Jewish World Review August 25, 2004 / 8 Elul, 5764

Jeff Elder

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Consumer Reports

Put a steak on it; What prevents a spider from becoming entangled in its own web?; good palindromes; more | Q: Does putting raw meat on a black eye really work? - Richard Cosgrove, Richfield, N.C.

A: Ah, the ol' bull's eye routine.

Otherwise known as "peeper steak."

Pastrami on eye.

T-bone on the see-bone.


The meat itself does not help a black eye - in fact, it can be harmful. Any relief came from the fact that the meat was cold.

But as my shameless display suggests, putting meat on your face inspires bad jokes. And so this old home remedy (which MANY people really did use) was incorporated into every cartoon bit featuring a black eye.

It's a whole department in the Acme School of Medicine, also offering specialties in:

— Reflex hammers.

— "It hurts when I do this."

— Fun with stethoscopes.

Applying ice or a cold pack to a black eye IS a good treatment. It keeps the swelling down and constricts blood vessels, decreasing the internal bleeding. (That's what causes the funky colors.)

There's a danger to that old meat remedy: You could be putting bacteria-laden meat on a mucous membrane or an open skin injury.

Instead, gently apply an ice pack to your cheek. DON'T press on your eye.

You might naturally pop a few aspirin when you're getting a black eye. But that's a mistake, experts say. Aspirin keeps blood from clotting, so it could make the discoloration worse.

Let's say you start getting a black eye, but there's no ice around. There is, however, a Coke machine. Get a can of soda, wipe it off, and put it lightly against your cheek. Some boxing doctors put cold metal on black eyes between rounds.

Once you have a black eye, eat papaya and pineapple. Doctors say an enzyme in these fruits helps the body to absorb the blood around the eye.

Source: Doctors Book of Home Remedies

— — —

Q: What prevents a spider from becoming entangled in its own web? -- Wayne Hill, Charlotte, N.C.

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A: Wayne, not all parts of the web are sticky, and spiders know where to step, says David Grant, professor emeritus of biology at Davidson College, and a spider scholar for 45 years. (He's the original web surfer, you might say.)

Take orb weavers, the common spider family that weaves the large round webs we see around the Carolinas. The straight, "construction" strands of silk in their webs are not sticky, Grant says. But they apply a sticky substance to the spiral strands of silk that coil through the web. The orb weavers only grab the straight, dry silk strands when they boogie around.

— — —

Q: Got any good palindromes for us? - Judy Gundry

A: No sir, prefer prison.

That's a palindrome: A sentence that's spelled the same forward and backward.

There are some great palindromes out there, like:

— Dew on roses or no, wed.

But it can take all day to build a palindrome and it still usually comes out odd, like:

— Cigar? Toss it in a can, it is so tragic.

That's why I love anagrams, in which you rearrange the letters in words and phrases to form new words and phrases.

By fiddlin' around with pad and pencil (or with help from the Internet Anagram Server at you can make your own anagrams on all kinds of things.

Classic anagrams include:

— The Morse Code = Here come dots

— Slot machines = Cash lost in `em

— Clothespins = So let's pinch

— Elvis = Lives

— — —


Can you create anagrams for the following phrases (rearrange the letters in words and phrases to form new words and phrases)

1. Firefly evening

2. Friday be here

3. Choose ice cream or sex! = Coerce a mix, Eros chose

4. Rearranging letters

— — —


1. Free fling en ivy

2. I fry head, beer!

3. Coerce a mix, Eros chose

4. Rate grin? (Stern glare.)

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Jeff Elder is a columnist for The Charlotte Observer. Comment or try to stump him by clicking here. If you send him a great question, he'll send you a Glad You Asked T-shirt.


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