Archive for July, 2012

Hurray for Summer Jam

Friday, July 27th, 2012
Shawn Magrath

Only two more days until the first Chenango Summer Jam. I’d like to go on the record as saying it sounds like it’s going to be awesome. Some great bands lined up, including one with one of the best names ever: Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad. I’m really looking forward to it.

So is there an “off” switch to Mitt Romney or do we really have to wait for his battery life to run out before he stops talking? With someone that dull and emotionless, it seems like there would be a way to shut him down for a little while and let him cool off, or at least reboot him without calling a technical support hotline. On Wednesday, he said Olympic reports in London are “disconcerting,” which of course he clarified today to actually mean: “After being here a couple days, it looks to me like London is ready.” True, the whole thing is just blown out of context (just like when he said he likes to fire people), but still, questioning the city’s capability to host the Olympics while your in it? That’s gutsy, like pushing the self-destruct button. Romney’s actions have inspired this year’s newest Olympic event, pulling your foot out of your own mouth.

There’s a lot of ridicule out there about all the hype surrounding yesterday’s storm in Chenango County that “never happened” (I’m talking to you “Woman from Norwich”). The storm, however, did devastate nearby counties, and as was said by forecasters throughout the day yesterday, it’s difficult to predict the exact course of such weather patterns (even the local weather man doesn’t have a crystal ball). When it comes to heavy rain, hail, high winds and tornados, I’d much rather be over prepared than underprepared (then again, if Dorothy had as much a warning as we did, there wouldn’t have been a movie).

Far be it from me to usually complain (I swear that’s true), but why does it feel like Norwich has more blind intersections than anyplace else on earth? My apologies to all three drivers I almost pulled out in front of today (except lady driving the blue Chevy. I know I was at fault, and I couldn’t really hear what you said, but that stare almost set me ablaze and you were talking way too fast for it to be anything good).

Just plain stupid

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012
Brian Golden

Some thoughts for this beautiful Wednesday afternoon (particularly in light of the Aurora theater shootings):

“Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” – I absolutely despise this saying, which – properly phrased – should state, “People with guns kill people.”

Now hear me out, I’m all for constitutional rights, without a doubt, but the fact that your average, everyday American can get their hands on an assault rifle of any kind is just plain ridiculous (and not what our forefathers had in mind when they penned the second amendment). Assault rifles are useless for recreational hunting and – let’s be honest – are designed and constructed for one reason and one reason only … killing people.

Enough said. And don’t pull that right to bear arms nonsense on me, go read the second amendment. I have.

“Drunk drivers kill people all the time, should we ban cars, too?” – Another absolutely pointless statement (and obviously not very realistic).

With that said, here’s some famous quotes you may or may not heard … intelligent statements all.

“We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.” – Benjamin Franklin

“A word to the wise ain’t necessary – it’s the stupid ones that need the advice.” – Bill Cosby

“Life is tough, but it’s tougher when you’re stupid.” – John Wayne

“If there are no stupid questions, then what kind of questions do stupid people ask? Do they get smart just in time to ask questions?”  – Scott Adams

And – of course – our favorite Tom Hanks character, Forrest Gump … “Mama always said, ‘stupid is as stupid does.’”

Who doesn’t rock out in the driver’s seat?

Friday, July 20th, 2012
Shawn Magrath

I love summertime, which makes it disappointing to realize we’re finishing up the third week of July already. Bummer. I have a long “to do” list of summertime projects which I haven’t even started – I haven’t even finished my “to do” list. Procrastination is an awful habit and I, for one, am tired of time passing by with little to show for it. I’m going to seize every moment, take the bull by the horns. I’m no longer putting off till later what I can get done now… starting tomorrow.

Picture this: It’s been a long day. You’ve been running on full tilt and you’ve finally made it to the drive home – the final stretch – when you get stuck at a red light. You wait for it to turn green, nonchalantly, your elbow leaning against the window ledge and your head resting on your hand. You casually glance over to the left and see the driver next to you, his head bopping, hands drumming on the steering wheel, shoulders lungeing forward to the beat of… whatever he’s singing along with inside is own little refuge, and at that moment, he’s oblivious that you can see right through his windows.

Few things are as entertaining as catching someone singing in their car (and thank you, man in the blue Volkswagon. You made my day). I have to say, if there’s one place on the face of the earth where everyone feels comfortable singing – myself included – it’s when they’re alone behind the wheel. Personally, I think I’m a pretty good vocalist, Sinatra level even (at least until I turn the radio down. After that, the neighborhood dogs go nuts). And really, who hasn’t been in the drivers seat late at night, rocking out to something like Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart?”

“And I need you now tonight; and I need you more than ever; and if you only hold me tight; we’ll be holding on forever…”

On a completely separate note, have you ever wondered why people can such jerks? Supposedly, there’s some neurological science to it. A new study out of Switzerland suggests that there’s a link between the gray matter of one’s brain and their… um… less than pleasant demeanor. That’s not to say there isn’t some social issues in that mix as well, so before people start lining up for disability just because they’re a butt head, hopefully they keep in mind that (jerkishness?) is a controllable attitude.

There’s no crying in journalism

Thursday, July 19th, 2012
Brian Golden

Today has been a … how shall I say … emotional day in the newsroom, thanks to the Buckley benefit story and my annual Relay For Life write-up. Granted, it’s nothing compared to the days when another certain reporter – who’s now moved on – occupied the cubicle next to mine (one stocked with plenty of Kleenex, I might add), not that I’m going to name any names.

Right, Melissa?

All kidding aside, the Bill Buckley story really had me choking up and I hope it helps in some small way to get people to attend the benefit. If you don’t know the lowdown, well … buy a paper! To make a long story short, Bill was attacked while working at the South Otselic American Legion, beaten to within an inch of his life, required more than seven hours of reconstructive surgery due to the injuries he sustained and is – thankfully – now on the mend. He and his family, however, could use some help, hence Saturday’s benefit, which kicks off at noon on Saturday at the aforementioned American Legion. Good luck, Bill, I hope you’re feeling better.

As for Relay, I’m fairly certain most people know the scoop, so I’ll skip the details for now (or you can buy a paper tomorrow … hah). That said, this is an extremely important (not to mention moving) event and another that needs all the support it can get. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are raised every year on the local level for the fight against cancer thanks to Relay, and it’s a testament to the hard work and dedication of those who participate that it continues to be such a success. Keep up the good work!

And now, alas, I will call it a day. Until 7 p.m., of course, when I’ll be headed to East Park for pictures and for round two of the Chenango Blues Association’s Summer Concert Series, this time featuring Alex Torres & His Latin Orchestra. I’ve never been a big fan of the genre, although I do have a healthy respect for the musicianship it requires. Regardless, great name for a band, am I right?

Editor’s Notebook: 7/18/12

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012
Jeff Genung
• Stopped by East Side Park for a bit this afternoon to check out some homeless guy …. I mean Brian Golden! Yes, The Evening Sun’s own Brian Golden kicked off the 2012 Lunchtime Live! free concert series sponsored by the Norwich Business Improvement District. Not as blistering hot as yesterday, so he drew a pretty good crowd. Next up, Joe Lombardi on July 25.
• “What about Freedom of Speech?!?!” an irate caller asked me, wondering why I wouldn’t “print” her clearly libelous comment in the online version of our ‘30 Seconds’ line. Yeah, what about it? Freedom of speech gives you the right to say it; it doesn’t require me to give you the means to spread it around! If I had a dollar for every time I’ve explained this little civics lesson over the years, I’d be in Mitt Romney’s tax bracket.
• Don’t even get me started on the fact that she wanted to do it anonymously, but had the audacity to imply I was trampling on her “rights.”
• Not a good day to raise my hackles about ‘30 Seconds,’ period.
• Looks like the second installment of the Chenango Blues Association’s free summer concert series tomorrow night will have a little Latin flair. Sorry I have to miss that one, but excited nonetheless that I’m headed to my favorite Greene venue, The Chenango River Theatre, to check out “Separation Rapid.” Look for my review in Friday’s edition.
• Meandering around Facebook last night, I came across the new logo/T-shirt design for the 18th annual Colorscape Chenango! Nice work, Ann!

• Stopped by East Side Park for a bit this afternoon to check out some homeless guy …. I mean Brian Golden! Yes, The Evening Sun’s own Brian Golden kicked off the 2012 Lunchtime Live! free concert series sponsored by the Norwich Business Improvement District. Not as blistering hot as yesterday, so he drew a pretty good crowd. Next up, Joe Lombardi on July 25.

• “What about Freedom of Speech?!?!” an irate caller asked me, wondering why I wouldn’t “print” her clearly libelous comment in the online version of our ‘30 Seconds’ line. Yeah, what about it? Freedom of speech gives you the right to say it; it doesn’t require me to give you the means to spread it around! If I had a dollar for every time I’ve explained this little civics lesson over the years, I’d be in Mitt Romney’s tax bracket.

• Looks like the second installment of the Chenango Blues Association’s free summer concert series tomorrow night will have a little Latin flair. Sorry I have to miss that one, but excited nonetheless that I’m headed to my favorite Greene venue, The Chenango River Theatre, to check out “Separation Rapid.” Look for my review in Friday’s edition.

• Meandering around Facebook last night, I came across the awesome new logo/T-shirt design for the 18th annual Colorscape Chenango! Nice work, Ann!

Editor’s Notebook: 7/17/12

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012
Jeff Genung
• Spare me the ‘Hot enough for ya?’ comments, please. I can’t be held responsible for what I might do in this heat.
• Good to see North Norwich taking a proactive approach to feeling out its town residents on the highly-volatile hydrofracking issue. Some other local municipalities were apparently blindsided by the whole thing, or hoped they’d never have to talk about it at all. Face it, folks – this is a pressing issue, one that will have an enormous impact on Chenango County’s future no matter what the outcome. It’s imperative for all citizens to be informed, and to express their feelings to their elected representatives.
• Why do you Relay? Leading up to the weekend’s 16th annual Relay for Life, the annual fundraiser for the American Cancer Society at the county fairgrounds in Norwich, we’re publishing a series of firsthand testimonials from the people who participate in this meaningful event. Their answers to “Why I Relay …” are thoughtful, compelling and sometimes downright tear-jerking. We started the series of essays in today’s edition and will continue through until Friday. Also, check out our special insert on Thursday – it’s got all the names “In Honor of …” and “In Memory of …” for those who purchased luminaries for this weekend’s event. While I won’t be able to walk the track this year, I did make my donation (you owe me, Lesa!) to the cause. Did you?

• Spare me the ‘Hot enough for ya?’ comments, please. I can’t be held responsible for what I might do in this heat.

• Good to see North Norwich taking a proactive approach to feeling out its town residents on the highly-volatile hydrofracking issue. Some other local municipalities were apparently blindsided by the whole thing, or hoped they’d never have to talk about it at all. Face it, folks – this is a pressing issue, one that will have an enormous impact on Chenango County’s future no matter what the outcome. It’s imperative for all citizens to be informed, and to express their feelings to their elected representatives.

• Why do you Relay? Leading up to the weekend’s 16th annual Relay for Life, the annual fundraiser for the American Cancer Society at the county fairgrounds in Norwich, we’re publishing a series of firsthand testimonials from the people who participate in this meaningful event. Their answers to “Why I Relay …” are thoughtful, compelling and sometimes downright tear-jerking. We started the series of essays in today’s edition and will continue through until Friday. Also, check out our special insert on Thursday – it’s got all the names “In Honor of …” and “In Memory of …” for those who purchased luminaries for this weekend’s event. While I won’t be able to walk the track this year, I did make my donation (you owe me, Lesa!) to the cause. Did you?

• Oh yeah, congrats on your big promotion, Brian!

The Jetsons never dealt with gas drilling

Friday, July 13th, 2012
Shawn Magrath

I wish someone else would throw their hat in the ring as a presidential nominee. It’s not that I expect another candidate to be any better or worse than Obama and Romney; I just want to see a new face and hear a new name in the news – spice things up a little. Even with all the hype stressing the magnitude of the 2012 election (just as there has been every election, ever), I’m just not excited about heading to the polls in November.

Obama’s campaigning with the argument that under his leadership, the American economy avoided a deeper, longer-lasting recession. It’s difficult to run on the platform “Hey, I think things could have been worse.” On the other hand, the Romney campaign’s struggling too, fighting off the perceptions that the Romney household is where fun goes to die. Agree or disagree with his policies, it’s impossible to argue that Romney is a PR nightmare. His campaign coordinators are doing all they can to convince the public that he is all but boring, even recently sending out his five sons to late night talk shows and entertainment news broadcasts to convince the public that there’s a fun-loving guy somewhere deep, deep, deep inside Mitt. I’ve hear it said before that the only way Mitt has a fun-loving guy inside him is if he were pregnant with Steve Martin’s baby.

On to something less political, what a great performance by the Royal Southern Brotherhood in East Park last night. With the first of many free concerts throughout the summer a success, I only look forward to what’s in store for the rest of the season. Watching such an awesome show makes be really regret choosing to play the trombone in high school…

Love it or hate it, it seems as though things are looking more and more favorable for gas drilling in the area. I’m still on the fence when it comes to drilling, but now that four Chenango County townships have shown support for the DEC, Afton being the latest to hop on the bandwagon, it feels like I – and a number other county folk – won’t have the time to reach a conclusion in favor or in opposition of it. It’s difficult to argue against the need for clean water but at the same time, I like to turn on my lights at night. Personally, I’m more an advocate for other forms of energy, primarily wind and solar (or even hamsters running on exercise wheels, so long as it doesn’t poison my drinking water). With with all the technological advances made over the last few decades, it seems that we wouldn’t be in a position where there’s such passionate debate over choosing between energy and health. The Jetsons never had to deal with this problem.

A Friday blog …

Friday, July 13th, 2012
Brian Golden

Well, I managed to make it through another Friday masquerading as our esteemed editor (Jeff is taking Friday’s off for the summer) and everything went off without a hitch. Except, that is, when the Classified section decided to give me some trouble this morning. It seems like there’s always something that goes haywire come week’s end, but at least the server was up and running this morning (thank you, God, your friend, Brian).

Bath salts … what can I say about our nation’s latest drug epidemic? You know, the one that has crazies across the country chewing faces and turning psychotic for an hour or two? I attended a Norwich City Police Department training session Thursday regarding the issue (story to appear in Monday’s edition of The Evening Sun) and I must say … it was a real eye opener. Scary, scary stuff.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, my “Ridiculous ‘30 Seconds’ Post of the Day,” brought to you by … Man from South New Berlin …
“Obama has fooled people into thinking Romney is beating him in the race for campaign cash. This allows him to pose as an underdog and man of the people even as he raises and spends more money than his opponent. His campaign has raised $326 million to Romney’s $227 M according to filings with the Fed. E. Comm. and the campaign’s own reports.”

Not to get political or anything (because that’s just not my style, right?), but I’m tired of the presidential race already, I’m fed up and – to be completely honest – I only believe half of what I hear these days and disregard the majority of that. There’s so much misinformation out there – not to mention downright unethical journalism (think Fox News) – that it really doesn’t matter to me all that much anymore. In November, I will cast my vote (bet you can’t guess who I’m voting for) and that is that. As for you, Man from South New Berlin, it’s pretty obvious where you stand … give it (and the rest of us) a rest. Go outside, get some sun. Something, anything … please.

And with that, I’m out for the weekend. Hopefully this nice weather sticks around, considering we’ve been cooped-up in the office all week. Me? I’m ready for some sunshine (and a nice, cold beverage or two).

Editor’s Notebook: 7/9/12

Monday, July 9th, 2012
Jeff Genung
• I can still hear balls bouncing outside my office window.
• The 17th annual Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball tournament has come and gone, and all signs point to another overwhelming success. The rain held off, mostly, and it was a beautiful weekend all around. While I didn’t play, of course (perish the thought), I did get my fill of Macker over the weekend. Friday night, I holed up in the ES office all by my lonesome, putting together our special Macker-only Saturday edition. I think I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: Lackawanna Avenue can be a tad … unsettling … at night. As our parking lot serves as the main thoroughfare between the Y and the Macker courts on East Main, let’s just say I heard some interesting conversations pass by my window late Friday night. Yikes.
• That aside, the tournament itself went off without a hitch, and it appears, as I perused Frank Speziale’s 500 photographs this morning, that a good time was had by all. Special thanks to my ES comrades, Brian Golden, Shawn Magrath and Brad Carpenter, who served as paper boys Saturday morning, handing out that free edition courtside. Good sports, they are.
• Although I put a lot of the photos that I took myself up on Facebook over the weekend, Evening Sun subscribers can see most of what Frank shot in a gallery on our website. Two hundred Gus Macker photos? See, it really does pay to be an ES subscriber!
• And speaking of The Evening Sun, our little newsroom is once again looking to fill a chair – there’s an opening for a full-time reporter (see the help wanted ad in the newspaper, Pennysaver, or online). If you or someone you love have always wanted to try the journalism trade, here’s a great opportunity to join the staff of Chenango County’s Hometown Daily. I promise not to make him or her deliver newspapers on a regular basis.
• Now that Macker’s over, it’s on to the Chenango Blues Association’s stellar lineup of free summer concerts leading up to the 20th annual (has it really been two decades??) Chenango Blues Fest in August. Brian wrote a preview story for today’s edition, and the first free concert takes place this Thursday night in East Side Park. Hope to see you there!

• I can still hear balls bouncing outside my office window.

• The 17th annual Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball tournament has come and gone, and all signs point to another overwhelming success. The rain held off, mostly, and it was a beautiful weekend all around. While I didn’t play, of course (perish the thought), I did get my fill of Macker over the weekend. Friday night, I holed up in the ES office all by my lonesome, putting together our special Macker-only Saturday edition. I think I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: Lackawanna Avenue can be a tad … unsettling … at night. As our parking lot serves as the main thoroughfare between the Y and the Macker courts on East Main, let’s just say I heard some interesting conversations pass by my window late Friday night. Yikes.

• That aside, the tournament itself went off without a hitch, and it appears, as I perused Frank Speziale’s 500 photographs this morning, that a good time was had by all. Special thanks to my ES comrades, Brian Golden, Shawn Magrath and Brad Carpenter, who served as paper boys Saturday morning, handing out that free edition courtside. Good sports, they are.

• Although I put a lot of the photos that I took myself up on Facebook over the weekend, Evening Sun subscribers can see most of what Frank shot in a gallery on our website. Two hundred Gus Macker photos? See, it really does pay to be an ES subscriber!

• And speaking of The Evening Sun, our little newsroom is once again looking to fill a chair – there’s an opening for a full-time reporter (see the help wanted ad in the newspaper, Pennysaver, or online). If you or someone you love have always wanted to try the journalism trade, here’s a great opportunity to join the staff of Chenango County’s Hometown Daily. I promise not to make him or her deliver newspapers on a regular basis.

• Now that Macker’s over, it’s on to the Chenango Blues Association’s stellar lineup of free summer concerts leading up to the 20th annual (has it really been two decades??) Chenango Blues Fest in August. Brian wrote a preview story for today’s edition, and the first free concert takes place this Thursday night in East Side Park. Hope to see you there!

Macker Mania … and Friday lunch!

Friday, July 6th, 2012
Brian Golden

Hard to believe it’s Gus Macker time already, let alone the Fourth of July earlier this week, and – as usual – summer is flying by way too fast. Needless to say, it’s going to be a hot one this year, with temperatures up there in the 90s, so stay hydrated all you Macker Maniacs and have fun! While I’ve never participated in the popular 3-on-3 tournament, it really is amazing how many people it brings into town.

And now for some truly fantastic news … Friday lunch! With Sports Editor Pat Newell on vacation (lucky guy), Jeff’s taking a break from his Friday’s off (not to mention our special Macker edition needs to be assembled), which means … well … Friday lunch! Can you tell I’m excited? I’m even using exclamation points!

Moving on, I finally managed to get my desk and cubicle cleaned up following my month-long occupation of the Chenango County Courthouse. Things were a bit … cluttered … to say the least, and I must admit it’s nice to have things looking nice and tidy (for the most part) once again.

With that said, here’s my Ridiculous Online ‘30 Seconds’ Post of the Day, brought to you by Man from Norwich …
“Who cares about mistakes a lawyer made, it’s the evidance that vounts tells the tale. It has spoke the truth three times now. Strike three, your out!”

Ok, this is going to be a tough one, but I think what Man from Norwich is trying to say is, “Who cares about mistakes a lawyer made, it’s the evidence that counts, that tells the tale. It has spoken three times now. Strike three, you’re out.”

Granted, I could be wrong, but evidance was obviously supposed to be evidence and I have no idea what a vount is. As for the your, you’re issue … no comment.