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.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Rise and Shine --- Blast from the past

Good Morning and welcome to a summer weekend!

Watching the videos we had online about the playground build in Haverford brought back a lot of memories.
Five years ago, I was part of a build while living in Elkins Park. It was the same deal, there were years of planning, fund raising, a road race and, finally, the build.
It was an exhilarating, exhausting experience that still brings back a twinge of pain in my back every time I think about it.
Still, after taking a ride over there yesterday afternoon, it's still amazing. The experience of working with people, taking something from nothing to a beautiful playground that will be there for years to come is, in the end, overwhelming.
So, with the sun shining, we walked around the playground and I was able to point out each nail I hammered and every piece of wood I cut.
The best part, at least to me, is the little things I put in (and maybe other people as well). When each part was done, I made sure to leave the name of a couple of children I know underneath.
They are still there. Hopefully, they will be there 20 years from now and I can go back and remember.
I'm sure everybody who worked so hard in Haverford last week will have the same memories.

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Rise and Shine --- What's that ... Ouch!

Good Morning and welcome to the chill!

So, out of California this morning (well, doesn't everything come out of California?) comes the story of a county trying to ban those crappy little toys McDonald's puts in their Happy Meals.
Here's the story, if interested.
The stated reason for banning those pieces plastic is because it encourages children to eat Happy Meals (or, as your heart likes to say, Unhappy Meals), which is a leading cause of childhood obesity. I have a theory, based in no other fact than the voice in my head, that those 'Apple Fries' McDonalds and other fast-food places (can't call them restaurants) try to pass off as a healthy alternative are never really eaten and parents are forced to buy an extra french fry.
Yes, yes, yes, stop giving your children Happy Meals. Stop going to McDonald's. It's only going to chop off years from your life anyway.
Still, a better argument for getting rid of those 'toys' isn't to slow the flow of childhood obesity, it's to help keep parents from limping around.
Those toys inevitably end up on the floor. Who hasn't tried to walk through a room only to step on the latest SpongeBob incarnation?
Then they dig into the bottom of feet like nails. There's yelling. There might be blood. Podiatrists are happy.
The toys are just as quickly thrown into the trash, so let's just eliminate the middle man (or foot) and trash them now.

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Rise and Shine --- Politics

Good Morning and welcome back!

You know, the political game is funny, annoying and scary all at once.
I always wonder why political candidates (or their staff most likely) think it's a good thing to cut down an opponent.
Just look at Sen. Arlen Specter's latest commercial attacking U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak's military record.
Going negative in a campaign just makes you look desperate. Look, Specter is probably going to beat Sestak in the primary. The polls show that. Why he needs to throw out negative things against Sestak is beyond belief.
Now the scary part, Arizona is trying to pass a law where authorities can stop anybody on the street and force them to show proof they are a U.S. Citizen.
This is being pushed by a Republican-led state government, which, like the rest of the GOP, stood out against health-care reform because 'there was too much government involvement.'
Now, there are going to be secret police set up to 'catch' illegal immigrants.
What if you are a citizen, just forgot to bring your wallet that day and have to go through the possible process of deportation.
See, there's no long-range view of any of this stuff. Maybe all these politicians should fade into the background.

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Monday, April 26, 2010

Rise and Shine --- The password

Good Morning and welcome to the start of a rainy week!

Of course, the dark clouds will clear out, that's the beauty of it all.
Speaking of the Dark Side, anybody who has ventured into the world of the iPhone knows how addictive the gadget can be.
There are millions of aps to download, millions of games to check out. Oh yeah, you can actually make calls and check e-mail as well. It's becoming so you might not even need anything else (well, OK, maybe an iPad, but that's for another time).
The amazing part for me, though, is how easy children are able to pick things up.
We've had an iPhone since October and a day doesn't go by before the request comes in: 'Can I play on the phone?'
Once in awhile is OK, but, hey, we do need the phones for something besides games. Something like, I don't know, making phone calls.
Well, during a longer drive last week, I handed over the phone so a 7-year old and a 5-year old would at least calm down a little bit. So, after a little while of playing games, a new request came forward: 'Dad, what's a password?'
Uh, Oh.
Now, they've figured out how to get to the download page. Now, it's 'Can we get this game?' or 'Can we try this one?'
No, no and no password hints here.
Now, if they only put so much effort into schoolwork...

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Friday, April 23, 2010

Rise and Shine --- Making a mistake

Good Morning and it's finally Friday!

Mistakes, as they say, are a part of life. We say things we don't mean. We do things we didn't really want to do. We take things the wrong way.
I guess the best way to correct any mistake is to learn from it and move on. Sometimes, that's tough. Sometimes, it might seem impossible.
I don't know why I know, but there is sunshine after the storm. It may be today. It may be tomorrow. It is there, though.
The hard part is to keep plugging along. Here's what I've decided to do: Take one great thing in your life and concentrate every source of your being on that.
Try to let the rest of the stuff roll off your back. Last week, we had a video of Henry Winkler talking to a school in Media.
The actor (you can take actors anyway you want, but the message can get through even this thick school) said don't put a period on a negative thought. Believe me, I know it's hard, but, from this day forth, that's what I'm going to try to do.
Will it be successful? I don't know, but it's worth a try.

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Rise and Shine --- Ahchooo

Good Morning and welcome back to the runaway train!

Now, not only do I feel like I'm going down the rapids without a paddle, there's a spring cold. I guess it's a little better than a summer cold (nobody likes them), but it's annoying anyway.
So, as I battle through stuffed sinuses and sneezing, you can enjoy this:

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Rise and Shine --- Lunch

Good Morning and welcome to another beautiful day!

I remember going to school (OK, the memories are sketchy at best, but I know I attended because I have plenty of photos).
Once a month during elementary school we were treated with a hot dog day. Everybody left the lunch boxes at home and were able to get a couple of hot dogs for some small amount. It was fun. There was ketchup on the table and then we went outside and ran around.
Over the years, the school lunch has grown to include everything, much of which isn't the healthiest thing around (not like hot dogs were, but that was just once a month).
Back when parents packed lunches every day, we got a peanut butter sandwich, maybe some chips and an apple.
Now, children are given pizza, candy, whatever. It's all mass-cooked (mostly off-site) and filled with nothing but white flour and hollow calories.
A group today is even saying school lunches are a threat to national security Apparently they believe today's school lunches are making children obese and not able to handle military training.
While I don't really care if they can handle military training or not, there is a major problem here. I still make the children take a home-packed lunch every day. They get fruit, nuts, pretzels and either a sandwich or maybe some hummus.
I know, that makes me a communist, but so be it. I've been called worse (plenty worse).
Parents need to take back the school lunch. We have no say, really, on what tests the teachers are pushing onto the students, but we do have control on lunch.
At least I think we do.

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Rise and Shine --- Reality smack

Good Morning and welcome to a brand-new work week!

Sometimes, things in life hit you a certain way that it knocks you off kilter. When thinking about this blog this morning, I was planning on writing something mundane about rolling down hills without brakes.
Then, editor Phil Heron walked into the room to tell me a former colleague had died. He was battling cancer, something that was only diagnosed a few months ago.
Suddenly, any problems in life were sent to the back of the brain. Sure, they'll come back to the front eventually, but, for a moment anyway, none of that mattered.
All I wanted to do was hug the family. I wish it were a weekend, so we could run out to a playground and enjoy the sun. Enjoy life.
Death affects everybody in different ways. Some fall into a great depression. Some wish they could have been nicer to the person or maybe talked to them one more time or maybe heard just one more joke.
The stories will go through the newsroom today and probably for the next few days.
Where ever the spirit goes, hopefully he will be laughing along with us.

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Friday, April 16, 2010

Rise and Shine --- The song

Good Morning and welcome to the weekend!

Anybody who has children is approaching (or has passed though) one of the annual rights of spring: The concert.
School children throughout the world practice songs, musical instruments, dances, whatever.
Then, some day during the next few weeks, they all drive to the school, pack into a small area like so many sardines, sit on too hard chairs and clap like they've never clapped before.
Sure, the singing may not be as good as, say, the Metropolitan Opera, but it's probably a step ahead of American Idol (at least to the parents).
The best part, though, isn't the night of the actual concert (after your child gets done, it turns into a long night waiting for the rest of the classes). The best part is how the songs come home in the weeks ahead.
For the past couple of days, a 5-year old girl I know has been singing 'Stand By Me' while she plays. She sings it in the bath. She sings it at the dinner table. She sings it to her princess dolls.
It really is kind of amazing. The song, which she may or may not have ever heard before, suddenly is the sweetest thing in the world.
Sure, I've heard the song millions of times. I even have it downloaded on my iPhone, which is a rare thing.
Mostly, though, the beauty of this particular song is how it holds up all these years later.
The song, originally sung by Ben E. King, was released in 1961 and has been covered thousands of times.
After listening to the latest version (about 100 times yesterday), it struck me how (really, without thinking about it) gives us a pretty good way to live.

When the night has come
And the land is dark
And the moon is the only light we'll see
No I won't be afraid, no I won't be afraid
Just as long as you stand, stand by me

And darlin', darlin', stand by me, oh now now stand by me
Stand by me, stand by me

If the sky that we look upon
Should tumble and fall
And the mountains should crumble to the sea
I won't cry, I won't cry, no I won't shed a tear
Just as long as you stand, stand by me

And darlin', darlin', stand by me, oh stand by me
Stand by me, stand by me, stand by me-e, yeah

Whenever you're in trouble won't you stand by me, oh now now stand by me
Oh stand by me, stand by me, stand by me

Then again, maybe it's just the sweetness of this particular 5-year old that makes the song better.

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Rise and Shine --- The rain in Spain

Good Morning and welcome to a Thursday in a long line of Thursdays!

So, a volcano erupts in Iceland and there is so much ash in the sky flights across Europe are forced to cancel.
Now, go on and tell me again there is no weird environmental changes going on.
Earthquakes, monster winter storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, people, the Earth is telling us something. If we don't listen, we may be going the way of the dinosaurs.
Sure, volcanoes erupt all the time, but when there is enough middle earth spilling into the skies that you can't even get on an airplane, there's something going on. I might not be smart enough to know all the science behind this, but I can see.
For those who think this is all blither/blather, well, look around. All you had to do was feel the 80 degree weather last week or, going further back, remember the back pain after shoveling 30 inches of snow.
Whatever the politics, we have to change the way we do things. Sorry if you don't believe that, but the more who listen, the better chance we have.
Then again, there are still those who believe the President is an illegal alien, so there.

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Rise and Shine --- Contract details

Good Morning and, yes, there was frost on the windows this morning!

So, apparently Sarah Palin, on her country-wide tour to spread her own brand of misinformation, has enough perks written into her contract to make even the head of banks blush.
According to something that was found in a trash can in California, Palin demands, among other things, she must be provided with a suite and two single rooms in a deluxe hotel. She requires first-class seats on any airplane to get her from (You Betcha') Alaska to where she is speaking. Any private jet 'MUST BE a Lear 60 or larger.'
Well, to channel a different Saturday Night Live character, 'Isn't that Special.'
Sure, these top notch speakers get perks all the time (not to mention the ones provided to rock stars). Really, there's nothing wrong with it.
Well, unless your message is one of fiscal responsibility.
Then again, who ever said politicians practice what they preach.

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Rise and Shine --- To pray or not to pray

Good Morning and welcome to a new day!

First of all, let's get this out in the open. I grew up Roman Catholic. I went to Catholic school through eighth grade. I was an alter boy. I went to church every Sunday until I reached college (the reason for that is another story).
I believed what was taught. I believed in the laws the Vatican handed down. I believed priests, nuns, bishops, etc. were somehow closer to God. They were touched by the divine.
It isn't until you take the time to really look at what was going on when you can make an informed decision. The past couple of weeks the Vatican in general and the Pope in particular has come under fire for not taking a (correct) stand when it came to priests abusing children.
Those who took advantage of children should have been put out in front, prosecuted like any other person and sent away.
Instead, the Church took those offenders and moved them around from parish to parish, somehow thinking it would all change with every move.
Lawsuit after lawsuit later, it became apparent the moves did nothing more than change where the abuse was happening.
Now, much too late, the Vatican is saying these priests should be prosecuted, should be sent away. Well, talk about too little too late.
Unless the Vatican is ready to take a hardline stand for what's right, they are giving nothing else but lip service. As long as these people are protected, they will continue to abuse.
It's time for somebody to come in and make a clean sweep of everything. Until then, the Church is like any other business that gives 'corporate answers' to every question.
Then, and only then, can the rest of the problems be addressed.
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Monday, April 12, 2010

Rise and Shine --- What you do

Good Morning and welcome to a whole new week!

There are a lot of people who don't like Mondays. It's back to work for most and that means the too short weekend was over too quickly.
Then, you look back and wonder where it all went. Why does time have to keep marching forward, especially when the sun is shining and temperature is rising.
Then, slam, comes Monday and it's back into the grind.
Now, I try to look at Monday as something different. It's a whole new week, so there are infinite possabilities. Right? Isn't that the way it's supposed to work.
Then, when you don't get enough sleep Sunday night, the fog takes a long time to lift and you are left wondering what more you could have done or how much more fun it would be to have 'just one more day off.'
So, let's take this Monday as it comes and hope the sun keeps shining.

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Friday, April 9, 2010

Rise and Shine --- It's the test

Good Morning and here comes the weekend!

This is an actual conversation that happens almost daily:
'So, what did you do in school today?'
I dunno.
'Did you do anything except sit around?'
I dunno.
'Did you learn anything?'
I dunno.

Well, this week, anybody who has a student (or knows a student) in public schools knows exactly what is going on this week (and most of next week): The darned PSSA tests.
Not that the schools have any choice in the matter, but the stupid (and culturally biased) tests are given from third grade on supposedly to measure 'what the student has learned.'
In reality, they are learning how to take the test. The teachers are under pressure from the administration to make sure they teach only for the test. The students are put under pressure (more pressure?) by the teachers to do well on the test.
See, the government bases school funding on how the students do on these tests, not how happy they are or how much real stuff they've actually learned.
It's time to put an end to these things. There has to be a better way.
See, it all comes around in the end.

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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Rise and Shine --- Bags and money

Good Morning and welcome back to Thursday!

For the past couple of years, my mom has like the idea of Spirit Airlines and their $9 fares. 'You can't beat that deal,' she likes to say.
Well, yesterday, Spirit Airlines finally figured out a way to break the deal. They are now charging up to $45 for carry-on luggage.
It was one thing when airlines started charging for checked luggage. OK, they needed to make up some cash, that's the way of the world.
Now, that one airline is going to charge for carry-ons, well, that's one slippery slope we don't need to start down.
Like most things in the business world, once one company tries it (furloughs anybody?) the rest quickly jump on board. They let the original company take the heat, then say, 'Well, we had to do it.'
It's just another way to squeeze every last penny out of our pockets.
Yeah, that's good for the bottom line, but it makes travelers think twice.
Look, vacations cost enough money. Add another $100 bucks on the front and back ends, well, that sounds like a deal breaker.
At least it does to me.

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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Rise and Shine --- Driving

Good Morning and welcome to another fascinating day!

You know, I always joke with the children that they won't be getting a driver's license until they turn 21. Beyond the ramifications of teen drivers (on the wallet and the head), maybe I don't want them to grow up too fast. Maybe I see some of the ways they drive in video games (OK, I know, not the same thing), that shakes my confidence.
Then I ran across this story yesterday:
An Ohio man says his 8-year-old son was just trying to do him a favor and get gasoline when the boy drove the family's minivan and crashed it.
James Crouch says he didn't even realize his son, Jordan, was out of the house Friday morning until a Clermont County sheriff's deputy came to the family's home in Bethel and woke him up to let him know what happened.
The boy says he used keys that he found in his mother's purse and backed the car out of the driveway. He started going down the road at about 5 mph but could barely reach the pedals and lost control, crashing into a telephone pole. He wasn't hurt.
Crouch says Jordan was still in his pajamas and just wanted to do something nice. He says he's going to watch his son more closely now.

How this hasn't happened in our house yet is pretty much a miracle. The keys are there for all to see. There have even been jokes bandied about. 'Hey, go to the store and get me a pizza.' But I can't drive. 'There are the keys.'
Yeah, like somebody much smarter than me always says, 'Your jokes are not funny.'
Well, it is a funny story as long as it doesn't happen in your house.

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Rise and Shine --- Hokey Pokey

Good Morning and welcome to another sunny day!

You know, really, we are all doing a living version of the old song.
You put your right foot in (to work), you take your right foot out (head home), you put your right foot in (step into home) and you shake it all about (what's going on here?).
When you hear a 5-year old girl singing it in the shower (and laughing all the way), though, it's just sweet.
Usually, little girls (and boys) like to take baths at night. They like the bubbles. They like to splash around. Sometimes, though, it's just quicker to put on the shower and get everybody clean.
So, the other day, the shower went on and the song started right away. Laughing, having fun, singing like it was The Met.
Sometimes, you don't need the radio to make the heart smile or to feel young at heart.

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Monday, April 5, 2010

Rise and Shine -- Back into the fray

Good Morning and welcome to the start of a nice week!

Well, at least weather wise it's supposed to be nice. After spending a week away on vacation, it's tough to get back into the work mood.
Of course, it's not like you can slowly jump back into the void.
There's always something going on around here, but besides the start of a new Phillies season, we have Tiger Woods and Donovan McNabb to take our focus away.
So, for all those Eagles fans out there who wanted a change, well, you got it. McNabb was only the best quarterback the franchise has ever seen. He won more games and took the franchise to heights it never was before.
It really is amazing how Philadelphia fans like to get rid of some of the better players who come through. They've run out Charles Barkley, Scott Rolen, Curt Schilling, Allen Iverson, just to name a few. Heck, I can remember back when fans wanted Mike Schmidt out of town.
Oh, to be back on the island and listening to the water.

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