Daily Office

On 57th Street

Matins: I’ve got my physical at 9:30 this morning. I remember when a “physical” was something that you got when you were drafted.

Prime: This just in: The Earth is round, and, also, by the way, putting a television set in your child’s bedroom is not a great idea. (They might pick up the wrong values from Real Housewives of New York City.

Nones: Today, on Ew! Factor: Koran Flushing. What’s with the community service? They ought to throw the bum out of school!

Vespers: A few words about Tom Meglioranza’s cabaret recital at Weill Recital Hall last week.


§ Matins. In those days, only the wealthy had annual physical examinations, and they certainly weren’t called “physicals.”

I’m rather overdue for a physical. By about a year. I don’t know what happened last spring, but it wasn’t until the fall that I got round to scheduling one, and then, guess what, I was in hospital with my broken neck on the appointed day. So my doctor did see me… but only on the outside. The neck thing (which is fine, just fine) interfered with all my regular doctoring; I’m also overdue at the dermatologist’s (my scalp is a seething lava plain of pre-cancerous cells — or at least it was and let’s hope it still is!) and at the gastro-enterologist’s (clue: yellow Jell-O).

§ Prime. There can be only one explanation for putting a television set in a child’s bedroom: peer pressure. What’s interesting is that parents yield to it on this particular point. How would they deal with neighbors who ran an open bar for toddlers, d’you suppose? Mothers have been known to get very worked up about the snacks that their darlings might consume in other households. But television… Parental unconcern is as monumentally witless as the hiring of baby-sitters from Vlad the Impaler would be.

The Times runs periodic follow-ups on couples whose weddings are actually covered by the paper (and not just announced in its pages). Let’s hope they do the same with the tacquoises who figure in Real Housewives of New York City, a new “docu-soap.” Nothing could get me to watch the show, but I would certainly check out a YouTube clip of twelve year-old Avery complaining of Mom & Friends: “They’ll just do things that are unladylike.” You don’t suppose that Avery learned about ladylike behavior from television, do you?

§ Nones. On the whole, though, I’m opposed to hate crimes, because a perfectly serviceable criminal charge is almost always available to deal with any offense. It’s also very uncivilized to use the word “hate” in connection with what are essentially crimes against civilization.

It would all be much simpler if Americans didn’t have this thing about good manners.

§ Vespers. The hardest thing about writing up a performance by Tom Meglioranza is trying not to sound like a fan — because that’s just what I am. But insofar as fans are thought to have surrendered their judgment to enthusiasm, there’s no point in writing like one. To make things worse, there’s the small problem of repeating myself.

I do need to get out to more lieder recitals. Kathleen and I sat next to an interesting woman called Janet, who told us about “lieder blogs” — I still haven’t looked into those. That’s how she found out about Tom; this was the first time that she would hear him, although she already had his Schubert CD and liked it very much.  

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