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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 December 19, 2012/ 6 Teves 5773

In defense of the DJs

By Michael Smerconish



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) I still have the album.

It's called "WFIL Is Together," and the imprint on the vinyl credits Lost-Night Records, at 1005 Chestnut St.

The record contains 16 songs from the end of the '60s, including "The Letter" by the Box Tops, "Good Morning Starshine" by Oliver, "Happy Together" by the Turtles, "Venus" by Shocking Blue, and "Wipe Out" by the Surfaris.

But for my brother and me, the target track was the fifth song on Side 1 — "Hello It's Me" by Nazz. I'm not sure why we favored that number. Maybe it was a local homage, given that Nazz featured Upper Darby's Todd Rundgren.

Anyway, here's how the gag worked:

My brother would run his finger through the Doylestown phone book and pick out a name at random. Next, he'd call the person and tell whoever answered that he was a member of a garage band in town and that we were — right now — rehearsing a new song and desperately needed feedback. Then he'd ask, "Would you be willing to listen while we play?" If the person who answered said, "Yes," he'd quickly shout out a faux: "One, two, one, two, three, four ..."

That's when my role kicked in.

Up until that point, I was hovering over our parents' stereo turntable, listening to my brother's pitch. When he gave the signal, my job was to drop the needle right at the beginning of "Hello It's Me," while he held the receiver from our brand-new "push-button" telephone in my direction.

Sometimes I'd get nervous as he dialed the number. My hand would shake and I'd end up putting the needle down in the middle of the song, eliciting that burp that anyone who ever played a vinyl record will remember. Worse, I'd drop into the wrong song and our victim would hear "My Pledge of Love" by Joe Jeffrey or "Hair" by the Cowsills, which didn't have the same feel as a garage band, or so we thought.

The object was to see whether we could get someone on the other end of the telephone to listen to the entire song. Of course, the joke was mostly on us, because as I think back 40 years, I'm sure the only people who hung in that long were the ones humored by our truly elementary phone prank. Nobody got hurt. Just another element of a partly misspent youth, like calling Thrift Drug and asking if they had "Prince Albert in a can." (If they said yes, then you'd tell them to let him out.)

I've been thinking about my hijinks while digesting the tragic suicide of Jacintha Saldanha, the nurse at King Edward VII Hospital in London who apparently took her life after receiving a prank call from two Australian DJs who pretended to be Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles, calling to check on Catherine, the duchess of Cambridge. The radio hosts, Mel Greig and Michael Christian, have been suspended and their employer is donating nearly $500,000 to the family of the dead nurse. For some, that's not enough punishment.

The case is a tragedy, for sure. But the Aussie joke had about as much sophistication as my old capers. It lacked an evil motive, and the idea that someone would die from their call was about as expected as someone jumping out of a window after hearing me playing Nazz. Greig told Australian TV's Channel 7:

"It doesn't seem real, because you just couldn't foresee something like that happening from a prank call. You know it was never meant to go that far. It was meant to be a silly little prank that so many people have done before. This wasn't meant to happen."

She's right.

Their prank lacked the predictable scare that followed the War of the Worlds broadcast in 1938, when radio listeners across the country were told we were under alien attack. It didn't have the callousness of the 1998 stunt when DJs Opie and Anthony told a Boston radio audience that the mayor had died in a car crash in Florida. And it was nowhere as inherently dangerous as the water-drinking contest ("Hold your wee for a Wii") at a Sacramento radio station that resulted in the death of a 28-year-old woman.

The exchange with Nurse Saldanha was brief:

Greig: "Oh, hello there. Could I speak to Kate, please, my granddaughter?"

Saldanha: "Oh, yes, just hold on, ma'am."

Greig: "Thank you."

That's it. Saldanha then forwarded the call to a colleague. She provided no patient information to the DJs. If anyone had grounds to be embarrassed it was the nurse who then revealed personal details of Kate's condition and treatment when confronted with horrible accents from "the Queen" and "Prince Charles," not to mention their imitation of barking corgis.

That Saldanha may have ended her life after this episode is terribly sad, but so far there is no evidence to suggest that it was the fault of the DJs.

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.

Comment by clicking here.

Michael Smerconish writes for The Philadelphia Inquirer.


Previously:


12/17/12 Key to election --- stocks, not jobs
12/11/12 United Airlines' post-9/11 commitment to security rescinded?
11/01/12 Good reasons to revive draft
09/25/12 If Romney loses
04/19/12 Christie will get GOP nod in 2016
04/06/12 Romneys not only family with embarrassing stories
03/08/12 Here's an easy fix for King monument quote
02/28/12 Valor-medal lie as free speech
02/21/12 Now we know: Van Halen's M&M rider was just a test
02/14/12 Life inside the (class) bubble
02/09/12 Rethinking paths to wealth
01/17/12 Romney must face his work history head-on
01/11/12 Don't let those gift cards be a gift to retailers or the state
01/03/12 Headlines hoped for in 2012
11/09/11 Romney, beware: Cain may bob through the straits
11/02/11 Where there's ad smoke, there's … what?
10/20/11 After husband is murdered, 30 long years of phone calls
10/13/11 Black women should only marry out of their race?
08/31/11 Some political gaffes really say something
07/27/11 An overture of candidates' theme songs
06/28/11 Where's the app for common sense?
06/02/11 Over-scrutinizing lives costs us potential leaders
04/19/11 Taking a chance to say, ‘Hi’
04/06/11 Race policies should be altered to reflect new demographic reality
11/10/10 Delaware's independent, but short-lived, voice
11/03/10 Papers should leave endorsing to others
10/21/10 Media help to hype perception of bullying
09/23/10 Officer down, killer hyped up
08/04/10 Documents highlight Pakistan's shortcomings as a U.S. ally
07/06/10 On taking back Sept. 11
06/29/10 Name elite corps to develop energy independence?
04/21/10 New account reinforces a serviceman's valor
03/11/10 Medical profession must police itself better
02/18/10 One-trick athletes
02/09/10 Active, retired law officers should be able to carry guns on planes to help stop terrorists
02/04/10 How to bring tech up to speed
01/28/10 Campaign donations must be fully and immediately disclosed online
01/07/10 The flying emperor still has no clothes, and no one is willing to say so
12/24/09 A law to mandate college football playoffs?
12/17/09 Cheney's abuse of freedom of speech
11/26/09 The true cost of freedom from anxiety
10/27/09 If GOP wants to win in 2012, it must reshape its primary process
10/08/09 It's time to get smarter on extended school day
09/03/09 What a summer of eulogizing flawed public figures reveals about society
08/12/09 It's time for cyclists and motorists to reconcile
08/05/09 Faces have changed, but vitriol remains
06/25/09 Fair comment or foul? Warm up the Muzzle Meter
06/08/09 Believability is key in crime-hoax villains
05/14/09 Did Hollywood inspire the meltdown men?
04/20/09 Let's give killers their due: Anonymity
03/12/09 Uninsured who can't afford medical care lose a lot more
02/06/09 My debate with Musharraf on hunt for bin Laden
01/29/09 Torture must remain an option
01/15/09 Making a case for suing Madoff
12/22/08 A difficult but rational chat about ‘plans’
12/17/08 Facebook epidemic: More than 120 million have joined, many too old for this nonsense
12/01/08 The high price of downsizing the news biz
11/14/08 Prescience on greed, arrogance of a system
09/29/08 Closer look at party lines
08/26/08 Obama's pick creates GOP opportunity
08/21/08 Fishing with the Angry Everyman
07/31/08 The perils of e-mail: Ponder, then click
05/22/08 Two very different sides of the Internet
02/12/08 Sublimely ridiculous suits
11/28/08 Cell phones cut out secondary circle of kinship
09/26/07 What do we owe those who have died in Iraq?
08/30/07 A Navy SEAL's gut-wrenching tale of survival
07/30/07 First it was a faux pas, now it's a new word


© 2008, The Philadelphia Inquirer Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

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