Time--2017 A to Z Theme

My theme for the 2017 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge was "Time". The posts are of a more philosophical, contemplative, and even autobiographical bent. No time management tips in this theme, but stuff intended to make you think.

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog...

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Friday, March 24, 2017

Newsprint Time Machine

English: An abandoned Los Angeles Times vendin...
 An abandoned Los Angeles Times vending machine in Covina, California, October 2011 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


         For the many working years after I moved to Los Angeles in 1991, I subscribed to the daily Los Angeles Times.  Sometimes when I didn't get around to reading the paper, I would save the paper to read later.  As things would happen I often didn't read that paper and put it in an ever accumulating stack of newspapers, now and then tossing aside sections that didn't interest me--sports, classifieds, fashion or whatever they were--and keeping sections that seemed like they would be interesting to read sometime later.

         Over the course of many years I acquired several stacks of news papers--some at work and some at home.   After the California branch of the company where I worked shut down for good and I was left jobless, I toted those work stacks home and put them in my garage.  Since I was no longer working outside of the house, I was able to dwindle my newspaper stacks at a faster pace.  In order to save money, in 2012 I cut back my L.A. Times subscription from seven days to weekends only. Besides, there wasn't that much in the paper that interested me anymore.  And the paper was highly biased and annoying for me to read.   Soon I switched to Sunday only, mostly because of the ad and coupon sections and the crossword puzzle, but then I let that go.  Now I no longer get any papers.  But I still have some news paper stacks in my home office closet.

          Some of the papers remaining in those stacks are from 2012 to 2013.  Then like anomalies in the geological strata, there might be small layers of papers from 2002 or sometimes even older.  These days instead of reading a daily paper I'll read the papers stored in my closet.  Sometimes I feel like an archaeologist making discoveries about the past as I read old news stories.  The odd thing though is that some of those old stories seem like the same things that are in the news now or stories that seemed to foreshadow later events then still to come.

          It's like a story I was reading last week in a paper from 2012.  The section I was reading had an article about German Christmas markets where they sounded so fun and festive..  As I was reading though, I was thinking about the terrorism that came in 2016.  That story from 2012 stood out more for me now in the aftermath of the 2016 attack than it probably would have if I had read it back then.

          Lately I've been reading about movies that I hadn't realized had ever been released. Some I've added to my Netflix queue while most seem to be now mostly forgotten come and gone releases in the past.  Reading about films in retrospect makes me realize how much movie garbage actually does get released.  When I was reading contemporaneously to film releases, this ephemeral nature of pop culture wasn't always as evident.  How quickly we forget that next big thing after it has come and gone.

         Reading in the past might seem a bit absurd to many.  Consider that I'm no longer reading for the news of the day, but just to get a feel for the past.  Sometimes I wish those stacks contained newspapers from 20, 40, or even 100 years ago.  Old newspapers provide a window into events of days gone by.  The stories are history written from the perspective of those who were witnessing it.  Rather than the standoffish perspective analysis of history books written years later and based on research and author's interpretation, the old news stories are seen through the eyes and minds of those people back then as they perceived what was happening.

         If I could I'd much rather take an actual physical time travel trip back to old times to witness that world for myself.  Even if that world was something I had lived through, I'd like to go back with my mind of the future to see if what I remembered was really how it was.  Or to see if what I've heard from those older than I was really like how they described it all.

        Old movies and television shows provide some of that perspective.  But then that is part of the illusion of the past.  An image on the screen can never capture the actual immersion into that place in the past and having that experience of immersion is only a fantasy of my mind.  For now at least.  And probably forever.  Unless time travel ever does become a reality.

       For now I have a newsprint time machine in my closet.  The machine is dwindling as papers are read and deposited into my recycling bin.  No point in keeping them.  If I kept everything I'd eventually run out of room. I'd live in a past made of paper and newsprint.  It all needs to go.  And once I've rid myself of that time machine, I can read more of the books on my shelves, watch more of the movies I want to see, sort through old photos as I place them in albums...so much of the past with so little of the present to accommodate it all.

        What will the future do with all of the past anyway?

         Do you still read the newspaper?   What do you have a tendency to accumulate?   Will newspapers have much validity for future generations? 




34 comments:

  1. That might be interesting to read past events and see how they were somehow connected.
    You're correct - there are a lot of bad movies released. Someone put millions of dollars behind a project that was trash, and yet some authors end up self-publishing great stories and a publisher didn't want to put a few thousand dollars behind. Go figure.
    I stopped reading print newspapers many years ago.

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    1. Alex, connecting the dots between past and present can be enlightening where it all makes more sense than just keeping up with daily news.
      So many bad films and I'm always disappointed when I've wasted time watching one.

      Lee

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  2. Such an inteesting post Lee. Read this with pure pleasure.

    Yvonne.

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    1. Yvonne, Thanks for stopping & Happy Mother's Day!

      Lee

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  3. I was working for the LAT in 1991 and I agree it is and was annoying. Saving newspapers can be dangerous as I've seen on the show Hoaders Lol but I still enjoyed reading your post. Just be careful.:)

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    1. Eve, I haven't been saving papers to any comparison to those folks on hoarders--the stacks haven't ever been over 3 ft high and there aren't that many of them. I start weeding things out at a faster pace when I start accumulating too much and now since no more newspapers are being added to my stash, it's no longer growing. I've probably made things sound worse than they actually are.

      Lee

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  4. I once had a college professor who claimed the only thing worth reading in the newspaper was "Pogo."

    I used to buy the newspaper when I was riding the buses and trains to downtown Chicago. When that ended, I stopped buying the paper, except once in a while, esspecially the papers from small cities and towns. We had the Atlanta Urinal and Constipation ... sorry, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution delivered, but decided it was a waste of time. The dead tree media is on its way out, and frankly it can't disappear fast enough for me.

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    1. John, I went through a passionate Pogo phase during the late 60's and early 70's so I kind of get what that professor was saying. Though there were a lot of other things I enjoyed reading in the paper back then. Things like who got busted for what or who had an automobile accident.

      The L.A.Times used to have a lot of good coupons, but I don't think they even have much of those anymore. Everything that used to be in papers, including coupons, can now be gotten on line. I do miss newspapers to a certain degree. It's nice to have the crossword puzzles, but those can be found in other places too.

      Lee

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  5. I keep papers with big events. I had the misguided idea that my children or grandchildren might use them for a school project. In my defense I started collecting them before we ever heard of Google. I must take after my dad. When he died we found a few newspapers and a stack of British Rail timetables from 1952!
    Thanks for stopping by my blog.
    Ann

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    1. Ann, I have a few "big news event" papers in my keepsakes, but mostly I've forgotten to save them. I did use newspapers for school projects when I was in school--that's where I first developed my love of newspapers. Pre-1980 papers would probably be cooler to have than any from recent decades.

      Lee

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  6. Reading like this makes me aware of just how quickly things have shifted in my lifetime. I'm already nostalgic for the days Germany could have a Christmas fair without an incident. And how interesting that we now prepare for a terrorist attack at any large gathering. We adapt to our situations so fast and forget what it used to be like. I'm glad you kept those newspaper!

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    1. C.Lee, it sometimes seems presciently eerie to read old newspaper stories about things that relate to events that came later. Then there are some stories that seemed minor at the time they were first reported that later on become much more significant.

      Lee

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  7. I get my news online. I'm not going to pay outrageous subscription costs for a thin newspaper with hardly any news and all that paper accumulates in the recycling. The thing that's ticking me off is that you are only allowed between 3 and 10 articles per month on some sites unless you pay or sign up. I'm not doing either!

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    1. JoJo, I don't trust a lot of the news I get online, but that's probably where I get most of my information now. It's true that papers have grown smaller while the subscriptions have increased in price. That expense will be part of the demise of printed newspapers. Free news will end people paying for online news.

      Lee

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  8. Excellent post and your blog is excellent, as well. I came over from One Hand Typing. My blogs are https://amanpan.com/ and https://amanpan.blog/. It's good meeting you.

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    1. F Hoffman, so glad you stopped by! Visit again and often!

      Lee

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  9. My experience of time-travel has been through reading and watching the stars on tv. In a way time travelling into the past or the future is freaky - what if you got stuck there? The answer to your question is yes. Newspapers from now timewarped into the past would change history.

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    1. Guy, I wouldn't want to get stuck in the past, but I'd like to visit. It's kind of the same as going to someplace like Russia or South America--cool to visit, but I'd want to go back home before too long.

      Lee

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  10. Newspapers, what are they again? lol never used them at my sea.

    Oh there are a lot of trash movies. Mostly ones that rift off the title of a popular movie. Why? Because people are foolish and buy them by mistake, thinking they are the popular movie they are buying. Soooo stupid.

    TV does give a window into the past. I hope time travel never actually comes to be though.

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    1. Pat, I've watched a few movies thinking they were something else or would be like something else--yeah, audiences can get scammed.

      I for one am hoping that time travel would be real, but I'd want to do it in my younger body.

      Lee

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  11. If it tells you anything, I have the local front page of Nixon's first election victory in a frame in my bedroom...

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    1. CW, I think that's a cool artifact, but it is also a bit...uh, different.

      Lee

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  12. My husband keeps the "Big News" papers and he reads the SF Chronicle from front to back. I see what pops up on AOL or Google stuff if I want to check something I've heard. I do think it is fun to time travel through those old papers, but I think it would be even more interesting if they were, as you say, 20 or more years old. Love the way you keep building on your A to Z theme!

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    1. Janet, I used to try to read any newspaper from front to back, but haven't been successful many times. That's partly why they've had a tendency to pile up. I often refer online to news stories, but it can be hard to know what the real truth is.

      Lee

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  13. I love this post, Arlee! I don't think reading in the past sounds absurd at all. Genealogy is my passion and, by its very nature, I spend a lot of time reading in the past.

    If you want a way to continue to read in the past without filling your house up with old newspapers, you really should check out newspapers.com. You can read many old newspapers on that site and save digital clippings of things, too. It is great fun reading the old articles and seeing the advertisements. And absolutely wonderful to come upon things like one's mother's birth announcement or your own picture in a newspaper article that you had totally forgotten about.

    There are some things you can see at no cost (if I remember correctly)as well as a premium subscription. I put it right up there with Ancestry.com in my Great Things to Have list. You should check it out!

    Have a blessed weekend. :)

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    1. Suzanne, totally agree on this. Today's news is part of tomorrow's future. We are witnesses to history and the print media provides one of our windows.

      I've looked at several archive news sites and they are interesting. The internet provides so much access to so many things.

      Lee

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  14. Never taken the paper. My mother keeps old papers. It is amazing on how we rewrite history all of the time, and things that were "common knowledge" 15 years ago have been changed or forgotten now.

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    1. Harry, very true. Things that I knew as a child and even a younger man are strange and unknown to recent generations. And sometimes we'll hear stories about something that has happened only to find out years later what really happened.

      Lee

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  15. I kept a couple of newspapers from way back and I think my younger son has them stashed in a chest full of mementos. I know one of the papers was from November 1963. I'll have to check the next time I'm at his house to see if he still has it.

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    1. Patricia, newspapers with the stories such as the Kennedy assassination could be very useful to someone writing about that event. I have a few such papers saved, but they are probably deteriorating from lack of proper care.

      Lee

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  16. Fascinating bit of time travel of sorts.

    I used to accumulate/horde newspaper cuttings back when I was a journalist - and when researching my first novel. I also kept most copies of the main magazine I wrote for - and cuttings of my articles, since they mentioned sponsors that kept my sport going. I still have a few cuttings but most got cleared out in the gradual series of moves that ended here in the US.

    Now I hoard articles with Evernote on my computer hard drive instead. Future historians will need my password book - and know how to decipher my code (and my handwriting/scrawl).

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    1. Roland, I've saved many clippings about myself, my family, or stories that have had some significance for me. I still have my "writing idea" file as well--stories that I clipped because I thought they might inspire some writing later on.

      Lee

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  17. I still read newspapers, although unless I'm buying the New York Post, they're usually not worth the money I spend. Perversely, newspapers are bleeding red ink, so in their mind, they cut the amount of pages they print and raise the price.

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    1. GB, some of the content quality has gone done as well I think. However, it's been many months since I've read a up to date newspaper.

      Lee

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Lee