Archive for the ‘Literature?’ Category

Daily Office: Wednesday

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

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¶ Matins: At New Geography, Aaron Renn looks at the outmigration of the middle class from “cool” cities, and attributes it, persuasively, to the failure of civic responsibility among “global” elites.

Clearly, the current models for organizing metropolitan areas are wholly inadequate. In our view, layers of government (state, country, local, school district) ought to be replaced by types of government: highly coordinated networking authorities (transit, power, hospitals) coexisting with highly localized service providers (schools, clinics, and parks). (via The Morning News)

¶ Lauds: Cityscape critic Blair Kamin is surprised to be supporting the destruction of a shed designed by Mies van der Rohe. The accompanying photograph is a bit of a tease: the shed hides behind a fence. (Chicago Tribune; via Arts Journal)

¶ Prime: PIMCO’s Mohamed El-Erian finds in the Dubai debt standstill “a reminder to all: last year’s financial crisis was a consequential phenomenon whose lagged impact is yet to play out fully in the economic, financial, institutional and political arenas.” We knew this, but it’s great to hear it from an eminent fund manager.

In our own front yard, Wall Street’s influence inside the White House needs to be muzzled, if not baffled. (Telegraph; via Marginal Revolution)

¶ Tierce: Michael Bond briefly but lucidly reviews Eli Berman’s Radical, Religious and Violent: The New Economics of Terrorism, a new sociological study that, notwithstanding its title, sees beyond the religious angle. (New Scientist)

¶ Sext: Nico Muhly, writing from Amsterdam, finds “a sort of childlike pornography” in Nederlands orthography. (This vanishes when you learn how to pronounce things.) He is also “obsessed” by the common digraph, ij. (via Snarkmarket)

¶ Nones: Predictably, Sunday’s election in Honduras settled almost nothing, even though Porfirio Lobo appears to have won more or less fairly. The Honduran Congress will vote today on whether Mel Zelaya will finish out his term in office. (NYT)

¶ Vespers: n case the popularity of a current blockbuster has you wondering if you’d like to read the book, Jenny Turner not only reconsiders her review in the London Review of Books but also supplies a list of blogs that offer highly entertaining spoilers about the later novels in this peculiar series.

¶ Compline: Having got wind of special treatment for denizens of the eastern-most block of West 61st Street on Thanksgiving Day, Clyde Haberman investigated in person. His worst fears are confirmed. (NYT)

Daily Office: Tuesday

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

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¶ Matins: A Times over the weekend exhorted Goldman Sachs & al to make a genuine apology — in the form of restitution.

¶ Lauds: Michael Johnston raises a very interesting question that is too often overlooked by viewers: where was the photographer standing? (The Online Photographer)

¶ Prime: onathan Ford and Peter Thal Larsen propose three concrete measures for trimming banks down to salvageable — fail-able — size. First, proportional capital buffers. Second, restore a virtual Glass-Steagall by insulating relatively safe activities from relatively risky ones. Third, dissolve global banks into “confederacies of national subsidiaries.” (Prospect)

¶ Tierce: Mike Sachs imagines the dialogue from porn movies starring his parents. (The New Yorker)

¶ Sext: Sam Kean thinks that William Safire and William F Buckley wrote too well. Was this a by-product of their conservatism? (3 Quarks Daily)

¶ Nones: Clan strife (exacerbated by religious differences) appears to be at the back of the gruesome abduction and massacre of at least 20 lawyers and journalists in the Philippine province of Maguindanao, where the writ of Manila appears not to run very effectively. (NYT)

¶ Vespers: Sonya Chung discovers the drawbacks of multitasking — walking the dog while listening to an audiobook. The piece is really about how dogs are a writer’s best friend because they can’t talk, and Revolutionary Road teaches us that talk destroys; but, hey. (The Millions)

¶ Compline: Owen Flanagan reviews an intriguing book: Reading in the Brain, by Stanislas Dehaene. If our brains haven’t significantly evolved for 200,000 years (by the way: how does anyone know this?), then how have we managed to read for the past five thousand? Exaptation! (New Scientist)

Daily Office: Thursday

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

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¶ Matins: Is there such a thing as good luck? Ayn Rand’s fans are certain that there is not: hard work is everything. Jonathan Chait assesses the Rand legacy in light of this conviction, at The New Republic. (via The Morning News)

¶ Lauds: Our latest discovery: MetEveryday. (Thanks, Ms NOLA!)

¶ Prime: David Leonhardt profiles Robert Shiller — in the Yale Alumni Magazine, naturally. (via Marginal Revolution)

¶ Tierce: A violin repair shop in Morningside Hides has been told to cease and desist from violating antiquated zoning restrictions. No, noise is not the issue.

¶ Sext: Links to an assortment of Lost Symbol reviews, at Speakeasy.

¶ Nones: True-life ghost fleet — container ships and other freighters parked off of Singapore. (via  The Infrastructurist)

¶ Vespers: John Curran, author of Agatha Christie’s Secret Notebooks, lists then top ten titles in her ouevre. How many have you read? (Film adaptations don’t count!) (via Campaign for the American Reader)

¶ Compline: Jason Kottke asks (in a footnote, no less):

You’ve got to wonder when Apple is going to change the name of the iPhone. The phone part of the device increasingly seems like an afterthought, not the main attraction. The main benefit of the device is that it does everything. How do you choose a name for the device that has everything? Hell if I know.

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Daily Office: Tuesday

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

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¶ Matins: Edward Glaeser reviews Anthony Flint’s book about the Jacobs-Moses Wars in Midcentury New York, at TNR. (via Marginal Revolution) 

¶ Lauds: The painting of Kim Cogan; detail below the fold. (via The Best Part)

¶ Prime: Felix Salmon provides some helpful background on the most upsetting story of the past weekend. Here’s hoping that he’s right, and that “life settlements” won’t go anywhere this time around, either.

¶ Tierce: Roman Hans has a problem with his cable bill.

¶ Sext: Carrie Fisher admits that she USED TO BE hot.

¶ Nones: At the LRB, Thomas Jones digs out an 1880 book about the futility of waging Western-style war in Afghanistan. Lots has changed since then, but Afghanistan hasn’t, not much.

¶ Vespers: Gadzooks! A New England prep school with no library! No books! Instead, a “learning center,” and a $12,000 cappuccino machine. (via Survival of the Book)

¶ Compline: Failure and free markets: is it any wonder that the inhabitants of a small island kingdom would be far more risk averse than the settlers of a resource-rich continent? Peter Goodman filters last week’s election through contrasts between Japan and the United States.

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Daily Office: Thursday

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

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¶ Matins: Jonah Lehrer, cross-posting for the vacationing Andrew Sullivan, anticipates the legalization of marijuana.

¶ Lauds: It’s not new, but we just found out about it: Thorsten Fleisch’s Gestalt.

¶ Prime: Although slightly intemperate in tone, David Barash’s essay at Chron Higher Ed persuasively equates the “growth economy” with the “Ponzi economy”: “We Are All Madoffs.”

¶ Tierce: We forget who it was who commented on the following report with the quip, good thing Alan Bloom is dead: “Twitter 101: DePaul University’s Social Media Prof Gives His Syllabus.” Oh! Of course! It was Christopher Shea.

¶ Sext: V X Sterne urges respect for the typical Ian Fleming villain. ”With his historic level of megalomania, his massively outsized sense of entitlement, his complete lack of perspective, his issues with impulse control, that infantile fixation on revenge, it’s a wonder he gets anything done.”

¶ Nones: Greece reboots: Prime Minister Karamanlis calls for a “snap election.”

¶ Vespers: At Survival of the Book, Brian picks up Christopher’s thread (Oops! We mixed them up) and considers the lost art of writing — writing real books, that is.

¶ Compline: Tom Scocca muses on the mad appeal of Useless Facts. (via kottke.org)

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Daily Office: Wednesday

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

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¶ Matins: (Note: this item is not about classical music.) In her WaPo piece about classical-music CDs, Anne Midgette labors under the impression that serious music recordings require the brokerage of a healthy “industry.” We agree with Henry Fogel: leaving industry behind is what’s healthy. (via Arts Journal)

¶ Lauds: Why is Britain’s National Trust spat taking us back to the 1640s? Surely not just the coincidence of princes called “Charles”?

¶ Prime: Robert Cringely thinks out loud about the ethics of technology. He used to think that Google’s motto was silly, but not anymore.

¶ Tierce: Is it possible? The Marshall Trial’s case for the prosecution was slated to end yesterday— two days into the trial’s 17th week. On Friday, the jury and the court will take a two-week vacation.

¶ Sext: At The Onion: “Film Adaptation Of ‘The Brothers Karamazov’ Ends Where Most People Stop Reading Book.” And where is that? 

The 83-minute film, which is based on the first 142 or so pages of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s acclaimed work, has already garnered attention for its stunning climax, in which the end credits suddenly appear midway through Katerina’s tearful speech about an unpaid debt.

(via The Morning News)

¶ Nones: China is upset with Australia, about Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer’s visit. When will China learn that foreign public opinion can be controlled no better by overt interference than by armed occupation?

¶ Vespers: Amazing news! Six million subscribers take Reader’s Digest. Still! So don’t over-interpret news of the publication’s bankruptcy filing.

¶ Compline: Natalie Angier writes lucidly about a murky subject: stress. Bottom line: it’s up to you to break out of the stress feedback loop.

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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, September 25th, 2008

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¶ Matins:  I was worried about voting machine chicanery — I hope that it’s clear by now that Republican Party operatives will stop at nothing, short of outright putsch — but I’m dismayed to see that the states with the most foreclosures — and thereby address-less, disqualified voters — are either solidly Democratic or important swing states.

¶ Lauds: Louis Menand writes about Lionel Trilling, The New Yorker. As current cultural history, it doesn’t get any better.

¶ Tierce: As regular readers know, I was never a partisan of either Democratic Party contender for the nomination. I could see the appeal of both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and both were clearly cut of presidential timber. Right now, though, I’m wishing that the lady had gotten the job, and the lead Times editorial this morning will tell you why. Hillary is more of a leader than anyone anywhere currently on the scene.

¶ Sext: We can only hope that Ronald Fryer will turn up something interesting in his “rigorous” study of theories of education.

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