Archive for the ‘Schools’ Category

Daily Office:

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009


Matins: Tyler Cowen’s thoughts about Swiss minarets are appropriately complex. Referendums are deplorable, because they open the door as nothing else does to prejudice. “…knowing how and when to defuse an issue is one very large part of political wisdom.  The Swiss usually pass this test but this time they failed it.” (Marginal Revolution)

Lauds: The painter Francis Bacon could write well enough, but, John Richardson informs us, he could not draw. (NYRB; via 3 Quarks Daily)

Prime: Felix Salmon, with the help of a commenter called Dan, advances a new theory of investing — one that is market- (and liquidity- !) shy.

Tierce: 350 years of important publications by the Royal Society, celebrated at a new site, Trailblazing. (MetaFilter)

Sext: In the rarefied world of dissertation-land, is one woman’s prudence another man’s paranoia? (Chron Higher Ed; via The Morning News)

Nones: The Vatican continues to regard its affairs as lying beyond the writ and ken of civil authorities. “The Vatican should apologise for failing to co-operate with an inquiry into sex abuse by Catholic priests in Ireland, a Dublin bishop has said.” (BBC News)

Vespers: The Clutter murder, 50 years on. (Ed Pilkington at the Guardian)

Compline: Shock and Awl: Choire and Balk both driven batty by current events. Choire returns from Thanksgiving weekend viscerally alert to the Idiocracy afoot in the land. “Craziness: it’s not just for wingnuts anymore.” Meanwhile, Alex has Lady Gaga issues.

Although both pieces are nicely funny, the two pieces are salt and pepper as to coherence. Choire, slightly hysterical perhaps, nevertheless sticks to his topic. Balk, in contrast, is almost grotesquely inconsequent. But that’s why we love him!

Daily Office:

Thursday, November 26th, 2009


Matins: Kenneth Davis writes about the first Thanksgiving to be given on land that would one day be part of the United States — by Huguenots in Florida. Their base, Fort Caroline (named after Charles IX), did not last very long; nor did they: the Spanish eradicated everything in 1565.

Mr Davis’s litany of religious persecutions in America exhorts us to regard Thanksgiving not as the commemoration of a hallowed past but as a celebration of how far we have come from our dark origins — and a reminder of how far we have yet to go. (NYT)

Lauds: Charis Wilson, Edward Weston’s most notable muse (and his only “art wife”), died last Friday in Santa Cruz, aged 95. (Los Angeles Times; via Arts Journal)

As it happens, we’ve been reading about Charis Wilson in Francine Prose’s The Lives of the Muses. Great reading!

Prime: We’re not terribly interested in the recent privatization of Chicago’s parking meters — or, rather, we weren’t until Felix Salmon decided to look into the matter. His conclusion: the city didn’t do too badly, and the contractors are idiots. The detail worth noting is that what Chicago’s alderman wanted, of course, was to raise parking meter prices without being accountable.

Tierce: The Aesthete unearths the strange figure of George Sebastian, an adventurer who married American money and used it to builid Dar Sebastian, still a breathtaking edifice in Hammamet, Tunisia. (An Aesthete’s Lament)

Sext: We love a good prank as much as anybody — probably more, as long as we’re not the victim — and so we’re rejoicing at the news that The Awl now has a whole department devoted to reviewing “pranks and their aftermaths.” Okay, they have Juli Weiner, who we hope is still enrolled in a good college.

Nones: William Finnegan’s New Yorker excellent report on the situation in Honduras is not, sadly, online, although an abstract is available. For regular readers who have been following the matter here, there is little substantially new in the piece, and in fact we were gratified to read that coup leader Roberto Michelletti, in television appearances, “tends to glower, and speak from the side of his mouth, like Dick Cheney.” However, we hadn’t encountered anything like Mr Finnegan’s thumbnail of the constitution that ousted president “Mel” Zelaya wants to replace.

Vespers: We’ve read Lauren Elkin’s review of Jeremy Davies’s Rose Alley several times now, and while we’re not certain that we want to read the novel, we’re intrigued by Ms Elkin’s account of it. (The Second Pass)

Compline: Maria Popova (of Brain Pickings) takes “a look at what the Intenet is doing for learning, curiosity, and creativity outside the classroom.” There’s a lot about TED, which appears to be better understood in Europe than it is here. (Good)

To see how traditional education appears on the Internet, have a look at the Syllabus of Dr E L Skip Knox’s fully online course, sponsored by Boise State University, in HIST101 — The History of Western Civilization. (via MetaFilter)

Daily Office:

Thursday, September 24th, 2009


Matins: Michael Specter takes a good look at the potentially scary field of synthetic biology — and does not panic.

Lauds: Booing at the Met: Luc Bondy’s Tosca. (Not to be confused with Puccini’s, no matter what they sang. Maybe Sardou’s, though.)

Prime: Engineering in the Age of Fractals, or “Why Bankers Are Like Bacteria.” (via Felix Salmon)

Tierce: Abe Sauer’s quite informative Essay Touching Upon the Economics of Britney Spears’s Circus Tour Show in Grand Forks, North Dakota; or, Don’t Blame Ticketmaster.

Sext: It’s a bit early for us, but our cousin Kurt Holm will be on the Early Show tomorrow morning, and CBS Studios at 59th and Fifth will be the place to hang out.  (Between 7:15 and 9, I’m told.) This week at notakeout: Mark Bittman guests!

Nones: Yesterday, we were reminded of Il Trovatore. Today, it’s Rodelinda. How did Manuel Zelaya get back into Honduras? The sort of question that never comes up in genuine opera seria. Maybe this is opera buffa.

Vespers: The book to read before it’s sold over here: The Queen Mother: The Official Biography, by William Shawcross. Why? Because she was “Past Caring.”

Compline: Mash-ups considered as the model for creative intelligence, at The Frontal Cortex.


Daily Office:

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009


Matins: Jonah Lehrer proposes a molecular theory of curiosity: don’t worry, it’s easily grasped.

Lauds: David Denby’s unfavorable review of Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds makes sense to us — which confirms our suspicion that it is an old-man view of things.

Prime: Felix Salmon reads that crazy story about the guy with the $25,000 certified check in his briefcase, and contemplates a depressing conclusion.

Tierce: Why rock stars ought to die young: “eccentric-looking old man” spooks renters, turns out to be Bob Dylan. (via The Morning News)

Sext: A “Good Food Manifesto for America”, from former basketball pro Will Allen. (via How to Cook Like Your Grandmother)

Nones: Turkey struck an interesting agreement with Iraq last week: more water (for Iraq) in exchange for tougher crackdowns on PKK rebels active near the Turkish border. (via Good)

Vespers: Not so hypothetical: what if you could teach only one novel in a literature class that would probably constitute your students’ only contact with great fiction? A reader asks the editors of The Millions.

Compline: Two former policemen argue for legalizing narcotics. (via reddit)


Daily Office:

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009


Matins: First the bad news, then the worse: Bob Herbert on the ongoing evaporation of good jobs, and Adam Cohen on a Supreme Court challenge to the ban on direct corporate political contributions.

Lauds: The Chicago Tribune‘s Blair Kamin asks, “Can the public love public art to death?” Perhaps “love” is not the word, but, yes. Ben van Berkel’s temporary Burnham Plan Pavilion in Millennium Park will close for four days of repairs. (via  Arts Journal)

Prime: Two scapegraces — one of whom ended the other’s Wall Street career — don wise-old-men hats, and discuss “Who Killed Wall Street?

Tierce: Muscato muses rather eloquently on differences in ageing, then (1956) and now. “The New Math” considers two 51 year-old women…

Sext: Almost as cool as the High Line, plus they’re in Brooklyn: the alleys of Crown Heights, at Scouting NYC.

Nones: What to do about Burma? Now that Aung San Suu Kyi has been senteced to more house arrest, in a bogus move to keep her off the next year’s ballot, sovereign critics of the ruling junta can choose from three options: pouting ineffectively, imposing sanctions of doubtful impact, or “doing something,” whatever that means. In other words, bupkis.

Vespers: We haven’t read Richard Russo, but John Williams’s review of the latest novel, That Old Cape Magic, at The Second Pass, might change that.

Compline: A young teacher at a charter school quits, claiming, basically, that she was starved for respect. Her principal replies, observing that “teaching is never about the teacher.” True — but would anyone be having this conversation if teaching were properly compensated? (via Brainiac) (more…)

Daily Office:

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009


Matins: What’s so productive about “Gross Domestic Product,” asks historian Eric Zencey? A re-think of GDP for a greener world.

Lauds: A new business plan for classical musicians: don’t seek shelter in a large and venerable organization. Andrew Druckenbrod explains musical entrepreneurship.

Prime: The economics of farmers’ markets could use a design boost. Alissa Walker reports at GOOD.

Tierce: Kate McLaughlin, 19, heads off to Northwestern — for law school. somewhat more remarkably, she graduated from the University of California at San Diego two years ago. What do you think about this kind of precocity?

Sext: Sebastian Münster’s map of Europe, upside-down, at Strange Maps.

Nones: In Sunday’s Times, a long overdue explanation of the Honduran political divide.

Vespers: Jenni Diski reflects on the art of the late Stanley Middleton, a Booker Prize winner whom we hadn’t heard of.

Compline: Andrew Sullivan, in his tenth year of Daily-Beast-ing, resumes the practice of taking August off.


Daily Office:

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009


Matins: A counter-intuitive HIV-prevention strategy that is gaining traction. (via Good)

Lauds: At The New Republic, Antoni Cimolino argues against “adapting” Shakespeare for modern ears. (via The Morning News)

Prime: Felix Salmon (who happened to see the eclipse in China) is not convinced that the advent of 401(k) plans was a positive financial innovation.

Tierce: Nothing really happened in the Marshall trial today, but I sense a sea change in the case.

Sext: Tom Scocca sings of time and the bed — and a kid who’s discovered “testing.”

Nones: Sudan takes an important step toward partition (between North and South) — at The Hague.

Vespers: Anglophone literature in India takes a new turn: with more Indian readers, writers can focus on local life to an extent that makes their work difficult to follow outside of India. (via Arts Journal)

Compline: The story following this headline actually lives up to it: “Laptop? Check. Student Playlist? Check. Classroom of the Future? Check,” by Jennifer Medina.


Daily Office:

Thursday, July 9th, 2009


Matins: Max Fisher calls it semitarianism, and Peter Smith likes it. Now, eat your vegetables.

Lauds: The evolving aesthetic of public monuments finds interesting expression in a new 7/7 memorial, soon to be unveiled in Hyde Park.

Prime: The death of Robert McNamara reminds Philip Delves Broughton, author of Ahead of the Curve: Two Years at Harvard Business School, of what he calls “The McNamara Syndrome.” (via Felix Salmon)

Tierce: Ya gotta admit: the trial as eveything: Gurneys! Oxygen! A men’s room shut down for an hour, while Charlene comforts her traviato.

Sext: Henry Alford files a report about leftovers: “chunks of some sort of appalling turgid brownish oozing cake.”

Nones: In the bad old days, utter nincompoops could inherit thrones. Now, they get elected. But the problem is the same: how do you get rid of them? The kid-glove approach taken by the Honduran élite seems not to have worked.

Vespers: Chalk another win up for NYRB Books: they’ve reissued L J Davis’s A Meaningful Life — now, 29 years after hardcover publication, in cloth. John Self enthuses.

Compline: John Lancaster, a Washington-based journalist, did not finish out his term at Atchison College, Pakistan’s top prep school (boys only, natch), but he did gather enough material for a must-read report. (via  The Morning News) (more…)

Daily Office:

Thursday, June 25th, 2009


 ¶ Matins: At Brainiac, Christopher Shea asks about a “blue collar renaissance.” He has been reading Matthew Crawford’s Shop Class as Soulcraft, of course. Somewhat more solid evidence that the scope of “knowledge worker” is expanding appears in Louis Uchitelle’s Times story, “Despite Recession, High Demand for Skilled Labor.”

Lauds: At The House Next Door, Shelby Button reports on the deadCENTER Film Festival, in Oklahoma City.

Prime: Robb Mandelbaum traces a small-business-friendly amendment to the Credit Cardholder’s Bill of Rights Act — and speculates on its demise.

Tierce: When mom forgot his 73rd birthday, Tony Marshall was quick to call the doctor and complain about her growing “confusion.”

Sext: At Inside Higher Ed, Ben Elson reports on the number one problem affecting Americans today: student parking. (via The Awl)

Nones: What? There are Somalian Members of Parliament? Still? Fewer and fewer, perhaps — but that there are any is surprising.

Vespers: Rebecca Steinitz, at The Rumpus, writes so alluringly about Julia Strachey’s Cheerful Weather for a Wedding (1932) that I’ve just ordered a copy.

Compline: In The New Yorker, Jill Lepore draws a distinction between parenthood and adulthood. An important distinction — don’t you think?

Bon weekend à tous!


Daily Office:

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009


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.”


Daily Office:

Monday, June 15th, 2009


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.


Daily Office:

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009


Matins: Will George Dangerfield’s 1935 classic, The Strange Death of Liberal England (one of the few history books that everybody ought to read, if only because everybody who has read it seems to love it) be echoed by a book called something like The Strange Death of Labour England? David Runciman foretells.

Lauds: Scott Cantrell wonders if piano competitions ought to take place behind screens (as orchestral auditions are); he doesn’t think that a blind pianist would have won this year’s Van Cliburn International Piano Competition had the jury been blind.

Prime: Andrew Price notes the gender gap in unemployment, at GOOD.

Tierce: After Mily de Gernier’s testimony, prosecutors will have to rethink the top count in their indictment of Anthony Marshall. That’s the one that describes Mr Marshall’s sale of the late philanthropist’s Childe Hassam as “grand larceny.”

Sext: Choire Sicha: Which gender is superior, and why this means holding women to higher standards.

Nones: Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoë has awarded the Dalai Lama honorary Parisian citizenship. Not an act of state, stutters President Sarkozy!

Vespers: Stephen Elliott interviews Dave Eggers, at The Rumpus. Once Mr Eggers’s forthcoming book (Zeitoun) has been dealt with, the conversation turns, very interestingly, to print and poor kids.

Compline: Alex Krupp shows how the Industrial Revolution’s grudge against human nature leads to intellectual impoverishment — via Benjamin Spock! “How intellectual pollution has crippled American children,” at Sensemaking.