I always start with the Bible. King James, of course. On the exercise machine. I'm not a religious man, but you never know when you're going to find a useful quote--something that sounds profound and isn't too well known. Next of course is the New York Times. I read it in my bath, with a cup of Earl Grey tea. After scanning the front page, I check to see if Roger Cohen has written anything. If he has, I don't read it and move on to the Washington Post and young George Will. My goodness, he has lost none of his riotous sense of humor. What was he writing about the other day? Manners? Malaysia? Oh well, awfully good stuff.
Of course I check to make sure that my own column is in its customary spot on the upper left corner of the op-ed page. That was Lippmann's spot, you know. Actually, they haven't run me up there for years, ever since that young twit took over, Sheridan? Hilton? Hiatt, that's it. Worm. Had the effrontery to tell me to stop writing about NATO. Should have taken his advice, actually. Every time I use the word NATO, the column slips further down the page. "Canada" the same. I'm told he's got a secret list: "irredentist," "transparency," "Iowa Caucuses."
Rupert has ruined the Wall Street Journal, of course, so that saves me a good ten minutes a day, though I do miss "Pepper...and Salt."
Yes. I still read the papers on paper, I'm afraid. Habit of 83 years--hard to break. And I like to dip the paper into the bath just enough to get the bottom two or three inches wet, before passing it along to my wife. Irritates the hell out of her. Hah!
By the time I get to my computer, it's 9:30 or quarter to 10. I do check out a few sites: the FT, Council on Foreign Relations, BigBoobs.com, the usual stuff. Lately, actually, I find that I really don't need to visit these sites (except for BigBoobs) because of this marvelous new site called the Atlantic Wire. It purloins--or "curates" as they prefer to call it--the best opinion from all over the web and gives you everything you need to know to get through lunch at the Cosmos Club. And then they update the whole thing again late in the afternoon to prepare you for a Georgetown dinner party. (Do they still do those? I certainly don't get invited to any.) Run by children, I'm told. Remarkable. Old Rufus rang the other day and said, "Have you been to the Web? They've 'curated' your column." At first I thought "This is really too much." But when I saw that I was the #1 most-clicked column I thought, well, the important thing is that people read it.
J. William Medley is a fictional character and syndicated columnist whose column, "As I See It," has appeared since time immemorial on the op-ed page of the Washington Post. He is the author of 17 books, including "Whither NATO?" "After NATO" and a memoir, "When NATO Was Young." He is honorary chairman of the Opinion League of America and a member of the United Brotherhood of Pundits and Allied Trades. He recently began writing a blog for the Schwarzman Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Delaware