Daily Office:


Matins: Frank Rich’s brief memoir of growing up in Washington as the child of parents who weren’t in government occasions thoughts about what the new President and a sympathetic Congress might do for the political orphans of the District of Columbia. “White Like Me.”

Lauds: This morning’s arts link is not primarily motivated by a desire to scoop Joe Jervis. (JMG was my number-one source for news about Flight 1549.)

Prime: I don’t know how long it would have taken me to find AllFacebook on my own — but then, does one find anything altogether on one’s own anymore? In this case, it was a matter of following a Facebook link posted by Jean Ruaud.

Tierce: Haji Bismullah, “no longer deemed an enemy combatant,” is released from imprisonment at Guantánamo and sent home to Afghanistan, just like that!  We’re assured by the outgoing Vice President, however, that the prisoners who remain at the outpost are “hardcore” bad guys.

Sext: Kathleen and I can’t decide if we’re up for Will Ferrell’s one-man Broadway show, You’re Welcome, America. A Final Night With George W Bush.

Nones: In the famous fairy tale, it was enough for a small child to observe that the emperor was wearing no clothes. In today’s more jaded, news-saturated world, it took a pair of shoes to point out that the clothes were worn by no man. Muntadhar al-Zeidi is a hero, and his request for political asylum in Switzerland ought to be expedited.

Vespers: From Hamburg to Montevideo, twenty years after the Great War’s end.

Compline: Stanley Fish has a look at Frank Donoghue’s The Last Professors. A Requiem for the Liberal Arts, in the key of Sharp Business.


§ Matins. Bestowing the vote and fiscal autonomy on the nation’s capital would be a good start.

§ Lauds. When TONY writer (and Determined Dilettante author) Elisabeth Vincentelli asks, “I mean, can you imagine the president of NPR posing like this?” I coughed as though being checked for an inguinal hernia.

§ Prime. I’m still so new to Facebook that it doesn’t occur to me to complain. With help from the AllFacebook team, though, I’ll be up to speed in no time. Just because I wasn’t aware that I had a problem doesn’t invalidate the merits of my grievances!

§ Tierce. This last-minute housecleaning is only to be expected from the preoccupied Bush Administration. Here is my take on what the past eight years are going to look like, the farther we get from them: the ring of thieves who are searching for gold, at the beginning of The Italian Job, blast their way into the Oval Office instead. They are happy to find plenty of gold there, too, but in order to hold the premises long enough to abscond with the loot, the wiseguys must, from time to time, act presidential. This does not come naturally, and many critics regard them as uniquely inept. But after their retreat to fastnesses in Wyoming and North Dallas, the res publica is as bare as Mother Hubbard’s cupboard. 

§ Sext. Kathleen’s response may be summarized as genug schon — enough already! I think, though, that it might be a purgative evening.

§ Nones. George W Bush and his cronies cannot be allowed to insist upon presidential honors when they themselves have done nothing worthy of them.

§ Vespers. According to Fritz Freudenheim’s map, the journey began thirteen years earlier, two years before he was born, and it starts in Berlin. Tne eleven year-old who drew the map in 1938 died seventy years later (2008), having stayed in Uruguay.

The map betrays a greater interest in the future than in the past.

§ Compline. I can’t get very upset about this. There are only two things that anybody needs to learn in college: passing familiarity with the names of a lot of dead people, and the precept that intellectual education does not begin until the day after graduation.

One Response to “Daily Office:

  1. Fossil Darling says:

    Twenty four hours to go………..