Saturday, 29 December 2012

Who is Alfred E. Neuman?

Today we delve into the early days of our moronic mascot, Alfred E. Neuman.
One day in the 1960s a letter was delivered to the MAD offices bearing no name or address. Other than a postage stamp, the envelope bore only a picture of the magazine's cover boy, Alfred E. Neuman.

Clearly, the gap-toothed face of the idiot kid had become iconic. Alfred and MAD, to use an overworked phrase, were joined at the hip. Already the grinning face had shown up in unlikely places: placards of him as a candidate — "You could do worse, you always have!" — were flaunted at political conventions. His features were sculpted in ice at a Dartmouth Winter Carnival. Fred Astaire danced in an Alfred mask during a TV special. A party of climbers planted a Neuman flag atop Mount Everest.

Alfred owes his place in history to four men. The first was MAD's first editor, Harvey Kurtzman, who glimpsed the grinning face, captioned "Me worry?" on a postcard in 1954.

mad magazine the idiotical alfred e neuman postcard

"It was a kid that didn't have a care in the world, except mischief," Kurtzman recalled. The boy soon made his way into the pages of the magazine, though he was as yet unnamed.

Kurtzman had been using the Neuman name mostly because it had the ring of a nonentity — although there was a Hollywood composer named Alfred Newman. Misspelled, with the added "E," it too was integrated into the magazine.

When Al Feldstein replaced Kurtzman as editor, he decided to link "Alfred E. Neuman" with the face of the idiot kid. The idiot kid made his official debut in 1956 as a write-in candidate for President on the cover of MAD #30, and the magazine now had an official mascot and cover boy. In the next issue, Alfred made his second cover appearance pictured as an addition to Mount Rushmore.

Though others had their doubts, Nick Meglin, then an assistant editor, believed that MAD should continue to use Alfred as the magazine's cover boy. "You'll have to convince me," said publisher Bill Gaines, who had veto power over all MAD covers. Playing up to Gaines' interest in archaeology, Meglin submitted a rough sketch of Alfred in an Egyptian tomb (MAD #32) and one or two others that emerged as cover illustrations later. Having been convinced there were endless possibilities, Gaines agreed that Alfred should reign as the magazine's icon.

The Neuman face was created by Norman Mingo. Curiously, none of MAD's artists, though extremely versatile, has been able to render accurately the Mingo prototype. When Mingo died in 1980, his obituary in The New York Times identified him in its headline as the "Illustrator Behind 'Alfred E. Neuman' Face."

mad magazine the idiotical alfred e neuman norman mingo

What is the source of the "What — Me Worry?" Boy? MAD asked its readers to help out and was deluged by suggestions and theories. The kid was used in 1915 to advertise a patent medicine; he was a newspaperman named Old Jack; he was taken from a biology textbook as an example of a person who lacked iodine; he was a testimonial on advertisements for painless dentistry; he was originated by comedian Garry Moore; he was a greeting-card alcoholic named Hooey McManus; he was a Siamese boy named Watmi Worri. One reader dug up a 1909 German calendar bearing a version of the inane smiling face.

By far the most pertinent correspondence came from a lawyer representing a Vermont woman named Helen Pratt Stuff. She claimed that her late husband, Harry Stuff, had created the kid in 1914, naming him "The Eternal Optimist." Stuff's copyrighted drawing, she charged, was the source of Alfred E. Neuman and she was taking MAD to court to prove it.

Thus began the great Alfred E. Neuman lawsuit. The stakes were not small. If MAD lost, it would be liable for millions of dollars in damages. And Alfred no longer would be permitted to show his worriless countenance in any MAD publication or property...

mad magazine the idiotical totally mad excerpt 60th anniversary who was bill gaines william m gaines click here to buy

Saturday, 15 December 2012

The Five Sheaths of Existence

1. Let’s start from mouth

Mouth + Food = Food Body or Physical Body or Annamaya Kosha. A baby when in womb develops this Body through its mother with the connection of ‘umbilical cord’ and later on when out of womb, the layer upon layer upon layer keeps on coming as the years go by, whatever he or she takes is just through the mouth or if in hospital is feeded by nurses or doctors through the veins. The physical body is composed of gross elements whatever we eat, it affects, builds or destroys our body. We owe this body to mother earth, father sky (ether), and other sisters and brothers: water, fire, wood, air. In a line, this body is made up of gross elements that are decaying.

2. Passages of body + Limbs = Vital body or Pranamaya Kosha. It also grows stronger or weaker in proportion to Food Body and Mental Body. And it grows stronger with clear mind and intellect and with healthy Food Body. Moderate Pranayama and Physical Exercise are good for it.

The Ego is a serpent which has two tongues: “This” and “I”.

3. This + 5 Senses = Mind or Sheath of Mind or Manomaya Kosha. All of its tendencies are outgoing, it is autostart and no auto-stop (it only stops when — a. it is absorbed in the object, b. when we witness it, c. when we seek its source, d. when we control it by watching breaths, e. when our understanding regarding it is deep, f. in deep sleep). By nature it is addictive and intense to addiction: touch, sound, color, taste and smell, these are the 5 senses and it is ‘mad’ for them or for their combination, as they exist outside, it is hard for a beginner to control the mind.

The mind is nothing but the bundle of thoughts made on the objects of 5 senses. It is as transient as the Food Body.

4. I + 5 Senses = Intellect or Sheath of Intellect or Gyanmaya Kosha. It is our CPU, where we store information, process, analyse and reach to a decision. It works according to the stored information, true information makes it shine and false information hangs it just before starting or at the time of processing. The predispositions and beliefs system (tested or untested) are its production and it shapes its reality by them. It feeds on accumulated information and nothing else.

5. The Last Sheath = The mind in sleep (without dream) turns ignorant to it, mind doesn’t know what is happening and so mind is not working. This ignorant state is called — Bliss or Sheath of Bliss or Anandamaya Kosha. Some advice to be in this body to gain pleasure but the sages say that it is just the sheath and nothing else and no wisdom is gained in it.

The above five bodies are mentioned in Upanishads, and each of them is transient, they feed on externalities, self-realization is nothing but to recognise the “Self” (or say, Atman, Brahman, Spirit, or Soul) is not these transient bodies.


Saturday, 8 December 2012

The Death of a Brand - RIP Indiatimes Mail

Indiatimes Mail
Dear Indiatimes Mail users,
We wish to inform our Email subscribers that Email Service ("Service") will be discontinued and shall be permanently shut down with effect from 18th February, 2013 - 12 P.M(Indian Standard Time).
You will no longer be able to send or receive mails or access your account for the purpose of reading mail and or transfer any data (i.e. emails, tasks, documents, appointments, and/or contacts) currently saved in your account post 18th February, 2013 - 12 P.M(Indian Standard Time).
You can however continue to log in to all Times Internet Limited network sites using your id.
You are advised to immediately download all your emails/contents/data from your Indiatimes mailbox via IMAP at the earliest before 18th February, 2013 - 12 P.M (Indian Standard Time), failing which Times Internet Limited shall not be responsible and / or liable to provide you the content of your mailbox as the same would stand deleted.
You are further notified to immediately change your login credentials on networks where you have provided Email as your primary/authentication or alternate id.
You are advised to visit our FAQ page or write to us at anytime till 18th February, 2013 12 PM (Indian Standard Time) for assisting you through the aforementioned processes.
Please note that under no circumstances, would Times Internet Limited and its affiliates & group companies & associates, be liable and/or responsible, at any time, for any actual or threatened losses, claims, damages, whether direct, indirect, punitive, incidental, special, consequential damages , including, without limitation for any loss of information, non retrieval or loss of data, business interruption or arising out of the inability of users/subscribers to use email services.
We would like to thank you for the immense support extended to us, through the years.
Warm Regards,
Indiatimes Email Customer Services
04th December, 2012