Mark Newgarden's remarkable "Cheap Laffs: The Art of the Novelty Item" is worth far more than the price of admission. Of course, the bulk of the book is a lovely, arch, witty illustrated encyclopedia of mid-century gags from fake dog-shit to humorous toilet-seat covers; each one gives a capsule history of the gag, notes on material and construction and sometimes even little quotes from the founding fathers of the golden age of gags.
But beyond the encyclopedia, there's a truly outstanding introduction that tells the colorful, fascinating story of the gag, stories of intense rivalries between immigrant entrepreneurs of the last century, squabbles over who invented rubber puke, and the early regulation of sneezing powder. These were deeply weird people, but charming, and Newgarden's capsule history of gagdom is like a window into a better world.
Freddy deBoer writes that he’s been telling the same joke for years about Silicon Valley’s only product, which might be universalized as “At last, a way to verb with nouns on the internet!” But the social-media techopoly is stable, now, and so the venture capitalists have moved on to the three terrible trends that will […]
Alex Wood is an addict but won’t give up his smartphone. But he has five strategies for limiting its control over him: “I used to wake up tired. My body would ache and my head felt sore, like waking up with a hangover. Finally, I took control, like attending an AA class for addicts, I […]
We just got the Sport model of the EPIKGO hoverboard at my office. Besides being terribly chic, it’s apparently bulletproof.
If you want to work in tech, but don’t have any desire to code web apps to help businesses sell things to other business, you might want to consider a career in cybersecurity. Judging from the apparent complete infiltration of Russian hackers in American cyberspace, it seems fair to speculate that there’s a major shortage of […]
All moms are different. But all moms like getting flowers on Mother’s Day, and that’s a fact (not, however a fact we can document in any fashion.) Instead of getting chewed out for forgetting to call her on the second Sunday of May, you can take care of it ahead of time with Teleflora’s flower […]
Yeah, Bluetooth audio is pretty common these days, so why should you care about these earbuds? Look how happy that woman up above looks. She’s got FRESHeBUDS in. Boom. There’s your reason. She’s also at the beach and it appears to be a very nice day.But for the sake of promotion, wireless earbuds are fast becoming the […]