Greenwich Gossip

Monday, December 22, 2008

April Fool! or, The Local Rag Enters Its Last Three Months of Life

Well, perhaps "life" is a bit of an overstatement, considering that the Local Rag, aka Yellowwich Time, has been on life-support for well nigh a year or more. And of course, its yellow brand of journalism always did give it a rather jaundiced look.

Word from the Hearst Corporation is that "The current economic downturn has exacerbated an already challenging year for our newspapers and our industry, forcing us to eliminate duplication of work across the Connecticut Media Group. As a result, there will be a reduction in staff in the first quarter of 2009."

The Word, delivered in a letter last Friday, continued on to say that the few remaining Yellowwich Time employees will be offered a buyout. If they choose not to take it, the alternative is clear: "A job reduction program, if necessary, will follow the voluntary buyout offer and will be completed by April 1, 2009."

A "job reduction program?" What a curious euphemism. It sounds to your scribe as though it means "mass firings of anyone dumb enough not to take our paltry offer and leave now," but their three words are oh! so much more concise. One can imagine the glee among the wordsmiths who were charged with writing this lovely letter when one of them hit upon this felicitous phrase.

Not to mention the lovely irony of the date: April 1, 2009. Do you think you will still have a job then, you pathetic Yellowwich Time staffer? April Fool!

What does this mean in practical terms for the rest of us, dear reader? It means we can finally bid farewell to the noxious non-newspaper that has plagued our Town for lo! these many years. Illiterate articles, slanted stories, cover-ups of scandals that eventually get reported anyway - all these and more will not be missed, one hopes, by any others than the ones who perpetrated them on us for all those years: Bill Rowe, Joe Pisani, Mike Sweeney, and the rest of their scurvy, congenitally mendacious, and by and large illiterate crew.

By happenstance, your scribe walked by the former offices of the LR on Friday, as yet unaware of the Hearst letter, and glanced nostalgically at the office where he and Joe Pisani used to have their shouting matches about the newspaper's refusal to publish the truth of what goes on in our fair Town. All was silence. The place was empty as a tomb. Not even a ghost. Oh, wait - was that the ghost of the truth wandering around inside, vainly trying to right the wrongs of decades of falsehoods and lies? It may have been, dear reader; when it saw your scribe outside the window, it turned and gave him a spectral thumbs-up.

So for the next three months, you can be pretty sure that whenever you pick up a copy of the Local Rag you are looking at a dead paper walking - or tottering, or stumbling, or whatever. Our ridiculed, unesteemed Yellowwich Time, the newspaper we've loved to hate for decades, has been weighed in the balance, and found wanting. Judgment has been passed. On April 1, 2009, we will be delivered from its tyranny, it seems; and the haunted ghost of the truth will be allowed to rest in peace at last.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Holiday Choral Concert at Greenwich High School

This annual event is always a favorite with your scribe. The talent of our local students, under the direction of Patrick Taylor, is truly awesome to hear and behold. Of that extraordinary talent, more later.

The large Concert Choir began the program with the bright and bouncing "Sleigh Ride". Next followed the gently-flowing Israeli love song, Erev Shel Shoshanim (Evening of Roses), which mentions myrrh, spices, and frankincense. Next was a version of Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day by John Garder, which was new to your scribe, followed by the light-hearted "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch." Their finale, "Do You Hear What I Hear?", is still echoing in your scribe's head the next morning. The Concert Choir's antiphonal and tonal versatility throughout were highly commendable.

The Witchmen male chorus is always popular with students and parents alike. Their style can range from traditional choral to barber shop, and each member of the group is poised and focused to a remarkable degree. No doubt every one of them could have sung the solo performed by Nick Carter; it is a tribute to their musicianship that they can blend together in such a lovely, unegotistical way.

The same can be said of the Madrigals, whose lively performance of "Winter Wonderland" brought the Christmas spirit alive. John Rutter's "Candlelight Carol" was sung with a rich, gorgeous intensity that milked the beauty of John's piece for all it was worth. Your scribe sang under him when he came to Greenwich in 1985, and can avouch for the fact that he would have been highly pleased to have heard the Madrigals' rendition. Their finale, "All I Want for Christmas is You," again showed the ability of these young singers to focus all their talent and energy to follow the inerrantly skillful direction of Patrick Taylor. He gave them a thumbs-up afterward, which one takes to mean that he was pleased with their performance.

The Chamber Singers, of course, beggar all description. They tackle some of the most difficult music ever written for the human voice, and make it all seem ever so easy. The Italians have a word for this: sprezzatura. Look it up and learn it if you don't already know it.

Randall Thompson's "Glory to God in the Highest" showed off the breathtaking musicality and control of this group. "Hymne de Noel" showed off their exquisite French diction, which surely would have wowed Leo Delibes himself had he been lucky enough to be there. The utterly gorgeous pianissimos showed an astounding level of vocal control: impossibly soft, crystal-clear, and utterly on pitch. Rubino's arrangement of Mel Torme's well-known "The Christmas Song" is a real tour-de-force, demanding a level of rhythmic and vocal skill that highlighed the talents of these youngsters; it was sung from memory, so that all the singers could focus their full attention on Patrick. Finally, they reminded us that "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town," and it's time to clean up our act for the holiday season.

The conclusion, as always, was the "Hallelujah Chorus" from The Messiah. Thankfully, the audience remembered Patrick's words from earlier years about the various stories surrounding why King George II got up during the first performance (a weak bladder?), and remained seated. A volunteer String Ensemble of hugely talented GHS students provided the accompaniment, which hitherto had been provided by the Amazing Ali Allerton, pianist extraordinaire.

It was recently announced that no fewer than twelve of Patrick Taylor's singers have been selected for the All-Eastern Honors Chorus, setting a record for a single school. Your scribe is not surprised. We probably have the finest high school music program in the country right here in Greenwich. It is one of our Town's greatest treasures, and if you have not yet heard these young people perform, dear reader, you have a wonderful treat coming. Mark your calendars for the Spring Choral Concert on March 25, and the Pops Choral Concert on June 3. You'll be glad you did!

Monday, December 08, 2008

The Countdown Begins...

...for the local rag, aka Yellowwich Time (all the fluff and non-news that's fit to print). Oh, and don't forget the yellow journalism that Bill Rowe began to publish some years ago, aided and abetted by the increasingly ridiculous and marginalized Joe Pisani. Joe has been fired, of course, but continues to spew forth his solipsistic nonsense at the equally marginalized Greenwich [Dumb as a] Post. And now it appears that the ax is hovering over most of what's left of the staff at the pathetic LR.

To add insult to injury, rumor has it that the LR plans to hike the newsstand price of its pulp from fifty to seventy-five cents. That's 50% more for just about 100% less. Anyone who takes out a long-term subscription to the rag these days might as well be buying stock in Lehman Brothers.

As a harbinger of things to come, the LR's former parent, the Tribune Company, has filed for bankruptcy under Chaper 11 today. Luckily, they took advantage of the "greater fool" theory by offloading the local mess last year to the Hearst Corporation. But the Hearst people are not as foolish now as they were then; they have marked Yellowwich Time for the death it has so richly deserved for lo! these many years. And few if any tears will be shed over its grave.

Such a pity that the grave is likely to be unmarked. The former offices on East Elm Street are filled only with ghosts, at least at the time of your scribe's last visit. Joe Pisani's whiny voice still echoes amidst the dust and ashes of the former home of the newspaper he so ably helped to kill with his slanted reporting and biased editorials. But alas, your scribe has no place to lay the bunch of wilted flowers he has been saving for just this occasion.

RIP, Yellowwich Time. Your days are numbered, and karma is finally catching up with you for all your past misdeeds. And remember, dear reader, just hang up if you get one of those spam calls asking you if you'd like to subscribe. You might as well toss your money down the nearest sewer grate...and with that not unapt analogy, your scribe bids you good day for the nonce.