Here's the Scoop by Brian Sweeney

Here's the scoop: May 15, 2013

Take me out to the ballgame...
You’re probably familiar with the term, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” That may be true, but you can sure instruct a middle-aged cat to do some neat stuff. For instance, watching baseball.


Here's the scoop: April 24, 2013

We’ll see about that...or not
Did you ever have one of those moments where you anxiously think, “Did I just do that?”
You’ve probably guessed that this recently happened to me. You’re right. Yesterday, after dropping off my car for snow tire removal (call me an optimist!), and hitching a lift to work, as my chauffer drove away, I thought, “I wonder if the case with my glasses in it is in the pile of stuff I just removed from the car?”


Here's the Scoop: April 17, 2013

Something’s Fishy
I recently concluded a strenuous endurance test — eight days living “off the grid,” on my own.
Maybe “off the grid” isn’t exactly accurate. I had electricity. There was plenty of gas for the stove (although it wasn’t needed). But, I was still roughing it because my wife was called out of town for a business trip. The “business” primarily involved touring the Left Coast with her three sisters, enjoying sun and surf on a long-planned getaway.


Here's the scoop: April 10, 2013

The Write Stuff
The Daily Star in Oneonta carried a big, front page story this week about the death of handwriting. In the business, we like to refer to such “stories” as a slow news day. I know them well.

But, that’s not the point. The fact is, the Star is correct, handwriting is no longer utilized — or given much consideration — by many people. That’s unfortunate.
Personally, I abandoned the handwriting game long ago. Like a bad relationship, “It just wasn’t working for me.”


Here's the scoop: April 3, 2013

Spring is Bobbling Along
Saturday evening marked the return of spring for me. That’s when members of the Catskill Mountain Fantasy Baseball League (CMFBL) gathered for the league’s annual draft.

I periodically mention CMFBL in this space because it’s a pretty big part of my life for six months each year. Some may say it’s too big of a part of my life. For that reason, I’ve learned to keep my enthusiasm for this “sport” to myself — unless I’m talking to fellow league members. They understand.


Here's the scoop: March 27, 2013

Just like old times
Unfortunately, I am banned this week from using a three-letter work that begins with “s.” Since I can’t write about the raw material from which maple syrup is made, I have been hard-pressed to think of another topic. My brain is kind of sapped (six letters), I guess.


Here's the scoop: March 19, 2013

Syrup: The Final Frontier
It would have been unfair to leave readers hanging regarding our first venture into the world of maple syrup production. So, today we reach the boiling point.

But not that fast. These things take time. Lots and lots of mind-numbing time.
Anyone with sensitivity to the cold realizes it has been pretty darn chilly lately. Especially when you’re outside. Even sitting next to a fire. Being rookies in the maple-making world, a sap house is not in the plans. Yet.


Here's the Scoop: March 13, 2013

Reaching the boiling point
I’m not sure how long my Lord of the Sugar Maple Rings series will continue, but I plan on squeezing out every last drop.

You may recall that in earlier installments of my maple syrup making adventure, I began chronicling the anticipation of my family’s initial sap-to-syrup experience. The truth is, you can’t rush these things; thus the unusual multi-column format I’m employing to tell this tale.


Here's the Scoop: March 6, 2013

Stay out of the woods
The response to last week’s column about my wife and me getting set to dip our toes into the sweet realm of backyard maple sugar production was a bit overwhelming.

You could say that folks came “out of the woodwork” with suggestions and really scary stories about the perils of the pursuit of maple syrup. It’s always nice to get some free advice.
Insights, of course, are about the only thing that’s “free” when it comes to syrup production. Nearly everyone I spoke to started off the conversation with the question, “Do you have…?”


Here's the Scoop: February 27, 2013

Stepping back in time
It’s been many years since I last took an active role in producing a bit of Catskill Mountain maple syrup, but I’m getting ready to give it another crack.

My first experience with syrup production occurred when I was quite small. One neighborhood family used to tap the series of sturdy maples that lined our street. Four large trees in front of our house were part of the supply, so the local kids helped with the task.


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