Daily Office:


Matins: Let’s hear it for the Sexiest Couple Alive. Are. They. Not?

Lauds: Have you heard/heard of George Li yet? He’s the eleven year-old piano virtuoso whom regular reader JKM heard play the Saint-Saëns Second Piano Concerto just the other day.

Prime: George Snyder poses the question that has enchained Americans since the assasination of JFK: Where Were You?

Tierce: I have never envied the great and the good who are expected to sit outside in the January freeze to observe the a new president’s swearing-in. They’re paying the price of being the great and the good.

At least their amenities are seen to, the comforts that make civil life civil. Not so the man in the street who shows up for the ceremony — or, in the case of yesterday’s Inauguration, the millions in the mall. David Johnston and Mark Mazzetti report: “For Some in Crowd, a Day of Cold and Confusion.”

Sext: The cutups at Macmillan’s Digital Marketing department — let’s hope that they’ve all still got jobs — prepared a tongue-in-cheek video clip to show you how books come into being in the modern world.

Nones: President Obama’s Inauguration Speech was partly edited in China.

China Central Television, or CCTV, the main state-run network, broadcast the speech live until the moment President Obama mentioned “communism” in a line about the defeat of ideologies considered anathema to Americans. After the off-screen translator said “communism” in Chinese, the audio faded out even as Mr. Obama’s lips continued to move.

Vespers: I’ve just joined Library Thing, paid lifetime membership and all! How hard can it be to convert my ReaderWare data to Library Thing? I’m not asking yet!

Compline: Food for Thought: How to attract more women into Geek Science. They’re asking Obama to take care of this? If you ask me, Natalie Angier’s piece is looking through the wrong end of the telescope.


§ Matins. I’m not sure about dancing on the presidential seal, but I have to say that the First Gentleman’s smile as he led the First Lady to the dance floor is the realization in reality of now-ancient but still-potent Hollywood dreams. If I had been there — if I had even watched it on tee-vee — I’d have had a stroke.

§ Lauds. JKM wrote that her husband “is convinced that young Master Li is actually a very young looking 35-year old midget.” Not only is he a cutie, he’s exactly the sort of pianist for whom Liszt and the other virtuosi of the Nineteenth Century wrote their razzle-dazzle stuff.

§ Prime. For me, sadly, answering this question always makes me feel bogus, as though It Mattered. Good grief, it didn’t even matter to me, where I was when I heard about JFK. I remember it very quickly, but, being me, I had no immediate response at all. I don’t have immediate responses to anything but the imminent danger of people in the immediate vicinity. Everything else requires cogitation. The first reaction that I recall having to the JFK thing was: How American. I thought of Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley. Four out of thirty-something presidents is a lot! I would later learn that it wasn’t so much American as modern. 

Will I remember that I saw Revolutionary Road instead of watching the Inauguration? Will it just come to me, without my having to check? Maybe. I suspect not. We’ll see.

§ Tierce. “Cold and confusion” sounds like a whopping understatement.

“My feet are frozen, my nose is frozen, the tips of my fingers are frozen, and I just couldn’t take it anymore,” said Cindy Whartman, 28, a paralegal from Rockville, Md., as she made her way out of a tent at the corner of 11th and E Streets at midafternoon.

By evening, medical aid stations on the Mall and the Capitol grounds had received about 750 patients, 63 of whom were transferred to local hospitals, including some with hypothermia.

Long ago, when I was young enough to be tempted by rock concerts, I decided that putting up with Woodstock-type ordeals requires a pathological lack of self-respect.

§ Sext. I didn’t know that only the finest Italian trees are pulped for paper, or that marketing at Second Life reaps such rewards.

§ Nones. Oops! Sounds like the response of a panicking technician, and not official censorship. Why would the censors bother? The idea that Chinese internauts seek out comforting words about open democracy from American sources is positively antiquarian; even the Party is wising up. Today’s Chinese are as patriotic and nationalistic as ever. A protest against government action does not imply any warmth toward the West.

§ Vespers. Signing up is always easy. So easy that I don’t sign up for things anymore, at least before thinking it over for a few weeks.

This is such an interesting time for private library management!

§ Compline. By which I mean that she speaks of reorganizing the world of science so that women will feel more comfortable in it. I myself don’t think that there’s anything about science that repels women — except the geeky, undersocialized men. Insist on gentlemanly behavior from the guys, and the women will break down the doors. As for the realms of theoretical physics that don’t attract women… maybe they’re on to something! Why don’t we just cut the funding for the practice of metaphysics by another name?

2 Responses to “Daily Office:

  1. Fossil Darling says:

    Matins : Yup, they are. A fabulous day.

    Lauds :Love the SS #2 but never heard of young Mr. Li. Hopefully he will avoid the mannerisms of Mr. Lang and, while I’m at it, Mr. Mustonen.

    Prime : Well of course we were at Blair in 1963 and I remember taking a punch at a kid named Steven for laughing when we heard the news, huddled by entrance to the building where we had French and English. Mr. Howard, Headmaster, was not amused.

    Regrettably I was unable to stay home yesterday.

  2. jkm says:

    What struck me about young Mr. Li (in addition to how beautifully he played, which simply blew me away), was how unaffected he was. He appeared, to me, to be completely relaxed and having a rollicking good time (especially during the second movement of the concerto).

    As for the inauguration: Part of me wished I could be on the Mall, but a (bigger) part of me was also completely content to watch the event on television in the warmth of my home and absent the crowds. Still, it was a great day.