Archive for the ‘How You Talk!’ Category

Must Mention:
2 June 2010

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010


Al and Tipper. (Everywhere, but we’ve stuck with the Times)

Israel and the flotilla: a range of opinions, all aggregated at Real Clear World. ¶

While We’re Away

Books with hyperlinks! Well, a new edition of a Jules Verne classic, anyway — all you need is a smartphone. (Chron Higher Ed; via  Marginal Revolution)

¶ Universal language instinct? Not so much. (New Scientist)

¶ On the counterproductivity of incentives. (The Frontal Cortex)

Have a Look

Pants Fail.

Daily Office:

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009


Matins: “Terrifyingly cavalier” — we expect that Elizabeth Kolbert is right to respond to SuperFreakonomics with alarm. Shooting SO2 aerosols into the atmosphere through an eighteen-mile hose does not sound like a promising solution to the problem of global warming. The Two Steves look to be in need of adult supervision! (The New Yorker)

Lauds: In the future, will the great nudes of fine art sport fig leaves and other coverings that, as the spectator desires, may be made to fall away? Does Marcel Duchamp’s rather nasty peepshow, Étant Donnés, cap a Renaissance tradition? Blake Gopnik’s second blush. (Washington Post; via Arts Journal)

Prime: Steve Tobak addresses a home truth: “Don’t Make Your Customers Deal With Your Problems.” He’s talking to business people, of course, but we substitute “readers” for “customers” and go from there. (Corner Office)

Tierce: Eric Patton writes about the trip to Rome that he took with his parents last month. (It was last month, wasn’t it?) (SORE AFRAID)

Sext: Rudolph Delson has been making his way through the library of vice-presidential memoirs. Yesterday, he reached Tricky Dick. (The Awl)

Nones: It isn’t very neighborly of Cambodia’s Hun Sen to welcome Thai renegade (and former prime minister) Thaksin Shinawatra into his cabinet, as an economic adviser — and on the eve of a regional summit, at that! Thailand has recalled its ambassador, and its government “has expressed anger and embarrassment over the deal.” (BBC News)

Vespers: Aleksandar Hemon fumes and steams about the posthumous publication of Nabokovian fragments. We can see why: the great writer intended for unfinished works to be destroyed at his death (in 1977). But the intentions were very naive, and possibly insincere: surely Nabokov was capable of destroying them himself after realizing that he would not live to finish his last project. (Slate; via Arts Journal)

Compline: Simon Baron-Cohen argues that the elimination of a distinct Asperger syndrome diagnosis from the next edition of the standard psychiatric handbook (the DSM) — a move under consideration by the editors — would be premature at best. (NYT)

Daily Office:

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009


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.


Daily Office:

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008


Matins: Floyd Norris on our current adventure, “The Long Way Down”:

Will this fall be recovered within a week? That is not likely unless someone develops a financial system to replace the fallen one that was based on the fantasy that investors could finance very risky loans, via complicated securitizations, without taking risks.

Tierce: Just my luck: having decided to steer The Daily Blague on a course of secular humanism, I confront a wave of financial disaster that, just to make things irritating as well as inopportune, I’ve been worried about for years. At some point, I knew, some event would act to pull the plug on the warm bath of Greenspansiveness.

I could spend my days writing links to old Portico pages and Daily Blague entries that illustrate my prescience (which was really just common sense), but I think it more sporting to let others demonstrate, if they can, that I was just as deluded, on occasion, as the tycos of Wall Street. I’m too busy, anyway, listening to foreign language lessons on my Nano. Can Teach Yourself Latin — as an audio course — be far off?

Sext: It’s heartening to see Jason Kottke zero in on what’s most important about the coming election. Writing about The New Yorker’s endorsement of Barack Obama in the current issue, Mr Kottke writes,

The key part of the article concerns the candidates’ possible appointments to the Supreme Court and their consequences. A more conservative court scares the shit out of me.

Compline: When I wrote the entry for Sext, I hadn’t read “The Talk of the Town” myself. When I did read it, just now, over dinner, my eyes welled over. As long as an organ of the MSM can turn out a Ciceronian oration of such efficient persuasion, the United States is not altogether broken.

We cannot expect one man to heal every wound, to solve every major crisis of policy. So much of the Presidency, as they say, is a matter of waking up in the morning and trying to drink from a fire hydrant. In the quiet of the Oval Office, the noise of immediate demands can be deafening. And yet Obama has precisely the temperament to shut out the noise when necessary and concentrate on the essential. The election of Obama—a man of mixed ethnicity, at once comfortable in the world and utterly representative of twenty-first-century America—would, at a stroke, reverse our country’s image abroad and refresh its spirit at home. His ascendance to the Presidency would be a symbolic culmination of the civil- and voting-rights acts of the nineteen-sixties and the century-long struggles for equality that preceded them. It could not help but say something encouraging, even exhilarating, about the country, about its dedication to tolerance and inclusiveness, about its fidelity, after all, to the values it proclaims in its textbooks. At a moment of economic calamity, international perplexity, political failure, and battered morale, America needs both uplift and realism, both change and steadiness. It needs a leader temperamentally, intellectually, and emotionally attuned to the complexities of our troubled globe. That leader’s name is Barack Obama.