Daily Archives: December 25, 2015

It couldn’t have been much of a manhunt

San Diego police locate, catch 400-lb bearded woman who’d stabbed a fellow street bum. Nice work, but how many 400-lb bearded ladies are there on the streets of San Diego?

Just two, that I’m aware of.

fat woman with beard

It has to be her …

Hillary with beard

Or her


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Mickster started it

Swamp Paradise: proposed new Greenwich High School Stadium

Swamp Paradise: proposed new Greenwich High School Stadium

Just to bring the New Year in early and divert us from this day’s glad tidings, the Mick has brought to our attention that Greenwich is moving toward ripping out the carpets on the high school’s athletic fields and replacing them with a new form of artificial turf that they hope will be less toxic, although the existing rubber composite fields have never been shown to be so – it’s the stuff underneath the carpet that’s poisonous, and that would, for now, remain in place. They’ve committed $850,000 to this endeavor, but as Mickster asks, “What’s the chance they test the old sod and they find crap and it ends up costing $5 million?” Other than the laughable idea that the new fields will end up costing just $5 million, he’s got a good point.

But wait, there’s more! Last week we learned that the school administration has earmarked $40,000 for a feasibility study” of an entirely new stadium.

As part of the capital budget they approved this week for the next school year, the Board of Education endorsed a $40,000 “feasibility” study for consultants to identify potential improvements to the stadium.

The stadium is a Greenwich institution that attracts thousands to big events like football games and graduation ceremonies. But many who use the four-decade-old facility say it lacks basic amenities and needs to be spruced up.

What do these people think the term “spruced up” means? To quote “Princess Bride”, I don’t that word means what they think it means.

Among its limitations, the stadium lacks a building where teams can gather before games and during halftime breaks. At the moment, players and coaches either have to stay out on the field or trek between the field and the locker rooms in the high school’s main building. The same routine goes for trainers, since there is no treatment room at the stadium.

“Obviously, that’s not an ideal situation,” said Gus Lindine, the high school’s athletic director. “Giving teams a place to gather prior to games and during the halftimes of games would certainly be something that would benefit us.”

There are also drawbacks for spectators. Many Cardinals fans lament the lack of permanent bathrooms. Visitors have to settle for portable toilets — with long lines forming during football games and graduation ceremonies.

The stadium study would also likely look at the pedestrian access to the stadium. The hilly walk up from the parking lot to the playing field challenges less-mobile visitors.

Many want to see a larger concession stand that would allow for a better menu. And John Marinelli, the school’s head football coach, said he would be interested in a new, larger scoreboard.

“Westport, Darien, and New Canaan all have brand-new beautiful scoreboards, and I know that it’s something we’re looking at here as well,” Marinelli said. “The scoreboard helps keep you in tune with the game. It’s just really important for the atmosphere of the community.”

The stadium itself is showing signs of wear and tear. Rust covers the undersides of many of the seats in the main bleachers. At the top of the stands, peeling white paint lines the outside frame of the sagging press box.

So, a new training building, with bathrooms, for both visiting and home teams alike. New, permanent bathrooms for 3,500 spectators. A new concession stand. A new, “beautiful” scoreboard, new bleachers, new press box, and in fact, an entirely new stadium – welcome to Texas, where they take their football seriously, goddamnit. If you appeared before our Planning and Zoning Board with building plans like these and argued that you were merely seeking permission to “spruce up” your home, you’d be sent packing faster than you could bribe our town clerk.

How much will all this cost? Who cares? “This is a necessary health and safety improvement,” Peter Tesei says, and if it save the life of just one child …

But fear not, “to offset taxpayers’ bill for the improvements, school officials want to recruit private donors to help pay for the upgrades.

“There is a long list of potential contributors given the large number of teams that use the venue.

“A fundraising campaign in recent years for the high school’s new MISA performing-arts center represents a model for a public-private partnership, school officials said. Community members have pledged some $1.2 million towards MISA, which has a total price tag of about $46 million. 

Wow. And I’m sure we can count on the Junior League to contribute at least another $200,000.



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I’ll accept this, if we can apply it to gay rights, feminism and social justice warriors. Otherwise, just shut up.

Screen Shot 2015-12-25 at 8.40.30 AM


December 25, 2015 · 8:42 am

So here’s to a real – authentic – merry Christmas to you all

John II

John’s last visit to Telluride, June, 2014

A bittersweet time, with what would have been John’s 33rd birthday falling on Tuesday and our family’s first Christmas Eve without him, but the girls and I and Pal Nancy, along with Sarah’s friend Cody still had a joyful time, toasting John, laughing and having fun, which is exactly what John would have wanted us to do. Here’s a link to John’s FaceBook page, just because there are some very sweet tributes to the boy (and a video of the memorial concert his friends threw for him in Portland last week), but I thought I’d – finally – get around to thanking you all for your incredible generosity over the past 18 months.

When John was first diagnosed with terminal cancer, there eventually came a concern about how we could help him stay independent for as long as possible. Although this will shock many of you who’ve seen our fleet of Tesla’s and Gulfstreams, the Fountain family is not wildly wealthy – I blame Bush – and there were so many things we wanted John to have a chance to enjoy in whatever time he had left.  Sarah came up with idea of an online fundraiser, I posted a link here, and …wow.

So many of you gave, and so many of you posted comments and sent emails of support. Acknowledgements of each such gesture was spotty, but know that every single one of them was noted and accepted with huge gratitude. The entire family, especially John, was strengthened and encouraged by your compassion, and the money was, I hope, put to good use. It enabled John to rent a cottage of his own, on a salt marsh overlooking the ocean, it got him, first, to a cancer survival/support camp in Catalina Island and then this spring, after the harsh, never-ending winter Maine endured, to St. John, where he was able to lie in a hammock and watch the Caribbean, and even go on a couple of day sails with the friends, Dan and Kate, who accompanied him down there.

All along, he was sustained by the knowledge that he was not alone on this journey, and he loved that, as we loved him.

So lots of sadness and sorrow, but no grief. I am so grateful to all of you, and so grateful for the chance to have a long goodbye with my son. The summer John was diagnosed, a beautiful young girl here in town was killed in a boating accident, and I thought of her parents then, and all during this period, with real sadness; they said good bye to their daughter in the morning, expecting her to come back after a day of innocent fun, and never saw her again. I had more time. There’s no good choice between losing a child suddenly or watching him die slowly and painfully – in fact, that’s no choice at all, but there’s room for gratitude in both.

And I’m grateful for his illness shattering my illusion about God. Somehow, I discovered, I’d been confusing the passage that “He sees every sparrow fall” with a promise that He’d not only see that fatal flight, He’d prevent it, at least in my son’s case, despite all evidence to the contrary. The recognition that that isn’t true, isn’t the reality of things, brought me perilously close to disaster, because I felt, once again, alone in the universe, and that’s an intolerable place to be.

But I came to a new, stronger understanding of God, one who made us mortal and does see us fall, but doesn’t interfere with the world He made. What He does do, I believe, is surround us with love and comfort in times of pain, in the form of His creation; other people just like us. A huge number of you did just that, and I, and my family, were sustained.

I don’t know about resurrection after death; maybe it happens, maybe we’re just souls on a brief journey, part of a grand, unfolding plan beyond my understanding, but I do know that there’s a loving force in the universe, directed at us, and that’s sufficient. And Christmas is a wonderful time to understand that – a story of hope, and redemption, of the recovery of something that was lost.

So my Christmas gift to all of you is the same one I’ve received: treasure your children (even the teenagers), treasure those around us who surround us with compassion, and especially value our own capacity to give and receive love.

Who can take a sunrise and sprinkle it with dew?
The Candy Man can. (Hah! Got you.)


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A small Christmas lagniappe to start the day

Scientists are still trying to figure out “ear worms”: those obnoxious songs that enter your head and won’t leave for hours, even days.

One part of the puzzle: “The study suggested those with neuroticism and small levels of obsessive compulsion will be invaded by earworms more often and for a longer period of time.”

True cruelty would suggest we insert “Santa Baby” in here, but who wants to completely ruin someone’s day? Instead, we’ll go for just a morning of torture.


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