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Hello, readers (and if you’re wondering what this is, I just added you to the subscription list for my occasional email newsletter; scroll down to the bottom if you wish to unsubscribe):
When I joined Time magazine in 2007, I got an office between Joe Klein’s and Nathan Thornburgh’s. Joe was perfectly nice but he wasn’t there much and when he was there, he was usually haranguing somebody over the phone. So I mainly hung out with Nathan. Now Nathan and I are both part of the vast Time diaspora —he co-founded and co-runs a wonderful travel site called Roads & Kingdoms — and we still hang out from time to time. A few months ago we met up at Birch Coffee on Columbus between 96th and 97th, and afterwards this happened:
Justin … told me as we walked back to Broadway that what Roads and Kingdoms really needed was more Breakfast, that Breakfast was a stunningly underrated meal, and that if I was smart I would start a Breakfast vertical as soon as possible.
This week my recommendation became reality. Roads & Kingdom’s Breakfast vertical (a vertical is a digital-journalism thing that’s sort of equivalent to a section in a newspaper) is a thing, a beautiful thing. The very first breakfast looked this:
That is a donburi bowl (which is redundant because “donburi” means “bowl”, but I’m just trying to be clear here) from a restaurant in Hakodate, the southernmost city on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, containing what writer Matt Goulding describes as:
… scallops swollen to the size of English muffins, salmon eggs that pop like little depth charges of salt and umami, cat tongues of uni that melt over the warm grains of rice like egg yolk on a carbonara …
This, and the subsequent breakfasts (there’s a new one every day), makes me more than a little self-conscious about the piece I’ve been planning to turn in about Joey’s and my regular Saturday morning breakfast at Tom’s Restaurant on Broadway. But it also makes me very proud to have played a role in getting this thing going.
As for my own writings, the piece I put the most heart and soul into over the past couple of weeks was a column about the sad, sad standoff between Steve and Elaine Wynn, once the most powerful (and maybe the most endearing) couple in Las Vegas. The best part of it was reading old stories about the two, and the best story was by another former co-worker of mine (at Fortune), Nina Munk, in Vanity Fair in 2005. One of my favorite passages was about how their parents introduced them in Miami over Christmas break in 1960. Steve was a sophomore at Penn; Elaine a freshman at UCLA.
From dinner with their parents at the Miami Jai-Alai Fronton, he took Elaine to the Boom Boom Room at the Fontainebleau; then he drove her to the 79th Street Causeway, where they were parked until two o’clock in the morning. Ten days later, she was wearing his Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity pin.
The column I put the most hours into was on the new Steve Jobs book by two more former Fortune colleagues, Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli. I read their book, which took me most of a day. But first I also finally read Walter Isaacson’s much-longer Jobs biography while flying to Birmingham, Alabama, and back. More than 1,000 pages in a row, then, about a man who said “shit” all the time (it really does seem to have been his favorite word). Fun!
Actually, it was fun. They’re both quite entertaining books.
Other things I wrote about: “The Rise of Chipotle Nation,” “Are Money Managers Lemmings?” “China’s Leap Forward in Digital Medicine,” “Kraft Was Global, Then It Wasn’t,” “The Intangible Corporation.” And many more.
Till next time,