the palace of the greatest
showman on earth: P.T. Barnum. Barnum made a name for himself in the
early 1800's when he made a career out of exploitation, (not unlike
The National Enquirer and the Weekly World News do today!) Oddities
were quite novel at the time, and PT Barnum scoured the world looking
to add to his collection. Today he could have just gone to any major
city and collected the same, if not more bizarre!
Barnum brought to
the world stage such memorable acts as Chang and Eng Bunker (twin brothers
who were literally joined at the hip), General Tom Thumb (a vertically
challenged chap who was given a miltary rank in lieu of a raise) and
the collosal pachyderm Jumbo. The Barnum
Museum in Bridgeport houses many artifacts from these attractions
including what appeared to be one of Jumbo's enormous 'contributions'
to the local farming community.
on the tuber's itinerary was West Hartford; to the home of Noah Webster,
author of Webster's dictionary of the American language. The scholar's
home is immaculately cared for by the Historical Society and they have
taken great pains to restore the detail of the 18th century house; even
down to the remote controlled skylights with low dispersion glass.
While Spud toured
the home he took some time to scan through all of Webster's writings
to see if he could find the word, 'WHASSSUP!!'. He was happy
to find nothing, ...except for numerous words like colour, centre, etc.
that were misspelled.
Spud ran into another
couple in the home that mentioned to the potato that there was another
famous house in the area that he might want to check out: the Twain
tater's tongue fell right out of his head at the thought of visiting
country music superstar and all-around babe Shania Twain's house. Spud
hopped in his car and peeled over to Hartford with thoughts of Shania's
leopard skin outfit hanging in her bedroom. By the time he arrived at
the huge orange-bricked mansion, he was sweating like he'd just been
in the microwave for 10 minutes.