Sunday, February 20, 2011

I dashed off Friday's post and one minute later, came down with a cold! Just the way to start the break.

It's no surprise - the students were coughing and sneezing all over the place on Thursday. I am careful, wash my hands about 50 times per day and use a paper towel when turning doorknobs and turning off the faucet (I always feel a little guilty about this and hope no one sees me - don't want to be labeled a germophobe?). But this time it didn't work. Can't always be on alert, and what to do about the air?

I have managed to fit in some reading. It is such a great book! Hard to tear myself away. I was going to paste an excerpt but I can't find the paragraph I want in any of the PDF samples that are posted by the publisher or Amazon. I don't feel like typing it right now, so it will have to keep.

I also had a comment brewing on a political column I read in today's Times Union, but I don't have the patience to find it online. As I was searching I got distracted by seeing a reporter's name that always stops me in my tracks, because of my obsession with plagiarism. So I gave up on trying to find the article. That will keep too, but in this case, it will probably keep forever.

Which reminds me, I decided to cancel the TU. This is uncharted territory for me. The morning newspaper is one of my pleasures. I have received the TU every day since I have lived in the Capital District. I have always read some local morning paper, even as a kid, and sometimes I have subscribed to more than one newspaper. Now that it is on the Internet, it isn't quite the same as not reading the paper at all, but it still will be a big change in morning routine. I don't see myself reading the news in the morning on an electronic device, while in the kitchen drinking coffee and eating my breakfast yogurt.

There are a lot of reasons for canceling, including:

  1. It often never arrived this winter. I know the weather has been extreme, but it is a hassle to have to contact someone all the time to receive a replacement, which then either comes late in the day and so goes unread, or is delivered the next morning, or isn't delivered at all. Why should I pay for that? Even if it does arrive, I've already read what I wanted on the Internet. Most of the time I do not bother to call and report it, so I am paying for nothing - not even paper to wrap the Christmas ornaments in. (It doesn't help that our carrier stuck a note in a week or so ago with 10 disclaimers about why service has been poor [the snow and ice, his crappy car*] and asking us not to call the TU since his pay gets docked.)
  2. When it did arrive, it was frequently late. It is supposed to be delivered by 7, but when it comes late I mean 8 or later. I am not complaining about 15 minutes! So it goes unread, see #1.
  3. It isn't cheap, and this seems to be an area where we could cut expenses pretty easily, something that we decided to attempt since the price of oil (and a couple of other things) is so high. It is not cheap to heat S'ville! Even when left on 50 degrees. Then, our giant icicles melted. I was relieved! But during the thaw on Friday, the ice on the roof tore down half the gutters on one side of the house. Who knows whether there is damage to the shingles. (No leaks yet, thankfully.) Sure, insurance will pay (and raise our premiums), but there is a deductible. This is unrelated, but in our quest to cut costs, we converted our landlines to cell! We didn't get rid of them and go with our cells alone. We got a device that two regular phones plug into and it picks up the cell signal. It is from Verizon, $20 per month. It included caller ID and voice mail, and unlimited calling - no long distance charges! So now my DSL will no longer be competing with the telephone. Sometimes these cost cutting measures wind up improving services! It goes live on Tuesday. I'll post a review here eventually.
  4. Much of the content is available on the Internet. 
  5. They have gradually eviscerated it over the past several years. Ann Landers dies, cut down to just Abby. Assault the comics regularly. No more Dr. Fox. 
  6. So many stories irritate me, why expose myself to it? Why pay them for annoying me? Bob agrees and he said today, "I'd rather you read me excerpts from Mark Twain in the morning." So that will be the new life's pleasure!

*it isn't. I saw it one day when I was "hunting" the paper and he drove by on his route. It is rather nice and new. But it is a rear wheel drive van. Not a good choice for someone who depends on driving to earn his bread.**

**I am inspired by M. Twain - he used this phrase all the time.

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