Daily Office:


Matins: Among the phrases that we’re going to retire for at least a few years, alongside “personal responsibility,” let’s hope that “ownership society” finds a place. It was nothing but code for the enrichment of mortgagebaggers.

Who, like the viruses that they so closely resemble, have found a new line of weakness.

Lauds: At dinner tonight, Kathleen asked me if I’d known about Peanuts and the Beethoven scores. Well, er, yes! But so what? I was never a Peanuts fan. Especially when I was a kid.

Prime: Here is a blog — The Art of Manliness — that I came across during the recent Weblog beauty pageant. I agree with almost everything it says, until author Brett McKay assumes that I know what to do with duct tape. Which, in all fairness, I must confess that he doesn’t. (He might try to teach me, though.)

Tierce: Here’s a story that took a while to appear, at least on my radar screen: How much did she know, when did she know it, and how much is hers? The Ruth Madoff Story. (Part 1/1000)

Sext: Gail Collins says it all in a few words:

I think I speak for the entire nation when I say that the way this transition has been dragging on, even yesterday does not seem like yesterday. And the last time George W. Bush did not factor into our lives feels like around 1066.

Nones: Can this really be happening (Good News Department!)? A clip from BBC World News: three-ton T-walls are coming down in Iraq, no longer needed.

Vespers: No sooner do I begin to digest the news that a new Kate Christensen novel is on the way than I open Harper’s and find a story by Joseph O’Neill!

Compline: Here’s hoping that the pilots and crew of US Air Flight 1549, captained by C B “Sully” Sullenberger, will be able to honor the city with a tickertape parade.


§ Matins. That we spend what we spend on the “war on drugs” only makes the vulnerability of low-income swindle victims more white-knuckling.

§ Lauds. We spent most of dinner trying to figure out why neither of us much cared for the strip.
Then I remembered that we don’t like comic strips generally. Like, any of them. And my newfound admiration for Adrian Tomine is not making me change my mind. If they’d looked like Largo Winch back then, well, then, maybe…

§ Prime. Manliness was classified among the culture blogs, which I found droll, given the aversion that every manly man that I knew in my callow youth had to “culture.”

§ Tierce. I’ll bet she wishes she’d never even thought of publishing a vanity Kosher cookbook!

§ Sext. Ms Collins worries about the absence of misinarticulationality in the White House:

“Sometimes you misunderestimated me,” Bush told the Washington press corps. This is not the first time our president has worried about misunderestimation, so it’s fair to regard this not as a slip of the tongue, but as something the president of the United States thinks is a word. The rhetoric is the one part of the administration we’re surely going to miss. We are about to enter a world in which our commander in chief speaks in full sentences, and I do not know what we’re going to do to divert ourselves on slow days.

I don’t. I’m sure we’ll find something less dismaying to laugh at.

§ Nones. Maybe this is the peace dividend of the Administration’s recent inertness.

§ Vespers. Kate Christensen gets better and better. And “The World of Cheese” is the first short story by Joseph O’Neill that I’ve seen. There are a few familiar elements, but the tone of the tale is nothing like the other work. Breda Morrissey (a woman in her mid-fifties, I figure) seems not to be cut out to take strong stands, even when her family find her agreeableness insupportable. Compared to Netherland, the language is brisk and put-upon.

§ Compline. Has anything so good happened in eons?

The timing makes this bit of nonsense at least twice as risible as it would have been otherwise.

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