capturing remote DB connect errors

I have an app that contains active records that is on a remoteDB.
If the remote DB is down - my local app cannot continue, with the
following error.

Mysql::Error (Can't connect to MySQL server on 'xxxxxxxx' (110)): /
usr/lib64/ruby/gems/1.8/gems/activerecord-1.15.3/lib/active_record/
connecti
on_adapters/mysql_adapter.rb:389:in `real_connect' /usr/lib64/ruby/
gems/1.8/gems/activerecord-1.15.3/lib/active_record/
connection_adapters/mysql_adapter.rb:389:in `connect' /usr/lib64/
ruby/gems/1.8/gems/activerecord-1.15.3/lib/active_record/
connection_adapters/mysql_adapter.rb:232:in `reconnect!'
   /usr/lib64/ruby/gems/1.8/gems/activerecord-1.15.3/lib/active_record/
connecti
on_adapters/abstract_adapter.rb:93:in `verify!' /usr/lib64/ruby/
gems/1.8/gems/activerecord-1.15.3/lib/active_record/connecti
on_adapters/abstract/connection_specification.rb:109:in
`verify_active_connectio
ns!'

Is there anyway I can handle this error in my app - so that I know the
remote DB is down?
(I use begin...rescue around the remote active record and it does not
work)