Archive for the ‘Blogosphere’ Category

Dear Diary: A new site

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

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The old régime

Although I never tried to write anything today (except of course the Daily Office, and this), I am very happy with this day-to-myself. There were minor worries and annoyances — a credit card has been compromised (but not so badly that I can’t continue to use it until the replacement arrives), and the tower computer has shown a few troubling signs of systemic instability.

And I suppose I ought to note that nothing very amusing happened. I was delighted by the job that Morning Calm (our wonderful neighborhood framer) made of some old prints that Kathleen grew up with, and that badly needed refreshing, but in mitigation there was a complete lack of ideas about where to hang the things. I ran over to the gallery while Jason was here (see “instability,” above), and picked up the dinner menu on my way home. Am I pleased with the day in spite of these humble doings or because of them? It’s hard to say, because it’s a mixture of both.

I played a round of Dwindling Lump, the fascintating household storage game. A large shopping bag full of clean, empty bottles gave way to a decidedly less voluminous box-full 0f miscellaneous kitchen doodads. The doodads were evicted from a bin to make room for baking supplies (extracts, Karo, and other things that are not wanted in everyday cooking), so that the empty bottles could have the baking supplies’ (rather inappropriate) place in the kitchen. The point of the game of Dwindling Lump is that the detritus that remains unplaced at the end of each round takes up fewer cubic feet . I am approaching zero with a zest that laughs Zeno’s paradox to scorn.

What really happened today was the decision to mount a new site, www.dailyblaguereader.com, designed expressly to be read on an iPad. The content will be the same, but the look and feel will be vastly simpler than that of The Daily Blague proper. No blogroll, no “Categories.” No comments. In important ways, the new DB won’t be a blog at all. It will be the functional equivalent, really, of the pseudo-blog that I created toward the end of the summer of 2004, when I was wrestling with the question, “Do I need a blog?”  

The genesis of the new site condensed in the course of a conversation with Steve Laico, the man who makes my sites real. I’d scheduled the phone meeting because I felt that a talk was in order, but I had no idea of what I was going to say. I knew that I wanted to do something in the way of iPad-specific design, but the particulars didn’t emerge until the conversation was well underway.

So, in case anyone is interested down the road, today is “when it happened.” The actual launch of the new site won’t be what matters. It may be that, as has often happened before, I’m uselessly ahead of the times. Great idea, but no takers yet. I don’t think so, though. I write for readers, and, as a reader, I can see that the iPad nothing less than rescues the whole business of reading from the personal computer.

Not that I’ll ever write a single entry for any of my sites on an iPad. We will all continue to work at our computers. We just won’t use them for reading.

Housekeeping Note: Vacation, continued

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010

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At the beginning of last week, I decided that two weeks’ vacation was not enough, so I went back and changed an entry that nobody is ever going to look at again (the Daily Office for 18 December), and changed “4″ into “11.”

There have been moments when a years’ vacation seemed not too much. So much was left behind last year as I came to grips with the roaring torrent of feeds that floods my Google Reader page as quickly as I can scan them. I do hope to write more about reading in 2010 — and to read more to write about. Nevertheless, barring the unforeseen, the Daily Office will reappear on the 11th.

Dear Diary: How Everybody Felt About 2009

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

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© 2009 Tom Waterhouse

(Except me. I had a great year, really; I was the spring in this guy’s step.)

Vacation Note: Hôtel de France

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

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Mon ami, Jean-sans-Pnostalgie, has been walking around his natal town (famous from Jeanne d’Arc days) taking pictures. His attempts to make Chinon look like the capital of French lugubriousness aren’t working, at least chez moi. If I’m thinking that I was lucky not to grow up next to an abattoir, it’s only because I know that I’d have gotten into big trouble….

Daily Office: Thursday

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

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¶ Matins: Kenneth Davis writes about the first Thanksgiving to be given on land that would one day be part of the United States — by Huguenots in Florida. Their base, Fort Caroline (named after Charles IX), did not last very long; nor did they: the Spanish eradicated everything in 1565.

Mr Davis’s litany of religious persecutions in America exhorts us to regard Thanksgiving not as the commemoration of a hallowed past but as a celebration of how far we have come from our dark origins — and a reminder of how far we have yet to go. (NYT)

¶ Lauds: Charis Wilson, Edward Weston’s most notable muse (and his only “art wife”), died last Friday in Santa Cruz, aged 95. (Los Angeles Times; via Arts Journal)

As it happens, we’ve been reading about Charis Wilson in Francine Prose’s The Lives of the Muses. Great reading!

¶ Prime: We’re not terribly interested in the recent privatization of Chicago’s parking meters — or, rather, we weren’t until Felix Salmon decided to look into the matter. His conclusion: the city didn’t do too badly, and the contractors are idiots. The detail worth noting is that what Chicago’s alderman wanted, of course, was to raise parking meter prices without being accountable.

¶ Tierce: The Aesthete unearths the strange figure of George Sebastian, an adventurer who married American money and used it to builid Dar Sebastian, still a breathtaking edifice in Hammamet, Tunisia. (An Aesthete’s Lament)

¶ Sext: We love a good prank as much as anybody — probably more, as long as we’re not the victim — and so we’re rejoicing at the news that The Awl now has a whole department devoted to reviewing “pranks and their aftermaths.” Okay, they have Juli Weiner, who we hope is still enrolled in a good college.

¶ Nones: William Finnegan’s New Yorker excellent report on the situation in Honduras is not, sadly, online, although an abstract is available. For regular readers who have been following the matter here, there is little substantially new in the piece, and in fact we were gratified to read that coup leader Roberto Michelletti, in television appearances, “tends to glower, and speak from the side of his mouth, like Dick Cheney.” However, we hadn’t encountered anything like Mr Finnegan’s thumbnail of the constitution that ousted president “Mel” Zelaya wants to replace.

¶ Vespers: We’ve read Lauren Elkin’s review of Jeremy Davies’s Rose Alley several times now, and while we’re not certain that we want to read the novel, we’re intrigued by Ms Elkin’s account of it. (The Second Pass)

¶ Compline: Maria Popova (of Brain Pickings) takes “a look at what the Intenet is doing for learning, curiosity, and creativity outside the classroom.” There’s a lot about TED, which appears to be better understood in Europe than it is here. (Good)

To see how traditional education appears on the Internet, have a look at the Syllabus of Dr E L Skip Knox’s fully online course, sponsored by Boise State University, in HIST101 — The History of Western Civilization. (via MetaFilter)

Daily Office: Thursday

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

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¶ Matins: Christopher Shea surveys the world of Letterman Apology Evaluations.

¶ Lauds: Soon to be arriving on your iPhone: an original picture by David Hockney.

¶ Prime: Versace will close its three outlets in Japan.

¶ Tierce: Linguist John McWhorter frolics and detours at  Good: The “For Themselves” Love Drug. (Did we say “linguist”?)

¶ Sext: “It doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter, as long as both are covered with a sharp, original, Awly take.” The Awl turns five months, sixteen days old. Two days ago.

¶ Nones: And you thought Honduras was this boring provincial story. Ha! Bet you didn’t even know the word Chavista! (We didn’t.) As in “Chavista authoritarianism” and Cold War think tanks — in Washington.

¶ Vespers: Levi Stahl reviews the Man Booker winner, Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, at The Second Pass.

¶ Compline: Amazing study about city people with guns — and how much more likely they are to be shot dead.

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Daily Office: Wednesday

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

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¶ Matins: Confidence in the once-almighty dollar is eroding. This could be a very good thing, in many ways, if it weren’t for those pesky Treasury Bills.

¶ Lauds: On the strength of Ken Tanaka’s write-up, we’ve just ordered a copy of On City Streets: Chicago, 1964-2004, by “unknown” photographer Gary Stochl.

¶ Prime: The subprime movie crisis: surprise, surprise, easy money left Hollywood unprepared for a very dry season. (via Arts Journal)

¶ Tierce: Jason Dean’s very snazzy ABCs of Branding.

¶ Sext: Box wines: nothing to sniff at.  (via Felix Salmon)

¶ Nones: The Honduran attempt at a bloodless coup is getting bloody — thanks to the return of the coupé.

¶ Vespers: Patrick Kurp waits, along with Phyllis McGinley, for “The 5:32.”

¶ Compline: Coming soon to the Internet: FTC disclosure rules.

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Daily Office: Tuesday

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

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¶ Matins: The Economics Department at Notre Dame plans to dissolve its humanist, “heterodox” wing, and focus exclusively on “sophisticated training in quantitative methods in addition to a liberal-arts emphasis.” (via Marginal Revolution)

¶ Lauds: Michael Johnston ogles a book of “camera porn” from the George Eastman House. SFW!

¶ Prime: James Surowiecki calls for detaching the ratings agencies from official securities regulation.

¶ Tierce: Tom Scocca, Dad with a pen, goofs again: “It was a mistake to get on the Metro train with the kid riding on my shoulders.”

¶ Sext: Of the lower 48 states, 5 birds are 26 states’ official avian: Cardinal (7), Mockingbird (6), Meadowlark (6), Bluebird (4), and Goldfinch (3).

¶ Nones: Wake-up call from New Delhi to Indian state governments: “Leak reveals India Maoist threat.”

¶ Vespers: Emily Gould’s report on a panel discussion about the future of fiction is the sort of document that we don’t want to lose sight of: this is how published authors regarded the Internet/marketing/branding in September 2009: still in the old-fashioned way. (via The Rumpus)

¶ Compline: “Dime con quien andas y te dire quien eres”: Project Gaydar at MIT. (via The Morning News)

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Daily Office: Tuesday

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

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¶ Matins: Caleb Crain examines the culture of economic adversity — in the Depression.

¶ Lauds: Holland Cotter hopes that we have seen the last of the blockbuster exhibition.

¶ Prime: Over the weekend, Times columnist Joe Nocera raised the “what if” question about Lehman, speculating that “it had to die to save Wall Street.” James Surowiecki isn’t so sure — and neither are we.

¶ Tierce: More about the clothing style known as “trad”: this time from Joe Pompeo, at the Observer. (via Ivy Style)

¶ Sext: We had never seen a picture of today’s Hilo Hero, Margaret Sanger, before.

¶ Nones: Is Internet opinion in China driving a trade confrontation with the United Statess?

¶ Vespers: At The Second Pass, John Williams passes on The Lost Symbol — in advance.

¶ Compline: At  Good, 10 great urban parks, seen from above at roughly the same scale.

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Daily Office: Wednesday

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

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¶ Matins: Lawrence Krauss is not joking when he suggests, on the Times Op-Ed page, that the best way to get men to Mars is to abandon the idea of bringing astronauts back home.

¶ Lauds: Luc Sante reminisces about Jean-Michel Basquiat. “I was happy for him, but then it became obvious he was flaming out at an alarming pace.”

¶ Prime: William Cohan profiles Chris Flowers, a financial Icarus — of sorts (he’s still worth $1.5 billion). (via Felix Salmon)

¶ Tierce: MetaFilter Discovery Nº 1 (we made two of them, the other day): amassblog, designer James Phillips Williams’s catalogue blogué of the things that he collects.

¶ Sext: MetaFilter Discovery Nº 2: Stuff Christian Culture Likes. Mordant and wry but not patronising.

¶ Nones: Visiting Dansk on the 70th anniversary of the German invasion of Poland, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin denounces the Nazi-Soviet pact as “immoral,” and deplores the Russian atrocity at Katyn in 1940.

¶ Vespers: Michelle Huneven explains the not-so-pedestrian charm of listening to books while taking a daily constitutional.

¶ Compline: We only just finished reading “Critical Shopper,” Justin Wolfe’s magnificent essay on the pleasures of reading about exotic foodstuffs and expensive scents, neither of which he expects to sample in this lifetime. Take your time, but be sure to read it yourself!

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Daily Office: Tuesday

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

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¶ Matins: What’s so productive about “Gross Domestic Product,” asks historian Eric Zencey? A re-think of GDP for a greener world.

¶ Lauds: A new business plan for classical musicians: don’t seek shelter in a large and venerable organization. Andrew Druckenbrod explains musical entrepreneurship.

¶ Prime: The economics of farmers’ markets could use a design boost. Alissa Walker reports at GOOD.

¶ Tierce: Kate McLaughlin, 19, heads off to Northwestern — for law school. somewhat more remarkably, she graduated from the University of California at San Diego two years ago. What do you think about this kind of precocity?

¶ Sext: Sebastian Münster’s map of Europe, upside-down, at Strange Maps.

¶ Nones: In Sunday’s Times, a long overdue explanation of the Honduran political divide.

¶ Vespers: Jenni Diski reflects on the art of the late Stanley Middleton, a Booker Prize winner whom we hadn’t heard of.

¶ Compline: Andrew Sullivan, in his tenth year of Daily-Beast-ing, resumes the practice of taking August off.

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Daily Office: Tuesday

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

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¶ Matins: David Carr writes about The Party. You know the one! The Talk launch, which happened ten years ago last Sunday. Remember? When the Web was a “niche”?

¶ Lauds: Alex Ross’s New Yorker column on the wealth of interesting music available through Internet portals, “Infinite Playlist,” hits a lot of bases, but keeps running.

¶ Prime: Thinking of “investing in art”? Felix Salmon: Don’t be daft.

¶ Tierce: Compare and contrast these contemporary fines: $675,000 for file sharing in Massachusetts; $1300 for second DUI arrest. Get your dose of righteous anger at World Class Stupid — it’ll make you laugh before you can rant.

¶ Sext: Here’s something useful to fight about while we ponder Michael Pollan on cooking and couches: the (Scottish or English) origins of haggis.

¶ Nones: Sometimes, ceremony matters. A lot of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s former cronies stayed away from his “endorsement.”

¶ Vespers: Here’s a wonderful new literary game from LRB: take the title of a famous book and attach it to the name of an author who (a) couldn’t possibly have written it or (b) would have turned in a very different text.

¶ Compline: David Bromwich writes about “America’s Serial Warriors,” captured at Tomgram. (via The Morning News)

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Daily Office: Thursday

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

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¶ Matins: At Politico, nutritionist Katherine Tallmadge writes from up close and personal about the runaway unhealthiness of life in our Capitol. (via The Morning News)

¶ Lauds: At the London Review of Books, Michael Wood exposes the “rococo” nonsense of North By Northwest, and thereby explains why Hitchcock’s masterpiece is so gripping.

¶ Prime: In two posts, Felix Salmon asks two good questions: Has the NYC housing market bottomed? (No.) Have we “wasted” the financial crisis? (Yes.)

¶ Tierce: Lee Landor, deputy press secretary to Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, resigns subito when some of her Facebook comments, calling Henry Louis Gates a racist and referring to “O-dumb-a,” were forwarded to her boss.

¶ Sext: In a somewhat more serious social app boo-boo, Amanda Bonnen of Chicago has been sued by the company that managed her former apartment, for libel by tweet.

¶ Nones: At the London Review Blog, Hugh Miles writes about a scandal in Libya — or is it a scandal on Capitol Hill?

¶ Vespers: In The Atlantic Fiction 2009 issues, four international writers, all of them Anglophone but none American (although Joseph O’Neill has become a US citizen), discuss the tension between nation(alism) and literature.

¶ Compline: Any story that links soldiers and information makes us happy. “In Battle, Hunches Prove to Be Valuable.” And we remember when intuition was for girls.

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Daily Office: Wednesday

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

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¶ Matins: Michelle Haimoff proposes a pay scale for HuffPost contributors. 

¶ Lauds: Nige makes me wish that I were in London, to see the Corot to Monet show.

¶ Prime: Carol Smith, an SVP at Elle, claims that women make better managers. Even better, she hates single-sex workplaces.

¶ Tierce: A Web log devoted to bookmarks found in old books (!) reminds us of telegrams at weddings. How old, we wonder, is the youngest person to remember this feature of wedding receptions? (via MetaFilter)

¶ Sext: Steven Heller explains the test pattern.

¶ Nones: An update from the country that can’t: Kurdistan.

¶ Vespers: “It’s enjoyable if you like reading Nexis printouts” — Nicholson Baker on the Kindle DX.

¶ Compline: Drake Bennett reports on some recent studies of attention deficits in older drivers — and how older drivers compensate. (via The Morning News)

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Housekeeping Note: Tweet!

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

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Last week’s Blidgets, meet this week’s Tweets. Thanks to Steve Laico, of Searchlight Consulting, for both developments, which make The Daily Blague’s sidebars truly dynamic. That’s to say that they change because other things change.

Ideas are a dime a dozen. It’s implementation that matters — and, without Steve, you wouldn’t be reading my great ideas, and deciding that, well, maybe, they’re not that great. With all due &c.

In any case, I offer the ideas in the Aviary to anyone who wants to run with them. Don’t think I’m being generous; if you can’t copyright a recipe, you can’t protect a naked little undeveloped idea, either. But perhaps someone else can.

Dear Diary: Screw That

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

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Another day of work — but as the clock ticked toward six, I could tell that I was running out of steam. So, what with one thing and another on the calendar, I ran out to the movies, just around the corner, to see Rudo y Cursi. This film unites director Carlos Cuarón with the two co-stars of his Y Tu Mamá También. This time, Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna play half-brothers from the sticks who are lured into playing for opposing futbol teams. It’s such a great movie that even the soccer is great. Veruschka — or even Vanessa Redgrave herself — is not more present in Antonioni’s great Blow-Up that the two stars are here. Rudo y Cursi is also very funny. The actors seem to be competing (in a nice parallel to the story) to see who can create the more ridiculous brother.

When I came back from the movie, I was refreshed and ready to edit and publish three pages for Portico. By the light of midnight oil, I’m working on a fourth. But it’s about Jonathan Franzen’s story in The New Yorker this week, and if there’s one thing about Jonathan Franzen and me that you ought to know about it, it’s that my appreciations of his work seem to run to 5% of his word count. Many of the pages that I’ve written about whole books are shorter than my piece on “Good Neighbors”; it’s almost certainly to be longer by the time I publish it.

Thanks to a link at The Awl by Choire Sicha, I discovered a new blog today, Songs About Buildings And Food, and not only that: but a writer more thrillingly long-winded than I am. May the spirit of Maeve Brennan bring delight to the mind of Justin Wolfe (or is it Henry?) In fact, I’m going to have to leave you now, because the blog’s latest entry begins with a reference to “Good Neighbors.” Prudence dictates that I finish my own appreciation before reading anyone else’s, but, en un mot, screw that.

Dear Diary: Salad

Monday, May 25th, 2009

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This afternoon, I invented a chicken salad. I probably did no such thing, but what I came up with was new to me. I tossed the white meat from a roast chicken (Kathleen and I eat only the dark when the bird comes out of the oven) in a dressing made up of mayonnaise, a half teaspoon of curry powder, a teaspoon of Dijon mustard, two tablespoons of fresh orange juice (left over from breakfast), a splash of white wine vinegar, a few pinches of dried tarragon, and salt and pepper. How much mayonnaise? Enough to make a slightly runny dressing. I covered the dressed chicken and set it in the fridge for a few hours. (In winter, I should have left it on the counter, wrapped.) At the last minute, I added two avocados, chopped, and one small tomato, seeded and chopped. That was that.

While different from anything that I had ever had, the result was not at all strange. Like most tasty food, my chicken and avocado salad tasted like a secret that I’d just been let in on. The sweetness of the orange juice combined with that of the tarragon to brighten the roast chicken, and the hours of steeping in the fridge had moistened it nicely. As we enjoyed the salad, I thought of how often in the past I have ruined chicken and avocado combinations with the greedy but deadening addition of bacon and mushrooms.

As for the rest of my day….

Yesterday — was it yesterday? I think so — I was trying to select an RSS feed in Outlook when I noticed a problem: the reading pane was blank. Worse, Outlook was suddenly “not responding.” Rebooting, deleting the feed and replacing it with a new one under a different name — nothing worked. Presently I discovered that the laptop was similarly afflicted. The net result was that I gave up on Outlook for feeds, and started a page in Google Reader. I ought to have done this a long time ago, for when you’re working from two or three computers, it makes no sense to channel all news feeds to just one of them. Clouds, my dear, are all silver lining.

Unfortunately, I had by that time deleted whole folders of feeds. Of course I remembered the sites that I depend on the most, but I’m afraid that I lost many of the new possibilities that I’d begun following in the past two weeks. A few years ago, the loss would have put me in a tragic frame of mind for at least a week. Now, I’m too busy for that sort of thing. I say this not to show off my newfound stoicism but to thank heaven that I am too busy for tragic states of mind about… lost RSS feeds.

Thanks to one of the new blogs whose name was rescued from the debacle, I discovered the site of an artist who paints disturbing oils. You could say that the pictures are pornographic, or at least I can, because I responded to them, more or less, as one responds to dirty pictures, if you know what I mean by that. (I looked at every last one of them.) But the paintings are disturbing in a way that has nothing to do with bizarre couplings. The young people who are shown in various states of undress, smoking and drinking at a party held in a Eurotrashy-deluxe setting, look terribly lost, and anything but happy. They’ve clearly been drinking too much, or drugging too much; and the men especially seem to be wondering how they got to this swinging soirée. When, that is, they’re not in a state of leer. I also had the most peculiar sense that they were for the most part still living with their parents, whose servants had ironed the shirts that hung unbuttoned on their unbalanced chests, and pressed the jackets that, despite the décolletage, they had neglected to shuck. The women are rarely absolutely naked, but almost always elaborately nude. The air is rancid with the scent of privilege gone wrong. For what it’s worth, the artist appears to fancy Cartesian, geometric titles.

You’ll be waiting for a link about now, but I’m not ready to give it. There’s no need for you to risk feeling as complicit in unseemly doings as I did for hours this afternoon.

Daily Office: Monday

Monday, May 25th, 2009

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¶ Matins: Frank Rich argues that the Obama Administration ought to take a firmer lead on same-sex marriage. I think it ought to do so as well. But it’s an ought that, like many liberal Southerners in the Fifties and Sixties, I find painfully premature.

¶ Lauds: Have a look at Mnémoglyphes, to see the photographs that Jean Ruaud took here in Manhattan last week. 

¶ Prime: The economics (or lack thereof) of the Susan Boyle Surprise.

¶ Tierce: Actor Jefferson Mays sat at Charlene Marshall’s side in court last week. Why do I think that this was a bad idea?

¶ Sext: Why does Mr Wrong (Joe McLeod) sound like Fafblog?

¶ Nones: China’s support of the Burmese junta suggests that the Central Country has made a thorough study of American foreign policy.

¶ Vespers: Join the Infinite Summer book club, and read David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. (via kottke)

¶ Compline: Helen Epstein on America’s prisons: “Is There Hope?” Surprisingly, the answer is yes: the Resolve to Stop the Violence Project (RSVP).

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Daily Office: Thursday

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

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¶ Matins: At a blog, new to me, called Reddit, readers were asked to identify “closely held beliefs that our own children and grandchildren will be appalled by.”  Then Phil Dhingra, at Philosophistry, composed a bulletted list of a dozen possibilities. Be sure to check it out.

¶ Lauds: Sad stories: No JVC Jazz Festival this summer, and no more Henry Moore Reclining Figure — forever. The festival may or may not limp back into life under other auspices, but the Moore has been melted down.

¶ Prime: David Segal’s report on the planning of Daniel Boulud’s latest restaurant, DBGB, on the Bowery near Houston Street (it hasn’t opened yet) has a lot of fascinating numbers. 

¶ Tierce: Attorney Kenneth Warner’s attempt to discredit Philip Marshall strikes me as desperately diversionary, but you never know with juries.

¶ Sext: This just in: “The 1985 Plymouth Duster Commercial Is Officially the Most ’80s Thing Ever.”

¶ Nones: The Berlin Wall, poignantly remembered by Christoph Niemann — in strips of orange and black.

¶ Vespers: The other day, I discovered An Open Book, the very agreeable (if less than frequently updated) blog of sometime book dealer Brooks Peters. (via Maud Newton)

¶ Compline: At Outer Life, V X Sterne resurfaces to post an entry about an unhappy moment in his job history. (We’ve been through this before, young ‘uns.)

¶ Bon weekend à tous!

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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.