Archived Story

Contenders for the Page-Turner Award

Published 10:05am Friday, November 18, 2011

Column: Ed Shannon, Between the Corn Rows

It’s about time to provide some special recognition for publications that feature fairly worthless printed material. This is where the Page-Turner Award fits right in as this week’s major topic.

Now, just who in the heck are Page and Turner? They are fictional characters I’ve created to give this suggested award a mythical name.

What inspired this award idea is the sad situation we all encounter with magazines and books. All too often there’s too much print and illustrated portions that are just a waste of time to look at. This is purely page-turner stuff. There, I’ve explained the inspiration for the Page-Turner Award.

It’s one thing to write about this ersatz award, and another detail to list a few prime contenders.

One publication I’d like to offer as a candidate for this award is Vanity Fair magazine. This particular monthly publication is a mighty thick magazine. Yet, when one starts to turn the pages, there is a clear indication it’s going to be a real challenge to find something of interest to read.

This magazine, like some other publications, seems to be allergic to numbering its pages. In the issue I randomly selected as a candidate for this award, I discovered that the first numbered page was 38. Up to this point, there’s nothing but single-page and double-page advertisements.

The next numbered page was 61, followed by 72, 84, 90 and 92. In between those pages with printed information and letters to the editor were more ads. Finally, by page 100 the articles and photos started with ads here and there up to the final page at 286. The last page was not numbered because it was still another ad.

Another magazine that’s a prime candidate for Page-Turner honors is Vogue. The issue I chose for consideration had no page numbers until the contents were listed on page 82. The publication’s staff was listed on page 92, followed by a letter from the editor on page 114. Letters from the readers were on pages 130, 138 and 149. Finally, the real contents started on page 300. All the pages not numbered had full-page ads galore. This specific issue, by the way, had a total of 386 pages.

Right at this point I’d like to stress two points. First, this suggested award should be based on printed content versus advertising material. Second, one person’s boring page-turner could be another person’s favorite reading material. For example, some folks don’t care at all about hunting and fishing magazines; other folks can’t wait for the next issues to arrive in the mail.

Yet, there’s another aspect of our daily life that could easily deserve another suggested award. It’s the Channel Changer. This honor could be given to any television program that results in a majority of initial viewers deliberately changing channels to watch anything else on the screen, tube or whatever.

OK, enough of a topic better handled by readers and viewers without any goofy awards suggestions. Right at this point let’s switch to a topic that was hinted at in the last column.


Cornstalk comment

Former Albert Lea resident Tom Jensen, who now lives in Texas, recently sent the following inquiry, “I was wondering if you remember the auto racing on frozen Fountain Lake (I think) in the mid-1950s? I grew up in Albert Lea and remember going to those races with my father (Ole Jensen, Stella Goeders’ brother). I seem to remember the track was marked by straw bales and the cars had chains on all four tires, probably a quarter mile track, might make a good column.”

Here’s a detail of local life I’m not familiar with. Also, I came to Albert Lea with my family in late summer of 1958.

In the past I’ve covered several topics regarding wintertime activities on Fountain Lake. These have included ice skating on Fuller’s Bay, ice harvesting, ice boating and even horse racing.

I encourage anyone with more information and/or photos to bring this material to the Tribune and we’ll see what evolves.


With just three exceptions, Ed Shannon’s column has been appearing in the Tribune every Friday since December 1984.