Archive for the ‘Patriarchal’ Category

Daily Office: Tuesday

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

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¶ Matins: Just what we all need: China produces and sells more than 12,000,000 cars in a single year.

In a sidebar, Jorn Madslien reports that Shanghai Automotive Industries owns a majority share of Shanghai General Motors’s venture in India, leaving (American) General Motors to take “a back seat.” (BBC News)

¶ Lauds: A very interesting comment from Felix Salmon, writing about productivity/price differentials between the fine-arts and photography markets. The former has split in two, with mass-marketed items buoying a “an elite circle of valuable works.” The dynamic hasn’t been tried in photography.

¶ Prime: Alex Tabarrok writes about Project Cybersyn, an economic regulator waaaaay ahead of its time. (Marginal Revolution)

¶ Tierce: How to account for same-sex liaisons in terms of natural selection? The investigation promises to be complex and counterintuitive. Also: resistant to cross-species generalizations!

Gore Vidal has always insisted that there is really no such thing as homosexuality; perhaps he’s right after all. (New Scientist)

¶ Sext: What you need to know in order to navigate the tricky holiday shopping season: it will cost $395. (The Onion; via The Morning News)

¶ Nones: New, and with more than T-shirts: Ottomaniacs!  One thing seems clear: Turkey is finally emerging from Atatürk’s secular tutelage, a nation with imperial memories. (NYT)

¶ Vespers: At HuffPo, Alexander Nazaryan proposes Joseph O’Neill’s Netherland as the American novel of the passing decade. We heartily concur, and we nominate Joshua Ferris’s Then We Came to the End as runner-up.  

¶ Compline: Witold Rybczynski reports that academic architects still don’t like Christopher Alexander’s patterns. (Slate; via Arts Journal)

Daily Office: Friday

Friday, August 21st, 2009

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¶ Matins: Edmund Andrews’s story about Ben Bernanke in this morning’s Times is strangely silent about the contribution of that self-made moron, Alan Greenspan, to the mess that Mr Bernanke has had to clean up.

¶ Lauds: These kids today: 91 year-old Arthur Laurents reads “the riot act” to the cast of West Side Story, which has been plagued with calling-in-sick-itis. (via Arts Journal)

¶ Prime: Why not call it the Goldstein Curve? Robin Goldstein culled data from Craigslist (and Felix Salmon turned it into a lovely scatterchart), revealing the inverse relationship between used car/bike prices in seven American cities.

¶ Tierce: Crazy or visionary? The developers of a building to be called 200 Eleventh Avenue (West 24th Street) plan to attach a garage to every apartment — just off the living room. (via Infrastructurist)

¶ Sext: Choire Siche discovers Hallenrad! And shares some of the best.

¶ Nones: Will the new face of Duchy Originals be HRH?

¶ Vespers: Garth Risk Hallberg reminds us of something that has been gently overlooked in the recent craze for All Things Julia: Mrs Child was not so much a great cookbook writer as she was a great writer period.

¶ Compline: Precisely because Reihan Salam’s Foreign Policy essay, “The Death of Macho,” made us uneasy, we think that everybody ought to read it.

¶ Bon weekend à tous!

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Daily Office: Tuesday

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

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¶ Matins: Jonah Lehrer proposes a molecular theory of curiosity: don’t worry, it’s easily grasped.

¶ Lauds: David Denby’s unfavorable review of Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds makes sense to us — which confirms our suspicion that it is an old-man view of things.

¶ Prime: Felix Salmon reads that crazy story about the guy with the $25,000 certified check in his briefcase, and contemplates a depressing conclusion.

¶ Tierce: Why rock stars ought to die young: “eccentric-looking old man” spooks renters, turns out to be Bob Dylan. (via The Morning News)

¶ Sext: A “Good Food Manifesto for America”, from former basketball pro Will Allen. (via How to Cook Like Your Grandmother)

¶ Nones: Turkey struck an interesting agreement with Iraq last week: more water (for Iraq) in exchange for tougher crackdowns on PKK rebels active near the Turkish border. (via Good)

¶ Vespers: Not so hypothetical: what if you could teach only one novel in a literature class that would probably constitute your students’ only contact with great fiction? A reader asks the editors of The Millions.

¶ Compline: Two former policemen argue for legalizing narcotics. (via reddit)

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Daily Office: Thursday

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

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¶ Matins: The High Line may be cute, but we disapprove (an understatement) of elevated highways in urban areas. So does everybody with a brain. Jonah Freemark and Jebediah Reed contemplate the elimination of seven American monstrosities.

¶ Lauds: Matt Shepherd ruins Rashomon for everyone, forever. (via MetaFilter)

¶ Prime: Gracious! All of a sudden, defunct Wall Street giant Lehman Brothers owes New York City gazillions in back taxes! Was Mayor Bloomberg perhaps a bit too pally with Richard Fuld?

¶ Tierce: Four months in, and the prosecution is still at it. Not even the newspapers are paying much attention; what about the Marshall Trial jurors?

¶ Sext: Who will replace Frank Bruni as the Times’s restaurant critic? [Sam Sifton, that's who.] This may be the last time that anybody cares. (via The Awl)

¶ Nones: And, just the other day, we watched The Hunt for Red October: “Russian Subs Patrolling Off East Coast of U.S.”

¶ Vespers: Aside from Pride and Prejudice, we haven’t read any of the books on Jason Kottke’s best-book list (why only six). That may change.

¶ Compline: James Bowman regrets the fading of the honor culture. We don’t, not a bit, but Mr Bowman’s very readable essay can’t be put down.

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Daily Office: Tuesday

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

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¶ Matins: Ross Douthat writes lucidly about the the problem posed by someone like Sarah Palin to American politics. It has a lot to do with that problem that Americans don’t like to admit that we have: class distinctions.  

¶ Lauds: Plans to house Gap founder Don Fisher’s modern art collection in San Francisco’s Presidio have been gored by a combination of  NIMBYism and very mistaken preservationism. (via Arts Journal)

¶ Prime: Felix Salmon argues very persuasively against subjecting credit default swaps to regulation by state insurance commissioners. Although slightly daunting at the start, Mr Salmon’s entry is definitely worth the effort.

¶ Tierce: They wanted to put Cecille Villacorta away for a long time. But her lawyer, Joe Tacopina (get his card, now!)  convinced the judge that the Saks saleslady had been trained to increase her commissions by sending kickbacks to favorite customers.

“Basically, Cecille’s saying, ‘You told me to do this. You trained me to do this. I made you $27 million. And I became a defendant,” Tacopina said after court yesterday.

¶ Sext: In case you’ve ever coveted one of those Gill Sans “Keep Calm and Carry On” T shirts (complete with crown), Megan Hustad’s write-up may cure you, at The Awl.

¶ Nones: The death of Robert McNamara occasions a great deal of reflection — if only we can find the time.

¶ Vespers: Hey! See action in war-torn quarters of the globe while engaging in serious literary discussions with brainy fellow warriors! Join the Junior Officers’ Reading Club today!

¶ Compline: According to Psychology Today [yes, we know that we ought to stop right there], parks occupy an astonishing 25.7% of New York City’s surface area! That’s what density makes possible. (more…)

Daily Office: Monday

Monday, June 29th, 2009

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¶ Matins: What is intelligence? Are there kinds of intelligence? Christopher Ferguson, at Chron Higher Ed, reminds us of the question’s politico-pedagogical nature.

¶ Lauds: At The Best Part, some pictures by Brett Amory.

¶ Prime: Jay Goltz poses a superbly sticky problem in business ethics that, unlike most such puzzles, has no leading dramatic edge to nudge you in the “correct” direction. Give it a think!

¶ Tierce: “Welcome to the flip side of homophobia.”

¶ Sext: Things to do with dead Metro cards, at Infrastructurist.

¶ Nones: Why is it so hard to find Osama bin Laden? Just think of the money that has been spent on the manhunt. Julian Borger and Declan Walsh outline the difficulties — and the limitations of whizbang technology — at the Guardian.

¶ Vespers: According to Martin Schneider, at Emdashes, Michael Jackson appeared three times in The New Yorker over the years. I expect that the number would have been rather higher if Tina Brown had taking over the editor’s job about ten years earlier.

¶ Compline: Everyday depression may be a survival tactic of sorts, by reducing motivation to pursue unrealizable goals. Conversely, the American ethos’s valorzation of persistence in the face of obstacles may explain why this country leads the world for clinical depression.  (more…)

Daily Office: Monday

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

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¶ Matins: A trio of guest bloggers at Good write about the replacement of “conspicuous consumption” with “conspicuous expression.”

¶ Lauds: It’s as if Petrus Christus and Rogier van der Weyden had taken up photography — also, recycling. Hendrik Kertens photographs his daughter, Paula. (via Purest of Treats)

¶ Prime: Alan Blinder explains why (in his view) inflation — that bugaboo of the propertied classes — is not much of a risk right now. Find something besides inflation to worry about, he advises.

¶ Tierce: Did the prosecutors in the Marshall trial jump the shark? To compute the value of an estate, it is necessary to venture a date of death. This is not a legal correlative of sticking pins in a voodoo doll.

¶ Sext: Orthodox couple in Bournemouth claims false imprisonment, owing to motion-sensor lightswitch that obliges them not to leave their apartment on the Sabbath lest they turn on the lights.

¶ Nones: Why theocracy cannot work in the modern world: “In the Battle for Iran’s Streets, Both Sides Seek to Carry the Banner of Islam.”

¶ Vespers: It’s increasingly apparent that the book that we ought to be reading is the Bible. Americans think that they know it, but they don’t. (via reddit)

¶ Compline: Is Prince Charles cruising for a bruising?

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Daily Office: Wednesday

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

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¶ Matins: The only thing that’s missing from this Observer story about a houseguest from hell is the atmosphere that Quatorze would exhale if he were reading it.

¶ Lauds: Here’s a story that ought to be curdling my innards, but the innards in question were curdled so long ago that there’s nothing left. The Times may sell WQXR, according to the kind of rumors that have been panning out lately.

¶ Prime: Even though I have NO ROOM, I must confess to being beguiled by Mike Johnston’s Online Photographer entry about starting a camera collection.

¶ Tierce: Olympia Snowe’s envoi to Arlen Specter manages to make Ronald Reagan, of all people, sound like a moderate Republican. The Pennsylvania senator’s defection to the Democrats may also lubricate his former party’s easing-up on opposition to same-sex marriage.

¶ Sext: And, speaking of marriage, The Morning News assembles a Panel of Experts, comprising a handful of youngsters who are engaged to be married, “The Rules of Engagement.”

¶ Nones: First, the good news: things are looking up (a little) in Myanmar, a nation so devastated by Cyclone Nargis, last year, that its repressive junta loosened up a bit.

¶ Vespers: Finally: a book by Colson Whitehead that I’d like to read. None of that postmodern bricolage, just a straightforward summer novel: Sag Harbor. Marie Mockett inverviews the author at Maud Newton.

¶ Compline: One of the most egotistical, testosterone-driven, and commercially senseless mergers in corporate history is about to be undone, as TimeWarner and America Online approach the dissolution of their relationship.

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Daily Office: Monday

Monday, April 27th, 2009

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¶ Matins: Robert Pear’s story about the latest squabble in health care reform is well worth thinking about. “Doctor Shortage Proves Obstacle to Obama Goals” is the title of his story, but I’m afraid that the editor who came up with it was having a senior moment, even if he’s only twenty-six.

¶ Lauds: Norman Lebrecht inveighs against artists who collaborate with nasty regimes — creative types who go along to get along. I couldn’t disagree more with his conclusion, but I recognize that he has, by far, the easier argument.

¶ Prime: Manfred Ertel’s Spiegel story about the recknoning in Reykjavik will make deeply satisfying reading to anyone who, like me, believes that the past fifteen years’ free market follies betray a pre-adolescent want of perspicuity. Having the gals take over so that they can fix things seems only right. But what about the reaction?

¶ Tierce: For some reason, I thought that Texas could subdivide into six entities, not five — but I do remember (from my Houstonian captivity) that subdivision was a standard plank in gubernatorial platforms until 1920.  

¶ Sext: In his search for bizarre LP album covers, Muscato unearths the even more bizarre optimism of LP consumers back in the days when new technologies promised to deliver information not only more palatably but more effectively than conventional media (ie books).

¶ Nones: Two stories about Hungary at risk in the ongoing slump. First, and very predicatable, violence aimed at Roma (gypsies). Second, and more impressionistic, Budapest’s fragile prosperity, considered by someone just old enough to remember the city in 1989.

¶ Vespers: A faux-anxious story, nominally about Kazuo Ishiguro’s having only so many more book projects in his quiver, alerts us to the impending arrival (in the UK, anyway) of a new book — not a novel.

¶ Compline: Erik Hare’s essay on seizing opportunity, on being ready to take advantage of favorable winds when they blow — and on the tendency of liberals to dismiss such a skill as “opportunism” — makes for thought-provoking reading. “Eyes on the Prize,” at Barataria.

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Daily Office: Thursday

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

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¶ 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!

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Daily Office: Tuesday

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

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¶ Matins: Matt Taibbi lays it all out for you, in no uncertain terms. “It’s over — we’re officially, royally fucked. No empire can survive being rendered a permanent laughingstock…” (via Mike O’Neill)

¶ Lauds: Listen, it’s disgusting that female actors “age” so much faster than their male colleagues that they find themselves playing the mothers of characters played by men hardly any younger than themselves. But maybe there’s a good reason that has nothing whatever to do with crow’s feet.

¶ Prime: Confucius say, a picture is worth a thousand words. (Citation, anyone?) RJ say, a thousand words is not too many. This week’s Economist cover gets a handy explication at Strange Maps.

¶ Tierce: GM’s goal of recapturing 29% of the American auto market, set at the beginning of this decade, probably contributed to the company’s distress. (And it’s not the “29.”) (via Morning News)

¶ Sext: “You’d better take the highway, because my way is for me only”: memos from Edward Mike Davis, proprietor of the Tiger Oil family of companies, make hilarious reading now. (Via Things Magazine)

¶ Nones: It’s hard to read the BBC’s story about increased surveillance on the Mexican border without feeling that received morality makes people really, really stupid.

¶ Vespers: Is the recession/depression stomping out ambition? Choire Sicha thinks so, and he’s going to write a book about it.

¶ Compline: What impresses me about President Obama’s press conference this evening is his ability to address issues substantively but in terms that almost everyone can understand.

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Daily Office: Monday

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

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¶ Matins: Lest Academy Aware euphoria inspire forgetfulness, let’s travel to another part of California: the sad town of Perris, where Lawrence Downes finds a the housing crisis in a nutshell.

Perris was essentially a company town for corporate home builders. Now parts are a living foreclosure museum, with subdivisions tracing the staggering arc of boom and bust. Some still gleam. Others lie stained and rotting in the desert sun. And some, like Mountain View, are frozen, half-built: accidental monuments to mass delusion.

¶ Lauds: Time joins the chorus of media neurotics who want popular movies to be nominated for Academy Awards. This has got to be the final rejection of Boomer values.

¶ Prime: And here I thought I’d already posted links to Jean Ruaud’s new photoblog, beware, wet paint! In the Daily Office, I mean.

¶ Tierce: Timothy M Dolan, Archbishop of Milwaukee, will be coming to St Patrick’s. At first glance, he seems to be about as good a choice as one could hope for. (Like our Federal courts, the Catholic hierarchy has been packed with conservatives who will persist despite liberalizing trends.)

¶ Sext: There’s a witty French movie to be made from this story . . .

¶ Nones: Just as one thought, people all over India are watching shows about Slumdog Millionaire on televisions, just as, in the movie itself, they’re shown watching Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

¶ Vespers: If you’re feeling a bit tired and beleaguered, worried that the world will still be here tomorrow, then you probably won’t take much comfort from Kate Kellaway’s manifesto (disguised as a news article) in the Guardian: “‘A whole library in wafer-lhin form’.”

This may be the last year in which it is possible to be ebook or mbook (of which more later) illiterate. We in the UK are on the verge of extraordinary changes in the way we read, think about narrative and define the book itself. Already the US and Japan are chapters ahead of us (the UK is a relatively timid, conservative bookworm). This month sees the US launch of Amazon’s Kindle 2 (a refined version of the handheld ebook as yet unavailable here) which will eventually make it possible for book victims like me to put down our heavy bags of books and trip lightly into the future with a whole library contained in a wafer-like, wireless form.

¶ Compline: From time to time, I express my opinion that artificial persons (ie corporations) ought not to be allowed to own intellectual property. I have a number of reasons for this radical idea, but here’s a very clear one. Oxford physicist Joshua Silver has invented $19 eyeglasses for the world’s poor; he’s hoping to bring the price down.

Silver said there has been some resistance from the eyewear industry. Years ago, one vision company offered a “substantial amount of money” to him if he sold them his technology, but Silver said he declined because he had no assurance that it would be used to bring low-cost glasses to the poor.

How stupid did they think an Oxford scientist would be?
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Daily Office: Monday

Monday, February 9th, 2009

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¶ Matins: Is it taking Frank Rich longer than necessary to reset his outrage gauge, even though the new administrations failings and disappointments are barely venial by comparison to those of the old?

The tsunami of populist rage coursing through America is bigger than Daschle’s overdue tax bill, bigger than John Thain’s trash can, bigger than any bailed-out C.E.O.’s bonus. It’s even bigger than the Obama phenomenon itself. It could maim the president’s best-laid plans and what remains of our economy if he doesn’t get in front of the mounting public anger.

¶ Lauds: Chinese Tags, from the Kwan Yin Clan in Beijing. At first, you may not even seen the graffiti-inspired spray paintings; they blend right in with the traditional scroll art. (via Tomorrow Museum).

¶ Prime: Maud Newton contributes to the online extension of the Granta issue on fathers. Upbeat tone nothwithstanding, it’s one of the saddest things that I’ve ever read. But then, I’m a father.

¶ Tierce: Eluana Enlargo, in a coma since 1992, is about to be let go . . .  or is she?

¶ Sext: James Surowiecki talks. On Colbert. And now I have to stop referring to him as “James Soor-oh-vyetsky.”

¶ Nones: Slumdog Millionaire — but without the ‘millionaire’ part. Meet Rewa Ram, as Rupa Jha reports on the sewer cleaners of Delhi.

¶ Vespers: I can’t remember where I came across the recommendation in the Blogosphere, but somebody said that Maria Semple’s This One Is Mine is a smart novel, so I bought, and I’m reading it, and — I don’t know why, really — I’m finding it really, really depressing. It isn’t the novel, I don’t think. It’s Los Angeles.

Anyway, Maria Semple talks to Marshal Zeringue, of Campaign for the American Reader, about her work. She’s not depressing.

¶ Compline: Plenary indulgences . . . How is the Catholic Church like the Bourbon Dynasty? Paul Vitello reports.

Like the Latin Mass and meatless Fridays, the indulgence was one of the traditions decoupled from mainstream Catholic practice in the 1960s by the Second Vatican Council, the gathering of bishops that set a new tone of simplicity and informality for the church. Its revival has been viewed as part of a conservative resurgence that has brought some quiet changes and some highly controversial ones, like Pope Benedict XVI’s recent decision to lift the excommunications of four schismatic bishops who reject the council’s reforms.

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Daily Office: Thursday

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

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¶ Matins: Fasten your seatbelts and get ready for Uncle Niall. This time, “Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid” really means what it says. A tsunami of economic disarray is barreling toward the ship of state. Unlike the pooh-bahs in Washington, Professor Ferguson believes that the ship is at present upside-down, rather like the SS Poseidon you might say, and that trying to borrow our way out of the problem à la Keynes is rather like what “climbing” for the boat deck was in that disaster.

¶ Lauds: The 25 Random Things meme (see below) is one thing; the truly daring will be sending their Facebook portraits to Matt Held to have them painted (possibly) and exhibited in all their unflattering glory. (via ArtFagCity)

¶ Prime: I never miss a chance to rejoice that I’ve lived into a new epistolary age; when I was younger, people didn’t answer my letters because they were “intimidated.” The 25 Random Things meme, however, is something altogether and delightfully new. Memes like it have been circulating for “ages,” but something about the Facebook tag has prompted a lot of scribbling — 35,700 pages of randomness. Douglas Quenqua reports — without saying a thing about himself!

¶ Tierce: Learning about the Bacon Explosion in the pages of The New York Times — and not on the Internet — was bad enough. Discovering the frabjilliant Web log of Sandro Magister there is really the limit!

¶ Sext: A fantastic slideshow: The End — or words to that effect. Repeat 189x. Brought to you by Dill Pixels.

¶ Nones: The last thing China needs right now is a major drought, but that’s what’s afflicting the north-central, wheat-growing provinces.

¶ Vespers: Sheila Heti interviews Mary Gaitskell for The Believer.

¶ Compline: Something to chew on over the weekend: where both quantity and quality of work are measurable, as, say, in academia, is the childless candidate for a position intrinsicially preferably to the parent? Ingrid Robeyns kicked off the debate at Crooked Timber. (via Brainiac)

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Daily Office: Wednesday

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

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¶ Matins: Back to Afghanistan, where the war always made sense: one hopes that this is how our Iraqi misadventure will end, with a withdrawal to the most troubled part of Central Asia known to the West. What happens in Iraq really never did, at day’s end, matter, except to the Iraqis and to the petulant son of George H W Bush. The future of Pakistan (and, with it, India) is however tied up in the mountain fastnesses where a version of Iranian is lingua franca.

¶ Lauds: Although I’m disinclined to poach from coverage of the Book Review, Toni Bentley’s review of a new translation of Akim Volynsky’s Ballet’s Magic Kingdom: Selected Writings on Dance in Russia, 1911-1925 is so chock-a-block with densely beautiful passages about ballet that I must mention it here.

¶ Prime: Is Alaska really that big? Too bad it looks like a maple leaf.

¶ Tierce:  Of all the rackets to complain about in an apparently noisy neighborhood, a Hamburger homeowner has sued to close a nearby day-care center. Carter Dougherty reports.

¶ Sext: Although I can muster a few plausible observations to explain why I didn’t know until today about the Bacon Explosion, a torpedo of cholesterol that was launched on an unsuspecting world on or about Christmas Day, I think it’s best just to admit that I simply not cool. What’s really interesting is that I read about it in the Times. That’s how I found out about the latest (?) Blogosphere sensation.

¶ Nones: Members of Sri Ram Sena (the Army of Lord Ram) assaulted and chased women drinking in a public bar in Mangalore, Karnataka, according to BBC News. The group’s leader, Pramod Mutalik, says it is “not acceptable” for women to go to bars in India.”

For the past two days, he has argued that Saturday’s assault on the women was justifiable because his men were preserving Indian culture and moral values.

¶ Vespers: A few weeks ago, I came up with the concept of “Dorm Lit” — the masculine correlative to “Chick Lit.” A bookcase stocked with Mailer, Vonnegut, Heller, Pynchon, and The Catcher in the Rye is the prototypical Dorm Shelf. Just last night, I was wondering what newer authors might join these august ranks? Ms NOLA mentioned Murakami — Bingo! And now the brouhaha over the facts of Roberto Bolaño’s life reminds me to add the Chilean author to the list. You don’t even have to read any of the late writer’s books, because the quarrel over his biography seems torn from one of his stories.  

¶ Compline: It’s hard to imagine the publication by any mainstream American newspaper or magazine of Seumas Milne’s attribution of social progress in Latin America — and rejection of neoliberalism worldwide — to the Cuban Revolution. Harper’s or The New Yorker might print a watered-down version, but not what appeared in The Guardian.

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Daily Office: Tuesday

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009

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¶ Matins: Mark my words: this is the beginning of something good: Web/House calls by physicians in Hawaii.

¶ Lauds: When I was growing up, art was something that fruity, suspect men couldn’t help producing — the  byproduct of diseased minds. The people around me wished that art would just stop. Even I can hardly believe how unleavened the world was in those days. How nice it would have been to have Denis Dutton’s new book come to the rescue: The Art Instinct: Beauty, Pleasure and Human Evolution.  

¶ Prime: My friend Jean Ruaud, who happens to be the best photographer I know, spent the holidays in Houston, the city where I lived for almost a decade but haven’t visted in seventeen years. Even though most of the pictures — all of the ones that don’t feature Downtown — are completely unfamiliar, they’re also distinctly More of the Same.  

¶ Tierce: It’s official.

For those New Yorkers who wondered what the Manhattan real estate market might be like without the ever-rising bonuses of Wall Street’s elite, the answer is now emerging: an abrupt decline in transactions, tottering prices and buyers who are still looking but unwilling to sign a contract.

Josh Barbanel reports.

¶ Sext: The reported discovery of a circle of standing stones forty feet below the surface of Lake Michigan is more than a little intriguing. Quite aside from what the site tells us about prehistoric society, there’s the matter of protecting the site. How do you restrict access to an underwater location? (via kottke.org)

¶ Nones: “Activists” have become “gunmen” in Greece. Anthee Carassava reports.

¶ Vespers: At Maud Newton, Chad Risen mourns the shuttering of the Nashville Scene book page. Hang-wringing news, certainly. I can’t say, though, that I agree with this:

Blogs are great, and in some ways better than book sections, but there’s nothing like a book page in a local, general-interest publication to “cross-pollinate” interest among people who might otherwise never come across serious discussions of the printed word.

This sounds like a paper fetish to me.

¶ Compline:There are two items about the Catholic Church in today’s Times, and although they seem to tell very different stories, I’m not so sure that they do. The first is Abby Goodnough’s report on “rebellious” parishioners who have occupied their church in order to keep the Boston diocese from selling it off. From Spain, meanwhile, Rachel Donadio writes about an impending showdown between observant Catholics and government secularists.

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Daily Office: Tuesday

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

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¶ Matins: Even if you have already come across the Kilkenny letter, I urge you to consider it as a model memorandum that, in an ideal democracy, every voter would be sufficiently informed to compose. Anne Kilkenny is a resident of Wasilla, Alaska, who has known Sarah Palin for many years, and who opposed her attempt to fire the local librarian. She is definitely an “interested” observer. But her letter seems candid and level-headed. Her take on Trig, as well as on some of Ms Palin’s political positions, suggests a scrupulous determination not to demonize. The main thing is that she sat down and composed her thoughts. (via Suz at Large.)

¶ Tierce: As someone who ingested a good deal of LSD back in the day, I read today’s Times report on Salvia divinorum with great interest. The recreational aspect of drug use doesn’t interest me very much anymore, but I remain curious about altered states of mind. Overall, though, the story has me spluttering with rage, at the drug’s troglodyte opponents.

¶ Sext: Thank God for France! Nowhere is pleasure more expertly rationalized. From Le Figaro, a review of Mamma Mia! that talks of Shakespeare and “postmodern irony.”

¶ Nones: How big is New York City? As big as the populations of Idaho (Manhattan), Maine (the Bronx), Nevada (Brooklyn), New Mexico (Queens), and Wyoming (Staten Island). (via JMG > Gothamist)

¶ Vespers: Times columnist Bob Herbert enjoins liberals to hold up their heads. It’s a great idea, but he has no suggestions about what to when the wingnuts start shooting at it.

Troglodytes on the right are no respecters of reality. They say the most absurd things and hardly anyone calls them on it. Evolution? Don’t you believe it. Global warming? A figment of the liberal imagination.

Yes, and that’s the problem. Consider:
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