Archive for the ‘City Life’ Category

Daily Office:
Wednesday

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

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Matins: At New Geography, Aaron Renn looks at the outmigration of the middle class from “cool” cities, and attributes it, persuasively, to the failure of civic responsibility among “global” elites.

Clearly, the current models for organizing metropolitan areas are wholly inadequate. In our view, layers of government (state, country, local, school district) ought to be replaced by types of government: highly coordinated networking authorities (transit, power, hospitals) coexisting with highly localized service providers (schools, clinics, and parks). (via The Morning News)

Lauds: Cityscape critic Blair Kamin is surprised to be supporting the destruction of a shed designed by Mies van der Rohe. The accompanying photograph is a bit of a tease: the shed hides behind a fence. (Chicago Tribune; via Arts Journal)

Prime: PIMCO’s Mohamed El-Erian finds in the Dubai debt standstill “a reminder to all: last year’s financial crisis was a consequential phenomenon whose lagged impact is yet to play out fully in the economic, financial, institutional and political arenas.” We knew this, but it’s great to hear it from an eminent fund manager.

In our own front yard, Wall Street’s influence inside the White House needs to be muzzled, if not baffled. (Telegraph; via Marginal Revolution)

Tierce: Michael Bond briefly but lucidly reviews Eli Berman’s Radical, Religious and Violent: The New Economics of Terrorism, a new sociological study that, notwithstanding its title, sees beyond the religious angle. (New Scientist)

Sext: Nico Muhly, writing from Amsterdam, finds “a sort of childlike pornography” in Nederlands orthography. (This vanishes when you learn how to pronounce things.) He is also “obsessed” by the common digraph, ij. (via Snarkmarket)

Nones: Predictably, Sunday’s election in Honduras settled almost nothing, even though Porfirio Lobo appears to have won more or less fairly. The Honduran Congress will vote today on whether Mel Zelaya will finish out his term in office. (NYT)

Vespers: n case the popularity of a current blockbuster has you wondering if you’d like to read the book, Jenny Turner not only reconsiders her review in the London Review of Books but also supplies a list of blogs that offer highly entertaining spoilers about the later novels in this peculiar series.

Compline: Having got wind of special treatment for denizens of the eastern-most block of West 61st Street on Thanksgiving Day, Clyde Haberman investigated in person. His worst fears are confirmed. (NYT)

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:
Wednesday

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

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Matins: In an important editorial, the Times argues that corporations ought not to have the same set of constitutional rights as human beings.

Lauds: At The Best Part, four terrific photographs that William Eggleston did not take — but clearly inspired John Johnston to take.

Prime: The Netflix Prize — a million dollars to whomever improves the performance of its Cinematch engine by ten percent — is not really about the money.

Tierce: Devin Friedman decides to have more black friends, runs ad in Craiglist… the beginning of quite the project. “Will you be my black friend?“, at GQ.

Sext: Three things that V X Sterne would rather chat about than “So, What Do You Do?

Nones: In what seems like a turn from Il Trovatore, ousted Honduras president Manuel Zelaya steals back into Tegucigalpa, where he takes refuge at the Brazilian Embassy.

Vespers: Alan Gopnik reviews Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol — but not in the back of the book. As the lead Talk piece instead. Ho-ho-ho.

Compline: Nige takes the week off, bumps around Norfolk with an old friend, and visits a famous French cathedral. We are so living on the wrong continent.

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Daily Office:
Friday

Friday, September 18th, 2009

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Matins: An attempt to “urbanize” Tyson’s Corner, Virginia appears to have spooked the planners: they don’t want anything too urban!

Lauds: With Julie & Julia about to open in France, a number of critics are echoing Mme Brassart.

Prime: A word about arbitrage from Felix Salmon. Actually, two words:

  • Picking up nickels in front of a steamroller
  • Don’t try this at home.

Tierce: As if it had been waiting for rifts within the Anglican Communion to threatens its future, Canterbury Cathedral has begun to fall down in earnest. (via The Morning News)

Sext: Fast Food: The DeStyling.

Nones: Has or has not fighting broken out between China and India? Officially, not. But the media on both sides pipe a different tune. Amit Baruah reports from the BBC.

Vespers: A nice, long, faux-depressing, genuinely funny look at the publishing biz, by former Random House editor Daniel Menaker.

Compline: Paul Graham on The List of N Things: sometimes a simple list fits the case exactly, but, too often, it’s “a degenerate case of essay.” (via  Mnémoglyphes)

Bon weekend à tous!

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Daily Office:
Tuesday

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

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Matins: Caleb Crain examines the culture of economic adversity — in the Depression.

Lauds: Holland Cotter hopes that we have seen the last of the blockbuster exhibition.

Prime: Over the weekend, Times columnist Joe Nocera raised the “what if” question about Lehman, speculating that “it had to die to save Wall Street.” James Surowiecki isn’t so sure — and neither are we.

Tierce: More about the clothing style known as “trad”: this time from Joe Pompeo, at the Observer. (via Ivy Style)

Sext: We had never seen a picture of today’s Hilo Hero, Margaret Sanger, before.

Nones: Is Internet opinion in China driving a trade confrontation with the United Statess?

Vespers: At The Second Pass, John Williams passes on The Lost Symbol — in advance.

Compline: At  Good, 10 great urban parks, seen from above at roughly the same scale.

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Daily Office:
Wednesday

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

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Matins: The nation of which Amsterdam is the capital is rightly considered to be one of the most densely-populated sovereignties in the world. But it’s as empty as Arizona when compared with the former New Amsterdam.

Lauds: On the eve of shooting Wall Street 2, Oliver Stone and Michael Douglas chuckle ruefully over the unintended aura projected by Wall Street, twenty-three years ago.

Prime: Bob Cringely reconsiders the virtual university, and obliges us to do the same. What seems at first to be an unlikely monstrosity may indeed provide the most effective education for most students.

Tierce: Assault By Actuary: the Bruce Schobel Story. Or not, since, perhaps for legal reasons, Mary Williams Walsh never does describe the crime of which the (then teenaged?) in-and-out president-elect of the American Academy of Actuaries was convicted.

Sext: Tom Tomorrow catches up with Goofus and Gallant.

Nones: The latest story on the Fall of Lehman Brothers, from the Guardian‘s Larry Elliott and Jill Treanor, highlights the soverignty problem in global regulation.

Vespers: Ben Dooley offers a short list of books to read about Japan, in case you’re boning up for a trip. Read Murakami if you must, but for a real Japanese novel…

Compline: In a Talk piece from this week’s New Yorker, ”Zoo Story,” Lauren Collins registers the general public’s dislike of the seating arrangements in Times Square, as well as its approval of the Thigh Line and the Eyeful Tower.

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Daily Office:
Tuesday

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

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Matins: Edward Glaeser reviews Anthony Flint’s book about the Jacobs-Moses Wars in Midcentury New York, at TNR. (via Marginal Revolution

Lauds: The painting of Kim Cogan; detail below the fold. (via The Best Part)

Prime: Felix Salmon provides some helpful background on the most upsetting story of the past weekend. Here’s hoping that he’s right, and that “life settlements” won’t go anywhere this time around, either.

Tierce: Roman Hans has a problem with his cable bill.

Sext: Carrie Fisher admits that she USED TO BE hot.

Nones: At the LRB, Thomas Jones digs out an 1880 book about the futility of waging Western-style war in Afghanistan. Lots has changed since then, but Afghanistan hasn’t, not much.

Vespers: Gadzooks! A New England prep school with no library! No books! Instead, a “learning center,” and a $12,000 cappuccino machine. (via Survival of the Book)

Compline: Failure and free markets: is it any wonder that the inhabitants of a small island kingdom would be far more risk averse than the settlers of a resource-rich continent? Peter Goodman filters last week’s election through contrasts between Japan and the United States.

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Daily Office:
Tuesday

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

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Matins: Sounds like a great idea, but probably isn’t: “As Voter Disgust With Albany Rises, So Do Calls for a New Constitution.”

Lauds: Sounds like a great idea, and probably is: “Scottish laser pioneers lead way in preserving world heritage treasures.”

Prime: Robert Rubin, Citigroup, and Glass-Steagall: a brief entry by Felix Salmon (with help from Charlie Gasparino) snaps the pieces of the puzzle right where they belong.

Tierce: Meg Hourihan administers First Aid/CPR without doing anything more than holding an elderly lady’s hand and keeping her talking. (via  Mr Hourihan)

Sext: And here we thought of England as a green and pleasant land! “Pubs warn over plastic pints plan.” 5,500 customers are year are stabbed with broken pint glasses! (via The Awl)

Nones: What happens when a sovereign power violates its own laws in the interest of self-defense? Barack Obama is willing to think twice.

Vespers: Carlene Bauer reviews the reissue of Elaine Dundy’s The Old Man and Me, at Second Pass.

Compline: Matthew Fleischer writes provocatively about the death of a squirrel in Los Angeles. (via The Morning News)

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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 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 31st, 2009

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Matins: The Urban Mole won second prize; I’d have made it the first-prizewinner. (via Good)

Lauds: A forgotten instrument from a famous score has been re-invented (one hopes!): the steel glockenspiel that Mozart had in mind for The Magic Flute.

Prime: One of the biggest problems in the way we do business — literally — is the slapdash way in which we do or don’t clean up after ourselves: “When Auto Plants Close, Only White Elephants Remain.”

Tierce: Unexpected but inevitable: what happens when lightweight Smart Cars are parked near canals. (via Infrastructurist)

Sext: How To Cook Like Your Grandmother. (via  MetaFilter)

Nones: After more than six years of expense, it has come to this:

“If there ever was a window where the seeds of a professional military culture could have been implanted, it is now long past. U.S. combat forces will not be here long enough or with sufficient influence to change it,” wrote [Col Timothy R Reese]. “The military culture of the Baathist-Soviet model under Saddam Hussein remains entrenched and will not change. The senior leadership of the I.S.F. is incapable of change in the current environment.”

Vespers: Will Blythe writes up the new new Thomas Pynchon novel — a noir detective story — at The Second Pass.

Compline: At the Frontal Cortex, Jonah Lehrer discusses some recent findings about television as a balm for loneliness.

Bon weekend à tous!

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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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Dear Diary:
Out

Friday, July 10th, 2009

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Ms NOLA and I got together again this afternoon. I saw Whatever Works at eleven, at the Angelika — and, once again, there was sound trouble. (At least the sound never cut out entirely silent, as it did for Elegy, in the same auditorium.) But nothing could diminish the splashing summer fun of Patricia Clarkson’s astonishing performance — the most astonishing aspect of which was that an astonishing actress could astonish. (Come to think of it, Ms Clarkson appeared in Elegy as well. Maybe the sound gremlin is her doing.) After the movie, I walked over to Spring Street, between Crosby and Lafayette, to visit a shop that was written up in the Times the other day. What a ha-ha Kathleen had at my expense when I announced that I’d discovered it: she has been going to an uptown branch of Pylones for four years at least (sez she). I bought a bunch of stuff, but this was the pièce de résistance. At least Kathleen was kind enough to pronounce it cool.

Then I hopped on the train and rode up to 28th Street. Ms NOLA and I had a lunch date at La Petite Auberge, an ancient-looking French restaurant on Lex with an ancient-looking menu. There is nothing ancient-tasting about the food, however. Although it’s conservative, it is not preserved.

There was much to discuss. It was all utterly confidential and très hush-hush. Ms NOLA actually surveyed the restaurant at one point, to make sure that we were “alone.” By the time we left, there was no need to survey the restaurant, because everyone else had left.

After a little errand at a nearby print shop, we headed up to Yorkville and the Upper East Side, where we eventually found ourselves at the Museum’s Roof Garden. This year’s artist, Roxy Paine, has “planted” the terrace with what looks like a wildly out-of-control potato vine and an ice-bedecked bramble.

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It was glorious, up on the roof. There was a fine breeze that moderated the beat of the sun. I had a couple of glasses of Prosecco. Ms NOLA soaked up the greenery of the clipped yews that border the garden (not to mention the grand carpet of treetops that separated us from Midtown). Life was good.

We went downstairs and sailed quickly through the Francis Bacon show.  I make a point of visiting the big painting or drawing shows whenever I’m at the Museum, even if it’s only for a few minutes’ visit. That is the luxury of living nearby: there is always time for a quick run-through — and for a few stop-and-stares along the way. I have begun to recognize the face of George Dyer even after his lover has rearranged it.

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Stopping in at Crawford Doyle minutes before it closed, and loading up on great books that I may not live to read, we returned to the apartment and drank tea on the balcony. Eventually, we persuaded Kathleen to come home. Actually, she met us at the New Panorama Café, where she dared to dine on her usual dish, penne al pomodoro. A consultation with the internist lifted the prisoner-of-war diet. Kathleen is to avoid whole milk, butter, and cream for a week, but she can eat hard cheese, which of course  mean reggiano parmegiano. Last time I checked, she was sleeping comfortably. Ms NOLA hopped on a bus afterward, and I have been here at my desk ever since. It hardly feels like three hours!

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:
Tuesday

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

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Matins: Ross Douthat writes lucidly about the the problem posed by someone like Sarah Palin to American politics. It has a lot to do with that problem that Americans don’t like to admit that we have: class distinctions.  

Lauds: Plans to house Gap founder Don Fisher’s modern art collection in San Francisco’s Presidio have been gored by a combination of  NIMBYism and very mistaken preservationism. (via Arts Journal)

Prime: Felix Salmon argues very persuasively against subjecting credit default swaps to regulation by state insurance commissioners. Although slightly daunting at the start, Mr Salmon’s entry is definitely worth the effort.

Tierce: They wanted to put Cecille Villacorta away for a long time. But her lawyer, Joe Tacopina (get his card, now!)  convinced the judge that the Saks saleslady had been trained to increase her commissions by sending kickbacks to favorite customers.

“Basically, Cecille’s saying, ‘You told me to do this. You trained me to do this. I made you $27 million. And I became a defendant,” Tacopina said after court yesterday.

Sext: In case you’ve ever coveted one of those Gill Sans “Keep Calm and Carry On” T shirts (complete with crown), Megan Hustad’s write-up may cure you, at The Awl.

Nones: The death of Robert McNamara occasions a great deal of reflection — if only we can find the time.

Vespers: Hey! See action in war-torn quarters of the globe while engaging in serious literary discussions with brainy fellow warriors! Join the Junior Officers’ Reading Club today!

Compline: According to Psychology Today [yes, we know that we ought to stop right there], parks occupy an astonishing 25.7% of New York City’s surface area! That’s what density makes possible. (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…)

Daily Office:
Wednesday

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

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Matins: At last! Jason Epstein’s dream of books-on-demand will be getting a serious try-out, using the Espresso Book Machine (made by a company that Mr Epstein founded), in Manchester Center, Vermont. You must watch the video! (via Arts Journal)

Lauds: Architect Michael Sorkin appraises Manhattan as a pedestrian town, and tries to think of buildings to suit.

Prime: More about Chris Anderson’s Free: from Mr Anderson himself, at The Long Tail; and, in not so loyal opposition, from Choire Sicha, at The Awl and from Brian, at Survival of the Book. A new digital divide?

Tierce: A star is born: Lisa Maria Falcone, formerly a person with money (and, more formerly, a person with no money), seeks a place in Gotham’s philanthropic firmament. A Cinderella story — adjusted for real time.

Sext: We don’t know whether to laugh or to shudder at this Sixty Minutes segment about fMRI mind-reading.

Nones: In futures trading on Iraqi stability, China gains access and standing in the petroleum business — aided by the American Senate.

Vespers: Watch that Tweet! In case you don’t “follow” Alice Hoffman — provoked, over the weekend. by an unfavorable review of her new novel, The Story Sisters, into an authorial “meltdown” — you can real all about it at Salon. (via Arts Journal)

Compline: The always thoughtful Richard Crary considers Michael Jackson, at The Existence Machine.

So I find myself listening to songs I’ve known forever for really the first time, in my own time, paying attention to stuff I’ve taken for granted. And the main thing I’m struck by is the evident rage and pain in Michael’s vocals.

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Daily Office:
Tuesday

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

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Matins: Ben Flanner’s Rooftop Farms, in Greenpoint, is six thousand square feet of vegetables — atop an industrial building.

Lauds: At Speakeasy, Jim Fusilli asks if there will ever be another Michael Jackson. He’s not talking about artistry, really, but rather about the business. His answer is that not even Michael Jackson at his prime could sell 750 million albums today.

Prime: Malcolm Gladwell reviews Chris Anderson’s Free; Tom Scocca and Choire Sicha have a laff.

Tierce: Bernard Madoff was sentenced to one hundred fifty years in prison today, but as far as victim Burt Ross is concerned, that’s not even the beginning of what’s appropriate. “When he leaves this earth vitually unmourned, may Satan grow a fourth mouth…” The reference is to Canto XXXIV of Inferno.

Sext: Being Tyler Brûlé, a blog that makes exquisite fun of (Jayson) Tyler Brûlé. (via Things Magazine)

Nones: It’s rather maddening, but I can’t confirm my hunch that the ouster of Honduran president Manuel Zelaya was engineered by the “European” elites that own most of the property in Central America. Update

Vespers: John Self writes about Marilynne Robinson’s first novel, Housekeeping (1981). If you missed it, Mr Self may whet your appetite for a fine novel.

Compline: V X Sterne is back, at Outer Life, and it will surprise none of his regular readers that he unplugged the second flat-screen monitor that was recently installed at his place of business.

(more…)