Daily Office:


Matins: Robert B Reich: manufacturing is a thing of the past. Everywhere. “Blame new knowledge.”

Lauds: Joanne McNeil writes about seeing movies alone — and her fondness for watching a video first thing on a weekend morning — slightly before the first thing, actually (5 AM!)

Prime: Chris Lehmann explains why the bankruptcy of General Motors is almost as great for wingnut pundits as the UAW’s 17.5% stake.

Tierce: “Well, do you want ALL of my money?” snapped an exasperated Brooke Astor,

[a]fter years of pressure from son Anthony Marshall for more, more – and even more – of her millions

Sext: “World’s Most Pointless Machine.” (No, it’s not a motorcycle.) I want one! (via reddit)

Nones: The answer to the question: Gordon Brown is an Aspie. And Barack Obama is not. “The Prince of Wales is to attend the 65th anniversary celebrations of D-Day after the intervention of President Barack Obama, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.”

Vespers: At the new-ish WSJ blog, Speakeasy, Lee Siegel writes cogently about film criticism — about criticism in general.

Compline: Much as I love the infographics at GOOD, I’m not sure that “Conglomerate for Good” is one. I’d call it a very pretty list.


§ Matins. Making things can be left to robots; human beings still need to install and maintain them. I’d have liked to see more definite language in Mr Reich’s piece about about the end of mass production, because I believe that the tailoring of goods and services to individuals’ needs will promote growth in jobs and revenue alike.

§ Lauds. I see movies alone all the time — sometimes in movie theatres! I don’t think of movies as “social” at all. But not as “solitary,” either. For me, the greatest cinematic thrill is watching a beloved film with someone who has never seen it before. It’s as though my familiarity with the movie itself is what’s newest about it.

§ Prime. Mr Lehmann has a lot of fun with “Mr Dow 36,000” — James K Glassman.

What’s more, despite the Spenglerian howls of Glassman and the manorial hounds that Rubert Murdoch retains atop the Wall Street Journal masthead, the bond market is not teetering on the brink of ruin. Quite the opposite, in fact.

As of the end of May, some $640 billion in corporate debt has been issued, well ahead of the $926 billion logged for all of last year. The neat thing about being a no-government free marketer these days, actually, is that the movement’s pundit retinue has frequently cited the new wave of freshly issued debt as a reason to roll back the TARP rescue plan and other government-funded efforts to jumpstart markets—while also citing out of the other side of their mouths the roiling doom that markets face when jumpy bondholders lose their pride of place in debtholder covenants.

§ Tierce. According to Laura Italiano at the Post, the defense cross-examination of Terry Christensen is boring the jury.

Juror eyelids began drooping as Christensen walked them through some of the 38 wills and amendments Astor signed between 1953, when she became a millionaire via marriage to Vincent Astor, and her death in 2007 at age 105.

The defense seems to be arguing that, because Mrs Astor liked to fiddle with her wills, there was nothing unusual about her son’s asking her to fiddle with them in his direction.

Update: In conversation with Kathleen late last night, I began to suspect that the case against Charlene Marshall might well arise from the trial of her husband’s co-defendant, Francis X Morrissey. Here’s why:

A friend of Marshall’s wife, Charlene, Morrissey joined the couple on the board of directors of their Tony Award-winning theater-production company, Delphi.

At Delphi, Charlene wasn’t just Lady Macbeth, egging her husband on &c. She was a principal who knew or should have known about ill-gotten partnership capital. That’s a charge. My feeling is that Mr Marshall’s lawyers will toss Charlene to the wolves if they absolutely have to — an eventuality that Mr Morrissey’s lawyers won’t wait to find out about. 

§ Sext. I’d call it “Beckett in a Box.” With a few tweaks, it would make a nice plinth for my Yodeling Pickle.

Scrolling through Wimp, I came to a neat clip about a Danish anti-speeding program that would be execreated in this country as only slightly less socialistic than gun control.

(I hear that there’s no gun control — no control of any kind — on Alpha Centauri. [via The Morning News])

§ Nones. With memories of The Queen still banging around in our head, it was startling to read that relations between the Head of State and her Prime Minister are strained in part because Mr Brown is habitually late for meetings. Whoa!

§ Vespers. My favorite film critic at the Times, for example, is Manohla Dargis, because I always disagree with her. This is good not because I like to blow my top at each fresh instance of the woman’s wrong-headedness, but because I’m obliged to consider movies (this would work for any art form) from a very different aesthetic platform. I used to argue with Ms Dargis’s reviews, but now I try hard to get them. It keeps my negative capability in training.

§ Compline. For sheer graphic payload, I think I prefer the Contents outline of the Wikipedia page that covers the Grameen Bank. It is certainly more nuanced than Timko & Klick’s late-Sixties design. And there is nothing on the poster as richly informative as this:

The system of this bank is based on the idea that the poor have skills that are under-utilized. A group-based credit approach is applied which utilizes the peer-pressure within the group to ensure the borrowers follow through and use caution in conducting their financial affairs with strict discipline, ensuring repayment eventually and allowing the borrowers to develop good credit standing.

That makes Twenty-First Century-Dhaka sound like Seventeenth-Century Amsterdam.

One Response to “Daily Office:

  1. Fossil Darling says:

    Nones : Gordon Brown is a moron. And he is getting into even more trouble with the mess about not including the Queen, who actually volunteered during the War, to be in France. He is leading the Labor Party into doom.