What have we talked about nibbling at free hot dogs at the pretzel stand by the escalator, chum?

“What have we talked about nibbling free hot dogs at the pretzel stand by the escalator, chum?” I’m asking myself as I walk by the skinny, homely girl in braids holding up the almost-emptied tray at thin air, apparently, on my way to the staircases towards ground level, and eventually off the mall. I’m not using the escalators themselves for reasons that will become clearer later on, and despite not sampling from anything atop the girl’s tray I make a point to ask her about the flavor of the day; today’s free pretzel is something just a tad inventive, deemed a “Neapolitan hot-dog”, she tells me: Basically a frankfurter wrapped inside some pretzel dough with sprinkled oregano on top, then chopped into tiny bits for the passers-by to sample from, and maybe even attract them back to the mothership, a nearby pretzel stand.
I remember Batman telling his second Robin (Jason Todd) once not to have hot-dogs due to some harmful nitrate content, etc, something very Batman-like such as that, and this is pretty much the reason for not sampling from the braided girl’s tray this evening. No, scratch that: I’ve been severely controlling my food intake for the past two or three weeks.

The Trials of Shazam is a 12-issue limited series currently published by DC Comics. It’s written by Judd Winnick who I think once starred on MTV’s Real World or something like that, and is even mentioned on one of Dave Egger’s books. So Shazam in the title is obviously referring to Captain Marvel: This kid Billy Batson was granted the attributes of five elders and gods from legend by some old Egyptian wizard back in the ‘40s and by uttering the wizard’s name (Shazam) is changed into the World’s Mightiest Mortal- Captain Marvel- comicdom’s only superhero with Superman-level superpowers.
So this present series takes the character under a new spin, as Marvel’s sidekick Captain Marvel Junior (alter ego: Freddy Freeman) finds himself de-powered and must endure a “trial” of some sort: He must prove himself worthy of the powers of each god: So first he goes for the wisdom of Solomon, then for the strength of Hercules, then the stamina of Atlas, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles and the speed of Mercury (got the acronym there, buddy? S-H-A-Z-A-M!), and so on, a legendary figure at a time.

And this, non sequiturs notwithstanding, is exactly what I’ve been doing myself: All those hours in front of the TV, all that mileage in and out of bookstores, the fortune squandered away on comic books, all those surely must amount to something, to anything, and that anything is Wisdom. Or least some pretty nifty level of general knowledge about stuff in, well, in general. Bottom line should figure there around knowing stuff like the difference between the Caduceus and the Rod of Asclepius. That kinda stuff.
So I was thinking of Freddy Freeman and wondering, why the hell stop at wisdom anyway?

So heck, yeah now that the frequent trips for the office have ended I have enough spare time to resume jogging and with the dumbbells and the abs-crunchers and the works, for like, two or three weeks now. I’m sore all over!
Even though the beer belly still reigns supreme- this is a most resilient nemesis to contend with, let me tell you that much!- I have begun losing some weight already, I think my waistline’s starting to seem less-horrendous by now. And hey what do you know, there’s even a hint of muscle punching through the fat!
So here’s how it’s done: hiking back home on foot, jogging whenever I can, for an hour or so, then half an hour with the weights and co., five days a week. Also, no sweets or fried food of any kind. And tons of vegetables and low-fat yogurt as well.

Since the wisdom of Solomon is pretty much a given these days, and all it takes is black coffee for the speed of Mercury, my next target (Shazam-wise) is both the strength of Hercules and the stamina of Atlas… ETA should figure there about May, possibly June at the latest, providing I can keep up with this routine. Then I’ll figure out about the courage of Achilles and the power of Zeus later on.
But I’ll tell you this right now: Baby, I’m HOOKED on this stuff like Hourman on Miraclo! I’m telling you, I can’t wait for the clock to strike 6pm every weekday so I can scram the hell out of the office and take it to the streets!

Best thing I’ve done in a long time, period.