228. Of Mice and Menorah

December 12, 2015


208. Dead Tree Version

February 2, 2014

The work of Randall Rosenthal is pretty darn amazing. The photo shown below (click to enlarge) isn’t a stack of real newspapers. It’s a sculpture carved from a single piece of wood, then painted in exacting detail.

I got an added surprise when I realized the crossword lying atop the pile is one of mine, appearing in The New York Times on December, 18, 2011. CLICK HERE for an article showing how Rosenthal works, and to see more of his sculptures.

And CLICK HERE to see another Rosenthal sculpture that features Randy Ross’s October 2, 2005 NYT crossword (thanks to Jeff Chen for identifying the puzzle).

207. If You Build It

January 15, 2014

builditLast Thursday I caught a showing of If You Build It, a new documentary by director Patrick Creadon.

In it, a pair of designer-activists sets up shop in North Carolina’s poorest county. They teach a group of high school students with no previous architectural skills how to design and build a structure for the town. The program is called Studio H. Read the rest of this entry »

203. Cape Town Comes to New York

November 11, 2013

madLast Tuesday morning, I met up with Chaeli Mycroft (2011 winner of the International Children’s Peace Prize) and her mother Zelda in New York City.

These two women (Chaeli is now 19) are the core of the Chaeli Campaign, an organization based in Cape Town, South Africa, that works to help children with disabilities. Chaeli was born with cerebral palsy but has turned that into an asset, raising money and awareness and speaking up for those who can’t.

dcI came to know Chaeli while writing about her for an upcoming book, iFlush: Hunting for Heroes. She certainly qualifies as a hero (here’s a four-minute video that tells her story) and, after our meeting, I now know her mother qualifies as well! She’s a strong force and voice for the cause … and someone who won’t let anyone depart without a big bear hug.

Chaeli is a magnet for important awards, and she was in town to receive the 2013 World of Children Award. But she had a few extra days, so I arranged a change of pace from the hoity-toity world of important awards and fund-raising charities — a visit to MAD magazine.

madboardWe met up just south of Grand Central Station to grab a round of coffees at Starbucks, then hopped in a cab — NYC has a fleet of 233 cabs with wheelchair lifts — and made our way over to MAD headquarters at 1700 Broadway.

I think the MAD crew got as much a kick out of it as Chaeli and Zelda did.

Click on any of the photos to enlarge. TOP: Editor Dave Croatto, Art Director Sam Viviano, Chaeli, me, and Associate Art Director Ryan Flanders. MIDDLE: Chaeli and Zelda in the DC Comics reception area. BOTTOM: Chaeli’s photo now graces MAD‘s “Celebrity Board.” (The two MAD photos by Lana Limón.)

197. The Reject Bin

August 16, 2013

An old, never-used sketch, circa 1995 (click to enlarge at your own risk):


196. Old MacDonald

July 11, 2013

geicoGEICO TV AD: Old MacDonald is asked to spell COW in a spelling bee.

Old MacDonald: Cow. C-O-W-E-I-E-I-O. [buzz]

BETTER?: Old MacDonald is asked to spell GEICO.

Old MacDonald: Geico. G-C-E-I-O. [buzz]

190. Crossword Clue of the Day: April 1

March 31, 2013

Female buffoon? (6 letters): [ A S S E S S ]

• Click the clue to see a (completely unhelpful) visual hint.
• Highlight the bracketed space with your cursor to reveal the answer.

189. Crossword Clue of the Day: March 31

March 31, 2013

Nor’s partner (6 letters): [ E A S T E R ]

Click the clue to see a visual hint.
Highlight the bracketed space with your cursor to reveal the answer.

188. Fishing on Lake George

March 27, 2013


musical accompaniment:

photo: pm

187. Mini Raves

March 19, 2013

poppyFrom Up on Poppy Hill (just opened) – Animated drama film directed by Goro Miyazaki, son of the legendary Hayao Miyazaki:

Brilliant; moving; sometimes humorous; beautiful backgrounds. If you’ve seen Whisper of the Heart (by the same studio) and liked that film’s just-plain-nice, low-key, slice-of-real-life ambiance, you’ll like this.

5voicesDeath for Five Voices (just ended) – World premiere of a musical drama by Peter Mills, directed and book co-written by Cara Reichel, based on the life of the infamous Renaissance composer Carlo Gesualdo. Musical director and pianist, Dan Feyer:

Terrific music and singing; especially rich and soaring ensemble numbers; well-plotted; worth watching for in the future.

sugarmanSearching for Sugar Man  – Best Documentary winner at the 2013 Oscars:

Almost-beyond-belief story; habit-forming music; fascinating subject with a zenlike aura, Sixto Rodriquez. His two albums are also available, but I like the movie soundtrack, which cherry-picks from the two.

185. The ACPT in 11 Objects

March 13, 2013

11objects1. Contestant sticker. 2. Marriott pen. 3. The contestants’ most-dreaded pen (used by the judges to mark incorrect answers). 4. No, wait, this is the contestants’ most-dreaded pen (used to mark correct answers when only a few letters have been entered in the grid). 5. Name tag. 6. Marriott room key. 7. Ophira Eisenberg, from NPR’s Ask Me Another, was in the house (and unofficial best-shod attendee). 8. Dr. Fill returned. 9. Freebie pencil from The New York Times. 10. Freebie pencil sharpener from crosswordtracker.com. 11. And wherever you turned, a circle of people were yelling out answers to Peter Gordon’s Celebrity: Get a Clue iPhone app. (Do you know who Uggie is?)

180. Do-Re-Me-Me-Me

January 22, 2013

If “Do-Re-Mi” were written today, would it go like this?

Dough — the cash, that I live for,
Rage — the feeling when I drive.
Me — the only one who counts,
Fat — the food on which I thrive.
So? — Is that a problem, dude?!
Lots — is what I always owe,
Tee — a shirt that speaks my mind,
That will bring us back to … d’oh!

178. 2013 Calendar

December 31, 2012

calendar2013The illustrated Mus musculus calendar is back by sufficient demand, this year with a science theme. Download a pdf in the size of your choice, or avoid future regret and download both.

5 x 7″ paper-saving size:
CLICK HERE to download

6.5 x 9″ cubicle-hanging size:
CLICK HERE to download

Find “July 4” in the drawing.

174. Ode to a Coffee Urn

November 26, 2012

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Cup by Cup

I drank my 100,000th cup of coffee.

I’ve been keeping count
for 47 years
entering one mark
for each cup
in a small spiral-bound notebook
that I keep in my pocket,
on the table,
somewhere nearby.

I drink,
I count,
I mark.

In the morning,
during the day,
as I sit wide awake long into the night.

And today,
I made the 100,000th mark.

I think I’m going to try pretzels next.

— pm

170. 60 Years of MAD (One of Them Not Bad)

October 25, 2012

Get a spot ready in front of your TV. On October 28th CBS Sunday Morning will air a 60th-anniversary visit to MAD magazine’s offices [here it is].

Here are some behind-the-scenes photos from the day the piece was filmed (I was on hand for part of it).

After you’ve finished rewatching the TV segment in slow motion on your DVR, hustle over to your local bookstore to camp out for the October 30th release of the 256-page book Totally MAD: 60 Years of Humor, Satire, Stupidity and Stupidity ($20.01 on Amazon—cheap!).

According to MAD’s press release, “The date when booksellers start slapping that giant ‘75% Off’ sticker on the front cover obscuring the book’s title has not yet been determined.”