Mad Magazine’s 1976 Christmas Issue: Still Relevant, Still Memorized–Years Later

*Per a few requests, another omitted ditty was added below.  –Kevin 12/24/14 It was a Christmas party when my wife first called me “The King of Useless Information.” I fell into the trap and correctly answered the question, probably too quickly, “Who played Gopher on Love Boat?” Fred Grandy. Who didn’t know that?? But the title really had its roots in 1976, the year I began collecting Mad magazines as a fifth grader while waiting for my mom in the checkout at the A&P. Like my son’s favorite episodes of South Park, Family Guy and The Simpsons, each issue is a time capsule of current events and a cross-section of American culture and attitudes. Just skimming the cover of the January 1977 issue that came out in late November of 1976, the clever artwork depicting Steve Austin and Jaime Sommers exchanging D-cells was worth it enough. But then to glance… Read More…

A Patriotic Party circa 1928

How to Entertain at Home, 1928

Found this little gem on the book giveaway shelf at the gym today. I picked it up out of curiosity and would have put it right back down except that it fell open to “Fourth of July parties” as if calling out to me to read it, right then. And what a great read it was! I’m not giving a party this year, but after reading the 7-page section on Fourth of July it really made me wish I were (but only if I had a team of people to help me). This 1928 edition of How to Entertain at Home: 1000 Entertainment Ideas, compiled by the Editors of THE MODERN PRISCILLA (a ladies magazine published in “Great Britain and the Colonies” from 1887 to 1930), has an introduction that starts off: “You, like every other woman, often wish to entertain, but are overcome with terror, as the task is… Read More…

Comic Con Rookie: Stan Lee, The Walking Dead, Lois Lane and “The Last Train to Clarksville”

Somewhere between good dad and voyeur-geek you’ll find me.  The 24th Motor City Comic Con was this weekend at the local expo center and my son was interested.  No big surprise.  The popularity of the new generation The Avengers, The Dark Knight coupled with my generation’s Star Wars fan-base and going back another generation to Star Trek and Dr. Who, there was something for everyone there.  I’d never gone, not really liking crowds or costumed folks sneaking up on me.  But I agreed. The bigger surprise was that my daughter and her friend wanted to go.   Two guests were the reason that the attendance jumped from 18,000 last year to 30,000 this year.  90 year-old Stan Lee and 44 year-old, but relatively unknown until he started bow-hunting zombies, Norman Reedus.  The father of Marvel Comics was only there on Saturday and we were going on Sunday due to various… Read More…

The Place where High Tech meets Mad Magazine

 When I was a kid about ten, I picked up a copy of Mad Magazine.  I even remember which one it was.  We lived in the house on Steel at the time. Anyway, the tradition was passed down to another generation and Kevin became the keeper of the flame.  I am sure he will expand in the future.   Anyone who knows me knows that I am a computer geek and techie.  I have been that was since I was a kid.  I listen to a podcast on the TWIT network called “The Giz Wiz”.  The podcast are available on video as well as a traditional podcast.  The person who does this podcast is Dick Debartolo, “Mad’s Maddest writer.”  He is responsible for many of the movie spoofs.  He is hysterical and his gadget reviews have had me rolling on the floor.  Dick has been writing for Mad for over… Read More…

Being White and Male in South Florida.

 In its article “Being White in Philly,” Philadelphia Magazine recently reminded us that we are not a post-racial society. Reviewers of the recent book “Lean In” by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg vigorously remind us that we are not post-gender either. I have to admit to a childish moment of resentment when I hear the reaction to the article or read these book reviews. I rebel against the perception (which may be in my mind alone) that I’m the bad guy. Am I seen as a secret racist, a card-carrying member of the He-Man Woman Hater’s Club?  Am I the villain, or worse, am I Alfalfa?   I liked the Philadelphia Magazine article until I started reading it, before I realized how racist the article is.  The reaction to “Being White in Philly” exposed racial tensions which, in my mind, have always been obvious.  The article purports to be an even-handed… Read More…