Friday, April 11

The Trivial Eye: Mad Boys & Girls

by Jason Toon

The period costumes and hairstyles of Mad Men are so perfectly done, and the '60s production design so pervasive, that it's startling to be reminded that the cast members have lives outside the show. And that some of them have the same history of ludicrous hairstyles and inadvisable outfits that the rest of us do. As Mad Men begins its final season (or next-to-final half-season? or whatever) this weekend, can you recognize these eight cast members in their pre-Sterling-Cooper days?

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Thursday, April 03

The Trivial Eye: Young Adult Novels

by Jason Toon
Today, the day after International Children's Book Day, seems like a good time to celebrate Young Adult novels. Of course, in a better world, they would just be called novels. Those who judge a book by which section it's shelved in are missing out. The best YA fiction can be as serious, as funny, and as moving as anything on the latest prize shortlist - and I'm sure at least one of these classics has left an indelible impression on you, too.

 

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Thursday, March 27

 

Friday, March 21

 

Thursday, March 13

The Trivial Eye: Basketball Movies

by Jason Toon

The likes of Eight Men Out and The Blind Side notwithstanding, basketball tops every sport on the silver screen. The back-and-forth scoring, the spectacular jumps and shots, the buzzer-beaters from halfcourt, the complex interplay of class and race: it's all made for the movies. Before the real basketball drama starts unfolding next week, can you identify these eight hoops films by their posters or DVD covers?

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Thursday, March 06

The Trivial Eye: Foreign Posters for Hollywood Movies

by Jason Toon

These days, the posters for Hollywood movies usually look pretty much the same everywhere, except for the language. But there was a time when it was more common for local distributors and exhibitors put together their own posters to appeal to local audiences. And their re-imaginings can be more interesting than the movies themselves. Sometimes they'd interpret the movie's theme symbolically. Sometimes they'd latch on to some detail that the American producers considered secondary. Sometimes they'd take a completely different tone or visual style. And sometimes they'd make some crap up and hope it got people in the door. Can you recognize any of these well-known Hollywood flicks from their foreign posters?

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Thursday, February 27

The Trivial Eye: Board Game Battlefields

by Jason Toon

The only good wars are the ones fought around a table with your friends. No casualties, no shattered cities or burned fields or starving refugees, and it's all over in a few hours. Here are eight game boards where millions of us have discovered the pleasures of phony wars. Some were total global conflicts, others mere skirmishes. Do you recognize these play battlefields?

 

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Thursday, February 20

 

Thursday, February 13

The Trivial Eye: Hair of the Doctor

by Jason Toon

Different actors, different personas, but most significantly, different hair: so goes the evolution of the character we insist on calling Doctor Who. (We're masochists for outraged, pedantic lectures from geeks.) For a time-traveler, the Doctor sure has followed the hairstyle trends of his time, hasn't he? Keep that in mind as you try to match the hair with the Doctor.

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Wednesday, November 27

Mmmm, Tastes Like Black Friday!

by Jason Toon

On Black Friday evening - when the shopping bags are full, the credit cards are maxxed out, and the minor contusions and lacerations are treated - it's time to gather round for a hearty, traditional Black Friday dinner. The secret to Black Friday entertaining is simple:

  1. Prepare some delicious dishes according to the recipes in Mom's recipe file, a popular magazine, or on a can of sliced beef tongue.
  2. Dye some of the food black.
  3. Serve with ugly dishes, unsettling dolls, and barf bags and/or buckets.
     

Just look at how a splash of black food coloring can bring your Black Friday cuisine to life! Mmm, dusky!

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