This just in on kittens and sweets!


Values of the Times: Delia Ephron isn’t Nora Ephron, though she may as well be.

On Sunday, in the Sunday Review, Ephron brought us up to date on a few of her favorite things, and on New York Times values. This is the way she began:
EPHRON (9/8/13): My favorite thing is a bakery, and my favorite thing about where I live is how many bakeries are a dog’s walk away. Dogs aren’t allowed in bakeries, but many Manhattan bakeries have little benches in front so you can tie your dog’s leash to a bench leg and keep watch out the window to make sure your dog isn’t dognapped while you are buying a croissant.

If I head to the West Village, I stop at the O Café for a pão de queijo, a Brazilian cheese puff that really tastes best if you happen to arrive when it is just out of the oven. (I’m pro anything bakery-wise that fools you into thinking it’s healthy. I consider a peanut butter cookie a source of protein.) From there I visit Amy’s Bread on Bleecker Street for a ham, pickle and butter sandwich on a baguette and—or—a slice of layer cake. American layer cake is a great invention and, if you consider the variations, as remarkable as jazz. From there I’m off to the Blue Ribbon Bakery, where they make my favorite open-face sandwich: roasted tomatoes, arugula and a special lemony olive oil on their toasted white Pullman.

Perhaps rather than go west, I head north to Breads Bakery. I am currently eating my way through the shelves and to date have tasted the almond croissant, the regular croissant, the challah (off the charts, only Thursday through Saturday), the chocolate babka (too chocolaty for me), the walnut bread (highly recommended), the pain au raisin and the seven-grain bread (not dense enough). Then I head up to Tbsp for their perfect chocolate brownie, which I take home and eat the tiniest sliver of now and then.

I haven’t mentioned any lemon sweets, and lemon is my favorite flavor...
The manifest bullshit which opened this way consumed 1200-plus words.

We’ve mentioned this many times before, but the New York Times displays an amazingly strange local culture when it comes to woman columnists. This is the way Gail Collins started her piffle last Thursday:
COLLINS (9/6/13): Off to the mayoral races

Big primary election for mayor of New York City next week, people. Let's take a look at what's been going on. If you stick with me, I promise animal stories. Including kittens.
Collins promised us kittens if we would keep keep reading. A bit later, she teased us with “the carriage horses. We will get to them in a minute.”

Eventually, Collins reported that one Republican candidate has “described how his wife tried to save the family's aged cat with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation,” and that Christine Quinn owns two rescue dogs. The kittens she promised us right up front turned out to be the pair which got stranded in the Gotham subway.

Collins’ real destination may have been the question of the treatment of those carriage horses, the ones in Central Park. Fleetingly, she discussed the issue which may not be an issue, noting that “none of this is a big deal for the average New Yorker.”

Exhausted from these labors, Collins took Saturday off. One day later, up jumped Ephron, with her endless, repellent listing of her favorite sweets.

Let her cohort eat cake!

The New York Times is a very strange beast in a number of ways. This throwback nature of its gender politics is one of these manifestations.

Discuss and reflect: For now, we’re skipping Maureen Dowd's latest piffle-rich column, the one which pretends to analyze the two faces of “Barry.”

Headline: “Barry’s War Within.” Discuss and reflect:

Has Dowd ended her rehabilitation tour with this new effort? This latest tour was occasioned by 1) an especially absurd attack on Obama, followed by 2) an especially absurd misquotation of one of the mayoral candidates—a misquotation so absurd and so poisonous that even the press corps noticed.

The rehab tour always comes to an end after Dowd gets in trouble some way. Is the latest tour officially over?

Ponder, assess and reflect. Treat yourself to a steaming cheese puff! At the O Café!


  1. These are the things les riches of NYC like to read.

    Tomorrow I will cast my ballot in the primary, without any help from Collins or Dowd.

  2. Newspapers aren't just about hard news. Ephron's was just another of those puff pieces that have traditionally made the fat Sunday Times a pleasure to curl up with on a lazy weekend while waiting for the British shows on PBS or that rare genuinely interesting segment on BookTV.

    Speaking of which, wasn't that 1998 reading from P. J. O'Rourke fun? He's no pundit but seems conversant enough with his subject to talk interestingly about it. He's not funny enough, as Hitchens once said, to be a real humorist, but funny enough to keep our attention and make us chortle every 10 minutes or so.

    I met him once and he was just like is on TV. He's too nice and charming a guy in person to be the Menckenesque curmugeon he tries to be in his writing.

    As for Dowd's latest, a journalist is never more guilty of novelizing than when she purports to analyze real-life people as if she were a Victorian novelist describing the inner life of her characters.

  3. The New York Times has the best of both worlds. Thanks to their past quality and thanks to a lack of competition, they're regarded as the leading serious news organ. However, they can fill their pages with trashy articles and thus compete with the tabloids for readers. In fact, they're the go-to source for those people who like to read trash, but who would be embarrassed to be caught reading the National Enquirer.

  4. I wondered if Bob had considered the NYT piece on gender and Harvard Business School, selling a big load of nothing with more of those highly informative statistics the Times is known for.

    By graduation, the school had become a markedly better place for female students, according to interviews with more than 70 professors, administrators and students, who cited more women participating in class, record numbers of women winning academic awards and a much-improved environment, down to the male students drifting through the cafeteria wearing T-shirts celebrating the 50th anniversary of the admission of women. Women at the school finally felt like, “ ‘Hey, people like me are an equal part of this institution,’ ” said Rosabeth Moss Kanter, a longtime professor.

    Care to quantify any of that bullshit, NYT?

  5. Bob somehow forgot to include a link to Kevin Drum insightful weekly Friday piece on cats:

    That wouldn't be because Drum sometimes throws traffic this way, would it? I mean Drum's cat-blogging must be of some higher quality than what Bob criticizes at the NY Times.