April 25, 2019

This Week’s Popcorn: ‘That’s My Boy’

Guilty, With an Explanation

By Michael S. Goldberger

Special to the Observer


Director Sean Anders’s “That’s My Boy” has sent me into hiding, peering from the widow’s walk where, family apocrypha has it, Great Aunt Martha yelled “drat!” when she sighted Great Uncle Melville returning from sea. You see, I was observed to laugh near convulsively at Adam Sandler’s latest foray into bad taste, and I fear reprisal.


Thus, it is only a matter of time before I spot the indignant emissaries from the Ladies League of Human Decency, followed by the accreditation committee of the Evangelical Conference of Film Critics, coming to give me what for…with a vengeance. I am guilty as charged. It was only a matter of time. I’m tired of running. It all began in childhood.


I might as well admit it now, as it’s all bound to be dragged out at the hearing, anyway. I loved Jerry Lewis. Although the iconic wag, considered an artistic genius in France, and socially conservative, would rail at the conclusion, it is my thesis that Mr. Sandler is his comic heir. Just subtract the latter’s filth quotient, and you’ll spot the similarity in shtick.


Both take us to a stage of behavior our parents prayed we’d grow out of one day. Lewis’s persona harks back to the aught years. Showing slight progress, Sandler’s multimillion dollar case of arrested development nostalgically treats us to a rerun of smirky adolescence, perhaps a consolation for having that blankie ripped away from us.


In this instance he is Donny Berger, onetime hero of the supermarket rags courtesy of a nationally exposed, illicit relationship with his 8th grade math teacher, Miss McGarricle (Eva Amurri Martino). Skip forward about twenty-five years since the scandalous impropriety. Donny has spent all the money his infamy brought, and the IRS is calling.


Adding insult to injury, the son that emanated from the famed case of statutory rape, now on the eve of his wedding, has long disavowed any relation to his dad. A successful hedge fund wunderkind portrayed by Andy Samberg, he has even changed his name, to Todd Peterson. His lovely intended, Jamie (Leighton Meester), is none the wiser.


Well, you know what happens in the movies when people about to be wed under an assumed identity try to keep it hush-hush. Yep, in a boorish variation on the stunt Eris, the goddess of discord, pulled, Dad shows up just before the nuptials. But shh! He won’t upend Todd’s big fib about being orphaned when Mummy and Pater died in an accident.


Nope, Donny has other plans. He has hatched a scurrilous deal with a reality TV show honcho that’ll net him the $43,000 Uncle Sam is demanding. So he pretends to be Todd’s long lost best friend. However, can he possibly help it if, of course, he becomes an instant favorite of the well wishers who have gathered at Todd’s boss’ manse for the festivities?


As expected, Donny is the catalyst for the en masse lowering of inhibitions among the attendees and the resultant free-for-all that is unleashed. Attesting that the raunchy farce fest, of which this is a prime example, now provides the laughs formerly supplied by the screwball comedies of the 1930’s and ‘40s, it also shares the same philosophical goals.


Stuffy convention, hypocrisy and deception are torn asunder, the layers of false piety peeled like a rotten onion until everyone is pretty much shown for what they are, and then some. This includes the obligatory bachelor party with its truth serum-like effect. Very little is sacred, testing both your grasp of the 1st Amendment and your tolerance for smut.


The obscenities cause one to ponder what is and is not acceptable. In all fairness, there is a subjective scale that weighs the source of the ribaldry. Sandler’s stuff avoids the mean spiritedness of some shock jocks, and he’s at least in good company when he revisits a niche of naughtiness that wrought much wrath for the Pulitzer Prize-winning Philip Roth.


But while there’ll be no plaudits for belles-lettres here, David Caspe’s script does exhibit more thought and creativity than is usually lavished on movies of this caliber. If Damon Runyon took a time machine to the present and decided to go blue, his characters could very well resemble the, uh, Runyonesque sorts who help Mr. Sandler spew his madness.


That means a famous rapper (Vanilla Ice) on the skids, a libidinal octogenarian, a 200 pound pole dancer/confidante named Champale, and a snarky brother of the bride whose sexual proclivities even libertine Donny Berger declares “disgusting.” So, psst! “That’s My Boy” is recommended, but only to the open minded. Just don’t tell anyone I said so.

“That’s My Boy,” rated R, is a Columbia Pictures release directed by Sean Anders and stars Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg and Leighton Meester. Running time: 114 minutes






PHOTOS: More moose

Courtesy photos

More moose were spotted in Williston last week—one on Sunset Drive and one on Redmond Road.



PHOTOS: Lake Iroquois

Observer photos by Stephanie Choate

A sunny Friday brought families, fishers and kayakers out to Lake Iroquois last week.


Sports Roundup

Owens and Williford rep CVU in LAX star games

The Champlain Valley Union High boys and girls lacrosse teams each added one player to the rosters of the Vermont all-star teams of 2012 graduates that met New Hampshire stars Saturday at Hanover, N.H.

Abby Owens was the lone CVU girls lacrosse player, and Christian Williford was the only CVU player on the boys team.

Owens and the Vermont girls lost 15-11 to New Hampshire. Williford and Vermont’s boys also lost,14-12, to their Granite State counterparts.

—Mal Boright

Vt. golf team wins Tri-State tournament

Williston golfers helped the Vermont Tri-State team capture its fifth victory at the annual Tri-State Tournament.

The team finished with a total of 148 points, while New Hampshire had 143.5 points and Maine finished third with 113 points. The two-day tournament was held last week at the Mount Washington Resort Course in Bretton Woods, N.H.

The first day of the event, members play as part of a two-person team; the following day is an individual match, with points contributing to the overall team score.

Janet Hayden of Williston and Williston Golf Club won 5.5 points with Pam Shover, who plays at the Williston Golf Club. In the individual match, Hayden added 3.5 points, while Shover contributed 5.

Cindy Paquet of Williston won 4.5 points with Janet Horton, and added 6 points in the individual match—the highest number possible.

Cathy Neff of Williston won 2 points with Rhonda Colvard, and added 2 points in the individual match.

Ellen Grimes, who plays at the Williston Golf Club, added 3.5 points with Phyllis Simon, and contributed 2 points in the individual match play.

Kathy Dube of Williston Golf Club had the lowest score in the alternate match.

— Stephanie Choate

All-stars shut out Vergennes

The Williston 9- and 10-year-old baseball all-stars kicked off their 2012 District Tournament run in dazzling fashion last Saturday, dispatching the Vergennes all-stars in a four-inning mercy rule combined perfect game.

Not a single Vergennes batter reached first base in the 15-0 shutout, and only two balls were put into play the entire game, as pitchers Storm Rushford and Griffin McDermott combined for an astonishing 10 strike outs in 12 batters.

Offensively, Williston showed its improved power this season, scoring 13 hits in the shortened game, along with five walks and only four total strike outs.

In their second game, played versus Richmond in Middlebury on Monday, the all-stars continued their dominance of the tournament. Rushford pitched four innings of one-hit ball, fanning 10 of the 13 batters he faced with a combination of two-seam and four-seam fastballs. At the dish, Williston batters continued to punish the ball, scoring 11 runs in five innings, highlighted by Griffin McDermott’s monster home run in the fourth inning. Baker Angstman shut the door in the fifth, allowing no runs, adding two more strikeouts and securing another mercy rule-shortened game for the Williston All-Stars.

Next up for the boys is Burlington American this Saturday and Shelburne on Sunday, both at 1 p.m. at Callahan Park in Burlington.

— Matt Rushford, Special to the Observer

S.D. Ireland legion team bats start booming

Stock photo

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

The S. D. Ireland American Legion baseball team got its season off to a quiet four-hit beginning last Thursday in a 3-1 loss to Addison at Middlebury.

But that was then.

The bats that slumbered on Thursday came alive at their home Champlain Valley Union High field opener on Sunday with a 7-3 victory over Montpelier and continued Monday with a 4-3 triumph over an Essex team that brought an 8-1 record to the fray.

The 2-1 Irelands were scheduled to meet Addison at CVU on Tuesday, but a daylong rain took charge and forced postponement.

Essex returns to CVU on Thursday at 5:30 p.m., followed by visits from Franklin County on Saturday at noon and South Burlington on Sunday at noon. The Irelands travel to Franklin County on Monday for a 5:30 p.m. contest.

The thriller with Essex was a “sort of” road game for coach Jim Neidlinger’s charges, who were the visitors because the Essex ball yard was not available for the scheduled fixture.

Trailing 2-1 to Essex and sharp lefty pitcher Steve Jurkiewicz going to the top of the sixth inning, the Irelands uncorked a barrage of six hits, including three doubles in the closing two innings to gain the victory.

“That was good,” said Neidlinger noting that the bashing came from throughout the line-up.

Jurkiewicz was working on a string of four straight strikeouts—he had 10 for the game—when Josh St. Clair ignited the rally in the sixth with a two-out double off a glove against the fence in deep left center. Dillon Ritchie followed with a two-bagger to left to tie the game at 2. Dylan Ireland and Kirk Fontana then singled, with Fontana’s shot scoring Ritchie to put the Irelands up 3-2.

Essex came back to tie the contest at 3-3 with an unearned run in the bottom of the sixth, but the Irelands restored their edge in the top of the seventh. With one out, Curt Echo crushed a line single to left for his third hit. Larry Halvorson launched a clutch two-out double to plate Echo with what would be the winning run.

Big Davis Mikell, a late inning closer during CVU’s Division 1 title campaign, issued his second walk of the game to start the bottom of the seventh and final frame. He then retired the next three batters while notching his eighth strikeout.

“Yeah, my arm feels pretty good,” Mikell said after the 118-pitch route-going job.

“Seventy-eight per cent of those pitches were strikes,” said Assistant Coach Onnie Matthews.

Mikell allowed only one earned run, driven home on Luc Salerno’s second inning double, the lone extra base blast by Essex. Five of the 10 hits off the righty were of the infield roller variety.

“This was a good win but we still have work to do,” said Neidlinger, no doubt mindful of his team’s five miscues in the field. Solid fielding plays came from outfielders Will Conroy and St. Clair, with acrobatic grabs of line drives for important outs.

Conroy laced a double and two singles in Sunday’s victory over Montpelier, and he also pitched the final two and two-thirds innings to save the victory for Echo, the starter.

Echo carried a one-hit blank job into the top of the sixth when a walk, error and two singles led to two unearned runs, bringing Montpelier to within 4-2 of the Irleands. Echo was relieved with one out in the seventh and another unearned run in. Conroy fanned five and allowed but two hits over the final frames.

Mikell and Halvorson smashed doubles and Jeff Badger drove in a pair of runs with a long sacrifice fly and infield out.

Everyday Gourmet: Hand pie jive

By Kim Dannies

No good at the hand jive? Consider mastering the hand pie. This twist on traditional summer pie crafts funky minis that are fun to serve and eat. Sun drenched strawberries, raspberries and blueberries are ripening daily, so don’t even pretend to resist this buttery, flaky, crunchy pillow bursting with color and oozing sweet warm fruit.

These pockets of goodness are easy to make with your favorite pastry dough and are perfectly portable for picnics, concerts and family parties. Once you have the pastry made and the method down, improvise on the little darlings: they carry sweet and savory ingredients equally well. Basically, whatever is growing or showing up—in your yard, at the farmer’s market or in your fridge—it is all fair game for a delectable hand pie.

Hand Pie Hints

Chop fruit and vegetables into a small dice and pre-cook quickly; fillings should be cool and moist, but not wet. Easy pastry: 3 cups pastry flour pulsed with 1 stick Crisco and 3 (or more) tablespoons of water to form a sticky ball. Chill.

Mix fruit filling with 1 tablespoon cornstarch (no need to add cornstarch to apples; add less to blueberries, which thicken with their own pectin). Boil for 1 minute and add flavorings like lemon zest, vanilla, ginger and cinnamon. Cool filling completely before using.

Cut dough into 4-inch rounds about half an inch thick. Don’t overfill hand pies or they’ll burst at the seams. Spoon one generous tablespoon of filling, leaving a half-inch border. Fold the pastry around the filling, brush edges with water to seal the pie and press edges with a fork. Pierce the top to allow steam to escape. Chill or freeze the pies for at least 20 minutes before baking.

Not into homemade pastry? Substitute commercial pie dough or frozen puff pastry; allow puff pastry to thaw in refrigerator for 2-3 hours before using.

Freeze unbaked pies for up to three months; bake them straight from the freezer. To prevent leaks, always bake them in a very hot oven—at least 400 to 425 degrees. Bake until golden, 20-30 minutes.


Kim Dannies is a graduate of La Varenne Cooking School in France. She lives in Williston with her husband, Jeff; they have three twenty-something daughters who come and go. For archived Everyday Gourmet columns go to kimdannies.com

Places I’ve Played: Farm boys vs. city fellers

By Bill Skiff

In the 1940s and ‘50s, Vermont high school sports programs were not as finely classified as they are today. Instead of four divisions based mostly on school size, we had two: North and South. The North went from Rutland to the Canadian border and the South from Rutland to the Massachusetts border. Any school was eligible for the state baseball championship. We played until one team won it all and became the state champion. Thus it happened in June of 1949: the farm boys played the city fellers in Vermont’s state semi-final baseball game.

When it became known that the game scheduled at Centennial Field was between Cambridge High and Burlington High, many area people were surprised at the match up. Some even felt sorry for that little school up north that had to play the big boys of Burlington.

On the day of the game, the Burlington Free Press ran a special article on the front page of the sports section featuring the upcoming game. Midway into the article it stated, “The Burlington team will make sure the Farm Boys of Cambridge will be home in time to do chores.” Our team’s collective reaction—“Okay city fellers, we are coming down to play—and the cows have informed us they don’t care what time they get milked tonight.”

We arrived at Centennial Field in three cars. We had 11 players. Nine of us had team shirts and pants. The tenth player had a team shirt and the eleventh had the pants. We had no team socks, just our own ankle ones. Each of us had his own version of a baseball hat, except Larry, our pitcher. He didn’t like to wear one because it kept falling off when he threw his fastball.

We stood in awe as the Burlington team pulled into Centennial Field on a Vermont Transit Bus with their banners attached to both sides. We watched 26 players step off the bus, all wearing full uniforms.

The dugouts were impressive. We stood in them, pounding our gloves while spitting—just as we had seen the men from the Northern league teams do. When it came time for infield practice, none of us wanted to leave the dugout—we were so used to sitting on a plank between two logs that being in a dugout was a real treat.

We won the coin toss and became the home team. Burlington was not happy with that. We figured the score was already 1-0.

Burlington batted first. The lead off batter hit a screaming ground ball just to the right of second base. I raced over, stuck out my glove and prayed. The ball took a hop, and stuck in my glove. I turned and threw him out. The next batter struck out. The third batter hit a towering fly ball toward left field that looked like it was going to land in the UVM football stadium. Our left fielder turned and started running with his back to the ball. At the last minute, he stuck out his glove. The ball landed in it and stayed. Three outs!

As we headed for our dugout, I looked over at Orie Jay, the Burlington coach. He was scratching his head and maybe thinking, “These farm boys can play ball after all.”

The game was exciting, and mid-way through it was tied 2-2. Our pitcher, Larry, kept giving the batters an inside fastball, then a curve and finally his drop. The batters were having so much trouble with his pitches that Orie Jay came out of the dugout and said Larry had to put on a hat because he was out of uniform. Larry hated hats and when it fell off during his first fastball he never put it on again. The umpire did not enforce the rule.

Larry also picked a runner off at third base, no easy feat for a right hand pitcher. Again, Orie Jay came screaming out of the dugout claiming Larry had balked. The umpire disagreed. Now the whole Burlington team knew they were in a ball game.

After eight and a half innings, and long after time to do chores, the score was Burlington 4, Cambridge 2.

When we came up to bat in the bottom of the ninth, we were confident we could tie the score: the top of our batting order was coming up. With one out, and a runner on first and third, things looked good. Our next batter hit a line drive toward second base. The runner on first started for second and the runner on third broke for home. Then it happened—the second baseman charged over, leaped into the air…and caught the ball. He turned and threw back to first for the force out.

Instead of the score becoming 4 to 3 with one out and a man on second, it was three outs, Burlington wins 4-2.

Burlington went on to beat Rutland in the finals 22-0. When it was over, Orie Jay called my dad, our coach, to tell him we were the best team they played all year.

Although we didn’t win, it was a great day for Cambridge—even the cows gave more milk.

Bill Skiff grew up on a farm between Cambridge and Jeffersonville. After a career in education, he now lives in Williston, where he is a justice of the peace and Fourth of July frog-jumping official. In “Places I’ve Played,” he shares his experiences of growing up in Vermont. Comments are welcome at vtcowcal@yahoo.com.

Around Town

Hydrant flushing

The town of Williston will be conducting its annual hydrant flushing during July and August. Water customers may experience some low water pressure during that time. For more information, call 878-1239.

Williston grandfather and family recognized

Williston resident Jack Mood and his daughter, Jacquie Bolster, and granddaughters, Jessica and Stephanie Bolster, were awarded the Family Service Award by the Committee on Temporary Shelter earlier this month. The family has helped organized an Easter basket drive for families in the shelters for the past 18 years, individualizing them for each child.

People and Pets Blood drive set for July 5

The American Red Cross announced earlier this week that its blood supply has reached emergency levels. The Northern New England Region of the Red Cross is seeking to collect 8,300 units over the next two weeks.

There will be a blood drive at the American Red Cross “Donor Coach” at The RehabGYM on Thursday, July 5 from 11:30  a.m. – 3:30 p.m. at Maple Tree Place in Williston. There is an especially urgent need for types O negative and positive, B negative and A negative blood donations.Appointments are strongly encouraged, but walk-ins are welcome. To make an appointment, call 1-800-RED CROSS or log on to www.redcrossblood.org. Donors will receive a $5 gift card to Starbucks, a coupon for $50 at Buck’s Furniture and a coupon to Freihoffer’s.

The blood drive will be open to both people and pets.

Life in Williston: Fourth of July the Williston way

By Karen Wyman

Inevitably, the Fourth of July makes us all swell with pride for our country, but the events our town offers should also make us honored to call Williston home. My husband and I got our first introduction to the community many years ago by joining friends for Williston’s Independence Day celebrations. It was this inside look that made us see past the facade of box stores and realize that Williston has much more to offer. Ultimately, reveling in this family-friendly atmosphere inspired us to raise our own family in this amazing town.

The festivities begin this year on July 2 with the family bike races. The theme of getting outside and getting moving continues on July 3 with the Firecracker Fun Run. After all of this exercise, you can then reward yourself at the Ice Cream Social (cheering and encouraging your friends and family from the sidelines deserves a treat, too!). The Town Band performs while everyone enjoys their ice cream, and it’s a great time for kids to see friends they haven’t seen since school let out. My personal favorite event occurs on the third and fourth this year: the annual library book sale. It is such a thrill to walk into the gym and see endless rows of neatly organized tables displaying all sorts of books in excellent condition. I spend hours browsing through the items, and without fail, I leave with an overflowing box of treasures to add to our family library. There is truly something for everyone at this delightful sale (lugging books deserves an ice cream, too!).

The most anticipated event that occurs is probably the parade on the Fourth. It’s always fun to watch the floats representing various town organizations, businesses and neighborhoods, and who doesn’t like having candy thrown to them? Following the parade, there will be many activities throughout the day, including a Fire Department open house, children’s games and a frog jumping contest. Please note this is a B.Y.O.F. event, so make sure you carve out plenty of time to catch your own amphibious version of “I’ll Have Another!” I also highly recommend stopping by to enjoy the delicious chicken lunch at the Williston Federated Church, or the all -American menu of burgers and hot dogs that will be offered on the Village Green. A holiday celebration is never complete without breaking bread with family and friends.

Luckily, there is some downtime before the celebration resumes again later in the evening. This makes a great time to take advantage of the one-day free admission for Williston residents to cool off in Lake Iroquois. To keep the Williston spirit alive, it’s also a perfect opportunity to support our local businesses. My family loves to stop by either Vermont Meat and Seafood or Shelburne Meat Market Williston and choose some fresh meat or fish to grill for dinner. We also love to pick up a patriotic apple pie or a fresh berry pie from Adams Farm Market for dessert!

The party begins again at 7 p.m. at Allen Brook School. This is my family’s favorite event—there is a bouncy house, a DJ and fair food! What is better than that? Tons of people roll into the school at dusk to claim their spot for the fireworks, but it seems few people take advantage of this carnival atmosphere that occurs earlier. Wouldn’t you like to watch your neighbors compete in a limbo, hula hoop or dance contest? It’s definitely a fun way to unwind after a long couple of days. As darkness falls, it’s finally time to grab a blanket and some bug spray and get ready for one of the best firework displays in the area!

I hope to see many of you out enjoying Williston during this action-packed holiday. You should even bring your friends from out of town; you never know—they too may fall in love with this side of our town that outsiders aren’t usually privy to. But consider it fair warning: you may all want to find your frogs now, because we have been “training” Mr. Freddy Longlegs since May!

Karen Wyman has been a Williston resident for seven years, and lives with her husband and twin 5-year-old daughters.

Parade shows town spirit

The parade begins at 10 a.m. along Route 2 in the village. (Observer photo by Dave Schmidt)

By Stephanie Choate

Observer staff

As Williston’s Fourth of July festivities approach, Recreation Director Kevin Finnegan encouraged residents to show their local pride in the “best neighborhood” float competition.

The neighborhood floats are always “some of the most interesting to watch,” he said.

Participation has flagged in recent years, and Finnegan said he would like to see the category’s former popularity restored. The winning neighborhood gets a block party thrown by the town and Williston-Richmond Rotary, including food and entertainment.

“We’d love to see some competition from some neighborhoods, particularly some that haven’t participated before,” Finnegan said. “It’s fun for us to get out there and do the block party for them.”

The parade is set to begin on July 4 at 10 a.m. and runs along Route 2, from Johnson’s Farm to Old Stage Road.

Anyone planning to march in the parade should arrive by at least 9 a.m. To sign up, call the Parks and Recreation Department at 878-1239.