Wednesday, October 24, 2012

On The Coffee Table

A Book
"Passing Gas And Other Towns Along the American Highway" by Gary Gladstone   100 Speed Press   140 pages   $ ? Price was cut off; probably a gift

Gladstone is a photographer who used to be amused at and charmed by some of the town names in his US travels.  Feeling a certain boredom, he decided to take off for a year to chronicle towns with names like:  Greasy Corner, Arkansas; Tight Squeeze, Virginia; Zero, Montana - you get the idea.  The prose is centered on interviews with townspeople.

Since he seems to have shot most of the head shots with an f22 lens, many of the good citizens have goldfish-bowl-shaped faces.

Travel Magazine
The newest National Geographic Traveler's cover promises "127 Ways to Travel Smarter," essays by "great writers (of whom I have heard nothing) for a feature called "Paris and Other Places That Changed Our Lives."

Given the staff's long years of excellent work and beautiful photos, I was surprised to find that their travel side is curiously ... flat.  "Travel Talk" is a one-page with where to shop/eat/sleep and a couple of small photos.  At first I thought these were ads until I looked again.

A section entitled "Do As The Locals Do" instructs us that:  the A-OK sign is X-rated in Brazel.  In parts of Asia, chopsticks left standing upright in a bowl of rice symbolizes death.  In Polynesia, if you wear a flower over your right ear, you are saying, "Hey!  I'm single!"

A Magazine for Seniors
It's called Reminisce and does just that.  One of my cohorts at Thurs. Writrs had been researching a story and brought in a couple when she had finished with them.  The issue here is all about summer camp -- what you did, adventures in the wild or with fellow campers.  There is also a feature on roadside attractions and the first is our own Cabazon Dynosaurs on I-10 on the way to Palm Springs.

This magazine is a tremendously good conversation starter with older people.  If you are a nursing home volunteer or similar, they can be invaluable in distracting a patient from reiterated material.  For a historian or a novelist, they give pitch-perfect notes of what it was like back in the day.

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