Jonesing For My Paper.

horst p. horst 1943

Only three weeks into the renewal of my Sunday New York Times home delivery subscription, and there’s no paper outside. I cancelled the NYT and Chicago Tribune Sunday home deliveries back around the holidays, frustrated with only getting the paper three out of four weeks…if that. Visitors and followers here have all seen their share of old B&W movies where folks plunked down some coins for a paper. Home delivery of the Sunday NYT goes for ten buck a week now. Mind you, I’m not blaming either paper. God bless ‘em both for persevering through calamitous times for print media while combatting the crafty onslaught of ‘fake news’ accusations by those who’d love to see a free press crumble and fade.

No, it’s not the newspapers’ fault, just some schmoe driving around with bundles of papers in the back of their SUV that’s the problem. Customer service operators for both papers conceded as much about this particular area when I cancelled, and assured me it had been rectified when I renewed.

Now that I’m officially hunkered down at home, I need that damn paper. Sure, the Trib’s a pale shadow of what it once had been, with entire sections gone and others reduced in size. But the Sunday NYT is like a big fat book’s worth of reading, and both are doubly valuable in times like these. Yeah, yeah, I know: Go online. And I do, during the week. But Sunday routines demand a fresh pot of coffee, suitable morning edibles and newspapers. I don’t care if news is transmitted via implanted bio-chips by the time I’m being spoon-fed gruel in a nursing home, I’ll still want to sniff the tell-tale ink-on-newsprint aroma.

I’ll keep checking (though it’s late afternoon as I write this) but methinks I’ll have to do without my Sunday NYT this week…and the ten bucks.

Photo: Horst P. Horst, 1943

Ink-On-Paper…It Just So Retro.

Woman reading paper

So who reads newspapers anymore? Well, I did, for one. Still do, on Sundays at least. During the week I head to the day job early. My preferred coffee stop en route had a rack right inside the door with a bin each of Tribunes and Sun-Times. Back in the car, armed with a large-with-cream, I treated myself to fifteen minutes of skimming the Trib before plunging into whatever hell the workday might hold. Then distributors changed or they weren’t getting a sufficient cut of each sale or who knows what, but the rack recently disappeared, so my quick weekday AM newspaper skim migrated to my laptop once in the office.

But Sunday mornings are reserved for the New York Times – print edition, not online – and any disruption to that routine throws off my entire day. No big surprise, but I start with the New York Times Book Review. Since I can’t possibly read every book I’d like to (much less afford them all), I enjoy the biography, memoir, current event and history book reviews as a substitute for actually reading them all.

City of Girls

Last week’s edition included a review of This Storm and an interview with its author, James Ellroy. The cover story was a review of Elizabeth Gilbert’s new City Of Girls, a book I might have overlooked if not for the review, and have already reserved at my local bookstore.

The previous week’s edition was a jumbo 68 page Summer Reading special, covering darn near very category you can think of from sports to cooking and even a two-page spread dedicated to horror. Diverse topics? How about a George Will interview to go along with the release of his The Conservative Sensibility back to back with John Waters’ The Tarnished Wisdom Of A Filth Elder, and a couple pages later, a full page review of Mallory O’Meara’s The Lady From The Black Lagoon – Hollywood Monsters And The Lost Legacy Of Milicent Patrick (the designer of the Universal’s iconic monster, the Creature From The Black Lagoon).

Millicent Patrick

That 6.2.19 edition of the NYT Book Review was brimming with titles I already ordered, had to run out and get or soon will. W. M. Akers’ hard-boiled historical fantasy/mystery Westside was well reviewed (my copy arrived last week). I rarely read true crime but M. William Phelps’ Where Monsters Hide: Sex, Murder And Madness In The Midwest is set in a small town right near a Memorial Day getaway I’d just returned from, so I picked that up this week, along with Casey Rae’s William S. Burroughs And The Cult Of Rock & Roll, a birthday gift for a dedicated Boho Millennial who’d give anything to be teleported to 1970’s Manhattan to trade barbs over coffee with Patti Smith. Layne Fargo’s well-reviewed Temper, a crime/mystery novel set in the Chicago theater scene, should arrive soon.


Sure, I could get it all on my laptop, desktop or my phone. And during the week, I make do with precisely that for basic morning newsgathering. Sundays? No way. That’s ink-on-paper time, eating up the better part of the morning, and time well spent. I’m writing this during the week, but it’ll post on Sunday. Possibly right when I’m buried in my NYT, who knows?


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