Formerly Ad Orientem

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Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children.

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He is a very shallow critic who cannot see an eternal rebel in the heart of a conservative.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

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Irish Elk
Tuesday, September 30, 2003  

"Hack should have been a morning newspaper man. They never go to bed, and nothing is said about it." The Sporting News

Hack Wilson: Cubbie, tragic figure

Very, very nice: Minn 3 at NY 1 * More on the Cubs and Bosox as postseason darlings * Mudville Magazine will be posting daily updates during the playoffs


Cryptozoologists and bunyip-fanciers, take note: The endangered Northwest Tree Octopus needs your help! (Via Fr Jas Tucker)


BoBos, Bush-haters &c: A New Hampshire reader e-mails Jonah Goldberg that the serfdom imposed on native working-class Vermonters by Bourgeois Bohemian (BoBo) colonialism in a way echoes the fate of New England's Indians 350 years before.

As it happens, David Brooks, the writer who coined the term "BoBo," has a spot-on piece in the NYT on academic politics and the sparse pickings for conservatives in the ivied grove.

Brooks also reflects on the Bush-hating mania, as does Cathy Young. (Via Irish Eagle)

Mark Steyn gives the business to Kerry and to Gen. Clark, revealed elsewhere to be the Candidate of Light (as in speed) and an erstwhile Bush booster.


Bears, blues, bonhomie: The renovation of Soldier Field in Chicago is reviewed in the NYT. The Tribune's package of coverage includes a photo gallery.

The Toronto Globe and Mail looks at the state of the blues -- "boring" – and the chance the PBS series will have a Ken Burns effect on record sales * The fare at the Inn at the End of the World this week includes whisky, pipe bands and hagiography


Monday, September 29, 2003  

Jake Wirth's


The late Elia Kazan is recalled at The Corner and in a useful 1999 piece from the archive at the Weekly Standard.

His Tree Grows in Brooklyn is among of my favorite films, evocative and heart-rending. Images come to mind: Of the girl throwing her arms around the charming, utterly irresponsible father she adores; of his wrapping the single scarf around his neck as he heads out into a snowy night to look for work; of Francie staring out a rain-soaked window as her sister is born. The scenes on the roof with her father's shaving mug and with the unexpected gift at her class graduation I find particularly moving. And I wish I could get a recording of the closing credits music on hurdy-gurdy or monkey organ that so convey the feel of Al Smith's sidewalks of New York.


What makes the current crop of Red Sox so likeable? One man-in-the-street quoted the other day put his finger on it: They're sociable. And then some:

At the Baseball Tavern on Boylston Street, where five Sox players stormed the bar after Thursday's game, a half-dozen fans sat around, throwing back a few brews and dissecting the events of the night before.

"It was . . . it was . . . incredible," recalled one breathless patron, Bill Hartmann. "All of a sudden, there was this commotion at the door, there was this wave of people, and you couldn't see who was in the center of it."

Hartmann, who cooks sausages at a Fenway Park concession, was sitting at the bar late Thursday when, he said, Millar ran up and jumped behind it. Millar reached into a cooler and started handing out bottles of beer, stopping to shake a few up and spray them at Tavern patrons. Millar and Derek Lowe, Lou Merloni, Todd Walker, and Gabe Kapler stayed for about 10 minutes, shaking hands and giving high-fives. "They were hugging everybody!" Hartmann said.

Said Kevin Millar:

I never had more fun in my life, running down Yawkey Way in my spikes with Derek [Lowe] and Todd [Walker] and heading into that tavern [the Baseball Tavern] with a couple of thousand people behind us chanting, `Bring On Oakland!' We were there 10 minutes. I wish we could have stayed four hours. And we might have, if we didn't have a bus, and a plane to catch."

The '03 Bosox: Worthy heirs to the convivial spirit of the Buffalo Heads and the '69-'70 Bruins.



Cosmic stars in alignment? Cubs Win! Cubs Win! The possibilities of a Sox-Cubs Series are bandied about here and here for starters. And the Google News archive on the subject keeps growing. We can only hope. In the meantime, view video clips of the old "Bud Man, Cub Fan" ads at this Harry Caray tribute site. Heeeyyy!


The Blues: Began watching the seven-part PBS series, but must confess flipping the channel when Scorsese's opener bogged down in an earnest Mali travelogue. Will come back next week.


There are worse ways to spend a fall weekend than running the kids to ground at a New England country fair, then capping things off with one or two fine local microbrew IPAs. Things will likely get pretty convivial indeed at this coming weekend's Octoberfest at the Harpoon Brewery: If you're in the area, and don't have to get up the next morning, it's a good take.


Friday, September 26, 2003  
Pilgrims' Progress

Give this man a Sox pennant. Credit

Get your David Ortiz Cowboy Up tee-shirts here! Is this the year the cowboy hat replaces the self-doubting Puritan's sugarloaf?

A writer (I believe it was Martin F. Nolan) has suggested the Red Sox' original name of Pilgrims better conveys the team's eternal questing in the face of New England Calvinist preordained failure.

Tom Fitzpatrick of Salem reflects on the local tradition of baseball as character-building exercise:

Being a Red Sox fan is a penance, rather like wearing a hairshirt. It is irksome at times, especially during September and October. It is an acquired taste that very few but true New Englanders can acquire. The personal fortitude required to withstand constant disappointment is not something folks from just anywhere are blessed with. Rather, like the New England weather, the fortunes of the Olde Towne Team are something to be endured. One needs a very healthy dose of stoicism to remain sane while watching the Red Sox over the years.

And as Samuel Johnson was fond of pointing out, "There are more things in life to be endured, than to be enjoyed." The Red Sox fate has, unswervingly since Woodrow Wilson was president, been something to be endured. The number of times that they have managed to find a way to be defeated since 1918 truly beggars the imagination.

But New England has something to enjoy this morning. We should all enjoy it while we can. Sic transit gloria mundi.

The pilgrim theme has been struck over the years. To mark the 1930 Tercentenary of Boston both the Red Sox and Braves wore on their uniform sleeves a Pilgrim Hat patch, revived by the Cooperstown Ballcap Co in this souvenir hat. In their very first years (1901-02), the Boston Americans were called the Plymouth Rocks and the Puritans. As late as the '60s and '70s, the Sox were sometimes referred to by capsule writers in the annual Sporting News baseball guide as the Pilgrims, as the Phillies were nicknamed the Quakers. I could swear a Willard Mullin-style caricature of a musket-toting pilgrim in red socks was used promotionally by the club in the early 1970s. (If anyone can confirm this, I'd like to get my hands on one of the cartoons.)

A travel piece on Massachusetts' Plimoth Plantation in the Sunday Times of London this past July intertwined Pilgrims with baseball:

"'Excuse me sonny," said the man with the lime-green sports coat. "Do you know how the Red Sox did last night?" The pilgrim, who had been ploughing a steady line through Plimouth Plantation's 17th-century herb garden, shouldered his wooden hoe and adopted a puzzled look. "I am sorry sir," he said in a strange nasal West Country accent. "But I have no knowledge of this Red Sox of which you speak."

"Hell, you're good son," said the tourist. "Hey Dottie, come over here and take a picture of me with this guy."

America loves reliving its history. Throughout the country there are heritage farms, forts, Wild West towns and Indian villages where staff dress up in period costume and act out life as it was lived 300 years ago. The granddaddy of them all is the pilgrim village at Plimouth Plantation on the road from Boston to Cape Cod, a short hoe down from where the brethren are reputed to have first set foot on American soil. Here, professional pilgrims tend to their animals, build houses and work their farms while all the time talking to their visitors in an array of 1627 accents.

Most tourists listen rapt to their descriptions of daily life, but there are always one or two intent on catching the actors out with questions about sport or the US presidents. As you'd expect, Plimouth's pilgrims are well-trained to handle these situations. Even when a 747 splits the sky leaving a trail of vapour behind it, they barely blink. "Why, it must be some kind of bird unique to these parts, master," they say before getting back to churning cheese.

Historical accuracy goes hand in hand with political correctness and further down the trail at Hobbamock's Wampanoag Indian Homesite I came across native Americans all too eager to let me know they were there first and what sort of impact the pilgrims had on their lives. "Ah yes," said our friend with the sports coat. "But do you know how the Red Sox got on last night?" "They lost it in the ninth." "No kidding?"


Around the Horn

Images of the Royal Rooters singing "Tessie" and of a Rooters' souvenir card are included in a 1903 World Series slideshow prepared by the BPL. The precursors to the "Dar-ryl" chant of 83 years later included these 1903 Boston fan cheers:

Boston, Pittsburg,
Who are we?
We are the rooters for 19-3.
We will win,
Go tell your pa,
We Beaneaters, Beaneaters,
Rah! Rah! Rah!

Five games, five games,
We want five,
We are here and all alive:
Biff! Bang! Bang, bang, bang!
Zim! Zam! Zam, zam, zam!

Read more about Royal Rooters sachem Nuf Ced McGreevy and the power of "Tessie" in the '03 Series.

Oakland fans, meantime, will appreciate this tribute to the old Oaks that used to fight it out with the San Francisco Seals and the Sacramento Solons.



The rallying cry of the Maple-Flavored McGovern, Howard Dean, is Take Our Country Back! What I want to know is, when exactly was the country in the hands of the Bread & Puppet Theater, and when was it wrested from their grasp? And how many of the Birkenstocked disposesssed await the order to march?


Where were the editors? That's what Hugh Hewitt of the Weekly Standard is asking after reading Jonathan Chait's recent Bush rant in TNR. Also weighing in is the ever-feisty Power Line, though be forewarned: The main page currently features mimes.


Thursday, September 25, 2003  
Cowboy up!

Sox clinch AL wild card. See a slideshow.



The Sun Never Sets… The seal of the Hudson's Bay Co. that once held rights to one-twelfth of the world's land mass is heraldry at its best * The Spectator, oldest magazine in the English language, is marking its 175th year * Stephen Fry makes his directorial debut with a film adaptation of Waugh's Vile Bodies * Fry is interviewed by the Financial Times * The Sept. 26 Commonweal features an appreciation of Waugh by biographer Robert Murray Davis that is well worth reading


Edward Said Remembered: Little Green Footballs * FrontPage Mag * Christopher Hitchens PLUS: Arafat meets the Corries



Harvard-Princeton program, 1934


An anthropologist vindicates the traditional family: Peter Wood of Boston University suggests useful lessons in human behavior may be taken from the examples of societies that have normalized male homosexuality or have incorporated forms of plural marriage:

Of course, you don’t really need an anthropologist to see that a breakdown in social rules governing marriage and the family has disastrous consequences. Consider some statistics: 1.35 million children in the U.S. born outside of marriage in 2001—33.5 percent of the total; 947,384 divorces in 2000, excluding those in California, Colorado, Indiana, and Louisiana, states that don’t count divorces; by age 14, 14-20 percent of American girls and 20-22 percent of American boys are “sexually experienced”; about five million Americans are addicted to drugs, and 52,000 die each year from their addictions; 15 million new cases of sexually transmitted diseases occur in the U.S. each year, a quarter of them among teenagers; about 100,000 American children engage in prostitution, and about 85 percent of street prostitutes report being incestuously molested by a male family-member as a child.

The breakdown in the family is also a sadly familiar part of everyday life for most us. Who doesn’t know a single mom struggling to do her best for her children but inevitably coming up short? Who doesn’t know of couples sundered by the small difficulties that, in previous generations, would have been taken in stride? And you don’t need an anthropologist to sense the transformation of America from a family-friendly culture to a culture of me-first.

But if you want to see where these social trends are leading, anthropology has some answers. Humanity has been experimenting with ways to organize itself into viable social groups for many millennia. Almost any combination of sexual partners has been institutionalized somewhere and often in multiple places. We can and should read that record as a realistic check against the dreams of consequence-free sexual liberation that have seized the imaginations of so many of our fellow citizens.

Read this compelling piece and be thankful you do not live among the Etoro tribe of Papua New Guinea. (Via ELC)


Mirabile Dictu: A wonder to relate is Mirabilis.ca, which this week reports on elephant polo, the dating habits of Moroccan Berbers, the chiropractic benefits of the medieval rack, and the discovered fossil of a Venezuelan rodent as large as a buffalo that would have kept the hominids fed on many a Lenten Friday had the Capybara Dispensation been in effect eight-million years ago.



I know I put those liturgical directives somewhere

I have no problem with altar girls. As long as they ring the Sanctus bells on cue. The kerfuffle prompted in some corners by a reported new Vatican rollback on liturgical innovation seems a bit misplaced. Why argue over who enters the sanctuary when the whole notion of the sanctuary has been done away with, as in the cathedrals at Los Angeles (also above), or Milwaukee, or at Evry, France (where a papal Mass is shown being celebrated)? Why stipulate the replacement of entry gates in altar rails when most all the altar rails themselves have been removed? Dale Price has more thoughts on the topic: Wonder how he really feels?


On Baghdad's Nazis, via Fr Jas Tucker, and a comparison to 1945 Berlin.


Wednesday, September 24, 2003  
Nothing is wrong with your TV set

He controls the vertical and the horizontal

Where there is discernment of subliminal messages beamed over the Lawrence Welk Show, there is the Church.

In light of these revelations via Fr Sibley (Sept. 22), it becomes clear these sayings by the Champagne Music Maker are actually secret code.


No More Playing Devil's Advocate: A British documentary-maker writes on the fast-tracking of Mother Teresa for sainthood.


Yoko Ono's latest bit of performance art has audience members snipping off bits of her clothing in the name of world peace.

Maureen Mullarkey is unmoved:

Grandstanding in the arts has become a habit, like church-going. By making noises about some pretense at social redemption or another, artists put themselves beyond the reach of criticism. Any relation between stated intent and actual achievement is rendered undiscussible. Right-thinking short circuits traditional categories of judgment. It hardly matters if a "work" is good or bad. It's about Peace, Justice, Choice or some other fine abstraction. How could anyone find fault with that?

You can sell any flimflam if you dress it as art. Art scams find more pigeons than three-card Monty or the Jamaican switch. Should Cut Piece come to your town, call the bunco squad.


David Ortiz for MVP? Everyone join in a round of "Tessie" for last nights Win of the Year at Fenway that has cowboyed-up Boston fans howling. You have to like the verb "jubilate."


Tuesday, September 23, 2003  

Democrats, Democrats, do it up brown: Boston talk radio host Jay Severin calls him General Wesley Gump. You do have to wonder what sort of ambition would make a decorated four-star general lend his military honor as cover for an anti-war movement that wants America to lose in the world.

Already the comparisons are being made to the general who carried the Democratic banner against Lincoln in the Civil War election of 1864. Rick Brookhiser writes at The Corner: Wesley Clark is George McClellan--proud, smart, by the book, untalented, incompetent. All stars, no battles.

Victor Davis Hanson at NRO recalls 1864: Copperheads turned to the diminutive, dapper, and glib failed general, George McClellan, who was willing to throw in the towel and accept a brokered stalemate. Lincoln, who had done so much to prevent war, was castigated as a warmonger with the blood of thousands of his hands. And this was in his fourth, not his first, summer of bloody fighting. But Lincoln, writes Hanson, did not listen to gabby George McClellan — or consider the Copperheads anything other than defeatists whose enticing policy of appeasement would only postpone but not end the killing.

Historical background on the Copperheads, the spiritual ancestors of today's anti-war Democrats, may be found here and here and here.

The Parlor Songs site features a campaign song purportedly composed by Stephen Foster for McClellan, "Little Mac! Little Mac! You're the Very Man!" How about these lyrics?

Dem-o-crats, Dem-o-crats, do it up brown
Lin-coln and his Nig-ger heads won't go down
Gree-ley and Sum-mer and all that crew,
We must beat Lin-coln and John-son too.

Note the side the accommodationists with slavery were on then. Note the side the appeasers of terrorism are on now.

[A site dedicated to the songs of Stephen Foster questions his authorship of "Little Mac," which may be heard in MIDI version here. The Library of Congress' America Singing collection features a number of McClellan campaign song-sheets. Search here.]

Mark Steyn doesn't think much of the general. Nor does MCJ.

But leave it to Jonah Goldberg to tell why he opposes Clark:

Besides the fact that the Clinton mafia is mysteriously supporting him (If they think he can win, then you'd think Hillary wouldn't want him to run since a Clark Presidency would ruin her chances to be president) I'm opposed to Wes Clark running for President because he is the only Democrat it's hard to make fun of. It's hard not to make fun of Sharpton, Kucinich, and Braun. Lieberman looks like a rodeo clown who hasn't had his foundation make-up removed yet. Edwards is a trial lawyer who would still be a trial lawyer if he looked like Kucinich. I think I've said this before, but Dean's the sort of arrogant liberal who yells at you for buying the wrong book at his used book store. John Kerry looks like some suction-cup-fingered demon sucked-out his soul through his temples. Graham thinks he's doing history some great favor by recording his bowel movements on notepads.


The bite of fall in the air finds Christopher Johnson mulling chili and a change of denomination.


On Media Bias re Iraq: A remarkable piece by John Burns of the NYT. Reactions &c: Irish Eagle * John Leo * Instapundit I and II and III


If you can't go to Rome, visit the Shrine of the Holy Whapping, which has become a daily tour de force travelogue of smells and bells and saintly relics in the Eternal City, courtesy of Shriner Matthew, who is spending the academic year there. You read his stuff and realize the rest of us can just pack it in. (Via Fr Jim)


Friday, September 19, 2003  

'If the seemingly barren and war-strewn field of litigation can be the playground where spirit dances, it can revel anywhere.' Cloying, yes, but even more, chilling: This innocuous-seeming bit of New Agey sprightliness accompanies a plug for the book Litigation as Spiritual Practice by one George Felos. He's the attorney for a Florida husband who wants to shut off food and water to his brain-damaged wife. Starving the woman to death is presented as a blow for her "Right to Die" by the attorney, who fancies himself a mystical sort.

Courtroom Yogi of Death, is more like it. Imagine devoting so much energy to the "spiritual," yet being so utterly devoid of conscience.

The Schiavo case is appalling. Amy Welborn offers a roundup of coverage, while Fr. Johansen suggests civil disobedience may be in order. He's right.


Walesa and Havel urge Castro's overthrow: Read their letter, and the accompanying Telegraph leader, "Castro's Time is Up."


Tuesday, September 16, 2003  

FDNY Pipes & Drums

The Cops in Kilts of the Chicago Police Emerald Society cite a description of the bagpipes given in 1581 by Galileo's father:

"The Bagpipe is much used by the Irish. To its sounds, this unconquered, fierce, and warlike people march their armies, and are encouraged to feats of valor. With it they also carry their dead to the grave, making such a mournful sound, as to force the bystander to weep."

Particularly recommended from the Chicago police pipe band's mp3 page are the Quiet Man and the Garryowen sets.

And for more Garryowen, see the Fighting 69th trailer at TCM.



The Neoconservative Persuasion: I've been simpatico with the NeoCons since my days reading The New Republic and Commentary in the 1980s. As an ancestral Democrat who admires FDR and Truman and JFK and RFK, who sees a great mission for America in the world, and to whom the Republican Party will never really be home, I find David Frum's description of Neoconservatism strikes a chord:

The term "neoconservative" was coined back in the 1970s by people on the left as a term of abuse for those fellow leftists who were showing signs of backsliding from the lunatic orthodoxies of 1960s liberalism. In those mad days, it did not take much to earn the "neo" label. You could be a socialist like Penn Kemble or a yellow-dog Democrat like Daniel Patrick Moynihan--all you had to do was express some doubt that society was to blame whenever a black youth knocked down an old lady to steal her purse.

Quickly, however, the term "neoconservatism" assumed a more precise meaning. By the late 1970s and early 1980s, friends and foes of the neoconservatives came to accept something like the following definition: A neoconservative was a former liberal or leftist, typically from a poor background, typically Catholic or Jewish, who had been driven rightward by the intellectual and moral implosion of liberalism in the 1960s. They were often the children of immigrants. They had witnessed and in many cases suffered terrible oppression and persecution in Europe. As they saw it, the difference between America and Europe was the difference between life and death. They began as Democrats, but as the Democrats turned against American exceptionalism, so they turned against the Democrats. Still, they retained some of their youthful statism on economic issues and, often, some ancestral affection for Democratic heroes of the past: FDR, Truman, and sometimes Kennedy and Johnson.

As the years wore on, the old line between neoconservatives and traditional Republicans began to blur: One ex-leftist-turned-rightist told me this story. She had attended the New York high school known as the Little Red Schoolhouse in the early 1950s. At her 40th reunion, one of her classmates reproached her for her political migration: "I hear you've become a neoconservative." The ex-leftist answered defiantly, "Yes--in fact, I've just re-registered as a Republican." "Oh please," her classmate replied. "Don't exaggerate."

Godfather of Neoconservatism Irving Kristol offers his own take on the persuasion.

Meantime, here's Mickey Kaus, this past March, on the passing of Daniel Patrick Moynihan:

A college friend of mine, Catherine, babysat for Daniel Patrick Moynihan in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the mid-1970s, the era when Moynihan was making headlines as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. One everning we went out drinking at a low-rent establishment in nearby, working-class Somerville -- the sort of place where the walls are decorated with the corrugated insides of beer cartons. Scruffy college students talked Marxism by the bar, while a group of actual workers -- ruddy, silver-haired Irish guys, fresh off the job, with dirty pants and sweaters -- lined the back wall, swaying shoulder-to-shoulder, singing old songs. Catherine looked at the line of reddening men and squinted. "Isn't that ambassador Moynihan?" We scoffed at her, until she walked right up and introduced herself to one of the swaying men, who rose up -- and rose, and rose -- and fumfawingly admitted that yes, he was.

I always thought this encounter reflected well on Moynihan -- he may have been the most erudite man to serve in the Senate in the last half century, he may have dressed like an Oxford professor, but he wasn't a snob. He wasn't a pedant either, as Jacob Weisberg noted in a NYT assessment two years ago -- but rather someone whose knowledge gave him a "keen awareness of the past's presence," and the melodramatic sweep of history.


Here & There: I hadn't appreciated Johnny Cash all these years, but have come to find out he had some great songs. Listen to "Folsom Prison Blues" via Country Corral, which also features a worthy Hank Williams selection. Oh, to be sitting in the Tune Inn with a Natty BoHo right now * Little Green Football readers polled on what should be done with Arafat are an unforgiving lot * From political cartoonists Cox & Forkum, these posts all in a row: Stay of Execution * Cost of War * That Day * Yoko Ono = Wing Nut * Disney caught placing subliminal Madeleine Albright images in Little Mermaid * A WTC survivor has posted at Little Green Footballs the harrowing story of her escape on 9/11, and it is compelling reading * Irish Eagle posts a link to an Irish Abroad 9/11 tribute site.

Here's Tony Blair, recalling 9/11 in a speech a few weeks later to the Labor Party Annual Conference, Oct. 2, 2001:

Think of the cruelty beyond our comprehension as amongst the screams and the anguish of the innocent, those hijackers drove at full throttle planes laden with fuel into buildings where tens of thousands worked.

They have no moral inhibition on the slaughter of the innocent. If they could have murdered not 7,000 but 70,000 does anyone doubt they would have done so and rejoiced in it?

There is no compromise possible with such people, no meeting of minds, no point of understanding with such terror.

Just a choice: defeat it or be defeated by it. And defeat it we must.

Listen to the speech in full. Still inspiring, two years later. Do antiwar Leftists who deride W as an inarticulate idiot make the same claim of Blair? Do they as readily dismiss the Anglo-American case made articulately? One gathers they do, but how can they?


Thursday, September 11, 2003  


"I love you, Daddy. I miss you a lot."

Images: NYC * Orlando * NYC * NYC * NYC * NYC * NYC * NYC * NYC

"Danny Boy" Set, performed by the Bagpipes & Drums of the Emerald Society, Chicago Police Department. The pipe band's website has a Flash introduction that is quite moving.



Andante from "Rhapsody in Blue," George Gershwin, solo piano, 1928: One of several renditions of "Rhapsody in Blue" recorded before Gershwin's death in 1937, from the invaluable Red Hot Jazz Archive. Others include this piano roll solo by Gershwin from 1924 and, from 1927, one of three by Paul Whiteman's orchestra.


Wednesday, September 10, 2003  

Angel of the Commons, Late Summer, by Sara Lovering

Agnus Dei, based on Adagio for Strings, by Samuel Barber, performed by the Choir of Trinity College: High * Low (Via IHM)

In Memoriam: Neilie Anne Casey * Dan McNeal * The Hanson Family of Groton, Mass. * Welles Crowther, the Man in the Red Bandanna * And all others lost Sept. 11, 2001

"The Wayfarer"
Padraic Pearse

The beauty of the world hath made me sad,
This beauty that will pass;
Sometimes my heart hath shaken with great joy
To see a leaping squirrel in a tree,
Or a red lady-bird upon a stalk,
Or little rabbits in a field at evening,
Lit by a slanting sun,
Or some green hill where shadows drifted by
Some quiet hill where mountainy man hath sown
And soon would reap; near to the gate of Heaven;
Or children with bare feet upon the sands
Of some ebbed sea, or playing on the streets
Of little towns in Connacht,
Things young and happy.
And then my heart hath told me:
These will pass,
Will pass and change, will die and be no more,
Things bright and green, things young and happy;
And I have gone upon my way


Tuesday, September 09, 2003  
Settlement reached in Boston: Archdiocese agrees to pay $85M. Follow coverage at Boston.com and NECN.



FDNY Piper, Ground Zero

"The trade-center towers could be the start of a new skyscraper age or the biggest tombstones in the world." Ada Louise Huxtable, NYT architecture critic, 1966

Watched Ric Burns' film on the World Trade Center (a postscript to his New York documentary) and found the buildings' history, which I hadn't known, fascinating. But it was difficult watching: I do not like heights, and my palms were sweating through much of the three-hour program (especially during the section on the French tightrope walker). The scenes of 9/11, including footage not widely seen, were nightmarish.

That morning, I was home watching my son and daughter, then 4 and 2, who played, happily oblivious, as horrors unfolded on the living room TV. So Lileks strikes a chord:

I was nowhere near New York when it happened, of course. But you’d have to be unusually thick not to see that this was the start of something that would affect more than the lower portion of the island of Manhattan. I don’t know what compelled me to grab the videocam off the shelf and start shooting, but I’m glad I did, because what I caught captured something I needed to remember: the TV has the picture of the twin towers engulfed in smoke: my little 14 month old child is grinning with unbearable delight, holding out her Elmo phone. Hi! Hi! Hi! Jasper’s in the corner of the picture, on his back, paws up, whimpering; whatever I was giving off, he got. But Gnat was in Elmo-world, a happy little place in which she’d always be safe, and I’m wondering if her future will be all downhill from here.

At that point I thought the fires might go out. I thought the towers might be saved. Then they fell. And you knew that the future had just taken the wrong exit.

Angry? Almost two years later I’m still f*#king furious about it, if you want to know the truth. I’m not sure what emotion these people want me to have. An appropriate amount of sadness mixed with an appropriate amount of shame mixed with a soupcon of perspective and a dram of self-hatred? Can you send me the precise recipe, please? Because from where I stand, I see the two forces I thought the left deplored: religious intolerance and fascism. Together at last! Swirled into one cone! If Kluxers had flown planes into the UN building, these people would be insisting that America was bubbling over with millions of Bubbanazis, and the failure of the networks to mount Second Anniversary specials would be proof that the media secretly embraced the White Power agenda.

Again, I’ll ask the question: when did I overdo it? January 14, 2002? August 23rd 2003, 11:34 AM? Was that the point at which we were supposed to pack it all away in a box and store it in the attic with the newspapers and Time magazines? I pass a house every day that still has a Wellstone! sign in the front window. Should I knock on their door, and ask why they have the sign up? They’re white, male, living in the land of opportunity. Stop grieving. Stop it!

Wellstone died almost a year ago - by accident. Three thousand people died by design that day. Only a fool couldn’t help noticing what it meant: they want us all dead. They want a world in which my daughter is a slave - and even though they’ll never get it, they will kill someone else’s daughter a half a continent away just to make their point.

Christopher Hitchens, meantime, calls for fewer flags and more grit: What is required is a steady, unostentatious stoicism, made up out of absolute, cold hatred and contempt for the aggressors, and complete determination that their defeat will be utter and shameful. This doesn't require drum rolls or bagpipes or banners. The French had a saying during the period when the provinces of Alsace and Lorraine were lost to them: "Always think of it. Never speak of it."

The Emerald Society Pipes & Drums of the FDNY keeps an online photo album that includes images, like the one above, taken at Ground Zero. The Society also offers a fine selection of links to other fire- and police-department pipe bands.

Lane Core has put together a Remember 9/11 gallery that includes photos from last year's Flight 93 memorial service.


Clip: "Remember," Red Norvo & His Orchestra


Around & About: Has anyone else noticed the resemblance of Joe Lieberman to the Gill Man? * A Google search on the phrase "Whale Pants" returns, fittingly enough, a review of Boston College's Alumni Stadium in the top spot * How about those Eagles? * From the Collected Letters of James Thurber, this ditty teasing a socialist friend: "Love and kisses to you and/the wife and the baby, and/if they were only starving/wouldn't that be realer and/better?" * Saw the American Masters program on Elia Kazan, Arthur Miller and the Blacklist and found it compelling and fair. (See the video clip on this page of Brandeis film historian Tom Doherty criticizing those who romanticize Communism. Would the blacklisted Hollywood writers carry the same tragic appeal had they been Nazi sympathizers?) * A recently discovered manuscript left by FDR Cabinet member Robert Jackson has been published, and gives an insider's look at President Roosevelt * Fr. Sibley is asking signatures for a Priests for Celibacy Petition


Thursday, September 04, 2003  
For God and Country

A flag-toting Ted Kennedy is shown above campaigning in the God and Country Parade (!) of September 1962 in Lawrence, Mass. Can you imagine such a photo being taken today? The image is part of an online exhibit on Essex County history. See also a striking image of the flag waving over the 1962 parade, and a picture of Theodore Roosevelt visiting Lawrence in 1902.


Now Playing: "Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight," by Louis Armstrong, via the Booze Bros


From the Rockford, Ill., Register Star: St. Mary's Oratory said not threatened by new jail construction


Around & About: Sniff. Wonder if the once-wooden-Indianesque-now-Oprahfied-empathetic senator dipped into the family fortune to help the poor lady out? * Does anyone else think the computer-aged Elvis resembles the lovely Vina as reconstructed by the Talosians in the Star Trek episode "The Menagerie"? * Just what we need: Another denunciation of bankrupt American society from one of the debauched sybarites of the recording and film industries, in this case, from one whose fashionably affected alienation nets him millions and a comfortable residence in the south of France. By all means, stay there, Johnny. But be sure to keep your air-conditioner handy * Oh, for a ride in one of these: But what will it do to Duck Tour business? * Gregg the Obscure administers a fisking to Dr. Dean: Physician, heal thy conscience * More mantillas than you can shake a stick at, at Extreme Catholic (Sunday, Aug. 31) * And one more



Bucky Harris and Joe Cronin, 1935

So, one more year without baseball in Washington. Is it really such a big deal? One fan journeys to the heart of the American game to find out: A beautiful piece by Washington Post Magazine writer and Red Sox fan Bob Thompson, followed by an online discussion. An excerpt from the article:

More than the games themselves, it's the sharing of them that was and remains important. The college friend we saw yesterday, for example, told us a story about waking his sleeping 6-year-old in 1986, just before Buckner's meltdown, so the boy would be able to say he'd seen the Red Sox win the Series. ("So it's your fault!" I exclaimed, and he didn't disagree.) The people we're staying with tonight, with whom we have much more in common than just baseball, nonetheless can talk endlessly and interestingly about the nuances of individual players and games. When pressed, they're also willing to mull the broader question of what the Sox have meant to New England over the past 40 years.

The argument goes like this: In a period when a tidal wave of homogenization has surged across America, washing out regional differences, New Englanders have resisted the process more than most. They want badly to be, if not unique, at least distinguishable from the mass of their malled and supermarketed fellow citizens. Red Sox fandom has become a marker for the kind of distinctive identity they seek. For newcomers to the region, in particular, it is a bridge to the people they've come to join, a way to assert their membership in something special.
(Via Bambino's Curse)

World Series, Pittsburgh, 1960


An instant classic: Fr. Rutler's letter to Crisis on vegetarianism is so brilliant it must be reprinted here in full (via Fr. Sibley):


I was delighted to read the Manichaean ramblings of Danel Paden, director of the Catholic Vegetarian Society ("Letters," June 2003). It confirmed my theory that fanaticism in Western society alternates between nudism and vegetarianism, both of which contradict the order of grace.

As an optimist, I happily trust that Paden confines his extreme commitments to vegetarianism.

Taste is one thing; it is another thing to condemn meat eating as "evil" and permissible only "in rare and unfortunate circumstances." Paden disagrees with no less an authority than God, Who forbids us to call any edible unworthy (Mark 7: 18-19), and Who enjoins St Peter to eat pork chops and lobster in one of my favorite revelations (Acts 10: 9-16). Does the Catholic Vegetarian Society think that our Lord was wrong to have served up fish to the 5,000, or should He have refrained from eating the Passover Lamb? When He rose from the dead and appeared in the Upper Room, He did not ask for a bowl of Cheerios, nor did He whip up a meatless omelette on the shore of Galilee.

Man was made to eat flesh (Genesis 1: 26-31; 9: 1-6), with the exception of human flesh. I stand on record against cannibalism, whether it be inflicted upon the Mbuti Pygmies by the Congolese Army or on larger people by a maniac in Milwaukee. But I am also grateful that the benevolent father in the parable did not welcome his prodigal son home with a bowl of radishes.

Vegetarians assume an unedifying posture of detachment from the sufferings of vegetables that are mashed, stewed, diced, and shredded. In expensive restaurants, cherries are publicly burned in brandy to the applause of diners. It is not uncommon for people to submerge olives in iced gin and twist the peels of lemons. Be indignant, vegetarian, but not so selectively indignant that the bleat of the lamb and the plaintive moo of the cow drown out the whine of our brother the bean and the quiet sigh of the cauliflower.

Vegetables have reactive impulses. Were we to confine our diet to creatures that lacked sense and do not even respond to light, we could only eat liturgists and liberal Democrats.

The Rev. George W. Rutler
New York City


Tuesday, September 02, 2003  

From Roadside America


Clips: "San Sue Strut" and "Casa Loma Stomp" by Casa Loma Orchestra


Which is the bigger bag of wind bearing down on New England? Tom Fitzpatrick mulls the question, while drawing a comparison between Senator Liveshot and Teddy Brewster of Arsenic and Old Lace.

On that front, two of the many inspired bits of dialogue from the film:

Mortimer: The name Brewster is code for Roosevelt.
Teddy: Code for Roosevelt?
Mortimer: Yes. Don't you see? Take the name Brewster, take away the B, and what have you got?
Teddy: Rooster!
Mortimer: Uh-huh. And what does a rooster do?
Teddy: Crows.
Mortimer: It crows. And where do you hunt in Africa?
Teddy: On the veldt!
Mortimer: There you are: crows - veldt!
Teddy: Ingenious! My compliments to the boys in the code department.


Teddy: I beg your pardon. Who are you?
Jonathan: I'm Woodrow Wilson. Go to bed.
Teddy: No, you're not Wilson, but your face is familiar. Let me see. You're not anyone I know now. Perhaps later on my hunting trip to Africa. Yes, you look like someone I might meet in the jungle.

Elsewhere in New England, Chris at Maine Catholic has his storm tracking gear while considering other famous Fabians.


Gaudi Night: Modern-art maven Erik Keilholtz prefers the Spaniard to Stroik, and tells you why, in compelling fashion. Jim Cork, too, appreciates the Sagrada Familia.


Recently uncovered documents indicate the future Pius XII was strongly opposed to Nazism, a Jesuit historian writes in the latest America. The article may be read in PDF form here.


Evelyn Waugh is recalled in the NYT Book Review and in an exchange at Slate (parts II and III here).


The Pope's Stargazers: The Jesuits who run the Vatican Observatory have battled to correct the notion, spawned by the Galileo affair nearly 400 years ago, that the Roman Catholic Church is hostile to science. More


US navy pays respect to war hero brothers: From the Irish Independent, Saturday, Aug. 30:

TIGHT security will surround the arrival of a special naval flotilla, led by the US missile-destroyer USS Sullivans, off the west Cork coast to commemorate a family who endured one of World War II's greatest losses, writes Ralph Riegel.

The USS Sullivans arrived off Beara to lead the commemoration of five Irish-American brothers who died when their ship was torpedoed in the Pacific.

The deaths of five Sullivan brothers - George (27), Francis (25), Joe (23), Madison (22) and Albert (19) - prompted President Roosevelt to issue an edict forbidding relatives from serving on the same US vessel.

The story of the Sullivans is mentioned by US top brass in Steven Spielberg's 'Saving Private Ryan'.

The Sullivan family emigrated to the US from Adrigole in the 1840s and the commemoration will recognise the heroism of the brothers. There will also be vessels from the Irish and French navies.

US officers will join relatives John Sullivan and Kelly Sullivan Loughren to unveil a plaque near where the family originated.
(Via Irish Eagle)

Elsewhere in the world of Hibernia: See photos and match reports from the Boston Gaelic Games finals of the past weekend.


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