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Afternoon Papers

May 28, 2019

The current state of newspapers is a national tragedy.

If you’ll forgive the grumpy old man trope for just a moment, when I was a kid my family subscribed to two local newspapers. In the morning, we received The Miami Herald. It told the story of everything that happened yesterday. Well, up until the printing deadline, which was probably somewhere close to midnight. Then, in the afternoon, a copy of The Miami News appeared on the doorstep. And that helped to fill in some of the gaps of news that broke before lunch.

The afternoon paper was notably thinner. But I guess that’s just the way it goes. People tend to do their reading in the morning, either at breakfast, on the way to work, or when settling into their desks. In the afternoon, after a long day, reading can feel like work. It’s time to kick your feet up and relax.

Today, the FLB is publishing another afternoon post. But it’s not by design. As it turns out, trying to get your house ready to be sold, finishing up your old job, looking for new jobs, maintaining a blog, enjoying a social life, and participating in family life takes more time than one might expect.

But a day without fussy? Perish the thought! Thankfully, the readers of the FLB read for fun, so hopefully today’s post won’t feel like work. And as readers, I think you’ll have some thoughts on the topic of the day.


Cookbooks. Food books. Wine books. Cocktail books. Beer books. Travel books. So. Many. Books. Despite continually trying to pare down my collection of books, there are volumes which I brought across the country from California to New York and maybe only opened once. There are books that I really want to read, but haven’t managed to crack their cover in years. Other books I consider cherished heirlooms, which I cannot part with, despite the fact they contain little but archaic curiosities.

As the move approaches, the books are one of the easiest things to jettison from my life. Thank you Amazon. Because pretty much everything ever published can be at your door in two days for about five bucks. So, I’m inclined to leave behind the books that aren’t potentially part of my daily rotation.

Most likely these will soon be heading to a Goodwill near you, unless of course, someone can suggest another place that might be interested in a ragtag bunch of culinaria*. I have no interest in money. I just want them to give someone else pleasure. But time is also tight, so giving out a few books here, and a few books there unfortunately can’t fit into the workflow.

What’s interesting to me are the books I’m leaving behind.

It’s not that I have lost my love of wine and cheese, but I’m just no longer as dedicated to their study. Perhaps the issue is that I’ve learned enough to get by. Perhaps I’ve come to realize that unless you dedicate your life to the subject, you’ll never be able to learn all there is to know. But without a doubt, I’m drinking less wine and eating less cheese. In part that has to do with getting older. The other part is simply the culture of the region and the patterns of my life.

Once upon a time, I may have bemoaned we had no great wine or cheese shops. But I can’t make that claim anymore.

With The Cheese Traveler doing its thing, I think even the long established cheese counter at Honest Weight Food Co-op has felt the competitive pressure and upped its game. Plus there is good stuff at Whole Foods and some of the other specialty stores these days. And restaurants have been taking their cheese plates more seriously, as our community standards rise. Still, I think there is room for even more.

We’re certainly seeing that with wine bars. Lucas Confectionery was really the first one to hit the scene since I moved here. Now we have two new players on Lark Street, and another new wine bar opening up in Troy. A rising tide lifts all boats, and I know that competition is going to be very good thing for wine in the Capital Region. Additionally, we have had 22 Second Street in Troy for years. Being able to rely on Heather’s curated selection and expertise has really diminished my need to stay on top of emerging wine regions.

None of which is to say we have a wine and cheese culture in the region… yet. However, we’re definitely moving in the right direction. Obviously, the problem is me. Somehow I’ve gotten more comfortable lingering over a single beer than a glass of wine. But there are advantages to taking your time with a glass of wine. More than beer, wine will reward the patient drinker as it opens up and evolves in the glass.

In fact, it might be the perfect thing for sitting down at the end of the day and perusing the afternoon paper. Or, you know, a late afternoon blog post if that suits you better. So don’t be like me. Get out there and do it.

Thanks for your patience with the blog during this tumultuous time. Until next time, if you have any better suggestions for the books beyond Goodwill, please let me know. And if you happen to know anyone who is interested in a three bedroom, one and a half bathroom house, walking distance from SUNY Albany, but still in the Guilderland school district, drop me a line.

* I think I may have just made up a word, but I like it, so it stays in the blog.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Dave permalink
    May 29, 2019 5:46 am

    Maybe area libraries would take your books

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