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Behind Spirit’s November Issue

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Want to know my favorite part of Southwest’s Spirit magazine? You don’t? Well, I can’t resist telling you anyway: It’s the upfront section called “The Numbers.” In the November issue, we learn the following very important stats:

You use 100% of your brain.
New Orleans was the No. 1 fast-growing city last year.
We flub 6% of all spoken words.
The average American keeps a car for 56 months.
17% of us respond to spam.

The editor who digs that stuff up, Mike Darling, says the hardest part of doing that department is getting genuine, verifiable information. “You don’t just Google this stuff,” he says. “I try to keep up on the latest research. And I read a lot.” And boy, does he know a lot.

The department getting the most raves from readers, though, is our Life Apps section—sort of like iPhone apps, only on paper. The art staff keeps coming up with new apps, like the Agonizer (on health), Gridifier, Snackatron, and Drinkatron. The Drinkatron was originally called “Cocktail,” but when we created the new Life Apps section, we didn’t have anyplace to put that page. So Brody Price came up with an amazing infographic that shows you at a glance how to mix a drink. Other magazines are already plagiarizing it. We’re deeply honored.

We also have a fairly new department called Business Idea. I usually write it myself, but this time I managed to foist it onto a better writer: Chris McDougall, author of the current smash bestseller Born to Run. If you watch Jon Stewart, you may have seen Chris talking about his book—a mix of adventure tale, exposé (about running shoes), and hilarious personal health story. You have got to read this book, and not just because Chris wrote the story for me for free (because I’m supposed to write the column, there was no budget to pay him).

But our cover package is all about winter and why it should be your favorite season. OK, maybe not your favorite, but a cut above fall. You’ll love Nat Reade’s sweet, funny story about organizing a family Olympics in Lake Placid. “We are no longer your parents,” Nat told his two young boys. “We are your opponents. And we are going to crush you like bugs!”

Doesn’t that just warm your heart?