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The Mom's Beat: Facing our fears once and for all

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Written by Laura Stetser Monday, January 19, 2015 03:42 pm

The Mom’s Beat: Facing our fears once and for all The Mom’s Beat: Facing our fears once and for all The woman dreaded the conversation all day, even though she knew it was an important one.

This wasn’t her first bout of conversation anxiety. When she was a young girl, she would instinctively clam up at the thought of having to talk about her emotions. She would dread it all day when she knew there was a conversation with her mother looming about the issue du jour.

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Joe's Take: A mid-winter reverie

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Written by Joe Wilkins Monday, January 19, 2015 02:26 pm

January plugs along. It’s the quiet part of the calendar. The holiday visitors have departed. Those who can squeeze in a trip to Florida have packed and left or they’re counting the days. Dried out Christmas trees waiting to be picked up punctuate the roads here and there. We are all back at work or in search of it, and the afternoon meandering of school buses calms the homeward bound traffic as kids with backpacks climb down and straggle along their street. Everybody’s favorite TV series have resumed. The stores are setting up for their Valentine’s Day sales, and we’re all waiting for the Oscars – or arguing about them.

For me, it’s the time to settle down with a good book; one of life’s reliable pleasures.  My latest is Walter Isaacson’s “The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution.” This will be the fifth Isaacson book I’ve read. His range is wide, including biographies, all best sellers, of Albert Einstein, Ben Franklin, Steve Jobs and “The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made,” about the giants who shaped the politics of the world during and after the defeat of Germany and Japan. You can’t go wrong with a glass of Drambuie on ice, a cheery fireplace, and Walter Isaacson. 

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A longtime newspaperman’s look at TV news

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Wednesday, January 14, 2015 10:00 pm

The funeral of Channel 40 News on New Year’s Eve has brought back memories of times many years before that when I also was saddened by the deaths of two print titans in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. As we say in journalism in all three instances there was a local angle for me.

The first was the Newark Evening News in whose gloomy newsroom I stood on Aug. 30, 1972, the day before it gasped its final breath. The second was the Philadelphia Bulletin which succumbed on Jan. 29, 1982. In both editions there were stories I wrote.

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Joe's Take: Requiem for an editor

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Written by Joe Wilkins Tuesday, January 13, 2015 08:27 pm

As boys growing up a decade after the war, the two of us played at catching imaginary German spies smuggled ashore from Nazi submarines on the wintry beaches and dunes of Brigantine. We stayed friends long after I opened my law office and Chuck McGee rose from paperboy to copyboy to reporter to an editor of the Press of Atlantic City. He was a good friend and a good editor, whose private passion was writing and playing Broadway show music for stars like his friends Carol Channing, Martha Raye and Maurice Chevalier. He was only 37 when a heart attack cut his career short, and soon thereafter his life. I thought of him this week when news of the Paris terrorism that cut short the lives of another editor and his colleagues broke upon the world.

By the early 1970s, I was knee-deep in politics, convinced beyond doubt that President Nixon’s top staffers were two steps and a hop from being Nazis. I’ve mellowed since those days, but still fondly remember having lunch in the White House the day the FBI seized the files of Nixon top aides John Ehrlichman and Bob Haldeman, both of whom ended up in jail. Back home Chuck McGee showed me a cartoon he had decided not to run. It showed Ehrlichman lying to Congress and seemed perfectly acceptable to me.

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The Mom’s Beat: ‘Surprise’ pregnancy: The immaculate misconception

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Written by Laura Stetser Monday, January 12, 2015 03:04 pm

The Mom's Beat by Laura Stetser The Mom's Beat by Laura Stetser I just don’t buy it. I refuse to believe the stories in the news about women who supposedly did not know they were pregnant until the moment they went into labor – or even later.

Even if I stretch my imagination and suspend a good bit of disbelief, I still cannot bring myself to understand how these mothers can claim they did not know there was a human being growing inside them, especially one that weighs 10 pounds, as a Massachusetts woman experienced last week.

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The Mom’s Beat: Spend time with your kids on money matters

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Written by Laura Stetser Wednesday, January 07, 2015 04:55 pm

 The Mom’s Beat: Spend time with your kids on money matters The Mom’s Beat: Spend time with your kids on money matters Our children set a New Year’s resolution that involves learning how to spend, save and donate money. We decided that there would be one jar for each category, and at the end of 2015 any money that was in the spend jar could be used, the money in the donate jar would find its way to a charity and the money in the save jar would be deposited in their own savings account at our local bank.

Looking for more resources on the topic to take advantage of their newfound interest, I found a website called TheMint.org, which is endorsed by the American Library Association as a “Great Web Site for Kids.”

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Joe's Take: Aunt Tess and Downton Abbey

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Written by Joe Wilkins Wednesday, January 07, 2015 10:30 am

We were enjoying our New Year’s lunch at the Tuckahoe Inn when the conversation turned to the start of the new season of British television’s “Downton Abbey”

“I never said I didn’t like it,” Aunt Tess insisted. “But I like it more now they’ve got Tom Branson, that Irish chauffeur, remembering where he came from!”

I was surprised to learn she even watched that show, her being so devoutly Irish. 

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Joe's Take: Here be dragons, and delights untold

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Written by Joe Wilkins Friday, January 02, 2015 03:29 pm

In olden times mapmakers impatient to reach their market before everything they needed to know had been discovered filled the empty regions with stuff like “Here be dragons,” “Terra Incognito” and drawings of sea serpents and other terrifying monsters. The ignorant and the superstitious may have shivered at such warnings, but I’m sure experienced captains took them with a lot of salt. Dragons don’t sink ships. It’s the fog-hidden rocks of ironbound coasts they worried about. Meanwhile, the sailors huddled below decks made up tales of gold and rubies and beautiful, passionate women just waiting for the lucky men who landed on the right shore.

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AT LARGE: Best column quotes of 2014

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Written by Tom Williams Thursday, January 01, 2015 08:50 pm

As the year comes to a close, here is a look back at some of the most interesting things said by people quoted in this At Large column. See if you remember them.

 

Patricia Loder on the death of a child.

“The hurt slowly changes from intense pain and a focus on the death event to warmer memories and a commitment to lead lives in honor of the dead child and in a way that would make that child proud. One of the best ways to receive continuing support through the bereavement process is to help other families just starting on their grief journey. Each person, though, must search for meaningful ways to give life a new sense of purpose. The bond with the child will never be broken, because the love that has been shared will always remain.”

 

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The Mom's Beat: A mother’s pipe dreams for the New Year

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Written by Laura Stetser Monday, December 29, 2014 02:40 pm

The Mom's Beat by Laura Stetser The Mom's Beat by Laura Stetser Sticking with tradition, our family will be making New Year’s resolutions on Dec. 31. Most of them are fairly personal and specific to our aspirations and desires, but in addition to those I have a few dreams for the wider world that I would like to share.

As the clock turns to midnight and I close my eyes to make my wishes for the New Year, here are some of the dreams I hope to see come true in 2015:

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Joe's Take: The ghost of Christmas elsewhere

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Written by Joe Wilkins Tuesday, December 23, 2014 05:27 am

Chris Rock, my candidate for the greatest humorist since Mark Twain, was being interviewed by Charlie Rose, my candidate for the most civilized man in the media today. As Rose’s interviews often do, the easy ambience of the talk made it possible for his guest to invite us into his heart.

I can’t recall whether Rose asked his guest if he believed in God, or if something in Rock’s musings opened a new line of thought and that was where it led. It’s the sort of topic that rivets your attention, especially when you don’t see it coming.

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Good, bad, and ugly Christmas presents

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Written by Christopher South Tuesday, December 23, 2014 04:22 am

I heard a story of a bad Christmas present the other day that reminded me of one of my own. Apparently a father was wrapping gifts and he “accidentally” wrapped an empty box for his daughter. On Christmas Day his daughter opened the non-present and was absolutely crushed. The father was reportedly very embarrassed and apologetic, saying he had made a mistake.

I have my doubts about the veracity of this story. Empty boxes have certain characteristics that suggest they are empty, such as being extremely light, and nothing moves in them when you turn them over.

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Socks for Seniors arrives late

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Written by Christopher South Thursday, December 18, 2014 03:37 pm

For the last two years I had been serving as a local coordinator for a program called Sock for Seniors. The program is normally something I would bring up with people in September, but things in my life were a little, shall we say, cattywompus back then. As it turned out, there were all kinds of things that kept me distracted.

“What did you do with the sticks?” someone asked me.

“What sticks?” I said.

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Joe's Take: The beagle in heaven

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Written by Joe Wilkins Tuesday, December 16, 2014 01:02 pm

“Bo,” I said to the beagle known as General P. T. Beauregard when he’s feeling formal, “you’ll be glad to hear Pope Francis thinks you can go to heaven.” I was in my armchair debating the relative merits of a nap versus a second honey-smooth Drambuie on the rocks. He was gazing drowsily into the fire. We were in the sort of relaxed mood that promotes easy telepathic communication between man and beagle.

“Heaven, huh?” he yawned. “How’s the food?”

“You don’t need food in heaven. We won’t have bodies. We’ll be spirits, like the angels.”

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The Mom's Beat: Newtown shooting gave us one more reason to wear sensible shoes

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Written by Laura Stetser Tuesday, December 16, 2014 11:51 am

The Mom's Beat: Newtown shooting gave us one more reason to wear sensible shoes The Mom's Beat: Newtown shooting gave us one more reason to wear sensible shoes As a parent, there is so little we can control when we send our children off to school each morning. We have no power over whether the bus driver gets them safely to school. We can’t control whether their classmates tease them. We have no control over whether they eat the lunches we pack. And two years ago, on Dec. 14, 2012 we also found out that we can’t control whether someone is going to march into their school and start shooting our precious little ones. 

When the traumatic news broke about the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that day, we all felt even more powerless as parents. While the other school shootings were terrible, this one, which involved elementary school children, shook us like no other.

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AT LARGE: The drama of NBC TV-40

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Written by Tom Williams Monday, December 15, 2014 08:23 pm

More than four decades ago Howard Green purchased a local television station from Jersey Cape Broadcasting in Wildwood. The Wildwood operation was sort of affiliated with the NBC Network but had no direct feed – they took the NBC programs off the air from KYW-TV in Philadelphia and simulcast them with local commercials. Many of the broadcasts were in color on KYW but in black and white on what was then called WCMC-TV.

Green changed all that.

He got a direct affiliation and put together a staff that developed local programming, including daily newscasts, to mix with the NBC programming. Through the years a number of broadcasters have stopped or started at what is now known as NBC TV-40.

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