Archive for October, 2007

Mattingly earns due respect

Monday, October 29th, 2007
Patrick Newell

Chris Mattingly has my respect as one of the more solid, unsung, and definitely underrated running backs in Norwich history. Mattingly joined a select few Norwich backs to race past 2,000 career rushing yards last week against Windsor, and he nudged past the 1,000-yard mark against Ithaca in a 42-12 season-ending win for the Tornado last Friday. He wound up with just over 2,360 career rushing yards – not a shabby total and easily a top-five mark in Norwich history. Still, how will history remember Mattingly? It is quite possible he won’t be mentioned in a discussion of all-time great backs in Norwich history. He isn’t the fastest, strongest or most elusive runner Norwich has had – in fact, he may not be the strongest, fastest or most elusive runner on his own team this year. But he has that special something that you cannot put a finger on. “He just has that knack,” said Tim Mattingly, head football coach of Bainbridge-Guilford, who is also Mattingly’s uncle. “He twists and spins, falls forward…and he runs with a physical style.” When I think of Chris Mattingly, I notice how he gets the most out of each run. If there is just a yard to be gained, he’ll get two; two yards available, he’ll get three. The other glaring statistic that I noticed is Mattingly’s success running the ball the past three years coincided almost perfectly with Norwich’s game success. When he ran the ball effectively, the Tornado were usually winning games or at the least in the hunt. When Mattingly was shut down, typically the entire Norwich rushing offense stumbled. Ten other guys were on the field supporting his running efforts, but as a rule, as Mattingly went, so went the Tornado. Next month I will unveil my 2007 football all-stars, and I’m letting the cat out of the bag here: Mattingly will be on that team.

Handy Halloween tips

Friday, October 26th, 2007
Michael McGuire

Anyone else have Halloween parties to go to?

I’ve got one tonight and another Saturday.

Per usual, I didn’t figure out what I am going to be until last night.

I’m sure there are others in the same last-minute boat.

My recommendation: pick a costume that is simple and offensive.

If you’re short on time and money – and you still want to be the talk of the town – then you’ve got no other choice.

Why simple? Because it’s cheap – not a lot of shopping or expensive costumes because you can probably make something with the stuff you already have.

Why offensive? Because you need to stand out. Make a few waves. You can’t be just simple, that’s boring. You have to add a twist (plus, being offensive doesn’t take much work).

Remember: think simple.

A good starting place: make a list of famous and infamous icons.

Or (what I like to do): make a list of all the local weirdoes and crazy people in the town where you live. They make great and easy-to-do costumes.

Next, go through all your old clothes and household items to see what you’re working with. Then, pick the character you could best match with what you have.

Note: before you pick someone, famous or local, make sure all your friends would be familiar with. That makes it funnier and saves you a lot of explaining.

Also, think about who’s going to be at the party. Look out for any potential guests that might get overly upset by your display and adjust accordingly. And it while it’s probably not necessary, make sure the person or a person you’re dressed like won’t be there.

Don’t limit your search to people, either. You can be anything. Just look at stuff around your house and imagine something else it could be. Get the creative juices flowing.

Remember to be shocking.

To do this, you have to give your costume a twist. If your character is nice, give them a not-so-nice touch. If they’re evil, sweeten them up a bit.

For example, if you have a club-size piece of wood, a few white sheets and some imagination, you could become the star of the new hit movie, “Walking Tall: The Mother Theresa Story.”

The possibilities are endless (I’d tell you what I’m going to be, but I don’t want to ruin the surprise, or get fired).

It’s Halloween, so feel free to push the envelope. The more taboo, the better.

A family tradition

Monday, October 22nd, 2007
Jessica Lewis

Every family has there own brand of special traditions. In my family, the tradition is to be as spacey and forgetful as possible.

I don’t want to imply that we’re careless. It’s not that so much as the fact that there are always a million things going on, and you’re bound to forget one or two. Generally speaking, I like to think I do this less than the rest of our family, but every now and then I slip and realize I might just be the worst of all.

On Friday, I laughed as I recounted a story about the time my mom went 3,000 miles past when she was due for an oil change and found out when she dropped the car off that her car was due for an inspection six months ago, not good for another six months as she had thought.

I giggled and snickered as I thought of how silly it was to let these types of things get so out of hand.

Until Saturday morning that is. Saturday, I took my car in for an oil change. I’m not going to tell you how far over I was, because if my husband saw this he would cry himself to sleep, but I will say it wasn’t good. When I returned to pick my car up, I was informed not only that my inspection had expired, but also that the car would never pass inspection without new tires, because I was basically driving on the belts. (I have no idea what that means, but it sounds pretty bad.)

I guess from now on I should try to  refrain from picking on my family about the crazy things they do, because it’s probably only a matter of time before I inherit another family tradition.

Have you seen the light?

Friday, October 19th, 2007
Michael McGuire

“Who cares about oncoming traffic? As long as you can see, that’s all that matters.”

That’s apparently the attitude headlight makers have these days.

Unless you’re in an SUV or a vehicle with some clearance, there’s no doubt you’ve noticed the blinding intensity of the newer beams.

They even have commercials that demonstrate how much brighter and wider these upgraded versions are.

So it’s like we’ve turned our low beams into high beams, and high beams into spotlights.

Wow, really smart.

What good is it having lights that can bring down an airplane if the cars coming at you have them too?

We’ll all blind each for the sake of seeing better.

People are lucky there are guys like me out there that fear change and technology. Our dimmers give you a quick window to get a grip over the road again before descending back into hallogen hell.

We’re what’s keeping all you fancy-pants from going off the road.

Headlights we can artificially tan or call on Batman with – another well thought out, and necessary, American innovation.

Cruel humanity

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007
Tyler Murphy

Work. Lunch time. On my way to pick up a few things I noticed a white cat milling around in the parking lot; he had no collar. Half affectionate and half timid. I went inside and while I waited at the counter, the cat came over to the glass doors and sat just outside.

I got a look at a decrepit right eye socket and its tattered hair exposed a discolored portion of skin from the face down to the right collar bone. At the lower neck, a clump of white fur and dried organic material daringly hung like a wretched badge of the animal’s will to survive. The eye disturbed me as a series of morbid colors leaked from a laceration across its face, I assumed the culprit of the wound claimed the missing eye.

The most vivid thing was not the stale wounds etched across the pale creature’s visage, but the sparks of life it desperately poured out through its one good eye. I’m not sure why, but I had a sudden flash to a desperate human victim, lying on their back, gasping for air, as they harbored some gruesome injury. I had always assumed if I was ever in such a situation the greatest source of trauma would come from the person’s wounds, but now I believe it might come from the desperate and panicked look upon their face. Someone once said “the eyes are the windows to the soul,” so maybe one could be terribly scarred by having to watch it suffer through them.

I compulsively borrowed a pair of gloves from my friend Jim who worked at the place and went outside. I called the cat over and after a moment of maneuvering and calm voice, the cat came to me. I picked him up told him everything would “be OK” and put him in my car. He didn’t smell any better than he looked.

I dropped him off at the SPCA and after being unable to answer any intelligent questions in regard to his origins, I left him in the charge of the shelter.

I had a feeling that he’d be put down. Stray cat, thin, dirty, injured and who knows what else. Not to mention the expense of nursing it back to health… and who would want to adopt a freaky looking cat with one eye anyways… (half way back to the office I had myself talked into the idea).

The eye looked infected and after fall comes winter. I could imagine an alternative fate for the creature. Crying in some random, cold, dark corner of Norwich, unfed, sick with infection and probably out of its mind with delirium. I didn’t ask and they didn’t tell, but I silently hoped he’d recover.

Next day, 9 a.m. Phone rings and I answer. Woman’s voice. “Uh… Hi, is this Tyler Murphy? Yesterday I think you picked up my cat and brought him to the SPCA. I just wanted you to know that shortly after you dropped him off… he was euthanized.”

A nearby neighbor inquired to Jim about her cat and he had explained my ironic humanity. She told me she had tried repeatedly to contact the shelter, but by the time she had it was too late. The SPCA, who knows far more about animal biology than I, decided the animal was suffering greatly or dying and met the criteria for immediate termination. He was put to sleep in order to ease his burdens.

The woman, Barbara, said her cat’s name was Mowmow and that he had cancer. According to her, he was on the road to recovery and had been to the veterinarian not too long ago. He was an indoor cat, she said, who had escaped outside. I explained the cat looked to be in poor condition, but that’s all I can honestly describe because like I said, I know nothing of animal biology, only human compassion… and guilt.

Nip/Tuck

Monday, October 15th, 2007
Jeff Genung

Those of you who picked up the print edition of today’s Evening Sun probably noticed a subtle change in the paper’s layout. At least I hope you did, ‘cuz I spent a whole lot of time putting it all together.

I’ve redesigned the look of The Evening Sun quite a few times over the past couple decades, some representing more wholesale changes than others. Sometimes the change is born of a physical or technological need; other times it’s simply because I’m easily bored.

The biggest change you’ll notice is right at the top … our Evening Sun “flag.” That’s what has changed the least in the past few redesigns, the last time being about ‘95, I think, when we switched to the Stoneprint Roman font and added the striated setting sun motif behind.

After a dozen years, I got a little tired of that, so the Venetian blinds are gone, replaced by the full-version sun seen on this very website for the past year.

Not too many other changes typographically – most of what you see different inside is in terms of page order and content.

• Page 5 is now “Viewpoints,” a second editorial page or reader’s forum. We’ve added a new daily column from NEA, “Frugal Living,” and a daily sidebar that refers to content found exclusively on evesun.com, in addition to more room for letters to the editor, guest columns and other local content.

• Page 7 is now Calendar, a full page of The Evening Sun’s events column, with a special feature photo each day.

• Page 10 is now “Hot Topics,” a colorful page of entertainment news, celebrity gossip, news of the weird and the weirdest of all – the new home of “30 Seconds.”

We’ve shuffled around the state and international news pages, and moved comics and the TV grid pages to the second section. And, perhaps the most sweeping change of all – we ditched “Peanuts” for a new comic strip called “Cow and Boy.” It sounded pretty Chenango County to me. We’ll see how it goes. For those who lament the loss of Charlie Brown and company … well, folks, Charles Schulz died a long time ago. It’s time to let go.

So that’s a quick overview of the cosmetic nip/tuck The Evening Sun went through over the weekend. More changes and new features will be popping up in the coming weeks. Let me know what you think.

Let’s be friends!

Friday, October 12th, 2007
Michael McGuire

“I can’t grow facial hair that looks cool so I’m selling these cards and flag pins to make a living.”

If I crept up on you in your office and handed you a card that said that, would you give me money?

No?

Well, apparently I probably would.

I fell for a similar scam a few days ago.

Except the guy didn’t suck at growing a beard. Instead, he claimed he was deaf.

Ironically, I didn’t even hear him come up behind me. I was typing at my computer and he tapped my shoulder.

“Can I help you?” I said, a little startled, no idea who this guy is or what he wants.

No response.

Just staring, and silence.

It was awkward.

I was scared.

Then he hands me a card.

“Let’s Be Friends,” it read. “I am a deaf person selling these cards and flag pins for a living. I love you.”

The card had a chintzy American Flag pin attached to it. On the back was the alphabet for the deaf.

At the bottom it said “Donation, any price you wish.”

“Oh, you’re deaf and you need money,” I say out loud. “Now I understand. That makes perfect sense. Here.”

I handed him $3.

“Sound good?” I asked.

He thanked me in sign language and took off.

Only a real idiot says “sound good” to a deaf person.

I felt pretty stupid.

But, I felt even stupider the more I thought about the whole thing.

What did him being deaf have to do with selling pins for a living?

I actually got kind of mad.

This guy ambushes me at work, ignoring the “employees only” sign and receptionist’s desk, and startles me into forking over a few bucks – just because he’s deaf?

But I realized, the shame was all on me.

If a beggar who wasn’t deaf walked into my office unannounced and asked me for money, I would have told him/her to hit the bricks.

But this guy was “deaf,” so I didn’t. Instead, I gave him money, because, on instinct, I associated not being able to hear with needing a handout.

I don’t know many, but I’m guessing a handout is the last thing a deaf person needs or wants.

Lesson learned, hopefully.

Observations on Chenango County

Thursday, October 11th, 2007
Jessica Lewis

Ahh… It’s autumn in Chenango County. What a magical time of year, but after spending some time traveling from one end of the county to the other, there are a few things, I can’t help but wonder about.

1. Everywhere I look, I see pumpkins. I love pumpkins. In fact carving them is one of the most fun activities of the year, but I swear here and now, I will never buy a pumpkin from someone who can’t spell the word pumpkin. It’s only Oct. 11 and already I’ve gone by countless signs advertising the sale of “pumkins” or “pumpkens.” This is one of my biggest pet peeves. I know it might seem harsh, but if you are currently one of the many people selling “pumkins” I hope your house gets egged on Halloween!

2. I know it’s fall and the time has come for many area farmer’s to mow their corn and harvest their crops. I accept that, but can anyone tell me why the farmer who planted corn all around my house has to wait until 10 p.m. before he starts mowing. If there is some agricultural explanation for this, I’ll stop complaining, but at the moment it seems he was sent by some evil demon to make sure that every time my sick and grumpy baby falls asleep, he will be woken up the the loud roar and bright lights of a tractor.

3. Why is it if you give someone a deadline, they will wait until the last possible minute and become extremely unpleasant with you, if they miss said deadline. Personally, I do this all the time, because I am a horrible procrastinator, but apparently I am not alone. In the last few weeks, I have been increasingly worried about the lack of scary story submissions I had received for The Evening Sun’s Ghastly Ghost Stories competition. However, apparently I worried for no reason, because the day of the deadline, and in the days since, I have received more stories than I did in all of the weeks leading up to the deadline combined. ;-) (Thanks to everyone who participated, and look forward to seeing the finalists’ stories on the web site soon.)

Beautiful Tragedy

Wednesday, October 10th, 2007
Tyler Murphy

What a world, to live.

It can be difficult to focus on a particular thing anymore. Life can be so massive in its variety yet so personal in its effect.

Autumn trees strewn across the hill side when viewed from a distance appear to have strong veins of color stretching across the valley but as you get closer each colored devotion is shattered into several. Every single tree harbors a thousand assortments, none quite like the others.

The patterns created by our distance from the details of things can change our perception of it completely. A large swath of bright orange pouring down a slope fades into a prismatic spray of diversity as one approaches each tree contained within. Each leaf expresses a distinct contribution to the over all impression. Each a part, none a whole.

The perspective of life must share similar scintillating qualities when viewed from afar or near. Abstract or intimate. Can there be truth in each perception? Is one more important than the other?

Imagine how the masses of people might appear to the king waving from his balcony, their reactions and behaviors. Each of us like the leaf on a tree is an individual but when viewed from afar do we also have the appearance of falling into the greatest commonality surrounding us? No two people are alike but how many categories do we fit ourselves into?

Assumption of a group’s traits may be relatively true in the abstract but when confronting each individual that comprises it might reveal that same assumption to be completely ignorant at an intimate and personal level.

The only difference between people and leaves, in this case, is that leaves are categorized based upon their color while people are judge upon their surface behaviors. A similarity, like Autumn, appearance and impression are all one needs, or has, of the individual when making vast and sweeping judgments of a multitude. Is this a flawed practice? Can we even control our impulses to act in such a way? The eye can only absorb so much detail, is the mind equally plagued with human limits?

Our control over the roots and our place in life are ailments often shared with mother natures fall season. Even the brightest yellow leaf will be drowned out in the riot of red foliage that surrounds it. From afar it would never be recognized, only categorized as a red. A beautiful tragedy.

Greene coach reaches milestone

Tuesday, October 9th, 2007
Patrick Newell

It was a little over 10 years ago I was writing about another Greene coach reaching a milestone for field hockey victories. Nancy Bromley, the reserved, quiet leader who started the Trojans’ storied program almost 35 years ago, won her 300th career game. Revered and respected by everyone in the Central New York region, Bromley was awarded the ultimate accolade in Section IV sports when she was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Perhaps in another 10 years (or less), a disciple of Bromley will join her on that select Hall list. Sue Carlin, who is in her eighth season coaching Greene, joined an exclusive club of 300-game winners when the Trojans blanked Cortland 5-0 on Monday. Earlier this year, Marathon’s Karen Funk won her 300th game, and while I can’t give a precise number of wins Jan Conover of Afton is likely in the 300-win club as well. That makes just four coaches in the history of Section IV field hockey in rarefied territory. Funny thing, Carlin had no idea where she stood with career wins, although she did admit to a moment of reflection when Funk reached 300 wins. “I wondered how many wins I had,” Carlin said, who in typical fashion deferred attention away from herself an on her kids after Monday’s monumental victory. Carlin’s win total isn’t simply a product of longevity – as she joked on Monday – but a testament to consistently fielding winning programs. The former Greene player under Bromley in the early years of Section IV field hockey, Carlin directed Maine-Endwell for 14 seasons leading the Spartans to a pair of state titles. She came on board at Greene succeeding Nancy Barrows, and won a state title in 2003. She has had Greene in the section finals almost every season, and continues to remain as humble a coach as you will find. And at 50 years old, she is still going strong as the Trojans are again among the top teams in Section IV. Reaching 400 wins may seem implausible, but don’t count Carlin out – and don’t expect her to count the wins for you either!