The Nov. 20 issue of Fortune is a keeper, if for no other reason than the two sublime pieces of investigative reporting that occupy a hefty chunk of the issue. The stories on class-action hobgoblin Milberg Weiss ("The Law Firm of Hubris Hypocrisy & Greed") and scammer Matthew Cox ("The Bonnie and Clyde of Mortgage Fraud") read like great screenplays, while at the same time rendering complex financial and legal issues palatable to dunderheads like yours truly.
Golf Digest Index is the newest entrant in the ha-ha-I'm-richer-than-you and my-wife-has-larger-breasts category. Its formula may not be novel -- pricey golf, pricey cars, pricey booze -- but the publication goes about its business in a distinctly different manner. I'm not sure how to put it, other than to say that you don't hate the people featured in it. Sure, you secretly hope a plumbing apocalypse soils their Oriental rugs beyond repair, but Golf Digest Index does the nigh impossible in making them interesting subjects of discourse.
I grew up in Pennsylvania, and we often took in state sights as part of family vacations. Now, I realize that if my parents had it to do it over, they'd fly to the Caribbean, sling back mai tais and pretend to be childless. Still, their instincts were right. Pennsylvania, the Keystone State, is chockfull of history and wonder. From the Steel City to the Susquehanna, picture-perfect Carlisle to the farms of the Lancaster Amish, William Penn's woods are a treat. That's why I enjoy perusing Pennsylvania Magazine.
I decided to check out Eat because I found its cover sublimely, majestically stupid. It promises a "picture of every recipe!" (because if there's anything skillet-happy readers won't tolerate, it's inadequately illustrated recipes) and boasts a nifty little &trade after its "easy family food" tagline (can you imagine the mad rush to the government registry to claim that one?). Additionally, it guarantees "82+ recipes" -- not 82 or 83 or 87 or 109, but "82+."
Starlog is a fan magazine in the truest sense: every word in every story is written by and for fans. Perusing it, you get the impression that its editors and contributors had a hell of a time putting it together. Unfortunately, while this may make for a happy tribe of office nerdlings, it doesn't necessarily make for much of a magazine. Starlog ain't long for this galaxy, or any other, unless it decides to enter the 21st century from a publishing perspective.
Let me just say that I don't golf--but judging from the pickup truck and hound dog, neither does our cover guy. And the cut lines don't help: "Classic Guitars," "Thoroughbreds at Auction." Clearly, "connoisseur" rather than "golf" takes center stage here.
Heading into today's exercise, here's what I knew about Ladies' Home Journal: One, it is a women's magazine -- a "home journal" for "ladies," if you will. Two, it contains lots of recipes, many involving peaches. Three, it's been around forever and ever, amen. Four, it's the kind of publication that media nudniks scorn, because it has the audacity to give readers precisely what they want, in a breezy, easily digestible format.
Do you have any idea how many knitting magazines are out there? Passing the vast knitting-mag section of the local Barnes & Noble last week, I realized that I'd neglected this sleeping giant of a genre and thus the handful -- nay, tens! -- of mass-market advertisers who would potentially advertise in such titles. So I downshifted into moron mode and grabbed the mag with the hottest chick on the cover. Alas, covers can be a wee bit deceptive: the fall issue of knit simple emphasizes sweaters over sweater meat. Even worse, it does so in a manner so precious ...
Many women's magazines exist in a far-off galaxy where the goal of existence is twofold: achieve the perfect blonde highlights and wear size 4. And never, ever, age. These pubs, which apparently target zygotes, are obsessed with weight, men and sex. Their reality, like Congress', is skewed. So it was refreshing to discover Hallmark's emphasis on every-day life.
To the best of my knowledge, I have never pimped out one of my possessions. I have not pimped my ride, my kicks (that's young-person slang for "sneakers," from what I gather), my blender, my shower stall or my sisters. I like things exactly as they are. Homogeneity rules. That said, I certainly appreciate what the folks at Rides are up to, especially since the mag preaches the enthusiast gospel more passionately than just about any title I've seen.