Archive for the ‘Blogosphere’ Category

Weekend Update (Sunday Edition):
Ciceroneo

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

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The gent in the photo is a newspaperman by the name of Arthur Brisbane. Kathleen and I are always struck by the resemblance that this particular likeness, standing on the edge of Central Park, bears to my father.

But enough about me. Jean Ruaud, of Mnémoglyphes, is in town, and he’s going to have to battle manfully to carve out some free time this week. Free time from me, that is. At dinner this evening, we planned trips to the must-see lunar craters that happen to be on loan to the city this month. Not to mention the ordinary stuff: the Staten Island Ferry, Prospect Park, the Isamu Noguchi thing in Queens “from which is gained [as Robert Benchley would have put it] an incomparable view of the Yorkville skyline.” Fort Tryon Park and the Brasserie have yet to be ruled out as beyond the strength of mere mortals. Happily for Jean, Kathleen and I have a long-planned dinner date with old friends on Wednesday night, and tickets to see Blithe Spirit for Thursday, so he’ll have some respite.

The wonderful thing about Jean is that Kathleen likes him as much as I do. It’s usual (and entirely natural, really) for me to like my friends just a little bit more than Kathleen does; but, in this case, I stand pre-empted.

Tomorrow will be Jean’s day off, relatively speaking. We’ll have lunch at one, and then I’ll conduct a walking tour of the quartier that won’t last more than two hours. Jean thought that he was visiting the Land of the Free, but in fact he has stumbled into the Gulag of Gotham. “And right over here, we have this interesting sculpture that resembles my father.

Daily Office:
Thursday

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

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Matins: Here’s a story that stinks. Costco has been given permission to disturb East Harlem with tractor-trailers making wee-hour stock deliveries. But Costco won’t accept food stamps, which sustain thousands of neighboring households. Jim Dwyer reports.

Lauds: Move over, origami masters: Look what Simon Schubert can do  by creasing paper gently. (via Snarkmarket)

Prime: Criticism or curation? A misunderstanding between Tim Abrahams, of Blueprint (a print magazine with Web site) and Things Magazine (online only) yields a rich discussion, or at any rate a nice piece by Mr Abrahams and two just-as-nice responses by Things, with some good comments along the way.

Tierce: Joanna Molloy, at the Daily News, takes a breath and asks, “When did the Brooke Astor trial become all about Charlene Marshall?

Sext: Movies you won’t have to think about seeing this weekend, or any weekend. (Did I just jinx it?) Romatic comedy pitches involving gay vampires and crossbows, at McSweeney’s.

Nones: In 1975, Professor Karel Zlabek proposed linking Bohemia, via a tunnel, to the Adriatic. That’s over four hundred kilometers, maybe not so much in American terms (but), beneath the soil of two other sovereignties, one of which, Austria, was not a member of the Warsaw Pact.

Vespers: What, we ask ourself, is the Derek Walcott kerfuffle really about? An inappropriate sexual advance? Or even more inappropriate revenge when the advance was rebuffed?

Compline: Not to be confused with the foregoing: Vanity Fair gentleman curmudgeon James Wolcott looks back fondly on Manhattan in the Seventies.

Bon weekend à tous!

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Daily Office:
Monday

Monday, May 11th, 2009

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Matins: Uh-oh. This weekend, both Maureen Dowd and Frank Rich sang what sounded like swan songs. Rehearsals for swan songs, anyway. An appeal to the SpOck in Obama; 2009 as the new 1500.

Lauds: In Istanbul, a shiny new mosque has opened, the first to be designed by a woman, Zeynef Fadıllıoğlu. It’s a knockout. (via  Good)

Prime: Here’s a New York story that has been widely retailed around the Blogosphere, from The Morning News to An Aesthete’s Lament: Drew University senior Maximilian Sinsteden is already an accomplished, sought-after interior designer.

Tierce: We start off the week’s news (there’s only one story) with John Eligon’s wry portrait of Justice A Kirke Bartley Jr.

So, a lawyer, while questioning a witness, tells the judge, Justice A. Kirke Bartley Jr., that he has a request pertaining to a diamond-encrusted gold necklace worth tens of thousands of dollars that is in evidence.

Justice Bartley’s response (this is the punch line): “I won’t be wearing it, no.”

This is the lighter side of the trial of Brooke Astor’s son and one of Mrs. Astor’s lawyers.

Sext: If you’re going to be serious about the l-a-t-e-s-t episode of Star Trek, it’s probably best to start at The House Next Door, where Matt Maul confesses (I can think of no other word) to having been a fan for “thirty-five years.”

Nones: On opposite stories of the Atlantic, dueling Chinese heroines. Here, now living in Queens, it’s Geng He, the wife of an insistent dissident who made a daring escape. There, it’s Nina Wang, “Asia’s richest woman,” who has the comparative disadvantage of being dead.

Vespers: John Self considers Kazuo Ishiguro’s Nocturnes, at Asylum.

Compline: Aside from being a brisk account of clinical depression that reads like one woman’s serious problem, and not the disease of the week, Daphne Merkin’s Times Magazine piece, “A Journey Through Darkness,” dwells on the bleakness of treatment facilities.

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Daily Office:
Thursday

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

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Matins: Same-sex marriage will soon be on the books in Maine — barring a wingnut referendum. The governor, previously opposed to the idea although he is a Democrat, had a change of heart. Meanwhile, it’s now up to the governor of New Hampshire to sign a similar bill that has just cleared the Concord legislature.

Lauds: Hey, you’ve been to San Francisco. You love it! What a great city to walk around! Would it surprise you to learn that local architects deplore the lack of “singular iconic buildings”? Would it surprise you to learn that architects from everywhere else are just as fond of San Francisco as you are?

Prime: Marc Fitten, an Atlantan from New York City, has a new book coming out this month, Valeria’s Last Stand. In the course of promoting it, the author will be touring 100 of the nation’s independent bookstores — and blogging about it. (via Maud Newton.)

Tierce: The Marshall-Morrissey defense won two important motions today. As a result, prosecution may look a bit more gratuitously nasty than it have done if jurors had heard the excluded testimony.

Sext: A neat WaPo video on robotic bike parking in Tokyo. Not a joke! (via Infrastructurist)

Nones: Now hear this: foreign nationals will not be permitted to “live off their ill-gotten gains in the US.”

Vespers: Maud Newton reprints “an open letter from a local librarian.”

We are here working for you, New York City. Come in and use the library, check out books, get on the computers, tell everyone how great it is and how much you love the institution, but make sure you tell your politicians that this is an important issue for you — and excuse us if our smiles are a little bit tight.  

Compline: I didn’t even know that the concept had a name until today, but, boy, I’m all for it: Seasteading. You know, camping out on a big oil rig and declaring yourself to be the sovereign state of Wingnutzembourg.

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Surfing Note:
Vertigo in Hanover?

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

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Life takes Playboy to Dartmouth. Or something like that. In a few days, I’ll figure out the name of this beautiful blonde — plenty beaucoup with her clothes on, even (as in other photos) in pearls.

She’s so beautiful that, even without looking particularly French, she introduces the possibility of France to the equation. She’s the headmistress of a lycée at Bordeaux, perhaps, that has just taken the undergraduate on, for a summer term of English-language instruction….

On the other hand, for sheer anatomical interest, it’s doubtful that the young lady’s gazumbas are more high-concept than the young man’s jaw. What insurance company did he wind up ruling? Can you believe how eager he looks, on his own home turf no less?

I hope that Ms Playboy married well — very well. If we had only stared into her fabulous face for a while, the Sixties might have been avoided (but for Civil Rights, of course).

I almost hope that she became a patron saint of the Dartmouth Review.  But I say that only to annoy (amiably!) my Dartmouth cousins. (via  Ivy Style)

Daily Office:
Thursday

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

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Matins: Why conservatives ought to promote transit alternatives to cars — and why they don’t; all spelled out in a lucid essay by David Schaengold, of the Witherspoon Institute (in, but not of, Princeton). “Public transit and walkable neighborhoods are necessary for the creation of a country where families and communities can flourish.”

Lauds: This is the only movie that I want to see right now: Julie & Julia. The trailer is as good as a soufflé.

Prime: Father Tony interviews Andrew Holleran. Imagine that!

Tierce: What a lot of colorful business news there is this morning! Kenneth Lewis is no longer  chief at Bank of America. AIG — now AIU, actually — continues to look for a nicer name. Clear Channel Communications, the media hog, faces “mounting debt payments.” (Yay!) Starbucks isn’t losing money — yet (but can that be a suit and tie that Howard Schultz is wearing?). And, as for Chrysler…

Sext: “What does this thing do?” Danny Gregory’s guide for the perplexed SkyMall visitor.

Nones: Now, here’s a peace initiative to watch: “Kenyan women hit men with sex ban.”

Vespers: Christopher Buckley’s memoir of his parents, Losing Mum and Pup, sounds like just the thing to read in St Croix at Thanksgiving. Something to look forward to.

Compline: Would you be influenced by a “livability index” in deciding where to settle down? If you think you’re too old for that decision, when did that happen? And would you advise the young ‘uns in your life to “choose wisely”?

Bon weekend à tous!

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Daily Office:
Tuesday

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

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Matins: Ryan Avent, at Portfolio, is “amazed”:

The truly amazing thing to me is that parental income isn’t just crucial in getting to college, and getting through college — its effects linger on, basically, in perpetuity. One of the most remarkable findings from the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Economic Mobility Project is that a child from a family in the top income quintile who does not get a college degree is more likely to wind up in the top income quintile himself than a child from a family in the bottom income quintile who does get a college degree.

Lauds: Krystian Zimerman read the riot act at Disney on Sunday night. In light of yesterday’s Lauds, you won’t be surprised to hear that I disapprove.

Prime: At Sore Afraid, Eric undergoes laser eye  surgery; has “crispness” issues, but jogs in Central Park and tootles off to Washington just the same.

We had reservations for an activity at the International Spy Museum, but Asaph started feeling unwell, probably from dehydration, but things weren’t helped when he was bitten by a large fly. I tried to reassure him, but I am not so good at that.

Tierce: An exciting, ultimately frustrating story about “cyberwarfare” in the Times  boils down to “be very afraid” boilerplate. The Economist, however, counsels a more cynically relaxed response.

Sext: It’s a living — or is it? A pair of entrepreneurial Pakistani brothers may relocate to East Asia if their prosperous bondage-gear business gets too hot to handle in Karachi.

Nones: Just in case you think that things are bad here in the USA, consider the Balkan States: Lithuania’s economy dropped by 12% from the same quarter last year. That’s an almost unimaginable contraction in terms of everyday business.

Vespers: The return of the British thriller: the Curzon Group (currently comprising three crime writers) intends to restore the lustre of a genre that, in its eyes, has been tarnished by American “production line” methods. (via Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind)

Compline: Along with indoor plumbing, a hallmark of modern civilization at its most basic is street lighting: we take the safety that it provides for granted. But streetlights are in need of a rethink, not least because powering them comes to two percent of our total energy consumption.

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Daily Office:
Tuesday

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

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Matins: May I say that I support President Obama’s decision not to prosecute CIA agents for torture perpetrated in reliance upon Bush Administration legal advice.

Lauds: What a nice year it would be if Susan Boyle turned out to  be the woman of it. The very president of it. For her, that is. For the rest of us, a bit of a lesson is in order, as Colette Douglas Home reminds us. (via A Commonplace Blog)

Prime: A psychopathological breakdown of royals stalkers. (Not to be confused with “royal stalkers,” eg Jack the Ripper.) It made me wonder: how many of Trollope’s bad girls suffer from de Clérambault’s Syndrome? (via  The Morning News)

Tierce: Here’s a little story that, properly followed, will chart the health/malaise of the Italian state — which seems to have less and less to do with “Italy”: “Italy fears mafia quake fund grab.” 

Sext: A sizzling story from the Telegraph: Separate bedrooms keeps the romance alive.” [sic]

Nones: Spain leads the way in new high-speed rail transport. Not everybody’s pleased. (via  The Morning News)

Vespers: Geoff Dyer discusses his new book(s), Jeff in Venice/Death in Varanasi, with Asylum’s John Self.

Compline: On the occasion of QE2’s eighty-third birthday (the real one, not the “official” one in June), we turn to royal.gov.uk for instructions on writing a letter to Her Majesty.

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Daily Office:
Monday

Monday, April 20th, 2009

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Matins: In case you’re still opposed to Federal nationalization of troubled banks, let former IMF economist Simon Johnson explain the advice that his outfit would give.

Lauds: It dates from March, but I just heard about it at Things Magazine: truly punchy graphic art commissioned by Swiss pharma giant Geigy (now part of Novartis).

Prime: Jean Ruaud has retooled Mnémoglyphes which has to be the most news-deprived statement that I can think of. Jean changes the look and feel of his sites all the time! This is more substantive, though: Mnémoglyphes has become a Daily Blogue.

Tierce: David Carr considers the confected nature of last week’s “tea party” tax protests, which were not so much covered by the cable news networks as cultivated by them.

Sext: Would you help out a robot? If you live in Greenwich Village, you might not give it a second thought: Of course you would help out a robot! (via  The Morning News)

Nones: The Italian government has finally recognized its humanitarian responsibility and begun deboarding 140 migrants from a stranded tanker. To understand the kerfuffle with Malta, though, you may need to look at a map.

Vespers: In the current Harper’s, Francine Prose reviews an odd but irresistible new book with a faux-catalogue title as long as your arm: the account of a fictional breakup as told in terms of pictures at an exhibition — pictures of lamps, postcards, and pictures.

Compline: The post office as a profit center? What a concept! It works in Switzerland…

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Daily Office:
Tuesday

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

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Matins: Matt Richtel and Bob Tedeschi filed an interesting report at the Times on Sunday: people will pay for apps for their phone that they can download onto their computers for free. And guess what. The mobile services collect nickels and dimes without breaking a sweat. In other words: Micropayments are here.

Lauds: Matt Trueman is looking for young critics — in the West End. Where are they?

Let us remember that Kenneth Tynan was 25 when he took up the post in 1952 that is to be vacated by de Jongh, before graduating to the Observer only two years later. And, it was a 26-year-old Michael Billington that first reviewed for the Times in 1965.

Prime: “How Not to Photograph” — a series of drolly incisive blog entries by British photographer Colin Pantall. (via  kottke.org)

Tierce: Did Giampaolo Giuliani, a technician at an Italian nuclear physics lab, predict the catastrophic quake at L’Aquila, or was his announcement just a fluke? (Remember radon?) (via  The Morning News)

Sext: For a few years in the mid-Eighties, I worked in an office at 1 Broadway. For me, it was the acme of workplaces. Photos from Scouting NYC — not surprisingly, Scout sees things that I missed.

Nones: A lucid analysis by journalist Asli Aydintasbas of the knack that American leaders, up to but not including President Obama, have had for getting Turkey wrong. (Hint: talk of “moderate Islam” irritates everybody.)

Vespers: It used to be that publishers printed books. Ancient history — except at the most ancient continually-operating publisher in the world, the Cambridge University Press, founded by Henry VIII in 1534. The lithographic CUP is losing £2,000,000 a year.

Compline: It’s a first, all right, and I hope that it lasts. I wish it were the last. The Vermont legislature has overridden a gubernatorial veto to enact same-sex marriage. No judicial activism required this time!

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Daily Office:
Monday

Monday, April 6th, 2009

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Matins: Frank Rich insists that singer John Rich is mistaken:  Detroit is no more “the real world” than Wall Street is.”

Lauds: Rachel Morarjee conducts a Monocle tour of the “narcotecture” of Herat. For more than half of the clip’s five minutes, the richest city in Afghanistan looks like any old place after a scattershot disaster, but at the three-minute market, brace yourself for “wedding-cake monstrosities.” (via  Things Magazine)

Prime: While critic Tom Service laments the decline in British music education, &c and so forth, Jeremy Denk illustrates what a top-drawer education can do for an artistically-inclined youth…

Tierce: Here’s a surprise: “Wanted” posters put out by the Environmental Protection Agency. But why a surprise?

Sext: Ian Frazier’s lampoon of the Rosetta Stone ads that have been running in the backs of brainy magazines —

He was a hardworking farm boy. She was an Italian supermodel. He knew he would have just one chance to impress her.

 — is a brilliant scream. Why didn’t I write it?

Nones: Michael Tomasky’s appraisal of President Obama’s week in Europe, in the Guardian, is warmly favorable — its party-pooping title notwithstanding. “With a rocket, Obama’s hope is shot back down to earth.”

Vespers: A O Scott considers the formerly unmarketable short story: will short fiction benefit from the collapse of publishing as we know it?

Compline:  Jim Holt recommends memorizing poetry. All I want is the Table of Contents to Essential Pleasures: A New Anthology of Poems to Read Aloud, selected by Robert Pinsky.

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Daily Office:
Tuesday

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

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Matins: Over the weekend, the Times published architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff’s summary of good ideas for urban infrastructure, “Reinventing America’s Cities: The Time Is Now.” Although Mr Ouroussoff never uses the term, one leitmotif of his essay is the importance of undoing the long modernist trend of treating cities as “factories for living.”

Lauds: How about some eye candy? (via  kottke.org)

Prime: Moscato goes shopping at the One Rial Store in Oman. I want a Mosque Shape Alarm Clock!

Tierce: In this week’s New Yorker, James Surowiecki shares a misgiving that has been bothering me for more than a few years: what if the bank bailout works?

Sext: Just what I needed: a “Variety Show” of Borden’s line of cheeses. (Remember Borden’s? Elsie the Cow?) And not only that, but a new-to-me “pop culture” site, Curly Wurly. Eight mouth-watering ways to “meet the royal family of Borden’s fine cheeses.

Nones: Athens bombers said to be anarchists, not terrorists — well, that makes me feel better!

Vespers: Maud Newton writes about Brad Gooch’s biography of Flannery O’Connor at NPR.org: “In its painstaking honesty, the book is both a great gift and a curse to O’Connor’s fans.” If you know anything about O’Connor, you know that Ms Newton is referring to the writer’s unconsidered racism.

Compline: An appropriately colorful obituary for Sir Reresby Sitwell, Bt, of Renishaw Hall, in the Telegraph. It’s amazing how much family dysfunction can be fitted into a few paragraphs with hardly a mention of Auntie Edith.

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Daily Office:
Wednesday

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

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Matins: Regarding prisons in America: close ’em, but keep paying the guards and other workers as if the prison were operational. Count on attrition;  break the cycle of industrial corrections! (Oh, you’ve already started?)

Lauds: Jaime Oliver has won a prize for inventing his Silent Drum — which is indeed silent itself but which triggers, if that’s the word, computer-generated sounds.

Prime: Thought for the day: Why Twitter? I still haven’t a clue, but The Elegant Esthete thumbnails five attractors that, for many people, make Twitter irresistible. Only two of the five speak to me, so maybe that’s my answer.

Tierce: Here’s hoping that a rather self-righteous AIGFG exec’s letter of resignation is duly scrutinized. Jake DeSantis claims that he had nothing to do with credit-default swaps. Is that possible?

Sext: Kim Severson and Julia Moskin, colleagues at the Times’s Dining desk, find themselves thrown into competition*, to produce the better $50 dinner for six (wine not included). Ms Moskin’s entrée really appeals to me.

Nones: The government of Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek has fallen — not because of the economy, but because two members of the Chamber of Deputies defected from his coalition “for ideological or personal reasons.”

Vespers: Vestal McIntyre’s novel, Lake Overturn, is about to appear. Pre-order it now!

Compline: David Pescovitz writes about authenticity at Good: DIY funerals are better, and it helps if you make the coffin yourself (it’s easy!).

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Daily Office:
Monday

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

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Matins: It’s time for Larry Summers to be deported to Australia. Somewhere! Hiring him in any capacity is to date the president’s biggest boo-boo. As Frank Rich reminds us, “Summers worked for a secretive hedge fund, D. E. Shaw, after he was pushed out of Harvard’s presidency at the bubble’s height.”

Lauds: Looking for an old house with new wiring, preferably something truly Palladian? Look no farther. (via Things Magazine)

PrimeDio mio! Thomas Meglioranza will be singing in New York in June — Beethoven at Mannes. Must I wait to buy tickets at the door?

Tierce: Michael Cooper reports on the stimulus perplex from Houston:

But to ensure that the money is spent quickly, the law leaves decisions of how to spend some $27.5 billion in transportation money up to the states — and quite a few are using their shares to build new and wider roads that will spur development away from their most populous centers.

Sext: Today, I want to share with you a masterpiece of sixth-grade humor. N!S!F!W!

Nones: France rethinks its version of colorblindness.

Vespers: And, in more news from France, Benjamin Ivry reports on the inevitable dustup concerning the publication of Roland Barthes’s diaries.

Compline: The personal-responsibility folks won’t see a problem with this, but Pablo Torre reports, at Sports Illustrated Vault, that “within five years of retirement, an estimated 60% of former NBA players are broke. (via Morning News)

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Daily Office:
Wednesday

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

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Matins: It seems that I had my eye on the wrong target. I expected the outgoing Bushies to act up. Instead, it’s the Wingnuts.

Lauds: Sharon Butler writes about how Facebook works — for artists. “Go away Purity Police.” Amen — I guess. (via Art Fag City)

Prime: Daniel Green is thinking of doing something like what I do, at The Reading Experience

Tierce: Three out of four of today’s Times Op-Ed pieces concern the AIG bonuses. Two are by regular columnists, but the third, by Lawrence Cunningham, is the one to read.

Sext: Christoph Niemann’s sweet elegance imposes order on the most disorderly of all things: cords.

Nones: A few weeks ago (at the beginning of last month), Angela Merkel of Germany protested the Pope’s handling of Bishop Williamson. Now the French government is attackinig the Pope’s stand on condoms in Africa.

Vespers: Simon Creasey interviews topnotch graphic fictionist Adrian Tomine. (via Emdashes)

Compline: New Hampshire: the “Peter Pan” state!

Terry Stewart, a member of the town budget committee in Gilford, N.H., and a seat-belt-law opponent, has had it with the new majority. “No matter what’s your pleasure in life, sooner or later they’re coming,” he says.

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Daily Office:
Monday

Monday, March 16th, 2009

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Matins: Is President Obama going too far on the economy, or not far enough? Both, says The Economist, in a piece that explicitly opposes voters’ interests (“rage”) and “market confidence.”

Lauds: Steve Martin will “produce” a high school performance of Picasso at the Lapin Agile. That is, he’ll contribute (mightily) toward the costs, after parents banned the play from the high school itself.

Prime: What to do when a much-loved blogger dies? That’s what Robert Guskind’s executor will have to decide, vis-à-vis Gowanus Lounge.

Tierce: Louis Uchitelle’s report on using the railway bailout of the 1970s as a template for saving Detroit reminds me of the importance of taxonomy.

Sext: “How to Write Like an Architect,” Doug Patt’s brisk clip at YouTube, is more than a primer on stylish block printing. Like the most seductive advertising, it holds out the promise of a life well-lived. (via Kottke.org)

Nones: You know things are bad if the best thing the Irish can think up at the moment is how to repatriate Irish-Americans.

Vespers: Lance Mannion won’t be reading Blake Bailey’s new biography of John Cheever.

Compline: They’re looking for qualified workers in the Auvergne (“backwater” is a serious understatement) — and beginning to find them.

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Daily Office:
Thursday

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

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Matins: “Unseemly” is the nicest word that I can come up with to characterize attempts by the Roman Catholic Church (and other religious organizations) to block a temporary repeal of the statute of limitations on child abuse.

Lauds: Is there a movie here? As the UN prepares to evacuate its Turtle Bay headquarters for a four-year renovation, lots of valuable artworks seem to have been evacuated earlier, less officially.

Prime: A new and very smart-looking literary blog, The Second Pass.

Tierce: Muntader al-Zaidi, the journalist who threw his shoes at our last president, was jailed immediately after the “insult, not an assault”; he has just been sentenced to three years in prison. Bernie Madoff will spend less time in jail prior to sentencing — presumably. I must say, prison looks more and more like the waste of a public good in cases involving the crimes (and “crimes”) with which these men have been charged.
 
Sext: One great thing about the recession so far is the way it has replaced “because I can” with “because it’s smart” as a principle of style. Consider the chic $300 re-think.

Nones: Soi-disant Prime Minister Vladimir Putin “forgives” Ukraine its penalty debts in the wake of winter’s gas crisis.

Vespers: Nina McLaughlin re-reads Scott Spencer’s Endless Love, at Bookslut. It’s not the book she remembered!

Compline: At the Infrastructurist, Barbara McCann writes about a bill in Congress that might make the economic stimulus/transportation vector a lot smarter. Also, a great pair of before-and-after photos.

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Daily Office:
Thursday

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

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Matins: Second only to Flint, MI as a GM-dependent town, Anderson, IN is piecing itself together with small businesses —

Lauds: The Walker Evans postcard show at the Museum ought to be a permanent installation in the American Wing.

Prime: George Snyder reports on the anxiety of celebrity — direct from Hollywood. (There’s a rapper called “Flo Rida”?)

Tierce: Can anyone tell me what a report on the ideological intransigence of academic economists is doing buried in the Arts/Books section of the Times?

Sext: Did you know that a chunk of asteroid as big as fifty metres missed hitting Sidney by only 60,000 miles the other day? (via Morning News.)

Nones: In news that you probably thought can’t be news, the first rail link between Laos and Thailand (or anywhere) is inaugurated,  crossing the Mekong River.

Vespers: Jeremy Denk hates Joseph O’Neill’s Netherland, calling the author “one of the most gifted writers of boring sentences in the last decade.”

Compline: The new railroad connecting Santa Fe and Albuquerque, unlike the Interstate Highway, will  cut through pueblo lands. Conductors have been asked to request passengers to refrain from drive-by photography.  

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Daily Office:
Wednesday

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

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Matins: Between this and this: I just had one of my big ideas: Libraries in France are bookstores. (Bibliothèques are libraries, but never mind.) What if we altered the English definition, and publicly funded small bookshops?

Lauds: The world’s “largest concert“: the Hamburg State Orchestra plays Brahms — all over Hamburg.

Prime: It took me forever to realize what Formenwandlungen der &-Zeichen means. “&-Zeichen” is the (rather klutzy) German term for “ampersand.”

Tierce: The good news is also the bad news: Orient-Express Hotels wants to back out of a deal with the New York Public Library that may leave the Donnell Library building standing.

Sext:  Keith McNally, owner of Balthasar and other eateries, would like to swat the bloggers who are swarming around his latest venture (which doesn’t open until next week), Minetta Tavern. Buzz, buzz!  

Nones: Amazing news: “Arrest warrant issued for Sudan leader.”

Vespers: Maud Newton reconnects with Katherine Anne Porter, who has just appeared in the Library of America.

Compline: This is a joke, right? The United Transportation Union objects to surveillance cameras in railroad engine cabs; recommends staffing same with two people.

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Daily Office:
Tuesday

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

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Matins: A collection of lucid responses to last week’s story about academic humanities (covered here).

Lauds: Have a look at but it does float — a tumble log noted by Things Magazine, an apparently anonymous curation noted, in turn, by Robin at Snarkmarket.

Prime: I’ve been following David Galbraith’s Smashing Telly(!) for a while now, and I’ve linked to or through it a couple of times. It’s a great site, because Mr Galbraith is a very strong writer. I have never once been inspired to watch the TV show under review, however. (I hope to read Niall Ferguson’s Ascent of Money eventually….)

Tierce: Bergen County Academies, a limited-admissions public school in New Jersey, is changing the debate (or at least reviving it) about vocational schools. Completely.

Sext: V X Sterne, at Outer Life, has some creative thoughts about tax avoidance. (They’re also perfectly legal; commendable, even!)

Nones: When I first glanced at headlines about the story about the cricketer shootings in Lahore, I thought that it involved a ramping up of Tamil violence on Sri Lanka. But no; it’s rather worse — yet another gash in the fabric of Pakistani society.

Vespers: Patrick Kurp writes so persuasively about Zbigniew Herbert’s essay collection, Barbarian in the Garden, that I’ve got to havea copy.

Compline: More than thirty years later, Spain is purging monuments to the Franco régime.

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