Friday, October 30, 2009

Rest in peace Starbuck Casey

This obituary appeared in the October 25, 2009 Edition of the Burlington County Times.

There's just something unbelievable about it---particularly when I see that there's a little brother named Dunkin.

Services were supposedly done by the Sweney Funeral Home in Riverside---but their website shows no such service

At any rate, here's the Obituary...

Starbuck Casey died Thursday, Oct. 22, 2009.

Born in Visalia, Calif., on Nov. 20, 1998, he was named after his adopted father's outright passion for Starbucks coffee. Originally a native of Northern California, Starbuck came to the East Coast in 1999. He resided in Palmer, Pa., spent most of his years in Lumberton, N.J., and most recently lived in Nazareth, Pa.

Adopted at birth by Dan and Kolleen Casey, he is also survived by his doting brother, Connor, and his caring sister, Caroline. They cared for him and protected him. Over the years they learned how to take care of him by giving him his insulin when needed. Starbuck never winced, always taking his shots in stride. He is also survived by his menacing little brother, Dunkin, who was always by his side, a loyal companion to the end.

Sweeney Funeral Home,Riverside

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

No drinks---and with no apologies

I'm flabbergasted by the way I see people drink these days---I swear half the young people I know will be alcoholics by the time they're 30. This letter was written to Dear Abby in response to a column she wrote--it sums up the current drinking crisis among young people very well..

Dear Abby: I was thrilled to read "Sober in Scottsdale's" (July 28) letter about drinking. I'm a 21-year old college student who has also struggled with choosing to be sober amidst the majority of my drunken peers.

Most people my age drink only to get drunk and appear to be unable to have fun without the aid of alcohol. Every activity must be performed under the influence.

While at a nightclub, one friend asked me how I was able to "dance and have a good time without being drunk."

Abby, in your response to "Sober,", you said that drinkers should "mind their own business" because "there is usually a good reason why a person doesn't drink."

For me, there is no medical, metabolic or addiction problem that prevents me from consuming alcohol. but I have seen the effects it has on my peers---putting them in drunken stupors, using awful judgment, and being taken to the hospital after blacking out.

I left the college of my choice after one month because I could no longer stand hearing people in the bathroom vomiting all night long. Drinkers aren't ashamed of these displays. They brag about them to their friends the next day.

I sure hope this stage is one that will pass with age. I often long for the days when i was younger, when playing board games and sipping juice was considered a good time.

Signed----Not Drinking in New Jersey

Monday, October 19, 2009

Holy Cross High School

My wife and I are considering sending my daughter to Holy Cross High School in Delran starting in the Fall of 2009.

Tutition is not cheap (around $9,000 per year), so the decision is not an easy one.

We attended an open house there on Sunday, October 18th, and everyone affiliated with the school seemed very caring, concerned and motivated. The student representatives were great also.

I came away with just a few questions that I need answered, and I'll be working on that in the next few days:

1. Is there a dress code at the school. The school uniforms I saw on Sunday were way too short. One of the benefits of a Catholic School education has always been that parents do not have to argue with their children in the morning about the appropriateness of their attire (except on 'Dress Down' days. Having seen the mini-skirts that some of the girls wore on Sunday, I have to wonder if I won't be arguing with my daughter every morning.

2. Technology is a big buzzword at the school. Every incoming freshman will lease a tablet PC. As a college level teacher of technology, I'm not sold on this amount of technology in a High School. It's not that I don't think the kids can handle it, it's a matter of whether or not it can be properly incorporated into the classroom. For instance, what's easier, asking someone in Math class to come up to the board and, using chalk, write the equation on the board, or having a teacher snag it from a student's table PC, and display it on a smartboard in front of the class. I'm not absolutely sure of the answer myself, but if the teacher is not tech savy, that  operation could take longer than my chalkboard approach.

3. I meant to ask on Sunday the percentage of students who receive some kind of financial aid.

4. Finally, having heard this morning on the radio and TV about 3 Catholic Schools with teachers on strike, I'm wondering what union covers the Holy Cross teachers, and when their contract expires?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Shut out of the Philadelphia Half Marathon

When I ran the Broad Street Run in May with my niece and nephew, I suggested that we run the Philadelphia Half Marathon in November (crazy idea, I know.)

I don't run well in the summer--the heat is too much for me, although I still run about 15 miles a week, 60 miles per month.

Once the weather gets cooler, I can run farther, and I get more ambitious.

With the Half Marathon slated for November 22nd, I didn't think it was a big deal NOT to have signed up already by September 20th---but that's when the available slots for both the Marathon (10,000 spots) and the Half Marathon (8,000 spots) filled up. The remaining 2,000 spots of the total of 20,000 go to the Rothman 8K, a race I've run several times, and is simply not worth it in my mind to deal with the mess of having to be in town by 5:30AM to get a parking spot.

It's a shame I'm shut of out the Half Marathon, since I'm really running well, and pretty far.

Monday mornings I get up at 4:30AM and run 10 to 11 miles---so I'm well on pace to be able to complete 13.1

Having seen the movie, Run, Fatboy, Run, I got the idea that I could possibly find a charity to run with.

I was right.

Two charities, Back on my Feet, and Run Philly Style, apparently pre-purchased 'spots', and I can buy them from them if I am willing to raise money for them.

Back on my Feet is a regional organization that tries to help homeless people by getting them interested in running.

Run Philly Style tries to get sedentary students into running to help them healthwise.

No big deal, I thought, I was a top fund raiser for the MS150 the 3 years I rode it back in the late 90's and early 2000's. I regularly raised $1,000 and up for them.

Only problem is Back on My Feet wants $1,800---and if I don't raise it, they'll bill my credit card. Run Philly Style wants $1,000--same deal.

I contacted Back on My Feet and offered to raise as much money as I can for them--but received a canned response with the details of joining them.

I didn't bother with Run Philly Style.

I received an email about a week ago indicating there were still 8  'spots' available from Back on My feet, but they were going fast. I just checked their website and it seems like they are all gone...

By the way, one runner can't transfer their registration to me. So for instance, if someone who is injured
would like to sell me their $100 'spot', they can't do do so. Well, I suppose they can illegally, but I would be running under their name. There are 'spots' being sold on Craigslist.

A friend of mine who has run the race says the 20,000 person limitation is reasonable--he said there are spots in the race where both Marathon and Half Marathon runners are traveling through some very tight areas--we don't want anyone hurt.

I can understand that--but the restriction on transferring a registration to another runner seems silly---why not charge a $10 fee to do so. Early on, I believe, they were charging a fee to change a registration from Half Marathon to Marathon and vice versa.

Of course, there's nothing to stop me from running my own Half Marathon one of these Monday mornings---maybe I'll even drop off a check to Back on My Feet and/or Run Philly Style after I'm done it.

It's been a while...

It's hard to get motiviated to maintain the blog when I realize so few people read it.

I know my wife reads it, but everything I blog about she hears about all day long anyway...

Still, my stats indicate that it's being visited, so I'll continue to try to post from time to time.

Since my daughter's soccer game has been cancelled for today, I'll try to do a bit of work on it before turning my attention to my long awaited Database Programming book.