I gave up notebooks a couple years ago.
When I write fast — and everyone talks so fast these days, there’s really no other way — I write big. I’d have whole sheets of notebook paper with about 10 words on them. I could hear the trees screaming at me.
So I gave up the traditional 8-inch-long, 4-inch wide reporter’s note pads. Instead, I invested in a couple clipboards, and helped myself to the columns of scrap paper in the composing room. These 8-by-11 sheets of paper are first used by the advertising layout guys, to plan where our ads will end up in the newspaper.
The plan works out great for a recycling maniac such as myself, although I do have to staple my “notebooks” together. I scribble notes as big as I want, write my stories, wait a day or two after publication and then toss the now twice-used paper into the recylcing basket.
I was hoping this trend might catch on, but I think some reporters kind of like reaching into a jacket pocket with one hand to pull out the tool of the trade — kind of like James Bond making a suave move for his Walther PPK.
But while I’m doing my part to save the world, the folks at San Francisco design house RH are going the other way. A few weeks ago, I received about 20 pounds of promotional catalogs — full of lush pictures of lush furniture, tableware, cabinets, chandeliers and a thousand other things that are not on my shopping list. Vintage-washed Belgian linen bedding (in prairie, dune and ivy) may impress some folks, but I’m still fine with my flannel cotton sheets (gray) from Boscov’s. They’re king-size, they’re $29.99 and they’re on sale.
Antique Chinese porcelain — the square rimmed collection — might be a gas for some artistic decorators. But I’m still using stoneware purchased during the last century.
I’m sure the RH folks were hoping we’d write about their products. But in the past, we’ve rarely done anything with companies so far away from our circulation area. There were once times when firms such as Lands’ End and Eddie Bauer shipped over oversized beach towels, huge wicker baskets, sweaters and gift certificates, all for publicity’s sake, but they never got into our newsprint. The free stuff went into our silent auction, so at least the companies helped out the less fortunate around the holidays. Even if they never knew it.
Everybody has to make a living, and that includes the guys from RH. But the “Interiors” catalog is 710 pages, and the size of a telephone book. The “Outdoor and Garden” book is 306 pages. “Baby & Child” checked in at 266 pages. A recycled canvas play tent for kids — looks like an Indian teepee in the brochure — is priced at $269 in the latter book.
I’ll bet it cost RH a bundle to ship these things to Schenectady. And I’m sure guys at other newspapers got the same package. I’m equally sure it cost a fortune to produce these things. Photographers, copy writers, layout guys probably worked long hours on work that we have no use for here at the old Gazette. Sorry about that.
For any reader that might like to check out the RH lineup, I’ll be happy to hand over these books. You just have to promise me you’ll recycle the things when you’re done with them. That’s the plan here, in another week or so.
I guess in the end, RH did get a little something from its investment — a little publicity in the electronic version of this newspaper.