Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Perusing the Sunday guts

The first thing I do when I receive the Sunday Times-Standard is to remove and set aside what I call the “guts.” That’s the big pile in the center of the paper filled with advertising inserts, the television listings, color comics and a magazine called “USA Weekend.”

The meat of the paper – mostly contained in the A section – is consumed on Sunday morning. After I get my own newspaper out and I’m off deadline on Monday night, I pick through the Sunday guts while watching “Big Love” on HBO.

The first order of business is to read Dilbert, which is printed in full, glorious color. About 60 percent of the time, I laugh out loud. Then, if I’m in the mood, I read Doonesbury. That rarely makes me laugh, but I trudge through it anyway.

I know I’m about to commit blasphemy and will create life-long enemies for writing this, but it’s time to retire “Peanuts.” Mr. Schulz died more than seven years ago. Give that space to a new cartoonist. And what can be said about The Family Circus? That cartoon is consistently awful.

After the comics, I move on to USA Weekend, which almost never has anything worth reading. Still, I keep looking through it in the off chance that there’s a decent recipe or an update on Lindsay Lohan’s sobriety. (I try to stay abreast of the latest celebrity gossip. I consider it my duty as a patriotic American.)

One of the most interesting advertising inserts is the one from Big 5 Sporting Goods. I immediately flip to the gun section. I’m amazed at how inexpensive the rifles are. It’s not in this week’s flier, but there’s usually a vintage Russian army rifle that can be had for about $100. I’ve thought about stockpiling a bunch of these with the idea that I will eventually form my own militia.

I look through the Kmart, Target and Staples inserts to check the price of digital cameras. The technology gets better and better, while the prices keep falling. I'm also intrigued by the tents for some reason. If I had to, I think I could live in some of the larger ones just fine.

This week’s inserts were pushing “back to school” clothing for the kids. It was a good opportunity to get a quick update on what’s considered fashionable among today’s youth, which roughly translates into what’s fashionable for everyone else.

This year’s colors are drab and dreary – lots of beige, muted greens and grays. This is probably symbolic of the mood of the nation after more than six years of the Bush Administration and the bloody, endless slaughter in Iraq.

Speaking of gangsters, the kids are also into some sort of gangsta-chic style. The hoodies feature a fake-looking embroidery with curvy letters. I don’t recall which insert it was, but there was one fellow who was dressed just like a gang banger from East LA.


The pants are baggy and worn looking. The funny thing is that they look like my old jeans, like the ones I might wear when mowing the lawn. One pair of pants advertised even came with fake stains on it!

Somewhere in my garage I have a bag of old, worn-out jeans. I should dig them out, set up a table near the high school and try to sell them for $5 a piece.

I’ve got one pair covered in black roofing tar. That would be the cool, hip thing to wear on the first day of school. It would perfectly match a hoodie with fake stains that was featured in the Kmart insert.

I flip through all these entails, then I deposit the whole pile – except for the tv listings – in the recycling bin

Meanwhile, somewhere in McKinleyville, an insecure freshman is complaining that the pants his mother bought him are “stupid” because they look new and don’t have any fake stains. A cheerleader is convincing her father that she needs to wear low-rider jeans because how else would everyone see the “JUICY” tattoo she got this summer on her lower back.

And at an undisclosed location in Colorado, Dean Singleton is rolling around in a big pile of cash, giggling and thinking about ways to increase the volume of inserts in his expanding chain of newspapers.

1 Comments:

Blogger Rose said...

I went with my daughter into Abercrombie and Fitch - and I'm telling you, Jack, the stuff on the racks would go for a buck at the local Salvation Army store. The guy's shirts looked like hideous old bowling shirts that had laid on a teenager's floor for a couple of weeks, the girl's jeans were ripped and stained, like you described, it was the kind of stuff you would be tossing figuring it was time for some new stuff - only these weren't KMart prices on the tags, and girls were beggin their Mom's and very indignant at the Mom's reactions. What a rip-off.

I thought it would be fun to take the salvation Army store and merchandise it properly, and see if people could tell the difference.

11:04 AM  

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