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Michelle H. LePoidevin
ARTS and ENTERTAINMENT
In a recent George Carlin television comedy special, the comedian said, “Without further ado.” He stopped a moment and then added, “Don’t you hate it when people say, ‘without further ado,’ when there has been no previous ado?”
It is a very good and often used line and one that we, too, have used on occasion, but, what does ado mean? Without further ado (there we go again), here is the result of our research.
We found it in the Oxford English Dictionary. Ado is a shortened version of a northern English dialect phrase, to do; for example, “we have nothing ado (to do) with them.” Ado had,andstillhas, thesenseof“bustle, fuss or trouble.”
William Shakespeare used it in the title of his comedy, Much Ado about Nothing (1598-1599). His use of ado probably explains why this archaic word is still in use.
Ado is not to be confused with the French farewellword,“adieu,”which literally means, “I commend you to God.” There you have as much ado about ado as we can offer to you. We hope it has not been “much ado about nothing.”
Resident Angered By Coverage Given To Mountainside Mayor, Councilman
I was surprised and dismayed to see that you let Mountainside Mayor Robert F. Viglianti use two and onehalf columns of your April 15 issue to blow his own horn.
You know that the Mayor is running for re-election and that his statements are campaign rhetoric. You also know that his exercise of closed government has alienated him from our community. In the face of rapidly mounting opposition within his own party to his autocratic and secretive methods, Mr. Viglianti got a free pass from you to gush through an acceptance speech for an Oscar he awarded to himself.
Where was your sense of fairness – not to mention your devotion to the facts?
The articlebyMountainsideCouncil President Thomas Perrotta about governing body salaries also distorts reality. You gave him a free ride by
failing to explain the controversy yourself or to invite anyone else to.
You know that a petition signed by nearly 400 Mountainside registered voters – of all political persuasions – cries out against the salary ordinance and is forcing the defiant council to submit it to a referendum in November. You also know that the issue is not reimbursement for legitimate expenses. Everyone supports such reimbursement. The issue is the governing body’s attempt to evade accountabilitytothe publicforitsspending.
Actually, Mr. Perrotta’s statements make it clear that he views “salaries” for elected officials and volunteer firemen as a means of escaping accountability – and perhaps of getting around laws that restrict the use of public funds.
Scott R. Schmedel Mountainside
Council Must Proceed With Plans To Hold Formal Mayoral Election
Hopes for the prompt implementation of a plan allowing citizens to vote for a Mayor in Scotch Plains have apparently been extinguished by the Township Council.
The Democrats, who were so convincing in the Fall on this issue, have obviously grown comfortable with their current majority status.
Apparently a mayoral election will notoccuruntil afterthecurrentMayor and Deputy Mayor have taken their turns as “appointed” Mayors.
Just five months ago, Mr. Bromley stated that it was “an absurdity” Scotch Plains did not have an elected mayor. Ms. Samuels expressed similar views.
I strongly agreed with their position and supported their candidacy. If they meant what they said, a special election, held as early as this November, could have been arranged to correct this absurdity and in the process, fulfill their promise.
Thomas O’Donnell Scotch Plains
SymphonyConductor Thankful For Article
In This Is Westfield
Editor’s Note: This letter was sent to Michelle H. LePoidevin for her article in This Is Westfield regarding the Westfield Symphony Orchestra.
* * * * * This is a short note to say “thank you” for your delightful article and reviews in the paper. The skill with which you write, and the flowing style, is a pleasure to read.
It is quite clear that you have a frighteningly perceptive knowledge of music, and I am honored that you find worth in the work we are doing at the Westfield Symphony Orchestra.
David Wroe Music Director, Conductor Westfield Symphony Orchestra
2 & 1/2 popcorns
Those poor film geniuses. They just can’t win. We expect greatness with each and every offering. So when they don’t deliver, we are disappointed. Of course it isn’t very fair of us. Even Sophocles didn’t render forth a hit every time. And with
Cookie’s Fortune, apparently neither does Robert Altman.
Granted, the national treasure who brought us “M*A*S*H” and Nashville is judged by a special standard. Thus his aura wins him some points. But though magic dust filters into his latest release, the effort falls short of the enviable high water mark Mr. Altman has set for himself over the years withgroundbreakingworkslike
A Wedding, McCabe and Mrs. Miller
and The Player.
If a directorial unknown were to present us with Cookie’s Fortune, it might be greeted as “a slyly irreverent paean to dysfunctional Southern mores by an engaging director with a promising facility for dissecting the eccentricity in small town folks.” Happily, it’s a bit more than that.
Here, Mr. Altman’s cynical edge is ever-present, but politely subdued. Now, irony is a conventional storytelling mechanism for framing reward, justice and retribution.
Retaining an Altman mainstay, a fine ensemble cast featuring Glenn Close,Charles S.DuttonandJulianne Moore allows the director to fashion his tale of Southern discomfort. But taking a cue from his slow-drawling characters,the paceisleisurely.There is no rush, no trademark kaleidoscope of inter-cutting plots.
Though you can rest assured that almost all 10 Commandments are being broken on a regular basis in Holly Springs, keeping up appearances is the official pastime. There are almost as many historical markers as street signs.
But title character Jewel Mae “Cookie” Orcutt, a crusty old widow who has never stopped grieving the loss of her dearly departed Buck, doesn’t much care about how things look. When Cookie, splendidly exacted by Patricia Neal, can’t stand the loneliness anymore, she takes one of husband Buck’s old revolvers and ending it all, in a rather messy sort of way.
She leaves a note to Willis, a black family retainer/handyman. He is one of the few folks she cared about other than Emma, her prodigal grand niece portrayed with spunk by Liv Tyler.
Stoically loyal Willis is brilliantly realized by Charles S. Dutton. Unfortunately, he doesn’t discover the body. Instead, that rare honor is reserved for niece Camille Dixon (sharply delineated by Glenn Close), Dixie’s answer to the queen of mean.
An egomaniac, for Camille appearances are everything. And since “people from good families simply don’t commit suicide,” she is completely beside herself. She berates her dead aunt for the inconvenience: “You crazy old lady! How dare you do this to me.” Camille then sets
POPCORN POPCORN POPCORN POPCORN POPCORN ™
One Popcorn, Poor • Two Popcorns, Fair • Three Popcorns, Good • Four Popcorns, Excellent
By Michael S. Goldberger
Only A Modest Legacy
about making it look like a robberymurder.
Alongforthe rideisJulianneMoore as Cora, the doltish sister who, it can easily be conjectured, has spent a lifetime of subservience to her tyrannical sibling. Camille firmly informs Cora, in case the police should ask, that Aunt Cookie did not commit suicide. A virtual zombie, Cora parrots her sister’s instructions. Because the simple sister is currently being directed in the church play by Camille, this latest deceit is but a few more lines to memorize.
As circumstances would have it, Willis’s fingerprints on the gun make him the only suspect. He is subsequentlyjailedfor thecrime.Ofcourse, the cell door is left open at all times, this being the homespun, quirky kind of relationship movie that it is. And although all of Camille’s trumped up evidencesmells fishytoSheriffLester Boyle, acted by a trimmed down Ned Beatty, he is certain of Willis’s innocencebased ononeobservation:“I’ve fished with the man.”
Commiserating with her friend, firebrand Emma, forever the bane of her Aunt Camille’s existence, bunks with Willis in protest of his arrest. Besides, she confides, her 274 outstanding parking violations make her a desperado, too. Quite conveniently, this also puts the rebellious lass close toheartthrob Jason,abunglingdeputy played by Chris O’Donnell.
Evidenced by her fast and loose tampering, all the world’s a stage for Camille. Hence rehearsals for the upcoming church production of “Salome,” whichsheludicrouslybills as “a play by Camille Dixon and Oscar Wilde,” prove a clever subplot and loosely based metaphor for the story’s greater goings-on.
Butregardless ofwhichworldshe’s in, the control freak revels in her authority, real as well as imagined. If she’s worried about possibly sending an innocent man to the gas chamber, she doesn’t show it.
While Miss Close is entertaining via her over-the-top wickedness, certainly Mr. Altman didn’t spend two hours to prove that Camille Dixon is a warped narcissist beyond redemption. And while good guy Willis’s misfortunate travail is full of wit, whimsy, and even a little wisdom as concerns black-white relationships way down South, it’s just not enough to sustain a feature length film.
Inordinately focusing on exposition and his scattershot batch of warmly eccentric sub-texts, the director uses up nearly half of the film before any of his lazily introduced premises take flight. And unlike classic Altman, where the whole is inevitably greater than the sum of its parts, the lack of focus proves a liability.
While Cookie’s Fortune doesn’t crumble, it does taste half-baked.
* * * * * Cookie’s Fortune, ratedPG-13,isan October Films release directed by Robert Altman and stars Glenn Close, CharlesS.Duttonand JulianneMoore. Running time: 118 minutes.
When One Becomes An Organ Donor They Are Giving The Gift of A Lifetime
Thousands of persons are tragically killed every year in auto accidents. Thousands of others die from terminal illnessesorfromheart attacks.Thesadthing isthatmany ofthesepersonsprobably didnothavean organ donor card in their wallet at the time of their deaths. This card, called the “gift of live,” can literally give a person a second chance at life.
Last year alone more than 65,000 individuals nationwide were put on waiting lists for transplants, 1,600 of whom were from New Jersey. More than 3,500 people die each year while waiting for transplants due to the shortage of donors. An estimated half million Americans are treated with bone and tissue transplants each year. Tissues include tendons and ligaments, skin used to treat severe burns, heart valves and eye corneas. In fact, 40,000 cornea transplants are performed in this country each year, with another 5,000 on waiting lists for donated corneas.
ThenumberofNew Jerseyansdonatingorgansrose from 4,000 in 1986 to 5,334 in 1995. That’s an average increase of 133 donors per year.
In an effort to promote the need for donors, volunteersfromtheOverlook HospitalAuxiliaryhavebeen traveling to the various governing bodies in Union County to help promote the need for donors.
Also, in this regard, April has been designated as “Organ and Tissue Awareness Month.”
The New Jersey Organ and Tissue Sharing Network, the state’s organ procurement organization,
has saved the lives of 3,000 persons since it was founded 12 years ago.
In an effort to deal with the dangerous shortage of donors, the Network has established an Organ and TissueRegistry.Theregistry, managedbyTheSharing Network based in Springfield, is a statewide database aimed at generating donor awareness, thereby increasing thenumberofdonor organsavailablefortransplant.
Each donor can realistically save the lives of up to 75 persons through tissue donation. New Jersey, which had one of the lowest organ donation rates, is quickly approaching the national average.
Tobecomea donor,apersonsimply needstofillout a donor card in front of two witnesses, detach and send the Registry portion of the brochure to the Network,locatedat841 MountainAvenueinSpringfield, and keep the donor card in their wallet. The cards, according to the Auxiliary, are considered a legaldocument.
For more information, please contact the New Jersey Organ and Tissue Sharing Network at (800) Share-NJ, or visit its web site at http:// www.sharenj.org/related.htm. Other web sites includethe CoalitiononDonation,http://www.unos.org/ and the United States Department of Health and Human Resources, Health Resources Services Administration’s organ donation and organ procurement organization sites: http://organdonor.gov/ or http:organdonor.gov/opo.htm
Dollars For Students Drive Raises Funds For Several Scholarships
The 32nd annual Dollars For Students Drive was conducted over the weekend of April 17 and 18 by the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Scholarship Foundation. We would like to express our appreciation to the local studentswho participatedinourdrive and to the generous citizens of Fanwood and Scotch Plains who made their efforts a successful venture.
The monies collected will be presented as scholarships to graduating high school students at the annual awards night at Scotch PlainsFanwood High School on May 20 and to college students on June 11 at our awards reception to be held at All Saints Episcopal Church.
This year marks the 33rd anniversary of the founding of the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Scholarship Foundation. For 32 consecutive years, the foundation through its volunteer Board of Directors has been able to assist local students with 953 scholarshipswitha totalvalueof$707,470. This year we have received 114 ap
plications for assistance, which is our highest number ever. Thirty of these come from college students.
We look forward to announcing our own Dollars for Students recipients as well as those students who will be receive monies from the 22 additional funds which we maintain and the 17 pass through funds, which we administer. This year we will be administering in excess of $82,150.
Our sincere thanks and appreciation go out to all of our neighbors who so willingly continue to show the young people of Scotch Plains and Fanwood that they value them and their effort to continue their education. If you were not at home when our students stopped by, or if you did not receive a request through the mail but would like to support our efforts, please send your contribution in care of the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Scholarship Foundation, P. O. Box 123, Fanwood, 07023.
Ellie Kramps President Scotch Plains-Fanwood Scholarship Foundation
Vandalism of Historic Cemetery Sad Statement of Today’s Society
Editor’s Note: The writer of the following letter is Chairman of the Cemetery Committee at the Revolutionary Cemetery opposite The Presbyterian Church in Westfield.
* * * * * It continues to be a sad measure of our times that a few thoughtless individuals can glean pleasure from doing damage to an historic cem
etery. Over the weekend of April 17 and 18, several monuments in The Presbyterian Church in Westfield’s cemetery on Mountain Avenue were overturned and broken.
Other fragile brownstone and marble tablets dating from the midnineteenth century were pulled from the ground and damaged.
Our community has, since the 1720’s, revered the lives and dedication to town and nation of those patriots buried here. This cemetery, a treasure of our town’s heritage, is the final resting place of 71 Revolutionary War soldiers and many of Westfield’s founders.
Markers commemorating the lives of Millers, Corys, Clarks, Cranes, Woodruffs and Piersons, names deeply seated in our town history, abound. Their markers were placed by grieving families for loved ones and have remained inspirational to subsequent generations.
We can only hope that those buried here can rest in peace, undisturbed forever, free from recurrence of such senseless violation of personal privacy and historic value.
Although privately held burial grounds, The Presbyterian Church provides educational tours upon request.
David Rogers Westfield Opposition to Councilmen Salaries
Expressed by Mountainside Citizen
Councilman Thomas Perrotta advises us that the $1,500 per year for council members is not a salary. Then why must it be authorized by a Salary Oridnance?
Mr. Perrotta and some other council members just don’t seem to get it. It’s not the money.
Nearly 400 Mountainsiders signed a petition to have this ordinance put up for referendum before it could be
implemented because they object to the concept of “salary.” Paying our elected officials would completely change the character and complexion of our wonderful borough.
ServingMountainsideshoulddefinitely not be a financial burden to anyone.Expense accounts–yes.Salaries – no!
Jeanne S. Wilhelms Mountainside
Money Saving Tips Suggested For Household Expenses
WESTFIELD – Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County has offered the following tips for saving money on utilities and housing expenses.
· When making home improvements, select from well-established, licensed contractors who have submitted written, fixed-price bids for the work. Do not sign any contract that requires full payment before satisfactory completion of a job.
· To save as much as $100 per year on electricity, purchase energy-efficient appliances, especially air conditioners and furnaces. Energy efficiency information is found on Energy Guide labels required by federal law. Utility companies also offer rebates for the purchase of energyefficient products.
· Contact yourutilitycompanyfor discounts for running major appliances such as a clothes washer during “off-peak”hours(generallynights and weekends.) To save more, purchase a programmable water heater timer and set it to kick on at off-peak hours.
· Close off unused rooms to conserve heat. Caulk or weather strip windows and doors and install storm windows. Install sweeps at the bottom of doors and use insulated window treatments.
· Fixing a leaky faucet could save up to $300 per year. Other saving strategies include: fixing running toilets, using low-flow showerheads and lawn sprinklers and decreasing water heater temperatures from 140 degrees to 120 or 125 degrees.
Automobile Club Advises Against Internet Licenses
The AAA New Jersey Automobile Clubhascautioned motoriststobeaware of international driver’s licenses which areavailableoverthe Internetforanominal fee.
According to AAA, the web sites are offering the licenses for $300, when a license normally costs $10.
“AAA is one of only two organizations authorized by the U.S. Department of State to issue and sell InternationalDriving Permits(IDPs)andInterAmerican Driving Permits (IADPs) in the United States,” stated Bob Housely, Vice President of Travel Services for the AAA New Jersey Automobile Club in Florham Park.
“In accordancewithinternationallaw, these permits are not recognized in the countryinwhich theyareissued,”stated Mr.Housely.“There aremanyoffersfor purchasinginternationaldriver’slicenses through the Internet, but none of them are recognized in the U.S. as legal driving permits for U.S. citizens residing in thiscountry.”
TheIDPincludes theinformationona U.S.driver’slicense in11languagesand is accepted in more than 200 countries outside of the U.S.
TheIADP offersthesameinformation in four languages and is accepted in
Central and South American countries. To issue a valid IDP or IADP, a valid U.S.stateof territorialdriver’slicenseis required. However,theInternetvarieties rarely ask for driver’s license information orforacopy ofthelicense,according to Mr. Housely.
Other information regarding the IDP andIADPinclude:
· Itcosts $10andisvalid foruptoone year from the date of issue.
· It is a widely-recognized form of photo identification and is available at most AAAofficestoall holdersofaU.S. driver’slicense.
· You must be at least 18 years old and have a valid U.S. driver’s license to purchase either license.
· You needtwopassport-sizephotos forpurchasing thepermits.Thesephotos are also available at most AAA offices for a fee.
· It must be accompanied at all times by a U.S. driver’s license.
· An application for an IDP or IADP may be requested by e-mail on AAA’s web site at www.aaanjac.com. Applicants may visit a AAA office or mail an application with a copy of their driver’s license to purchase the permit.