Archive for the ‘Faits Divers’ Category

Daily Office:
Tuesday

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

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¶ Matins: Truckers engage with communications devices — cell phones, on-baord computers — up to “90%” of their driving time. Efforts to curb that distraction are likely to meet with frustration.  

Lauds: Textile designer Ilisha Helfman, in Portland, Oregon, fashions outfits for her antique paper dolls from the covers of the Sunday Times Magazine.

Prime: Felix Salmon comments on the economics of the Urban Diet.

Tierce: The cheeky devils at Improv Everywhere had some fun on the subway: the Class of ’09, Lexington Avenue Laughing Academy. (via kottke.org)

Sext: This time, the descent into the Dark Ages will be recorded — at craigslist.

Nones: President Obama will campaign on behalf of his wife’s hometown, seeking the 2016 Olympics for Chicago.

Vespers: Richard Crary gets round to Civilization and Its Discontents, enjoying the read for the most part but pricking his ears at Freud’s anthropology.

Compline: Don’t expect that famous writer sitting across the table to be a gifted conversationalist, critic Arthur Krystal warns.

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Daily Office:
Friday

Friday, September 25th, 2009

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Matins: David Kushner files a report from the future — where everyone drives a Neighborhood Electric Vehicle. (via The Morning News

Lauds: Forget the Summer of Death: Blanche Moyse turns 100.

Prime: Mistaking the complex for the profound — always a problem for us smartypants. David Hakes, an academic economist at Northern Iowa U, admits that he committed preference falsification.

Tierce: The Aesthete notes an interesting sale at Christie’s: Ismail Merchant’s knick-knacks will go on the block in a few weeks.

Sext: We like Balk’s take on the 19-pound baby.

Nones: More on Manuel Zelaya:

He’s sleeping on chairs, and he claims his throat is sore from toxic gases and “Israeli mercenaries” are torturing him with high-frequency radiation.

We’re not making this up! (via The Awl)

Vespers: Esquire executive editor Mark Warren writes about the surprise literary thrill of discovering Sartre’s Nausea in Baytown, Texas.

Compline: Josh Bearman writes about automata, the fancy toys, such as Vaucanson’s Duck, that may bring the word “animatronic” to mind. But automata actually do things.

Bon weekend à tous!

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Daily Office:
Tuesday

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

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Matins: The Economics Department at Notre Dame plans to dissolve its humanist, “heterodox” wing, and focus exclusively on “sophisticated training in quantitative methods in addition to a liberal-arts emphasis.” (via Marginal Revolution)

Lauds: Michael Johnston ogles a book of “camera porn” from the George Eastman House. SFW!

Prime: James Surowiecki calls for detaching the ratings agencies from official securities regulation.

Tierce: Tom Scocca, Dad with a pen, goofs again: “It was a mistake to get on the Metro train with the kid riding on my shoulders.”

Sext: Of the lower 48 states, 5 birds are 26 states’ official avian: Cardinal (7), Mockingbird (6), Meadowlark (6), Bluebird (4), and Goldfinch (3).

Nones: Wake-up call from New Delhi to Indian state governments: “Leak reveals India Maoist threat.”

Vespers: Emily Gould’s report on a panel discussion about the future of fiction is the sort of document that we don’t want to lose sight of: this is how published authors regarded the Internet/marketing/branding in September 2009: still in the old-fashioned way. (via The Rumpus)

Compline: “Dime con quien andas y te dire quien eres”: Project Gaydar at MIT. (via The Morning News)

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Daily Office:
Friday

Friday, September 11th, 2009

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Matins: James Surowiecki assesses President Obama’s Health Care speech, finding it a success.

Lauds: A Portrait of a Man, bequeathed to the Museum as a Velásquez, demoted to “studio of Velésquez” by skeptical curators, is revealed to be a Velásquez again — after cleaning and conservation.

Prime: Megan McArdle explains why investment bankers make so much money. Think: drop in the bucket. Also: movie trailer. (via Felix Salmon)

Tierce: Who needs the movie? While planning your weekend getaway, you can have your fill of prison scenes at Scouting New York.

Sext: It has been a while since we were treated to a gallery of weird old LP jackets. This one, it seems, comes from Russia. (Don’t be put off by the first, rather distubring one.)

Nones: Hugo Chávez tears another page out of the Castro playbook, and sucks up to Mother Russia. And we thought that we’d won the Cold War once and for all!

Vespers: Richard Nash writes about Ted Striphas’s The Late Age of Print. The book, which assesses the history of publishing and bookselling in clearly commercial terms, sounds compelling, but the review is an absolute must. (Grocery stores?)

Compline: How two 75 year-old former bombshells couldn’t be more different, after all these years. Which would be your choice, stray cats or tomcats? (via Arts Journal)

Bon Weekend à tous!

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Constabulary:
Bong, Defined

Friday, August 28th, 2009

What made me check out the Bergen County Record? I’ll never know. “Clifton Police arrest teen drug dealer.” A very thorough report.

In the juvenile’s room, police found 20 zip-lock bags of marijuana, empty bags, a bong — a device used to smoke marijuana — and $115 in cash that belonged to him, Berdnik said. The search also turned up 21 bags of marijuana in Maloney’s sneakers and $200 that belonged to him, Berdnik said.

Detectives determined that Maloney bought the marijuana from the teen, Berdnik said.

Defendant Maloney hails from Susquehanna, Pennsylvania, which rather reminds us of Eric Blore’s version of Who’s On First.

Daily Office:
Wednesday

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

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Matins: Sorry! We missed this amazing news on Friday: “Mexico Legalizes Drug Possession.”

Lauds: Christopher Hampton will adapt, Sam Mendes will direct, and Oprah Winfrey will produce a film version of Joseph O’Neill’s Netherland.

Prime: Tyler Cowen asks if the bailouts were a good idea, and decides that they were.

Tierce: Thirteen year-old Laura Dekker wants to sail around the world, alone. Her parents don’t object, but the Nederlander government does. A tough call?

Sext: President Obama has lost all “creditability,” according to an anti-health-care-plan auto-faxer that somehow came to the attention of Choire Sicha. Sure, the wingnuts are scary. But, boy, can’t they write!

Nones: Why special Sharia courts in secular nations pose a threat to sovereignty: “Malaysia Postpones Whipping of Woman Who Drank Beer.”

Vespers: John Self behaves himself, and reads Bohumil Hrabal’s Closely Watched Trains. (He had owned a copy for a while.)

Compline: The awful truth about asexuality: it’s not awful! (via  Joe.My.God)

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Daily Office:
Wednesday

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

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Matins: (Note: this item is not about classical music.) In her WaPo piece about classical-music CDs, Anne Midgette labors under the impression that serious music recordings require the brokerage of a healthy “industry.” We agree with Henry Fogel: leaving industry behind is what’s healthy. (via Arts Journal)

Lauds: Why is Britain’s National Trust spat taking us back to the 1640s? Surely not just the coincidence of princes called “Charles”?

Prime: Robert Cringely thinks out loud about the ethics of technology. He used to think that Google’s motto was silly, but not anymore.

Tierce: Is it possible? The Marshall Trial’s case for the prosecution was slated to end yesterday— two days into the trial’s 17th week. On Friday, the jury and the court will take a two-week vacation.

Sext: At The Onion: “Film Adaptation Of ‘The Brothers Karamazov’ Ends Where Most People Stop Reading Book.” And where is that? 

The 83-minute film, which is based on the first 142 or so pages of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s acclaimed work, has already garnered attention for its stunning climax, in which the end credits suddenly appear midway through Katerina’s tearful speech about an unpaid debt.

(via The Morning News)

¶ Nones: China is upset with Australia, about Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer’s visit. When will China learn that foreign public opinion can be controlled no better by overt interference than by armed occupation?

Vespers: Amazing news! Six million subscribers take Reader’s Digest. Still! So don’t over-interpret news of the publication’s bankruptcy filing.

Compline: Natalie Angier writes lucidly about a murky subject: stress. Bottom line: it’s up to you to break out of the stress feedback loop.

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Daily Office:
Friday

Friday, August 14th, 2009

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Matins: Why the arrangement that Niall Ferguson and others calls “Chimerica” can’t go on indefinitely: “Forget about a Shanghai stock bubble. The whole Chinese economy’s getting ready to burst.”

Lauds: Ben Davis sheds light on the “Museum Bubble,” which as any follower of ArtsJournal knows, has popped. (via The Morning News)

Prime: The news about the Sony Reader makes us glad that we didn’t get the Kindle after all.

Tierce: Roman Hans explains the real-ity of health care reform.

Sext: Name a fruit, any fruit. You’ll probably be wrong. And you probably won’t think of peas. (via kottke.org)

Nones: The burkini — banned in bikiniland.

Vespers: Julia Keller defends her growing admiration for graphic fiction; elsewhere in the Chicago Tribune, David Ulin reviews Asterios Polyp — as does C Max Magee at The Millions : “Mope Free.”

Compline: For safer streets, look at Dutch roads. “Going naked” means that drivers have to think when driving through Dutch towns.

Bon weekend à tous!

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Daily Office:
Thursday

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

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Matins: Great news! Our trade deficit widened, as we imported yet more junk in June! That must mean that our economy is doing better, right?

Lauds: A new artists’ colony — this one just for composers — will start up in Westchester next month. (via Arts Journal)

Prime: The shipping news: Los Angeles/Long Beach would rank as the world’s fifth busiest container port, if they were tabulated together.

Tierce: The case that has everything keeps on giving. Subway stabbings! (Almost.)

Sext: Can powdered wigs be far behind? The spoofsters at Being Tyler Brûlé staff the eponymous (amd still fictional) airline.

Nones: Hugo Chávez declares that golf is not a sport; officials move to close courses.

Vespers: Now that everybody seems to be reading The Age of Wonder, Richard Holmes’s book about a handful of scientists working between the heydays of Enlightenment and Romanticism, we are ever more mindful that science, however bound to numbers (rightly so!), is practiced by messy human minds.

Compline: Jonah Lehrer on the self: a ghost that runs the machine. “The self feels like a singular thing – I am me – and yet it comes from no single brain area…”

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Daily Office:
Friday

Friday, August 7th, 2009

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Matins: Food for thought this weekend: Alain de Botton proposes ”A Kinder, Gentler Philosophy of Success,” in a presentation at TED. The main point: make sure that your idea of success is your own idea.

Lauds: Every time Jeremy Denk adds a new bit of music appreciation to his blog, the technical support gets better. Now, we think, it has caught up, in a piece about one of Brahms’s three sonatas for violin and piano (all beauties).

Prime: Felix Salmon: “When Stretching the Accordion Makes Sense.” Makes sense! It sounds like the best idea ever. But it does pit one idea of growth against another.

Tierce: Meet Judy Natkins — you can see her in court.

Sext: For those of you who haven’t seen Elizabeth Moss off the Mad Men screen, there’s Amy Heckerling’s Intervention parody.

Nones: We thought it might be Iran aiming to shut down Twitter, but it was more likely Russia and Georgia, trying to shut down one another — propaganda-wise, at least.

Vespers: Some Friday fun from Tao Lin, at The Stranger. ”The Levels of Greatness a Fiction Writer Can Achieve in America (From Lowest to Highest).”

Compline: The weekend must-read: Jonah Lehrer’s “The Truth About Grit.” At last, a truly cogent demolition job on IQ testing (and testing in general).

Bon weekend à tous!

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Daily Office:
Thursday

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

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Matins: The High Line may be cute, but we disapprove (an understatement) of elevated highways in urban areas. So does everybody with a brain. Jonah Freemark and Jebediah Reed contemplate the elimination of seven American monstrosities.

Lauds: Matt Shepherd ruins Rashomon for everyone, forever. (via MetaFilter)

Prime: Gracious! All of a sudden, defunct Wall Street giant Lehman Brothers owes New York City gazillions in back taxes! Was Mayor Bloomberg perhaps a bit too pally with Richard Fuld?

Tierce: Four months in, and the prosecution is still at it. Not even the newspapers are paying much attention; what about the Marshall Trial jurors?

Sext: Who will replace Frank Bruni as the Times’s restaurant critic? [Sam Sifton, that's who.] This may be the last time that anybody cares. (via The Awl)

Nones: And, just the other day, we watched The Hunt for Red October: “Russian Subs Patrolling Off East Coast of U.S.”

Vespers: Aside from Pride and Prejudice, we haven’t read any of the books on Jason Kottke’s best-book list (why only six). That may change.

Compline: James Bowman regrets the fading of the honor culture. We don’t, not a bit, but Mr Bowman’s very readable essay can’t be put down.

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Daily Office:
Friday

Friday, July 24th, 2009

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Matins: Two related safety stories this week, at Infrastructurist: Rail/Road Safety; Cells and Speed.

Lauds: Alexander Hemon’s playlist for writing.

Prime: In ”Too Small to Fail?“, Jay Goltz issues a call for better training for small business owners.

Tierce: Even though the 13 week-old Marshall trial hasn’t even gotten to the defense, there seems to be a wilting factor, as if everyone from the judge on down were just too tired of all this nonsense. In any case, no reports have been filed this evening with any of the papers. Or hadn’t been, when we last looked an hour or so ago.

We were going to invent something, and tell you that the Marshalls, having followed our coverage of the coverage, took advantage of an early recess to drop by our apartment, and that, while Mr Marshall took a little nap, Mrs Marshall turned on her Southern charm (to which we’re so susceptible!), and we suddenly realized what a lovely woman she is. That we’d be posting soon from a guest room at North Cove, or Cove Point, or Cape Fear, or whatever they call the place up in Maine.

Sext: Coming soon to Pi Mensae: Howdy Doody.

Nones: Kudos to President Obama for weighing in on the “stupidity” of the arrest of Henry Louis Gates in his own Cambridge home.

Vespers: Mark Athitakis, at The Second Pass, writes about an out-of-print novel by Ward Just, a writer whose work we almost always find totally engaging.

Compline: This weekend’s indispensable reading is Slavoj Žižek’s essay, in the London Review of Books, “Berlusconi in Tehran.” New meaning is given to the phrase, “constitutional democracy.”  

Bon weekend à tous!

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Daily Office:
Thursday

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

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Matins: A counter-intuitive HIV-prevention strategy that is gaining traction. (via Good)

Lauds: At The New Republic, Antoni Cimolino argues against “adapting” Shakespeare for modern ears. (via The Morning News)

Prime: Felix Salmon (who happened to see the eclipse in China) is not convinced that the advent of 401(k) plans was a positive financial innovation.

Tierce: Nothing really happened in the Marshall trial today, but I sense a sea change in the case.

Sext: Tom Scocca sings of time and the bed — and a kid who’s discovered “testing.”

Nones: Sudan takes an important step toward partition (between North and South) — at The Hague.

Vespers: Anglophone literature in India takes a new turn: with more Indian readers, writers can focus on local life to an extent that makes their work difficult to follow outside of India. (via Arts Journal)

Compline: The story following this headline actually lives up to it: “Laptop? Check. Student Playlist? Check. Classroom of the Future? Check,” by Jennifer Medina.

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Daily Office:
Wednesday

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

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Matins: At Chron Higher Ed, Peter Dougherty argues for more pro-active university presses, as a way of overhauling scholarship.

Lauds: The Prince of Wales has resigned from the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (founded in 1877 by Williams Morris), of which he was also the patron. The issue appears to be his rigorous (rigid?) antiquarianism.

Prime: While the major labels (such as still exist) fret about plunging CD sales, a cottage industry of new music recordings is re-inventing the business model.. (via Arts Journal)

Tierce: Four years’ jail time for stealing 91 lobsters from the kitchen at Balley’s? I say sell Anthony Jones’s story to Hollywood and give the proceeds to a soup kitchen. The 38 year-0ld Jersey man created value.

Sext: Ivy Style digs up an article from Time (November 11, 1966) about a once-thrilling trend: going sockless.

Nones: Charles Taylor, former Liberian president/tyrant, takes the stand in his own defense, as the first African leader to be tried at The Hague.

Vespers: At The Rumpus, an excerpt from Jonathan Ames’s new collection of essays and short fiction, The Double Life is Twice as Good.

Compline: Choire Sicha takes another look at Brüno, and, partly inspired by Anthony Lane, comes away with a troubling take on America.

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Daily Office:
Tuesday

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

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Matins: It’s  Bastille Day — but not in France. In France, it’s “La fête nationale.” What do you say to friends on le quatorze juillet?

You say, “Bonjour, madame,” comme d’habitude.

Lauds: You know, before you even start reading, that Anthony Tommassini is not going to give Rufus Wainwright’s Prima Donna top marks. But if you read between the lines, his review begins to look like a rave.

Prime: Robert X Cringely writes about the MADD strategies of Google and Microsoft, and how, if either of them suffers a mortal blow, it won’t have been aimed by the other.

Tierce: Pardon me, but I’m no longer interested in the Marshall trial’s verdict, whatever it may be. I’m already casting the movie. Who wants to play Brooke Astor, banging her cane as she is “dragged” into the library? Or saying, “I feel like throwing food in someone’s face”?

Sext: It’s very easy to make fun of Town & Country — if you’re not throwing up into an air-sickness bag — but Choire Sicha can be counted upon to do it well.

Nones: We throw up our hands: both sides in the Honduras dispute request American intervention. What a sterling opportunity to make enemies and influence people to hate the United States.

Vespers: At The Millions, novelist Sonya Chung tells us what it was like to meet her new book’s dust jacket.

Compline: Meet the Schweeb. An amusement-park ride for the time being, it may become tomorrow’s urban transport. (Via Infrastructurist)

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Daily Office:
Friday

Friday, July 10th, 2009

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Matins: Tear down that highway! Four cases (two of them in San Francisco) where getting rid of a highway improved congestion, by taking the Braess Paradox seriously.

Lauds: Fr-eye-day Candy: Vlad Artazov’s witty and beautiful sinkers.

Prime: At The Corner Office, Jeffrey Pfeffer shows how a misguided belief in efficient markets enables laziness and perpetuates errors.

Tierce: The poor jury — they haven’t been able to do a thing all week except show up and leave. Today, the lawyers argued about evidence again: the admissability of Pearline Noble’s diary. (Don’t ask.)

Sext: We can’t tell you how wet we think this iPhone app is. What’s more infurtiating than some guy strolling through a subway station as if he actually knew where he was going — instead of following Exit Strategy.

Nones: Russell Lee Moses counsels against reading too much into the Urumqi riots; that is, interpreting the unrest as a genuine threat to the Communist Party’s lock on power.

Vespers: It has been so long now that we’ve misplaced the lead that took us to The Neglected Book Page, where, as you can imagine, one thing leads to another. Pretty soon, we were perusing a list of 100 unread novels.

Compline: Villa Trianon was a dump in 1906, when Elsie de Wolfe and Elizabeth Marbury bought it for $16,000 and turned it into a showplace. After World War II, Elsie turned it into a showplace all over again. Now it’s a dump. My good friend, George Snyder, is looking for a willing millionaire to save it. Do you know one?

Bon weekend à tous!

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Daily Office:
Thursday

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

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Matins: Max Fisher calls it semitarianism, and Peter Smith likes it. Now, eat your vegetables.

Lauds: The evolving aesthetic of public monuments finds interesting expression in a new 7/7 memorial, soon to be unveiled in Hyde Park.

Prime: The death of Robert McNamara reminds Philip Delves Broughton, author of Ahead of the Curve: Two Years at Harvard Business School, of what he calls “The McNamara Syndrome.” (via Felix Salmon)

Tierce: Ya gotta admit: the trial as eveything: Gurneys! Oxygen! A men’s room shut down for an hour, while Charlene comforts her traviato.

Sext: Henry Alford files a report about leftovers: “chunks of some sort of appalling turgid brownish oozing cake.”

Nones: In the bad old days, utter nincompoops could inherit thrones. Now, they get elected. But the problem is the same: how do you get rid of them? The kid-glove approach taken by the Honduran élite seems not to have worked.

Vespers: Chalk another win up for NYRB Books: they’ve reissued L J Davis’s A Meaningful Life — now, 29 years after hardcover publication, in cloth. John Self enthuses.

Compline: John Lancaster, a Washington-based journalist, did not finish out his term at Atchison College, Pakistan’s top prep school (boys only, natch), but he did gather enough material for a must-read report. (via  The Morning News) (more…)

Daily Office:
Wednesday

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

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Matins: Is the Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound a template for health care reform?

Lauds: My friend Ellen Moody writes about the strange success of Ronald Colman.

Prime: According to Patrick Devedjian, the French stimulus minister, “The country that is behind is the U.S., not France.”

Tierce: Defendant Anthony Marshall called in sick today, and the jurors were excused. Vanity Fair comes to the rescue, with a slideshow of sketches by Jane Rosenberg.

Sext: It’s time for lunch: think I’ll cloud up my vital fluids.

Nones: Coup or clean-out? The fact that the Obama Administration can’t seem to decide upon a characterization of recent events in Honduras suggests to me that we’re going to support the new regime.

Vespers: Richard Crary writes about youthful reading and outgrowing writers.

Compline: Remember the “Peter Principle”? Italian researchers have confirmed it. (via reddit)

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Daily Office:
Monday

Monday, July 6th, 2009

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Matins: Another way of looking at Earthly inequality: 50% of the world’s population inhabits nations that, in sum, produce only 5% of the world’s GDP.

Lauds: Elliot Goldenthal discusses his beautifully moody score for Public Enemies with Jim Fusilli, at Speakeasy.

Prime: Matt Thompson, at Snarkmarket, writes about the long overdue concept of “too big to succeed.”

Tierce: Just when we thought that the prosecution had exhausted its witnesses hostile to defendant Anthony Marshall, in walks the accountant.

Sext: So, we’ll bet you thought that a 50-pound ball of Silly Putty, if dropped from a 10-storey building, would do some awesomly rampaging bouncing. Not so.

Nones: Ethnic riots in Urumqi probably don’t threaten the stability of the Communist Party’s regime in China, but they do suggest that Uighur “aliens” don’t cotton to Shake-’n'-Bake Han colonization.

Vespers: At The Millions, C Max Magee looks forward to books forthcoming in the second half of 2009. It’s better than Christmas — even if all you want to read is the new Joshua Ferris and a genuine novel by Nicholson Baker.

Compline: A phrase that’s altogether new to us: (to) gay marry. Friendship with (abstract?) benefits.

(more…)

Daily Office:
Thursday

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

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Matins: It appears that the Plain People have been going native, since the last time you saw Witness, anyway. A run on an Amish bank? (via The Morning News)

Lauds Things Magazine calls Triangle Triangle “one of those abstract sites that seems to distil whole swathes of contemporary cultural production down into just one or two images.”

Prime: Jay Goltz writes about our idea of very cool wheels: the 2010 Ford Transit Connect.

Tierce: More Madoff fallout: J Ezra Merkin will have to sell his $310 million worth of art.

Sext: Hey! It’s just not true: Coca Cola + MSG ≠ aphrodisiac! The idea! And what about the story that metal objects dissolve in Coke? (via The Awl)

Nones: Does the proposed withdrawal of all 27 EU ambassadors from Iran sound like a good idea to you? Not to us, it doesn’t.

Vespers: Emma Garman writes irresistibly about Françoise Mallet-Joris’s The Illusionist (Le Rempart des Béguines, 1951), showing how it goes “one better’ than Françoise Sagan’s much better-known Bonjour, Tristesse.

Compline: Flash from the Past: George Frazier’s truly astonishing liner notes to Miles Davis’s Greatest Hits (1965): forget the blues, man; how’s my suit?

Bon weekend à tous! (more…)