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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 April 29, 2005 /20 Nisan, 5765

Distressed

By Tom Purcell


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I had my 43rd birthday last week and it's official: I have turned into my father.

The world makes less sense to me every day. My fellow man puzzles me more every day.

I cite exhibit A: crappy stone walls. I know a woman who recently paid $10,000 to have a stone retaining wall built along her driveway.

Now I used to be a stonemason — I rebuilt close to 200 such walls during my college years — and I was shocked to learn that hers was a NEW wall. It was buckling and full of gaps. Not one stone was properly cut or faced.

It's the latest craze, she told me — walls that have an old, authentic look. This is because people suddenly want the outside of their homes to look as "distressed" as the inside.

"Distressed furniture" is the latest trend in interior design. People are buying brand new tables and dressers, bringing them into their garages, kicking and scratching them, then covering them in a lumpy, flaky paint.

I called my sister, an interior designer, to learn more about this peculiar activity. She said people want the antique look, but because real antiques are hard to come by, then the next best thing is to buy something new and make it look scuffed and tired and worn.

This causes my father to rise up in me as I say, "What the…"

But nothing is more puzzling than our next item of distress: distressed jeans. That's right, there is actually a product the fashionistas refer to as "distressed jeans." These are jeans with tears and gaping holes that, according to the New York Times, sell for upwards of $600 a pair.

Even in Pittsburgh, land of common sense people, a lousy pair of trendy jeans run upwards of $200. I talked with the owner of an upscale jeans store and she told me the jeans with holes in them aren't as popular as the ones with paint splattered all over them.

"Jeans with paint on them?"

"Yes, they're all the rage."

"But they have paint on them!"

"Yes!"

Just as I was ready to concede that the American experiment is spent and all will soon be lost, she told me about another jeans trend: dirt washed jeans. That's right, the jean manufacturer washes them in dirt. They have pebbles and clumps of clay in the pockets. And Americans, many of them educated and from good homes, willingly exchange their hard-earned dough for them.

The dirt washed jeans are almost as popular as the grease-smeared jeans, she continued (and I'm not making this up). The jean manufacturers actually smear grease all over the jeans, so that people who buy them can be as fashionable as the guy in the pit down at the Jiffy Lube.

I asked the jean shop owner to help me understand why people are buying such products. She said that the manufacturers are always trying to be hip. When something hits — when the trendy crowd just has to have it — the manufacturer can charge huge markups.

Well, I understand that, I told her. But WHY? WHY are people dumb enough to buy these things? Why are Americans spending so much money for items that sensible Americans used to donate to Goodwill or toss in the garbage?

She had no answer. Let me take a stab at it.

As we work exhausting hours in gray cubicles doing bland service work — as we move into cookie-cutter houses in the thick of suburban sprawl — and as fewer of us know any sense of craftsmanship or what it is like to sweat or work with our hands, we long for ANYTHING authentic, even if it is fake.

But what do I know. At 43, I have effectively become my father. Puzzled as I am by the latest trends, my thoughts have shifted to more practical matters.

Such as finding a couple of suckers willing to give me $200 bucks for my dirty, greasy, paint-stained jeans.

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