Thumbs up to clubs existing in Norwich like the one I recently learned about this week. The Bullthistle Hiking Club is a club which takes it upon themselves to explore various hiking spots around the area, all are invited to attend. It is my belief that if Norwich is going to attempt to repair its community, then more clubs and organizations like this need to exist and be known about. I have lived in Norwich my whole life, I naturally love the outdoors and hiking around upstate New York, but have only recently discovered this club. More publicity is owed to the positive things Norwich has to offer. Fall is the perfect time to get outside and enjoy some fresh air and scenery before the harsh upstate winter hits us. Therefore, I encourage anyone interested in the outdoors and hiking to possibly get involved. The club meets at 8 a.m. on Sundays in the rear parking lot of Howard Johnson's in Norwich. Hikers are advised to bring water, a small snack and appropriate footwear and gear. For details contact Don Windsor at or call 336-4628, or visit their website at

– CT

Thumbs down. I'm not entirely sure why Thursday afternoon was so busy at the local big box chain south of town – it was a zoo – but that's not my problem. While there were plenty of parking spaces in the lot, a line of about 10 cars decided that they were more important than everyone else; choosing to park in the clearly marked “Fire Zone” area directly in front of the store's doors rather than the lot with the rest of us lowly shoppers. Mind you, these weren't handicapped folks trying just trying to schlep through life. No, I believe that these were ignorant people with no regard for rules or other human beings, tossing their cigarette butts out their windows onto the side walk for the balance of humanity to wade through. Witnessing this, a few things came to mind: Are people so lazy that they cannot walk a short distance? Are they so busy with their lives that they can't spare the extra 15 seconds? How exciting is it being so busy that you must park in the fire zone? Do they think they are firemen driving a ladder truck? For good measure, I grabbed my phone and took some photos of the ignorant – or imaginative – offenders for use as blog fodder and got “the finger.” It's good to know I'm still number one. I've still got it!


A long overdue thumbs down to Volkswagen, the car company accused of duping the EPA by installing secret software that allowed some of its vehicles to emit 40 times the legal limit of pollution. If their situation wasn’t already bad enough, the Volkswagen U.S. CEO appeared before members of Congress on Thursday to account for the scandal and did something that I think was completely expected: He blamed someone else. Rogue software engineers that he says installed the software without company executives knowing. Now I’m no detective, but I smell a lie. How could it be that only two people knew about this obscure software? And what incentive would a couple engineers have to install it? I’ve already lost respect for Volkswagen for their unwillingness to play by the rules. Now, I say it’s time for them to take ownership for their decisions.

– SM

Thumbs up to the Chicago Cubs this week. The Cubbies haven’t won a playoff game in over a decade until this week. First things first, I’m not a Cubs fan and couldn’t care how they do either way, but this is the year 2015 and if anybody remembers this is the year that they won the world series in the movie Back to the Future 2. My sole reasoning behind rooting for the Cubs this year is to see a prediction from a movie that is older than I am come true. As a side note, thumbs down to no hover boards or flying cars yet, let’s get moving on those.


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