Friday, November 15, 2013

Media Blog

Based on my morning routine, you’d think I was an old man. Monday through Friday, I’m up and 6 am on the dot, slowly springing out of bed and using my cane to make my way to bathroom. When I come back, I throw a bagel in the toaster, turn on my coffee maker and pour a big class a water. I also grab an apple out of the fridge, as well as a 12 ounce bottle Calcium and Vitamin D Orange Juice (which is a necessity because my bones are so brittle in old age).
When my bagel (did I mention that it’s 100% whole wheat and filled with fiber?) is done, I spread natural peanut mixed with flaxseed on top. I don’t do that because I’m old by the way. I do it because it’s delicious AND nutritious, a real win-win.
 But what is the real story here is what I do when my breakfast is all finished (usually around 6:15) – placed neatly on a paper towel – and I sit down in my black chair. I grab the remote, turn on CNN’s New Day (or SportsCenter if I’m feeling adventurous) and watch a few minutes of the shows before grabbing my iPad. I have three newspapers in my newsstand – The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Boston Globe. I read the front-page stories in all of them - with quick stops in the sports and arts sections, looking for anything interesting or a recap of last night’s NBA action – and then I move in.
I tap Safari open and head to Slate. It’s around 6:35 by now and my breakfast is almost finished. There isn’t always something worth my time there, but when I do, it’s incredible. For instance, this past Monday, I found a great essay on how black American slaves played a far larger role in the Revolution than history books indicate. And in fact, one of the major players was a personal slave of George Washington and said slave ended up moving to Canada after the war. I was there, so it was a good refresher.
From there, I make my final two stops between 6:45 and 6:50 – Grantland and The Classical. I usually don’t read anything from either site this early, but I’ll earmark anything that would looks like a good read for my lunch hour. If I have extra time, I’ll squeeze in Tom Ziller’s daily morning column over at SB Nation, which covers everything NBA. (Side note, I really miss watching fundamental basketball. I’ll take a lay-up over a dunk any day.
It’s around 7 when I finish my morning read around. I’ll have finished two or three cups of coffee by then and I’ve read, at a minimum, nine or ten articles. I then go shower, washing off the final bits of haziness and try to process everything I’ve just read. When I get out of the shower, I finish any leftover reading from the night before.
Usually, I can’t remember everything I’ve read, but the vast majority I do. This process continues throughout the day too, as I’ll favorite Tweets with interesting articles attached and binge read them the next day if I have extra time before 8:35 class or before I go to bed. And I usually pick up The Post. And, at some point, I’ll check out WOUB’s web page.
Some writers have become my down personal studies. I have tab in Safari devote specifically to Wright Thompson articles I have not yet read. Then there's Paul Flannery, an essayist who is able to capture the essence of fandom. And there's Rembert Browne, the hilarious, pseudo hippie and Internet presence who writes brilliantly in the first person. But I digress. 
Basically, reading is my version of smoking, a habit I picked up while fighting Charlie in Nam.
In all seriousness, this is a habit developed over a long period of time. My guess is that I picked up this habit from my Dad, who on Saturday mornings during my childhood, would hand me the Plain Dealer and have me read articles from different sections and columns from Regina Brett and Terry Pluto. Those were the days where I woke up at 10 AM and thought that was early.
From there, I started reading the paper on Sundays too, and before long, I was reading it every day of the week, finding myself irate after reading any column from Bud Shaw or Bill Livingston. My Dad & I would race downstairs every morning, battling for the sports page. He won, usually. But once I wanted to race him for the fresh cup of coffee as well as the paper, I started getting up at 6 and beating him to the punch.
I have the same routine, day in and day out. It started last year, when I realized I had extra time on my hands if I got up a little earlier. It differs a little bit on the weekends – excessive whiskey drinking tends to make me sleep in later – but even then it stays the same. I make my breakfast, make my coffee and read as much I can. Sometimes the sources change up a little bit (for example, I sub in Flannery’s Sunday Shootaround on, well, Sunday in place of Ziller’s column.) But in large part, I do the same thing every day.
This habit has been the most constant thing my life. Friends have gone. Family as died. Girlfriends have left. But this has stayed the same.

I guess that’s what happens when you get old.

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