brian's Reporter Blog

Politics … such a dirty word

Monday, August 13th, 2012
Brian Golden

I tell you what, I’m just about fed up with the whole gun control debate (and being lambasted for voicing my own opinion). Guess what? You gun lovers are absolutely right, you have the right to bear arms. However, guess what else? I have the right to live in a society where I don’t have to worry about suicidal maniacs shooting up a movie theater with an automatic weapon. Regardless, our illustrious president was 100 percent correct when he said automatic weapons belong on the battlefield and not in our cities and towns. Your average American simply has … no … need … to … own … an … automatic … weapon. There are plenty of other guns out there you can get your kicks shooting until your heart’s content. Get over it.

And please, read the second amendment … I have.

With that said, this morning felt like fall, which means autumn’s evil step-brother, snow, is right around the corner. I know it’s only August, but this summer literally flew by and I’m sure the fluffy white stuff can’t be that far off. This is – without a doubt – something I could do without. Not a fan of winter; don’t like to drive in it; don’t like to shovel it; don’t like it … period.

And now, my Most Ridiculous Online ‘30 Seconds’ Post of the Day, brought to you by … Woman from Sherburne. Oh, and by the way, thanks for the shout-out, Man from Greene. Sorry I didn’t get to this – apparently your favorite part of my weekly (and sometimes bi-weekly) blog – but here it is.
“Somebody stole my sign that said, ‘Vote for Obama. Save my welfare and food stamps.’”

Well, Woman from Sherburne, I’m fairly certain welfare and food stamps were around long before Obama took office, so – if I were you – I’d lay off the Fox News for a couple of days. Believe it or not (and I believe it), an independent study recently concluded that those who watch Fox News are actually less informed than a person who watches no news at all. Seriously, folks, try to be a little more objective. As for you “don’t believe the liberal media” fanatics, really?

Get a grip. Or better yet, just go away.

Anonymity … it’s overrated

Friday, August 3rd, 2012
Brian Golden

Wow, another hot one out there, but a nice day for a drive. Just returned to the office (after lunch) following a really nice sit down with Mr. and Mrs. Chenango County Fair, Terry and Julie Ives of Guilford (or is it Bainbridge?) and Greenview Farms. Both were extremely gracious and I can see why they were named this year’s Ambassadors of All Things Chenango County Fair. Look for the story in an upcoming edition of The Evening Sun (maybe as early as Monday).

Speaking of the fair, I simply can’t believe it’s here already. And while I’m unsure which day next week will be my “personal work-related day at the fair,” I do know I’ll be there Wednesday night (for The Monarchs and Greg Allen’s Garth Brooks tribute) and Friday (for our annual Evening Sun Chenango County Fair Luncheon). I can’t wait for some of that home-made root beer with a big old scoop of vanilla ice cream … and some fried dough. Mmmmmm …

And now, once again, my Ridiculous ‘30 Seconds Post of the Week, brought to you by … Man from Oxford.
“I can understand trying to maintain a civil atmosphere by diminishing or eliminating “bashing,” but it seems to be an overreach of editorial conduct in that it goes against the principles of free speech.”
My esteemed editor’s online reply, “You’re still free to speak anywhere you’d like! If you have more to say than ’30 Seconds’ allows, please consider writing a Letter to the Editor, as many people have and continue to do.”
Sorry, Man from Oxford, but I’ve got to go with the boss on this one. ‘30 Seconds,’ if you hadn’t realized, is a product of The Evening Sun. If we were to print (or post) everything that’s submitted to our anonymous reader reaction line – in the name of free speech – well, let’s just say that’s not possible due to a number of (profanities) factors. Seriously, folks, if the only reason you’re taking part in ‘30 Seconds’ is to bash others (or maybe you just like being a troll) … I don’t know … don’t you have anything better to do with your time?

Like writing a Letter to the Editor, perhaps?

Then again, that means putting your name on something and an actual willingness to stand behind your opinion(s), kind of like we do every week with our editorials and columns. No offense intended, but it needed to be said.

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.’”

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?

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).

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.

And I blog … finally

Thursday, July 5th, 2012
Brian Golden

Well, now that my non-stop coverage of the Wlasiuk murder trial has come to an end, I must say I’m not quite sure what to do with myself. Can you blame me? After an entire month spent scribbling down notes at the Chenango County Courthouse, I guess it’s going to take me awhile to get acclimated to the newsroom once again. And no, I’m not complaining. Trials and such are – for certain – quite interesting, not to mention newsworthy. But when you’ve been writing about one thing – and one thing only – for four or five straight weeks … well, I’ll leave it at that.

The timing, however, couldn’t have been better. My good friend Jay held his first-ever, now to be annual, clambake on Tuesday night; a much-needed respite from the news and chance to relax, followed by the Ashton family reunion, held yearly on the Fourth of July. It was great to see everyone, particularly when you consider this is – in many cases – the only time we get to hang out together. Today, of course, it was back to the newsroom, not a bad thing though, considering tomorrow is Friday with the weekend to follow. Looking forward to sleeping in, I can tell you that much.

As for the news on the national level … Obamacare (tired of hearing about it), the upcoming presidential election (tired of hearing about it), Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes (tired of hearing about it) and … wait for it … a smaller iPad (now that’s cool). Talk about beating a dead horse, those first three topics a garnering more than their fair share of attention. Me? I just want to see Ridley Scott’s “Prometheus.” Jeff, our esteemed editor here at The Evening Sun, has already informed me that it’s “really good,” and – as an “Alien” and “Aliens” fan – I can not wait to see it. As for “Alien 3” and “Alien: Resurrection,” well … let’s just say I’ve seen them, I (kind of) liked them and … yeah, that’s all I really have to say about that.

And now, to wrap things up, my Ridiculous Online ‘30 Seconds’ Post of the Day, courtesy of Man from Preston …
“Fireworks are allowed because they are great patriotic propaganda and reinforce the conservative redneck agenda. Playing to the base.”

Well, Man from Preston, I’m certainly not a conservative (just read my weekly column), I’ve never been called a redneck (I’ve been called a lot worse, though) and I have no agenda (other than making it to the weekend). However, I believe fireworks are “allowed” on the Fourth of July because … it’s the Fourth of July. And fireworks are cool. And “patriotic propaganda” is still patriotic, even if it’s propaganda.

So there.

The news … and tribbles?

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012
Brian Golden

There’s a lot going on out there in Newsland, both good and bad, if one’s been paying attention; from Mitt Romney’s clinching of the GOP nomination (not so good) to the Trumpster’s continued “birther” rant (ridiculous, at best); the Italian earthquake (definitely not good); baseball-sized hail pelting Oklahoma (also not so good) and … wait for it … the recent “zombie attack,” which appears on page two of today’s Evening Sun.

I’m not going to say, “I told you so,” but I did, didn’t I? And I’m telling you, this “zombie attack” story has cover-up written all over it. They’re out there … right now … among us, and it’s only a matter of time until we’re struggling for survival.

Oh, wait, with today’s economy (look at those gas prices!) we’re struggling already. Never mind. Regardless, that reminds me that my promised ‘Zombie Apocalypse’ column is soon to come (like the apocalypse itself, any believer will tell you). Maybe next week.

As for today’s column … well, I decided to go with a more positive theme, considering my two previous installments. Did it work? You be the judge.

And now, because I know it’s become everyone’s favorite portion of this, my Evening Sun blog, the Most Ridiculous ‘30 Seconds’ Post of the Day, submitted by none other than the mysterious Man from Norwich …
“IS THE EVENING SUN NOT WILLING TO PRINT THE TRUTH ABOUT ….”

Well, I’ll tell you what, Man from Norwich, Ed. – in all his wisdom – really doesn’t care for ‘30 Seconds’ posts typed in all caps, just so you know. As for myself, even after two-plus years of reporting for The Evening Sun, I have no idea – and I mean absolutely no idea – what “…” is or how I should go about printing the truth about “…”

Don’t like it? Write a letter to the editor, sign your name to it … and then we’ll talk. Honestly, one would think these ‘30 Seconds’ contributors would realize that most basic and fundamental of facts. We … do … not … take … you … seriously.

Uh-oh, there’s that damn “…” again. Maybe “…” is multiplying or something. Or maybe “…” is an alien species looking to invade the Earth and force us out simply because “…” can multiply so quickly. Is “…” code for Tribbles?

Now I’m scared.

Trials, columns, zombies and … you guessed it

Thursday, May 24th, 2012
Brian Golden

Well, it’s here, for good or bad. Wlasiuk trial Round III all set to begin June 4 and – as it is my job as The Evening Sun’s court reporter – I’ll be there … every day … until the end. This is (and has been) a pretty hot topic within our Chenango County community and I’m going to do my best to ignore the ridiculous amount of information that’s already been printed over the past ten years or so, and instead focus on reporting this trial as if I knew nothing about it, whatsoever. That is, I’ve convinced myself, the ethical, journalistic way to approach things and – regardless of my own opinion – I will be reporting the Wlasiuk trial as an unbiased member of the press … nothing more, nothing less.

That’s my position (not to mention my job) and I’m sticking to it. Wish me luck.

Changing the topic, this week’s column was – as always – loads of fun. Not sure where I come up with this stuff at times, although I’m fairly certain my stepfather’s (and mother’s) influence has something to do with it. What can I say? All that reading, writing, movie-watching, reading, debating, reading and … did I mention reading? … probably did me some good, now that I’m an honest-to-goodness columnist (I feel like I can say that with 87 straight weekly columns under my belt). Regardless, I love my weekly column, and it’s something I look forward to each and every week.

I’m saving the zombie apocalypse for column number 100. Unless, of course, we’re all zombified by then. Food for thought (no pun intended).

See? There you go. More of my stepfather’s influence making its way into an Evening Sun blog. Gotta love that guy.

And now, without further ado, another offering of “Ridiculous ‘30 Seconds’ Post of the Day,” brought to you – anonymously – by Man from Sherburne …
“Way to go Board of Ed. Give the kids and teachers a extra long weekend so they can go away. You supposed to be honoring our war dead and not camping and partying.”

Which, I believe, was intended to state … “Way to go, Board of Education. Give the kids and teachers an extra long weekend so they can go away. You’re (or You are) supposed to be honoring our war dead, not camping and partying.”

Umm … yeah. Considering most everybody has Memorial Day off, isn’t it logical for teachers and … err … students to have it off as well? And while I agree (wholeheartedly) that people should take the time come Monday to recognize those of our military who have served our country so bravely, I certainly don’t think their camping (or partying, for that matter) is meant in any way, shape or form as disrespect. Lighten up, people, life’s too short.

Let’s go fishing!

Thursday, May 17th, 2012
Brian Golden

Looks like we’ve got an absolutely gorgeous weekend coming our way, which is always nice. I don’t know why (maybe our recent family picnic to Bowman Lake is to blame), but I’ve been thinking an awful lot about fishing the past couple of days. I was an avid fisherman in my youth, although I can’t remember the last time I purchased a fishing license and I don’t even own a fishing pole. This, I’m thinking, is something that must be remedied … the lake is calling me.

As for me, I’m definitely looking forward to Saturday’s Earth Day Celebration at Beadle’s Lounge, now in its third year. The annual event, which features lots of live entertainment, door prizes and – of course – great barbecue, has raised just under $4,000 over the past two years for the City of Norwich Youth Bureau. This money is vital to the bureau’s many activities and programs, and Gary and Merrie Beadle (the volunteers, too!) deserve a pat on the back for all the hard work the put into the event. This year, I’ll be joining my guitar-slinging buddy, Bruce Beadle, my good friend Bill Beadle and an as-of-yet unknown drummer for a set of good ‘ol fashioned blues and rock-n-roll, the least I can do to help out. Add to that a gig with my fellow Master Thieves on Friday and it’s a weekend of guitar for this intrepid reporter, which is always fun.

Who let the dogs out? There’s been a lot of chatter concerning dogs on the loose and the responsibilities of dog owners on ‘30 Seconds’ lately, one of several recurring topics that pops up now and again. I must agree, however, that there is no such thing as a bad dog, only a bad dog owner. It’s really pretty simple: keep your dog on a leash when he or she is out and about, pick up and dispose of any “doggie doo,” train your dog not to jump on people and make sure your pup is licensed. Easy, right? You’d think so, but that doesn’t seem to be the case far too often these days.

Lastly, no Ridiculous ‘30 Seconds’ Post of the Day today, as there is nothing quite ridiculous enough for my tastes as of this posting. Maybe tomorrow. Instead, how about a Headline That Really Grabbed My Attention … err … of the Day: “NASA estimates 4,700 ‘potentially hazardous’ asteroids,” which I found on the CNN website. Now this, considering my status as Chenango County’s über-geek, is my kind of story. Nothing to worry about, though, according to NASA officials.

Not that they’d really tell us if there were (anything to worry about), anyway. Somebody call Bruce Willis and the rest of the “Armageddon” crew!