The Best Sound Bites

Summer is traditionally a slow news period. Sure, there are the typical flash thunderstorms that wreak havoc in neighborhoods causing unfortunate damage and injuries, but there have been so many times when producers and editors end up scratching their heads as they ponder the old adage: when in doubt, lead with the weather.

This summer has been dominated by the BP spill cleanup and the fall out for the gulf region as well as the corporate world and the government. Locally in Philadelphia, corruption and sports always top people’s minds and two sound bites have occurred in the past 24 hours that warrant some notice.

Three police officers found themselves at a routine tripped alarm call near Pat’s Cafe in lower northeast Philadelphia’s Frankford neighborhood. Locals recall that the taproom was the site of  the killing of Officer Gary Skerski during a robbery in 2006. This week, officers were called to Pat’s when an alarm at a neighboring business went off in the middle of the night. Pat’s was closed at the time, but apparently a door at Pat’s and the safe were open. While two uniformed officers were doing the right thing at Pat’s and trying to track down the owner (all caught on surveillance tape), the third officer helped himself to $825 in the safe (also caught on videotape).

At a news conference four days after the corrupt act, Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey help a news conference where he announced the cop with sticky fingers would be suspended with intent to dismiss in 30 days. It was during this news conference, Ramsey had one of the greatest sound bites I have ever heard:

“The police badge is a symbol of public trust and authority; it’s meant to cover your chest – not your butt.”

Outstanding! You will see and hear that bite all over the local news. Whether Ramsey came up with that nugget on his own or his crack PR staff word-smithed it, doesn’t matter. It’s short, sweet and is outrageously effective in getting the point across: Ramsey and the department won’t tolerate corrupt  cops.

The other great sound bite came from the just-traded Phillies pitcher J.A. Happ. He was the lead player traded by the Phillies in the deal with the Astros to get pitching ace Roy Oswalt. Happ had an emotional afternoon Thursday, saying goodbye to the teammates he won a World Series with and the 2009 National League East Championship (quite a resume for this young pitcher who still has much growing to do). In his post-trade news conference, he showed superb class and smarts as he said, “Baseball doesn’t wait for anybody. I have to turn the page.”

These are the type of sound bites that you can’t make up. But either through keen reporter questions and having a conversation with the newsmaker rather than worrying about getting good sound bites, these sound bites happen naturally.

Summer Adventures -(or how to lose more than 2 pounds in a week)

More than likely, you can’t lose 2.4 pounds in a week without really trying, but it IS a great feat to accomplish in the middle of a holiday weekend. All I can say is – go to the gym – faithfully and eat oatmeal! Other than that, I’m shocked the scale told the story of a wonderful holiday weekend and week.

Our visit to Chesapeake Bay and the North East, Maryland area was outstanding. The joy in Doug’s face as we motored around the head of the Chesapeake and discovered new places to explore was inspiring. We anchored for a few hours around a small island off Havre de Grace, MD and by the time we pulled up anchor, there were well over 60 boats partying in the afternoon breeze (and it was quite breezy!). We took in the local flavors, enjoying crab cakes and fresh salads and the gracious, almost southern, hospitality.

Doug naps after sailing.

After sweating at the gym early Sunday, we headed to Brigantine. July 4th in Brigantine was a scorcher. Those stuck inland really sweated it out, but the sea breeze brought relief and with that, relaxation. Doug and cousin

A.C. fireworks 2010

Sean got a great sail in on the catamaran. It was a bit rocky for me. Dinner with Sean and Shelley was a comfortable affair with their home cooked turkey breast, fresh corn and salad. We went to Sea Point on the inlet between Brigantine and Atlantic City to watch the fireworks, courtesy of the casinos (glad the gambling profits provide a little “free” enjoyment and recreation for some!). After a night’s sleep, we took a long morning walk on the beach, then headed home to collapse.

The rest of the week has been quite busy with work for my business. Despite a busy work schedule, I managed three mornings at the gym this week and three oatmeal breakfasts. I carefully tracked what I ate this week and even over the holiday weekend so I was very careful. The efforts paid off when I hit the scale after the gym this morning with a 2.4 pound loss from last week. Woo-hoo! While staying physically fit is a major goal, losing some weight is also important to me. I’ve been stuck in a plateau for days, and it’s good to see strong efforts pay off.

Now, staying focused with a fair amount of work ahead and the fall semester at Rutgers closing in, I work toward August vacation. While I’ll have to do some work during the two weeks away, I’ll continue the fitness and health efforts that have been paying off.

Never give up!