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 January 21, 2008 / 14 Shevat 5768

Richard Knerr, inventor of toys for an era, goes the way of the hula hoop

By Mitch Albom

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Last week, at age 82, Richard Knerr died. You probably don't recognize his name. You probably can't pronounce it. He wasn't an actor or a war hero. He cured no diseases. Made no scientific breakthroughs.

In fact, you could say Richard Knerr was about one thing and one thing only: fun. But if you measure a man by what the world would be like without him, here a few things that, minus Knerr, you would never know:

The Hula Hoop.

The Frisbee.

The SuperBall.

Those alone took up a third of my childhood.

Knerr was the co-founder of Wham-O, the company that made those items and more, including the Water Wiggly, the Slip 'N Slide and Silly String. If there was a philosophy to Wham-O's products, it was this: Keep it simple, keep it cheap, keep it something kids like to do, over and over.

You'll notice what is left out.

Violence. Noise. Weapons. Video.

Believe it or not, there was a time when "free time" in America meant doing things like trying to shake a Hula Hoop without it falling down your legs. Or lining up a perfectly flat Frisbee throw, so that it glided on air like a flying saucer.

I know, I know. Anyone under 30 is groaning just reading this. But we make no apologies. This was what we did for fun. We threw Frisbees back and forth. We shook Hula-Hoops around our waists. We flicked a SuperBall against the pavement so hard it would bounce onto someone's roof.

And then Mom called us for dinner.

Knerr and his partner, Arthur Melin, were from this more innocent era. A couple of California kids, they went to college together in the 1940s and reportedly both turned down offers to work in their father's offices. Instead, they tried to make, well, fun things. Their first effort was a slingshot. Next they moved to boomerangs and tomahawks.

Then, in 1957, they introduced the Frisbee. The following year, they came out with a plastic ring you shook around your waist or neck. And before today's kids laugh too loudly, know that by 1960, two years after its introduction, the Hula Hoop had sold 100 million units.

The Xbox 360, invented nearly three years ago, hasn't sold 18 million units yet.

Take that, Halo.

I didn't know Richard Knerr. But I recently saw an old photo of him in a shirt and tie, goofing it up, Hula Hoops swinging from his shoulders. And I was saddened by his death, because it reminded me of how a certain philosophy has died with him.

Today, kids' fun has to be at someone's expense. Blowing up your opponent is fun. Clobbering your friend in Madden football is fun. Insulting people on MySpace or laughing at a geek on YouTube is fun. You don't see kid "crazes" anymore — the way SuperBalls or yo-yos were crazes. Today a kid craze is cell phones or PlayStations. Today the idea of bouncing a ball as high as you can seems so incredibly lame, you'd wonder if the kid doing it had problems.

But that's the thing. We didn't have problems. Not like they have today. We didn't dream of torching the school, having sex with our teachers, or getting back at enemies by destroying their reputation in cyberspace.

We bounced our balls, threw our Frisbees, shook that silly plastic ring until our hips hurt. And it was fun. It was fun because we weren't proving ourselves. Our toys didn't define us, rank us or socialize us. They were meant to be played with. What else could a product from a company named Wham-O be?

By the way, it doesn't surprise me that Wham-O was sold to a conglomerate in 1982, then later sold to Mattel, then later to a bunch of investors. Guys like Knerr and Melin, who started in their parents' garages, are often bought out, left with memories and photos and a big check.

Just the same, I was sad to see Knerr's obituary, because it reminded me of so many youthful things that have waved good-bye. I know when something drops out of style, they say "it went the way of the Hula Hoop," but they shouldn't mean childhood.

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