Cathy Seipp asks on her blog if the online registration at LATimes.com is the worst on the planet.
That's a rhetorical question, because the answer, hands-down, is yes, as everyone knows who's ever tried it. I mean, does ANYONE disagree with this? But, like Charlie Brown trying to kick the football one more time before Lucy yanks it away, I foolishly attempted the whole process once again today...
I put in everything correctly: case sensitive password, address, phone number, account number, and still no go.
What I did discover, though, was a way to circumvent the process that I will now share with you. If you go to the latimes.com search function you can get, for free, the headline and first graph of any piece. Once you've got that, run the first few words of the head -- in this case: "Counterpunch: 'Alien' shares political" -- through Google. For some reason you need that, and not just the author's name, for this to work. Then the entire page of the paper will come up in text format.
Actually my LAT.com registration cookie works just about every time. Can't remember the last time I had to re-register, and I go there almost every day. (The pop-ups are highly annoying though). The site that makes me nuts is the Washington Post, which only asks four innocuous questions, but which makes me re-enter the answers about half the time. I wonder what percentage of other users just fill in the sample birthdate and zip code... Close second for aggravation: the L.A. Business Journal site. It's archaic and hard to use.
Stories from the LAT are free online, by the way, through many public library sites, including LAPL.com and the Santa Monica library. If you actually go in to an L.A. library and use the Proquest database, you can search and print the full text of LAT stories, ads, headlines and photo captions back to the beginning in 1881. It cuts a lot of the drudgery out of historical research, and was invaluable on the Wilshire Boulevard book I'm writing.