Archive for the ‘America the Frayed’ Category

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:
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.

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Daily Office:
Tuesday

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

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Matins: David Carr writes about The Party. You know the one! The Talk launch, which happened ten years ago last Sunday. Remember? When the Web was a “niche”?

Lauds: Alex Ross’s New Yorker column on the wealth of interesting music available through Internet portals, “Infinite Playlist,” hits a lot of bases, but keeps running.

Prime: Thinking of “investing in art”? Felix Salmon: Don’t be daft.

Tierce: Compare and contrast these contemporary fines: $675,000 for file sharing in Massachusetts; $1300 for second DUI arrest. Get your dose of righteous anger at World Class Stupid — it’ll make you laugh before you can rant.

Sext: Here’s something useful to fight about while we ponder Michael Pollan on cooking and couches: the (Scottish or English) origins of haggis.

Nones: Sometimes, ceremony matters. A lot of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s former cronies stayed away from his “endorsement.”

Vespers: Here’s a wonderful new literary game from LRB: take the title of a famous book and attach it to the name of an author who (a) couldn’t possibly have written it or (b) would have turned in a very different text.

Compline: David Bromwich writes about “America’s Serial Warriors,” captured at Tomgram. (via The Morning News)

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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!

(more…)

Daily Office:
Thursday

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

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Matins: At Politico, nutritionist Katherine Tallmadge writes from up close and personal about the runaway unhealthiness of life in our Capitol. (via The Morning News)

Lauds: At the London Review of Books, Michael Wood exposes the “rococo” nonsense of North By Northwest, and thereby explains why Hitchcock’s masterpiece is so gripping.

Prime: In two posts, Felix Salmon asks two good questions: Has the NYC housing market bottomed? (No.) Have we “wasted” the financial crisis? (Yes.)

Tierce: Lee Landor, deputy press secretary to Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, resigns subito when some of her Facebook comments, calling Henry Louis Gates a racist and referring to “O-dumb-a,” were forwarded to her boss.

Sext: In a somewhat more serious social app boo-boo, Amanda Bonnen of Chicago has been sued by the company that managed her former apartment, for libel by tweet.

Nones: At the London Review Blog, Hugh Miles writes about a scandal in Libya — or is it a scandal on Capitol Hill?

Vespers: In The Atlantic Fiction 2009 issues, four international writers, all of them Anglophone but none American (although Joseph O’Neill has become a US citizen), discuss the tension between nation(alism) and literature.

Compline: Any story that links soldiers and information makes us happy. “In Battle, Hunches Prove to Be Valuable.” And we remember when intuition was for girls.

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Daily Office:
Tuesday

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

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Matins: Joe Bagent considers the growth of the white underclass. Anecdotally.

Lauds: How about a very plausible mash-up of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and Rick Astley’s ”Never Gonna Let You Down”? (via MetaFilter)

Prime: Felix Salmon disagrees (violently) with Robert Shiller’s reconsideration  of sub-prime mortgages.

Tierce: What’s the difference between $700 million and $50 billion — aside from the number of victims and the size of their losses? Who was the bigger spender — Bernie Madoff or Mark Dreier?

Sext: Lately, I’ve tugged by an existential anxiety: why, week after week, can’t I bring myself to open — not even to open — the Sunday Times Magazine? Happily (and hilariously), Tom Scocca and Choire Sicha have the answer: “Memoirs! Leer At Yer Crazy Memoirs! From A Circus of ‘Times’ Employees, A Thousand Magazine Excerpts Bloom“.

Nones: Just say ‘No’: “Georgians Hope U.S. Will Join Boundary Monitors.” I propose Chinese troops for this job. The Chinese and the Russians have a long history of border disputes.

Vespers: Ann Leary proposes some “Good Books for Hard Times.”

Compline: Although we strongly disapprove of performance-enchancing drugs of any kind (we just read Methland!), we think that it would be a mistake to dismiss Jamais Cascio’s Atlantic essay, “Get Smarter,” as just another piece of futurism.

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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:
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…)

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:
Tuesday

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

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Matins: According to Vineet Nayar, CEO of HCL Technologies, an Indian IT services vendor, American college grads are “unemployable.” They don’t know anything (global history, languages) and they hate to be bored. (via  reddit)

Lauds: Kodachrome comes to an end. Michael Johnston develops the picture.

Prime: What email at Enron can tell us about predicting  big-company chaos/collapse.

Tierce: In what one hopes will be the resolution of a ghastly situation, Anthony Marshall collapsed again (this time from the after-effects of a fall), and his wife, Charlene, attributed his last collapse, two weeks ago, to “a stroke that has resulted in a headache and blurred vision.”

Sext: Department of Crossed Purposes: Philadelphia’s Parking Authority’s venture into reality television, Parking Wars, has complicated life for the city’s marketers.

Nones: Hats off to Tony Judt for saying what needs to be said about the West Bank “settlements,” and for speaking as someone who can remember genuine Israeli settlements. 

Vespers: Cristina Nehring rumbles the contemporary American essay, pronouncing it “middle-aged.” So that’s why you can’t be bothered to read through those worth Best American Essay anthologies!

Compline: Hands on the table! When someone else is talking to you, it’s rude (at best) to check out smartphones, Blackberries, &c, even if “the etiquette debate seems to be tilting in the favor of smartphone use.”

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Daily Office:
Monday

Monday, June 15th, 2009

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Matins: In the current issue of The Econimist, Lexington outlines some embarrassing figures about the hours that American children don’t put in at school.

Lauds: Jazz since 1959 — the year of Kind of Blue, Giant Steps, and Time Out — recordings that I hope you have in your collection, whether you’re an aficionado or not! (via Arts Journal)

Prime: A story about the rivalry between Comptroller of the Currency John C Dugan and FDIC chair Sheila Bair illustrates the biggest problem in regulation: updating/upgrading it in the middle of a turf war. (How medieval is “comptroller”?)

Tierce: When I saw the headline of this story about Ruth Madoff, “The Loneliest Woman in New York,” I asked myself how she gets her hair colored these days. Not where she used to!

Sext: Will the Fiat-ization of Chrysler deflate the American male’s libido? Gary Kamiya’s tongue-in-cheek reports ends with a truly dandy suggestion.

Nones: How the United States ought to respond to the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: stay the course already set by President Obama.

Vespers: Michael Dirda writes about Patricia Highsmith in The New York Review of Books: “This Woman Is Dangerous.”

Compline: Barbara Ehrenreich writes about the plight of the genuinely poor in this country, and finds that, just as it is in most places, decent (and legitimate) shelter is the big problem.

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Daily Office:
Tuesday

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

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Matins: From The Infrastructurist, a list of 36 ways in which streetcars trump buses. Despite some internal ambiguities — streetcars are both cool (#6) and nostalgic (#12) — and a bit of padding (#20), the list will make you wish that we were already there.

Lauds: FROG schools may be as unlikely as fairy-tale princes, but these pre-fab classrooms do look good. Especially considering the nightmarish alternative…

Prime: David Carr goes to two very different media parties, and his report makes me think of the last chapters of Proust, but run backwards.

Tierce: Collateral damage from the Marshall trial: trusts and estates lawyer Henry Christensen’s nomination for membership at the Century Association has been tabled, pending the conclusion of the trial.

Sext: Forget three meals a day. Americans consume a fourth: all day snacking. In other news, Choire Sicha sees Hangover, reviews audience.

Nones: A cheering story at the Guardian, appended to an item noting that global arms spending has reached $1.47 trillian: “America a weapons supermarket for terrorists, inquiry finds.”

Vespers: Alain de botton asks a good question: why don’t more writers write about work? Considering, you know, the importance of jobs and stuff. (via The Rumpus)

Compline: At the Chronicle of Higher Education — the right place to begin asking — Joseph Marr Cronin and Howard E Horton wonder if undergraduate degrees are the new bubble. (via Arts Journal)

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Daily Office:
Wednesday

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

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Matins: Robert B Reich: manufacturing is a thing of the past. Everywhere. “Blame new knowledge.”

Lauds: Joanne McNeil writes about seeing movies alone — and her fondness for watching a video first thing on a weekend morning — slightly before the first thing, actually (5 AM!)

Prime: Chris Lehmann explains why the bankruptcy of General Motors is almost as great for wingnut pundits as the UAW’s 17.5% stake.

Tierce: “Well, do you want ALL of my money?” snapped an exasperated Brooke Astor,

[a]fter years of pressure from son Anthony Marshall for more, more – and even more – of her millions

Sext: “World’s Most Pointless Machine.” (No, it’s not a motorcycle.) I want one! (via reddit)

Nones: The answer to the question: Gordon Brown is an Aspie. And Barack Obama is not. “The Prince of Wales is to attend the 65th anniversary celebrations of D-Day after the intervention of President Barack Obama, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.”

Vespers: At the new-ish WSJ blog, Speakeasy, Lee Siegel writes cogently about film criticism — about criticism in general.

Compline: Much as I love the infographics at GOOD, I’m not sure that “Conglomerate for Good” is one. I’d call it a very pretty list.

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Daily Office:
Tuesday

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

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Matins: At Infrastructurist, a top-ten count-down of the nation’s road-building contractors. These organizations can be counted upon to thwart rail initiatives — unless, that is, their crystal balls advise them to make tracks.

Lauds: Yesterday, we noted Holland Cotter’s demand for history lessons. Today, Philip Kennicott complains about the fall-off in shock. What’s a museum to do?

Prime: Now that the TimeWarner/AOL breakup is official, we challenge anyone to find a sound reason for the merger nine years ago.

Tierce: In his fourth day of testimony, Henry Christensen tells us just why Tony was after his mother’s money.

Sext: Tom Scocca is rapidly becoming my favorite curmudgeon. Like curmudgeons everywhere, he has a special gimlet stare for the idea of “progress.”

Nones: Having been a less-than-fastidious reader of The Economist of late, I missed the début of Banyan, the newspaper’s Asian columnist. (There, I’m honest.) This week’s piece about the (improbable?) survival of the Communist Party in China is excellent.

Vespers: Jason Kottke lifts a very appealing idea from the introduction to The Black Swan: the concept of the “antilibrary,” made up of the books that one owns but hasn’t read.

Compline: When will finance (and its ancillaries) be reformed by women who insist — as they’ve done in the field of obstetrics — on livable hours?

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Daily Office:
Thursday

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

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Matins: As the twentieth anniversary of “Tiananmen” approaches, it appears that most younger Chinese don’t have any idea that there’s an anniversary to mark. (via Brainiac)

Lauds: I’m pretty sure that I don’t really want to see Steven Soderbergh’s new film, The Girlfriend Experience, but I’m fascinated by the wildly divergent responses that it has elicited at The Rumpus, from Stephen Elliott (pro) and Andrew Altschul (con).

Prime: A story from last week that I missed: “A Vibrant US Train Industry Would Emply More People than Car Makers Do Now,” at Infrastructurist.

Tierce: The testimony of Henry Christensen, the Sullivan & Cromwell attorney who served as Brooke Astor’s trusts and estates lawyer from 1991 to 2003, may have its greatest impact upon his own career. 

Update: Imagine what it must be like to read the following bit of news about yourself: “Though Mr Christensen is not charged with a crime...”

Sext: Something fun from — “Down Under”? (Maybe that was the problem.) Balk balks.

Nones: Little Elise André has been put in the position of a human ping-pong ball, as her parents — Russian mother, French father — secure conflicting custody awards from their respective home courts.

Vespers: Dwight Garner gives Richard Wrangham’s Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human a very enthusiastic review; not the least of the book’s attractions is its brevity (207 pages!).

Compline: Here’s an item to add to the checklist: bring the guys (and gals) who actually build/make things into the Green conversation. (How can I see Greening Southie?)

Bon weekend à tous!

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Daily Office:
Monday

Monday, May 25th, 2009

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Matins: Frank Rich argues that the Obama Administration ought to take a firmer lead on same-sex marriage. I think it ought to do so as well. But it’s an ought that, like many liberal Southerners in the Fifties and Sixties, I find painfully premature.

Lauds: Have a look at Mnémoglyphes, to see the photographs that Jean Ruaud took here in Manhattan last week. 

Prime: The economics (or lack thereof) of the Susan Boyle Surprise.

Tierce: Actor Jefferson Mays sat at Charlene Marshall’s side in court last week. Why do I think that this was a bad idea?

Sext: Why does Mr Wrong (Joe McLeod) sound like Fafblog?

Nones: China’s support of the Burmese junta suggests that the Central Country has made a thorough study of American foreign policy.

Vespers: Join the Infinite Summer book club, and read David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. (via kottke)

Compline: Helen Epstein on America’s prisons: “Is There Hope?” Surprisingly, the answer is yes: the Resolve to Stop the Violence Project (RSVP).

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Daily Office:
Wednesday

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

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Matins: The Justice Department has decided, provisionally, that the Bush Administration lawyers who okayed torture, while “serious lapses of judgment,” ought not to be prosecuted. Meanwhile, Christopher Hitchens explores the unnecessary folly of those lapses. (via  The Morning News)

Lauds: The first “Madoff” art sale? The co-founder of Nine West, Jerome Fisher, one of the fraudster’s investors, has consigned one of  Picasso’s “Mousquetaire” paintings to Christie’s. (via  Arts Journal)

Prime: If you liked that article with the spaghetti on the back page of the Book Review, there’s more, at Psycho Gourmet.

Tierce: Geriatrician Howard M Fillit testified yesterday that, without her ample support staff, Brooke Astor would have been tagged with Alzheimer’s at least three years earlier.

Sext: First the good news: “China cigarette order up in smoke.” Now the good news:

The authorities in Gong’an county had told civil servants and teachers to smoke 230,000 packs of the locally-made Hubei brand each year.

Those who did not smoke enough or used brands from other provinces or overseas faced being fined or even fired.

Nones: The truly interesting detail in Carlotta Gall’s Times story about the impending government assault on Taliban forces in the Swat valley of Pakistan is the absence of two words: “civil war.”

Vespers: DG Myers has written up an Orthodox and (culturally) conservative reading of Zoë Heller’s The Believers that all serious readers of the novel, I expect, will have to consider.

Compline: Making the New Yorker Summit rounds yesterday was Jason Kottke’s appreciation of Milton Glaser’s Rule #3 (“Some People Are Toxic Avoid Them“)

(more…)

Daily Office:
Monday

Monday, April 27th, 2009

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Matins: Robert Pear’s story about the latest squabble in health care reform is well worth thinking about. “Doctor Shortage Proves Obstacle to Obama Goals” is the title of his story, but I’m afraid that the editor who came up with it was having a senior moment, even if he’s only twenty-six.

Lauds: Norman Lebrecht inveighs against artists who collaborate with nasty regimes — creative types who go along to get along. I couldn’t disagree more with his conclusion, but I recognize that he has, by far, the easier argument.

Prime: Manfred Ertel’s Spiegel story about the recknoning in Reykjavik will make deeply satisfying reading to anyone who, like me, believes that the past fifteen years’ free market follies betray a pre-adolescent want of perspicuity. Having the gals take over so that they can fix things seems only right. But what about the reaction?

Tierce: For some reason, I thought that Texas could subdivide into six entities, not five — but I do remember (from my Houstonian captivity) that subdivision was a standard plank in gubernatorial platforms until 1920.  

Sext: In his search for bizarre LP album covers, Muscato unearths the even more bizarre optimism of LP consumers back in the days when new technologies promised to deliver information not only more palatably but more effectively than conventional media (ie books).

Nones: Two stories about Hungary at risk in the ongoing slump. First, and very predicatable, violence aimed at Roma (gypsies). Second, and more impressionistic, Budapest’s fragile prosperity, considered by someone just old enough to remember the city in 1989.

Vespers: A faux-anxious story, nominally about Kazuo Ishiguro’s having only so many more book projects in his quiver, alerts us to the impending arrival (in the UK, anyway) of a new book — not a novel.

Compline: Erik Hare’s essay on seizing opportunity, on being ready to take advantage of favorable winds when they blow — and on the tendency of liberals to dismiss such a skill as “opportunism” — makes for thought-provoking reading. “Eyes on the Prize,” at Barataria.

(more…)

Daily Office:
Wednesday

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

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Matins: And here we thought that Janet Napolitano had effected a crackdown on smuggling American-bought guns into Mexico. Seems not. Loopholes!

Lauds: Handel meant Handel! Okay, Händel meant business — when it came to business. Everyone knows that he lost his shirt as an opera impresario. It seems that he had another shirt! (Via Arts Journal)

Prime: Margaret Drabble will write no more novels, claiming that she’s too old to remember what she’s already written. This can mean only one thing, and it does —

Tierce: The number of days — as in “days are numbered” — for totally free Internet access to most print publications continues to drop. Journalism Online LLC plans to be operational “by the fall.”

Sext: Interior designers with newly-rich clients have long had ways of dealing with the problem of stocking beautifully paneled libraries with bulk purchases of snazzily-spined volumes, but I was unaware of an online service until yesterday. (via Brainiac)

Nones: Moldovans who want their country, the poorest in Europe, to merge with Romania ought to have a confab with some Flemish Belgians, or some Catalonians, before getting too worked up.

Vespers: At Asylum, John Self writes about Every Man Dies Alone, the newly-translated novel that Hans Fallada (the pseudonym of Rudolf Ditzen, 1893-1947) wrote in a month, right before killing himself. (via The Second Pass)

Compline: From Waking Up, an elegant rebuttal of Wingnut claims that gay marriage is inimical to religious freedom. Step by step, and perfectly lucid. (Via Joe.My.God) (more…)