Archive for the ‘The Augustinian Settlement’ Category

Daily Office:

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009


Matins: Sorry! We missed this amazing news on Friday: “Mexico Legalizes Drug Possession.”

Lauds: Christopher Hampton will adapt, Sam Mendes will direct, and Oprah Winfrey will produce a film version of Joseph O’Neill’s Netherland.

Prime: Tyler Cowen asks if the bailouts were a good idea, and decides that they were.

Tierce: Thirteen year-old Laura Dekker wants to sail around the world, alone. Her parents don’t object, but the Nederlander government does. A tough call?

Sext: President Obama has lost all “creditability,” according to an anti-health-care-plan auto-faxer that somehow came to the attention of Choire Sicha. Sure, the wingnuts are scary. But, boy, can’t they write!

Nones: Why special Sharia courts in secular nations pose a threat to sovereignty: “Malaysia Postpones Whipping of Woman Who Drank Beer.”

Vespers: John Self behaves himself, and reads Bohumil Hrabal’s Closely Watched Trains. (He had owned a copy for a while.)

Compline: The awful truth about asexuality: it’s not awful! (via  Joe.My.God)


Daily Office:

Thursday, June 4th, 2009


Matins: Read the terrorist prototype composite storyline and then give us a call if it describes anybody you know. (via The Morning News)

Lauds: While I agree with Anne Midgette and Jackie Fuchs about the Teen Spirit of grand opera, I’m afraid that they’re overlooking one important detail about teen life. 

Prime: James Surowiecki takes a look at the Argentinian coin shortage (who knew?) and makes a connection with financial problems in the United States: it’s what puts the “con” in “economy.” 

Tierce: Tony Marshall’s defense strategy continues to bewilder me. Unless, that is, a case is being built (without the defendant’s knowledge, to be sure) to cut Charlene loose.

Sext: I couldn’t make up my mind about this story, until I mooted it by saying: Improv Everywhere got the right couple.

Nones: In a very sensible first step toward restoring sanity after the Cold War (yes! it’s really over!), the Organization of American States voted today to re-admit Cuba.

Vespers: For maximum effect, you must read Elizabeth Benedict’s review of Christopher Buckley’s Losing Mom and Pup all the way to the end:  The Not So Discreet Charm of the Haute Goyim.

Compline: Although I have no idea of the provenance of this YouTube clip of retired Episcopal bishop John Shelby Spong (incontournable!), I can vouch that it is indeed the bishop. Although this saint of liberal Christendom never mentions Augustine’s name, he drives stakes through core Augustinian inventions.

Bon weekend à tous!


Daily Office:

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008



Brooks: As sermons go, David Brooks’s column on the evils of encouraging consumer debt is tidily effective: it’s both frightening and obviously correct.

Kakutani: One might well ask why Janet Maslin didn’t review David Sedaris’s new book for “Books of the Times.” Ms Maslin writes very creditably about crowd-pleasers; she knows that prospective readers are looking for a good time. Michiko Kakutani’s idea of a good time, however…


Sex and the Lightbulbs: I still can’t believe it! Yesterday, in view of the extreme heat and a consequent overloading of the power grid, Con Ed called Yorkvillians to ask us to turn off our “energy-intensive” appliances — everything except the refrigerator. Well, this afternoon, they called back! To say that, whatever the problem was, they’d fixed it! This takes us to an entirely new level of civic cooperation — and at least three bunny hops away from Idiocracy. If I’d known about the call sooner, I’d have stayed home and cranked up the a/c — and I wouldn’t have gone to see Sex and the City. But I’m sure glad I did!


Remains: Reading Cara Buckley’s story about the return of Native American remains from the American Museum of Natural History to the appropriate tribal area in British Columbia, it occurred to me (not for the first time) that, if I had to identify one collection from the omnium gatherum at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that does not, to my mind, belong there, it would be the immensely popular Egyptian art — most of which centers on human remains. (more…)

Daily Office:

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008


Matins: The book that I ordered was Garry Wills’s What Paul Meant. The book that I got was Lionel Shriver’s The Post-Birthday World. That’s how it is with QPBC sometimes. You print one shaky digit on your reply card* and you’re screwed. I ought to have put what I got out on the windowsill. Instead, I started to read it.

Tierce: An ongoing sad story: the catastrophically depleted ranks of Roman Catholic seminarians. Here’s a story about Dunwoodie, the late-Gothic pile on a hill that, when I was a child, loomed over brash new highways, greatly intensifying the bogus feel of the image. Already the Church seemed not so much traditional as airlocked.

Nones: The Papal Schedule (He’ll be up bei uns at six on Friday afternoon). The Papal Apology (same old, same old).

Compline: This just in (Dept of ROTFLOL): John the Doorman has assured us that the Pope is going to make a little parenthesis on Friday, to Bless the Bratwurst at Schaller & Weber.


The Holy Grail

Sunday, November 4th, 2007

A useful little book that you ought to try to borrow from a friend – you can hardly do your friends a bigger favor than by making them feel guilty for not owning the interesting books that you want to read – is Giles’s Morgan’s The Holy Grail. It’s an introductory handbook to the legend that Dan Brown and Peter Jackson have done so much to put back in the public eye, but unlike their entertainments, The Holy Grail is a summary catalogue of the stories, books and artifacts that Grail lore has inspired over the centuries. And it is very clear about one thing: the tale of Jesus’s chalice has grown in directions quite contrary to the religion institutionalized in his name.

The Holy Grail.

Morning News: Where to Begin?

Wednesday, September 26th, 2007

The Times is probably the same paper every day; it’s I who change. Most mornings, I can’t get the turnip to bleed; the very newsprint seems to be reverting to its aboriginal sawdust in my hands. This morning, however, is different.

¶ Sharing page A18 are stories about Fundamentalist Mormons and Liberal Episcopalians. Warren F Jefffs, son of the redoubtable Rulon, has been convicted as an accomplice to rape. All he did was arrange the marriage of a fourteen year-old girl to a cousin whom she didn’t care for. He wasn’t even in the room! But he wasn’t allowed to hide behind the fig-leaf of religious expression, either.

The prosecutor, Brock Belnap, said religion was not only irrelevant, but also a deliberate distraction that he said the defense was trying to inject to cloud jurors’ judgment. He said after the verdict that he expected an appeal.

As for the Episopalians, they seem prepared to bury their hatchets (if not very deeply) to repel the obnoxious intrusions of primarily Third-World brethren within the Worldwide Anglican Community.

Contrary to recent news reports that the conservatives were close to forming a unified new structure, Bishop Minns said there were no plans to announce the formation of a new Anglican body that would consolidate all the conservative groups that have broken with the Episcopal Church under one umbrella.

¶ Then, there’s the “What Can We Do About Protecting Our Kiddies From These Sociopathic Rap Lyrics” perennial. This would not be a particularly interesting story if it were not for the craven self-interested testimony of “industry” executives.

Under questioning, Mr. Bronfman and Doug Morris, chairman of the Universal Music Group, stood by the industry’s existing method of handling explicit content, including the voluntary labeling of graphic CDs with parental-advisory stickers. Though they defended the industry’s practices, Mr. Bronfman and Mr. Morris lamented that efforts to restrict young listeners’ access to explicit music had become futile amid the proliferation of copyrighted songs and videos online.

In other words, it’s the government’s fault for not granting the “industry” even more rapacious intgellectual-property rights than it already rather feudally enjoys.

¶ The only story with no sex oomph – and this is odd, considering the source, is Marc Santora’s “Candidates Battle the Slow Season for Fund-Raising.”

Mr. Giuliani seems to have outdone other campaigns with his effort in Kazakhstan, a country made famous, or infamous, by the movie “Borat,” starring the British comedian Sasha Baron Cohen. Though only Americans can contribute to presidential campaigns, Kazakhstan has many American oil and gas workers in addition to an office of the law firm where Mr. Giuliani was a partner, Bracewell & Giuliani of Houston.

He will appear in a videoconference, the campaign said.

His fund-raising there is raising eyebrows among human rights activists, primarily because President Nursultan Nazarbayev has been accused of being antidemocratic and abusing individual rights.

I’ll bet you anything that Mr Nazarbayev has an excellently-stocked humidor.