Daily Office:


Matins: At the risk of sounding impetuous: my response to the Times‘s account of Archbishop Dolan’s first news conference is a happy smile. His way of reminding reporters that the Church’s position on same-sex marriage is “clear” suggests that he doesn’t care what it is.

Lauds: Go ahead, it’s Thursday: kill the morning by feasting your eyes on jacket art at the Book Cover Archive. (via Arts Journal)

Prime: A touch of White Mischief for the weekend: Lady Idina Sackville, subject of a forthcoming biography by one of her great-granddaughters: The Bolter.

Tierce: The nation’s second-largest mall operator, General Growth Properties, has filed for bankruptcy. As usual, the culprit was good-times leverage that opened up an abyss.

Sext: Pesky rodents driving you crazy? Do what the Spokane Parks and Recreation Department plans to do: blow the varmints to kingdom come by igniting a “calibrated mixture of oxygen and propane” in their burrows. It’s “humane,” they say. Watch for yourself!

Nones: It’s very difficult not to have problems with the religion called “Islam” after the remarks of a Shiite madrasa leader in Kabul, commenting on protests by Afghan women against a repressive new “home life” law.

Vespers: Patrick Kurp reflects on the difference between a public library and a university library.

Compline: How George Snyder, one of the most inquisitively literate men I know, manages to get from day to day on Planet Arrakis in Los Angeles is quite beyond me. But he does; and, as Irene Dunne put it, “he’s pretty cute about it, too.”

Bon weekend à tous!


§ Matins. He is certainly a vernacular archbishop. His initial response to a question about declining church attendance: “That’s a bigee.” Back to same-sex marriage:

You can bet I would be active and present and, I hope, articulate in this particular position. Being still very new, my first day on the job, I would be eager to sit down with trusted advisers within this archdiocese, like Bishop Sullivan, and say: Tell me what we’ve done in the past. Tell me what’s worked. Tell me what’s been the most effective way to communicate the sentiments of the church on these controversial moral issues, and this isn’t the only one. So I’d be the kind of guy that would probably trust what has been done and try to work those through those channels. I wouldn’t be hesitant to talk about that in the future. I am, if you don’t mind me saying it, confessing it, a little bit hesitant to talk about it today, not only because I’m new but given the timeliness of the moment, it might not be too appropriate to get into the particularities of some of these controversial issues…. I hope I can be more forthcoming in the future.

See what I mean?

§ Lauds. Do me a favor: pick your favorite one (however far you get into the archive of over a thousand images) and post its URL in the comments below.

§ Prime.A Victorian term for a very un-Victorian life. A wife of Bath, she mounted a mirror over her bed, “So I could see all the different positions.” A curious idea, when you think about it, but thinking probably wasn’t encouraged to come up in Lady I’s Kenyan pavillon.

I expect that she would have known that she was not an “African Queen,” but I quibble.

§ Tierce. Chalk up another name on the list of companies that would be doing well enough if they had not tried to do fantastically well — emphasis on the adverb.

What began as a crisis in residential real estate has since seeped into the commercial real estate market, as landlords of retail and office space face rising numbers of vacancies. Analysts expect many of these companies to struggle as the recession forces steep cuts in consumer spending and employment rolls.

Few analysts dispute the quality of General Growth’s malls, which include the Ala Moana Center in Honolulu, Water Tower Place in Chicago and the Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian in Las Vegas. But its undoing was the mounting pile of short-term mortgages the operator used to expand. That financing strategy was devised by its longtime chief financial officer, Bernard Freibaum, who was dismissed last October.

Among GGP’s unsecured creditors listed in the story is troubled Borders Group, the bookstore chain.

§ Sext. But wait! SPRD neglected to check with Spokanimal, the local Humane Society Chapter.

“You’re kidding,” Director Gail Mackie said when she learned the news. “That borders on cruelty.”

You know that you’ve just emerged from eight years of Busheimer’s when the Humane Society says that explosive extermination “borders” on cruelty.

§ Nones. After the demonstration broke up, the cleric emerged from the school.

Asked about the dispute, he said it was between professionals and nonprofessionals; that is, between the clerics, who understood the Koran and Islamic law, and the women calling for the law’s repeal who did not.

“It’s like if you are sick, you go to a doctor, not some amateur,” said the cleric, Mohammed Hussein Jafaari. “This law was approved by the scholars. It was passed by both houses of Parliament. It was signed by the president.”

The religious scholars, Mr. Jafaari conceded, were all men.

Lingering a while, Mr. Jafaari said that what was really driving the dispute was the foreigners who loomed so large over the country.

That’s right: when in doubt, blame foreigners.

§ Vespers. Arriving at Bowling Green as “a frightened, backward, book-crazy 17-year-old” was, in itself, not particularly “revelatory.” The revelation came when he went to the library.

It hadn’t occurred to me that its differences from the public libraries of my youth would be more than quantitative. Like the ocean, its collection had unsuspected depths. Here was everything a beloved poet or novelist had written and seemingly everything ever written about him. In that first semester I discovered Samuel Beckett, Hermann Broch, Flann O’Brien, B.S. Johnson and Robert Burton’s The Anatomy of Melancholy. I even read some of the stuff assigned by my professors.

I don’t often wish that I felt differently about libraries, but this causes a twinge.

§ Compline. At 1904 today, George posts a report that sets my mind quite at ease. Kept young men, it appears, who are not so young anymore don’t necessarily face replacement — not in these times of dwindling portfolios.

Brad settles back in the chaise-longue by the side of the infinity pool whose edge disappears above the misty canyon view, where houses in the distance are less valuable than they used to be but with asking prices still well into the double-digit millions. “It can be very expensive,” he says flexing a still perfect six-pack and adjusting his Speedo, “finding someone like me who is able to make you happy in a very special, very particular way,” he observes. He lies back and the sun flashes in the blackness of his D&G sunglasses. “I know his secrets, and I’m willing to overlook the negatives.” He smiles.

“Once you find someone like me? It’s cheaper to keep me around.”

5 Responses to “Daily Office:

  1. Fossil Darling says:

    Sext : Shades of Carl Speckler, star of “Caddyshack”….and so humane, too!!!!

  2. jkm says:

    Sext: I had exactly the same reaction as Fossil Darling…here’s hoping that the folks in Spokane have as much success as Carl Speckler did.

  3. JR says:

    “pesky rodents” : I like this. I would use it in a next “mot du jour” !

  4. George says:

    Tierce: “Irrational exuberance” has an all new resonance now to me. I never fail to learn something here, amazing things that slip my notice until you bring them to my attention. Amazing in their relevance to my current situation. Seems we’re back to the RTC model again with some interesting new twists in that it looks to me like the market will be the resolution agent this time. Who knows, perhaps, the market and I will get it right this time around in Houston.

  5. Open says:

    been that way.a0 Paul wrote these words nearly 2000a0 years ago.a0a0 For cutenries, believers have prayed the hours to help refocus wandering hearts.a0a0 Holding fast to the word of life takes effort, purpose,