Office/Diary: Wednesday


Stroking my beard, I realize with a moue that the barber took too much of it off at today’s trim. I thought that he was being a bit enthusiastic, but by the time this occurred to me there was no going back. I shall have to mention it to him next time. The barber who took care of me for years, until his retirement last year, never touched my beard with an electric razor — at my request. I don’t think that I can get away with that now; Willy is much younger and more determined to do things his own way. Even though I tip him even more. Absurdly more. Moue. 

¶ Matins: In an eminently sane reversal of Bushwah, the Justice Department will no longer harass medical marijuana networks in the fourteen states that permit them. Although the new position is unenthusiastic about marijuana use (to say the least), its rationale is noteworthy: the government has more important things to do.

Before Willy, I stopped in at Perry Process, where I also had to have, as nicely as possible, a few words. A few weeks ago, I asked about summer storage. Every spring, Kathleen sends her winter clothes off to be stored and then cleaned. And then delivered. I was told that the stuff would be ready at the end of my month. Imagine my displeasure when the doorbell rang on Saturday afternoon, as I was getting ready to welcome guests for brunch, in an apartment that was still at sixes and sevens — divided by two.

¶ Lauds: We are profoundly amused by the discomfort that R Crumb’s extremely literal illustration of the Book of Genesis is causing the fundies. Now they’ll understand why the Vatican forbade — forbade! — the independent reading of Scripture.

The real inconvenience was that Kathleen was in North Carolina, going through her late mother’s clothes, ironically enough. Having busted my major parts trying to impose a level of order on the apartment, the arrival of a heap of dry cleaning, poofed with tissue paper, came as a body blow. This afternoon, we agreed that a call beforehand — and, by the way, the 17th of October is not the “end of the month” — would be in order.

¶ Prime: There’s a movie in there somewhere — Iowa’s generous tax incentive to Hollywood may have been (gasp!) abused by filmmakers, and the program is on hold. Meanwhile (GASP!), right in our own backyard, stagehands at Carnegie Hall average almost $500K a year. (via Arts Journal)

I am telling you all of this to tickle you, because of course you cannot feel very sorry for me, beset as I am by such tribulations. Now, just imagine how self-righteously clueless the bailed-out investment bankers sound!

¶ Tierce: Must we? At his new New Yorker blog, Unquiet Thoughts, Alex Ross reminds us that “Für Elise” exists — not without a whiff of mystery. (But only a whiff.)

My friend Nom de Plume came in to town, and we had lunch. Then she went to her appointments and I made the aforementioned rounds, which I wrapped up with a visit to Eli’s, for to buy the makings of yet another quiche. When Nom was through with her schedule, she came to the apartment for tea, cake, and grilling — I don’t know how she puts up with my curmudgeonliness (and I’m not inquiring, either, by the way.)

¶ Sext: We’re sorry about not passing on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity yesterday — win a Norwegian Sweater from Ivy Style/LL Bean. Only a few hours remain to enter! If you miss that contest, there’s always the Critterati.

The best thing about the day, though, was sitting down at the laptop in the living room and writing a page for Portico. Yes, it was very nice — a massive relief, really — just to get it done. But it was awfully pleasant to do, and that was an even more massive relief, because what with all this apartment brouhaha I was wondering if I’d lost my taste for the fine tedium of writing a thousand words of connected text.

¶ Nones: The stalemate in Tegucigalpa (Zelaya: “insulting”; Micheletti: “agenda of insurrection’) is sending Hondurans in search of miracles, preferably one worked by Our Lady of Suyapa.

There was a little more to it than that. I’d been shying away from the laptop, owing to old WiFi connection problems that I really don’t have anymore, thanks to J—. Not that it matters much if I’ve got an Internet connection when what I’m doing is the equivalent of typing something on a few sheets of paper. Eventually, yes, I have to transfer those sheets to a server somewhere, but even if the laptop had no connectivity, I could always make use of a flash drive thumb.

¶ Vespers: Garth Risk Hallberg reads Updike’s Maples stories backwards, to thrilling effect. (The short-story equivalent of Harold Pinter’s Betrayal?)

It’s possible that I’m beginning to relax from a very ambitious summer. Also, the date for our Christmas party is set, and clouds of mental fog lifted with that clarification.

¶ Compline: Simon Roberts dips into Marc Girouard and fetches up a pearl of insight about the transformation of suburbs in the Eighteenth Century — everywhere: “The suburbs became the inverse of the hub – sites of inactivity, lack of productivity.”

In short, I’m feeling immensely, comfortably bourgeois. Exciting problems with the dry cleaner and the barber promise to be brought under control. The piles of crap on the old dining table, currently marooned in the foyer, dwindle visibly. It’s true that I forgot the cheese again, and made a quiche Lorraine by mistake. Texture aside, though, it was pretty good!

Tomorrow is a longer beard!