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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 Feb. 20, 2009 / 26 Shevat 5769

Worthless words

By Greg Crosby


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Loyal readers of this space know that periodically I will go off the deep end on the use, or rather the misuse, of words and phrases in our "enlightened" society. One of the most bothersome phrases to my ears in recent years has been the "I was like" phrase, which started with young inarticulate teens, but has now been embraced by all age groups and education levels throughout the world, it appears. The phrase, "was like" seems to be a replacement for the words "said" or "thought" and is used most often when relating an event or telling a story. For example… "He wanted me to get back into the car and I was like are you kidding me? And he was like, no I'm serious. And I was like, hello?"


Imagine what Shakespare would have sounded like if it had been performed in that style.


Romeo and Juliet: "Juliet was like, O Romeo, Romeo! Where's Romeo? You know?"


Or Hamlet: "And I'm like, to sleep perchance to dream. Whoa, that's the rub."


Can you imagine how that famous scene in Gone with the Wind would be described by people of today? "Scarlet was like, so where are you gonna go? So what are you gonna do, dude? And he is like, I am so not into you, my dear."


Speaking of the movies, there are typical movie expressions that bother me. In the movies you hear certain expressions in dialogue that no one in real life ever says. Have you ever, in real life, heard anyone say in total seriousness, "let's high-tail it out of here?" Or "I think I'll rustle up some grub?" Unless you were the dialogue coach for Gabby Hayes you probably never did. Or what about, "Darling, don't be facetious." Have you ever heard a real person say that in normal conversation? I don't think even Bette Davis talked that way in her real life.


Then there is what I call Bogart-speak. That's when you say lines like, "I stick my neck out for nobody." And "I wash my hands of the whole business." And "You thought you'd put one over on me, but I fooled you at every turn." "Nobody makes a monkey out of me and gets away with it." Sentences like those definitely qualify as Bogart-speak.


Of course these are all expressions commonly used in the old movies, but new movies are just as phony in their own way. Like the frequent use of vulgarity in everyday speech. This may come as a shock to many Hollywood screenwriters, but the vast majority of the population for the most part still manages to speak in sentences that don't rely on the "f" word being inserted at every opportunity. But, sad to say - if Hollywood hammers it home often enough it won't be long before everyone will be talking like that on a regular basis.


There are some slang terms that are an actual improvement, believe it or not. For instance, hardboiled detective slang. Nothing is as on-the-nose graphic as the way the hoods and dicks spoke in the old dime novel pulps from the 20's and the gangster movies from the 30's. Miskatonic University Press published a glossary of these hardboiled terms that are a pure delight. It features sentences like:


"I jammed the roscoe in his button and said, 'Close your yap, bo, or I squirt metal.'"


"The flim-flammer jumped in the flivver and faded."


"You dumb mug, get your mitts off the marbles before I stuff that mud-pipe down your mush--and tell your moll to hand over the mazuma."


"The sucker with the schnozzle poured a slug but before he could scram out two shamuses showed him the shiv and said they could send him over."


See? Now THAT"S what I call slang with style! Sentences that are descriptive, hard-edged, and have plenty of attitude, and not a dirty word in any of them. I contend that a statement like "Shut your stinkin' pie hole" has more edge to it than using four letter words to say the same thing.


It's also more fun to say. It certainly is more fun to say, "The bruno turned the heat up, gave me the buzz and nailed me" as oppossed to "I was like, HELLO?"

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JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. A freelance writer in Southern California, you may contact him by clicking here.

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© 2008, Greg Crosby

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