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"Better Connetiquette"

Had a fabulous time up at Channel 3 in Hartford - we appeared live this morning on the show "Better Connecticut." Big thanks to Scot and Kara, Stephen, Jennifer and Stephanie for a great experience!

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"Charmed, I'm sure..."

We've officially launched "Connetiquette" and are sending out this Press Release (reprinted here) in case you missed it:

Original "White Glove" Line aims to smarten up a state of mind.

WESTON, CONNETIQUETTE - Doing good by behaving well. Stay-at-home-dad (extraordinaire) Timothy Cataldo was waiting for the school bus with his three kids recently, along with his neighbor's two kids, when the youngest Charles asked as the bus pulled up to their stop: "Mr. Cataldo, who gets to go first?" He said "Ladies before gentlemen." Charles looked puzzled and said "But I'm only in kindergarten." "Are you a gentleman or not?" "No?" Yes you are Charles, Cataldo corrected him, as the girls got on first followed by the boys, and that was that. But he thought to himself; I should put that on a t-shirt... in ALL CAPS.

A week or so later Cataldo's at the middle school picking up his daughter from play rehearsal when her friend's mother says to him, out of the blue, that she thinks it's great it's ladies before gentlemen at his house. He thought she was kidding, so he said something like "Absolutely - what's it at your house?" That's what is known as the common touch, and it's one of the reasons Cataldo has so many friends in town.

Seriously, Cataldo started thinking about manners and what matters, and not to get too deep into it because we're really only talking about t-shirts after all, but it seems that culture to most Americans means museums and art, not values. Which is the exact opposite of what it should be, and has been for some time: "Ethics, they're not taught in schools today, and I'm not kidding you about that." Mr. Finasi used to admonish Cataldo and his classmates in 7th grade social studies way back in '75. Which led him to dig out his dog-eared copy of "The Official Preppy Handbook," (Workman Publishing, 1980, Lisa Birnbach, Editor) a tongue-in-cheeky manual about proper breeding and good taste, and turn to the page titled "Etiquette in Connecticut."

"The first guide to Mannerisms, Dress Codes, Proper Breeding and... Winning with Ease and Losing with Grace" is meant to be sarcastic and show-offy - but it has a lot of wry, knowing humor and a pitch-perfect tone that in a bit of intentional or perhaps unintentional irony actually validates the traditional stereotypes rather than satirizes them. It's just impossible to mock manners and courtesy, and pooh-pooh propriety with such perfect form and impeccable grammar.

Inspired, Cataldo decided to launch his original "White Glove Line" of Uppityshirts (Up-i-tee shirts, get it?) starting with 'CONNETIQUETTE.' The reasons, he says, are twofold: to try to smarten up our great state "starting in our own back yacht I mean yard, 06883" with a name we can all be proud of, and aspire to live up to. And to raise the level of awareness that civility around here is about respect and consideration for others, not which fork to use, and that the maxim "Doing good by behaving well" is true even though "I kind of just made it up" Cataldo jokes. He also wanted to give his kids an excuse to wear an uncollared shirt to school for a change (and the tourists something untouristy to take home with them). Secondly, because he really dislikes "The Nutmeg State."

Cataldo plans on adding new towns every month, starting with Westport, Ridgefield, Wilton, Greenwich and New Haven. "Connetiquette" will also be available in select retail stores in the near future - tune in to his website www.uppityshirts.com for updates. He's also going to offer bumper stickers, coffee cups with saucers instead of mugs, (pinkies up!) and has plans in the works to introduce an online "Miss Connetiquette" Contest. He might even consider some sort of official recognition, despite his knee-jerk (uppity?) disdain for authority - anyone have Governor Malloy's cell phone number handy?

Town by town.

We plan on conquering the entire state, starting in our own back yacht I mean yard of Weston. We've recently added Westport to the top-drawer, so-to-speak, and have several other towns lining up.

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We've just debuted the punk/prep side of the "White Glove" theme, which will probably tick some people off, but we think will really appeal to the dark-night-of-the-soul types.

State by State.

Our avid readers keep sending us cheeky requests to make Uppityshirts for their states. So, in an effort to be equanimous, we've decided to do one every so often, reflecting the (tongue-in-cheek) love we have for this great nation. And if we're going to start, we thought we'd start with the almost biggest.

Editor's Note

Connetiquette is pronounced (con-NET-i-ket), just like the state. If the two weren't homophonic, there'd be no play on words. Thanks Madge for inadvertently pointing this out to us by saying "Con-net-i-KWET." Or should that be homophonous?


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