Daily Office:


Matins: This week’s Book Review is without a doubt the best issue in all the time that I’ve been peering at it through my reproving lorgnette.

Tierce: The good people of Juneau cut power consumption by 30% — because they had to. There’s nothing like an avalanche to get everybody’s attention.

Sext: At her apartment on Sunday, Megan handed me a bag of books that I had given her years and years ago: time to make room for Ryan’s library. I was very glad to get my second copy of this back.


§ Matins. I’m not saying that it couldn’t be better, but, for once, there was nothing wrong with the damned thing.

§ Tierce. In the not-so-good news, an Italian law student trying to visit his girlfriend in Virginia winds up in shackles for ten days, because

Though citizens of [Italy and a handful of other nations] do not need visas to enter the United States for as long as 90 days, their admission is up to the discretion of border agents. There are more than 60 grounds for finding someone inadmissible, including a hunch that the person plans to work or immigrate, or evidence of an overstay, however brief, on an earlier visit.

Call me an elitist, but the idea of counting on the hunches of minimally educated types who may very well never have been out of the country is very, very wrong.

§ Sext. The pages are about to fall out, but I still find The Anchor Atlas of World History to be the best history-at-a-glance going. But then, I love maps. The secret to my grasp of history, really, is maps and costumes. I can place almost any event somewhere on the globe (and within the borders of the sovereignty to which it belonged) and dress the figures — make my own mini-movie, as it were.

Other returns, in Megan’s bag, are more problematic: what was I thinking when I saddled her with them? Does anyone out there remember the Bobbs-Merrill Library of Liberal Arts? The paperbacks were a sort of mustard with black and white lettering in a somewhat austere font and a strange bird-like doodad. These books shrieked: Boooring! Some titles:

Calvin: On the Christian Faith (Selections)
Descartes: Meditations
Kant: Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics
More Kant: Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals
Xenophon: Zzzzzzz ….

How will Megan manage without these arresting titles? Just for good measure, I threw in a copy of Descartes’ Le discours de la méthode, just in case my daughter wanted to be sure of the original text. You never know!

Like every parent, I have always said that all I wanted was Megan’s happiness. This bag of returned books betrays another agenda altogether. I feel like a kid who’s been caught with his hand in the cookie jar!

One Response to “Daily Office:

  1. Migs says:

    Re: Megan’s bag –

    Are you serious? No Summa Theologica? I wasn’t better off. Remember R.L. Stine?