Monday, April 30, 2012

Rise and Shine --- Battling

Good Morning and how about those Phillies!?!

Yeah, so this year the Phillies aren't so fun to watch. Really, though, we've been treated to a ridiculous run of fun baseball.
For those of us who grew up through the lean years, the past 11 have really been unbeleivable.
For the Phillies to be mentioned as World Series favorites and having actually won the whole thing in 2008, well, it's almost like a dream.
So, I can excuse a tough year in 2012. It's those other fans who will have a tough time with it.
It's those fans who don't know the pain of watching Midre Cummings lead off,watching Wally Ritchie come trotting out of the bullpen or hoping Rick Shu will be the answer at third base.
It's those fans like the one I had a conversation with the other day.
"The Phillies stink this year."
What, they have the best pitching staff we'll ever see and they are still probably going to make the playoffs. I wouldn't say they stink.
"Yeah, but they aren't going to win the World Series."
Probably not, but they are still going to make the playoffs.
"Who cares? The Eagles make the playoffs every year, but they don't win. It gets boring."
Boring? Let me tell you about boring baseball ...
"Isn't there a movie on?"
Suffer. You must suffer like the rest of us did through the 80s and 90s. learn the pain so you may appreciate the wins.
"Who are you? Yoda? I'm going upstairs."

Monday, April 23, 2012

Rise and Shine --- Softball and M&Ms

Good Morning and wouldn't it be nice if applications warned you before they changed?

When I got an e-mail last week asking if I would take over managing the 7-year old girls softball team for Saturday's game,  I was excited.
After all, it's not too often you get to take a lead role in something somebody might remember 30 years from now.
In the days leading up to my managerial debut (OK, it's not so much managing as keeping the chaos to a minimum), I started thinking the girls might need a little incentive.
I had told them the previous game if they won, I would make cookies for the next game. That seemed to get them focused on the game instead of the gossip, but they couldn't quite pull out the win.
So, while shopping Thursday night, I saw some Easter candy at a deep discount. Among the offers were those tubes of mini M&Ms. It hit me the incentive has to be immediate.
So, I picked up enough of the candy to cover the team and told them I had a treat ready for a good game. (One thing we are trying to teach this year is it doesn't matter if you win or lose, just have fun on the field).
They went out Saturday and hit the ball, fielded the ball, laughed, cheered and had a fun afternoon.
Oh yeah, the M&Ms were gone before they left the field.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Rise and Shine -- Dick Clark

Good Morning and would it be so bad to have one day of rain?

There are a lot of columns and blogs out there today remembering Dick Clark. Many talk about the icon hosting American Bandstand out of Philadelphia.
Well, he moved that show to Los Angeles before I was born. I remember watching the L.A. version a few times, but, really, I didn't get the whole concept.
They play music we watch a bunch of self-affected teenagers dancing. Who cares?
Many other will write about how they spent New Year's Eve with Clark on the TV every year. His 'New Year's Rocking Eve' certainly is the standard-bearer as far as that goes, but, much like New Year's Eve, it's eventually just a tease.
The performances, at least during the show's heyday, were taped. After the countdown, really, what else did the show offer.
No, those things were fine, but Clark's best moments (at least in my eyes), came on the greatest game show in history, The $25,000 Pyramid.
Just check it out:

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Rise and Shine --- The Backyard

Good Morning and here we are again!!

So, it was nearly 90 degrees yesterday. Remember how happy we were when it hit 70 in January? Well, what's so wrong with 90 in April?
Yesterday, in fact, was the perfect day to sit out in the backyard, crack open a cold beer, put on some music and just veg out.
There was enough of a breeze so the heat wasn't overwhelming. After about an hour or so, I thought, "Hmm, it would also be the perfect evening to fire up the grill."
So, I dutifully got everything ready, then went back outside to start it up.
The thing lit fine, but I soon realized it wasn't staying lit.
Out of gas.
At least I hadn't started cooking when it went out.
So, I cooked inside, but ate outside.
We could use more nights like this.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Rise and Shine: The Lure of the Snack Bar

Good Morning and welcome to summer!!

Maybe it's the smell of the fries coming out the window or maybe it's just a right of spring, but the youth baseball/softball snack bar seems to have a pull.
On Saturday, before heading off to the first game of the day, I made sure everybody had a full belly. We ate a big breakfast and had a couple of snacks before leaving.
When we got to the fields, it took about a minute before the first plead.
"Can I get something from the snack bar?"
What. You just ate. In fact, you just told me you were so full you couldn't eat another bite.
"Yeah, but now I'm hungry."
What could you possibly want.
"Ice Cream."
We have ice cream at home. You can wait.
"Cheese Fries?"
How could you eat cheese fries. You just had pancakes, eggs, a piece of cake, some fruit, some Easter candy. You can't possibly be hungry.
"How about a hot dog?"
Did you bring any money? No? Well, we can wait until we get home.

You know, sometimes I give in. Everybody does, but, while the prices aren't bad, you could lose a small fortune hitting the snack bar every day.
Mabye I should use the old doughnut shop lesson. Let them get whatever they want one time, then they'll be satisfied.
Somehow, though, I don't think that would work here.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Rise and Shine --- Upper Darby has it all wrong

Good Morning and welcome to the calm before the storm!

So, in case you missed it, Upper Darby school officials are proposing cutting any 'special' classes throughout the district.
That means Upper Darby students won't have designated music, gym or language classes.
Now, some out there might be saying, "Good. These kids need more time in the classroom."
Well, let me tell you from experience, this is the absolutely worst way to go about bringing up those precious scores.
What students need are more specials. Unfortunately, Upper Darby has decided that teachers spending all their time teaching for a state-mandated test is the road to go down.
Sure, the plan says teachers will fit gym, music and art into their daily curriculum, but we all know that's not happening.
For the first year, there may be some art. After that, it will all be book learning and no time for an outlet.
Last year, a third-grader I knew struggled in his first year in the Upper Darby School District. He was given less time to be a young student while the teachers (through no fault of their own) were doing practice test after practice test and preaching about the importance of the PSSA.
This year, as a fourth-grader, he is excelling in a neighboring school district that puts less emphasis on the standardized testing and more on letting students be children.
By the way, the new school district has never had a problem making the state numbers.
Somebody has to stand up to these cuts. It would be nice if Upper Darby officials had the backbone to see what knocking off all these programs will do to the students.
Yes, I know all about the funding our esteemed Governer has taken from school districts. Yes, I know districts have to take hard looks at their budgets, but just taking a hatchet to programs (and teachers) will do no good in the long run.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Rise and Shine --- All that chocolate

Good Morning and here we are again!

I guess I'm one of the lucky ones. I couldn't really take or leave chocolate when it's sitting around the house. Not that I don't mind having a little now and again, but it's not like I can smell it through the door.
There is a lot of chocolate in the house right now thanks to Easter. It's in baskets. It's on the table. It's in the cabinets.
I know I have to watch out, but when a 7-year old asks for some, well, it's hard to say 'No' all the time.
So, I just let them have it. Is that bad? I don't know.
I feel it's a lot like cursing, if you hold the chocolate out there and make them beg, they are going to want more. If you let them eat it, they may just leave it alone.
I'll let you know how it works out.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Rise and Shine --- Baseball on the radio

Good Morning and welcome another Monday in a long string of them!

While technology has, for the most part, made things better, there's still something a bit 'old fashioned' that works pretty well.
Baseball is still a game that works on the radio.
Sure, every Phillies game is televised now. If you miss it live, you can watch the replay later in the night (or early morning). Yes, television gives you super slo-mo and a look into the game you can't see anywhere else.
Most nights, it's that's just fine. You can plop down on the couch after a hard day's work and watch the game.
Then there are those beautiful spring days when sitting inside seems kind of odd. You want to get outside and feel the sun. You maybe want to work in the garden or have a catch or play another game of H-O-R-S-E.
That's when you realize the radio is still something to keep around. When the announcing is good (and this Phillies group is at the top of the game), you can sit back and see what is happening just by listening.
You can fire up the grill, cook dinner and enjoy a few hours of Larry Andersen.
Now, how about those burgers?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Rise and Shine --- Uh, sure

Good Morning out there in Internet Land!

So, I see there's another argument out of the California for keeping guns in everybody's hand.
Just wondering, how many people have to die before we take control of the situation?
I think, for the most part (as long as you don't read our commenting boards), we are a forward thinking people. We know how to make things. We know the difference between right and wrong. We look for ways to improve the future.
We know it's not good to shoot people. We know we really don't need firearms to defend our land. Yet, we (and by we, I mean lobbyists and wackos) want looser gun laws.
Sure, why not just let somebody walk into Wawa, pick up a coffee, a doughnut and some ammo?
Then again, I saw somebody driving around with a Confederate flag license plate on the front of their truck the other day.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Rise and Shine --- Death of Radio

Good Morning and is it baseball season yet?

There has been a lot written about the 'Death of Newspapers' and how the changing media landscape means we have to adapt. OK, now I'm running Facebook and Pinterest pages as well as a Twitter feed. Adapting, we are. Just look at where we were 2 years ago and see how vastly different it is now.
Newspapers, though, aren't the only media entity starting into a worm hole without any idea where it is going.
Over the last week or so, I've been listening to what I'll call the 'Death of Radio.'
Actually, if my car had one of those fancy MP3 player plug ins, I probably wouldn't listen to much commercial radio.
Since it doesn't, I find myself hitting the scan button more and more in hopes of finding something different.
Go through the stations on any given afternoon and you'll hear the same Madonna, Prince, Led Zeppelin and Journey songs. Sure, every once in a while, there will be a Sam & Dave or Beatles song thrown in.
Basically, you can look at any Billboard Music Chart over the last 20 years and find the playlists of local radio stations.
It used to be we could hear some 'B' sides or new music that might pique our interest.
Just this morning, I flipped from one station playing Led Zeppelin to another playing the same song.
I know stations are all about getting the listeners, but how about throwing something different in there once in a while?