One of my favorite lunchtime pastimes is sitting down and thumbing through one of the magazines I get in the mail each week. I look forward to reading my Christian Century, for example, which is always thought-provoking. I love Biblical Archaeology Review because it touches the historian in me. Mental Floss is an absolute hoot, filled with facts and origin stories of the stuff that makes the world tick. My favorite, however, has to be the The Week magazine which comes, well, every week. Inside every issue is a summary of the previous week’s news, which is perfect for our over-saturated, 24 hour news cycle lives. Reading The Week provides me with an overview of everything important that has happened in the world, along with summaries of commentary by people with different perspectives on the news. The editors do a great job of balancing summaries of columns from such divergent news outlets as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The National Review and a variety of others. You’re not getting polemic in these pages, just the news.
My favorite part of The Week, however, has to do with all the weird news that’s out there that you never knew you needed to know. In the issue that came yesterday, for example, there were the following little tidbits:
- Clara Cowell, a 102 year-old British woman, gave up smoking at the age of 102 because she feared they would shorten her life. She has smoked 60,000 cigarettes since her first one in 1931. Better late than never?
- Montana lawmakers have passed a bill allowing residents to eat road-killed game. “People hit a lot of animals,” said State Representative Steve Lavin. “There’s a lot of good meat being wasted out there.” Mom, why is there asphalt in this elk steak?
- Flying on an airplane makes it more likely that you will suffer a bout of flatulence, a new scientific study has concluded. Changes in cabin pressure apparently make changes in your, um, intestinal pressure. Trying to keep from gassing out your seat mate, however, can lead to “significant drawbacks” even though “proximity to other passengers may cause conflict and stigmatization of the offending individual.” Perhaps the best reason to sit at the back of the plane!
- A new fad is growing among Japanese teenage girls. They are wearing their underwear over their heads as “unusual facemasks” and are showing up at school with them on. The fad is apparently based on a popular teen comic book character who wears ladies undergarments over his head as a mask. Said one Japanese commentator, “I worry about this country.” And you thought those teenage boys wearing their pants around their thighs were strange…
- Also from Japan, a new restaurant has opened in Tokyo whose main ingredient for all its cuisine is (wait for it) dirt. The meal begins with a soil soup and ends with a light soil sorbet accompanied by a sweet dirt gratin. The price? Around $110US. Hmm. When I was in kindergarten it was free.
See, this is the kind of news you can really use–not the stodgy stuff you hear blowhard pundits wrangle about, but news that people like us preachers can mine for illustrations (though underwear over the head may be a stretch–bada bing!). It’s one magazine that read cover to cover every week while I’m eating that leftover tortellini during lunch–without the dirt dressing, of course.
You can subscribe to The Week magazine for about $50 a year. Check it out and see if it’s not the one magazine you can’t afford to miss!