Daily Office:



White. Here in the United States, it is now Summer. There’s nothing official about it, and it’s certainly not astronomically correct. But we Nice Folk have entered the time of White Shoes, and, in terms of blogging, that means Less is Easier.

Lavish. The longer our misadventure in Iraq goes on, the greater the alignment between troops and opponents of the war. So far, it’s a lopsided alignment, to be sure, with opponents doing all the aligning.


Long Weekend: The long Memorial Day weekend comes to an end, and we’ve had such a nice one, enjoying the fine weather out on the balcony, that Kathleen was surprised by an old nagging worry: all too soon, she would have to pack up and take the ferry back to the city. That’s how far away she felt — even though she was very much in the city. At home, in fact.

Job Opp’ty: Looking for a career with a future? How about all those foreclosed houses, abandoned and falling into ruin? Plenty more where they came from! “Business Is Booming for Contractors of Foreclosed Homes.”


Indian Melon Salad: The official dish of summer in our house, an intensely American chicken salad, juxtaposing the flavors of table grapes, soy sauce, and curry.

Oremus…§ Morning.White. If you don’t know how serious the change is, have a look at Serial Mom. More about summer hours anon.Lavish. But the sentiments behind an editorial in this morning’s Times show how far we have come since Viet Nam.

President Bush opposes a new G.I. Bill of Rights. He worries that if the traditional path to college for service members since World War II is improved and expanded for the post-9/11 generation, too many people will take it.

He is wrong, but at least he is consistent. Having saddled the military with a botched, unwinnable war, having squandered soldiers’ lives and failed them in so many ways, the commander in chief now resists giving the troops a chance at better futures out of uniform. He does this on the ground that the bill is too generous and may discourage re-enlistment, further weakening the military he has done so much to break.

So lavish with other people’s sacrifices, so reckless in pouring the national treasure into the sandy pit of Iraq, Mr. Bush remains as cheap as ever when it comes to helping people at home.

In an interesting entry at his Web log last week, George Packer noted that it may take a while for “the particular imagery and mental atmosphere that define” a war to develop as a consensus. Perhaps today’s troops will be tomorrow’s Nemisis for George W Bush.

§ Noon.

Long Weekend. Not that I’d mind a walk along the shore. In a month or so. I’m doing a fine job of pretending that I’m weekending at a beach house as it is. My plans to get round to a number of little jobs have come to nothing, as I’ve sat with Kathleen and read, returning, after a long absence, to Mark Harris’s Pictures at a Revolution. Do I dare rent Dr Dolittle, just to see if it’s really all that bad? If it is, could I sit through it?  

Job Opp’ty. And yet prices continue to rise in New York City. Is this because we’re desperately ignoring reality here, or could it be that the urban lifestyle simply makes a hell of a lot more sense in a time of rising energy costs?

§ Night. With celery and water chestnuts for crunch. Plus, of course, chicken, and melon balls.

It was pleasant enough to have dinner out on the balcony, and light enough, too. I don’t mind the odd candlelit meal, but like all ancient folk I like to see what I’m doing. When we sat down, the phone rang, and I let the machine pick up. It was a neighbor from our weekend house in Connecticut, long since moved to Cincinnati, calling to see if we’ll be around later this week. Happily, we shall.

After returning that call, I telephoned my aunt with a history question that I have been meaning to ask her for years: did my grandfather, a Roosevelt appointee to the Customs Court, know that FDR was lame? My aunt was sure that he did, but they never discussed it; in any case, she knew, and “everyone” she knew knew. But no one ever mentioned it. I can just barely conceive of this — of knowing a thing like that about the President of the United States but never talking about it — but, as I say, I am ancient, although I daresay my aunt would prefer that I find another word.

As I write, sad news: Sidney Pollack has died, at 73, which is, from my perspective anyway, much too young.

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