These days my opportunities to sit down and read an actual printed magazine are generally limited to waiting areas: My periodontist favors the Robb Report and Yacht International (having seen his fees this makes a certain amount of sense.) My hair stylist tosses a sop to her male clients in the form of tattered copies of Car & Driver and GQ. Sometimes I'll come across a copy of Time magazine, which I remember from my youth as brimming with articles on the latest political and social trends. A real snapshot of the American zeitgeist. But today? A slender sheaf incapable of holding my attention for more than a couple of minutes, and filled with ad pages for prescription medications. The supermarket checkout line gives me a weekly glimpse into a world of popular culture that is - for me at least - terra incognita. In breathless tones the covers portray the anguished breakups of people I didn't even realize existed. Other periodicals hint at the imminent demise of celebrities I remember from my youth. Mary Tyler Moore, the fresh-faced Minnesota heroine with a cranky boss, is a perennial favorite. One week, I sadly suppose, they'll get it right. I have one friend who subscribes to Playboy. In any other person I would be utterly amazed that someone would actually find it necessary to pay money to have photographs of naked (albeit airbrushed) women mailed to him once a month. But Bob's an odd duck, strangely Luddite in his tastes. In suspended animation on both technological and social fronts, he's still busily copying sci-fi films of the 1980s from his laserdisc player. When I talk about Netflix and Hulu, its like I'm describing another dimension. The fact is, I can recall some very enjoyable magazine experiences. I used to enjoy leafing through my girlfriends copies of Vanity Fair as I waited (for hours, it sometimes seemed) to finish applying her makeup. I treasured visits to one relative as much for the wonders I found in her copies of Architectural Digest as anything else. And I am today a font of useless information thanks to my grandparents stack of Readers Digests. It was in those well-thumbed pages that I learned that we humans had organs like the thymus and pituitary gland. And that people connected to America's armed forces had pretty bland taste in humor. We've gained a tremendous amount thanks to technology and the Internet. But sometimes I do sometimes miss the role magazines used to play in our society.