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 Sept. 22, 2011 / 23 Elul, 5771

Desk zero: ‘Contagion’ lurks just outside office bathroom

By John Kass

John Kass

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | A terrible wave of germaphobia is spreading across the world, and all of it can be blamed on "Contagion," the new thriller starring Matt Damon. "It really bothers me," said a victim of the new germaphobia. "You don't really know what it's like."

Actually, I do. But it was never this bad, until now, thanks to Matt Damon.

The frightening movie - with scenes filmed in Chicago suburbs pretending to be Minneapolis - deals with a random virus that becomes an epidemic. It is spread by coughing and touching moist hands to the handrail on the bus, or to poker chips, and then to the face.

"Don't touch your face," warns one of the epidemiologists in the movie, saying the average person touches his or her face several thousand times a day.

Naturally, no one listens. Instead, the fools brazenly touch their faces with their moist hands. And soon, about a gazillion people are dead or dying, including Damon's co-star, Gwyneth Paltrow.

The lovely Gwyn foams at the mouth, twitching on the floor of her lovely home in what looks like the lovely village of Western Springs. It's so sad. But at least the village looked very nice.

The terrifying thing is that many men and women of science have said that it's all so very plausible, and they may be correct. Random animal saliva combinations, face touching, and pretty soon, the piles of the dead rise like those of the Black Death.

While all this is scary enough, it's obvious that the men and women of science may have missed the one place in the modern world most impacted by "Contagion."

It's that desk nearest the washroom.

Some office desks look out on gorgeous, ever-changing landscapes. Others gaze upon the Acropolis or the Eiffel Tower or the architectural wonders of Chicago. But some look out on another stunning view, a view of a door with a sign that says:


And I don't suppose having a view that says "Women" is any better.

By my calculations, there are millions of innocent humans sitting at desks near the washroom. Nobody wants to sit there, but there they sit, potential victims of the new germaphobia.

And though the white lab coat-wearing epidemiologists at the World Health Organization and at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention probably don't have the guts to tell you, I'll tell you.

That desk near the washroom?

It has a name.

Desk zero.

Desk zero is a horrible place. I had the misfortune to sit at a desk zero years ago. And those of us who've survived should be allowed to wear commemorative T-shirts, with some catchy yet ironic and mocking phrase.

But perhaps it's not depressing for everyone. It's probably an amazing place to sit, if you happen to be a nerdy anthropologist studying the behavior of germaphobes.

"And we get to see it, or hear it," sighed another woman sentenced to sit near desk zero. "We hear things. Sounds."

Now some of us aren't germaphobes and we don't care whether we live or die from germs. Others are neurotic.

Me? I alternate. Some days I'll order the carpaccio or sushi, and other days I'll take a cab rather than risk someone coughing in the back of the bus. Yet the habitues of desk zero can easily spot the true germaphobe.

First off, the true germaphobe makes thumping sounds inside the washroom. Rather than touch anything on the way out of the water closet, men (and women) often thump the doors with their hips or knees, then stick the toe of a shoe in the opening, or elbow, working it until they can escape and thus avoid certain death.

You'd be surprised to know how many people use their feet in a bathroom, rather than touch anything with their hands.

But the worst thing isn't the sounds if you sit at desk zero. The worst thing is that random pile of moist paper towels near your leg.

According to innocent victims who sit near desk zero, many germaphobes wash their hands and dry them with paper towels. Then they grab another, fresh towel, and use this to grasp the door handle, lest they touch anything. Obviously, this "fresh" towel has trace amounts of moisture.

Then the germaphobes exit the washroom, with the moist towel in their hand. And what do they do? Do they carry the towel with them all the way to their own desks?


"I've tried to hide my waste basket," said one victim. "But they come out of the washroom with those towels in their hands, and they find it. I try to say that it's not a public waste basket, that it's my desk waste basket, but you know, people don't listen."

They don't listen, do they?

The only surefire way to make them listen is to shoot them in the neck with a Taser, and then yell "Pow! Pow!" as they writhe and scream on the floor. But you might get in trouble with human resources.

So as "Contagion" sells tickets and makes millions at the box office, piles of moist towels grow under desk zeroes everywhere, and who knows what's growing in the darkness of the waste baskets.

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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05/05/11: Is it time to de-friend Pakistan?
04/12/11: China stretches the bounds of decency with cow-human-breast milk
03/23/11: No you're not in control; get over it
02/28/11: Chicago wanted a strongman, and it got one
01/26/11: Oh, c'mon, c'mon, Rahm-bo a victim? That's a stretch
12/13/10: WikiLeaks and Assange pretend there are no consequences
12/09/10: Trendy toys don't stand up to playthings of yore
10/11/10: Obama and his pals need some scarce Hopium for the next election
09/14/10: Obama gets a little bossy with tacit endorsement of Emanuel
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12/17/09: Belt-tightening presidential aspirant leaves room for Spam
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06/02/09: Judge Sotomayor would think me most unwise
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02/16/09: Dems undercut aid for U.S. workers
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12/15/08: Man behind curtain is wizard of Rod, Rahm

© 2011, Chicago Tribune. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.