Sunday, September 29, 2013

It's a Digital World But I Still Like Paper Too; Scrambled Eggs On The Laptop; BFT On The Future of AM Radio

   As a matter of natural course I have become fully digital and all things social media--this blog, a Twitter and Facebook account and links to my talk radio show on KSCO. It's a digital world whether we like it or not and while there's certain aspects and realities of the Internet age I'm enthralled with there's a routine I will never abandon and that has to do with print.

I have a fondness for reading actual newspapers. I enjoy the Sunday ritual of grabbing the Chronicle, the Pink Section and the NY Times over coffee and breakfast. It makes the scrambled eggs and coffee mesh well. I like scanning Scott Ostler's Sunday Punch and Mick LaSalle's movie column. I like reading the printed prime of Michael Bauer's restaurant reviews stacked over the salt and pepper shaker. You can't do that with a laptop and besides which, knowing me, I'd spill the entire plate and coffee over my computer and destroy it. Not good.

Another thing: I'm a book guy but I want an actual book to read. I don't do Kindles or Nooks. They may be more sophisticated and work well at night on an airplane but pardon me, I prefer the solace of a hardcover with real pages and paper. They make little lights you can clip on the book. If I wanted to read a book on an electronic device I'd probably screw up some of the chips and then it would break. Books don't break unless you burn them and I'm not in that club.

I know a lot of you out there are all full-throttle digital chip. It's the way of the world. The Internet has a firm grip on our lives; the way we communicate with one another; the manner in which we get our news; the device that literally connects us to our community, our world, and that's fine. There's a reason for the technological revolution and while some elements annoy me, (like texting, for example,--substituting human interaction), I have become suited to the new world.

Then again the digital revolution doesn't terminate old habits. On a miserable cold and rainy day, I relish black coffee and printed articles. I like the feel of a column and the aroma of Maureen Dowd's mutterings over my runny eggs. Herb Caen and a bowl of oatmeal was my morning nirvana. The Sporting Green too. You don't get that karma on a keyboard. I know this sounds weird but the meal seems to taste better when your newspaper is graced up their over the fork and knife. The Internet has a cafe but there's only beverages. I want food. Among other things.

I've managed to do both. I read and gather most of my information from the Web; I have a digital subscription to the Times, but for some strange reason, I always pick up the print edition on Sunday. It's an acquired taste. Maybe a life phase too but a guilty pleasure none the less. I'm in the minority.

Newspapers are dying and that's a dirty rotten shame because there's some great newspapers out there that still cater to a loyal crowd. Unfortunately, not enough to satisfy the bottom line. Here's hoping my breakfast ritual can last at least another decade before I have to resort to another tactic.

*Note: Interesting article on the future of AM Radio in SF by the Chron's Radio Writer, Ben Fong-Torres.



  1. Hats off to MZ for moving the big guy to the mighty 10,000-watt blowtorch, KSCO, in Santa Cruz. You've struck pay dirt! Whatever happened to the Modesto simulcast? I owe you a dinner at your favorite place in Oakland's Chinatown.

  2. "Another thing: I'm a book guy but I want an actual book to read. I don't do Kindles or Nooks. They may be more sophisticated and work well at night on an airplane but pardon me, I prefer the solace of a hardcover with real pages and paper."

    Right on. Hardcovers rock.

  3. Nothing better than my NY Times (among other papers) and a cuppa joe, preferably with someone to show my outrage to ;-) and perhaps share it.

    I had this notion to have the Times read to me (text to voice) on Kindle, but the Times ads were duplicitous and though I bought the Kindle, I would have had to pay for a Kindle Times subscription as well as my paper subscription. So much for plans!

  4. Great column today Rich! You sound like a lot of the rest of us folks who still love to read the paper.

    I was talking with Monty Poole in the press box at the Raiders' game yesterday, and congratulated him on moving to Comcast, but will miss his columns in the Trib. Dean Singleton and his destructive, greedy enterprise 'The bay area newsgroup,' has ruined what used to be three really fine newspapers: The Trib, the CC Times, and the Marin IJ. Now those papers have shrunk and rely on mostly wire service material and reports from stringers and part timers. The Chronicle is still okay, but compared to what it used to be? Not so good!

    What we're seeing today; a shift away from reading and focusing and concentrating on something for more than half an hour, this is not a good thing. We've been conditioned by our 'new media' into becoming distracted, and it's no surprise that many young people today under the age of 30 seem to have a major problem with attention deficit.

    So it goes. Keep pluggin' away Rich. Your posts are always informative, entertaining, and provocative!

  5. Newspapers are for old people. Grandpas. Dinosaur fossils. I totally LOVE the iPad and 'Droid capability of accessing my news. No more fumbling to re-fold paper...or trying to be quiet when folding it in a public place...or getting into fights over your spread-open paper encroaching on someone else's space (like when you're on a plane or on the train).

    (I'm 53 years old)

  6. I totally agree with Rich about anon 12:39pm. Newspapers have worked since the days of the printing press, and now they're suddenly for old people and dinosaurs? Give me a freaking break!

    Unfortunately, there are just as many middle aged folks (and sometimes I'm one of them! ) who have become addicted and conditioned to not being able to live without computers, cell phones, i-pads, 'the cloud,' and so on. Not to knock these innovations...they're great and make life easier. But once you start having an unbalanced diet in your life, you're going to get physically ill, and we in this country, are becoming addicting in a very unhealthy way to all of this new media.

    Whatever happened to a plain old face to face conversation or a sit down with a newspaper or a good book? Better yet, whatever happened to people having to spent so much time being 'tuned in' while tuning out the 'real world' out there. Is it any surprise then, why this country is such a mess? This is just one of our many maladies.