Daily Office: Tuesday



¶ Regime Change: For the rest of the week, at least, I’ll be feeling my way with the Summer Hours version of the Daily Office entry. Two changes already in place: the entry will be posted at 10:30 every morning (instead of at 1:30 AM), and the first sub-entry of the day will not include a link.


¶ Orthodoxy or Death. How about an opera set on Mount Athos? Chorus of monks; fleet of St Ursula’s virgins, bound for sex slavery rather than martyrdom, foundering upon the rocky coast; rainbow bridge at the end leading to the newly-built Convent of Mount Pathos. Harry de Quetteville reports.


¶ Information Age: Robert Darnton, in The New York Review of Books, makes the plausible argument that the Internet has not really changed anything on the “information” front. There has always been too much of it, and it has never been as reliable as we’d like it to be.



§ Regime Change. The whole point of the Daily Office is to combine two fundamental elements of blogging that, over the course of this site’s first three years, fell into neglect: journal-keeping and Internet linking. I’m still not as good at this combination as I’d like to be, and one of the reasons for at least appearing to take the summer off is to give myself more time to explore the Internet, which I haven’t taken a fresh look at in a long time.

Anyway, here I am at last, on the first day of the new season. (Yesterday was a holiday.) A few things won’t change: I’ll be scrambling this afternoon and evening to write up this week’s Book Review as usual, and I’ll be going to the movies on Friday morning — you bet I will! The Morning Reads will continue, with a two-entries-per-week minimum. But Friday Fronts will be stripped back, in a yet-undetermined way, and writeups of plays and concerts will dry up almost entirely.

The past four months have boomed with growth at The Daily Blague — and pinched with attendant growing pains. It’s to ease the latter that I’m standing back a bit. I also want to focus on the mother ship, Portico , which is up for a design re-think. I learned a bunch of new skills this year, and I want to see if I can play with them a bit. I may not practice law anymore, but I still come to everything I do with a professional commitment to regularity that’s a fine thing most of the time but that needs to be switched off for a spell each year. In 2006 and 2007, I tried coasting through August with a series of links to pages at Portico.  The only thing I know is that I’m not going to do that again.


§ Orthodoxy or Death. My thoughts were distracted from the problems of the Moldovan ladies on terra prohibita by a sudden outage of The Daily Blague. While fuming and tearing my (lone remaining) hair out, I discovered that I can still update the old MovableType Daily Blague, which is reachable from Portico. Just something to remember — without writing anything down.


§ Information Age:

In fact, Voltaire toyed with his texts so much that booksellers complained. As soon as they sold one edition of a work, another would appear, featuring additions and corrections by the author. Their customers protested. Some even said that they would not buy an edition of Voltaire’s complete works — and there were many, each different from the others — until he died, an event eagerly anticipated by retailers throughout the book trade.

Consider that most sought-after nugget of information, the good recipe. Most people rather thoughtlessly judge a recipe by the imagined results, instead of on its merits as a set of instructions. When the production fails, the cook wails — But I followed the recipe! — without stopping to think that that might be the problem.

For dinner this evening, I threw together an old-reliable combination of shrimp and fresh corn, with a clove of garlic, a sprinkling of oregano, and a diced shallot in the sauté pan, over very moderate heat, and when the colors were just right, I dumped in a heap of cooked linguine. Nothing original there. What was original — all too original, I worried — was tossing the shrimp shells into the pasta water when it came to the boil. I use one of those “pasta pentola” pots that purists sneer at, and I wouldn’t do without it; the shells and the linquine never came into contact. But the pasta was delicately infused with a mildly shrimpiness.

As I say, all too original: if it was such a good idea, why had I never heard of anybody’s doing it? I may simply have read the wrong magazines, but the idea was all my own. I worried that it might be too intense, that ten minutes of boiling might turn the shrimp flavor in the way that ten minutes of boiling can ruin most vegetable flavors. But the result was very tasty.