Blogs > Rise and Shine

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.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Rise and Shine --- New day or not

Good Morning and welcome to something called Cyber Monday!

Yeah, we have to have names for everything now. We had Black Friday and now Cyber Monday. What's tomorrow, Take-out Tuesday?
This whole shopping thing is getting crazy. We are being inundated with information about shopping for the holidays. Now, if you go on any Web site, things pop up with special pricing today.
That's all well and good, but the money has to come from somewhere. Is this debit or credit? Well, in the end, it doesn't matter. Might as well make it Monopoly money.
So, get those cards ready. Spend. Spend. Spend.
While doing that, also check out some of those Tiger Woods stories from the weekend. As we are trying to figure out how to buy all that stuff, at least we are having a better weekend than Tiger Woods.
Which, is kind of nice for once.

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Rise and Shine --- Friday ridiculous

Good Morning and welcome to the storm!

Yeah, it's all of a sudden cold out there, but it apparently is hot in the malls.
You know, it used to be that the day after Thanksgiving was kind of fun. You went to the mall (or store), saw some decent sales, maybe picked up a few gifts, had lunch and went home.
Now, it's apparently an event. People camp out in front of stores. There are lines hours before they open.
Just so you could get a jump on the junk buying, WalMart was open all day Thanksgiving (although, who really buys at WalMart?).
There are even fights over the final $20 Elmo doll. I (and somebody much smarter than me) wander if this is strickly a phenomenon in the USA or is it all over the world.
Is all this craziness really neccessary.
Whenever I see the lines and the people I am reminded of the Charlie Brown Christmas show. We have lost something in the buy, buy, buy times we find ourselves living.
Then again, Best Buy has a $20 camera. I have to go...

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Rise and Shine --- Happy Thanksgiving

Good Morning and welcome to the calm before the storm!

There was a report the other day that 20 percent of the workforce has to go to work on Friday. It feels more like 100 percent.
Before that crazy day, though, get ready for Thanksgiving with this:

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Rise and Shine --- Thanksgiving

Good Morning and welcome to the real start of the Holiday season!

Well, actually, that would be Friday when we can start listening to those songs on the radio and think about the winter season.
Up until now, it's only been so much noise. Only after the food's been eaten and the parades are over is it the right time to start thinking about the next month.
There are some people who get all their shopping done by the end of September. For me, that takes the fun out of it all.
If you are buying gifts that early, it shows all you think about is gifts. Forget the people getting those things, just buy, buy, buy.
Here's an idea: One gift each for those who you give gifts. Wait until December 12 at the earliest to make the purchase.
That way, you can focus on the person and not the item.
Just an idea...

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Rise and Shine --- Homework

Good Morning and welcome to the rain!

When I was a student (so many moons ago), like everybody else, I hated homework. I would do whatever I could to push off the doing of homework. I would pretend I was asleep. I would pretend I was sick. I would pretend I didn't have any homework.
Eventually, of course, I had to get the homework done. I can remember more than a few times trying to do my homework when my friends were outside playing. I can remember my friends ringing the doorbell, only to be told I was still doing homework.
What I don't remember is having as much homework as is being assigned now. A fifth-grader I know can spend hours a night (late afternoon, actually) doing math, spelling, grammer, social studies.
One Canadian family got so fed up with the homework, they worked out a deal with the school to stop it from coming home.
This is a big dilemma. I know children need to do homework, but I also know there are so inundated with tests and the like during school hours they need down time as well. So, we try to get the homework done right after school so the rest of the night is free.
Teachers say it's better to let the children decompress after school before doing homework. Well, with work, activities, dinner and the fast-approaching bed time, that doesn't fly.
If teachers really want children to be so well-rounded, don't give so much homework. You have them all day, get the work done during school hours. Give them a half hour at the end of the day to get some work done. Of course, thanks to the fabulous 'No Child Left Behind' mandate, there is virtually no time for lunch let alone extra work.
I wish there was a better solution.

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Rise and Shine --- The smile

Good Morning and welcome to, for many, a short week!

You know, there are a lot of cliches out in the wild, wild world. There are many about smiles. Let a smile be your umbrella. A smile makes the world look brighter. When your smiling, the whole world smiles with you.
Those cliches, although maybe dated, are right on the money.
Yesterday was a special girl's fifth birthday.
Five years ago, there were a lot of concerns about her. She had trouble breathing right away. There were concerns about her heart. She was on a respirator for the first week of her life. After being able to leave the hospital, she wasn't allowed to leave the house for six months (except to go to the doctor).
While watching her dance and sing during Sunday's birthday party, I was taken back five years. I remember looking at her through the plastic covering, all wires and blankets.
I remember the next day finally being able to hold her, telling her everything was going to be OK. I remember sitting in the critical care area having her lay on my belly and gently fall asleep.
Five years later, she won't fall asleep on my belly. She's blossomed into a beautiful young girl. She has friends. She holds her own (and then some) with her older brothers. She dances. She sings.
Most of all, though, she smiles. Those smiles can melt your heart. They truly make a rainy day turn bright and sunny.
So, I asked last night, 'Malena, now that your five do you still have time for your Daddy?'
"Sure," she said. "How about 10 minutes?"
Then she smiled and I knew everything would be OK.

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Rise and Shine --- Mistakes? Yeah, sure

Good Morning and welcome to a windy, but warm Friday in November!

Everybody makes mistakes. It's just part of human nature. After all, how boring could life be if we didn't have to react to our mistakes.
The mistake that happened with murder suspect Abdul Azzia Johnson Thursday afternoon, though, is unexcuseable.
Johnson, in custody for the stray-bullet shooting death of a Chester woman, apparently stole an unmarked police car while shackled.
At first, there is plenty of gallows humor to go along with the situation. Offices around the county were filled with questions like, 'Were they stopping off at Dunkin Donuts?,' or 'O.J.'s probably going to look for a Delaware County home when he gets out of prison.'
I mean, after all, it's an unbelievable situation. How can a murder suspect be left alone in a car? How can he jump over the seat, find the keys and take off?
You know, the police in Delaware County do a fantastic job against unbelievable odds. They are shot at daily. They have to put up with the worst drivers in America. They probably hear plenty of not-so-nice words all the time.
I make mistakes daily (some would say hourly), so I'm not trying to throw stones. Still, some people have to held to a higher standard (right or wrong). Police, teachers, doctors and nurses have a duty to do their job right no matter what.
Sometimes, a mistake is unexcuseable.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Rise and Shine --- Sleep is overrated

Good Morning and welcome back to Thursday!

Let's see how it goes: The alarm goes off in the morning, you hit the snooze button 100 times and then get up.
Studies keep telling us we need more sleep. We should get eight hours a day. We should get plenty of downtime.
Really, though, who can do that? What with outside noise, work, that pesky alarm, there are too many things working against us.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Rise and Shine --- New moon? Isn't that in the sky

Good Morning and welcome to the crispness that is Wednesday morning!

The last couple of days (months?) we've been inundated with photos, interviews and videos about the latest 'Twilight' saga.
Apparently, this one is called 'New Moon' and it has something to do with vampires and werewolves.
At least that's what I can garner from the previews. Looks like a slick made movie, but one I know I'll never see, not that I have an inclination to see it anyway.
Sometimes, there are just those things you don't get. They can put out stories about the stars. They can put out books about the movie. They can put the book that inspired the movie in the front of the bookstore. It doesn't matter.
Of course, it probably doesn't matter to the makers of New Moon anyway. I'm not exactly the age group they are going after. They are making tons of money from teenage girls.
If I want a vampire and werewolf fix, I'm popping 'Abbot and Costello meet Frankenstein' in the VCR (yeah, it still works). Maybe I'm the right demographic for that classic.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Rise and Shine --- Bookstore vs. Library

Good Morning and welcome to another Tuesday in a long line of Tuesdays!

While the city of Philadelphia was battling its budget woes, one of the solutions was to close the library.
Recently, the Darby Library was in danger of closing because of lack of funding Now it appears there is a enough to keep it open.
The state budget process (or marathon) included the cutting of funding for libraries.
Sure, these are all short-sited fixes probably pushed by the book industry. After all, not as many people are reading books, buying books or spending time with books.
It's, of course, a shame because there is nothing like a good book. You can escape into the written word even more than movies (although, I watch too many movies and don't read enough books).
While spending time at the mall Sunday, the family spent almost two hours at the book store. They looked at books. They read stories. They enjoyed the atmosphere.
Unlike the trip to the library, though, the books had to stay at the store.
While being all for retail sales, the library is really the place to check out those books. That way it doesn't end up with this conversation:
"See this book here," Brendan said. "They had it at the Borders library."
Maybe it will be worth the trip.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Rise and Shine --- Ready for the rubber room

Good Morning and welcome to a new week!

For many, this time of year is incredibly stressful. The upcoming holidays combined with the start of winter (yeah, it's way too dark at 5 p.m.), can make the head feel like it's going to explode.
The mailman doesn't exactly help things out. Now, I know it's not his fault, but all those holiday catalogs now falling out of the mailbox only serve to rachet up the stress a few more notches. (Remember back in the day when there was one catalog, the Sears Wish Book? We waited all year for one. Now, they come every stinking day.)
Now, I know there are all these stories out there about the economy getting better. Retail stores are counting on it being real. One of the main reasons we get Christmas decorations and music blaring through the malls in September is because stores need this time of year to make their profit (overinflated as corporate honchos might make it).
The catalogs, though, are something else.
There are catalogs for everything from the fishing fan to the xylophone player in the house.
This weekend came one with so much overpriced junk it was mostly laughable. Aside from the remote-control, talking R2-D2, there was a personal ice-making machine. Now, ice is probably the easiest thing in the world to make. Why on earth would you need a personal ice machine.
What, you need to put it on your desk so you can have fresh ice every day? Can't walk to the refrigerator to fill up a cup? Can we get any lazier?
Later in the book, tucked on the bottom of one page was a Lionell train. Now, the holiday season makes those of a certain age (and many older) pine for the setting up of a model train. Their fun to put together and watch go around.
This train came with it's only table and 'outdoor' track scene. The train went around in a figure 8, through mountains and past a miniature train station.
The price on the bottom: $12,400.
That's not a misprint. $12,400.
The catalog quickly went into the trash.

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Rise and Shine --- Comedy ... or not?

Good Morning and welcome to the end of a rainy, weird week!

Just in time for the holiday shopping season comes Sarah Palin's new book, 'Going Rogue.'
Apparently, this is some new form of comedy. The former Vice Presidential candidate (Remember, she was running with somebody named John McCain) takes shots at everbody from Katie Couric to McCain's campaign to the public who voted for the other Presidential candidate.
The Associated Press picked up an advance copy of the book, which, according to the story, contains such jems as:
The Palins never wanted all those fancy clothes, news anchor Katie Couric is condescending, biased and "badgering" and she wanted to give a speech at after Obama was declared the election winner.
Now, that might have been good comedy:

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Rise and Shine --- Social media

Good Morning and welcome to some more rain!

I'll be the first to admit I was very, very late to jump in to the social media pool. I ignored MySpace and it finally faded away.
I ignored the first Tweets from Twitter (You are going to the store? Who cares.) All those e-mails from Linkedin quickly went into the trash.
On a whim a few months ago, though, I was prodded into trying Facebook.
Hey, it's always interesting to see where old friends ended up as life continued.
Now, I feel practically worldly.
I realize I know people from such far off lands as California, Boston, Wisconsin, Las Vegas and Bridgeport. My best friend even filed some things from Iraq.
I was able to 'talk' to people I haven't seen or thought of in over 20 years.
I was able to search and find old grade school friends, college friends, work friends. You know as you go from day to day you sometimes forget they are all out there.
It somehow makes the world smaller and gives a sense of community. Sure, there are those 'I'm going to the store' posts, but most are just a few words to let everybody know you are doing OK.
After playing around with a personal page for awhile, I started a Daily Times Facebook page. Thanks to all those out there who have joined. (If you haven't joined yet, why not? CLICK HERE to become a fan) We are now approaching 1,000 people who like to keep updated throughtout the day with the happenings here.
Where the future for all of us will lead is anybody's guess, but now I know there are people out there who are interested.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Rise and Shine --- Taking a Hike

Good Morning and welcome to a rainy Wednesday!

So, this past weekend it was pretty nice. Nice enough, in fact, that getting outside was not only something nice to do, but it felt like a mandate.
When it hits 70 degrees in November, you just have to do something, anything, to enjoy the air.
The easy way is to head to a playground and let the little ones run around until they tire out. The problem with that is two fold: First, they never tire out and second it doesn't give much for the parent's to do.
Sure, you can play a little bit. Maybe push the swing (for about five hours), but we need something more as well.
So, it seemed like the perfect day to walk through the woods. A quick drive down the Blue Route found Fairmount Park and Forbidden Drive.
Anybody who hasn't been there, right across the street from Chestnut Hill College, really needs to make the trip.
So, after a picnic lunch, it was time to hit the trail.
Now, when you take three children (ages 4, 7 and 10) on a hike, it could go either way. They could enjoy the thing or make it so much more difficult.
Luckily, this day, they were fascinated by the trees and the chance to do something different.
The air. The leaves. The small mountain trail. All of it made for a nice afternoon. Of course, there were some moments (aren't there always).
We made it up, we made it down. Now we are rooting for some more warm days just to try it again.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Rise and Shine --- Cookies

Good Morning and welcome back to the Internet!

Is there really anything better than fresh-baked cookies?
There's just something about the smell, the anticipation, the warmth.
You could feel really sick, then, bam, the smell of cookies baking in the oven makes the head feel better.
You could be really tired, but find the strength to stay up to get those fresh ones out of the oven.
Luckily, our house is blessed with one of the great cookie bakers of all time.
Just yesterday, we were treated to some chocolate-peanut butter cookies in the afternoon. Then, after having to keep an appointement Monday night, I was greeted with a fresh batch of chocolate chip-oatmeal-peanut butter-raison cookies.
Couldn't have been better. Maybe we should forget this health-care debate and just make cookies.
It's just what the doctor ordered.
Which of course, brings to mind a classic:

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Monday, November 9, 2009

Rise and Shine --- Strange days

Good Morning and welcome back to a new week!

While going through the Internet this morning, I found this headline on a Web site: House Health Bill is 'DOA' in Senate
While driving around this weekend, there were signs plastered on a couple of lawns 'demanding' health care reform to fail.
There are talking heads out there twisting the information to the point where it seems like any kind of reform is a bad thing.
Why is it wrong to find a better solution? Why is it wrong to make sure everybody can afford health care? Why do too many people think only of themselves instead of people as a whole?
Of course, none of those questions can be answered. If you ask one side, they shout you down. If you ask the other side, they have no answers.
Look, anybody who thinks health care bills are OK needs to see the whole picture. If a family needs to pay $520 a month on health care there is some kind of problem.
For many, the opinion is: 'Well, that's your choice.'
Really, though, it's not. Health care companies are running this debate. If you don't see that you are wearing blinders. The companies want to continue to make money on the backs of people. They lay off workers and up their prices. They make the co-pays higher and up their prices.
Something has to give somewhere.
We need to contact our Senators and tell them we are fed up. We need quality health care at an affordable price.
There can't be any wavering.

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Friday, November 6, 2009

Rise and Shine --- You're no fun

Good Morning and welcome to a chilly Friday!

While talking about the World Series last week to a 7-year old boy, it morphed into the following conversation:
'Dad, when you were a kid did you watch Star Wars?'
Well, I saw the movies when they came out. I thought they were pretty good.
'No. Dad. Did you watch the 'Clone Wars?'
They didn't have the 'Clone Wars' when I was a child. It was just the movies.
'Didn't your parents let you watch Cartoon Network when you were a kid?'
I'm sure they would have let me watch, but we didn't have Cartoon Network.
'What, you didn't have a TV like ours?'
I guess the TVs were the same, but there was no such thing as Cartoon Network. We didn't have cable.
'Granpop didn't buy it.'
Well, not exactly. There really wasn't cable TV. We had about six channels to watch and there weren't cartoons on all day.
'Hmmm. How about Nick?'
No, we had 3, 6, 10, 12, 17 and 29. I think there was another mixed in, but they came and went. Mostly there were some cartoons on Saturday mornings. If there was no school, we watched Channel 12. Things like Seseme Street and Romper Room.
'Sounds kind of boring.'
Well, maybe it was, but we also played outside or played games or just ran around.
'You mean like this. AHHHHHHH!!!' (Jumping off the couch).
Sure, that's fun too. Just don't break anything.
'Can I watch TV?'
No. Figure out something else. Just don't jump out of a tree.
'You're no fun.'
Not as much fun as this:

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Rise and Shine --- Oh well

Good Morning and here we are back writing!

Oh well, did anybody really believe the Phillies were going to win the World Series again this year. They had too many pitching problems and couldn't get those key hits in big situations.
The Yankees are a better team right now. The Phillies are right there, but don't have that extra push like last year. By the way, winning one World Series means anything else for the next five years is just gravy. Enjoy the ride, now move on.
Speaking of moving on, less than a week after Halloween, it's already Christmas season.
Yeah, I know, for may shops and stuff, Christmas season started last February. At least it's November and seeing the lights does add a warm feeling. It might seem a little early (and I'm still holding out for a few more warm days), but time does move quicker now.
Or something like that.

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