Not sure I really follow the story perfectly, but evidently, the man showed up to a bigwig Italian dinner wearing a funny hat (honestly). He ordered a wonder-of-the-world-rare plate of penne and then pitched the iPad to the NYT brass. They are having a hard time; their paper along with many physical print companies are losing that green stuff very fast: the market is changing.
I'll not spoil the details by saying that it looks like Jobs is hoping to get subscription or pay-as-you-go up for bit publications like the NYT on the iPad. Bet he just wants that ? mark to disappear next to the NYT.com.