Fund raiser for my son, John (bumped, again, on the advice of FWIW’s on-staff genius, Walt and now, other readers)

John Fountain

John Fountain

UPDATE: You guys are fantastic – $35,000 and climbing. I can’t adequately express my deep gratitude, but please know that, aside from raising my spirits and reaffirming my faith in people, you have sent John’s soaring, which is the real point of all this. He will now have the independence to rent a place of his own this fall (not that his parents would have left him on the street, but he feels in control now, thanks to all of you) and he’s busy checking off things to do on his list. He’s in Portland OR with his sister Kate now, off to a cancer patient vacation on Catalina for four days beginning Thursday. Camping, swimming and snorkeling in the kelp forests. Thank you from the entire family.


As I’ve previously mentioned, my son John, 31, was diagnosed in late May with stage IV colon cancer that has spread to his liver and lymph nodes and indeed, throughout his body. There’s basically nothing to be done to cure it, and his prognosis is bleak.

While statistically, the average life expectancy for people with this form of cancer, at this stage, is 9 months, and, for some unknown reason it tends to spread even more quickly in younger patients, John is far more optimistic than those odds would allow, and his spirits are high. John’s little sister Sarah has started a fund raiser to help him with expenses and to fund a bucket list (funny, ha ha, that term, for things to do before one kicks the bucket, is usually used figuratively, or at least without a genuine belief in the need for speed), and to help him stay in his own place while he can.

Our family, of course is doing what we can, and beyond, but expenses accrue, and between that and Sarah’s own need to help her adored older brother, it seemed to me that I should not hide behind a false sense of pride and instead, ask my readers to, if they wish to, add to Sarah’s fund. Proceeds – Sarah’s and John’s friends have been generous – are already being used – John flew to Portland Oregon yesterday to spend a week with his sister Kate, then he’ll head for LA to be with his cousins, and then back home, where he will begin palliative chemo-therapy on August 11th. So that’s the status, here’s a link to his fundraiser - thank you.

UPDATE: Ha! Here’s a picture from Sarah’s Facebook, from happier days. Sarah, Katie, Casey the Wonder Dog and John. Sarah and friends


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Who knew it was even going on?


Testing complete, Vincenzo Nibali returns borrowed urine sample

Testing complete, Vincenzo Nibali returns borrowed urine sample

Italian wins Tour de France. The man claims to be “a flag-bearer for anti-doping” and perhaps he is, but I suspect I was not alone in finally giving up on this race once Lance Armstrong was revealed to be a fraud. Phah.

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Randy Pausch on Living

A good friend of mine suggested I look up the now famous “Last Speech” by Carnegie-Mellon professor Randy Pausch, who was diagnosed with fatal pancreatic cancer and given three-to-six months to live. He out did that number, by a little, but gave two incredible lectures before he died. The longer one, given just a month after he’d been diagnosed, is the famous Last Speech” and I’ve posted it here for those, like me, who’ve never seen it.

But it was not in fact his “last speech” – eight months later, he was invited back to his university to give the commencement speech, and I’m also posting that one too, because it’s also a fine essay on life and because it’s much shorter, for those of us with limited attention spans. Both are worth watching, and learning from.


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Speaking of drunks on tractors, what do you bet Johnny Manziel is out of professional football in three years?


The Ryan Leaf Express

The Ryan Leaf Express

The spoiled, entitled child insists that he’s “earned the right” to party as hard off the field as he wishes.  Yahoo sports columnist Dan Wetzel sums up his prospects nicely:

Manziel addressed [Brown's owner] Haslam’s comments after practice and left lingering doubts. His speech was part concession of some nebulous mistakes, part brag session about how totally awesome his life is, you know being so popular and talented and all.

“Here’s the thing I want to say,” Manziel said. “The reason I’m popular, the reason people follow me and there’s been such a buzz around me, when I went out on Saturdays at Texas A&M, I played with an extreme amount of passion and I played with my heart on my sleeve.

“But more than anything I had fun. I had fun playing this game, I had fun going on out on this field playing football. That’s what I live for, that’s what I do.

“The same thing off the field,” he continued. “Whether I’m going out and playing golf, whether it’s going out and having the nightlife, whatever it is, I’m having fun. That’s what my life is. And luckily for me I’m living out my dream of playing in the NFL, having a ton of fun …. Life’s fun. Enjoy it while it’s here.”

Manziel can live his life anyway he chooses but if he thinks life is short and needs to be embraced, he needs to show he understands life in the NFL is even more precious. Players claim NFL means “Not For Long” for a reason.

Manziel talked about the urgency of every snap. He talked about buckling down and working. He talked about getting better each and every session, of plowing through the learning curve of a more complex NFL offense.

He also kept talking about how he’s living the dream and should embrace it like a typical 21-year-old, except he isn’t a typical 21-year-old and, as such, the dream can vanish quickly.

So he better chuck it for the Browns. He better be damn, damn good. The competition is serious and significant and popularity doesn’t mean a thing. Fans can always buy a new jersey.

I think the Browns will soon discover that they wasted a lot of money on this train wreck waiting to happen.


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She might have took my car keys, but she forgot about my old John Deere

Colorado man arrested for driving drunk on his lawn tractor. Clearly, he was just channeling George Jones.


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But there’s a rule against that!


You're entering a gun-free zone, pahdna!

You’re entering a gun-free zone, pahdna!

Doctor who shot mental patient kept  gun under his desk in direct violation of hospital policy and regulations. Of course, the patient had carried his own gun into the hospital, and used it to kill his caseworker, but these rules are designed for the law abiding, not the wicked.

The hospital horror unfolded on Thursday afternoon when patient Plotts arrived at the Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital with [his case worker Theresa] Hunt where they met Dr. Silverman in an office at the psychiatric unit on the third floor of the hospital.

Once inside, the calamitious series of events began with a heated argument that ended with Hunt being fatally shot in the head, Dr. Silverman also suffering a hit to the head and Plotts critically wounded after two gunshot wounds to the torso and one to his arm.

It was Dr. Silverman’s quick reaction that saved lives and police have hailed him as a hero for stopping Plotts before he could embark on a gun rampage.

Yeadon Police Chief Donald Molineux said that ‘without a doubt, I believe the doctor saved lives.’ ‘Without that firearm, this guy (the patient) could have went out in the hallway and just walked down the offices until he ran out of ammunition,’ the chief said.

Yeah well, wait ’til the hospital disciplinary board gets a hold of Dr. Silverman.

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Foreclosure sale on North Street

180 North Street

180 North Street

I stopped by the auction for 180 North Street at noon, today, and watched it go to the bank at its own opening bid of $3.1 million. There were two other people there who had come with the required certified check in the amount of $367,500 and thus were qualified  to place a bid, but they declined. Presumably, they were hoping to snare a  bargain, and didn’t see one at $3.1; neither did I.

Late yesterday the debtor filed a motion to reopen the judgement against him, and that will be heard on August 11th. Assuming the bank prevails and the court approves today’s sale, the bank’s title will be complete and the house will be fully theirs, lucky bank. My prediction is that they’ll spend money to clean up the house (the debtor stripped it of appliances and left it looking pretty bad before he left), then put it back on the market at some dumb figure like $3.675 million, where it will stick around until someone at the bank gets real and orders the the place to be dumped for $2.5-$2.7. Check back next year.

The debtor bought the swampland this was built on for $1.850 million back at the height of the market in 2007, and paid Steve Mariani to build a spec house on it for him. That he thought he could pay Mariani’s profit and pay an additional profit to himself can only be ascribed to the irrational exuberance of those heady days, and it was a doomed business plan: it started at $5.495 million in 2007, and dropped all the way to $3.4 this year, before the bank took it back. Someone dodged a bullet back in 2009 when his offer of $4.1 was rejected, another, later, when $3.75 failed, and two years ago, my own clients had the same lucky escape when we couldn’t even get a counter offer to our bid of $2.9. Between having a swamp for a yard and, now, the condition of the house itself, this isn’t worth more than $2.5, if that, in my opinion.


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