Greenwich Gossip

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Manuscript Mavens Come to Greenwich Avenue! / Update

Well, not exactly, but you can be the first to walk down Greenwich Avenue with a bright green MaveFave button. Actually, you can't, inasmuch as your scribe has already ordered his, and thus expects to be the first. He will wear it with pride to all his book signings and other literary events, and thereby look to start a fashion trend among the literati of Greenwich.

For those who wish to order a similar fashion accessory, you may visit this link. Be the first on your block to own a piece of official MaveGear or Mavenabilia!



Julie from across the pond has sent a fabulous link:

She has also posted an example on her web site of a picture she took of a swan appearing to float serenely on the surface of the water while paddling furiously to maintain its momentum - an apt photographic metaphor for many of us in today's world.

Isn't that great? Isn't Julie great? Be the first on your block to put yourself on the cover of TIME wearing your favorite piece of MaveGear or Mavenabilia!

Oh, and be sure to check out the latest additions to the Manuscript Mavens Mavenabilia Catalog catalogue! As you will see, the line of fashionwear and accesories has nearly doubled in size over the past couple of days! When do those girls ever find time to write?!


Well, the button came in the mail this morning, so your scribe promptly put it on as he strolled back up Greenwich Avenue to his car. "Proud to be a MaveFave," it reads, and since your scribe coined the word "MaveFave", he is doubly proud to be wearing it. Now if only the AuthorBabe would appear and take a pic with her cellphone, y'all could see how great it looks!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Ave atque Vale, Cos Cob Food Mart

As regular readers of these pages know, your scribe is fond of quoting Heraclitus to the effect that change is the only constant. "You never step in the same river twice," the old bird said, and he was right. The water is always rushing by, and the river changes from nanosecond to nanosecond. And thus it is here in Greenwich.

Your scribe was in the Cos Cob Foot Mart yesterday, and it looked like a war zone. Acres of empty shelves and miles of empty aisles. The former hub of "The Hub" (as Cos Cob is known), where you could be sure of meeting all your friends and neighbors, is no more.

Many (but not all) of the staff have been relocated to the Old Greenwich store. TAG (the Transportation Association of Greenwich) will run a twice-weekly round-trip shuttle from the old location over to the OG store, for the price of a buck and a pocketful of patience. This is meant to help the elderly and infirm who used to walk to the store. The actual cost of the service is $3 per person, but the Porricelli family is kicking in the other two bucks, no doubt figuring that it's good PR as well as a smart business move.

It's sad to think that the grocery store that has been there for over half a century, under different names, is no more. It survived fire (1983) and flood (it sits smack dab in the Strickland Brook flood plain), but not an offer from CVS to take a long-term lease. As the AuthorBabe has already said in an earlier comment thread, that's about the last thing we need in this town.

Your scribe would venture to guess that the new CVS - assuming it gets approval from the Planning and Zoning board - will not be nearly as popular among the locals as the Food Mart was. He will further venture to guess that many locals, he among them, will come in out of curiosity when it first opens, and then never darken its door again. His final guess is that the parent corporation will wind up subsidizing a money-losing operation for years to come rather than losing face by admitting they've oversaturated the Greenwich market.

But the river is still a-changing, dear reader, and it may be that when CVS finally bails, some smart cookie with an MBA from Harvard will do a fancy-pants study and come to the conclusion that this is the ideal location for a supermarket. Well, duh! We all coulda told him that years ago.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Greenwich in Tampa

Your scribe just can't resist sharing this photo of The 2008 Greenwich Historical Calendar hanging in a newly-reorganized office in Tampa, FL. Yes, he knows his books and other creations can be found in all the best homes and libraries all over the world, but it's always nice to see pictorial proof.

To say that your scribe is tickled pink would be an understatement. Just this morning he was working on laying out the 2009 version, so he feels greatly encouraged in his endeavors.

Comes now a second picture from the southland, showing the calendar in its original setting before the reorganization process:

Again, your scribe was greatly pleased to see the place of honor accorded to the calendar. For your information, gentle reader, the reorganized workspace now looks like this:

Pretty neat, huh? (Pun obviously intended.) Just makes you want to park your fanny in that ergonomic chair and get to work!

Closer to home, the AuthorBabe also has a newly-designed office, better known as her "writing lair":

OMG, is that the same chair?! Sure looks like it! Gotta get me one of those right away! Clearly the choice of chair has a direct correlation to superior writing ability, since two of the best writers known to your scribe have identical ideas on the matter.

In other news, the effects of the late Leona Helmsley are being put up for sale starting tomorrow. Sadly, it will not be another memorable tag sale here in Town, but a full-blown series of auctions run by Christie's in their Rockefeller Center facilities. No chance to tour the legendary Dunnellen Hall and gawk at the artwork and furnishings. Darn!

Speaking of Dunnellen Hall, your scribe has just bumped into his friend Chris Poth, who had lunch there back when the Washburns owned the property. What a small world!

And now it's time to head out and see what else the day has in store. Rest assured, dear reader, that noteworthy events will find their way into these lines, sooner if not later!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

I Had to Open My Big Mouth...//Update

Your scribe had hoped to be soaking up some Florida sunshine this weekend, but alas! it was not to be. Instead he is sitting in the library watching the clouds build up as the temperature drops in preparation for a foot or more of snow, starting later today.

So instead of building sand castles with his bucket and shovel, he will be shoveling buckets of the white stuff tomorrow morning. No one ever said life would be fair, but then again, no one ever said it would be this unfair!

Yes, dear reader, the January thaw is behind us, and tomorrow will in all likelihood be a snow day. Which is something we all used to look forward to as kids, but is not nearly as much fun as we get older. Why, even the high-schoolers are busy at work in the libary this afternoon, preparing their projects and studying for the coming week. Yes, we all know that youngsters are growing up faster these days, but really! Unless, perhaps, they enjoy their schoolwork so much that they'd rather do that than hang out or go to the movies...and y'know, given the quality of the faculty in both the public and private schools around here, maybe that is the explanation.

Today's papers mention that the USA now has more 18-year-olds than at any previous time in history. Something about the baby-boomers' babies boom starting to crest, methinks they're saying. Which is all fine and well until you start to realize that colleges have not expanded their enrollments proportionately, and thus a pair of decent board scores and a couple of outside activities - once more than enough to get you into the college of your choice - no longer even begin to cut the admissions mustard.

Nonetheless, the Sunday-afternoon scholars all seem quite happy, smiling and chatting in their college tees and sweatshirts which read like a wish list of where they hope to wind up. They work away on their iBooks and laptops (the library has high-speed wireless connectivity, of course), and all in all seem to be doing what they want to be doing. How great is that?

So now it's time for your scribe to go out and join the throngs at the grocery store, which always seem to explode whenever a snowstorm impends. And speaking of grocery stores, let us all observe a moment of silence for the passing of the Cos Cob Food Mart, a neighborhood institution that has survived fire and flood, but not 21st-century economics, in which a property owner can make more money by renting to a national chain store than running a family business. What was it your scribe said above about life and fairness...?

And so, gentle reader, adieu for the nonce. Into each life a little snow must fall - or perhaps more than a little, but who's counting? Well, the weatherpeople are, of course, and the highway maintenance people, and then there are the rest of us who sit around and blog about the weather when they should have just kept their big traps shut.


Monday morning quarterbacking update:

Well, the "snow emergency" declared by First Selectman Peter Tesei at 9 PM last night was a non-starter. Most local and area schools had a delayed opening, but even that was unnecessary. The roads are clear, and there is a dusting of snow on the ground, but nothing like the 6-12+ inches all the weatherpeople told us to expect.

Your scribe, for one, is not complaining. The less slithery driving he has to do, the better, particularly in a town where people drive their SUVs and Hummers as though they own the road, only to find out that Mother Nature doesn't always see it their way. The sense of invincibility that these automotive monsters seem to impart to their owners can be deceptive, and to the best of your scribe's knowledge, the laws of physics have not been repealed. Thus you are more likely to find an SUV wrapped around a tree or stone wall after a snowstorm in this burg, usually with a surprised soccer mom inside rearranging her children's play dates on her cell phone, than a more modest sedan whose driver treats hazardous conditions with the respect they deserve.

In any event, the weather has turned out to be a typical January day: cloudy, but not too cold, and otherwise unremarkable. So all the crowds your scribe had to battle at the supermarket yesterday (that prediction, at least, was right on the money) will have overstocked larders, while your scribe, who bought only milk and bread, will head off to the fire sale at the soon-to-be-history Cos Cob Food Mart, where everything is 25% off starting today.

As pointed out by the AuthorBabe in her comment on this post, the last thing this Town needs is yet another CVS. Your scribe is contemplating suggesting a boycott of the store when it opens, in hopes that it may soon disappear. Well, why not? The best way to keep more chain stores from coming to Town is simply not to patronize them. They'll get the message, sooner or later.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

January Thaw

Yesterday spring came to Town, even though the calendar says early January. The temperature soared into the mid-60s, and people were wearing their gym outfits instead of their winter coats. Today is almost as warm, with bright sunshine and a breeze. It feels like late March or early April.

After writing the above, your scribe began chatting with the lovely Dr. Melissa, and asked her what he should blog about. "The beautiful weather," she immediately replied. Great minds obviously do think alike.

"What about it?" asked your scribe. "Looking forward to spring and summer," she said, "and all the things coming up later in the year. Like getting out to Tod's Point, and taking the ferryboat to Island Beach."

Clearly Dr. M is a woman of rare discernment, as she immediately zeroed in on some key scribal aestival pastimes. She also mentioned looking forward to pursuing her goal of creating the perfect bouillebaisse; never one to let the grass grow under her feet, she then headed off to the Bon Ton Fish Market to gather the ingredients for her next attempt.

Melissa's first book will be coming out this year. Stay tuned for further developments. The picture on the dust jacket will look like this:

Melissa is the proud mother of a young daughter in the first grade at North Street School. As far as your scribe is concerned, we can never have too many local authors here in Town, and he is delighted that Melissa will soon be joining their ranks.

Meanwhile, the AuthorBabe is hard at work on a super-secret project that was requested by an editor at a major publishing house who is bugging her agent to get her to hurry up and get it written already. How neat is that? Here she is riding the Sky Cycle at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia:

What you can't see (unless you click on the picture for the wide-screen view) is that she's also IMing her kids and working on the draft of her WIP at the same time. Talk about a Renaissance woman! The AuthorBabe defines the term.

Well, we may not have another day this nice for a couple of months, so your scribe will herewith take his leave, gentle reader, and head out to enjoy it. Carpe diem, as the Romans used to say - and they were absolutely right!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

New Year, New Post

Well, it's been two and a half weeks since your scribe has posted; put another way, he's been absent from the blogosphere since last year. Time, therefore, to rev things up a bit and get back in the groove.

In the news today, local schoolboy 12-year-old Aidan Murray Medley has set a Florida state record by landing an enormous bull shark over 4 1/2 times his own weight. The exact stats: Aidan weighs 120 pounds, and the shark 551.

The shark, you see, kept eating the amberjack and barracuda that Aidan was trying to catch, and that got his dander up. So he used a leftover barracuda head the shark had tauntingly left on his line as bait, and declared war on the shark. "I went after it, because it was a burden to me. I was so angry with it."

The shark took the bait, and after a 45-minute ordeal that pitted the boy's not inconsiderable skill against the shark's, Aiden reeled in the largest shark specimen ever recorded in the state. "You have to tire it out. It's about technique," he explained. Since he managed the whole thing entirely on his own, he is likely to become the world record holder as recognized by the International Game Fish Association.

"Me and my mates have done lots of big fish, but this kid was incredible. It's the highlight of my season. And it is the biggest bull shark I've ever seen." Thus the captain of the charter boat that took Aidan and his parents out on their adventurous outing two days ago. Aidan plans to have the shark stuffed by a taxidermist and to hang it on his wall at the Eagle Hill School here in Town. Y'know, gentle reader, your scribe would be among the first in line should Aidan decide to open his room to the public and charge admission. Or if school rules don't allow that, perhaps he could loan it to the Bruce Museum for a month or so to give us all a chance to gawk at it.

In other fish stories - er, news, that is - the perennial saga of the rebuilding of the Hamilton Avenue school stumbles from bad to worse. Way behind schedule, plagued with design flaws, and hopelessly over budget, the project was voted an additional $545,000 by the BET and the RTM last June. That's it, we were promised.

Hah! Later this month we will likely to be forced to appropriate another $550,000 lest the project "grind to a halt." (Some would say it already has.) Betty Sternberg, the ineffable Superintendant of Schools, will once again get up on her hind legs and promise us that things are under control and there will be no further delays. It's a speech we have all heard before, and your scribe, for one, would not believe Betty if she said the sun rose in the east. Her credibility around Town is non-existent, but she continues to draw one of Greenwich's highest municipal salaries in recompense for her woeful record of non-accomplishment. But hey - our Town has a long and blemished record of suffering fools and incompetents; why should that change just because we've entered a New Year?

Nay, gentle reader, do not expect old patterns to change in 2008, or local leopards to change their spots. Ham Ave will continue to be a boondoggle, soon to be followed by Glenville School. And meanwhile Betty seems to be trying to undermine the neighborhood school system that has been one of our Town's strengths for over a century. Can you spell D - U - N - C - E, dear reader?

Well, that's enough for today. Your scribe's New Year's prediction is that folly and misfeasance will continue to be the hallmarks of daily life in our Town, and that little if anything will be done to bring about constructive change. And while your scribe hopes he may be proven wrong, he is not holding his breath in the meantime....