221. Uh…Oh!

April 16, 2015

uhohI’ve wanted to tackle the subject of creativity for a long time, and now I have. On April 15, I launched a new blog called Uh…Oh!

Creativity isn’t a magical skill bestowed upon a select few at birth. It’s an ability everyone possesses.

Uh…Oh! will explore how creativity works and how to tap into it. It will delve into topics such as the importance of perseverance, the myth of brainstorming, the unconscious, mood, the days of yore when muses ruled the creative universe, the androgynous outlook, brain research, psychology, art, science, and who knows what else. It’s a fascinating field with many intriguing avenues to explore.

In addition, you’ll find interviews, profiles, videos, guest columns, brainteasers to strengthen your creative wiring, and lots of original and vintage images.

The quick address for getting there: http://uhoh.xyz

219. pAlinDroMes (MAD in palindromes)

March 4, 2015

madcdYears ago, when MAD released all their issues on CD-ROM, I fashioned this palindrome: O.K., Alfred now on CD-ROM. Uh, he’s a gas, eh? Humor! DC: “No wonder, flako!”

Then another, apt for any skewered celebrity: Damn! I saw I was in MAD.

And finally, an anagram of Alfred E. Neuman: Mundane ear elf

MAD filed them away in the appropriate receptacle.

218. Charlie Hebdo

February 18, 2015

NCS-Newsletter-nov-dec-1Several days after the attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, killing 12 people including four cartoonists, the National Cartoonist Society (NCS) put up a collection of over 130 cartoons dealing with the tragedy. They can be seen here.

The current issue of the NCS’s newsletter, just out this week (despite the Nov./Dec. dateline), used my cartoon to illustrate the event on its cover.

217. Westport Puzzlers

February 18, 2015

On Saturday, February 7, I hosted the 16th annual crossword tournament at the Westport Library. Over 100 competitors tackled four unpublished New York Times crosswords. When all the solving was complete, Andy Kravis stood victorious in defending his title, with Jan O’Sullivan close behind and Glen Ryan third with one blank square.

westportlibraryWill Shortz has hosted all the previous tournaments but was unable to attend this year. He was busy hosting a national table tennis tournament at his center in Pleasantville, New York.

216. Enigma Variations

January 7, 2015

enigmaGeorge Barany has put together a puzzle-suite contest titled “Enigma Variations.” And there are prizes, including two paid registrations for the upcoming American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, books by top puzzlemakers, even a copy of Zep. Check it all out HERE. Hurry, it ends January 11th.

211. It’s a Celebrity Funfest!

October 9, 2014

funfestcoverNow available: People Celebrity Puzzler: Holiday Funfest!

Note: Although the title is Holiday Funfest, all of the puzzle themes are apt for any time of the year.

Our extra-snazzy Bonus Section, titled “The 12 Days of Puzzler,” presents themes such as the “A Partridge Family Tree” (the 1st day), “Calling All Birds” (4th day), “Made a Milk Ad” (8th day), “Lords: A Heaping!” (10th) and, of course, “Drummers Drumming” (12th), featuring Ringo Starr and his paradiddling brethren.

funfestoffice The rest of the book includes George (the recently married one and the future English king), theater concession-stand goodies (with photo clues!), Nyong’o, Colbert, Aniston (of course), Strahan, Upton, celebrity-couple portmanteaus, and a crossword tribute to your favorite board games. Over 75 puzzles in all!

Photo, left: my People art directing home-away-from-home.

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.)