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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, February 27, 2004  


Al Smith

Listen: "Sidewalks of New York," performed by Paul Whiteman

The National Portrait Gallery has a wealth of online exhibitions. Among the subjects: Those dot-drawing portraits in the Wall Street Journal * TR * Celebrity Caricature in America * Art of the Jazz Age * American Musicals * Louis Armstrong

* * *

What Have Historians Been Reading? The journal of The Historical Society asked its readers for book recommendations. This one from a UConn prof sounds right up my alley:

I also recommend highly Christopher Benfey’s The Great Wave: Gilded Age Misfits, Japanese Eccentrics, and the Opening of Old Japan (Random House, 2003). It is a marvelous account of the intertwining careers and personal relations of a group of New England intellectuals, including Herman Melville, Henry Adams, the zoologist Sylvester Morse, the Amherst Dickinsons, John La Farge, Percival Lowell, and their Japanese friends and acquaintances—beautifully written cultural history with a good deal of political and diplomatic history as background. Teddy Roosevelt and Henry Cabot Lodge come in toward the end. Lafcadio Hearn too, of course. Read it!

* * *

Thomas Jefferson had a role in Haiti's nightmarish history: Who knew old Timothy Pickering stood up for the Haitians?

* * *

Conrad Black's life of FDR is praised by Scoop Jackson's biographer.


#


 



Listen: "Everybody Does it in Hawaii," by King Oliver's Orchestra

It's Hawaiian liturgy time at the LA Religious Education Congress!

Liturgical dance alert from the Hispanic liturgy.

Ready for Lavender Liftoff: Look! Up in the Sky! It's a Closing Liturgy!

More LA highlights, enough to give Piero Marini sensory overload.

And yet another liturgical dance alert, this one from Call to Action.


#


 
Etc…

Liturgical clipart eye-poke!

Sergeant York's duck-shooting advice about aiming at the last one first does not work in the Curt Jester's entertaining Missal Gallery Game. But you'll want to keep pegging away at those flying Gather hymnals, nonetheless, even if it meets with the disapproval of Commonweal.

See a Sergeant York trailer at TCM.

#


Wednesday, February 25, 2004  


Ash Wednesday field coat alert!


From the archive: Fish recipes for Lent, from last year's Ash Wednesday posting.

And if you're missing back issues of Irish Elk or Ad Orientem, do note a full archive is now linked at left.

* * *

Food for thought on this fast day is offered by this Frederica Mathewes-Green article on the Atonement, "The Meaning of his Suffering." (Via Bill Cork)

* * *

Boola Boola: John Kerry's days as student politico head of the Liberal Party are not remembered with fondness.

Not as this 1970 American flag rescue is by Yalies of the Tory Party.

* * *

Diogenes offers a diabolically clever plan for stopping the V-Monologues on campus that just might work when you consider what the V-Monologues entail. (Via Rod Dreher)

* * *

Mary Ann Glendon writes in the WSJ on the potential fallout from same-sex marriage:

The Canadian government, which is considering same-sex marriage legislation, has just realized that retroactive social-security survivor benefits alone would cost its taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. There is a real problem of distributive justice here. How can one justify treating same-sex households like married couples when such benefits are denied to all the people in our society who are caring for elderly or disabled relatives whom they cannot claim as family members for tax or insurance purposes? Shouldn't citizens have a chance to vote on whether they want to give homosexual unions, most of which are childless, the same benefits that society gives to married couples, most of whom have raised or are raising children?

If these social experiments go forward, moreover, the rights of children will be impaired. Same-sex marriage will constitute a public, official endorsement of the following extraordinary claims made by the Massachusetts judges in the Goodridge case: that marriage is mainly an arrangement for the benefit of adults; that children do not need both a mother and a father; and that alternative family forms are just as good as a husband and wife raising kids together. It would be tragic if, just when the country is beginning to take stock of the havoc those erroneous ideas have already wrought in the lives of American children, we should now freeze them into constitutional law. That philosophy of marriage, moreover, is what our children and grandchildren will be taught in school. They will be required to discuss marriage in those terms. Ordinary words like husband and wife will be replaced by partner and spouse. In marriage-preparation and sex-education classes, children will have to be taught about homosexual sex. Parents who complain will be branded as homophobes and their children will suffer.


* * *

This Irish newspaper headline will come as good news to followers of Jonathan Swift.

* * *

Our Girl in Chicago writes on collecting Edward Gorey pocket books.


#


Tuesday, February 24, 2004  
Passing on The Passion

Much as I appreciate Braveheart, I turn the channel at the drawing-and-quartering finale. The prospect of two hours' worth of graphic torture holds even less appeal.

So while I like Mel Gibson and laud his effort to profess his faith through his art, I'm in no hurry to see The Passion of the Christ. It's not a question of anti-Semitism but of gore. Some selections from today's reviews of the picture:

The Globe's Jeff Jacoby:

"The Passion of The Christ" is violent, bloody, and sadistic. Mel Gibson's movie about Jesus' last day has to be the most graphic and brutal death ever portrayed on film. It is being described as a masterpiece -- soul-stirring and beautiful. I found it stomach-turning and deeply troubling.

The Globe's Ty Burr:

[A]ny parent -- no matter how devout and well-intentioned -- who takes a child to this movie is guilty of abuse. Period.

In the film's present-tense scenes, Christ has already had his face smashed in, but that's just an entr'acte. Now he is tied to a post in a Roman courtyard, and the camera lovingly pans the tray of instruments: the scourge, the spikes. There follows a 10-minute sequence in which, first, the savior is whipped with a stick until his back is raw. Then he is whipped with a cat-o'-nine-tails that has metal barbs at the end of each tether; in one shot we see the hooks dig deep and tear out his flesh. Then Christ is rolled over and he is flayed from the front. Later, after the long march to Golgotha, he is nailed to the cross in slo-mo close-ups in which each hammer stroke brings forth a fresh gout of blood.

This is scriptural fidelity as fetishism. But how can it be otherwise? To Gibson, each drop is holy, so the more of it the better. Each chunk of flesh dug out by the lash is Christ's sacrifice in all its beauty, so bring it on. The cumulative effect, however, brings only numbness.


The Herald's James Verniere:

Remarkably brutal and often stomach-churning, it is easily one of the most violent films I have ever seen, a full-length version of the torture sequence in "Braveheart." If it had been about any other subject, it would have been rated NC-17.

The hardest-working filmmakers on Gibson's set may have been make-up designers Keith VanderLaan and Greg Cannom (``Pirates of the Caribbean''), whose job it was to make Caviezel look like he was flayed alive. Emmerich repeatedly describes the body of the beaten and scourged Christ as "one wound," and that is how Gibson depicts it. Caviezel is covered head to toe in welts, cuts and gashes with large patches of flayed skin.


Terry Teachout:

Everything you’ve heard about the violence in The Passion of the Christ is true. It’s jarring, almost sickening. Yet I didn’t find it gratuitous, given the film’s initiating premise, though the scourging of Jesus went on well past the point of diminishing artistic returns, however "realistic" it may have been. In any case, there is nothing in The Passion of the Christ that will startle viewers familiar with Western religious art. The difference—and it’s a big one—is that this is a film, not a mural. Photographs pack a punch quite different from even the most gruesome paintings. To say that The Passion of the Christ suggests a Caravaggist Crucifixion come to life, while true enough, understates its impact. Of course it’s only a movie, and we’ve all read about the special effects, but Gibson and his collaborators create an illusion of reality so enveloping that it’s possible to forget yourself.

I appreciate a rich tradition exists in Spain and elsewhere of gloriously bloody religious art. But this film doesn't sound at all my cup of tea.

#


Monday, February 23, 2004  


St. Ann's

Today's New York Sun reports on the possible closure of St. Ann's Armenian Catholic Cathedral, in the East Village, where a final Latin Mass was said this past weekend.

Steve MacDonald was there, and sends this dispatch:

On Saturday, February 21st, at a Mass at St. Ann's Church on East 12th Street in Manhattan, Fr. William Elder's homily included remarks that, out of context, might appear to be Big Apple boosterism. Fr. Elder quoted Pope John Paul II as telling the late John Cardinal O'Connor that he was "the Archbishop of the capital of the world." Fr. Elder then noted that, at least in secular terms, New York was the New Rome. But Fr. Elder had begun his homily by reminding the 300 or so at the Traditional Latin Mass at St. Ann's Church that the Mass he was offering appeared to be the end of the Latin Mass at St. Ann's, and just about the end of St. Ann's itself. Fr. Elder confirmed that in about a week the New York Archdiocese plans to close the Church, and it plans to sell the abandoned real estate as soon as it can find a buyer. The closure and sale have been attributed to financial pressures, although the Rector of St. Patrick's Cathedral, Msgr. Eugene Clark, has publicly questioned the need for any churches to close.

Fr. Elder took the occasion of his homily at St. Ann's last Latin Mass to review the history of the church. Rebuilt in 1870, it incorporated stained glass windows from the Baptist church and Jewish temple that had previously been on the site. Governor and presidential candidate Al Smith had been to Mass there frequently. In 1929, Pope Pius XI declared the Church the American National Shrine of St. Ann. In 1983 St. Ann's became the cathedral for the Armenian Catholic Exarchate of North America. And in 1988, the Archdiocese of New York allowed the Traditional Latin Mass to be said there. Never on Sunday, and only on a side altar -- Fr. Elder described these as the "strings" attached to the original indult. Thus began the restoration to St Ann's of the Mass as it had been offered from 1871 to 1965. After a while, the high altar (which had evaded post Vatican II "wreckavation") became a tolerable location for the ancient rite. Gradually over the past 10 years the Ecuadorian community has also found a home in St Ann's, and, in addition to a complete restoration of the beautiful interior of the church undertaken by the Ecuadorians, a large, enshrined statue of Our Lady of Quinche was installed. The planned destruction of St. Ann's was, to Fr. Elder, representative of the crisis of the Catholic Church in New York, in the United States, and in the world. He concluded with a call for conversion of the hearts of all those around us. "Let us begin here and now to rebuild the Catholic Church in New York." Then 300 of us heard, seemingly one last time 133 years after the first St. Ann's congregation heard it in the same sacred setting,
Ite, missa est.

The archdiocese has apparently not enjoyed the pleas of the affected communities, nor did the prospect of the local ABC TV station filming the last Latin Mass for its Saturday evening news program sit well with the Archdiocese. So, at the Saturday 5:30 PM Mass in English, it was announced that the full closure was being postponed "indefinitely." However, the Armenians have already been forced to relocate to Brooklyn, the Ecuadorians have been moved out and will no longer have a Mass in Spanish available, and the Traditional Latin Mass community has been forced to find itself a new home by moving 80 blocks North to Our Lady of Good Counsel on East 90th Street. Presumably the archdiocese, with its padlocks in reserve, can boil this particular frog a bit more slowly. With the communities that made St. Ann's a thriving place now scattered, the chancery should be able to point in a few months to decreased Mass attendance at St. Ann's and should then be in a position to use that as a reason to close this gem of a church forever. Efforts to save the St. Ann's Church will be continuing. Information is available at www.SaveStAnns.com.


Roving monarchist Theodore Harvey offers an account and photos of a visit two years ago to St. Ann's for a commemorative Mass for guillotined French King Louis XVI:

As I entered the sanctuary I felt that I'd left the modern world behind entirely and stepped back into the Middle Ages. This service was so different from mainstream modern Catholic services that it's hard to believe they are technically part of the same Church. I think even the most ardent secularist might have had a more positive view of Catholicism after experiencing this service. This was the real thing. The music--a wonderful soprano accompanied by soft pipe organ--was so beautiful, traditional yet timeless. And they honor the great Catholic composers--the Pie Jesu from the Faure Requiem was a centerpiece of the service. Everything was in Latin (in hushed tones), except for one song in French and the concluding reading in English of the last will and testament of King Louis XVI. The bulletin contained some interesting historical background material, including (much to my satisfaction) a note on Ireland apparently intended to distance the Church from the "Catholic" IRA. The priest faced the altar, not the congregation; no Vatican II for him.

The NYC chapter of the American Guild of Organists also maintains a page on the church.

UPDATE: Matthew at the Holy Whapping weighs in with his own monarchic tales, and a remarkable coincidence.

And here's an article I did a few years back on the Society of King Charles the Martyr at Boston's Anglo-Catholic Church of the Advent.


#


 



Cardinal Newman's birthday was marked this past weekend.

A few days earlier, Rome had announced the upcoming canonization of six more saints. Cardinal Newman wasn't among them.

As of this past October, John Paul II had created 476 new saints. With so many canonized, why, one wonders, hasn't Cardinal Newman yet been made a saint, let alone a Doctor of the Church?

The city of Birmingham in England has been literally hoping for a miracle that would lead to Cardinal Newman's canonization, the Evening Mail reported on Feb. 20:

Birmingham could soon have its very own saint - if city church leaders can convince the Roman Catholic hierarchy that a genuine miracle has taken place.

The nominee is the Venerable Cardinal John Henry Newman, who founded the Birmingham Oratory and whose legacy can still be seen around Birmingham.

But before he can be canonised the Church must rule that a miracle connected with Newman actually happened.

Tomorrow they will meet to decide if an unexplained event, details of which are not being revealed at the moment, passes the miracle test.


No word yet on whether the miracle passed muster.

In the meantime:

Tour the Birmingham Oratory;

Visit a gallery of Newman portraits;

Consult Dave Armstrong's mega-Newman site;

And read Cardinal Newman's works online.


#


 
Worth a visit: The Observer, the conservative student paper at Boston College.

#


Friday, February 20, 2004  


The Ferrell Bros, Wes (l) and Rick, Sarasota, 1936

Pitchers and catchers report.

Curt Schilling arrives in camp wearing a vintage Phil Esposito Bruins sweater and driving a Humvee that changes colors when you walk around it.

And for the Lyric Bandbox, another nip and tuck.

Spring is only a month away.

Around the Horn…

Listen: "That Florida Low Down, composed by Fats Waller et al, performed by the Original Indiana Five

* * *

TS O'Rama scans his Reds ticket order form and, noting the extra cover being charged for the July 4th game against the Indians, comments on the folly of inter-league play:

[I]t's a disgrace to be playing an American League club at all before the World Series. The National League is Adam, and from his rib came the A.L. Eve, and their mating culminates in the vast orgasmic spectacle we call the World Series. Now they give us cheap one-night stands and charge us an extra five-spot. It's the usual modern lack of restraint, the killing off of mystery. Lord knows we wouldn't want to imagine how the teams would fare against each other.

* * *

John Kerry's latest campaign swing, as seen by The Onion * I gave my love a chicken, that had no bone

* * *

The Plus-Sized Queer's lament: I have heard the singing of See You Next Tuesday, but not to me. Only in academia do the wheels of the grievance industry turn so exceedingly fine.

* * *

A new collection of Mencken's essays on American culture is reviewed by Mencken biographer Terry Teachout: Who else would have called the American people "the most timorous, sniveling, poltroonish, ignominious mob of serfs and goose-steppers ever gathered under one flag in Christendom since the fall of the Eastern Empire"? Or declared that "there is little more esthetic merit in Uncle Tom's Cabin than in the average college yell"? Or described a Catholic supporter of Prohibition as "a Catholic with a Methodist liver"?

* * *

At the Shrine of the Holy Whapping, Matthew gives a gracious acceptance speech on winning a well-deserved St. Bloggie, and demonstrates the remarkable resemblance between Notre Dame's founding father and Albus Dumbledore in a post on reviving the Latin Mass under the Golden Dome.

* * *

Otto Clemson Hiss offers a tribute to McSorley's on the 150th anniversary of that venerable ale house: One can tread on the sawdust strewn on the floor of this tavern with a reasonable degree of certainty that some of it has been around since the Pierce administration.

* * *

I like very much these Sendak-inspired felt beasties created by LoobyLu. (Hat tip Amy, who also gets kudos for coffee jello)

* * *

February school vacation this week, everyone in the house sick, and cabin fever fended off by repeated viewings of Peter Pan: Count me as a loyalist of the Mary Martin version, with Sondra Lee's blonde Tiger Lily and Cyril Ritchard's Noel Coward-esque Hook.

* * *

The Wodehouse Conservatives: A report in the Weekly Standard on today's Dandies: Ask one about an article of his clothing and you might learn of its distinguished origins. The shoes descend from medieval principalities mentioned in Machiavelli's Discourses. The cuffs are anti-Napoleon restorationists. The neckties have three surnames and entries in the Social Register. And their owners are young men, many of them in modest middle class professions like journalism. But their boaters crossed the Atlantic on the Mayflower.

* * *

This picture of Sammy Stewart's 10 Knights of Syncopation is worth the price of admission.


#


 



We used to play a version of the "Hi, Bob" game at the Head of the Charles: Every time you passed someone in an LL Bean Norwegian Fisherman's Sweater, you'd take a drink.

I propose a new John Kerry Campaign Trail version whereby you drink each time you see the candidate in an LL Bean Field Coat:

Drink * Drink * Drink * Drink * Drink * Drink * Drink * Drink * Drink * Drink


Wonder if Kefauverites in '52 tipped a jug to the coonskin?

Meantime: A perhaps unintentionally revealing excerpt from a Kerry interview with his law school alumni magazine:

The experiences I still treasure most from my BC Law days weren’t in the classroom, they were the ULL [Urban Legal Lab] in third year, trying cases in the Middlesex D.A.’s Office, and the Grimes Moot Court Competition, which my partner...and I won. I’d never focused more intensely on one issue, so that I’d be able to argue either side of the case, literally on the toss of a coin.

Literally on the toss of a coin, indeed.


#


Tuesday, February 17, 2004  



The Globe's Word columnist – in the etymological, not def hip-hop, sense – takes up the origins of the term "lantern-jawed," which has been applied to Democratic front-runner John Kerry:

Some say he looks like the mean trees in "The Wizard of Oz," or the friendlier ones in "Lord of the Rings." TV host Dennis Miller's Kerry quip, "an Easter Island statue in a power tie," was echoed in The Weekly Standard ("Easter Island mask") and the New York Observer ("Easter Island head"). And Philip Gourevitch's Feb. 9 campaign report in The New Yorker opened with an elegant variation: "John Kerry's long, angular face has something of the abstraction of a tribal mask."

Herman Munster has been invoked, too, by fans of the `60s sitcom, and when New Hampshire's Old Man of the Mountain crumbled last spring, the Globe likened Kerry's craggy visage to the beloved granite profile. But when it comes to dogs, Kerry is usually seen as a sad-eyed basset hound -- about as far as you can get, in canine terms, from the yappy little mutt that defines feisty.

If feisty was the Dean tag, though, jaw is Kerry's keyword -- usually lantern jaw, meaning a large, prominent jaw, usually long and thin. It's a common description -- so common you may never have wondered (as I hadn't) where exactly the "lantern" comes in.




The original Lantern Jaw in Massachusetts politics, Leverett Saltonstall, described by Mayor Curley as having a "Harvard accent and a South Boston face," is paid tribute here.

Another great Time cover, of Gov. Christian Herter in 1953, recalls a time when Massachusetts still had a viable GOP. We don't see nearly enough renderings of the Sacred Cod in national newsmagazines.


#


 


Wahoo Sam Crawford

Lawrence Ritter, RIP: His baseball book, The Glory of Their Times, inspired by the oral histories of old bluesmen, may well have been the best ever.


#


 



Yet another curveball from Mr. Applegate?

When he finishes gloating, my trusty ward-heeler, * Steve M, will be pleased to know that Warren G Harding was a big baseball fan who even had Babe Ruth over to the White House. Wonder if he and the Bambino took turns hiding showgirls in the closet? The White House website has a gallery of presidential first pitches, if not showgirls.

Rooting for the Cubs or Red Sox is a character-building – and hence, noble – exercise in a way that cheering for baseball's pinstriped equivalent of US Steel can never be, George Will learned young.

Northeastern University Press has come out with a reprint of a history of the Boston Braves by the great sportswriter Harold Kaese. Among the NU Press' other titles is a book on Salem in myth and memory; chronicles of the first and last years the Red Sox won the World Series, and a history of the Beanpot.


#


 


The Kaiser and TR

Otto Clemson Hiss will be booking reservations to this conference just to catch the main speaker.

Left over from Presidents Day: TR profiled for the Time 100, and pictured on the magazine's cover.


#


Monday, February 16, 2004  



Growing up I'd heard the sculptor of the George Washington statue in Boston's Public Garden had killed himself in a fit of despair after realizing he'd left the tongue out of the horse's mouth. This turns out to have been an urban legend.

The outstanding Colonial-era historian David Hackett Fischer and his new book on Washington's crossing of the Delaware are prominently featured in today's Globe.

Looking for a George Washington e-card or image? Or the recipe for Washington Pie?

Or how about a fan club for Franklin Pierce?

Meantime: Talk of Sam Nunn for VP on a Democratic ticket. Interesting – though the former Georgia senator would make a better president than anyone now running on the Democratic side. It says something about the current lack of seriousness of the Democratic Party that one of its most respected figures on national defense would draw instant criticism for his defense of Augusta National GC.


#


 


The academic conservative's Tasmanian equivalent

Listen: "Tiger Rag," from the Paul Whiteman Old Gold Hour, 6/11/29

Interesting that the Globe website hasn't noted Kerry allegations until their refutation today. Too busy with the Bush AWOL story that's had everyone talking. (Not.)

George Will has compiled a useful list of 28 questions to put to John Kerry * The Professorial Bias Watch is on at Andrew Sullivan's

Both preceding links via The Corner, where Jonathan Adler comments on his own experience as a conservative professor: It reminds of a first-year student who came up to me after class to tell me she was surprised to learn she had a right-wing professor. After all, she'd never had one before, and was assured Case's faculty was left of center. I left wondering whether she was afraid of me, or found me to be a curiosity, like some exotic animal at the zoo. (What's that strange creature? Why, that is an extremely rare species of academic, a conservative!)

Or the Ivy League equivalent of the Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine, which may be seen on video here pacing a cage in the Hobart zoo in the 1920s * Are there still some left?

More on the thylacine: To clone or not to clone? * And a view from behind of the Thylacine Yawn. (What an inspired blog name that would be.)

The Roy Chapman Andrews Society in Beloit, Wisc., recently celebrated the 120th anniversary of the birth of its namesake * The famed explorer is also recalled at the AMNH and at Strange Science * See a travel snap of a Mongolian giant taken by Andrews


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Jesuitana

The invaluable Mirabilis.ca links to Jean Brebeuf's 1637 instructions for Jesuit missionaries:

- You must love these Hurons, ransomed by the blood of the Son of God, as brothers.
- You must never keep the Indians waiting at the time of embarking.
- Carry a tinder-box or a piece of burning-glass, or both, to make fire for them during the day for smoking, and in the evening when it is necessary to camp; these little services win their hearts.
- Try to eat the little food they offer you, and eat all you can, for you may not eat again for hours.
- Eat as soon as day breaks, for Indians when on the road, eat only at the rising and the setting of the sun.
- Be prompt in embarking and disembarking and do not carry any water or sand into the canoe.
- Be the least troublesome to the Indians.
- Do not ask many questions; silence is golden.
- Bear with their imperfections, and you must try always to appear cheerful.
- Carry with you a half-gross of awls, two or three dozen little folding knives (jambettes), and some plain and fancy beads with which to buy fish or other commodities from the nations you meet, in order to feast your Indian companions, and be sure to tell them from the outset that here is something with which to buy fish.
- Always carry something during the portages.
- Do not be ceremonious with the Indians.
- Do not begin to paddle unless you intend always to paddle.
- The Indians will keep later that opinion of you which they have formed during the trip.
- Always show any other Indians you meet on the way a cheerful face and show that you readily accept the fatigues of the journey.


Later martyred by the Iroquois, John de Brebeuf is today a patron saint of Canada.

* * *

The Jesuits have a Dulles and also have a Taft, the Rt. Rev. Robert, mitred archimandrite, the Church's foremost authority on Eastern liturgy, and an expert on Orthodoxy known for unorthodoxy:

Crossing paths with Jesuit Fr. Robert Taft, an American who has taught at the Pontifical Oriental Institute here for more than 30 years, can be something like spotting a bright orange tie or a pair of red Converse sneakers amid a sea of gray suits at a corporate headquarters. Such flashes of sartorial dissent can be a way to express a bit of life, of rage against the machine, amid the numbing sameness of institutional culture.

It’s not that in the hallways of ecclesiastical power, Taft, a famed scholar specializing in the liturgies of Eastern churches, is the guy with the orange tie. (His most daring fashion touch is a slightly whimsical beret.) It’s that in this gray clerical world, Taft is the orange tie -- a colorful, larger-than-life tribute to nonconformism, something like a cross between Fr. Yves Congar and comedian Lenny Bruce. He combines vast erudition (this is a man who scours liturgical texts in Old Slavonic the way some people do the sports pages) with a sailor’s touch for salty language.

Taft is the kind of man who, during a three-block walk to dinner on a wintry Roman night, can move seamlessly from singing bawdy English drinking songs, to explaining why the Orthodox misinterpret the fourth crusade, to praising the Arnold Schwarzenegger shoot-’em-up “True Lies.”

Born Jan. 9, 1932, Taft is a scion of the Rhode Island branch of the American political dynasty that produced the country’s 27th president, William Howard Taft, and Ohio Sen. Robert Taft, leader of the Republican Party’s most conservative wing in the 1950s. The Jesuit Taft, however, is not registered with any political faction, and has never made hay of his pedigree.

“I don’t need anybody to paddle my canoe,” he said.


* * *

The Jesuit explorer Daniel Linehan said the first Mass at the South Pole.

The photographer Margaret Bourke-White once spent 10 days with Linehan--the summer before the Dow expedition--shooting for a Life magazine photo-essay on American Jesuits. Linehan was leading a team investigating potential dam sites on the Kennebec River in northern Maine. The resulting photographs show a man's man, wearing a T-shirt and waders, treading through rapids to position his dynamite charges, observing the resulting explosions, and measuring the sound waves as they reached bedrock and bounced back.

In
A Report on the American Jesuits, the 1956 book with John LaFarge that grew out of the Life photo-essay, Bourke-White described a revealing conversation with Linehan after a day of prospecting that had started with a simple Mass said in the woods. "Take today," he told her. "Today when I read my seismograph there were only two who knew that rock was down there under sixty feet of water. Only God and I knew. And to think this is the same God who came down to our altar this morning, the same God who made that rock, who made all the rocks in the world.

"I would give up all my seismology," he told her, "to celebrate one such Mass as you came to this morning. Think of all the energy stored up in the world--all that power. That is God. And I held Him in my hand this morning. That's why I'm happy."


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My favorite parish finds itself on the front lines of the gay-marriage war.

Meantime, Thos Fitzpatrick pens a tribute to the Latin High Mass at Holy Trinity German Church in Boston's South End.

Unfortunately, the numbers don't bode well for the German Church: In a ranking of 357 archdiocesan parishes, Holy Trinity ranked 351st in average weekly Mass attendance, 352nd in number of Catholics in parish, and 355th in sacraments dispensed.

The Keeper of the Inn looked in vain this past weekend for St. Valentine on the Church calendar: As February 14 rolls round once again, everyone knows immediately that it is the feast day of. . . .Ss. Cyril and Methodius. Oh, yes it is. It's right there in your 2004 liturgical calendar. In a move that one would think even such an unimaginative bureaucrat as Annibale Bugnini would have had second thoughts about, the liturgical tinkerers removed one of the only two saints days that the average American could recognize.

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Screw him. Will just make this summer's Battles between Good and Evil all the more epic: Who wouldn't want to see a weekend series pitting Martinez, Schilling and Lowe against that lineup?

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Thursday, February 12, 2004  



Words to remember this Lincoln's Birthday, particularly on Beacon Hill.

(Thanks to Thos Fitzpatrick for the reminder of the day)

Meantime:

Bring. It. On. Looks like the Democratic race is going to get a lot more interesting in a hurry. A window of opportunity for a party savior?

This probably won't help Just For Kerry among the Band of Brothers. UPDATE: Hoax

And for more JK fun: Curt Jester * Otto-da-Fe


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Wednesday, February 11, 2004  



Overhead, the cliff towered up, bare hanging rock beneath, grass and soaring trees above; and at the foot of the cliff a tall, irregular cave. There are two openings of this cave; the one, the larger, is like a cage of railings, with the gleam of an altar in the gloom beyond, a hundred burning candles, and sheaves and stacks of crutches clinging to the broken roofs of rock; the other, and smaller, and that farther from us, is an opening in the cliff, shaped somewhat like a vesica. The grass still grows there, with ferns and the famous climbing shrub; and within the entrance, framed in it, stands Mary, in white and blue, as she stood fifty years ago, raised perhaps twenty feet above the ground.

Ah, that image! . . . I said, "As she stood there!" Yet it could not have been so; for surely even simple Bernadette would not have fallen on her knees. It is too white, it is too blue; it is, like the three churches, placed magnificently, yet not impressive; fine and slender, yet not graceful.

But we knelt there without unreality, with the river running swift behind us; for we knelt where a holy child had once knelt before a radiant vision, and with even more reason; for even if the one, as some say, had been an hallucination, were those sick folk an hallucination? Was Pierre de Rudder's mended leg an hallucination, or the healed wounds of Marie Borel? Or were those hundreds upon hundreds of disused crutches an illusion? Did subjectivity create all these? If so, what greater miracle can be demanded?
From the first chapter of a 1914 account of a visit to Lourdes, by the Very Rev. Msgr. Robert Hugh Benson

Pilgrimages to Lourdes were described in The Century in 1894 and in Scribner's in 1874.

See the Lourdes Grotto today via webcam

An image of Mass being said there is featured at the newly redesigned webpage of the Latin Mass Society of England & Wales, which leads off with a Plain Man's Guide to Latin.

And a man of science considers Lourdes miracles.

Plus: An Our Lady of Lourdes image gallery * A Jennifer Jones site's tribute to a film I've always liked * Now available on DVD


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While waiting for Mass. lawmakers to develop some spine…

Here's that photo of Jane Fonda and John Kerry at a 1970 anti-war rally. Kerry may be seen at about 12 o'clock to Fonda, a few rows behind. (Via ELC)

* * *

Inspired by the pipe gone missing from the bulldog's mouth, this excerpt from This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald:

Monsignor Darcy's house was an ancient, rambling structure set on a hill overlooking the river, and there lived its owner, between his trips to all parts of the Roman-Catholic world, rather like an exiled Stuart king waiting to be called to the rule of his land. Monsignor was forty-four then, and bustling—a trifle too stout for symmetry, with hair the color of spun gold, and a brilliant, enveloping personality. When he came into a room clad in his full purple regalia from thatch to toe, he resembled a Turner sunset, and attracted both admiration and attention. He had written two novels: one of them violently anti-Catholic, just before his conversion, and five years later another, in which he had attempted to turn all his clever jibes against Catholics into even cleverer innuendoes against Episcopalians. He was intensely ritualistic, startlingly dramatic, loved the idea of God enough to be a celibate, and rather liked his neighbor.

Children adored him because he was like a child; youth revelled in his company because he was still a youth, and couldn't be shocked. In the proper land and century he might have been a Richelieu—at present he was a very moral, very religious (if not particularly pious) clergyman, making a great mystery about pulling rusty wires, and appreciating life to the fullest, if not entirely enjoying it.

He and Amory took to each other at first sight—the jovial, impressive prelate who could dazzle an embassy ball, and the green-eyed, intent youth, in his first long trousers, accepted in their own minds a relation of father and son within a half-hour's conversation.

"My dear boy, I've been waiting to see you for years. Take a big chair and we'll have a chat."

"I've just come from school—St. Regis's, you know."

"So your mother says—a remarkable woman; have a cigarette—I'm sure you smoke. Well, if you're like me, you loathe all science and mathematics——"

Amory nodded vehemently.

"Hate 'em all. Like English and history."

"Of course. You'll hate school for a while, too, but I'm glad you're going to St. Regis's."

"Why?"

"Because it's a gentleman's school, and democracy won't hit you so early. You'll find plenty of that in college."

"I want to go to Princeton," said Amory. "I don't know why, but I think of all Harvard men as sissies, like I used to be, and all Yale men as wearing big blue sweaters and smoking pipes."

Monsignor chuckled.

"I'm one, you know."

"Oh, you're different—I think of Princeton as being lazy and good-looking and aristocratic—you know, like a spring day. Harvard seems sort of indoors——"

"And Yale is November, crisp and energetic," finished Monsignor.

"That's it."

They slipped briskly into an intimacy from which they never recovered.

"I was for Bonnie Prince Charlie," announced Amory.

"Of course you were—and for Hannibal——"

"Yes, and for the Southern Confederacy." He was rather sceptical about being an Irish patriot—he suspected that being Irish was being somewhat common—but Monsignor assured him that Ireland was a romantic lost cause and Irish people quite charming, and that it should, by all means, be one of his principal biasses.


* * *

A vintage Handsome Dan pipe tobacco box is pictured at a page of antique tobacco tins.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2004  



Has it been nearly a quarter-century? As one who answered, that long-ago winter, to the siren clank of the BU hockey cowbell, and thus took pride in the accomplishments of Messrs. Craig, Silk, O'Callahan and Eruzione, I'm greatly looking forward to seeing this movie.

So far, the reviews are outstanding: Dale Price * USCHO.com * Buffalo News * Dallas News

Meantime, another Beanpot Tournament is history. Last night's final was a corker, with top-ranked BC overcoming a 50-save performance by the BU goalie to hoist the Pot in OT. Coverage: Herald * Globe I and II * USCHO.com * Photos

Etc… The Cowbell Cheer as performed at Cornell (and at BU) * An ode to the Dugout, venerable BU hockey bar * Terrier hockey legend Herb Wakabayashi is enshrined in the Chatham, Ont., Sports Hall of Fame * Herb's big brother, Mel, was a hockey star at Michigan * A trove of pictures at Hockey History Inc.

Dit Clapper. Fun to write, fun to say. And he smoked Camels.


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There's something about Yale," writes Amity Schlaes. Plus: A 60 Minutes report on Skull & Bones, and the policy whereby the Leaning Yale Bulldog is no longer portrayed smoking a pipe.


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Monday, February 09, 2004  



"Ladies and gentlemen, the Beatles!"

Real Audio: "It Won't Be Long" * "I'm Happy Just to Dance With You" * "Can't Buy Me Love" * "She Loves You" * "Love Love Me Do" * "I Saw Her Standing There"

(via The Beatles Music)


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"Breakfast in a Free State"

Steve M sent along an extended comment on Mencken re Harding's 1921 Inaugural (which gives an excuse to run the outstanding photo above):

Having finished a snow day's lunch of stale bean soup, the temptation to read "a string of wet sponges" proved too great. Mencken, the unbeliever, must have scowled at Harding's last inaugural lines "'...to walk humbly with thy God.' This I plight to God and country." If present at the East Portico on March 4, 1921, the Mexican ambassador must have stirred in his seat while hearing of "the unselfishness and the righteousness of representative democracy, where our freedom never has made offensive warfare, never has sought territorial aggrandizement through force...." Rumble and bumble well describes "a world-wide benediction of understanding....it will inaugurate [nice touch!] an era of good feeling to make the birth of a new order." It is fair of Mencken, I think, to find college yells in the plodding repeat of that "era" 16 paragraphs later: "I would like to acclaim an era of good feeling amid dependable prosperity...." And in this era of the remix, the dogs barking at the end of the Beach Boys' "Pet Sounds" might fit with "Our people must give and take....we must strive for normalcy to reach stability." (I would test that remix with, and without, the train sounds.) And yet, and yet--I think the words/humbug ratio beats most speechifying in post-war America. (By "post-war" I refer to what Dobie Gillis' veteran dad always called "WW Two. The Big One.") How about: "Our most dangerous tendency is to expect too much of government, and at the same time do for it too little." I prefer that to JFK's "Ask not..." At 60 million victims and counting (for communism world wide), Lenin's then new concoction undoubtedly prompted Harding's sensible remark: "If revolution insists upon overturning established order, let other peoples make the tragic experiment. There is no place for it in America." Anyone who approves of George W's recent "permission slip" line would appreciate "It [America] can enter into no political commitments, nor assume any economic obligations which will subject our decisions to any other than our own authority." I believe a brief taste of our times would have Mencken pleading for the resurrection, and second inaugural, of Warren G. Harding.

Etc…

A Vienna blogger's roundup of Karl I beatification coverage includes a link to the Emperor Karl League of Prayers.

John at the Inn may be on to something with his theory about the inspiration for the LA Cathedral.


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Friday, February 06, 2004  


TR on the hustings, New Castle, Wyo., 1903

From Theodore Roosevelt’s Letters to His Children:

113. GOOD READING FOR PACIFISTS

March 4, 1908.

DEAREST KERMIT:
You have recently been writing me about Dickens. Senator Lodge gave me the following first-class quotation from a piece by Dickens about "Proposals for Amusing Posterity":

"And I would suggest that if a body of gentlemen possessing their full phrenological share of the combative and antagonistic organs, could only be induced to form themselves into a society for Declaiming about Peace, with a very considerable war-whoop against all non-declaimers; and if they could only be prevailed upon to sum up eloquently the many unspeakable miseries and horrors of War, and to present them to their own country as a conclusive reason for its being undefended against War, and becoming a prey of the first despot who might choose to inflict those miseries and horrors—why then I really believe we should have got to the very best joke we could hope to have in our whole Complete Jest-Book for Posterity and might fold our arms and rest convinced that we had done enough for that discerning Patriarch's amusement."

This ought to be read before all the tomfool peace societies and anti-imperialist societies of the present-day.


* * *

The nomination of George Bush and Tony Blair for the Nobel Peace Prize not surprisingly drew hoots of derision from the Left, and the idea is preposterous when you consider the prize has been given in recent years to Yasser Arafat, Kofi Annan and Jimmy Carter.

Ex-president Carter was honored for contributions to world peace that included brokering the nuclear arms buildup of North Korea.

Reports circulated this week of gas chambers being used in the death camps of the North Korean gulag, a situation described by a Washington Post columnist as an "Auschwitz under our noses."

Diplomatic appeasement, however, is the ticket at present for the Peace Prize, much more so than the actual confrontation and defeat of tyranny. Perhaps Blair and Bush can appeal to precedent to be considered for the Nobel in Literature.


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Not only is Mel Gibson not a proper Catholic – his production company made a movie about fairies that does not outright debunk the little sprites. Next thing you know he'll be having kids believe in Santa Claus.


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The Marriage Movement site is worth bookmarking, particularly in the wake of this week's Massachusetts SJC ruling.

Contributor Elizabeth Marquardt writes:

Is it just me or does it seem like the four justices on the Mass High Court are actually trying to anger their opposition? In the Goodridge decision they declared that anybody who disagreed with them on gay marriage was "peddling in stereotypes." No recognition at all that people in good faith might disagree with them. Now, in the decision handed down yesterday, in which they said that only same-sex marriage and not civil unions would satisfy their ruling, there is this:

The court seemed to offer one alternative. In a footnote, the decision found that same-sex unions would not have to be called marriages if "the Legislature were to jettison the term 'marriage' altogether."

Tell me, is this "alternative" offered in any kind of good faith? The justices tell members of the Legislature and anyone else who might oppose same-sex marriage -- even those who are genuinely concerned about the rights of gays and lesbians and embrace civil unions for that reason -- that sure, you don't have to call it gay "marriage" if you don't want to, as long as you jettison the term marriage altogether.

In other words, they say, give up the thing you care about most, and you win.


Even the NYT -- a house organ for Mrs Anthony Lewis -- has noted the court majority's tone of belligerent arrogance:

For example, the majority opinion that only marriage, and not civil unions, would be permissible under the state Constitution was brusquely dismissive of Justice Martha B. Sosman's dissenting argument that civil unions would give gays exactly what marriage would, except for the ability to name it marriage.

Reacting to Justice Sosman's reference to the "Romeo and Juliet" line "That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet," the majority fired back:

"The denomination of this difference by the separate opinion of Justice Sosman as merely a 'squabble over the name to be used' so clearly misses the point that further discussion appears to be useless."

Justice Sosman, in turn, accused the majority of being "activist" and said that the majority opinion "merely repeats the impassioned rhetoric" of gay marriage supporters who filed briefs in the case...


* * *

Providence Journal columnist David A. Mittell in December wrote a piece headlined, "The Globe butts in: Gay marriage and democracy" (free registration required):

Now comes the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to upend marriage and strip the people of their say in the matter -- by a single vote, among seven lawyers appointed with varying motives by politicians named Dukakis, Weld and Cellucci. This is simply not the way this epochal matter should be decided.

That the decision was written by Margaret Marshall, whose appointment, in 1999, was abetted by The New York Times and its wholly owned, wholly inferior subsidiary, The Boston Globe, diminishes the likelihood of public acceptance, and increases the bitterness of those who oppose gay marriage. Had the legislature come to this decision, foes would have retained their democratic prerogatives.

As it is, we are likely to see bitter, distracting, unending stridency on both sides of the issue -- just as we have on the abortion question...

...My thinking on gay marriage has shifted. I'm a believer in compromise, and until recently favored domestic partnerships on that basis. Obviated would be the many cruelties and inconveniences of gay life, while the convictions of those who hold that marriage is rightfully between a man and a woman would continue to be recognized in the law.

But the Vermont domestic-partners law opened a cornucopian legal minefield, still to be crossed. For example, heterosexuals looking for a shortcut to a benefits package are bound to sue for inclusion, and win. Then we will have side-by-side systems of marriage, the only point being to placate certain citizens by calling one of them something else. For businesses, for the law, for citizens, one system of marriage and divorce is more practical than two.

I now think it's all or nothing. I'm for all.

But effecting that should be a democratic act. It should not be imposed from on high by one former New York Times columnist's (Anthony Lewis's) wife (Margaret Marshall), who was heavily promoted by The Times's local subsidiary…


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Thursday, February 05, 2004  



The All-Onomatopoeic Team has been announced at Elysian Fields Quarterly. Today's battery: Klopp-Klumpp.

* * *

We're gonna party like it's 1988: Old friend Ellis Burks' re-signing with the Red Sox recalls the time he was pressed into service for a photo-op playing catch with 1988 Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis. Wonder if Burks will be getting a call from the Duke's lieutenant-governor this year.

* * *

So this horse walks into a bar: Boston tabloid columnist Howie Carr gives the comprehensive low-down on Jawn Kerry in today's New York Post. Clip and save.

On, Wisconsin: Cheeseheads, do your duty.

* * *

Bishop: The text, vic! Don't say the text!
(Cut back to vicar.)
First Vicar: Leviticus 3-14. . .
(The pulpit explodes. Vicar disappears in smoke, flying up into the air. Cut to close-up of the bishop. Behind him there is smoke and people rushing about. Sound of people scrambling over pews in panic etc.)
Bishop: We was too late. The Reverend Grundy bit the ceiling.


Doesn't the Episcopal hierarchy of Massachusetts remind you of the Monty Python sketch "The Bishop"?

* * *

Throw your voice!

Free Republic and Fr. Sibley take up the phenomenon of the Ventriloquial Mass, i.e., for kids, with a puppet (your choice of Jerry Mahoney or Danny O'Day).

For comic-book ad nostalgists: onion-gum and joy-buzzer magnets for the fridge.

Meantime, a bio of Mack Sennett's clowns is panned.

* * *

Vote early and often in the First Annual St. Blog's Awards. And whoever nominated me – thanks much!

* * *



If it stays fair…It's gone! Another classic Fisk from Dale Price.

* * *

Joe Lieberman's exit from the race leaves the Democratic field a "confederacy of hucksters," writes R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr.

A tribute to Lieberman and photos of one of his New Hampshire volunteers in Lieberman campaign yarmulke are featured at Off the Fence.

* * *

Cubans try to sail to freedom in a '59 Buick: We should have let them in, says the NY Sun.


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"A peep into the cave of Jacobinism." In this 1798 etching by James Gillray, Luminous Truth routs a scaly creature lurking in a cave surrounded by the ideological bric-a-brac of Jacobinism. The octopus bears more than a passing resemblance to Margaret Marshall.

* * *

"The Radetzky March" by Johann Strauss Sr. has been called the "Marseillaise of conservatism." Listen to an orchestral version from a Russian site and a piano version by Dario Ronchi.

* * *

Thought while passing the Bread & Circus:

How many of those who would disregard thousands of years of social experience and millions of years of evolution with regard to marriage insist themselves on "organic" foods or a more "natural" lifestyle?

And of those who would re-define as a mere partnering arrangement the male-female combination central to the creation, rearing and healthy development of children: how many demand a more "humane" economy, or would blanch at the idea of felling a redwood in the name of progress?

Is the institution of marriage somehow less organically developed and less vital to the ecology than an old-growth forest?

* * *

Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney offers in today's Wall Street Journal a citizen's guide to protecting marriage, to help other states avoid the fate that has befallen his own. Romney supports a state constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman:

In a decision handed down in November, a divided Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts detected a previously unrecognized right in our 200-year-old state constitution that permits same-sex couples to wed. I believe that 4-3 decision was wrongly decided and is deeply mistaken.

Contrary to the court's opinion, marriage is not "an evolving paradigm." It is deeply rooted in the history, culture and tradition of civil society. It predates our Constitution and our nation by millennia. The institution of marriage was not created by government and it should not be redefined by government.


* * *

On Feb. 11, Massachusetts legislators will meet in a state Constitutional Convention to consider an amendment backed by Gov. Romney that would define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

The soonest a constitutional amendment could end up on the ballot would be November 2006. The nation's first gay marriage could take place in Massachusetts as soon as May.

"We've heard from the court, but not from the people," Romney said in a statement. "The people of Massachusetts should not be excluded from a decision as fundamental to our society as the definition of marriage."
More

* * *

The Massachusetts Catholic Conference urges legislators: Vote Yes for Ma & Pa, the Marriage Affirmation & Protection Amendment, while the Coalition for Marriage offers citizen action resources.


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Custer's Last Band



The great-great-grandfather of Patriots kicker and Super Bowl hero Adam Vinatieri was General Custer's bandmaster:

On the day in 1876 that Custer met his bloody end at Little Big Horn, the general instructed his band that it might be too dangerous to accompany the troops. The band members gladly obliged, and the rest was history.

"He was left behind the day of their fateful expedition, and fortunately for me and my family, he was," Vinatieri said.


Had Custer taken his band along to the Little Big Horn, the Pats might not have won two of the last three Super Bowls.

The National Music Museum at the University of South Dakota maintains an archive of materials related to bandmaster Felix Vinatieri, and offers a CD of his music as performed by the New Custer Brass Band.

Meantime, listen to an mp3 of Garryowen as performed by the Bagpipes and Drums of the Emerald Society of the Chicago Police Department, the Cops in Kilts.

* * *

Decouverte dans les Prairies des squelettes de plusieurs soldats d'un regiment de cavalrie surpris et mis a mort par les Indiens: An 1868 French book illustration of General George A. Custer and his men discovering the bones of Lieutenant Kidder and other members of the Seventh Cavalry in Kansas * An 1867 version from Harper's Weekly

General George Armstrong Custer and the Russian Grand Duke Alexis, in hunting clothes, 1872.

Custer's Charge reenacted, Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, Brooklyn, 1894.

(Photos from the Western history collection of the Denver Public Library)

* * *

Have been re-watching the Ken Burns series on the Civil War, and it is a masterpiece.

*

Worthy tributes to Robert E. Lee have been posted in recent weeks at the Inn at the End of the World, at Dappled Things and at the Cat's Cradle. From the latter:

The tales of Robert E. Lee are numerous and legendary, mostly dealing with his gentility, manners, and love for his wife, family, and the state in which he was born. There's an old tale, possibly apocryphal, of some new students being shown around the grounds of Washington & Lee University where Gen. Lee was president after the unpleasantness known as the "Civil War" (or "War Between the States", depending on where you learned your American history). The tour approached the chapel and the tour guide stated, "This is the Robert E. Lee Chapel." A tourist piped up, "Isn't this an Episcopal Chapel? I thought they always named them after saints?" The tour guide, with some pride, stated, "They did, son."

Perhaps my favorite figure of the Civil War is the Bowdoin professor who became a hero at Gettysburg, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain:

Chamberlain was…responsible for one of the most poignant scenes of the Civil War at the surrender of Lee's Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox, Virginia. General Ulysses S. Grant placed Chamberlain in charge of receiving the surrender of Confederate weapons and battle flags. As the conquered Confederate soldiers marched down the road to surrender their arms and colors Chamberlain, without orders or permission, ordered his men to come to attention and "carry arms" as a show of respect. Seeing this unexpected honor, the Confederate commander, General John B. Gordon reared his horse, touched his sword to his boot toe, and ordered his men to return the salute…Many years later, Gordon, in his own memoirs, called Chamberlain "one of the knightliest soldiers of the Federal Army."

Chamberlain's account of the last salute at Appomattox is given here, and Gordon's, here.

A new Chamberlain statue was dedicated last year in Brunswick, Maine. Vantages may be seen here and here. Another Chamberlain statue is located in Brewer, Maine, atop a promontory in a park fashioned after Little Round Top.


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Wednesday, February 04, 2004  
Mass. high court rules for gay marriage; civil unions won't do

BOSTON - The Massachusetts high court ruled Wednesday that only full, equal marriage rights for gay couples — rather than civil unions — would be constitutional, erasing any doubts that the nation's first same-sex marriages would take place in the state beginning in mid-May. More from AP

A feature in today's Globe on two lesbians preparing to wed was accompanied by a photo of the engaged couple. At first glance, before reading the caption and accompanying headline, I had taken the "groom" for a man. She certainly resembled one, having apparently made an effort to crop her hair and dress in relatively masculine fashion. It brought to mind a past cable documentary on a male transvestite who took great pains to look like a glamour queen.

Imitation is the greatest form of flattery and all, but aren't lesbian women who endeavor to look as "manly" as possible and gay men who try to fit a "feminine" ideal underscoring the very gender roles they're seeking to overturn? Aren't the Globe fiancées, one traditionally feminine-looking and one butch, acknowledging the binary he-and-she nature of marriage?

Aren't they recognizing that there are some sort of rules – that things are as they are – at the same time they are trying to re-make what is to personal taste? (One thinks of the postmodernists who declare "there is no truth" – as a truth.)

The results are imitation, are caricature, but in the PC world you're not supposed to say it.

Better to maintain a fiction apparent on its face: that a woman and a woman-dressed-as-a-man can be married the same as a woman and man; that a young child doesn't need special and prolonged attention from his or her mother; that the sexes are interchangeable and that a child doesn't benefit any more from a mother and a father than from two mothers or two fathers.

The alternative is to let intuitive reality trump ideology.


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What happens if Kerry's arms get stuck? He's making that raised V gesture so often he seems to be auditioning for a job as a set of goal posts for Adam Vinatieri, hero of the Super Bowl-winning New England Patriots. The senator's chiropractor must worry--what if the muscles freeze up in that gesture and President Kerry has to spend an entire term with his arms in the air? Riding Marine One with his arms in the air, strolling through the Rose Garden with his arms in the air, giving fireside chats in times of national emergency seated in the high-backed chair with his arms in the air… Gregg Easterbrook

I wonder if there's any Boston political journalist who isn't a hopeless Democratic hack who has a kind word for Kerry? All the ones I come across don't just dislike Kerry. They loathe him. Andrew Sullivan

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Some supporters of the Massachusetts Democrat have taken to wearing Kerry Gaelic football shirts.

Why not Munster?

* * *

Attention, Deaniacs: America evidently doesn't want to be taken back.

Thus Catholics for Dean, who as far as we know consist of the webmaster and Martin Sheen, are about to see their champion stamp back into maple-flavored obscurity.

Here's Catholic for Dean blogger Tim, in a flame war with Kathy Shaidle, indulging in Western guilt for the sins of the world:

Other countries are poor because Europeans colonized and exploited them, destroying local economies to make them consumers of European goods. In our own neck of the woods, we are the colonists and the victims are the Native Americans, who have suffered the fate of near-extinction.

Compare with Dr. Dean's Vermont, as described by Jonah Goldberg:

To Old Vermonters Dean is a "Flatlander," which means he comes from outside the state. Specifically Dean hails from Park Avenue and East Hampton. But you could also say he comes from the 1960s. A classic liberal baby boomer and Yale graduate, Dean typifies what many call "the Flatlander invasion" -- the massive influx of urban professional liberals who've taken advantage of Vermont's famous tolerance and don't-tread-on-me individualism and turned it into a whatever-floats- your-boat Epcot Center exhibit of Green Socialism.

"The Flatlander invasion represents perhaps the most complete case of internal American colonialism since the destruction of the Indian," says Hal Goldman, a historian and lawyer who's studied and worked in Vermont. "Hundreds of thousands of highly educated, well-off people invaded a state with a unique culture and history. They seized control of its resources and institutions, demeaned and destroyed the indigenous values of its people, altered the landscape, and drove many of the natives from their homes as a result of their activities. If this happened in Africa, the same people would call it colonialism. In Vermont it's called liberal chic. The colonists are arrogant, disrespectful, and hypocritical. And Howard Dean is their king."


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Tuesday, February 03, 2004  


Boston parade, 1903

In honor of former Wolverine Tom Brady and today's parading Pats:

"Hail to the Victors," via Michigan Songs

And the Quiet Man set (mp3) from the Chicago Cops in Kilts.

These Pats are like the old Celtics, a team, first and foremost, with stars but also a complement of role players who do the job, minus the bling bling. Tom Brady evokes Merriwell or Mathewson or Hobey Baker: If the Massachusetts Republicans have any sense they'll sign him up for the Senate when his playing days are over.

* * *

For Tom Brady, life is good * The scene on Boylston * And on Tremont

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The image at top of the Ancient & Honorary Artillery Company parading through Boston's Dewey Square in 1903 is taken from a collection of panoramic photos at the Library of Congress' American Memory site.

* * *

Boston Mayor Tom Menino, master of the malapropism, was asked in a radio interview this morning why, with as many as a million parade-goers converging downtown, no port-a-potties would be provided. His answer: People would knock them over and use them as weapons.

* * *

Thirty-four years ago, the Bruins owned the town and paraded through tickertape to City Hall. In their memory, here's a colorful history of the Stanley Cup, which has been used as a trash can, an ecdysiast's prop, a beer pitcher and worse, and of which George Vecsey wrote: "One of the great rules of hockey is: On the Stanley Cup, all germs are healthy."


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