One Magazine.

At the start of every holiday I make a “to-do” list. Don’t get the wrong idea – thinking that I am a habitually organized person who makes to-do lists for everything. I don’t.

I really just make to-do lists to make sure my holidays are well used.

I don’t want to waste a minute of a day off, let alone an entire week of days off, since they don’t come around that often.

My list was three pages long. The “work stuff” page was longer than the “fun stuff” page, and one of the things on the “fun” page was “Do something fun” which shows how uninspiring my lists can be.

Mookie On Squirrel Patrol

Mookie’s To-Do List: 1) Look for Squirrels. 

Now, with the end of this holiday approaching much faster than it should, I have one last load of massage laundry left to do, which will give me one more satisfying check-off on my list.

Lest you get another wrong-headed idea – that I actually accomplish all those things that need doing – let me assure you, my list’s check-off rate, even with that last load of linens, was barely 46 percent. (Forty-six percent, however, puts me well ahead of Donald Trump in the polls!)

One of the things I did do … I worked my way through a year’s worth of magazines that had piled up by my bedside.

I love magazines. I love them so much that I don’t even mind the perfume samples, ads, and blow cards that fill them.

There was a time when I had as many magazine subscriptions as a small-town library.

Time was not enough. I had to have Newsweek, too, to catch the things that Time missed. (I had a fling with U.S. News, but it didn’t last.)

New Yorkers would sit, sometimes for years, because they were too precious to discard even though there was more inside a single issue than I could ever read. Old New Yorker covers and cartoons are still tacked up on my office walls … even though the subscription expired long ago.

write what you know

My dad would, without fail, renew my Reader’s Digest each Christmas, and when he passed away, I let it go. But, when my mom died, I absorbed her beloved People subscription, and, although it is pricey and generally news-less, I still keep it, because it seems like something she would want me to do.

I’ve subscribed to Rolling Stone since high school and it hasn’t changed much in all that time, except to become much smaller, and Bob Dylan is still a comforting presence on at least one cover each year. I let Spin go years back. I long for the days of Trouser Press, which you have probably never even heard of.

dylan in rolling stone

Still to-do — Read all these Dylan articles.

Sport. Baseball Weekly. Elysian Fields Quarterly. I got ‘em all.

I’m told that Sport is still around.

And, Sports Illustrated.

At first, my dad would just mail me his old copies, and they would come stuffed three or four to an envelope, often months out of order. Except the swimsuit issue. He always kept that one.

Eventually, he got me my own subscription, but sadly, there were no dad comments written in the margins or big circles drawn in Sharpie around the stories my dad felt were most important. I let SI go for awhile. But, I came back, because it is, I swear, one of the best-written magazines ever.

Editor/Husband estimates that I read 25 pounds of magazines over the holiday.

“Read” is relative here.

One “reads” War & Peace. One “skimmalafies” a year-old Rolling Stone (oh, look, Bob Dylan!).  In the case of People, “reading” may mean simply seeing how fast you can do the crossword or marveling that this week’s cover story on Adele contains not one single piece of original reporting, but is just a jumble of Adele’s previous quotes to Rolling Stone and the Today Show.  (Which means that People did what any blogger could do.)

adele and zuzu

Zuzu is not one for celebrity gossip or, in the case of the new Adele cover story, lazy reporting.

Editor/Husband gets one magazine – Vanity Fair. He has three years of them stacked up on his side of the bed.

“I read them as frequently as there is a Common Redpoll irruption.”

Which means, almost never. Editor/Husband was very excited to see a Common Redpoll at our birdfeeder this morning. (If they’re so rare, why are they called “common”?)

I planned to share three of the best articles I read with you.

But, as the days wore on and the pile by the bed got smaller, I thought maybe two articles would be enough.

Now, the pile’s gone and I have one magazine set aside. Just one article.

It’s from a 2014 Sports Illustrated and it’s about Roger Angell, who has written for the New Yorker since 1944, the last 53 years as its baseball writer.

angell and stevie

Why should you read it? Because it is beautiful.

Because it includes the line, “Angell is the curator of our baseball souls.”

Because, as Angell points out, reading about baseball is somehow even more exciting, vibrant, and memorable than just watching a highlight replayed on video. Maybe because a play is just a play on film. But, when someone who loves the game writes about it, it takes on extra layers, extra meanings … maybe joy, maybe amazement, or maybe despair. It becomes personal, something a video is not.

You can find the Sports Illustrated profile here: The Passion of Roger Angell.

And, you can find Angell’s New Yorker piece This Old Man about aging and getting by in your 90s, which won a National Magazine Award and has one of the world’s best jokes about death, here.

It has been four weeks since baseball.


9 thoughts on “One Magazine.

  1. Loved this – I too love magazine reading and you brought back some great memories! Such as the Reader’s Digest that both parents sent to us and we told them to stop it and both forgot – but in the end they were wonderful reminders as the purchasers left us with many years of memories each month after they passed. Yes I will read the provided links and Yes I need to start that list of to dos – of which most will be dropped for the ‘oh forget it, you will never get there’ excuse. I will add to your list the Rockies baseball magazine – which I love and hope Santa remembers to re-up!

  2. There was a time when we also had as many magazine, journal and newspaper subscriptions as a small-town library. This was pre-internets. Now, the magazine basket is much smaller.

    Look at all those Bob Dylan cover stories! Keepers, for sure.

    I like the Redpoll photo. What a treat to see one of those stop by in your yard.

    • Yup, I think the internet has whittled away many of my subscriptions, too. I miss all those magazines and I miss having the time in the evening to sit down and read them all. As Sandy Denny sings, “Who knows where the time goes?” these days.

      The trouble with the Bob Dylan magazines is that the stories are so detailed and long and special that I just set them aside to enjoy during a quiet time … and of course that time never comes. I’m just now digging into the new Dylan Bootleg Series volume 12 (1965-1966). How can one person make so much important music?

      • I have been listening since the 8th grade. I get the impulse to set it aside for an uninterrupted read. About 15 years ago, I started to leave at least one song on the albums for a listening savings account. I haven’t listened to the new bootleg yet because I was waiting to hookup my new amps first. It’s on the calendar (or should I say, “to-do list”) for next weekend.

  3. I had the best laugh in a long time when I read that joke. Guess I’m a sucker for 4th grade humor. What an interesting man, Roger Angell, and definitely not invisible.

    • I’m with you Gloria … I loved that joke, too! And, yes, he has lived such an interesting life and has such a delicate and deliberate way with his words, that a baseball game becomes richer because of his having watched it.

  4. cute joke, both of them. I remember Baseball Digest. Used to get it religiously, then they changed from the small digest format to the bigger one and I just let it go.
    My favorite death joke?
    Guy is dying and his rabbi/priest/minister (you pick it) shows up. He looks down at the guy and intones “Don’t you think it’s time to make your peace with God?”
    They guy looks up and in all sincerity answers, “I didn’t know we were quarreling.”

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