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Retirement does give us more free time, and nowhere is that more apparent to us than in the mornings.  There’s no rushing off to the office after breakfast any more.  And so we are rather retro about our newspapers.

We know that print newspapers in general are dying.  Everything one wants or needs to know is online now.  We for sure get a lot of our news through the afternoon and evening that way.  But we subscribe to three old-fashioned printed newspapers. Sara especially connects a leisurely breakfast with sections of newspaper all over the place.

We get the Kansas City Star every day, since it is the one bearable newspaper we can get delivered seven days a week..  The local Topeka paper unfortunately has shrunk back so far that it offers us nothing, and has the gall to charge to see its online version, so we bid it adieu a long time ago.  The Star once had a top flight team of sports writers and a very good business writing department, both of which Ron used to enjoy daily.  Those have both regressed a whole lot.  But Ron can still get his first look of the day at what are basically wire service sports reports.  Sara likes the editorial section, which reprints a lot of op-ed and commentary pieces by major writers both in KC and the nation.  She also still reads her daily comics the old-fashioned way, in print. (Non Sequitur being her current favorite). Plus there's always the chance of reading about a worthwhile show at the Nelson or other worth-visiting event. Bottom line: the Star is not the paper it once was, but it is most adequate to peruse during breakfast. And it just plain seems worthwhile to contribute a bit to keeping a regional paper going.

We have had the Wall Street Journal delivered for many years. It now almost always comes six days a week (nothing on Sunday, and nothing if the market is closed on a weekday). At first it served mostly Ron's interest in finances, with Sara reading just a few columnists (not the same thing as its editorials). Over time it has evolved into a lifestyle paper, and she reads quite a bit of it most of the time. Now we can’t begin to afford some of the lifestyles shown, but sooner or later most news involves money and it finds its way into the Journal.  They have a terrific sports writing department, of all things.  On Saturdays they deal with investor issues that are often relevant to us.  We used to not make a tech move until Walt Mossberg said it was ok, but he got way too famous and maybe didn't feel a good fit with the new Journal ownership. Anyway he became his own cottage industry (find him now at Re/code.) But new tech people at the Journal still tell us about tech trends, new medicines and clinical trials, and other things we find interesting.   As the data about markets has moved to the net, the Journal has lightened its coverage there and spoken more clearly to its subscriber base and the things they wish to know about.   The Journal’s editorial policy consists mainly of doing a Fox Business type Obama bashing but often there are guest op-eds that offer a break from that. Journal columnists are much more mainstream and interesting. The Journal has a good website and we get that with our print subscription.  It’s set as Ron's home page on his PC.

On Sundays we get the New York Times.  They won’t bring the paper version to Kansas except that day. The subscription also covers the online version, and Sara reads that both on her iPad and her big office PC supersize monitor screen.  Sara likes a number of sections, and especially likes the fact that the online version lets her click through to past articles, readers' comments (some crazy but others interesting), vendor websites, etc. She also enjoys the Sunday experience of having lots of special print Sunday sections spread all over the place. Ron find the Sports section boring and the Business section only rarely helpful, but he enjoys the Book Review insert, and many of his discoveries from that insert have ended up summarized on his Books page.

So our mornings each day involve these publications.  It is one of Ron's early morning tasks to go out and get the papers, which our guy leaves out on the driveway near the street.  That’s about 600 or so feet and sometimes he'll walk and sometimes he'll drive, depending on conditions.   A guy about our age is our carrier and he says he drops them off around 2 a.m.  Ron's never been out to check on that, since they just need to be there about 6 or 7 when he gets out there - which they are, almost without fail.

Magazines, like newspapers, have seen better days.  The only one we really subscribe to (not counting the AARP and AAA stuff that come sometimes) is The Economist.  Sara finds the global coverage of value as she teaches courses like Modern Middle East and World History, and anyway just plain retains her interest in what's happening about the world (however depressing the reality usually is).  Ron enjoys the business and economic articles and they have interesting coverage on science and so on.  So it comes in the mail once a week. Sometimes Ron finds interesting books in their small book review section. 

For some years now Sara has also semi-regularly picked up a copy of Dwell, which focuses on modern architecture and design. It's often a bit too hard-edged modern for her taste (her favorite era is the early twentieth century period of architects, designers and movements such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Greene and Greene, Ray and Charles Eames, Craftman, and Bauhaus). But at least every few issues there are a few articles that leave her practically drooling and with a good idea or two.

It's interesting that this is the sum total of print magazines found around our house, since we seem to be reading more about more things than in the past. This almost certainly reflects the power of the web and Google. Sara often finds a stray reference to something piquing her interest, leading to a session of Google searching. This frequently takes her into the modern equivalent of newspaper or magazine articles - sometimes at the sites of actual newspapers or magazines. Increasingly those aren't available free, which makes sense to her. If something is particularly interesting and with a small one-article fee, she happy to pay. She does have a regular online subscription to Consumer Reports , which she uses semi-regularly.