Tag Archives: magazines

Stars! They’re Just Like Us!

Anyone who has “accidentally” flipped through an US Weekly magazine (as I did while waiting to get my hair did the other day) knows there is more important information on the back of a shampoo bottle than there is in that publication.

One of the most ridiculous things is the “Stars: They’re Just Like Us!” segment. For the uninitiated, this is where they feature photos of celebrities doing things like breathing, eating, drinking out of straws and carrying adopted children named after obscure fruits found in Ethiopian villages.

The captions of these paparazzi photos verify/explain the celebrity is breathing, eating, etc., since it would otherwise be unclear that this person is, in fact, a human doing shockingly mundane human things — just like us!

Lest you think I’m exaggerating, these are a few of the captions from that issue:

  • They Indulge in Fast Food!
  • They Strap on Shoes!
  • They Eat Off Others’ Plates!
  • They Use the ATM!
  • They Write Names in the Sand!
  • They Balance Cans!

I don’t know about you, but I would never have guessed that Jennifer Lawrence uses the ATM—just like me! Of course her balance is astronomically higher than mine, but still! She’s so normal!

To be fair, a lot of magazines make the assumption that we all live a charmed life. Food Network Magazine had a spotlight feature on a new cast member and her kitchen in the Hamptons.

She said, “People hear ‘the Hamptons’ and they think glitz and glamour, but it is really just farmland.” The article then goes on to suggest we pick up some of Katie’s finds for our own kitchen. Those include:

  • French Bistro stools $674
  • Rivera strop shade for a window $209
  • Natural-edged bowl hand-carved from a single log $564

I would, but I just won $2 on a scratch-off lottery ticket and am busy trying to decide if I want to take it in one lump sum or a dime for the next 20 years.

Anyway, I might actually take interest in these features if they included things I could relate to a little bit more.

Stars! They’re Just Like Us! They:

Light incense, forget they lit incense and then freak out when they smell smoke five minutes later!

Say, “There’s fungus among us!” while picking out mushrooms at the store!

Excel in “Procrastibaking”—baking instead of doing a bunch of more important things instead!

Get up 10 minutes early in the morning so they have that extra time to stare mindlessly at the wall as they shower!

Can go from “nothing sounds good” to “why isn’t there more of this to shove in my face?” in mere seconds!

Get terrified when putting back a shirt without folding it and then making eye contact with the store worker!

Beat the crap out of a black bean with their spatula when they thought it was a spider!

Spend more time picking out broccoli at the store than picking out the clothes that they wear!

Will practically break their arms before making two trips into the house with the groceries!

True, it might not be as glamorous as sharing that they “Pull Their Hair Back On the Go!” but you can’t tell me they’ve never stood up and had a chickpea fall out of their bra.

Now that’s a headline that I’d like to see.

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Take a Load Off

Are you sitting down for this one?

If you are, you’re probably doing it wrong, at least according to this ad I found in the back of a magazine last month.


According to the website—yes, I went to the website to see if this was a real thing—“It is Squatty Potty’s goal to change the way we poop, one ‘stool’ at a time.”

Doctors have deduced that “The ideal posture for defecation is the squatting position. In this way the capacity of the abdominal cavity is greatly diminished and intra-abdominal pressure increased thus encouraging expulsion.”

Enter Squatty Potty—and someone wearing white pants who looks really happy about encouraged expulsion.


But that’s not all!

“This sturdy, custom-designed stool allows for full squatting and semi-squat seated positions on your existing toilets. And, when it’s not in use, it slides conveniently out of the way under the toilet.”

Now I’ve had my fair share of “elimination issues” throughout the years as a result of IBS and the abuse I put my poor body through, so I’m not poo-pooing this invention at all. I say do whatever you need to do (safely) to literally get your crap done.

But because I’m currently feeling about as mature as a 12-year-old boy, I got a kick out of reading these testimonials:

“I now always have a complete elimination every time—something I rarely had before. I dropped a few pounds as well and my stomach isn’t bloated. (LOL – guess I was full of shit.) My Asian friend also told me that short people (and children) are more affected by the damage caused by not squatting. Makes sense because I’m a petite woman—only 5’3″.

Perfect testimony combining racial references, a groan-worthy pun and the overuse of “text” speak.

“Now with my knees up, I’m knockin’ poops outta the ball park! The only fiber I need now is already in this sturdy pressed wood stool.”

For some reason I picture the person who said this to be a someone like Cousin Eddie who would slap his knee and say, “Shitter was full!”

“I lived for a year in India with a hybrid squatter/sitter toilet in my home and got used to the ultra-natural elimination that comes with hunkering down. Ever since then, it’s been an effort (often comical) to get my feet up on walls, tubs, chairs, shelves–you name it. Finally, I can get comfortable in my own bathroom here in the U.S., and my poop time has reduced by minutes. No more waiting!

They were apparently the Spider-Man of shitting.

“My mother-in-law was convinced that it works and she bought us one for a Christmas gift. I was very stubborn and didn’t even want to try it out. It sat in my bathroom for about 2 weeks before I tried it! So I sat down put my feet on the SQUATTY POTTY and before I knew it I had already had a bowel movement. It was amazing! I sent a text to my mother-in-law praising her for such a great gift!”

Interesting talk at family gatherings, I image.

Anyway, this is just in time for the holiday season, people. You’re welcome.

Now go take a load off.

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So Many Issues, So Little Time

I love magazines.

Given my profession, I should rephrase that. I love magazines that I don’t have to write or edit in their entirety.

And although I love a good book,  I also love magazines.

Considering my attention span, that comes as no surprise. They are a very non-committal endeavor in that I don’t have to dedicate large chunks of time to enjoy them. A column here, a two-page spread there, visuals to draw me in and feed me bits and pieces of information with bright pretty colors and fun fonts. Aside from being peppered with rogue subscription cards as I flip through, what’s not to love?

Being the eternal realistic optimist, I have found something not to love.


All of these issues arrived on the same exact day.

While that might not have an effect on a less neurotic individual, we are dealing with me here. I subscribe to the four magazines above and also ESPN the Mag—it comes every two weeks instead of monthly. What that means is that a few days into a new month, I am suddenly overwhelmed with quality reading material.

It’s like I go from famine to feast and I suddenly feel the need to go on a bender and read everything, just because it’s there.

Each month I contemplate the option of rationing the issues out, but then I run the risk of rendering a timely story irrelevant.  (More with the sports magazines on this one, although it would be upsetting to be the last to know about anew use for an old thing if the old thing could be used in a new way relevant to my current situation.)

So I set them all on the table in my kitchen in no particular order and tell myself I will flip through them when I can, when the spirit moves me. This is much easier to accomplish when it’s warm out, as I can take a cup of tea and sit on my deck.

But in the winter, it’s more difficult. I will sometimes go to the gym and sit on a bike (going nowhere despite my enthusiastic pedaling) for 30 mins, driven much more by the desire to burn through the pages of the latest issue than to feel the burn.

I’ll get through one or two of the magazines within a week, but then I’ll start to feel like I should “save” the rest for a bit. What I’m saving it for I have no idea. I just don’t want to read the last one and then be without a magazine option.

What inevitably happens it that two weeks will go by and I’ll realize that I still haven’t read the latest issue of the one I was “saving.” It’s not that I didn’t have the time, but rather that I didn’t have the attention span—or the magazine got buried underneath a pile of other things thrown on the “throw all your crap here” table.


I told you I have issues.

Faux Meat Faux Pas

Don’t let the title turn you off .

Whether you eat meat, veggies or lead chips from your flaking bathroom wall, you can weigh in on this one. It involves meat and deception ensues…

There is some controversy stirring in the world of VegNews, a magazine that calls itself  the "premier magazine to focus on a vegetarian lifestyle.” No, it’s not about the ethics of eating meat or not, but rather about the ethics of the publication itself. And actually, the editorial integrity of any publication.

It seems the magazine’s fake meat photos were actually pictures of real meat.

I saw the story on Slashfood, and I’ll summarize in case you don’t want to read the whole thing. If you really have no patience, there’s a question at the bottom.


It turns out VegNews has been using real meat photos to accompany its recipes, as a vegan blogger," “QuarryGirl,” discovered and documented. She’s posted several examples of stock photography of meat dishes in which VegNews has used as an image of a vegan dish (she was quite the investigative reporter, I must say.)

The "Vegan Spare Ribs" recipe used a photo of actual meat ribs, with the bones photoshopped out, and a picture for Seitan Stew was actually an iStockphoto titled "Chicken Breast Soup." Other examples include hot dogs with actual meat and macaroni and cheese with actual cheese.

There were a lot of examples and absolutely no doubt about the scam—it was totally blatant.

A former VegNews intern commented that everyone on the VegNews staff was fully aware of the “meat and dairy photo policy,” and a former copy editor echoed backed that statement up.

Slashsfood ends the piece by saying that the VegNews Facebook page has a slew of disappointed commenters as well, some of which are claiming that their comments are getting deleted and that the magazine hasn’t commented yet on its photo policy.

My Two Cents

As a vegetarian, I wasn’t offended by the fact that real meat was used. Hell, I didn’t have to eat it or anything. But as an editor and (sometimes) reader of the magazine, I was offended that this hypocrisy now called all credibility and editorial integrity of VegNews—and magazines in general— into question.

If there were dishonest enough to use meat in the pictures—something ethically offensive to most of their their readers—what could be trusted? To publish a recipe and then include a (stock) photo of something that isn’t even the real finished product is lazy, irresponsible and ridiculous.

I don’t think I need to argue that point, and I won’t be reading in the future.

But then I started a little debate in my head. How is this really different than the mass amounts of photoshopping, airbrushing, etc. that happens 99.9 percent of the time in other magazines.

“Stars Without Makeup” sections of magazines should really be called “stars wearing a crapload of makeup in neutral tones.” Heads are put on different bodies, things are cropped out and enhanced— with a few exceptions, close to nothing that’s published is an accurate portrayal of what someone “famous” looks like.

The only sticking point with my argument there was that meat is offensive to most VegNews readers, and the magazine didn’t respect that or it’s readers enough to be honest and responsible with their product. They were deliberate in their actions over and over.

As an editor and a reader myself, I can’t imagine ever being okay with that. 

I couldn’t be.

So, where do you come out on the Faux Meat Faux Pas specifically or in editorial integrity in general?

Is this situation similar to that of celebrities in magazines? Completely different?  Would it matter if it were just online and not in print?

Time to share…

Up For Debate

I personally don’t read magazines like “Marie Claire,” but this article and all it’s ensuing controversy about the “Big Six Healthy Bloggers” was sent to me this morning. I have included the link to the story and also another blogger’s Letter to the Editor in response (one of many.) In addition, each of the bloggers mentioned issued a response on their own blogs.

I have my own feelings on the subject, but I want to know what you think before I go spouting off on one of my usual rants. While it may take a few minutes to read, I think it could lead to some insightful debate.

On a completely unrelated note, one of my freelance features for a local magazine made the cover. Even though I publish a dozen features each month for my job, this made me ridiculously happy for some reason. Anyway, there is no link to the story, but it was about local bakeries so the picture is yummy. No debate about that.

Yay for bakeries!

Now go read the first article and leave me some thoughts in the comments…