Archive for the ‘L’Hexagoniste’ Category
¶ Sext: How to make… (are you sitting down?)… Bacon Mayonnaise. And we don’t mean mayonnaise with bits of bacon broken up in it. We mean mayonnaise made with over a cup of bacon fat! (At How to Cook Like Your Grandmother.)
¶ Compline: Arthur Krystal’s essay, “When Writers Speak,” reminded us that, even though we can make no properly scientific claims in our support, everything that Steven Pinker says about language seems not so much wrong as tone-deaf.
- Picking up nickels in front of a steamroller
- Don’t try this at home.
¶ Matins: Given the lunatic tone of national discourse these days, it’s refreshing to hear the “P” word spoken with such vigor and clarity:
Obama is sometimes faulted for conducting government by speech. But this speech was part of a patient strategy that, despite August’s rough weather, is looking increasingly sound.
Hendrick Hertzberg in The New Yorker.
¶ Tierce: As deeply as our eidtor sympathises with Malcolm Gladwell, Sean Macauley’s totally high-school prank makes us laugh, even if it is a bit nasty. (What high school prank isn’t at least a bit nasty?)
¶ Nones: Mark Garlasco’s hobby — collecting Nazi military memorabilia — will probably cost him his job, now that it has “armed right-wing fanatics” critical of Human Rights Watch, the humanitarian organization which Mr Garlasco served as a military analyst.
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.
¶ 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”?
¶ Prime: Jean Ruaud has retooled Mnémoglyphes — which has to be the most news-deprived statement that I can think of. Jean changes the look and feel of his sites all the time! This is more substantive, though: Mnémoglyphes has become a Daily Blogue.
¶ Nones: The Italian government has finally recognized its humanitarian responsibility and begun deboarding 140 migrants from a stranded tanker. To understand the kerfuffle with Malta, though, you may need to look at a map.
¶ Vespers: In the current Harper’s, Francine Prose reviews an odd but irresistible new book with a faux-catalogue title as long as your arm: the account of a fictional breakup as told in terms of pictures at an exhibition — pictures of lamps, postcards, and pictures.
¶ Vespers: Everybody knows that French workers love to walk out in protest. For the chattering classes, reading books that are unpopular with the grosse légumes is preferred. As a result, La princesse de Clèves, a historical novel published in 1678, is once again a sell-out. (via Alexander Chee)
¶ Compline: It’s a lengthy, small-type read, but Danielle Allen’s review of Josiah Ober’s Democracy and Knowledge: Innovation and Learning in Classical Athens in TNR may be the most important piece of political theory that you read this year. Yes,
¶ Matins: Now that health care reform is back in the news, an aspect of the much-maligned Canadian system ought not to be overlooked.
¶ Matins: How quickly swings swing! Just the other day, we were America the Ugly; benighted, shortsighted, and all but indicted. Now, we’re the progressives, because we have the kind of president that Europeans, who have, er, racist problems of their own, know they could never elect.
¶ Tierce: I’ll admit that my “solution” to the Detroit problem (dissolve the companies and pension off the workers) is drastic in every way. At least it has the advantage of making Thomas Friedman’s proposal look doable.
¶ Matins: Regular readers will have learned to sigh when I mention the name of Alan Greenspan. I have certainly felt like something of a crank on the subject of this man’s failure to stanch the market’s foolishness. So I felt rather transfigured by the discovery that I was not alone: witness Peter S Goodman’s “Taking Hard New Look at a Greenspan Legacy.”
¶ Tierce: Cook County Sheriff Thomas J Dart has called a halt to foreclosure evictions in Chicago. John Leland reports. In many cases, diligent renters are unaware of a property owner’s default until the marshalls would show up to evict them.
¶ Sext: Nom de Plume sent me the link to a curious video, of unexplained provenance (and 1999 vintage), concerning, straight-faced, the unlikely bond between a crow and a kitten. I watched it in wait for a surprise, but there was none.
¶ Matins: Why do we all feel that the failure of Lehman Brothers is so much worse than everything that has happened before, from Black Monday (1987) to the collapse of Enron? Why do we suspect that, this time, the disaster may engulf us?
Those who were complaining, only months ago, that excessive regulation was making American markets uncompetitive, had it exactly wrong. It was a lack of regulation of the shadow financial system and its players that allowed this to happen. The regulators might not have gotten it right if they had tried to put limits on leverage, or assure that it was clear what risks were being taken, in the world of derivatives and securitizations. But deciding not to even try, and assuming that risks traded secretly would somehow end up in the hands of those most able to bear them, reflected ideology, not analysis.
Rosa Kastsaridis, whose 15-year-old son, Frank, is a ninth grader at the school, said the available counseling was an important factor in her decision to take a chance on a promising — but untested — school.
“I graduated from the Yonkers school system 17 years ago and wasn’t able to get a scholarship because the guidance counselor at that time was not educated enough to help me,” she said.
¶ Matins: Even if you have already come across the Kilkenny letter, I urge you to consider it as a model memorandum that, in an ideal democracy, every voter would be sufficiently informed to compose. Anne Kilkenny is a resident of Wasilla, Alaska, who has known Sarah Palin for many years, and who opposed her attempt to fire the local librarian. She is definitely an “interested” observer. But her letter seems candid and level-headed. Her take on Trig, as well as on some of Ms Palin’s political positions, suggests a scrupulous determination not to demonize. The main thing is that she sat down and composed her thoughts. (via Suz at Large.)
¶ Tierce: As someone who ingested a good deal of LSD back in the day, I read today’s Times report on Salvia divinorum with great interest. The recreational aspect of drug use doesn’t interest me very much anymore, but I remain curious about altered states of mind. Overall, though, the story has me spluttering with rage, at the drug’s troglodyte opponents.
Troglodytes on the right are no respecters of reality. They say the most absurd things and hardly anyone calls them on it. Evolution? Don’t you believe it. Global warming? A figment of the liberal imagination.
Yes, and that’s the problem. Consider:
¶ Elsewhere: Starting out in New York, right out of school and with no special resources to fall back on. I can’t imagine it! Yet a fresh crop of hopefuls arrives every year, and, right about now, the ones who are still here are celebrating a tentative first anniversary. Cara Buckley reports.
¶ Siné: It’s a tough case: Siné (Maurice Sinet), the Charlie Hebdo cartoonist and, ipso facto, socio-political troublemaker, has been fired over a cartoon whose cynicism might be taken for anti-Semitism. I find myself on Siné’s side. Steven Erlanger reports.
¶ That’s all very well, dear, but what about the Pines?: At a restaurant in Cherry Grove, on Fire Island, you can enjoy a drink called the “JoeMyGod.”
¶ Intellectual Property: A core tenet of free-market capitalism is that the best product or service wins. On the level playing field, blah blah blah, consumers beat a path to buy the better mousetrap. The brouhaha over Scrabulous, however, shows just how bent our markets have become, as corporations have pushed for expansive application of intellectual property laws — yet another instance of socialism for the rich.
¶ Wallonia: The march toward breaking up Belgium inches forward. In a poll, half of the nation’s Francophones (or Walloons) say that they’d be happier as Frenchmen — and an even higher percentage of Northern Frenchmen agreed!
¶ Guest: Perry Falwell has been soliciting contributions to his great new site, Booksaga. The other day, I wrote to him to explain that, while I wished I had some interesting stories for him to post, my times in old bookshops have been happy but dull.
The real purpose of my note was to encourage him to stick with blogging. I think that he has a natural gift for the form. He could write about any old thing, and I’d probably want to read it. But I did throw in a few proofs of “happy but dull.”
¶ Subisdy: When you hear of “foreign subsidies,” you probably think of agricultural supports and turn over to go back to sleep. This story, about foreign subsidies of fuel consumption, may wake you up.
¶ Che bella giornata!: Another fine day. Good weather really gets better with age.
¶ Gérance dissausive: If you can’t read French, tant pis pour vous. JR’s crime analysis of the massacre of his sister’s chickens by a fox (or some other prédateur forestier),* would make a sort of sense in English, but the loss of je ne sais quoi would be fatal.
Except that I know perfectly well what the quoi is: the French willingness to call a spatula a spatula. Just because a spatula is more or less a spade is no reason to be imprecise.
¶ Prime: I was so busy over the weekend that I still haven’t read the paper. I had to come across a link to this at kottke.org. In the Times, the article is entitled “A Guide to the French. Handle With Care.” My own title: When Seven out of Eight of the Following Propositions Hold True Here, New York Will Finally Be More Civilized Than Anglophone.”
¶ Sext: Father Tony agonizes over apostrophes. Is the plural of “CD” CD’s or CDs? I’m resolutely for the latter, but it makes my friend uncomfortable. He has found a link to “the rule,” which is correct so far as it goes.
¶ Nones: The Hong Kong of the Hudson? You’re joking! This is Gotham City, surely! Be sure to click through Gothamist to the Big Apple list of no fewer than ninety-eight nicknames for Old Nieuw Amsterdam. What’s this? ”The Frog and Toe“?
¶ Vespers: The reviews appeared side-by-side in the Arts section of yesterday’s Times; how curious it was to have been to both evenings of chamber music. To give some idea of how different they were, in their wonderful ways, I’ve written them up together.
One of the great, unforeseen advantages of my scribal shrine is that it’s a great place to hang Post-It Notes. I have a dispenser on the desk; the notes come out in fanfold. Very handy. But I never knew what to do with the notes once I’d written them.Usually, the notes constitute a horizontal to-do list. Do this, call that. Today, there is only one Post-It in view. On it, I have written the French word affût. I don’t know what this word means. Its denotation, “carriage, mount,” is clearly not the sense in which it’s ordinarily used. A l’affût seems to mean “in hiding.” The phrase être à l’affût de means “to be lying in wait for” or “to be on the lookout for.”
That’s all very well, but when the word pops up in French texts, none of the foregoing makes complete sense.