Daily Office:


Matins: As everybody knows, the Dow took flight yesterday. I wouldn’t be mentioning it if it weren’t for a call that I got from Kathleen at about twenty to four. “I’m going to ring the closing bell,” she said. “On CNBC.” Then she had to go.

Tierce: If you were to ask me why I’m going to vote for Barack Obama, I’d answer with Charles Savage’s appraisal of the Federal judiciary, which the Bush Administration has pushed in a patriarchal direction that can only bring obloquy on our system of justice in the long run.

But the fact that you were asking would send me to another piece in today’s Times: “Report on Iraq Lists 610 Contractors,” James Glanz’s report on the Wild-West irregulation that a plethora of privatized goon squads has introduced into Iraqi affairs — all as the result of the wingnut ideology that has poisoned the Republican Party.

Nones: I knew there was a silver lining: “Plastic Surgeons, Not Immune From the Economic Slump, Report a Decline in Cosmetic Procedures.” Natasha Singer reports.

Compline: In a tough decision, Britain’s High Court decided against Debbie Purdy, who was diagnosed with MS in 1995 and who sought a clear position on assisted suicide from the Director of Public Prosecutions. Peter Walker reports.



§ Matins. So I found the tape with Kathleen’s three or four other television appearances, shoved it into the VCR/DVD combo, and tuned in to CNBC. The reporters on the floor were very excited, and the excitement was catching. During the last thirty-five seconds of trading, as the countdown sped toward zero, the Dow’s increase kept jerking upward, covering fifty points or more in that short time. Apparently, there were a lot of buyers but few sellers. The herd was definitely running up the cliff.

When it was all over, split screens showed a bunch of people waving from the NYSE bell, and another bunch of people waving from the NASDAQ bell. It wasn’t hard to spot Kathleen. Hers was the head that just cleared the NASDAQ podium. She was standing with some clients who for some good reason unknown to me were awarded the afternoon photo-op. If I’d been watching on a big screen, perhaps I should have been able to make out her features. After all these years, though, I recognized her wave and the set of her hair.

So, that was fun.

§ Tierce. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I’d vote for W himself, if he were running as a Democrat.

§ Nones. My yes/no test for cosmetic surgery is really simple: will the procedure make people look at you less? (Or, to put it another way, less quizzically.) If so, then, please, go right ahead. But no “augmentations” — even of the negative kind (eg liposuction, tempting as it is).

§ Compline. One of the things that secularism has changed, for almost everybody and seemingly without the prospect of reversal, is the idea that suffering, being divinely ordained, ought to be borne in good grace. Not only can we now alleviate a great deal of suffering that used to be beyond help, but the manmade sufferings of the Twentieth Century have left us very uncomfortable with the idea that any great suffering is tolerable, if it is avoidable.

But what does “avoidable” mean? We’re at least as, if not more, uncomfortable with the idea of anyone’s “helping” someone else to die. Consensus on assisted suicide remains a remote prospect.

2 Responses to “Daily Office:

  1. Fossil Darling says:

    What fun!! We have the TV on 24/7 but I was off the desk in “meetings” during the close.

    I cannot remember ever being on the floor or in the visitor’s gallery…..

  2. Yvonne says:

    Yay, Kathleen! I’m so glad you had an image to share, RJ!

    Re RJ’s Nones comment — One of my favorite answers to a Vanity Fair Proust Q&A:
    Q: “What do you most dislike about your appearance?”
    Martin Short: “Other people’s reaction to it.”