Archive for March, 2012

You’re a nice guy… please get out of my bubble

Friday, March 30th, 2012
Shawn Magrath

I’d like to think we’ve all had encounters with people that we almost immediately regret. I’m sure even Ned Flanders would grimace and mutter something a little less than flattering at the sight of a familiar face that he would really, really, really like to avoid.

Of course, we’re not talking just avoid. No, we’re talking about going out of the way to avoid.

I had one of those encounters at the grocery store earlier this week (and in hindsight, I suppose only one per week isn’t so bad). I wasn’t even given the chance to avoid it. I simply turned and, well, there was no “pretending” I didn’t see him, no ducking down behind bread shelves, no last-second turns down the feminine products aisle which involves other risks that I’m willing to take… My only option was to not move and just hope he didn’t see me, which of course, didn’t work the way I had hoped.

It’s not that this gentleman’s a bad guy. He’s not rude. He’s not threatening. He doesn’t complain, doesn’t cuss, smoke, yell or hassle me. On the contrary, he’s almost too pleasant – the rot-your-teeth-from-too-much-sweetness kind of pleasant. Really, I don’t mind his persona. My problem is his lack of regard for personal space – you know, the “personal bubble.” Everybody has one and it’s only big enough for themselves.

This guy definitely tries to fit too much of himself into the too little space available in my bubble. It’s a complaint straight from a Seinfeld episode; a great guy but stands waayyy too close – a literal toe to toe conversationalist. So close, I actually needed to push my elbow backwards to shake his hand. I take a step back and he inches his way closer while he talks to me. Another step back and he inches closer. Another step back and he inches closer… A few more steps I might actually make it to my car (assuming he doesn’t try to carry on the conversation as I’m rolling up the window and driving away).

And it’s an awkward situation. He’s an acquaintances I don’t see too often and it’s just not worth the risk of sounding like a jerk by asking him to back up a little. Truth be told, I don’t even remember the conversation. I just put it on autopilot – I smiled, nodded my head, watched his pupils dilate and stuck with it until he spotted someone else he knew.

Who wouldn’t want to relive that? I Can’t wait until I see him again.

Is it Friday? It is? Good.

Friday, March 30th, 2012
Brian Golden

Ever have one of those weeks? Me? I’ve had two of them. What can I say? There’s nothing like getting a front tooth busted out via microphone to the face while in the midst of a musical performance, which is what happened to me last Friday. Who’s to blame, you ask? Well, let’s just say alcohol was involved and … no … I was not at fault. So to the gentleman who tumbled into my microphone stand … thank you. Thank you so very much.

Adding insult to injury, I (somehow) managed to burst a blood vessel in my left eye, resulting in my grotesque appearance for the past ten days or so. To put it simply, I look like patient zero in the Zombie Apocalypse right about now and, needless to say, I think I’ve heard the words, “Brian, you look like hell,” more than enough this week. Not that I’m in disagreement … I do look like hell. Feeling that way, too.

With that said, I’m off to Syracuse for the weekend, first for a suit fitting (I’m the best man in my best friend’s wedding come June), then for rehearsal (on Saturday), all in preparation for the studio (on Sunday). A busy weekend, to say the least. And now that gas prices have hit the $4 mark, let’s just say I’m not all that excited to fill ‘er up, if you know what I mean. On a positive note, however, my good friend and fellow guitarist Mike Davis will be in town for the rehearsal/studio session, and I’m looking forward to seeing the man.

And now, without further ado, my Absolutely Ridiculous ‘30 Seconds’ quote of the day, brought to you by … Man from Sherburne.
“Who knew Cheney even had a heart?”

Granted, I’m not the world’s biggest Dick Cheney fan, but this is taking it a little too far. I dislike this type of comment the same way I do those that are so disparaging of our current president. Whether you agree with an individual’s politics or not, there’s no reason to wish them harm and/or ill will.

And with that, I bid you farewell for the week. Until next time …

Editor’s Notebook: 3/29/12

Thursday, March 29th, 2012
Jeff Genung
• This week has gotten away from me incredibly fast. Time flies when you’re having …
• Check out today’s Sports section for Pat Newell’s annual season-end review of the top Chenango high school basketball players – this week, it’s the girls’ turn. Can’t say I’ve ever been to a girls’ basketball game in my entire life, but hey, that’s what I pay Pat the big bucks for. All kidding aside, congratulations to this fine group of young female athletes.
• Speaking of young females … or old, for that matter … oh heck, just about everyone can get married these days, why be exclusive? Today’s the day we also roll out our 2012 Wedding Planner. It’s full of all the latest … who am I kidding? We bought the content, considering none of us on the ES staff are particularly knowledgeable in the art of matrimony … well, in planning a big expansive wedding in 2012, anyway. Both Melissa and Shawn are happily married (not to each other), so I’m sure they must be experts at some aspect of it by now.
• Spent a good portion of my night Wednesday sitting through Norwich High School’s dress rehearsal for this weekend’s production of “Aida.” I’ve got both a story interviewing the cast and a review of the show in Friday’s edition. Without giving too much away, I will say that I quoted senior Mallory Norton as saying that this show “will give Phantom a run for its money” – and she’s right.

• This week has gotten away from me incredibly fast. Time flies when you’re having …

• Check out today’s Sports section for Pat Newell’s annual season-end review of the top Chenango high school basketball players – this week, it’s the girls’ turn. Can’t say I’ve ever been to a girls’ basketball game in my entire life, but hey, that’s what I pay Pat the big bucks for. All kidding aside, congratulations to this fine group of young female athletes.

• Speaking of young females … or old, for that matter … oh heck, just about everyone can get married these days, why be exclusive? Today’s the day we also roll out our 2012 Wedding Planner. It’s full of all the latest … who am I kidding? We bought the content, considering none of us on the ES staff are particularly knowledgeable in the art of matrimony … well, in planning a big expansive wedding in 2012, anyway. Both Melissa and Shawn are happily married (not to each other), so I’m sure they must be experts at some aspect of it by now.

• Spent a good portion of my night Wednesday sitting through Norwich High School’s dress rehearsal for this weekend’s production of “Aida.” I’ve got both a story interviewing the cast and a review of the show in Friday’s edition. Without giving too much away, I will say that I quoted senior Mallory Norton as saying that this show “will give Phantom a run for its money” – and she’s right.

The end of an interesting week

Friday, March 23rd, 2012
Shawn Magrath

There’s something truly amazing about Fridays that creates a vacuum in both time and space, forcing the clock on the wall to actually tick backwards. Of course, it’s an unproven hypothesis but it would explain why it takes so long for the weekend to get here.

Not that I’m anxious for this week to end. It’s been an interesting enough; Ag Day on Tuesday, my car breaking on Wednesday – and yesterday, I found $40 in the pocket of a pair of my jeans, leftover from one of those wild and crazy trips to the grocery store – when things got out of hand and I found myself rearranging items at the checkout line to avoid smashing bread products with canned goods and a gallon of milk, I slipped some extra cash into my pocket and forgot about it later. Such is the exciting life I live. (Finding loose change in the dryer makes me scream like a nine-year-old girl. Finding $40 in my pocket nearly gave me an aneurism and an unforgettable scene for fellow grocery-shopping onlookers).

In regards to my car, all is doing better than I had expected. The warning lights are making the dashboard light up like a Christmas tree, but fortunately none of them have to do with the recent noise it’s making – at least I think it’s fortunate. The old car (a.k.a. The Rolling Turd, named after the motor home in “RV”) is in need of new struts and springs, but I think I can put the problem off just a little longer, at least until it begins to bounce so much that holding a cup of hot coffee becomes a little too risky. My thanks to the few who emailed me suggestions or comments about my auto woes from my last blog, but my plan A is still in effect… If someone wants to steal my car, I promise to act surprised… Come to think of it, I really would be surprised. I promise to act disappointed.

Editor’s Notebook: 3/23/12

Friday, March 23rd, 2012
Jeff Genung
• And we come to the end of another long, crazy week. At least the weather was nice — freakishly so. I’m not one to bite the hand that feeds me, but I can’t help thinking we’re going to pay for all this 70-80 degree weather with one mother of a snowstorm after Easter. Or a zombie apocalypse on 12-12-12, take your pick.
• My alma mater, Oxford Academy, has chosen a new school superintendent, Dr. David Richards. Ooh, a doctor! Little old Oxford is stepping up in the world! I’ve seen many a superintendent come and go, of course, but in my mind it’ll always be Mr. Burroughs at the helm of the red & black. Look at me waxing nostalgic about the good old days … of high school?!?
• I’ll be attending my first “Fashion Night Out” at the Benedict Corporation Saturday night. It’s an annual fashion show fundraiser for the Phoenix Dance Project, which features dancers from our own Perkins School of the Arts. I look forward to Amber’s recitals every spring and saw a Phoenix performance at the Palace Theater in Hamilton last fall that was phenomenal, so it’ll be interesting to see how they stage this whole fashion show concept thing. I hear it’s a good time.
• Pat Newell’s first of a seven-part series on the latest class of inductees for the Norwich Sports Hall of Fame appears in today’s edition, profiling John Stewart of the Class of ‘54. Check it out here.

• And we come to the end of another long, crazy week. At least the weather was nice — freakishly so. I’m not one to bite the hand that feeds me, but I can’t help thinking we’re going to pay for all this 70-80 degree weather with one mother of a snowstorm after Easter. Or a zombie apocalypse on 12-12-12, take your pick.

• My alma mater, Oxford Academy, has chosen a new school superintendent, Dr. David Richards. Ooh, a doctor! Little old Oxford is stepping up in the world! I’ve seen many a superintendent come and go, of course, but in my mind it’ll always be Mr. Burroughs at the helm of the red & black. Look at me waxing nostalgic about the good old days … of high school?!?

• I’ll be attending my first “Fashion Night Out” at the Benedict Corporation Saturday night. It’s an annual fashion show fundraiser for the Phoenix Dance Project, which features dancers from our own Perkins School of the Arts. I look forward to Amber’s recitals every spring and saw a Phoenix performance at the Palace Theater in Hamilton last fall that was phenomenal, so it’ll be interesting to see how they stage this whole fashion show concept thing. I hear it’s a good time.

• Pat Newell’s first of a seven-part series on the latest class of inductees for the Norwich Sports Hall of Fame appears in today’s edition, profiling John Stewart of the Class of ‘54. Check it out here.

March 23, 2011

Friday, March 23rd, 2012
Brian Golden

On occasion, I like to take a look back at last year’s Evening Sun edition of the same date – in this case March 23, 2011 – just to see what was in the news. This week, that which stuck out the most was the weather, of course, considering last year we saw temperatures in the 30’s, snow, sleet and ice. For example, today we’re supposed to top out once again in the 70’s. Last year? Highs around 30.

In 2011, March 23 was a Wednesday, which meant it was “column day” for me. The topic? The passing of legendary blues pianist Pinetop Perkins. The title? Every day I have the blues, a not-so-subtle nod to another blues legend, guitarist B.B. King.

And then there’s The Evening Sun’s staff of reporters, which – one year ago today – consisted of myself, Tyler Murphy and Melissa Stagnaro (and Melissa deCordova, of course, who’s still here). Tyler and Melissa have since moved on, and I now share the newsroom with Mr. Julian Kappel and Mr. Shawn Magrath. What can I say? It’s a completely different dynamic nowadays, not to mention the “shuffling of the beats.”

Shuffling of the beats … I like that.

As far as sports are concerned … last year saw the Syracuse Orange make an early exit in the NCAA tournament, with an unexpected loss to Marquette. This year, a narrow victory over Wisconsin, which had me on the edge of my seat throughout the second half last night. Go Orange!

It’s funny just how much things can change in a year. If you’d told me 365 days ago that I’d be covering the Evening Sun’s police/fire/ems/court beat a year from then, I probably would’ve laughed out loud. I certainly never expected the change of scenery, but I can tell you this much … it’s never dull. And to be completely honest, now that I’ve adjusted to the new beat I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. Sure, it can be a little depressing at times, seeing the same individuals getting in trouble again and again (and again), but as I said, there’s never a dull moment.

Hate for my car and love for the weather

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012
Shawn Magrath

Money’s going to be a little tight in the Magrath household this week. Time to choose between paying a bill a little late or just buying a few less groceries for the week. It’s a tough decision when it comes down to it. Do I want to open one of those scary yellow bills – you know, the one with a skull and crossbones watermark that’s underlying threats of smashing my knee caps with a baseball bat if I don’t pay, tied to a brick then thrown through the window (I didn’t even know the cable company had connections with the Italian Mafia). Or, should I eat just PB and J for a couple days (something I could easily do)? Suddenly, life throws me a curve ball; my car breaks and has to go to the car doctor… On the bright side, I no longer face the dilemma of choosing between bills and food. My car is going to suck me dry before I get a chance to pay either. Hurray for not having to make any tough decisions in life!

Anyone considering the purchase of a Pontiac in the near future, I wouldn’t recommend it. There is, after all, a reason the brand didn’t make the cut when GM was trimming some of its fat a few years back. Unfortunately, it’s too late for me – I accidentally bought one in 2009. Personally, I’m hoping it gets jacked. I’m leaving the key in the ignition, the door ajar just a little bit, I have a welcome mat laid down with candy lining the dashboard and a sign that says “don’t steal me” in the window… I just hope they leave the CD case in the driveway (that’s right, I still use the CD player).

I guess, like everyone else in the area, I never thought I would say to myself “I’m too hot” in the middle of March. Yeah, I could spend my time worrying about the most recent sign hinting to the unquestionable truth of global warming and that it’s a looming threat that’s going to melt us to the ground someday. But for now, it’s just easier to pull the fan out of the storage room at home. My apartments too uncomfortably warm to complain.

Now that spring is officially here, it’s difficult to complain about a passed winter for the record books. I can count on one hand the number of times I had to brush snow off my car and not once did I need to shovel the driveway (though there were a few when it wouldn’t have hurt). Of course, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss the snow this year, even if only a little. Snow and I apparently have a very love/hate relationship; when it’s gone, I miss it and when it’s here, I want it to go away… I use to have co-workers like that.

I also want to point out that Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this year and his prediction called for six more weeks of winter… Liar. I knew he couldn’t be trusted.

Whacko environmental tree huggers? Really?

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012
Brian Golden

Well, it’s March 21 and pushing 80 degrees out there … just one more day of record-setting temperatures. Which is, to put it mildly, quite unbelievable, if you ask me. And no, I’m not going to launch into my typical climate change rant, because – for the moment – I’m just going to enjoy the unseasonable weather and the fact that I’ve been able to barbecue the last three days.

What can I say? I absolutely love all things grilled, as well as the grilling process itself.

In honor of my first viewing of the recently released to Blue Ray, “The Muppets,” I decided today was the perfect day to write a heartfelt tribute to the brilliant Jim Henson for this week’s Evening Sun column. And I must admit, it was probably the easiest column I’ve ever written. As for the new Muppet movie … it’s fantastic. I can’t put it any better than that. It’s absolutely fantastic.

And now … my pick for the most ridiculous online ‘30 Seconds’ post of the day:
” … Our whacko environmental tree huggers have gone too far. If I want to burn my garbage on my land, as long as the smoke doesn’t drift into my neighbor’s bedroom window, leave me alone. More polutants are put into the air when I drive to Norwich than by all my outdoor fires.” – Man from South New Berlin

Mmm … wow … and that’s all I have to say about that. “Whacko environmental tree huggers” … how original.

With that said, how about a Quote of the Day, brought to you this time by Mr. Jim Henson himself.
“Life’s like a movie, write your own ending. Keep believing, keep pretending.”

Did you get your iPad yet?

Friday, March 16th, 2012
Shawn Magrath

There are clearly two types of people in modern culture: Those who spend hours in line waiting to get their hands on the new iPad and those who ask “Why are you doing that?” With the release of the new iPad this morning and me choosing to go to work instead, guess which group I belong to.

I’m a tech geek myself, but the thought of standing in line to be one of the first to buy a new product makes me shutter a little. I don’t do well in lines. In fact, you may be one of the less than fortunate people who has stood in front of me at the DMV, post office or in the check-out line at the grocery store. I was the jerk who let out such a sigh that it blew your hair forward, remember? Sorry about that.

For all my fellow Dr. Seuss fans out there, heads up; studios are already milking the success of “The Lorax,” which has topped box office charts for the last two weeks. Reportedly, plans are in the works to make another big screen adaptation of “The Cat in the Hat,” to which all I can say is… please, don’t.The last one (with Mike Meyers) was awful and I don’t see a new one doing much better. In fact, leave all of Seuss’ books alone (including the not-so-popular ones like “Fox in Socks” and “Mr. Brown can Moo! Can you?” – although Mr. Brown would be quite the heroic protagonist on the big screen). It’s no secret that the movies, all of them, ruin the books. Create new ideas and write all the crappy movie scripts you want Hollywood but I implore you, leave Seuss creativity be.

Shifting gears a bit, the St. Baldrick’s Foundation is hosting their annual fundraiser for childhood cancer research tomorrow at Park Place. Also, Roots and Wings is hosting an event at Taylor’s Country House tomorrow night – Both raising money for good causes but only one leaves behind a new populace of shaven heads (it almost sounds occutlic but again I promise, it is for a good cause).

The Onion, (more) ’30 Seconds’ and The Duke

Thursday, March 15th, 2012
Brian Golden

Another beautiful day out there, Chenango County, so get out there and enjoy it, especially you online ‘30 Seconds’ recluses (just kidding … I think). Regardless, it’s far too nice to be sitting in front of the computer all day (unless that’s your job, of course).

In a totally unrelated topic, I read with great interest an online article posted by The Onion, America’s Finest News Source (a fictional news agency that’s always good for a laugh), concerning a distant alien race determined to end the madness in Syria because – according to the aliens – our planet seems to be doing nothing. Obviously, there’s absolutely nothing funny about the violence that’s going down even as a write this, but I applaud any attempt to get people thinking about the fact that thousands of women and children have already been killed, with no end in sight.

It’s pretty sad that we can go to war for oil and profits but not for a cause that is, in all honesty, a righteous one. Big thumbs down.

On a side note, thanks to those very same online ‘30 Seconds’ commenters for the following posts:
“Brian Golden: WONDERFUL article! Why are most people – parents, teachers, etc. ‘pro-medication’ for kids (and themselves)? LAZINESS. Zonk the kids (or yourself) and it’s EASIER. Much of today’s mainstream society ok’s that mentality.”
Man from Greene
“Okay, another comment for ya Mr. Golden … this one regarding your blog (posted March 14). Arnold used to take PLENTY of um, ‘meds’. Just look at pics of him from the 1970’s.”
Man from Greene
“Great blog Brian!”
Man from Norwich

Thanks to those who commented (I guess that column on ADHD was a good idea after all), and as for those who voted these ‘30 Seconds’ submissions down … well, you’re entitled to your opinion. As for my opinion, I think there’s a few people out there who vote down every post, no matter its content.

So there.

And now, my quote of the day, courtesy of The Duke, Mr. John Wayne.
“Courage is being scared to death … and saddling up anyway.”