"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
W: The arriving Nats are suitably bedecked in anticipation of tonight's debate, though it must be admitted the Washington nine, shown above leaping into Spring in 1936, had prior claim to the W cap.
The WaPoDC Baseball section's coverage of baseball's return to Washington includes columns by Thomas Boswell and by Michael Wilbon, who suggests the new team be named after the old Homestead Grays of the Negro Leagues.
A Post fan poll on a new name has Senators leading the Grays. I favor the old longtime quasi-official nickname of Nationals, or Nats, particularly because this time around they'll actually be playing in the NL.
But I could get behind a tribute to the old Negro League Grays and a proud but unsung chapter of Washington baseball history.
It's not like the name Grays symbolizes anything bad to folks who aren't black. The first person I heard lobby for Grays was ESPN anchor Dan Patrick. Laura Meissner, handing out pamphlets yesterday titled "Bring the Grays Back to Washington," is a young white woman who is vice president of a group devoted to remembering the Grays. A team embracing Negro League history at its best might not work everywhere, but one would think it could work here, in the blackest city in America.
You want a flying start with jersey sales and nostalgic remembrances, and a city-wide feeling of inclusion, name the team the Grays and watch what happens.
Meantime, the Pedro Martinez midget has become the fall season's Dominic the Christmas Donkey, to judge from the hit meter. Sox broadcaster Jerry Remy said the other morning he'd be happy to have Nelson de la Rosa stop by the booth and sit in Wally's chair. Mahow mahow!
The long national nightmare (of no national pastime in the nation's capital) will soon be over. Hopefully, the presidential tradition of throwing out the first ball of the baseball season will again be as perennial a sign of spring in Washington as the cherry blossoms.
In other sports news in the nation's capital: a poll of American Indians has found an overwhelming majority are not bothered by the Washington Redskins' nickname, supporting what the Wa-hoo-wah lobby at the Dartmouth Review has been saying all along.
Meantime, outside the Beltway, the latest Mudville Magazine asks: if rooting for the Cubs and Red Sox is imbued with some sort of cosmic karma, why isn't cheering for the White Sox, who've gone without a championship just as long? Where is the Chisox' Billy Goat, the Pale Hose's Bambino's Curse?
This 1943 picture of the main altar of the church in Trampas, N. M., is among photos taken by John Collier in the Farm Security Administration - Office of War Information Collection at the Library of Congress' American Memory site.
Searches here on the queries Trampas church and Trampas altar return many striking images of the 1700 church described as the best-preserved colonial mission in the Southwest.
Here is a beautiful and un-PC side altar dedicated to the Madonna and to Santiago Matamoro.
St. Richard Gwyn, a Welsh teacher who was executed for recusancy (a refusal to attend Protestant services), looked upon the desecrated sanctuaries of Wales and remarked with sadness: "Yn lle allor, trestyl trist" "In place of an altar there is a miserable table." God grant that the miserable tables that have replaced the altars of sacrifice throughout the Catholic world will one day be removed and replaced by altars of sacrifice.
Mahow Mahow: Manny's clown pants, Bronson Arroyo's cornrows, Johnny Damon's Jesus look? All prologue: The Sox now have a new lucky charm in a 29-inch-tall midget, the world's third-smallest man, who at Pedro Martinez' invitation was running around the clubhouse the other night. An account in the Hartford Courant is titled, "Pedro's Friend And Clubhouse Of Dr. Moreau":
BOSTON -- The Red Sox may have unveiled a new good luck charm Saturday night.
"The curse is gone," Johnny Damon said. "He's helping us out."
Scaring them is more like it.
Nelson de la Rosa, listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the shortest living actor ("The Island of Dr. Moreau"), paid a visit to the Red Sox clubhouse. He is a friend of Pedro Martinez and a fellow Dominican, all 25 or so inches of him.
"Why don't you ask Derek Lowe about what he saw," Damon said. "He's still kind of in shock."
"I don't even want to talk about it," Lowe said. "It gave me the heebie-jeebies."
Kevin Millar said Red Sox manager Terry Francona thought de la Rosa was a toy when he walked into the manager's office.
"It was unbelievable," Millar said. "I didn't know what the hell it was. Are you [kidding] me with that thing? That scared the [heck] out of me. Good Lord. And it started talking, too. Whatever it was, it scared the [heck] out of us."
De la Rosa, 36, posed for pictures by sitting on the laps of players and coaches.
"Literally, he was up to your knees," Bronson Arroyo said. "Pedro's bobble-head is so much bigger than him."
The report from the Yankees' YES Network was colorful if disapproving:
“He’s a great dude,” said Kevin Millar. “He’s hilarious. He’s awesome man.”
Martinez showcased De la Rosa and allowed players to have their picture taken with him, which turned the clubhouse into somewhat of a circus. But the real freak show unraveled when Martinez let the little man run loose through the clubhouse while Red Sox players made vocal, inappropriate and tactless comments.
At one point, Derek Lowe inquired if he could “buy one of those” while Curtis Leskanic mimicked the line from Austin Powers, “I will call him Mini-Me." Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz then yelled out they thought De la Rosa had a significantly larger body part than Millar. Curt Schilling was loudly humming the theme song to Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey’s Circus in front of his locker.
For background music to the rest of this post, sample a fine selection of calliope tunes at Steamboats.org, and "Thunder and Blazes" and "Barnum & Bailey's Favorite" at the bottom of the Sounds of the Circus page.
* * *
The Sox' Latin Mini-Me belongs to a storied baseball-mascot tradition. Baseball historian John Thorn writes in a tribute to early-20th-century oddball pitching ace Rube Waddell:
The age of magic in baseball was in full flower during Waddell's career. Society at large feared the misshapen as manifestations of God's wrath, regarded the feebleminded as signs of God's humor, and imbued the lame and the halt with heightened goodness, like Tiny Tim in Charles Dickens' Christmas Carol. Major league teams employed mascots like Louis Van Zelst, a hunchbacked cripple, who drew luck to the A's until he died in 1915; dwarf Eddie Bennett, who brought pennants to the White Sox in 1917 and 1919, then to the Dodgers and Yankees; and the aptly named Victory Faust, a hayseed mental defective who “helped” the Giants to pennants in 1911-13. All of these mascots sat in uniform on the bench or, in the case of Faust, entertained the crowd before the game.
An article at BaseballGuru.com recalls the era in which a hunchbacked Eddie Bennett would win a measure of celebrity as batboy to the 1927 Murderers Row Yankees:
Misshapen midgets, humpbacked unfortunates, stunted dwarfs. It was the age of ritualistic, mystical mascots who wielded a parochial mumbo-jumbo magnetism over teams & games: a pat on the head, softly rubbing the protuberance of a hunchbacked form, a handshake from a twisted body, rubbing a bat or glove or a player’s cap in a certain way yielded powerful results. The early 1900’s gave us a plethora of team mascots who either promised us miraculous results (i.e. Charles “Victory” Faust) or the touch of their body heralded victory (see Louis van Zelst) or good luck charms such as Ty Cobb’s L’il Rastus and Alexander George Washington Rivers and Babe Ruth’s Little Ray Kelly.
Eddie Bennett came to a sad end, dying at 31 of alcoholism, broke and alone, in a lodging-house room filled with autographed mementos of his baseball years. None of the Yankees attended his funeral.
Years later the billionaire investor Warren Buffett would find motivational material in the crippled batboy he cited as a "managerial model" (last item).
"Eddie understood that how he lugged bats was unimportant," Buffett wrote."What counted instead was hooking up with the cream of those on the playing field."
Connie Mack's Athletics had a hunchback named Louis van Zeldt who brought them good luck between 1910 and 1914, during which time the A's won four American League championships and three World Series. He can be seen in the front row in this team photo from 1914. In 1915, Louis van Zeldt died, and the A's finished last.
Red Sox fans, take note: The A's, despite their mascot, lost the 1914 World Series to Boston's Miracle Braves, whose secret weapon that Fall Classic, baseball historian John Holway notes, was the trademark song sung by Boston's Royal Rooters.
Baseball showman Bill Veeck writes in his autobiography he was inspired to send a midget to bat by tales he'd been told as a boy by New York Giants manager John McGraw:
McGraw had a little hunchback he kept around the club as a sort of good-luck charm. His name, if I remember, was Eddie Morrow. Morrow wasn't a midget, you understand, he was a sort of gnome. By the time McGraw got to the stub of his last cigar, he would always swear to my father that one day before he retired he was going to send his gnome up to bat.
All kids are tickled by the incongruous. The picture of McGraw's gnome coming to bat had made such a vivid impression on me that it was there, ready for the plucking, when I needed it.
Images: In subsequent Veeck stunts, midgets demanding tryouts beset Browns manager Rogers Hornsby, who wards them off with a bat * Midgets dressed as Martians advance on the White Sox dugout with ray guns.
Giants manager John McGraw wrote, "I give Charlie Faust full credit for winning the pennant for me - the National League pennant of 1911." Faust had approached McGraw before the season and explained that a fortune teller told him if he pitched for the Giants, they would win the pennant. Faust became a good luck charm, traveling with the team and warming up to pitch every game. He hurled an inning against the last-place Dodgers on the final day, shutting them out on one hit. He also reached base by getting hit by a pitch, and was allowed to steal second and third, and score. "Who's loony now?" he asked teammates as the crowd cheered. Faust was committed to an institution in 1914. When he died in 1915, the Giants finished last.
There are a lot of angry people out there, Manhattan correspondent Steve M. finds on riding the elevator:
Thursday morning, I rode down the elevator with five of my Upper West Side neighbors--including a young couple I may have not met before, accompanied by their two little sons. Also on board was an older lady I had known--mostly through pleasant elevator chats--for 15 years. The boys were wearing New York Mets caps, and the brief conversation moved quickly from the Mets to two doormen for our apartment building who were big, big Yankee fans. Thinking ahead to the way the lobby was likely to look in honor of this weekend's battle with the Red Sox, I mentioned all the Yankee paraphernalia that normally festooned the building lobby when the Yanks were in an important series. I joked that there might, however, be an unused square inch on the lobby desk where more Yankee paraphernalia could be fit in. At which point the elevator arrived at the lobby and the young dad, while picking up one of his sons, glared at me and said, in a voice of barely controlled rage: "Yeah, we need more Yankee paraphernalia, like we need more power for John Ashcroft."
Ah, my American flag lapel pin strikes again. Everyone exited the elevator in awkward silence.
Twelve hours later, I am heading back home to the most liberal (I really must look that word up!) spot in the United States of America. This time my elevator companions are a couple in their 70s. I have seen these folks in the building for years, but have never ventured beyond topics such as the weather. In reply to a question from the lady about what button she could push for my floor, I told her my floor number, and I added: "Thank you." That broke the conversational ice.
Him, in a tense voice, turning around to face me and pointing at my American flag lapel pin: "Does that mean you support George Bush?"
Me, after a pause: "It means I love my country."
Him, taken aback, and getting hotter: "Well I don't want to hear anything about that – I served, I was in the Marine Corps."
Me, smiling at my angry neighbor: "Marine Corps--that is the real deal."
At this point, we reached my floor and I made my awkward way past his nervous wife.
Fanaticism? No. Writing is exciting
and baseball is like writing.
You can never tell with either
how it will go
or what you will do;
a fever in the victim--
pitcher, catcher, fielder, batter.
"You can never tell with either how it will go." That's it!
And the late scholar and former MLB Commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti gives an erudite spin on the same:
[Baseball] is autotelic activity...transformative of negotium to otium, tedium to freedom (in Aristotle's terms, war to peace), because it is a medium for self-transformation...A "win" is the actual realization of what is centrally an imaginative surge.
So maybe there is the perfect response to the "baseball is boring" crowd.
Tell 'em, "It's an imaginative surge, something you wouldn't understand."
Pedro tonight! And who knows how it will go? Our excitement grows by the hour.
* * *
Has anyone else noticed a resemblance between the bearded Kevin Millar and the Three Stooges wrestler Bustoff?
Maybe in addition to "Tessie" and "Dirty Water" they could blare "Pop Goes the Weasel" through the Fenway PA.
* * *
Tufts is pressing a claim to having the played the first modern college football game, against Harvard, in 1875. The accompanying photo of the 1875 Tufts team posed in striped skivvies and muttonchops would have appealed to Edward Gorey.
The Jumbos open their 130th football season at home in Medford against Wesleyan on Saturday, while Harvard opens the Ivy season against Brown at Providence.
I stayed away from the pro-hunting demonstration because I didn’t want to turn into an anti. I am such a reactionary that I always end up disagreeing with whatever crowd I’m in. Last year, for instance, I went to the big anti-war march. I was a determined dove at the start, but by the end the self-satisfied piety of my fellow demonstrators had converted me into a swivel-eyed, drooling neocon.
I do not say this to brag or gloat, although I could, but to suggest instead that in some dark corners of higher ed, some of us aim to dress as George Saintsbury not as the checkout boy as Sainsbury's. Remember, I went to undergrad in Vermont, so I know what what fashion-challenged professors look like. Burlington is their lair.
And, yes, I do advocate the recovery of academic robes as classroom wear, not to cover-up but to distinguish. (I sigh wistfully every time I see Anthony Hopkins as C.S. Lewis in Shadowlands) The last thing colleges need is to become more casual. Any more casual and campuses will become nudist colonies. To be casual on campus today is to be orthodox; to be rather more formal and "put-together" is quite radical. A bowtie can cause a riot.
Now, where's my pipe?
* * *
Sandro Magister writes on the late Cardinal Casaroli, architect of Vatican Ostpolitik, and the example for today that may be drawn from the approach to dialogue that was taken toward the Communist Bloc. Interesting – though it strikes one that the Soviets, bad as they were, still observed traditional diplomatic rules of engagement. What do you do with adversaries who take diplomats hostage; who as a matter of practice target women and children, and murder innocents on the Internet; who are not open to negotiation, and are emboldened by attempts at conciliation; who seek not a modus vivendi, but simply your destruction? And does the Vatican currently help matters when -- beyond simply maintaining prayerful neutrality, or even offering itself as mediator of disputes -- it seeks an active role in a peace movement that doesn't placate, but rather encourages, the terrorists?
…I just noticed the "FOR HIRE" sign on the cab Ed Murrow is stepping into above your comment for last Friday. At some point between Murrow and Rather, did CBS decide to become the American Left's limo service?
* * *
If the Kerry campaign's fingerprints are found on the Rathergate forged memos it would not be the first time Kerry operatives were implicated in apparent campaign dirty trickery.
In his 1972 congressional campaign, Kerry's brother and his campaign field director were charged with breaking and entering in what was headlined as a local "Watergate."
Kerry blamed foul play orchestrated with a news organization. Imagine that.
To win the primary, [Kerry] overcame the election eve arrest of his brother, Cameron, and campaign field director Thomas J. Vallely, both then 22, in the basement of a Lowell building that housed the headquarters of Kerry and another Democratic contender, state Representative Anthony R. DiFruscia of Lawrence. It was almost 2 a.m. - 30 hours before the polls opened - when the two were arrested on charges of breaking and entering with intent to commit larceny.
That day's Sun blared a memorable, double-deck headline: "Kerry brother arrested in Lowell `Watergate."' DiFruscia, getting some extra ink in the campaign's waning hours, had drawn the parallel to the break-in at Democratic headquarters in Washington three months earlier.
The Kerry camp declared it a setup, saying that the two responded to an anonymous phone call, minutes earlier, threatening to cut the campaign's 36 phone lines on the day before its get-out-the-vote effort. Lowell Police arrested the pair in an area near the trunk line for all of the building's phones.
To this day Kerry becomes animated talking about the episode, convinced it was part of a conspiracy against his insurgency. He said he does not know who was involved. He dismissed as ridiculous the charge that DiFruscia was a target. "He didn't figure in the race," said Kerry.
But some of Kerry's claims in the Lowell break-in are wildly at odds with the facts.
"That headline was held open. That page was held open, according to [Sun] typesetters, at 1 o'clock in the morning," Kerry said. "That doesn't happen at a newspaper, you know that. And that headline was out there on the streets the next morning, first thing."
The Sun, however, was an afternoon paper, and its first deadline was hours after the arrests, in plenty of time to write the story for that day's editions. The Eagle-Tribune of Lawrence also reported the arrests that day, in a smaller story under the headline "Shades of Watergate?"
So Kerry claims to have been a victim of a setup in which the major local media outlet was complicit. Is Rathergate Lowell politics writ large?
* * *
"Without fear or favor?"
I can readily envision a political campaign calling a news organization to "move a story forward" – but the news organization calling the campaign?
A USA Today piece indicates Dan Rather's "unimpeachable" source was anything but. The Llama Butchers revel in schadanfreude, or the act of taking delight in the misery of Dan Rather, while Wizbang proclaims: Anchor's Away!
Hugh Hewitt:Is it acceptable for a major American broadcast organization to work hand-in-glove with a presidential campaign --to conspire-- to surface forgeries with the intent of influencing the presidential election?*
A senior Kerry aide phoning the forgery-passer at the request of CBS? CBS is advising the Kerry campaign? And the Kerry campaign is following the advice? Fire them all.*
Power Line:Okay, Mary, is CBS an adjunct of the Kerry campaign?
One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I'll never know.
Idly Googling "elk" and "pajamas" turns up Groucho's wonderful Captain Spaulding monologue from Animal Crackers:
The elks on the other hand live up in the hills, and in the spring they come down for their annual convention. It is very interesting to watch them come down to the water-hole; and you should see them run when they find it is only water-hole. What they're looking for is a elk-a-hole. One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I'll never know.
If you don't mind clicking away the infernal Tripod window you can hear "Hooray for Captain Spaulding" and several other Marx Bros songs here.
Then again, a serving of Duck Soup might more befit the current campaign mood. The Why a Duck site offers a sampling of WAV files, among them:
Mrs. Teasdale: "As Chairwoman of the reception committee, I welcome you with open arms." Firefly: "Is that so? How late do you stay open?"
Secretary: "Sir, you try my patience!" Firefly: "I don't mind if I do...You must come over and try mine sometime."
To depart from the themes of Rum, Times New Romanism and Rebellion:
Today I had the opportunity to visit a gallery showing works by Belgian artist Fernand Khnopff (1858-1921) that were quite beautiful. I was particularly taken with this portrait done posthumously of a young woman who had died at 20; the cut blossom in her hand is said to represent the fleeting nature of life. Another favorite was a portrait of the artist's sister. I also liked these children.
More works by Khnopff may be seen here and here. The artist reportedly once was asked if he would ever marry the ideal woman whose face appears in so many of his paintings. He is said to have answered, "On no account. I know too well what is in her mind."
This ‘sophisticated’ critique of Bush, however, says more about his critics than it does about him. Indeed, European derision of presidents with thick accents and unprepossessing demeanours has a long history. Abraham Lincoln was a backwoods lawyer from nowhere, derided internationally for his homespun suits and his moral fervour. But Lincoln abolished slavery, united the States and founded the modern Republican party. Harry Truman was a conservative, small-town Democrat following in the large footsteps of a born communicator, FDR. But no president ever made more momentous decisions for his country and the world, dropping the A-bomb on Japan, relieving the besieged Berlin by air, launching the Marshall Plan and sending troops to Korea…
The sophisticates’ forgetfulness of history is dangerous. When there is no Lincoln, Truman, Reagan or Bush, who is there? There is Bill Clinton and the European Union. An attitude of supine indifference, glossed as multilateralism, was the fertile seedbed of Osama bin Laden and led directly, through outrages of escalating daring, to September 11. And the claim that in the absence of a strong America the EU can mount an effective response to genocide was, surely, for ever disgraced on the killing fields of Srebrenica. Let those two events stand as testament to the outlook of the liberal Left, and shame the deluded fans of Michael Moore.
Happy Oktoberfest! Though I wouldn't advise this after too many steins of the haus special.
The Bavarian drinking song "Ein Prosit" may be heard here, as may other songs with the word "bier" in their titles.
* * *
In another annual ritual of the season, the blood of St. Januarius reportedly has flowed on schedule, meaning Naples is safe from volcanoes for another year. (Via Frs. Tucker and Sibley and the Six Bells)
* * *
In my corner of New England, the chill of fall is in the air, and the smell of apple pie fills the house. Thos Fitzpatrick, meantime, is making mincemeat.
CBS News icon Edward R. Murrow set the standard for excellence in broadcast journalism. It is worth noting the report cited above that did much to secure his and CBS News' place in the pantheon was motivated by rightful anger at the concocting of "files" to be brought against the accused.
Fast forward to Rathergate, and cue the Clintons' favorite band, as the news operation Ed Murrow built now makes a case for pressing accusations – in this case, against the president – based on documents shown to have been forged.
As long as you forged memos that you believe actually existed, what difference would it make? You can almost hear Jon Lovitz doing his Tommy Flanagan bit: "Yeah, yeah. They're not forgeries, they're, uhhhhh . . . replicas! Yeah, replicas -- that's the ticket!"
In any case, the whole “fake but accurate” line shows how tone-deaf these people are; it’s like saying a body in a pine box is “dead but lifelike.” It boggles, it really does: the story is true, the evidence is faked, but the evidence reflects the evidence we have not yet presented that proves our conclusion – ergo, we’re telling the truth.
Here's why the memos' authenticity does matter: if the memos carrying the accusations do not matter, then why bother with memos at all?
ACCUSATION: Dan Rather was hoarse and sluggish on that newscast because he had snorted cocaine less than 15 minutes before going on camera. In fact, Rather has had a drug addiction since returning from Vietnam as a war correspondent. His powerful connections inside the network have shielded him from repercussions as he rose through the reporting ranks.
I could spend a few minutes (on a real typewriter, which I have) forging CBS memos laying this information out, but really, why bother? I'll instead take CBS's line and insist all that really matters is what the memos say, the accusations themselves. But if so, then you don't need the memos at all. You can just make spurious accusations and demand your opponent address them.
As Pat Caddell pointed out tonight, that's what you do in a country with secret police.
* * *
I haven't weighed in until now on CBS' petard-hoisting because I haven't known quite what to add, given the ongoing blitz of coverage and minute dissection of fonts, superscripts and kerning at such sites as Power Line,LGF,INDC Journal and Instapundit. Kudos to the bloggers for a breakthrough in keeping the media honest.
It was live and lowdown at the Lampoon yesterday afternoon. In Cambridge, the Harvard humor magazine presented singer James Brown with a silver bowl "for his unparalleled contributions" to culture. Some 300 spectators roared as the Godfather of Soul -- looking natty in a purple suit, open-collared purple shirt, silver-toed boots, and, of course, shades -- appeared on the steps of the Lampoon Castle. Brown acknowledged the academic surroundings by pronouncing one of his mantras: "Don't be a fool, stay in school!" To mark the festivities, the Lampoon had a monster truck on hand, which among other accomplishments smashed the president's chair belonging to The Harvard Crimson, the undergraduate daily (and the Lampoon's longstanding rival). "I'd like to drive the truck," Brown told the crowd, "but I have a little problem driving." It was an allusion to the high-speed auto chase that landed him in prison in the late '80s. The crowd roared again.
Otto Clemson Hiss' call for ingredients for a new libation called the Tweed Avalanche sets the stage for a tribute to a favorite icon hereabouts, the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who comes to mind at the mention of tweed and (to borrow from Russell Baker) the "convivial imbibing of spirit and grape."
As it happens, an exhibit, New York's Moynihan, is on display through Sept. 26 at the Museum of the City of New York. A Globereviewer compares Moynihan to Lord Macaulay.
* * *
From a 1986 profile of Moynihan for the Washington Post Style section by David Remnick:
"Saddle up, children!" he yells tinnily, and the entourage shuffles over to meet him. There is something antique, something mythological about Moynihan. The theater he has become -- the herky-jerky Anglo-speech, the bow tie slightly askew, the tweedy caps and professorial rambles -- they all make him seem vaguely not there, a figure not of the present but of an unreal history, an American Edmund Burke taking dominion on the Hill...
Sander Vanocur, now a correspondent for ABC News in Washington, met Moynihan when they were both young and living in London:
"Pat seemed to me the richest man in the world in those days. And one of the happiest. He was so absorbed in the place. He would talk for hours about the doors in Regency architecture, knew everything about it. One day he got me to jump over a fence with him on High Street, Kensington, and sneak into the Holland House where the Whig aristocracy used to meet. He made the place come alive.
"Pat was loved by the English. He was an American -- so out front and full of life."
Moynihan came back to the United States an Anglophile. He is partial to Cockney pub songs such as "The Lambeth Walk," odd British evening slippers, English soaps, colognes, cheeses, mustards and ales. He used to stuff his handkerchief up his jacket sleeve in the British mode, but that mannerism has disappeared.
"When Dad was ambassador to India I was interested in the Hindu era, Mom was interested in the Mogul era and Dad was interested in the Raj," says Maura Moynihan.
A photo of Moynihan reviewing an honor guard of Indian Gurkha soldiers 13 years ago shows the new ambassador wearing a bowler on his pate and a carnation in his lapel. He looks as though he were meeting Mountbatten in Raj heaven.
"But I like Irish things, too," he adds quickly. On his office wall is a landscape by Jack Yeats. "It's a beauty, isn't it?"
Seven years ago in The Nation, Fred Powledge wrote a "journalist's apologia" for a favorable piece he wrote on Moynihan in a 1967 issue of Life magazine.
"I should have caught on when . . . I saw him unlimber an Abercrombie & Fitch fly-fishing outfit, complete with rod, reel, little hat and dry martini, to pursue trout in a mud puddle," Powledge wrote. "He was, I realized then, a cartoon, not the real stuff."
Moynihan, for all his theater, is nothing at all like a cartoon. The Anglophile reviewing Gurkhas, the department-store fisherman, the stammering academic pol, these are cartoons. And funny ones, too. But in an era of techno-politicians, legislators without flair or intellectual adventure, he is unique on Capitol Hill.
* * *
George Will on Moynihan: Along the way he wrote more books than some of his colleagues read and became something that, like Atlantis, is rumored to have once existed but has not recently been seen -- the Democratic Party's mind.
* * *
From Adam Clymer's NYT obit, included in a collection of tributes to the late senator:
In 1950 he went to the London School of Economics on a Fulbright Scholarship, and he lived well on it, the G.I. bill and later a job at an Air Force base. He started wearing a bowler hat. He had a tailor and a bootmaker and traveled widely, including a visit to Moynihan cousins in County Kerry, Ireland.
Work on his dissertation did not consume him. In ''Pat,'' his 1979 biography, Doug Schoen described a 1952 visit by two former Middlebury colleagues: ''Impressed at first with his elaborate file cabinet full of index cards, they found that most of the cards were recipes for drinks rather than notes on the International Labor Organization.''
Pat Moynihan is up there in my pantheon of great characters, along with Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, two of the four Presidents for whom he worked. I encountered him inside the mournful White House the night of John Kennedy's assassination. He stood mute, tears coursing down his cheeks. Then he filched a picture of J.F.K. and joyfully told the world of his loving larceny. He held that picture to his heart the rest of his life.
Once in Nixon's White House I listened to Moynihan expound on Schumpeterian economics while the snout of an opened champagne bottle peeked out of a desk drawer. "Pat's great," Nixon once told me, "as long as you get to him before noon." For my dime, he was great after noon or any other time, following the Churchillian example of being able for a few crucial years to get more out of alcohol than it got out of him. I once ran into him at the palatial Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, Fla., working on one of his many books. He was dressed in grungy Nikes, rumpled chinos and a fashionable Turnbull & Asser shirt. The complete Moynihan: casual elegance, mindfully engaged in explaining the difficult world beyond.
[T]he morning after he won the primary, Moynihan called my home, here in D.C.'s Maryland suburbs, but I was at school. He asked my mother to tell me that the first person he called was Cardinal Cook, and the second was me.
I always thought that was one of the kindest things anyone outside of family had done for me. Then, just days ago, an old friend to whom I told the story pointed out that Moynihan had surely known that I would be in school at the time he called and that it had been his intention to reach my mother. Because he wanted to make her proud of me. Now I think it was the kindest thing anyone outside of family has done for me.
In 1751, the French prospector Joseph de la Borda, richest man in New Spain, commissioned the baroque church as a way of giving something back to the town. The cost of the elaborate construction and decoration left him nearly penniless.
More on the history of Santa Prisca may be found here and here.
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As a work of devotion, a parishioner at St. Mary's Church in Holliston, Mass., Mark Jacobson, set himself to translating from the French, a page a day, a classic 18th-century work by St. Louis de Montfort known in most translations as "True Devotion to Mary." Here is the result.
They have done it to you again. The region, the entire Red Sox Nation, has once again been swallowed into the cavernous sinkhole of Hub hardball hope. It's going to stay this way for the next three to seven weeks, as your friends and neighbors, wearing all sorts of slogan-drenched Sox garb, walk around with that honey-glazed look in their eyes while mumbling . . .
This is the year.
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The week's best search-engine query pointing to this site, via Ask Jeeves: Why don't the White Sox wear white socks? Exactly!
The picture above of Shoeless Joe Jackson with Red Sox player-manager Bill Carrigan circa 1916 comes from BlackBetsy.com, Shoeless Joe Jackson's Virtual Hall of Fame, well worth a cyber-pilgrimage.
And forget Hugh Casey: The Carrigan in the picture could be me in another life. Must find a Ouija board.
* He has come to the most dreadful conclusion a literary man can come to, the conclusion that the ordinary view is the right one. It is only the last and wildest kind of courage that can stand on a tower before ten thousand people and tell them that twice two is four.
* There is many a tender old Tory imagination that vaguely feels that our streets would be hung with escutcheons and tapestries, if only the profane vulgar had not hung them with advertisements of Sapolio and Sunlight Soap. But advertisement does not come from the unlettered many. It comes from the refined few. Did you ever hear of a mob rising to placard the Town Hall with proclamations in favor of Sapolio? Did you ever see a poor, ragged man laboriously drawing and painting a picture on the wall in favour of Sunlight Soap - simply as a labour of love? It is nonsense; those who hang our public walls with ugly pictures are the same select few who hang their private walls with exquisite and expensive pictures. The vulgarization of life has come from the governing class; from the highly educated class.
* When such a critic says, for instance, that faith kept the world in darkness until doubt led to enlightenment, he is himself taking things on faith, things that he has never been sufficiently enlightened to doubt. That exceedingly crude simplification of human history is what he has been taught, and he believes it because he has been taught. I do not blame him for that; I merely remark that he is an unconscious example of everything that he reviles.
* What is education? Properly speaking, there is no such thing as education. Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another. ... What we need is to have a culture before we hand it down. In other words, it is a truth, however sad and strange, that we cannot give what we have not got, and cannot teach to other people what we do not know ourselves.
* Posting a letter and getting married are among the few things left that are entirely romantic; for to be entirely romantic, a thing must be irrevocable.
* It is of the new things that men tire - of fashions and proposals and improvements and change. It is the old things that startle and intoxicate. It is the old things that are young.
And last, a guiding principle behind this blog:
* If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.
". . .but when the empire of America shall fall, the subject for contemplative sorrow will be infinitely greater than crumbling brass and marble can inspire. It will not then be said, 'Here stood a temple of vast antiquity; here rose a babel of invisible height; or there a palace of sumptuous extravagance; but here, ah, painful thought! the noblest of work of human wisdom, the grandest scene of human glory, the fair cause of Freedom rose and fell." Thomas Paine
“ The small landholders are the most precious part of a state ” Thomas Jefferson
Massachusetts teachers casting about for positive Muslim cultural achievements to highlight in PC classroom presentations on Islam have found the task so challenging they've gone so far as to draw on the otherwise very-un-PC discovery of America by Christopher Columbus to cite the skill of Muslim sailors. (The Barbary Pirates weren't available?)
Here's a Shrewsbury, Mass., teacher describing how he plans to sanitize reality to his middle-school world-history class in the name of "clearing up misconceptions" about Islam:
Many student's perspective on Muslims comes from what they see on the news and from movies and television shows. Dunn hoped to find an Islamic nation he can use as an example of where women have rights more like those in the United States, to dispel some misconceptions.
"Students come in with preconceived notions about things," Dunn said. "I'm looking for a country to choose that has progressive Islam."
Keep looking, Mr. Dunn.
Not likely to be included on the syllabus is Victor Davis Hanson, who presents a more unvarnished – and sadly, more accurate – picture:
Much of the Islamic Middle East continues to blame others for its own induced catastrophe, apparently unaware — thanks to the lever of oil it didn't discover, doesn't know how to develop, and uses to intensify rather than alleviate its poverty — that its entire culture is becoming an international pariah. Islamic young men on European flights are looked at with distrust; they are not welcome in Russia. China wants none of them. They are wary of visiting India. Australia learned from Bali. The whole world is watching — in disgust.
In short, the suicide bomber, the improvised explosive device, the car bomb, the televised beheading, the wacko fatwa, the sleazy propaganda streamer on the Internet, the new cult of death — all cowardly and lethal phenomena — these are now the innovations that the world associates with the Middle East in lieu of gene research, car production, or computer breakthroughs. If you look for gender equity in the Middle East, you won't find it in Arab Olympic delegations, Saudi schools, or the Iranian government, but in the opportunity for young women to blow themselves up right beside men. Indeed, killing infidels is the nascent women's-liberation movement of the radical Muslim world.
The village of Mellieha on the island of Malta has just finished celebrating its nine-day Feast of Our Lady of Victories. The statue (above) in the village church was carved from the bark of a tree.
After the 1571 victory by a combined Christian fleet over the Turks at Lepanto that saved Europe from conquest and was attributed to the intercession of Our Lady, Pope Pius V proclaimed a feast day for Our Lady of Victories.
Pope John Paul II, by contrast, this week responded to the terrorist school-massacre in Russia withpacifistplatitudes.
Violence Won't Halt Terrorism, Says Pope
VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 8, 2004 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II affirmed in a message of a personal tone that "violence always generates violence" and thus it cannot be the answer to terrorism.
"War never again!" he exclaimed in a letter he sent to the participants of the "Men and Religions" meeting, held this week in Milan and organized by the Community of Sant'Egidio and the Milan Archdiocese.
John Paul II reminded the conference participants that in 1993, at another meeting in Milan, world religious leaders had united in a call for peace, insisting that violence should never be motivated by religious faith.
Since that time, the Pope observed, "unfortunately, new conflicts have arisen." But he insisted: "Peace is always possible!"
The spread of terrorism across the world "calls for firmness and decision, in fighting the workers of death," the Pope said. But he quickly added that the decisive action against terrorism should not take the form of a military campaign. "Violence begets violence," he said. "War must always be considered a defeat: a defeat of reason and of humanity." He argued that world leaders should seek to root out the primary causes of terrorism, "especially misery, desperation and the emptiness in hearts."
John Paul II urged international leaders "not to give in to the logic of violence, vendetta, and hatred, but rather to persevere in dialogue." He concluded by expressing the hope that "men soon make a spiritual and cultural leap forward to outlaw war!"
Remember, when death-cultists have packed your kids' schoolbus with Semtex, peace is always possible!
One would expect a world moral leader who stewards the faith of Ss. Michael the Archangel and Joan of Arc, who survived the Nazis and himself inspired the collapse of the Iron Curtain, not to shrink from calling and confronting evil by name.
Again, for some reason, the pontiff seems detached from the suffering, the fear and the righteous anger caused by the brutalization of children. Perhaps this is a reflection of capacities diminished by age and ill health, of insulation from the day-to-day by cardinalatial handlers. Perhaps as regards war and peace, he got hold of a bad lotus leaf with the Dalai Lama.
We seem to have the Bill Buckner of Popes---Hall of Fame career, catastrophic ending.
And I wish I had a penny for ever post over the last few years that began along the lines of, “ Perhaps what the Pope means is...” or “ My theory of what he must mean is” ....or “ I wonder if what he is trying to get at is...” or, “ My speculation about his intent goes like this...” or, “ I bet he is attempting to..."or, “ I think the odds are that he is motivated by...”
The variants go on and on, but they all add up to everyone guessing, and it is sho nuff tiresome, and, even that ain’t the worst of it all. The worst of it all is too disturbing to type out.
L'Espresso religion columnist Sandro Magister's latest piece carries this headline: Beslan, the September 11 of the Christian Children. But the Church Doesn't See.
He who cannot protect himself or his nearest and dearest or their honor by non-violently facing death, may and ought to do so by violently dealing with the oppressor. He who can do neither of the two is a burden.
(I'm not sure Richard Brookhiser's jacket is what the Armavirumqueans had in mind when they issued their post-seersucker Labor Day call of "Gentlemen, start your fall wardrobes.")
The historical society has draped its building's exterior with a colorful blowup of a Hamilton ten-spot to mark the exhibit, which can be visited online here.
Meantime, at the behest of the lobby that seeks to replace Hamilton on the $10 bill and FDR on the dime with Ronald Reagan, a peak in New Hampshire's White Mountains has been renamed Mount Reagan. (But that doesn't mean Granite Staters will stop calling it by its old name, Mount Clay, after Daniel Webster's rival, Henry.)
And according to The Hill (last item): Smart money’s on Zell in duel: Sen. Zell Miller (D-Ga.) would play Aaron Burr to Chris Matthews’s Alexander Hamilton in an actual duel, say an overwhelming number of respondents in an online poll.
Frankly except for Kerry's Dovishness, nothing -- not judges, not tax hikes, not whatever else Kerry is for -- scares me more than a Department of Wellness. The Orwellian sound of the name alone should cause conservative and libertarian hackles to ride high. The moment such a department is created, the rent-seekers, homeopaths, psychics, fruitarians, communitarians, magneto-therapists, anger-management gurus and the entire Star Wars cantina of 12-Step New Age Handholders would march to Washington to set up shop and try to define "Wellness" in ways favorable to them and annoying to you (or at least me). You want preventative medicine? Fine. Let's innoculate more kids and have more exercise in gym class. But give Theresa Heinz (the source of this idea) the opportunity to oversee American "Wellness" and don't be surprised if the State Trooper asks you to turn your head and cough before he gives you a parking ticket. There's nothing more intrusive than a government given a mandate to do what it deems necessary "for your own good."
One wonders: Would President John "Personally Opposed but That Doesn't Stop Me from Keynoting NARAL Rallies" Kerry use the bully pulpit of a Wellness Department to rouse as much public concern over the health risks posed by abortion as those by second-hand smoke?
Now, hold your intervention on me. By enjoying these days fully does not mean that I think we're on easy street no more than enjoying the wonderful colors of Fall means that I do not realize that soon enough "the austere sun descends above the fen … brooding as the winter night comes on" (Plath).
No, nothing has been won yet, no wildcard, no division, and who knows any postseason play will be at hand — But don't cheat yourself out of the joy. Don't think of the brown leaves, think of the "season of mists and mellow fruitfulness."
Morgan said he is hoping for "a ton of rain" today. That way, he can go mushroom picking in Walpole. "You've got to do it right after a heavy rain, no other time," Morgan reports. Morgan on determining whether a mushroom is poisonous: "It can be a tough call. It's like when you're waiting for that slider and the heater comes right for the coconut. That's a tough call."
Charles Dana Gibson's 19th-century drawings of the Democratic Tammany Tiger taking on the Republican elephant are included in a gallery of historic caricatures and cartoons from the Smithsonian Institution Libraries.
See also Otho Cushing's Homeric treatment of Theodore Roosevelt, The Teddyssey.
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An article examines the history of the Sons of St. Tammany, the early American patriotic society named for a mythic chief of the Delawares.
The Tammany Chief adorns the cover of this 1905 sheet music. Listen to the tune and sing along with the lyrics here.
The Victorian poetFr. John Banister Tabb is recalled on the day he was received into the Catholic church by EL Core.
The poet's dedication of his collection Lyrics I particularly like:
TO THE MEMORY OF MY MOTHER
IT brings my mother back to me,
Thy frail, familiar form to see,
Which was her homely joy;
And strange, that one so weak as thou,
Should lift the veil that sunders now
The mother and the boy.
Following up on previous posts: Jobs and the economy and prescription-drug costs and the like are significant issues, but they are not paramount in this presidential race – not by a long shot.
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Scanning the Latin language site Little Rome for the answer to a query:
Would the scientific name for the head-in-sand perpetual inhabitant of the pre-9/11 world, the September 10th Ostrich, be Struthio Ante Diem IV Idus September or Struthio Septemberdecimus or perhaps Struthocamelus Septemberdecimus? The last does trip off the tongue.
I lied about something really important today. I told my daughter that there are no monsters in the world and that she is safe and that there really isn't anything scary. The thing is, she doesn't need, at 3 1/2, to know differently. But I know.
Evil walks the earth and kills children for some perceived political gain. I don't know what it is. I sit, this morning, with my coffee and I look upon my daughter and I am so ineffably sad and I try so hard not to show it to her because she doesn't need that.
But I wonder, are we next? Will it be some pre-school in Tacoma or Miami or White Plains?
Three years ago our nation suffered a terrible storm. Some thought God slept. "Does he not care that we are dying?" Some of us saw many things on September 11. In one moment in the midst of a big crowd running from the smoke, a young couple were pushing a carriage. The baby was calmly asleep. Like Jesus in the boat. Priests looked into the eyes of firefighters asking for final absolution before they went into the flames. Those eyes keep looking at us for they will never close. "Are these the men with whom I am to defend America?" Yes. These are the men and these are the women and these are the children of all creeds and races who cannot rebuke the winds themselves but who have a God who can.
When asked what kind of government we had been given, Benjamin Franklin said, "A republic, if you can keep it." He meant virtue. There is no freedom without order and no order without virtue. Mockery of virtue has become an art form and the anti-hero is called a hero. G.K. Chesterton saw this already in the early twentieth century, for he said: "The decay of society is praised by artists as the decay of a corpse is praised by worms." In classical Corinthian halls and great Gothic halls and bombed out halls of Parliament in the Battle of Britain, across the ages that divided them and in languages peculiar to each, Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas and Winston Churchill said this: "Courage is the first of virtues because it makes all others possible." Courage is the ability to react to the threat of harm rationally. Because it is rational it requires caution but caution, says Aquinas, is the prelude to an action, not a substitute for an action: if you want to be sure that your boat will never sink in a storm, you should never leave port. The cynic for whom all righteousness is only self-righteousness also calls courage bravado. True courage is the right use of reason in the face of evil…
In the 19th century a young man confessed his sins to a peasant priest in the village of Ars in France, Saint John Vianney. The floor began to shake, knocking the fellow over. Vianney picked him up, brushed him off, and said cheerfully: "Do not be afraid, my son. It is only the devil." The young man was impressed but he admitted that he would never go to Vianney for confession again. It is only the devil. It takes courage to say that in the face of terrorism. It is only the devil. That is the simple answer but it is hard to say.
Today my five-year-old daughter starts kindergarten. She's overjoyed: she's got a special new outfit, and she gets to ride the bus, just like her brother. It's a big day; she's been talking about it for weeks, and when she happily woke us this morning it was if it were her birthday.
I wonder how many of the children of Beslan were as excited about their first day of school.
Seems to be working: The Sox just wrapped up a 9-1 homestand, and are two-and-a-half behind the Yanks.
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The original "Tessie" is something of an acquired taste. "It was the worst thing that I've ever heard," said Dropkicks' bassist-singer Ken Casey. "But who knows what was hip in 1903?"
You can listen to a vintage 1903 Victor recording of the song by John Bieling and Harry Macdonough (via the National Library of Canada) by clicking on the link under "Sport" on the left-hand side of this page, or by visiting RoyalRooters.com.
Another recording of "Tessie," done on Columbia cylinder in 1902 by one Dan Quinn, may be heard here.
Meantime, the Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music has covers (**) and music.
The Dropkicks' version is a departure, as this clip suggests.