Daily Office:


Matins: Apprehensive about the future of newspapers? Hugging those quaint little object called “books”? Here’s a story to round out your apoplexy profile: “Stop Teaching Handwriting,” by Anne Trubeck.

Lauds: First the good news; then the bad news. It’s the same story, really: Isabel Kershner’s report on a concert given by Palestinian youths for Holocaust survivors gets updated by Khaled Abu Aker, to take account of the fallout.

Prime: If you are not in the mood for it to be Monday, Jonathan Soma’s interactive Singles in America map will make your day. Be sure to play with the slider at the top of the screen, and don’t overlook the cocktail party “feed” down below. (via  Things Magazine)

Tierce: It’s not much of a story, really; and its topic — ostensibly the soon-to-end GM career of Rick Wagoner — is, when you get down to it, inertia. Because only inertia could explain “The Steadfast Optimist Who Oversaw GM’s Long Decline.” You have to wonder where anybody got the idea that corporate America is “dynamic.”

Sext: Far and away my favorite New York City bridge, the Queensboro turns 100.

Nones: If the Obama Administration is really unhappy about the Spanish prosecution of the Bush Torture Team (Gonzales, Addington, Feith &c), it can pre-empt the proceedings by seeking indictments here in the United States.

Vespers: If you’re a mystery buff, you may well know about Sarah Weinman’s blog, Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind: Crime fiction, and more. It looks to be a depot for all sorts of information about the more serious side of murder ink. (via The Morning News)

Compline: From the Matter of Time Dept: “Hard-Pressed Colleges Accept More Applicants Who Can Pay Full Cost.” Depressing, but no surprise.


§ Matins. I’d say, rather, give up the obsession with infantile calligraphy and teach kids how to take notes that they, at least, can read.

As you may know, the People’s Republic of China promotes (so to speak) the use of “simplified” characters, while the Taiwan sticks with all the complicated glory of formerly-official characters. Lest “simplified” sound like some Commie dumbing-down, you ought to know that the shorthand was developed by scholars, who after all were the only people who did a lot of writing in traditional China.

(I can’t wait to hear Kathleen’s outburst when I read Ms Trubek’s headline to her over the phone. It’ll be either seismic or deadly quiet: “You. Are. Kidding.”)

§ Lauds. The story is one of those bottomless little fascinators that can keep you thinking all day. It almost goes without saying that the Palestinian view of the Holocaust is rather self-centered; if the catastrophe hadn’t occurred, there might not be an Israel today.

Aside from mention of an “Arab song,” we’re not told what was played. But the event seems very far away from Daniel Barenboim’s West-Eastern Divan, and not just in kilometers.  

§ Prime. Don’t you agree that, if there were no such thing as statistics, men would not only complain about cocktail parties but refuse to show?

Given my lack of interest in sports and my conviction that realty chat is as vulgar as plain pornography, I used to have a hard time find common topics of conversation with complete strangers. Not any more! Assuming that you’re not in the Industry, I’ve probably gone to more mainstream movies than you have.

If you’re a young single man who likes going to intelligent movies (as opposed to non-interactive video games), you probably don’t need to be told that this interest gives you an advantage over the other guys when it comes to holding the ladies’ attention.  

§ Tierce. Just the facts, ma’am:

Mr. Wagoner joined G.M.’s financial operations in 1977 out of Harvard Business School, and, like generations of executives before him, worked nowhere else during his career.

Only the treehouse mentality that’s so common in America’s executive suites would regard such provincialism, such lack of exposure to different ways of doing things, with anything but alarm.

§ Sext. I’ll take cantilevers over cables any day.

A lot of filmmakers appear to have read Fitzgerald’s enconium, in The Great Gatsby:

The city seen from the Queensboro Bridge is always the city seen for the first time, in its first wild promise of all the mystery and the beauty in the world.

The Reader is only the latest movie — and possibly not even the latest — to feature the Queensboro as an entryway to Manhattan. Even when characters are driving in from the heartland (ie the west), scripts call for the Long Island City approach.

If you’re keeping another kind of list — say, one of Bad Seventies Style — you won’t want to omit the clunky “69th Street Bridge” in John Carpenter’s Escape From New York. It’s typical Seventies thinking: “We’ll invent a fictional bridge, but we’ll give a name that shows that we know about the real one.” Wouldn’t want anyone not to know how cool you are.

§ Nones. My own view is that any international trial is better than a domestic one in cases of human rights violations, at least for the time being. The very fact that the defendants will remain at liberty, so long as they don’t leave the country, gives this developing field of law much-needed stretching room.

As an unabashed elitist, I believe that the public agitations attendant upon domestic prosecution are inimical to the development of sound judicial principles. Also as an elitist, I believe that those who have betrayed the public trust deserve the most onerous punishment.

§ Vespers. And, clicking through Ms Weinman’s “Ten Things to Read on the 50th Anniversary of Raymond Chandler’s Death,” I come across A Blog About Writing a Biography specifically, a biography of Raymond Chandler! This is just the sort of appetizer to put you in the mood to drive down to Realito in search of Rusty Regan.

§ Compline. You’ve got to love the rationale at the end of the block:

Colleges say they are not backing away from their desire to serve less affluent students; if anything, they say, taking more students who can afford to pay full price or close to it allows them to better afford those who cannot. But they say the inevitable result is that needier students will be shifted down to the less expensive and less prestigious schools.

“There’s going to be a cascading of talented lower-income kids down the social hierarchy of American higher education, and some cascading up of affluent kids,” said Morton Owen Schapiro, the president of Williams College and an economist who studies higher education.

And colleges acknowledge that giving more seats to higher-paying students often means trading off their goals to be more socioeconomically diverse.

The one good thing about this development is that parents who can afford to pay may stop trying to freeload.

Some admissions officers and college advisers say richer parents are taking note of the climate, calculating that if they do not apply for aid, their children stand a better chance of getting in.

“They think their kids will have more options,” said Diane Geller, a college counselor in private practice in Los Angeles and president of the Independent Educational Consultants Association, a nonprofit group that represents private academic counselors. “And anecdotally, it would seem that that’s the case.”

3 Responses to “Daily Office:

  1. Migs says:

    Anne Trubeck. Must. Be. Kidding. And then what? Give up typewriting because there’s Dragon Naturally Speaking?

  2. George says:

    I love the Queensboro Bridge it is always in my mind along with my other icons of NYC, anything Central Park and anything Battery Park. Perhaps God will gift me with the annuity required to spend my retirement in the same neighborhood you occupy. That would be so nice, somewhere around 80th to 90th off Lex with a guaranteed two thousand times my age for life. Oh, how nice. I would walk to the Queensboro often, I’m sure. We can dream can’t we? Some of them have come true very recently. Dreaming on here.

  3. Alessio says:

    laine: The appeal of Islam to the prosin population is that it requires no repentance from criminals for their actions, no guilt, no attempt to be better.While true, the above neglects to point out how Islam also fosters continued involvement in violent criminal enterprises. There is a direct reapplication of the offender’s skill set with only cosmetic alteration of its underlying motivational structure (as noted).Elimination of all hala meals and appurtenances would be a great starting point. Make prosin so unattractive (and punishment-based [gasp!]), that Muslims would avoid it like the plague. It’s either that or, the deportations, summary executions and solitary confinement that I mentioned in my previous comment.Islam is so virulent in nature that there is no way to dilute its effect through dispersal (as also noted). Dispersion only vectors the continued infection of even larger numbers of hosts by the Islamic parasite.These viral aspects, when combined with Islam’s comprehensive dedication to violence is what, literally, assures holocaust-based measures to combat it. Such a drastic outcome is a direct reflection of the one that Islam is seeking to bring about for the West. It’s long past tea to stop being squeamish about paying Muslims in their own coin.