Don#039;t #039;waist#039; your time with this

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 16, 2002

Here's a newsflash.

While trying to fight pipe bomb attacks and international battles of terrorism, and figuring out what to do with this country's nuclear waste, our federal government has issued the urgent news:

It's a waist … er … waste of time if you strap any device like FastAbs around your midsection in hope of achieving washboard glory.

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Help me out here, but didn't we agree on this last month?

For those who may have missed this groundbreaking experiment, yours truly decided to purchase the FastAbs system as part of providing a community service to those fellas (and ladies) who wondered if this contraption really worked.

Personally, I didn't see any results from the one time that I used it. But everything worked out in the end. I sold the device for what I paid to a fellow YMCA member, got two columns out of it and provided vital information to Austin area and the surrounding communities.

Now, the feds have finally figured it out for themselves.

I won't go as far to say that this is a complete waste of taxpayer dollars, because the government is trying to shut down the companies for selling bogus equipment.

But you still have to wonder. And since we're already talking about it, let's see what's being done.

Apparently, the folks at the Federal Trade Commission believe it's time to stop the nonsense because Americans have purchased $100 million worth of these ab belts.

"These electronic abs gadgets don’t do a thing to turn a bulging beer belly into a sleek six-pack stomach," said FTC Chairman Timothy Muris in an Associated Press story. "Unfortunately, there are no magic pills, potions or pulsators for losing weight and getting into shape. The only winning combination is diet and exercise."

I supposed the only reason I'm still interested is that these lawsuits are seeking refunds for curiosity seekers (and community minded) folks like myself.

So if I get my $40 back, in all fairness, I'd have to split it.

Maybe I'll take my $20 and put it toward my monthly dues at the Y.

Or I could buy a Salad Shooter.

A big thank you goes out to all the local students who have participated in the Freedom Fest in the Heartland 2002 essay contest. The judging has already started and we'll announce the winners in a few weeks out of the 400-plus entries.

Some of the students are pretty excited about the prizes offered by the generous sponsors of this worthy contest. I was fortunate enough to talk with the fourth-grade classes this past week at Hayfield Elementary School. The students asked some great questions and were pleased to be involved.

It's a credit to the teachers and staff at the school that students there are being able to share how important patriotism is to them. And just as impressive, both classes had very well-behaved students.

Kudos to all involved, and the community should consider its school system a tremendous asset.

Dan Fields' column appears Fridays in the Herald. Dan can be reached by e-mail at