Posts tagged ‘New York Times’

A sign of the times, in the L.A. Times

My power of observation, much like many of my previously super powers, seems to be fading.

After my post yesterday on how those ads for the “Black Thursday night / Friday morning” sales had bloated the Los Angeles Times daily edition past the usual bulk of their Sunday paper, I had another look at this paper that I grew up with (o.k., more or less grown up with), and I found that the paper itself is on the way to being history. The issue in question now has far fewer columns, and is about 1/2 to 2/3rds the width across than how I remember it was. I suppose that this might help save a tree somewhere, but it really comes down to, like most things in life, the basic “follow the money” paradigm with savings on the purchase of paper stock, ink, and distribution costs on a daily basis factoring in there. I do look at this paper and the New York Times on line each day, but there’s something about holding a real newspaper in my hands that I’m going to miss when they’re gone.

Under close scrutiny of  todays paper, with the exception of a cars for sale section, I find that there is no ordinary sort of classified section included. Exactly when did this omission start, and why didn’t I get a notice from them about it? This rivals the day when the paper ceased publishing the scary and close to the bone specific daily horoscope by Sydney Omarr, but at least that had a reasonable explanation when I found that Sydney had ceased breathing. The replacement they found is, in a word, worthless, full of nothing but generic crap that anyone can find a way twist to make it seem like it’s relevant to something in their own life.

A list of the obvious suspects (besides the economy, stupid) for this demise of the “want-ads” section would likely be topped by “Craigslist“, an online site where ads from most of the world for anything you can imagine are carried (for the most part for free), with postings that can be started, changed, and stopped in about a heartbeat by the lister. Also, these ads are searchable by a variety of ways that their newspaper equivalents could never do except for area, and you can choose parameters like a maximum or minimum price range to search, if they have included photos, and much more using keywords and search methods.

Not to jinx things, but at least the L.A. Times still has a crossword puzzle, which is my constant for measuring my remaining cognitive ability. The Monday edition is usually solved in about 5 minutes, until each days progressive rise in difficulty terminates on Saturday when it might take me up to a half hour to figure out those obscure hints. There may have been a few days that I wasn’t able to finish the puzzle, but that’s a subject for another posting. Again, the crosswords serve as a constant to monitor my slide towards “Old-Timers” disease, and after all, this blog’s all about me.

November 25, 2011 at 3:54 pm Leave a comment

In Fear of Charly’s return……

If either the book with the title “Flowers for Algernon”, or the film known as”Charly” that was based on that book, a movie that starred Cliff Robertson, happen to ring a bell, perhaps you’ll understand why I have an issue.

Full disclosure; I’ve been doing crossword puzzles on a daily basis for years, and not far from the beginning I became aware that both the Los  Angeles Times and the New York Times puzzles start out easy on Monday and get progressively more difficult until you reach the Saturday edition, which by most peoples standards is a bitch killer. To quantify things, the Monday puzzle used to take me about 7 to 10 minutes, and by Saturday those times were more like 20 to 30 minutes, and on occasion I’ve even burned off an hour on one. Or maybe two with the NYT edition.

Several months ago I started taking an over_the_counter dietary supplement I found at Costco that, since I don’t get a penny for saying the name of it (nor even a discount), will go nameless here. Except, I will say that a photographic term will figure in there if you dig a bit.

A few weeks into taking 3 or 4 of those capsules a day, I noticed that my elapsed time to solve a puzzle seemed to be dropping, and after a few more weeks I found that I was finishing in less than half of my previous time. I no longer suffered from TOTT syndrome (this is my name for Tip Of The Tongue, that failure to be able come up with a word I know that I know, and I’m trying to think of). Words that I want to remember now will float to the surface like that triangle sort of thing that was in the middle of those old black magic 8 Ball party fortune tellers with a window on the bottom, the part that told you “yes, no, maybe, or ask again later” when you inverted the ball. I’m also speaking faster and hitting my marks on jokes that I tell, both are things I consider to be good. I’m not saying that I’m a Robin Williams, but hey, even Robin Williams isn’t exactly a Robin Williams any more.

Still with me? A quantum jump in my synapse firing speeds barely describes it, everything is clearer, sharper, and I feel like I’m really, really functioning. In effect, I’m pushing my personal throttle forward to what we called  the “Military” position when I was in the Air Force, a setting that went beyond 100% and was not supposed to be used except when shooting at the Vietnamese farmer’s water buffalos or doing evasive maneuvers to dodge enemy missiles and such.

And now for the catch. Many years ago when I indulged in experimentation in what I’d like to call psycho-active products, it was always with the idea that I could quit at any time. Which I did…. Eventually…. Several times. So, what has me worried is that if I were to quit being a user of, ah, let’s call it FF, I might go through what happened to Charly, a return to a slower state of being at a time when my brain functioning at full speed is necessary for me to just keep in place, much less pull ahead. I was never the retard (the film’s unfortunate and not very PC choice of a descriptive word) that Mr. Robertson played, other perhaps than in the opinion of my 2nd ex-wife, so a drop like this would be scary but not fatal. I just don’t want it to happen, so I seem to have a new life long addiction to deal with.

I guess the high (no pun intended) point of all this is that it’s not any kind of a  legal issue this time. After all, these days I’m buying my “meds on my American Express Card, not sniffing stuff off of it. Wish me well…..


Yet another disclosure: I’ve worked with Cliff Robertson (one day on an ATT commercial) and Robin Williams (2 seasons on Mork & Mindy and a special on the Universal Studios lot for Spielberg to make a video birthday card for George Lucas) in the past, both guys were (and I have to presume still are) very nice, warm, and intelligent people.

April 7, 2010 at 3:50 am 1 comment

Personal Ad: City ISO Newpaper, NSA

The city of Los Angeles is in dire need of a newspaper to replace the near death and or dying L.A. Times, as it slowly falls into a hole of it’s own creation, never to be seen again. 

After a few years of trying to emulate the New York Times in style and content, while achieving neither, the papers’ new trick is now imitating the Titanic by slowly sinking, except it it’s picking up speed with the recent “improvements” to various sections of the paper. 

Sam Zell, a poor man’s Rupert Murdoch with even less class, recently bought the paper for about 8.2 billion. My feelngs are that if someone were to stop in with a cash bid of, oh, 6 or 7 billion they could walk away with the shell of a once great paper. Just a guess……

Sadly, I’m a few dollars short or I’d kick in on it. Perhaps if I had held on to more of the money I made selling a competitors paper (the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, Fox News of the ’60s) on the street corner of LaCienega and Rodeo many years ago…..

August 6, 2008 at 8:20 pm Leave a comment


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