Daily Office:


Matins: David Carr writes about a momentous meeting, a little over eighteen months ago, between Internet pioneer Marc Andreessen and a

junior member of a large and powerful organization with a thin, but impressive, résumé, he was about to take on far more powerful forces in a battle for leadership.

Guess who the other guy was.

Tierce: Ailing GM can’t cut off its union workers — not quite yet — but white collar retirees can kiss their “gold-plated” health care goodbye. Nick Bunkley reports.

Sext: Eric Pfanner’s somewhat breathless account of the state of play between Google and book publishers nonetheless conveys a good idea of where books are going. And it does indeed look like a good idea.

Vespers: It’s not the potato-stuck-up-the-bum that’s funny. It’s the idea that anybody would believe the story of how it got there.

The clergyman, in his 50s, told nurses he had been hanging curtains when he fell backwards on to his kitchen table.

He happened to be nude at the time of the mishap, said the vicar, who insisted he had not been playing a sex game.

(Thanks, Joe.)


§ Matins. Hint: he’s the guy with the new Web site: Change.gov. (Do we want to read the story of how the Obama people got a .gov site up and running the day after the election? Yes, we do.)

Regular readers know that I never shut up about what an old fart I am &c &c, but I have to tell you: I thought Barack Obama was younger. Specifically, I thought that he was 46, a whole fourteen years younger than I am. Now, thanks to the miracle of orbit, the president-elect is 47, born at the absolute nadir of my then-thirteen-year-old existence. He might as well be 60!

Well, that’s how it feels, is all I’m saying.

Oh, and speaking of birthdays, my daughter, known formerly as “Miss G” but more recently as “Mrs O’Neill,” turns a certain age on Tuesday, as Facebook reminds me every time I click the tab. What should I get her? What do you give your only child four days before you give her away to her husband?

Not her fiancé, her husband. As the big November date drew near, with all the God-given complications attending any normal wedding, these poor kids couldn’t do what all healthy engaged couples do: they couldn’t say, “Let’s just elope! It’s easier!” No: they were already married!

§ Tierce. I wonder how many of these unfortunate elderly folks are Republicans, and, of that number, how many are rethinking equitable (universal) health care.

§ Sext. I’ve just about given up talking about the future of printed, bound books with people my own age. Men and women alike throw up their hands in dismay, claiming, in effect, that they’ll never be able to enjoy literature on a screen. Calming them down is no longer interesting.

It seems unlikely that book production will cease altogether. But book collections, ie libraries-as-we-know-them, will probably be much smaller. Most current titles do not really belong between covers in the first place.

I don’t mean to be faddish about these intriguing possibilities. I won’t buy a Kindle until next year, but I’m already distinguishing between the kind of book that I intend to buy as such and the kind that I plan to “consume” digitally. For the moment, I’m cautiously purging my library of “current events” books and crime novels. I want the books on my shelves to be approximately timeless — by which I mean that I expect them to be as valuable to me now (sentimental considerations aside) as they were when I read them.

And if I never read them — heave ho!

§ Vespers. If the poor guy wasn’t defrocked at the time, he will be.

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