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Anyone Know the Stephen King/Utica Connection?

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 
I used to go to college in Utica, New York. So I know full well it's the armpit of the universe, and I can totally understand someone being sour on it. But I don't understand why that someone is Stephen King.

I'm sure I'm not the 1st to notice this; in "The Stand" he has Glen Bateman posit a nightmare scenario about survivors going crazy & starting nuclear armageddon AFTER Captain Trips. He posits two groups of Captain Trips Survivors living in 2 eastern cities: "good" guys in Boston, "bad" guys, who eventually release the nuke, in Utica.

The narrator's grandfather gets his prized pocketwatch stepped on when he drops it on the floor in a bar in. . . Utica.

He wrote the intro to one of Gary Larson's "Far Side" Galleries (2, I think), and says at the end of his intro: "People ask me where the monsters come from. I tell them they come from Utica."

There's tons of other examples I can't think of off the top of my head. I read a Stephen King biography a few years ago, and so far as I can tell, he's lived his whole life in Maine. Even went to college in Maine. So why does he have it in for Utica so much?
post #2 of 37
Could it be...because it's Utica?
post #3 of 37
It's because they've never heard of "Steamed Hams"
post #4 of 37
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_King

Quote:
King's daughter Naomi spent the past two years as a minister in the Unitarian Universalist Church in Utica, New York, where she lived with her partner Thandelka; she has since been reassigned.
*********

Also:

Quote:
UTICA, N.Y. (AP) -- Horror writer Stephen King's novel ``Desperation,'' was not ``a particularly good read,'' but it didn't plagiarize a college teacher's work, a federal judge said in dismissing a lawsuit.

U.S. District Judge David Hurd was a tough critic of both the work of King, whom he calls ``a somewhat well-known author of novels and screenplays,'' and of Christina Starobin, an adjunct professor at Ulster Community College, who filed the lawsuit. Hurd filed the decision on April 17 from his chambers in Utica.
Quote:
A federal judge in New York has dismissed with disdain a complaint by a writer and adjunct literature professor who claimed that prince of horror Stephen King stole her work.

U.S. District Judge David N. Hurd of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York shot down Christina Starobin of Saugerties, N.Y., for engaging in a "recurring and vitriolic attack upon the character and abilities of King."

Starobin v. King and Penguin Putnam Inc., 00-CV-0185, stems from a complaint brought by Starobin, a poet, author and assistant adjunct professor at Ulster County Community College in Stone Ridge, N.Y.

Starobin had written a novel, Blood Eternal, about vampires who run a car service in suburban New Jersey. The copyrighted novel was submitted to Penguin and then returned to Starobin on Sept. 20, 1996. Two days earlier, King copyrighted his novel, Desperation, which was published by Penguin.

The complaint alleged that King, whose 40-plus books have sold millions of copies, is essentially devoid of literary talent, could not have written Desperation on his own and pilfered from the work of Starobin during the three months her manuscript was in the possession of Penguin. About the only similarity Judge Hurd found between the two novels was that, in his opinion, neither was very good.
post #5 of 37
"About the only similarity Judge Hurd found between the two novels was that, in his opinion, neither was very good."

fucking awesome.
post #6 of 37
Thread Starter 
That's probably added fuel to the fire, but all that happened after his earliest anti-Utica references.

And yeah, Rath, hating Utica just because it's Utica is reason enough. But his was just so pervasive, I figured there had to be a personal reason.

And Hocken: they really don't call them boiled hams; they call hamburgers "hamburgs." I shit you not.
post #7 of 37
Not to totally derail things, but I believe that "steamed hams" is an old Simpsons reference.
post #8 of 37
Yes it is. From the episode where supporting characters had their own shows. That one was from "Skinner & the Superintendent".

On subject, King has a lot of running motifs. It's part of why I got so bored with him. You almost know exactly what you're going to get before you even open the book.
post #9 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg David
On subject, King has a lot of running motifs. It's part of why I got so bored with him. You almost know exactly what you're going to get before you even open the book.
I'll take this moment to blindfold myself in front of the neg rep firing squad and admit that one of my biggest and persistent guilty pleasures are Dean Koontz novels.

"Aim straight, boys!"
post #10 of 37
I have some Koontz novels, but I've never read any of them. I don't think I can rightfully be on the firing squad.
post #11 of 37
I'm really surprised the "I have a gay daughter" thing hasn't made it into an EW editorial or interview or even a book.

The latest Paris Review collection has a 20 page interview with King, probably the most comprehensive of his career. Say what you want about the guy, but he's a smart dude.
post #12 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tieman
Not to totally derail things, but I believe that "steamed hams" is an old Simpsons reference.
Give the man a cigar
post #13 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by RathBandu
I'm really surprised the "I have a gay daughter" thing hasn't made it into an EW editorial or interview or even a book.
I'm sure he'll get to it, but he's a little busy with his exhaustive coverage of the subject of why wife-beating is bad. I'm sure that once he feels he's sufficiently covered that ground, he'll get into this whole gay thing right away.
post #14 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tieman
Not to totally derail things, but I believe that "steamed hams" is an old Simpsons reference.
That's correct, of course, but have you noticed they drop a Utica reference into "the Simpsons" every now & again? Besides this one, there was an old newsreel that was talking about how great Springfield was becoming; a city on its way up. "So move over Utica. . . " they said.

Now I'm wondering what got Groening infatuated with Utica?
post #15 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by IggytheBorg
Now I'm wondering what got Groening infatuated with Utica?
If you spend any time there, you'll understand. It's pretty much the worst city on earth.
post #16 of 37
It's also a very funny word.
post #17 of 37
Funnier than Poughkeepsie?
post #18 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Parker
If you spend any time there, you'll understand. It's pretty much the worst city on earth.
Ummm. . . spent four years there, as the 1st sentence of the opening post says, I thought. And I agree, it is the worst city on earth.

And yes, Utica is a funny sounding name (especially if you say it in a Ren Hoek voice & drag out the "U": "Uuuuuuuutica"). But no way in HELL is it funnier than Poughkeepsie.
post #19 of 37
Her name is Thandelka. This is probably the most alarming thing I've read on these boards in some time. It's obviously an anagram or something. Hmmmm, Kandle Hat? Kleat Hand? Kat Handle? Thank Lead? This is important... somehow.
post #20 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by IggytheBorg
Ummm. . . spent four years there, as the 1st sentence of the opening post says, I thought. And I agree, it is the worst city on earth.
I'm sorry. For not seeing that you spent four years there. And because you spent four years there.
post #21 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg David
Funnier than Poughkeepsie?
Maybe, but it's certainly not as funny as Seattle. Seattle!!
post #22 of 37
If you think that's funny, try Puyallup.
post #23 of 37
It's no Piscataway, New Jersey or Schenectady, New York, that's for sure.
post #24 of 37
Leave Schenectady alone.
post #25 of 37
Isn't one of the villains in _Lisey's Story_ an English professor from Utica?
post #26 of 37
My dad grew up in Gary. I doubt he'd miss it.
post #27 of 37
Thread Starter 
Bumpty bumpty BUMP!!!
post #28 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg David
Funnier than Poughkeepsie?
Tied with Schenectady.
post #29 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Minsky
Now that we're on city names, what's the deal with Worcester? It looks like it's all "War-chester," but apparently phonics, logic, and reason all take a holiday and it decides to be "Whoost-er." Am I right, people?
Yeah. I blame that on the Massholes. I got verbally abused when I first moved up here and pronounced it "Warchester."

"It's Whoostah! What are you, retaaaded?"

Clearly....
post #30 of 37

Haha- I live in Utica and I had no idea that King went to college here! And yeah- we do call "hamburgers" "hamburgs". But I bet you've NEVER heard of Chicken Riggies, tomato pie, or greens! :) How could you hate Utica?! I love it here!!! :)

post #31 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by IggytheBorg View Post

I used to go to college in Utica, New York. So I know full well it's the armpit of the universe, and I can totally understand someone being sour on it. But I don't understand why that someone is Stephen King.

I'm sure I'm not the 1st to notice this; in "The Stand" he has Glen Bateman posit a nightmare scenario about survivors going crazy & starting nuclear armageddon AFTER Captain Trips. He posits two groups of Captain Trips Survivors living in 2 eastern cities: "good" guys in Boston, "bad" guys, who eventually release the nuke, in Utica.

The narrator's grandfather gets his prized pocketwatch stepped on when he drops it on the floor in a bar in. . . Utica.

He wrote the intro to one of Gary Larson's "Far Side" Galleries (2, I think), and says at the end of his intro: "People ask me where the monsters come from. I tell them they come from Utica."

There's tons of other examples I can't think of off the top of my head. I read a Stephen King biography a few years ago, and so far as I can tell, he's lived his whole life in Maine. Even went to college in Maine. So why does he have it in for Utica so much?
Reply: I live in Utica and I have no idea why anyone would hate it that much!
 


 

post #32 of 37

A guy registering to defend Utica. Now I've seen everything.

 

Also, this thread is sorely lacking in Albuquerque, Walla Walla, Intercourse, and Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump.

post #33 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by IggytheBorg View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tieman
Not to totally derail things, but I believe that "steamed hams" is an old Simpsons reference.
That's correct, of course, but have you noticed they drop a Utica reference into "the Simpsons" every now & again? Besides this one, there was an old newsreel that was talking about how great Springfield was becoming; a city on its way up. "So move over Utica. . . " they said.

Now I'm wondering what got Groening infatuated with Utica?


 

As far as I know, it's not Groening.  Apparently a few of the writers were from Upstate New York, and after it was referenced a few times other writers started hinting that Springfield may be somewhere in Upstate NY.  They talk about it in a few dvd commentaries.

 

I believe there's one more, Grandpa mentions once he was voted "the handsomest boy in Albany, New York!". 

 

And yes, posting this makes me realize what a giant Simpsons nerd I am. 

 

 

And btw, I'm from Syracuse, about an hour from Utica, and I'll agree with basically everything said about it in this thread.  The only nice thing about it is, when you pass through it, you know you're not too far from the Adirondacks.

 


Edited by Kevin Macken - 3/7/11 at 9:36pm
post #34 of 37

I've always wondered if Syracuse was the basis for a lot of the Springfield jokes in the Simpsons.  It's pretty similar.  My hometown is smack dab in the middle of Syracuse and Utica.  When people ask where I'm from, I round up to Syracuse rather then round down to Utica. 

post #35 of 37

Ok let me fill you in on a few things.  I am from Utica but luckily not as a kid, i grew up north of here.  I live near Utica now.  There are worse places around, believe me, i've seen them in my travels. And i've heard about some of them (like Gary, Indiana...)

 

Utica actually has a very rich history.  The Battle of Oriskany is only 6-7 miles east of downtown in the village of Oriskany.

 

My ancestor, Col. Peter Bellinger, held Fort Herkimer against the British and he and General Herkimer (his brother-in-law) went to the rescue of Fort Stanwix in Rome, NY, the later site of Woodstock '99.  Together (Herkimer died shortly after the battle and Bellinger commanded the local forts except Stanwix until the war ended) they prevented Col. Barry St Leger from reinforcing Genral Burgoyne (St. Leger's camp was raided and stripped of ammunition and supplies by Ft. Stanwix men as he fought with Gen Herkimer at Oriskany) and so Burgoyne lost at the Battle of Saratoga.  This was the end of the British western & northern campaign, we held the frontier.   The funny thing is that the Continental Army never left the gates of Ft. Stanwix except that one time (they were under orders to only be a reserve force for Gen Gates against Burgoyne).  Gen. Herkimer, a Militia General and his Militia Colonels and their militia farmer fighters were the sole protectors of the local families up and down the Mohawk Valley.  Read Drums Along the Mohawk for the detailed story.

 

F.X. Matt Brewing Comany (makers of Saranac and the infamous Billy Beer) is the second oldest family owned brewery in America. (see the Utica wikipedia page).  Matt brews a lot of craft beers that are sold regionally around the country because they make very high quality beer (except Billy Beer lol).  Utica Club has always been an all natural beer, made by a process called krausening for natural carbonation, natural fermentation, not chemically accelerated fermentation such as Budweiser, ect use.

 

We have a true Ivy League College located in Clinton, Hamilton College (sorry UC). And Colgate is just down the road a few more miles in the town of Hamilton.

 

World famous Herkimer Diamonds are found nearby in Herkimer of course.  They are actually quartz and can be dug in many spots around this general area including a place i know of in Vernon, a diner in fact.

 

A number of Hollywood personalities are from Utica or the close by area. Check wikipedia for an incomplete list. They missed the Oriskany native starred in a short lived 80's series about Elvis. Dick Clark was actually named Dick Clay, his father was a local radio DJ with the same name, so he changed his last name to Clark to avoid confusion. Both Fran Cosmo and Tommy DeCarlo of the current version of Boston are Uticans.

 

You mentioned the Simpsons.  Well anyone who is familiar with Animal House or the National Lampoon knew or knew of Doug Kenney very well.  Doug was born and raised in the Utica suburb of Sauquoit.  All the writers on the Simpsons either knew Doug or were much aware his reputation.

 

Long before Doug Kenney became famous, Utica raised another comic genius by the name of Vaughn Bode.  Vaughn Bode created a satirical comic strip the in the 1960's called Cheech Wizard.  It ran in a skin magazine called Cavalier, which was one of the better Playboy imitations, in that it had some good writing as well as nude ladies between the pages.

Vaughn unfortunately died young, prior to the end of the sixties, but I knew someone who had attended Proctor High School with him, and i remember seeing Cheech Wizard in Cavalier. (search it on the web, it should be out there)

 

I've always wondered if Cheech from Cheech & Chong got his nickname from Vaughn Bode's character.

 

Currently, one of the interns on the Simpsons just happens to be another Utica area resident.  I know this because I worked with his brother until two months ago, who told me all about it.

 

But there is something weird about Utica, and I agree it is true.

 

There is a local columnist name Joe Kelly who collects Stephen King's Utica references.  He writes for the Boonville Herald, 30 miles north of Utica.

 

He says King has told a story that during a visit to Utica one time, he went into some weird shop and was so taken by it, that it was so weird in such a strange way that he has gotten story ideas from it.  And that he has been there more than once on different visits. He never revealed what the place was or even what type of business it was.

 

A number of King's books have Utica references in them.  The Utica wikipedia page mentions

The Tommyknockers character Bobbi (played by Marg Helgenberger) as a fictional Utica resident.

 

A UFO book abut the former Griffiss Air Force Base in Rome was written after it's closure

claiming a number of encounters with 'greys' by security personnel around the base perimeter over a period of many years. Griff was a nuke base and UFO's tend to be associated with nuclear installations.

 

Some people like myself think Woodstock 99 was not just a music festival, but may have also been another covert military social experiment.  I think it's likely that a couple of people went missing that were probably never even reported.

 

Yeah Utica is weird.

 

Myself and others I know have seen things in skies around here that were not normal aircraft, but that is only someone's personal experience.  However, there are lots of these stories, and i mean in great detail, and in some cases involving contact.

 

One of the famous UFO stories of the 1950's ended up in a tragedy jet aircraft crash in Westmorland, NY, in the hamlet of Walesville in 1954.  The pilot was scrambled from Pa. to chase a cigar shaped metallic object headed north into NYS right into Oneida county and close to Griffis AFB.  When he got a visual and closed in, the cockpit  became superheated and he bailed out.  The plane nosedived and hit a house and a station wagon and killed people in both, four people in all.  There is a plaque with a small flagpole at that intersection to commemorate their memory.

 

Do you see why maybe the Tommyknockers reference comes in?

 

But New York has many weird places. 

 

Pine Bush way downstate has it's own well known UFO-ghost waves. 

Kinderhook south of Albany is known for it's bone chilling Sasquatch vistitations (read Monsters of the North Woods).

 

The Allegheny region has been the source of supposedly mythical Thunderbird sightings.

(read

 

The most famous and probably best ever UFO-Creature author (The Mothman Prophecies, ect.) writer, John Keel, was from around the Buffalo outskirts are. He wrote about The Black River Monster sighted on the Black River between Boonville and Watertown in the 1930's. Every John Keel book is a masterpiece.

 

Author Ron Quinn who wrote Mysteries in the Mountains, Tucson Weekly (find THAT one! it will freak you out and it's on the web just search it) recently published a book on lepruchauns/ little people based on his childhood experience somewhere between Rochester and Buffalo of a  foot tall 'little people' guy, dressed like one, who appeared on his window sill one summer morning at the family's New York camp in that region when Quinn was 10 years old. The little guy smiled and tipped his hat to the boy and left whereupon Quinn chased the little being into the woods where it promptly disappeared.

 

We have only scratched the surface...

post #36 of 37

Umm...

post #37 of 37

Dude loves him some Utica.

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