I really enjoy your magazine and read it cover to cover. One thing I like is the small gadgets and projects in the magazine. It’s so interesting I can’t stop reading it! I am 12 years old and we get it at school. My whole family loves it too.
—Michael Jon Nisly, Hutchinson, Kan.
I’m no Judy Garland fan (nor do I dislike her, for that matter), and I’m rarely the first person to push for political correctness. But I have to say that in the Ghost Phone article [Volume 16, “The Disembodied Voice of Judy Garland Speaks”], the suggestion of pills and liquor on the night table is in really poor taste. Given that Garland died of a drug overdose, I would think that her family and friends would find the article ugly.
MAKE, to me, is a classy publication that rates “things which create wonder” high in priority, and rates the salacious and snarky very low in priority. This feels more like Perez Hilton. This piece was below you, and I felt very put off by it. Not the best editorial call, MAKE.
—John Cornwell, San Francisco, Calif.
Author Greg MacLaurin responds: My focus for the article was to share the Ghost Phone idea with everyone. The idea of bringing old telephones alive by hiding an MP3 player inside is simple and wonderful, and I want other people to create their own art with it. One person told me that she has some cassette tapes of her long-lost mother on an answering machine, and now she wants to create her own Ghost Phone with that. It’s perfect! And since the Judy Phone was my first Ghost Phone, it made sense to use it as an example. But the article is about process, and not the Judy Phone.
Some people don’t like the Judy Phone. But when people see it in person, they sit on the bench, pick up the phone, look at the pills and booze, and listen to Judy talking about her own life. They begin to think a bit about who she was. This is art that has layers. Sure, it seems strange and silly on the surface, but that wasn’t my intention, and fortunately it’s not the impression that people get when they experience it.
I’ve been surrounded by lots of death and tragedy, and my art reflects this. It’s not unfeeling. It’s deeper and truer. Like the Judy Phone.
I just received the latest MAKE, and was quite pleased to see one of the letters from readers was a positive note from a 5th grader on his wind tunnel build based on my article [Volume 15,“Model Wind Tunnel”]. This brought an ear-to-ear smile to my face.
A side note: This week I was asked to give a talk at my son’s elementary school about aerospace engineering. Besides the wind tunnel, I brought a rocket cam from MAKE [Volume 07, “Rocket-Launched Camcorder”] that was a huge hit — especially when I played the video. There were tons of energized kids wanting to go off and build things afterward.
My next project is mounting a CVS camcorder on a Pinewood Derby car to film a race as it happens, then next, building a 5-launch-rod digital model rocket controller for the Cub Scout rocket derby. Fun stuff! What a great magazine!
—Doug Desrochers, Burke, Va.