(End Of) Time Magazine

Recently, United Airlines gave me the opportunity to subscribe to a few magazines with my paltry frequent flyer miles rather than have them expire.  You remember magazines, don’t you?  Folded and stapled sheets of glossy paper with words and pictures on them?

Anyway; one of the magazines I chose was Time.  It has been a cornerstone of American journalism for decades and I remember fondly pouring through it as a kid looking for items for my current events class.  You remember current events, don’t you?  It was time when elementary school kids could talk about the actual news of the day and learn critical thinking skills.

I’ve been getting my Time for a few months and I’m very sad.  It is no longer a news magazine.  In fact, I’m not really sure what it is, and I am a little suspicious that they may not know what they are either!

The most recent issue has the Orlando Massacre on the cover.  It’s a black cover with each of the victim’s names and ages printed in white.  When it arrived yesterday I settled down to read the in-depth article.  There were 12 pages devoted to the story, some making large use of photos.  In the middle there was an opinion piece on the importance of Gay bars as safe havens through the years.  I say it was an opinion piece because there was no beef there, no facts, no history.  It was just some guy’s opinion.

Anyway, I read all 12 pages, and you know what?  I learned NOTHING I didn’t already know.  And most surprising was that I got most of what I already knew from FACEBOOK of all places!

I’m not complaining.  I’m just recognizing that the world has changed. There really is no place for a standard news magazine today.  By the time the damn things are published, they are out of date.  We’ve already gotten it from television news or any number of websites or . . . .well, FACEBOOK.

Which is not to say that there isn’t a need for a real news magazine, one that would take an issue and examine it from several points of view, that would aim at the kind of critical thinking we were trying to develop back in fifth grade.  I believe there is a need for such a thing, but I also believe it would never fly in our world of tang-instant information.  We slobber down the banal because we don’t have time for anything more substantial.  We consume ‘news’ very much like we consume chicken nuggets from the drive thru window, without a thought, without a purpose.


Vitamix vs Ninja

I started making smoothies for breakfast about 8 years ago.  Every morning I take a banana, an orange, some frozen blueberries and whatever other fruit is available and blend it into a thick delicious beverage that satisfies my need for fiber, natural sugar and some vitamins and minerals.  I can’t imagine starting the day any other way!

vMy first good blender was a Vitamix, bought at Costco for about $350.  I swore by it – and still do.  It’s a great blender.

But recently I moved and in the process decided to leave my Vitamix with my friend and neighbor.  It was time for something new!

I priced Vitamix at Costco again and discovered the price had risen a bit.  I also discovered there were other super blenders on the market that claimed to do as good a job.  The day I decided to buy, the Ninja pro system went on sale.  Here was the blender, with three individual bullet type cups, a food processor and more, all for about $150.  Couldn’t resist that!  I figured, what the heck:  if it doesn’t do what I want it to do, it can go back to Costco!

Having used the Ninja for about 3 months, I think I can offer a reasonable ncomparison.

Is it better than the Vitamix?  No.

Is it as good as the Vitamix?  In some ways, yes, in others . . not so much.

The biggest negative I’ve experienced with the Ninja is its inability to pulverize fruit seeds and peels.  In my Vitamix days, I’d toss a piece of cantelope in the carafe, seeds and all and it would come out smooth, with undetectable seeds.  Same with a pear. Not so with the Ninja.  If you do that with a Ninja, your smoothie will have a certain grit.  The Ninja also fails on things like grape skin and peels.  They get cut up really small, sure; but they don’t fully disintegrate into the rest of the beverage.

On the positive side, the Ninja is a much better design, with an easier cleanup.  The blades are not permanently affixed to the carafe. They sit within it, anchored rather ingeniously; so they come out for cleaning.  Clean up is so much easier!  Everything – I mean every piece of the Ninja except the motor/base – goes into the dishwasher.  The plastic carafes come out sparkling clear.

Vitamix cautions against putting their carafe into the dishwasher.  And, trust me on this, over time, no matter how well you clean your Vitamix carafe, it’s going to become dingy and cloudy.  I’ve tried every trick I’ve been told by the demo people and that I’ve found online and nothing restores the Vitamix carafe to it’s original look.

Because the Ninja is a modular system with a number of different carafes and attachments, it’s more versatile.  I can do more with it.  The Vitamix, despite all of the goodies that are made in the Costco demo, is really just a smoothie maker/blender.

Thanks to clean-ability and versatility, I give Ninja the edge.  It doesn’t pulverize quite as well as the Vitamix, but it does a pretty good job.  And at about half the price of the Vitamix, it’s the logical choice, too.