News, culture & curiosities in Greater Danbury, Connecticut, New England, and the Milky Way.

Trimming the Fat, Keeping the Soul

By Allan Richter

  With its roots in slavery, soul food has deep historical meaning for many African-Americans. But the call to honor a rich heritage is at odds with the need to reduce the excess fat and sugar found in the standard “down-home” diet. A new generation of black chefs… Read more »

Smothered Chicken, Succotash, and Mashed Potatoes. Photo courtesy of Tom Hirschfeld and Food52:
Smothered Chicken, Succotash, and Mashed Potatoes. Photo courtesy of Tom Hirschfeld and Food52:

Health & Humanity News

newtown youth services

Newtown Youth & Family Services Expanding

Matt Plourde

  If you live in the Greater Newtown, Connecticut area, you may have found yourself wondering what Newtown Youth & Family Services, Inc. (NYFS) is. You may have found yourself asking, “What is NYFS doing for me and for my community?   Answering these questions is… Read more »


Licorice as Treatment for Barrett’s Esophagus

Lindsay Chimileski

  Licorice, or Glycyrrhiza glabra, is a legume and member of the Fabaceae, or pea family. It has been used for over 3,000 years to treat a variety of ailments. Currently, medical studies support the use of licorice for the treatment of inflamed intestinal tissues,… Read more »

Thinkstock photo illustration.

News Feed Anorexia

Duo Dickinson

  My laptop’s MSN home page is a revelation.   I am so techno-lazy that I never select a homepage – I just go with what is there after someone in my office loads up my latest software vessel. But the latest load-up reveals a… Read more »

Adam Chiara file photo.

Insurance Department Finalizes Exchange Rates

Christine Stuart

  The question of cost has been on everyone’s mind since Connecticut first decided to set up its own health insurance exchange under Obamacare. On Monday, Connecticut residents got their first look at the unadjusted rates — meaning, the rates without the inclusion of offsetting… Read more »

Take Time Relaxation Center and Art Gallery, Bethel CT

Body & Soul


MCCA Opens New Outpatient Facility in New Haven

Lee Bodkin

  MCCA (Midwestern Connecticut Council of Alcoholism) has announced the opening of their newest outpatient addiction treatment facility in New Haven, Connecticut (MCCA is an advertiser on The Mercurial). Treatment for alcohol and drug addiction as well as mental health disorders is offered at the… Read more »

Expeditioner Aleksander Gamme.

When Was the Last Time You Were This Happy?

Amanda Bloom

  Just hearing the audio from this video by expeditioner Aleksander Gamme made me smile and laugh out loud.  Gamme and the story behind this video was featured on an episode of RadioLab back last winter; the episode is titled “Bliss.”   The video is… Read more »

us obesity rate

How the End of World War II Made Us Fat

Lisa Miller

  American waistlines are expanding – this isn’t news. And really, the cause isn’t revelatory either – people expend fewer calories than they consume – simple math. We’ve been trending this way for the last sixty years, and for very good reason. The post-war era… Read more »


The 17-year cicada. Gerry Broome/Associated Press.

Cicadas, Tebow, & Comet Kohoutek

Duo Dickinson

  When I heard that zillions of cicadas would emerge to greet the sun in June, have sex and, according to the journal Science, create a “nightmare” of unrelenting cacophony, I had a flashback – not to 1996, or even 1979 but to 1962 –… Read more »

A still from Baz Luhrmann's 'The Great Gatsby.'

In Defense of Luhrmann’s ‘Gatsby’

Allie McConnell

  So many people have their vintage panties in a twist about the apparent lack of historical accuracy in Baz Luhrmann’s long-awaited interpretation of The Great Gatsby, the novel every high school student in the United States has read.   F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel has been made into… Read more »

"The Production of Verdi's Falstaff at Milan: Falstaff Concealed in the Buck-Basket in Ford's House" from The Graphic of February 18, 1893.  Engraving by Ettore Tito.  From Wikimedia Commons.

Opera, Pressure Treated Wood and “The Truth”

Duo Dickinson

  -fine arts architecture has left the building   One son loves opera, studies Italian to better appreciate it, and has sung it at the highest collegiate level (in the chorus). This spring he sang in Verdi’s Falstaff, where at the end of the production… Read more »

National Eating Disorders Association


Steven and Sandy, the subjects of Debbie Lum's 'seeking asian female.' Photo by Debbie Lum.

Documentary: White Men Who Love Asian Women

Mercurial Staff

  seeking asian female is an eccentric modern love story about Steven and Sandy—an aging white man with “yellow fever” who is obsessed with marrying any Asian woman, and the young Chinese bride he finds online. Debbie Lum, a Chinese American filmmaker, documents and narrates… Read more »


Hugh McQuaid photo.

Panel: Social Media’s Role In Breaking News Is A Mixed Bag

Megan Merrigan

  Reporters, professors, and Lt. Paul Vance gathered at the University of Connecticut two weeks ago to discuss the role of accuracy, respect, and social media in the coverage of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.   The timing of the panel couldn’t have been… Read more »

U.S. District Court in New Haven.

In Lawsuit, Psychiatrists Claim Anthem Discriminates Against Mental Illness

Christine Stuart

  The American Psychiatric Association, the Connecticut Psychiatric Society, the Connecticut Council of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and two individuals filed a lawsuit Wednesday alleging that Anthem Health Plans discriminates against patients with mental illness.   The complaint, filed in federal court, says Anthem and its… Read more »