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?


Blogger Leigh Russell said...

Snow... makes me shiver just thinking about it. Sensible politicians - no, that's too great a leap of imagination.

Thank you for the kick you passed on - are we starting a domino effect here? A sudden flurry of blogactivity? I have an idea in mind but haven't got around to writing it yet. Visit my blog in a day or two and ... prepare to be disappointed and then you won't be disappointed. Is that another oxymoron? Or just moronic? My MS has gone back to the publisher and I'm too lightheaded to care if I make sense or not. (Could have something to do with a certain bottle of wine that is also somewhat lighter than an hour or so ago...)

December 04, 2007 3:55 PM  
Blogger Erica Ridley said...

Am I BCFF? If so, yes! I am happy. I would be even happier if I saw some sensible government around this neck of the woods, too... but I suppose that is a common complaint no matter where you live.

Speaking of where we live, two snowfalls already?? I will take 80 degrees and sunny any day. =)

And now I must ask: Why was the GHS auditorium obsolete when it was built?

December 04, 2007 4:53 PM  
Blogger Bill Clark said...

Leigh, mega-congratulations on getting the MS back to the publisher! I cannot wait to see an ARC. (You *will* send me an ARC, right? After all, I was the one who told you about them.) :-)

Erica, of COURSE you are BCFF!! Was there ever any doubt in your mind?

And see what your kick in the pants has done: it's already crossed the Atlantic and landed on Leigh's blog. Ain't cyberspace wonderful?

The auditorium was obsolete from the start because its capacity is only a quarter of the student body, its acoustics suck, and the stage and proscenium are too small for concerts and major dramatic productions. This means it's useless as a graduation venue (unless you split the senior class in half and hold two ceremonies). The rule of thumb for school auditoria these days is that they should be able to accomodate at least half the student population.

It appears that our newly-sensible Town government will move this project from #69 out of 70 to somewhere in the top ten. Yay for sensible government!

Today is house tour day. Gotta run. Will report back later.

December 05, 2007 9:20 AM  
Blogger Sarah Darer Littman said...

Good to see you back in the blogosphere!

Your comment about oxymorons reminded me of George Orwell's Politics and the English Language, which I just reread today so I could quote it in next week's column. What a fantastic essay, and as relevant today as it was in 1946.

December 06, 2007 10:10 PM  
Blogger Bill Clark said...

Hey, AuthorBabe!

Yes, Orwell's essay is brilliant. When I was an English prof at Mount Holyoke I made all my students read it so that we started out on the same page. It sure helped!

December 07, 2007 9:28 AM  

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