Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A Favorite Yiddish Saying Regarding Conduct


Don't be too sweet, lest you be eaten up; don't be too bitter, lest you be spewed out.

Book Review of Joseph Epstein's "Frozen in Time: Twenty Stories"

4/26/16.  My book review of a wonderful book of stories.     
      Joseph Epstein is a short story writer, an essayist, and from 1974 to 1998, the editor of the Phi Beta Kappa Society’s The American Scholar Magazine. He was a lecturer in the English department at Northwestern University, from 1974 to 2002. When he told his mother about his teaching job, she said, “It’s nice you got a job in the neighborhood.” He has contributed to many magazines, and newspapers. And in his words, he thinks outside of the lox.

          He is the author of more than 29 books on such topics as Snobbery, Envy, Friendship, Gossip, Fred Astaire, and Alex de Tocqueville.

           In his review of “Snobbery: The American Version,” no less than William F. Buckley Jr. writes, “Epstein…is perhaps the wittiest writer (working in his genre) alive, the funniest since Randall Jarrell,” … who I never heard of.

          Epstein’s latest collection of twenty stories in “Frozen in Time,” describes in witty, wise, and with effective surprise – one definition of creativity – the lives of people caught in predicaments. It was Henry James who observed that “Life is a predicament which precedes death.”

          His stories focus on sex, love, betrayal, aging, death, marriage, family loyalty, con-artists, gender identity, desire, mourning, and more.

          Epstein knows that there are as many different minds as bodies on this planet. He takes this knowledge and weaves unique stories about people we feel we have met, know and know about. These characters seem to have digested some of the wisdom of Francois de La Rochefoucauld, for example:  “Self-love is the greatest of all flatterers;”  “We all have strength enough to endure the misfortunes of others;” “Everyone complains about his memory, and no one complains about his judgment.”


          Epstein writes about practical people, with perspective, passion, and humor.


          The titles of his entertaining stories are like flashy lures getting us to bite on the first page, and not stop: “The Viagra Triangle;” “JDate;” “Adultery”; and “My Five Husbands.”


          I give this book six stars out of five.   

Steven J. Ceresnie, Ph.D.

Friday, April 15, 2016

The Evolutionary Origins of Laughter

4/15/16. We laughed without words ---- for most of our time on the planet.


7 Habits of Highly Effective Relationships

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Relationships


Everybody knows Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
But only a select few of us know the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Relationships.

These 7 Habits of Highly Effective Relationships help us gain insights into how to lead an effective personal life with your partner:

 Habit 1:  Be Proactive

This is the foundation for the rest of the 6 habits. A proactive person chooses his behaviors overriding schools of determinism, and making free choices. Rather than wear your first choice of clothing for an elegant evening, wear your third choice. That way, you avoid suggestions and criticisms from you partner for stylish outerwear.

 Habit 2:  Begin with the End in Mind

This habit creates a clear vision of direction of where to focus on in the destination of attaining your goals. Choose clothing that gives you a slim, tasteful look.

 Habit 3:  Put First Things First

By staying disciplined and maximizing self-control, apologize to your partner for things you did not do.

 Habit 4:  Think Win-Win

Assert your leadership and initiate actions that take your partner’s perspective. Do all of the things your partner does not tell you to do.

 Habit 5:  Seek first to understand, then be understood.
This principal of interpersonal relationships requires honest communication. Before turning out the lights to go to bed every night, turn to you partner and say, “I’m sorry.”

 Habit 6:  Synergize.

This is the habit of creative cooperation. Refrain from asking your partner “Do you have to do that now?”

 Habit 7:  Sharpen your saw
This last habit ensures our engagement in personal renewal. When your partner says she or he wants to have sex in the back seat of your car, make sure you are not driving.

Andrew Klavan: The Left is Not Blameless in the Nasty Political Talk

4/15/16. The left dishes out its share of nasty lies.  Some intelligent people are like high powered rifles with a bad, nasty aim.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Jews on the Loose: Joseph Epstein reviews new book on Groucho

4/1/16. Groucho in his hotel room on the phone to the front desk:  "Could you send me up a bigger room?"

Groucho:  "I don't know whether he's dead or my watched stopped."


More quotes from Groucho and his brothers: