Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Wall Street Journal Weekend

Ever since that Saturday in January mostly spent at the Fairmont Hotel in Newport Beach (, I've been hooked on The Wall Street Journal Weekend.

It started with free copies I found of it and The New York Times on a table near a pricey breakfast buffet just off the lobby. I took both to the pool, and sat a few rows behind poolside with my sister on plush burgundy pool chairs, and while she opened up "Sundays at Tiffany's" by James Patterson, I began reading both papers.

I liked that while most newspapers report the news breathlessly, in anticipation of it changing in the hours that follow your reading of it, this one seemed calm about everything, taking in all the facts in measured consideration. I don't remember the headlines on that day, but just like the Weekend edition I have today (I went to the newsstand early this morning when my dad had to bring the PT Cruiser to the repair place that's attached to the Kmart building, but not affiliated with it), the facts are all here, laid out smoothly for you to pull from it whatever you want, whatever your beliefs are.

It's the latter sections that make this newspaper one that I absolutely have to get every Saturday. In the "Off Duty" section, which is usually the last section unless there's an issue of Wall Street Journal Magazine included (It's mostly high-gloss fashion stuff), on that January morning, there was an entire page devoted to sandwiches and many of the different kinds, including po boys, along with insights from chefs about what they consider a great sandwich. And then, in the "Review" section that's before "Off Duty", there were book reviews, more book reviews than I usually find in other newspapers. And long ones, too, not just snippets within a column, although there is that as well.

Today's Weekend edition keeps up the same of what I've always expected every time I buy it. There's an above-the-fold article about the budget cut passed by the GOP, financial troubles at Bank of America, and below the fold is where you can find that which you won't find often in other papers. There's a long interview with a former stock market inside trader, and below that, a profile of a bus museum that did not catch on with the public, and it ends with the passion that Jim Lehrer of "NewsHour" on PBS has for buses, including owning one himself.

The Business & Finance section is hit-or-miss for me every week. I usually just skim through it, since while business can have drama for some in numbers, there's not much for me in it. That was pretty much what it was this week, except for an article about Angela Leong, fourth wife to Stanley Ho, a Hong Kong casino magnate, gaining control of a $1.2 billion dollar interest in his casino holdings and therefore his company for six years. There's bits of family drama in that article, and you wonder about the stories within that family, beyond what's been reported, what the conflict is like, especially with all that money at stake.

This week's Review section has the standard Joe Queenan column, this time about him tracing his ancestry and reporting it as only he can in his own wonderfully twisted take.

They have space within Review for a column called "Creating", and they profile people who, well, create things. Today is about whiskey distiller Chris Morris at Brown-Forman. I don't drink, but I like learning as much as I can about everything.

I haven't gotten to the "Off Duty" section yet, which encompasses (according to the strip below the name) "cooking, eating, style, fashion, design, decorating, adventure, travel, gear, gadgets." (There's dots between the words.) I know right off that the article on heels won't interest me, but looking below that, way below the fold, there's "Fresh Takes on Eggs - Four recipes from top chefs" on D5. That's definitely for me.

I like to try to read The Wall Street Journal Weekend each Saturday because I can devote as much time to it as it takes me to read nearly everything. Of course, that depends on when we go out, and when I get the paper, because I don't read it in the car. I don't like to shuffle a paper around in there. I got lucky this morning because I was able to get the paper far earlier than I usually do, and read almost all of the front section at the car repair place, and then skimmed through Business & Finance and got through about half of the Review section at home.

This was in the paper last week, and it's here this week too, a glossy sheet of paper advertising a subscription to The Wall Street Journal Weekend, which I would like. 52 weeks for $52 sounds ok, but the delivery time bothers me. I remember reading on the website for the daily edition that they'd deliver between 3 and 5 a.m., and being that we have two dogs and a front-door walkway gate that squeaks, no way. It's not worth saving $1.20 for the dogs to bark like hell at that hour and wake everyone up. Besides, sometimes at the newsstand, I come upon magazines I want to read, such as the latest issue of Ute Reader, which I would love to work for, as they read alternative press magazines, hundreds of them it would seem, and compile the best articles into each issue. Since I read every day, that would be the job for me, since it doesn't require reviews to be written afterward that would be published. I was a film critic. That's enough as a critic for an entire lifetime.

I remember when I was a kid how reliable Saturday morning cartoons were. Or rather, for me, Saturday morning programming, since the only cartoon I remember watching every single Saturday was "Garfield & Friends." I was also devoted to the "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers", and made sure to tape "Beakman's World", since I was still at my Saturday morning bowling league at Don Carter Lanes in Tamarac by noon.

I like that I have something on Saturday now that's just as reliable, and just as enjoyable. The same pleasure I felt for Saturday morning television is here, too, for The Wall Street Journal Weekend. Yes, a newspaper. I refuse to throw myself into the permanent technological rush hour that has so thoroughly dominated this country. I don't need to know everything that's going on in the world every single minute. I'm fine with getting my news occasionally, but I also require some thoughtfulness from it and that's what I get every Saturday.