Formerly Ad Orientem

"Irish Elk is original, entertaining, eclectic, odd, truly one-of-a-kind. And more than mostly interesting."
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"Puts the 'ent' in 'eccentric.'"

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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.

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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
Monday, May 30, 2005  

from The Passing of the Armies
by Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain

The momentous meaning of this occasion impressed me deeply. I resolved to mark it by some token of recognition, which could be no other than a salute of arms. Well aware of the responsibility assumed, and of the criticisms that would follow, as the sequel proved, nothing of that kind could move me in the least. The act could be defended, if needful, by the suggestion that such a salute was not to the cause for which the flag of the Confederacy stood, but to its going down before the flag of the Union. My main reason, however, was one for which I sought no authority nor asked forgiveness. Before us in proud humiliation stood the embodiment of manhood: men whom neither toils and sufferings, nor the fact of death, nor disaster, nor hopelessness could bend from their resolve; standing before us now, thin, worn, and famished, but erect, and with eyes looking level into ours, waking memories that bound us together as no other bond;—was not such manhood to be welcomed back into a Union so tested and assured?

Instructions had been given; and when the head of each division column comes opposite our group, our bugle sounds the signal and instantly our whole line from right to left, regiment by regiment in succession, gives the soldier's salutation, from the "order arms" to the old "carry"—the marching salute. Gordon at the head of the column, riding with heavy spirit and downcast face, catches the sound of shifting arms, looks up, and, taking the meaning, wheels superbly, making with himself and his horse one uplifted figure, with profound salutation as he drops the point of his sword to the boot toe; then facing to his own command, gives word for his successive brigades to pass us with the same position of the manual,—honor answering honor. On our part not a sound of trumpet more, nor roll of drum; not a cheer, nor word nor whisper of vain-glorying, nor motion of man standing again at the order, but an awed stillness rather, and breath-holding, as if it were the passing of the dead!

* * *

In Holliston, Mass., flags and names on utility poles pay tribute to more than 1,800 coalition troops lost in Afghanistan and Iraq. The sight on the drive into town is striking. The ages of the men lost – 19 here, 20 there – make a particular impression, as do the nationalities: British flags line the route to the general store.

* * *

A good rendition of "Battle Cry of Freedom" is offered seven songs down on this page.


Friday, May 27, 2005  

Fr Sibley rides into the sunset

His blog, A Saintly Salmagundi, will be missed.


Thursday, May 26, 2005  

Feast of St Philip Neri

At the Brompton Oratory, Mass for the founding saint is transferred while cornetts and sackbuts are produced for Corpus Christi.

Nota Bene: Zadok the Roman * Dappled Things * Thos Fitzpatrick

A number of Oratorian links may be found at left under Smells & Bells, and in last year's post on this day.



Playing word association with this picture of a bee-stung Ferdinand, I would respond: Erik Keilholtz and Oakland Cathedral.

In a post from last June (6/4/04) Erik describes his own vision of a cathedral inspired by the San Francisco Bay area's Arts & Crafts Movement.

Bernard Maybeck's First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Berkeley is considered a landmark example of that school, and something along its lines would be preferable, in my view, to the great abstract whalebone corset planned in Oakland.


St. Pius X
You are Pope St. Pius X. You'd rather be right than

Which Twentieth Century Pope Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Well that's about right, I suppose, given not only his condemnation of modernists, but his private audience with John McGraw on the Giants-White Sox 1913 world tour.

(In a travel snap from the latter, future Black Sock Buck Weaver and companions don fezzes in front of the Sphinx. Via the Ginger Kid)

Papal quiz via Pius XII, aka Steve M.


Complexity as an Excuse for Inaction

Paul Wolfowitz is taken to task in the weekly Coalition for Darfur post.


Tuesday, May 24, 2005  

Clip: "That Blue-Eyed Baby from Memphis," by Don Redman.

I've been on a Boston Braves kick since receiving Harold Kaese's team history as a birthday present. Nostalgia for baseball's "golden days" is tempered by the description of the old Boston (NL) club, which apart from a few moments of glory tended to be a second-division outfit, typically broke and staffed with retreads. It's remarkable how closely the description of the old Braves, playing in a big drafty park before not many fans, fits the depiction of the New York Knights in The Natural or of the Washington Senators in Damn Yankees. Unfortunately, the Roy Hobbeses and Joe Hardys were few and far between for the Boston Nationals, who left town (after drawing just a quarter-million fans all year) right before Hank Aaron broke into the bigs and led the team, within four years, to a World Series title.

When I went to college I lived in a dormitory complex built at the old Braves Field, which had been converted by Boston University into a football field. I can say I resided where the old grandstand used to be.

* * *

Braves Field: A full house, 1937 * A sea of boaters, 1915 * Crowd on Gaffney Street, 1930s * Scoreboard * Opening Day, 1952 * Then & Now

* * *

The Braves' Wally Berger, pictured above, and here at the 1934 All Star Game with Kiki Cuyler and Ducky Medwick, is profiled at the Society for American Baseball Research's Baseball Biography Project, a wonderful resource.

In his introduction to Freshly Remember'd, George Morris Snyder summed up a solid, workmanlike career: "Berger was modest, quiet, hard-working, conscientious, and disciplined. He didn't kick dirt on umpires, become engaged in scandal, or engage in wacky behavior. He didn't make good copy for the boys in the press box. In his prime he played in a 'pitchers park' with a team that never came close to winning all the marbles. It was a club out of the mainstream. It was inadequately financed, poorly administered, and usually overmatched on the field. Despite all this, the Braves were always an interesting team, a team that had its great moments. They were led by the best manager of the times and supported by devoted and hopeful fans. And for seven seasons their most brilliant, courageous, and persevering player was Walter Anton Berger."


Monday, May 23, 2005  

I'm currently reading The Old Ball Game, Frank Deford's book on John McGraw, Christy Mathewson and the New York Giants of the early 1900s.

''Never,'' Deford writes, ''were two men in sport so close to one another and yet so far apart in ilk and personality.'' His proclamation is tough to dispute. Muggsy McGraw, a squat, pugnacious Irishman, had made his name years before becoming manager of the New York Giants by starring for the roughhouse Baltimore Orioles, a virtual street gang that spiked shins with abandon and brazenly cheated their way to pennants. (They were known to hide extra balls in the outfield grass and to impede opposing runners by holding onto their belt loops.) McGraw was their calculating leader, a man who one umpire claimed ''eats gunpowder every morning and washes it down with warm blood.''

He took over the floundering Giants in 1902, inheriting the young Mathewson, a dashing, urbane Bucknell man who, Deford coos, was ''our beau ideal,'' ''that fresh-faced, well-groomed, broad-shouldered, quintessentially turn-of-the-century American male.''

Mathewson and McGraw led the Giants to five pennants between 1904 and 1913, giving baseball the legitimacy of a big-market juggernaut and a beguiling, all-American star. Matty and Muggsy spent most of the century's first two decades as two of the most famous men in the United States.

They became best pals...McGraw admired Mathewson's mound smarts and valor, and came to regard him as, Deford writes, ''his boy, his kid brother -- or maybe just his alter ego, the man Muggsy would have been if he had only been blessed, as a child, with books and looks and love.''

* * *

"Show me a baseball fan's favorite team, and I'll show you the sixth grade," writes NY Times reviewer Alan Schwarz. He's got a point.

Sixth grade for me was Luis Aparicio falling down rounding third, the Red Sox losing the East Division by a half-game – another near miss in a litany of Sox near-misses – and catcher Carlton Fisk, pride of New England and unanimous American League Rookie of the Year, in tears afterward. Sixth grade also was Mrs. Accomando, God rest her soul, a baseball fan through and through, rolling the big TV into our classroom so we could watch the playoffs, and thereby, see Bert Campaneris famously chuck his bat at Tigers pitcher Lerrin Lagrow.

* * *

Clip: "Smoky Mokes" by the Peerless Orchestra, a full version of which may be heard here.

* * *

It was after a fight between the Orioles' McGraw and the Beaneaters' Tommy Tucker in the third inning of a game in May 1894 that a fire broke out in the right field stands of Boston's old South End Grounds, notes Jeff Kallman.

The spreading blaze destroyed the ballpark and much of the surrounding neighborhood in what became known as the Great Roxbury Fire.

Baseball architecture in Boston has never since matched that of the old South End Grounds, the city's first baseball temple.

Look at those turrets!

Here's a view from the stands.

"With its 'cathedral-like grandstand'…the only two-tiered baseball park Boston has ever known…more closely resembled the backdrop for a jousting tournament," writes UVa scholar Ben Lisle.

Were a new ballpark ever to be built in Boston, I know which old one I'd propose as a model.


Friday, May 20, 2005  

The Book Challenge

Fr. Ethan has tagged me.

1. Total Number of Books I've Owned. Heaven knows. I'd say I have 300 or so now, not counting the children's books that have taken over all the shelves.

2. Last Book I Bought: A Certain Justice, by PD James, in tandem with The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, by Muriel Sparks, at the library book sale.

3. Last Book I Read:

Currently I'm reading in hardback The Old Ball Game: How John McGraw, Christy Mathewson, and the New York Giants Created Modern Baseball, by Frank Deford.

But I've been on audio book craze, and I'm currently listening in the car to an abridged version of The Angel of Darkness, by Caleb Carr. Before that came The Hero's Life, by Richard Ben Cramer; The Inimitable Jeeves, by PG Wodehouse; an abridged version of The Alienist, by Caleb Carr; The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of The Oxford English Dictionary, by Simon Winchester, and a spate by Dick Francis.

4. Five Books That Mean A lot to Me:

The Boston Braves, 1871-1953, by Harold Kaese, a recent birthday present from my daughter; a copy of The Strange World of Dinosaurs, by John Ostrom, inscribed to me by the Putnam editors when I was a boy; Dear Dead Days, by Charles Addams, a macabre book of fond memory from my childhood; The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, by William Manchester, biography as it should be written, as I wish I could write it; and a commemorative history of Leavitt & Peirce tobacconists in Harvard Square, inscribed by an old friend with whom I have too long lost touch.

5. Tag five people and have them do this on their blog.

My apologies if they've already been tagged:

Ever So Humble
Llama Butchers
Maureen Mullarkey
Patum Peperium
John Cahill

* * *

Meantime, what blogs do St. Bloggers read? Ignatius Insight puts the question.



Tiger Drag: Woodrow Wilson's heir as Princeton president Shirley Tilghman judges the All-Ivy Drag Competition. Raccoon coat, anyone?



Triumph the Insult Comic Dog visits Star Wars fans in a segment that aired a few years back on Conan O'Brien. A classic.


Wednesday, May 18, 2005  

What's in the box?

Or more precisely, what is the box?

If you answered, "an artist's rendering of the altar in the newly renovated Rochester, N.Y., cathedral," you'd be correct.

And that would be a natural answer, because this block, this cube, just cries out "altar," doesn't it?

Seriously, though, the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle's virtual tour of the renovated Sacred Heart Cathedral is instructive, demonstrating anew the divide between those who claim to like this sort of thing, and those who don't.

I look at the images of the reconfigured interior and the new altar compared to the old and see a big hole where the sanctuary should be.

The diocesan communications director who narrates the Flash presentation says the effect is more intimate.

Well, it may be, if your idea of intimacy in interior design is to cart off all the furnishings in a place and replace them with folding chairs around a steamer trunk.

The diocese encourages visitors to go on a "Holiness Hunt" in the renovated cathedral.

Good luck, I'd say, and happy hunting.

But Dick Vosko, the liturgical designer who helped guide the $11-million rearrangement of this into this, says a fuller appreciation of Vatican II would bring me round:

Once people better understand the meaning of the Vatican II liturgical reforms, they are receptive to the changes, Vosko said.

At Sacred Heart, he said, the renovations would enhance the ‘‘cathedral for worship without negating or destroying its innate architecture and artistic beauty. It will be made more beautiful than it is now.’’

Maybe if you just keep pointing the camera up. Nice ceiling. Nice angels. Pity about the rest.

* * *

This Russian Orthodox parish in Rochester does not share Vosko's vision of the sanctuary.

And this Eastern Orthodox parish in Rochester certainly doesn't.



Coalition for Darfur

This blog has joined the Coalition for Darfur, a worthy cause indeed, and accordingly will be posting a weekly dispatch provided on the topic. Here's the latest:

Delays and Complications

The genocide in Darfur began more than two years ago. Since then, more than 400,000 people have died and the international community has yet to take any concrete action toward stopping the violence or helping the nearly 2 million displaced return to their destroyed villages and resume semi-normal lives.

And the longer the world delays, the more complicated the situation seems to become…


Tuesday, May 17, 2005  

The Wodehouse Apostolate

What ho! A campaign has been launched to rally support not only for the Latin Mass but for Jeeves & Wooster:

We have tried our best to steer clear of any opinions here, whether on the Magisterium of the Catholic Church or on the place of spats in the world of tomorrow. However, on one matter we cannot keep our silence while a wayward world steps deeper and deeper into darkness. That is why we have created the Wodehouse Apostolate. If we manage to bring one soul to the love of Wodehouse, then the creation of this website certainly will have been worthwhile.

It is rare that one finds a good collection of P.G. Wodehouse (1881-1975) in any English-speaking home nowadays. But in Catholic homes his works ought to be right below the missals, the Latin primers, the Douay-Rheims Bible and the
Imitation of Christ. For we cannot always be reading religious books, not even the holiest of us. Our leisure ought therefore to be such that it strengthens and reinforces the spiritual progress we make each day by prayer and by penance. And there is probably no writer more appropriate for Catholic leisure than Pelham Grenville Wodehouse (pronounced 'Woodhouse'), in whose shadow even Dante would tremble for his unworthiness.

Hear, hear. As I found last week while recuperating from having a wisdom tooth pulled, a bit of Wodehouse is good for what ails you.

Indeed, according to this essay on the Jeeves & Wooster TV series:

It has been reported that the Queen Mother said she reads the Jeeves and Wooster stories every night so she can go to bed "with a smile on my face despite the strains of the day."

* * *

A selection of Wodehousian music performed by Hugh Laurie as Bertie Wooster is available at the Hat Sharpening Society. Available for download as zip files are such classics as "Sunny Disposish," "Forty-Seven Ginger-Headed Sailors" and "You Do Something to Cock-a-Leekie."

Interesting: Hugh Laurie was a champion rower at Eton and Cambridge. I didn't know that.

* * *

The Wodehouse Apostolate has been launched by the pseudonymous Cyril Fotheringay-Smith and friends as a sideline to their Quo Primum campaign to encourage wider application of the traditional Latin Mass.

We think it quite clear by now that the most divisive change handed down by the Second Vatican Council was its unprecedented and sweeping reworking of the liturgy. What made this change more divisive still was that the new liturgy put into wide practice after the Council was accompanied by an unwritten and unexplained prohibition of the traditional Latin Mass and sacraments. We believe that this unexplained, unprecedented and groundless prohibition of the traditional Latin Mass and sacraments has been at the root of almost all subsequent divisions among the Catholic faithful, and when it stops we believe that most of the needless and ruinous divisions among fundamentally orthodox Catholics will come to an end.

Therefore, we believe that the key to bringing unity to orthodox Catholics today lies in a widespread restoration of the traditional Latin mass and sacraments. All of the creators of QVO PRIMVM are under the age of twenty-five. For us, the restoration of the traditional Latin Mass and sacraments has no 'political' implications. We simply cannot understand why any Catholic should not be able lawfully and readily to know of, to learn about, to participate in and to love all the ancient traditions of the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church.

They propose writing letters to bishops and the Vatican. I am tempted to print out some of their flyers and post them about the local campus ministry office.


Monday, May 16, 2005  

A sad story: A funeral Mass is planned Thursday in upstate New York for Boston College rower Scott Laio, bowman on the BC men's lightweight eight, who died of an apparent heart attack after a victorious race at the Dad Vail Regatta in Philadelphia. He was 20.


Friday, May 13, 2005  
In keeping with the date

Clip: "Black Cat Rag," played by David Thomas Roberts



Wa-hoo-wah: The vox clamantis in deserto has been heard at Dartmouth with the election of insurgent write-in candidates Peter Robinson and Todd Zywicki to the Board of Trustees, in a rebuke to the university administration that pulled out the stops to hobble their candidacies. The Internet in this case has furthered a democratic grassroots challenge to the entrenched academic Left, and that's all to the good. The Dartmouth Review's Dartlog has comprehensive coverage.

At Armavirumque former Dartmouth Review editor James Panero writes:

For the establishment omerta that has kept conservative leaders out of the governing bodies of our top schools, this may just be one more battle won in the effort to retake the universities.

Hugh Hewitt:

The message the Robinson-Zywicki election sends is simple, and I think of much wider applicability than just Dartmouth: Colleges and universities are out of touch with large segments of their alums, and those alums do not like the policies and practices they read about at their alma maters. Surely more "write-in" candidacies are in the offing at other institutions. Existing boards have to look at their memberships and ask if they reflect the institution's diversity or just a dominant elite's view of the world.

Reaction elsewhere: Power Line * Roger L. Simon * Voices in the Wilderness * Dartmouth Observer * Insider Higher Ed * Joe's Dartblog


SF archbishop named to Holy Office

Not very inspiring news, frankly: The new guardian of orthodoxy for the worldwide Church has quashed the Old Mass in his archdiocese, sings the praises of the LA Cathedral -- and with his good friend Cardinal Mahony, allegedly has gone to significant lengths to cover up clergy sex abuse.

Considering the former Cardinal Ratzinger's seeming disengagement from the abuse scandal, this appointment leads one to wonder whether Rome intends – or is cognizant of the need for – meaningful reform.


Thursday, May 12, 2005  

Around the Horn

Matthew at the Holy Whapping issues the Caesar's Bath Challenge:

List five things that people in your circle of friends or peer group are wild about, but you can’t really understand the fuss over. To use the words of Caesar (from History of the World Part I), “Nice. Nice. Not thrilling – but nice.”

Okay, I'll take a stab at it.

1) Tolkien. It's not that I have anything against The Lord of the Rings: The parts of the series I've seen on cable have been engaging, but the whole thing just goes on, doesn't it? I tried reading The Hobbit during an earlier Middle Earth craze but didn't get far, and don't see myself trying to master Elvish any time soon.

2) Monday Night Football, and big-time football in general: I believe George Will wrote an article once detailing all the unattractive components of American culture embodied in the Super Bowl. (Or maybe it was George Carlin.) There have been times, when the Pats have not been in the game, when I have prided myself on not watching a bit of the spectacle on TV, opting instead for a Home Run Derby marathon (a couple years), an Andy Griffith marathon (another year) and a Jewel in the Crown marathon (another). I tip my hat to the Pats and what they've accomplished. But where Hot Stove League chatter about baseball always holds my interest, off-season banter about football draft pick strategy has me reaching for the channel switcher pronto.

3) Hagiographic odes to Ronald and Nancy Reagan. I've come around to appreciating the Gipper's accomplishments as president, particularly in foreign affairs. But sentimental reveries on Ronnie and Mommy tend to be lost on me.

4) Marilyn Monroe: Picking up on a theme earlier sounded by the Llama Butchers: At a time when you had the likes of Grace Kelly or Audrey Hepburn or, say, Pier Angeli around, how did MM get placed in the celestial pantheon? Try sitting through The Misfits, sometime: of the two main actresses, Thelma Ritter ultimately is the one you'd want to take home, and that's saying something.

Not sure about # 5. Given my contrarian streak, I could go on about any number of items – country music post-Patsy Cline, say, or golf beyond nine holes, or the papacy of Paul VI – but I'll stop here, and if anything particularly pressing strikes me, I'll add it.

* * *


The Pope's Latinist has the last word. Ha!

* * *

The Spectator sees in the end of Tony Blair the fate of the eighth-century Merovingian dynasts.

Mark Steyn says the Tories should make Conservatism romantic – and conservative.

On this side of the Atlantic, the latest Red Ensign Standard is up. (Via Raging Kraut: Imagine Otto Clemson Hiss, having got hold of a bad ice cube.)

* * *

The subject of blogging historians is taken up by one of their number, Ralph Luker, while the History Carnival showcases weblog posts in the field.



Clip: "Fizz Water" by Eubie Blake.

The arrival of Straw Hat Day merits a toast to the memory of George Stallings, manager of the 1914 Miracle Braves. He and World Series counterpart Connie Mack were the only big-league managers of their day to wear street clothes on the bench.

A dignified, fastidious Southerner who managed in street clothes and nervously slid up and down the bench so much that he frequently wore out his trousers, George Stallings compiled an 879-898 record and won only one pennant in 13 seasons as a major-league manager, yet that single gonfalon was enough to ensure his undying fame as "The Miracle Man."

Stallings was profoundly superstitious – if his team mounted a rally he would freeze in position until the rally ended – and it's fun to imagine what his antics must have been like during the Braves' incredible run. Once, or so the story goes, he happened to be leaning over to pick up a pebble when the Braves started a rally; after it was over, he was so stiff he had to be helped off the field. Stallings also abhorred peanut shells and pieces of paper on the field, much to the delight of mischievous opponents.

When a doctor asked him if he knew why his heart was so bad, he supposedly replied, "Bases on balls, you son of a bitch, bases on balls."

According to his entry in the New Georgia Encyclopedia:

Stallings was notorious for his temper and superstitions. He ranted at players if they left trash behind in dugouts. Yellow signs and yellow clothing annoyed him; yellow ballpark advertisements had to be painted over before he would let his team play. He refused to talk to rookies until they had played one week, insisting that his silence tested their courage. If he was in a particular physical position, no matter how uncomfortable, when the Braves began a rally, he remained in that position until the rally ended. When asked after the 1914 World Series why the Braves won, he replied that it was because of a "lucky penny." He also attributed the team's success to a "lucky dime" that had been blessed by a priest in Cuba.

The Macon Telegraph reminisces:

Away from the diamond, Stallings is remembered as "cultured," "dapper" and "Chesterfieldian in his manners." But at work, "his language would sear asbestos," wrote Edwin Pope in "Baseball's Greatest Managers."

When a player told Stallings he didn't "cotton to your kind of talk," the manager's reply was apparently "about the most fearsome string of cusses I ever did hear," Pope wrote of the exchange.

Stallings' style also put an emphasis on superstition, demanding that bats be kept in exact order, the drinking cup hung just so on the fountain spigot and the color yellow be banned from the park, Pope wrote.

Because he believed that being wished good luck had the opposite effect, Stallings would avoid good-byes by arriving at train stations two hours early, wrote The Mercerian in 1972.

"If he was caught leaning over picking up a pebble in the coach's box at third base and the light-hitting Braves started a rally," Pope once wrote. "George would freeze in a stance that was almost catatonic until the rally was over, when he would often be so stiff he'd have to be helped to the dugout."


Wednesday, May 11, 2005  

Hence he generally chose his side like a fanatic, and defended it like a philosopher.

-- Macaulay on Burke. (Via Jeff Kallman, to whom I doff my peruke.)

* * *

Victor Davis pens a useful piece in the Washington Times, "What Happened to History?"

What history we know we often judge as illiberal, forgetting we are the beneficiaries of past sacrifices and wealthy largely because of the toil of others who were far less secure. History is also not easy melodrama, but rather tragedy.

It was hard for women to be fully equal in the pre-industrial world of rampant disease and famine, when they had 15 pregnancies or so to ensure three to four children survived to keep the family alive. In the so-called intolerant past, 9 in 10 Americans worked on the farm until dark just to feed the populace; less than 1 in 100 do so now.

Before dismissing them as hopelessly biased, sexist, superstitious or prejudiced, at least concede that most of us sensitive suburbanites would collapse after a few minutes of scything, threshing, milling and baking to get our daily loaf.

To appreciate the value of history, we must also accept that human nature is constant and fixed across time and space. Our kindred forefathers in very dissimilar landscapes were nevertheless subject to the same emotions of fear, envy, honor and shame as our own.

In contrast, if one believes human nature is malleable -- or with requisite money and counseling can be "improved" -- history becomes just an obsolete science. It would be no different from 18th-century biology before the microscope or early genetics without knowledge of DNA. Once man before our time appears alien, the story of his past has very little prognostic value.

Finally, there is a radically new idea that most past occurrences are of equal interest -- far different from the Greeks' notion that history meant inquiry about "important" events that cost or saved thousands of lives, or provided ideas and lessons that transcended space and time.

The history of the pencil, girdle or cartoon offers us less wisdom about events, past and present, than does knowledge of U.S. Grant, the causes of the Great Depression or the miracle of Normandy Beach. A society that cannot distinguish between the critical and the trivial of history predictably will also believe a Scott Peterson merits as much attention as the simultaneous siege of Fallujah, or that a presidential press conference should be pre-empted for Paris Hilton or Donald Trump.

* * *

Read this remarkable item about an academic historian who's also an Army reservist readying to serve in Iraq. Academia could use a few more good men like Chris Bray.

* * *

Thomas Jefferson comes in for hectoring: Llama Butchers * Prof. Bainbridge * Fly Bottle

* * *

Jonah Goldberg: What is a 'Conservative?'



Cardinal Gibbons, c. 1902

SF prelate seen in line for Holy Office:

Archbishop Levada, close to the new pope, would succeed his friend as the Vatican's doctrinal enforcer.

Is this welcome news?

The Archdiocese of San Francisco has no Tridentine Mass because Archbishop Levada has refused permission.

The archbishop has deflected public scrutiny of clergy sex abuse in San Francisco and Portland, Ore., critics say.

And he can't exactly be blamed for it, but still -- that cathedral.

Reactions: Papa Ratzi Post * Domenico Bettinelli * Carrie Tomko

(Via Fr Sibley)



Ignatius Insight surveys St. Blog's:

The feature, "Invasion of the Catholic Bloggers," opens with the question: Why Do You Blog?

* * *

The picture above of Father Cassidy at his rolltop desk circa 1943 comes from a federal photo project archive at American Memory.

A search on "Father Cassidy" turns up many striking images by John Collier of the resident priest of the parish of Penasco in Taos County, N. M.

Particularly striking are the ones of Mass being said at a colonial mission dating to 1700. Here are a few.


Tuesday, May 10, 2005  


A search on cardinal at American Memory turns up some wonderful images from the old Chicago Daily News.

The one above is of Cardinal Mundelein leading a clerical procession in Soldier Field during the International Eucharistic Congress at Chicago in 1926.

More of His Eminence: With kiddos * More kids * With train * On train * Whistlestop * Motorcade * Waving from car

A search of the newspaper database turns up many more.

This one from 1920 of Baltimore's Cardinal Gibbons identifies the prelate as "Chaplain of the Republican Party." He was in town to give the blessing at the GOP national convention. The gaze is hypnotic, as is the hat.

* * *

I'd be interested to hear the story behind the story re America Magazine, which under Fr. Reese's editorship has struck me as a relatively moderate publication compared to the more-liberal Commonweal or decidedly-leftist NCR. Perhaps after seven years, Fr. Reese was ready to move on. But if the hammer of orthodoxy was going to be dropped on some Jesuit precinct or other, any number of theologians and ex-Sandinistas would seem to have presented more pressing targets. Curious.

More: Karen Hall * Mark Mossa, SJ * Dale Price

* * *

Fr Jim Tucker points the way to a not-unsympathetic LA Times piece on the orientation of altars, and offers his own thoughts on Latin in the Mass and on Mass settings: Illuminating, as always.

* * *

Rod Dreher comments at Open Book:

I am to the point where I have to fight to make myself go to mass. I go only because I am intellectually convinced of the truth of Catholicism. It has become so repulsive to me, every week, to sit through the same pointless, happy-clappy crap. There is no sense of mission there, nothing to suggest that Jesus wants anything more from us than feeling groovy about ourselves. If not for the Blessed Sacrament, it would be the biggest waste of time. And worse than a waste of time for me: it is an occasion of anger, and even sin.

I won't go into it here and bore you all again, but I can sum it up for you in a single anecdote, which I've told in these boxes before. Last year, I saw an advance screening of "The Passion of the Christ" two days before Ash Wednesday. I was broken to bits by that film, and its brave, masculine Jesus, a Jesus we never get presented to us in mass. I kept praying, "Lord, I want to be like you. Please help me to be as brave and as strong as you."

So I go to Ash Wednesday services, and the priest, a very plush fellow, begins his homily with, "It's Ash Wednesday, and you might expect me to preach about sackcloth and ashes, sin and penance, but" -- pregnant pause for effect -- "that's not my style."

Honestly, I wanted to run out of the back of the parish and put as much distance between me and this bulls--t as possible. I still do. It's everywhere. It's like Father Wilson said once about, I believe, the bishops: they're eunuchs, but not for the Kingdom of God.

Worse, I am sick beyond the ability to articulate anymore of an institution that cannot bring itself to rid itself of filthy predators like Father Robert Bester of Anchorage, Alaska, who was captured on audiotape recently trying to get into the pants of a construction worker...I thought, "Why should any man want to have anything to do with an institution that cannot commit itself to keeping men like this out of the ministry?"

It's not that the Church is imperfect. It will always be imperfect, as long as men like me are in it, anyway. It's that it doesn't even try for excellence. We are, all of us, fighting a spiritual and moral battle for ourselves and our families, every single day, and for most of the clergy, they act like it's one big damn tea party.


Friday, May 06, 2005  

Plaudits for Bobo

Clip: "Georgia Bo Bo" by Louis Armstrong

Jeff Kallman's ode to Bobo Holloman today is worth the price of admission.

Today is recalled with reverence by St. Louis Browns fans as the anniversary of the day in 1953 when Alva "Bobo" Holloman of the Brownies became the first pitcher in modern baseball history to pitch a no-hitter in his first big-league start. He never pitched another complete game in the majors.

Bobo wasn’t a drinker. He was very superstitious and he had to do everything a certain way. He was just kind of a boastful guy. He thought he was good, and he really wasn’t. But he pitched that no-hitter. How he did it, I don’t know, but he did. It was a cold night, and he pitched a heck of a game.

—Marty Marion, St. Louis Browns manager (1952-53), to Peter Golenbock, for The Spirit of St. Louis: A History of the St. Louis Cardinals and Browns.

Big Bobo went out and pitched against the Athletics, the softest competition we could find, and everything he threw was belted. And everywhere the ball went, there was a Brownie there to catch it. It was such a hot and humid and heavy night that long fly balls which seemed to be heading out of the park would die and be caught against the fence. Just when Bobo looked as if he was tiring, a shower would sweep across the field, delaying the game long enough for him to get a rest. Allie Clark hit one into the left field seats that curved foul at the last second. A bunt just rolled foul on the last spin. Our fielding was superb. The game went into the final innings and nobody had got a base hit off Big Bobo. On the final out of the eighth inning, Billy Hunter made an impossible diving stop on a ground ball behind second base and an even more impossible throw. With two out in the ninth, a ground ball was rifled down the first base line—right at our first baseman, Vic Wertz. Big Bobo had pitched the quaintest no-hitter in the history of the game.

—Bill Veeck, in Veeck—As In Wreck.


Thursday, May 05, 2005  

"Belgian Charlotte," Time Magazine, July 30, 1923:

In the dim vastness of a Belgian chateau, an 83-year-old woman, dying insane, is living in the memories of her resplendant past.

She does not see the green fields of Belgium, heavy with heat. Empress Carlotta, widow of Emperor Maximilian of Mexico, sees only days of youth. To her the chateau is Mexico's royal palace. Her nurses and doctors are courtiers and gallants. Nearby young Maximilian, her emperor husband, is waiting and will come to her.

Carlotta has no knowledge of the days that followed that burning dawn in 1869 when Mexican rebels shot Maximilian against a wall. Since that day and through all her wanderings she has been stark mad.

During the War she fell into the hands of the Germans, but Wilhelm gave orders that she was not to be disturbed and she received everything to which she was accustomed.

King Albert of Belgium visited his aunt, the ex-Empress, last week. He was to her only a courtier in her halucinatory court.

The Empress Carlotta, known to the Habsburg Court as "Belgian Charlotte," is a sister of Leopold II, late king of the Belgians. She had influence in Vienna after marrying the Archduke Maximilian, brother of the late Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary. It was on account of her meddlesomeness that the court hated her and was unmistakably relieved when she departed with her husband to rule Mexico, through the instrumentality of Napoleon III, Emperor of France.

Her estates are valued at $70,000,000 and will go to the Belgian Royal family at her death.

* * *

Today, on Cinco de Mayo, join me in raising a cerveza to the memory of those ill-fated aristos, Emperor Maximilian and his wife, Carlotta, the Mad Empress of Mexico, whose story has inspired an opera and a Warner Bros. movie starring Bette Davis.

The movie Juarez is outstanding, if you dispense with Paul Muni's mummified title character and focus on the tragic Hapsburgs. Writes a reviewer:

Far more exciting dramatically is Bette Davis as Empress Carlotta, whose highly stylized descent into madness is a tour de force both for the actress and for director William Dieterle… The best performance is delivered by Brian Aherne, whose kindly, honorable Emperor Maximillian is less a despot than a misguided political pawn. When Aherne, about to be executed at Juarez' orders, requests that his favorite Mexican song "La Paloma" be played as he is led before the firing squad, audience sympathies are 100% in Maximilian's corner--which was not quite what the filmmakers intended.

The last scene, with Maximilian lying in his casket in a candle-filled chapel, goes off the POD-meter.

You can hear a snippet of "La Paloma" from the movie on a tribute album to the film's composer, E. W. Korngold.

Meantime, the Holy Whapping points the way to a website that is dedicated to the current-day pretenders to Mexico's imperial throne and that includes among its images a picture of Carlotta's bathtub.


Wednesday, May 04, 2005  

Clip: "Pass That Peace Pipe" by Margaret Whiting

As a proponent of the Old English "B," Manhattan correspondent Steve M will appreciate the rookie pic of Warren Spahn above.

I just may have to get one of these hats, myself.

Casey Stengel was Warren Spahn's manager when the pitcher began his career with the Braves in the early '40s and ended it with the Mets in the mid-'60s. "I played for Casey before and after he was a genius," Spahn said.

Here are a few more pics of Stengel from his Boston (NL) days: Relaxing, sagaciously, at Spring Training * Yawping * Mid-rhubarb

* * *

UPDATE: Why did cricket take hold across much of the British Commonwealth but not in America? Class-consciousness, two Harvard sociologists maintain in an op-ed piece in the NYT.

Coffee Grounds is skeptical.

One of the sociologists who wrote the piece admits he's never seen a game of cricket, Crooked Timber notes.

Historian Rob Macdougall suggests another reason for baseball's rise in America: better marketing.

While you're at the latter's site, be sure to follow the link to the gallery of vintage magic posters.

(Via Cliopatria)


Tuesday, May 03, 2005  

Clip: "Rah, Rah, Rah," by Harry Reser's Six Jumping Jacks

Ol' Perfessor Casey Stengel, above, donned gown and mortarboard to lecture his players when wartime travel restrictions in 1943 led the Boston Braves to hold Spring Training in Connecticut at the Choate School.

They just don't do publicity photos like that anymore.

Ol' Case was an old hand at the genre: Here he is staring into his prognosticator's "crystal ball" in 1949 and 10 years later.

But I rather like the swami routine Brooklyn Dodger manager Chuck Dressen and his coaches are pulling in this 1951 pic.


Monday, May 02, 2005  

To make reparations for links like this and thus placate Mr. Keilholtz (whose engaging manifesto indicates his simultaneous embrace of both Athletics and Giants is the least of his colorful internal contradictions)...

Irish Elk presents its annual tribute to Lefty O'Doul, favorite baseball son of San Francisco and Oakland, who batted .398 for the Phils in '29, and whose name graces a bridge and a famous bar in his SF hometown.

Pictured here with newsboys at Oakland's Grotto seafood restaurant, he suggests a baseball counterpart to Herb Caen.

He also is considered a father of pro baseball in Japan. The Baseball Library observes:

Making annual visits to Japan in the 1930s as a baseball ambassador of good will, he became an idol of fans there. He took the attack on Pearl Harbor as a personal affront.

Writes baseball historian John Holway:

Some Japanese researchers suggest that Lefty's love affair with Japan may have gone beyond baseball. Rumors have been flying that he had a koibito, or lover, and although details are hard to track down after 50 years, one theory is that she was a geisha. Apparentlly no one living today can verify the story.

Whatever happened to her? How did she survive the bombing raids during the war? How did he find her again? Why couldn't they marry? We may never know, but those of us who are romantics at heart can imagine the bitter-sweet possibilities.

It would make a hell of a movie, wouldn't it?

At any rate, who wouldn't want this on his gravestone?


* * *

Listen to a selection of vintage jazz recordings at the San Francisco Traditional Jazz Foundation.

And hear a sampling of Lu Watters' Yerba Buena Jazz Band.


Sunday, May 01, 2005  

Clip: "Bring Flowers of the Rarest," by the Daughters of St. Paul.

Among Mary's Flowers: The marigold, or Mary's Gold; the violet, Our Lady's Modesty; the columbine, Our Lady's Shoes; the juniper bush, Our Lady's Shelter; the lily of the valley, Our Lady's Tears.

Start a Mary Garden of your own.


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