Columnists

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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Smelliest smells I smelt

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Written by Christopher South Friday, December 12, 2014 03:05 pm

My mother had a very sensitive nose. We used to think she was part golden retriever. Before the city put new storm sewer lines down our street the drain in our basement used to back up. Generally my mom was the first to notice based on the smell.

“I smell sewage,” she used to say. “Or your father’s aftershave.”

There are a number of smells I associate with my mother; a lot of them are cooking smells. This Thanksgiving I made the stuffing and the recipe called for sage. I had not smelled sage in the house for many years. The smell of sage, both in the mixing of the stuffing and in the baking, filled the general kitchen area. For the first time in many years, Thanksgiving smelled like Thanksgiving to me.

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Joe's Take: Go see ‘Theory of Everything,’ and bring a handkerchief

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Written by Joe Wilkins Monday, December 08, 2014 04:16 pm

Never go to a two-handkerchief movie with only one handkerchief. We watched “The Theory of Everything” laughing at ourselves as we passed the one handkerchief back and forth to wipe our tears. Next time I watch that movie I’ll be ready. And I will watch it again when it shows up on Netflix so I can turn on the closed captioning and read what world-famous theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking is saying as Lou Gehrig’s Disease tries to kill him by slowly destroying the body that encapsulates the mind of a genius.

So far, the mind is winning. In 1963 after graduating from Oxford and continuing his studies as a 21-year-old student at Cambridge, he was given two years to live. Fifty-one years later he’s still going, a shriveled figure in a wheelchair, barely able to move fingers or eyebrows, able to speak and write only with the aid of a high-tech device that tracks such things as the direction of his gaze and the twitching of his cheek and converts letters and words he chooses from a computer screen into speech.

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At Large: Ed Hurst is back where he started

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Written by Tom Williams Monday, December 08, 2014 03:34 pm

After high school Ed Hurst was hired by WPEN in Philadelphia working in the mornings playing classical music and reading news. After high school Ed Hurst was hired by WPEN in Philadelphia working in the mornings playing classical music and reading news.  Ed Hurst was probably the guy that Marconi had in mind when he invented the radio. For more than seven decades the Atlantic City High School graduate has entertained people throughout the Delaware Valley on radio and later, television.

Hurst is the type of guy we like to hear on the radio. He talks on the air the same way he does off the air. And he tells a great story.

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The Mom's Beat: The power of the elf network

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Written by Laura Stetser Monday, December 08, 2014 03:08 pm

The Mom’s Beat: The power of the elf network The Mom’s Beat: The power of the elf network

Even Santa’s magic needs a boost sometimes

Last year a little girl from New Jersey put an item on her wish list to Santa that came seemingly out of the blue.

“I would like the Sweetshine Glow Happy Clubhouse,” she announced.

Her parents were stumped. Neither had ever heard of the toy.

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At Large: Dealing with our infrastructure

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Written by Tom Williams Thursday, December 04, 2014 11:06 pm

There seems to be construction going on all around us. There are workers holding signs that say “slow” or “stop” as roads are rebuilt and four lanes are temporarily reduced to two or two down to one. Traffic moves slowly and derivers are aggravated. But the end result is very rewarding.

The problem is, there should probably be a lot more.

Some of these projects are big enough to really attract attention.

The biggest project in this area was the Route 52 Causeway between Ocean City and Somers Point. From 2006 until 2012 it was more difficult than usual to cross the bridges that make up the causeway. But now that the new structure has become a permanent part of the area infrastructure, it has not only made life easier for drivers but for bikers, joggers, walkers and those who fish.

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The simple pleasures in life

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Written by Christopher South Thursday, December 04, 2014 12:18 pm

There once was a story, probably from Reader’s Digest, about a mother who felt really guilty about the fact that on some mornings she would barely finish ironing her child’s shirt in time for him to put it on and get on the bus for school. Then at parents night at the school, she looked through papers on the wall titled “Happiness Is…” and she found her son’s.

It read, “Happiness is a warm shirt.”

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Joe's Take: The thrill of meeting famous chefs and short-order cooks

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Written by Joe Wilkins Tuesday, December 02, 2014 10:54 am

As a card-carrying “meat and potatoes” man, none of my friends will ever mistake me for a fancy eater. But I’ve spent too much time in New Orleans to claim complete innocence. You’re not allowed to deny your taste buds in New Orleans – especially when you’re lucky enough to shake hands with chefs at such world famous restaurants as Commander’s Palace, Emeril’s, Galatoire’s, NOLA, and a secret favorite of the locals, the exquisite “Cajun-Asian” cuisine cooked for years by my friend Ganesh Ayyenger at Mac Rahman’s Sara’s, tucked away near the bend in the Mississippi river where the streetcars that run from the French Quarter to St. Charles Avenue ring their bells and make the turn on to South Carrolton.

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The Mom's Beat: Personal movie-watching styles are sometimes at odds

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Written by Laura Stetser Monday, December 01, 2014 02:24 pm

The Mom's Beat: Personal movie-watching styles are sometimes at odds The Mom's Beat: Personal movie-watching styles are sometimes at odds

 My family loves watching movies, and one of our traditions on long holiday weekends is to watch a movie or two together.

  Generally these experiences are truly enjoyable. However, there are stark differences in our personalities that emerge whenever a movie starts playing.

 In my family, and maybe yours too, it seems there are five basic types of movie watchers.

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The not at all true history of Thanksgiving

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Written by Christopher South Wednesday, November 26, 2014 12:00 am

I’ve always been interested in history in some sense or another. Not preserving it of course – it doesn’t keep well. But I always had a mind for remembering what my history teachers said; so much so that I rarely did any reading. Still, I carried a solid A in American History.

We are celebrating one of the aspects of early American history this week when we overeat and watch football. Those dimensions were added later to remind us that early American settlers did not have football and were forced to watch soccer, which they brought from their native England.

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Joe's Take: There is so much worthy of thanks

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Written by Joe Wilkins Tuesday, November 25, 2014 03:21 pm

You can give your Thanksgiving toast in a dozen different languages and liquids and addressed, whatever your faith, to “the livin’ Gawd that made you,” as Rudyard Kipling put it. But the heartfelt reasons we raise our glasses each year with such profound gratitude differs a bit with each of us. In the main we publicly give thanks for common reasons; our family, our friends, our good luck. The part that’s different we often keep to ourselves.

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The Mom’s Beat: Be thankful for the mundane as well as the grand

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Written by Laura Stetser Tuesday, November 25, 2014 02:12 pm

The Mom’s Beat: Be thankful for the mundane as well as the grand The Mom’s Beat: Be thankful for the mundane as well as the grand

From taco night to our health, there's always something to be thankful for

As a mother, Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. There are no gifts involved, so the focus is all on family and friends. We get a moment to take stock of what it is we are thankful to have in our lives, a great practice to instill in your children in between candy-crazed Halloween and December’s gift-giving season.

As I make a last-minute checklist for our family meal on Thursday, I am taking a moment to think about some of the things I am blessed to have in our lives.

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At Large: What makes them thankful

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Written by Tom Williams Monday, November 24, 2014 11:16 pm

This is a week devoted to giving thanks. Here are some people you might know describing what makes them thankful. Some are humorous, some serious. Some are personal, others general.

Walt Tucker, NASCAR historian

I am thankful for family, friends and, most of all, my health. Also for living in a great country where freedom exists and for regular luncheons with friends.

Tom Park, educator

I am thankful that God blessed me with a wonderful loving wife and daughter.

Michael Gill, attorney

Life has been good to me and I am thankful for all that I have. But I am also saddened by the fact that there are too many people in this world that are suffering because of poverty, injustice and needless wars. We can do better.

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