The New York Times has been charging me $15 per month since April yet I actually have not been on their site for about six months. I thought of calling the 800 number on my credit card bill to ask them to rebate me for the months that I did not visit them — they know that I know that they know this; that’s how they thought to ask me to subscribe in the first place.
Payback comes in the form of the print copy of today’s Times an anonymous stranger left for me at Peet’s today. Putting off what I actually intend to do — and laundry — I skimmed but did not read the following 16 articles:
1. “Pixies Motor on with New Bassist” by Ben Sisario;
2. review of “Five Days at Memorial” a book about medical response to Hurrican Katrina by Dr. Sheri Fink;
(add on C6 about Seamus Haney 1939-2013 — thanks to Aleta Hayes for bringing the sad news to my attention; another title or set of titles to the reading list — call this 2.1)
3. Repositioning Bar Mitzvahs To End Drain, A1 story on the assimilation of Jews, on erev Rosh Hashanah; here, notice the variation in headline; today I am a fountain pen I mean blogger Macbook.
4. Something else on A1 about leaving tips in restaurants, by Pete Wells, Critics Notebook, which reminds of a KQED Krasny Forum piece I heard yesterday about a Berkeley-based food-labor research center, and a consortium of industry-bucking well-paying group of about 700 nationwide restaurants; Is Sushi Yasuda a character in an Ian Fleming novel? The name or meme I heard on Forum but could not quite capture was Saru Rayajaman, no, Saru Jayaraman.
5. Dennis Rodman in North Korea(A7), which is my note to self to read Adam Johnson; by Gery Mullany.
6. Names of the Dead including number 2,253 Joshua J. Bowden, 28, of Villa Rica, Georgia, the Afghan War. There is a “28” theme here, sadly.
7. “California Memorial Names Crash’s Forgotten Victims”, Malia Wollan reporting from Fresno, about a Jan. 28, 1948 event that killed 28 people, the subject of a Woody Guthrie, “Deportee — budding author Tim Z. Hernandez sussed this out, and reminds me that I could announce to my numerous “Plastic Alto” readers that during this two-month silent period I was researching a new blog called “Frisco Enamel” that would cover nothing but memorials, monuments, public art and sculpture, the shape of things to come, if you will, and sometimes the color.
Here is the link to the Times article and some decent reporting by Erika Doss, a title I picked up at Dartmouth bookstore at my reunion in 2011 which is yikes two years ago already. “Frisco Enamel” is also an Oldenburg reference. Actually “Plastic Alto” whether I kill it off or remount it, is not just an Ornette reference in that when Palo Alto added a plastic soccer field I wanted to hire Ornette to play there, and was imagining the field seen as the path of the little black faux-pebbles which bounce and dance around as the balls or feet hit, get it? That is, in “Plastic Alto” at least, the fake soccer field is also a sculptural object and plastic arts.
Here is Doss, now in paper, duly noted:
8. Business page B1 column but not David Carr on “Citizens United” by Eduardo Porter; which is note to self to read Jeffrey Clements.
9. An incubator in SF called RocketSpace; the article says that 70 percent of new office space leases are for high tech, compared to a historic 30 percent share; not to be confused with NPR “Tiny Desk concerts” or link #16 below, something about “tiny” China, and pop culture, and friction.
10. I mentioned aloud the Nokia-Microsoft deal to the fantasy football league guys Monday night — it popped up on Yahoo news as I was sussing out Martellus Bennett the brain-traumatized Bear tight-end, and Todd Kjos, a former HP guy turned Facebook guy — who hit three consecutive homers for Gunn Titans varsity in 1982, which may be a record — commented “what do they have left?” to which I, not actually a tech pundit, quipped “a ski jump team?” which is an inside joke. Kjos is rejoining our league after 25 years and calling his team “Thunder Chickens” which is a Stanford football reference but notably the etymology of ‘thunder” is “Thor’s din”, I digressed from Bennett and Giovanni Something short-yardage guy for the Brown Bengals to glean; for what it worth, retrieved the thunder link from Monday’s history.
Ok, this gives me Nick Wingfield not Quentin Hardy, Mark Scott or Brian X. Chen: here.
11. Stuart Elliot on new Mentos song and campaign, reminds me of the AmRep band that played Cub back in the day, Supernova, covered the old cheesy, chevy chestnut.
(so I think that is three music references: Pixies, Guthrie and Supernova — Plastic Alto is still ostensibly, if anything — see also “nothing but” above — an arts column;
12. I was trying to just read headlines but skimmed thru this article by a professor of finance, that mentioned Sean Parker in Ariondell and Marissa Mayer in a bathing suit;
13. this was not in my original list but who could resist a 15-year-old Egyptian tennis player named Sandra Samir, in a short black skirt?
14. Obit for Pele’s goalie, Gilmar; which is note to self to finish the last 10 percent of capture of “City of God” on DVR. And seeing not meeting samba queens of SF at Nancy Charraga’s Casa Bonampak Saturday. Charraga is a Brazil-loving Chiapasian (from Chiapas) but is also a Gunn graduate, was pleased to learn, if you permit the distinction but Times and chismes.
15. obit or cutline of for Frederik Pohl “an author who in the early 1950s foresaw a society dominated by marketing executives.
It took me 24 minutes to write and publish the first version of this, minus a 90 second interruption from my Dad about HIgh Holy Days logistics, and sans the actual links, which will have me raising my battery to finish this.
16 is actually an edita and now I am 45 minutes into this with 34 minutes left on the battery: “A Film-Fueled Culture Clash Over Values in China” by Sheila Melvin, and “tiny Times 2” not to be confused with “online times 15 dollars”. The online version is notable for color version of photo and use of work “tsking” a verb-tense not proper noun. Quick detour to search-injun “gerund” sking? more legwork avoids being ask-king.
Second edita, at 1:05 on Wedndesday, September 4, 2013: my battery is down to :10 so I am going to stop here, even if I failed to link to all 16 times articles (I threw in some bonus links, maybe 25 total?) and 85 or 86 minutes for the entire enchilada or whole farrago. I will leave the Times (but take the cannoli I mean raspberry scone) and if only there were world enough and Times to actually read all of above…let alone do my actual work…
edit to add, June 1, 2014: Ten months in, and approximately $150 sunk, I am still iffy on this concept. I doubt that I get my 50 cents worth per day of peeking at the New York Times webpages, let alone digging in to the sand and the waves, or paddling out to catch the information-society equivalent of a Mavericks, for hours on end — rarely. Yet I consider myself the type of person who would spend $15 per month to access the times, on a continuum up to Jill Abramson who was paid $500,000 per year, which is what, $40,000 per month — which is like the Woody Allen bit in the movie about the guy who pays to work backstage and help the actresses change costumes. But the weirder thing is that I am now paying $8 a month or maybe $15 — it was $1 the first month — to read the Worcester Telegram and Gazette online. I am trying to write an essay or memoir about my Times there, in 1985. Charlie Rose had Jill (on tape) last week. And Good Luck to New Guy, at $525,000 David Bake or whatever. And how many steps from the top spot is Jim Yardley?