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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 Sept. 19, 2007 / 7 Tishrei 5768

Can I have your attention, please?

By Malcolm Fleschner


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | As a proud member of the so-called "Generation X," I resent the notion that growing up in the era of MTV has somehow left all the members of my age group with a dramatically shortened attention span. Not only is this accusation patently false, but it also, um, it also, uh. wait, what was I talking about?


Oh yeah, short attention spans. OK, so maybe there's an element of truth to the criticism. But it's not our fault. Just in my lifetime, Americans' lives have become so dominated by a constant barrage of visual and auditory stimulation that it's no wonder many of us have trouble focusing.


Much of this stimulation comes in the form of TV screens, which have cropped up anywhere they can find a captive audience, including such previously private spaces as public restrooms, elevators, waiting rooms and who knows, probably confessionals too. Not surprisingly, most of these TV screens are showing advertisements. After all, why let people get lost in quiet reflection when they could instead spend the time learning about the healing power of a new hemorrhoid cream or watching that creepy old guy dance in the Six Flags commercials?


It's certainly no secret why places like 7-11 position TV screens to capture shoppers' attention as they wait in line. 7-11's entire business model depends on customers not taking a moment to reconsider whether it's such a good idea to buy that 64-ounce Jolt Cola Slurpee and chili cheese dog.


With so many entertainment options competing for our attention today, I often wonder what people did to pass the time before the advent of modern media. I imagine a family sitting around the living room in the evening and the father turning to the mother and asking, "So, what's on tonight?" before catching himself and muttering, "Oh yeah, nothing."


The inescapable conclusion is that life before TV, movies, radio and the Internet must have been extraordinarily boring. Then again, back then, boring was probably good. Being bored meant that, for example, you weren't dying a slow, miserable death from the plague and that your village wasn't being overrun by bloodthirsty Cossacks.


Interestingly, I've come to adopt this same attitude whenever I fly. If I'm bored I'm not trying to change a screaming toddler's dirty diaper in the phone booth-sized bathroom and none of the engines are bursting into flames. When the captain says we'll be sitting on the tarmac for another three hours while they try to fix a stuck Fetzer Valve, my attitude is, "Fine by me." I'll gladly busy myself taking another pass at the Skymall Catalog.


Speaking of which, does anyone ever actually buy anything from Skymall? Whenever I thumb through it, all the merchandise reminds me of that tired old movie plot where some poor shlub stands to inherit a large fortune from a long-lost relative, but the will stipulates that he first has to blow through $1 million in 24 hours and somehow come away with no tangible assets. With Skymall, I feel like you could order every air ionizer, climate-controlled pet carrier, solar-powered nose hair trimmer and countless of the catalog's other pricey gadgets and easily wind up with nothing to show for all that money except maybe two well-groomed nostrils. That and the fortune you'd inherit, of course.


Unfortunately, wills with such unusual conditions appear to exist exclusively in the world of fiction. In real life, we have to satisfy ourselves with the likes of Leona Helmsley, who recent opted to express an unequivocal middle finger to her heirs from beyond the grave by leaving a substantial sum to her dog. While setting aside $12 million for the care of her beloved Maltese, Trouble, Helmsley's will explicitly stated that two of her grandchildren were to receive nothing, "for reasons that are known to them."


First of all, Leona, way to do everything in your power to posthumously beat that bum "Queen of Mean" rap. Boy, were we wrong about you! But otherwise, well done in sticking it to your ingrate grandchildren. Sure, I would have preferred if you had instead followed another popular TV show plot device and specify that the kids could only collect their inheritance on the condition that they spend an entire night in a run down old haunted mansion, but this is still pretty good.


The only other way Helmsley could have improved her will is if there had been another, less-favored household dog she could have cut out as well: "To my toy poodle Schnitzel I leave absolutely nothing. He knows what he did. On the Persian rug. Bad dog!"


Then again, maybe the will did include a stipulation like this. I got distracted in the middle of the article and never bothered to finish reading the story. My mind does tend to wander sometimes.

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:

09/12/07: Houston, we have an image problem
08/21/07: In the heat of fashion
08/09/07: Let's get in the game
06/13/07: You gonna eat that?
05/08/07: That's disinter-tainment
05/02/07:You Are (not) Getting Sleepy...
04/18/07: No time like Father Time
03/15/07: Deface the Nation
03/08/07: More gifts? You shouldn't have
02/22/07: Relationships can be such a chore
12/05/06: Who's calling the shots?
11/09/06: I'm taking selling to a whole new level
10/27/06: Some skills are beyond repair
10/18/06: You can't tech it with you
10/04/06: Award to the wise
08/24/06: Phrased and Confused
08/09/06: We're Gonna Party Like it's $19.99
07/19/06: Just Singing in the Brain
05/24/06: Who says you can't go home again?
05/11/06: When nightly news stories go off script
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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