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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

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 July 13, 2006 / 17 Tamuz, 5766

Summertime and the livin' is what it is

By Garrison Keillor


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | A summer night in paradise, supper in the back yard, and the neighbors' elderly cat who is on his last legs wanders over, smelling the salmon on our grill, walking as if his feet hurt. He's got the old cat blues. He wakes up in the morning and everything tastes like turpentine, he feels like going down to the railroad line and letting the 4:19 pacify his troubled mind. My wife serves him a piece of salmon and he eats slowly, savoring the fish oil. He is fifteen years old and this likely will be his last summer, and a fine one it is.


In Minnesota we look forward to these warm summer nights. That's what keeps us marching forward from February to June, the thought of eating supper outdoors in our shorts and bare feet. If this were Maui, where paradise is written into the contract, we would dread the thought of bliss interrupted, but here on the frozen tundra we accept July and August as our allotted ration of bliss. It's fabulous. We can't get over how wonderful it is. And then it's over.


It gives you a twinge to see an old cat on a paradise night who is about to croak. But I used up most of my anguish over mortality by the time I was 25. I was a poet, like everybody else, and wrote extensively about death and despair back then and pretty much wore out the subject. We poets went to parties where people chain-smoked and got bombed and listened to Janis Joplin screeching from the hi-fi speakers loud enough to cause cardiac arrest. Nobody imagined that Janis might someday come to Jesus and take up a life of regular exercise and good nutrition. She was determined to crash and burn. We, as it turned out, were not, but we were full of morbid gloom, a luxury of youth, trying to imagine death, the cessation of being, the emptiness of the world without us, the sliver of moon in the sky, the cry of the hoot owl, the railroad tracks stretching away to the west, et cetera.


Now my thoughts about death are mundane ones. I hope that when the cat croaks, he does it out in the open, or at least in the bushes, and doesn't try to crawl up under a porch where someone will have to reach in and extract him. People die in crevices in New York, brilliant loners who go to the city to find their niche only to get hooked on happy dust and wind up in a tiny apartment crammed with junk, and one dark day the neighbors detect an evil smell and call the cops and it's him, the tall gloomy man with the glasses, dead as a doornail. Keep in touch, tall gloomy men. Don't go in the cave. Leave that cocaine alone. Get outdoors more. Take long walks.


I've arrived at that delicate point in life where it gives me a twinge when the lady inside my computer says, "You are now disconnected." Or when the flight attendant refers to our "final destination" and says, "We will be on the ground shortly." Is that a nice way to talk? It suggests lying prostrate as uniformed personnel tear open your shirt and put the paddles on your chest. I don't want to be on the ground, I want to walk up the jetway and climb into a taxi and go to the hotel. Saunter into the bar, order a glass of gin neat with a twist of barbed wire, light up a stogie, look for the biggest guys in the room, walk over, blow smoke in their faces, and say, "Which one of you fairies thinks he can take a 63-year-old newspaper columnist?"


"Oh," you say, "is that what you meant when you talked about living life boldly and lighting a candle in the darkness and daring to make a difference in your commencement speech at St. Raymond's lo these many years ago, when the president finally had to stand up and tap you on the shoulder and suggest that you wind it up?" Yes, of course, and just for that, you little twerp, I'm going to stop right now and not say what I was going to say about daring to be selfish and to enjoy your life without feeling obligated to share your hard-earned wisdom with your needy friends. Not another word from me. You figure it out for yourself.

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.

Garrison Keillorís "A Prairie Home Companion" can be heard Saturday nights on public radio stations across the country. Comment by clicking here.

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© 2006 by Garrison Keillor. All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Media Services, INC.

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