During the pre-internet age, they served as definitive series on thousands of topics. If you had to write a report about Neanderthals for fourth grade science, you could drop into the school library, slide out a volume on early primates and copy a few meaty paragraphs word-for-word.
You then gave yourself the tools to pen a substantive thesis in a mature voice. Plus, what were the chances your teacher would ever figure out that you'd copied the whole thing?
Time-Life produced millions of pages covering a spectrum of subjects, from the Third Reich to the Art of Sowing. And after exhaustive research to ensure that my claim rings true, I've determined that one subject has evaded the storied publisher's editorial sensibilities:
The Time-Life Library of Stupid Men.
I've covered my share of moronic males in the past—Rush Limbaugh, George W. Bush, Senator Larry "I'm only gay in airports" Craig—and now I'm starting to think the series should be more of a monthly magazine than a finite hardbound collection.
Because the stupid dudes just a keep on being stupid.
Who would you say deserves first mention in this installment: Vladimir Putin or Todd Akin? How about we call it a wash and start with Putin.
The Russian president obviously has paranoid psychosis characterized by megalomania and delusions of persecution...either that or it's because he's short and could never get his eyebrows to grow out all fierce like Brezhnev could.
Whatever the reason, Putin's brought the old hammer and sickle down on the members of Pussy Riot, a feminist Russian punk rock band.
Oh, and by the way, Pussy Riot, thanks for stealing the name of my softball team.
Here's what the anonymous performers did at Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. After this video appeared online, three members of the group were arrested and charged with hooliganism motivated by religious hatred, convicted and sentenced to two years' hard labor.
How can I put this? It was a complete and total richard move by Putin, throwing a tantrum and punishing a few artists who spoke out in a highly creative fashion. Tell me that video isn't entertaining, yet completely harmless.
And how about our favorite congressman from the Show Me state, Todd Akin (By the way, doesn't he seem a little old to have the name "Todd?"). Mr. Akin also covered his load with the Tarp of Stupid, stating that, in cases of "legitimate rape," women's bodies have a natural ability to stave off pregnancy, and thus, abortion should be banned in all circumstances.
As the great Mike Brady once said, "You know Cindy, you're not only hurting the entire Republican Party...you're also hurting yourself. And is that the kind of hurting you're hurrying to hurl?"
Legitimate rape? Does that mean sexual assaults in prison are legitimate since men can't impregnate each other, yet a pregnancy resulting from some guy raping his wife or girlfriend doesn't count?
All I can hear right now is Lisa Loopner yelling, "Todd, sometimes you're such a dumb bell!" (courtesy of Gilda Radner)
Ever since Akin shat himself, his allies, and more importantly, his financial lifeline, have shriveled to the size of a tropical fish I found on the rug while doing pushups.
One day, it just wasn't in the tank and about a week later, there it was on the rug, looking like a tiny version of a dead and shriveled up ET sprawled by the riverbank. So yeah, that's what Congressman Akin's chances have amounted to in his senatorial bid against incumbent Claire McCaskill—all dried up and wrinkly.
And now, with both Vladimir Putin and Todd Akin reeling from overwhelming public backlash, their stars must soon dim and make way for the next vitriol vomiter to grace the cover of Stupid Men Weekly.
Who will it be? I'm betting on Romney again.