Your Crap Archivist brings you the finest in forgotten and bewildering crap culled from Golden State thrift stores, estate sales, and flea markets.
Mail Box News
Publisher: Maid of Scandinavia, Minneapolis, MN
The Cover Promises: Some clowns can't stop smiling, even when impaled on a pike.
As a medium for artistic expression, cake decorating has one serious advantage over watercolors or pot-throwing: No matter how bad the art, everyone at least still has cake. At gallery shows, this could be revolutionary -- the opening-night refreshment is the art itself! It also might make some grim point about the ephemeral nature of all human endeavor, and it absolutely would cut down on catering costs.That ephemeral nature of even the grandest of food-art makes magazines like Mail Box News invaluable. For decades, the Mail Box crew has collected and printed snapshots of its readers' most inventive cakes, preserving for all time the important pieces of life that regular folks once felt moved to honor in frosting: Of course, the 1970s were about much more than just 3.2 beer. Coors and Camels! Sadly, the readers of Mail Box News did not whip up a cake commemorating the one other thing that sure-as-shit always goes with these two 70s essentials: A teenage boy's not-quite-there mustache. Here's a couple other things you might not expect to be given cake shape. First, a deflating Texas. If we moisten the state, we might be able to find the hole! More impressively, this next one is Americans' favorite kind of art: the kind that actually looks like what it's of. Confusing turkey cake -- or is it cake-flavored turkey? -- was only part of the 1970s Thanksgiving celebration. For some, dessert was not complete without a spirit guide. Note the plainsman's tiny, tiny hands. And his expression of unease. And the fact that -- like the evening in T.S. Eliot -- he lies etherized upon a table. Like any artistic endeavor, cake decorating offers creative types the chance to express truths they might otherwise have held in. For Mail Box News readers, one of the most common of these truths was the cake maker's annoyance with the cake receiver. Here's a playful complaint about one man's belief that women should spend their days baking cakes. This one pokes the head of household with sarcastic quotation marks and a heroic roll of the eyes. And this next one just comes right out and says it. Next: Bert & Ernie get freaky; Pooh chows down; and a lurid vision I can only call the "hole-in-the-sheet cake"