In this issue

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 Sept. 20, 2010 / 12 Tishrei, 5771

Conversational Transmitted Diseases

By Alan Douglas

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | As he was departing Grouch Marx told his host " I've had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn't it. The rest of us who are more timid or gracious, suffer boredom without offering feedback. We consider all the hours of our lives spent in desolate conversations. But it is my obligation to point out that you, my cherished reader, are boring to someone. Conversational dynamics are more often about the audience than the content. If there is no basis for communication, mutual interest, or attraction, someone is bored. Be prepared to sound the "dull alarm" when it is warranted.

An icon of modern advertising, David Olgivy, tells of an argument he had with one his young colleagues at an ad agency. The young man maintained that to be successful an ad had to emphasize graphics, pictures, and visuals. In today's world, the colleague argued, people are not readers; long blocks of text are out of date. Words are out, images are in. Olgivy countered that both were merely instruments, and advertising was as good or bad as the creative talent creating it. Intelligent and creative ads could be developed using any tools to communicate. Olgivy bet he could write a full-page ad that was nothing but text, using no visuals and when it was show to a third-party they would read every word of it. The wager was arranged, Joan Jones, an agency employee was selected as their guinea pig. Olgivy returned with his ad, a full-page of text and asked Ms. Jones, "Would you want to read this ad?" She didn't wait to respond and grabbed the ad from Olgivy so she could start reading it. The headline for the "ad" read, "The Most Important Things to Know About Joan Jones." What interests us most in life is ourselves.

You may not have the slightest interest in field hockey and that is all the other person wants to talk about. Your grandchildren and dog are cute but mine are exceptional. Being a good listener has its rewards and perils. Flattery is not hard to give, and always received with open arms. Making other people feel good can be an end in itself. And that is not such a bad thing. For many people the opportunity to talk, to communicate, to socialize is what truly matters. I learned when I attended dog obedience school that dogs are social animals. They crave companionship and attention. If a dog is bored or ignored then it will do something good or something bad to get attention. Even punishment is better than being ignored. If that is true for dogs what does it say about the human need for attention?

It is up to you not to be dull. Listening will get you part of the distance, but can you go to an event that holds no interest for you and learn something new? Can you chat with strangers and find anything interesting about them or their life? Can you locate common ground in conversation with strangers? Can you discover a topic they are interested in? If you can't generate a spark in most situations you may be the dull one.

My late mother-in-law, Selma, had a heart of gold but she would talk so much, and so long, that when we invited friends to our house for an evening they would excuse themselves so they could go to the bathroom; just for a few moments of silence. Selma inspired my study of Chatting Syndromes. After decades of research spent with world-renowned experts I have isolated and identified 247 "Chatting Syndromes." Here are three examples…

V.P.L., Vertical Personal Link is one of the most commonly exhibited symptoms to be found in the general population. When an individual or group is discussing a topic, those afflicted with V.P.L. are compelled to immediately start pointing out how they somehow have a link to the topic. One point of clarification, this syndrome should not be confused, and is in no way related to the other recognized V.P.L. syndrome, Visible Panty Line. A classic instance of the Chatting Syndrome V.P.L. is when someone relates the death of a loved one or illness prompting their grief. Insensitive clods (most of us) with V.P.L. reply by giving detailed accounts of our own experiences where we suffered. Those with V.P.L. want to demonstrate that they can understand the pain of others. V.P.L. can be done with the best of intentions or a contest for one-upmanship or downmanship, but the result is still not comforting. "Oy, you think your Herman suffered before he died? Let me tell you about my Irving…" V.P.L. can be contagious in times of national disasters by people in great distress because their third cousin's brother-in-law is one of the one miners trapped inside a coal mine or a passenger on the airplane that crashed.

Snippets Segue-way Syndrome (S.S.S.) is closely related to V.P.L. It poses a pandemic threat to us all as our population ages and hearing becomes diminished. You hear just enough to sort of understand. Three senior citizens are walking on the boardwalk. The first guy says, "Gee, it's kind of windy." The second one nods, pauses and says, "Wednesday, are you sure? I thought today was Thursday." The third looks at his companion a moment and adds, "You know, I'm thirsty too. Let's stop and get a drink."

So the three men walk into a bar. With Snippets Segue way, a single word triggers a reaction; it is a verbal pinball game. When two couples go out for the evening with the men seated in the front seat of the car and the women seated together in the rear seat, S.S.S. is often present. Men and women who aren't ever growing any older explain that no one "really needs" a hearing aid and "they don't really work anyway." S.S.S. is not about listening, but about hearing.

Fixed Categorical Conversation (F.C.C.). Those obsessed with their home town, fans of certain television shows, individuals who frequent health food stores, and others, have been found to be genetically predisposed to a genetic condition resulting in Fixed Categorical Conversation (F.C.C.) Syndrome. Those suffering from F.C.C. posses chromosomes configured in a pattern allowing them to only discuss six to eight areas in all of their conversations. All other conversation topics are converted to one of these limited categories. My mother-in-law Selma, had reduced all discussions to five topic areas: things and people in New Jersey, all matters Jewish, family, food she definitely could not eat (many a waitress went in deep states of despair after the full recitation of objectionable menu items), and of course, items it would be nice if someone gave her. And the odd thing about F.C.C. is that now, years later, we miss hearing Selma cover those five categories.

In the interest of science I urge each of you to be on the look out for Chatting Syndromes and report them promptly to me at the email address below. You do not need to identify the parties and all reports will be strictly confidential. Should you or one of your loved ones suffer from a Chatting Syndrome and seek help, know that I am available (as a highly paid consultant) for interventions. And, please work at not being dull. You never know whom you will offend and will need a second chance. But if you are dull, then people rarely care enough to give you a second chance.

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JWR contributor Alan Douglas, an author, media executive, speaker, and attorney, lives con brio- except when he is grumpy.


Conservative, Liberal or American
Paris, Antarctica and Shopping
Personal Protection
Dispute Resolution
Jumped or Pushed?
Friends and Acquaintances
Revenge and Vindication

© 2010 Alan Douglas