Daily Office:



Mean Money: Leona’s money is going to the dogs — and so is Dicky Grasso’s.


DIRL: What with following one link to another, I came across a nice, long comment thread (at Marginal Revolution) proposing books to take to Africa on a research project that will take a year, with only visit home. Somebody asked for advice.


Pectavensis: How’s your Latin? It doesn’t have to be very good, to read Gregory of Tours, a Sixth-Century bishop who wrote pretty good history, considering it was the Dark Ages and all. Plus, he writes about a scandal at a convent in Poitou (in monasterio Pectavense). Nudge, nudge!


Morning, cont’d

§ Mean Money. The Grasso decision is interesting: in a favorite ploy of conservative courts everywhere, the Appellate Division ruled that the state’s attorney general lacked the “standing” to sue a for-profit corporation, which is what the New York Stock Exchange subsequently became (after giving Mr Grasso his pots of lucre, that is).

The Times report can’t be bothered to tell us just what event triggered the newsworthiness of its story; Helmsley died almost a year ago, and the good news in the story — Surrogate Judge Renee R Roth cut Trouble’s legacy (Trouble is Helmsley’s surviving Maltese) from $12 million to $2 million.

However you look at it, both stories are victories for the crazy distribution of wealth in this country. I wonder if even Charles Dickens could dig up a story about the ancien régime to match Helmsley’s request — and the Surrogate’s tacit assertion that it is not utterly unconscionable.

Noon, cont’d

§ DIRL. An astonishing number of commenters thought it was useful to recommend the Kindle solution, or to point out the difficulties thereof. Not on point! The Kindle may be destined to solve the problem of the long-term but temporary library, but we’re not there yet. What the prospective traveler asked for is titles! I resisted putting in my two cents for the Decameron.


§ Pectavensis. Scroll down to Section 39. I’ve been reading John Burrow’s magnificent (and hugely entertaining) A History of Histories. Of Gregory’s MO, he writes:

This is an episcopal history in a broad sense as well as at times a narrower one: Trollope with bloodshed. The more institutional concerns include disputed episcopal elections and a long account of a revolt in a nunnery, led by a daughter of King Charibert, who seems to exemplify the family traditions except that she does not actually murder anyone personally (though she does organize a gang of roughs who assault the prioress and fight the abbess’s supporters in riots leading to deaths). The revolt is ended by violence, with rebellious nuns having their hair shorn — and, according to Gregory, in some cases also hands, ears, and noses.

Down and dirty action! I knew about Gregory from earlier readings, and from a schoolbook of medieval Latin that I’ve always meant to bone up on. I was all set to order the Loeb Classics edition of Gregory’s Histories, but there isn’t one: Gregory isn’t remotely “classical” enough. (I buy Loeb classics the way Kathleen used to buy shoes. But when I try to wear them … )

One Response to “Daily Office:

  1. Fossil Darling says:

    1) Grasso. I remember thinking that I thought the package way out of line and that I didn’t care at all for him, but that it had been vetted by the Board, and it seemed a vendetta by Spitzer. Of course the NYSE was and probably still is an old boys club but I think his ego and persona contributed to the animus more than anything else.

    Re : Leona. My Mother used to say that the first Mrs. Helmsley, whom she knew, was a “lady,” She never discussed the second Mrs. H. Having once been the recipient of Mrs. Helmsley’s ire, my opinion of her has never been complimentary and the revelation about her money makes me ill. Unconscionable just begins to describe it.