Me and the New York Times , Saturday, November 15.

There are only two things that will get me up off the couch and away from my Mac laptop. There are the frequent visits from my grand kids who will come bounding into the TV Room where I’m settled, shut down my computer screen, brooking no opposition from me as they do it, and then await my attention, as expected, to shift to them, which it does.

Yesterday, just after this flattened screen ritual S asked me what I preferred, that is, her, or my computer.  That of course got me talking which is what she really wanted, bavarder as she calls it.

The other thing that gets me away from my computer is our garden, surrounding our house on all four sides, each side with its particular character and as gardens go always in need of our care and attention. This time of the year, October/November, is spring time in Tampa, the planting season, and the draw of the garden is greater now than at any other moment.

If my grandkids are here and the garden is (as always) in need of some special attention, I take them with me outside to look at our nine different raised beds now showing mostly salad, tomatoes, and members the cabbage family that do so well in Tampa, brussel sprouts, Bokshoi, red and white cabbages, and right at this moment in our Tampa spring the thriving collard greens that are everywhere.

M has his own raised beds and will start pulling weeds and S is happy with anything she can do in the dirt.

On our street, San Luis, we’re the only house whose front yard is not grass but raised beds, flowering plants, —hibiscus, bourgainvillea, camellias, gardenias, oleander, and fruit bearing trees, — citrus, jujube, olive, and avocado. I did plant just one pine tree, a slash pine native to our region, as well as two cypresses to recall our time in Provence.

We came here knowing we’d have no snow to shovel and vowing we’d have no front yard grass to mow. And that’s exactly our situation at the moment.

When the grandkids don’t come over I’m able to read, mostly the Times,

but also a slew of other publications that I’m subscribed to and that I receive daily in my inbox. I start with the Times and it’s very rare that I don’t find enough reading material for an hour or two. And it’s very rare that one or two of the pieces don’t become ideas for a blog.

When I don’t have the time to read I’ll copy and paste and send them as attachments to my iPhone to be read later on during the day while waiting in line somewhere for something.

Although I don’t even see, let alone read, even a very tiny fraction of the online news publications out there I’d bet the store that there are few, if any at all, with articles comparable in the range, quality, and interest of those I find everyday in the Times.

Look, for example, at the following list of articles taken from today’s global NYTimes front page:

Yazidi Girls Seized by ISIS Speak Out After Their Escape

Islamic State Says It Plans to Issue Its Own Currency

The Big Money Behind the Push for Immigration Reform

Indian State Recalls Pills Tied to Deaths

Mysterious Visitor in Fur Puts Paris on Edge

In a Calm Romanian Prosecutor, Some See an ‘Earthquake’

City Tied to Masochism Finds Link Painful

Protest Leaders Are Prevented From Flying to Beijing


(And still on the front page, but from the Opinion, not the news sections.)

I Nearly Died. So What?

A Jesuit Inspiration

Comfort Women and Japan’s War on Truth

Op-Ed: Burkina Faso’s Reverberating Crisis

Op-Ed: Stopping the Next Amphibian Apocalypse


Well the Times journalists and writers do seem to be everywhere, and if today they’re not everywhere they will be by the end of the week. Did you note the number of the world’s regions represented? (I won’t even mention the breadth and depth of subject matter.)

In order they are: the Middle East, in particular Syria and Iraq, Washington DC, India, France, the Ukrainian city of Lviv, China, the Intensive Care Unit, or ICU, in a Los Angeles Hospital, El Salvador, Japan, Burkina Faso, and finally “the whole world,” that is all those places where the amphibians are still alive and well.

I’ve taken these geographical references from just 12 (although admittedly the most prominent) or fewer than half of the some thirty articles headlined on page one of today’s global (international) New York Times.

To read all of them with understanding, I asked myself, and do most every morning, what kind of an education would one have to have had? How many American citizens with proper motivation could do so if given the time and opportunity? How many do so? We ought not to be surprised by the small number of people who vote.

Now just this morning, in my email, there was this communication from the Times. It doesn’t bother me, it’s OK to be known that well by, well yes, strangers.

They include for me a link to their “Recommendations Page,” that is, their recommendations for me, and I do see there just how well they know me. The Times email arrived this morning in my inbox, just after my writing the above. Were they somehow aware of what I was doing? I don’t think so, but it was some coincidence.


The New York TimesRecommended reading,<br /><br /> personalized for you.

We’re dedicated to helping you discover more stories that interest you. So check out these recent articles — and see an extended list of suggested stories on your Recommendations Page.

Death By Typo
By PAUL KRUGMAN | November 09, 2014

Landing On A Comet, A European Space Agency Mission Aims To Unlock The Mysteries Of Earth
By KENNETH CHANG | November 12, 2014

Captain Gets 36 Years For Deserting Korean Ferry
By CHOE SANG-HUN | November 11, 2014

Exercising But Gaining Weight
By GRETCHEN REYNOLDS | November 11, 2014

Big Banks Are Fined $4.25 Billion In Inquiry Into Currency-Rigging

36 Hours In Dublin
November 12, 2014

I wonder what the Times people would be recommending if they knew not just my reading habits, but were also aware of my grandchildrens’ visits and my vegetable, fruit, and flower gardens. Well that would be interesting! There also, I would not be against having their recommendations.

And did you notice? “Opinion, Science, World, Health, Business, and Travel.” That does about cover it, doesn’t it, the world today according to the NYTimes.


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