Formerly Ad Orientem

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

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

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Irish Elk
Saturday, April 30, 2005  

Earl Wilson, the first black player signed by the Red Sox organization, and the first black pitcher to throw a no-hitter in the major leagues, has died, at 70.

Jeff Kallman posts an eloquent tribute, as does Kevin Paul Dupont.

Kallman writes:

Ask about a particularly hard pitched game against the Yankees, with Wilson taking a 2-1 lead into the ninth inning. [Sox manager Johnny] Pesky went out to the mound to see if his man had anything left. Ever the competitor, Wilson said of course he had something left. Finally, as Pesky turned to return to the dugout, Wilson swallowed his pride and admitted that something was nothing. “Earl,” Dick Radatz said as he arrived at the mound, “why don’t you just go and crack me a beer? I’ll be in in a minute.”

Radatz took over with the bases loaded and nobody out. He struck out the side. As in, Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, and Elston Howard. “And there,” Radatz would recall many years later, “was Earl at the clubhouse door waiting for me with a beer.”

“We won,” said Pesky, remembering the game when called by the
Boston Globe about Wilson’s death, “and jeez, I looked like a genius.”

Radatz died in a fall at his home just over a month before Wilson. It should not stretch things even an inch to presume that waiting for Wilson at their reward was Radatz, with a freshly-cracked beer.

* * *

Jeff Kallman's site, Catbird in the Nosebleed Seats, has wonderful vignettes drawn from This Day in Baseball History.

An excerpt from today's post:

30 APRIL 1919 How would you like to pitch two and a sixth games in one sitting? Joe Oeschger of the Philadelphia Phillies did it against Burleigh Grimes of the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Oeschger went twenty innings, walking five and surrendering 22 hits to Grimes walking five and giving up fifteen hits. And both sides send three men home in their halves of the nineteenth inning. The game ended in a nine-all tie.

30 APRIL 1939 Lou Gehrig went 0-for-4 against Washington’s Joe Krakauskas, sinking his batting average to .143. From there, Gehrig traveled with the Yankees to Detroit and promptly took himself out of the lineup—as it turned out, sadly enough, for keeps.

30 APRIL 1944, 1945 On the first date, Elmer Gedeon—very briefly a Senators outfielder (1939), was killed in air combat over France in World War II.

On the second, relief pitcher Dixie Howell—who had had a very short cup of coffee with the 1940 Indians, and would make the White Sox bullpen corps in 1955 for a three-year tour beginning at age 35—was liberated from a Nazi prison camp in Germany.

A revelation.

* * *

"Ain't That Fine," by Ray Charles.


Friday, April 29, 2005  

The Ivory-Billed Woodpecker Lives

Thought to have gone the way of the Passenger Pigeon and the Carolina Parakeet, the supposedly-extinct Ivory-Billed Woodpecker has been reported sighted in Arkansas. It's like finding Elvis, say ornithologists.

Science writer Chet Raymo exults.

* * *

Here's a clip of the apropos Kay Kyser hit.

Me, I've got the old Heckle & Jeckle theme stuck in my head.

(Plenty more lost kid show records here. Bertie the Bunyip? Check out the Merry Mailman, accused agent of the Red Menace!)


The empirical case for Benedict XVI

The New Republic carries an outstanding piece by Ross Douthat, who maintains the Progressive Church of NCR's dreams already has been sung into being, by the Episcopalians et al, and has lost people in droves.

The election of Benedict XVI, at least in the Western press, is being interpreted primarily as a blow to liberal Catholicism--the Catholicism that has endured a kind of exile since the late 1960s, when it became clear that the post-Vatican II renovation in Church teaching was not to be as sweeping as many hoped. For some, this exile has meant formally abandoning the Church; for most, though, it has meant remaining within it, waiting first for Paul VI to die, and then John Paul II, and now Benedict XVI, and all the while insisting--often from major op-ed pages and tenured positions at Catholic universities--that all of the Church's difficulties, from declining vocations to dwindling mass attendance to the sex-abuse scandals, would be solved if only Catholicism were to become more in step with the modern world.

It's an appealing notion, particularly to people whose lives and beliefs already conform more closely to modern mores than to traditional Catholic teaching. But it has almost no empirical support. All the evidence suggests the opposite--that a more liberal Catholic Church would be far weaker, smaller, and less influential even than the wounded and divided Body of Christ that Benedict XVI will govern.

The problem for liberals is that their preferred path to the Catholic future has already been tried, and with less-than-encouraging results.

* * *

In Cardinal Mahony's Los Angeles, Karen Hall has figuratively hoisted the "Don't Tread on Me" flag from her pew and declared liturgical mutiny.

It will probably surprise no one to know that I loathe the new Mass. And what I loathe the most is the fact that we've been ordered not to kneel during communion. As far as I know, all the other Catholics on the planet can still kneel during communion. What sense does this make?

I have been ignoring the "no kneeling" directive, as has ninety percent of every parish I've been to. (I absolutely have to point out that Gray Davis was the lone person standing on his side of the aisle the last time I went to Mass when he was there. Gotta love it. He's pro-choice, but if the Cardinal says don't kneel, by God he's not gonna kneel.)

I have been working hard on obedience, which is not something that comes easily to me.


Thursday, April 28, 2005  

Cab Calloway, 1947

"I Want to Rock," not by Twisted Sister, but by Cab Calloway

In a world dominated by teenagers, it is easy to forget that popular culture once catered to adults, writes critic and author Mark Gauvreau Judge in a book that discerns in the swing revival a "rebirth of grown-up culture."

One college-age reviewer writes:

Much has been lost in the revolt against the artificial, the formal, the conventional. For Judge—and for my friends and me—swing dancing is about CLASS and style. It is about feeling, looking, and acting sharp. It is about responsibility, decency, and dignity. It is a reminder to keep a beat, follow the steps, and treat your partner as a human, not an object. Swing, it seems, is about saving civilization.

Another reviewer, chairman of the Cambridge GOP City Committee (!), writes:

A few young men…rejecting the nihilism and brutality of pop culture in favor of cultivation, class, and courtesy, may be just what is needed to transform society. As Judge concludes, "We can go home again. It starts with a nice suit and a steady beat."

In addition to swing music, the author, grandson of Washington baseball great Joe Judge, has written on the 1924 Senators, marking him, from the Irish Elk perspective, as a critic with his cultural priorities in order.

* * *
Cab Calloway's zoot suit might have been the grandfather of the hip hop clown pants of today, but it was a suit, and had a panache that oversized basketball shirts and sideways baseball hats do not. Cab had style.

More from Cab Calloway: "Angeline" * "Minnie the Moocher"

* * *

First and foremost, there's only one reason for wearing a baseball hat backwards: you're the starting catcher. Obscurorant

* * *

Martha Bayles has an excellent piece in today's Wall Street Journal on the cynical "neominstrelsy" of the hip hop industry, which degrades black culture while selling upwards of 80 percent of its CDs to whites

* * *

Regardless of the precise style of the prole cap, it seems crucial that it be ugly. To achieve even greater ugliness, the prole will sometimes wear his cap back to front. -- Paul Fussell, on adjusto-strap baseball caps, in Class: A Guide Through the American Class System.

I wonder how Fussell -- or Zippy cartoonist Bill Griffith for that matter -- would view Scott Savol, the thuggish homie manqué who continues, inexplicably, to survive on American Idol, despite appearing as if he could go postal at any moment.

* * *

Meantime, Dale Price and James Lileks react to the Fashion Bratz -- and now, Baby Bratz -- lines of dolls for little girls.


Bratz are the main reason I do not keep a supply of bricks around the house, because everytime the commercials come on I wish to pitch something kiln-fired through the screen so hard it beans the toy exec who greenlighted these hootchie toys. The Baby Bratz are as bad as you can imagine: “Bottles with Bling.” Judas on a stick, why not just refit the Bratz so they have Real Oozing Gonorreal Flow Action?

“They know how to flaunt it, and they’re keeping it real in the crib.”

What exactly is the penalty for failing to keep it real in the crib? Someone busts a cap in yo Pamper? I know I am old and so out of step it’s a wonder I don’t just appear as an indistinct smear, but was it really necessary to push the Age of Sultry Hussyism down to the infant stage?



The Dems' new clothes

The Christian Science Monitor's longtime Washington correspondent Godfrey Sperling suggests the Democrats and GOP have traded ideologies:

Back in the early part of the Iraq war I was intrigued that Anthony Lake, who had been a national security adviser to President Clinton, held this perspective on the foreign policy debate between President Bush and his Democratic critics: That this policy conflict was really between conservatives and radicals and it was the Democrats who had emerged as the conservatives and the Republicans who had become the liberals, or "radicals."

During the presidential campaign, [a] Washington Post columnist, Jim Hoagland, succinctly described the foreign-policy differences emerging in the battle between the contenders this way: "John Kerry would change the situation. George W. Bush would change the world."

I well remember the foreign-policy conservatives of the 1930s and early 1940s. They were called "isolationists" and charged - often angrily - that President Roosevelt was wrongly pulling the US into the war in Europe. But this isolationist resistance ended suddenly with Pearl Harbor.

The country seemed to come together behind Bush after the Sept. 11, 2001, attack. But the Democrats never could accept the idea of democracy being spread in a forceful way by the US. So the policy difference grew: The conservative Democrats vs. the liberal Republicans. That's relatively speaking, of course, but still very real.

The Monitor's Matthew Clark sees a similar switch in foreign-policy positions taking place in British politics:

Which staunch Labour supporter, for instance, would have thought ten years ago that his or her party leader now would carry the Conservative Party leader Margaret Thatcher's torch for increased support of an aggressive US foreign policy?

And which conservative Republican in the United States would have thought that his or her party would have found itself aggressively promoting democracy-building projects in the Middle East and beyond? That would have sounded suspiciously like liberal internationalism, not traditionally a key plank of the Republican Party's platform, to say the least.

The staunch liberal Democrats who compose the majority of my family regard my views on politics as contrarian (if not downright heretical), but I would argue that a support for a strong US foreign policy and promotion of democracy abroad is more in line with the liberal internationalism of FDR, Truman and JFK than the current bent of the Democratic Party is.

* * *

Dems howl when their "patriotism is questioned," but frankly, given performances like Sen. Kennedy's latest, how can it not be?

* * *

Power Line posts its latest ode to Zell Miller. His kind of Democrat is a vanishing breed.

* * *

Some Democratic-themed links of interest:

The Scoop Jackson papers at the University of Washington;

The Truman Library;

The FDR Library;

On Moynihan and the arts;

Moynihan interviewed on Manhattan, immigration, Jews, Democrats, and the Irish;

Tufts remembers Moynihan.

* * *

Clip: "Happy Days are Here Again" by the Ben Selvin Orchestra


Wednesday, April 27, 2005  

From the TRA:

An Appeal to Help Fund
The Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Statue
For Oyster Bay

The Rotary Club of Oyster Bay is working to install a “bully” statue of TR as Rough Rider. Cast from an original mold created in 1922 by sculptor A. Phimister Proctor, the 12-foot-tall figure is to be positioned at the entrance to the Oyster Bay Hamlet. Once installed, the statue will be given to the Theodore Roosevelt Association; the Association will then be responsible for its maintenance.

Below, in a message from the Rotary Committee overseeing the project, you will find more details. Please consider giving generously to this worthy endeavor. The plan is to unveil the statue this fall, and to dedicate it to Dr. John Gable.

Kind regards,

Norman Parsons, President
Theodore Roosevelt Association

A Message from the Rotary Club of Oyster Bay

Dear Friends of President Theodore Roosevelt:

The Members of The Rotary Club of Oyster Bay have accepted the challenge to bring a statute of Theodore Roosevelt as the “Rough Rider” home to Oyster Bay as a permanent memorial for the Centennial of Rotary International. With the guidance and encouragement of Dr. John Gable, we found the project to be feasible, the community found it acceptable, and the Committee procured a prominent location at the entrance to the hamlet of Oyster Bay.

We need to raise $300,000.

While enthusiastic locals have started to make their own contributions, the Committee must face the reality that the Hamlet of Oyster Bay has a very small population. Therefore, we must reach out nationally to all friends of President Roosevelt to help finance the project. We ask you to be as generous as you can with the knowledge that the statue is to be deeded to the Theodore Roosevelt Association. Any funds raised in excess of the cost of placing the statue will be turned over to the Association for use in the care and maintenance of the statue.

We are pleased to announce that Mr. Norman Parsons, President of the Theodore Roosevelt Association, has joined our Advisory Committee. We appreciate his support and will be guided by his counsel.

Please make your tax-exempt contribution by addressing a check to the Oyster Bay Rotary Foundation (Statue Fund), P.O. Box 277, Oyster Bay, NY, 11771.

* * *

Images of other works by the sculptor A. Phimister Proctor have been posted by the Plains Indian Museum of the Buffalo Bill Historical Center

Here's Proctor in his studio, circa 1921, and here he is in frontier garb. A museum founded by his grandson has a bio.

He was noted for his animals, according to the Amon Carter Museum:

Proctor's genius in depicting wild animals can be seen in the famous tigers in front of Princeton University's Nassau Hall. His sculpture on various buildings in New York's Zoological Park (now the Bronx Zoo) portrays monkeys, elephants, rhinoceros, and frogs, all in a natural, yet lively style. His majestic Lions flank Pittsburgh's Frick Building, and four large Buffalo guard the expanse of the Q Street Bridge in Washington, D.C. His last great monumental commission, Mustangs, resides on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin.

He did the great buffaloes on the Dumbarton Bridge in Washington.

I rather like this bear and rabbit of his, and this moose.

* * *

Rough Rider-inspired cover art accompanies a rendition of the rag "Blaze Away" offered by Perfessor Bill about midway down his page under Cakewalks, Folk Rags and Marches.

A Dixieland clip of "Blaze Away" comes by way of Acker Bilk and his Paramount Jazz Band.


France Modern (trois fleurs-de-lis)
You are 'French'. In the nineteenth century, it
was the international language of diplomacy.
It is a 'beautiful' language, meaning that it
is really just a low-fidelity copy of Latin.

You know the importance of communicating
'diplomatically', which for you means both
being polite and friendly when necessary and
using sophisticated, vicious sarcasm when
appropriate. Your life is guided by either
existentialism or nihilism, depending on the
weather. You have a certain appreciation for
the finer things in life, which is a diplomatic
way of saying that you are a disgusting
hedonist. Your problem is that French has been
obsolete for a long time.

What obsolete skill are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Mais oui.

(Via the similarly Gallic Llama Robert)

Elsewhere: Homage to Mireille of the old French in Action language videos.


Monday, April 25, 2005  

Church lion, Suffolk

In honor of St Mark's Day…

A flight of winged lions: Doge's Palace * Venice arch * Riva degli Schiavone * Lausanne * London * Venice Basilica * &c * Palazzo Ducale * From Venice * To St. Grottlesex

Plus a sampling of Willie "The Lion" Smith * See profiles at NPR *
Red Hot Jazz * BBC Radio * Riverwalk * And hear him play three not so easy pieces.


Sunday, April 24, 2005  

Roy Campanella, 1954

“Everything was crazy in Brooklyn last night… Nobody went home to supper… Nobody talked any sense… Everybody walked around with goofy expressions… for the unbelievable, the incredible, the impossible had come about… them Dodgers were the champions of the whole world. Saloon keepers gave away booze to guys they never saw before…Women kissed neighbors they wouldn't be caught dead talking to.” – Art Smith, the New York Daily News, 1955

The Brooklyn Dodgers' one and only World Series championship season 50 years ago is celebrated in a new exhibition at the Brooklyn Historical Society.

The Brooklyn Dodgers forum at Baseball Fever is abuzz with plans for commemorating the jubilee of the Bums' triumph.

Fittingly, the World Series banner that waved at Ebbets Field has been restored by conservationists from the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine.

* * *

Around the Horn

Pete Hamill on Ebbets Field

Willard Mullin's Brooklyn Bum, circa 1951 and '52

Clip: Doris Kearns Goodwin on the Dodgers leaving Brooklyn (from Ken Burns' Baseball)

Support Gil Hodges for the Hall of Fame

Preserving Brooklyn's Lost Shrine: Ebbets-Field.com

See Ebbets Field in living color

At NPR, Bob Edwards' "Conversations with Red Barber"

A picture gallery devoted to the Ebbets Field Rotunda

Listen: "Flatbush Flanagan," by Harry James

And to sing to yourself: "Follow the Dodgers," by organist Gladys Gooding:



Friday, April 22, 2005  

How about those Chisox?

FlyingSock.com is taking due notice of the Chicago (AL) nine's best start in years. See also the photo tribute to the Summer of '77 at the old Comiskey, and the primer on what separates a White Sox from a Cubs fan: The Sox fan, despite long familiarity, does not find losing lovable.

The Red Sox, of course, hadn't won since 1918 when they won the Series last fall. The White Sox haven't won since 1917: Is the year the Pale Hose shake off their curse?

Clips: "Livery Stable Blues" and "Dixie Jazz Band One Step" by the Original Dixieland Jass Band: the sides on the first jazz record, released the year the White Sox last won the Series.

FirstWorldWar.com has more vintage audio from 1917, including such hits as "Goodbye Broadway, Hello France."

* * *

Around the Horn

Continuing your papal celebration through Sunday brunch? Here's just the site.

An explanation is offered for the bear with the suitcase on the new pope's coat of arms, though the historic provenance of the Blackamoors remains unclear. (Via Kathy Shaidle)

A rather nice image of St. Corbinian & bear may be found in the U of Michigan Museum of Art.

If a bear carrying luggage seems far-fetched, a German-beer aficionado notes Corbinian – or Korbinian – was, after all, from Ireland.

The town symbol of Freising is a bear. According to a local legend, a bear ate Brother Korbinian's horse when the monk was about to leave on a pilgrimage to Rome.

Korbinian got his own back by making the bear carry his bags all the way to the Vatican. Irish Blarney is nothing new.

* * *

A belated glad blog årsdag to Random Penseur!

RP notes with sadness the passing of the Rover marque, and with it, the British car names Austin-Healey, MG and Triumph.

These were the great British sports cars of the imagination. My sister once had an Austin Healey Sprite.

As a kid, I thought a Triumph Spitfire would be just the thing. (This was before I knew about oil leaks and mechanic bills.)

In London on Saturday, MG and Rover enthusiasts are planning a convoy in support of laid-off workers.


Thursday, April 21, 2005  

"His critics say he is dour and pessimistic. Yet I take it as an iron law of human personality that a man is known by his musical preferences; and Benedict XVI is a Mozart man, who knows that Mozart is what the angels play when they perform for the sheer joy of it." George Weigel on Benedict XVI in today's Wall Street Journal.

I've been something of a Fats Waller man, myself, of late.

Elsewhere: "I Watch As Nuns Stampede," by The Spectator's Alexander Chancellor, in Rome.


Wednesday, April 20, 2005  

Monument to Benedict XV, St. Peter's

The previous Benedict, XV, was called the Peace Pope for his effort to end the Great War.

(Ecclesiastical hat tip to Steve M.)

At The Corner, a reader e-mails Katherine J Lopez on other Benedicts:

Per your reader who asked about the significance of Benedict XV being a voice for peace during the First World War, we could also speculate that the name is meant to echo some other Popes whose record matches the former Cardinal Ratzinger's reputation (whatever the reality may be):

Benedict XIII (1724-1730) who worked to end decadence among Priests.

Benedict XII (1334 to 1342), who likewise worked to curb the luxurious lifestyles of some of the monasteries. As a bishop he had also fought heresy and witchcraft.

Benedict II (684 to 685) is the Patron Saint of Europe, incidentally.



John XXIII celebrating the full Papal Mass

A thread at Amy Welborn's on the Tridentine crank factor draws this observation from a commenter named Kurt:

I think the presence of kooks at the Tridentine Mass (and I have met a number of them) is an argument in favor of making this Mass even more available. Precisely by limiting it, it becomes the "property" of such kooks. If it were more readily available, more orthodox yet balanced catholics would frequent it. I have seen this happen among the college students whom I teach: young, orthodox, and in no way questioning the validity of the Novus Ordo--which they attend during the week.

Good point.

So do those of us who wish a wider availability of the Mass in Latin have reason to hope under Benedict XVI?

Here is a sampling of liturgically-themed articles and essays on Cardinal Ratzinger:

* Offering the Tridentine Mass

* Writing a foreword to a book on the Mass said ad orientem

* On the altar and the direction of liturgical prayer

* On the Old and New Mass

* On high altars

* On updating the Missal of John XXIII

* Cited by Fr. Fessio on the Mass offered ad orientem

* * *

Liturgia Romana site has pics of Papal Masses c. 1962 and before.

* * *

Past Adoremus Bulletin articles on Cardinal Ratzinger are included in the Benedict XVI tribute page at Women for Faith & Family.

* * *

From John Allen at NCR, coverage of the election of Benedict XVI, and a 1999 profile on Cardinal Ratzinger.

And at L'Espresso, Sandro Magister writes on the new pope.



Seismogram recorded 4/19 at Weston Jesuit School of Theology

Cardinal Ratzinger's war on liberation theology is recalled in a NY Sun profile.

As prefect of the Vatican's doctrinal watchdog, he was the successor to the Inquisition - a fact that none of those he clashed with over doctrinal issues will let him forget.

His first battle was with Liberation Theology - the blend of Marxism and Catholic doctrine nurtured by intellectuals in Latin America, which held that the church should engage in a Robin Hood-like struggle to better the lives of the poor.

When Pope John Paul II visited Latin America in 1979, he found Liberation Theology flourishing. In 1984 the then Cardinal Ratzinger tore apart the doctrine with "An Instruction on Certain Aspects of the Theology of Liberation."

The Latin American bishops were forced to remove elements of revolutionary socialism. The Brazilian, Leonardo Boff, was "silenced" and later left the priesthood.

In a newspaper column a few days back Boff described Ratzinger as "odious":

A former priest who was condemned to silence by Pope John Paul II in 1985 for supporting radical liberation theology, Boff said Ratzinger "will never be pope, because it would be excessive, something the intelligence of the cardinals would not permit".


On ABC, Cokie Roberts was beside herself after the announcement yesterday, and George Stephanopoulos didn't seem too happy either. Ditto Fr. Richard McBrien.

The Llama Butchers have been chronicling the wailing and gnashing of teeth.



Great pic: Bells at St. Peter's announce new pope


Friday, April 15, 2005  

Oliver Wendell Holmes

Another Boston institution, gone

The Atlantic Monthly is leaving Boston after 148 years.

Dan Kennedy has more here and here.

Padlock Bunker Hill -- they'll be coming for it, next.


Thursday, April 14, 2005  

President Bush throws out the First Ball to welcome baseball's return to DC, 95 years to the day President Taft did the honors for the first time in Washington.

Here's a panorama of the Nats' home opener, from the Washington Post.

Clip: "Washington Grays March," by Grafulla


Wednesday, April 13, 2005  

Around the Horn

Clip: "Cornet Chop Suey," by Louis Armstrong

At right with the catcher's mitt in the River City-style photo above is Gabby Hartnett, pride of Woonsocket, R. I., and Millville, Mass., widely considered the greatest NL catcher before Johnny Bench.

Millville, MA, oldtimers still talk about "the Hartnett arm"…

Gabby broke his arm as a child. It didn't knit properly, and his mother insisted he carry a pail of stones or sand wherever he went, to exercise it.

Here's a picture of Hartnett at his wedding with his wife and the priest.

In 1929, his arm went mysteriously dead in spring training, where he had reported with his new bride, Martha. Nothing helped the arm, and during a Cubs' series in Boston, he went to see his mother in Woonsocket, RI, after the games. She predicted that his arm would be better as soon as his pregnant wife delivered their child. Hartnett caught just one game that season. Junior was born December 4, and within two weeks, Gabby's arm soreness was gone.

He's best known for his "Homer in the Gloamin'" that helped the Cubbies to the pennant in 1938, but I like that he reportedly slept off benders in the firehouse across from Wrigley Field.

So a toast to the Toast of the Blackstone Valley: I think I shall have to make a pilgrimage to his house. Wonder if there's a statue in Millville (due west of what Dale Price dubs H. P. Lovecraft Country)?

If there isn't, I might have to make it a cause, up there with getting a monument at BU to fellow New England-born Hall of Fame catcher Mickey Cochrane (of Bridgewater, Mass., in the heart of Lovecraft Country).

* * *

Jackie42 at the Baseball Fever board went digging through the Library of Congress digital archives and posted an outstanding selection of photos from early Cubs history.

A few I particularly like:

Hartnett swinging

River City redux

Batsmen, 1930

At Wrigley, 1927

Gibson Girl fan, 1907

Remarkable pics of Chicago's West End Grounds, 1908:


Outfield signs

* * *

Striving to win having led only to bitterness and heartache, the current edition of the Chicago (NL) nine should get in touch with its inner Cubbiness and recapture the Zen of cheerful losing, Richard Crepeau argues at Elysian Fields Quarterly. Think No-mah ever says, "Let's play two"?

Also at EFQ, a poem by Jilly Dybka, "Dock Ellis Pitches a No-No on LSD."

Between the dropping out and tuning in, the Elysian Fields are starting to sound a lot like Amsterdam.

* * *

I'm somewhere between a Purist and a Mudvillian according to Mudville Magazine's primer, Which Fan are You?

Casual fan: Shouts along with Queen's "We Will Rock You".
Purist: Warbles "Take Me Out to the Ball Game".
Mudvillian: Performs Sousa tunes on the tuba.

Casual fan: Shouts profanity; hurls quarters, garbage at hated players.
Purist: Chants "Hey Badda Badda, Suh-Wing!"
Mudvillian: Shrieks the piercing cry of dying rabbits; rubs balloons together.

Casual fan: Ready? It's coming! It's coming!
Purist: Harrumphs, shrinks down into seat.
Mudvillian: Vomits due to seasickness.

Casual fan: Scoring? Are you kidding?
Purist: Has detailed scorebooks dating back to the '70s.
Mudvillian: Pays close attention to game, then retreats to Stillwater caves to paint contest on damp walls.



Republican-Democrat Baseball, 1926

The presidential tradition of Throwing out the First Pitch returns to Washington on Thursday, to the cheers of the Bull Moose Republicans.

Listen: "The Library of Congress March," by John Philip Sousa



-- Excerpt, "The False Income-Tax Return...And Its Rectification,"
H. R. Bateman, Punch, June 27, 1917, pp 36-37.



"Church Militant"

-- Excerpt, "The Fortress of London," Punch,
June 27, 1917, p. 32.

* * *

"The Cattle Prod of Forgiveness"

What's your Unitarian Jihad Name?

After hitting refresh a few times, I haven't decided which I prefer:

"The Gatling Gun of Courteous Debate"

"The Hand Grenade of Reasoned Discussion"


"Brother Cattle Prod of Looking at All Sides of the Question."

That last one might be a keeper.

(Via the Llama Butchers)


Tuesday, April 12, 2005  

Johnny Pesky

"A day dripping with schmaltz and bling..."

-- The NY Sun's Michael Silverman describes, not innacurately, yesterday's Opening Day extravaganza at Fenway:

On a sunny beautiful day that had more than an October-like nip in the air, the Red Sox had a hoot and a holler handing out their World Series rings to themselves. Video tributes, specially commissioned ballads, James Taylor on the guitar, enormous satin banners unfurled over the Green Monster, a standing ovation for a grinning Mariano Rivera, a moment of silence for ex-Red Sox Dick Radatz interrupted by an "A-Rod, you suck!", F-16 flyovers, Carl Yastrzemski, Bobby Doerr, Dom DiMaggio, Rich Gedman - the greats and near-greats of the Red Sox past all showed their faces in pre-game ceremonies that lasted more than hour and were politely tolerated by the Yankees, gathered en masse in their dugout.

The Globe's Dan Shaughnessy writes:

This was the day the Sox raised the World Series flag and dropped the curtain on Boston Baseball's Bacchanalia…

* * *

The Boston Pops and the Boston Symphony. Bobby Orr and Bill Russell throwing out first pitches. A championship banner stretching the length of the Green Monster. The visiting Yanks showing class. Thundering cheers for Dave Roberts and Derek Lowe, returned for the occasion, and for NY's Mariano Rivera. Generations of Sox –Dom DiMaggio and Bobby Doerr and Bruce Hurst and Oil Can Boyd and Luis Tiant and Fred Lynn and Jim Rice and many more – gathering in the outfield as Johnny Pesky and Yaz raised the banner. My wife's boss, who has season tickets, selling his seats for $1,500.

Shaughnessy writes:

Baseball. The best game. The New England game . . . the thing that brought so many people together in yesterday's celebration for the ages.

* * *

The Globe has gone to free registration, which is a pain, but it's worth it for the audio slideshow and photo gallery of the Opening Day ceremonies.


Monday, April 11, 2005  






Opening Day

A de facto New England holiday: Red Sox to raise championship banner over Fenway at home opener against the Yanks.

"Now ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, we invite you to rise, and please sing, as John Kiley plays our National Anthem."

(Via ShermFeller.com)

* * *

Mel Parnell will be pulling for the Sox for another season. Fellow lefty Bill Lee plans to build a replica of Fenway on Vancouver Island.

The Sox have announced they're staying at Fenway, the majors' oldest ballpark, which is good news for the preservationists and for the hawks roosting there. The decision is popular, if not universally so.

* * *

Around the Horn

Lest we forget how long they've been suffering on the South Side of Chicago, here's a look at the other '67 Sox, in a remembrance titled, "Improbable Nightmare."

If you wax nostalgic for Nellie Fox and Chico Carrasquel and want to hear radio play-by-play of Ted Kluzewski homering in the '59 Series, FlyingSock.com is the place.

And while singing the praises of old teams: The Philadelphia Athletics Historical Society is an outstanding shrine to Philadelphia's winningest sports franchise, winner of nine AL flags and five World Series titles.

* * *

"Take Me Out to the Ballgame": As played on the Comiskey Park organ * As heard on an early Victrola record * As sung by Harry Caray, among others.



Hoisting a cold one to The Monster

This site has been remiss in not noting till now the passing of Dick "The Monster" Radatz, the legendary Red Sox reliever who faced Mickey Mantle 63 times – and struck him out 44.

Writes the Globe's Gordon Edes:

Radatz was a full 6 feet 5 inches and 240 pounds when he was baseball's most dominating reliever, his size accentuated by his signature gesture, a triumphant march off the mound with his fists thrust overhead after subduing another overmatched opponent.

One summer's night in 1963 in Fenway Park cemented his place in Sox annals. "It was the top of the ninth inning, a warm night in Boston, a full house, and Earl Wilson was pitching a helluva game," Johnny Pesky, who was the Sox manager, recalled yesterday morning. "I had Radatz up in the seventh, loosening up, just in case. We were ahead by a run, and Earl loads the bases in the ninth, nobody out, and Mantle, Maris, and Elston Howard coming up. He's sweating, and he's thrown maybe 130 pitches. He wants to stay in, but I look at [catcher Bob] Tillman, and he shakes his head. So I tell Earl, `The big guy is ready in the pen.'

"Radatz comes in, and says to Earl, `Big boy, crack a couple of cold ones and I'll be up there in 10 minutes.' He told me to get my little ass in the dugout, which is something he told me a lot of times. He strikes out the three of 'em, Mantle, Maris, and Howard, on 10 pitches."

Down went the Bombers, up went the fists, and a persona was born, its name springing from some audible grumbling by Mantle about "that monster." For three seasons, from 1962 to 1964, there may never have been a reliever quite like him. Pitching for pitiful Sox teams, Radatz either won or saved 118 of the Sox 224 wins in that span.

Said Bill Lee:

"Radatz was a big, gigantic guy; the best there ever was. He really was the model for scary relief pitchers to come.

"I'm definitely going to go out and raise a few pints to the old bugger," Lee said.

In 20 appearances between July 3 and Aug. 17, 1962, Radatz threw 42 1/3 innings, gave up two hits, and struck out 50. LA columnist Jim Murray wrote the next summer:

"Dick Radatz brings one weapon — a fastball. It's like saying all a country brings to war is an atom bomb."


Friday, April 08, 2005  
Urbi et Orbi

Pope laid to rest amid calls for sainthood.

A magnificent, historic scene, as the world converges on St. Peter's Square – and could a better case have been made for the beauty and majesty of the classic Roman liturgy in the universal language of Latin?

* * *

Listen: Faure Requiem * Salve Regina * Via Boston.com

For more sacred music in the spirit of the day, a Korean site has sound files of the Litany of Easter Eve and of Mozart's Ave Verum Corpus among other works.

* * *

Images: Mourner * Priests * Santo Subito * Oriental blessing * Bishops * Dignitaries

* * *

The Holy Spirit blows where It will, they say. A conclave omen?

Gusts * Wind * Mantles * Cardinal Martini, SJ

* * *

Coverage: Washington Post * MSNBC * Telegraph (UK) * Yahoo! News * Slideshow * Pope Blog

* * *

The Anchoress: I DO love all the chanting - particularly the chanting of the Gospel in Latin, and I thought the priest chanted it very well. I recall once visiting an Orthodox church, Latin rite, and pretty much the whole Mass was chanted. Between the icons, the chanting...for an hour it felt like we'd left earth and gone to heaven. (Ditto -- Ed.)

* * *

They were live-blogging the funeral this morning at The Corner at NRO and this dispatch went up at 5:38 am:

HARD AT WORK [K. J. Lopez]
My Rome guy Charles Collins points out: "One million people just kneeled for the consecration (keep in mind that in the US, we kneel early). They are kneeling on cobblestones, not padded kneelers, in a huge crowd."

Here's a pic.


Thursday, April 07, 2005  

Billie Holiday would have been 90 today.

Here she is singing "Yesterdays" and "Don't Explain."

Teapot Dome writes of the latter:

In one of the saddest songs I've ever heard, Billie urges her man not to explain where he's been, even though it's clear that she knows.

"Quiet, don't explain / What is there to gain / Skip that lipstick / Don't explain"

Billie could sing bubblegum jingles and forests would burn.

Lots more sound files here and here at Vitaminic.

Elsewhere: The unofficial Lady Day website * Ken Burns * American Masters


Wednesday, April 06, 2005  

Paying their respects: The First Lady and Secretary of State make an elegant case for restoring the mantilla to widespread use.



Tu es Peter Gunn: This Cool Pope pic is inscribed: "On a Mission from God."

Fr. Ethan has been collecting light-hearted photos of the late pontiff. I like the one with the koala.

* * *

Note Bene

* A remarkable and touching account of how Polish seminarian Karol Wojtyla, the future pope, saved a Jewish girl who was on death's verge after being in a Nazi labor camp. (Via The Anchoress)

* "How the Pope 'Defeated Communism,'" by Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum

* Fr Rutler on JPII and the Spirit of the Age

* * *

The old Pontifical State anthem "Gran Marcia Trionfale" may be heard performed in rousing fashion by the Carabinieri by clicking song No. 4 here.


Tuesday, April 05, 2005  

NY Times columnist David Brooks, a lifelong Mets fan, writes he is contemplating a switch of allegiance to his adopted town's new team, the Washington Nats.

[A] love for a team can be a philosophical love, a love for the Platonic ideal the team embodies. For teams not only play; they come to represent creeds, a way of living in the world. The Red Sox ideal is: nobility through suffering. The Cubs ideal is: It is better to be loved than feared. The Yankee ideal is: All cower before the greatness that is Rome.

The Mets ideal is: God smiles upon his darlings. The history of the Mets teaches that miracles happen and the universe is a happy place. If this is the nature of my love, then I can only love the team so long as it still embodies this ideal.

The Amazin's no longer do, though for nearly a quarter-century, the Mets were lovable as the antithesis of the Pinstripes -- until becoming their obnoxious NL carbon in 1986, a date I, as a Sox fan, can pinpoint with accuracy.

* * *

The old ballgame still has its grip, George Will writes in an Opening Day column.

Conservatives are forever being lectured that "you can't turn the clock back" — and shouldn't want to. Oh? This season, for the first time since the Astrodome opened in 1965, every National League game will be played on real grass. What a concept. There are many other reasons why this is baseball's Golden Age, but, in the words of former Phillies manager Larry Bowa, "I don't want to beat a dead horse in the mouth."

* * *

Have been enjoying Ken Burns' Baseball in snippets over the past week, and the segments on the Forties and Fifties had me again asking myself the question:

Had I lived in New York City in the mid-20th century, would I have been a Giants or a Dodgers fan?

The Bums would seem the ready answer, but I may well have pulled for the Giants – there seems to have been about them, with their tradition of McGraw and Mathewson and the Polo Grounds, more of an old Gotham-McSorley's sort of air. But I would look to NY historians such as Steve M. and Andrew Cusack for clarification in this regard.

* * *

Listen: "Geechee," by Fats Waller


Monday, April 04, 2005  
Opening Day

Nats at Philadelphia


Mourning the Pope: A remarkable panorama of St. Peter's Square has been posted by photographer Hans Nyberg.

More images: Zagreb * Zagreb * Texas * Guadalupe * Sao Paulo * Krakow * Krakow * Cairo * Jerusalem * St. Peter's Square * Bulgaria * Helsinki * Czestochowa

* * *


Washington Post

Chas Krauthammer: "The Power of Faith"

Fr. Neuhaus: "John Paul the Great"

E. L. Core


Sunday, April 03, 2005  

In Memoriam

Candles * Boston visit * Altar * Vienna * Seoul


Friday, April 01, 2005  

Pope John Paul II

Peaceful revolutionary * Mary's Bard

* * *

The most tireless moral voice of a secular age, he reminded humankind of the worth of individuals in the modern world: John Paul II profiled by William F. Buckley for the Time 100

* * *

Salve, Regina, mater misericordiae;
vita, dulcedo et spes nostra, salve.
Ad te clamamus, exsules filii Hevae.
Ad te suspiramus, gementes et flentes
in hac lacrimarum valle.
Eia ergo, advocata nostra,
illos tuos misericordes oculos ad nos converte.
Et Iesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui,
nobis post hoc exsilium ostende.
O clemens, o pia, o dulcis Virgo Maria.

Listen to versions of Salve Regina by Walter Lambe (c.1450-1499) and Richard Davy (c.1465-1507) from the 15th-century Eton Choirbook.

* * *

Marian Anderson sings Schubert's Ave Maria.

* * *

Frontline video excerpt: on the devotion of John Paul II to the Virgin.



Thunderbird – or pterodactyl?

A Civil War photo that recently surfaced shows Federal troops at Vicksburg posing with an unusual bird-like creature that some suggest may have been the Thunderbird of legend. Was it, in fact, a pterodactyl?

I wonder, because the other day there soared over my car a bird bigger than any I'd ever seen. I thought at first it was a heron or crane, but it was much larger – it looked almost like a small plane.

At the time I was driving through the so-called Bridgewater Triangle, a region of southeastern Massachusetts that since Indian days has been known for unexplained phenomena, including sightings of UFOs, ghosts, and a Sasquatch-like creature in the Hockomock Swamp.

Sightings also have been reported in the Triangle of "large birds, known in Indian folklore as thunderbirds," according to the Bridgewater Historical Society.

Now this is a blue heron. And this is a pteranodon.

What flew low over my car the other day wasn't a heron.

Just what sort of wetland flying-things are flapping about Hockomock Swamp?


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