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William C. Altreuter
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Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Randy Cohen's Ethicist column in the Sunday NYTimes magazine was useless: usually wrong, and right for the wrong reasons when it managed to be right. The recipe columns have been dreadful, especially the "Cooking With Dexter" feature. I'll exempt Amanda Hesser's old recipe/new recipe pieces, I guess. I generally preferred the old recipes, but that's because I tend to use recipes as jumping off places anyway, and the new variations, while amusing, were usually less flexible. When Safire wrote the On Language column it was the only thing of its kind that was consistently entertaining and informative. I don't think it is true that he "invented" the form, but nobody else ever did it as well. It has been capably executed in the year since he died, and I will miss it. Hell, I still miss Russell Baker's Sunday Observer. So now all of these things are gone, and so is Frank Rich, probably the last consistently good reason to read the Sunday Times instead of just buying the damn thing to do the puzzle. What will become of the Sunday Times Magazine? Well, doubtless we can look forward to cutting edge stuff like last week's piece about Heather Armstrong, a blogger who was cutting edge five years ago. Of course there will be the regular feature on the kids that write concertos and speak five languages and perform surgery but are sweating out admission to the Ivy League school of their dreams. We'll still have articles about Israel to look forward to. There will be pieces about Newt Gingrich, I'm sure, and careful takedowns of whatever Democrat I happen to be trying to like.

The Sunday Times used to be one of my favorite things, but it seems bent on proving that it doesn't matter anymore. It is not impossible to produce a decent newspaper: the Times of London manages. If its politics weren't so abhorrent the Wall Street Journal could be read with pleasure. (I have to at least skim every page of the paper, so I can't pretend that the last two pages of the WSJ front section don't exist. It is galling.) Maybe I should try the Toronto Globe & Mail. Its big day is Saturday, so it isn't much good for news, and I'd have to start caring more about hockey, but maybe that's the answer.

| Comments:
I have found almost nothing to read in the Sunday NYT Mag section in years. Last Sunday, however, there is a Matt Bai piece about NJ Gov. Christie that does lay out for us all the Ponzi schemes that the Federal and most of the State and probably many municipalities have been running for about the past 20 years.

Even raising taxes... a lot... will not fix the problems our craven "Public Servants" have gotten us into. It's going to take a real crisis for everyone to solve. Maybe even watching our forms of government wiped away. Just call me a bear. I am, but I won't be here for any real solutions to be found, just long enough to watch the crash.
 
What a set of useless generalities. Either be specific, and do it better, or keep the web free from such useless utterings. You're spamming my brain.
 

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