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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 July 28, 2010 / 17 Menachem-Av, 5770

The Annoyance Police

By Lloyd Garver



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In these very serious times, it seems that it's appropriate to get rid of some of the silly or outdated laws that are still on the books. I'm talking about things like its being illegal in Oklahoma to tease dogs by making ugly faces, Michigan's law that forbids a wife from having her hair cut without her husband's approval, and in Sullivan's Island, South Carolina, the law that prohibits people from "singing, whistling, or hooting" if it annoys somebody else. Wait a minute. That last one isn't an old law. It's an ordinance that was just passed by the South Carolina town.

Before you laugh at this law, I should make it clear that it is not in effect 24 hours a day. That would be ridiculous. It only applies to sounds that annoy somebody between the hours of 11:00 P.M. and 7:00 A.M. It also only deals with these actions if they are performed in public. You can still sing in the shower, and you can still do your indoor hooting wherever you usually do it.

Chief of police, Danny Howard, doesn't want this ordinance to be fodder for people like me to ridicule. He pointed out that nobody is going to get a ticket just for singing in public. However, if that singing annoys other people, then they might get a $500 ticket.

When I first heard about this ordinance, it struck me that if there were just a slight twist to it, it would be the kind of thing that teenagers would like to be the law. That imaginary twist is that the law would apply only to parents, not to kids. If you've ever had a teenager and you started to sing in public, you know exactly what I'm talking about. Typical reactions include the rolling of the eyes, the shaking of the heads, and acting as if they've never seen you before. Similarly, if you talk in a normal voice, but they think it's embarrassingly loud, they would feel that a mere fine would be too lenient of a punishment.

But the law was not written by teenagers to apply to their parents. It was written by adults to apply to everybody. The part I find most intriguing is that it's not the decibels that are the issue. It's whether the sounds somebody makes annoy somebody else. The knee-jerk reaction to this law is that it's too broad. I think it may actually be too narrow.

Why stop at sounds that are annoying to other people? There are lots of annoying things that people do in public that could be outlawed. Here are a few off the top of my head:

In a better world, people who wear T-shirts that read, "I'm with Stupid" shall be committing an offense in all 50 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Anyone walking down the street and talking into one of those cell phones with the ridiculous ear things so you can't tell if they're talking to you, if they're crazy, or if they're just self-important, should be arrested and not allowed to text for 30 days. If you're waiting for an elevator after you've pushed the button and someone joins you and pushes the button as if you wouldn't have had the knowledge or experience to have done it yourself, that person should be taken to jail immediately. If you're in a grocery checkout line, and the person in front of you has… You get the idea.

Everyone could make a list of things that other people do that they find annoying. It might even be people who ask you to make lists. Again, the fascinating thing about the Sullivan's Island ordinance is that the crime is not based on the action of the perpetrator. It's based on the reaction of other people. So you can "sing, hoot or whistle" as loud as you want if it doesn't annoy anyone. On the other hand, if people have a negative reaction to what you do between 11:00 P.M. and 7:00 A.M., you're in trouble. It's because of this last fact that I must insist that, just in case, everyone in Sullivan's Island only read my column either before eleven or after seven. .

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JWR contributor Lloyd Garver has written for many television shows, ranging from "Sesame Street" to "Family Ties" to "Frasier." He has also read many books, some of them in hardcover. Comment by clicking here. Visit his website by clicking here.

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