Daily Office: Monday


¶ Matins: The latest Indiana Jones movie opened yesterday in Cannes, and here’s what BBC reviewer Mark Savage had to say:

It is a load of old nonsense, of course, but the journey is worth the price of admission.

¶ Tierce: The big story in this morning’s news is a Times study of the subway system’s elevators and escalators. If you live in New York, but don’t think that this is a big story, then you are part of the problem.

¶ Sext: It’s hardly a matter of general interest, but I’m tickled nonetheless that the Supreme Court has decided Kentucky v Davis in favor of the status quo. Municipal bonds retain tax-exempt status within issuing states.


§ Matins. This is a movie that I can wait to see, although I probably won’t be given the chance. Will it be better or worse than the last one? It will certainly be worse than the first, and better than the second.

The second, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, begins madly well but then falls off a cliff into whaaaa? land. Kate Capshaw’s princess act gets old very fast — although not as fast as Jonathan Ke Quan’s shrieks. Somewhere here, I have notes that I took one night, years ago, when it hit me that, viewed as a failed Hitchcock film, Temple of Doom was actually pretty interesting.

§ Tierce. Maintenance — keeping things clean and in working order — is arguably the second biggest urban headache. Because the first biggest headache is crime, the second gets short shrift. But there’s no doubt that the persistent degradation of facilities is an important degrader of the civil environment — witness the “Broken Windows” approach to crime prevention. You might say that keeping people in good shape requires keeping the things that they depend on in good shape, too. Sounds obvious, really.

But nothing is more boring than maintenance, and cities are supposed to be exciting. Here’s Lisa Chiou’s brush with excitement:

“It was literally a split second,” Ms. Chiou recalled. “My left foot was still on that step when it fell in. My foot sank in with it, and I just kind of pulled my leg back out. So I got scraped by the metal and stuff.”

Ms. Chiou managed to stumble up the still-moving escalator and make her way to the top. She had a small cut on her leg that required two stitches. “If one foot wasn’t on a sure step,” she said, “I would have fallen in, and I would have been eaten up by the escalator.”

§ Sext. This is good news for Fossil Darling. Rather, it’s not bad news. Sometimes, as the ghastly, alcoholic husband of one of my mother’s friends used to bark, “no news is good news.” Not that Supreme Court decisions aren’t always “news.”