I love the image of Wonder Woman floating on the cover of Ms. Magazine's 35th anniversary issue. Timely and clever, it's even smarter on closer inspection. Constructed from hundreds of teeny little rectangles, each miniature box turns out to be actual cover of Ms. dating back to the magazine's inception. It also recalls an iconic cover image from that founding year: a cartoon depiction of a 50-foot Wonder Woman madly running along a highway, carrying an entire city in her golden lasso of truth under the headline, ''Wonder Woman for President.''
My nesting instincts started exceedingly early. As a toddler, I was reading my mother's Better Homes and Gardens from cover to cover before it occurred to her that maybe she should get me a subscription to Highlights. However, I've developed an appreciation for old houses, despite my upbringing (and early magazine reading) in two mid-century ranches. I subscribe to two niche publications that cater to that genre, American Bungalow and Style 1900, and recently discovered a new kid on the block, Cottages & Bungalows.
Jewish humor has always walked the line between self-deprecation and self-loathing, between not taking oneself too seriously and seriously wishing you were someone else. Everyone from Woody Allen to Larry David to Sarah Silverman has made careers out of exploiting that tension, making us laugh at their neuroses while simultaneously feeling kind of bad for doing so. Think of it as Jewish guilt for the masses. And at its best, Heeb is a brilliant 21st century link to that tradition.
Just how mainstream has yoga gotten? Popular enough that when Valerie Plame Wilson was suffering from outed-spy stress, "It got to the point where I thought if one more person suggested that I take up yoga I would run screaming from the room," she writes in her book "Fair Game." So even in government circles, downward dogs have moved beyond the province of so-called "weirdos." And Yoga Journal now reports a readership of 1.2 million, comparable to many mainstream women's mags.
This is the time of year when avid gardeners get cranky and bitter. We are forced to clean up our garden for winter (lest we get stuck with the thankless job in the spring). It's cold, things are dying, and it's not pretty. It's enough to make you wonder, how do gardening magazines survive year-round? Who is going to buy one in November with an eye toward next spring's plantings? The editors of Fine Gardening must understand the psychology of gardening folk, because the cover shot on the current (December) issue sucked me right in....
Reading the current issue of Spin makes me feel hip. That's a pretty good deal for $3.99. Most things that induce that state of mind cost considerably more.
Are you smart enough for Mental Floss? When I saw it on the newsstand, it seemed like a revelation. Its title and tag line (Feel Smart Again) promise a high-minded experience, a glossy respite from a culture gone dumb. Yet the design -- faux-tabloid cover blurbs and bright, bold colors -- suggests there is fun within, that it doesn't take itself too seriously. Could it be? A magazine that recognizes you can be smart without being boring? What a novel concept! I was intrigued -- but ultimately disappointed.
November Elle presents itself as ''The Women in Hollywood Issue." And it occurs to me that the power gals in L.A. need a special issue of Elle devoted to them about as much as Jessica Seinfeld's cookbook needs another plug.