Daily Office:


Matins: Josh Levin consults “the world’s leading futurologists” to hear how the United States might come to an end within the next century. Not that it will; just, how it might. (via The Morning News)

Lauds: Anne Midgette considers the pros and cons of tweeting at classical-music concerts. An intriguing discussion that left us feeling somewhat frustrated.

Prime: We’re very heartened by the news that one of two bidders for the Boston Globe contemplates running it as a not-for-profit operation.

Tierce: Christopher Shea may be forgiven for wondering: “But how many pieces about Child’s cultural significance can media outlets run before it starts to look as though reporters and editors have a financial stake in the forthcoming Nora Ephron movie about her?

Sext: We may have found the killer ap for the iPhone: Diaroogle. (via This That These & Those)

Nones: The Miskito population of Eastern Nicaragua renews its bid for independence.

Vespers: The protagonist of Ian McEwan’s next novel, likely to be called Solar, sounds familiar, but we’re not naming names.

Compline: Brooks Peters engages in “battle royale” with pretentious but ignorant mispronunciations of French words.


§ Matins. Interesting as the scenario matrix designed by Global Business Network is, we find that GBN alum Jamais Cascio expresses our point of view very clearly.

Cascio clearly believes that humanity has the ingenuity and the smarts to beat back threats to its continued existence. He doesn’t, however, assume that the persistence of the United States is necessarily the most-desirable outcome. It’s possible America will collapse as we try desperately to save it—or perhaps the country will shrivel up and go away when its time has come and gone. “It’s not necessarily how America will survive,” Cascio says, “but how do the values we hold dear … survive even if some of the institutions don’t?”

Rigorous thinking about the future is like learning a foreign language: it enhances your sense of the world in which you actually live.

§ Lauds. We had heard about this but not since last season ended — so we haven’t seen anyone reading tweets at Carnegie Hall. (When we see it happening at Grace Rainey Rogers, we’ll know that the future of classical music is safe.)

But in any case, I don’t think that the Tweets are meant for those who listen with total concentration; they’re meant for people who aren’t concentrating and would like some help getting in to the music. Like the commenter (scroll down) who said, “Had I access to text-based, real-time descriptions of what’s going on in the music, I might have spent much more time at classical concerts.” Or the woman who sat in front of me at a performance of the Beethoven violin concerto a couple of years ago and squirmed in evident, agonizing boredom through the whole thing. I was tempted to grab her and say, LISTEN, this passage right here is some of the most gorgeous music ever written — which is, of course, just the kind of didactic approach that I dislike on principle, and that seldom works. In any case, a couple of peeks at a Twitter screen would have been a lot less distracting to me than her boredom was.

We want to know how reading program-related tweets during a concert differs from reading surtitles at the opera.

§ Prime. We think that not-for-profit organization would be a better model for most mature businesses.

The Pagliuca-Connors group proposed a “civic approach’’ that would involve a nonprofit foundation to help fund and run the news operation, said a person with knowledge of the plan. Under such a model, the goal would be to make enough money to support the Globe’s journalism but without the pressure to make large profits.

Investors are crucial to start-ups, of course — just as booster rockets are to space launches. We think that jettisoning investors — paying them off when a certain level of return has been attained — may be as vital to long-term economic health as it is to the success of space missions.

§ Tierce. At The New York Times, Julia Child is Topic A. Choire Sicha explains why — it’s really all about Nora Ephron.

But it’s also bigger than that. Nora Ephron is perhaps the most masterful social butterfly of her age group. At least in part, that is because she is delightful, and witty, and actually somewhat powerful, at least as much as any person working in the arts can be. (That is to say: she knows a lot of rich people!) She is available to reporters large and small (she once responded to an email of mine for a story, having no idea who I was, even though she was out of the country), which is an insanely charming attribute. And she represents an important and rare bridge between New York and Los Angeles, between publishing and film, a bridge that has narrowed in recent years. (The days of everything produced by “hot young magazine writers” getting optioned ended a while ago.) Surely people believe that a word from Ephron can get their whatever onto whoever’s desk out on that mysterious other coast.

§ Sext. What is it, again, that a picture is supposed to be worth?


§ Nones. The Mosquito Coast is very, very far away from Managua, but the current dissatisfaction is, as you might expect, economic in nature.

Miskitos have traditionally been employed as hired hands on government-licensed lobster fishing vessels along this coast.

In the last few months, their wages have been cut. The foreign owners of the boats say that they are reacting to the fall in global markets. The Miskitos suspect a rip-off.

“They pay us less and take a bigger cut,” says Mario, a lobster diver. He is standing on the scrubbed wooden deck of the Puerto Cabezas port. Behind him are dozens of boats, all in harbour because business is so bad.

“The lobsters should be ours anyway,” he adds.

His discontent, and that of hundreds of divers like him, has been seized upon by the Miskito leadership in their latest bid for independence.

§ Vespers. We especially can’t wait to read it now that we’ve heard something about it.

“I devised a character into whom I poured many, many faults. He’s devious, he lies, he’s predatory in relation to women; he steadily gets fatter through the novel. He’s a sort of planet, I guess. He makes endless reforming decisions about himself: Rio, Kyoto-type assertions of future virtue that lead nowhere,” McEwan told the EDP.

This character is attacked by the media after he “suggests that men outnumber women at the top of his profession because of inherent differences in their brains, rather than any gender discrimination.” La la la la la. Did someone in the UK say that, too?

§ Compline. Our favorites come from the wonderful world of “inferior desecration.” There’s “chase lounge,” of course; but here’s a new one:

Once when I was doing a story for a shelter rag, I was asked to interview a high-powered decorator from Texas. She was designing a pad for a famous film star who lived in LA, but who needed a penthouse in New York. The designer kept saying to me that she wanted to give this stylish actress an attractive “pierre de tier” in the city. Could she have meant pied à terre? I was perplexed. The first time she said it, I wasn’t sure I heard her correctly. So later I asked her to fax me a list of the various improvements she’d made. On this form she wrote “pierre de tier” in big letters on top. I wouldn’t have minded so much if the glitzy starlet had made the error, but this was her decorator who was being paid a gazillion dollars to give her some much-needed panache.

Au reservoir!

3 Responses to “Daily Office:

  1. Fossil Darling says:

    Re : Nicaragua. What they need are jobs and some attention from Managua. And with a withering economy, Ortega’s attention is elsewhere. He has yet to get the joke and his people suffer.

  2. Fossil Darling says:

    Lauds : I do not tweet. But I presume you need light to both send and read. Then there is a big difference :: someone sitting next to me whose eyes are moving silently while they read sub or sur titles is a thing apart from someone typing into a small keyboard, presumably with some sort of light or reading text.

    And bored partners would use this how??? Seeing their partner receive tweets they would then sit idly and boredly by??

    At the Met Opera, for instance, you cannot see your neighbor’s subtitles.

    The light is the thing : and the movement.

    But I come from the old school of people who do not talk, open cough drops or candies, and come to listen. I also always read the program notes, even for familiar works. That’s how I prepare. When I was younger I listened to a work before I went to the performance.

    But we do live in a new age. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

  3. Sheepy says:

    Re: Compline

    Hyperforeignism annoys me a great deal, but it is very hard to convince people that they are saying something in a crazy way that neither matches the original pronunciation in the foreign language or a reasonable English version of the spelling.

    I was an election monitor in the Bosnian town of Bugojno, and ALL of the American election monitors insisted on calling the town Bu-go-nyo, since “ny” sounds very Slavic and foreign. But the town was just Bu-goy-no. No amount of hearing the town pronounced by the locals would help; people wanted to sound foreign.

    Putting the stress on the last syllable of a foreign word is also something that people like to do, regardless of how the word is pronounced in the original language. Hélas!