Daily Office:


Matins: If you want to know why the Times may have to cease publication in May, you need read just this one story about the closing of Guantánamo, which makes sense on only a minimal level. Money aside, the newspaper is incapable of presenting a complex story in three paragraphs. And what else are newspapers for?

Lauds: The stupidest prediction that I’ve read in the past ten minutes (I hate to exaggerate):

Initial predictions by some art investors last year that oil-rich Arab countries, Russia, India and China would continue to spend on art, even as the United States and much of Western Europe stumbled into a recession, proved too optimistic.

Once upon a time, one might have made a remark like this about Japan. Japan could be counted upon to go on buying paintings by Nattier and subscribing to the Neue Mozart Ausgabe no matter what was going on in the European economies.

Prime: After a long absence, V X Sterne is back at Outer Life. Now that the economy is bound for hell in a handbasket, our favorite Californian capitalist is feeling much better.

Tierce: Sarah Palin complains about a class divide in America, with self-proving assertions. There is an élite class in this country, identifiable by its ability to speak clear, articulate English. Ms Palin, on the other hand, speaks what can only be called Ramshackle.

Sext: At last! We’ll be able to drive to Europe. (Via well-spaced aircraft carriers.)

Nones: A “respected coalition” of British Jewish leaders has issued a letter calling for an Israeli ceasefire in Gaza.

Vespers: Remember “writer’s block”? You’re right, I wonder what happened to it, too. Polly Frost waxes nostalgic and she has a plan!

Compline: Prince Harry is back in the news. Boy, this kid just doesn’t get it! Anybody who thinks that he’s really “third in line” for the English throne — or even nth — must be living in a tea cosy.


§ Matins. The report, by William Glaberson and Helene Cooper, appears to have multiple agendas, which may be why it makes no sense. First we’re told that it may be bureaucratically difficult to close down a long-running operation. Nowhere, however, does the story confront the unnamed option: just move the prisoners to Sing Sing! Anywhere would be better.

A paper of record, we need. A mouthpiece for the Administration, even the Obama Administration, we don’t.

§ Lauds. But Japanese purchases of Western art correspond to European purchases of the Japanese. Europe and Japan have long had an intense mutual respect for the other’s arts. The “oil rich” nations are no better than Texas — probably not even as interested. Russia, for example, remains, profoundly, an imitator. It’s not interested in anything that isn’t commanding big prices in London and New York. Anything not Russian, that is.

§ Prime. I was totally crushed, though, by his having dropped The Daily Blague from Outer Life’s blogroll. I knew that I was too liberal, too strange, too New York — and too good a dancer! — but the approbation of V X meant more than you’d think. I am bruisèd!

§ Tierce. Try this on for size:

I know that a lot of people are capitalizing on, I don’t know, I think some, perhaps, exploiting, that was done via me, my family, my administration…”


I’ve been interested to see how Caroline Kennedy will be handled and if she will be handled with kid gloves or if she will be under such a microscope also. It’s going to be interesting to see how that plays out. And I think that as we watch that, we will perhaps be able to prove that there is a class issue here also that was such a factor in the scrutiny of my candidacy versus, say, the scrutiny of what her candidacy may be.

“I’ve been interested too see how Caroline Kennedy will be handled.” And, by the way, nobody reads “periodicals.”

§ Sext. We were thinking of going to Rome in the spring. Or to Venice, depending on who wins. Now, however, there’s news of an obligatory conference in San Sebastián in the fall. It would be nice not to have to fly within Europe. I mean: we could take the train.

§ Nones. Aside from the novelty of breaking ranks at a critical moment, this move highlights the gung-ho nationalism that has united almost all Israeli Jews behind the government attacks. And then there’s Olmert’s boast. The Lord of the Prophets can’t be happy.

§ Vespers. For example:

“Rediscovering the Full Grammatical Sentence.“ Students will be required to write for two hours without using any abbreviations. Traditional rules of grammar will be enforced by grandmotherly librarians. This is a technique that has been shown to reduce a writer’s output by as much as 68%!

§ Compline. Guardian commentator Peter Preston thinks that Harry ought to get out of the Army and into a suit.

The sooner the boys throw their uniforms away, the better. The earlier Harry, in particular, finds a job that makes him more of a private person, the better. If you might one day be monarch, keep out of the arc lights, and don’t play the fool. And don’t think that none of this matters – it does. Monarchs need respect and a tad of affection to get them through to the next generation: and they only exist one generation at a time.

Doing exactly what, I wonder?

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