The Common Good
April 1994

White Space and Bad Hair

by Ed Spivey Jr. | April 1994

Aaaaaah. It’s nice to stretch out in all this extra space.

Aaaaaah. It’s nice to stretch out in all this extra space. Our new format gives "H’rumphs" eight more inches, a whole column of additional fun, which literally tens of our readers have asked for. Unfortunately, it also gives the food section more space (today’s recipe: Yummy Compost Burgers).

But seriously, this month’s food column talks about the importance of cutting back on fat. Well, I have a confession to make. This is not easy for me to say, but when I was in college I actually tried some fatty foods. I was at a party with a bunch of friends—you know how it is when everybody else is doing it. But I swear I didn’t swallow.

Getting back to our new format: most of the changes came after talking to some of our readers. They said the magazine was a little hard to read because of too much type on a page. We knew this couldn’t be true, so we talked to some more readers, but they said the same thing. So then we talked to some others and surprisingly, they also were wrong. (We tried very hard to find readers who actually like pages and pages of type, but found only one person. It turned out he works for Sojourners.) In short, no matter how many readers we talked to, they all complained about too much type on a page. They were really getting on our nerves.

But which would you rather have, happy readers or happy writers? Me too. Hence, our redesign.

About the cover: Actually, we hadn’t planned to change the cover logo. We prefer it nice and wide, but somehow it got caught between a couple of really long articles and ended up sort of squished.

We Told You So

  • Less than a month after Canada signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NATO)—a pact that Sojourners vehemently opposed (I’ve never seen so much vehemence in one place. It was all over the floor and sticking to the bottom of our shoes. Yuck!)—our worst fears were realized.

Not to say "we told you so," but our "neighbor" to the north quickly took advantage of the relaxed trade barriers and inundated our country with Canada’s biggest export: arctic wind chill.

And don’t naively think our worst winter in decades was from so-called "natural causes." Heck no. When Canada produced more snow and freezing rain than it could use, it simply dumped the excess onto our markets—at half the price of domestically produced weather. Sort of like what Honda did with the 1991 Civics.

Let’s just hope that if a cold winter comes next year, it’s 100 percent American cold.

Service Above and Beyond

  • This month’s unsung hero award goes to Sojourners staffer Scot DeGraf who recently ignored our warnings and cleaned out the office refrigerator. Claiming that a year of neglect was long enough (apparently a buildup of organic gases was making it difficult to keep the door closed), Scot actually used his bare hands to remove and inspect dozens of unopened plastic containers.

Scot is a brave man.

The rest of us figure that whatever is inside those containers is, in the interest of science, better left to future generations. (But then most of us think cheese is on the Periodic Table.) Fortunately, Scot knew better and courageously acted on his own.

Some of his discoveries are best left undescribed, but those entering the Sojourners Refrigerator Hall of Fame include:

• A former banana.

• A festering mass of putrid...[deleted by the editors].

• The remains of a really long article.

• A roundish, fruit-like shrunken thing. Best guess: spinach lasagne or a tangelo.

• Waldo.

• Something greenish and sour. Possibly Bob Dole.

Reader’s Corner

  • This month’s question comes from a reader in Ohio who asks: "Say, given that it’s February, why don’t you have any heat in your office?"

That’s an excellent question. A question that a lot of us would go ask if we weren’t clinging to each other for warmth after having just eaten today’s unfortunate lunch selection: chilled fruit.

Cold weather tip ’n possible country-western song: You can’t warm your hands over the microwave.

New Office Policy

  • You know how some mornings you look in the mirror and wonder what your pillow did to you during the night? Or after a shower you read the fine print on the shampoo bottle and it says "not for use on humans"? Is that what’s buggin’ you?

Well, in another milestone in progressive management, Sojourners magazine now permits staff members to stay home on bad hair days.

We hope this will cut down on seasonal depression among the staff, particularly during the winter months when people have to wear those stocking caps that make one side of your hair look like it belongs on somebody else’s head.

Correction

  • A typographical error in our last issue may have caused some confusion. Our hearts were certainly in the right place when we said, "We’ve got to get the guns and drugs off the streets and into the churches where they belong." But it sort of came out wrong.

Sojourners relies on the support of readers like you to sustain our message and ministry.

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