In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 16, 2006 / 16 Adar, 5766

The day the Muzak died

By Malcolm Fleschner

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | When confronted with the world's many problems, the average citizen can become discouraged about the future. With the ongoing violence in the Middle East and skyrocketing health care costs, we're inclined to wonder: How can one person realistically do anything to improve the global situation? And how can we do so before "American Idol" comes on?

Society's greatest advancements have typically come through collective action. Why, just in the past few decades we've seen examples where united action has helped to turn back some of the 20th century's most serious threats, including international communism, South African apartheid and New Coke.

But these are just the well-publicized victories, the ones that lazy commentators (like me) trot out when looking for a reason to pat ourselves on the back. During this same time, almost without notice, society has virtually eradicated what many consider the greatest scourge the planet has ever seen.

Of course I can only be talking about one thing: elevator music.

Anyone over 35 knows what elevator music is. But for the benefit of younger readers, I will explain: At one time, elevators were equipped with speakers so music (I use the term loosely) could be piped in. What riders heard was the result of a patented procedure developed by the Muzak corporation, in conjunction with NASA, by which all the vitality and soul was chemically extracted from a hit song. This process was so powerful it could take a real hip-shaker like, say, Sly and the Family Stone's "Dance to the Music," and render it indistinguishable from "You Light Up My Life."

I don't know who came up with the idea of putting music in elevators, but I suspect it was part of a government experiment to trick Americans into exercising more by taking the stairs. The metric system may have been involved. All I know is that when I was a kid, everyone seemed to hate this music. At the height of the Iranian hostage crisis, given the choice between eliminating music from elevators and having Ayatollah Khomeini thrown into a dank prison cell filled with vipers, the average American would have reluctantly opted for Khomeini's incarceration, but only after being assured that his cell would be equipped to receive elevator music.

Muzak was supposed to calm listeners, despite the many documented examples of riders smashing their heads through the glass cases holding elevator inspection certificates. That's presumably why Muzak was heard in dentists' offices, restrooms, supermarkets and over the phone when callers were placed on hold. But there was a downside: Experts now blame Muzak's numbing effects in the 1970s for the inability to defend against the lure of disco.

So why do we rarely hear Muzak nowadays, and never in elevators?

I credit our ability to harness a very powerful form of collective action: complaining. Eventually our cries were heard, compelling the folks responsible to respond by saying, "Hey, why are we forcing people stuck in enclosed spaces to listen to this awful music? We should put TVs in there so they can watch commercials!"

And so the struggle goes on.

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JWR contributor Malcolm Fleschner is a humor columnist for The DC Examiner. Let him know what you think by clicking here.


02/23/06: Checkbook diplomacy begins at home

02/15/06: Today's toys: Where learning means earning

© 2006, Malcolm Fleschner