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 Dec. 9, 2010 / 2 Teves, 5771

Trendy toys don't stand up to playthings of yore

By John Kass

John Kass

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Whatever the hot toy is this year, you can rest assured it is not a Sixfinger.

The Sixfinger was the must-have item when I was a little boy. It was a devilishly clever plastic index finger that was actually a gun. It fired hard plastic objects and exploding projectiles.

You were supposed to shoot these off in the safety of a vacant lot. But it was even more satisfying to point your Sixfinger at the small of your little brother's back and squeeze off a round, just as he ran off to tell mom and dad you'd pinged Mrs. Molaitis' basement window.

I can still remember the commercial.

"Sixfinger, Sixfinger, man alive! How did I ever get along with five?"

Every kid wanted a Sixfinger. Yes, they were dangerous. But no one was ever trampled to death trying to get one.

Last year's hot toy was Zhu Zhu Pets hamsters. The lovable plastic robotic rodents had names like Pipsqueak, Chunk, Mr. Squiggles and Num Nums.

These idiotic toys generated more than $300 million last December. Since each toy cost mere pennies to make, they were celebrated as a marketing success.

But the Zhu Zhu craze is no more. Countless of the electronic vermin have been reported gathering dust in the remainder bins at big-box stores.

The rest are in toy purgatory, lost under the couch or having been broken into bits in the corner of the basement.

And no doubt the occasional Zhu Zhu was picked up by the family dog. After some vigorous chewing, Num Nums or Chunk was deposited, in somewhat altered form, near the lilac bushes in the backyard.

But don't be sad for Zhu Zhu. There's always a new must-have toy taking the place of last year's model.

This year, it's a Zooble.

Zoobles are also cheap plastic creatures made by docile factory workers happy to have jobs. But Zoobles live in a wondrous land called "Petagonia."

"Full of laughter, surprises, bouncing and trouncing, Petagonia is home to everyone's favorite Zoobles pets," says the Web site.

Each tiny Zooble has its own personal "Happitat." Kids can earn credits, called "zoints," if they go online and register their Zooble with the parent company.

"You can earn zoints by completing fun Zooble tasks like watering trees until pretty flowers bloom, making birdies sing a melody or building a Happitat," chirps the Web site.

The Zoobles frolic in their virtual Happitats, in that magic land of Petagonia. Zoobles are beloved by children whose demographic particulars and purchasing habits will be entered into gigantic databases and systematically tracked for the rest of their natural lives.

Is it just me, or don't you feel like wading into a Happitat with your Sixfinger and blowing all the Zoobles to kingdom come?

OK, it's probably just me. But still.

What really would have wreaked havoc in Petagonia was a Johnny 7 One Man Army.

When I was a boy, a Johnny 7 O.M.A. was the weapon of choice. It wasn't some tiny plastic finger. It was a massive toy gun, so large it required its own tripod for stability, since there were seven shootable weapons in one.

The bunker buster, the grenade launcher, the antitank missile each were capable of busting a few teeth. It shot plastic bullets too. What more would a kid want?

But my parents in their cruelty refused me.

Yes, in the days before virtual toys, Americans had playthings called "real" toys. We had toy guns, even cap guns, and we played with swords, chemistry sets, wood burning kits, just about anything you could blind yourself with.

Like Jarts. Remember Jarts?

These were metal-tipped javelins, designed to be thrown high into the air, so they'd land in a small plastic target circle on the ground.

Naturally, children adapted the game to make it more kid-friendly. Instead of the circle, a kid would be compelled by peer pressure to stand across the yard, feet planted, and dodge the Jarts as they hurtled earthward.

There was only one rule: Don't move your feet, or you lose. It built character.

In the non-weaponized toy category, there were Creepy Crawlers. These were quite educational.

You filled metal plates with goop from a tube, plugged it all into the electric socket until the plates became red hot. A couple second-degree burns later, and presto, you had rubber insects to play with.

They didn't do anything. But you could shoot them with your Sixfinger.

Did kids learn anything about insects? Of course not. Instead, we learned a life lesson: Don't touch red-hot metal or you'll burn your fingers off.

But now, as a parent, I'm relieved that we Americans stand against dangerous toys. Yet what about parental safety? Black Friday is dangerous for mom and dad.

We're the ones risking our lives, braving the ravenous hordes of crazed shoppers who are ready to stomp anyone who gets in their way.

And for what? A stupid Zooble?

We all know where the Zoobles end up. It's not in some Happitat.

It's more like out by the lilac bush.

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.


10/13/10: Readers get to meddle in lives of newlyweds , do they get the man chair or not?
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
08/18/10: Dead Meat walking, but heat to be applied again
07/28/10: No verdict, but Blagojevich trial still has its winners, losers
07/26/10: Obama's fall guy in Shirley Sherrod case is Vilsack the Pooh
07/21/10: Loathing of Steinbrenner softens after his death
07/19/10: Summertime, and the race cards are easy
06/28/10: Does Congress have the guts to fix what court gutted? Honestly, no
12/17/09: Belt-tightening presidential aspirant leaves room for Spam
09/27/09: ACORN can teach the GOP a thing or 2
09/03/09: Blago as author gets it wrong yet again 06/22/09: Obama's latest political play should shock no one
06/17/09: Presidential satire takes Hopium break
06/11/09: E-Verify works, so, of course, let's not use it
06/09/09: First Lady Macbeth's the man, so in your face, Eminem
06/02/09: Judge Sotomayor would think me most unwise
05/12/09: Parents, enjoy this time, in all its creepiness
03/18/09: Stem cell policy shift brings a sinking feeling
03/09/09: Name That Blago Book contest names its winner
03/05/09: Contest: Name Blagojevich's book
02/16/09: Dems undercut aid for U.S. workers
01/20/09: Let the carving begin on Tombstone's tomb
01/12/09: Obama serves Reid taste of Chicago Way
01/02/09: Jesters don't pick up the race card in a nationally televised news conference and slam it into the face of every Dem in the Senate, a palm heel strike to the tip of the nose, leaving all of them watery-eyed, their lips stinging
12/24/08: Governor waxes poetic, but Combine rolls on
12/23/08: Got corruption? Get Jesse Junior G-Man
12/18/08: Will ‘feditis’ spread to Obama and Daley?
12/15/08: Man behind curtain is wizard of Rod, Rahm

© 2008, Chicago Tribune. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.