Category Archives: Totally random

Oscar’s En Francais

Westporters are still adjusting to the loss of Oscar’s.

But around the time the Main Street deli closed — and beloved owner Lee Papageorge died — longtime Westporter Susan Brody spotted this doppelganger in Marseille:

Oscar's in France

The French are known for fiercely protecting their language. Neither “bagels” nor “sandwiches” sound French to me.

As for “Oscar’s” — in any language, that means “love.”

(Hat tip: Eden Werring)

The Greatest International Scavenger Hunt The World Has Ever Seen

When you or I go on a scavenger hunt, we try to find random but normal items: a menu from a local restaurant perhaps, or the signature of someone semi-famous.

When Tia Pogue went scavenging this month, she created a human piano; showed an alien draining our civic infrastructure, and milked a dairy cow (while dressed in semi-formal attire — that’s her in the center below).

And when you and I go scavenger hunting, we play for a few bucks or a bottle of wine. Tia — who graduates next June from Staples High School — competed for a free trip to Iceland.

That’s the difference between your and my scavenger hunt, and the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen.

The week-long event takes — as you have already figured — a hefty amount of energy, creativity and intelligence. Tia has tons of that.

It’s genetic. Her dad, David Pogue, is the world-renowned newspaper/TV/book tech expert — as well as a Yale music major who spent 10 years conducting and arranging Broadway musicals.

In early April, Tia saw a Reddit post soliciting members for a GISHWHES team. The group — Team Raised from Perdition — had finished as a runner-up the year before. Members came from across the US, Canada and Brazil; their professions included sign language interpreter and opera singer. All shared a love for creativity, and making the world a better place.

In addition, the hunt combined art, randomness, philanthropy, challenges and fun — all things Tia loves. She eagerly applied.

She had 3 days to do 3 challenges from past hunts, and make an “About Me” video. She was selected from a pool that included many adults.

The GISHWHES event takes a week. Teams race to complete as many of nearly 200 challenges as they can. Participants submit pictures or videos of their work.

Tia Pogue's team proved that aliens are taking job opportunities away from American.

Tia Pogue’s team proved that aliens are taking jobs away from Americans.

Rules are quirky. For example, most videos must be exactly 14 seconds long. Kale was arbitrarily banned.

Tasks fall into 3 categories:

  • Wacky art projects (recreating photographs out of junk food)
  • Random acts of kindness (planting a community garden or donating blood — a large portion of registration fees go to charity)
  • Asking random people for help (requesting that an art museum temporarily replace a painting worth at least $100,000 with a forgery painted by an 8-year-old).

Tia and her team communicated daily, using an app called Slack. She found everyone warm, accepting, interesting. Teammates grew tighter — virtually — and hope eventually to meet in real life.

With the help of her family, Tia completed 23 items.

Several moments stand out. One was when — after many hours — she finished her junk food version of the famous National Geographic cover with an Afghan refugee:

Tia Pogue National Geographic photo

Other team members created a dress entirely out of corn husks, painted a portrait of a live model while scuba diving, recreated a landmark out of sticks and twigs, held a corporate meeting in a sandbox, and did a variety of charitable acts

Tia learned a few things in the process. One is that she’s happiest when she is creative. This school year, she plans to spend a little time each day doing something crafty.

She also learned that her age is not as big a barrier as it initially seemed. She calls her teammates “friends,” even if some are decades older.

Final results will be released in October. If Tia’s team wins, they’ll finally meet each other.

In Iceland.

Below: Tia Pogue plays a human piano:

(To see Tia’s complete team page, click here. For their spreadsheet, click here. For more information on the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen, click here.)


Click here for “06880+”: The easy way to publicize upcoming events, sell items, find or advertise your service, ask questions, etc. It’s the “06880” community bulletin board!

Stumping For Kindness

I often identify contributors to “06880” as “alert readers.”

One guy gets special notice.

The other day, hyper-alert “06880” reader Steve Lunt was walking his dog on the Riverwalk — the lovely path winding around the Levitt Pavilion. (If you’ve never been, you’re missing a true Westport jewel.)

Suddenly, a rotting tree stump caught Steve’s eye.

Levitt Riverwalk - Steve Lunt 2 (2)

 

 

Looking closely, he saw this:

Levitt Riverwalk - Steve Lunt 2

We may never know who put that message there — or when, or why.

Which makes this little story even better.

 

Next Stop: Willoughby?

Metro-North riders were pleased to note that the rail line provided “good service” on March 9.

Metro-North -- good service

Unfortunately, yesterday — when this photo was taken — was August 16.

Rod Serling would be proud.

Guess Who Came To Dinner At Bridgewater Tonight?

A) Donald Trump
B) Hillary Clinton
C) Barack Obama
D) The Chinese Olympic swim team

Answer:

A River Runs Through It

(Photo/Patrick Goldschmidt)

Click on or hover over to enlarge (Photo/Patrick Goldschmidt)

Where Westport Meets The World: The Photos

Last week — in a nod to “06880”‘s tagline, “Where Westport meets the world” — I asked readers who do not live here to send photos of your favorite summer place.

A third of all “06880” readers live beyond this zip code. I thought it would be fun for our ex-pats to share scenes of your current, non-Westport lives.

Many readers responded. Here’s where you live, and what you love. The photos are arranged (more or less) geographically, from nearest to furthest.

Susan Feliciano and her husband Jose are just across the Westport line, in Weston. But they’re not, technically, here, so they count. He travels everywhere — in the past month he’s been in Austria, England and Baltimore; he leaves soon for Beirut, South Korea, Japan and Croatia — so home is particularly important. Susan calls this “our little piece of heaven, our little slice on the Saugatuck, especially lovely right after a summer rain.”

Happy place - Susan Feliciano, Weston 2

Happy place - Susan Feliciano - Weston 1

Bobbie Herman lives in Fairfield, half a mile over the border. Her favorite place is her garden. She spends 2 hours a day working on it. With 2.2 acres, there’s a lot to do.

“But it’s rewarding,” she says. “I have breakfast every morning on the patio which overlooks it, and every afternoon on the screened porch right next to the patio.”

Happy place - Bobbie Herman - Fairfield garden

Bonnie Bradley writes: “17 years ago, after a lifetime in Westport, I came to the town of Roxbury, in Litchfield County. Maple Bank Farm is a treasured destination, right in town. Farmers Cathy and Howie Bronson, of old Roxbury families, provide all kinds of their own vegetables and plants, and even skeins of wool from their sheep.

“Today you can go up the hill to pick their blueberries. Soon, their corn will be in. It seems you never go to Maple Bank without running into friends. That’s Roxbury.”

Happy place - Bonnie - Maple Bank Farm, Roxbury CT

From the other end of Connecticut, Peter Barlow’s photo shows Pawcatuck and Westerly, Rhode Island, separated by the Pawcatuck River (the bridge in the background on the right). Despite being in 2 different states, residents hold joint parades. Pawcatuck is actually part of Stonington, 3 miles away.

Happy plac - Peter Barlow - Pawcatuck CT

Rebecca Wolin says: “I am very lucky. After living in Westport for 20 years I moved to a vacation destination: the Berkshires. Monterey, Massachusetts has 900 residents, but in the summer it grows to 5,000. This is the lake at the end of my road ( I cheated — it’s a fall picture). I live right off the Appalachian Trail, and love it.”

Happy place - Rebecca Wolin - lake at end of her road, Monterey MA

Geoff Hodgkinson (Staples High School Class of 1964) has lived in Marblehead, Massachusetts since 1964. A peninsula 17 miles north of Boston, population 21,000, it features a harbor at Crocker Park. During the summer, 2000 boats moor there.

Geoff’s 2nd photo is of the historic district: 200 Colonial-era homes, many from the 1600s. The tower in the background is the 1876 town hall. “All in all, it’s a great place to live,” Geoff says. “But I do miss Compo and other Westport spots from time to time.”

Happy place - Geoff Hodgkinson, Marblehead Mass 1

Happy place - Geoff Hodgkinson, Marblehead MA 2

Kim Manchester Shaw writes: “I still refer to Westport as ‘home’, but It has been 30 years since I lived there. My brother and his family now live in our childhood home. It’s a blast to watch my niece and nephews enjoy all of our old Westport haunts as they grow up.

“These days I call Saratoga Springs home: the foothills of the Adirondacks. The photo is of my son, Alex, taken at the summit of Sleeping Beauty on an Adirondack hike last weekend. Tough to beat that view…unless perhaps you are in the 06880!”

Happy place - Kim Manchester Shaw - summit of Sleeping Beauty on Adirondack hike

Jane Davidson Arms (Staples High School Class of 1977) is now in Manchester, Vermont. Her youngest son (shown here) heads off to college in the fall:

Happy place - Jane Davidson Ams - Manchester, VT

After graduating from Staples in 1971, Fran Taylor has thrived in Kentucky’s horse country. She spent many years associated with Keeneland. She snapped the first photo below on Derby Day, while driving home from Louisville. The 2nd is taken from the driveway of her farm in Sadieville.

Happy Place - Fran Taylor - from Louisville to Lexington

Happy place - Fran Taylor - driveway of farm in Sadieville, KY

Tom Siebrasse offers this shot of Big Glen Lake, in Michigan’s Sleeping Bear National Park:

Happy place - Tom Siebrasse - Big Glen Lake, Glen Arbor, MI

Mike Taylor checks in with a photo of Lake Michigan. He’s halfway between Milwaukee and Green Bay. His town of Sheboygan, Wisconsin is a top golf destination; one of 3 US Official Sailing Centers in the country; home of Road America, one of the 3 car racing road courses in the world — and host to concerts partially sponsored by the Levitt Foundation. Having been an original employee of Westport’s Levitt Pavilion — he did lights and sound — he’s particularly proud of that.

Mike asks, “So why is this my favorite summer spot? I loved growing up in Westport and looking at Long Island Sound. But here, sitting on our lake deck, we look at the horizon. It’s like looking at the ocean. The sound of the waves crashing on the shore is awesome. And it’s my home.”

Happy place - Michael Taylor - Sheboygan, WI - Lake Michigan

Last August, Diana and Leonard Zaslow moved from Westport to Bonita Springs, Florida. Here’s what they see every evening:

Happy place - Diana Zaslow, Bonita Springs, FL

Alix Land says: “It’s hard to compare anyplace to Westport, but attached are shots from my home in Portland, Oregon. We get out on our bikes or paddleboards as often as possible.” The first photo shows the Willamette River, just south of Portland. She lives one street away from a ridge overlooking a beautiful golf course. On a clear day, she sees majestic Mt. Hood.

Happy Place - Alix Land - Willamette River just south of Portland

Happy place - Alix Land - OR (can see Mt Hood on clear day)

David Grant checks in from Danville, California — a San Francisco Bay area town of 42,000. The small-town atmosphere — with many unique stores and restaurants — reminds him of the Westport where he grew up. The 4th of July parade draws 40,000 attendees. Dave says: “Excellent schools keep property values strong. Good weather is a constant bonus.” Here’s Hartz Avenue:

Happy place - David Grant, Hartz Avenue, Danville CA

Finally, Mara Barth writes: “While we enjoy living in Paris at the moment (been here since October), we very much look forward to a little time in Westport this summer!”

Happy place - Mara Barth, in Paris since October

There you have it: where Westport meets the world. Plenty of water; mostly small towns; lots of beauty.

Wherever you are today: Enjoy it! There’s no place like home.

Beached!

Once a day, every day — as regularly as the tides — Old Mill Beach-goers and Hillspoint Road drivers, joggers and strollers are treated to the same sight:

(Photo/Lynn Flaster)

(Photo/Lynn Flaster)

There must be a story behind the boat and its owners.

Clueless? Too lazy to get an actual mooring? Just happy going out for a quick spin when the tide is high?

If you know the back story, click “Comments” below.

In the meantime, we know one thing: At least half of each day, no one will steal this boat.

Westport Wash & Wax Covers All The Details

Who doesn’t love Westport Wash & Wax?

Our town’s only car wash is clean and green. They support every organization, cause and fundraiser that asks. They do fantastic work, and are always friendly.

This being Westport, they’ve probably worked on every vehicle ever produced.

But this may be the first time they — or any other car wash — ever detailed a kayak.

(Photo/Howard Silver)

(Photo/Howard Silver)

Donald Trump “Spotted” In Westport

No, this is not an April Fool’s story. Donald Trump was seen at the Spotted Horse last night.

At least, a cardboard cutout of him was.

Donald Trump

He — or it — arrived in Avi Kaner’s car trunk. The second selectman’s wife Liz was lobbying in Washington a few weeks ago. Waiting for her train home, she went into a souvenir store and purchased the cardboard fold-up “Donald.”

Since then, he’s made appearances at various town events — including graduation parties.

Whether you like the presumptive Republican nominee’s politics or loathe them, you gotta admit: He’s a stand-up guy.

(Hat tip: Francis Fiolek)