Monday, January 28, 2013
With cursive becoming nearly extinct, what's next, asks our columnist—and what else do we lose with the convenience of modern technology?
Last week at the library, I watched as a little boy labored over a cursive writing worksheet. His eyebrows were pinched together in concentration while his tongue furiously worked his upper lip like a windshield wiper. Fingers gripping a stubby pencil, he toiled over the loopy letters. He was working so hard and, being a sucker for a hardworking little man, I commended him on his fine work. He smiled shyly, then went right back to his task. Later, when the young writer needed help finding a book, I asked him what grade he was in. I hadn’t thought of cursive writing in so long I marveled it was still being taught. It turns out the boy was homeschooled and was, according to his calculations, "somewhere between third and fourth grade." …
Monday, January 21, 2013
Let's bring some revenue to town by filming a reality TV show! The possibilities are endless.
I am not a big fan of reality television, although I will admit to having a bizarre fascination with Honey Boo Boo and her clan. Not because I enjoy Toddlers & Tiaras (yet another reality show), but because I love her nickname. If I have one regret, it’s that I was never asked to join the Mafia, because those guys have the greatest nicknames: Cheesebox, Benny Eggs, Bobby HaHa and Momo, to name a few. Our family watched the first few seasons of American Idol, before our interest waned and we moved on to other mind-numbing pastimes—like trying to figure out Lost. Needless to say, we’re the ones who lost five years worth of Wednesday nights. We never could figure out the smoke monster, the hatch, the Others, the mothers or why that Brazilian …
Monday, January 14, 2013
The fantastical fears of the '50s and '60s have been replaced by the very real fears of the 21st century, writes our Moorestown columnist.
It was business as usual as I shared another New Year’s Eve with Rod Serling: He smoked, I ate my weight in cookies left over from the holiday baking orgy. It was inevitable we would find ourselves together again, Rod and I, since we’ve been a pre-midnight duo for at least 12 years. For those of us growing up in the '50s and '60s, the Twilight Zone was our “must-see” TV. We were as obsessed with spacemen as young’uns today are smitten with vampires. We fretted about flying saucers. We practiced hiding under our desks and in coatrooms during frequent air raid drills at our sturdy brick schools. We envied our neighbor’s bomb shelter with its orderly rows of Campbell’s soups and olive-drab gas masks, and whined for one of our own. On the last…
Monday, January 7, 2013
While we wait for aid, some people are getting things done—regardless of party affiliation.
After a terrible misstep in Congress Tuesday, the perpetually orange House Speaker John Boehner and his Tea Party cronies saw the light and approved a $9.7 billion Band-Aid (bill H.R. 41) for the victims of Hurricane Sandy on Friday, 66 days AFTER the storm. Never mind that the victims of Hurricane Katrina saw their much-needed aid begin to flow a mere 10 days after the storm. We’re from Jersey and NYC—we’re all rich. Who needs government handouts? Anybody tuning into the media after Tuesday’s blocked vote was treated to classic Governor Christie bluster and finger-jabbing, as he called out members of his own Republican party: “Disaster relief is something you don’t play games with, but in this current atmosphere, everything is the subject…
Monday, December 31, 2012
2013 should be an exciting year for Moorestown, says columnist Marsia Mason.
Here's what's wrong with New Year's Eve: forced gaiety and amateur sots. Here's what's right about New Year's Eve: absolutely nothing. Yes, it's the beginning of the new year, a time to start fresh. But when did getting sloshed in tinsel tiaras and dorky hats become part of the celebration? You might be asking yourself, “Gosh! How did Marsia become so jaded about such a beloved holiday, which is also known as an excuse to get drunk and sloppy?” Read on, friends, and you'll have your answer. For several years, when I was living in Brooklyn and working for THE famous music video channel, I worked during the dreaded holiday at the Rockin' New Year’s Eve Ball. I have to say I preferred working to playing, watching the drunks as opposed to …
Monday, December 24, 2012
'Tis the Season for a look back at 2012, Mo'town style!
- THE NEIGHBORHOOD FILES
- Marsia Mason
Monday, December 24, 2012
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through Moorestown, Lack of parking near Main Street was getting us down. The lot was fenced off all around old town hall, And EDAC was celebrating out at the mall. Mo’towners were nestled all snug in their beds, whilst visions of fine dining danced in their heads. Maybe Emeril or Paula, well Vetri for sure! Perhaps Morimoto, with a crab soup du jour. On the library roof there arose such a clatter, Perhaps ‘twas my critics? Ah well, they don’t matter! Perhaps ‘twas Mark Morgan, he’s put up a new show! He’s cast all of Moorestown, 20,000 or so. But at the library, things weren’t going so well, Patrons complained, “Holy Cow! What’s that smell?” Away to the window to let in the breeze, “How sad,” we …
Saturday, December 22, 2012
Devil boys, blubber and a Santa with eyes in the back of his head—why do Christmas traditions in other countries seem so weird (and occasionally, oddly sinister)?
Growing up, my family was not big on holiday traditions. It might be my mother’s fault, since she was from Brazil, and despite being a very Catholic country, Christmas there is so relaxed as to be just another Saturday or Sunday. I spent one Christmas in Brazil when I was in my 20s. My aunt and uncle bought a Charlie Brown tree that was mostly for my benefit, but whose meager branches only served to sadden me. My young cousin Pedro got an “homen aranha” (Spider-Man) costume and spent the morning trying to climb the veranda walls, falling down then shrieking. After breakfast, we went to the beach. Nothing says "weird Christmas" like a painful sunburn. I don’t like cutting down trees in December then throwing them away in January, so the …
Monday, December 17, 2012
In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting, is America going to keep the status quo or is something—finally—going to change, our columnist asks.
Nothing is funny today. There is a pall hanging over this holiday season, a grief-filled cloud, brought on by yet another horrifying mass shooting. How can we make sense of a world where a loved one, a beloved child, can walk out the door, never to return because of a random act of violence? And how horrible that these senseless acts of violence have become so common that they could literally happen anywhere at anytime. What kind of world have we created? My usual Monday morning column was written before Friday’s shooting. It was fluff—a festive piece about holiday traditions around the world. It was something to read on a coffee break, guaranteed to give a chuckle or two or, perhaps, food for thought. Ever since the unimaginable happened…
Monday, December 10, 2012
Join our columnist as she helps navigate through holiday shopping madness at the Moorestown Mall.
Happy shopping everyone! This is the first year EVER I didn’t have my shopping done by the end of November. I’ve been a bit distracted by superstorms, aortic calcifications and Fiscal Cliff—whoever he is—but I am now ready to wade into the fray and tackle anyone who stands between me and a good bargain or a great steak. In other words, I’ve got my shopping on. Tonight, it’s you and me, Boscov’s. Who doesn’t love a good bargain? If you can’t find gifts here for most of the people on your list, you need to come with me. I know how to dig and find gems. On several shopping forays, I have found great pet items upstairs by the candy department. Bone-shaped mats for sloppy eaters ($2!) are wedged under plush-like pillows for fluffy lap pups, so …
Monday, December 3, 2012
After a recent dose of bad news, our columnist asks how much information is TOO much information.
What kind of idiot drives themselves to the ER at 4 o’ clock in the morning? I know that sounds like the beginning of a very lame joke, but when your insurance doesn’t cover joyrides in ambulances and you’re still paying for the fun-filled, $700 ride you took in August, you will ride a unicycle to the closest ER if necessary. You will hop if need be, or at the very least, you will drive yourself, which is exactly what I did toward the end of October. The subtitle of this column could be "The Kidney Stone That Wouldn’t Die"—except kidney stones never die. They’re supposed to get flushed out of your body by copious fluids, exterminated by Terminex or zapped by a competent surgeon. I assumed mine had wandered out on its own, since I had been …