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 Dec 13, 2007 / 4 Teves, 5768

Going (to lunch) once, going twice…

By Malcolm Fleschner

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I remember being amused to discover that, during his marriage to Britney Spears, Kevin Federline's only personal source of income came from the $20,000 "celebrity" appearance fees he regularly charged for attending private parties. "I wonder how much you have to pay him not to come?" I recall thinking, before chuckling softly at my own cleverness.

These fees amount to mere chump change for K-Fed now, however - in the divorce settlement the former Mr. Spears reportedly received a lump sum payment of at least $1 million. Armed with this information - and a calculator - we can now conclusively determine that having Kevin Federline come into your life is worth exactly 1/50th what it costs to make him go away.

It turns out that celebrities charging party appearance fees is a common practice, with fees ranging from the hundreds of thousands demanded by A-listers like Justin Timberlake and 50 Cent to a few thousand dollars for mostly-forgotten sitcom actors of the '70s like Anson Williams, the guy who played Potsie on Happy Days. I know what you're thinking - all this time Potsie's been raking it in while you and I have been attending parties for free like a bunch of suckers!

Sadly, since the demand at most functions for non-famous attendees is pretty low, we regular folk must remain in the dark concerning our worth on the open market. Oh sure, friends and relatives may value you for your kindness and generosity, but such qualities don't easily translate into hard dollar amounts. You can't exactly fill your tank with gas and say to the attendant, "Well, I don't have any money, but I always remember people's birthdays, and last year when my neighbor was in the hospital with diverticulitis, I walked his Pekingese, 'Yum Yum,' every day."

These thoughts on the subject of personal worth occurred to me recently while attending a fundraising auction to benefit my son's preschool. Listed among the items up for bid, including various weekend getaways, goody baskets and (this is true) a self-portrait painted by an elephant, was a lunch date with a former star player for the San Francisco 49ers.

While the value of this item had been pegged at $500, I learned that last year, fevered bidding for the same lunch date had driven the final price up to $5,000. "Wow," I commented to another parent nearby. "He must be an even better conversationalist than he was a football player."

Much as I felt the $5,000 was going toward a worthy cause, I couldn't help but worry about the expectations such a high price placed on the former 49er to deliver a great dining experience. When someone pays $5,000 to eat with you, you can't exactly spend the whole meal absent-mindedly checking voicemail and looking at your watch. If I shelled out five grand for a meal with a star athlete, I'd expect him to arrive with, at a minimum, a trunkful of top-of-the-line autographed memorabilia, some insider tips to help me win my fantasy football pool and, in case the need ever arises, a spare kidney.

On the other hand, I thought, what if the high bidder turned out to be one of those blowhard sports fans who only attend sporting events to jeer at the players? That would make for an uncomfortable lunch, to say the least.

Former 49er: (to the waiter) "I'll have a cheeseburger please, medium rare."

High bidder; (shouting) "That order stinks, you jerk, and so do you!"

Former 49: "And a glass of iced tea, please."

High Bidder: (standing up) "Boooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!"

These concerns notwithstanding, I couldn't help but get caught up in the excitement of the auction, and cornered the school's director to express my availability for next year's event.

"You want to offer a lunch?" she asked, a little taken aback. "With you? That people would pay actual money for?"

"Of course not," I reassured her. I'm fully aware that "Eat lunch with a local humorist" sounds a lot like the punishment an unorthodox judge would hand down in an effort to "scare straight" a particularly troublesome repeat offender.

Instead, I explained, I was offering my services as a stand-in for the high bidder at an unpleasant or dreaded lunch date he or she would just as soon skip. The event in question wouldn't even have to be lunch - it could be dinner with the in-laws, an IRS audit, anger management class, a performance review with the boss, court-ordered drug test - pretty much any appointment someone would pay to get out of.

No doubt with images of looming parent meetings dancing in her head, the director agreed to think about it.

"If it sweetens the deal at all," I added, "for a few dollars more I bet I could even get Potsie from Happy Days to come with me."

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many 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.


11/28/07: Out with the old
11/06/07: My latest pet project
11/06/07: Can't tune it out
10/23/07: Something special in the hair
09/12/07: Can I have your attention, please?
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