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 May 12, 2009 / 18 Iyar 5769

Parents, enjoy this time, in all its creepiness

By John Kass

John Kass
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | For the parents of young children, spring is supposed to be a joyful season, a time of parties, weddings and other celebrations.

Unfortunately, it's also a time of pressure for parents of young children. Pressure to provide dazzling entertainment for the tykes at parties, so parents can sit down and eat for five minutes in relative peace.

So this is the time when parents are reintroduced to something they dimly remember from their own childhood: the awesome hierarchy of creepiness.

First comes the creepy clown. It's not the makeup that frightens children, but the personality underneath the makeup, which usually masks a deranged, maladjusted adult. That's followed by the creepy magician, the creepy pony ride guy and, for ultimate terror, the expressions on parents' faces as they watch their little ones venturing into The Lord of the Flies Inflatable Jumping Contraption.

"There's just so much pressure," said a young mom I know, who recently christened her second child and had a creepy magician at the luncheon, because they had to have something and her cousin had already had the creepy clown. "Our magician was, well ... OK, it was creepy."

Sometimes, chateaubriand is not enough.

A week earlier, the creepy clown was a middle-age guy filling up balloons and twisting them into shapes. The boys got balloon swords, and the girls got creatures that resembled bloodthirsty insects.

Here, he said, take it. Here, take it, he said, absently, tired, a drone, probably concentrating on something else, like how he sold his soul to Satan.

The clown had a mustache that was painted over with red, evoking a pre-Columbian death mask. The kids will have nightmares for years to come.

"He looked like a tired bartender with a hangover," said one dad. "His name should have been Lou."

Lou the Clown. Make us laugh, Lou.

Only a few years ago, my wife and I were as crazy as other parents of little ones. But we've since graduated into an undiscovered country, when our twin boys began swimming upstream and announced to their mother at breakfast that the trashy peroxide blond Jessica Simpson was the greatest actress in the world.

But for those of you with toddlers and kindergartners, you've got plenty of time before some trashy Hollywood hussy works her magic on your sons.

This is your time, the age of innocence, the age of the creepy clowns. And the magicians, men with feral, glittery eyes and slicked hair like used-car salesmen, drunk with power, pulling paper flowers from a child's ear.

Magicians are like their cousins, necromancers and politicians, each determined to trick the unsuspecting.

And those inflatable "Jumping Jacks" on your lawn, the little children having fun, bouncing happily in the big balloon, until some 11-year-old hockey player jumps in, elbows flailing, just about to body check your toddler.

"Oh, but can't we just let kids be kids?" say the hockey player's parents as your 2-year-old flies into the netting upside down, with a silent cry because the wind has just been knocked out of him.

Your child stares, gasping like some goldfish on the floor, stunned by the body check, yet able to speak to you, eloquently with his eyes:

"Why mommy? Why did you betray me? Why?"

As you rationalize this first betrayal of the flesh of your flesh, you tell yourself your child will forget.

But you know he won't. Neither will you. Ever.

Also, there are the pony rides. Hello, big-headed pony. Evil pony.

The children stare as it snorts on your lawn, stumpy-legged, a malevolent chess piece with big yellow teeth and horseflies on its behind.

A carny holds the pony on a thick rope in anticipation it will try to bite off some child's face. He keeps chewing tobacco, spitting into a paper cup, his teeth as yellow as his four-legged face-biting equine minion, checking out the attractive moms.

Your wife looks at you, exhausted, and you realize that all the parents are exhausted too, because each is anticipating a kid's face being bitten off, and everyone hopes the victim won't belong to them.

Even if the raging beast doesn't bite your neighbor's kid's face, it stops in mid "canter" to deposit its steaming legacy on the grass, at which point a clot of toddlers runs toward the mound and grabs it as if it were Play-Doh.

Ah, the joys that belong only to young parents, especially moms, since they're the ones who end up doing most of the kid cleaning. The dads get to shovel what the pony left behind.

"Actually, in the creepiness scale, mimes are creepier," insisted a colleague. "Then clowns. Then magicians."

And just when you think you're done, here comes Jessica Simpson.

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.

John Kass is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune. Comments by clicking here.


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