I grew up sheltered in a village of 1,200 people; moving to Milwaukee and discovering things was huge.
  1. Finding out about the National Lampoon
    I saw the famous "If You Don't Buy This Magazine..." issue, and was hooked.
  2. Checking "Portnoy's Complaint" out of the library
    The librarian from my hometown library knew every patron and probably gossiped about their reading habits. That I could anonymously check out books from a big city library was huge.
  3. Discovering New York magazine
    John Vivian, my News Reporting 101 professor, gave us a handout early in my freshman semester - a long feature from New York magazine. It was a profile of a young radio guy named Don Imus. I've read New York ever since; I've avoided Imus for 43 years now.
  4. Watching "The Tomorrow Show" with Tom Snyder in the dorm
    Tom seemed so cool, smoking his cigarettes and laughing so hard at his own jokes. Fuck Carson; Tom was the guy I plopped down in my brown bean bag for at Tower Hall every night. Plus, he was a local boy who started out at a radio station just 5 blocks from my dorm.
  5. Discovering Hunter S. Thompson
    I saw Rolling Stone in the window of a Walgreen's store - it had Patty Hearst on the cover - and immediately fell in love with this "counterculture" magazine. HST was my favorite, of course, and I spent many nights at the Marquette library reading his stuff, including his travel pieces in the long-defunct National Observer.
  6. Discovering Charlie Pierce
    He lived down the hall from my - in McCormick Hall Room 1114, I believe; I was in 1101. A year ahead of me, Pierce - now the great Esquire political writer - was editorial page editor of the Marquette Tribune. His greatest work in that role was using a handwriting analyst to catch the student government president writing anti-Pierce/Tribune letters using another student's name.