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 Oct. 1, 2006 / 9 Tishrei, 5767

Abs-olute madness

By Dave Barry

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | What I want to know is: Why is it important to have visible stomach muscles?

I grew up in an era (the Paleolithic) when people kept their stomach muscles discreetly out of sight. Most of us didn't even realize we had stomach muscles; the only people who ever actually saw them were courageous surgeons willing to cut through fat layers the thickness of the Cleveland white pages.

I'm not saying we weren't in shape; I'm just saying we had a different concept of what the shape should be. For example, our idea of a stud-muffin prototype male was somebody along the lines of George Reeves, who starred in the black-and-white TV version of "Superman," playing the role of the mild-mannered newspaper reporter Clark Kent, whom nobody ever suspected of being Superman because he disguised himself by wearing glasses. (It is a known fact that if you put on glasses, even your closest friends will not recognize you.)

The TV Superman, who was more powerful than a locomotive, did not have visible stomach muscles. In fact, he didn't have much muscle definition at all; he pretty much looked like a middle-aged guy at a Halloween party wearing a Superman costume made from pajamas, a guy who had definitely put in some time around the onion dip. From certain angles, he looked as though he weighed more than a locomotive. But he got the job done. He was always flying to crime scenes faster than a speeding bullet in a horizontal position with his arms out in front of him.

Study question: Did he fly in this position because he had to? Or was it that the public would have been less impressed if he had flown in a sitting position, like an airline passenger, reading a magazine and eating honey-roasted peanuts?

When Superman arrived at the crime scene, he would knock down the door, played by a piece of balsa wood, and confront the criminals, who were usually suit-wearing men with harsh voices. (You had a better-dressed criminal in those days.)

"Superman!" the criminals would say. This was the signal for Superman to put his hands on his hips so the criminals could shoot their revolvers at his chest, an effort that always caused Superman to adopt a bemused expression because, as a native of Krypton with special powers, he knew that the criminals were shooting blanks. Then Superman would turn the criminals over to the police, played by Irish character actors in their mid-60s, after which he would fly in a horizontal position back to his secret Fortress of Onion Dip.

The point is that, in my era, Superman did not have visible stomach muscles, and neither did Hercules or Tarzan, who needed steel-reinforced vines. But now, suddenly, everybody is supposed to have rippling abdominals—or "abs," as they're often called. They are hot. If muscle groups were rock bands, the abdominals would be Hootie and the Blowfish. Turn on your television, and if you do not see a commercial in which a leading economist such as Candice Bergen, Michael Jordan or Whoopi Goldberg explains which long-distance carrier is best for your individual case (answer: whichever one is paying millions of dollars to Candice, Michael or Whoopi), you will see the Abdominals People—and I do not wish to generalize here, but these people display the intelligence of sherbet-selling abdominal devices, demonstrating abdominal exercises and, of course, proudly showing off their abdominal muscles, which bulge and writhe beneath a thin, sweaty layer of skin, so that the people look as though they're smuggling pythons down there.

What I want to know is, why is this considered attractive? And how important, really, are abdominal muscles? I mean, I'm sure they serve some medical function, such as keeping your intestines from falling into your lap, but do they have to be huge? Do these people who spend 17 hours a day building up their abdominals ever actually use them for any practical purpose? If so, what? Moving furniture? ("OK, Thad, you push your awesome abs against that end of the bureau, and I'll push mine against this end, and we'll just— Huh! It's not moving!")

What I also want to know is: What's next? I mean, when the Abdominals People—formerly the Biceps People, formerly the Thighs People, formerly the Buns People—have made all the money they can from our stomachs, where will they go? Are they going to work their way through all of our muscles? Will there come a time, say 10 years from now, when they're going to announce that we all need to build up, say, our eyelid muscles? Will we turn on the TV and see commercials for the Lid-A-Cizer, featuring enthusiastic men and women with form-fitting workout outfits and bulging eyelids the size of golf balls? Are we going to fall for that, too? Or are we going to draw the line somewhere? Think about it!

And while you're thinking, pass the dip.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment by clicking here.


Beware of brainy bugs
I'm in a sorry state
The frog plague: The inside story
If she had a hammer….
Keeping an eye on crime
Camping and Lewis and Clark
When in Iowa, don't forget to duck
Junior takes the wheel
Growing old with Dave
Sites for sore eyes
Beware of sheep droppings
Ireland, land of bad Elvis
Mr. Peabrain's misadventures
When they're out to get you, keep cool
Mothers of invention
Kill 'em with kindness

© 2006, The Miami Herald Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.