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Thursday, March 25, 2010

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Rise and Shine --- It's in the water

Good Morning and I'm still wondering why I was 'unfriended' on Facebook over health care issues!?!

So, there's a big stink coming out of Philadelphia about a proposed tax on soda. Many are up in arms the city would try to extract a few cents from those who like the taste of high fructose corn syrup.
Don't like the tax, drink water. It's better for you anyway.
There are more than enough studies that show how bad soda really is for your system.
Sure, it tastes good sometimes, but it's really just hollow calories posing as a drink.
Soda causes obesity, tooth decay, kidney decay and heart problems. Do a search. It's all out there.
Yes, there have been plenty of times where I enjoyed a cold Coca-Cola. Just think about it, though, do you really feel any better after drinking one?

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Rise and Shine --- Fix schools now

Good Morning and break out those winter coats once again!

Now that we have some form of health care reform (those who like to yell, well, just deal with it), now's the time to move on to other things.
While jobs and the economy will recover over time (they always do), a more pressing issue is it's time to get rid of the ridiculous 'No Child Left Behind' mandate.
Sure, we want all children to learn, but when it's forced learning it's more like memorizing.
We are quickly coming up on another round of PSSA testing.
The school administrators will hold rallies. They will first talk to the students about relaxing while taking the test, then they will quickly say they all have to ace it.
After all, school funding is based on a general test scored by a computer. The computer doesn't know if the student broke his/her pencil during the question and was too scared to ask if it could be sharpened. It also doesn't know if the child had a headache or couldn't sleep the night before because they were inundated with mixed messages.
OK, we are on the road to fixing the health care mess (although the battle isn't over because those health care companies have deep pockets and hire loudmouths). Now, let's fix the school mess.
We'll finally be on the way to knocking that last president off the books (unless it's comic books).

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Rise and Shine --- Getting it out

Good Morning and welcome to another Tuesday!

Last week, our parent company held a two-day conference to talk about how we can adapt to the changing news environment.
Increasingly, people are getting all their news from the computer screen. Be it at work or home, good stories are pushed along through Facebook and Twitter (you can find the DelcoTimes on both).
Gone are the days when somebody would sit down and read a newspaper from cover to back. Now, the news comes from friends, who forward along links to good stories.
The transition has been quick, but, really, not unexpected.
Now, you can get everything forwarded to your phone, so there isn't even a need to wait until you get to the office.
Adapt we must and adapt we will. the company even has some of the best thinkers in the new business to tap for advise.
The bottom line is stories will still get written. Writers will still be able to tell stories.
As somebody much smarter than me said, 'As long as I can help people with my stories, it doesn't matter if it's on the Internet or paper.'
That's where we are and that's where we are going.

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Rise and Shine --- Sunny day

Good Morning and welcome to a new world of hope!

Sure, the health care reform bill that passed the House late Sunday night doesn't go far enough, but at least it's a start.
Now, maybe we can get a handle on the ridiculous cost of health care in this country.
Look, nobody is doubting we have some of the best doctors in the world right here in the U.S. They are doing some things that seem to be right out of Star Trek.
Still, when millions of people can't afford to go to the doctors, let alone get any kind of insurance, the system is broken.
This version of the bill is dumbed down to placate to the loud yellers, but, once again, at least it's a start.
You can't take a step down the right road without moving your feet.
Sure, the public option should have never been a barginning chip and there are still too many loopholes, but it does the heart good to see something being done to help everybody, not just the upper echelon.
There are going to be critics (not the least of which is those on hate radio who are getting their pockets lined by the health care companies), but they can go pound sand.
Two years down the line when we have more affordable insurance and more people have the option to get healthy, maybe we'll see the light.
At least that's a hope.

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Friday, March 19, 2010

Rise and Shine --- Bracketology

Good Morning and wasn't it nice to hear the birds singing this morning!

With all the running around this weekend (or, more specifically, sitting around at a conference), I didn't have a chance to fill out an NCAA Tournament bracket.
Usually, I am able to get around three done myself then have the children pick one and feel really bad by the end when they beat me.
This year, though, time just got away and, really, I forgot.
It's a good thing. I definitely would have picked Notre Dame, Georgetown and Marquette. When all three Big East teams lost (and Villanova nearly lost), my first thought was: 'At least I still have my five bucks!'
Seeing the weather report for the weekend made it even better. Now, when it hits 70 degrees, I won't feel the pull to put on a basketball game.
I might even try to play a basketball game, which will make my knees hate me even more.

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Rise and Shine --- New World Order

Good Morning and welcome, again, the sun!

Everybody tells us the newspaper game is dying, dead, severely under the weather, a victim of H1N1, being attacked from within, being attacked from without, being fired upon by blogs, being taken out by Clone Troopers and going the way of the dinosaur.
Of course, it's all true. The newspaper as a single, paper entity is dying, dead, etc. We do much more now, which, if you are one of the dozens who read this, already know, so, there's no point in going into that.
Yesterday and today the Journal Register Company, our parent company, is holding a conference to discuss where we go from here. How do we survive?
Now, if you know the history of JRC, you might be saying: 'Good Riddence to bad business.'
There is a new management team in place, they've brought in some of the top minds in the country to help convert the company into a new entity, but it's hard.
The previous regime left the company bankrupt and so far behind the technological wheel we might as well be using a stone and chisel.
After moving out of the sports department into the news department several years ago, I contacted an old editor of mine.
We talked about the business, how to approach things, how the family was doing. Then, he asked, who owns the Delaware County Times. When I responded, Well, (pregnant pause), JRC.'
He first chuckled a bit then hummed the Darth Vader theme song.
Will we survive the great Internet upheaval? I, and many around here, think (hope?) we will. At least there's a plan now (just the fact I could write any of the above words without being pulled into the Publisher's office is a testamant to that).
Sure it will be a bumpy ride, but, hey, you only live once.
So, in honor of the former JRC management who probably can't believe employees actually have a voice, I give you this:

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Rise and Shine --- The spin

Good Morning and here's hoping the Miccarelli family is doing OK today!

So, while flipping around the tube the other night, a commercial came on that was so off the wall it took a minute to comprehend the whole thing.
The visual looked innocent enough: A couple was sitting in a park enjoying a picnic. The woman then offered the man an ice pop. He declined, saying it was filled with high fructose corn syrup. She then went into the speech that was the point of the add, saying high fructose corn syrup wasn't bad for you.
Here's the original. Ironically, comments have been disabled on YouTube.
Now, all it takes is a simple Internet search to show how bad high fructose corn syrup really is for you.
Quickly:
Drinking high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), the main ingredient in most soft drinks throughout the world, increases your triglyceride levels and your LDL (bad) cholesterol.
HFCS has also been linked to: Diabetes and Obesity
It is also a factor in Metabolic Syndrome, which is characterized as Abdominal obesity (excessive fat tissue in and around the abdomen), Atherogenic dyslipidemia (blood fat disorders — high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol and high LDL cholesterol — that foster plaque buildups in artery walls); Elevated blood pressure; Insulin resistance or glucose intolerance (the body can’t properly use insulin or blood sugar); Prothrombotic state (e.g., high fibrinogen or plasminogen activator inhibitor–1 in the blood); and Proinflammatory state (e.g., elevated C-reactive protein in the blood)

So, you can believe the ads. You can keep putting an artificial corn based sweetener in your body, or you can stop. The less of this stuff we put in our bodies, the more healthy we become. It's just the way it is.
By the way, there are more than 100 parody ads to the original HFCS one, here are two good ones:

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Rise and Shine --- Just shake your head

Good Morning and welcome to a brand-new week!

After monitoring online comments for a couple of years now, I am able to just shrug off most (even those that are posted just to spew hate). Sunday morning, I stumbled upon the following: "Let's stop the hyperbole! People die from illness, injury or age. They do NOT die from lack of health insurance. While the news media calls the current debate a debate over "health care", it's really about determining who should bear the cost of health care. Our current system would work fine with some changes - tort reform, increased funding for Medicaid, and funding for basic-care clinics that would prevent people with minor ailments from tying up expensive hospital emergency rooms. Instead, President Obama and the leaders in Congress want to remake one-sixth of our economy and pile more burden onto the taxpayers while cutting back-room deals that corrupt the whole process."
Right, let's stop the hyperbole. Yes, people die from illness, injury or age. That's about the only thing correct about this post.
They do in fact die from lack of health insurance. Let's just say you were working for a business owner who, because there wasn't a union there to fight it, didn't take the asbestos out of the office ceiling. Suddenly, you are fired and can't afford health insurance.
The doctors tell you have cancer (thanks for all that good air, boss), it is treatable, but the treatments will cost $1,000 each. Without insurance, you are expected to pay that out of pocket. When you can't pay that, you don't get the treatments. The cancer grows.
Now, lack of affordable insurance just killed you.
That's right, let's cut through the hyperbole.
The only 'backroom deals' being cut are by the insurance companies, funneling money into the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck and, yes, your favorite Congressman, to kill any kind of affordability.
Get the facts, then think about health care.

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Rise and Shine --- Terrorists from where?

Good Morning and we're still wondering what is so wrong with everybody having affordable health care!

Meanwhile, having been to Pennsburg, it's kind of amazing it's the hot bed of terrorist activity.
Now, if there would have been stories about burning crosses and such, maybe it would be believable. There are probably more confederate flags gracing license plates in Pennsburg than Atlanta, but that's another story.
For all the bluster about terrorism coming out of the Middle East, maybe we are starting to see it comes from everywhere.
It's becoming more obvious there are terrorists all around us. That guy who was upset because the bread was a dollar more than he thought at the Giant might be a terrorist.
The person who has to drive right on top of your bumper, then hits the horn as soon as the light turns green, might be a terrorist.
Remember that lady at Starbucks who couldn't wait her turn in line? Yep, she might be a terrorist.
Tea party members might be terrorists, but they would probably only yell and scream about things they know nothing about.
There is a reason why your neighbor never cuts his grass. That's right, might be a terrorist.
If you believe everything Rush Limbaugh says ... well, your probably not a terrorist, but there are questions about your head.
So, there are terrorists all around us. Time to head to the bunker.

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Rise and Shine -- Yes, it's sunny!

Good Morning and welcome to the middle of the week!

Ever since the first cold air blew into the area, I've gotten the same question over and over, 'Is it going to be sunny out?'
The question, from a precocious 5-year old, was meant to ask if it's warm out.
So, yes, I would say, it's sunny out today, but it's still cold.
'Awwww!' was always the response.
Sunday, it was with great pride I could finally say it was 'sunny out.'
It's really amazing how the mind works. Yes, it looks nice outside during the doldrums of winter, but it's not exactly inviting.
Bundle up, walk outside and the first thing you want to do is run back inside.
The last few days have been a welcome respite. Sure, there was still some melting snow around, but the hope of a warm day can make a lot of things look better. Well, at least for a little bit.
Hey, there were even a few flowers blossoming from the mud.
So, while the rain and chilly air is blowing back in for the next few days, we can finally look forward to sunny days. We all need a little bit of sunshine.

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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Rise and Shine --- Surprise!

Good Morning and welcome to a nice, warm Tuesday!

The oldest boy in the household has always been a little shy. He makes a lot of friends, but doesn't really talk about them.
Monday night, Garrettford Elementary school held it's annual Literacy Night. For a variety of reasons, we've never made it to this event, which is held every year.
It's basically to promote the reading of books, something that can become somewhat lost during these Internet times. While we make everybody in the house read a book once a day, I can understand how it can be pushed aside.
It's good the school was able to put together a fun night of reading with the students.
Well, anyway, when I talk to the boy about his friends it's usually a shrug of the shoulders or something like, 'We played.'
Little did I know he was a social animal.
We walked into the building and the principal took to the time out to pat him on the back and call him by name. Several teachers in the hallway did the same. Students walking past said hello. Those in the classroom looked up to to say 'Hi.'
Now, I like to goof around with him a lot. Most of the time he goofs right back. Sometimes, he's more serious.
I thought the serious side was always on during school hours.
It made me proud to see the other side.

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Monday, March 8, 2010

Rise and Shine --- The air is new

Good Morning and welcome to (what feels like) spring!

Hope springs eternal, or so it's been said.
When it feels like spring, things change.
For the past few months, the early-morning requests were exactly the same: 'Can we watch TV? Can we play Wii? Can we play with the DS?'
It was cold outside. More often than not this winter, it was snowing. There are only so many times (even for children) that bundling up and heading out into the snow is fun.
With the temperatures ticking upward, though, the requests changed.
'Can we go outside? Can we go to the baseball field and practice? Can we go to the playground? Can we ride our bikes?'
That's what spring is all about. Rediscover the air. Rediscover what's important.
Sure, the heat of the summer will be upon us and the requests will change, but, now at least, there's a whole world out there to be discovered.

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Friday, March 5, 2010

Rise and Shine --- Adventureland

Good Morning and welcome to another Friday in a long line of Fridays!

Sometimes, you need a little adventure to break up 'normal' life. It doesn't matter if that adventure will cost you sleep or even dinner, you just need one.
Thankfully, there is a major adventure seeker living in the house, so, when the call came Monday, it was something to jump upon.
'Il Barbiere di Siviglia is playing at the Met Thursday night. Let's go!'

Sounds great. Let's do it. Of course, being in the middle of the week there was childcare, but since Grandmom and Grandpop jump at any opportunity to take care of the little ones, that was easy.
The hard part (if that really what it is) would happen Thursday afternoon/evening.
So, Grandpop got to the house by 4 p.m. It was time to hop in the car, pick up the true adventurer and hit the road.
Now, it takes about three hours (give or take) to make it to New York City. Still, it's an easy ride up I-95, then over to the turnpikes.
One quick word on the PA Turnpike. We got off I-95 at Bristol, grabbed the pay ticket, then, less than a 100 yards on the road had to pay $1.30. Kind of ridiculous.
So, despite running through rush hour, the ride to New York was relatively smooth. Well, as smooth as it could be until you hit the exit for the Lincoln Tunnel. It took about a half hour to get into the tunnel, then came a laugh. There was a Mercedes with a Florida license plate driving in front of us. Now, that's probably not unusual, but this one had a bumper sticker that read 'I miss Reagan!' Now, how could you miss Reagan and why would you put a bumper sticker on a Mercedes. It takes all kinds.
If you've never been to Lincoln Center (the home of the Metropolitan Opera), I suggest you take a ride up. It's awe-inspiring.
The tickets were waiting and, with plenty of time to relax, we couldn't wait for the show to begin.
Now, not having really listened to any opera before two years ago, I can't be called a big fan. I've learned to appreciate it immensely (Thanks again, to the adventure-seeker).

The show was fantastic. It's really amazing how the voices and music can meld together to tell a story. It doesn't matter if it's all in Italian and you don't understand a word of Italian, it's easy to get caught up in the story.
About three-and-a-half hours later, it was time to make the return trip.
Sure, we were tired, hungry and bit cranky (hey, I'd been up for nearly 24 hours), but, sometimes, the adventure is worth it all.
Even after pulling into the driveway at 3:30 a.m. (the same time my alarm usually goes off every morning), it was worth everything. It was a fantastic night.
After a winter (and so far, 2010) of absolute darkness, it was a fantastic night.
Thanks, adventure-seeker.

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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Rise and Shine --- Whatever..

Good Morning and welcome to Thursday!

There have been a lot of cool snow creations this winter. We've seen snowpeople in the shapes of Flyers fans and football players. We've seen sculptures that would rival some in art museums. We've seen children building tunnels. We've seen some light up. We've seen many fall down.
Well, a family in New Jersey decided to create a snow Venus de Milo.
It was pretty well done, although not as good as others around the region.
Of course, since we can't do anything anymore without offending somebody, there was a complaint to the police.
The family was forced to dress the sculpture.
Next snow (hopefully not for another 10 years, but that's another story), we should all build naked snow people. Let's give everybody a run.

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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Rise and Shine --- Opinions are like...

Good Morning and wasn't it better to see the rain instead of the snow?

So, in today's Daily Times, columnist Gil Spencer talks to someone who will be trying to get Joe Sestak's old seat in the U.S. House.
Why Sestak is giving it up is another (head scratcher) opinion in itself, today we wonder about the opinion of one Jim Schneller.
Jim Schneller is one of those (birthers?) who claim Barack Obama is an illegal president because he is not a citizen of the U.S.
Uh. Uh. OK.
Well, even though it's been proven over and over and over again Obama is a legal citizen, well, opinions are like noses (or something like that).
So, let's just get to the bottom line.
The reason Barack Obama shouldn't be president of the United States is because he's really from the planet Zoltron. He came down here to steal the American presidency (because, obviously, if you can travel millions of miles to another planet the first thing you want to do is get the most high-profile job).
Apparently, he brought Jeff Goldblum and Jim Carrey to help facilitate the mission.
Those two, of course, were demoralized by Hollywood, so it was up to Obama to go it alone.
Now, he's going to crush us all by making health care more affordable and pull us out of the economic doldrums.
I say, get back on the space ship.

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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Rise and Shine --- Wonderment

Good Morning and welcome to the Tuesday before the storm!

So, while driving around last night, the tunes coming from the radio had three children (10, 7 and 5) listening intently.
They closed their eyes. They let the sounds invade their head. They smiled. They didn't argue (which, in itself is a miracle).
Most of the time, the radio, if on at all, is tuned to Jazz or something light so as not to get them too fired up.
Last night, it was opera.
For some, it would mean even more yelling. 'Put something else on,' they might say. 'We hate this. Put on real music.'
It does the heart good when that doesn't happen. Instead, they enjoyed the sounds. They even started picking out how some Mozart (who died in 1791) music has been 'stolen' by today's 'artists' and changed.
Hey, when a 10-year old says he wants the prelude to Carmen for a ring tone, well, maybe there's hope for the new generation.

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Monday, March 1, 2010

Rise and Shine --- Comments

Good Morning and welcome to a new week (and a full moon)!

For the last couple of years, we here at delcotimes.com have allowed readers to post comments on stories.
When it started, every comment was reviewed before it was posted. It became a daunting job (nearly a full-time job in itself) to read all the comments. Then, we went to an unmoderated forum. Everything was posted immediately.
As you can imagine, that only made things worse. Finally, we settled on the way things work now. You have to register with a real e-mail address, then you can post.
While most of those in the community use the comments to spur good conversation, there are those out there who just want to spew hate.
Either they think their comments are somehow funny or they need to feel superior, well, we'll never know.
When a story becomes a hot-button issue, it brings out all kinds. There are well thought out arguments (on both sides) about everything from earthquakes to health care to, most recently, teen suicide.
Unfortunately, when there is a big issue it also brings out the hate. For the past week, we've received nearly 40 'report abuse' notifications a day.
Now, we take every comment seriously. We want the conversation to flow.
What we don't want or need is racist or hurtful comments. Those will be gone immediately and the poster will be banned.
If you don't like it, so be it

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