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John Palcewski's Journal

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Ritual
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I'm rarely surprised these days, but opening up and reading a hard copy of The New York Times this morning was arresting. Its physicality, its tactile delight, its quietness, all took me back decades ago when it was for me a taken-for-granted daily thing, often on the downtown Seventh Avenue IRT on my way to work. I used to fold it in half vertically, so as to allow turning of pages while being squeezed by other riders, all of us swaying in unison to the rumbling and clattering.

I noted with great pleasure that in this revisitation the advertisements did not move, flash, or appear in separate little pop-ups that hid their delete button. No, I could quietly read without any distractions or annoyances.








And, as a former newspaper reporter, I noted that the Times headlines had subjects and verbs, and rarely used numerals. A great contrast to the utter bullshit that appears on sites like Salon, The Huffington Post, Politico, et. al.

12 Awesome, radical Catholic ideas

6 Stocks to Fall in Love With This Valentine's Day

7 Olympians who are getting bad press

10 unforgettable graphic novels from 2013

11 best a cappella songs of all time

6 signs our culture is sick with greed

10 Ways To Bounce Back From A Broken Heart

10 most memorable moments of the Sochi Olympics opening ceremony

15 Olympians to root for in Sochi

10 worst right-wing statements of the week — Marxist pope edition

8 Badass Photos From the Real-Life "Monuments Men"—Who Saved Art and Treasure From the Nazis

10 Things You Never Noticed About The Wizard of Oz

12 Unhealthy Fish You Should Avoid 9 Things You Didn't Know About Netflix

15 Insanely Enormous Dogs Who Just Want To Be Your Best Friend

5 Foods That Put You In The Mood---And 2 That Kill It

15 Things You Didn't Know About Coffee

21 Things You Can't Do While Black

20 Amazing Quotes From Atheists That Prove Religion Isn't Necessary For a Meaningful Life

12 insanely bad pieces of sex and relationship advice

7 ways government wages war on the poor

9 reasons not having kids is the best decision I ever made

15 Dos and Don'ts for Helping a Friend With a Sick Child in the Hospital

10 Cabins to Inspire You to Escape From the World

26 Slogans That Frankly Make More Sense Than the Real Ones!

The top 10 oral sex scenes

15 Surprising Slow Cooker Recipes

5 Perfect Paired Snack Recipes You Never Thought Of

10 Things Happy Couples Do

10 Classic Movie Lines That Were Completely Unscripted

8 Shocking Celebrities Who Used To Be Hot

8 Tips to Protect Your Identity

10 Obamacare Freebies Available Right Now


I savored the return to an ingrained ritual. First, I found and discarded all the advertising supplements tucked in between the sections. Then I removed Education, Sports Sunday, Sunday Business, Automobiles, Real Estate. I stacked them carefully into a pile.

Which left me the front page, Arts&Leisure, Travel, Sunday Review, Sunday Styles, Metropolitan, Book Review, and the Magazine.

Ah, yes. The faint scent that emnated from the pages was a combination of paper pulp and ink. I remembered long ago the ink would smudge on your fingers, but nowadays it's firmly locked and withstands page turnings.

But that scent!

It evoked getting lost in the page turning, and close reading, and re-reading. Vivid memories of Sunday mornings in Manhattan, with coffee. In an apartment with a view of the George Washington Bridge. Being there was utterly splendid. Wonderful. I'd often think: How lucky could one be, anyway? Actually living in the greatest city in the world!

By the way, if you're wondering, here's an analysis of why high fashion models always scowl, and it's by--Surprise! Surprise!--the New York Times's own John Tierney.

http://nyti.ms/1lVBw8G






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I let my last newspaper subscription, to the Sunday Sacramento Bee, lapse a few months ago. It just got too expensive, though as regional papers go it was decent. I really miss the Los Angeles Times, though. For a couple of decades during the period after Otis Chandler took over from his father it was a very good paper, and I read it every day for almost twenty years. I didn't have a view of anything as spectacular as the George Washington bridge, of course— just the avocado tree in the back yard of the bungalow next door. But I guess an avocado tree is as iconic for suburban Los Angeles as the bridge is for Manhattan.

I still have the last copy of the Times I bought before moving to northern California. Every once in a while I pick it up and thumb through it, just as a reminder of what the golden age was like.

I hate to sound like an old fart (which I clearly am), but THOSE were the days, eh? Now, an avocado tree is just as good a memory trigger as a bridge. Speaking of which, I used to walk across the GWB three evenings a week to the Jack LaLanne gym in Fort Lee. As I recall they had a sauna that was a great hangover cure, especially the vaporized eucalyptus leaves.

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