Archive for October, 2012

Share this

Thursday, October 18th, 2012
Shawn Magrath

Although unwilling at first because I thought it would be just another fad in a vastly changing world of technology, I finally caved and created a Facebook page a few years back. At this day and age, if you don’t have a Facebook page, there’s really no evidence that you even exist

Don’t get me wrong, I think Facebook can be great. I’m able to keep in touch with friends via Facebook who I’d otherwise never hear from again. A little less settling, I have friends I don’t really know (and worse, I have friends I don’t really like). But if there’s just one thing I really do hate about Facebook, it’s the messages that guilt – or at least, make the desperate attempt to guilt – people into feeling an obligation to repost that message and accompanying image. Example: “Re-post this if you want to end world hunger” (with picture of starving Ethiopian child); “Share this if you want to stop domestic violence” (with picture of woman with a black eye); “Share if you don’t want animals to be sold on CraigsList (with a picture of a sad looking puppy); and of course, my favorite, “Re-post if you love Jesus. Keep scrolling if you love the Devil (with bilateral picture of Jesus on the left side, Satan on the right).”

I get it, these are sensitive issues to a lot of people and my heart really does go out to the people affected (at least in most cases), but what is clicking the “share” button going to do for anyone? And if I don’t share, does it mean I’m an advocate of domestic violence and animal cruelty; that I have an apparent love of world hunger and I’m damned to spend the rest of eternity sitting with the Prince of Darkness? Of course not! So what’s the purpose of these pre-designed public service adds? I would hate to think that clicking the “share” icon is considered one’s good deed for the day – that sharing these messages somehow makes someone a good person. To me, they all have the same underlying message: “Share if you think it will make you feel less guilt.”

Fire away …

Thursday, October 18th, 2012
Brian Golden

Apparently I ruffled some feathers with this week’s column (never my intention … or is it?), yet I find it laughable that those who claim I have no right to voice an opinion are welcome to voice their own, typically in an anonymous fashion through the legendary medium that is ‘30 Seconds.’

Pretty hypocritical, I’d say, but then again, what do I know? Put it this way … if you disagree with something I’ve written, feel free to drop me an e-mail, give me a call or (gasp!) write a Letter to the Editor. I’m a big fan of polite (note I said polite) discourse, and am not so close-minded that I’ll refuse to listen … again … politely. Politics, as always, lead to heated debates, particularly with the upcoming presidential election on everyone’s mind. Personally, I can’t wait until it’s over, no matter who should win. I’m tired of the finger pointing, the “fact checking”, the ignorance and the rudeness displayed by so many people, simply because their view is the only view and that’s that.

Sometimes I find myself hoping the 12/21/12er’s are right, because – as a species – we’re pretty damn pathetic nowadays; no regard for our planet, our future or our integrity. Sad if you ask me.

On a brighter note – and just to keep things rolling – here’s my Most Ridiculous ‘30 Seconds’ Post of the Day (you didn’t think I was going to stop picking on the ‘30 Seconds’ crowd, did you?), brought to us by … Man from South New Berlin.
“Must be people on ‘30 Seconds’ like higher gas prices, lower median family income, higher taxes, more government regulation, increasing national debt, higher unemployment than promised, Americans being killed, and government regulated health care – they want 4 more years of it with Obama.”

What a profound statement, Man from South New Berlin, because gas prices were never high under former President Bush, right? And I had no idea the president controlled the price of gasoline. Are you sure about that? And … let me think, oh yeah, middle class Americans were making a killing during the Bush administration (I’m actually pretty happy with how things turned out, financially speaking, since Obama took office). Taxes? There’s only two sure things in life, death and taxes. Deal with it. As for government regulation, there has always been government regulation; it’s nothing new. Increasing national debt? Sometimes it takes money to make money, not to mention the fact that we narrowly avoided a depression thanks to the current administration and its policies. Higher unemployment? The numbers are looking better everyday. Hey, maybe if the Republicans in Congress had worked with the president instead of simply trying to get back into office we could’ve done something about that. You think? Government regulated health care … I think it’s a great idea in the long run. May need some tweaking, but better for the majority … you know, your everyday, non-wealthy Americans (the 47 percent Mr. Romney was talking about when he though no one was listening, perhaps). With all that said, yes, I very much want four more years of Obama.

Mea culpa

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012
Kevin Doonan

We all make mistakes but it is especially embarrassing when it is done in print for all the world to see … forever. The Internet ensures that little mistakes are embedded into digital stone and will long outlast us. People seem to have an innate eagerness to pick on those latent miscalculations, as can been seen just by looking at the current presidental debate. In many cases the eagerness to exploit any identifiable faux pas regardless of relevance seems to override common sense. But I guess that is one of the things that defines truly good politicians – the ability to own blunders. Inevitably everyone indulges in gaucherie, but the truly adept politicians these days are the ones who can brush off gaffes in aw ay that successfully encourages others to follow suit.

Editor’s Notebook: 10/16/12

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012
Jeff Genung
• Got a press release today advertising a “Spookghetti” dinner coming up for near Halloween. I have officially heard it all.
• Speaking of hearing, and believing  … a ‘30 Seconds’ caller online said she’d heard a rumor that Pumpkin Fest wasn’t “allowing” pumpkins this year because it was too early – and believed it. I know there’s a sucker born every minute, but really? Although there was a decided dearth of jack-o-lanterns at this year’s festival, do you really think they’d be banned altogether in a festival which bears their name? She also claimed that this year’s festival wasn’t advertised enough, but I’ll save the “you can lead a horse to water” lecture for another time.
• Bravo should totally do a “Real Housewives of Chenango County.” Now that I’ve sadly sat through three full hours of the “reunion” special for “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” (which should basically just be called Six Screaming Harpies on a Couch), I think the reality network has sufficiently mined the psychoses of this group. Honey Boo Boo, watch out … I know some Chenango “housewives” who could really put us in the national zeitgeist.
• Can’t believe we ran a front page story on the Christmas Parade already. Yes, folks, it’s pretty much that time of year again. In respect to allowing Thanksgiving its due, our “Parade of Lights” actually takes place the Saturday after Turkey Day, effectively ushering in the Christmas season locally. We’ve been a proud sponsor (and chief organizer) of this parade here at Snyder Communications for 18 years now … and it’s grown into quite the holiday tradition. For spectators, the parade takes place at 6:30 on Nov. 24 … but for float-makers, now is the time! See the details in today’s story (and the ongoing ads in the paper) to get your organization on track for a spot in the parade today!

• Got a press release today advertising a “Spookghetti” dinner coming up for near Halloween. I have officially heard it all.

• Speaking of hearing, and believing  … a ‘30 Seconds’ caller online said she’d heard a rumor that Pumpkin Fest wasn’t “allowing” pumpkins this year because it was too early – and believed it. I know there’s a sucker born every minute, but really? Although there was a decided dearth of jack-o-lanterns at this year’s festival, do you really think they’d be banned altogether in a festival which bears their name? She also claimed that this year’s festival wasn’t advertised enough, but I’ll save the “you can lead a horse to water” lecture for another time.

• Bravo should totally do a “Real Housewives of Chenango County.” Now that I’ve sadly sat through three full hours of the “reunion” special for “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” (which should basically just be called Six Screaming Harpies on a Couch), I think the reality network has sufficiently mined the psychoses of this group. Honey Boo Boo, watch out … I know some Chenango “housewives” who could really put us in the national zeitgeist.

• Can’t believe we ran a front page story on the Christmas Parade already. Yes, folks, it’s pretty much that time of year again. In respect to allowing Thanksgiving its due, our “Parade of Lights” actually takes place the Saturday after Turkey Day, effectively ushering in the Christmas season locally. We’ve been a proud sponsor (and chief organizer) of this parade here at Snyder Communications for 18 years now … and it’s grown into quite the holiday tradition. For spectators, the parade takes place at 6:30 on Nov. 24 … but for float-makers, now is the time! See the details in today’s story (and the ongoing ads in the paper) to get your organization on track for a spot in the parade today!

History or entertainment?

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012
Kevin Doonan

For decades World War II has captured the imagination of thousands of people. Few events have ever inspired as many movies and books and it is understandable because there really are no other periods of history that have matched the 1940s in sheer scope. World War II was the largest global conflict the world has ever seen and it is still hard to fathom.

The Holocaust has also often been explored, both as a part of World War II and as a subject all to itself. Yet ironically it has in many more ways than World War II remained largely enigmatic subject. Famous movies such as Spielberg’s “Schindler’s List” meshed the firsthand accounts into a deceptive narrative that misleads audiences into the belief that one of the most complicated and difficult to understand events in all of humanity’s history can be so relayed so easily. I watched “Schindler’s List” for the first time during a film course. The professor reminded the class more than once that we were watching a work of fiction masquerading as a historical document. I found this particularly irritating especially since I was just fresh out of a Holocaust class. I appreciated Spielberg’s use of details from famous Holocaust accounts to create the semblance of reality. Nonetheless, it had never occurred to me to take a movie from the man who brought us “Jaws” and “E.T.” as anything more than an entertaining blockbuster that is in no way a historical document.

One of the reasons the memory of the Holocaust has remained prevalent, despite the fact that many veterans and Holocaust survivers are passing away, is because it is an episode in human history that still leaves even the most hardened of historians perplexed and unsettled. Millions of average individuals actively participated in the extermination of people who at times they had known all of their lives. It is unsettling indeed to dispassionately compare today’s U.S. to the Weimar Republic. I found that the more I learned about the Holocaust, the more I felt that only a thin line separates civilized society from acts of organized and publically sanctioned barbarity.

The good, the bad, and the ugly

Monday, October 15th, 2012
Patrick Newell

From this weekend’s games we have gleaned some highlights, lowlights, and moments we would prefer to forget among high school, collegiate, and professional games.

THE GOOD
* Unadilla Valley’s football team won at home for the first time since the 2010 season, and the shutout of Roscoe-Downsville’s was the first by the Storm since the 2004 season.
* Aaron Rodgers threw for a league-best six touchdowns leading the Packers past previously-unbeaten Houston. A-Rodge was producing tepid numbers the first month of the season, but last night’s offering reminds us why he was last year’s NFL MVP.
* The Alabama run defense is darn near impenetrable. Following last week’s game, the Crimson Tide are on record pace allowing 55 rushing yards per game. The defending national champs have yet to be tested, and were easily the number one team in the first BCS poll.
* Greene junior striker Paige Wilcox reached 100 career goals in just her third season on the varsity soccer team. She added three more goals Monday, and is on pace to set the school’s all-time mark – boys or girls – established by Alex Driscoll a season ago.

THE BAD
* Norwich football’s playoff situation. The Tornado did not get the division title – and home playoff game – they craved losing to Chenango Valley last Friday. The Tornado finish the regular season with a non-league game against Greene this week, and will travel to number one ranked Maine-Endwell next week for the Class B semifinals. Yes, the same M-E team that beat Norwich 49-7 two Fridays ago.
* Jose Valverde, Detroit Tigers reliever. Relievers were known as firemen years ago. Lately, Valverde has acted as an accelerant for other teams’ offense. The Yankees nearly pulled out another dramatic victory in game one of the ALCS knocking Valverde around in the ninth inning. Valverde was equally dreadful in his last ALDS appearance getting rocked by the Athletics.
* West Virginia’s hype. The number five team in last week’s AP poll was completely outplayed by Texas Tech. We’d like to think the Big East Conference has a relevant national title contender, but the Mountaineers’ poor showing discourages any of those thoughts.

THE UGLY
* Jeff Nelson’s missed call. Maybe we should call the other Jeff Nelson out of the bullpen. Okay, he’s retired, but could he do any worse? Nelson blew a call at second base Sunday night allowing the Tigers’ eighth inning to continue. The two insurance runs made it a 3-0 lead heading to the ninth. Closing the final inning is by no means a certainty in Tigerland (see Valverde), but the mindset with a three-run margin changes for both clubs. This wasn’t a bang-bang close play. Nelson was in position to make the right call, and he saw it wrong. Instant replay, anyone?
* Blowouts in high school football. That same Maine-Endwell team that rolled over Norwich last week by six touchdowns beat Susquehanna Valley, 71-0. Waverly also reached 70 points routing Dryden, 70-21, and in an exhibition, Schuylerville toppled Groton, 67-7.
* The face of Fabio Maldonado. This is a more obscure reference, but if you have an opportunity, take a look at post-UFC 153 photos of Maldonado. He was beaten to a pulp by Glover Teixieira in Saturday’s fight in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Follow Patrick Newell on Twitter @evesunpat

Editor’s Notebook: 10/15/12

Monday, October 15th, 2012
Jeff Genung
• We cover a lot of fires here at The Evening Sun, of course, most of them tragic – but none so heartbreaking as those that hit close to home. And pretty much every Friday afternoon, the ES crew calls Fred’s Inn home for a few hours. It’s alway sad to see a local business lose so much so quickly, but the Fred’s Inn fire Sunday was a particularly heartfelt tragedy for me and my intrepid reporting team. For the better part of the 2000s, our weekly staff lunch ritual has alternated between the Canasawacta Country Club in the warmer months and Fred’s Inn in the colder (which as you know is not an equal split around here). While our hearts sank with news of yesterday’s fire, we can’t even imagine what the Cirello family, its employees and friends must be going through with such a tremendous loss. Here’s hoping that the majority of the building can be saved, a local landmark restored, and our favorite watering hole … err, restaurant … back in business soon.
• This weekend was also the 14th Annual Pumpkin Festival. I’m not going to lie and say I went, but I did look at Frank’s pictures. I can’t even begin to imagine how hard it is for this festival’s organizers to keep things going year after year, as Mother Nature certainly gave this event a beating over the last dozen or so. This time, they moved it up a couple weeks, hoping for better weather. That, they got. Unfortunately, it also meant taking most of the “pumpkins” out of Pumpkin Festival, and cutting the co-occurring YMCA Halloween Parade – one of its biggest draws – from the festivities (that one will still happen, but closer to … well, Halloween). Still, there were plenty of activities, rides, games and contests – all in the spirit of autumn. So, my hat’s off to this year’s festival organizers – volunteers, all – for thinking outside the box and trying to keep this family-friendly festival going.
• Here’s a cool one. Normally, Chenango’s own paparazzi Frank Speziale is behind the camera, but every once in a while someone will train the lens on him. This time, it was Patricia Fiske of Coventry’s hometown website, www.thecoventryvillegazette.com. Last week, Patricia sent me a few links to video she’d taken during Coventryville’s most recent Civil War commemoration event, and Frank, while doing his job for me, appears in some of the clips. Talk about rallying the troops, Frank! Check out the videos on YouTube by clicking here.

• We cover a lot of fires here at The Evening Sun, of course, most of them tragic – but none so heartbreaking as those that hit close to home. And pretty much every Friday afternoon, the ES crew calls Fred’s Inn home for a few hours. It’s alway sad to see a local business lose so much so quickly, but the Fred’s Inn fire Sunday was a particularly heartfelt tragedy for me and my intrepid reporting team. For the better part of the 2000s, our weekly staff lunch ritual has alternated between the Canasawacta Country Club in the warmer months and Fred’s Inn in the colder (which as you know is not an equal split around here). While our hearts sank with news of yesterday’s fire, we can’t even imagine what the Cirello family, its employees and friends must be going through with such a tremendous loss. Here’s hoping that the majority of the building can be saved, a local landmark restored, and our favorite watering hole … err, restaurant … back in business soon.

• This weekend was also the 14th Annual Pumpkin Festival. I’m not going to lie and say I went, but I did look at Frank’s pictures. I can’t even begin to imagine how hard it is for this festival’s organizers to keep things going year after year, as Mother Nature certainly gave this event a beating over the last dozen or so. This time, they moved it up a couple weeks, hoping for better weather. That, they got. Unfortunately, it also meant taking most of the “pumpkins” out of Pumpkin Festival, and cutting the co-occurring YMCA Halloween Parade – one of its biggest draws – from the festivities (that one will still happen, but closer to … well, Halloween). Still, there were plenty of activities, rides, games and contests – all in the spirit of autumn. So, my hat’s off to this year’s festival organizers – volunteers, all – for thinking outside the box and trying to keep this family-friendly festival going.

• Here’s a cool one. Normally, Chenango’s own paparazzi Frank Speziale is behind the camera, but every once in a while someone will train the lens on him. This time, it was Patricia Fiske of Coventry’s hometown website, www.thecoventryvillegazette.com. Last week, Patricia sent me a few links to video she’d taken during Coventryville’s most recent Civil War commemoration event, and Frank, while doing his job for me, appears in some of the clips. Talk about rallying the troops, Frank! Check out the videos on YouTube by clicking here.

In the shadow of the Crusades …

Monday, October 15th, 2012
Kevin Doonan

As an undergraduate studying history, I took a wide variety of classes but there were a few that really stuck with me.

One especially challenging class I took was class on the Crusades. The course material covered a large swath of time that greatly shaped the world. I was surprised to found out just how relevant a series of events that took place almost a millenium ago still is today; one example being the controversy sparked by President Bush’s use of the word “crusade” during his September 16, 2001 address to the nation.

Another intriguing connection between the modern world and the Crusades occurred in 2010, during the time I was enrolled in the course. A package containing a bomb was sent from Yemen to Chicago, addressed to Reynald Krak, another name for Reynald of Châtillon. Reynald was a brutal knight who rose to eminence in the Crusader states during the latter half of the 1100s. After arriving the Middle East during the second Crusade in 1147, Reynald remained in the Middle East. Over the course of the next 40 years, Reynald made a name for himself as an opportunist, willing to attack anyone regardless of religion or any existing armistice. By 1186, Reynald had become the lord of Krak des Chevaliers, one of the most famous and impressive castles in history still standing located within the borders of modern day Syria.

Reynald is most famous though for his role in instigating the Battle of Hattin in 1187 between the crusader states and the forces of Saladin. Despite an existing armistice between the king of Jerusalem, Reynald’s liege, and Saladin, the founder of the Ayyubid dynasty, Reynald began plundering Muslim caravans traveling near the Krak des Chevaliers. Reynald’s blatant infractions of the armistice resulted in the Battle of Hattin and the monumental defeat of one of the largest Crusader armies ever assembled. Both Reynald and Guy of Lusignan, the Christian king of Jerusalem, were captured along with a great number of the Knights Templar. Reynald was beheaded by Saladin personally and all of the Knights Templar were executed as well. The Battle of Hattin left the Crusader states in such a weakened state, Saladin was able to capture the city of Jerusalem with relative ease. In the end if it wasn’t Reynald of Châtillon, the primary language spoken in Jerusalem today may well have been French (though even if the Battle of Hattin had never happened, that still would have been a long shot).

Pumpkin Fest, the Sherburne Inn, and my microwave

Monday, October 15th, 2012
Shawn Magrath

A tip of the hat to organizers of this year’s Pumpkin Festival. Even with the loss of that traditional prelude to Halloween feeling (and the noticeable lack of pumpkins for an event called Pumpkin Fest), the two-day event seemed to go off without a hitch. As many already know, Pumpkin Fest this year was moved in hopes of attracting larger crowds and better weather. I haven’t heard the final tally for attendance yet, but I didn’t need my umbrella or winter coat, so even if the annual spectacle didn’t attract the turnout organizers were hoping for, one out of two ain’t bad.

The battle in Sherburne wages on as residents debate the historical value vs. economic value of keeping the former Sherburne Inn and adjacent Big M building on the main square. Granted, seeing the buildings demolished would be a heart-breaker, but my reasoning argues that their practicality died when the businesses they housed moved out. There’s simply no need for them, particularly if no one’s willing to invest in rehabilitation. And in keeping them there, vacant and worn, the only ones that stand to benefit are the pigeons and the ugly stone lion creatures setting at the end of the parking lot. Like most, I would love to see each building saved but arguably, warding off Stewart’s Shops from building on the corner is just drawing out a slow dying process for both properties. Too bad Stewart’s won’t get into the hotel business.

New political polls released last week indicate that Mitt Romney gained ground and is nearly in a dead heat against President Barack Obama… Finally for once, the rich white man has the upper hand.

On a separate and completely unrelated note, I’ve noticed that when I use the microwave, the plate spins clockwise. When I stop and restart it, the plate, for no apparent reason, spins counter clockwise. It’s a shame that The Evening Sun doesn’t have the in depth investigative reporting resources of the New York Times.

The Anti-Masonic Telegraph

Friday, October 12th, 2012
Kevin Doonan

Seeing as how this is National Newspaper Week, I thought it would be interesting to delve into the obscure and murky deluge of our own early beginnings here at The Evening Sun and dredge up something cool. Having come across conflicting accounts, I have been unable to determine at present whether The Evening Sun (then The Morning Sun) came out of the Chenango Telegraph in 1891, or if the founder Reed Campbell had simply bought the Telegraph earlier that year. Either way, the history of The Evening Sun is tied to the legacy it inherited from the Chenango Telegraph.

Just like The Evening Sun, the Chenango Telegraph changed names more than once over the course of its history. J. F. Hubbard printed the first edition of the edition of the Chenango Telegraph on Nov. 14, 1816, under the name The Norwich Journal. The name was changed in 1829 by a new owner, E.P. Pellet. Pellet chose for his weekly publication a strangely explicit and finite title. When Pellet picked up the first copy of his paper still laden with wet ink, he read aloud to his constituents the words “The Anti-Masonic Telegraph.” Of course I am taking liberties in imagining that he did so; he may very well have not even glanced at the first edition, but he did purposefully call his paper The Anti-Masonic Telegraph and ran it as so for six years. The weekly ran under the name for about six years before the name was changed again to the Chenango Telegraph.

Why create a paper solely for the purpose of creating an ardent philippic targeting the secret society? Well, you see Anti-Masonic sentiment was running rampant throughout the northeast during the early half of the 1800s following the tale of a bizarre incident in upstate New York called the “Morgan Affair.”

William Morgan was a stonemason who joined a fledgling Mason lodge, learning some secrets about the Masons. During the year of 1826, in an attempt to further his social standing, Morgan tried to join a more prestigious Mason Lodge, the Royal Arch Chapter in Batavia, NY. He was refused, supposedly on the basis that he was an unemployed drunkard. In an act of vengeance, he published some of the Mason’s secrets learned as member of a minor Mason Lodge. He was arrested afterwards for a debt of less than three dollars, supposedly at the bequest of the Masons. He was either moved or kidnapped and brought to a U.S. fort near Niagara Falls. It has been said that he was never seen again, but in truth his fate probably only really mattered to Morgan himself. Following his imprisonment and disappearance, people dove on the story and claimed that the Masons had drowned poor Morgan for revealing their secrets. Though the story was disproved, reporter Thurlow Weed claimed that a body washed up on the shore of Lake Ontario was Morgan’s. Thurlow was able to rally anti-Masonic sentiment which spread first through New York, including Norwich, and then through the rest of the nation. The anti-Masonic movement eventually grew into the nation’s first third political party.