Archive for the ‘Gotham’ Category

Gotham Diary:
Further Transport
5 July 2012

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

Today at the DBR: Who has the time? (For television, that is.)

Gotham Diary:
Wandering
5 March 2012

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Today at the DBR: Writer’s block and Wagner come to mind.

Also: a Weekend Note.

Out & About:
Illuminations

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

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Even though I’ve got a bit of sore throat, and could really use a day at home (writing writing writing), I got myself to the Morgan shortly before eleven this morning for an outing with Quatorze and Lady D. (Lady D, although new to these pages, has been resident in New York City for nearly fifty years, a stylish British secretary right up to her retirement from an eminent foundation — and still stylish.) It was all my idea: we would look at the two world-class illuminated manuscripts that (a) happen to be domiciled in our fair city and (b) have been unstitched for one reason or another, making it possible to mount all the interesting pages at once.

Of course, no one but specialists knew about the more recent of these manuscripts, the Hours of Catherine of Cleves, until the day before yesterday. The prayerbook, broken up into two books by an unscrupulous dealer in the 1850s, had only recently fallen completely into the Morgan’s possession. The sheer novelty of the book’s presence in New York harmonizes deliciously with the novelty of the book itself, which is not your father’s book of hours. Indeed, it seems designed to suit a post-modern agenda. Scurrilously humorous marginalia are a hallmark of medieval devotional manuscripts, but the trompe l’oeil jewelry (a rosary, a necklace, some gold coins) and the outsize naturalism (moths, shellfish, pretzels) completely up-end any idea that you might have of Fifteenth-Century miniatures, while the scenes in the margins often upstage the vignettes at the center of the page. The jokey quality of this book of hours is best characterized by the utterly immodest image of the donor/owner herself in the margin of a vignette featuring Mary and the infant Jesus. Mother and Child appear in timeless attire, but Catherine has the air of an ambitious hostess from Massapequa who has just tottered off the LIRR with only seconds to spare for her lipstick. It is not surprising to learn that Catherine spent the better part of her marriage waging war on her husband. Military war, that is, with battles and dead soldiers.

In other words, the Hours of Catherine of Cleves really does belong here in New York.

The Belles Heures of Jean de France, duc de Berry, also belongs in New York, because it is best known for not being the Très Riches Heures of Jean d’&c, which belongs to the collection at Chantilly, outside Paris. Fantastic as the TRH is, I’m devoted to the Belles Heures, and have been ever since I first saw them, many long years ago (more than forty), at the Cloisters. I can say, I think, that this creation of the Limbourg brothers (natives of Nijmegen, it seems) is the first work of art that I loved on my own and just for itself. Of course, it is not just a work of art. It has a literary/liturgical quality that, as regular readers of this site will not have to be told, made a profound impression on my teen-aged mind; the “book of hours” is more than ever a construct with which I live in deep communion from day to day. I may not be a believer in the higher object of the book of hour’s devotions, but its varied regularity is sacred to me. And it is so taken for granted that I can see how beautiful the art of it all is.

The borders of the vignettes (illuminations) of the Belles Heures are relentlessly uniform, with only the smallest variations placed among the sprays of ivy that delicately frame quire after quire. The vignettes themselves, however, are magnificent final expressions of medieval narration, where space is temporal as well as physical. (See the illumination of Gethsemane, for example.) In contrast to the vignettes in the Hours of Catherine of Cleves, which are earnest but rudimentary early-Renaissance scenes, the illumination of the Belles Heures is accented by Gothic arabesque. There are crowd scenes that might remind you of Giotto, until you remember that Giotto called a halt to that sort of medieval shimmying and swaying. The compositions of the Belles Heures are Giotto, if at all, before Giotto.

The parade of spot-on images exhausts any idea of comprehensiveness. The Office of the Blessed Virgin begins with the Visitation of St Elizabeth and ends with the Flight into Egypt. The Office of the Passion begins with the Agony in the Garden and ends with the soldiers asleep over an empty sarcophagus. Catherine of Alexandria is the subject of a virtual novella, and the stories of St Jerome, of Saints Paul and Anthony (with their red Red Sea), and of St Bruno and the Chartreuse all inspire mini-cycles of illumination. The suffrages — miscellaneous prayers to the saints — bring stirring dramatizations of the doings of Saints George, Nicholas, Ursula and Charlemagne (!), and of course St Michael the Archangel. Amidst all this colorful glitter, the somber grisaille of Passion’s Nones is almost lowering.

In between our museum visits, we had a jolly lunch at Demarchelier. Lady D told us about the appalling organist at her parish church, which is down in Turtle Bay. The woman is not so bad at the keyboard, but she can’t carry a tune to save her life. There came a moment when Lady D could stand now more, and she stopped her ears with her fingers. This was, unsurprisingly. noticed. After the service, the harpy asked Lady D if “she had a problem”! Indeed she did, our Lady D, and “since, after all, she did ask me, I told her what was wrong.” Whereupon the organist demanded Lady D’s name (she didn’t get it). Imagine such goings-on! At dinner, Lady D’s story was repletely corroborated by Kathleen, who, for reasons of her own, has sat through many services at the selfsame church. One thing’s for sure: neither Catherine of Cleves nor Jean de France would have put up with such incompetence. But that’s what the Church has come to, no? 

 

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:
Wednesday

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

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Matins: We stand at the dawn of the Age of Chrome, and  Bob Cringely advises us to expect something of a tussle between Palo Alto and Redmond. (I, Cringely)

Lauds: The bad news — brain damage — once again yields good news about how the brain works. Jonah Lehrer discusses the artistry of confabulation; doctors call it “lying.” (Frontal Cortex)

Prime: Rumors of the demise of Borders, long burbled, have intensified with the news that Borders UK’s Web site is no longer accepting orders. (Guardian; via Arts Journal)

Tierce: What could be more curious than learning that American Ivy League styles took root in Japan among gangs? (Ivy Style)

Sext: Could you do worse than give the Awl diet a try? As long as you’re up, Fernet Branca and stir-fried Romaine sounds great to us.

Nones: We’re rather tired of cataloguing what’s wrong with the United States, but Ahmed Rashid makes things easy: it’s basically everything.

OMG! We meant “Pakistan”! (BBC News)

Vespers: Gordon Wood hopes that historians will wake up and tell stories. (Washington Post)

Compline: Some things are forever, more or less. Complaints written and sent to the Mayor of New York of the moment, at Letters of Note.

Daily Office:
Tuesday

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

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¶ Matins: The editors of The Awl analyze today’s NYC ballot, and render a nice distinction between “douchebaggery” and “dickslappery.” By Frank Rich’s account, things were much more exciting upstate — until just before his column went to press. (NYT)

¶ Lauds: Two sensationally (if unintentionally) amusing write-ups for coming art shows downtown: Avant-Guide to NYC: Discovering Absence and Crotalus Atrox (Or Fat Over Lean).  (ArtCat)

¶ Prime: The economics of Swedish meat balls — which we share for the woo-hoo fun of being in completely over our heads! (Marginal Revolution)

¶ Tierce: Eric Patton sighs over the beauty of Italian, while collecting a nice armload of local street signs for you to puzzle out. (SORE AFRAID)

¶ Sext: In case David Drzal’s Book Review rave didn’t convince you that William Grimes’s Appetite City is an absolute must-read, we’re sure that Jonathan Taylor’s more expansive review at Emdashes will do the job.

¶ Nones: Did they settle that thing in Honduras? Maybe yes, maybe no. But one thing is certain: the Micheletti coup did a number on Honduran business. (NYT)

(At first, we believed that ousted president Manuel Zelaya was an idiot. Over time, we came to appreciate the fact that Roberto Micheletti used to be his mentor.)

¶ Vespers: Daniel Menaker considers Tim Page’s Parallel Play, an expansion of the New Yorker piece in which Mr Page shared his relief at finally having been diagnosed as having Asperger’s Syndrome. (Barnes & Noble Review; via  The Second Pass)

¶ Compline: Being a terrible driver may mean that you’re not going to develop Parkinson’s! (Wired Science; via The Morning News)

Daily Office:
Thursday

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

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Matins: Is there such a thing as good luck? Ayn Rand’s fans are certain that there is not: hard work is everything. Jonathan Chait assesses the Rand legacy in light of this conviction, at The New Republic. (via The Morning News)

Lauds: Our latest discovery: MetEveryday. (Thanks, Ms NOLA!)

Prime: David Leonhardt profiles Robert Shiller — in the Yale Alumni Magazine, naturally. (via Marginal Revolution)

Tierce: A violin repair shop in Morningside Hides has been told to cease and desist from violating antiquated zoning restrictions. No, noise is not the issue.

Sext: Links to an assortment of Lost Symbol reviews, at Speakeasy.

Nones: True-life ghost fleet — container ships and other freighters parked off of Singapore. (via  The Infrastructurist)

Vespers: John Curran, author of Agatha Christie’s Secret Notebooks, lists then top ten titles in her ouevre. How many have you read? (Film adaptations don’t count!) (via Campaign for the American Reader)

Compline: Jason Kottke asks (in a footnote, no less):

You’ve got to wonder when Apple is going to change the name of the iPhone. The phone part of the device increasingly seems like an afterthought, not the main attraction. The main benefit of the device is that it does everything. How do you choose a name for the device that has everything? Hell if I know.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

Daily Office:
Wednesday

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

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Matins: Lawrence Krauss is not joking when he suggests, on the Times Op-Ed page, that the best way to get men to Mars is to abandon the idea of bringing astronauts back home.

Lauds: Luc Sante reminisces about Jean-Michel Basquiat. “I was happy for him, but then it became obvious he was flaming out at an alarming pace.”

Prime: William Cohan profiles Chris Flowers, a financial Icarus — of sorts (he’s still worth $1.5 billion). (via Felix Salmon)

Tierce: MetaFilter Discovery Nº 1 (we made two of them, the other day): amassblog, designer James Phillips Williams’s catalogue blogué of the things that he collects.

Sext: MetaFilter Discovery Nº 2: Stuff Christian Culture Likes. Mordant and wry but not patronising.

Nones: Visiting Dansk on the 70th anniversary of the German invasion of Poland, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin denounces the Nazi-Soviet pact as “immoral,” and deplores the Russian atrocity at Katyn in 1940.

Vespers: Michelle Huneven explains the not-so-pedestrian charm of listening to books while taking a daily constitutional.

Compline: We only just finished reading “Critical Shopper,” Justin Wolfe’s magnificent essay on the pleasures of reading about exotic foodstuffs and expensive scents, neither of which he expects to sample in this lifetime. Take your time, but be sure to read it yourself!

(more…)

Daily Office:
Tuesday

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

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Matins: Our hero: Judge Arthur Schack, who has rejected 46 out of 102 foreclosure claims in the past two years.

Lauds: Jeremy Denk at the Highline Ballroom: Bach, Ives, Chopin, Liszt, T-shirt and running shoes. Alan Kozinn reports.

If classical music is dying, as we’ve been hearing for years, why are so many rock clubs suddenly presenting it? And why are so many people, with the young outnumbering the old, coming to hear it?

Prime: How about some advice? We may not follow it, but we’re always interested in hearing what someone else considers to be good advice. Especially when it’s phrased as a reminder: “My needs don’t motivate anyone.”

Tierce: Tom Vanderbilt argues persuasively for treating vehicular offenses as no less serious than other criminal acts. (via  The Morning News)

Sext: Mary Pilon reports on “recession haircuts” at the Journal. Alex Balk: Please, don’t let the Seventies happen again!

Nones: East Timor — ten years on: “Mixed emotions.”

Vespers: Philip Lopate talks about his recent Notes on Sontag, at The Millions.

Compline: Ann Leary contemplates Moses Pendleton’s sunflowers.

(more…)

Daily Office:
Friday

Friday, August 28th, 2009

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Matins: Impressed by Apple’s emailed receipts — no paper! — Chadwick Matlin looks into the costs of “retrofitting” other retailers, and finds that they’re not inconsiderable. “So I begrudgingly and all-too-appropriately wave my white flag. You win, receipts.” (via Good)

Lauds: Micahel Kimmelman writes about Tatort (Crime Scene), the German detective show that has been running since 1970 — with different versions for different cities!

Prime: It’s when you succeed that running a business becomes truly tough. Jeffrey Pfeffer has one little word: Focus!

Tierce: Tweeting, the old-fashioned way: Robert Keith posts commercially-printed “ads” in the window of his Brooklyn bed-and-breakfast: “Credit Default Swaps Should Be Prosecuted — Not Paid.”

Sext: Well, what do you know! New York Governor David Paterson has hired The Awl’s Alex Balk to do a bit of “clarifying” speechwriting!

Nones: Yesterday: Muammar el-Qaddafi at home. Tomorrow: New Jersey.

Vespers: Beyond Orhan Pamuk (although not entirely): Selçuk Altun’s top-ten Turkish books. All are available in English translation (at least at Amazuk).

Compline: Whether concerned about predatory old partiers or determined to wring more moolah from its base, MoMA defines “Junior” as “<40.”

Bon weekend à tous!

(more…)

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)

(more…)

Daily Office:
Friday

Friday, August 21st, 2009

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Matins: Edmund Andrews’s story about Ben Bernanke in this morning’s Times is strangely silent about the contribution of that self-made moron, Alan Greenspan, to the mess that Mr Bernanke has had to clean up.

Lauds: These kids today: 91 year-old Arthur Laurents reads “the riot act” to the cast of West Side Story, which has been plagued with calling-in-sick-itis. (via Arts Journal)

Prime: Why not call it the Goldstein Curve? Robin Goldstein culled data from Craigslist (and Felix Salmon turned it into a lovely scatterchart), revealing the inverse relationship between used car/bike prices in seven American cities.

Tierce: Crazy or visionary? The developers of a building to be called 200 Eleventh Avenue (West 24th Street) plan to attach a garage to every apartment — just off the living room. (via Infrastructurist)

Sext: Choire Siche discovers Hallenrad! And shares some of the best.

Nones: Will the new face of Duchy Originals be HRH?

Vespers: Garth Risk Hallberg reminds us of something that has been gently overlooked in the recent craze for All Things Julia: Mrs Child was not so much a great cookbook writer as she was a great writer period.

Compline: Precisely because Reihan Salam’s Foreign Policy essay, “The Death of Macho,” made us uneasy, we think that everybody ought to read it.

Bon weekend à tous!

(more…)

Daily Office:
Thursday

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

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Matins: You laugh now: “The Inspector Clouseau of robot cops.” Wait till it comes back as Peter Weller.

Lauds: A new blog to follow: The Footnotes of Mad Men. (via kottke.org)

Prime: Are there really any such thing as “banking stars,” worth being hired away for that competitive edge? Jeffrey Pfeffer thinks not.

Tierce: The irresistible Mr Wrong wonders why no one wants to shoot the breeze at Starbuck’s.

Sext: Almost as good as “Rollo Tommasi”: When people ask where you’re vacationing next summer, just tell them, “Buss Island.” Tell ‘em it’s the undiscovered Nantucket.

Nones: North Korea will send a delegation to the funeral of former South Korean president Kim Dae-jung.

Vespers: Alain de Botton will be writing from Heathhrow Airport.

Compline: That really was a storm on Tuesday night! More than a hundred trees were felled in Central Park alone. (Thanks, Tom!) (more…)

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.

(more…)

Daily Office:
Wednesday

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

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Matins: Josh Levin consults “the world’s leading futurologists” to hear how the United States might come to an end within the next century. Not that it will; just, how it might. (via The Morning News)

Lauds: Anne Midgette considers the pros and cons of tweeting at classical-music concerts. An intriguing discussion that left us feeling somewhat frustrated.

Prime: We’re very heartened by the news that one of two bidders for the Boston Globe contemplates running it as a not-for-profit operation.

Tierce: Christopher Shea may be forgiven for wondering: “But how many pieces about Child’s cultural significance can media outlets run before it starts to look as though reporters and editors have a financial stake in the forthcoming Nora Ephron movie about her?

Sext: We may have found the killer ap for the iPhone: Diaroogle. (via This That These & Those)

Nones: The Miskito population of Eastern Nicaragua renews its bid for independence.

Vespers: The protagonist of Ian McEwan’s next novel, likely to be called Solar, sounds familiar, but we’re not naming names.

Compline: Brooks Peters engages in “battle royale” with pretentious but ignorant mispronunciations of French words.

(more…)

Daily Office:
Tuesday

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

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Matins: The gay divide on marriage in general and on opposition to Prop 8 in particular sharpens along the line between affluent elders and activist youngsters.

Lauds: Paul Johnson extols the work of Charles Cecil. an American whose studio in Florence trains students in the traditional craftsmanship of portraiture.

Prime: Felix Salmon continues to ponder the Summers swap. It’s intricate going, but we want Larry Summers out of the White House. Yesterday.

Tierce: At least he acknowledges that she had fun: Michael Knox Beran takes a contrarian look at Brooke Astor and her works. (via Estate of Denial)

For half a century she acted the part of Astor sultana with skill, cunning and almost indecent joie de vivre.

Sext: This ad at You Suck at Craigslist will send older folks into gales of laughter. But we remember reading that there are many young people today who have never purchased a postage stamp.  

Nones: “Boko Haram!” is the war-cry of Muhammed Ysuf’s Nigerian followers. It means, “education is prohibited.” 150 dead in two days of violence, according to a BBC report.

Vespers: John Self re-reads Franny and Zooey, and disagrees with Janet Malcolm’s claim that it is “no less rewarding than rereading The Great Gatsby.”

Compline: Although it’s a rather long read, we urge you to take the time to digest Mark Oppenheimer’s compassionate profile of two Holocaust-deniers who have fallen out — so much so that one of them no longer denies the Holocaust. (via MetaFilter) (more…)

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!

(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…)