Okay readers, let’s put on our thinking caps and prove that certain smart aleck pollsters are wrong in what they’re insinuating about us.
It’s as simple as answering two questions.
List the names of the members of “The Simpsons” television cartoon family.
Then, list the five freedoms guaranteed under the First Amendment to the US Constitution.
No cheating, but here’s a hint.
Two of those freedoms allow me to write this stuff and present it to you via this newspaper.
If you immediately rattled off the names on the first list and were clueless what to write for the second, you may be part of what the pollsters claim is the trend in this country.
Only one out of four of us know our freedoms, while one in two can name the five Simpsons.
It gets worse. According to this survey, conducted by the McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum with 1,000 “representative adults,” more people can identify the three judges on “American Idol” than can come up with even three of their five First Amendment freedoms.
The implication of the poll is that Americans these days have a distorted sense of priorities when it comes to sifting through and categorizing information in terms of it relative importance.
Either that or “representative adult” America has been really dumbed down by television.
Now I’ll admit that I can probably regurgitate the dialogue for just about every episode of “The Three Stooges,” or at least those featuring Curley.
And I can’t recite the first paragraph of the Declaration of Independence, one of the greatest articulations on the rights of man ever produced.
I’m as much a product of the boob tube as anybody and have passed more than my share of Sunday mornings glued to the Stooges instead of reading the Sunday “New York Times.”
But even a philistine like me is disturbed by this.
What can we do about it?
Too often, we just shake our heads and wonder where the world is headed and go about our own little bit of business.
I can’t speak for the other 999 representative adults, but this adult plans to stop taking my precious freedoms so much for granted that I don’t even know what they are any more.
H.L. Mencken once wrote that “indignation is the function of impotence.”
And while it may sound like mere indignant posturing for me to suggest that we’ve got to stop allowing ourselves to be dumbed down by the blizzard of mindless distractions directed at us by the media, we had better start actively demonstrating a higher regard for these freedoms of ours or we may find ourselves impotent to stop those who would take them away from us.
It all starts with taking back control over the information we receive.
And that could start with a couple of flicks of the wrist.
First, turn off the television.
Second, pick up a book or a newspaper.
By the way, those five freedoms are freedom of petition for redress of grievances, freedom to exercise one’s religious beliefs, freedom of peaceably assemble, and freedom of speech and of the press.
And I can honestly write that, other than the odious Bart whose name and likeness has appeared on countless tee shirts on the Wildwood boardwalk in recent years, I haven’t a clue what the rest of the Simpson are called.
Crest Memorial School writers have had their names in the spotlight (actually on the bulletin board) at the main entrance to the school.
Writers contributing to this month’s Principal’s Corner are: Trevor Gentek, James Holmes, Makena Heym, Anthony Cardella (third grade), Maddison Devlin, Sam Fitzpatrick, Gina Martino, fourth grade).
Also Katie Johnson, Deslyn Swan, Alex Byron, Chris Samartino, Leigh Mahon, Maggie Chase (fifth grade), Mariah Ritchie, Catie Cardella, Nicolette D’Attilo, Ryan Santiago (sixth grade).
And Morgan Scully, Stevie Silnicki, Olivia Tirello, Aubrey Foreman (seventh grade), Tyler Golato, Natalie Green, and Lauren Irwin (eight grade).
The Principal’s Corner allows Crest Memorial School to encourage students to write and highlights the achievements of those who do.
The Friends of Jordan Fund are hosting a benefit beef and beer on Sunday, from 3-8 p.m. at Anglesea Volunteer Fire House 1, Second and New Jersey avenues, North Wildwood.
The event will feature live music from Generation X.
There will also be a live auction and raffle of items donated by area merchants.
Jordan is the daughter of Danielle and Wildwood Police officer Robert Regalbuto.
Jordan has been treated for acute lymphoblastic leukemia for the past five years.
She is currently being treated at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
Money raised at events like this help defray treatment costs.
Tickets cost $20 for adults, $5 for children and can be purchased at Pacific Cuts, 3102 Pacific Ave. Or you can call Richard Adair at 780-2229 or Paul Skill at 463-8709.
There will be a health fair tomorrow from 1-3 p.m. at Sandman Towers, 3700 New Jersey Ave.
The fair is free and will include free cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar screening, bone fracture risk screening, and much more.
Sponsors include Cape Assist, Cape Human Resources, Burdette Tomlin Hospital, Wildwood Housing Authority, and the Cape May County Health Department.
Lenten services for the community continue today at noon at First Baptist Church of Wildwood, Maple and Atlantic Avenues.
The program is offered by the Greater Wildwood Pastoral Association. Call 522-2981 for information.
City of North Wildwood is offering a free rabies clinic for cats and dogs on Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Public Works facility, 511 W Oak Ave.
All animals must be accompanied by an adult.
Pet licenses will also be sold at the clinic. Call the City Clerk at 522-2030, extension 1410 for additional information.
Take a post card trip back in Wildwood history on Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. at the George Boyer Museum, 3907 Pacific Ave.
Margaret Mace Home and School Association meets Monday, April 3 at 6 p.m. at the school, 1201 Atlantic Ave, North Wildwood.
Margaret Mace eighth grade students will select courses today for next year at Wildwood High School.
The third marking period at the school finishes Friday.
Tai Chi classes are held Saturdays at 10 a.m. at First United Methodist Church, 6700 Atlantic Ave. Cost is $3 per session.
Soup and Study Lenten session takes place tonight at 5:30 at the Church. Call 729-4265 for information.
Wildwood Planning Board meets Monday, April 3 at 7 p.m. on the second floor of City Hall, 4400 New Jersey Ave.
North Wildwood City Council meets Tuesday, April 4 at 7 p.m. on the second floor of City Hall, 901 Atlantic Ave.
There will be a public hearing on the Wildwood Board of Education’s proposed $15.77 million budget tonight at 6 p.m.
As it stands, the 2006/2007 budget calls for a tax increase of 54 cents per $100 assessed property value.
A $200,000 assessed property would pay $1,080 in school taxes.
The numbers could change once state figures are factored in
It’s getting to be that time of year.
Time to get the garden ready.
If you’re buying mulch for your little piece of Eden, be careful of where the mulch originated.
I’m told by my expert mulch sources that many of the trees downed in Louisiana during Hurricane Rita were turned into mulch.
The problem is that many of the trees in the New Orleans area were infested with Formosan termites.
So be sure to check into the source before you buy.
Story time for preschool age youngsters takes place tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. at Wildwood Crest Public Library, 6301 Ocean Ave.
Call 522-0564 for information.
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