February 14, 2007

The same box

For years and decades, LIFE magazine was a large-format and substantial vehicle for fine photography, a name synonymous with excellence in photojournalism. Some of the greatest names in photography had their work appear in its pages, and you could always count on the magazine for arresting, thought-provoking images. Somewhere in the stacks of paper in whose midst I live is, for example, LIFE's feature on Rudi Gernreich's startling-at-the-time invention (his first, look it up; I'm not sure if his second made it). Including a delightful shot of a woman looking at said invention in a shop window with an intriguing mix of longing and horror on her face.

Quite a magazine, LIFE. Sadly, it has now become no more than a caricature of itself. Downsized to barely ten pages long at times, it's a vanishing shadow of what it used to be. Worst of all, it is now free; just one more supplement in Sunday newspaper editions across the country. Huge print run, I believe, but who would take it seriously? Ah, how the mighty have fallen.

Nevertheless, a couple of days ago I pored through three 2006 issues someone gave me to look at. Some interesting material, but none of those arresting photographs. One had a quiz designed to shake up your thinking about health. You know: the more fatty looking meal actually turns out to have less calories, stuff like that.

And somewhere in there I gleaned this little bit of essential health knowledge: as pets, dogs provide better allergy protection in homes than cats.

I'm sitting in the same bus, ruminating over this. A while later, we enter the outskirts of Wilmington, Delaware, where the first sign I see has this word and this word only: "KRAPFLANDOIT".

I have no idea what that means. While I'm puzzling over it, we stop at a traffic signal. Next to us is a parking lot filled with Budget moving trucks. On the side of one of them is Budget Moving Tip #32: "Don't Pack Dog and Cat in Same Box."

Got that?


km said...

Well, didn't you know, Life sucks?

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