• Backpacker
    Unfortunately, I will not be spending Labor Day weekend backpacking in the Poconos or Acadia National Park, as is my wont. No, I'll be jetting from coast to coast, via Dallas, on the trail of a story. So I picked up the September issue of Backpacker hoping for a quick glimpse of what I'll be missing -- some gloriously panoramic pix of a lush landscape, for instance, or a recipe for a non-binding trail mix. Instead, I happened upon a dreaded "Special Report." Uh-oh, Belinda, clear my calendar for the afternoon. Time for another shrill lecture about the environment -- …
  • Harper's Magazine
    Harper's Magazine, known (since 1850!) for its provocative takes on important cultural and intellectual issues of the day, not to mention as a place for finding new writing talents and highbrow literary fiction, is, most importantly, now owned by those MacArthur Genius People. So I tend to feel like a genius just carrying it
  • Risen
    I've fielded more than my share of goofy magazine pitches over the last few years. An edgy 'zine for Gen-X board-game enthusiasts. A fantasy-sports publication with a "women's sensibility." Predictably, few have come to fruition. Most of the publishing world's craaaaaazy-zeee dreamers, it seems, are poorly capitalized. Yet Risen, described to me as "mostly Q&A-style interviews with stars of screen, music, fashion, and board sports... with a focus on the 'big,' even spiritual questions," has survived for a few years. In theory, this magazine makes as much sense as Cargo.In practice, I like it -- kind of.
  • Mountain Bike
    Why is it that Mountain Bike, a title for people who, like, ride bikes in the mountains, strikes me as so flat and dry? The magazine hews closely to the Rodale blueprint, offering the usual mix of hey-you-can-do-this! affirmation and whoa-be-safe-out-there! tips. The problem, I think, is that Mountain Bike overly formalizes an activity that has always been considered a little bit rough and raggedy. It drains the personality out of the sport, presenting riders not as a bunch of off-the-cuff folks bopping around the foothills but as a mainstream community of upstanding citizens.
  • TV Guide's Web Site
    I can't lie to you. TVguide.com jumped to the top of my bookmark list for some slightly embarrassing reasons. For one, I'm a spoiler freak...
  • Organize
    Organize operates under the assumption that its readers are constitutionally incapable of figuring out where to put their crap. I don't have much love in my heart for Johnny and Janey Middlebrow, but they can't possibly be so dense as to need a magazine to help them stem the onrushing tide of poorly organized laundry, can they?
  • Zink
    I'm up for a challenge and down on time this morning. So I've decided to see if I can find 10 interesting things about the August issue of Zink, the next in a long line of very, very, very edgy publications aimed at extremely cool young people with nice skin.
  • Foam
    Is it just me, or is "foam" the perfect porn handle? And slugging the midsummer version "the passion issue" seals the deal. What does Foam stand for? Brace yourself: fashion, ocean, art, music. It's like an SAT question for Paris Hilton -- which word doesn't belong? Happily for her, it's a no-brainer. The better question: Why do women's mags shortchange women? A nod to art and music and an overabundance of fashion does not a well-rounded girl make.
  • Justine
    Any romp through a magazine like Justine is inherently a high-risk activity for me, not to mention MediaPost's attorneys. I'm not a teenage girl. I don't know any teenage girls. I don't interact with teenage girls, at least not knowingly. Hence there's a possibility that the magic of Justine is lost on me and my cassette Walkman. I don't think so, though. Why? Because crap transcends generational differences. You don't have to be a Hannah Montana cultist to appreciate (or not) Justine's bland recommendations, its by-the-numbers organizational framework, or its overcaffeinated layouts.
  • VegNews
    A friend, who moves through the world with considerably more grace and decency than I do, recently asked what would have to happen for me to consider going vegetarian or vegan. After much deliberation and a few dabs at the torrent of cheeseburger runoff streaming down my chin, I told her it would take a cardiac scare, the mother of all Mad Cow Disease outbreaks, or some mad scientist devising a legume that tastes and smells like a cheeseburger -- probably all three. I really enjoy cheeseburgers. Thus I'm not likely to find a whole lot that appeals to me …
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