The Perfect Road Trip Magazine: Mental Floss

Let’s discuss for a moment, if you will, the road trip. A trip taken by car that spans many hours, broken up only by meals and bathroom breaks. On the way to the destination, excitement over the trip can trump boredom and frequently little or no reading intervention is required. But the way home is another story. Scenery – already seen it once. Sorry. Conversation – I’ve lived with these people 24/7 for a week without interruption; there is nothing new to discuss. It is at this point that you need a magazine chock full of interesting trivia and short articles perfect for reading aloud to your traveling partner.

The magazine Mental Floss did just the trick. Having bought the July/Aug 2008 issue at the newsstand a couple days ago, it gave my driving hubby and me oodles of new topics to discuss over a good two-hour period on our trek home today. We learned how Babe Didrikson tore the cartilage in her right shoulder at the 1932 Olympics in the javelin throw and still set a new world record (“The 15 Greatest Moments in Olympic History,” by Ethan Trex). We marveled at how John Draper hacked phone lines across the world in 1972 using a whistle contained in Cap’n Crunch cereal (“Cereal Crime,” by Chris Higgins), which led to private musings about how Cap’n Crunch cereal always managed to tear up the roof of my mouth when I ate it, yet I still loved it.

Perhaps because of the nostalgic remembrances of childhood cereal, my favorite article in the magazine was Ian Lendler’s “Just Add Milk: How Cereal Transformed American Culture.” Walking the reader through the history of cereal, from its Christian fundamentalist beginnings in the mid-1800s as “granula” through the advertising that would bring cereal barons in the early 1900s to Battle Creek, Michigan, all the way to the sugary present, it was a fascinating overview of a subject about which we all share some expertise.

Now, sadly, I checked, and these articles do not seem to be available online from the website, more’s the pity. This particular issue was so entertaining that I think y’all should head to the library to see if you can check it out. My sense, however, is that every issue is equally entertaining. Thus, if you have a road trip in your future, you have the answer to all your conversation challenges at the ready. Road trip away!

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2 Responses to “The Perfect Road Trip Magazine: Mental Floss”

  1. Digital Dame Says:

    I’ve read the online version and loved it. I didn’t even know they had a print version. Lots of fun, unusual stuff.

  2. toddiedowns Says:

    I think of it less like mental floss and more like popcorn for the brain; you can’t stop with just one piece. . .

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