That’s An Expensive Twinkie

A blow-in from Capper’s offers something less than a deal:


Capper's Subscription Deal

The headline implies that the issues are $14.95 each, which is $179.40 for a year’s subscription.

Somewhere, a proofreader or QA professional might have indicated that the headline was unclear, but this was overruled by someone in a hurry to get the proofs off to the printer. No one would get that impression and mock the magazine/its brand for the headline.

Oh, how wrong you are. Mock. Mock.

That’s Why I Read Cosmopolitan

Muslim bashing seemingly in vogue:

What in the world do dietary supplements have to do with turbans and terrorism?

That political head-scratcher confronted at least some vitamin buyers around the nation who found a flier with their mail-order nutrients carrying the bold headline, “Get a Turban for Durbin!”

An image shows Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, wearing the headwrap, common in parts of the Middle East and south Asia and sacred religious garb in some faiths, including the entire Sikh religion.

The flier’s kicker: “Keep Congressional Terrorists At Bay.” The flier was distributed last month by a pro-vitamin and supplement group.

Critics say the flier is yet another example of Muslim bashing. The designer of the flier, who has since pulled it, admits that it was over the line but said he put it out to draw attention to what he thinks is improper action by Durbin.

Got that, America? According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, a cheap mimeographed flier from some unnamed vitamin and dietary supplier represents trend-setting political and social thought.

When it’s convenient for driving “news” articles into the well-traveled, predetermined concourses of thought.

The Excuse I’ll Use

Scantily Clad Model Upsets Neighborhood:

According to Hill and some of his neighbors, a camera crew for the men’s magazine Maxim was taking pictures of a woman whose attire ranged from a billowing dress to pasties and panties.

Some neighbors called police and tried to take pictures of the photo shoot as evidence.

Evidence. Right. Somehow, though, I suspect that most of those “some neighbors” answer to the pronoun “he.”

Book Report: The Best of National Lampoon #3 (1973)

I bought this book at a garage sale or such, probably for a quarter. I’d hoped to turn it into a vast eBay profit back in the day when a small timer could hobbyhorse a bit of profit out of eBay, but those days are gone and the book made up a small part of the 16 boxes of unsold speculative books I had in my closet. I culled through them one final time to find books I might like to read before I get rid of the lot, and this one filtered out.

You know, I’ve always found National Lampoon more amusing than funny. I even had a subscription to it, briefly, in middle school or high school because my mother, funder of all magazine subscriptions at that time, didn’t realize it had the occasional boobies (please don’t tell her now, for it would break her heart to know that she enabled her hormonal teenage boys in any way). I didn’t get a lot of yuks out of it even then, and the boobies were marginal at best.

This book collects pieces from 1971 and 1972. Unfortunately, that means that 50% of the topical humor applies to topics before I was born. A lot of Vietnam humor, which I don’t find particularly amusing, much less funny. I could appreciate some of the non-political humor, such as Chris Miller’s parody of a Mike Hammer story, but I’ve read my share of late sixties pulp to access it.

So this book doesn’t hold up well. Also, no O’Rourke and only a little Beard. Worth a glance or browse if you’ve got nothing else, maybe even worth a quarter if you’re not over sticking it to that lying bastard Nixon. If it’s too funny, you’re too old.

Memo to Magazine Circulation Departments

To questions for you, largely rhetorical since you’re megalithic corporate entities swaddled in corporate procedure and disregard for individual customers:

  • Why is it that when I am not a subscriber, 12 issues of your magazine cost $10, but when I am a renewing “preferred customer,” 12 issues of your magazine cost $36?
  • Doesn’t it occur to you that this might explain why I don’t freaking renew?

What I Like

Man, there’s nothing that does it for me more than a an attractive young woman in black fingernails showing two middle fingers like Avril Lavigne does in this photo shoot for Maxim.

For me, the mighty flip off is a personal gesture tied to a particular, intimate emotional response I have to another single person. I find Lavigne’s deployment of that private act in a photo spread to cheapen the actual act itself, the one I share with people of whom I disapprove, especially those driving SUVs who turn from parking lots onto a road where I am traveling 45 miles per hour.

I know, undoubtedly Lavigne’s image masters would indicate that the bird-shooting indicates Avril’s punk attitude. She’s demonstrating her disdain for all things traditional, blah blah blah. But grinning while showing the middle fingers to the camera only indicates the theatrical, inchoate nature of the "rage." She doesn’t mean anything by it, and even if she did, her negative energy is directed at everything and anyone, not against transgressors or actual particular events worthy of cathartic demonstration of defiance.

Plus, it kinda looks like she’s flipping me off, and although I have seen plenty of attractive women gleefully making dismissive and embarrassing gestures at me, each one still hurts.

In Touch with Middle America

In this month’s Playboy, in between alternate Bush-bashing and baring, a round table entitled “Rip. Burn. Die.” gathers music industry insiders to discuss the problems and challenges within the industry. While discussing exhorbitant concert prices, two known figures offer nuggets of insight into the little man’s mind set:

  • John Mayer:
    We charge around $40 for a ticket, which isn’t a lot of money. Twenty-three year old kids have $40 to spend on a concert. They may say they don’t, but they do.

    (John Mayer doesn’t point out that $40 represents almost seven hours’ of labor at minimum wage. Factor in the convenience fee applied to a ticket, and you’re looking at a full day’s work. Now, imagine you’re taking a date; that’s Monday and Tuesday of your work week, which isn’t a big deal to John Mayer. Now, say you’ve got a family, and you need parking for the minivan, and suddenly you’re not buying any souvenirs or food, and the concert’s not that much of a good entertainment value, but who am I to complain? I’ve already been to one whole concert this year.)

  • Sharon Osbourne:
    We could charge more, but with what’s going on with unemployment in this country, we want to keep ticket prices down.

    (Ms. Osbourne doesn’t mention that unemployment is still at a relative historical low, which means that if she had her druthers, the marked increase in ticket prices would be even more if she weren’t afraid to lose more concertgoers, so she’ll get in a little dig at the current president if she doesn’t have anything else to say.)

Thanks for your insight, celebrities and those whose work provides them with a better-than-middle-class living which apparently has divorced them from fiscal realities here outside the stratosphere.

The Most Censored Blogger in America?

Cartoonist Art Spiegelman drew some comic strips that the New Yorker magazine did not accept for publication, and now that he’s gotten his time in the bright lights of the television cameras, he’s rightfully claiming that he’s been censored.

I know how that heavy burden of oppression feels, my friends, because on many occasions, I, too have been censored by the New Yorker, as this revealing photo proves:



New Yorker rejections
Click for full size

Many times, the boot of Big Publication has stood upon my neck as I have written to express my own precious personal feelings and thoughts, and I have been censored! As a matter of fact, it’s not just been the jackboot of Big Publication, but the centipede parade of Big Publication, Medium Publication, Literary and Little Publication, Regional Theatre, Literary Agents, and on occasion, Web zines.

For example, here we see the truncheon marks upon my psyche left by Bostonian brownshirts at the Atlantic Monthly:



Atlantic Monthly rejections
Click for full size

You see, they have so many people to censor that they cannot afford to use a full sheet of paper! Also, the people at 666 Broadway, whose magazine I have sincerely and somewhat bitterly mocked on this very Web log, Harper’s, have crushed my first amendment rights, but at least they used a full sheet of paper:



Harper's rejection
Click for full size

But it’s not just the coastal barons who’ve silenced my voice. Speer Morgan’s thugs at the Missouri Review have deprived me of my government-given right to expression at someone else’s expense:



Missouri Review rejection
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And here’s one from Gardner Dozois at Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine. Extensive documentat analysis indicates that not only has The Manditor brought me down, but he didn’t even sign the letter himself!:



Isaac Asimov Science Fiction Magazine rejection
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And the list goes on and on. Here, a gang-censorship display from Playboy, Pleiades, and Poetry:



Group rejection
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Does that make me the most censored blogger in America? The thickness of the stack might say yes



The complete book
Click for full size

However, I think Art Spiegelman might answer, “No! I’m the martyr! Look at me, look AT ME!”

Mail Call

Received an envelope with a touching flier featuring underfed, ill-clad waifs, and I was ready to write a check to whoever was going to feed those poor children.

Until I realized Sports Illustrated was offering me an opportunity to purchase their endless line of 2005 swimsuit calendar products.

What kind of sports do these foals participate in? Wearing a flag on their heads and marking golf holes?

Somebody Save Me

Our wonderful realtors Jim and Gale Beardsley provided us with a complimentary subscription to Home by Design. I like to browse through each issue, but the Editor’s Letter in the latest issue made me cringe. First sentence:

I am so excited for this issue of Home By Design magazine because it is my first, as the new Editor!

As it was a magazine, it didn’t hurt when I slammed my head into it repeatedly, so I had to step outside and lean into, repeatedly, the exposed foundation of my home.

Damn Esquire Fact Checkers

El Guapo, I thought you said the fact checkers called you. So when Esquire prominantly features you, as well it should, in the February 2004 issue, why does it say you’re from Mizzou?

For crying out loud, brother, you may live in St. Louis, but you’re from somewhere else entirely and you have no relationship with the University of Missouri, commonly referred to those of us here in the Midwest as Mizzou. I guess to the coastal types, Mizzou, Missouri, Nebraska, all the same. Midwest. Nobody in the Midwest reads Esquire since they have Grit.

In Case You’re Wondering

Fark has a Photoshop contest for Playboy covers, and as an inspiration, they link to this story. Fark inadvertently calls the March 1980 the “best ever” Playboy cover.

Au naturel contraire. The very best Playboy covers are:

  1. November 1971
  2. November 1970
  3. May 1973
  4. December 1988
  5. July 1970

Trust me. I have seen a lot of Playboy covers in my day. Ask me sometime, and I will tell you about the Great Playboy Score.

Can’t I Read It Anymore?

Over at Opinion Journal, Michael Judge reflects upon the articles in Playboy, given that magazine’s fiftieth anniversary celebration:

Playboy’s editors take a bow for being at the forefront of every liberal cause of the past half-century, including civil rights, equal rights, gay rights, birth control, gun control and abortion. Call me na├»ve, but somehow I think these social movements would have taken place with or without a magazine that was nearly named Stag Party.

Worse yet, Mr. Kaminsky has rounded up the usual suspects to decry the brown shirts currently running the country: “America’s leading literary light,” Norman Mailer, says with a straight face that the Bush administration went to war in Iraq because “an escape was needed from our problems at home.” Not to be outdone, Hunter S. Thompson claims that he’s “personally embarrassed by the fascist sink these [expletive]-eating greedheads from Texas have plunged us into.” With Manson-like flair, he goes on to say, “Those pigs deserve to be boiled in their own oil.”

Forgive me, Ms. Wolf, but perhaps the least offensive thing in this issue is the centerfold of Playboy’s 50th Anniversary Playmate, Colleen Shannon, whose turn-ons include “vinyl, positivity, supportiveness, artistic abilities, and a good sense of humor.”

Geez, do you mean it’s like Harper’s, a magazine I can no longer read? Why, I shall become enraged, shall write a piece to the editor, and shall take up my righteous anger and…..

Wowza, check her out!

I’m sorry, you were saying?