Greenwich Gossip

Monday, December 17, 2007

You Can't Please All the People All the Time (However Hard You May Try)

Your scribe was reminded of this old truth the other day, when after a delightful concert of Christmas music he was accosted by a woman who accused him of being "mean-spirited" and "destructive". Ouch! What had he done to incur such opprobrium?

Turns out she didn't like some of the things he'd said in a recent blog. Ignoring the positives, she zeroed right in on what she perceived as the negatives, and with a fixed smile on her face that seemed to say "I hate your guts" lambasted your scribe up and down and sideways. "I'm sorry you took it that way," he said, when he was allowed to get a word in edgewise; "my purpose is not to tear down but to build up, and to try to make things better in this Town." She seemed not to hear a word your scribe said, but merely continued on with her screed.

Well, dear reader, your scribe has never pretended to want to try to please everybody, and this woman represents the reason why: it simply can't be done. No one knows this better than the AuthorBabe, who gets scads of hate mail from various of the village idiots every time she writes her bi-monthly op-ed piece for the Local Rag. She handles it all with grace and aplomb, trying first to apply logic to the situation, and when that fails (as it generally does when one is dealing with the village idiots), politely picking up her marbles and going off to play elsewhere. (At least the AuthorBabe has a full quota of marbles, unlike the VIs.)

The same point has been made in some of the posts on writing that your scribe has read recently. You may have written the best book currently unpublished in the Western world, but until you find an agent and a publisher who recognize your brilliance, you have to spend a lot of time and energy bringing your work to their attention. Perseverance is the key, your scribe believes; a healthy dose of optimism also helps.

But back to the woman who took umbrage. Your scribe has written many unkind words about the former First Selectman, the former chiefs of police, and various others who by their words and deeds have shown themselves to have strayed from the path of righteousness and/or common sense. But the fact remains that everything he has said is true, or at the very least is protected opinion. If he calls a former chief of police a liar and a perjurer, then you can take it to the bank that said excresence has indeed lied and perjured himself. If he tells the tale of how Lincoln Steffens got the Representative Town Meeting to agree that Greenwich is as corrupt a town as any in the country, you can check out the facts for yourself.

The problem, dear reader, is that this woman, like so many other people in this Town, wants to pretend that this is Disneyland and everything is fairy-tale perfect. Well, it just ain't so; and in fact Greenwich is actually a good deal worse than most other municipalities of its size. Probably has something to do with the fact that too many people around here have more money than is good for them, and it leads to the attitude known as "Greenwich entitlement" which allows them to sneer at the "little people", cheat on their taxes, ignore red lights and stop signs, and consume conspicuously enough to give Al Gore a heart attack.

Therefore, dear reader, your scribe will continue on as before, attempting to please no one but himself in what he writes. If the godly applaud him, so much the better; and if the ungodly gnash their teeth and mutter curses, well, at least he knows he's on the right track. "Greenwich Gossip" is not a puff piece, gentle reader; it attempts to present the unvarnished truth about our Town, good and bad alike. Let's all be clear on this score.

"I hope no one reads your malicious blog," said the unhappy woman as her parting shot. Your scribe did not bother to tell her it was too late for that, nor to try again to correct her misperceptions of his motives. Not only can you not please everybody all the time - sometimes you can't even reach them.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Holiday Choral Concert

Last evening the choral groups of Greenwich High School performed their annual holiday concert under the direction of Patrick Taylor. Your scribe has said before - but it bears repeating - that Patrick does an amazing job of getting each and every one of his singers, regardless of past training or natural ability, to perform at his or her very best. And the proof, as always, was in the rich Christmas pudding of music served up by the choristers.

The large Concert Choir began the program, along with a string ensemble of some 18 talented students, with the lovely "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring". It's hard to believe that our local teenagers can sing and play so well, while still managing to maintain a heavy academic work load and no doubt many extracurricular activities and sports as well. Where do they get the energy?

Well, one answer, clearly, is from Patrick Taylor himself. He throws himself into every beat and every gesture with a concentration and enthusiasm that is obviously contagious. Your scribe is sure that the students are well aware of the privilege they enjoy to sing under his direction, and that they are determined to make the most of it.

We then had a pause for a scene change, as the orchestral chairs and stands were moved aside and the Steinway rolled front and center by the preeminent piano mover and player, Kevin Estes. Kevin is Minister of Music at the First Presbyterian Church of Greenwich (the one that has been doing all the construction recently), and is a very talented organist, pianist, and choral director. He was an excellent choice to replace Ali Allerton, who, of course, also came to GHS by way of First Presbyterian. And since we're talking about one of Greenwich's finest churches, let's mention that Senior Pastor Bill Evertsberg was at the concert, as was his wife Kathy and daughter Taylor (the latter standing tall in the back row of the concert choir).

On with the show. Kevin seated himself at the piano, looked up at Patrick, and every eye in the auditorium focused on the baton. Down it came, and the choir performed the lush harmonies of "Bashana Haba'ah". Next up was the original version of "Jingle Bells", recently rediscovered and republished. Who knew? It's not dissimilar to the version we know today, but it was originally written in a classical, almost Mozartian style, and the chorus is much more imaginative than the version we know. What a treat!

One of the advantages of the large Concert Choir is that they can perform antiphonally, as they did in "Somewhere in My Memory"; we all got "that gingerbread feeling" as they sang. Next was a weather forecast: "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!" Sure enough, the schools in Town are all closed today because of an impending snowstorm. (How does Patrick know these things in advance, one wonders?)

The Choir concluded with a modern piece by a local Connecticut composer, Amy Feldman Bernon, which sounded for all the world like a medieval carol. Your scribe had never heard this piece before, but hopes to hear it again ere long. Perhaps Kevin will buy it for the First Pres choir?

Then came the Witchmen. This all-male group treated us to "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" in a barber-shop-style setting, followed by a hymn-like piece called "Frozen Waters". "Betelehemu" had that distinctive Afro-Islands sound, enhanced by three talented student percussionists. Their final selection, the ever-popular "Jingle-Bell Rock", was another barber-shop treatment of the popular '50's rock'n'roll hit which had us all tapping our toes.

The Madrigals followed, letting us know that "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas". Then came "This Little Babe" from Benjamin Britten's "Ceremony of Carols"; the young women did an excellent job of articulating both Robert Southey's words and Britten's rapid-fire notes. "Within His crib is surest ward; this little babe will be thy guard...all Hell doth at His presence quake, though He Himself for cold do shake...if thou wouldst foil thy foes with joy, then flit not from this baby boy!" Kevin did a passable imitation of a harp on the piano. Great stuff!

Two mainstays of the religious tradition followed. Bach's "Suscepit Israel" from the "Magnificat" reminded us of Mary's song after the Visitation by the angel Gabriel: "He remembering His mercies hath holpen His servant Israel." Luke probably wrote these words ca. AD 80-90, and Mary quite likely never said them, but hey! - this is one of the most beautiful poems in any language. We also have Luke to thank for the Christmas narrative we know so well, with the angels and shepherds and Wise Men. Without the Gospel of Luke, the whole Christmas season as we know it would never have existed. Imagine that! If ever there was an indisputable example of the enduring power of words, Luke is it.

The Madrigals concluded with "Winterlight", another piece by Amy Feldman Bernon, this one quiet and magical; and then launched into "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" - great fun!

The always-incredible Chamber Singers took the stage. Your scribe is in awe of the superb musicality of this group, which he does not hesitate to name the finest high-school group of its kind in the nation. And probably of any other nation, as well. Their crispness, their pitch-perfect execution, their exquisite blend and sheer beauty of tonality are all impossible to overpraise, so your scribe will not try. They wished us "A Merry Christmas" and let us know that "Christmas Time is Here."

The next piece was, for your scribe, the high point of the entire concert. Vittoria's "O Magnum Mysterium" is deceptively simple, and yet one of the most fiendishly difficult pieces of the whole choral repertory to sing well. The Chambers personified the Italian concept of "sprezzatura" - making the difficult seem easy - in probably the best rendition of this lovely piece your scribe has ever heard. "Bravo!" he said last night, and "Bravo!" he says again.

Healey Willan's "Hodie" seemed almost anti-climactic to your scribe, and even John Rutter's "Deck the Hall" paled by comparison with the Vittoria. Your scribe is a big fan of Rutter's, and when John visited Greenwich a while ago he took him and a group of musicians to lunch at the Belle Haven Club; there we learned some fascinating details of his love life and how, after breaking up with a concert-pianist girlfriend, he rewrote her part for the next day's Royal Philharmonic premiere performance by adding thousands of new notes. To his amazement, she took them all in stride and played them perfectly. "Deck the Hall" (note the singular, please!) was a much simpler piece, and of course beautifully performed by the Chambers.

Then it was the annual free-for-all as Patrick invited any and all to join in the "Hallelujah Chorus". There were only two conditions: you had to have graduated from Greenwich High School, and been a member of the chorus. All the choirs and alums crowded onto the too-small stage, and the string ensemble reassembled for the grand finale. Patrick climbed onto his precarious high perch, at risk of life and limb (one hopes that GHS has a hefty accident insurance policy on him just in case), and hundreds of voices joined in Handel's masterwork. A standing ovation was the fitting conclusion to a wonderful evening.

Thanks to Patrick, Kevin, and all the students for this memorable concert. It is nice to know that a new auditorium for GHS is being planned, as the current one was obsolete before it was completed. Notwithstanding, everyone rose above the less than optimal conditions, including a lighting failure at the end, and left us all feeling much more in the spirit of the season than before we came in. How lucky we all are - perfomers and listeners alike - to live in this great Town at this time of year!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Yes, your scribe knows it is small potatoes, chump change, a mere bag of shells when compared to Diana Peterfreund's 192,409 hits as of 10 AM this morning, but the fact that his site has now had almost 10,000 visitors is a pleasing statistic to behold. Actually, when one considers that the counter was only put in place after the first month or two of scribal musings, the number is probably already into five figures.

But quality, not quantity, is what matters in life. Among those 9,970 visits are included a large handful of people of whose very existence your scribe was unaware before venturing into the blogosphere, but who have enriched his life immeasurably with their online friendship. Others, like the AuthorBabe or the Sage of Old Greenwich, were known to your scribe before, but have taken on new dimensions and depths as a result of our mutual blogging experiences.

Yes, Blogger is a life-changer. Your scribe is reminded of the parable of the Sower, who broadcast his seed regardless of burning sun, rocky soil, pouring rain, hungry birds, and all the other enemies of sucessful germination. Some of the seed still manages to bear fruit, as it were, and so it is in this case.

10,000 hits - and a handful of precious new friends. Not a bad ROI, in your scribe's opinion.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Holiday Happenings/Follow-Up #1/Follow-Up #2

As noted in the previous post, there are more things to do around Town these days than time in which to do them. Which means that that precious commodity, time, has become even more precious of late.

Which (ah, how your scribe loves to start non-sentences with a which - no which-hunting in these pages!) is why we almost had blood in the streets the other day during the House Tour From Hell. Fur-clad matrons shivering in their mink boots were ready to commit homicide at the grossly inept way in which the tour was being managed, or rather, mismanaged. Your scribe has been going on these tours for a number of years, and has to admit that the ladies were right: this year's tour will long be remembered as the worst ever.

And why? The Historical Society tried to mandate that everybody - and that means you, too - take their so-called shuttle buses. Often in the past groups of people have chartered limos to take them around to the various houses, and despite the attempted ban on this practice, this year turned out to be no different. In retrospect, those were the smart people.

The rest of us did as instructed, and drove to a gathering-point such as Stanwich Congregational Church. Your scribe arrived a few minutes before the official opening hour of 10 AM, only to see the first two shuttles already pulling out, en route to two different houses, and over a hundred people standing there shivering.

So he stood in line and shivered too, and we waited. And we waited. And we...oh well, dear reader, you get the idea. The genius who had arranged this snafu didn't take into account the fact that two buses going in different directions to houses several miles away, each carrying all of 24 passengers, simply couldn't handle a crowd which by now was closer to 200 people.

Finally one of the shuttles returned. 24 lucky people got to board it. Since many people were in groups, and your scribe was in a group of one, he was given the last seat on the bus. He had only been waiting about 45 minutes at this point.

Then we drove. And we drove. And we...well, once again, you get the point. The house in question was NOWHERE NEAR the Stanwich Congregational Church. Like, miles and miles away. When we got there, we noted the presence of a dead-end street directly across from the house with oodles of parking possibilities and only a handful of smirking limo drivers availing themselves of the wide-open spaces. There was almost rebellion in the ranks at that point, but we had a house to see, and so up the driveway we trudged.

The house itself was chockablock with 18th century French antiques and art and furniture - and every piece was reportedly an original, not a reproduction. From the like-new condition, your scribe would say they were heavily restored - after all, these pieces had lived through several revolutions - but they were admittedly impressive. Yet they did not appear all that comfortable or inviting. Have you ever actually sat on a Louis Seize chair, dear reader, or reclined on a Madame Recamier sofa? The latter is constructed in such a way as to almost guarantee you a crick in the neck before long.

So then it was back down to the bottom of the driveway, where we waited, and waited, and waited some more. After half an hour, the same shuttle bus finally deigned to reappear. One lady who had been taking these tours for 20 years was so fed up that she loudly proclaimed she was going home and would be demanding her $100 back from the Historical Society. The rest of us applauded and cheered.

Long story short, when your scribe was finally returned to the Stanwich Congregational Church, the line was even longer, and nearly two hours had been taken from his life. Then we learned that we all had to go to the back of the line and wait an hour or so for a bus to take us to the next house. We were also told that if, as, and when we got to the front of the line, there was no guarantee that the next bus would take us to the house we hadn't seen, or back to the one we already had.

Open rebellion broke out. Your scribe headed for his car and decided to hell with the stupidity of whoever had organized this fiasco; he would drive himself from now on.

So off he went to Cindy Rinfret's house, where the kindly cop/ferry captain on duty suggested a nearby place where he - and others, of whom there were now many - could park and take a five-minute walk (most of which was up Cindy's half-mile-long driveway). The brisk exercise sure beat standing in a shuttle line.

We were greeted by the verbose parrot and the smell of cookies baking in the oven, not to mention Cindy herself. Your scribe tried one of the sugar cookies with imported jam and powdered sugar on top - utterly melt-in-the-mouth delicious! Then it was downstairs to see the home theatre, where there were popcorn and candy bars on offer. Your scribe was glad he had not signed up for the $60 lunch at the Country Club; not only would he not have had time to eat it, but it would have been superfluous after Cindy's hospitality.

Then it was down Taconic to North Street to park on Parsonage Lane around the corner from the next house. You should have heard the muttering, dear reader, from the people who had followed instructions to park two miles away and - yes, indeedy - take yet another shuttle bus. They stood there shivering like sheep on the front porch while your scribe toured the house and then headed back to his warm car three minutes' walk away.

A break from this insanity was called for. Your scribe swung by the library to check his blogroll and email Maven Erica some of the details of the debacle to date. Her reply came back swiftly: wear body armor to avoid being injured in the rioting.

Your scribe, however, was now in the home stretch, and being in familiar territory was able to thumb his nose at the wretched shuttles. The next house on the tour was one he knew well: the original Zaccheus Mead homestead, lovingly updated and expanded by Amy and Brian Pennington. Since each of the previous houses had been built within the past ten years, it was nice to be in a home that actually had some history to it. The house itself is, of course, utterly gorgeous, and everyone - that is, everyone who hadn't already bailed - agreed that it was by far the best of the day.

One last house to go. Your scribe parked around the corner on Grove Lane, near the boyhood home of former President George Herbert Walker Bush, and in less than two minutes was walking up the front steps of the mansion. Built by a local judge and political boss of the early 20th century (he basically ran the Town of Greenwich the way "Boss" Tweed had run New York City), it was redolent of elegance verging on pretentiousness. As every docent in every room was quick to let us know, the house and two acres is on the market for the modest price of $6,999,500. Even though you could see the library over the back fence, your scribe decided to pass.


Last evening the Land Trust held its annual meeting, and we were told of the status of its 21 properties totalling more than 600 acres, with more soon to come. The finances were satisfactory, with assets of some $1.8 million, and a bequest from the late David Agnew on the way. (David's name was not actually mentioned, but everyone in the room knew it had to be him.) We were treated to a deconstruction of Manhattan that took us back visually to what Henry Hudson would have seen when in 1609 he first sailed the "Half-Moon" up the river that now bears his name.

At the reception afterwards your scribe spent a few minutes with David's widow and daughter, telling them how much his RTM colleagues in District 7 missed him. And then it was time to go to the District meeting itself to show the delegates the lovely full-color picture of David and some of his grandchildren on the back page of the Land Trust meeting program.


And tonight is the "Literary Lights" shindig at the Arts Center, at which a passel of nationally-known authors will be signing their books. AuthorBabe, come if you can, and bring the kids - no charge! Erica, you already got your invitation earlier in these pages, but your RSVP must have been lost in the mail. What a pity that Florida is so far away from Greenwich!

Time to head over to Belle Haven for a tag sale. More later!


Well, as promised, there is more to report. The tag sale, on Broad Road, turned out to be at the home of the late C. Peter McColough, quondam Chairman and CEO of Xerox. How are the mighty fallen! By the time your scribe got there, after unburdening himself of the thoughts above, the house was almost empty. The vast master bedroom, overlooking Greenwich Harbor, had only marks on the deep-pile carpeting denoting where the furniture once stood.

Laurence Gonzales, author of "Deep Survival", had this to say about McColough:

Peter McColough, head of Xerox, managed to ignore the fact that his own engineers had invented the PC, the mouse, the graphical user interface, the laser printer, and Ethernet, right under his nose. Xerox lost more than a billion dollars in cash and untold revenues from personal computers as a result.

Ouch! Not a great way to be remembered. Apple Computer took up where Xerox left off, and the rest, ut aiunt, is history.

But your dauntless scribe, not to be deterred, was determined to find himself a memento of McCulough. And just to show you that the gleaning process works, here is the story:

In McCulough's study he found an interesting book about the life and times of Samuel Pepys, the great English diarist, which may make a nice Christmas present for somebody. Thus encouraged, he picked up a nearby light and began to shine it on the ill-lit spines of the rest of the books. A gleam of crimson leather caught his eye.

He pulled out a slim folio and found that it was gold-stamped with McColough's name. Inside was a handsome Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Harvard Business School. An adjacent volume, similarly bound and stamped, proved to be a record of the events surrounding the presentation of the award, including a letter telling McCulough where to be and when, e.g., dinner at the Busch-Reisinger Museum. Wow!

"How much are the books," your scribe asked? Ten dollars for the large ones, five for the smaller one, he was told. He offered $20 for the trio, which was accepted. He walked out feeling as though he had scored a unique trove of personal, corporate, and university memorabilia, which had probably cost Harvard a tidy sum in leather, binding, stamping, and calligraphy charges.

He also purchased a handsomely-framed 18th century hand-colored print of St. Michael's Mount in Cornwall, England. The asking price was $15, but an offer of $10 turned out to be sufficient. The frame alone had probably cost McColough close to $100.

And thus your scribe had a fine lesson in economics today: sharp eyes and a clear head can get you what once cost $500+ for a paltry $30. No wonder Xerox has gone through such hard times of late. Gonzales's lead-in to the lines above reads thus:

Seeing the Gorilla: In a famous psychology study at Harvard, more than 56 percent of subjects failed to see a man in a gorilla suit cross a basketball court in full view while they were concentrating on counting passes the players made. (This was the task given them by researchers.) It’s amazing what we can miss when we’re focused on what we think is important.

Well, that about sums it up. Too many people focus on the hole, not the donut. Thus it ever was, and thus, no doubt, it ever will be. Life in this Town is like a medieval morality play, each and every day. But most people are watching the stock ticker, or the fashion parade, or each other, and miss the gorilla entirely.


Just a quick addendum about the "Literary Lights" gig. About 20 authors and 200 visitors were present; for a full list of the authors see the comment trail to this post.

Your scribe chatted with Howard Roughan, a local lad who started his first novel on the commuter train to NYC when loud-talking cell phone users began to drive him nuts. His brilliant premise involved a fictional hero who, equally fed up by one particular yammerer, began using the personal details aired in the calls to start messing with the offender's life. I loved it! Now he's gone big-time, partnering with James Patterson in his latest book, You've Been Warned. "I only partner with the best," he told your scribe.

Michael Korda's book, Ike: An American Hero, was a big hit. Many people were buying it as Christmas presents for their family members who participated in World War II. George Taber, author of To Cork or Not to Cork, told your scribe that "air is the enemy of wine." Your scribe takes this as encouragement to drink up. M. J. Rose, another local author, tried to interest your scribe in her new book, Reincarnationist; she succeeded, although not to the point of getting him to open his wallet.

The high point of the evening for your scribe was meeting and chatting with Jane O'Connor, whose new children's book, Fancy Nancy and the Posh Puppy, was attracting lots of interest. But what really caught his eye was the stack of her first adult book, Dangerous Admissions, which he had read over the summer and loved. A forty-something single mother is working in the admissions office at a prestigious Upper West Side prep school when a senior faculty member is found murdered in his office. While trying to do her job along with coping with the vagaries of her adolescent son and his oversexed fellow students at the coed school, the heroine manages to glean clues about the murder that help her to solve the mystery. Very hip, very literate writing - it earns the scribal seal of approval.

Jane herself is a graduate of Smith College, has written a number of children's books, and is now a senior editor at Penguin. She is a delight to talk with, very funny and personable, and seems as though she would not bite your head off if you were to send her a query letter (a well-written one, that is!). If there are any agented authors out there who have not yet landed a publisher, Jane might be a good person to call or write. Under duress, she even signed a copy of Dangerous Admissions for the author of your scribe's favorite not-quite-yet published manuscript.

All in all, it was a fun and memorable evening. The usual motley assortment of local residents was there, from the cream of the crop to the downright unmentionable. Frank Juliano, Executive Director of the Greenwich Arts Council, and Jenny Lawton of Just Books II did a great job of organizing the event, which was again chaired by Bob and Pat Mendelsohn. Le Wine Shop provided le vin, and Garden Catering the comestibles. The authors were well behaved, considering that they had to endure being displayed like goldfish in a bowl, and the young volunteers who helped with the check-out process were cheerful and efficient. This was the second year of "Literary Lights", and one hopes that this delightful event will become an enduring tradition here in Town.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


When y0ur scribe logged on this morning, it was to find a swift kick in the pants from his BCFF (Best Cyberspace Friend Forever) essentially reminding him that the Prime Directive for a blogger is to blog. And so, nothing loath, he takes to the blogosphere today having absolutely no idea where he is going or what he will say.

Which is how many great blogs seem to get written. The fingers type, the words appear on the screen, and pretty soon a coherent essay emerges. Well, mostly coherent - a few ramblings here and there up and down a minor byway are to be expected on occasion, since, as we all know, it is the journey and not the destination that matters most.

This past week has seen the inauguration of a new First Selectman here in Town, and it was remarkable to see how many people turned out for the occasion - far and away the largest crowd ever to attend such an event. The reason was not far to seek: local Wunderkind Peter Tesei, who began his political career as the youngest-ever member of the RTM (he was elected soon after his 18th birthday) and fifth-generation Greenwichite whose friends and relatives comprise a significant portion of the Town's population, was taking over the reins. Your scribe tried to persuade Peter to take this step over four years ago, but at that point Jim Lash had his eye on the post, and Peter was presumably told to be a good boy and wait his turn.

Well, his turn has come, and judging from the outpouring of popular support, he may go down as one of the all-time greats of Greenwich government. But it won't be easy, as he inherits a long laundry-list of problems, from over-budget and behind-schedule school building projects to creaky facilities like the Greenwich High School auditorium (which was already obsolete when it was built). However, with his knowledge of the Town and how it works (or doesn't) and of the inhabitants, Peter is the right man to get a handle on things and put us back on the road to sensible government.

Yes, that sounds like an oxymoron, like military intelligence or jumbo shrimp, but as you are probably aware, dear reader, there have indeed been times in our nation's past when government was sensibly run by sensible men (sorry, ladies, we haven't had any female CEOs in the White House yet, although that will undoubtedly change someday, just as it already has in business and the professions). The Founding Fathers did a remarkable job of formulating a constitution that has (mostly) kept us on the path of sensible government, and every so often a gifted leader has shown us what America can be at its best. OK, OK, maybe not in our lifetimes, but men like John Adams and Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln are prototypical of the greatness our system can produce.

So let us all wish Peter well as he takes on the challenges of his new job. The tensions between the police and his predecessor have vanished; the newly-reconstituted honor guard was prominently front and center, after having boycotted the last swearing-in ceremony two years ago. Similarly, the tensions between the RTM and the office of the First Selectman have ceased to exist, and it is very hard to imagine that Peter would ever wind up at loggerheads with the Town's governing body. Your scribe believes that Peter will have a long and fruitful honeymoon with the voters, which should last at least until the time of the next election in 2009.

Oh, dear, not a jot nor tittle of gossip so far. Let's see, what else is going on about Town?

It's a busy time of year. The Christmas tree has been lit in front of Town Hall, although some of the strings of colored lights appear to be non-functional. Even so, in the strong winds we've been having recently, the tree appeared to be doing a sparkling hula dance as it gyrated last night when your scribe headed home after a longer-than-usual meeting of the Legislative & Rules Committee. Tomorrow is the Historical Society's annual house tour of some of the mansions and historical homes of Town; later, the GHS singers will perform their holiday concert under the aegis of Patrick Taylor; on Thursday the Land Trust will have its annual meeting to report on plans and progress to increase the Town's open space; Friday will see the Literary Lights festival at the Arts Center, at which nationally-known authors will sign their books (wanna come, Erica?); Sunday is the Historical Society's "Bush Holley by Candlelight" open house; next week James Kennerley will be performing "La Nativite du Seigneur" with works of art projected onto the screen; First Presbyterian will present "Carols by Candlelight" - well, the list goes on and on. Life in this Town is a rich tapestry, a smorgasbord of cultural offerings, and an ever-changing pageant of natural beauty.

The leaves are mostly - but not entirely - gone, and we've had two minor snowfalls already. The Christmas baskets are hanging from the lampposts, and the storefronts are decorated with seasonal splendor. All in all, it's great to be in Greenwich at this time of year. Adeste, fideles, laeti triumpantes...your scribe wishes he could gather all his friends and family to spend the next several weeks with him here. Absent that, he will keep them in his thoughts and try to make sure everyone is apprised of the high points via his posts in cyberspace.

Are you happy now, BCFF?