Archive for April, 2012

Editor’s Notebook: 4/30/12

Monday, April 30th, 2012
Jeff Genung
• April went by really, really fast.
• Had a great time down at Six on the Square Saturday for the Seamus Kennedy performance! It was a sold-out crowd, so I’m grateful to Nancy Morey and Jeanie Petersen for getting me in. Hadn’t been there since the old Night Eagle days. The space is pretty much the same, but what strikes me now just as much as it did then is what a treasure this is in little ol’ Oxford. Growing up, I never thought of the hometown as being particularly cultural in any respect. Nowadays, we have a thriving non-profit bringing in high-calibre acts in an intimate and unique setting. Not sure how ‘hidden’ it is right smack in the middle of Oxford, but Six on the Square truly is a gem!
• Got your purple laid out for tomorrow? Took some excavating in the closet, but I think I found something wearable (see paragraph above; I was a Blackhawk, not a Tornado). Tuesday is “Paint the County Purple!” day, sponsored by Chenango County’s Relay For Life effort and an awareness-raiser for the fight against cancer. It’s a simple thing to do to show solidarity for such an important cause.
• Had a lunch meeting today over in New Berlin. Really have to make the trek over hill and dale more often. Besides a yummy lunch at New York Pizzeria (love you, Betsey!), it’s just a great little community with a friendly vibe – the best of what Chenango County has to offer, small town-wise. And while I’m doing shout-outs, I got to see the new sidelights (those glass panels on either side of the door) adorning the entrance to the village library, hand-crafted by my friend Peggy Finnegan (of Colorscape Chenango fame). An artist in lead and glass – they look fantastic!
• The Pink Door is 40 years old? Hard to believe it’s been that long. Read all about their history and anniversary celebration here.

• April went by really, really fast.

• Had a great time down at Six on the Square Saturday for the Seamus Kennedy performance! It was a sold-out crowd, so I’m grateful to Nancy Morey and Jeanie Petersen for getting me in. Hadn’t been there since the old Night Eagle days. The space is pretty much the same, but what strikes me now just as much as it did then is what a treasure this is in little ol’ Oxford. Growing up, I never thought of the hometown as being particularly cultural in any respect. Nowadays, we have a thriving non-profit bringing in high-calibre acts in an intimate and unique setting. Not sure how ‘hidden’ it is right smack in the middle of Oxford, but Six on the Square truly is a gem!

• Got your purple laid out for tomorrow? Took some excavating in the closet, but I think I found something wearable (see paragraph above; I was a Blackhawk, not a Tornado). Tuesday is “Paint the County Purple!” day, sponsored by Chenango County’s Relay For Life effort and an awareness-raiser for the fight against cancer. It’s a simple thing to do to show solidarity for such an important cause.

• Had a lunch meeting today over in New Berlin. Really have to make the trek over hill and dale more often. Besides a yummy lunch at New York Pizzeria (love you, Betsey!), it’s just a great little community with a friendly vibe – the best of what Chenango County has to offer, small town-wise. And while I’m doing shout-outs, I got to see the new sidelights (those glass panels on either side of the door) adorning the entrance to the village library, hand-crafted by my friend Peggy Finnegan (of Colorscape Chenango fame). An artist in lead and glass – they look fantastic!

• The Pink Door is 40 years old? Hard to believe it’s been that long. Read all about their history and anniversary celebration here.

Time for a new phone

Friday, April 27th, 2012
Shawn Magrath

Lately, I’ve been considering the possibility of buying a new cell phone. Mine has lived well past its life expectancy and has finally reached the point where it works but only when it wants to. In a way, I’ll be sad to see it go. It’s lived in my pocket for so, I’ve dropped it more times than I can count over the years, and it still has the old (slightly embarrassing) ring tones that no one has anymore. But if you want to talk about ROI, I bought it for $15 back in 2006 – I’ve gotten my money’s worth.

So I embark on the search for a new phone and my options are as wide as the ocean is deep, the sky is high, and as hairless cats are ugly. The market for phones has exploded over the last ten years, which has become clear just by watching prime time television commercials (phone commercial, car commercial, car commercial, phone commercial, phone commercial, phone commercial, low calorie soft-drink commercial, phone commercial, and back to the show). There are so many choices of phones that by the time I decide which to get, I’m not going to want to use it – I’m just going to want to take a nap.

As much as I’ve always said I would never go the way of smart phones, I’m really considering it now. It would be great to get emails on my phone; my biggest fear is getting a phone that’s smarter than I am (I’m talking about you, Siri). Of course, there are other options. I would happily use my old wall-mounted rotary phone if it didn’t take 20 minutes to dial a number (zip, click-click-click-click-click-click-click, and repeat).
“Hello?”
“Hi”
(long pause)
“Why did you call?”
“I don’t remember…”

I suppose if choosing a new phone is really as complicated as it all sounds, I’ll just go with another $15 special.

Learning curves, American Idol and … ’30 Seconds’

Friday, April 27th, 2012
Brian Golden

Well, it’s been an interesting week here at The Evening Sun (isn’t it always?), spent learning the ups and downs of newspaper assembly, all so our esteemed editor can take a well-deserved mini-vacation in a few weeks. Needless to say, it’s amazing just how much work goes into our hometown daily paper each and every day, and it’s been both exciting and a little nerve-wracking while discovering more about the process. Regardless, it’s a big responsibility and one I’m taking pretty seriously.

Moving on, how about last night’s American Idol? Like millions of others out there, I’m now hooked on the one-of-a-kind talent show (thanks, Renée!), so much so that I’ve missed-out on most of the current Survivor, another “reality” show I somehow became addicted to. And while I can’t say I’ve agreed with America’s choices each and every week, that’s an extremely talented bunch they’ve got up there on the stage. My breakdown of the top five? Here goes … Phillip Phillips (nice name): Dave Matthews clone, but by far the most original of the bunch (and at least he can actually play that guitar), and I suppose my favorite at this point in the competition. Joshua Ledet: What can I say? If Phillip is my number 1, then Joshua is my 1A (or 1.5 … or something). Fantastic voice, great showmanship and another true original. Jessica Sanchez: Extremely talented but kind of predictable (and maybe a little egotistical, to boot?). Has to be my number three simply because of Hollie Cavanagh (sorry, not a fan) and Skylar Laine (no comment … trying to be nice).

And now … my Most Ridiculous ‘30 Seconds’ Post of the Week, brought to you by Man from Norwich …
“To the mfs (I’m guessing that means Man from Sherburne … or maybe Smyrna … Smithville?). If Obama gets another four years this country will be so far in debt that it would take a lifetime to get out of! Free market is the foundation of this country! Obama is a socialist!”

Umm … no he isn’t. Do you even know the definition of socialist? Didn’t think so.

This is your brain. This is your brain when you watch too much Fox News.

And now (cue “Eye of the Tiger”) it’s time for more training and/or reviewing of training notes. Yo, Adrian!

Editor’s Notebook: 4/26/12

Thursday, April 26th, 2012
Jeff Genung
• Insert obligatory comment about weather here. Acknowledge, move on.
• I was pleased to hear there’s a group getting together a family fun day for the 4th of July at the Chenango County Fairgrounds this year. I have many fond memories of the Rotary’s Independence Day events (Loverboy notwithstanding) and of course the much-missed Bullthistle Balloonfest. It’ll be nice to see some semblance of those events return to tradition this summer. The organizers are in need of volunteers, so pitch in! You can find them on Facebook here.
• Spent some time in the Sherburne-Earlville auditorium last night (renovations look good, by the way … too bad it took me 10 minutes to figure out how to get into the school!) for a preview of the drama club’s “Almost, Maine” production this weekend. Watch for my review in Friday’s paper.
• Things are sure heating up in the race for Chenango County Judge, as I’m sure you read in my story earlier this week. That was a tough one to write – valid points on both sides, and two opponents I respect and admire. Public opinion on the GOP’s endorsement seems pretty divided, too, based on what I’ve seen on Facebook, 30 Seconds and … oh yeah, actually talking to people! It’ll certainly be interesting to see what happens in the Republican primary in September. Makes me wish I was registered!
• I am registered to vote, of course. But many moons ago, when I assumed the awesome responsibility of small town newspaper editor, I changed my voter registration from my selected party (I’ll never tell which one it was) to non-affiliated. That’s right, neither a Democrat nor a Republican be, in this job. And while I always exercise my right to vote, unfortunately my newspaper-induced neutrality means I never get to play in a primary. Have at it, Republicans!
• After endorsing Colton Dixon to win American Idol last week, I think I should just keep my mouth shut when it comes to endorsements. A veritable kiss of death, it seems. On the other hand, maybe I should throw my support behind that little Jessica Sanchez …

• Insert obligatory comment about weather here. Acknowledge, move on.

• I was pleased to hear there’s a group getting together a family fun day for the 4th of July at the Chenango County Fairgrounds this year. I have many fond memories of the Rotary’s Independence Day events (Loverboy notwithstanding) and of course the much-missed Bullthistle Balloonfest. It’ll be nice to see some semblance of those events return to tradition this summer. The organizers are in need of volunteers, so pitch in! You can find them on Facebook here.

• Spent some time in the Sherburne-Earlville auditorium last night (renovations look good, by the way … too bad it took me 10 minutes to figure out how to get into the school!) for a preview of the drama club’s “Almost, Maine” production this weekend. Watch for my review in Friday’s paper.

• Things are sure heating up in the race for Chenango County Judge, as I’m sure you read in my story earlier this week. That was a tough one to write – valid points on both sides, and two opponents I respect and admire. Public opinion on the GOP’s endorsement seems pretty divided, too, based on what I’ve seen on Facebook, 30 Seconds and … oh yeah, actually talking to people! It’ll certainly be interesting to see what happens in the Republican primary in September. Makes me wish I was registered!

• I am registered to vote, of course. But many moons ago, when I assumed the awesome responsibility of small town newspaper editor, I changed my voter registration from my selected party (I’ll never tell which one it was) to non-affiliated. That’s right, neither a Democrat nor a Republican be, in this job. And while I always exercise my right to vote, unfortunately my newspaper-induced neutrality means I never get to play in a primary. Have at it, Republicans!

• After endorsing Colton Dixon to win American Idol last week, I think I should just keep my mouth shut when it comes to endorsements. A veritable kiss of death, it seems. On the other hand, maybe I should throw my support behind that little Jessica Sanchez …

Sports Editor’s Playbook, April 24, 2012

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012
Patrick Newell

What has it been, six weeks since my last blog? In fairness, local sports were idle for the majority of March, and I spent much of my extra time composing our 17th Annual Race Day publication that ran this past Thursday, April 19. It was 16 pages, and the page count is largely dependent upon the number of driver profile submissions. We’ve had as many as 40 to 45, and with four per page, that equates to 10 or 11 full pages. It surprises me that the number of submissions has dropped to the mid 20s. This year we had 24, the lowest number I can remember. To have your profile published requires that you take the three or four minutes to fill out the form, include a picture, and either mail it to us or e-mail the information with a digital photo. To me, it’s a free advertisement for a driver, and it’s an opportunity to not only showcase a driver’s accomplishments, but also give proper credit to sponsors. Additionally, I sift through the profiles closely with the hope of finding a feature story opportunity. This year’s stories on Bret Belden and his wife Brenda were born of their consistent driver profile entries. It also helped that Bret has established himself as one of the most consistent and best pro stock drivers at Utica-Rome Speedway over the past 20 years.

This June 1-3, Unadilla Valley Sports Center, located on Route 8 a few miles north of New Berlin, will host its MX Rewind. Motocross legends of the past 40-plus years will return with vintage garb and bikes, and a long list of activities planned over the weekend, said Unadilla spokesman, Jill Robinson. “We’re expecting to have three world champions with us that weekend,” Robinson said. “We’re really excited by the level of commitment these racing legends are putting into this, and the access fans will have to them…it will be a great weekend, and there will be a lot of cool, historic bikes that should make for some great pictures.” All of the event and ticket information is available online at www.mxrewind.com

It’s T-minus one day until the retirement of a beloved Evening Sun employee, Jan Rowe. Jan, a mother a grandmother, has been like a mother to The Evening Sun reporting staff for the entirety of her career here. She, using a sports term, is our “glue guy.” No, she doesn’t have a byline, but she does just about everything else for us. I cannot count the times she has popped her head into Jeff Genung’s office and asked if he needed anything. Jeff knows that if he asks something of Jan, there is no one better to complete the task. For us, she has proved an indispensable employee whose presence will be sorely missed by all those who have worked with her. I wish Jan and her husband John (who is a few weeks away from his own retirement) happy travels. I know they plan to see more of the world, and no one deserves that opportunity more than Jan and John.

Follow Patrick Newell on Twitter @evesunpat

And another week goes by

Friday, April 20th, 2012
Shawn Magrath

Have you ever had one of those days where it seems that you can’t do anything right? And of course, the harder you try to fix your mistakes, the more you unintentionally make a problem worse – sort of like putting out a fire by dumping gasoline on it? Thank goodness I’m not having one of those days, although I did accidentally put the word “condolences” when I wanted “commendations” in today’s article about an SE student selected to play in the Great American Marching Band during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I accidentally switched the words while running spell check and didn’t notice (and in hindsight, I suppose “commendations” wouln’t have the best choice of wording either… Live and learn, I guess). But hey, whether she’s offered condolences or (more likely) commended for her efforts, that girl should be proud of her accomplishments. Kudos, Meaghan!

I read an interesting online article last night that recognized a federal bill out there that if passed, would mandate all car manufacturers to install a black box device on all makes and models beginning in 2015. The government could access recorded data on this device if given a court order, or in an investigation by the Secretary of Transportation to find who has driven where and when. Of course, I’m not too worried about this Big Brother-ish bill passing, at least not without a lot of pushback. Really, what’s the purpose of monitoring every driver’s move (which the GPS in millions of cars and cell phones already does). Personally, I don’t need constant surveillance to remind me of the ever so unexciting snooze-fest of a life I lead. I know the average data in my car’s black box would be as follows:
• Home to work
• Work to home
• Home to grocery store
• Grocery store to home
• End of day
I feel sorry for whoever’s put in charge of monitoring my travel data. It’s going to put them to sleep.

And into another not so subtle change of topics, heads up to anyone hoping to go back to school. The Wall Street Journal’s reporting wider gaps in wage equality between college majors. Not surprisingly, majors in math and science are likely to make much more money in their field over the course of their career than anyone else, which is devastating for some of us who chose an English major. Oops. Well, I may be at the low end of the socioeconomic food chain for the rest of my life, but at least I know the difference between condolences and commendations. You can’t put a price on that.

Editor’s Notebook: 4/19/12

Thursday, April 19th, 2012
Jeff Genung
• If you’re a fan of local racing, you won’t want to miss today’s edition – a special section inside is “Race Day 2012,” Sports Editor Pat Newell’s annual look into all things wheels. Pat and our advertising team do a great job putting this together every year, and with local feature stories and profiles of all kinds of drivers, there’s nothing else like it on the market. Evening Sun subscribers can see the PDF version on this website, too.
• Spent last evening over at the Council of the Arts, where they were hosting the 2012 Decentralization Grants Awards Ceremony. That’s where they distribute funds from the New York State Council on the Arts to smaller arts organizations, non-profit groups and libraries for cultural programming designed to, well, decentralize, the arts from one location. It was my second year in serving on the panel which doled out the grant funding, and let me tell you, it is an arduous and fascinating process. This year we were able to give out over $90,000 for events in Broome, Chenango and Otsego counties. But just to show you how competitive that process is, more than $200,000 was requested. We’ll have a story with a complete list of the winners (and Frank’s annual, and painful, group shot) in Monday’s edition.
• So, American Idol fans (even young Julian is a convert), who is your favorite now? Although I watch religiously, I’m one of “those” who never votes. Still, I was shocked by last week’s outcome, with Jessica and Joshua in the bottom three. Not so shocked that the judges saved Jessica from elimination, given their heaping praise of her week after week. Personally, both she and Joshua leave me cold. While I certainly appreciate their skill, I see nothing that would inspire me to buy their future albums (he says, as if he still buys “albums.”) My money’s on Phillip Phillips (after a much needed attitude adjustment), Colton Dixon (despite some questionable wardrobe choices) and, wait for it, Skylar Laine! Not usually much of a country fan, but this girl’s won me over with a string of fantastic performances over the past few weeks. If there were any justice in this ironic universe, little Jessica would be sent packing by America tonight – for real this time.

• If you’re a fan of local racing, you won’t want to miss today’s edition – a special section inside is “Race Day 2012,” Sports Editor Pat Newell’s annual look into all things wheels. Pat and our advertising team do a great job putting this together every year, and with local feature stories and profiles of all kinds of drivers, there’s nothing else like it on the market. Evening Sun subscribers can see the PDF version on this website, too.

• Spent last evening over at the Council of the Arts, where they were hosting the 2012 Decentralization Grants Awards Ceremony. That’s where they distribute funds from the New York State Council on the Arts to smaller arts organizations, non-profit groups and libraries for cultural programming designed to, well, decentralize, the arts from one location. It was my second year in serving on the panel which doled out the grant funding, and let me tell you, it is an arduous and fascinating process. This year we were able to give out over $90,000 for events in Broome, Chenango and Otsego counties. But just to show you how competitive that process is, more than $200,000 was requested. We’ll have a story with a complete list of the winners (and Frank’s annual, and painful, group shot) in Monday’s edition.

• So, American Idol fans (even young Julian is a convert), who is your favorite now? Although I watch religiously, I’m one of “those” who never votes. Still, I was shocked by last week’s outcome, with Jessica and Joshua in the bottom three. Not so shocked that the judges saved Jessica from elimination, given their heaping praise of her week after week. Personally, both she and Joshua leave me cold. While I certainly appreciate their skill, I see nothing that would inspire me to buy their future albums (he says, as if he still buys “albums.”) My money’s on Phillip Phillips (after a much needed attitude adjustment), Colton Dixon (despite some questionable wardrobe choices) and, wait for it, Skylar Laine! Not usually much of a country fan, but this girl’s won me over with a string of fantastic performances over the past few weeks. If there were any justice in this ironic universe, little Jessica would be sent packing by America tonight – for real this time.

Clapton, Nugent, the tea party and taxes

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012
Brian Golden

Ah, yes, Wednesday, otherwise recognized as Column Day by this intrepid news reporter. This week, you ask? This week I decided to put together a quick opinion piece on Eric Clapton’s 2007 autobiography, “Clapton,” the man himself and my neverending love affair with music, particularly the blues (not to mention the guitar). Clapton has always been (and continues to be) a huge inspiration to me, in every way, and today’s column was one I’ve had in the back of my head for months. My heartfelt thanks for your wonderful music and such an honest telling of your life story, Mr. Clapton, it’s appreciated.

In other musician news, (ignorant loudmouth) guitarist Ted Nugent certainly made a splash with his remarks at a recent NRA function, when he said – and I quote – “If Barack Obama becomes the president in November again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year … we need to ride into that battlefield and chop their heads off in November.”

Well, Ted, I’ll be honest. I’ve never really held you in the highest regard when it comes to your music – or your guitar playing – and I’m absolutely appalled by your statements. You, sir, represent the problem in this already divided nation, along with your gun-toting, hateful brethren, and – to be quite honest – I could care less what you think. Enjoy your first amendment rights, by all means, but do us all a favor and think before you open your mouth.

Enough said.

And now, my Most Ridiculous ‘30 Seconds’ Post of the Day, hand-picked from The Evening Sun’s online edition of everyone’s favorite reader reaction hotline.
“Tea party has been on the forefront of fighting things like eminent domain, drone surveillance, etc. Don’t listen to the liberal media. This is a grassroots movement. We are not led around or funded by some rich people. You are confusing us with the liberals who are funded and led by rich Hollywood types and George Soros.”

Oh … my … goodness. Man from Guilford, please stop. My sides hurt I’m laughing so hard.

Add to that this absolutely ridiculous headline, brought to you by CNN.com … ‘Poll: Most say tax system favors wealthy’
Gee, you think? It’s a system that’s been re-worked and manipulated by … you guessed … the wealthy, for decades. Do you really think they’re going to go out of their way to be fair? Of course they’re not, they’re in it for the money. And don’t try to convince me I’m wrong, I’m not listening.

I hate Tax Day.

Editor’s Notebook: 4/13/12

Friday, April 13th, 2012
Jeff Genung
• Not all that bad for a Friday the 13th, ehh? Just found out this morning I’m getting a hefty tax refund (nothing like working under pressure of a deadline), so it can’t be all that bad. Take that, black cat!
• Congratulations to Tom Stoddard, Tornado alum who’s the fourth in our seven-part series profiling the latest inductees to the Norwich Sports Hall of Fame. A side note, last week’s story on Kelly James Huhtala (special shout-out to a former ES colleague!) was one of our most “liked,” shared and commented-upon Facebook entries ever.
• Sure seems as though the towns of New Berlin and Columbus are gung-ho on supporting this new ambulance initiative, despite what appeared to be an overwhelming sentiment against it. Is this a case of a government out of touch with its constituents, or one that knows what’s in the best interests of its people better than … its people? Time will tell, I suppose, but the fix is certainly in.
• Norwich Tea Party Patriots will celebrate the three-year anniversary of the founding of their group with a rally in downtown Norwich Saturday. I suppose I was going to make the requisite Tea Party joke here, but really I have to admire a group of individuals who stand up for their principles loudly and publically, even if I don’t agree with them.
• I know you’re all dying to know what The Evening Sun staff’s most-anticipated summer movies are, but you’ll have to wait until next Friday for our next Toddster Teamup with one of our favorite correspondents, DVD Patrol’s Todd Campbell. Suffice it to say there are a lot of superheroes, vampires and aliens. If my lack of a Tea Party joke disappointed you, I’ll let you work with that.

• Not all that bad for a Friday the 13th, ehh? Just found out this morning I’m getting a hefty tax refund (nothing like working under pressure of a deadline), so it can’t be all that bad. Take that, black cat!

• Congratulations to Tom Stoddard, Tornado alum who’s the fourth in our seven-part series profiling the latest inductees to the Norwich Sports Hall of Fame. A side note, last week’s story on Kelly James Huhtala (special shout-out to a former ES colleague!) was one of our most “liked,” shared and commented-upon Facebook entries ever.

• Sure seems as though the towns of New Berlin and Columbus are gung-ho on supporting this new ambulance initiative, despite what appeared to be an overwhelming sentiment against it. Is this a case of a government out of touch with its constituents, or one that knows what’s in the best interests of its people better than … its people? Time will tell, I suppose, but the fix is certainly in.

• Norwich Tea Party Patriots will celebrate the three-year anniversary of the founding of their group with a rally in downtown Norwich Saturday. I suppose I was going to make the requisite Tea Party joke here, but really I have to admire a group of individuals who stand up for their principles loudly and publically, even if I don’t agree with them.

• I know you’re all dying to know what The Evening Sun staff’s most-anticipated summer movies are, but you’ll have to wait until next Friday for our next Toddster Teamup with one of our favorite correspondents, DVD Patrol’s Todd Campbell. Suffice it to say there are a lot of superheroes, vampires and aliens. If my lack of a Tea Party joke disappointed you, I’ll let you work with that.

Why I shouldn’t do the grocery shopping

Friday, April 13th, 2012
Shawn Magrath

I hate grocery shopping. On a long list of things I would rather not do, I would rank grocery shopping someplace above root canal and just below asbestos removal.

Really, what is there to like about grocery shopping? Aside from the skyrocketing price of groceries in the last year (which has made it more expensive to buy a loaf of bread and a box of Cheerios than to buy a human kidney on the black market), there are other little annoyances to deal with.

My complaining usually begins as soon as my car’s front tires cross the entrance of the parking lot. Just the drawn out search for a parking spot is enough to make the sweetest elderly woman cuss like a trucker. When I think I’ve found an empty spot, it turns out to be filled by a small car that’s pulled up too far and wasn’t seen behind the tank-sized SUV that’s parked back too far; or the space is taken by an empty shopping cart generously left behind by someone who didn’t walk the extra 20 feet to the nearest cart return.

If I were to label myself with a superhuman ability, it’s the inexplicable skill to pick out the worst shopping cart possible – the one with broken welds, a front wheel that only turns to the left, or a sticky handle; or it’s tangled by the child safety strap of the cart behind it, thereby making it impossible to take one cart without taking the next two with it and sucking me into a man vs. shopping cart battle, which naturally draws stares of curiosity mixed with pity from everyone around me.

Then there’s actual people to deal with – other shoppers who also don’t want to be grocery shopping. I really believe that I’m a people person, soft-spoken but sociable. In crowded places on the other hand… well, it’s one thing to deal with a few people at a time, but dealing with hundreds at a time is a different animal entirely.

I’m the type of shopper who likes to get what I need and get out as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, that can’t happen when entire groups of people walk side-by-side at half the speed of peanut butter down the middle of the aisle. If some of them were to move any slower, I might tip over.

Of course, if it’s not slow moving traffic standing in my way, it’s the shopping cart of someone who’s pondering the seemingly life-changing decision of which salad dressing to try. It’s a bit of a stretch, but my thought is that if someone takes more than 60 seconds to pick out an item, they should pull their cart to the side of the aisle, set up road cones and emergency flares, and have someone divert traffic around them.

Just as I have an uncanny sense of picking out the worst cart, I can also pick the checkout line that stands still the longest (another God given talent that I wouldn’t have picked for myself). Even so, I stay in that line because I know that if I move, it’s going to take off like a rocket while my new line goes nowhere. So, I entertain myself by reading gossip headlines I don’t care about and rearrange produce into the shape of a face on the bottom of my sticky-handled cart (two oranges for eyes, a banana smiley face, and fresh lettuce hair), all while waiting for 19-item guy to pay for his things in the 15 items or less checkout lane.

Still, despite all my whining, I have to suck it up. Saturday is grocery shopping day – I guess it’s not reasonable to live off Campbell’s soup and Ritz crackers forever.