Greenwich Gossip

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

High Tech Comes to Greenwich

Your scribe is having a new telephone line put in - you know, one phone for each ear - and the Verizon people at first said no problem, we'll just flick a switch in our central office and you'll have your new dial tone. But such was not to be....

Came a technician, who left a message on line #1 saying that in your scribe's absence she was unable to gain access to the basement where the wires entered the house. Call for another appointment, she said.

After many tries, and much Muzak, your scribe finally reached an appointment- maker, who said they had nothing available for a week. Protests were useless, tears unavailing. Next week or next month, your choice.

This morning a second technician (finally) arrived, saying the basement had nothing to do with the situation. He grabbed a ladder off his truck, and climbed the telephone pole across the street. Moments later an agglomeration of twigs and straw came fluttering down. Turned out an old bird's nest was the problem. The technician folded his ladder and his tents (I speak metaphorically) and drove off towards the (Verizon) horizon. And now your scribe can carry on two phone conversations at once.

Ain't technology wonderful?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

"Before the Roman came to Rye, or out to Severn strode..."

"...the rolling English drunkard made the rolling English road."

Thus spake Gilbert Keith Chesterton some 93 years ago, and he might as well have been writing here in Greenwich today. The heavy-drinking narrator of The Rolling English Road has nothing on the chaps who have been painting the dotted lines on the newly-paved Boston Post Road, a.k.a. US 1, a.k.a. Putnam Avenue, a.k.a the major highway from Maine to Florida (hi, Erica!). To drive along the Post Road in Greenwich today is to become seasick from all the side-to-side wavering you must engage in if you want to follow the lines as opposed to the direction of the road itself.

A month or two ago, Milbank Avenue had the same problem, such that people started writing letters to the editor about it. That caught the attention of Town Hall, which sent out a crew to try to rectify the havoc caused by the previous crew. Or perhaps it was the same crew, mostly sober this time (they got it about 90% right, but it still weaves a little here and there).

So now your scribe awaits a similar process to unfold with regard to the Post Road. Why, he wonders, do the highly paid "supervisors" who stand around watching the road crews do their thing not notice the shoddy work at the time? Or, perhaps, do they notice it and turn a blind eye because there will eventually be more work, and perhaps overtime, down the road (as it were)?

Ah, dear reader, your tax dollars at work. The country that sent men to the moon in 1969 can't even even paint a straight line in 2007. It does not seem to augur well for our national future; and as for the present, your scribe advises you simply to ignore the wavy lines, just as almost everyone in Town already ignores the speed limits and stop signs. Just point the nose of your Hummer or souped-up SUV in the direction you want to go, and put the pedal to the metal. Works every time.

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Power of the Blogosphere; or, A New Friend Appears Online

Your scribe went to his mailbox this morning, and found a new comment relating to the "Guess Who's Coming to Greenwich?" post of several weeks ago. The writer is "Pastor Laura", who apparently is a "young female clergyperson" and mother living in the New York City area. Her comment follows:

Laura C said...

a few weeks later... just curious as to how the whole weekend with Tewell went. He preached not too long ago at my parents' church, and they were very impressed. As a young female clergyperson, I'm constantly amazed at the kinds of things a middle-aged male clergyperson with a gift for preaching can get away with, and still be asked to come serve as a guest preacher somewhere. I'd also be interested in finding out how the Greenwich church has talked about the Stearns controversy since he left.

And your scribe responded in turn:

Hi, Pastor Laura,

Thanks for your follow-up query. Personally, although I tried to keep an open mind, I found Tewell's performance - for such it seemed to me to be - facile and in very poor taste. You can read more of my reactions in the post for October 3, 2007 ("Of Shoes - and Ships - and Sealing Wax").

As a young female clergyperson, I'm constantly amazed at the kinds of things a middle-aged male clergyperson with a gift for preaching can get away with, and still be asked to come serve as a guest preacher somewhere.

That makes two of us (except that I'm not a young female clergyperson, of course). It's just not right, IMO.

The Saturday night dinner was poorly attended, I hear, and at least a few of the regular attendees stayed away on Sunday morning. But to hear the "buzz", Tewell walked on water. I, of course, do not agree, based on what I saw and heard.

As for Stearns, the Greenwich way is to try to sweep things under the rug and pretend everything is Disneyland-perfect. The session bascially tried to hush everything up and send him off as though to a well-deserved "retirement".

Personally, I do not agree with such behavior, which of late has created so many problems in the Roman Catholic Church, for example. But hypocrisy is high on the list of favored civic virtues here in Greenwich, and if you have ever read Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress", you will realize that the town he calls Vanity Fair is an exact spiritual prototype of Greenwich, Connecticut.

Please stay in touch!

Then it was time to visit Laura's blog, which is highly to be reccomended. Vicki, I think you in particular will find it enjoyable and inspirational. May I have the honor of introducing you two?

Gotta run...miles to go, and all that...but I wanted to get this up before the day gets any older.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Scribal Meanderings

Well, it's only 11 am on Monday morning, but y'all should know what your scribe has been up to so far.

First, he is still recovering from the AuthorBabe's latest saloon yesterday afternoon, billed as "a proper English tea," which featured pitcherfuls of Pimm's Cup and platterfuls of cucumber sandwiches and scones with whipped cream and strawberries on top. Frank Farricker, candidate for First Selectman, was the featured guest, and came in his cricket whites. He brought his cricket bat along to keep order amongst the assemblage, which, knowing the general tenor of the AuthorBabe's saloons, was probably not a bad idea.

Frank is beginning to tumble to the level of ineptitude and corruption here in Town, but he still has a ways to go, in the scribal opinion. He showed up a week ago at the site of the Byram-Schubert library "construction" project, notable primarily for its singular lack of progress. The neighborhood is disrupted and disgruntled, and the project manager Mario "I'll get back to you" Gonzales (he never does, of course), who among other things is supposed to be the director of the main library, clearly is clueless as to how to manage a building project (let alone a library full of dissension and a long history of criminal behavior among the staff).

The library board, it seems, is totally out of control, or out to lunch, depending on whose viewpoint you listen to. The litany of complaints about Mario's (mis)managment recently led to a secret report by a consultant, which the board is keeping carefully under wraps in defiance of state FOI regulations. The head of the local union was quoted on the radio this morning, with reference to the board: "They sit around the campfire and sing camp songs and toast marshmallows" while appointing Mario to look into the complaints against himself. "It's as though I robbed a bank and told the judge I think I should serve only one day," said the union chief.

But the chips are beginning to fall. Two long-time employees have recently "retired" amidst complaints of arrogant and demeaning behavior (the radio story did not make clear whether the behavior was theirs, but tied the two things together in the same breath). An earlier library board, headed by Don Marchand, tried to fire one of them about ten years ago, but at that time was stymied by the union. This time, it would seem, the union was holding the door open for her so it wouldn't hit her in the butt as she slinked out.

No doubt more is to come, and your scribe will keep you posted. Any comments, Anonymous Bob?

On to more pleasant things. This morning your scribe wandered over to the eastern end of Town, and upon entering the local supermarket was greeted by some crisp apple slices and a container of gooey caramel as the sample tasting of the day. There went the scribal diet. He next visited the scene of the crime, that is, the office of Patriot National Bank that was knocked over a few days ago. This morning there is a sign posted by the door asking customers to remove their sunglasses and hats before entering; however, it seems doubtful that any bank robber worth his salt will want to help make things easier for the surveillance cameras. But if the general public cooperates with the request, it should make it a little less difficult for the staff to spot the would-be heisters.

Your scribe chatted with the branch manager, and allowed as how he had not seen her name in the local rag's account of the incident. With good reason, she told him; as she and everyone else in Town already know, to talk to one of their reporters is tantamount to asking to be libeled in print. "All they do is screw it up," she said. Your scribe could hardly disagree.

Well, the day is still young, but the sun is climbing ever higher in the heavens, and it's time to get downtown and see what else is going on in this burg. More to follow, no doubt.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Friday Night Organ Concert #2

Christ Church was as full last night as it is for some Sunday services, as word continues to spread around Town of the fabulous monthly organ concert series organized (pun!) by James Kennerley, the newly-promoted Associate Director of Music. This recital was performed by one of the Church's new Organ Scholars, Enrico Contenti, who is in the process of earning his master's degree at Yale's Institute of Sacred Music.

The program was structured by locale rather than the more usual chronological order, which made for some interesting listening. The first section was comprised of examples of the North German school, beginning with Buxtehude's wonderful G Minor Praeludium. The opening section has a majestic passacaglia-like ground bass in the pedal, followed by several sprightly fugue-like sections before a final full-organ conclusion. Then came two Brahms chorale preludes, contrasting nicely with the Buxtehude and the subsequent Bach piece that concluded the German section of the program. Of course, the Bach selection showed the composer's wide-ranging musical interests, as it was the Concerto in D Minor adapted from Vivaldi: Italian music with a German accent, as it were.

The second section was contemporary American music, all of which was new to your scribe. Two pieces by Ned Rorem exemplified his rich polyphonic texture that somehow combines tradition and modernism in an ear-pleasing blend. The quiet "Lullaby" was played as a tribute to its composer, Calvin Hampton, who for twenty years was the organist at Calvary Episcopal Church in the city, and who died at the young age of 46. The centerpiece of the American section - indeed, of the whole recital - was the trilogy of pieces based on poems by Stephen Crane composed by Aaron Travers (b.1979). Technically difficult, full of abrupt changes of manuals and registrations to produce a bravura brilliance, these pieces allowed Enrico to show us his virtuoso keyboard and pedal work at its best. As always, the video feed from behind Enrico's shoulder to a large screen set up at the front of the chancel allowed everyone to watch as well as hear his outstanding performance.

The final section was comprised of French music, and again Enrico gave us a chronological sandwich. First came Tournemire's Improvisation on the Gregorian hymn "Te Deum Laudamus" - full of Tournemirean sound and fury (he is not your scribe's favorite composer) - followed by two much less noisy Baroque pieces by Jean Adam Guilain, including a prototypical use of the crumhorn (literally, "bent horn") that was a standard solo stop of the period. The final selection was the brilliant Toccata by Joseph Jongen, a mid-20th century heir to Vierne and Widor. We gave Enrico round after round of applause, and some people called for an encore; but James stepped up to invite us to a wine and cheese (and asparagus and salmon and whitefish, etc., etc.) reception, so we stopped clapping and started moving.

Once again the talented Isabelle Demers did an outstanding job of page-turning and stop-pulling and piston-pushing. As James said afterwards, her assistance in these vital functions is three-quarters of the reason for the success of these recitals - a pardonable exaggeration, perhaps, but not far off the mark. The next recital, in fact, is on November 2 by Isabelle herself, and your scribe is wondering already how she will manage without her own assistance. No doubt James or Enrico will step in; we shall see if they're as good at it as she is.

All in all, it was a wonderful way to spend an autumn evening. Various costumed ghosts and ghouls passed among us handing out reminder fliers about next Friday's performance at 10 pm: a showing of the silent horror classic "Nosferatu" (a version of the Dracula story), at which James will provide an improvised organ accompaniment just as the piano players used to do in the old-time movie houses. It promises to be a thrilling event!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Flowers That Bloom in the Fall, Tra-la...

We had one of the best Columbus Day weekends in memory, weatherly-speaking (your scribe will NOT use the grammatical abomination "weather-wise" unless a gun is pointed at his head and life or death are the only options). Record-breaking temperatures, sunny skies, mostly-green-but-partly-red-and-orange foliage, all enhanced by an explosion of floral color throughout the Town. Herewith a few pictorial examples, taken yesterday (click for the CineMax view):

This is the triangle by the post office. And here's the same area a little further towards the entrance:

Next we have the World War I memorial in the center of the PO plaza:

Followed by the plantings in back of Richards (the purple bushes were a lot more purple a few days ago - should have taken this shot last weekend):

Here's the firefighters' memorial across the street, recently adorned with a wreath:

And finally a pocket garden in front of St. Mary RC Church helping to brighten Greenwich Avenue:

One would almost think it's spring, not fall, to judge by all the attention being lavished on flowers around here.

Your scribe is pleased to report that the tank trap formerly known as the Post Road (a.k.a. Route 1, the major US highway linking Maine to Florida) has now been almost fully repaved. For the past week or so, it's been a real mess of bumpy scraped pavement and extruding manholes; the traffic jams have been horrendous. However, local residents can now rev up their SUVs to full throttle again, and go back to their old habits of ignoring speed limits and red lights as they sail along the smooth new pavement chatting on their hand-held cell phones and turning around to pat the dogs and yell at the kids. Business as usual, folks.

In other news, Gene Wilder's new book is wending its way Miss Erica-wards after the PO's long weekend hiatus. Is the AuthorBabe right? Will Miss Erica hate it because of its title, and chop it up into little pieces and mail it back to your scribe in a black envelope? Only time will tell, dear reader. Stay tuned.

BTW, one of your scribe's favorite sentences in the aforesaid book reads thusly (the hero is speaking to the heroine, who thinks she is not very beautiful):

"I think [beauty] is something that's half on the outside and half on the inside."

Y'know, that's really true. Your scribe has dated some gorgeous girls who were ugly as sin on the inside, and some Plain Janes who were real sweethearts. What is it they say about not judging a book by its cover?

Well, that's pretty much the weekend report. Oh yes, your scribe took his annual Columbus Day hike at the Fairchild Audubon sanctuary yesterday, where the usually boisterous stream running alongside the Deep Gorge trail was utterly silent because of the prolonged dry spell we've been having. Then it was over to the Wilderness Trail and finally down to the meadow, where a hawk circled high overhead looking for a late lunch. Very beautiful, and very peaceful.

Today it is cold and blustery and rain is threatening. Back to reality. And back to work.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

An Ordinary Saturday in Greenwich...

Ah, yes, dear reader, the sky is cloudless and the weather is unseasonably warm and balmy. Everyone is wearing shorts, and there are smiles on every face you see. It can't last, but we're enjoying nature's bounty to the hilt while it lasts.

So much to report, so little time...the day began with a tag sale on Round Hill Road at which your scribe puchased a beautiful coffee table book published for the Town's 350th anniversary in 1990 (cover price $49.95; scribal price $5). Then it was off to the library and the bank, followed by a pleasant hour reading the local rag ("Armed Robbers Hit Bank" - like Willie Sutton, they must have figured out that that's where the money is, and decided Greenwich was as good a place to start as any; the local cops are clueless, as usual) and The New York Times, as well as doing the NYT crossword puzzle (in ink, of course).

After which your scribe moseyed down the Avenue, where he encountered a one dollar and a ten dollar bill lying in the middle of an intersection. At the risk of life and limb, he stooped to pick them up and add them to his "found money" stash. (The yearly take of found money has ranged from $65 to $150 over the past decade; your scribe puts it all in a jar, and at the end of the year uses it for a nice dinner or other treat. Greenwich Avenue may not be exactly paved with gold, but there's a fair amount of scrip and coinage to be found lying about thereon.)

Something in the back of his head was trying to remind him about an event at Richards, the haberdashery where Tony Blair stopped by a few weeks ago. Knowing that at least he would find a Saturday bagel if nothing else, your scribe wandered in, and found a gentleman who looked remarkably like Gene Wilder signing books. The reason for the resemblance was not far to seek, inasmuch as it was Mr. Wilder himself. Several of the youngsters asked him to sign their books as Willy Wonka, which suprised him for a moment; he then decided to put his own name, followed by "a.k.a. Willy Wonka". The kids were delighted.

Your scribe munched on a onion bagel and contemplated the scene. Then he noticed that a poster stated this was Mr. Wilder's debut novel. Bells started to ding in the scribal skull. Would Mr. Wilder mind doing a slightly longer inscription? Not at all, came the gracious response.

Mindful that he owed Miss Erica some form of recompense for her two long-distance telephone calls earlier in the week, your scribe dictated the inscription, as follows:

To Erica - With best wishes, from one debut novelist to another - Gene Wilder

"She'll faint when she gets this," said your scribe. "Oh, dear," said Mr. Wilder - "we can't have that." "Right into my arms," added your scribe, and Mr. Wilder laughed uproariously. "Oh, well, in that case..." he said. His wife, Helen, obviously a fellow romantic, beamed with pleasure.

"When is her novel coming out?" he inquired. "It's in process," replied your dauntless scribe, whose confidence in Miss Erica and her agent is unbounded. He was tempted to tell Mr. Wilder that the book is entitled "Trevor and the Tooth Fairy," but bit his tongue inasmuch as the title is still an open question. Thus we can only guess, dear reader, as to what his reaction would have been. Your scribe, for one, is certain that he would have absolutely loved it. After all, this is the man who starred in a movie called "Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory".

The newly-signed book, BTW, is called "My French Whore", and it is billed as "a love story". Your scribe was tempted to buy a second copy for himself, but wiser counsels prevailed (no room!! - the book piles are overbalancing as we speak!!) and he instead headed back to the library to locate a returnable copy and post this blog. On the way he passed a happy-looking wedding party in the Bruce Park rose garden, which he took as a good sign that the book, at least, would find favor in Miss Erica's sight.

Well, it's too nice a day to stay inside blogging. But you can see, dear reader, as your scribe has often said before, that there is simply no such thing as an ordinary Saturday in Greenwich. All our Saturdays are extraordinary, all our citizens are above average, and...wait a minute...let's not start lifting lines from Garrison Keillor now. Let's just get outta here and enjoy this gorgeous weather!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Thursday Thirteen

Well, my friend Vicki has "tagged" me, and sent me a list of rules to follow:

Here are the rules:

• Players offer eight random habits/facts about themselves.

• If you're tagged, write your own blog about your eight things and post these rules.

• At the end of your blog post, choose someone to tag (supposed to be eight but however many you can do is fine, no tag police will come get you) - and list their names.

OK, here goes:

1) I went straight from kindergarten to second grade, and thus never took handwriting classes. As a result my scrawl is indecipherable, even to myself.

2) My kindergarten teacher washed my mouth out with soap. Yes, really! I had read all the Dick and Jane books through the third-grade level, and wanted her to give me the fourth-grade ones. She refused. I accused her of blighting my intellectual development, and she marched me off to the bathroom.

3) The soap actually tasted pretty good - it was a perfumed variety. So I asked my teacher if I could have another bite, and she hit the ceiling. I was sent to the headmaster's office to await my mother, who had been ordered to take me home for the day.

4) I have not been subjected to any academic discipline since that day. Whether I had learned my lesson (What lesson? Stop reading?!) or the teacher had learned hers, we finished the year out in an uneasy truce, and the next year my family had moved from CT to MA and I was in a new school.

5) My favorite colonial-era flag is the one that says, "Don't tread on me." Guess I learned all I really needed to know in kindergarten, just like the book says.

6) I started Latin at age 12. The translation for the colonial flag, I learned, is "Nemo me impune laecessit."

7) I also started French that same year. My ancestor William the Conqueror brought Anglo-Norman French over to England in 1066 and all that; the motto of the British royal family is "Dieu et mon droit." Works for me.

8) It's time for me to tag someone else, which of course is a great cause of Angst in the scribal breast (I started German at age 17 when I was living in Switzerland). What if the people I pick (on) are too busy, or don't get the message, or can't think of eight things to say? Will the tag police round us all up and put us in jail? Will Vicki come and bail us out? It's enough to give a person the vapors...

Anyhoo, I hereby tag the AuthorBabe and Maven Erica. Happy Thursday Thirteen!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Of shoes - and ships - and sealing wax...

Having caused considerable consternation by his obstinate absence from the blogosphere of late, your scribe hastens to play catch-up by offering the following notes concerning recent events in Town:

1) The Art Barge. Well, it's really a large vessel known as the "Seafair", which came to Greenwich last weekend laden with oodles of objets d'art. Following instructions, your scribe registered online, and was duly rewarded with a boarding pass for Saturday morning. Cleverly bypassing the $10 valet parking fee by parking a block away at a Town lot, he approached the registration desk and tendered his driver's license. This was promptly swiped through a magnetic reader as though it were a credit card - something new to your scribe - and a computer fisheye camera took a picture that was even less flattering than that on the license itself. Mostly it consisted of shadow, but, like a silhouette, it provided a vaguely recognizable semblance of the scribal head. Thus accoutered, he headed for the gangplank and climbed aboard.

Major art dealers from NYC, London, Paris, and elsewhere had each rented booths to display their wares. Much of it left your scribe cold, but there was an interesting black-and-white early Norman Rockwell hung next to a charming 18th-century Dutch genre painting, both of which attracted the scribal eye. (You can see, dear reader, that the limited space aboard led to some odd juxtapositions.)

The best of the bunch, in your scribe's humble opinion, were a large Twachtman painting of a tulip tree in Greenwich, and an exquisite Thomas Cole wilderness landscape. The Twachtman may have been painted in his own back yard; an acclivity in the distance may have been Round Hill. The Cole was an archetypal Hudson River school of textbook quality. Respectively, they were offered at $1,000,000 and $2,750,000; and if your scribe had chanced to win the large Powerball jackpot last month, he would no doubt have sprung for them both in a flash.

Tongues were still wagging aboard about the abrupt departure of the former White House chef the evening before, who after a tiff with the owner had walked out with all his staff, leaving the hungry multitudes unfed. Another rumor had it that the captain had also nearly quit; however, your scribe was assured by the captain himself that this was not the case. The captain even offered him a personal tour of the bridge, which was, as you may imagine, state-of-the-art high tech.

Curiously, your scribe saw only one couple he knew from Greenwich. The rest all seemed to be from someplace else. But hey - that's typical of Greenwich Avenue, where the outsiders have taken over, so why shouldn't it be the same on shipboard?

The ship has now sailed away to Long Island. There were many lookers, but few if any takers here in Town. One wonders if the reported $10,000 - $30,000 weekly rentals the dealers are paying for their booths are worth it...not to mention food and lodging and their own time. The weather on Saturday, BTW, was gorgeous; you scribe did not envy the merchants who had to spend it in the windowless bowels of the art barge dealing with all the gawkers. He himself had brought a book to read, and after making his run-through of the galleries retired to the top deck, found a comfy chair, looked out over the sun-dappled harbor, and imagined himself lord of all he surveyed. Not a bad way to spend a beautiful fall weekend in Greenwich.

2) But Saturday afternoon inevitably gives way to Sunday morning, and your scribe was not to be deterred from his weekly churchgoing just because of the presence in the pulpit of the man the New York City tabloids have dubbed "the randy reverend." With every intention of trying to keep an open mind, your scribe positioned himself in the balcony in order to get a good overview of the proceedings.

The ushers made a great show of setting up extra chairs to accomodate the expected hordes, and in fact a handful of Fifth Avenue Presbyterian people did make the trek out from the City to hear their former senior minister preach. One FAPC woman seemed to think that Greenwich is Podunk, and behaved herself accordingly, clapping loudly after the hymns and grabbing Tewell's hand as he walked down the aisle. One suspects that the people from the Social Register may be taking a hard look at her before allowing her back in The Book next year.

The music, by the way, was in fact outstanding. Kevin Estes had brought in a number of instrumentalists, and they and the choir did an excellent job on excerpts from the Faure and Brahms Requiems. (Requiems, you ask, dear reader? Your scribe has no comment.)

Tewell himself was a surprisingly unprepossessing man, stoop-shouldered and small of stature. When he got into the pulpit, he literally danced his way though his highly-choreographed delivery, with feet and arms in constant motion. Clearly he had done this sermon, or something like it, many times before; the gestures were well-rehearsed, and the inspirational anecdotes and stories which comprised the bulk of his text came trippingly off his tongue as though they were fresh from the pages of the Reader's Digest.

Naturally, your scribe was curious as to what, if anything, Tewell would say about his marital misadventures while at FAPC. Taking the bull by the horns, Tewell mentioned his dear wife and children in the very first sentence he spoke, and sprinkled references to family and grandchildren throughout his speech. Did it seem forced, dear reader? Well, yes, frankly, it did; most people manage to get through a sermon without going on and on about their wonderful wives and families. But not Tewell.

The low point was an anecdote that he no doubt thought was hilariously funny. He claimed to have been in an important meeting one day when his church administrator called him on the phone and said it was extremely urgent that he meet with Tewell right away. All protestations were brushed aside; clearly the world would end if Tewell did not leave his meeting forthwith and come to the administrator's office.

When Tewell entered the office, the administrator closed the door and told him to take a seat. What was so important, Tewell asked, that he had to leave his meeting with such urgency? The administrator replied, "It's about the 'A' word."

Well, dear reader, you could have heard a pin drop on the floor of First Prebyterian Church. But Tewell was merely playing with us; it turned out that the administrator had discovered asbestos in the building. When it became clear that adultery was not going to be mentioned, nervous titters of relief broke out. And Tewell forged ahead as though adultery were the last thing on his mind.

It was a cheap trick, and in very poor taste. But there you have him, gentle reader, in all his bedraggled showmanship. Your scribe is a great believer in karma, and clearly Tewell is no longer the gifted and magnetic preacher he was once reputed to be. These days he is merely an entertainer, and not a very good one at that. "Facile" is the word with which your scribe summed up the performance.

But of course, this is Greenwich, where people admire the emperor's clothes whether he is wearing them or not. Having come expecting to hear a "great" preacher, most people went away convinced that they had. As usual, your scribe finds himself in a minority in this Mammon-worshipping burg.