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December 2, 2014

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 January 16, 2008 / 9 Shevat 5768

What's old? A visit with Pierre Cliche

By Paul Greenberg


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | With the coming of a new year, it was time to refurbish my standard repertoire of cliches. As you may have noticed, I try to keep an ample supply on hand. Which requires replenishing the old bromides with entirely new ones every year. The chore's got to be done every year — regular as, yes, clockwork.


The prizes of my collection are those instant cliches that sound old the first time they're uttered. For there's nothing like staying up to dated. That's why I'm always on the lookout for phrases that sound right as rain, fit as a fiddle, smooth as a baby's bottom.


You get the tired idea. And who better to advise me in this matter than the Old Master, the Gray Eminence, the Whited Sepulchre, Pierre Cliche himself.


I try to visit M. Cliche every year for a new supply of old platitudes, but though his work seems everywhere — especially in an election year — he himself isn't easy to track down. He tends to blend into the background once he's reduced the art of conversation to a solemn exchange of old saws.


A determined recluse, Pierre seeks no credit for his solemn truisms. Indeed, man of taste that he is, he would deny authorship if he could. But he takes on the, yes, awesome job of supplying me with a carload of cliches lest I trip up and say something original. Can't have that. Too risky.


As the new year, yes, dawned, I went looking for the man whose very name is a cliche. He resides just where you'd expect — in an ordinary bungalow in a nondescript neighborhood of a small suburb of a standard statistical metropolitan area somewhere in the blank-as-snow Midwest, probably Iowa. He lives the humdrum life of your standard stoolie in a federal Witness Protection Program, lest editors driven beyond distraction by cliches hunt him down and put -30- to his incorrigible career.


It took a while to locate unlucky Pierre. The tip-off was the long row of vans outside his forgettable little house, every one of them full-to-bursting with last year's well-used platitudes. Inside the house, back in a den crowded with his favorite banalities, he was busy plying — what else? — his trade.


The man works even and especially on holidays, weekends and during political campaigns. There's not a speech given, toast delivered, anniversary observed, greeting exchanged ("Cold enough for ya?") that does not bear his ineradicable mark.


Certainly no presidential primary or national nominating convention is complete without M. Cliche's many contributions, for he has an extraordinary grasp of the excruciatingly ordinary, as the transcript of our conversation makes clear:


"Good morning, Monsieur Cliche, you look well this new year."


"Sound as a dollar."


"Oh, dear. Sorry to hear that. But your prose remains as prosaic as ever. Your phrases must be the most widely disseminated in our cultural, if you'll pardon my French, milieu. We are all indebted to you."


"Don't mention it. Please don't mention it. To anyone."


"I'm here to get your take on this year's presidential race. Which candidate do you favor?"


"Whichever one will prove to be … a change agent."


"Which reminds me: What did the caucus-goers in Iowa vote for?"


"Change."


"What did that do to the presidential race?"


"It upended it."


"In light of the results from Iowa, who are you betting on to win the presidential nomination of their respective parties?"


"All bets are off."


"So what kind of presidential candidate are you looking for?"


"Someone who'll be ready for the job from Day One."


"That sounds familiar."


"Thank you. It's an oldie but a goodie."


"What has her poor showing in Iowa done to Hillary Clinton's presidential hopes?"


"She's down but not out."


"What does she hope to become in New Hampshire?


"The Comeback Kid."


"Is there anything new these days in the cliche business?''


"Nope. The more things change…"


"The more they stay the same?"


"That's the bottom line."


"But on balance, how do these times shape up?"


"It's the best of times, it's the worst of times."


"Yeah, Charlie Dickens spoke for the ages, all right, any of them. But what will cliches be like in the future?''


"First and foremost, they'll be bigger and better."


"Thank you, sir, but as much as I've enjoyed this…"


"Stroll down memory lane?"


"Yes, that's the exact phrase I wasn't looking for. But my question was about the future, not the past. What can you tell me about it?"


"It lies ahead."


"How should we meet it?"


"We must hope for the best but be prepared for the worst."


"Yes, but what will the new year bring?"


"Only time can tell."


"Thanks. That would make a great conclusion, so to speak, for a column. So safe."


"On the other hand…"


"One can never tell?"


"That's it. You're catching on. It's simple once you get the hang of it. Just put your mind in idle and let it drift. Then the cliches never stop coming. It's thinking that's the (clear and present) danger to cliche-making. Don't worry, be happy. A cliche a day keeps thought away."


"Thanks for your time. It's been a (familiar) pleasure interviewing you.''


"My pleasure entirely. Have a good day. Catch you later," said M. Cliche, smiling like the, yes, proverbial Cheshire Cat.

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JWR contributor Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here.

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