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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 May 11, 2006 / 13 Iyar, 5766

When nightly news stories go off script

By Malcolm Fleschner


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Like most American news consumers, I enjoy the kind of offbeat, heartwarming or downright unbelievable stories that are frequently inserted into the last few minutes of the local evening newscast. These stories typically resonate with viewers because they often follow a familiar script — the trucker who emerges from a coma 10 years after running his 18-wheeler off a highway embankment, the mother grizzly bear at the local zoo who adopts and starts raising a wayward kitten or the 26-year-old stripper and 89-year-old billionaire oil tycoon who fall in love and get married.


The only problem is that when you revisit the story, it often becomes clear that the characters involved have forgotten about the "happily ever after" part. Check back in and you discover that less than a month after being released from the hospital, the coma victim's already been pulled over twice for DUI; the adopted kitten mysteriously went missing one day — coincidentally on the same day that the zookeepers fell behind schedule with the feeding; and a year after the wedding the elderly billionaire has died, revealing in his personal papers that the whole time his young bride had only been after one thing: sex.


One high-profile example of this sort of scripted-event-gone-wrong took place last year with the story of Jennifer Wilbanks, a young bride-to-be who appeared to come down with the worst case of cold feet in recorded pre-marital history. At first the nation was captivated by this real-life Runaway Bride who disappeared just a few days before she was scheduled to get married in the presence of 600 guests and roughly 250 metric tons' worth of chiffon covering her bridesmaids. That the whole scenario mirrored the plot of a popular movie was just the icing on our round-the-clock cable news coverage cake.


True, the script wasn't exactly perfect. In the hands of a capable Hollywood screenwriter the bride-to-be would have hung on until the actual wedding day, and then, just before the exchange of "I do's," literally taken flight, preferably by fashioning two fire extinguishers and a chafing dish into a makeshift jet pack.


But the story was good enough, or at least it was until the unfortunate truth about Wilbanks' unbalanced mental state began to emerge. "Honey, do you remember Julia Roberts getting arrested for calling the police from an Albuquerque bus station with phony allegations of kidnapping and sexual assault?" a perplexed nation of viewers was left to wonder. "And where the hell is Richard Gere?"


Two other folks who recently failed to fulfill their proper roles during an otherwise well-scripted national media event were Elbert and Becky Higginbotham, an Oregon couple who disappeared for two weeks in March when their RV got stuck in a snowdrift on a remote logging road. The coverage of their daring, last-minute rescue, including all the requisite scenes of tearful reunions with family members, was duly beamed out across the nation.


But then the story took an unexpected twist when, just a few days after their rescue, the couple went missing again. What are the odds, right? Wait, before you answer that question, you should know that among the viewers of the joyous rescue scene were members of the Arizona state police, who were also looking for the missing couple, if for slightly different reasons. It turned out that the Higgenbothams had been purposely maintaining a low profile in Oregon since fleeing arrest warrants on drug and weapons charges in Arizona. Whoops! Readers will be relieved to learn that the couple has been located again, and should be safe from snow drifts once their extradition to face trial in Arizona is completed.


Speaking of criminal acts, my faith in the chances that a deliciously offbeat story may actually live up to its billing was restored recently by the master of illusion himself, David Copperfield. Accosted by armed thieves one night last week after a performance, the magician used his sleight-of-hand skills to palm his wallet and cell phone, fooling the would-be-muggers into believing that his pockets were empty. Talk about an everyday application of job skills! This is not something that the average CPA could pull off. Needless to say, experts agree this may be Copperfield's greatest off-stage performance since he tricked supermodel Claudia Schiffer into dating a magician for six years.


While I appreciate how well Copperfield performed in this almost-too-good-to-be-true story, I admit there's still room for improvement. A better version would have had the magician turning the tables on one of the thieves by saying, "Why rob me when you've already got plenty of money? Why look, there's a quarter right here behind your ear." And then he would vanish in a puff of smoke. Or maybe the Runaway Bride could grab him up while flying by with her jet pack. Just as long as he sticks to the script.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

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


Previously:

04/26/06: Cents and sensibility: A thought for your pennies
03/16/06: The day the Muzak died
02/23/06: Checkbook diplomacy begins at home
02/15/06: Today's toys: Where learning means earning



© 2006, Malcolm Fleschner

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