Thursday, July 29, 2010

Rise and Shine --- Take a number

Good Morning and welcome back to the Internet!

So, most of the time I know where important documents are located. They are all together in one box next to the computer. I have birth certificates, passports, car titles, deeds, whatever.
They are all in the box.
Yeah, right.
I needed to find a birth certificate for one of the boys this week. So, as I am apt to do, I waited until the last minute to pull out the box. Everything was in there except the one I needed.
So, a quick search on the Internet led me to the Bureau of Vital Statistics downtown.
That was about the quickest part of the day.
Walking into the office, we were told to take a number and a seat. Well, the number we got was 310. The number they were on was 255.
That's when I knew we were in for trouble.
"I've been here for two hours," said one disgruntled soul.
"Two hours?" said another. "I came at noon."
Now, the process is pretty simple. You fill out a form, then, when your number is finally called, you hand it to the office worker.
Should be no more than a five minute transaction.
After 90 minutes of waiting, we heard every kind of argument known to man.
"Well, I didn't know you needed a form." "What do you mean I need ID." "Hey, he butted in line." "I don't have cash, will you take an I.O.U."
So, when 310 was finally called, we went to the window. About 30 seconds later, we were out the door.
Maybe it wasn't really brain surgery.
Reminded me of this:

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Rise and Shine --- Bad apples

Good Morning and welcome to the middle of the week!

Over the weekend, while swimming on a day it felt like the sun was going to land on the earth, the children (as most children do in the summer) started begging for ice cream.
"Look," I said. "Right now we are in the pool. If there's no fighting and no bad behavior, maybe after dinner we can take a ride to the ice cream place."
"Yay," the three yelled in unison.
Well, if anybody's ever had to calm tensions during a hot weekend day, the peace didn't last long.
"He splashed me." "He kicked me." "She threw a ball at me."
"OK," I said (yelled?). "One more chance. If anybody does anything to anybody else, no ice cream."
Not even ten minute later: "Waaahhh."
"All right," I said. "No ice cream."
To which, one of the children who really was just swimming calmly said: "But I didn't do anything. That's not fair."
So, I tried to teach a lesson.
"If one of you does something, everybody loses. You have to police each other. My grandmom used to say one bad apple poisons the basket."
So, what does this have to do with the price of milk? Well, nothing with milk, but I started thinking about this after hearing a story about something that happened last night.
People sometimes believe the comments that appear on the bottom of our online stories are part of the Daily Times coverage.
They're not, but that doesn't mean the comments can't cause trouble.
We spend much of the day putting out these small fires before they burn down the whole forest. We are recognizing the e-mails used to post racist rants. We check hourly to see those that slipped through.
An inherent problem with our commenting system right now is it's all anonymous. Everybody wants to put in their two-cents, but they don't want to be held accountable.
Eventually, I believe, we are going to change as a business and only allow comments with real names (something like Facebook does now).
Until then, believe you me, much of the day is spent going through the comments and stopping them before they can do much damage.
Some of the stories will now be posted with the commenting feature disabled. Sure, that's not going to sit well with some.
To those who don't like it, write a letter to the editor. You have to sign your real name and we do check.
So, if there is a story that doesn't give you the opportunity to comment, remember the story about the bad apples.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Rise and Shine --- Where to stand

Good Morning and a big welcome back to Tuesday! Haven't seen you in about a week!

One of the best things about baseball(maybe slightly behind a cold beer and pool and a radio) is the ability to argue about the game and the players.
Who's the best player ever/now? What can the Phillies do to salvage the season? Do they need to make a move? If they would have kept Cliff Lee would they be running away with it?
(Quick answers: Willie Mays, Albert Pujols; hit better; they could always use more pitching; no).
So it was as Brad Lidge was making another victory feel as close to a loss as possible, the discussion focused on Phillies pitching.
"Use somebody else as the closer," someone shouted. "Trade them all," said somebody else. "This team never makes anything easy," came from a different island. "Do you want another one?" was said out of the blue.
Unlike football, which the Eagles are going to attempt to play some version of this year, baseball gives us plenty of time to dissect, discuss and debate.
Now, if we could just get see one easy win.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Rise and Shine ---- Just do it

Good Morning and welcome to a break from the heat!

So, if you missed THIS STORY last week, you missed a good laugh.
Now, the story about Travis Kevie seems like a slice of American life. He saw a need for a bar in a town and opened one up. It was a feel-good story we all search for in this crazy world.
The fallout, though, was that Kevie didn't actually own the bar he opened.
He just happened to stumble upon it with a six-pack and decided, hey, this looks pretty good.
So, he went to the store, picked up a couple more six packs and was open for business. If a costumer asked for something he didn't have, he ran across the street to pick it up.
It was all going pretty good. The residents were happy to have their watering hole back and Kevie was living a live-long dream.
Then he decided it was a good idea to be written up in the local newspaper, complete with a photo of Kevie in front of his 'new place.'
The police admit he probably could have gone on for months if it wasn't for the story.
See, the power of the press.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Rise and Shine ---- Is it really 2010?

Good Morning and welcome to an oil-spill free day!

So, while going through the usual Internet sites this morning, I stumbled upon THIS STORY out of Memphis.
So, some people fear they will face discrimination if the city puts in a ban against gay discrimination. Just when I thought maybe we were becoming more broad-minded, here comes another slap across the face.
So, we can be tolerant of some people, just as long as we don't have to actually be tolerant.
So says the genius behind the protest: "It's going to discriminate against people of faith who are Christians in their worldview, and I believe with all my heart that they have rights too," says Bellevue Baptist Church Pastor Steven Gaines.
Huh? I thought religion was all about accepting people. Guess I missed too many Sunday school classes.
Next, these groups are going to say hiring somebody is wrong because, well, we say so.
Actually, this might be another shortcoming of our now 24-hour news cycle. Every wacko with an opinion can get, at least, a couple of minutes on Fox.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Rise and Shine --- Iced tea

Good Morning and welcome back to the soup!

So, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Joe Biden were in Philadelphia yesterday morning for a fundraiser to help Bryan Lentz in his battle with Pat Meehan for the 7th District House seat.
As usual for these events, they were met by a group of protesters. Truth be told, there are protesters out for every political event. Those Lyndon LaRouche people have mad this an art.
This year, though, there can't be an event without Tea Partiers hanging out with signs. It was telling, though, when interviewed the head Tea Partier was asked what policies she didn't like about the current administration.
Her response: "Well, all of them."
When pressed for specifics, she said: "Obamacare and all the other legislative decisions."
So, after seeing this interview on TV, does anybody really know what the those people were protesting?
Do they go out there just to be seen? Are they pushing a different agenda? Do they not like the president because of the color of his skin? Is it much ado about nothing?
It looks from here that this is a vocal minority who gets coverage now because we have to fill all that time with something.
Lyndon LaRouche must be thinking he came along too soon.
Then again, maybe it is about something else:

Monday, July 19, 2010

Rise and Shine --- Nah, nothing wrong

Good Morning and here's hoping we don't melt today!

So, here we have a report today saying we just went through the hottest June in history.
Anybody who had to peal themselves off the couch yesterday knows we are probably headed for the hottest July in history. Woo Hoo, can't wait until August.
Now, the heat in itself wouldn't be a big deal if we weren't coming off a winter with so much snow we were calling for the heat.
So, here's where we sit. We are a nation of extremes (we're talking weather here not Tea Party).
Still, looking back, it doesn't seem the winter was all so bad. You go out, shovel, go back in, have a cup of coffee or hot chocolate, then craw under a blanket.
The heat, though, is something completely different.
There is only so much you can do besides sitting in an air-conditioned room (something PECO full-heartedly endorses). So far this summer, we've tried the mall, the movies, grandmom's pool, the basement and the Franklin. It all gives a break for a little bit, but the heat comes flying back.
So, I'll leave you with this as I try to figure out if putting ice in underwear is the next, best step:

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Rise and Shine --- Blowing bubbles

Good Morning and welcome to the inside of a bubble!

So, now there are those who want Arizona's ridiculous immigration law to come to Pennsylvania.
There's even a story where nine states are backing Arizona in a lawsuit against the federal government.
So, we want less government involvement in our daily lives, but we also want more involvement. We don't want to be told where we can come and go, but it's OK to tell other people where they can go. We want all incumbents thrown out of office, but they better make damn sure they pass laws to help us first.
Sometimes, I wonder why I didn't buy stock in Advil when it first was available.
So, in the spirit of Arizona, here are a couple other laws needed:
1. All drivers must turn their radio up to ear-blasting levels. After all, there's nothing better than sitting at a red light, have somebody pull up beside you and be treated to their taste in music.
2. Get rid of all stop signs. Imagine the savings for each township. They wouldn't have to spend money making and replacing signs. They're pretty much ignored anyway.
3. Everybody must eat at a fast-food joint at least three times a week. Hey, we can't afford health care, might as well bring about the end a little quicker.
4. You can throw eggs at anybody who complains about the weather. Yeah, it's hot in the summer. Yeah, it snows in the winter. Yeah, the sky is blue. Yeah, you're an idiot for complaining about it.
5. If you don't want to do something at work, just don't do it. Sure, we are all happy to have jobs, but come on. Sometimes they ask us to do things like get off the Internet or stop posting to Facebook. That's just not right. Our Grandfathers and Grandmothers fought for these kinds of rights.
Well, that's all I have. OK, one more:
6. You must read Rise and Shine every day. Hey, it's worth a try.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Rise and Shine --- They lied

Good Morning and welcome to the rain followed by the heat!

"It's not raining! Who said it was going to rain?"
Well, the weather experts keep saying we are going to get a lot of rain tonight.
"But, I don't see any rain," continued the precocious 5-year old. "It's sunny. I don't see any black clouds."
I'd love to take a nice, long bike ride, but I don't want us to get caught if there is a thunderstorm.
"It's not going to rain. I don't see any rain."
Let's just wait until tomorrow. If it does rain, we would get caught trying to scramble underneath a tree for who knows how long.
"Whoever said it was going to rain is stupid. Just look out the window. There's no rain."
Looks like I have a new weather forecaster. Who needs all the radar and fancy computers. It turns out a 5-year old has a little more insight.
So, for all you who waited for it to rain yesterday (after the morning deluge of course), here's an oldie but a goodie:

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Rise and Shine --- Messed up

Good Morning and welcome back to the fray!

So, ever get so tired after work you just lay down and, the next thing you know, it's the next morning? I'm sure plenty of times you've fallen asleep in front of the TV only to be awoken hours later by the sound of some infomercial.
So, yesterday after getting done work, I yawned my way home. It was nice out, so I figured it was a good day to do some wash and maybe a little yard work.
Got home, got changed, put my head down (you know, for just five minutes or so?) and the next thing I know it was midnight.
Now, what to do? You could get up, maybe make a snack and watch TV for a little bit. That might start a pattern of weird sleep, though. You could try to go back to sleep, but all those hours probably have your brain ready to go.
So, what to do? What to do?
Well, I tried a combination of both. Had a couple of cookies, some tea and sat in front of the TV. It lasted for about an hour, so I tried the bed mode again.
When the alarm went off at 3:30, it wasn't a pleasant sound.
Now, we'll see how this afternoon goes.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Rise and Shine --- Time to recharge

Good Morning and welcome back to the middle of summer!

Much to the chagrin of at least one student I know, the summer is about half over. We'll get through July, then start thinking about getting those pencils, folders and crayons ready for the last week in August.
That's for another time, though, this is for now.
After fighting through June, taking a week's vacation was never more needed. Usually, when taking vacation during the summer it's for some kind of trip (even if it's just to the shore for a couple of days).
Last week, though, was just left to free form. Sure, there were a couple of day trips, but mostly it was about staying up too late and sleeping in every morning (I almost forgot how to set the alarm).
One thing I found out is you don't need to spend a lot to have a ton of fun. It was fun to laugh. It was fun to ride bikes. It was fun to swim.
Over the last couple of days, I keep going back to the reaction of a certain 8-year old I know when we hit the pool for the first time last Sunday.
The trepidation of touching the water from last year was gone. It was whole hog and shouts of "This is awesome! This is awesome! This is awesome!"
And, that was just the first two minutes. Thanks, it was an awesome week.