brian's Reporter Blog

Mickey Mouse with a lightsaber?

Thursday, November 1st, 2012
Brian Golden

Yesterday’s news of the Walt Disney Corporation’s purchase of all things Lucasfilm, including the Star Wars franchise, hit me like a ton of bricks … or maybe the swat of a wampa (inside Empire Strikes Back reference there). Born the same year that Episode IV: A New Hope (as it’s now known) was released (1977), I was raised on the original Star Wars trilogy, a fascination that’s continued over the course of my 35 years.

Am I a Star Wars geek? I most certainly am. Does that embarrass me? Not … one … little … bit. Long live the über-geek.

In addition to this startling news, the rumor of an Episode VII; something I never thought would happen; not in a million years (or should I say a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away?); and I’ll be the first to admit I’m worried. Granted, I have no problem with the creation of additional Star Wars films, series or television programs (all rumored), although I’m unsure which direction the franchise’s new owners should (or will) go.

Here are some ideas, however …

1) Star Wars Episode VII: Heir to the Empire, Episode VIII: Dark Force Rising, Episode VIIII: The Last Command
These three novels, penned by the fantastic Timothy Zahn and also known as the Thrawn trilogy, or Heir to the Empire trilogy, are – far and away – my favorite post-Return of the Jedi Star Wars novels. They’re extremely well written (you can almost hear John Williams’ famous soundtrack playing in the background as you read them) and take our heroes in new directions, all while maintaining the pace, tone and excitement of the original Star Wars trilogy. The only problem? Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford are all getting up there in years, and the thought of re-casting Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia (now a Disney princess?) and Han Solo just doesn’t sit well with me. In fact, it’s blasphemy, when you get right down to it.

2) Reboot the entire franchise?
This, if you ask me, is a fairly decent idea, considering the fact that – if you did episodes one through six in order – you could … a) lose Jar Jar Binks (or have him killed off immediately, something many fans would willingly pay good money for) … b) find actors young enough so that the possibility of the Thrawn trilogy becomes more of a reality (what can I say, the books are simply awesome) … and c) set the stage for any number of offshoot films and/or television programs.

Regardless, I’m still more than a little concerned with the direction Disney will go with one of my all-time favorite sci-fi franchises, and it’s with trepidation that I await some hard news on said direction. Until then, I guess I’ll just have to hope that the Force is with them, and pray for the best.

Boba Fett lives!

Riding the storm out

Friday, October 26th, 2012
Brian Golden

It’s looking more and more like we’ve got one heck of a storm headed our way, one that experts are calling a “super storm” and “The Perfect Storm 2.0,” in reference to the 1991 monster that walloped the east coast. And while I’m not a doomsday kind of guy, I’ll be honest, this potentially dangerous storm has got me a little worried. Regardless, as Emergency Management Officer A. Jones said, let’s make sure and prepare for the worst while we hope for the best. In other words, batten down the hatches and get below deck, we may be in for one crazy ride.

Moving on, I’ll be spending a good portion of my Friday morning over at the Chenango County Courthouse for the Wlasiuk sentencing. Don’t ask me why, but I actually lost sleep over this last night, perhaps because it was such an ordeal, spending hours upon hours covering his trial and subsequent conviction. Now, at the end, I find myself wondering if this case will finally be closed. Will he once appeal the jury’s verdict? Probably. Will that appeal be successful as the last two were? Time will only tell. Me? I’m just glad it’s over, to tell you the truth. Well, almost over, I have one more story to write come Monday and then it’s on to the aforementioned storm of the century.

The fun never stops.

Last but not least, my latest installment of Most Ridiculous ‘30 Seconds’ Post of Week, brought to us by the one and only Man from Oxford.
“Obama won’t release his transcripts for any amount of money because they prove he was a foreign exchange student.”

What to say? I find it both absurd and disheartening that there remains such a large number of people who still … still … believe our president was born overseas, is a radical Muslim intent on the destruction of America and everything it stands for, and is quite possibly the Anti-Christ. You people are – simply put – disturbing. Face the facts, people, Obama is a Christian, born in Hawaii, and he deserves – if nothing else – a little respect. Don’t agree with his policies? Fine, that’s your right. But to continue to spread these obvious lies is not only ignorant, but unpatriotic.

In other news, rock singer extraordinaire (not) Meatloaf has announced his endorsement of presidential candidate Mitt Romney. One more reason I probably won’t be voting Republican come Nov. 6. Sorry, but it had to be said.

And with that, have a safe weekend, all, I’m headed to the ‘Cuse for some much-needed hang-time with the band, not to mention a performance at the Westcott Theater opening for my good buddies, Dark Hollow. And I’m dressing up as a hippie-cowboy, a.k.a. Dickey Betts of Allman Bros. fame. Does it get any better than that? To bad I don’t have a Les Paul.

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.

National Newspaper Week (and ’30 Seconds,’ of course)

Friday, October 12th, 2012
Brian Golden

National Newspaper Week has come and gone (actually it ends tomorrow), and this year’s theme, Newspapers: The Cornerstone of Your Community, seems remarkably appropriate when one considers The Evening Sun and its place here in Chenango County. All this week, in fact, Chenango’s Hometown Daily has featured a number of editorials regarding the role newspapers play in our everyday life. As such, here are some of my favorite comments as they appeared in our local paper:

“In an era where anyone can say anything and call it news, it is newspaper content that consistently gets it right and keeps it in context. And a critical part of the industry evolution is the recognition that if you want to separate the serious from the sludge, it might cost you a little money.
Newspapers have proven they can function in print, on websites, in digital partnerships and as part of the social media scene. But they also can do what no one else can do. We are at the heart of our communities. We generate the information and track the local developments that are vital for an informed, engaged citizenry. We offer clarity and perspective, and we provide content that our readers can trust.” – Caroline H. Little, president and CEO of the Newspaper Association of America

“Unlike websites and bloggers, newspapers are fixtures in their communities. Most of them were around long before personal computers and smart-phone apps, chronicling life, dissecting trends and exposing things that needed some air. And unlike less-established media, their newsrooms operate with standards and ethics intended to assure the credibility of the information they deliver. They don’t just make the record; they protect it, too. It’s a responsibility, a trust, a duty.” – Ron Dzwonkowski, associate editor for the Detroit Free Press

“We can get our national news on cable television, catch the weather on local broadcast stations, listen to talk radio on the AM or FM dial and follow our favorite blogs on the Internet, but where do we turn for local information that directly impacts our daily lives? More often than not it is community newspapers.” – United States Representative Mike Rogers

With that said, it just wouldn’t be a Brian Golden blog without … “Most Ridiculous ‘30 Seconds’ Post of the Week,” brought to you by the one, the only, the Man from South New Berlin.
“Where would the left hide if they didn’t have a Bush to hide behind? A Mosque somewhere? Probably.”

Well, Man from South New Berlin, I find your comment to be crude, unimaginative and – as is so often the case on “30 Seconds” – extremely ignorant. By “left,” I’m guessing you’re referencing liberal-minded folks like myself, and “Bush,” I suppose, is a nod toward George W. Bush, who – believe it or not – should shoulder a hefty amount of blame for the way he ran our country … for eight years. As for the mosque reference … well, that’s about as disrespectful (and un-American) as one can get. Ever hear of freedom of religion? I would imagine you’re one of those who remains convinced our current president is a Muslim, which – even if he were (he’s not) – shouldn’t make any difference whatsoever. Some people have no class.

To infinity and … behond? Whatever, go Yankees!

Friday, October 5th, 2012
Brian Golden

Oh my, you just have to love good politics (sarcasm intended). Wednesday’s presidential debate – besides being a colossal waste of time, as far as I’m concerned – showed us a new, improved Mitt Romney, one who genuinely cares for each and every one of us. He has a plan, and gosh-darn-it he’s going to stick to it. Fresh off his major victory (how someone can “win” a debate is beyond me), Romney once again showed his ability to flip and to flop, now telling the media he was “completely wrong” when he stated that 47 percent of Americans simply want a handout and pay zero in taxes.

Note to self … Romney is a joke, and could care less about my welfare and that of the middle class in general. Just my opinion.

That said, good luck, Mr. Romney, I think – in the long run – you’re going to need it.

So how about them Yankees? While I haven’t been what anyone could call an avid fan of America’s Game (being more of an NFL kind of guy), I love baseball this time of year. Something about the autumn season and the MLB playoffs simply go hand in hand. And now that my beloved Yanks have clinched the AL East title, it’s time to sit down and enjoy the team’s latest attempt to win its 28th World Series. Go Yankees!

And now, without further delay, this week’s “Most Ridiculous ‘30 Seconds Post of the Day,” courtesy of … Man … from … Norwich …
“Any adult who watches “Family Guy” is sick. Why in the world would an adult watch a child’s cartoon video (not even suitable for children) is behond explanation.”

Well, I gotta tell you, Man from Norwich, first of all, Family Guy is not a children’s cartoon (and I have no idea where you came up with that … have you ever seen the show?); secondly, I’m an adult, and I happen to find the program insanely funny (as long as you have a sense of humor and recognize good comedy when you see it); and lastly, it’s beyond, not “behond.”

And I have absolutely no idea what a “behond” is, in case anyone was wondering. Have a great weekend.

The NFL, bacon and ’30 Seconds’

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012
Brian Golden

I don’t know about you, but were there not some absolutely crazy headlines in the news today? As such, here’s a little taste of what’s going on around the world.

• First and foremost, without a doubt and with no hesitation, the NFL’s latest money hungry gaffe … the replacement referees. The proof? Monday Night Football’s unbelievable ending, which found the Seattle Seahawks getting the win thanks to an absolutely dismal call on the final play of the game. Whether you’re a football fan or not, you must admit that this entire situation is beyond ridiculous and entering the Realm of Ludicrous. As if the NFL – and its owners – don’t have enough money already. Greedy much?

• Alert! Alert! All hands on deck. That’s right, folks, now they’re talking about a bacon shortage. Personally, I can’t think of a worse scenario than life without bacon, which brings to mind a favorite conversation I had with buddies Vischi, Tozer and Chuck (during Tozer’s bachelor party weekend, no less).
“Hey Golden, did you bring enough bacon?”
“Uh, I think so, I brought five pounds.”
“Wrong answer, Golden, there can never be enough bacon.”

• And then there’s Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addressing the U.N. Why anyone is listening to President Ahmadinejad in the first place is beyond me, particularly here in America (because I’m fairly certain I know how he feels about us), although I must admit it was interesting hearing what he had to say on Iran’s “global vision” and that Iran “welcomes any effort intended to provide and promote peace, stability and tranquility.”
Really? I’m not buying it.

Besides the news, of course, there’s (cue climactic orchestra music) Most Ridiculous ‘30 Seconds Post of the Day,’ brought to you by … Woman from North Norwich.
“November 6 2012 I am having a NO Bama Party. Who is gonna be here?????? RSVP ASAP…..”
Which should read (if one believes in punctation), “November 6, 2012, I am having a NO Bama Party. Who is going to be there? Please RSVP as soon as possible.”
Well, I’ll tell you what, Woman from North Norwich, I don’t want to go to your party, and I have no idea what your problem is with the great state of Alabama. Oh, wait, you were talking about our president? Well, I’m still not going to your party.

Heading north …

Friday, September 21st, 2012
Brian Golden

Well, all I can say is that was one helluva week (and next week’s shaping up to be pretty hectic as well). Not that I’m complaining, because being busy really does make the time fly by. However, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I’m excited to “get out of Dodge” for the weekend, as I prepare to venture north once again to the land of ‘Cuse. Big gig for Master Thieves tomorrow afternoon, performing at the annual Tipperary Hill Music Festival. This is a first for the band and I’m happy to report we’re all extremely excited to lay it down good.

Note to self … I dig music.

I guess I ruffled some feathers with this week’s Evening Sun column (say it isn’t so), yet I’m surprised by the absolute hatred my opinions seem to garner at times. Sorry, but being called a liberal, socialist, communist, anti-American lowlife really isn’t going to get me to stop voicing said opinion. Believe it or not, I’m not the only person on the planet who supports (and believes in) our current president. By the way … great Letter to the Editor in today’s paper, James Lemery of Sherburne … spot on.

That said, ladies and gentlemen, it’s now time for my latest installment of “Most Ridiculous ‘30 Seconds’ Post of the Day” (actually submitted on Wednesday), brought to us this time around by the mysterious … the anonymous … the Man from Oxford.
“He who speaks of himself in the third party and knows that he speaks of himself knows not of the world but only of himself and is a megalomanic consumed with the greatness of himself in his own mind.”

Uh … sure, Man from Oxford, whatever you say. You’ll notice, I hope, that I corrected your spelling of megalomaniac. No charge and you can thank me later.

The end? Kids these days … and ’30 Seconds’

Friday, September 14th, 2012
Brian Golden

Listening to the radio this morning while en route to the office, I heard a (slightly) humorous advertisement poking fun at the oft-perceived “imminent” demise of good old-fashioned newspapers the country over. Personally, I don’t think it’s reached that point quite yet – although that might be hard to argue – but it did get me thinking just how much things have changed, technologically speaking, over the past decade or two. Just imagine sitting down with … let’s say a six year old, one that probably knows the workings of your “smart phone” better than you do.

“Hey there, kid, have you heard the new ZZ Top album? You should grab a copy and give it a spin.”
“What’s an album? And what is a ZZ Top?”

“Hello, youngster, did you hear the big news that’s hot off the press? Make sure and take a look at today’s newspaper.”
“Don’t call me youngster, my iPhone 5 is bigger than your iPhone 4G. Anyway, what’s a press? And why is it hot? Newspaper? Is that some sort of blog or app or something?”

“Hey, little girl, why all dressed up? Going to have a tea party?”
“No, I’m not a member of the tea party. I’m a democrat. I voted for Obama.”
“But you’re six.”
“Well, maybe I didn’t vote for Obama, but I told my parents to. I also told them if they didn’t I’d throw a tantrum every time we went out in public.”

It’s no wonder there’s so much confusion when it comes to the “generation gap,” so to speak, these days.

Moving on (and without further ado) here’s this week’s Most Ridiculous ‘30 Seconds’ Post of the Day, brought to you by … Man from Norwich.
“Now that the Chenango county primary is open us, can I look forward to removal of the ridiculous number of road/lawn signes, list up billboard and that horrible radio jingle? Do we all really think that will make ignorant people vote one way?”
Which, I believe, was supposed to read, “Now that the Chenango County primary is upon us, can I look forward to the removal of the ridiculous number of road/lawn signs, billboards and that horrible radio jingle? Do we all really think that will make ignorant people vote one way?”

Well, Man from Norwich, first things first, I have absolutely no idea what a “list up billboard” is, so I simply removed it from your statement. Secondly, I’m fairly certain that the majority of the road/lawn signs and billboards will remain up through the November election. And lastly ­– but certainly not leastly (heh) – never underestimate what an ignorant person will do, because … well … ignorant people are fairly unpredictable.

With that, have a great weekend, everybody. See you on Monday.

Hey, look! A blog!

Thursday, September 6th, 2012
Brian Golden

Well, then, let’s see what’s in the news today, shall we? I’ve been missing from the blogosphere for a couple of weeks, now, I’m sorry to say. My only excuse? Yes, I’ve been that busy. With that said, here’s the news.

Politics are a messy, messy game (one that’s played with very little regard for your common American); climate change is real … no, it’s fake, it might be real or it might not … discuss; Bill Clinton is still awesome; another “Joker” in a movie theater (just what we need); and how ‘bout them Giants.

The 2013 NFL season, for those of you who didn’t know, kicked-off last night with an absolutely dismal performance by my favorite team, the aforementioned Giants. I would go into detail concerning my own, personal reaction to the game, but we don’t use that kind of language here on The Evening Sun blog, now do we?

Moving on … my Ridiculous ‘30 Seconds’ Post of the Day, submitted by none other than … Woman from Norwich.
“It’s fitting that on the day of Obama’s nomination for a second term, the government comes out with the latest Food Stamp numbers. A record 22.4 million people are receiving this benefit (15% of the entire population). Obama will in fact go down in history as the Food Stamp President. Thankfully, though, he will be a one term president also.”

Well, Woman from Norwich, I’m not going to argue those numbers (I’ll just have to hope you’re citing facts), but I do have this to say: More people are on Food Stamps because more people are poor. Logical, right? The fact of the matter is, the bi-partisanship that’s tearing this country apart is to blame for this unfortunate statistic, if you ask me, not the president. Last I knew, there was some kind of jobs bill that a certain party (Republicans?) has done its best to shoot down, not for any real reason other than to make Obama look bad. Face it, people, our government is useless at this point due to the fact that it’s more about “winning” than it is about “taking care of the American people.”

Oh, and Food Stamps never existed before Obama, right? Gimme a break. And the election hasn’t happened yet, so let’s wait before you start patting yourself on the back for getting that dastardly Barack Obama out of office, shall we? Then again, Mitt Romney’s such a saint (show me the money, please), he’s probably a shoe-in.

I love sarcasm.

With that said, we’ve got some big happenings going on tonight in the Norwich High School auditorium, if you hadn’t heard. At 7 p.m., The Evening Sun will host a “night out with the county judge candidates,” so to speak, an event I, myself (partnered with Melissa deCordova) will be covering for tomorrow’s edition of your hometown daily. I’m curious to see what kind of turnout we get, needless to say, and I hope people behave themselves.

Fact of life … a person (most of the time, at least), has the capability for intelligence. People, on the other hand, are much more unpredictable. Food for thought.

New faces, new beats and … ’30 Seconds’

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012
Brian Golden

With new reporters come new beats, as they say. And with that in mind, a big thumbs up and welcome to The Evening Sun’s latest catch, also known as Kevin Doonan. It’s been awhile since anyone occupied the cubicle adjacent to my home away from home (miss you, Ms. Stagnaro!), and Kevin is off and running as Chenango’s hometown daily’s newest cub reporter. Good luck!

As for new beats, this intrepid journalist will continue to cover the police/fire/EMS/court beat, in addition to my new duties covering New Berlin (and writing copy for The Gazette); entertainment; Otselic Valley; Gilbertsville-Mt. Upton; and Morris. Looking forward to meeting some new folks on my travels and thank God (and Trip!) my car is back in working condition.

With that said … the ever popular (and always noteworthy) “Most Ridiculous ‘30 Seconds’ Post of the Day,” brought to you by (insert dramatic theme music here) … Woman from Norwich.
“Tease all you want MFG but I know the TRUTH. Yes I was at the Blues Fest, that’s where you can find a number of their kind! You won’t be laughing come doomsday when my kitties and I are rescued!”
Which, properly written, would go like this: Tease all you want, MFG (Man from Greene? Man from Guilford? Which MFG are we talking about, anyway?), but I know the TRUTH. Yes, I was at the Blues Fest; that’s where you can find a number of their kind! You won’t be laughing come doomsday when my kitties and I are rescued.

Mmm … yeah. Teasing, men from towns that start with “G,” the TRUTH!, Blues Fest, “their kind,” laughter, doomsday and rescued kitties … this post had it all, let me tell you. Me? I have no idea what Woman from Oxford is talking about … and I think I’m ok with that.

Really, I am.