In which I geek out on the New York Times Magazine editorial staff.

I freely admit I am among those people that the erudite folks scoff at: one of those absurd people who spend $5 on the Sunday Times and sometimes, don’t even open the paper at all.

While it’s a rare luxury these days to have the time to flip through that beast (how I miss the pre-child days of newsprint on my fingers at brunch) I do know that I can always catch up on the news online. Really, it’s the Magazine I crave.

(How lame to think that a magazine is my biggest addiction these days, after Bravo. Giving back my coolness card, stat. )

Of course I begin with the crossword puzzle. And when I find myself stuck or frustrated or needing to clear my head and find an answer–Algerian Port gets me every time–I turn to the always wonderful Lives column on the next-to-back page. Then I work my way from the front to back, starting with my favorite columnists.

Last week, I paid the premium in LA for the Times (not counting the 10 block walk to get it) and pocketed the magazine, knowing Lisa Belkin’s mom blogger feature was something I’d want to re-read in print. I’m old skool that way. But it wasn’t until yesterday, on my first subway commute back to work, a whole 8 days later, that I finally had a chance to catch up on the rest of it.

My first stop: Randy Cohen, The Ethicist. But what? This would be his last column? (I had only referenced him recently!) After 12 years  I could hardly blame him. I imagined writing a letter to him to thank him for the weekly lesson in ethics delivered with the the fabulously wry sense of humor you might expect of a former SNL writer. Then I turned to the On Language Column, which I had read since back when I had to ignore William Safire‘s politics to get through it. But wait…it was Ben Zimmer‘s last column too?

And then…oh no. Virginia Heffernan saying farewell? How can that be? She’s so…new. She’s one of us! She writes about Kindle and food bloggers and Angry Birds and Marc Zuckerberg. Deborah Solomon was out too, evidently. And then the final punch in the gut was the departure of Amanda Hesser, the phenomenal food editor ( also a neighborhood acquaintance and fellow preschool mom and prolific twitterer) whose romance through food we all followed avidly years ago, bid goodbye with a 1969 chocolate cake recipe and still left me feeling not very hungry at all.

I’m kind of sick about the whole thing.

It’s the same way I feel when I’ve watched bloggers I love close up shop–voices I’ve come to love and look forward to, suddenly out of my life. Their children get older, their book deals come through, they move out of country, grow up or get married, and they pack up their blogs with their suitcases.

It’s one more good reminder as to why I like having this digital room of my own, even if it hardly pays enough to keep me in vanilla lattes.

You can stop reading me any time. But you can’t fire me.

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