• Consumers Digest
    Did y'all know that there's another fight-the-power, save-your-nickels consumer publication out there besides Consumer Reports? Me neither. It's called Consumers Digest and it's a reprehensible piece of crap.
  • Vogue Vs. Harper's Bazaar: Battle Of The Fashion Icons
    Gloves off, ladies! The two oldest names in women's fashion magazines are also long-term rivals -- but how much do they really have in common in 2007? Certainly not their size. Each month's issue of Vogue significantly beats Harper's Bazaar on the when-dropped-by-a-6-foot-model-onto-one's-head injury meter -- Vogue merits a concussion versus Bazaar's "ouch!" Which means Vogue wins the ad-page contest, too.
  • In Style Home
    The words that keep Alicia Silverstone company on the cover tell you everything you need to know about In Style Home. "Pretty," "fresh," "easy," "fun": the magazine positively basks in simple concepts that can be described using two-syllables-or-less adjectives. There's little here that we haven't seen time and time again in home/design pubs -- like the do-cool-things-with-wallpaper story, which is thematically identical to a piece that ran in the April issue of Home. Still, you gotta marvel at the way In Style makes even the most banal material come alive on the page.
  • Reps!
    If you're of more hardy stock than I, and like to prove it by hoisting multiple metal plates over your head while grunting bestially, Reps! is the publication for you. If you like gazing at bulky, shaved, oiled dudes wearing no shirts, it's a solid choice as well. The shirtless aspect shouldn't be understated: A nutrition item in the summer issue features a shirtless guy stuffing his face with what appears to be an unprocessed chicken. A short piece on knee pain features an agonized shirtless guy clutching at his legs. The six pages of healthy recipes feature three random …
  • Garden & Gun
    My knowledge of the South is largely confined to its literature, which is exceptional, its bourbon, which is single-barrel, and its civil-rights protests, which were bloody. However, this is the 21st century, and much has changed in the land of Dixie. According to < i>Garden & Gun's Web site, at the mag's heart is "a love for the outdoors -- upland bird hunting, gardening, fishing, sailing, equestrian sports and conservation." Throw in a nod to Southern art and music, architecture and food, and readers get what's billed as "the best" of the contemporary South.
  • Success
    A magazine like Success, which is one part motivational tract and one part Billy's-first-business primer, probably doesn't have a ton of appeal to the Fortune/Forbes set. The mag's stories concentrate more on mindset than methodology, prioritizing feel-good affirmation (you can do it! go, you!) over actionable business information. For fledgling sales-focused entrepreneurs, however, Success delivers one thing that most other titles don't: a plan of attack. By sitting down with a range of successful biz folks and asking them what works and what doesn't, Success outlines a career-development/sustenance trajectory.
  • Dealmaker
    I'm supposed to regard the type of folks featured in Dealmaker with a mixture of contempt and jealousy, simply because they make lotsa cash. Screw that. I count many such people as friends and find that they engage in considerably less self-deification than members of the media mafia -- and, I might add, are much quicker to buy the first round. Since I'm the kind of fella who likes to give back, I'm treating them to subscriptions to Dealmaker, one of the fastest-out-of-the-gate biz-pub launches in recent memory and one of the best.
  • Desert Living
    When you think Berlin cabaret during the Weimar, do you think Desert Living? Me, too! That's why the cover clicked. For most New Yorkers, nature is the gentle breeze from the passing subway, so having a pseudo-decadent cover shot of a pseudo Sally Bowles in the Kit Kat Club makes perfect sense. She stands astride cover lines for "Smokin' Hot Kitchens" and "5 Killer Home Remodels." Face it: Cabaret is smokin' and killer. And apparently, so are those who call the desert home.
  • Electronic House
    Everything associated with high-end home audio and video kicks more than a thimbleful of tush. So why don't most home-theater magazines occasionally acknowledge that this stuff is, you know, fun? Electronic House may be the worst offender that I've encountered. Never mind the March/April issue's typos, or the press releases masquerading as stories. No, the real issue here is that the magazine fails to convey a modicum of excitement about the subject at hand. It's the Bataan Death March of enthusiast publications.
  • Cat Fancy
    I'm sorry. I tried. Cat lover or no, it is impossible to regard Cat Fancy as anything other than a clearinghouse for lowest-common-denominator fluff. The mag unwittingly reinforces every cliché about cat owners: that they prefer feline cuddles to human interaction, that they worship at the altar of cute, etc. Younger cat owners, or at least those few not inclined to avail themselves of the wealth of pet information on the Web, will find the mag's simpleton approach blindingly obvious; older ones likely won't bother themselves with some of the more ambitious projects (constructing a so-called "cat tree") proposed therein.
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