Daily Office:


Matins: The curious thing about seeing Reprise on Friday was having seen The Four of Us on Wednesday: peas in a pod, if you ask me. A great deal of what I said about either one of these pieces works as a description of the other.

Tierce: Take it from me: because I am older, I am wiser. Don’t be deceived by the fact that I’m, er, slower. Sara Reistad-Long reports.

Nones: If I were young, and had the ambition that I so conspicuously lacked when I was young, I’d want to take this course, coming soon to NYU. Just imagine — that voice coming to you several times a week from the other side of the lectern.

Compline: RomanHans, at World Class Stupid, is almost always very funny, but today he really tickled my funny bone. “The Hipster’s Guide to Starting a Home-Based Business.”


§ Matins.  Gideon Banner, one of the actors in The Four of Us, reminded me so strongly of Dick Cavett (a perfect spin for the role, by the way) that I instinctively sympathized with Michael Esper’s character, David. Imagine having a close friend as cool as Dick Cavett. Insufferable!

§ Tierce. So: it turns out that I can’t remember the names of people I meet at parties because my wise brain can’t deal with information that is not rich in connections.

Jacqui Smith, a professor of psychology and research professor at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, who was not involved in the current research, said there was a word for what results when the mind is able to assimilate data and put it in its proper place — wisdom.

“These findings are all very consistent with the context we’re building for what wisdom is,” she said. “If older people are taking in more information from a situation, and they’re then able to combine it with their comparatively greater store of general knowledge, they’re going to have a nice advantage.”

§ Nones. It is high time that we study museums directly, not as sociological phenomena but as institutions that are much more than repositories of “art.” For one thing, a good deal of art today is designed with museum (or public) space in mind. For another, does art designed for one kind of public space (eg a church) belong in another (a museum)? If the Elgin Marbles belong in Athens, what about the Mona Lisa? If you ask me, Pigalle’s bust of Mme de Pompadour ought to be one of the premier art treasures of France — not that I want to encourage any parting shots of magnanimity in the retiring director of the Met!

Here’s where I get downright socialist: museums ought to have eminent domain (horrors!) over all artworks that are more than a century old. I really don’t believe that such works, if they’re good enough to interest museums, belong in private hands. Nothing ticks me off more than seeing “Private Collection” on the plaque beneath a Chardin or a Caillebotte. Who knows when I’ll get to see the picture again? Or even if?

§ Compline. It’s the bowls made out of vinyl LPs. Don’t tell me that such things actually exist! That would spoil it! (How useful: a bowl with a hole right in the bottom.)

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