365 T-shirts - the reasoning

This blog should be sub-titled: a journal of my life in geek.

I get my geek on with things about which I am geeky: comic books, Baseball, Ultimate, science fiction, my favorite bands, books I have read and loved, and Jungian psychology to name some of the most frequently traversed subjects.

I began this project simply as a way to count my T-shirts. I own a lot of T-shirts. But how many do I have? Do I have 365? We shall find out.

When I started this blog, I thought about how each T-shirt means something to me. I bought it for a reason, after all. I set myself the task to post an entry about a new T-shirt every day as a way to simply write something every day, a warm up for writing fiction, which is my passion. Writing is like exercise. Warm ups are good for exercise. But after completing a month of blogging about T-shirts, I have learned that this blog serves as a journal; it documents my life in geek, sort of a tour of my interests in pop culture. The blog serves as a tool for self-inventory, for assessment and analysis of self and the origins of self, for stepping through the process of individuation in catalogues, lists, and ranks.

The blog also made me aware that I have some serious gaps in my T-shirt ownership, and I am in the process of collecting some new T-shirts for several of the great popular culture icons that I truly love. Stay tuned.

I was also a bit surprised that people checked out my blog and continue to check it, read it, and even comment on it. I am very appreciative of this readership. Please feel free to share your thoughts in my comments section. I will respond.

Also, please note that I have moved the original introductory text to the side bar. And now, I present to you the most recent entry of 365 T-shirts: a journal of my life in geek. Thank you for reading.
(Second Update - 1310.24. First Update - 1306.05 Originally Posted - 1304.25.)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

T-shirt #264 - Alfred E. Neuman Faces - Mad Magazine

T-shirt #264 - Alfred E. Neuman Faces - Mad Magazine

I am trying to restrict myself to one subject per entry. I am finding this difficult. As I discussed yesterday, I am trying to work on shorter entries last week and this week in an attempt to save time to get ahead on the blog and work on entries of greater length. So far, I have not been 100% successful at saving time this way. Hell, I have not been 10% successful. For instance, yesterday, the entry grew and grew, and the work needed to complete it in cross-referencing and researching ate up all the time I allot for writing each day, which is around 60-90 minutes, though sometimes less, depending on the day and the work load.

If you are a follower, you may have also noticed that I generally post most often in the morning. But lately, I have taken to spreading out the blog work throughout the day so as to get to work (on my actual jobs) sooner. If I let it, the blog will carry me away like the tide or pull me down like a gravity well. So I must remain diligent, disciplined, and strong. Not an easy thing to do when the blog provides such a wonderful and fun escape from WORKING. Though my jobs are not that bad and actually rather enjoyable (most of the time), it's not like I am always super motivated or excited to start working for the day. Anyway, today is one of those days to spread out work on the blog. The only way you will realize I am doing this is that the blog will be published later in the day, so if you are following via Facebook or Twitter, you won't see a notification this morning. I am not sure if anyone is watching that closely. :-)

I have discovered that the blog's readership often spikes on Sunday, which is why I try to plan entries of substance for those days, which is why I keep putting off the entry I had planned for last Sunday because it will be one of substance, but it's not so substantial yet. My point being that I would keep an eye out for Sunday posts of value. I am trying to deliver good quality all the time, but as often on Sundays as I can manage, which means working ahead, as I generally like to be lazy and have a day of R&R on Sundays because if I don't get one day of R&R per week (and one is about all I can manage with my work schedule), I become VERY VERY grouchy. And, YES, that was a damn LONG sentence, but I do think it is grammatically correct.

Also, I wanted to mention that my readership jumped to 103 hits on Sunday December Eighth. According to my stats analysis, the entry for T-shirt #241: Advice from a Volcano continues to be a top viewed item, which I find odd. I am not sure why this is the case.

All of which has very little to do with today's subject, which is Mad Magazine, and it's brand-name face, trademark, and franchise identity: Alfred E. Neuman.

This is and has been one of my favorite shirts for a very long time. I would judge the shirt to be at least ten years old if not older. I think it's a very clever joke and very much in the vein of Mad Magazine to have the back of Alfred E. Neuman's head on the front of the shirt and the front of his face on the back of the shirt. Very clever indeed, which is why I indulged in extra pictures of it. See two clothes hanger, off-body pics farther below.

I previously wrote about Mad Magazine in T-shirt #92. I had pictures taken at Fanfare with two of the people who work there, whom I count as friends. It was also the week I decided to start the Weekly Comics List feature, and so it is the first entry in that category (or the last, the oldest, if you click on the category and dial backwards).

At the time when I wrote T-shirt #92, June 21, I was soon to leave for Ann Arbor to see a concert (which I wrote about in T-shirt #112 and T-shirt #113), and intending to shop for the Mad Magazine paperbacks from the 1970s published by Signet and by Warner. In T-shirt #92, I expressed my interest in collecting all the paperbacks from this time period. You can see the extent of my collection so far displayed in pictures beside, above, and below. In addition to wanting to obtain all the Doc Savage Bantam paperbacks, I want to obtain the Mad Magazine books as well though I would prefer to find them in bookstores. I have looked in both used shoppes in Ann Arbor and the great Powell's of Portland, OR as well as local Kalamazoo shops and have found none. In today's world, the Internet (EBay especially) provides many options for acquiring what I want. Earlier this year, I bought 40-50 of the Doc Savage books this way, though I have not yet shelved these as I have not yet completed my office remodeling, which includes creating display shelves for both sets of paperbacks (the Doc Savage and these Mad Magazine books).

As for whether I will resort to Internet purchases or scour more used bookstores for what I want remains to be seen and is question I am attempting to answer for myself.

Also, as I mentioned in T-shirt #92, I continue to give Ivan a subscription to Mad Magazine simply as an excuse to get current issues in the house. Though the appeal of the brand of satire (brand Ecch) is noy as strong as it once was, I do enjoy flipping through the current issues.

Unless I buy another Mad Magazine shirt before the end of the blog year (or am given one as a gift), I am out of such shirts for now, which is all right because I do not have volumes of content to deliver about Mad Magazine.

However, before I sign off for the day, I looked up a bunch of resources via the Internet to share on the subject of Mad Magazine. You may find them interesting.

I found TWO such posts of collections of someone's idea of the ten best Mad Magazine covers of all time. Though the sets of ten overlap with some of the same, there are notable differences. I will combine these into a selection of five (no need to overwhelm) covers. Okay, I intended to do five. I did more. Keep reading.



Mad Magazine has its own MAD TUMBLR. Who knew?

Some guy named Tom Richmond runs a daily MAD BLOG. Some people have a lot of time on their hands. A DAILY blog? Crazy. Totally insane. Where does he find the time?

Great post about Mad Magazine called What, Me Worry by Uncle John.

A very MAD collector site. The Internet has made it possible for all sorts of odd folks to come out of the woodwork and put themselves on display, like this chap at Dick's Mad Stuff. Here a mad, MAD collector, dedicates the site to another MAD MAD creator named Dick and collects all sorts of Mad Magazine ephemera in one place. Links to sites from other countries, cover sites, vital links, and many links to sites for that "Usual Gang of Idiots," the Mad creators. Great site collecting most of what is relevant with Mad Magazine on the Internet.

One of the premiere (or top of the search results) Mad Magazine cover web sites:

There are MANY cover sites on the Internet all collected in Dick's Mad Stuff. But this one reigned supreme at the top of the Google search.

Okay, some guy I have never heard of who has his own CNN show, though he looks like he never touched a copy of Mad Magazine in his life, though he wants you to think he's "cool enough" to have done so, Jake Tapper, did an "Inside Mad" piece for his show.

Though CNN is owned by Time Warner who also owns Mad Magazine, it's an interesting enough story.


Some quotes after the image below.

I liked this bit: "One of Mad's core reasons to exist is to question authority, because as you get older you'll realize that basically everybody has an agenda and everybody is lying to you," said longtime editor John Ficarra. "Mad really doesn't make up anything, we just sort of look at what's going on in society and say, 'Isn't this kind of weird, or stupid, or dumb?'"
and this bit: "The hope is that jokes aren't just funny, but formative. 'We feed to a counterculture, we feed to that 'question authority, they're lying to you,'" said Ficarra. "It's amazing that almost every generation has to relearn that, and Mad is there to teach it to them in some way.'"
Did you know that before MAD TV, there was a Mad TV pilot created in 1974? Neither did I. TV network executives deemed the humor "too crude for television" and it never aired. Here is a link.

The Mad Magazine TV Special 1974

And so, this brings me to my last subject: WHEN WE WENT MAD: THE KICKSTARTER.

Alan Bernstein from Royal Oak, MI is making a documentary about Mad Magazine, billed as "MAD Magazine poked fun at everything - and changed the world. A peek behind the scenes at this culture rotting institution."

Though Bernstein and company have reached their goal, they are still accepting contributions to :"make the frosting all that much sweeter." By the time you have read this, I will have kicked in my part because I want an awesome T-shirt and DVD of the movie!

There are many sites that compile "Best of" Mad Magazine covers. Here's two top tens.



Let's see if I can keep my group to five. I bet I can't. And I cheated as I already have two posted above.

How about lucky thirteen? What me worry? heh.

This may not be one of the best
but I am partial to it as I own it.

I am partial to this one
as I bought it
in an attempt to get back into Mad.

- chris tower - 1312.10 - 19:30