Archive for the ‘Incidental Humanist’ Category

Daily Office:
Friday

Friday, December 4th, 2009

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Matins: In an extremely thoughtful piece that may alter the grain of your thought — or, as it our case, highlight the way in which you’re already inclined to think — Tony Judt asks us to consider why it is that, in the Anglophone world, we reduce all political questions to economic equations. He proposes a very persuasive, historically-bound answer to the question. Don’t miss it. (NYRB)

Lauds: Judith Jamison is looking to trade in “artistic director” for, perhaps, “Queen.” Those of us who were lucky enough to see her dance Revelations know just how aptly that very popular ballet is titled. (New York; via Arts Journal)

Prime: As the giving season is upon us, Tim Ogden plans a series of blog entries about the dangers of evaluating charities by overhead alone. (Philanthropy Action; via Felix Salmon)

Tierce: Melissa Lafsky urges us to stop trying to get more women to ride bicycles in urban areas, and focus instead upon making biking a lot safer than it is. (The Infrastructurist)

Sext: The things that Choire Sicha digs up on the Internets! From a blog called firmuhment, a thoroughly wicked “imagineering” of Zac Efron’s newfound, post-Orson intellectual sophistication. (via The Awl)

Nones: More Honduran predictability: the Congress declined, by a very large margin, to re-instate Manuel Zelaya in office for the weeks that remain to his term. The voting, 111-14 against Mr Zelaya, suggests that the ousted president is not a character worth fighting for. (NYT)

Vespers: In a backlist assessment that has the whole town talking, Natalia Antonova convinces us that she loves Vladimir Nabokov’s best-known book not in spite of her history as the victim of abuse but because of it. (The Second Pass)

Compline: Because it’s the weekend, we offer Ron Rosenbaum’s long and “Mysterian” query about consciousness and other unsolved mysteries as a way of killing time in the event of any dominical longueurs. Although we agree with his assessment of the the “facts” (ie questions), we do not, so to speak, share his affect.

While we recognize — insist! — that the universe remains profoundly mysterious, it doesn’t bother us in the least, because, really, it’s much too interesting to live with the mysteries that aren’t so profound. The profundity that Mr Rosenbaum highlights for us is the connection between adolescence and all forms of metaphysics. (Slate; via Arts Journal)

Bon weekend à tous!

Daily Office:
Wednesday

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

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Matins: Monica Howe writes about a problem that appears to be on the increase: drive-by porn and its variants. You’re sitting in some sort of traffic, minding your own business, when the guy next to you…. (Washington Post; via The Morning News)

Lauds: Yasmina Reza, in town to promote her directorial début, Chicas, with Emmanuelle Seignier — and to catch the first cast’s final performance of God of Carnage — talks to Speakeasy about all of that, and her friendship with Ms Seignier’s husband, Roman Polanski.

Prime: Felix Salmon continues the debt-bias discussion, evaluating two reasons not to tax interest payments, and, not surprisingly, dismissing them even when he agrees with supporting arguments. (That’s what makes this discussion so interesting.)

Tierce: The extraordinary Mandelbulb. We’ve been so hynotized by the latest in fractals that we’ve neglected to share.

Sext: What to read next? Well, you could let your dreams determine the title — if you were Philip K Dick and strong enough to read “the dullest book in the world.” (Letters of Note)

Nones: With a grim sort of relief, we note that intransigence is still the prevailing note in Honduran politics. (BBC News)

Vespers: Terry Teachout encounters a stack of his new book(s), Pops, at the Barnes & Noble on the Upper West Side. He registers his reaction as closer to Mencken than to Hindemith. (About Last Night)

Compline: Two lawyers from the Genomics Law Report consider the “intriguing question” of how personal DNA data might be handled in the event (an event in Iceland) of a direct-to-consumer’s genomics company’s going bankrupt. (Genetic Future; via Short Sharp Science)

Daily Office:
Thursday

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

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Matins Matins: Darshak Sanghavi, a pediatric cardiologist and the health-care columnist at Slate, writes lucidly about medical-malpractice litigation. The tort-based system is broken, but it works, sort of. Dr Sanghavi likens it to a casino — terrifying doctors as a class while overcompensating a handful of plaintiffs — but he also attributes significant drops in patient injuries to lessons learned. (via The Morning News)

Lauds: Two public spaces that people will know better from photographs than from visits: The National September 11 Memorial & Museum (when and if) and the White House. The latter, which is indeed a house, requires periodic replacement therapy, in the form of “redecoration,” a word that, Martin Filler tells us, Jacqueline Kennedy didn’t like. (via Felix Salmon and The Morning News)

Prime: Felix Salmon reminds us that nothing is riskier than a market in which everyone shuns risk.

Tierce: Muscato remembers his family’s observance of Veteran’s Day.

Sext: Two pieces that were printed side-by-side in the Times, and ought to have appeared in the same fashion online. Food colleagues Kim Severson and Julia Moskin are Jack Sprat and his wife about Thanksgiving. For Ms Severson, it is all about turkey. For Ms Moskin, the turkey is a turkey. The bitchery is quite amiable.

Nones: We’re not quite sure why the offer would help negotiations along, but the UK will return 45 square miles of sovereign territory on Cyprus to — to whom? We can remember when Cyprus was in the news every day. Remember Archbishop Makarios?  (BBC News)

Vespers: Dan Hill’s review of Alain de Botton’s Heathrow book, A Week at the Airport, is long and serious but hugely compelling, inspired to be challenging where the book under review leaves off. For example, after quoting the passage about an interview with an airline CEO that stressed the fact that neither the CEO nor Mr de Botton works in a profit-making industry, Mr Hill cocks an eyebrow. (City of Sound; via The Tomorrow Museum)

Compline: David Dobbs argues for replacing the “vulnerability” model of genetic variation with an “orchid” model. The older thinking holds that variants increase their carriers’ vulnerability to disorder. The new idea acknowledges vulnerability but also inverts it, seeing heightened access to special skills. (The Atlantic)

Daily Office:
Tuesday

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

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Matins: The Economics Department at Notre Dame plans to dissolve its humanist, “heterodox” wing, and focus exclusively on “sophisticated training in quantitative methods in addition to a liberal-arts emphasis.” (via Marginal Revolution)

Lauds: Michael Johnston ogles a book of “camera porn” from the George Eastman House. SFW!

Prime: James Surowiecki calls for detaching the ratings agencies from official securities regulation.

Tierce: Tom Scocca, Dad with a pen, goofs again: “It was a mistake to get on the Metro train with the kid riding on my shoulders.”

Sext: Of the lower 48 states, 5 birds are 26 states’ official avian: Cardinal (7), Mockingbird (6), Meadowlark (6), Bluebird (4), and Goldfinch (3).

Nones: Wake-up call from New Delhi to Indian state governments: “Leak reveals India Maoist threat.”

Vespers: Emily Gould’s report on a panel discussion about the future of fiction is the sort of document that we don’t want to lose sight of: this is how published authors regarded the Internet/marketing/branding in September 2009: still in the old-fashioned way. (via The Rumpus)

Compline: “Dime con quien andas y te dire quien eres”: Project Gaydar at MIT. (via The Morning News)

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Daily Office:
Wednesday

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

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Matins: Given the lunatic tone of national discourse these days, it’s refreshing to hear the “P” word spoken with such vigor and clarity:

Obama is sometimes faulted for conducting government by speech. But this speech was part of a patient strategy that, despite August’s rough weather, is looking increasingly sound.

Hendrick Hertzberg in The New Yorker.

Lauds: Museum Director Thomas Campbell outlines his plans in an interview with The Art Newspaper’s Joshua Edward Kaufman.

Prime: President Obama’s Federal Hall speech yesterday elicits interesting responses from Felix Salmon and James Surowiecki.

Tierce: As deeply as our eidtor sympathises with Malcolm Gladwell, Sean Macauley’s totally high-school prank makes us laugh, even if it is a bit nasty. (What high school prank isn’t at least a bit nasty?)

Sext: All of a sudden, everyone’s a racist. Well, simmer down. As Abe Sawyer suggests at The Awl, it’s probably anarchism. Racism is just one of the ”tools currently available with which to ‘win’.”

Nones: Mark Garlasco’s hobby — collecting Nazi military memorabilia — will probably cost him his job, now that it has “armed right-wing fanatics” critical of Human Rights Watch, the humanitarian organization which Mr Garlasco served as a military analyst.

Vespers: On the anniversary of David Foster Wallace’s death, Jean Ruaud writes about the rewards of struggling with Infinite Jest all the way through to the end. [fr]

Compline: An interesting, if not quite lucid, essay on the problem of giving unconditional love to a badly-behaving child, by Alfie Kohn. (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.

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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!

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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.

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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:
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.

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Daily Office:
Thursday

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

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Matins: Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre take pictures of ruins. Remember when ruins were in Europe? No longer, mon cher. Below the fold, M&M’s photo of Detroit’s Central Station. “The Ruins of Detroit” — sans Beethoven. (via The Best Part)

Lauds: Daniel Barenboim, one of the greatest musicians alive, seems determined to make a mark in a second career: normalizing Arab-Israeli relations. He’ll be conducting a concert in Cairo (Al Qahirah) next week. Bravo!

Prime: Yesterday afternoon, I read at Facebook that my daughter “has gone mental for GoldFish.” I was pretty sure that she wasn’t talking Pepperidge Farm, but I pressed the proffered links anyway. Anybody remember “Captain of Her Heart,” by Blue? The lead has just about the same voice.

Tierce: Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of The Black Swan, lists ten principles for a healthier economy. I hardly know which one I like best. (via  The Morning News)

7. Only Ponzi schemes should depend on confidence. Governments should never need to “restore confidence”. Cascading rumours are a product of complex systems. Governments cannot stop the rumours. Simply, we need to be in a position to shrug off rumours, be robust in the face of them.

Sext: Who is Susan Powter? The other day, Everything Is Terrible, a site that curates awful videos, spotted her “How to Shop at a Grocery Store.”

Nones: With the viability of tax havens in doubt, Monaco upgrades its luxury haven operation.

Vespers: Susan Sontag talks! “The elevator swished up like a gigolo’s hand on a silk stocking.” On her way, that is, to interview Philip Johnson, sometime back in the Sixties. (Via Tomorrow Museum)

Compline: Richard Kalnins grew up in Connecticut, but he spent his childhood Saturdays in Yonkers — the whole day at Latvian school.

Inside, we were strictly forbidden to speak English. My classmates and I spent the day in small classrooms, decorated with framed portraits of presidents from the first Latvian republic, where we listened to white-haired octogenarians talk about their lives in Latvia before the war. We picked through the dense pages of nineteenth-century pastoral novels, recited the names of the country’s longest rivers and biggest lakes, chanted noun declensions in singular and plural, masculine and feminine, and sat on stiff metal chairs by the piano in the basement, crooning folk songs about mowing meadows of clover and watching the sun set into the sea. The rooms were stuffy and overheated and smelled of dusty radiators and chalky erasers. Across the street, old Puerto Rican men in shirtsleeves hung out the windows of what somebody’s brother called a welfare hotel. I couldn’t stand it. I hated Latvia.

Because of the holiday weekend, the next Daily Office will appear on Tuesday, 14 April. Bon weekend à tous!
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Daily Office:
Monday

Monday, April 6th, 2009

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Matins: Frank Rich insists that singer John Rich is mistaken:  Detroit is no more “the real world” than Wall Street is.”

Lauds: Rachel Morarjee conducts a Monocle tour of the “narcotecture” of Herat. For more than half of the clip’s five minutes, the richest city in Afghanistan looks like any old place after a scattershot disaster, but at the three-minute market, brace yourself for “wedding-cake monstrosities.” (via  Things Magazine)

Prime: While critic Tom Service laments the decline in British music education, &c and so forth, Jeremy Denk illustrates what a top-drawer education can do for an artistically-inclined youth…

Tierce: Here’s a surprise: “Wanted” posters put out by the Environmental Protection Agency. But why a surprise?

Sext: Ian Frazier’s lampoon of the Rosetta Stone ads that have been running in the backs of brainy magazines —

He was a hardworking farm boy. She was an Italian supermodel. He knew he would have just one chance to impress her.

 — is a brilliant scream. Why didn’t I write it?

Nones: Michael Tomasky’s appraisal of President Obama’s week in Europe, in the Guardian, is warmly favorable — its party-pooping title notwithstanding. “With a rocket, Obama’s hope is shot back down to earth.”

Vespers: A O Scott considers the formerly unmarketable short story: will short fiction benefit from the collapse of publishing as we know it?

Compline:  Jim Holt recommends memorizing poetry. All I want is the Table of Contents to Essential Pleasures: A New Anthology of Poems to Read Aloud, selected by Robert Pinsky.

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Daily Office:
Tuesday

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

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Matins: A collection of lucid responses to last week’s story about academic humanities (covered here).

Lauds: Have a look at but it does float — a tumble log noted by Things Magazine, an apparently anonymous curation noted, in turn, by Robin at Snarkmarket.

Prime: I’ve been following David Galbraith’s Smashing Telly(!) for a while now, and I’ve linked to or through it a couple of times. It’s a great site, because Mr Galbraith is a very strong writer. I have never once been inspired to watch the TV show under review, however. (I hope to read Niall Ferguson’s Ascent of Money eventually….)

Tierce: Bergen County Academies, a limited-admissions public school in New Jersey, is changing the debate (or at least reviving it) about vocational schools. Completely.

Sext: V X Sterne, at Outer Life, has some creative thoughts about tax avoidance. (They’re also perfectly legal; commendable, even!)

Nones: When I first glanced at headlines about the story about the cricketer shootings in Lahore, I thought that it involved a ramping up of Tamil violence on Sri Lanka. But no; it’s rather worse — yet another gash in the fabric of Pakistani society.

Vespers: Patrick Kurp writes so persuasively about Zbigniew Herbert’s essay collection, Barbarian in the Garden, that I’ve got to havea copy.

Compline: More than thirty years later, Spain is purging monuments to the Franco régime.

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Daily Office:
Thursday

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

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Matins: Fasten your seatbelts and get ready for Uncle Niall. This time, “Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid” really means what it says. A tsunami of economic disarray is barreling toward the ship of state. Unlike the pooh-bahs in Washington, Professor Ferguson believes that the ship is at present upside-down, rather like the SS Poseidon you might say, and that trying to borrow our way out of the problem à la Keynes is rather like what “climbing” for the boat deck was in that disaster.

Lauds: The 25 Random Things meme (see below) is one thing; the truly daring will be sending their Facebook portraits to Matt Held to have them painted (possibly) and exhibited in all their unflattering glory. (via ArtFagCity)

Prime: I never miss a chance to rejoice that I’ve lived into a new epistolary age; when I was younger, people didn’t answer my letters because they were “intimidated.” The 25 Random Things meme, however, is something altogether and delightfully new. Memes like it have been circulating for “ages,” but something about the Facebook tag has prompted a lot of scribbling — 35,700 pages of randomness. Douglas Quenqua reports — without saying a thing about himself!

Tierce: Learning about the Bacon Explosion in the pages of The New York Times — and not on the Internet — was bad enough. Discovering the frabjilliant Web log of Sandro Magister there is really the limit!

Sext: A fantastic slideshow: The End — or words to that effect. Repeat 189x. Brought to you by Dill Pixels.

Nones: The last thing China needs right now is a major drought, but that’s what’s afflicting the north-central, wheat-growing provinces.

Vespers: Sheila Heti interviews Mary Gaitskell for The Believer.

Compline: Something to chew on over the weekend: where both quantity and quality of work are measurable, as, say, in academia, is the childless candidate for a position intrinsicially preferably to the parent? Ingrid Robeyns kicked off the debate at Crooked Timber. (via Brainiac)

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Daily Office:
Tuesday

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009

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Matins: Mark my words: this is the beginning of something good: Web/House calls by physicians in Hawaii.

Lauds: When I was growing up, art was something that fruity, suspect men couldn’t help producing — the  byproduct of diseased minds. The people around me wished that art would just stop. Even I can hardly believe how unleavened the world was in those days. How nice it would have been to have Denis Dutton’s new book come to the rescue: The Art Instinct: Beauty, Pleasure and Human Evolution.  

Prime: My friend Jean Ruaud, who happens to be the best photographer I know, spent the holidays in Houston, the city where I lived for almost a decade but haven’t visted in seventeen years. Even though most of the pictures — all of the ones that don’t feature Downtown — are completely unfamiliar, they’re also distinctly More of the Same.  

Tierce: It’s official.

For those New Yorkers who wondered what the Manhattan real estate market might be like without the ever-rising bonuses of Wall Street’s elite, the answer is now emerging: an abrupt decline in transactions, tottering prices and buyers who are still looking but unwilling to sign a contract.

Josh Barbanel reports.

Sext: The reported discovery of a circle of standing stones forty feet below the surface of Lake Michigan is more than a little intriguing. Quite aside from what the site tells us about prehistoric society, there’s the matter of protecting the site. How do you restrict access to an underwater location? (via kottke.org)

Nones: “Activists” have become “gunmen” in Greece. Anthee Carassava reports.

Vespers: At Maud Newton, Chad Risen mourns the shuttering of the Nashville Scene book page. Hang-wringing news, certainly. I can’t say, though, that I agree with this:

Blogs are great, and in some ways better than book sections, but there’s nothing like a book page in a local, general-interest publication to “cross-pollinate” interest among people who might otherwise never come across serious discussions of the printed word.

This sounds like a paper fetish to me.

Compline:There are two items about the Catholic Church in today’s Times, and although they seem to tell very different stories, I’m not so sure that they do. The first is Abby Goodnough’s report on “rebellious” parishioners who have occupied their church in order to keep the Boston diocese from selling it off. From Spain, meanwhile, Rachel Donadio writes about an impending showdown between observant Catholics and government secularists.

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The Incidental Humanist:
Schools

Monday, November 17th, 2008

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How to kick off this feature? Alison Lurie to the rescue! With a fantastic omnibus review of several new books, entitled “The Message of the Schoolroom.” Humanism may not begin at school, but that is certainly where it begins to take its public form. That is where children learn to act independently of family alliances.

The only thing we know about earling schooling so far is that, while there have been brilliant schools here and there, nobody has ever developed a more than half-decent system for educating masses of children on the cheap. I wonder why? (more…)