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Behind Spirit's January Issue

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Magazine covers can be like Rorschach blots. Take the January issue of Southwest’s Spirit magazine. Some people found our photo of figure skater Johnny Weir to be totally cool. Some thought it looked as if he was just about to cut his nose off with an ice skate. Talk about edgy. We spoke with Weir about his big attempt at an Olympic comeback. People were touting him for a gold in the last Olympics, and he ended up in fifth. Last year he even quit skating for a couple of months. And who talked him back onto the ice? His mom, of course. Can’t wait to see how he does in the U.S. championships this month.

I’m also excited about a new monthly feature in the Fun section called Folding Money. It’s an origami project that uses paper currency. The idea is to break out of the magazine’s two dimensions and get people folding pyramids and other stuff with their pocket money. Which will get more people pulling their magazines out of seat pockets to see what the fuss is all about. Which in turn will get them so excited, they’ll send their creations to me at Pace Communications. I’ll take any currency.

Another highlight this month is a big package on “destination food”: eateries so good they’re worth traveling to—or, in the case of the trendy gourmet food trucks, travels to you. We editors drove the art staff crazy, trying to get them to cram as much info as possible into the package—kind of like the way some of us eat—while urging them to leave space for lavish photography. Writer Sarah Murphy went from the sublime (the homemade hot dogs at The Butcher Shop in Boston) to the, um, airy (Me N Yu in Washington, DC, where the chef’s tasting table is in a giant bird cage suspended over the main dining room).

To lose the weight you gain at these places (not to mention the pounds we all acquired over the holidays) while improving your health, our Life Apps section includes an “Activator” with useful, research-based advice. For instance: Keep a food journal (it can double the amount of weight you lose). Get a buddy to go to the gym with you (it increases feel-good endorphins). And see a doctor before you try to quit smoking (it improves your chance of success by 70 percent).

Now, excuse me. I have some fruitcake to work off.