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the joy of newspapers

Up and at ’em: Saturday morning at 8 a.m., pumped with coffee (espresso this morning, so especially pumped) and here I am in my dressing-gown writing to you as the morning sun lights up my east-facing study. The sun, yes – good to see you, old friend, welcome. The snow is mostly gone from the streets, so the city looks almost passable, for now.

At some point today I will give myself the treat of reading the New York Times on-line.  A media expert told Jon Stewart last week that the newspapers made a huge mistake in the nineties in offering their wares on-line free of charge. I agree – why should I be able to read this great newspaper for free? Surely at some point they’re going to have to factor in some sort of charge, but in the meantime, I can simply log on and read some of the finest columnists in the world. This is a golden age of political column writing. The quality of the prose and the depth of analysis of Thomas Friedman, Gail Collins, Maureen Dowd, Paul Krugman and especially Frank Rich – and others (with the exception of William Kristol, whom you should avoid if you care about your blood pressure) – are superb. If you haven’t been reading them, I urge you to start – particularly while it doesn’t cost a thing.
A friend has exacerbated my newspaper addiction by telling me about a website: www.newseum.org/todaysfrontpages/flash/. Here you can read the front pages of newspapers around the world, and if you want more, you can click on the website address at the top and get the whole paper. Talk about a global village – what heaven to be able to read the great British newspapers the Manchester Guardian and the Times any time, on my little screen.  
I’ve always been a newspaper junkie, a magazine junkie, a devourer of print. I thought for years that it was more satisfying to hold the actual paper in my hands, and in the case of the local papers, it’s still true – love that advertising. But now that we pay for recycling, I’m just as happy not to fill my recycling bin with former trees.
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Further to my battle over my natural gas rates: my friend Ellen Roseman – another fine columnist – has sent me some of her columns about the subject. Those of us foolish enough to get trapped by these companies have to read the fine print in order to get out. After another conversation with a man in Bombay, I learned that in order to escape from Direct Energy, I have to inform them I want out 60 to 120 days before the end of my contract. They say it takes at least two months for them to cut off the service – what a scam. If I miss the deadline, I’m automatically signed up for another year and it will cost hundreds of dollars to get out. In the meantime, I am paying an extremely high rate for my gas, so now keep the heat down and huddle over the little oil heater next to my desk. I make mistakes, therefore I am.
Only six weeks till I take off for Paris. Hard to believe. Nothing is ready, but it’ll get done, and you know what? Even if it doesn’t, I’ll leave anyway. 
At 8.30, the sun is still shining; my neighbours are out jogging and walking their dogs. Quick, must get outside and feel that thing called air, before it freezes again.
Too late. I’m still in my dressing gown at 9, and the sun is hidden behind clouds. Great to see you! Come back soon.   

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2 Responses to “the joy of newspapers”

  1. Lynnie says:

    Beth! Guess who just came to my door … “Taylor”, a lovely young woman from Direct Energy! She wanted to have a gander at my gas bills to make sure I was “on the program”. I let Dave deal with her, and immediately pulled up your blog entries on the subject.

    Taylor tried to make us feel stupid because we didn’t want to save money. Dave gave her a very professional, detailed explanation as to why we’re not interested, based on his experience with watching energy costs for almost thirty retail outlets plus a large warehouse. Taylor was less than polite in her responses.

    I’m convinced the Direct Energy team are taught how to be aggressive and rude if you don’t sign a contract on the spot.

    I can only hope we saw Taylor’s “work face” and that she is much nicer when off duty.

  2. Khaleel says:

    New York Times is soon going to charge you for reading their stuff. This was in the new yesterday (Jan-20-2010).

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

Some Blogs I Follow

Chris Walks
This blog evolves. It once was about travels. Now it’s a reason to be at the keyboard that I value.

Theresa Kishkan
Theresa Kishkan is a writer living on the Sechelt Peninsula on the west coast of Canada.

I walk on. With my feet, and in my mind as well.

Carrie Snyder
Wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, consider this space a place for reflection and pause.

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