1. Got coffee this morning at a Dunkin Donuts near my house. Apparently their policy is to call customers "guests." I was tempted to feign shock that they were charging a "guest" for his coffee. Paging Miss Manners and George Orwell to the conference room.
2. While drinking said coffee, I read the March 15, 2010 issue of The Nation. Jon Wiener's cover story "Big Tobacco and the Historicans: A Tale of Seduction and Intimidation" proved to be more about intimidation than seduction. Like everything in The Nation these days, unbelievable (and not in a good way). (Check out the article after that one: Greg Kaufmann, "Friedmanism at the Fed.")
We live in Chelm, folks.
3. Last week on a plane trip, I read through the first issue of The Jewish Review of Books Have you ever read a magazine in which every single article was interesting? Actually, I can't really say this about the first JRB but I would say that I found 20 out of 22 pieces fascinating--which is a pretty high percentage for me. (I won't say which 2 were uninteresting to me--you'll have to guess.)
4. I summoned my strength this morning to rip up an offer from the Wall Street Journal to subscribe for 10 dollars a month. I am trying to fight my addiction to subscribing to print periodicals.
Currently arriving at the house and the office (not including journals that come with memberships in professional organizations, alumni magazines, or house organs of museums, public TV stations, synagogues, and the like):
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (7 days a week) (since 2002)
New York Times (Saturday and Sunday) (since I don't know, forever)
Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle (since 2002)
The New Republic (since mid-1990s; dropped for a while but resumed circa 2003)
The Jewish Quarterly Review (since mid-2000s)
The Atlantic (late 90s; and again since circa 2007)
Cook's Illustrated (2000-2003?; and again since ca. 2008)
The Nation (since ca. 2007)
Mother Jones (since 2008)
The Progressive (since ca. 2008)
The New Yorker (since late 2009)
The New York Review of Books (since beginning of 2010)
The Jewish Review of Books (brand-new)
I'm probably forgetting something. If you look at the dates, you will note a disturbing trend (or heartening if you work in journalism).
We did have a subscription to the Wall Street Journal for a while under a really cheap rate but I let it lapse after Murdoch bought it. (Imagine the junk mail you get if you subscribe to the WSJ and the Nation.) I'm letting The Progressive lapse not over politics per se but just because it is extremely boring, not to mention predictable. And I'll probably take a hiatus from Cook's Illustrated for a while since I make one of their recipes about once every two years. I enjoy reading about how many tries it takes to make the perfect pot roast but there has to be a limit.