Daily Office:


Matins: At a blog, new to me, called Reddit, readers were asked to identify “closely held beliefs that our own children and grandchildren will be appalled by.”  Then Phil Dhingra, at Philosophistry, composed a bulletted list of a dozen possibilities. Be sure to check it out.

Lauds: Sad stories: No JVC Jazz Festival this summer, and no more Henry Moore Reclining Figure — forever. The festival may or may not limp back into life under other auspices, but the Moore has been melted down.

Prime: David Segal’s report on the planning of Daniel Boulud’s latest restaurant, DBGB, on the Bowery near Houston Street (it hasn’t opened yet) has a lot of fascinating numbers. 

Tierce: Attorney Kenneth Warner’s attempt to discredit Philip Marshall strikes me as desperately diversionary, but you never know with juries.

Sext: This just in: “The 1985 Plymouth Duster Commercial Is Officially the Most ’80s Thing Ever.”

Nones: The Berlin Wall, poignantly remembered by Christoph Niemann — in strips of orange and black.

Vespers: The other day, I discovered An Open Book, the very agreeable (if less than frequently updated) blog of sometime book dealer Brooks Peters. (via Maud Newton)

Compline: At Outer Life, V X Sterne resurfaces to post an entry about an unhappy moment in his job history. (We’ve been through this before, young ‘uns.)

Bon weekend à tous!


§ Matins. The beliefs that I hope more people will join me in repudiating (I preserve Mr Dhingra’s somewhat erratic syntax) are:

  • That drugs were illegal
  • Nationalism
  • Nudity and Pornography taboos
  • Imprisonment vs rehabilitation

The beliefs that I expect will be preserved through re-conception:

  • Eating meat
  • Privacy
  • Religious overtolerance
  • Monogamy (or anti-polygamy)

My crystal ball clouds over when consulted on the following:

  • Charging money for information
  • Representative democracy over direct democracy
  • Our aversion to eugenics or designer babies

As for

  • Our lack of racism

I have no idea what this means, although I sense a profound ambivalence in the usage of “racism.”

§ Lauds. The Jazz Festival was probably doomed when George Wein sold his franchise to a young man with new ideas, Chris Shields. (Mr Wein had more experience of economic downturns.)

As for the sculpture, police all but come out and say that China will pay a lot for bronze, thanks to the boom in electrification.

I’m tempted to add to the Reddit list (see Matins): “the art market.”

§ Prime. Forget the $4.5 million in annual revenues that the restaurant will have to squeeze out of 365[3(140 x 2) + 4(140 x 1.25)] diners — at a glorified hamburger joint. Consider the background music:

In the end, DBGB will have a library of 4,000 songs and a sound system that can control the volume in different sections of the room.

For restaurants, music is one way to influence who shows up, or at least who comes back. You can aim at a demographic group by playing music that was beloved by its members when they were about 15 years old — the age when fandom typically leaves its most vivid tattoo. By that logic, DBGB is not exactly laying a welcome mat for the just-out-of-college set. There is little in the playlist that was recorded in the last 10 years.

It’s true: When I was fifteen, I bonded for ever with piano concertos by Mozart, Schumann, and Grieg.

§ Tierce. Notwithstanding the son’s advice (“settle and atone”), I have no idea what sort of “deal” prosecutors would be willing to cut.

At the Post, Andrea Peyser whisks her broomstick:

In the afternoon, Philip testified that he had a strained relationship with his dad that makes the House of Windsor freaks look warm and cuddly in comparison.

§ Sext. I can relate to the shock that younger viewers may experience on sampling this bit of time travel, because I experience my second childhood in the Eighties. It was a great decade for that.

(My bad: I forgot to make a note of the source of this link to Videogum.)

§ Nones. Mr Niemann’s designs don’t so much illustrate his little story as enrich it.


We moved from New York to Berlin last summer. Renovations at our home weren’t finished yet. We were exhausted. On top of that, we had a cranky baby who was content only when I put him in the stroller and took him for long walks exploring our new neighborhood. Often we came by the Wall Memorial on the corner of Bernauer- and Ackerstrasse. That’s when I first saw the old photos of people jumping out of their apartment windows to escape to the West. After the lower windows had been bricked up by the police, people tried to escape from the upper floors. They left behind forever their possessions, their friends, and often their families. Ida Siekmann died right here on August 22, 1961, the day before her 59th birthday, after jumping from her third-floor apartment. She was the wall’s first official victim.

And here was I, pitying myself because I had only slept a few hours and couldn’t get my DSL connection up and running.

§ Vespers. Hubert Creekmore, the subject of Open Book‘s most recent entry, was a friend of Eudora Welty who got out of town. Perhaps unsurprisingly, his Wikipedia entry “has multiple issues.”

§ Compline. “My real job had disappeared with the merger announcement,” he writes. One of V X’s most gripping topics is the inhumanity of the corporate workplace.

The big offices emptied first. Those with initiative and internal connections grabbed lifelines, pulling themselves out of our sinking ship. They promised to keep us in the loop, but once in safe departments, none looked back.

Those with initiative and external connections just disappeared. With nothing going on, few bothered to give two weeks’ notice. They’d tell their friends and walk out with a banker’s box of pictures. If you missed them in the elevator lobby, you wouldn’t know they’d left until you saw their empty desk or called their dead extension.

Why would anybody want to maintain personal contacts with colleagues against whom he or she had been encouraged to compete?

V X Sterne writes almost as though he were a character created by Walter Kirn. Ha! Remember The Unbinding? What if….?

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