Greenwich Gossip

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Tommy Hilfinger Sells a House

Well, at least he put it on the market. When and for what price it sells remains to be seen. The initial asking price is $28 million.

As faithful readers of this blog will recall, it was less than ten months ago that Tommy was planting trees. Click here 4/14/2007 09:56:00 AM to read the story, and here 5/01/2007 01:57:00 PM to see the pictures. Today, the trees look as though they've always been there. By the time spring gets here and the house-lookers are out in force, they should be pretty handsome.

What does 28 mill buy in this Town these days? The mandatory minimum of 20,000 square feet which all serious home-buyers are looking for, of course; an "infinity-edge" swimming pool; a tennis court; a basketball court (Tommy plays basketball?! That's new news to your scribe!); a pool pavilion; a 2,000-bottle wine cellar; a sauna and massage room; a suede-lined home theatre for two dozen of your closest friends (popcorn machine included); and "lush gardens". Oh, and let's not forget the allee of instant trees.

For those who may not yet know what an "infinity-edge" swimming pool is, it is a pool at the far end of which the water seems to fall away over the edge of the pool in an apparent drop into the landscape beyond. Here is an example of such a pool at the Masia De L'Avi in Spain, which you may rent for a mere 1,800 Euros a week during the high season (click for the CineMax view):

Looks as though you could swim right out into the valley, doesn't it?

The master bedroom suite takes up half the second floor. The MBR itself is swathed in cashmere (wallpaper is so passe, you know), and there are, of course, separate closets for shoes, ties, belts, and jackets. Pants are housed on a motorized rack just like the ones you see at your neighborhood dry cleaner's.

So there you have it. If you've been looking with a house with a separate closet for your belts all these years, look no more. Just mosey up Round Hill Road and move right in. Oh, and don't forget to bring a cashier's check for the $28 million.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Rape and Pillage Come to Greenwich

Cultural vandalism is nothing new in this Town, but it's always disheartening when a fresh and particularly egregious example rears its ugly head. The historic McCutcheon/Malley house at the entrance to Belle Haven, an outstanding example of the Richardsonian-Romanesque style of the late nineteenth century, has been posted for demolition. The Historical Society has filed an objection, but this will only delay the process for ninety days.

Only ninety days to save 120 years of history. Can Rene and Marie-France Kern be persuaded to reconsider this folly? Why, in heaven's name, did they buy such a historic house only a couple of months ago when there are lots of other places on the market that would never be missed? Is this some kind of perverse Gallic "in your face, America" gesture?

If an American couple tried to commit a similar atrocity with a historic French home, it would quite likely become a national cause celebre. Le Monde, Le Figaro, and Le Canard Enchaine would all get into the battle, and pretty soon the hapless American couple would probably find that none of the merchants in the local village would supply them, none of the neighbors would speak to them, and their residency papers would suddenly become entangled in a bureaucratic nightmare of red tape.

Here, of course, they will probably be admitted to the once-prestigious Belle Haven Club, where they will find many of the more recent members avidly waiting to swap house project stories. The object of these stories, of course, is to try to outdo your neighbors in tales of extravagance and expense - which is how the nouveau-riche play "keeping up with the Jonses" these days. The destruction of a historic mansion will become fodder for bragging rights around the bar.

"Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you no sense of shame?" With these words Joseph Welch pricked the bubble of the infamous McCarthy hearings, and began to bring a national nightmare to a close. Your scribe poses the same questions to M. and Mme. Kern. Why would you buy a landmark house in order to tear it down? Can you perhaps find some other piece of property that will suit your needs without vandalizing our community? How would you react to an American behaving like this in France? And do you, at long last, have a sense of decency?

If so, please change your plans. Refurbish the house, as you originally planned to do - you will get your money back, and more. And you will also earn the gratitude of the local community.

How say you, M. et Mme. Kern? Nous attendons votre reponse avec hate et avec espoir. Soyez bien de nos amis, non pas de nos ennemis. Que dites-vous?

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Local Happenings and Non-Happenings

It's been a busy/non-busy couple of days here in Greentown. Busy, because there is new news to chew on. Non-busy, because the Town was bascially shut down yesterday.

In the new news sector, Scott Frantz has decided to run for Skippy Snickerson's state senate seat. This is basically good news, because Scott is the kind of intelligent and motivated person that we need many more of in our political landscape, both local and national. He helped start the Arch Street Teen Center, flies kids ill with cancer in his private plane to medical clinics for treatment, is active with the Boys' and Girls' Club, is chairman of Bradley International Airport, and is involved with the ill-fated Hartford Civic Center, the roof of which fell in because of heavy snow just over thirty years ago, on January 18, 1978. Your scribe, flying out of Bradley to Chicago that morning, looked down on the scene from several thousand feet - just a big black hole where the roof used to be.

So Scott's candidacy is welcome news, although it was a bit of a slap in the face to Janet Lockton, who had just filed her papers a few days before his announcement. Being the gracious lady she is, she will now be withdrawing said papers, but she has to feel a tad whipsawed here.

Also feeling whipsawed are many members and friends of Christ Church, especially those who have had children in its outstanding musical program. The former music director, Bob Tate, was sentenced to 5 1/2 years in prison on Thursday, and ordered to pay a $50,000 fine. Each time the case has come back to the courtroom, more bombshells have been revealed by the prosecutor. It now appears that a former assistant organist from the 1970s with a known history of pedophilia molested a choirboy here in Greenwich, and two former choir men are alleged to have done the same. This is sad news for all those who are grateful to Bob for the superb musical training their children received under his aegis; one hopes that all the bad news is now out, and the community can begin to heal again.

Meanwhile, a pesky winter snowstorm bascially shut down the Town yesterday. The public schools are on vacation this week, and the private schools all decided to close to give their students an early start on their vacation week. The local radio station, always the best place to go for the latest misinformation, stated that the main library and its branches would be closing at noon. Your scribe therefore hastened to get there at 9, only to find out a sign on the door saying the library would OPEN at noon. So much for WGCH - World's Greatest Communications Hoax.

Of course, when your scribe returned at noon, there was another note on the door, now saying that the library would remain closed all day. This, of course, is the same library that tried to rescind permission for a forum to which a few people objected. When the library's attorney said this would very likely violate the speaker's First Amendment rights, they did a second about-face. Attendance at the two presentations was considerably higher than it would have been without the library's gaffe - as a friend of your scribe's said to him, "What were they thinking?!" Obviously, there isn't a whole lot of clear thinking that goes on in the board and administration of the library, but hey - it's been that way for decades, so why should things change in the 21st century?

It was interesting to walk down Greenwich Avenue yesterday and notice all the dark storefronts. The snowfall wasn't all that heavy - less than six inches - but the snowplows had not cleared the parking spaces, so it wasn't exactly the best day on which to shop. The few stores that were open were devoid of customers. Between school vacations and the weather, one would guess that February will be a disastrous month for most of the chain stores on the Avenue; your scribe, however, will not be shedding any tears for them. In his opinion, the sooner they go away and stay away, the better.

Now it's time to go out and see what the lay of the land is today. Things are probably back to near-normal, whatever that may mean in this Town; "normal" in Greenwich often means the opposite of what it does in most other communities, where they tend to obey red lights and stop signs and drive sensibly and speak politely and otherwise follow the norms of the civilized world. Here, of course, all bets are off. "Do it unto them before they do it unto you" is the unwritten rule of the road - and not just when behind the wheel. It was not always thus, dear reader, and of course there are many in Town who are better behaved than the parvenus and nouveaux-riches who have been flocking here in recent decades. Unfortunately, however, a community tends to be judged by its worst-behaved citizens, not its best; and thus the phrase "Greenwich entitlement" has come to summarize for all too many the "me-first" attitude of the arrivistes.

In the old days, Greenwich required letters of good character before allowing people to move in and become citizens of the Town. It's a pity that fine old custom has lapsed. Now anybody who wants to can move to Town, tear down a historic structure, build an ugly McMansion, and drive a Hummer while talking on their cell phone or texting on their BlackBerry. After all, they're entitled - just ask them, they'll tell you so in no uncertain terms.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Why the Town Fathers Won't Allow a Holiday Inn in Greenwich

Your scribe has a number of favorite blogs he enjoys visiting, and on one of them he found the following, which he hastens to share with his readership:


Guess what, Holiday Inn offers 24 hour service 7 days a week around the clock!!!!!

How is that compared to Nursing Homes rip off??????

No nursing home for us. We are checking into the Holiday Inn!

With the average cost for a nursing home care costing $188.00 per day, there is a better way when we get old & feeble. We have already checked on reservations at the Holiday Inn. For a combined long term stay discount, plus senior discount, it's $49.23 per night. That leaves $138.77 a day for: Breakfast, lunch and dinner in any restaurant we want, or room service, laundry, gratuities and special TV movies. Plus, they provide a swimming pool, a workout room, a lounge and washer-dryer, etc. Most have free toothpaste and razors, and all have free shampoo and soap. $5 worth of tips a day will have the entire staff scrambling to help you. They treat you like a customer, not a patient.

There is a city bus stop out front, and seniors ride free. The handicap bus will also pick you up (if you fake a decent limp). To meet other nice people, call a church bus on Sundays. For a change of scenery, take the airport shuttle bus and eat at one of the nice restaurants there. While you're at the airport, fly somewhere. Otherwise, the cash keeps building up. It takes months to get into decent nursing homes. Holiday Inn will take your reservation today. And you are not stuck in one place forever, you can move from Inn to Inn, or even from city to city.

Want to see Hawaii? They have a Holiday Inn there too.
TV broken?
Light bulbs need changing?
Need a mattress replaced?
No problem!
They fix everything, and apologize for the inconvenience.

The Inn has a night security person and daily room service. The maid checks to see if you are ok. If not, they will call the undertaker or an ambulance. If you fall and break a hip, Medicare will pay for the hip, and Holiday Inn will upgrade you to a suite for the rest of your life. And no worries about visits from family. They will always be glad to find you, and probably check in for a few days mini-vacation. The grand kids can use the pool.

What more can you ask for?

What more, indeed? Sounds like a great idea to your scribe! Unfortunately, there is no Holiday Inn in Greenwich, nor is there likely ever to be one. Why?

Well, just think, dear reader: all those retirees would jam the place and use the local address to get beach cards, vote in Town elections, and perhaps even run for the RTM! Or perhaps some political wannabe will get all his retired friends to move here and vote him in as First Selectman, or State congressperson, or even run against Chris Shays for Congress. Heaven forfend!

No, gentle reader, you may be quite sure that the Town Fathers will never allow a Holiday Inn here in Greenwich. The would-be interlopers will have to make do with Stamford or Mount Kisco instead, which are the only HI's in our immediate vicinity. Whew! Another crisis averted in Town!

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Silly Season Gets Sillier

Local resident Lee Whitnum has led a colorful life. She allegedly had an affair with Senator John Kerry back in the early 1990s, which seems to have been the defining moment in her life so far. She later wrote a book under the pseudonym Lee Roystone, Hedge Fund Mistress, that was loosely based on the Kerry days; it had to be recalled and reissued in a different form after a threat of legal action. Lately she has been working as a substitute teacher in the Stamford school system. Oh, yes, and she's running against Chris Shays for Congress.

Your scribe first met her in the local library soon after the first printing of HFM came out. She gave him her card, and urged him to read her book, the title of which he at first thought was "Hedge Fund Mysteries". His parochial ears apparently were not attuned to what she was actually saying, and in retrospect he had to wonder why she seemed so proud of the real title of her self-admittedly autobiographical book. While she was never Kerry's "mistress" - they were both unmarried at the time - she seemed to relish proclaiming the word loudly enough for all in the immediate vicinity to hear it. All, of course, except for your scribe, who only realized what she had said when he went to the card catalogue and discovered his mistake.

The book itself was interesting, but hardly great literature. The title pretty much gives away the rather thin plot. No doubt Ms. Whitnum had fun writing it, but apparently sailed a little too close to the winds of libel and thus had to tone it down for the reissue.

Now she wants everyone to forget that part of her life, including the pictures of her and Kerry that she posted on her web site a few years ago. But she has reckoned without the power of the Internet. Even though her site explicitly stated that she expected people to ask her permission before helping themselves to her material, she failed to understand that once something gets into the public domain it takes on a life of its own. Such was the case in 2004, when Kerry was running for the presidency, and such is the case in 2008, when Whitnum is running for congress. In both instances her photos were and continue to be so widely reproduced that whatever shreds of ownership she may have once have believed she had have long since been blown away by the winds of cyberspace.

So who is this candidate for elected office from our area? Take a look for yourself, gentle reader:

John Kerry Scrapbook

This collage comes not from Whitnum's web site (which is now all but blank), but from one of many third-party sites that have posted the archived content she herself once posted for all to see. You will notice that there are no photo credits, no copyright indications, or anything else that might call for restraint on the material's dissemination. In fact, Ms. Whitmun herself was fairly unrestrained when she wrote and assembled and posted it all on the Internet.

Well, gentle reader, there are many in Town who feel that it's time for Chris Shays to retire - or be retired - but your scribe is not sure that Lee Whitnum is the one to make it happen. But at least we can thank her for generating additional interest in an election that is still over eight months away. A lot can happen in that time, and your scribe, for one, will follow events with great curiosity to see what will unfold next.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day Dilemma

Your scribe has more chocolate than he knows what to do with. Well, that's not entirely true; he knows he could always eat it, but then he would have to spend the next three months fasting and exercising to get back to square one.

One beautiful heart-shaped box contains a variety of home-made chocolates confected by a local resident who originally hails from Finland. Two layers' worth. Clearly a box that needs to be shared - one layer for me, one layer for you. If they indeed taste as good as they look - and how could they not? - your scribe will furnish pictures and ordering info at a later date.

Another large box, complete with home-made card, probably weighs in at two pounds or more and is still in its pink giftwrap. The person who gave it has a chocolate allergy, which means she will be of absolutely no help in properly disposing of the contents.

What is a poor over-chocolated scribe to do? Why, clearly he should share the wealth. Any takers?

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Elizabeth Watson 1944-2008

This afternoon the sanctuary at the First Presbyterian Church was just as full as it had been for the regular morning service. We were there to honor our beloved friend Elizabeth Watson, who was killed in a tragic accident a week ago Thursday.

Elizabeth stood only about four feet tall, but her physical stature was no measure of the huge impact she had on those who knew her. For some forty years she sang in the church choir, and rarely if ever missed a Sunday. Her enthusiasm for everything was infectious. She was child-like in her simplicity. Her emotions were nothing if not genuine. She loved life.

Elizabeth, you see, was slightly impaired. Not retarded - that's too strong a word, although those who didn't get to know her might have labeled her as such. She hobbled rather than walked; she was hard of hearing; she came right out with whatever she was thinking; and on a scale of prepossessiveness running from 1 to 10 would probably have come in at about 0.5. But none of that really mattered.

Outwardly unemployable, Elizabeth found work at three of our Town's best-known commercial institutions: D. W. Rogers department store, which went out of business after Elizabeth had worked there ten years; F. W. Woolworth's, which was sold to an upscale chain store after Elizabeth had worked there for ten years; and Mead's Stationery Store, which went out of business after Elizabeth had worked there for ten years. She outlasted them all.

Her final job was at the Pet Pantry, where she loved working with the animals and gave them all pet names - "my babies", as she called them. She was on her way to work at 6:30 AM that Thursday morning, on foot as always, and heading for her morning cup of coffee at Starbucks. In an alleyway less than fifty feet from the coffee shop, a large dump truck was backing out. Elizabeth, slight of stature and hearing-impaired, was as unaware of its presence as the driver of the truck was of hers. She was crushed to death.

Everyone in church this afternoon was crying. When we were with Elizabeth, we saw life through her eyes: simple, bright, and beautiful. Everything was wonderful - wonder-full - to her, and through her we all learned how beautiful life really is. She was a walking sermon; she was a real sweetheart in the truest sense of the word.

There will be an empty chair - hers - in the choir loft for the remainder of Lent. On Easter, it will be filled by someone else. But we will carry Elizabeth in our hearts as long as we live, mindful of her pluck and joy; and if sometimes life tries its best to get us down, we will remember her bright soprano voice saying, as she so often did, "Isn't it wonderful?"

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Musical Magic at Christ Church

Last night saw the continuation of the "second Friday" organ concert series at Christ Church, and it was a doozy. Not one, not two, but THREE organists participated, all somehow squeezing onto the same organ bench for the grand finale. Of which more anon.

It was pleasing to your scribe to see perhaps the largest turnout yet to date for one of these concerts. He wishes that the right hand and left hand of the Christ Church bureaucracy would function as smoothly together as the six hands and six feet of the organists did; the front-office publicity for this series has ranged from spotty to inaccurate to non-existent (which is why your scribe missed the last concert). C'mon, folks, how hard is it to put a sentence or two in the weekly newsletter and the incessant e-mails? And let's get the time right: the programs begin at 7:30, but are preceded by a short introduction at 7:15. So why not just tell everybody to be there by 7:15, not 7:00 or 7:30? It doesn't take an S.T.D. (doctorate in Sacred Theology) to figure that one out.

And thus it was that at 7:15 Organ Scholar Isabelle Demers stepped before us to deliver the preview of coming attractions. She gave us a run-down of each piece in her charming French-Canadian accent, full of anecdotal and incidental information much of which was new to your scribe. Look for portions of her commentary interspersed below.

The first piece, by the prolific English composer John Rutter, was based on the medieval Easter hymn, O Filii et Filiae ("O Sons and Daughers of the King"). Associate Director of Music James Kennerley, the Wunderkind from across the pond, and Organ Scholar Enrico Contenti, a student at the Institute of Sacred Music at Yale, played the theme and eight variations. James obviously enjoyed belting out the triumphant notes of the stately hymn on the trompette en chamade, located on the gallery organ at the rear of the church and the organ's loudest and most brilliant stop. Meanwhile Enrico's brilliant and flashy fingerwork on the chancel organ provided a sparkling counterpoint in full stereophonic sound. The two of them shared the pedalboard, as their four hands and feet showed off the various tonal colors of the organs' palette. It was a virtuoso piece, exquistely performed by two virtuoso organists.

According to Isabelle, Rutter even worked in some musical jokes, such a theme from Gershwin's Porgy and Bess; John remains, in your scribe's opinion, the finest composer of choral and organ music alive on the planet today. For more about the connection between him and Greenwich, click on the following link:

Next followed Cesar Franck's Piece Heroique, ably performed by Enrico. Once again, Isabelle helped to put this bravura composition into context for us: it was written by Franck at the end of the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-71, in which France came out on the short end of the stick (end of the Second Empire under Napoleon III; start of the Third Republic). The sombre military bombast of the beginning eventually gives way to a softer, more lyric theme which ultimately prevails, along with dying drumbeats in the pedal as the clouds of war give way to an apotheosis of the French soldiers who died on their country's behalf. For all the times your scribe had heard this piece before, this time he heard it with new ears. Enrico's rendition was awesome.

Gustav Merkel's Sonata in D Minor for Four Hands and Feet was, for this listener at least, the high point of the program. As Isabelle told us, this work was composed for a competition, in which it took first place. Rarely heard - after all, as Isabelle said, how many churches have two organs and two organists? - it is nonetheless a classic of the Romantic movement. Redolent of Mendelssohn and Rheinberger, it is a work of brilliant sonorities and mile-a-minute fingering and footwork. The opening Allegro Moderato makes use of the dominant seventh as though it were going out of style, filling the air with the musical equivalent of ear candy. The gorgeously lyric Adagio milks the sentimental possbilities of the organ for all they're worth (which in this case is quite a lot). The final Allegro con Fuoco and fugue offer more breath-taking bravura playing, with - surprise! - more dominant sevenths at the end. One can hardly call Merkel a giant of the world of organ literature, but if you ever have the chance to hear this piece, dear reader, you will no doubt enjoy it as much as your scribe did.

A word about the performers: James and Isabelle did the musical equivalent of the Vulcan mind-meld on Star Trek, and played as if their two bodies were governed by a single mind. Their faultless technique, their total synchronicity as fingers and feet and notes were flying in all directions, were truly wondrous to behold. Another reason why this was the high point of the evening for your scribe.

Another musical curiosity, though much more pedantic than the Merkel, was Samuel Wesley's Introduction to the Grand Fugue in E Flat by Johann Sebastian Bach. The title is almost longer than the piece itself, and of course the question that raises itself is Why? Why write an introduction when Bach himself had already written one, which he called a Prelude? Perhaps the answer is that Wesley was trying to do a Reader's Digest version so he could get straight to the fugue and not tax the patience of his Regency-era audience; or perhaps he found his own notes easier to perform than Bach's. In any case, his piece is no sooner heard than forgotten, although at least your scribe can now say he has heard it.

Wesley was an odd duck. His father, Charles Wesley, was one of the great hymn-writers of the Christian church ("Christ the Lord is Ris'n Today," "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing"), and with his brother John founded the Methodist church. Samuel, on the other hand, seemed not to hold much stock in religious niceties; he cohabited with his wife without benefit of clergy for a lengthy period, and after siring three children with her moved on to the below-stairs maid, with whom he had another seven illegitimate children, the best-known of whom is Samuel Sebastian Wesley ("Lead Me, Lord," "Thou Wilt Keep Him in Perfect Peace"). It would seem he made up in his colorful personal life for the rather pallid quality of his music.

OK, with the Introduction out of the way, the glorious Fugue itself naturally followed. Again, James and Isabelle did the honors, although they eschewed the four-hands four-feet version by Wesley's friend, Ivor Novello. Instead, they just shared Bach's solo version, handing off the three fugal subjects to each other one by one. Why three subjects? Well, the Saint Anne Fugue, as it is also known, is based on William Croft's well-known hymn tune, "O God, Our Help in Ages Past"; this theme represents God the Father. A more sinuous theme represents God the Son, weaving between heaven and earth, as it were. The final ebullient theme, dancing like tongues of fire, represents God the Holy Spirit. Bach weaves them together one by one, until at the end all three are playing in joyous counterpoint together, a musical dramatization of the Trinity. Isabelle reminded us of the reason Bach chose the key: it has three flats.

James then did a bravura performance of Marcel Dupre's Prelude and Fugue in C Major. Never one to use a single note where a dozen or more would do, Dupre quite probably did just what Isabelle suggested to us: compose a piece of such "fearsome techical difficulty", as James put it, so that he would be the only one capable of performing his own work. Well, if that was his intent, he reckoned without the awesome skill of James Kennerley, who played the whole thing masterfully without even breaking a sweat. Your scribe thinks that old Marcel is probably turning over in his grave with envy.

A two-organ concert would hardly be complete without the work of Antonio Soler, who was the pioneer in this rather abstruse field. James went up to the balcony console, while Enrico played at the main one, and we were treated to a pleasing antiphonal rendition of the Concerto I para dos organos.

And then it was time for all three organists to play at once. Isabelle was the monkey in the middle, with James on her left and Enrico on her right. They played the Allegro con Brio, the final movement of Beethoven's 7th Symphony. Once again Isabelle's opening words were very insightful: she told us how at the first performance the audience reacted negatively, likening the music to "drunken carousing". So once again your scribe heard a familiar piece with new ears, and realized that they and Isabelle indeed had a point. Closer to our town time, as James' program notes informed us, Sir Thomas Beecham said, "What can you do with it? It's like a lot of yaks jumping about."

Well, there was indeed a lot of jumping about, but the three organists of Christ Church were infinitely more graceful than yaks as they energetically performed this most energetic of works. It's a pity that Beethoven himself could not have been there, with his hearing intact, of course; he would undoubtedly have cried tears of joy at hearing his music so gorgeously performed.

Afterwards, we all traipsed into the Family Room for the traditional wine and cheese afters. Your scribe would like to note that there were actually five performers last evening: the three organists, and Neil and Joanne Bouknight. Neil ran the audio-visual setup that enabled us all to watch the action at the console on a large screen, while Joanne did the camera work to bring us the picture. And as if that weren't enough, they also set up, hosted, and cleaned up after the reception as well. In the pantheon of candidates for sainthood who daily inhabit Christ Church, Neil and Joanne are high up on the list.

Once again, we here in Greenwich were treated to a world-class musical performance, right here in our own Town. Some people move here for the beaches, some for the schools, some for the beautiful neighborhoods, some for the nature preserves; but whatever the reasons people give for living here, dear reader, your scribe hopes you will always be quick to add another: "I live here because of the fabulous music in this Town." Your scribe certainly does.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Super Tuesday Comes to Greenwich / Update

In a couple of days we here in Greenwich may have helped to pick the winning candidates for each party in the next Presidential election. As Greenwich goes, so goes the nation, right? Well, our Town has produced more US senators, ambassadors, vice presidents, and presidents than any other town in the country, so it makes perfect sense that this should be the case.

Meanwhile, the local political landscape is changing as well. Skippy Snickerson and the Doll have both announced their long-awaited retirement plans, and there is dancing in the streets at the opportunity to send some fresh blood up to Hartford. Former State Rep Janet Lockton is itching to get back into harness, and would be a natural to replace Skippy. Ed Krumeich nearly beat the Doll last time around, and after many years of yeoman service to the Town on the BET and the DTC, would make an ideal replacement for her. As mentioned before in these pages, Ed's prowess on the stage as seen in numerous local Gilbert & Sullivan productions would make him well-suited to tap dance his way though the political tripwires up in Hartford.

Moreover, Ed being a Democrat, he would quite likely have more influence for good in our local area as a member of the majority party in the House. Why the local voters have never focused on the widsom of sending a strong Democratic candidate to the House is a mystery to your scribe, but maybe that will change this time around. As for Republican candidate Janet, her district would include part of north Stamford and New Canaan (remember, dear reader, the State Senate is much smaller than the House of Representatives), which is pretty much dyed-in-the-wool Republican territory. Her experience and contacts in Hartford would be certain to prove beneficial to all of us here in the local area.

Meanwhile, Skippy is still very much on the scene, alas. Your scribe was walking peacfully down Greenwich Avenue the other day when he was accosted by Skippy, who waved his arms wildly like semaphores and exclaimed, "Hi! How are you? Great to see you!" Your scribe had to duck under the flailing arms in order to get by him and proceed on his way. (As long-time readers of these pages will recall, Skippy is well aware of your scribe's allergic reaction to him, and loves to make a game of it; he has been known to sneak up behind your scribe at the library and say "Hi, Bill" in order to elicit a "Hello" in return - which actually worked once, much to your scribe's embarrassment.)

So change is in the wind, and our Town has its part to play in bringing it about. Which, of course, means YOU, dear reader. The polls will be open from 6 AM to 8 PM, so be sure to do your civic duty and VOTE. No, I know the party machines in Town no longer reimburse you in cash for your trouble, as they did in the early decades of the last century, but that's no reason to stay home. Remember, people tend to get the government they deserve. Indifference breeds business as usual. If there's one thing on which all the candidates seem to agree right now, it's the need for change. So let's all do our part to bring it about.



Well, voting day is here, but so far participation in Town is sluggish. The pouring rain doesn't help, but even before the rain began there was no rush to the polls. Your scribe is disappointed, to say the least, that the turnout so far is not heavier.

However, there are reportedly quite a lot of absentee ballots, and yesterday the line at the Registrars' Office of unaffiliated voters seeking to register with a party was said to fill most of the ground floor of Town Hall. So let us see what the rest of the day may bring.

Meanwhile, here is a picture (click to enlarge) of the AuthorBuddies handing out Munchkins and fliers at the Jim Himes campaign table:

Astute readers will note that Jim Himes will not be on the ballot until November, so the AuthorBuddies are well ahead of the curve. It is pleasant to report that quite a few people indicated they will be supporting Jim's bid to unseat Chris Shays next fall. From comments heard by your scribe this morning, there should be strong bi-partisan voter support for Jim.

Your scribe, be it noted, is also supporting another of his favorite causes, the Manuscript Mavens. Yes, folks, that's the new button on the scribal sweater, along with sticker from the polls. Curiously, their message is very similar in tone: "Proud to Vote", and "Proud to be a MaveFave". One might say that the scribal chest is bursting with pride today.