brian's Reporter Blog

Blue skies, ’30 Seconds,’ ADHD and the Governator

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012
Brian Golden

Sunny skies and 60 degree weather in mid-March makes it a perfect day to (finally) blog once again, wouldn’t you say? I don’t know about the rest of you, but these spring- and summer-like temperatures are just fine with me. In no way, shape or form did I think I’d already have the grill fired up and – let’s face it – there’s nothing better than that first char-grilled burger of the year.

Not to mention the act of grilling itself, which I absolutely love. Just saying.

And now, on to my Funny (aka Ridiculous) ‘30 Seconds’ Post of the Day, brought to you by a Man from South New Berlin.
“Why did I just post that I believe Obama will win in November? Because he will get the votes from the welfarians, the union bosses, the liberal junkies, the blacks, the liberal Republicans, most Democrats, the radical Muslim terrorist (yes, some of them are U.S. Citizens), and probably from a few dead people too.”

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry, to be quite honest. Oh, and Man from South New Berlin, you forgot liberal-leaning journalists (like me), enviro-whackos (like me), NIMBYs (like me, I guess) and those-who-avoid-radical-biased-right-wing-24-hour-news-coverage-like-it’s-the-plague (also like me).

Some people. And now, on to bigger and better things (that won’t be hard).

As is typically the case, I had my fair share of fun putting together this week’s column, ‘The kids are all right,’ and I’m hoping no one takes it the wrong way. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is no laughing matter, I know, but one really has to wonder sometimes if it’s absolutely necessary to drug our children into obedience. I’ll be the first to admit I was a little wild as a child. In fact, my mom would be quick to point out that I was either going full tilt, 110 percent, full speed ahead or … I was out for the count. Which is, in essence, my point.

Please make sure that prescription medication is truly the answer to a child’s behavioral problems because, at times, it seems like we’re doping our kids for being, well … kids.

With that said, my quote of the day, brought to you by the Governator himself, Mr. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
“I saw a woman wearing a sweatshirt with Guess on it. I said, ‘Thyroid problem’?”

I’m sorry, but that’s funny … real funny.

Snow, Snooki, ’30 Seconds’ and more!

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012
Brian Golden

And … it’s snowing. Not that we should complain or anything, considering we’ve had a fairly mild winter (if you want to call it that) so far this year. Which is not to say I’m looking forward to shoveling come 4 p.m. Then again, I could probably use the exercise (all this sitting-at-a-desk-writing-for-a-living really tends to add on the pounds).

Regardless, here’s my Interesting and/or Idiotic news story for the day (thankfully, it’s not one of mine) … Is Snooki pregnant?
Let’s see … where to begin (and end) with this one? How about … who cares? And here’s my personal checklist when it comes to all things ‘Jersey Shore’ related … a) could care less about Snooki? Check. b) never seen an episode (let alone five minutes) of Jersey Shore? Check. c) Thinks that cast members of Jersey Shore should not be allowed to procreate? Check.

And that about sums that one up.

On to bigger and better things, how about a Best (most ignorant) ‘30 Seconds’ Post of the Day!
Said Man from South New Berlin, “We are not saying Obama is a Muslim. We are saying that he is sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood and other Muslim causes.”

Don’t (and I repeat) … don’t get me started. What is wrong with some people? Saying Obama is sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood is like saying I have a top secret, Swiss Bank account that tops out at … oh, let’s say $2.56 million. It just isn’t so.

And now, last but not least, my quote of the day … “If you want a guarantee, buy a toaster.” – Clint Eastwood

Don’t ask me why, but that one always makes me laugh. Thanks, Mr. Eastwood.

Trials, tips and tribulations

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012
Brian Golden

And another Chenango County Court trial comes to an end, this one Wednesday afternoon following an hour-long wait for the jury to wrap-up its deliberations (story in today’s paper). I’ve only covered a handful of trials as The Evening Sun’s court reporter to date, all in preparation, really, for the big one … The People versus Peter Wlasiuk – part III. Actually, I’m fairly certain people around here have a pretty good idea concerning the details of Wlasiuk’s case and – let’s be honest – how in God’s name are they going to find an impartial jury for this one?

Regardless, I’ll be there come April when the testimony begins (again). As for my personal opinion on the whole deal … mmm … no comment.

You’ve got to love those anonymous tips, especially when they concern any local school district and the inherent disputes that typically arise between administration and educators. And while I’m certainly not going to name any names here (anonymity, remember), I am going to look into this particular matter, which could prove to be … interesting.

And now … favorite funny “newsworthy” story of the day …
Palin aides lash out at HBO’s ‘Game Change’ (Associated Press)
And I quote, “Current and former aides to Sarah Palin lashed out Wednesday at HBO’s ‘Game Change,’ describing the upcoming film’s depiction of her on the 2008 campaign trail as “sick” and inaccurate.”
It’s this next part that really gets me, though …
“None of the aides said they have yet seen the movie …”

I would comment further, but I’m afraid that kind of language could (and probably would) be detrimental to my status as an Evening Sun employee.

With that said, I’m a little upset that scheduling issues have put – not one – but two stories I’d hoped to put to rest this week on hiatus. It’s never fun scrounging for copy at the last minute, which is – sadly – exactly what I’ll be doing this afternoon (hence the pre-lunch blog). Not to worry, though, as I’m sure I’ll come up with something.

A day for presidents, #113, (the infamous) MFN and more…

Monday, February 20th, 2012
Brian Golden

No school, no court, no City Hall, no County Office Building … hmm … it must be President’s Day! Which, alas, meant I had to dig (and dig … and dig) for today’s story, not a big surprise considering the vast majority of my sources have the day off. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job, but even I have to admit it’s more-than-a-little frustrating sitting here in the office while others are out and about enjoying this beautiful (if a tad chilly) February day.

Such is life, I suppose. And with little else to do, I guess I’ll get started on this week’s column once I finish this, my 113th Evening Sun blog, which puts me all alone in fourth place as our hometown daily’s most prolific blogger.

Not that anyone really cares … right, Jeff?

An interesting comment in today’s print edition of ‘30 Seconds’ (and by interesting I mean totally clueless) from the one and only Man from Norwich, who stated, “Enough of this nonsense on television already. She had one hit song and she was a drugged-out alcoholic,” to which my esteemed editor replied, “The one hit song part is a bit inaccurate, at least.”

I’m guessing (as is Ed., I’m sure) that the caller was referring to the late, great Whitney Houston. And while I certainly wasn’t her biggest fan, I’m quite sure she had more than one hit. That said, I too am getting tired of all the coverage. As I heard just the other day, millions die and no one cries … one dies and millions cry. Houston’s death is tragic, it’s true, yet her problems with the booze and the drugs were well documented and … I’m sorry to say … these things tend to happen when that is the case.

On a happier note … for you Wheel of Time fans out there, at least … a release date has (finally) been announced for the Robert Jordan- and Brandon Sanderson-penned “A Memory of Light,” which will wrap-up one of the greatest epic fantasy series of all time. I know I’m excited (as is my co-worker, Mr. Julian Kappel) for the conclusion of a story I first began reading back in 1999 or so, as are millions of other WOTers out there. Sanderson – who took over the series following Jordan’s death in 2007 – has done a fantastic job finishing what the master himself started with “The Eye of the World” in 1990 and deserves a serious pat on the back for a job well done.

With that, I think I’ll get started on that column I spoke of (I’m considering several topics even as I wrap-up this blog) and … once 4 o’clock rolls around … I’ll be doing my best to enjoy at least a little bit of that sunshine.

Perch derbies, mall rats and bat attacks

Thursday, February 16th, 2012
Brian Golden

Well, it looks like colder temperatures will allow for the annual Chenango Lake Perch Derby to at last take place on Saturday, although I’m certainly not going to step foot on the ice (sorry, too cold for me). And I have to laugh at the people (including you, Frank) who seem to think the event would still go on if there was any doubt as to the safety of said ice’s thickness.

Then again, I seem to remember a story about a truck several years ago …

As for me, I have an even more dangerous undertaking in mind for the weekend, also known as a trip to the mall. Yes, the family and I have planned a Johnson City excursion for Saturday, one I’m sure will lead to chaos, unpredictable and childish behavior (not necessarily initiated by the children) and a spree of spending glee. Which is fine, really, because my trips to the mall are fairly rare. And considering there’s a Guitar Center just a hop, skip and/or jump away … well … I suppose I’ll be OK.

And now, my Weird and Wacky Occurrence of the Week …
Time: Approximately 6:45 a.m. Date: February 14, 2012. Place: Nearing the Price Chopper intersection located on State Highway 12, south of the city. Weird and Wacky Occurrence of the Week: An obviously disoriented bat making a dive at my driver’s side window (luckily for me it was rolled up) before pulling up short and swooping away.

Talk about creepy. Even worse was the fact that I couldn’t seem to dismiss an image of what could’ve occurred if the little bugger had actually made it into the car, a thought that gave me the creepy crawlies all the way to the State Police barracks.

Two days later and it’s still giving me the creeps.

Truly Giants, the GOP, Hollywood and Hendrix

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012
Brian Golden

Ah, yes, that wonderful feeling of knowing one has bragging rights for an entire year, as my beloved New York Giants pulled out a ridiculously sweet victory Sunday night over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI.

What can I say? I’m giddy.

In other news, Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum pulled out a surprising three-state victory over fellow GOP hopefuls Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. I think I’ll file this one away in the “I-could-really-care-less-because-none-of-you-will-get-my-vote” cabinet. Sorry, but the thought of Santorum, Romney or Gingrich in the White House is simply … terrifying.

Thank the stars Bachmann and Palin never made it this far … I shudder to even consider the possible ramifications for our country.

As for me, I’m thinking I’d better start saving my pennies considering the absolute whopper-esque number of motion pictures coming this way that must be seen in the theater, as far as I’m concerned. “Marvel’s The Avengers,” “The Dark Night Rises,” “The Amazing Spider-man,” “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” “Prometheus,” “G.I. Joe: Retaliation,” “Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace (in 3-D),” “Battleship,” “The Hunger Games,” “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” the list goes on and on (and on). With those I just listed (ten films in all), I’m guessing I’ll need to save up at least $1,175 for tickets, popcorn, soda, nachos and other snacks.

Going to the movies just isn’t the same nowadays, is it?

On a personal note, I’m looking forward to getting out there this weekend and playing some guitar. Besides the most recent Master Thieves’ studio session and a shortish, hour-and-a-half “acoustic” performance at the Bohemian Moon, I can’t remember the last time I picked up the good ol’ Stratocaster and cut loose. And speaking of Stratocasters, my stepfather recently threw me an extensive selection of Jimi Hendrix recordings that I can’t wait to sit down and … err … experience. All I can say is that I’ve had Jimi on the brain lately. In fact, I almost used the legendary guitarist as my topic for today’s column.

Oh well, there’s always next week (or maybe tomorrow … don’t be late).

Rainy winter days (and Star Wars … of course)

Thursday, January 26th, 2012
Brian Golden

I just love a forecast of heavy rain in late January, don’t you? And while it is just a bit disconcerting (if you’re like me and actually buy into that whole climate change conspiracy), I must admit, it’s better than two feet of snow on the ground, a temperature well below the freezing mark and the requisite ear muffs, gloves, scarf and the like.

But I’ll bet you those snowmobile fanatics (I’m certainly not one of them) – not to mention skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts – across the county aren’t very happy about it. Me? I’m hoping for an early, early spring … and sunshine … and shorts … and sandals.

On a more ridiculous (yet absolutely hilarious) note, my favorite ‘30 Seconds’ entry of the day (the online version).
“ … Romney was on the ‘Today Show’ and admitted he likes to read the ‘Twilight’ books and watch ‘American Idol.’ If elected, he would be the first Mormon and the first 13-year-old girl to be president.”

Oh my, you ‘30 Seconds’ folks are a hoot, let me tell you. But I did laugh/snort out loud at that one.

Moving on to the “most-eye-catching-story-of-the-day,” which I discovered while perusing CNN.com, a mysterious object found at the bottom of the Baltic Sea. Nobody’s quite sure what the strange, 60 meter wide structure and/or spaceship really is, but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t bear a striking resemblance to the Millennium Falcon. Just saying.

Obviously, I’ve been thinking about the Star Wars, Episodes IV, V and VI, Blue Ray collection I received for my 35th birthday – which has been collecting dust for the most part over the past two weeks – far too much.

Which brings me to this interesting little tidbit. Did you know that our News Edit spell check does not, in fact, recognize the terms “lightsaber,” “Jedi,” “Sith,” “Corellian,” “droids” or Wookie.”

What, may I ask, is wrong with this picture?

With that in mind, my quote of the day … “That’s ‘cause droids don’t pull people’s arms out of their sockets when they lose … Wookies are known to do that.”

Take that, spell check.

Progress, State of the Union, MVAs and Big Blue

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012
Brian Golden

We Evening Sun staff writers can whine and moan all we want, but when it’s all said and done, there’s definitely something special about living through another successful year of the controlled chaos that is Progress Chenango. Sure, it means extra work. And yes, it can be more-than-a-little stressful, but in the end, it really is worth it, which is why today’s column was dedicated to our annual Progress Edition.

And now that it’s over, onward and upward.

Well, I completely forgot all about last night’s State of the Union address, much to my dismay (thank God for You Tube, right?). Not that it matters, really, considering all I have to do is check out ‘30 Seconds’ and – more often than not – I can get a feel of sorts for how it all panned out. Republicans and other right-leaning voters calling our president names and blaming all manner of problems on his decisions (many of which have absolutely nothing to do with his decisions)? Chances are (if that’s the case … which it was), I would’ve applauded our Commander in Chief. Sorry, but I happen to think the middle class deserves a chance and – if Obama is not re-elected – let’s just say I’m of the firm opinion that we’re pretty much … err … you know … done for.

Never a dull moment, eh? Just about to put dinner in the oven yesterday afternoon when a call came in over the scanner reporting a two-car motor vehicle accident in the Town of Oxford. And even though it’s my job to jump in the car and proceed to the site of such events (as quickly as possible, I might add), that doesn’t mean I get any kind of warm, fuzzy feeling when it happens. Personally, I try to look at it from a different perspective, in that it’s my responsibility – a privilege, really – to snap some photos of our county’s emergency and law enforcement personnel in action. I certainly hate to see people get hurt and – if that should ever change – I suppose it would be time to call it a day. I may be a journalist, but I do have a heart. Really, I do.

In other news … my New York Football Giants are headed – unbelievably – to the Super Bowl. Not sure how they got there, but I can honestly say I’m beyond excited. What can I say? I have fond memories of Super Bowls XXI (vs. Broncos), XXV (vs. Bills) and XLII (vs. Patriots). Super Bowl XXXV (vs. Ravens) … well, not so much. This time around it’s the Patriots once again and (obviously) I’m hoping for a repeat performance from Big Blue. GO GIANTS!

And at long last … I blog

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012
Brian Golden

Yes, I know, it’s been eons since I last blogged. And no, I have no excuse for my laziness, I’ve simply been busy with other things, namely Progress Chenango.

I’d like to say the Progress monster has – at long last – released me from its tenacious grasp, but that would simply not be true. I have one last assignment to take care of Friday and then – and only then – shall I be set free. Our esteemed editor, on the other hand, is now in the midst of the controlled chaos that is Progress and – it must be said – I feel for him.

At least the end – as they say – is in sight, right Jeff?

Moving on, however, it must be said that this week’s column was a long time coming, and it’s a topic I’ve discussed at length over the past several weeks. What can I say? I simply do not understand how anyone can justify getting paid to relay – let alone forecast – something as unpredictable as the weather.

As for the continuing laughingstock that is the Republican race for the presidency, well, I honestly don’t know what to say. There’s not a single Republican candidate that I would trust to balance my checkbook (if I had one, that is) let alone tackle the many issues facing our country today. Sorry (not really), but none of them – not … a … single … one – seem to have any kind of empathy for your average American and if one should ascend to the presidency, I have a strong feeling that we, the middle class dregs of society, will be the ones to suffer.

The mega-rich corporations (not to mention those wealthy folks that make up the one percent), on the other hand, look to make out pretty good if that should happen. Just saying.

Personally, I’m sick and tired of politics, politicians and the upcoming presidential election already. And it’s only January. Which is not a good sign. If only there was a way I could alter time, speed up the harvest or teleport myself off this rock …

Too much Star Wars since I received Episodes IV, V and VI on Blue Ray for my birthday, I guess.

Progress, the GOP and “Aliens in the Attic”

Thursday, December 29th, 2011
Brian Golden

Well, it’s certainly looking (and feeling) a lot more like winter out there, isn’t it? And here I was, just last week, bemoaning the unlikelihood of a white Christmas. I guess I should’ve kept my mouth shut, because this is not my idea of fun.

What can I say? For someone born and raised here in good-old Chenango County I have very little in the way of tolerance when it comes to freezing cold temperatures. And – if you hadn’t noticed – it’s freezing (and cold) out there.

Moving on … as is typically the case between the dates of December 26 and January 2, the newsroom is a bit … mellower … than normal. Thank goodness we have Progress 2012 to keep us busy, right? Regardless, I’m feeling confident at this point (deadline is only a hop, skip and jump away) and I’m looking forward to putting another Progress Chenango behind me.

Oh, and turning 35, as well. I’m looking forward to that, too. Unfortunately, Progress + birthday falling on day before Progress deadline + Progress deadline falling on Friday the 13th = scary and not a whole lot of fun.

Being the liberal-minded, Obama fan that I am, I must admit I’m thoroughly enjoying the scrambling, name-calling and all-in-all ridiculousness of the GOP presidential front-runners as the Iowa caucuses approach. Sorry, but one would think the Republican party could come up with at least one halfway decent candidate for the presidency. No offense, but this current group of GOP-ers – no joke – scare me half to death. In fact, they seem so out-of-whack in regards to the real problems facing most Americans that I truly wonder if they really even care. These days, it’s more about power, greed and money than it is about serving the general public … and that’s where things have gone wrong, wrong, wrong.

Watching the 2009 family science fiction adventure “Aliens In the Attic” with Renee and the kids the other night, I just had to laugh when both 12-year-old Jade and 8-year-old Blaine asked what that weird looking thing with the rotary dial and the handset was (a old-school, 1980’s type rotary phone). In fact, the entire conversation concerning communication in the days before the cell phone (let alone digital, cordless phone) was my inspiration for this week’s Evening Sun column. Kids are awesome.

And now, back to Progress. Must … focus …