Formerly Ad Orientem

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Unitarian Jihad

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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
Sunday, January 29, 2006  

Redcoats on tape &c

Spending a couple of hours in the car each day driving to and from work, I've become addicted to books on tape. Sometimes I chart my course by the libraries along the way that carry this or that audiocassette, the thought of having to rely on talk radio, shuddering.

Washington Post reviewer Katharine Powers -- daughter of the late JF Powers -- shared some of her favorite audio-books in an engaging online chat this past summer.

In my view, the reader makes all the difference. I agree with Katherine Powers that Simon Prebble is the man for Dick Francis, though Tony Britton will do in pinch. Anything read by Edward Herrmann is usually good. Michael Jayston is the one for PD James.

Currently I'm on a Bernard Cornwell kick, recently having discovered his Richard Sharpe stories (well read by the late David Case) that tell the adventures of a British rifleman in the Napoleonic Wars, and are great swashbuckling fun.

Sharpe's Rifles and the public TV program it inspired are compared in a review at Brothers Judd:

Here they fight in Spain with the partisans against the French, and their particular mission comes to be flying an ancient battle gonfalon -- the banner of Santiago Matamoros (St. James the Moor slayer) -- over the French-held town of Santiago de Compostela, in order to provide the sort of miracle that will summon the Spanish people to rise up against Bonaparte.

…Sharpe's Spanish ally is Don Blas Vivar and they are opposed by the Don's brother, the Count of Mouromorto. When the brothers duel in the television version they exchange words that make it quite clear that Vivar represents all the tradition and religiosity of Catholic Spain while his brother represents the cold reason of Enlightenment France. The contrast is somewhat less forthright in the book, but:

A Spanish Sergeant held the great banner that had been hung from a cross-staff on a pole. He waved it so that the silk made a serpentine challenge in the dusk.

The Count of Mouromorto saw the challenge and despised it. That streamer of silk was everything he hated in Spain; it stood for the old ways, for the domination of church over ideas, for the tyranny of a God he had rejected...

A nice Burkean touch that, the godless French forces against the Christian Brits and Spaniards. And in the book the "miraculous" nature of the mission is played to the hilt. You can't go wrong with book or movie and ought to enjoy both.

* * *

I'd been looking for an excuse to post the great Joshua Reynolds portrait above of General Sir Banastre Tarleton, initially seen at the Llamas'.

Turns out Jan. 17 was the 225th anniversary of Bloody Ban's defeat at the Battle of Cowpens. Thos Fitzpatrick had it covered.

* * *


Llama Butcher Robert: On the literary merits of Cornwell vs Patrick O'Brian * On the book White Savage, about the British agent to the Iroquois during the French and Indian War.

On the 500th anniversary of the Swiss Guard: John Cahill * Matthew at the Holy Whapping * Fr Jas Tucker

On "St. Robert of Virginia": Fr Jas Tucker


Friday, January 27, 2006  

Mozart 250

Happy Birthday, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: NPR * CBC contest * Carnegie Hall * BBC Radio

"Ave Verum Corpus" performed by the San Francisco Choral Society:

(Via Música on-line)


Wednesday, January 25, 2006  

Hither and yon

Allow me to wish heartiest buena suerte to the Uruguayan surfer who arrived here on a Google quest for Emma Peel in hot pants.

And greetings to visitors here by way of Euphemia. I must confess my attempts to decipher the referring page's Korean via Google translator have been largely for naught, rendering lines like: The ticket fault nose horn smallness field is biting with each other. The deplorable child till full the hall lye was to such a thing thought.

Rod Dreher's essay on Crunchy Conservatism inspired my own recent hunt for an image of Ben Franklin's (and the American Spectator's) favorite bird. Lo, I came across the small-town bibliophile turkeys above, captured by a photographer for the Mosquito in Carlisle, Mass., where a bear at the birdfeeder is not unknown.

"To love the little platoon we belong to in society, is the first principle (the germ as it were) of publick affections," Edmund Burke wrote. Chronicling Burke's little platoons in North Hampton, N.H., is local newspaper columnist Amy Kane, whose latest online venture, devoted to hometown goings-on, you don't have to be a townie to enjoy.


Tuesday, January 24, 2006  

Invasion of the Bishop Snatchers

There's a liturgist in the woodpile as strange goings-on in the Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne embroil characters from the St. Blog's Parish roll. Time to call Chris Johnson, Anglican Investigator, whose latest noir adventure summons visions of Rod Serling set loose in Oregon Catholic Press.

I, for one, intend to keep reading to find out what happens to me. (My wife will be surprised about the Holy Orders.)

The Father Brown pic above (via Top Meadow) lends the proper air of clerical suspense.

Elsewhere on the self-referential front: Thanks to BooHiss for the uneponymous plaudits.


Tuesday, January 17, 2006  

Happy 300th Birthday, Ben Franklin

The Freedom Trail passes his statue in front of Boston's Old City Hall, but not much is planned here today in Ben Franklin's birthplace. This rankles a local Franklin impersonator who unsuccessfully lobbied Boston's famously inarticulate Mayor Tom Menino to do more in the way of commemorating Franklin's tercentenary.

“Seven years ago I asked Mayor Menino, what are you going to do about celebrating your most famous native-born Bostonian?” Meikle said.

“He said, as best as I can quote from memory, ‘Well, y’know, Benjumin Frala walla walla Philephia, and y’got JFK and all, and humbo jumbo lossa famiss, y’know from Bahsna, an’ we can’t get into alla that, y’know.’ And that was that.”

Philadelphia and Penn are more enthusiastic in celebrating Franklin 300.

* * *

Franklin Miscellany

A very brief and very comprehensive life of Ben: Franklin, printer, done into quaint verse, by one of the types. September 17th, 1856.

(Via American Memory)

A love poem: Benjamin Franklin and `The Stol'n Kiss'

Listen here to a clip of Sousa's "Liberty Bell March" (the Monty Python theme) as played by the Edison Grand Concert Band ca. 1896-97.

* * *

Assorted Franklin Coverage:

'Poor Richard's Redemption' * Washington Post * Chicago Sun-Times * CS Monitor * AP * Pittsburgh Post-Gazette * Mercury News * IHT * Franklin, Mass. * NPR


Saturday, January 14, 2006  

To the Dodo:

A Bacchanalian Song, With Full Chorus:

The dodo once lived, and he does n't live now;
Yet, why should a cloud overshadow our brow?
The loss of that bird ne'er should trouble our brains,
For, though he is gone, still our claret remains.
Sing dodo–dodo–jolly dodo!
Hurrah! in his name let our cups overflow!

We know that he perished; yet why shed a tear?
This generous bowl all our bosoms can cheer.
The dodo is gone, and, no doubt, in his day
He delighted, as we do, to moisten his clay.
Sing dodo—dodo—jolly dodo!
Hurrah! in his name let our cups overflow!

-- From 'The Dodo,' The Living age, Volume 1, Issue 6, June 22, 1844

(Via American Memory)

* * *

The dodo has been in the news with the recent discovery of a treasure trove of the extinct bird's bones. Scientists hope the find will help them recreate the dodo's world.

* * *

From London's Natural History Museum: A terracotta dodo by Waterhouse * A video on the dodo's changing image

* * *

Pacifist dodo

The blurb accompanying this 1916 photo from the Chicago Daily News reads:

Image of Gene Morgan of the Chicago Daily News and several other men on a float featuring a dodo bird. Signs on the float read Dodo was the original pacifist.now extinct (illegible). Those who supported preparedness were in favor of building a strong military.

A flightless ancestor of today's Democrats?

* * *

Porky Pig captures the Last of the Dodos:

Porky Pig: Oh b-b-boy! I caught the l-last D-D-Do-Do!
The Do-Do: Yes, I'm really the last of the Do-Dos. Ain't I, fellas?
[hundreds of Do-Dos surround Porky]
Other Do-Dos: Yeah, man! Woooooooooo!

* * *

Thus inspired:

"Crazy Words, Crazy Tune,"

by Irving Aaronson & his Commanders


Tuesday, January 10, 2006  

Apologies for the lack of posts – more coming soon!


Sunday, January 01, 2006  

Get that man a leather helmet!

Doug Flutie hit the NFL's first dropkick since 1941.

He had it all the way, Coach Belichick said post-game.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame has more on this forgotten art.

This calls for a round of "For Boston" by – who else! – the Dropkick Murphys.



Peace & prosperity to all, and God Bless President Taft!*

Now playing: "Potato Head Blues"

What kind of man reads Irish Elk? A recent visitor arrived via a Google search for president taft homosexual. Hmmm. Brokeback, indeed.

In the land of latter-day Tafts, Suburban Banshee's brother is running for state rep as a pro-life moderate Democrat. Readers in Ohio's 70th District may wish to give his candidacy a look.

A New Year's Gallimaufry

Winsor McCay: A giant new compilation of his "Little Nemo in Slumberland" marks the centennial of the legendary cartoon * A New Year's eve strip from 1906 * A Winsor McCay sampling in French * Another foreign-language tribute * Masonic Lodge devils

Daniel Mitsui's new Hieronymus Blog is a sumptuous site devoted to culture, art and liturgy, and well worth a visit.

John at the Six Bells describes Christmas 1916 in the trenches with Great War chaplain Fr. Willie Doyle, SJ, deservedly proposed for sainthood.

Ross Douthat: Toward "a more highbrow Christianity" * On Christians, Christmas and the culture war * On the Fatuous Left speaking truth to power * On the end of the Reformation

Nota bene: John Silber, on science vs scientism

William F Buckley on belief in God:

I've always liked the exchange featuring the excited young Darwinian at the end of the 19th century. He said grandly to the elderly scholar, "How is it possible to believe in God?" The imperishable answer was, "I find it easier to believe in God than to believe that Hamlet was deduced from the molecular structure of a mutton chop."

* Herewith, the champagne toast of choice.


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