"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
As I type, a 1953 holiday episode of Dragnet is playing at WAMU at American University.
Thanks to Botanica for the link and for pointing to the way to retro cocktails and lap steel guitar.
Louis Armstrong reads "The Night Before Christmas": http://saturn.nildram.co.uk/~gkhs/louis%20armstrong%20-%20The%20Night%20Before%20Christmas.mp3
Merry Christmas to all – and to all a good night!
Friday, December 23, 2005
Christmas in the Trenches
NOTE 3/10/09: Welcome to Irish Elk! The log shows a number of visitors have been arriving in recent months at this post. Out of curiosity, where are you coming from? If you leave a comment in the box I'd be happy to know. And be sure to visit the rest of the site while you're here. Cheers, MCNS
Meantime, a remarkable site, The Great War in a Different Light, containing more than 7,000 period photos, illustrations and news articles from Great War books and magazines, focuses its coverage this holiday season on "Christmas in the Trenches."
The Library of Congress is exhibiting rare color photos from the Depression and Second World War periods. Sixteen-hundred of the color images may be seen online at American Memory.
The picture above shows passersby reading headlines posted in the street-corner window of the newspaper office in Brockton, Mass., in December 1940.
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A gallery of vintage New York Postfront pages from the '40s, '50s and '60s is found at a tribute site to late newspaper editor Paul Sann, postwar New York's "king of tabloid journalism." Of Sann's Page One headlines a reporter said: "Some of them [were] so exciting I had to wait for the story to catch up."
Bill Bennett appears to have borrowed my avatar's cap from below.
Dems say No Joe-mentum, train ire on Lieberman: WSJ * RCP #
Monday, December 12, 2005
Sen. Eugene McCarthy, RIP
Eugene McCarthy was my parents' candidate in 1968, and I believe we have a picture somewhere of my eldest brother, who'd gone Clean for Gene, graduating from college with a McCarthy pin on his robe.
In an appreciation in the Weekly Standard last year, Andrew Ferguson wrote:
McCarthy stands out from recent political history as a uniquely appealing man: funny, thoughtful, eccentric, allusive; a professional politician whose mind had plenty left over when the politics was done. He's hard to figure out. No one, early in McCarthy's career, could have predicted that his political life would reach a climax with an effort to unhorse a president of his own party. As a young man he had entered a Benedictine seminary, dropped out, joined up again, and dropped out again, and he never shook the habits of a mind steeped in Catholic scholasticism. His classical training would emerge at the unlikeliest moments. Watching from a hotel window as a phalanx of Chicago police-men waded into protestors during the chaotic 1968 Democratic convention, he turned to a companion and said the horrible scene reminded him of the Battle of Lake Trasimeno…
THROUGHOUT HIS CAREER, when the professorial mood was upon him (as it often was), McCarthy had called for "the de-personalization of politics"--a phrase that sounded just as pompous then as it does now, but which nonetheless expressed a thought-through belief about how self-government should work. McCarthy thought institutions deserved more care and attention than the men who run them, and that a political campaign should be bigger than its candidate. His favorite politician, he said, was Edmund Burke--pompous again, maybe, but revealing. His reticence seemed principled as well as personal. He attended Mass every day, for example, yet never spoke in public of his private faith--a blessed contrast to candidates who seldom go to services yet won't shut up about how much religion means to them. McCarthy despised charisma, deemed it dangerous and undemocratic--Bobby Kennedy horrified him, partly for this reason--and his disdain, paradoxically, made him all the more charismatic. When he campaigned in 1968 huge crowds would greet him, rafter-swinging crowds, roof-raising, thunderous crowds, and he would refuse to amplify the enthusiasm that poured over him. He never played to the crowd. The crowd loved him for it.
Wednesday, 7th December: 5.30pm Solemn 1st Vespers Music: Ave maris stella Hassler. Magnificat Tone 8 à 8 Bevan. Dulcissima Maria Vivanco. Prelude: Nun danket alle Gott (657) Bach.
Thursday 8th December Masses:
7.00am, 10.00, 12.30pm,
6.00 pm Solemn Latin Mass Music: Prelude: Meine Seele erhebt den Herrn (648) Bach. Missa l'Aria di Fiorenza Frescobaldi. Tota pulchra es Maria Bruckner. Ave Maria Parsons. Fugue on the Magnificat (577) Bach
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Listen to "Ave Maria" on a Victorian music box, via NPR:
So hoop de doo/And dickory dock/And don't forget/To hang up your sock.
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With the slip to Adorable Little Rodent status in the Truth Laid Bear Ecosystem, it's time to get the hit meter going, so here's the obligatory holiday link to "Dominick the Italian Christmas Donkey."Buon natale.
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For classic Addams Family Christmas cartoons like the one above, visit Bah! Humbug! #
Written by Lt. Commander John J. Shea, USN, aboard the USS Wasp:
June 29, 1942
This is the first letter I have ever written directly to my little son and I am thrilled to know that you can read it all by yourself. If you miss some of the words, I'm sure it will be because I do not write very plainly. Mother will help you in that case I am sure.
I was certainly glad to hear your voice over the long distance telephone. It sounded as though I were right in the living room with you. You sounded as though you missed your daddy very much. I miss you too, more than anyone will ever know. It is too bad this war could not have been delayed a few more years so that I could grow up again with you and do with you all the things I planned to do when you were old enough to go to school.
I thought how nice it would be for me to come home early in the afternoon and play ball with you, and go mountain climbing and see the trees, and brooks, and learn all about woodcraft, hunting, fishing, swimming, and things like that. I suppose we must be brave and put these things off for a little while.
When you are a little bigger you will know why your daddy is not home so much any more. You know we have a big country and we have ideals as to how people should live and enjoy the riches of it and how each is born with equal rights to life, freedom, and the pursuit of happiness. Unfortunately, there are some countries in the world where they don't have these ideals, where a boy cannot grow up to be what he wants to be with no limits on his opportunities to be a great man, such as a great priest, statesman, doctor, soldier, businessman etc.
Because there are people and countries who want to change our nation, its ideals, forms of government, and way of life, we must leave our homes and families to fight. Fighting for the defense of our country, ideals, homes, and honor is an honor and a duty which your daddy has to do before he can come home to settle down with you and Mother. When it is done, he is coming home to be with you always and forever. So wait just a little while longer. I am afraid it will be more than the two weeks you told me on the phone.
In the meantime, take good care of Mother. Be a good boy and grow up to be a good young man. Study hard when you go to school. Be a leader in everything good in life. Be a good Catholic, and you can't help being a good American. Play fair always. Strive to win but if you must lose, lose like a gentleman and a good sportsman. Don't ever be a quitter either in sports or in your business or profession when you grow up. Get all the education you can. Stay close to Mother and follow her advice. Obey her in everything, no matter how you may at times disagree. She knows what is best and will never let you down or lead you away from the right and honorable things in life. If I don't get back, you will have to be Mother's protector because you will be the only one she has. You must grow up to take my place as well as your own in her life and heart.
Love your grandmother and granddad as long as they live. They too will never let you down. Love your aunts and see them as often as you can. Last of all, don't ever forget your daddy. Pray for him to come back and if it is God's will that he does not, be the kind of a boy and man your daddy wants you to be…
Kiss Mother for me every night.
Goodbye for now.
With all my love and devotion for Mother and you,
On September 15, 1942, three Japanese torpedoes struck the carrier USS Wasp as it sailed toward Guadalcanal. Commander Shea was seen running into the flames to rescue shipmates. He was among 193 officers and crew lost. #
Image of Medea, Pompeii
Anything that purports to help a woman by killing her baby has a lot of explaining to do. Frederica Mathewes-Green
An "Underground Railroad" for women seeking late-term abortions is maintained in New York by volunteers who include the linked piece's author and Nation columnist Katha Pollitt.
The volunteers see what they do as important and good, as liberalism in action, and they have been cited by Salon and the ACLU as "Heroes of Freedom."
A remix of "Oua Oua" by Kanui & Lula topped the Austrian charts a few years back, and you can listen to the updated house mix at the bottom of this page. A couple more by Kanui & Lula, including a rather nice rendition of "Mauna Loa," can be heard at a 78-rpm record site.
Kanui and Lula, Hawaiians living in Paris in 1929-3?, good friend of Tau Moe! Played SOLO on Oua Oua! According to Tau, he did this standing up with a squareneck tricone, not with a strap but with a braided silk cord. Tau says he drank quite a bit and sometimes Tau would help him stash his pay, so there would be some left for Lula at the end of the week. She was a dancer and singer…
Lots of pre-1945 recordings, some a bit scratchy, are at this Hawaiian music site. Meantime, Jane's Oceania corners the market on vintage Hawaiian postcards.
And "Mele Kalikimaka," with the Andrews Sisters, is among the offerings at this Bing Crosby shrine. Here are the lyrics for singing along.