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McNealy's inflatable 'blimp' pleasure-dome angers neighbours

'Muffled slapshots' echo across leafy valley

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Sun boss Scott McNealy has installed a giant, blimp-like inflatable dome in his garden, where he entertains companions. Angry neighbours have complained about loud cries and the noise of muffled "slapshots" which "ring out across the valley".

According to the San Mateo County Times, McNealy's pleasure dome is regarded in the neighbourhood as something of an eyesore. The paper quotes local resident Peggy Judd as saying that it "just doesn't look like something that should be in an open space district" and that at night it lights up and glows "like a spaceship landing, or a parked blimp".

Times reporter Will Oremus gave first-hand testimony from the scene, describing the noise of "slapshots" and excited cries echoing across the "forested, typically serene neighbourhood".

According to the report, McNealy has installed "padded fences" to conceal the bulbous play-dome and "muffle the sound", but this is considered to be only partially effective by locals as "it doesn't cover up the whole thing".

"We told him if [the padded fence] doesn't work, we won't renew the permit," community environment official Curtis Williams told the Times. "If it seems to do the job and eliminate the off-site impacts, then we would renew it for the rest of the winter, and he would take it down in spring. He doesn't need it in spring and summer."

The dome is said to conceal a facility in which McNealy and companions indulge in his favourite pastimes. Naturally in the Californian summertime there is little need for protection from the climate, and the bulging dome is only erected in the winter months.

For the record, the Times specifies that the pastimes in question are tennis and - in the winter - ice hockey.

Read all about it here. ®

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