Daily Office:


Matins: In this time of PETA and no-foie-gras, George lawmakers want to make it easier to secure a death penalty. Save the animals, kill the people: is that the American Way? It does seem so. You could polish up an argument that the nation’s early settlers underwent the harrowing ordeal of crossing the Atlantic because they were pathological misanthropes.

Tierce: Comparing China’s economy to ours, this morning, Tom Friedman reminds us to be careful about what we ask for:

But while capitalism has saved China, the end of communism seems to have slightly unhinged America. We lost our two biggest ideological competitors — Beijing and Moscow. Everyone needs a competitor. It keeps you disciplined. But once American capitalism no longer had to worry about communism, it seems to have gone crazy. Investment banks and hedge funds were leveraging themselves at crazy levels, paying themselves crazy salaries and, most of all, inventing financial instruments that completely disconnected the ultimate lenders from the original borrowers, and left no one accountable. “The collapse of communism pushed China to the center and [America] to the extreme,” said Ben Simpfendorfer, chief China economist at Royal Bank of Scotland.

Sext: Yet another droll site that everybody knew about before I finally stumbled upon it, in the usual way — thanks to Joe or Jason (in this case, Joe).

Vespers: Have you heard of Maria Semple’s This One Is Mine? I hadn’t either, but after reading about it at Three Guys One Book, I’m ordering a copy.


§ Matins. There is something aggressive about an American’s friendship. I see it in myself all the time. No wonder, then, that killing’s all we can think of for our enemies.

§ Tierce. Mr Friedman also reminds us that what Bernard Madoff’s illegal Ponzi scheme wasn’t so very different from Wall Street’s official one.

Far from being built on best practices, this legal Ponzi scheme was built on the mortgage brokers, bond bundlers, rating agencies, bond sellers and homeowners all working on the I.B.G. principle: “I’ll be gone” when the payments come due or the mortgage has to be renegotiated.

§ Sext. If you’re in the mood for gratuitous nastiness, check out the entry for Anderson Cooper.

§ Vespers. Scroll down through Jason Rice’s review for a conversation with the author who, among other things, wrote for Mad About You.

Q: Did you ever step back and say to yourself, “wow, these people are crazy, what am I doing here?”

A: The correct answer to that is, “Yes! The whole time I couldn’t believe I was living among such wack-jobs.” But no, Jason, I never thought that.

One Response to “Daily Office:

  1. Nom de Plume says:

    I must say, I just spent (wasted) an amusing hour at Dickipedia.