Fifty Years Ago



So Long, MAD Magazine

A post-war American institution, really… MAD taught the entire boomer generation irony & satire (along with Rocky & Bullwinkle, I guess) and became a regular staple of American popular culture.

And now it’s going away.

A few more issues of new material, then they’ll rerun old material until all existing subscriptions run out, then…. they are done. Over. Kaput.

Partly due to the declining readership of print magazines in general, partly due to over-dilution of their brand among far too many other outlets for their younger target audience, and saddest of all, partly due to the overall dearth of satire and cancer of hypersensitive offense and humorlessness pervading our zeitgeist.


MAD started out strong in comic book form under Harvey Kurtzman – the throw-everything-at-the-wall style of satire from those early issues holds up beautifully today. While some of the genre parodies are dated, the comic art and execution of the jokes still hit their marks. When MAD transitioned post-Kurtzman’s fallout with William M. Gaines into the b/w magazine format, the types of pieces varied somewhat, though the direct parodies of movies and television shows remained. The “usual staff of idiots” each stood out in their regular pieces for the magazine in the days I grew up with it – the observational humor of Dave Berg, the weirdness of Don Martin, the offbeat dark humor of Al Jaffe, the distinctive comic art variances of Antonio Prohias’ Spy vs Spy juxtaposed against the boxiness of Paul Coker’s people… the magazine was always well designed and very rich visually.

Before the age of video and before they got bought out by Warners for even more access, they’d parody movies a few months after they hit theaters, with uncanny reproductions of specific scenes by brilliant artists like Mort Drucker.

Continue reading “So Long, MAD Magazine”

Adventures At Costco

First, I found three dollars, rolled up, on the floor in one of the aisles.


Then on my way out, I stopped to inspect a model of an induction range they had on display. Interesting technology, but certainly pricey at over two grand (and I didn’t find that much on the floor).

So, I’m walking out and hear a voice behind me with a British accent go “Way too expensive, eh?”

I turn and see a little old woman with a tight cap and thick glasses, carrying a single bottle of wine in a plastic bag.

“Yeah, kinda,” I say. I push my cart to the security guy at the exit and he checks my receipt.

“Which way are you goin’, this way or that way?” the little old woman says, pointing to the street.

“That way,” I answer.

“Can you give me a ride?”

Jesus Christ.

“No, I don’t give rides to strangers, sorry.”

“Aw, c’mon, just to the light?”

Is this how I get hit on? Little old British ladies who walk to Costco to buy a single bottle of wine, looking for that day’s victim for a “Let’s take a walk back to my flat, guv’nor, and get right pissed, we will!” is who talks to me.

Who’s up for a one-night stand with Mrs. Naugatuck? Especially when she looks like my grandfather if he’d had a teaspoon or so of estrogen with his Geritol.

“No, sorry,” I said, and I pushed my cart back to my car.

I’d parked way in back. It gave me a chance to walk up on a small hill and see her, yes, crossing at the light on her way back to the condo or apartment complex, whatever it is, up that driveway.

Maybe I shouldn’t make assumptions. She probably just figured I was enough of a patsy to bum a ride off of…. or was she? Hmmmm…..

Ah, what might have been. All I can think of is this:

I’d like to think it was her three dollars. That way she’ll always be special to me.

Happy Passover!

Where’s yer false God NOW, Rameses??


Your stupid first born was a brat anyway. Have some gefilte fish, it’ll cheer you up before Anne Baxter cheats on you with the stable boy.

BTW, the annual showing of the Jewish Wizard Of Oz is this Saturday at 7 on ABC!

So let it be written, so let it be done.

Yes, I Will Actually Commend Our Tax Bureaucrats

Every year it seems I screw up some aspect of either my Fed or California tax return. I mess up on some aspect of the form that got changed from the year before, or despite double and triple checking the math, fail to identify some piece that will save me money.

Yeah, you read that right, I most often err in favor to the government. This has never bothered me, since it’s never that much money (I guess) and I figure it’d be my ticket out of jail if I ever worried that my plea of “dumbass” was met with skepticism in some tax court.

And yes, I’m too cheap to hire someone or use software since I still fill in downloaded forms and snail mail hard copies of my taxes. I don’t trust the e-file system and they don’t have free software for Macs, far as I know. I prefer the old paper system and there’s no reason to change it. And get off my lawn.

So this year, turns out I messed up the math on adjusting my deductions to California since they made the form a lot more complicated, although for a good reason. With the state & local tax deduction capped at 10K, they added a load of boxes and lines and instructions that, if properly navigated, maintain property tax deductions over 10K from the California state income tax. I don’t pay more than 10K in property tax with my humble abode, and I wound up subtracting some figure I should not have. California tax instructions are up there with the new math in terms of confusion. I messed up, they caught it, and it wound up shrinking my state refund by a few hundred bucks.

They simply refigured my math, accepted that I am a dumbass, adjusted the amount and direct deposited the proper one.

Continue reading “Yes, I Will Actually Commend Our Tax Bureaucrats”

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