Archive for the 'Evening Sun Headlines' Category

Where have I been the last four months?

Thursday, July 10th, 2014
Patrick Newell

According to our website, March 4, 2014 was the last time I posted a blog. In case you were off the grid the past few months, I left the newspaper for New Mexico, and recently returned after a 3 1/2-month absence. I wrote back-to-back columns over the past two weeks detailing my time away from the paper, although I steered clear of the specific details of my return.
I won’t delve too deep into my decision to return to New York, but let’s just say finding a job in the newspaper business in 2014 is an extremely difficult task. Those who already have a steady job in the media hold on to said position until retirement or death – whatever comes first.
With the impending departure of Shaun Savarese, the sports editor during my hiatus, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to once again step back into my old role. Thank you Shaun for your time covering Chenango County sports, and I wish you well in your next endeavor.
To the Chenango County readers, it is truly a blessing for me to chronicle the achievements of local athletes. I’ve said it many times and I’ll write it again: Yes, this is a job, but it never feels like work.

Two of the biggest summer events that I have covered the past 19 years are right around the corner. This weekend, hoops will dominate the center of Norwich with the return of Gus Macker. It seems so long ago when then-Norwich mayor, Joe Biviano, sought out ideas to spice up Norwich’s summers. I can’t remember anything else Joe did while in office other than rubber-stamping Gus Macker, but this tournament has proven a smashing success for nearly two decades, and it shows no sign of slowing down.
The second big event, and this applies to my personal affinity for golf, is the annual Canasawacta Country Club Men’s Member-Guest tournament. I have covered several local tournament, but this one is the biggest, draws the best overall competition, and oozes camaraderie, family, and fellowship. As a lifelong golfer, It really doesn’t get much better.

Follow me on Twitter @PatrickLNewell

Love and crime in ‘Great Expectations’

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014
Sami Gillette

The movie “Great Expectations,” directed by Mike Newell (2012) is a lovely, poignant adaption of the classic novel by Charles Dickens. Ralph Fiennes plays an intimidating, but later sympathetic Magwitch and Jason Flemyng plays a loveable Joe Gargery. The main character, Pip, played by Jeremy Irvine, is as handsome, earnest and naive as one could hope for and does a convincing job of portraying Pip’s confusing, convoluted journey to win Estella’s heart.

But the characters who steal the show are Miss Havisham, played by Helena Bonham Carter, and her coldly beautiful protégé, Estella (played by Halliday Grainger). Miss Havisham is at times easy to hate, funny, sympathetic and pitiful. Estella remains aloof and calculating, but hints of her need for love and warmth shine through.

While “Great Expectations” is a love story, it is also a study of society and capitalism. This critique can be seen in the relationship between the lawyer Jaggers and his assistant Wemmick. Though the characters are only secondary in film, they serve as important players throughout the novel.

In the novel, both characters refrain from any sentimentality or pleasantness because their jobs focus around the cold reality of the state system. Only by distancing themselves from their personal lives can Jaggers and Wemmick have an unobstructed view of the world and the systems that make it up.

Early in the novel Wemmick reveals this separation through his desire for “portable property,” which is the only thing that can move between the spheres of the private and professional – usually taking the form of money or small material possessions.

By emphasizing the importance of portable property Wemmick seems to be excluding sentimentality, which cannot be disposed of easily like portable property.

Jaggers furthers the importance of sensibility, rather than sentimentality, in the passage when he describes the idea of a “pleasant home” as “poor dreams.” By describing these “dreams” as poor Jaggers suggests that they are burdensome in the realm of his office and, consequently, not worth talking about (393). This aloofness allows them to work within and around the rules of the state and society of Dickens’ London. Only by disguising their personal lives can Jaggers and Wemmick thrive in their positions as servants of the state.

Jaggers tells Pip and Wemmick that “he lived in an atmosphere of evil… [children were] generated in great numbers for certain destruction” (393). In this line a more detailed picture of Dickens’ fictional London is created. There many people’s fates are determined by their circumstances of birth and the social structure, which responds to crime with punishment, rather than promoting the betterment of the individual.

In response to this dreary circumstance of London Jaggers reveals that there “was one pretty little child out of the heap who could be saved” (393). Estella, the daughter of the criminal Magwitch and Maggie, a murderess, is adopted by Miss Havisham. This change in circumstance as a young child is the only thing that saves Estella from the sad fate experienced by both her biological father and her mother. Through her adoption Estella was able to escape her “destiny” of crime. Yet, the price is high because she is just a toy for the amusement of the rich Miss Havisham.

At the end of the film Estella and Pip are finally in circumstances that will allow them to be together. But rather than a joyous, romantic occasion, both seem weary. Their innocence is lost and life has taken a toll on both of them. Perhaps that is the point. They will find solace in each other, despite society’s flaws and life’s imperfections.

Stress relief, and Indiana’s vanity plate plight

Monday, July 7th, 2014
Shawn Magrath

My job can be stressful. As a reporter, I typically teeter a fine line between appeasing my readership’s right to know the full story and keeping important professional contacts. It can be a challenge, even more in small time Chenango County. Fortunately there’s an extensive club for people like me who are stressed. I know it as the National Association of Everybody.

Proving that I’m not alone when it comes to stress, a poll conducted by National Public Radio and the Harvard School of Public Health found that more than 25 percent of Americans have experienced a great deal of stress in recent months, resulting in increased health and behavioral issues crippling to their personal and professional livelihoods. In a cruel twist of irony, a survey previously issued by these institutes also show that a leading stressor among Americans is illness and disease.

So if stress causes illness and illness causes stress, how is this never ending crapstorm defined by the Affordable Care Act and when will I be eligible for workers’ comp?

For some with serious illnesses, stress relief may not be far off with the Governor’s signing of legislation on Saturday to make medical marijuana a reality in New York State. In spite of mounting pressure nationwide to legalize recreational marijuana, I applaud New York State legislators for the stipulations tied to medical marijuana that restrict administration to non-smokeable forms (i.e. ingested or administered via a vaporizer or oil base).

Even so, with the states of Colorado and Washington paving the way for legalized recreational marijuana, it’s only a matter of time before the Empire State follows suit. I’m already considering investment in stocks of tuna fish and Doritos.

Stress and pot aside, I came across a national news story from the Associated Press on Monday concerning the Indiana Supreme Court’s possible decision to outlaw vanity license plates. This because of one police officer’s personal plate that read “0INK.” The AP reported that the officer’s license plate has been revoked by the BMV – a decision that a local judge said was a violation of the officer’s freedom of speech. But the BMV said it would file a notice of appeal Monday, asking the state Supreme Court to overrule the judge’s decision.

Prior to his ruling in June, the local judge also cited similar instances when the Indiana BMV approved vanity plates such as “B HOLY” and “HATERS” while denying others like “UNHOLY” or “HATE.” To justify these inconsistencies, the BMV claims it’s permitted, under state law, to refuse issuance of a plate if it carries a “connotation offensive to good taste and decency” or that would be “misleading.”

Indiana’s license plate quandary makes me question my own New York vanity plate, “JU1CY.” Misleading, indeed.

Random thoughts from the editor, and coffee issues

Saturday, July 5th, 2014
Ashley Babbitt

I’ve slacked in the blogging department lately. Therefore, here’s a quick little ‘editor’s update.’
The editorial staff recently said goodbye to the man who had been handling our sports section since March. I wish Shaun the best of luck in his future endeavors. Also, I owe him plenty of thanks for bringing coffee into my office some mornings. I’m not a morning person, and can be a total jerk until I finish that third cup. Thank you, Shaun, for making sure my mornings were less rough.
On a related note, Pat Newell, 18+ year sports editor, has returned to The Evening Sun. His first week back was as smooth as could be, and the editorial staff was able to keep the 30-year-old tangerine tree that he kept in our building while he was gone alive. We (well … I) named the tree Victor. He was in good hands, and Pat seemed happy to see that he was rotated and watered as instructed. To be honest, I didn’t water or rotate the tree once. The others made sure Victor was well taken care of.
I had a vacation I had planned (essentially) since last June. I was going to spend a week in New Hampshire at The Eleventh Annual Porcupine Freedom Festival in Lancaster (I wrote about it last year … you can find it somewhere on this site, if you’re interested). I went last year, but life happened and I couldn’t make it this year. Luckily I had friends who were able to use my campsite, and I wasn’t out too much money in the end. Anyway, I had spent some time showing Staff Writer Shawn Magrath the ropes of my job, and he handled things (with me semi-close by) for a couple weeks so that in case I happen to be sick one of these days or something, I’ll be able to take a day off.
Life becomes a little less stressful knowing there is a plan B.
That being said, I was away from my desk for a while to let Shawn do his thing, and went back to playing reporter for a little bit. Boy, I don’t miss that. The calls that don’t get returned, the emails that go unanswered, and the people who miss interviews. I’ll stick with my gig: build pages, answer emails, phone calls, and write the random story here and there when I have time to kill in the morning and something happened.
It feels good being back in my seat. Even though I was still working, it wasn’t the same. But I do thank Shawn and the rest of the staff for their hard work.
On a completely unrelated note, our building is going through some renovations, apparently. I come in each morning and something else has been moved or painted or the mirror from the ladies’ room has been relocated to the hallway. The coffee makers are unplugged.
The mirror thing … no biggie. I don’t look in mirrors really anyway. However, the coffee thing (as stated in the beginning) is a pretty big deal if we want a pleasant editor.
The Keurig we have in the kitchen is great. I can make a cup super quick, but we’re out of K-cups. Sam doesn’t drink coffee, but 80 cups split between three people only lasted a couple weeks.
We have another coffee maker that could potentially hold multiple pots of coffee (burners that keep it hot on the top and all that jazz), but it takes forever to heat up and be ready to brew if it gets unplugged.
Which now leads me to my ‘moment of the week.’
The ‘big’ coffee maker got unplugged. We have no K-cups. We do have – thankfully – one of those things where you can scoop the coffee into it and pop it in the Keurig and make a single cup.
Attempting to do this before any coffee in my system is a disaster waiting to happen. Coffee grounds landed all over the counter, I couldn’t manage to close the container thing once I scooped in the coffee, and I dropped grounds all over the kitchen floor.
Staff Writer Matt White made his way into the kitchen to witness my failure at the coffee making process. By this time, I had grounds all over my hands, on my shirt, and he had to assist in the closing of what I will name ‘the worst coffee thingy ever.’
Finally a cup of disgusting, watered down coffee with floating grounds was made and I drank the entire thing. Luckily, it wasn’t long after when the dinosaur coffee maker was ready to roll.
Moral of this long, long, story?
I probably should look in the mirror more.
… As it turns out, I built that day’s paper with coffee grounds all over my face. Perfect.

The space between the notes

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014
Sami Gillette

While the world is diverse in its populations, cultures and languages, there is one aspect that permeates every part of the globe – music. An art form, a political statement, an outlet for anger, an expression of love, or a pure form of celebration – music has all of these purposes and more, no matter the genre. A good beat, a smooth rhythm and a catchy hook can transport listeners and often express the human experience for those who aren’t naturally artistic or vocal.

“Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything,” Plato once wrote.

Music can also provide relaxation and stress relief. It would probably shock the average person how much they turn to music as a release of some sort. For the good times and the bad.

Maya Angelou said it eloquently, “Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.”

People find such solace through music, no matter the genre. Preferences range greatly. In fact, “What’s your favorite type of music?” is a popular question on a first date. Some may even consider the answer insight into future happiness or a dire warning of complete, irrevocable incompatibility.

One of my favorite recent experiences was attending The Taste of Country Music Festival in Hunter, NY. Country music used to be a staple for me as a child – the songs of LeAnn Rimes, Shania Twain and Tim McGraw still flood my brain with memories. While I did move on to other genres, such as rock, pop and more recently R&B and hip-hop, the festival reminded me that country music can be profound, as well as inspire a great time.

“To the things, I believe in / My faith, your love, our freedom / To the things I can count on / To keep me going strong / Yeah I hold on, I hold on,” sang Dierks Bentley during his performance. This type of experience with friends around and the crowd singing along, connecting to a song that was his, but also ours, is one of the most powerful ways to stay in a moment.

These same type of moments were experienced during the BET Awards, which premiered this Sunday on BET. There was an array of great performances – some of the best are worth replaying over and over again. Yolanda Adams gave an amazing, powerhouse performance when she sang “Jesus is Love” in tribute to Lionel Richie, the BET Awards honoree. Nicki Minaj, Trey Songz, Chris Brown, August Alsina and Beyonce’s performances were also memorable, but with a very different focus. Love, sex and romance anyone?

What was most interesting about the show was the variety of ages and tastes that were able to come together in a celebration of music. New and old artists came together, recognizing their craft but also taking the time to acknowledge artists on the rise.

No matter one’s taste in music, it is there to be enjoyed and serves to bring people together. Love, rebellion, national pride, partying – those themes transcend all genres. One of the strongest abilities of music of any genre is its ability to remind us of our commonalities.

Hey look!, a soapbox, Just for me!

Friday, June 27th, 2014
Matt White

I’ve heard and seen with my own two eyes the cries from three distinct divisions of Americans recently. All equally polarized are the Left, the Right and lastly everyone else who is just plain fed up with the other other two – who are appeased with the status quo, business-as-usual handling of government and big businesses that perpetuate indignation amongst our middle class.
What I find most grave and appalling are those who disagree with the president so much that they feel it best if he just resign or be ousted in some sort of coup; as if the people of the United States would all be in some magical respite of prosperity if not for the presence of just that one individual.
I’m afraid I have some very troubling news for these folks, none of that is ever going to happen.
And here’s why: Americans don’t have it in them, plain and simple. The number of Americans who give a damn about anything are far outnumbered by those who just plain don’t care to pay attention.
For the naysayers, it’s much easier and convenient  to spin the President as a perpetrator of our strife, after all, he took the job as whipping boy, right?
The reality is, Mr. Obama isn’t what caused this mess… and you’d be a blind fool to not acknowledge that we, as Americans, have a pretty bad track record of blaming the next guy when he arrives at the White House in this country.
I’ll genuinely admit that I’m not happy with the successes that Obama forecast ahead of his tenure, and it’s easy to see that a majority of his original campaign supporters have long since fallen aside the bandwagon for lackluster performances in both his first and second terms – but the fact is, we were punch-drunk on his 2008 campaign kool-aid for a reason: things were really, really bad.
Mainstream Americans are the definition of fickle. So easily we tend to forget where we came from and how closely we were to catastrophe. In 2008 before Mr. Obama even took his oath we faced the single most detrimental economic recession this side of the stock market crash of 1929. My entire education and life was painted with pictures of how horrible it was to live through the depression of 1929, and many of the frugal quirks I have today were forged and handed down by what my father taught me, which was handed down from his parent’s experience through the great depression.
I’m just saying, let us not forget that Mr. Obama had a huge economic black hole dropped into his lap the day he took office.
Let’s likewise not forget the mess in Afghanistan and Iraq that was tossed to the Obama administration like a hot potato. Former Vice President Cheney is pretty good at balking about how the current administration dropped the ball, and that everything was “A-okay” when his term was up, but the history books and even his own press interviews from that time speak otherwise.
With seven months left of his last term in office, Bush II – with Cheney at his side – had such little international credibility that their bluffs were routinely called. They couldn’t get the diplomatic backing of Russia or China on board to make a difference in Iran amid the nuclear development talks, and then handed the mess off to their predecessors because they were so ineffective at bargaining abroad.
It’s the seemingly endless cycle of left-right politics that keep the rich richer and the poor poorer, and that’s exactly what the “powers-that-be” need to keep everyone under their influence. Obama, Bush, Clinton…. they’re all just marionettes. Our problems are much larger than any one person in the oval office.
If anything, we need to take a look back at the past to adjust our ways of thinking in the hear and now. Where were Bush II, Reagan and Clinton five years into an eight year stint?
Clearly, the world dynamics of the world around us differs greatly than they did at any one of those points in history, but I’d be willing to bet that if you were able to travel back in time these guys weren’t sleeping well at night either.
If the people of the United States are ever to accomplish what they feel is necessary to deliver us to a place where collective citizens feel as if their voices actually matter, then we should begin really scrutinizing some policy changes in this country – starting with the most antediluvian mechanisms of them all – the electoral college. But I’ll save that rant for next time. Until then –

Bonjour Montréal!

Monday, June 23rd, 2014
Sami Gillette

A trip to Montréal, a city in Quebec, Canada, proved a great place to visit for foodies, history buffs, francophones and art fanatics alike. From Syracuse, the drive takes about four hours by car and a passport, as well as a story to tell the official about the prospective trip, are required to cross the border.

Rather than spending a steep price to stay at a local hotel, a fun, affordable option can be found through airbnb.com. It is a site that allows one to search for rooms and vacation rentals that are offered by various homeowners in the area. My friend, Mary Rose, and I found a pretty, spacious room for $50 a night in Le-Plateau-Mont-Royal, which was the perfect place to find fantastic food and practice our rudimentary French.

Numerous restaurants were open late into the night. Many advertised as “Apportez votre vin” (bring your own wine). Many restaurants were open with quaint tables on the street. People laughed and talked while enjoying their own wine and tapas or entrees that they had ordered.

I decided on a “prix fixe” menu. The French speaking waiter switched to English to help us navigate the menu. I had escargot in garlic butter as an appetizer, followed by steak with caramelized shallots, greens and steak frites. Dessert was a shared experience of an apple and caramel tart. All of the flavors were well developed and all ingredients were fresh. I was in food heaven.

After dinner we decided to visit Bar le Lab, which was highly recommended by a friend. The bartender informed us that le Lab is the top 17th bar in the world, and it certainly lived up to its reputation. Le Lab makes its own fresh syrups for mixing, and has a wide range of labels to select from. Some drinks had liqueur that was mixed and set on fire to caramelize and intensify the flavor, other drinks were served with fresh fruit and orchids as decoration. There was no limit as to what type of drinks were available and the bartenders were both informative and entertaining. Juggling glasses, anyone?

The next day involved one great culinary experience after another. Breakfast was eaten outside at a little terrace bakery/restaurant called Godley & Crème, which served fresh omelets and pastries. We then spent a couple of hours of shopping at a underground mall complex. Later we had an early dinner of fresh, flavorful Vietnamese food in the Quartier Chinois. We could not stay for Les FrancoFolies de Montréal, which is massive francophone music festival. Despite this, there was a great deal of street art and various museums in which to visit and spend time.

Montréal proved to be a fantastic weekend trip with much to offer. For more information or to plan your own trip visit tourisme-montreal.org.

Overview of “Dirty Wars”

Sunday, June 15th, 2014
Sami Gillette

Cycles are powerful and seemingly unescapable, especially when one reviews the annals of history. It is this power and impact of cycles that serves as a focus of the documentary “Dirty Wars” – a film that displays the discoveries of journalist and author Jeremy Scahill as he investigates covert US involvement in places such as Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen.

He explores the activities of Joint Operations Special Command (JSOC), which was for years a hidden organization that fought behind the scenes as part of the War on Terror. Scahill reveals the impact of drone strikes and night raids on various people and families, some of whom were attacked for a variety of unknown, unestablished reasons (according to Scahill’s research).

According to the film’s website, “JSOC teams ‘find, fix, and finish’ their targets, who are selected through a secret process. No target is off limits for the ‘kill list,’ including U.S. citizens.”

The documentary was haunting with images and tales of innocent children, men and women killed as JSOC sought its targets. An interview with a man associated with JSOC reveals disillusionment and regret as to the history and mission of JSOC. Scahill also reviews his multiple attempts to garner answers from those in power and in Congress – to no avail.

What was most powerful was Scahill’s interaction with the family of Anwar al-Awlaki who, according to CCN, was an “American-born Muslim scholar and cleric who acted as a spokesperson for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.” Scahill reveals al-Awlaki’s earlier transformation from a moderate to militant because of events that occurred in the Middle East that turned him against the United States.

In an interview Scahill outlines one of his biggest issues with al-Awlaki’s death following a US drone strike.

“Awlaki had never been charged of a crime by the United States in connection with any terrorist plot, there was no indictment against him, and he was basically sentenced to death without having even been charged with a crime,” he explained. It is this covertness, this lack of transparency and action without accountability that Scahill draws most attention to during the film.

“Dirty Wars” ends with the news that al-Awlaki’s 16-year-old son had been blown to pieces in another covert US strike. Scahill explains that it is this type of act that should be known about. The son was killed for who he might become, rather than who he was. Violence begets violence, and while many may disagree with Scahill’s viewpoint, it is always important to see both sides of a story.

States “The Guardian,” “The argument that the war on terror is ultimately unwinnable because indiscriminate killings radicalise whole populations is persuasive.”

Power of words in “The Book Thief”

Sunday, June 8th, 2014
Sami Gillette

“The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak portrays life in Nazi Germany during World War II as a family attempts to survive, but also maintain their humanity. Death serves as the narrator of the book and through its eyes we are brought to Liesel Meminger, a young teenage girl who arrives in Molching to live with foster parents after her brother dies. The novel explores the growth of her relationship with her caring, but eccentric foster parents (the Hubermanns); a next door boy named Rudy; other local Germans; and the Jewish man, Max, whom the Hubermanns shelter in their basement for two years. **spoiler alert**

While the novel has a well-developed plot and is at times funny, tragic and haunting, what is most interesting is its lyricism and use of powerful imagery.

“Somewhere, far down, there was an itch in his heart, but he made it a point not to scratch it. He was afraid of what might come leaking out.”

Such examples are threaded throughout the story and capture the reader – pull him or her in so that there is no escaping the author’s meaning.

One of the most powerful aspects of the novel is the survey of words – their power and importance. Liesel is the Book Thief. She learns to read and steals books in order to escape from her reality, but also to create a foundation of understanding that strengthens her in a country that has been brain washed. Words foster her relationship with Max who writes to cope with and understand his situation – he is constantly bordering on the brink of possible discovery and death.

Towards the end of the novel both Liesel and Max realize the healing power of words, but also the danger of words. Words were what enabled Adolf Hitler to gain power – his book “Mein Kempf” (My Struggle) leads to the murder of millions of Jews.

This setting solidifies the use of Death as narrator. Rather than appearing eager for its duty, Death is weary and gathers up souls with some detachment , and with sadness (when he allows it). Ironically, Death’s perspective adds an aspect of humanity to often bleak and sometimes tragic events throughout the novel.

In describing one man’s death, Death recalled, “His soul sat up. It met me. Those kinds of souls always do – the best ones. The ones who rise up and say ‘I know who you are and I am ready. Not that I want to go, of course, but I will come.’ Those souls are always light because more of them have been put out. More of them have already found their way to other places.”

Overall, “The Book Thief” is a beautiful and unique perspective on life in Nazi Germany during WWII. Lightened with humour and intensified by quiet, intimate moments it is an inspiring novel that will stay with the reader.

Said Death of Liesel, ”Yes, I’m often reminded of her, and in one of my array of pockets, I have kept her story to retell. It is one of the small legion I carry, each one extraordinary in its own right. Each one an attempt – an immense leap of an attempt – to prove to me that you, and your human existence, are worth it.”

Black olives and cheese fries

Saturday, June 7th, 2014
Ashley Babbitt

I don’t really go out to eat often. Well, to be more accurate, I don’t really eat often. One meal a day, once I’m done with work. Depending on the day, that could be 4 p.m. or 9 p.m. That’s not really the point here though … the point is I went out to dinner Friday night and enjoyed myself.
Park Place in downtown Norwich recently got a facelift, and the first time I walked in following the renovations I believe I said, “Whoa! This is cool. I don’t know where to go.”
Occasionally on Fridays, the Evening Sun staff will go there for lunch. I tend to be late and often don’t order food. It’s still a nice way to wrap up the week with the editorial staff.
I hadn’t gone there for dinner until this past Friday though. Not only was the meal tasty, the servers were rather attentive.
Now, I’m not big on crowds. At all. But on a whim it was decided that Park Place was to be the dinner destination. It was busy, but I should have expected it. It was Friday, after all.
The bar was pretty crowded, and at first glance all the tables looked full. Almost immediately, an employee approached the two of us and sent us toward the hostess who would seat us. I, naturally, picked the seat where there wasn’t anyone behind me. Another weird quirk.
We were promptly welcomed once more, and were introduced to our servers. I say ‘servers’ because there were two young women who took care of us and were rather gracious throughout our visit.
I said before I usually eat one meal a day. Now I’ll say that that meal is not a salad. While the menu has many salad choices, I opted for something less healthy. That’s just my style.
I ordered the grilled chicken dijon wrap. I’m not a tomato fan, so asked if I could substitute the tomatoes for black olives.
Our server enthusiastically said, “Of course you can!” Since olives are in my top seventeen favorite foods, that made me happy.
I also ordered a side of cheese for my fries. Like I said, salads aren’t my gig.
I have no idea how many TVs there are inside the establishment, but it’s impressive. They’re huge, and regardless of what sport is your preference, there’s probably something you’ll find you like. Don’t worry, the volume isn’t on all the TVs at the same time, but they do have a handy little device on each table where you can pick the screen that you want to watch, and turn up the volume.
If you’re out to eat with a group of basketball fans, or if you have money on the Spurs vs Heat, you might want to turn that knob up a notch or two.
I also took notice that two of the TVs had cartoons for the little tykes, which was nice to see. While it was a Friday night and the bar area was a little busy, there were families enjoying meals, and it was cute to peer over and see a girl smiling and pointing at the antics of Spongebob.
While waiting for our dinner, we were offered some popcorn, which was a super kind gesture. We declined (I’m not a popcorn fan), but it was very nice.
We stepped outside for a couple minutes and upon returning, our server promptly said, “Oh! I’ll go see if it’s ready for ya!”
While she was off to check in the kitchen, we commented to each other about how attentive the service had been. We also discussed the vibe of the place since the renovations and chatted with various friends we spotted.
My wrap was tasty. I’m not a ‘super duper food critic’ or anything like that, but I know what I like and what I don’t like. I ate the whole thing, and that’s rare for me. The black olives made it extra good, in my opinion.
Didn’t finish my fries, but pretty close. I’m not a fries and ketchup kinda gal, which is why I opted for cheese. We were approached and asked if everything was okay or if we needed anything a couple of times, which is always nice.
Then, our super friendly server, (I feel horrible for forgetting her name, because as I was eating I knew I wanted to write a blog about it), brought out the tray of desserts. Ah! Tempting, but I was full.
Something on there looked absolutely yummy, and I hope someone got it and enjoyed it. It looked like some sort of mint chocolate pie-type-thing … and I am willing to bet it was delicious.
If one of the kiddos at one of the tables nearby had any of that pie, I think he or she would have been one happy camper. I just couldn’t do it.
As I’ve said before, I’m not good with brevity. However, the point of this whole thing was to say that I enjoyed dinner at Park Place on Friday night. Even though it was busy, and it’s not really my style to go to busy places, I not only had a filling meal that involved black olives and cheese fries, but everyone around was so friendly and the atmosphere was welcoming.
I also had said that I couldn’t even remember what it looked like before the renovations. I was impressed.
The vibe was positive and it seemed as though all the patrons were enjoying themselves. It’s nice looking around and seeing people having a good time.
A Friday night that involved a good meal and no work … I’ll take it.