Greenwich Gossip

Thursday, November 30, 2006


FLASH, gentle reader, is an acromym, as well as a piece of late-breaking news on the Greenwich home front. Turns out the feud between the cop shop and Town Hall is heating up. To bring you up to date, the powers that be are constructing a new "public safety" complex, which means more modern jail cells for the likes of Diana Ross and other local lawbreakers. It probably also means fancier offices for the top brass. If you want to see what the old building looked like in its waning days, just scroll down and you will start seeing some pictures.

But to build these new and fancier jail cells and offices, temporary adjustments must be made. The whole area is now one big construction site, and the parking lot where the cops used to park their personal vehicles before climbing into the souped-up Crown Vics with the pretty lights no longer exists. The First Selectman, one James A. Lash by name, has decreed that the cops are to park at Town Hall and walk a quarter-mile or so to their jobs.

By and large, this would not appear to be a big deal. At the average pace of three miles an hour, the average cop could manage this walk in about five minutes. Ah, but what if it snows (as it does, from time to time, and sometimes quite heavily)? Then the five-minute walk would become a ten- or fifteen-minute slog; and if the cops have to report before the snow removal crews do, as no doubt is often the case, they will have to walk the long way 'round rather than taking the direct route across the town green. So yes, Virginia, there is an issue here.

The police union, AKA the Silver Shield Association, has filed a grievance against the First Selectman for his arbitrary and non-contractual (in their view) adjustment to their lives. No one knows when or how this action may be resolved. In the meantime, some of the cops started to park at long-term metered spaces, just as everyone else in town is entitled to do.

But no! The much-despised chief cop, Jimmy Wawa, who has been the subject of two hugely lopsided votes of no confidence by the union (and who, of course, has his own specially reserved parking place), got wind of this and went into his typical overreactive mode. He issued a direct order that all cops (except himself, of course) were to park at Town Hall or face disciplinary action. That could entail, I presume, not only a temporary suspension, but even graver consequences up to and including dismissal for insubordination.

Well, this did not sit well with the union. And since the First Selectman in this burg is also the Commissioner of Police, the aforesaid James A. Lash came quickly into the picture. In past years, consequent to the votes of no confidence, Lash has snubbed the union's attempts to meet with him and present their grievances; this has led to occasional picketing at Town Hall by off-duty cops. Special tee shirts were created for these occasions reading "Lash Out!" - a form of protected free speech indicating disapproval of Lash's unresponsiveness and a desire to see him lose at the next town election.

And this, of course, did not sit well with Lash. And since, as faithful readers of this blog know, the local Democrats are all but comatose in their vote-getting ineffectuality, Lash has had no trouble staying in office, and thus the cops managed to earn themselves a powerful and unsympathetic enemy. (Actually, Lash has managed to make himself a lot of enemies all over town, but that's another story for another time.)

So Lash and Wawa have apparently decided to make a big issue of all this, and have opened an investigation focusing on one or more of the perceived ringleaders of the current unrest. But once again, the union perceives some potential illegalities in this procedure; ordinarily, an officer under investigation is informed of this fact and given some opportunity to present his side of the story. Not so in this case, it seems, as Lash and Wawa are apparently building a case behind the back or backs of those concerned.

Since, as we all know, this kind of wholesale disregard of individual rights has become epidemic under the current national administration, why should we be surprised, dear reader, if it happens here as well? Gone are the days of thinking that it *can't* happen here, because it already is and has been for quite some time now. Geneva Convention? Ignore it. Habeas corpus? Never heard of it. Star Chamber trials? Check out the ceiling in the First Selectman's office at Town Hall - does it have the sparkly orbs of the eponymous original these days? Dunno - I haven't been there in years. But I suspect those stars are there, whether visible or not to the naked eye.

Well, the latest shot across the First Selectman's bow comes in the form of a new bumper sticker that reads "FLASH". The small print informs us that this stands for "Friends of Law Enforcement Against Selectman Harassment". Okay, fair enough. But Lash sees a hidden meaning, as he confided to the Yellowwich Time yesterday: to him it reads F*** Lash.

Oh, my! Did you spot the hidden meaning, dear reader? Did the naughty policemen use a bad word, or does Lash have a hyperactive imagination? And does anyone even care?

Nevertheless, the pissing contest between the cop shop and Town Hall has ratcheted upwards, and it remains to be seen what may be the fallout of displaying the new bumper sticker. Naturally, your scribe always takes a first-hand interest in these things, and so he went into the station yesterday to report a missing bumper sticker. What he meant to imply, of course, was that his bumper was missing this particular sticker, and the cops on duty quickly got the drift. He was told that they were not available through on-duty personnel, but that arrangements might be made with an off-duty officer to provide him with some. Hey - whatever works, right? (Actually, one has to admire the professionalism of the men on duty for adhering to a high ethical standard regardless of their well-known and widely-reported view of the First Selectman.)

And so it is that I am now the proud possessor of a modest supply of FLASH bumper stickers. And, like Prufrock, I hesitate: do I dare to eat a peach? No problemo - I've always had a good crop of hair on top. But affix a bumper sticker? Aye, there's the rub, to switch spokespersons. I shall inspect the tea leaves, check the omens, and consult the stars (the real ones) before making the momentous decision. But one thing is reasonably certain: I believe if I were to cross the Rubicon, as it were, I would be better treated by the cops on the beat, and more likely to incur the rancor of the two Jimmies.

Well, maybe the latter wouldn't be such a terrible thing. They say, as you know, that you can tell a man by his enemies; and given the number of people in town who despise the Jimmies, it might be a good way of showing that I'm on the side of the angels.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Something New Under the Sun...

Well, I had hoped to have more to report to you about Thanksgiving in Greenwich, but this year's festivities seem to have been pretty mild-mannered. None of my friends (nor, alas, enemies) had their names printed in the police blotter for driving after imbibing too much holiday cheer; area traffic on I-95 was horrendous but apparently accident-free; and the heavy rains kept most of the non-feathered turkeys out of your scribe's way - always a reason to be thankful, no?

Moving on to today's topic, I will be frank to admit that I had high hopes for my recent blog on "The Date From Hell", and have been disappointed with the underwhelming response to date. Not a single one of my readers has deigned to weigh in with a comment either snarky ("serves you right") or sympathetic ("what did you do to deserve *this*?"). Even the Author Babe, still suffering through the Divorce from Hell, has maintained radio silence. But all is not lost: I mentioned, if you recall, the splendid defensive driving of our cabby on the FDR, which I am still convinced saved us from a truly catastrophic conclusion to an already disastrous date. And that, dear reader, was enough to trigger the following link to "Greenwich Gossip" on Yahoo!:

People discuss online courses: more and more, Defensive Driving Online Course comes up.
Welcome to the Ultimate defensive driving online course source. ... Defensive Driving Instructor - More from this site

Wow! When I clicked on the link I found out all kinds of hitherto unsuspected information about this blog. For example, it enjoys a ranking of 1,458,581 - whatever that may mean. The sidebars reveal that various people (myself among them, no doubt) have used my hot links to the Author Babe's site, as well as to that of Diana Peterfreund, the Author Whiz. The graph of daily traffic lets us know that "Greenwich Gossip" is "Not in top 100,000", which is hardly surprising; what would have been truly shocking would be to learn that it was. Finally, there is a graph depicting how regular I am (nothing to do with K.Y.B.O., for those of you who may remember the counselor's nightly questions at sleepaway camp back in the last century); my average has been about one post per week (sounds about right), although the graphed output shows a recent spike. Well, gee, now that I know someone out there cares about how often I blog, I guess I'll have to take steps to keep that little graph looking like something that Wall Street might want to buy.

So, dear reader, you may expect that your scribe, thus encouraged, will be sending his golden words and thoughts into the blogosphere more frequently, so that we can all watch the graph go up. Whether the quality of the content will also go up remains to be seen; I'm still sulking over the lack of comments on "The Date From Hell", which I had thought to be one of my minor masterpieces, though apparently no one else does. So I may not knock myself out to that extent anytime soon, you ungrateful wretches, and you'll just have to put up with the consequences.

Monday, November 20, 2006

700 Hits and Counting...

Gee, it was just three weeks ago that the counter hit 500, having taken several months to reach that level. And now it's at 700. Moreover, Yahoo! has stopped saying "Site may not exist" when I type the url into the search box, and instead provides a hot link to one of my older blog entries. Does this mean I'm starting to "succeed" in the blogosphere?

Which leads one, of course, to a philosophical rumination on definitions of "success." How do you define it, dear reader? Here in Disneyland East, of course, the yardsticks are pretty simple: is your house bigger, gaucher, and more soulless than that of your neighbor? For many parvenus in this town, that seems to equate with grabbing the brass ring.

For others, it is the latest automotive toy, or the snazziest yacht, or the biggest private jet (forget time-sharing - it has to be your own, free and clear). And then, of course, there's always the trophy wife competition: is your second (or third, or whatever) hotter and more bodacious than your neighbor's? Despite the Biblical proscription against coveting your neighbor's spouse or maidservant (we call them nannies here in Greenwich), it often seems that the whole point of acquiring these nubile persons is to make your friends slobber with lust. And I will say that even as all the children in this town are above average, it certainly seems to be true that all the women are much prettier than the norm. New York City may have a higher overall pulchritude rating, but that's only because many women sow their wild oats there before they land their investment banker and move to Greenwich.

Whatever happened to the good old God-fearing days when success was defined as how well you followed the Golden Rule, or by how many good deeds you could do by stealth before you were found out? Well, at the risk of sounding cynical, I don't think we ever had any such good old days in this town, where the early settlers bamboozled and then massacred the original inhabitants, and "Boss" Tweed brought his Americus Club cronies out from the city each summer to spread their ill-gotten wealth among the eager citizenry. Lincoln Steffens took on the political machine of his time, and had his Riverside garage torched for his pains. Even today, as faithful readers of this blog know, Greenwich is still probably the safest place in the country to commit murder, or almost any other major felony. If Bunyan were alive and writing today, he would probably not bother to disguise his apothosis of materialism as "Vanity Fair" (which, of course, used to be published here); he would simply call it Greenwich.

Fortunately, there are still a few Pilgrim types to be found here in town, and I suppose you could equate some of the local clergy like Ken Kieffer to Mr. Valiant-for-Truth and not be very far off the mark. To me, it is part of the human comedy to see saints in the making juxtaposed with the most ardent worshippers of Mammon as part of the everyday fabric of life right here on Greenwich Avenue; perhaps things haven't changed that much since Bunyan's time, after all.

Let's wrap up this discourse on "success" with the well-known words of Ralph Waldo Emerson:

To laugh often and much;
to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
to appreciate beauty;
to find the best in others;
to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived -
this is to have succeeded.

Of course, the kicker is that Emerson never wrote these words. However, I am sure Bessie Stanley would enjoy seeing them in this blog, even as I enjoy seeing that little counter go up, and up, and up....

Friday, November 17, 2006

The Date From Hell

Herewith, dear reader, a cautionary tale on the perils and pitfalls of the dating scene in Greenwich and environs. Names will be omitted to obviate potential lawsuits, though since the truth is always an absolute defense in any action for defamation, I would have no problem in defending one. It's not so much that I'm protecting the guilty as shielding them from further embarrassment.

It was, of course a first date - the type of situation in which a budding relationship hangs in the balance, and everyone's expectations are high. The occasion was a foray into the city to attend a cocktail party in honor of a personage of high birth (read prince) who is also active in diplomacy. The venue was a blue-blood upper East Side private club, of the type whose initials can be found following people's names in the Social Register. The weather was forecast to be execrable. (Drum roll, please, Mr. Bulwer-Lytton.)

The original plan as discussed over the phone the day before was that I would pick up the DFH at her back-country house and drive us to the station. We discussed the merits of leaving from Port Chester rather than Greenwich, which is to say that I made the suggestion and she reacted with horror at the thought of being around "those people". Not sure of which people "they" might be, I immediately confirmed the Greenwich station.

Next, I suggested that we walk the few blocks from Grand Central to the club. More horror. Didn't I know that women in cocktail dresses and heels could not be expected to walk in the city? Actually, I didn't - most of the young women I've dated have not had any problem in this regard. But I gamely said we would, of course, take a cab.

So far, so good, with the exception of the warning bells in the background (remember the old World War II song, "The Bells of Hell go Ding-a-ling-a-ling"? - yeah, those were the bells I was starting to hear, as it turned out. And the ding-a-ling part was also beginning to resonate....). Then I listened to the weather forecast, which was for torrential rain to arrive concurrently with us in the city.

Some years ago, a North Street squire of my acquaintance would rent a limo to take him and his wife, and occasionally me, into NYC. It was very civilised - door-to-door, quiet, comfortable, and hassle-free. Gee, I thought to myself, maybe I should look into that - after all, how much more could it be than the cost of train tickets and cabfare?

Quite a lot, as it turned out. I had mentally budgeted $200 for the evening using the limo option, but when I called for a reservation I was informed the cost would be about $300. So I compromised, figuring that we could limo in during the bad weather, and train out afterwards when the storm was over. I mean, one wants to make a good impression on a first date, no? Surely the limo upgrade on the trip in was a move in the right direction?

Well, the DFH at first said there was no need for a limo - the train was fine. But when I mentioned the weather forecast and the door-to-door convenience, she went along with it. I told her we might run into friends and go out for dinner afterwards, so that we would eventually head home by train. No problem, she said. Be ready at 4:30, I said. Right you are, she said.

Well, you can see where this is heading. The old game of he said/she said had already begun, though I don't think either of us realized it at the time. At 4:20 I pulled into her driveway, with the limo, which had been lurking nearby so as to be on time, right behind me.

I rang the doorbell. Nothing happened. I waited two or three minutes, and tried again. Nothing happened. I was beginning to get a queasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. I rang the bell a third time.

At 4:25 the DFH appeared at the front door in a bathrobe. "You're early," she said. I agreed I was. "Give me five minutes," she said, and closed the door. I stood there on the doorstoop looking and feeling rather foolish. Was it wrong of me to think that she should have invited me in to wait in the living room? But then I looked from the stoop into the living room windows, and saw nothing but a jumble of boxes. The same decor scheme had decorated her hallway, I'd just noticed. More queasiness.

I walked around the property a bit, which had evidently been a farm at one time. The wind started to gust. The limo driver got out and joined me, telling me how much he hated his job and how he really wanted to stay home on his couch and trade currencies. Time passed. Five minutes turned into twenty. At 4:45 I decided the DFH was officially late.

Shortly thereafter she bustled out of the house and into the limo, and in a cloud of pungent perfume we were on our way. Her little black dress was becoming if not overly large; generous amounts of cleavage and thigh were on offer. No wrap or raincoat in sight. The first crisis was that of the stuck lipstick, which she had jammed into a travel case so tightly that she could not get it out again. After a few minutes she told me to try, and by getting my fingers underneath and applying firm, even pressure I managed to liberate the lipstick. My hero? Hardly - "Thanks, dude," she said.

Then the traffic problems began. The driver ditched the Hutch, as it were, and took us through twisty country and suburban roads that eventually brought us to the Bronx River Parkway; he was assisted in this feat by an online GPS map system that tracked our progress every mile of the way. Thus he was able to keep us almost on time, until we got to Manhattan and its rush-hour gridlock. The last two blocks took twenty minutes, and since our safety margin had gone by the boards from the get-go, we were about the last to arrive.

Which, of course, did not stop the DFH from disappearing into the women's room for an additional twenty minutes. I paced back and forth, wondering if possibly this whole thing might be a mistake. Hah! I hadn't seen anything yet.

Just before I sent a member of the club staff to search her out, the DFH emerged and we went into the reception. The personage himself was there to greet us, and we spent a few minutes in polite chit-chat. Late as we were, the few nibbles that were being passed were down to tag ends; and just before the personage began his address, the DFH looked at her nearly-full wineglass and said she needed another. A brief pause ensued during which it became apparent that I was supposed to go and fetch it for her. And so, of course, I did.

The personage had barely started his remarks when the DFH looked at me in horror and whispered that her ring was missing. It appeared that she had taken it off when she was washing her hands for those twenty minutes, and forgotten to put it back on. So of course neither of us was able to pay much attention to the personage. At least the DFH had her two wineglasses to work on, which she did with gusto. As soon as the address was over, we raced to the bathroom. No ring.

We made inquiries of the staff and at the front desk. The club manager assured us that none of the employees would have taken the ring (the DFH looked dubious), but there were two large parties of non-members that evening. Just as the DFH was resigning herself to the loss of her ring (and I to having provided her with an unforgettable evening which would taint our relationship forever), one of the staff heard her complaint and opened a drawer where he had placed the missing ring for safekeeping. One would think this might have filled the DFH's heart with gratitude and joy, but you couldn't tell from looking at her. She put it back on her finger and made a beeline back to the bar.

No sooner had she procured another drink than the bar closed down. An older, rather skeevy lowlife came up and introduced himself to her, and immediately started to monopolize her while staring down her dress. The DFH did not seem to mind the attention, even as some friends of mine were whispering to me that the lech was well-known for his inappropriate behavior. I began to wonder if she was thinking of going off with him, and half-hoping that she might.

Alas, no. In the event, it would have been far easier on your scribe if the evening had ended then and there. For now a full-blown monsoon was raging outside, and it quickly became apparent that the DFH wanted me to produce another limo on the spot to take her home. I told her it would take at least an hour for a car to reach us, even assuming one were available, and that we would be better off taking a cab to Grand Central and getting on the train as planned.

Well, apparently that was not her plan. It now developed that she had a phobia about the train, and furthermore, it seemed there were no cabs to be had to get us to the station - the weather had seen to that. I had visions of being marooned for hours in the club lobby. The DFH seemed to think the situation was all my fault, and headed back to the bathroom to sulk.

Suddenly a cab pulled up at the club's doorway to discharge a fare, and I seized on it as a ray of hope. I hustled the DFH into it, earning a few dirty looks from her in the process, as though I were out of line to interrupt her sulk, and told the driver to take us to Grand Central. Well, this was definitely not to the DFH's liking. She wanted to be taken to a restaurant instead. I told her there were lots of restaurants at Grand Central, but it appeared they would be populated by more of "those people", and thus not appropriate. While we went back and forth about this, the cab pulled up at the station. I paid the driver, ran to the entrance through the rain, collared a young black man with a large umbrella, and asked him to escort the DFH from the cab to the station. From the cab I could hear the screech, "I can't step out into THAT!" For once, the DFH had a point: there was a six-inch deep river running along the curb. So the driver manoeuvered the cab closer, the young man proffered his umbrella, and the DFH made it into the station only a few drops of water the worse for wear.

Well, even a few drops were not acceptable. Right there in the entrance hallway the DFH threw a full-fledged fit. Her purse was ruined, her dress was ruined, and her shoes were ruined. It seemed that her life (not to mention our relationship) was at an end. There was no f**king way she was going to get on a train. It was all my fault for not having had another limo to bring us home.

I told her we could call the 800 number and have them send another car, if that's what she wanted. The absurdity of sending a limo to Grand Central, and the logistics of telling the driver how to find us in that huge complex, kept running through my mind. But all I wanted was to get the DFH to calm down, and to somehow bring this hellish evening to a close.

She vaguely remembered a restaurant she had once been to in the station - somewhere underground, she thought. I suggested she might be thinking of the Oyster Bar, but she didn't want to hear from me. She looked at the few shops still open, and picked one that she thought was suitably "upscale". In she went with her vague story of a downstairs restaurant. The salesgirls from the Bronx looked at her and shrugged. Then she came up with Plan B: to accost a suitably upscale commuter, and ask him the same question. To my astonishment, she proceeded to do this; and to my greater astonishment, the well-dressed man (after a brief pause of surprise), humored her.

His answer, of course, was the Oyster Bar, and he helpfully told her how to get there. So off we went, but upon arrival she pronounced it the wrong place and said it looked "like a cafeteria".

But at least by this time she was willing to listen to my suggestions (I had, after all, been right about the Oyster Bar). So I suggested the restaurant upstairs on the Vanderbilt Avenue side, which over the years has changed its name frequently but has always provided a creditable meal. Even late on a weekday night it was hopping, but we managed to find two seats at the bar, which turns out to have been the right place for us to have wound up.

After a few hefty pulls at her wine, the DFH again asked how I proposed to get her home, and again firmly nixed any idea of taking the train. After all, she said, she might have to go "pee-pee", and there was no way she was going to use the Metro North railcar restrooms. So I gave her the limo service number and suggested she give them a call.

The first time they hung up on her. She was fairly disjointed, giving her name, our erstwhile driver's name, and my name, and finally getting around to setting forth the request at hand. She called back, pleading "Don't hang up!", and tried again. This time she got an answer: because of the weather, no cars were available, and none would be until well after midnight.

After a few more observations on my shortcomings for not having foreseen the problem and ordering a second limo in advance, she started chatting with the barman about the football game on the large-screen TV in front of us. Then she made friends with the people on the barstools beside us. Then she ordered some food to go with all the wine she'd been drinking. Then she went off to the ladies' room, which turned out to be suitably appropriate, with an attendant who sprayed the toilet seats with disinfectant between customers (who knew?). Then she announced she was ready to be taken home.

Well, dear reader, I'm sure you know people who have taken cabs from Grand Central to Greenwich, but usually that happens after the trains have stopped running. I left her persuading the bartender to give her "just another half-glass" of wine, which (after checking out the cleavage) he was happy to do, even making her glass substantially more than half-full. I went out into the night, noting thankfully that at least the rain had stopped, and made my way down the cab rank to find someone willing to make a run out to Greenwich. I learned in the process that there is actually a published book of fares to locales outside New York City, and that the rate for a cab was almost exactly the same rate as that for the limo we'd taken earlier.

I also learned that the published fares were subject to negotiation. A nice Indian driver agreed to take us for about three-quarters of the published rate. I ran back to collect the DFH, who (as you might have guessed) had a large crowd of barflies around her and an empty glass in her hand. I bundled her into the cab, and off we went.

We had a close call on the FDR when a car just ahead of us did a 180 and wound up facing us. The driver braked and we slewed all over the road, almost pancaking into the car ahead. Luckily they must teach defensive driving in India, as he released the brakes long enough to regain traction and twist the wheel before sending us into a second skid away from danger. Clearly the tires on the cab were all but bald; the driver did a magnificent job of avoiding a catastrophe. He whispered, "Thank God!" The DFH clapped and cheered and stomped her feet.

We made it back without further incident, unless you count your scribe having to hear the DFH's lecture on men's hygiene. Nose hair and ear hair were unacceptable. Eyebrows must be kept short and waxed. Chest and back hair are a no-no. Fingernails must not show any white - only women are allowed to have nails with white rims.

The driver finally deposited us in her driveway. I gave him an extra $20, feeling he had earned it not only by getting us back safely, but by having had to listen to her drivel during the whole ride. I'm sure he had a tale or two for his wife when he finally got home.

So there we were in her driveway, with the cab lights receding in the distance. "Aren't you going to ask me in for a glass of wine?" I said. "Oh - I don't have any," she replied (yeah, right!), and gave me a hug and a sloppy kiss. We chatted for a moment or two, but as she was wearing nothing but the little black dress, it was clear she should be getting inside. One more kiss, and then as I was walking down the driveway to my car came the fond farewell: "Thanks, dude."

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


We have something new today: secret writing.

Can u read this?

If you're as clueless as I was until a few moments ago, you probably think this paragraph begins on the second line of this blog. It doesn't; it begins on the third. I have created a secret message in the space in between. Kudos and special recognition will be given to the first person who is able to reveal the secret message.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Summer Makes One Last Cameo...

...and boy! is it lovely outdoors today. (A query: is saying boy! still PC? How about saying man! - is that still allowed? Language and usage are so malleable these days; one politician stirred up a shitstorm because he used the fine old Middle English word "niggardly" - can you believe he actually was forced to apologize?! I think even Chaucer has a character who was "niggard of his purse" - good thing he's not around to face the wrath of the linguistic yahoos who know nothing about the English language.)

I have no pics (yet) to show you of this gorgeous day, though I did shoot off a few at this morning's observance of Veterans' Day - they will be posted in due course. Meanwhile, here are some others for you to gawk at (remember to click on them for the wide-screen version):

This is some of the autumn foliage outside the Cos Cob Library. At the moment, your scribe is inside the same, though not for long.

This is the promised picture of the Walruses in conclave assembled. Usually there are more of us, but one (your scribe) was behind the camera, and another was still en route. My friend the Reader's Digest editor (in red) appears to be about to double over laughing at some witticism of our fearless (but God-fearing) leader, Bill Evertsberg. What's the joke, John?

Finally, an apt shot of Pickwick Plaza, taken yesterday, that shows the site of the former Pickwick Arms Hotel. That Greenwich landmark was torn down after the town refused the owners permission to add a few more rooms to help keep their cash flow positive. The office complex that replaced it has just been sold for the second time in the past four years - at double the price it went for last time. If the hotel owners had just held on, they would now be rich beyond the dreams of avarice, and the town would still have some of its erstwhile charm.

Note the trio of women gossiping just to the left of the wall. They are close to the spot where Permelia Reed used to hold court in the garden of the hotel each Wednesday when she wasn't in Hobe Sound, and many were the aspiring social climbers who never got off the ground because of Permelia and her black sweaters. Today, of course, anything goes, and the more gauche you are, the more likely you will be to make a big splash here in Greenwich. Like the Pickwick Arms, the days of good manners and gentility in this town are pretty much gone forever....

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Status Quo Ante

Well, the winds of change swept across the country yesterday, but they totally bypassed Greenwich. It's a good thing the Author Babe is winging her way to sunny Scottsdale at this moment, as the rain is pouring down and the candidates for whom she worked so hard have all been defeated. Let's hope she returns refreshed and recharged for whatever challenges await her next.

As predicted, Skippy Snickerson made short work of Frank Farricker, outpolling him by a 3 to 2 margin. Put another way, he pulled 50% more votes than FF, so it wasn't even close. By contrast, Ed Krumeich lost by a mere handful of votes in an election that only ended at 1:15 AM this morning as the last of the absentee ballots were counted by the clerks with the green eyeshades. That one really could have gone either way, but Ed had an uphill fight against the gerrymandering that took place years ago to carve out an illogical but putatively "safe" district for the Republican party. So now we have two more years of the "Doll", with her appalling voting record on environmental issues and her giggly school-girlish demeanor. Did your scribe tell you he received a postcard from the Doll the other day with a little heart drawn next to her signature? There's never an airline sickness bag around when you need one....

So life goes on as usual in this town, though down in Washington old Rummy has decided not to stay the course. So perhaps Ned Lamont's message did get through, though his candidacy never really took off after his August primary victory. Was it worth all the millions of his personal money that he poured into his campaign? I think Ned would probably say "yes". And he certainly generated some excitement around here for a while. Even though it's business as usual, on the surface at least, things have changed in a subtle way, and perhaps those winds of change didn't totally bypass Greenwich after all.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Day

Well, it's all over but the lever-pulling, at least here in Greenwich, where we still pull levers instead of using more high-tech methodologies. Judging from a story on Yahoo! about chaos in some states where they're using the high-tech stuff for the first time, maybe it's just as well.

The polls still show JoJo "Me First" Lieberman ahead of Ned Lamont, but they were wrong in August, and may be wrong again. Frank Farricker has been all but invisible in his quest to unseat Skippy Snickerson, so I'm not holding out much hope for him. At least he's no longer inaudible: he finally ran a radio spot yesterday and today. But it's very bland, and he doesn't attack Skippy's voting record (or rather, lack thereof), so I would have to say it's too little too late.

Ed Krumeich may fare better against the "Doll", as he has been in the press and on the radio quite a bit. He is a local boy, as you know from reading these pages, and he has also successfully pressed many of the points originally made here in these pages, which I know he reads because he's told me so. (Let's hear it for these pages!)

Meanwhile, the Author Babe is wrapping up her election efforts with a four-hour stint at the polls today before she takes to the skies tomorrow on her way to sunny Scottsdale for a book gig. Dunno where she gets her energy.

The AB posted a quote on her PG-rated blog, saraclaradara. I like it and thought I would share it with you. Note that you're only getting the quote; for further details such as author and title, click on her link.

"Love is one of those countries perpetually stuck in the third world. A republic subject to dictatorships and financial crack-ups and revolutions and droughts and epidemics. A kingdom where sooner or later there's an earthquake, where someone will always come walking out of the blazing ruins unable to understand what's happened, wondering: why me?"

The AB is still in the throes of the three-year never-ending divorce, through which she continues to sally on with unfailing good humor and well-maintained perspective. One never hears a bitter remark issue from her mouth, which in my experience of divorced or divorcing women is unique. Is it any wonder that I consider the AB a paragon among women?

By contrast, I am sorry to report that the SB has been maintaining radio silence all week. Not sure why. I have emailed the AB for advice, since understanding women has always been a weak point in my mental and emotional makeup. But then, there are a lot of men I don't understand, too. Some of them are even running for election today....

There you are, dear reader: we've come full circle, and it's time to get out and seize the day. I hope you all have your little "I voted today!" stickers on!

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Time Has Come, the Walrus Said...

...and you all know how that sentence ends. So this blog will cover many things, as the weekend is coming up and I might as well get them out into cyberspace now.

First off, a nanny named Jackie Maldonado made a comment in response to my plea for feedback. She hinted, no doubt correctly, that the nannies in Greenwich have the best gossip about the goings-on in town. So now, dear reader, when you see your faithful scribe chatting up the local nannies, you will know that it is all in the interest of faithful reportage on your behalf.

Jackie also suggested a visit to, which paid off handsomely with this link: Greenwich Weekend Nanny up to no good? 9/18/06. Go ahead, click it, and see what goes on in this town, CT's answer to MA's renowned Peyton Place. Thanks for the tip, Jackie!

No pics yet, but the Walrus quote was inspired by the dinner of my monthly book club, The Walrus & Carpenter Society. The group originally began its existence at the Harvard Club of NYC, but has since migrated to our home turf. Actually, we went out of town last night (indeed, out of state) to a lovely colonial-era home in Bedford, NY. Our group, BTW, is men only, which annoys the distaff side (is that term still PC? - probably not), who are sure that we spend most if not all of our time talking about women. This is a canard, of course - we talk about the book under discussion. But we actually *did* talk about women last night, when someone suggested we make our December meeting coed in honor of the season.

A book that y'all might enjoy reading is "The Dog Dialed 911" - a book of lists compiled by the folks at The Smoking Gun. For local color, check out Diana Ross's attempt to write out the alphabet, the numbers from 1 to 20, and state the date and time. This, of course, relates to the not-so-arduous jail time she did here in Greenwich, when she was allowed out for dinner and even on one occasion to spend the night in her Belle Haven mansion instead of a municipal cell. You will find the details already set forth in this blog, and Diana's rap sheet in TSG's book (along with much else, such as Bill Gates's mug shot from his salad days). Oh, BTW, here's a link to the paperwork on Diana: The Smoking Gun: Archive.

Well, that's it for now. If I decide to add more later, check on back to catch up.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Feels Like Spring...

Yes, another gorgeous warm sunny day in southwest CT. Sort of like Lorien in the waning days of Middle Earth. The trees look like mallorns with their bright gold leaves. BTW, did you know that the scops (poets) of the Anglo-Saxon period called our own world Middle Earth? True fact.

Another true fact: the Author Babe wrote one of the scariest columns I've ever read for Hallowe'en yesterday. Check it out at saramerica. You can also see pics of her shindig for Ned Lamont.

A third fact: the LR, which rarely gets anything right, today endorsed Ed Krumeich for state rep. Check out his "favorite quotes" post on his website, Only a moron would vote for his opponent, the "Doll", IMHO. We'll know how many morons there are in town by this time next week. I'll post the exact number for you then, so that you can amaze your friends with your knowledge of Greenwich trivia. "Do you know how many morons live in Greenwich?" you can ask, and then supply the number I shall supply to you next week. You can assure your astounded listeners that this is a true fact, since you found it on the Internet, and the number was officially certified by the two registrars of voters.

OK, time to get out and enjoy the rest of this beautiful day. I will wave to Michele as I leave the library, and ask if she's checked out this blog yet. She keeps assuring me that she will; this is a sure-fire way to make sure she does. She and Nicole had two of the scariest costumes yesterday: they dressed up as librarians. Fortunately, they look good in whatever they wear....