Written by Tom Williams Thursday, October 16, 2014 02:53 am
On Nov. 4, those of you age 18 or older will vote to select our representative in the U.S. House of Representatives for the next two years. This week and next, Republican Congressman Frank LoBiondo, who is seeking his 11th term, and Democratic challenger William Hughes Jr. will answer eight questions posed to them exclusively for this column.
Here are the first four.
How do you feel the United States should respond to the threat of ISIL in Syria and Iraq?
Written by Laura Stetser Wednesday, October 15, 2014 09:35 am
My son sat on the floor, quietly pulling apart those little plastic bricks he loves so much and reassembling them into his latest newfangled creation, when it popped out without warning.
“Dagnabbit,” he said under his breath as one wrong move brought the whole thing crashing down to the floor.
It’s not the first time my son has expressed frustration when his building efforts don’t pan out. But it was the first time he sounded like my mother when it happened.
Written by Staff Reports Tuesday, October 14, 2014 02:43 pm
It is indisputably true that I watch too much of the wrong kind of television. I am constantly accused, by my personal improvement guru who resents my monopolizing the remote, of being a news and political junkie willing to watch anything except commercials and reality shows, and making her endure the blatherings of every talking head that pops up on the screen.
She’s right, of course. I wish I had a good defense to the charge. Truth is I get trapped between the desperation of a blocked writer looking for any excuse to avoid putting words on paper and the nearly irresistible lure of watching the ballyhooed whoop-whoop of rapidly approaching disaster from the diseases of Africa to the murdererous thugs of the Middle East to the latest land grab from Vladimir Putin.
Written by Joe Wilkins Wednesday, October 08, 2014 02:53 pm
We were sitting in the gazebo at the assisted living facility, watching the seagulls swoop over the tidal marshes while waiting for her pal Becky Gottlieb to join us for our monthly lunch date. Aunt Tess is tough old Philadelphia Irish; Becky Gottlieb is tough old Brooklyn Jewish. Between them, those two biddies catch more news and talk shows than anybody. Someday I’m going to hide a tape recorder near their chairs in the lounge. If I could catch their running commentaries on what’s going on, I could set up my own reality show.
“I’m not saying it’s not real,” Tess said with asperity, which in Aunt Tess is as subtle as a jackhammer. “But if you don’t think the TV’s trying to scare you into watching the news, you’re kidding yourself. The more you watch, the more money they make.”
Written by Laura Stetser Wednesday, October 08, 2014 11:42 am
I stood at the airport gate waiting to meet my adoptive son, palms sweating and head swirling with all of the excitement and insecurities that go along with becoming a new mom.
“What if he doesn’t like me?” I asked my dad, who had accompanied me on the trip.
Written by Tom Williams Tuesday, October 07, 2014 02:00 pm
When the Ocean City High School Class of 1964 accepted diplomas, Lyndon Johnson and Barry Goldwater were getting ready to square off in a presidential election. The Beatles had left the USA, but the Rolling Stones made their American debut on The Hollywood Palace. And Jim Bunning pitched a perfect game for the Phillies.
A lot has changed in five decades (including a new high school building) and many members of the Class of 1964 – who are not only living all over Cape May and Atlantic counties but all over the world – will return Saturday to celebrate their 50th anniversary. Here is what some of them have done in the meantime.
Written by Joe Wilkins Wednesday, October 01, 2014 01:59 pm
I was in Holy Spirit High running long distance track when Englishman Roger Bannister electrified the world by breaking the four-minute mile for the first time in history. Some of my teammates and I soon let our hair grow longer and started putting on an English accent at track meets hoping to psyche out the competition. We were a small team and willing to try anything to gain an edge. It didn’t work, but getting into the other guy’s head is in every athlete’s bag of tricks to try.
Years later, when Coach Stan Bergman started taking Holy Spirit’s crew to the world-famous Henley Royal Regatta at Henley-on-Thames in England and bringing home the Princess Elizabeth cup, much the same psychological games were still in vogue. Word was passed around the Brits that our guys were so tough that, not having a floating dock, they broke the winter ice on the bay in Ventnor in their stocking feet to put their shell in the water for February practices. It was true, and once word got around the blazers-and-skimmers crowd that July in Henley, our boys were given a grudging respect as really tough rowers. It helped, of course, that they won that world-class competition.
Written by Tom Williams Tuesday, September 30, 2014 04:38 pm
Friends – one with MS and the other recovering from a brain aneurism – use the pedal power of two to complete a leg in the City to Shore Ride
We’ve all experienced it. When more than 7,000 bike riders descend on the area it can throw things off. You might be held up at an intersection waiting for the long line of bicycles to pass. You might not be able to park in front of your house. Maybe a parking lot you use is unavailable.
It’s the Bike MS: City to Shore Ride, which brings riders from miles away to Sixth Street and the Boardwalk in Ocean City. Last Saturday was the 34th year for the outing, which has raised millions of dollars to fight multiple sclerosis.
Written by Laura Stetser Tuesday, September 30, 2014 03:14 pm
There are more headlines in the news lately than I care to read about the bad things that people who call themselves men do to women.
I have hidden these stories from you because most of them are too horrific for you to hear. But I must make the lessons of them clear to you so when you eventually start hearing them, you will already know they are wrong.
Written by Melissa Trabbold Thursday, September 25, 2014 12:00 am
I have to admit, scarves are one of my favorite accessories for several reasons.
Let’s start with the most obvious one: They’re comforting. Yes, scarves make for a very cozy accessory in the colder days of fall and winter. They make you feel good. Aside from the obvious, though, scarves can be worn with almost any outfit, and will most likely make it look even better.
Written by Tom Williams Wednesday, September 24, 2014 03:55 pm
Nearly 1.5 million New Jersey residents receive some sort of Social Security benefits. That is only the 35th largest total in the country. A little more than 50,000 of them live in Atlantic County, less than 16,000 in Cape May County. These are not just old folks – like Joe Wilkins, Bud Rinck, Jim Schafer or Bob Derbyshire. People with disabilities and those unable to work can qualify. So can the blind and orphaned children. Supplemented Income is also available to those below the poverty level.
Almost everybody knows somebody who has benefitted from Social Security. The program was started by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935 and has grown considerably since then. The first monthly check was issued in 1940 for $22.54. The average check is now around $1,200. The disability program was added in 1954 under the Eisenhower Administration. The early retirement option at age 62 was added in 1961 by John F. Kennedy. The Supplemental Income program was started in 1972 by Richard Nixon.
Written by Laura Stetser Wednesday, September 24, 2014 03:00 pm
Well, it happened again. I was selected to be room mom by default for one of my children’s classrooms. While I am always happy to help out where needed, I did not sign up for the task because I know I cannot make all of the parties.
But because I did the job last year, also by default, and seemingly made it through unscathed, it looks like I am now on a very short list of parents who are either gullible enough to say yes or happy to take it on. (Apparently in another class, there is competition for the job, but I think that’s a fluke.)
Written by Joe Wilkins Monday, September 22, 2014 09:41 pm
It was not an interview I wanted to do. Talking to a father who lost his son rips at my own heart because I, too, lost a son. Mark was 33 when he died and would have been in his early 50s now, and I still cannot talk or write about him without choking up.
Bill Elliott has much the same problem. He has toughened up in order to publicize his successful Hero Campaign, but when he talks about the accident in which a drunken driver killed his son John, you can see him struggling. I admire his courage.
Written by Melissa Trabbold Friday, September 19, 2014 01:02 pm
In the fashion world, coordinating accessories to match particular outfits is referred to as “matchy matchy.” In my opinion, this does not sound like an appealing trend and for years it wasn’t very respected—until recently. In recent years, the trend is making its way back into the contemporary fashion census, as many are matching their bags to their shoes, and other accessories to their overall outfits. I’ve discovered that in recent spring and summer collections, many designers were sending models down the runway with their bags, shoes, and accessories all in matching fabrics. Clearly designers were trying to reinforce this “head-to-toe” trend.
I think to an extent, matching your bag to your shoes is necessary and definitely fashion-worthy.
Written by Joe Wilkins Wednesday, September 17, 2014 09:28 am
In the turbulent aftermath of Ray Rice’s brutal punch at Atlantic City’s Revel casino I don’t know whether NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will still be drawing his pay of $35 million or $40 million a year by the time you read this. In the NFL as in politics, one PR disaster can hurt you, but a string of them is deadly. Given the culture of the NFL, sudden light being thrown into its darker corners will probably reveal much we didn’t realize.
None of that will initially bother the billionaires who own the teams and control the NFL. But in the long run, Goodell – and Rice’s – fate will depend on whether America’s women are mad enough about off-the-field domestic violence to boycott the sponsors who bring in the big bucks. Sports Business Journal reported in 2012 a sharp increase in the number of NFL viewers who correctly identified such sponsors as Marriott, Gatorade, Ford, GM, Verizon and Bud Light. Tie that to press reports that 45 percent of the NFL viewers are women and you see the problem, especially these days when strong and sophisticated advocacy of women’s rights is a major factor. Try to imagine a President Hillary Clinton or President Kelly Ayotte hosting the Super Bowl winners at the White House should guys like Ray Rice show up with bloody knuckles. The NFL and its sponsors, vendors, executives and players have a multibillion-dollar industry to look after so I think they’ll pay whatever it costs to get Goodell out the door.
Written by Laura Stetser Tuesday, September 16, 2014 12:19 pm
This weekend I was chatting with a friend at the end of our children’s soccer game when we looked over and saw our two boys wrestling with each other just after they had been given their post-game treat.
“Don’t wrestle around with that lollipop in your mouth!” she quickly reminded her son while shaking her head.
We laughed because, after the kids reach the ages of 6 or 7, there are certain things that you shouldn’t have to keep saying to your child.
I can’t count how many times I have said “Don’t wipe that on the wall.”
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