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Good Morning everbody. Check here for your wake up call every day. We will have updated traffic, weather and few fun things to get you through the morning.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Rise and Shine --- It's too early

Good Morning and welcome to the last weekend of August!

No, wait, that can't be right. Are we really into the last weekend of August? Is the summer just about over? Have those lazy days of reading books while the young ones splash (argue?) around in the pool over?
Thankfully, Labor Day is a week later this year (target="blank">who invented this calendar?) School, at least in my world, doesn't start for another week.
So, that means we can squeeze every bit of juice from this summer in last week. Gosh darnit, if it sends me to the loony bin, I'm going to do it.
We'll hit the beach. Ride the rides. Eat junk. Ride bikes. Sit and watch the sunset. See the sunrise (wait, I see that everyday). Play baseball. Throw a frisbee.
Doesn't matter we've been doing that virtually every day since June, it's it the end of August! Let's go. Let's do it again.
You can never have enough summer.

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Rise and Shine ---- Time warp

Good Morning gentle readers!

One thing I was thinking about yesterday after the death of Sen. Ted Kennedy was 1980. Now, in 1980 I was in eighth grade and really didn't know a whole lot about politics. I could, though, do a decent Boston accent.
So, as our school did a theme (did they even use that word then?) on the 1980 election (Jimmy Carter vs. Ted Kennedy in the Democtratic primary) I put my glasses down the end of my nose, did a fake Boston accent and pointed a whole lot. So, in our mock election, I campaigned as Ted Kennedy.
Of course, knowing what I know now, I would have tried a southern accent and carried around a jar of peanuts.
Just think for a minute, though, how different the world would be if you could change that 1980 election.
For some reason (gas prices, recession), the U.S. wasn't in the mood to re-elect Jimmy Carter. He somehow appeared too weak and southernly to run the country (but we elected 'W' twice?).
Anyway, if Carter had said he wasn't running for a second term, Kennedy would have been the Democrat running against Ronald Reagan.
Now, Kennedy certainly had a lot of flaws. What politician doesn't? Anyway, he probably would have given Reagan a run for his money (which is why he won anyway).
So, we never would have had the trickle-down theory of Reagan-omics (we are still feeling the effects of that one). We never would have had Iran-Contra. Probably never seen Bush the elder and, maybe (we can hope anyway), Bush the younger.
Maybe we would already have health care reform. Maybe we would already have worker's rights. Maybe we wouldn't be in another unwinnable war.
Then again, maybe we'd have somebody like Mitt Romney running the country now.
Let's hope it all evens out in the wash.
By the way, they also traded on fear in 1980:

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Rise and Shine --- Welcome to the comment desk

Good Morning and welcome back to Wednesday!

Ever since we've added the ability to put comments on the end of our online stories, there's been a battle.
For the first few months, every comment had to be approved before it was posted. That time-consuming edict was changed so every comment could be posted immediately after the commenter registered.
Are there still too many racist and hateful comments? Sure. There are nasty people all over the place. There are people who like to spew hate just because they have nothing better to do.
On the flip side, there are many more who offer insiteful comments to the news of the day and actually add to the coverage. The story of the family who was nearly homeless after losing everything to an apartment fire was one such case. The community came out and helped. A story like that opens the eyes to the struggles of everybody else around us. I believe many other families received help after that story was posted (and the comments added) even if their story wasn't told.
The comments are still monitored throughout the day. Ones with racist overtones are taken off. If somebody hits the 'Report Abuse' button, the comments are checked.
While this is an area for free talk, there's no reason to offend. That has led to several of those who registered to be banned. Here's the deal, after three strikes (read racist or hateful comments) you get banned.
Much like the health care debate, we need healthy debate. What we don't need is uniformed yelling.
Or something like that.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Rise and Shine --- Sugar is the root of all evil

Good Morning and welcome back to the Internet!

So, there's a report out this morning that we in America eat too much sugar.
Now, this smacks as one of those studies like the one where the sun comes up every day. No kidding. Anybody who doesn't think we eat too much sugar also believes government death panels are coming down the pike.
Uh, never mind.
Anyway, I can tell you right now there is a big sugar conspiracy out there. It's a death panel of another sort.
We are inundated with sugar. It is put into everything (or so it seems). Soda (the leader of the sugar dump), french fries, bread, juice (although all that natural sugar should be enough) and butter.
Let's not even get into high fructose corn syrup, that's a death panel of another kind.
Anyway, last year we went sugar-free for a couple of months.
The withdraw from the stuff by one 7-year old boy was probably akin to heroin withdrawal. There were mood swings. Yelling. Throwing. Fighting.
By the end of two months, though, it wasn't even missed.
Of course, asking somebody to give up sugar would be like asking them to keep an open mind about health care reform.
'This is America, dammit, and I'll keep piling it on if I want. Besides, I'm getting a diet coke with my Big Mac."
All right, maybe we can't eliminate it, but we can limit the stuff. Right?

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Monday, August 24, 2009

Rise and Shine --- Oh, the humanity!

Good Morning and welcome to a new week!

So, that was certainly an interesting weekend. We started with tons of rain and ended a meltdown. In between, though, pretty good.
All that rain that came down Saturday at least gave us an opportunity to get the house clean. It doesn't feel so bad staying inside when it's all mud and wet outside.
Sunday, though, the sun came out and it was a perfect day for a walk.
Well, at least I was able to walk. First, though a little background.
Coming up in September is the Walk4Hearting at Ridley Creek State Park.
So, in preparation, Sunday was a good day to try out the 4.3 mile course. Then again, when dragging a 7-year old and a 4-year old along, there has to be a way to get them around the whole thing.
Bright Idea: Bikes.
So, we loaded two bikes into the van and made the way to the park. After getting on the trail, it seemed to be a great idea. The little ones were riding their bikes and not complaining about 'it being too hot' or 'I need water.'
So, the start was OK. Then, all of a sudden, one bike took off. Brendan, 7, seemed to a have a little motor on the bike (anybody who knows him knows there's a little motor in his body). ZOOM.
Now, you just can't let a 7-year old take off down a trail. So, when he didn't respond to 'STOP' something had to be done. Luckily, somebody in much better shape than me (most of the world?) ran and ran and ran until they met up.
The rest of the course was mostly running for them as I was able to trudge along with a 4-year old girl who kept stopping if she saw me running (thanks!).
Everybody made it around the trail.
So, as the pain in the muscles continues to throb for me, I say thank you for running. There's no way I could keep up.
Next time, though, I'm bringing the bike.

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Friday, August 21, 2009

Rise and Shine --- Too much of a good thing?

Good Morning and welcome to Friday!

So, the Cash for Clunkers program is scheduled to end Monday. Over the last few days, car dealers have been complaining about the program, which has been so successful it ran out of money.
Dealers, it appears, are doing too much business. The government is taking its own sweet time refunding the money (although if you've ever dealt with a government agency you know why) and those gas-guzzling junkers are piling up on back lots.
The bottom line, though, is people seem to be buying new cars, something that hasn't been happening over the last couple of years.
Lest you forget, the U.S. car manufactures all went thought bankruptcy, shut down plants and laid off too many workers.
Now, they are getting orders and selling cars. When the program ends Monday, so will a lot of the car buying.
Then again, what would we be if not a bunch of complainers. Need another example? Check out any of the health care debates.
Of course, this is just more ways for the government to take over your lives (on a side, that wingnut Glen Beck should get his own late-night conspiracy program):

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Rise and Shine --- Recut, cut and recut

Good Morning and welcome to the final Thursday of this week!

Don Hewitt, the creator of the television show '60 Minutes,' died yesterday.
There were many tributes written about the producer, including this one.
Hewitt rarely appeared on television, leaving the work to the talking heads like Walter Cronkite, Morley Safer and the rest.
There will be undoubtedly a lot of tributes and such about Hewitt in the next few days, especially since his death comes so soon after Cronkite's.
What Hewitt started in 1968 as a way to get national news into the local home has now been bastardized to the extent we have no less than four 24-hour news stations beaming to us from the great beyond.
We are inundated with news. We now know far more about Michael Jackson's burial than we really should. We get hammered over the head by the Octomom, by economic news, by nonsense put out there to fill time.
We even have a manipulation of the news.
For instance, a few nights ago U.S. Rep. Barney Frank held one of those town hall meetings to talk about health care.
Some wacko started spouting off about Nazis and held up a photo of President Obama dressed to look like Hitler. Frank shot down the woman's statement and then put her in her place, much like many more officials should be able to do.
Then the tape was recut by one network to make it appear Frank was tongue-lashing everybody.
So, if you really believe everything said on this network READ THIS.
Then watch this:

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Rise and Shine --- Think before acting

Good Morning and here's hoping the health care uproar dies down!

Yeah, I know that's a pipe dream. There are still too many uninformed people out there who would rather just call names and yell than have a legitimate discussion about how to better help everybody else.
If you look at the whole picture, we are here to help each other. We can't really survive without working together, but selfishness always raises it's ugly head. Too many out there are only thinking about themselves.
'Hey, I'm OK. The heck with everybody else.'
Of course, they use different language.
The best way we can counteract that is to teach children the correct way to act.
Now, anybody who has young ones know there are more than enough trying times. The arguing, the fighting, the eating, the yelling, more yelling and more yelling can get under your skin.
Then, when it all calms down (you know that 10 minute period during the day) it's time to act. Teach them how to act, how to help and tell them how it all connects.
Maybe if we can't get this stuff to work now (there are too many people listening to the radio to form their opinions), it will in the future.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Rise and Shine --- Take 2

Good Morning and welcome back to the weird world!

So, after another nutjob was seen outside an Obama health care forum with a weapon (this time an assault rifle), it might be time to take another look.
So, in an attempt to inform (although many would rather just listen and react), CHECK OUT this story. Sure, maybe the guy has an angle, but any logical-thinking person can see it makes sense.
Insurance companies, plane and simple, are driving the health care debate. They want to keep making insane profits on the backs of death. If you don't believe that, open your eyes.
Meanwhile, as Michael Vick starts to collect his paycheck from the Eagles, THERE'S THIS. Look, I'll be the first to admit dogs can be a pain, especially when you have to take them to the vet.
Still, to force them to fight, then kill them after they lose is just reprehensible. There's no gray area.
Finally, there's even more American Idol news.
To which we should all say: 'Yawn. Wake me up when something exciting happens.
Last but not least, throwing beer on players appears to be the thing to do these days:

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Rise and Shine --- Isn't that special?

Good Morning and who turned up the heat?

Boo Hoo. Michael Vick had a tough time in prison.
Boo Hoo. Michael Vick didn't have a chance to play in the NFL.
Boo Hoo. Michael Vick had to give up a $135 million contract.
Boo Hoo. Michael Vick feels bad for the dogs.
Boo Hoo. Boo Hoo. Boo Hoo.
Since there isn't much we can do about it, Michael Vick will be playing for the Eagles this year. He'll probably score a key touchdown. He'll be shown on ESPN. He'll be cheered by those at the stadium who have no choice after shelling out thousands of dollars for tickets.
For all those who are now lauding the signing of Vick had better carry that attitude through life. If you are in a position of hiring somebody some day and that person is a convicted felon, their application better not be thrown into the trash.
If Michael Vick, convicted felon, deserves a second chance so do those who can't throw a ball.
By the way, I want to thank the Eagles for saving me some money by handing Michael Vick, dog killer, $1.5 million.
How? I had been toying with the idea of taking my boys to an Eagles game at some point. Even though it's not exactly a family friendly experience, I thought they might have fun seeing a live football game.
Well, that went out the window with the ridiculous press conference Friday.
Now, I'll have to look into finding Temple tickets.
Finally, before it's been done to death:

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Friday, August 14, 2009

Rise and Shine --- Another Vick-tim

Good Morning and welcome to Friday!

Way back in the day, I started out in this business as a sports writer. Even before doing it professionaly, I was sports mad. I would watch every game on television and get to the stadiums whenever possible. I would take notes, keep stats, critique coaching decisions and keep an eye on the play (be it in baseball, football, basketball, whatever).
Then, I would write up my own account of the game and compare it to what appeared in the newspaper the next day. Then I was able to actually cover sports for a living. I saw many a great game on every level (from little league to the pros). I thought it was great.
There are many reasons why I no longer do any of that. They range from the mundane to the ridiculous, but one of the main reasons is the attitudes of athletes.
To see Terrell Owens complaining about feeding his family while making millions and then causing trouble because he couldn't make millions more was the final turn off.
While there are people dying in an unnessacary war and others just trying to get by on a daily basis, sports (the pro level anyway) lost its luster.
Now, with the Eagles signing of quarterback Michael Vick, I am glad I no longer work in the 'Toy Department.'
Maybe the guy deserves a second chance. That's not for me to decide. The bottom line is if Joe Smith down the street had a dog-fighting ring and killed dogs in his backyard, he would not be able to work again.
In our strange world, those who can throw a ball or run or hit get a clean slate.
Vick will get over a $1 million this year. He shouldn't get $1 to play professional sports.
Just in case you don't know how brutal Vick's crime is, check out this documentary from the UK:

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Rise and Shine --- Tired or not?

Good Morning and welcome back to Thursday!

Sometimes, when things get to be too much, it's best to just put your head down for the night. The old song says "The Sun will come up Tomorrow" and, you know what, it's right.
Sure, the pressures are still there, but it's good to see them in a new light. Try to fix them as best as possible. Of course, that can't be done when you're tired. So, take a break. Hit the pillow.
Maybe it's not the best solution, but it works a lot of times.
Or, as you know, sometimes you are just a little more tired.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Rise and Shine --- It's getting scary

Good Morning and welcome to crazy town!

That's right, we've finally gone over the edge. We've finally taken things to a ridiculous level (a level fueled by those who are in search of ratings).
Just yesterday a man showed up with a gun at a healthcare town meeting being held by the President. Another man stood up to shout down Sen. Arlen Specter before even hearing any information.
There are people out there who listen (or read) uninformed opinions and take them as fact. They listen to Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin then believe every word that comes out of their mouths.
Tonight at 6:30 p.m., U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak is holding a healthcare town meeting in Philadelphia. I hope there is enough security to keep him safe.
Listen people, this country needs healthcare reform. We are being held hostage by insurance companies. They keep raising rates. They keep shutting out the doctors. Unless something is done, none of us will be able to afford care.
The bottom line is there is no government plan as yet. There are only ideas. That's the point of discussion. Hash out the ideas, see what works for the most people.
Unfortunately, small-minded people are disrupting that conversation for no reason.
Do your own research, you might learn something. Or, just believe the talking heads:
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Healther Skelter - Obama Death Panel Debate
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorSpinal Tap Performance

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Rise and Shine --- The heat is on

Good Morning and welcome to another sticky August day!

What to do in the heat?
Sure, you can stay inside and relax with the air conditioning, but something feels just wrong about that scenerio.
In the dead of winter, with cold air (not so much snow for us the last few years) blowing outside, it's an easy decision. You stay in the heat and watch dead leaves blow around the yard.
The summer, though, brings a completely different view. The sun is shining and it looks like a perfect day to head outdoors.
Then, you open the door and ... BAM. That wall of heat hits you like a ton of bricks.
That's when the brain starts to click around (or burn out in my case). Go outside and enjoy the summer or stay inside and keep cool?
What to do? What to do?
In the end, I suggest, it's better to get out in the air. Turn off the air conditioner and sit under a tree.
Let the children get all sweaty (maybe, just maybe, a little tired) and it all seems OK.
That is, until the ice melts.

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Friday, August 7, 2009

Rise and Shine ---- They must think we're all stupid

Good Morning, welcome to the weekend and stay away from AT&T!

Now, it's finally getting out of hand.
Last night in Tampa, Fla., there was an actual fight outside a 'Town Meeting' to talk about healthcare reform.
This conservative-radio fueled nonsense has finally reached a pinacle. We are about to go over the edge and, maybe, there finally may be no coming back.
Apparently, there are plenty of people out there who just focus on one thing and can't open their brains to the whole picture.
Want some proof? Check out this well-written story and the 104 comments that follow.
Look, I'm sorry if Rush Limbaugh and his ilk don't need better healthcare, but the rest of us do. There are too many people out there who can't get the care they need. There are too many people out there who can't afford the care they need. There are too many people out there who let those with loud mouths dictate their actions.
Here are the facts.
Yelling, screaming and, unbelievably, fighting won't change that.

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Thursday, August 6, 2009

Rise and Shine ---- Company runaround

Good Morning Dear Readers and All the Ships at Sea!

You know how Comcast keeps offering those 'Special' (read cheaper) deals to new customers. You can get cable TV, Internet and phone service for like five bucks if you are a new customer (OK, an exageration, but there's a point, trust me). If you are a current Comcast customer, you're out of luck.
The cable conglomerate, which rakes in billions every year, figures they have you already. Why try anymore? It's not like you can go somewhere else (RCN, Dish, Verizon?).
Well, that's frustrating enough, but I found another one this week: AT&T wireless.
Apparently, once you are a customer, you can pound sand. My cell phone has been used as a boat, race car, baseball and anything else you can think of that would entertain 10 and 7-year old boys. The front is cracked. The buttons stick. The ring sounds like a dead bird (actually, it is a bird, only a live one).
So, I logged onto AT&T's Web site to upgrade. Found a nice phone, then typed the name into Google to find any reviews.
Along with the reviews, I found out you can get the same phone at for $150 less if you are a new AT&T customer. So, I called customer service. The woman there told me to deal with their price or just cancel.
Not satisfied with that 30 second phone call, I sent an e-mail with my concerns. Here's what I got back:
I apologize for the difference in cost between a phone that Amazon sells versus a phone that we sell. The reason for this is that the equipment that Amazon sells is their equipment and they can choose to sell it for what they choose to sell it for. They sometimes choose to take losses on their equipment to make more money in the long run. All companies that simply sell our service for us can do this. These companies usually also have an item in their contract in addition to ours. This item states that if you get a discounted phone from them and then choose to cancel, for whatever reason, you will pay them an early termination fee. This is on top of our early termination fee and does not matter whether we waive the fee or not. If you choose to get the phone from Amazon, please make sure that you are aware of all conditions for getting the phone at that wonderful price. I am sorry we are not able to price match it.
So, in other words, we have you, pound sand. AT&T took in $3.2 billion in the second quarter this year. Not too shabby in a year where jobs are being shed like K-Mart shoes.
I realize this doesn't amount to much in the grand scheme of things. There are more important issues out there, but, sometimes, big companies could look out for the little guy.
By the way, Verizon and T-Mobil reps each said they would match any price.

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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Rise and Shine --- Twitter, Twitter everywhere

Good Morning and welcome back to summer!?!

The 'big' news as we wake up this morning is Paula Abdul is LEAVING AMERICAN IDOL!
She apparently used Twitter late last night to alert her fans to the 'breaking news.'
You know, we joke about it sometimes, but this whole 24-hour news cycle has taken the break out of breaking news. In the old days, yeah three years ago, we would have found out Paula Abdul was leaving Idol (like we really care anyway) when the show came back on the air.
Now, though, it's BIG NEWS. It has to get out there immediately. We need to know.
Sure, every once in a while, there is news. The death of Michael Jackson or Joe Sestak telling everybody he is running for Senate (like it wasn't obvious months ago) is something worth talking about.
Those goofballs who show up to shout down our elected about healthcare reform, well, that's news if only to show how ridiculous they look.
Paula Abdul leaving American Idol is not that big a deal. Unless, of course, you are a cable news network who needs to fill time.
By the way, want to know the insignificant things in somebody's life (like when they head to the bathroom), log on to Twitter. Hey, follow me if you are sufficiently bored.

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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Rise and Shine --- From sublime to ridiculous

Good Morning and here we are at another Tuesday!?!

Maybe it's just me, but this story about a woman suing a college because she can't find a job is absolutely ridiculous.
I can't decide which is worse: the woman thought she could get some sympathy for this or that a lawyer was actually willing to take the case.
Either way, it smells. Look, our business section is filled every day with bad news about the economy. Jobs are being cut everywhere. Many people are finding it difficult to find a place to live.
Now, we have somebody actually suing a college because they can't find a job. What's next, sue your parents because they let you play outside instead of constantly studying?
Maybe we should sue somebody like this for putting out a fountain of misinformation. How about this guy for putting out filth on the airwaves?
Hey, let's go all the way and sue this guy for taking the comedy away from government.
Then again, maybe we should just work hard and help others. Maybe that's a better solution.

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Monday, August 3, 2009

Rise and Shine --- Penny for your thoughts

Good Morning and welcome back to another summer week!

Found out the Lincoln penny is 100 years old.
Now, for many, the penny, which, by the way, is the longest-running U.S. coin still in circulation, is nothing more than a nuisance.
You get pennies at the Wawa after buying a cup of coffee. They then sit in your pocket until you either put them in a bank or leave them on the counter. 'Wait, I have a dime. Darn it, it's not a dime, it's a penny.'
For others, though, including a 4-year old girl I know, pennies are gold. They might as well be million-dollar coins. The penny offers everything in the world that is good.
This girl, with curly hair by the way, won't ever pass up a penny.
"Look, Daddy, I have money. Do you want some money? I'll give you this one."
Why don't you keep it? Put it in the bank.
"Here's some more money! Woo, Hoo. Do you want some?"
Her older brothers, on the other hand, can't be bothered by pennies. Even if they did, the pennies would go immediately in their pockets.
"How many pennies do I need to buy a car?" asked a certain 7-year old recently.
Well, probably about 20 million.
"Then give me a dollar instead."
Anyway, see a penny, pick it up and all the day you'll have good luck.

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