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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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Irish Elk
Friday, January 30, 2004  
Kicking the Cats

Go, you Sons of Gino Cappelletti – kick 'em again, harder!

Now playing: Clips of the Gillette "Look Sharp March," played by the Boston Pops, and the "Maine Stein Song," played by the marching band at Tom Brady's alma mater

Plus: "Kicking the Cat," by Joe Venuti * "Swingin' Dem Cats," by the Missourians * "Black Cat Moan," by Clara Smith and her Five Black Kittens

When the Pats were psychedelic * They don't dedicate many pro football games these days to Catholic prelates * Invoke long-suffering Pats greats of the past at Angelo Coniglio's AFL cyber-shrine


Wednesday, January 28, 2004  
An hour or two of idiotic whooping…

Mencken barside, 1933

My response to the cup o' joe offered by my wife this morning: Bring. It. On! A most useful phrase. But for full Jawn Kerry effect, it must be delivered as woodenly as possible.

At the New Republic site, a pair of Massachusetts journalists are conducting an online give-and-take on the Democratic front-runner under the headline, Bostonians Debate Kerry.

The magazine's Michael Crowley writes on the ambivalence with which many in the Bay State view Kerry, a prophet without honor in his own land, or at least among the local pols he has long ignored (but who nonetheless are now scrambling aboard his bandwagon):

If Tip O'Neill ever explained to Kerry his theory that all politics is local, Kerry showed no sign of absorbing it.

Several legislators explained to Globe columnist Eileen McNamara last month that they never felt they could call Kerry for help. "Why bother?" one asked. "You'd be lucky to have anyone on his staff call you back." Around class-conscious Boston, where blue-collar pols were already suspicious of his Brahmin upbringing, Kerry developed a reputation for fancying himself above the scrum of retail politics, and more preoccupied with his own future than with the state party. And he paid for it. When Kerry once arrived late for a gathering of state Democrats, one cracked from the podium that Kerry had gotten "stuck in front of a mirror."

* * *

Ornery Senator. Friendly Monster. (Via Cosmic Tribune)


* * *

Kerry the hockey player, then and now.

* * *

This Back in Time archive of vintage Time Magazine political reporting was once featured at the CNN All Politics site and still makes engrossing reading today.

From a July 1928 account of the Democratic convention:

The Nomination

(TIME, July 9, 1928) -- "Democratic Georgia covets the honor . . ." -- Representative Charles R. Crisp nominating Georgia's George.

"Indiana presents . . . a son of its pioneers . . ." -- William H. O.'Brien nominating Indiana's Woollen. (Mr. O'Brien's speech was 79 words long.)

"Some say we should nominate an outstanding Democrat -- the man we intend to propose is one of the most outstanding Democrats of the day . . ." -- George McGill nominating Kansas' Ayres.

"Tennessee does not offer the name of this great Democrat as a sectional candidate . . . . He is a national figure . . ." -- Harvey H. Hannah nominating Tennessee's Hull.

". . . The iron man of the nation's Democracy. . . . We are here for serious business. Our object is not to name a nominee, but to elect a President . . ." -- Charles M. Howell nominating Missouri's Reed.

On and on went the speeches, occupying the better part of two long sessions of the convention. Colorado's Thompson, Nebraska's Hitchcock, Ohio's Pomerene, Texas' Jones were also named. Seconding speeches were intermingled with nominating speeches, handsome speeches with fiery, witty with dull, empty with honest.

To a man from Mars, where it may be that flourishing compliments are unknown, the puzzling thing would have been that everyone in the hall knew what the outcome was to be. But to Democrats it was not puzzling at all. For once the party had its mind made up and before expressing itself was indulging in the luxury of idle speculation.

More than 24 hours after tall Franklin Delano Roosevelt had introduced New York's "happy warrior"; after Maryland's Ritchie, Kentucky's Barkley and Wyoming's Ross and several others had seconded him, with phrases ranging form "this sea of faces" to "a living, pulsating, understanding heart" -- the balloting began. Soon the name of Alfred Emanuel Smith belonged to the almanacs.

* * *

A retrospective on Mencken's political writing that ran during the last election campaign remains just as relevant to this one.

Thus emerged a host of scathing political observations, many of which ring true generations later. Take, for instance, his forecast for the proceedings of the 1924 Republican National Convention:

"Some dreadful mountebank in a long-tailed coat will open them with a windy speech; then another mountebank will repeat the same rubbish in other words. Then a half dozen windjammers will hymn good Cal (Coolidge) as a combination of Pericles, Frederick the Great, Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt and John the Baptist; then there will be an hour or two of idiotic whooping, and then the boys will go home."

Were Mencken alive for this year's campaign, experts say, he would find more than enough material to keep busy.

Mencken's main target would likely have been the debasement of language in political rhetoric, a favorite subject dating back famously to Warren G. Harding's 1921 inaugural address, which he described as "the worst English that I have ever encountered.
"It reminds me of a string of wet sponges; it reminds me of tattered washing on the line; it reminds me of stale bean soup, of college yells, of dogs barking idiotically through endless nights," he wrote. "It is rumble and bumble. It is flap and doodle. It is balder and dash. But I grow lyrical."

Mencken was not out to abolish democracy but to encourage the voter to ignore false pretense and choose his candidate "as he makes his selection between two heads of cabbage, or two evening papers, or two brands of chewing tobacco."

"Today, he chooses his rulers as he buys bootleg whiskey, never knowing precisely what he is getting, only certain that it is not what it pretends to be."


Etc… The Chinese Sally Rand remembered * A tribute to Count Basie * Conrad Black on FDR * Winston Churchill on writing, some splendid Monty Python bits, and a "Duck and Cover" training film for kids of the Atomic Age are among the multimedia clips offered by the Boston College Graduate History Alliance


"The Bush administration has pursued the most arrogant, inept, reckless, and ideological foreign policy in modern history." John Kerry

Wonder if she agrees.

I'd rather hear from this Iraqi girl than, say, the self-congratulatory '60s fantasists of the Dean cult – the narcissistic Boomers who, their candidate said Tuesday night, want the country they "were promised when they were 21."

(Because they don't want to divide America, they want to unite it. Into one big happy community. On their terms. With which you'll concur if you are moral, tolerant and enlightened.)

Take Back America? Take back whose America? If the Deaniacs would stop cheering themselves for a moment, perhaps somebody could tell them their hero has now been trounced in a party vote in two states in a row.

Meantime, President Bush's job approval rating across the land is at 58 percent in the latest Washington Post poll, with 56 percent supporting the Iraq war, and six in 10 agreeing the war had made the United States safer.

These angry Democratic primary voters who have been getting all the coverage in recent days – the ones who want Anybody But Bush, and who at a time of great national peril want France to hold a veto over US security, and the president to focus on being Pharmacist-in-Chief. They aren't the whole country. They aren't the majority.

At least I hope they're not come Election Day.


Moral obtuseness distinguishes not only the Ostrich Wing of the Democratic Party but all too many in the Anglican Communion, starting at the top.

Ever So Humble has a nice pic of her New Hampshire town square on Primary Day. All that's missing is the ubiquitous Union soldier statue, perhaps decked out with a Veterans for Kerry banner.

National Review's "Notes & Asides" section features selected letters to William F. Buckley with his responses, usually signed off "Cordially, WFB." This week's WFB correspondents are Rev. George Rutler and old friend Joseph De Feo. Select company, indeed.

A DVD of the Holy Mass celebrated according to the Anglican-use rite is being produced by Our Lady of the Atonement Church in San Antonio, which has posted info and trailer. (Via RC)

Otto-da-Fe's penchant for pseudonyms calls to mind the noms de plume WC Fields used on his screenplays: Charles Bogle, Mahatma Kane Jeeves, and Otis Criblecoblis.


Monday, January 26, 2004  

Now on the Air: "The Old Man of the Mountain," played by Paul Whiteman's Orchestra * "The Old Man of the Mountain," played by Waring's Pennsylvanians

A visitor to the Power Line blog notes a resemblance between the late Old Man of the Mountain and John Kerry.

The New Hampshire town of Dixville Notch, best known for the quadrennial spotlight that falls on its polling place at midnight tonight, also is home to a stone profile of Dan'l Webster that is listed in the Stone Faces Gazetteer, an online compilation of Stone Faces around the world.

Would "flinty" be the term to describe the New Hampshire character? Weekend Pundit considers the unique qualities of the Granite State.

The New Hampshire Political Library has historic video clips, a photo gallery and even candidate trading cards from the First in the Nation Primary. I particularly like the picture of JFK campaigning in 1960 by dogsled.

"John "Liveshot" Kerry stories? I got a million of 'em," the Herald's Howie Carr writes in this instructive column from November 2002.

Also doing a number on Kerry: Mickey Kaus. Just keep scrolling.

The Dean Goes Nuts Remix: Follow the link for a roundup.

And in a similar vein: Break-dancers perform for the Pope. Don't miss the accompanying video.


Friday, January 23, 2004  

The Last Stand of the 24th at Isandhlwana

It's the 125th anniversary of the Battle of Rorke's Drift, in which 145 soldiers from the South Wales Borderers (24th Foot) held off an army of thousands of Zulu warriors in one of the major battles of the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879. The attacking Zulus had just killed more than 1,500 soldiers of the 24th in a rout of the British at Isandhlwana on Jan. 22.

Marking the occasion are Thos Fitzpatrick, here and here, and by Mark Cameron. (I hadn't realized Mangosuthu Buthelezi had played the Zulu chief in the 1964 film with Michael Caine.)

A well-known painting of the Last Stand of the 24th Regiment at Isandhlwana was done by Charles Edwin Fripp, battlefield illustrator of the Zulu War:

[H]is final account was of the battle at Ulundi, which he sketched as he lay on the leather roof of an ammunition cart. He wrote: "Now and again a bullet sighed overhead as I watched the beautiful advance of the enemy rapidly spreading over the undulations, disappearing and reappearing as the inequalities were traversed.

How immersed are modern-day military history buffs in the subject? A Rorke's Drift discussion forum takes up Monty Python's treatment of the First Zulu War.

See a website devoted to Rorke's Drift * And another devoted to the Anglo-Zulu War * Lots of toy soldiers here * The Zulu king Cetewayo is among the subjects of 19th-century portrait sketches in this large online collection of Victorian and Edwardian photos

Elsewhere on the British imperialism front, disappointing news: the story of Churchill's Nazi-cursing parrot apparently isn't true.

Plus: Salon on John Huston's Man Who Would be King * The memorable song from that film, "The Minstrel Boy," is played at the page of these Civil War re-enactors * And at this page of Irish-themed Civil War links * And here on the pipes



Captain Kangaroo, RIP: Sorry to hear about Bob Keeshan, the source of fond memories from childhood mornings spent watching Mister Moose, Bunny Rabbit, Dancing Bear, Grandfather Clock, Mister Green Jeans, Tom Terrific, showers of ping pong balls brought on by bad knock-knock jokes, and that great Kellogg's electric train set with the tower that poured real milk. He had also played Clarabell the Clown in the '50s, but was only 76 at his passing: I recall being surprised at how young he actually was when he played the Captain all those years ago. He shall be missed. TV Party has a tribute page with a number of multimedia clips from the Treasure House.


Thursday, January 22, 2004  

Dean Goes Nuts Remix mp3s

Here's the original Dean Goes Nuts Remix created by Right Magazine (and saved by Thunder Monkey).

And here's the Lileks version via the Bleat. (With mp3s, I find saving to the desktop and playing works best. Your mileage may vary.)

UPDATE: MTV offers a roundup of the Dean "I Have a Scream" speech remixes now coursing 'round the Web.

Now NPR weighs in on the phenomenon.

* * *

The NY Sun has kind words for Joe Lieberman

* * *

‘He’s like Ares, the little thug, the only god the Athenians never built a temple to but he got the dirty job done — in this case the war of being anti-war.’ A New York writer on Howard Dean, quoted by Tina Brown

* * *

The Globe, which today endorses Kerry in New Hampshire, has a profile on the senator that features a number of interesting photos of his early years, including pictures of him as a teenager watching the America's Cup races at Newport with the original JFK.

And here's a pic of Kerry shaking hands with Sandinista Daniel Ortega, as Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa looks on with the same glazed smile he wore at the Dean meltdown the other night.

* * *

Mark Steyn on the Iowa results:

Two weeks ago, I mocked the way Kerry and Edwards had twisted themselves into pretzels over Iraq. But it seems that, given a choice between Bush and Bush-hatred, many Democrats are looking for something a little more nuanced, if only because nuanced incoherence is more politically viable than going for the Michael Moore vote. Clark chose to crawl way out on a limb after Dean. In Iowa, that branch got sawn off. From a European point of view, the BBC and the Guardian can fantasise about Bush losing to a fully paid-up Chomsky/Moore conspirazoid, but the Dems seem to have decided to give Planet Earth one last try.

* * *

One wonders: Will Kerry at some point try to boost his religious appeal by going to Mass for the cameras?

Would Archbishop Sean O'Malley approve of the divorced-and-remarried, staunchly pro-choice senator taking Communion?

Both Senators Kerry and Kennedy are reported to have received at Archbishop O'Malley's consecration. Archbishop O'Malley has said it is not his policy to deny Communion – but that Catholic politicians who take a public pro-choice position should of their own volition refrain from taking the Sacrament.

Here's Kerry on the topic of his religious views, during a recent NPR debate:

"Can you give us an example of a political decision you made as a result of religious conviction despite the fact that it was unpopular?...

KERRY: Well, my life has been impacted, as I think most people here would tell you. I was an altar boy. There was a period in my life where religion was a huge part of my life, and I even thought perhaps as a young man of going into the priesthood.

KERRY: That changed.

My experience in Vietnam had a profound impact on my views and to a certain degree made me question for a period of time. And then I came back to a practice that had a deeper and more fundamental understanding of my own relationship.

But I have always separated it from public life. I've always viewed that as critical. I think I am who I am. My entire person is affected by my belief structure, by the values given to me both through my parents and religion. But I don't make decision in public life based on religious belief.

Nor do I think we should. I think there is a separation of church and state, and whatever the doctrine of your state (sic) is has to guide you, but you don't make it based on that.

More on his altar-boy past, from a Newsweek profile of Teresa Heinz Kerry:

Their first meeting was a quick hello on the Capitol steps, where Jack Heinz himself introduced them. Several years later, after she had been widowed (and he was dating women like Morgan Fairchild) they met again in Rio, where the first President Bush had sent her for the Earth Summit. They laugh uproariously as they recount their first, raucous dinner there, over who knows how many caipirinhas, she says, with New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg along as unwitting chaperone. (Lautenberg says he doesn't remember the meal as all that amusing, but of course, watching other people discover they have so much in common is not everybody's idea of a great night.) During dinner, Mrs. Heinz muttered "Pas possible!" under her breath, and was kind of impressed when Kerry answered her in French. Later, he asked if he might accompany her to mass the next morning, and then surprised her by singing along with the hymns in Portuguese. But when jokingly asked if he regularly attends mass or just wanted to see Mrs. Heinz --again, Kerry stops laughing and seems truly offended: "I was an altar boy, and there was a point in my life when I thought I might even be--I was very serious."

According to one Kerry aide, the senator occasionally goes to Mass:

Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts occasionally attends Catholic Mass, but is "very private about his religion," said aide David Wade. "If he's in someplace like Davenport or Dubuque, with a big Catholic community, he'll go to church."

According to another, the senator goes every week:

Kerry, the spokesman said, is a Catholic who attends Mass once a week, but "not someone who wears his religion on his sleeve."

Vogue quotes the senator addressing a roomful of Democrats: “We’ve got to prove we’re as God-fearing and churchgoing as everybody else.”

The National Catholic Reporter's Washington correspondent mulls the Catholic bona fides of the presidential field:

Massachusetts Senator John Kerry is Catholic. Except he's really Jewish. Sort of.

Boston Globe (what would we do without them?) traced Kerry's ancestry and reported that his paternal grandparents were Austrian Jews who changed the family name from Kohn to Kerry when they became Catholics in the early 1900s.

The good news for we triumphalists, however, is that Kerry sought an annulment from his first wife after wedding ketchup heiress Teresa Heinz. The bad news is that Mrs. Kerry-number-one didn't cooperate with the marriage tribunal. And without meaning to cast the first stone, that does suggest the Catholic-Jewish senator from Massachusetts is living in sin. Very comfortable sin.



Cool! Really. The St. Paul Ice Palace. Via ArtsJournal (1/22)

* * *

Maureen Mullarkey's latest is up, on the John Currin show at the Whitney Museum. She's not an admirer:

Currin's series of balloon-breasted women are . . . . . Never mind, use your own adjectives. You don't need mine for this. In artspeak, these gals are cunning strategies designed to explore the social construction of ideas of beauty. In real life, they are bodice-rippers aimed at teenagers with their hands in their pants.

A BBC reviewer sees the same thing but opts for the artspeak.

* * *

The Spectator's Africa correspondent writes of Kenya, then and now:

When I was a boy, safaris here with my father were pretty tough affairs. We’d spend weeks on end rambling on either side of Lake Turkana while Dad talked about livestock with the nomads. There were no tents or mattresses; we slept wrapped in blankets on the ground next to the fire. During one rare nocturnal rainstorm we all piled into the car, but Dad just rolled under the Land-Rover and went back to snoring. Inevitably the food used to run out, and for a week or so we once lived on nothing but chapattis, dried onions and tea. As long as Dad could brew his chai he was happy…


Wednesday, January 21, 2004  

Here's hoping all the virgins who prayed last night to St. Agnes had visions of their future husbands.



Biographer John Dean offers Warren Harding what he would not Richard Nixon: complete exoneration.

Also in the NY Sun: a review of the Norman Podhoretz Reader.

Max Boot writes in Foreign Policy on Neocons as Wilsonian idealists:

Wilsonians are not all alike. Liberal “soft Wilsonians,” such as former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and, previously, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson himself, share a faith that multilateral organizations such as the League of Nations or the United Nations should be the main venues through which the United States promotes its ideals, and that international law should be the United States’ main policy tool. They are willing to use force, but preferably only when (as in Haiti or Kosovo) the intervention is untainted by any hint of national interest.

The neocons have scant regard for Wilson himself, whom they regard as hopelessly naive. Instead, they are “hard Wilsonians,” who place their faith not in pieces of paper but in power, specifically U.S. power. Their heroes are Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and Ronald Reagan—all U.S. presidents who successfully wielded power in the service of a higher purpose. Neocons believe the United States should use force when necessary to champion its ideals as well as its interests, not only out of sheer humanitarianism but also because the spread of liberal democracy improves U.S. security, while crimes against humanity inevitably make the world a more dangerous place.

* * *
Abel Lamb Stewer! Hurrah for Abel Lamb Stewer!

* * *

My favorite entry so far among NRO's Deanisms:

From the People magazine January 8, 2004 interview with Howard Dean and his wife, Judith Steinberg:

Question: Is there a silly, playful, affectionate side, like if you're cooking does he come up behind you with a tickle or something?
Dean: Certainly we're not going to discuss THAT!
Steinberg: I don't cook.

* * *

Dean as seen from Down Under, in The Australian and the Sydney Morning Herald

* * *

Worth noting: A piece by the New York correspondent of the Australian newspaper The Age on the American electorate: "They like Bush and they are not stupid" * On the other hand, there are some who would turn out in sub-freezing weather for a MoveOn-sponsored Al Gore speech on global warming, and they're the subjects of the latest man-in-the-street video report by Evan Coyne Maloney



Dale Price has an interesting thread going on people versus profits, inspired by a giant appliance manufacturer's plant-closure that cost thousands in central Michigan their jobs.

On a related theme: M. DeMarco has compiled a comprehensive site on Distributism, aka Distributivism * The American Chesterton Society offers a selection of writings by GKC the Distributist * Compare to this definition of Agrarianism * Historian Sean Wilentz writes on agrarianism, populism and the Democrats

Worth a Visit: The New Agrarian, the website of a North Carolina historian, part-time farmer and backyard raiser of ducks who lives by these credos:

One cannot write meaningfully about the lives of others without meaningfully living one's own.

Never trust an intellectual who cannot work with his hands.



Those who have been following the Karl I beatification coverage at Otto-da-Fe will appreciate this page of images of Central Powers heads of state at Great War Propaganda Postcards.


Tuesday, January 20, 2004  

The word of the day, and perhaps the year, is, "YAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!"

Whatever it was, he sounded like he meant to go to a proctologist but accidentally visited a chimney sweep instead. Jonah Goldberg on the primal scream as Mad How jumped the shark.

At the Weekly Standard, Jonathan V. Last reports from New Hampshire, where he spent Monday night watching the Iowa returns, and Fred Barnes gauges Iowa winners & losers.

Last on Dean: It isn't that he lost Iowa, it's that two candidates who voted for the Iraq war and campaigned as pleasant adults, beat him 70 to 18 percent.

When this sort of thing happens to someone who runs on condescending arrogance

“Here's a good one — highly qualified teachers, right? The president is going to decide who highly qualified teachers are! [crowd laughter] He had so many of them, right? [more laughter] I shouldn't have said that. It's not presidential."

-- Howard Dean, December 28, 2003, in speech in Ames, Iowa, on the campus of Iowa State University

…It's all the more satisfying.

* * * * *
A natural Kerry constituency would seem to be French-looking Vietnam veterans.

As it happens, most Foreign Legionnaires at Dien Bien Phu weren't, in fact, French (many were German veterans of the Wehrmacht), but the generals were, as reflected by some distinctly Gallic military priorities:

A few French idiosyncrasies will astound American veterans. Within the fortress throughout the battle were two official French Army Mobile Brothels, one with Vietnamese women and the other with Algerians. Although they couldn't bring in enough engineering materials to properly fortify their positions the French made room on pre-battle supply flights for 45,000 gallons of wine, and then airdropped additional French Army-developed wine concentrate during the battle itself, causing troops to mount aggressive missions into Viet Minh lines to liberate wine concentrate that fell outside the fort!

Toast Jacques Chirac's health in your own French Indochinese pith helmet, Big Head Version, with a carton of 18 costing less than two John Kerry haircuts.

* * * * *

A caller to the Howie Carr show asks: If multimillionairess Teresa Heinz' husband was looking for a catchy and alliterative post-Iowa victory slogan, why "Comeback Kerry?" Why not "Ketch-up Kerry?"



Take Back America!

Is Howard Dean the man you want with his finger on the button?

The Dean Iowa clip has been getting extended play on the radio this morning. An mp3 is posted at Drudge with the headline, "Dean Goes Nuts."

One radio caller this morning drew a comparison to Belushi in Animal House, which is perhaps fitting, as Dean is so big with the college crowd.

I'm reminded of the words of the sheriff in To Kill a Mockingbird after the mad, foaming-at-the-mouth dog has been put down: "I'll call Zebo to come 'round and pick him up." Zebo should be coming for Dean any time now.

Memo to MoveOn: That wasn't George W. Bush being played on Howard Stern this morning against background audio of Schickelgruber at Nuremberg.

Coverage Roundup: Command Post * Instapundit * Fox Video * NRO Deanisms * David Frum

And via Jonah Goldberg: The Dean Goes Nuts Remix



Surprises in Iowa

Did Howard Dean, in his gasket-blowing concession rant after finishing third in Iowa, more closely resemble 1) Bruce Banner metamorphosing into the Hulk; 2) Classy Freddie Blassie in full lather shouting down Pencil-Necked Geeks; or 3) a frenzied Japanese samurai game-show cheerleader?

"In your heart, you know he's nuts," opponents cracked about Goldwater in 1964, but you couldn't watch Dean's speech on Monday night and not come to the same conclusion, particularly when comparing Dean's overheated yawping with John Edwards' smooth presentation immediately before. Edwards came across as positive and upbeat, Doctor Dean as positively unhinged.

Meantime: On John Kerry as Thurston Howell, from US News & World Report's "Washington Whispers" column by Paul Bedard, 6/10/03 :

Have you ever found yourself wondering if Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry is really Thurston Howell III, the Gilligan's Island millionaire? No? Well, you will soon if Republican strategists follow through with their prankster plans for the 2004 presidential race. "We'll gig 'em whenever and wherever we can," says one source. The idea is simple: Send an "attack mascot" to primary and caucus appearances of leading Democratic White House hopefuls to heckle and unnerve the candidates. Initial plans by GOP strategists focus on Kerry, Rep. Dick Gephardt, Sen. John Edwards, and Sen. Joe Lieberman. Just this weekend, Edwards will be met in his home state with a Welcome Wagon, a dig at how much time he has been away campaigning. The most original is the Kerry gag mascot: somebody dressed as Howell, the lock-jawed dim bulb who inherited his wealth. In his straw hat: a $150 price tag to represent his barber's fee. Suggests Kerry spokesman David Wade, the GOP "should lay off the Gilligan's Island imagery before we cast George W. Bush as Gilligan in the remake."

And from a Vogue profile by Julia Reed posted at the Kerry campaign site:

It’s an aristocrat’s house-comfortable, authentic, reflective of the genuine passions and ample means of its owners. Lined up on the spacious mahogany bar are empty bottles of Petrus and a 1945 Chambertin Close de Beze; the staff’s car is an Audi station wagon. When Kerry takes a call from his wife and greets her, warmly, as “Lovie,” it occurs to me that last time I’d hard the same moniker, it was used by Thurston Howell, the pompous millionaire on Gilligan’s Island. Kerry comes by his Brahmin deportment naturally. His mother was a member of the blue-blooded Forbes family, though the fortune had dwindled by the time Kerry’s generation came along; his father was a foreign-service officer stationed in Paris, Oslo, and Berlin. Kerry was sent to boarding school in Switzerland and later enrolled at St. Paul’s in New Hampshire. Holidays were spent with his cousins on Naushon Island, “my family’s island” off Cape Cod.

Plus, funny Kerry stories from Howie Carr here and here.

And Natalie Schafer remembered.

On to New Hampshire.


Monday, January 19, 2004  

Hail, Sons of Gino Cappelletti!

In tribute to the Gillette juggernaut: a clip of the "Look Sharp March" as played by the Boston Pops.

The faithful of the Razor were captured in a photo essay by the Globe's Stan Grossfeld.

In remembrance of whence the Pats came, here's a recording of an ad for the brew for which the original Foxboro stadium was named, done by Louis Armstrong. (Via Classic Cars)

Legions of Pats fans will be having more than one in the next two weeks.

Etc… No disrespect intended, but does anyone actually celebrate Martin Luther King Day? * While waiting for the Iowa returns: A Yahoo! News photo search on "pancake" returns much flipping by Clark, Dean and Kerry * The New Republic is providing outstanding coverage of the Democratic race * While at TNR see Ryan Lizza's Campaign Journal and Noam Scheiber's blog &c


Thursday, January 15, 2004  

Louis Armstrong & Velma Middleton, 1950

The Boston forecast for tonight and tomorrow calls for a wind chill of 40 below, while on Mount Washington this week, the wind chill has reached 102 below. Thus inspired:

"Baby, It's Cold Outside," by Frank Loesser (clips courtesy of Barnes & Noble):

Johnny Mercer & Margaret Whiting * Dinah Shore * Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Jordan * Louis Armstrong & Velma Middleton * and the Mulato Beat Remix * Pearl Bailey & Hot Lips Page * Ray Charles & Betty Carter * Homer & Jethro * Ann-Margret * Dean Martin


Wednesday, January 14, 2004  
Eskimo Up

The wind chill atop Mount Washington this morning reached 94 below.

I've been unable to find a suitable rendition of "Baby, It's Cold Outside" on the Web. But in the spirit of the Patriots' new rallying cry, here is "Clicquot" by Harry Reser & the Clicquot Club Eskimos, depicted in full mushing finery here and here, and still recalled in the Massachusetts town that once revolved around the making of the ginger ale.

A Prohibition-era ad for Clicquot Club appealed to the smart set * Plenty of vintage Clicquot Club ads here * The Kimball Foundation established by the soda-making family has a Clicquot Club corporate history that includes a picture of Reser playing for penguins * The Clicquot Club illuminated sign on the Great White Way was at one time the largest display of its kind in the world: "Nineteen thousand lamps and twenty-nine flashers helped the Eskimo boys and their sled get over the frozen snow."

Eskimos have been an American advertising staple * You can buy a replica of the ballcap worn by the old minor-league Portland Eskimos * For an annual Turn Back the Clock game, the Portland Sea Dogs dress in throwback Eskimo uniforms and emerge from a "Field of Dreams" cornfield in the outfield * The vintage uniforms didn't help this past season.



He's a lumberjack and he's okay: All that's missing is the Golden Retriever from the official portrait of Governor Dean that hangs in the Vermont Statehouse but could just as readily adorn the cover of an L. L. Bean catalog. The painting of the portrait has inspired a documentary.

For comparison's sake, here's the portrait of previous presidential Vermonter Calvin Coolidge that hangs in the White House. Another depiction of Coolidge, in the National Portrait Gallery, was said by a critic to portray the taciturn president as if about to "bite the person . . . who, obviously, had been annoying him."

Meantime, the growing biographical library devoted to history's most famous example of Little Man Syndrome is surveyed by the NY Sun's Carl Rollyson.

And from Monty Python: the Archaeology Today sketch, and the Lumberjack Song

Who more closely echoes the intrepid spirit of JFK, W or Teddy? More: Bull Moose Republicans * Power Line I and II



Reliefs by Saint-Gaudens, David Stewart Mausoleum

The World Trade Center memorial design "is deeply flawed, both cluttered and minimalist to the point of meaninglessness," the Philadelphia Inquirer's architecture critic writes. (Via ArtsJournal)

Oh, for a Saint-Gaudens today. You look at his funerary monuments and imagine what he might have done with the inspiration of the WTC cross.


Tuesday, January 13, 2004  

In the way musical shows used to be fine-tuned in New Haven before opening on Broadway, children's Masses sometimes are used to try out liturgical innovations before they're foisted on the rest of the parish.

Susan Benofy writes in Adoremus Bulletin that "adaptations intended only for young children [are promoted] to accommodate adults seeking 'progressive' liturgies."

The Directory for Masses with Children, the special Eucharistic Prayers and Lectionary for Masses with Children were all approved with the understanding that they would help young children understand and participate in the Mass.

Yet from the beginning, these special adaptations for children have been promoted for adult congregations. Why? It is by now evident that some progressive liturgists view the limited permission to make changes in the Mass for young children as a means of "creatively" changing ordinary celebrations.

Does this mean the grownups of St. Joseph's Parish in Shreveport, La., can expect to find themselves one day worshiping at a Mortimer Snerd Mass?

Elsewhere in puppetry: A scrapbook on Professor Charles Mack, the American Punchman for whom Charlie McCarthy was named, is among the treasures at this Punch site devoted to the world-famous puppet.

So is the dialogue from a 1921 Boston Traveler cartoon:

The exhausted Punch says:

"Poor Judy, Poor Judy, Poor Judy, Poor Judy, Poor Judy, Poor Judy, Poor Judy, Poor Judy..."

Judy, from the mouth of the Crocodile, screams:

"Help, Help, Help, Help, Help, Help, Help, Help, Help, Help, Help, Help..."

Punch does some whacking in this animated clip.

Pages of historic Punch postcards from English seaside resorts and of other Punch memorabilia are included in this remarkably comprehensive Punch and Judy site.

Punch and Papabile?

The late Punch Magazine lives on as an online archive that sells and licenses copies of its vintage cartoons.

The history of the old Punch is described at the Victorian Web and deconstructed at Vassar.

And while on the topic of British comic institutions: The Children's Bookshop, Hay on Wye, has Rupert annuals going back to 1936.



Via Possum Network

Which Democratic presidential candidate would you support?

Peter Nixon poses the query, and Iowa caucus veteran Todd Flowerday picks up the thread (Jan. 9), sparking an interesting dialogue in the comment box.

At this writing, I plan to exercise my prerogative as an Independent and vote in the Democratic primary for Joe Lieberman, the only Dem in the race who exhibits a concern for our national security or comes close to being an heir to the Scoop Jackson tradition.

The New Republic is hosting an online debate over its editorial endorsement of Lieberman, in an exhibition of the free-wheeling give-and-take that has made the magazine a compelling read over the years.

For those keeping score, here's the upcoming Democratic primary calendar.

New Hampshire is in two weeks. Follow the coverage in local papers: Concord Monitor * Foster's Daily Democrat * Keene Sentinel * Manchester Union Leader * NHPrimary.com * Portsmouth Herald

Does Wesley Clark in this photo more closely resemble Doc Savage or Jonny Quest's two-fisted pal Race Bannon?


It is a sad commentary on the current state of the Democrats that Al Sharpton is taken at all seriously as a presidential candidate, is given a debate forum to lecture other candidates on race, and likely will be allowed a prominent speaking role at the party's national convention.

To call him a demagogue isn't an exercise in political rhetoric – he's a very real example of the breed, whose race-baiting has led to lives being ruined and even lost.

Jeff Jacoby last February detailed the record of the candidate he called the "Democrats' David Duke:

After all, Sharpton's résumé is at least as vile as Duke's.

1987: Sharpton spreads the incendiary Tawana Brawley hoax, insisting heatedly that a 15-year-old black girl was abducted, raped, and smeared with feces by a group of white men. He singles out Steve Pagones, a young prosecutor. Pagones is wholly innocent -- the crime never occurred -- but Sharpton taunts him: "If we're lying, sue us, so we can . . . prove you did it." Pagones does sue, and eventually wins a $345,000 verdict for defamation. To this day, Sharpton refuses to recant his unspeakable slander or to apologize for his role in the odious affair.

1991: A Hasidic Jewish driver in Brooklyn's Crown Heights section accidentally kills Gavin Cato, a 7-year-old black child, and antisemitic riots erupt. Sharpton races to pour gasoline on the fire. At Gavin's funeral he rails against the "diamond merchants" -- code for Jews -- with "the blood of innocent babies" on their hands. He mobilizes hundreds of demonstrators to march through the Jewish neighborhood, chanting, "No justice, no peace." A rabbinical student, Yankel Rosenbaum, is surrounded by a mob shouting "Kill the Jews!" and stabbed to death.

1995: When the United House of Prayer, a large black landlord in Harlem, raises the rent on Freddy's Fashion Mart, Freddy's white Jewish owner is forced to raise the rent on his subtenant, a black-owned music store. A landlord-tenant dispute ensues; Sharpton uses it to incite racial hatred. "We will not stand by," he warns malignantly, "and allow them to move this brother so that some white interloper can expand his business." Sharpton's National Action Network sets up picket lines; customers going into Freddy's are spat on and cursed as "traitors" and "Uncle Toms." Some protesters shout, "Burn down the Jew store!" and simulate striking a match. "We're going to see that this cracker suffers," says Sharpton's colleague Morris Powell. On Dec. 8, one of the protesters bursts into Freddy's, shoots four employees point-blank, then sets the store on fire. Seven employees die in the inferno.

If Sharpton were a white skinhead, he would be a political leper, spurned everywhere but the fringe. But far from being spurned, he is shown much deference. Democrats embrace him. Politicians court him. And journalists report on his comings and goings while politely sidestepping his career as a hatemongering racial hustler.


Save yourself years of graduate school in the humanities by reading this engaging and really quite useful guide written by a computer professional who had occasion to delve into the world of academic postmodernism: "How to Deconstruct Anything."

[T]echnical people like me work in a commercial environment. Every day I have to explain what I do to people who are different from me -- marketing people, technical writers, my boss, my investors, my customers -- none of whom belong to my profession or share my technical background or knowledge. As a consequence, I'm constantly forced to describe what I know in terms that other people can at least begin to understand…

Contrast this situation with that of academia…

What you have is rather like birds on the Galapagos islands -- an isolated population with unique selective pressures resulting in evolutionary divergence from the mainland population. There's no reason you should be able to understand what these academics are saying because, for several generations, comprehensibility to outsiders has not been one of the selective criteria to which they've been subjected. What's more, it's not particularly important that they even be terribly comprehensible to each other, since the quality of academic work, particularly in the humanities, is judged primarily on the basis of politics and cleverness. In fact, one of the beliefs that seems to be characteristic of the postmodernist mind set is the idea that politics and cleverness are the basis for all judgments about quality or truth, regardless of the subject matter or who is making the judgment. A work need not be right, clear, original, or connected to anything outside the group. Indeed, it looks to me like the vast bulk of literary criticism that is published has other works of literary criticism as its principal subject, with the occasional reference to the odd work of actual literature tossed in for flavoring from time to time…
(Via ArtsJournal)


Monday, January 12, 2004  

Spokes and B's, 1929-30

Cam Neely, a glorious throwback to the Big, Bad Bruins of old, and this space's favorite B of the past quarter-century, sees his No. 8 hauled to rafters tonight. The Globe's Kevin Paul Dupont writes:

What came through most of all in Neely's 10 years here was that meteorlike force, the ferocity, of everything he did. Power, yes, but more, far more.

His slapshots were blistering, his bodychecks devastating, and his fights were often frightful, Neely ripping at an opponent the way a bull gores and then thrashes a toreador. For those who forgot all that, the video replay tomorrow may be shocking at times. We live in an age now when NHL fights are mostly schoolyard tug-o-wars, combatants grabbing hold of one another's sweaters and spinning 'round until everyone grows weary of the no-punch monotony. The end of Neely bouts were more bloody dismemberments than exhausted disengagements.

An online forum devoted to hockey fights pays lengthy tribute.

A good guy off the ice, Neely now devotes himself to a charitable foundation that aids the families of cancer victims.

In the spirit of the occasion, give a listen to the old Bruins TV theme, "Nutrocker," by Emerson, Lake and Palmer (via Sharon Kay's Oldie Waves)

The Dropkick Murphys have more than a bit of Gallery God in them, and they play an updated version of the Bruins theme on their Live on St. Patrick's Day album. Hear a clip.

Old-Time Hockey? What do you call climbing into the stands to battle the spectators and beat one with his own shoe? See a clip of a classic battle in Madison Square Garden between the entire Bruins team and New York Ranger fans.

Meantime, the Munsey & Suppes Ballparks site recalls the old Boston Garden.

And the Bruins' official website, all Cam all the time today, has a page of multimedia clips of historical highlights, including Orr's famous flying Stanley Cup-winning goal.


A Valley Forge-esque pic from the Patriots archive captures the climate at the game in Foxboro just past, which provided an answer to the query: What is the sound of 130,000 mittens clapping?

A set of historic Russian monastery bells were saved from Stalin when Harvard acquired them more than 70 years ago. Now Russian Orthodox churchmen want them back.

You can virtually ring the St. Danilov Monastery bells here.

Edmund Burke's number is lifted to the rafters at Recta Ratio, ever a sagacious observer of high-scoring Whigs.

From the ivied halls: The Knickerbocker at the New York Sun reports in Society Page style on the American Historical Association convention.

Tales of history professors who demand not creative thinking but regurgitation are featured at Critical Mass. Erin O'Connor writes:

[T]he stories…have an almost archetypal quality to them. They exemplify the manner in which, on today's grade-grubbing, grade-inflated campuses, one's marks are all too often marks of conformity to a prevailing intellectual--or anti-intellectual--norm. They also exemplify the unconscionable choice many students face: sell out and survive, or sink with integrity intact. College students should never, ever have to face such a choice. It's soul-killing, and it's a mindfuck. The point of a college education--and here I speak as an idealist and not a pragmatist--is to expand the mind and sustain the soul, not to teach young adults the self-destructive art of lockstep.

Meantime, Glenn Reynolds, himself a law professor, links to a column he wrote post-9/11 on the alienation of the academics:

Not surprisingly, people who would rather be clever than right, who confuse oppositionalism with originality, who hold ordinary Americans and their beliefs in faux-aristocratic contempt, and who do all of this with an unshakable degree of self-righteousness, are not likely to be especially popular.


Friday, January 09, 2004  

"Winnie," Vanity Fair, 1911

A major exhibition on Winston Churchill and his lifelong ties to the United States, "Churchill and the Great Republic," opens at the Library of Congress on February 5.

If you can't get to Washington, you can visit the Churchill Centre there online.

Or see the London-based Churchill Society web site, which leads with this quote:

"We must recognise that we have a great inheritance in our possession,
which represents the prolonged achievement of the centuries;
that there is not one of our simple uncounted rights today
for which better men than we are have not died on the scaffold or the battlefield.
We have not only a great treasure;
we have a great cause.
Are we taking every measure within our power to defend that cause?

Winston Churchill
September 1936

The New Republic endorses Joe Lieberman:

Fundamentally, the Dean campaign equates Democratic support for the Iraq war with appeasement of President Bush. But the fight against Saddam Hussein falls within a hawkish liberal tradition that stretches through the Balkan wars, the Gulf war, and, indeed, the cold war itself… Lieberman is its most steadfast advocate, not only in the current field but in the entire Democratic Party…

By deriding Democratic support for overthrowing Saddam as "Bush Lite," Dean threatens to define that tradition out of the Democratic Party…

Dean is rightly passionate about the harm done to America's relations with its allies. Bush, he says, continues to "rub their nose in humiliation." But he can muster no similar passion about Iraq's freedom from one of the great monsters of the twentieth century. Saddam's overthrow leaves him cold; he "suppose[d]" it was a good thing. Dean and his supporters identify viscerally with the foreign governments that resent being bullied by Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. Yet they identify barely at all with the largely voiceless people--in countries like Syria and Iran--who might consider a democracy's projection of power into the heart of a region defined by tyranny to be progressive, even inspiring…

Former New Republic editor Andrew Sullivan comments:

The editorial is a strong one, and if I thought Lieberman was even faintly electable, I'd say much the same. But the editorial's main theme - about the decline of sensible moderation in Democratic ranks in the last three years - has a lacuna. The one man more responsible for destroying the Democratic centrist revival, for throwing away the Clinton legacy, and for suicidally pitching his party to the populist left was Al Gore, the man TNR endorsed last time around.


The New Criterion visits the MLA convention. The arts-and-letters journal also now maintains a weblog, Armavirumque.

At the Shrine of the Holy Whapping, Matthew posts a remarkable essay on St. Anthony's tongue and the Catholic veneration of relics:

Non-believers of a certain stripe are used to seeing religion as drab, dull, a little bit reticent. The province of silly old biddies of both sexes. At the very least, seeing that some of us still take the old traditions seriously, that someone would encase a sacred chunk of some saint in silver and gold—well, that might be enough to shock them out of their complacency.

There’s plenty of that in Italy, trust me—even an ordinary pilgrimage statue can be plenty weird, like the “Smiling St. Zeno” in Verona who has a fish dangling from his crook, and the strangeness factor is easily upped when you get to second-class relics—like St. Lawrence’s gridiron in Rome—and then, trumping it all are the body parts, sometimes very interesting particular body parts indeed.

Coming from Irish-Catholic America, evangelized by priests from a war-zone country where non-Protestant churches, much less an apostle’s finger, were rare, Europe and particularly Italy are powerful antidotes to the Cartesian temptation to see the Faith as exclusively spiritual, disembodied or even Gnostic. The teenager who throws Christ over for Buddha in search of “something more exotic” can’t possibly try that line of argument when he’s standing in front of a half-preserved jawbone of a medieval Franciscan preacher.

For that matter, it might remind him that the central pillar of the Faith, the Eucharist, is pretty wild stuff. And I mean that in all seriousness; a God that allows Himself to be touched, much less eaten—it screws with our cozy, comfy, half-inbred Deist notions.

I think that’s why I get so excited over bits of saints. To some extent the novelty of seeing two dozen waxy-looking local virgin martyrs at every turn is wearing off. I’m now holding out for the big guys, the Apostles and Doctors. Or at least some recognizable body parts as opposed to those tiny third-class bits that crowd every sacristy from Turin to Salerno.

This stuff is so brilliant I stand in awe.

Brandy sales should be up tomorrow in Foxboro: The wind-chill at game time is expected to reach 20 below. A wind-chill of 90 below reportedly was recorded yesterday at Mount Washington: It's said that at that temperature, your breath instantly crystallizes and falls to the ground, and that if you need a warm drink, it better be ice-water, lest your teeth crack.

To get in the spirit, listen to clips "Up She Rises" and "Life on the Wild Side" from a compilation of music from the old NFL Films highlights reels. Question: If the Autumn Wind is a pirate, what's a 20-below blast on Jan. 10?

"It ain't a fit night out for man or beast." WC Fields

Ever So Humble writes from NH:

MINUS FIVE DEGREES at wake up. Windchill makes it feel like -23. I don't know (or care) if this is a record (I doubt it), all I know is that COLD doesn't begin to describe it. I got the newspapers and peed the dog and I'm not going back out there to think of some good descriptive adjectives. It hurts.

Emerson wrote: "Earth laughs in flowers." So who's crying now?

Our nameless unfamous rink-sized pond is solid now and will support teams of hockey players careering around coltishly under the bright open sky and aimless skaters who etch looping spirals in the glassy ice. If Thoreau thought a couple of draft horses and a cart were heavy, he should see my husband's Kubota tractor clearing the snow away, a makeshift zamboni. I worry.

In Politics: Fr. James V. Schall, SJ on political philosophy * The American Museum of the Moving Image presents an online exhibition, The Living Room Candidate, a history of presidential campaign commercials from 1952-2000. "I Like Ike" is kind of catchy * On the whole, Otto-da-Fe would rather William Claude Dukenfield * "I like to keep a bottle of stimulant handy in case I see a snake, which I also keep handy." WC Fields

A British commentator's column sharply critical of the Arab world has landed him in hot water with the BBC and government sensitivity-trainers, who actually have referred the matter to police as a potential hate crime. From the excerpts I've read I'd say his column was spot-on. It says something when the defense offered of Arab contributions to civilization emphasizes cuneiforms and the Mesopotamian culture of 5,000 years ago.

According to Madonna, the greatest risks facing the United States today include not terrorism or the Axis of Evil but "a total lack of consciousness."

Wake me when it's over.


Thursday, January 08, 2004  

"In legend I am a sadistic, slashing, swashbuckling despot who waged war in the guise of sport." Ty Cobb

"An extremely peculiar soul, brooding and bubbling with violence, devious, suspicious and combative all the way." Grantland Rice on Cobb

"There's nothing so useless on earth as knocking a string ball around a pasture with ruffians." William Cobb, to his son Ty

After the 1926 season, Cobb was accused by former Tigers teammate Dutch Leonard of fixing a 1919 game against Cleveland. Leonard said he, Cobb, and the Indians' Tris Speaker and Joe Wood were in on the fix. He sent two letters, one written by Cobb, to A.L. President Ban Johnson as evidence. The matter was referred to Commissioner Landis, who exonerated the players. However, many baseball people believed Leonard and thought that Landis ruled as he did because he didn't want another gambling scandal to taint baseball.

(Source: ESPN's Sports Century's bio and sidebar on Ty Cobb)

A conservative philosophy professor-Tigers fan argues Pete Rose's exclusion renders the Hall of Fame a meaningless institution, while another right-leaning Tiger loyalist argues the Hall as institution would be diminished by Rose's inclusion.

My own view: I lean toward keeping him out, particularly in the wake of his recent revelations.

While you're at it, pay a visit to Shoeless Joe Jackson's Virtual Hall of Fame.

See an essay by the philosopher above, Keith Burgess-Jackson, on his embrace of conservatism:

As I've aged, I've come to appreciate the vastness, complexity, and intricate beauty of things. I've come to see the delicate evolved equilibria in human institutions. Just as it is unwise to disrupt a natural ecosystem, it is unwise to disrupt, disregard, or disrespect longstanding human practices. I've come to appreciate the other side of various issues. (There is always another side, although liberals seldom acknowledge as much.) I've come to appreciate and respect the wisdom of our forebears, from whom we inherited so much: everything from marriage to mechanisms of wealth transmission to free markets to individual rights to our rambunctious, expressive language. Conservatives don't live for the moment, as liberals do. They respect the past and care deeply about the future. The present, in their view, is merely a bridge (or contract) between the dead and the unborn. Conservatives love history; liberals love sociology. Conservatives are archaeologists; liberals are engineers. (Via ELC)

And courtesy of Bob Wills aficionado Richard Starr, listen to this mp3 version of "My Window Faces the South" and find yourself almost halfway to heaven.



This is not the time to appease the jihadis, writes Michael Ledeen * R. Emmett Tyrrell pays eloquent tribute to the late Doc Counsilman, legendary Indiana swimming coach, decorated flier and true amateur * California's "three strikes" law has meant prison sentences of 50 years for a heroin addict and 26 years-to-life for a man who lied on a DMV application. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that has insisted on due process for imprisoned terrorists has upheld the 50-year sentence for the heroin addict.

Mark Steyn is pro-choice re Dean:

I think the people deserve a choice on the war: Bush vs Lieberman doesn’t give them one; Bush vs Kerry or Clark or some other pretzel gives them a sort of choice but it’s so nuanced up the wazoo no one has a clue what it is. Bush vs Dean makes it plain: a guy who wants to take the war to the terrorists and the states who sponsor, harbour and train them versus a guy who thinks it’s about, if anything, liaising with Interpol and serving injunctions. I think we know which candidate Saddam, Mullah Omar, Boy Assad and the Pyongyang nutjob would vote for.

Dean is the perfect man to drive the party over the cliff. He says Vermont is the way America should be. You mean a land of broken-down farms for the natives and weekend homes for the wealthy? Where everyone in the eastern half drives out of state to shop, work and get medical treatment? Where the only kind of business is boutique mail-order specialities — the Vermont Teddy Bear Company, Ben and Jerry’s Premium Ice Cream, Cold Hollow Apple Cider? Dean seems likely to complete the party’s transformation from a mass movement into an upscale niche business. Whenever he talks about the south, he sounds condescending. Likewise, the religious. Likewise, blacks. The Park Avenue populist is the perfect standard-bearer for an upper-middle-class college-town party.


Wednesday, January 07, 2004  
"You see? You see? Your stupid minds! Stupid! Stupid!"

Dudley Manlove beset by right-wing extremist Tor Johnson

How close does the current peevish mood of the Good and Smart Who Hate Bush come to the spirit of Dudley Manlove's petulant alien in the Ed Wood cult classic Plan 9 from Outer Space?

The Seattle P-I columnist who this week attributed the pro-Bush majority in America to mass stupidity wasn't the first from the Blue State Left to dismiss the non-progressive multitudes as moronic.

Nor, as it turns out, was he the first to channel Dudley Manlove's waspish space invader. ("All you of Earth are idiots!")

Here, from November, is an ad hominem rant against conservatives by a lefty blogger (and defender of tolerance, natch) who not only epitomizes the tendency but actually enlists the Plan 9 Martian for the argument.

Alien nation, indeed. Will the Democrats come to be controlled by their Dudley Manlove wing? Is Howard Dean the Dudley Manlove candidate?

UPDATE: Irish Eagle heads off in search of Neal Starkman, author of esteem-boosting, character-affirming, learning-community-building curricula (who apparently thinks most people are stupid).

Further investigation finds a PhD (testimonial to membership in the precincts of the learned) held by a Neal Starkman in Social Psychology from the University of Connecticut.

But of particular interest here is the resemblance between Neal Starkman's cautionary anti-drinking tale for undergraduates The Apple and the WC Fields classic The Fatal Glass of Beer.


Etc… Ever So Humble finds coyote tracks outside the door, and visits an ancient cemetery where Ogden Nash is buried * Otto Clemson Hiss mulls the proposed WTC memorial and finds it wanting compared to the Great War cenotaph at Yale * Erik's Rants and Recipes takes up the 1946 printing of the Old Mr. Boston Bartenders Guide * Nice Martian Rock effect atop today's New York Sun front page. But the Space Age WTC memorial is underwhelming: the headline on the Sun editorial says it all.

Dean Acheson is updated most creatively by Iowa Hawk in "Why I Am a Democrat" * An amusing piece by Wm F Buckley details Acheson's McCarthy obsession * Must sign up for the catalogue at Legacy Historical Antiques

For every Dennis Eckersley voted to the Hall of Fame there are many more Vic Davalillos and Rob Deers, overlooked – but not unloved:

The sponsor of Nick Esasky, an ex-Red, writes, "Anyone who mocks him as a 'free agent bust' doesn't understand the seriousness of vertigo—imagine trying to hit a 95 mph fastball immediately after being spun around the teacup ride at the fair. God bless you, Nick."

Perhaps the most eloquent Hall of Love entry comes from someone named Bill Elenbark. His homage to an itinerant infielder transcends one man's career—it produces a sort of koan about the souls who batted after the cleanup hitter and before the leadoff man. "Between something and nothing," he writes, "there was Kevin Seitzer."

A campaign is underway to purge the colons from pretentious academic book titles:

Over the last two decades, academic titles have become increasingly cumbersome, and it is rare to find an academic book title that is not lashed together with a subtitle and its colon. Some books even boast two subtitles, glued tenuously to the title with two colons.

"We joke about the title and the subtitle needing colonoscopies," says Anita Samen, managing editor in the book division of the University of Chicago Press. "People have gone hog-wild with colons."

"It could be worse. We could be publishing book titles that have semicolons in the titles," says Kate Douglas Torrey, director of the University of North Carolina Press.

"What the colon does in black tie the semicolon does in khakis," says William Germano, vice president and publishing director at Routledge. "What they have in common in most academic writing is that both tend to be markers of 'watch me do something complicated.'"

In Politics: Democrats for Bush-Cheney * Georgia Senator Zell Miller pens a memo to Democratic leaders


Tuesday, January 06, 2004  

Calvin Coolidge Jr.

"When he went the power and the glory of the Presidency went with him." Calvin Coolidge fell into clinical depression and effectively ceased to function as president after the death of his teenaged son, a recent biography maintains. The Atlantic's Jack Beatty writes:

On the afternoon of June 30, 1924, Calvin and his older brother, John, played several sets of tennis with the two White House doctors; Tuesday, they played again, and agreed to play once more on Wednesday. Calvin Jr. did not show up for the Wednesday match. He was in bed with a temperature. He had not worn socks to play tennis, and had developed a blister on one of his toes. The doctors discovered it too late to stop the systemic infection that, five days later, killed him. As he was dying, his father repeatedly pressed a locket into his hand until his son fell into a coma and could no longer grip it. "It contained a photograph of [the President's] mother and a lock of her hair," Gilbert writes, "so similar to young Calvin's in color and texture."

That locket closed a circle of loss and grief: when Calvin was twelve Victoria Coolidge, thirty-nine, died of tuberculosis at their Plymouth Notch, Vermont home. "Mother wants to see you both before she dies," his father, John Coolidge, told him and his younger sister, Abbie. "Hurry now and remember no crying. Not now, you're almost a man." In his 1929 Autobiography Calvin Coolidge wrote: "The greatest grief that can come to a boy came to me. Life was never to seem the same again." Five years later, Abbie, to whom Calvin was especially close, died, probably of appendicitis, with her brother by her side. Calvin suppressed his emotions to withstand these losses, which left him vulnerable to major depression after his son's death. "The loss of a child often reactivates earlier losses suffered by the parents," Gilbert observes, "and precipitates a global reaction encompassing virtually every area of life."

That describes the next four years of the Coolidge presidency. Calvin Coolidge displayed all ten of the symptoms listed by the American Psychiatric Association as evidence of major depression…

Etc… The Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation recalls the 30th president, as does C-SPAN * Grace Coolidge's letters, recently made public, include a poignant description of her son's dying moments * A photo of the Coolidge family, Calvin Jr., Grace, Calvin and John, from the Coolidge presidential collection housed in the Northampton public library

A Massachusetts Democrat born and raised with a D next to her name writes she plans to break with tradition and vote Republican in November * From the Atlantic Monthly archive, Oct. 1948: The Democrats Can Win * The Henry M. Jackson Papers at the University of Washington * The blurb for a Scoop Jackson biography at Amazon: Henry "Scoop" Jackson may be one of the most underappreciated American politicians of the second half of the 20th century. He was certainly one of the Democrats' greatest cold warriors, and a man who might have saved his party from the doomed politics of McGovernism if he had only won the presidency, an office he sought twice…


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