Formerly Ad Orientem

"Irish Elk is original, entertaining, eclectic, odd, truly one-of-a-kind. And more than mostly interesting."
Amy Kane

"Puts the 'ent' in 'eccentric.'"

"The Gatling Gun of Courteous Debate."
Unitarian Jihad

"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)."
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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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Truth Laid Bear Ecosystem

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, July 31, 2006  

Mr. McGregor's Revenge

A family project today in the backyard garden.

His message to deer, groundhog & rabbit: I pity the fool!



Great poster

El Sismo meets the Neoconservative World Order:

The Nazis opposed Democracy Whiskey Sexy.

Via Ooops!


Saturday, July 29, 2006  

The Big Bam

Just finished Leigh Montville's very readable biography of the Rabelaisian Bambino:

The Speed Graphic, the newspaper photographer's camera of choice, loved his broad face with its flat nose and tiny eyes, loved his absolutely unique look, features put together in a hurry, an out-of-focus bulldog, no veneer or sanding involved. This was a face that soon was instantly recognizable, seen again and again, more familiar in most households than the faces of a second cousin once removed or a Dutch uncle who always appeared for Sunday dinner. The Babe was an incorrigible, wondrous part of everyone's family. He posed in any kind of uniform, any kind of situation. He kissed dogs and cows and chimpanzees. He wore cowboy suits and patrolman blue, badge included. He posed with celebrities and bands of waifs whose eyes all glowed as if they were in the presence of a deity. He was the life of everybody's party.

* * *

The picture of Babe Ruth's farewell at Yankee Stadium is one of the most famous images in sports. In Smithsonian Magazine, Montville describes how Herald-Trib photographer Nat Fein got the shot.

* * *

Marshall Hunt, New York Daily News sportswriter in the '20s, quoted on the Jazz Age:

Action? Did you ever see 500 persons, clad in garments permitting great freedom of movement, do the Charleston, the music provided by a 65-piece orchestra, every member giving his all?

* * *

Explain this Black Bottom dance…


Thursday, July 27, 2006  
Maybe that explains it

The liberal Democrats who make up the rest of my family long have wondered how I came to stray off the reservation. Now I may have found a clue.

I uploaded a picture of myself to the Celebrity Face Recognition database and this is who came back:


Monday, July 24, 2006  

A little bit softer now

Loud pipes save lives, the saying goes.

Nonetheless, British army pipers are to be curbed by a safety code:

Soldiers learning to play the bagpipes have been told to limit their practice sessions to only 24 minutes a day, or 15 minutes when indoors.

Pipers will also have to wear ear plugs under the new guidelines brought in by health and safety officials.

The advice, aimed at preventing soldiers from suffering hearing problems, was issued after a study by the Army Medical Directorate environmental health team.

Tests showed that outdoors the sound of bagpipes could reach 111 decibels, slightly louder than a pneumatic drill. Indoors, the instrument could reach 116 decibels, or as loud as a chainsaw.

The Telegraph raises a skirl of protest in an editorial: "The pipes fall silent."

* * *

Somehow, these Highland veterans of Sevastopol don't look as if they'd have been much for occupational safety regulations.

A few more vintage piping images, via Scots at War:

Piper E. J. Dawson of the 7th Black Watch

The Black Watch celebrating New Year's, WWI

Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders

* * *

In the naval realm, Basil Seal makes some worthy recommendations on casting Aubrey-Maturin.

He suggests Brendan Gleeson as Jack, and for Stephen, an actor named Michael Wincott who does have the right look for the part.


Friday, July 21, 2006  

What's wrong with this paragraph?

It's a sweltering summer day and Peaches has taken refuge in her air-conditioned tour bus, which is parked behind the stage at the Tweeter Center. In a few hours the 39-year-old musician will put on a corset and perform sexually explicit electro-rock songs from her new album, ``Impeach My Bush," in her opening set at the Nine Inch Nails show. This afternoon she is laying supine on a leather banquette, chatting about gender politics and tugging at the sides of her dress in an effort to cover her hot pink bra.

She's LYING supine on a leather banquette, dammit!

And now this:

Helen Thomas declares press corps ‘laying down on the job’

I know, I know: That is a jarring transition, and the resulting confluence of words and images no doubt will lead to some quite exotic search queries in future referral logs.

But no matter how much Peggy Noonan may argue popular usage in rationalizing "media" as a singular noun, I can't think she'd endorse the seemingly ever more widespread illiteracy in re lay vs. lie.

Not only the Globe arts section and Helen Thomas are affected. A cursory Google News search turns up a man laying by railroad tracks in the Edmonton Sun, a lightning victim laying on the ground on WABC-TV, and a lemon tree laying likewise in the Sun-Sentinel. The word also is misused in stories in the Chicago Tribune and the LA Times.

Where are the editors? Is the gentleman above emulating his rolltop in his grave?

Wonder what Callimachus' take is on the current state of the copy desk?


Wednesday, July 19, 2006  

A Beaneater, popping up

Never heard of the Beaneaters! Forsooth, as Dr. S. Maturin might say. No one went yard in the Gay '90s like the Boston Beaneaters.

Since his club took off on its current batting tear, Braves skipper Bobby Cox has become better versed in Boston NL history.

The last time the franchise reached double figures in five straight games was in 1897, when the Braves were called the Beaneaters and they totaled 61 runs.

"The Beaneaters keep popping up every afternoon," Cox said. "Way back. I wasn't around then.

* * *

Will Ferrell channels Luis Tiant. Olé!



They've shot the Czar, and all his family.

Oh, that's a savage deed.

-- Gromeko (Ralph Richardson), Doctor Zhivago

The Romanovs, RIP: Roving Medievalist * Man About Mayfair

Pics via World Roots


Tuesday, July 18, 2006  






My Kinja card description.


* * *

Via the Advertising Slogan Generator, possible slogans for this page:

Takes an Irish Elk but it Keeps on Tickin'

Irish Elk - It Does a Body Good.

You Can Really Taste The Irish Elk!

An Irish Elk Is Forever.

Bring Out The Irish Elk.

How Many Licks Does it Take to Get to the Center of an Irish Elk?

Irish Elk. It's Everywhere You Wanna Be.

* * *

What's My Spammer Name?

Nubile D. Nuzzle, or alternately, Industry U. Narragansett.


Monday, July 17, 2006  

Pimms during wartime

In answer to the heat and to the dire headlines out of the Mideast, Mr & Mrs P prescribe Indian food and plenty of cocktails:

For some reason, dining on tandoori, naan, and cucumber raita while Israel and Beirut burn brings out the Winston Churchill within. Frankly, this war calls for a drink and given the potential of nukes soon being deployed, the bigger the drink the better. Since the temperature here is expected to soar over the 95 degree mark, you just don't have to wear the classic Winston Churchill swiss dotted bow tie when doing so…

Now, contrary to what E.M. Forster would have you think, there really was a gentlemen's code to life in the British Raj. Only a few gentlemen had enough social cache or a complete lack of social cache to wander about India with enough liquor in their veins to kill any malaria-carrying mosquitos on contact. The rest of the English did observe the knife-edge distinction between drinking and being drunk. Extreme heat or being in a war is no excuse for ceasing to be a gentleman. If you choose to drink, please continue observing the knife-edge distinction of drinking and being drunk, even if you are a lady…

It has been Mr. P's and my experience that a pinch or in a time of war, a Pimms' cup made with Pimms, Schwepes ginger ale, ice and garnished with thin cucumber and orange slices or a decent IPA (India Pale Ale) are nice and refreshing openers to an Indian meal.

Here, the hot-weather fare has been jambalaya and Coronas.

While the picture above of Lord and Lady Curzon does not feature any cocktails, it does have pith helmets and a tiger, so Mr & Mrs P would, I think, approve.

Now for a bit of Jack Hylton…


Friday, July 14, 2006  

Let us eat cake

A Bastille Day toast to Marie Antoinette, now all the rage in France:

Sophia Coppola's upcoming punk-rock biopic starring Kirsten Dunst features Adam and the Ants and Siouxie and the Banshees on the soundtrack; the trailer may be seen here.

Unplug the jukebox for Edmund Burke's famous elegy to a queen – and an age – lost:

It is now sixteen or seventeen years since I saw the queen of France, then the dauphiness, at Versailles; and surely never lighted on this orb, which she hardly seemed to touch, a more delightful vision. I saw her just above the horizon, decorating and cheering the elevated sphere she had just begun to move in, glittering like the morning star full of life and splendor and joy. O, what a revolution! and what a heart must I have, to contemplate without emotion that elevation and that fall! Little did I dream, when she added titles of veneration to those of enthusiastic, distant, respectful love, that she should ever be obliged to carry the sharp antidote against disgrace concealed in that bosom; little did I dream that I should have lived to see such disasters fallen upon her, in a nation of gallant men, in a nation of men of honor, and of cavaliers! I thought ten thousand swords must have leaped from their scabbards, to avenge even a look that threatened her with insult.

But the age of chivalry is gone; that of sophisters, economists, and calculators has succeeded, and the glory of Europe is extinguished forever. Never, never more, shall we behold that generous loyalty to rank and sex, that proud submission, that dignified obedience, that subordination of the heart, which kept alive, even in servitude itself, the spirit of an exalted freedom! The unbought grace of life, the cheap defense of nations, the nurse of manly sentiment and heroic enterprise is gone. It is gone, that sensibility of principle, that chastity of honor, which felt a stain like a wound, which inspired courage whilst it mitigated ferocity, which ennobled whatever it touched, and under which vice itself lost half its evil, by losing all its grossness.


Thursday, July 13, 2006  

From The Telegraph

Turmoil in the Mideast

Via Power Line: Show support for Israel

Continuing roundup: Pajamas Media

David Twersky at NY Sun: War with Iran has begun

Years from now, the kidnapping of Corporal Gilad Shalit will be regarded like the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand.

Daniel McKivergan at Worldwide Standard: The Green Light

The images on today’s television screens aren’t the fault of Jerusalem or Washington. Damascus and Tehran have given the green light to their clients. Iran, in particular, seeks to divert the world's attention from its continued stiff-arming over its nuclear enrichment activities. It would be nice if other capitols woke up to this reality.

Chicago Tribune: Terror as statecraft (Via RCP)

Yossi Klein Halevi at TNR: Israel's next war begins

Michael Ledeen at NRO: The same war (Via The Corner)

Power Line: Connecting the dots

Someone called "grswave" at Daily Kos: Imagine a world without Israel (Via The Corner)



Why the Telegraph is a first stop for news

Not only is the paper reliable on world news coverage, sound in its opinion pages, and unmatched in the writing of obituaries – it also reports with flair on such topics as the secrets of castrati and yak polo.


Wednesday, July 12, 2006  

That Sceptred Isle

Bow Street bows out after 271 years, sold to a hotel chain.

As the first step on the treadmill of justice, Bow Street magistrates' court has played host to every hue on the spectrum of humanity.

From the trivial to the most serious, from the pacifist to the sadist, from the traitor to the betrayed, its oak-panelled Number One Court has heard some of the least known and best known stories of the past quarter of a millennium.

Casanova, Casement, Crippen - the letter C alone provides enough fascinating names to keep criminologists happy for an age.

And for each one of those, there have been 10,000 Smiths and Joneses "up and down" before the beak for begging, vagrancy, picking pockets or driving under the influence, for knocking a Pc's helmet off, murdering their wives or husbands or lovers or for doing almost anything in between.

Meantime, Admiral Nelson's Column is found to be 16 feet shorter than thought.


Crisis in the Mideast

Joel Mowbray writes from Israel:

Several political consultants have suggested to me today that this is the most difficult period for Israel in a long time because Olmert is now facing a two-front war with both Hamas and Hezbollah. They could be right about this being a crucial juncture, but because it is actually one common enemy, not two distinct ones. Both Hamas and Hezbollah are funded by Iran, leaders for both receive sanctuary in Syria, and both have a common goal: elimination of the Jews and establishment of an Islamic state.

Beneath the renewed swirl of political discussion and armchair analysis is the harsh reality that three young children are being held hostage. In a country that prides itself on being able to persevere and continue with everyday life, today's news was a cutting reminder that this tiny nation never really will achieve the "normalcy" it so desperately desires.

Pajamas Media has a roundup on the Mideast crisis.

Here in New England, hewing to the singular moral compass of the Episcopalian Church USA, Bishop Thomas Shaw and assorted Episcopal clergy picketed the Israeli Consulate in Boston on behalf of the Hamas-Hezbollah cause.

The question is asked by pro-Israel Episcopalians:

What explains the fondness of our leaders -- and, it must be admitted, many followers as well -- for anti-Semitic terrorists, the very people who have kept the Arab-Israeli conflict going long after more reasonable and humane leaders could have resolved it?



9-11, 3-11, 7-7, now 7-11

On the Bombay terrorist attacks:

Austin Bay

Times of India

Times (UK)

Pajamas Media


Tuesday, July 11, 2006  

Portrait of the Artist as an Old Elk

A London art student engages Megaceros Hibernicus:

In these images I appear in front of Great Irish Elk skeletons in various museums to try and look like one of the specimens in the collection, it is an illusory concoction, a Great Irish Beth, alongside the monstrous mega fauna of giant ground sloth, African elephant and dugong.

Here she is at the Cambridge Zoology Museum.

I particularly like L'Elk Parisienne.

She plans a performance art show around the theme this month in Sweden.


Sunday, July 09, 2006  

The Non-Curse of Gavvy Cravath

Before the Red Sox got rid of Babe Ruth, they got rid of Gavvy Cravath, home run king of the Dead Ball Era.

Cravath picked up his nickname when he was playing in California and hit a ball that killed a seagull -- gaviota in Spanish – in flight.

Criticized as a Red Sox rookie for his plodding speed afoot, he struck a Jack Aubreyesque note in his own defense:

"They call me wooden shoes and piano legs and a few other pet names. I do not claim to be the fastest man in the world, but I can get around the bases with a fair wind and all sails set. And so long as I am busting the old apple on the seam, I am not worrying a great deal about my legs."

As the Red Sox won four titles after selling him to the White Sox, there was no talk of a Gavvy Cravath curse, but he went on to become baseball's home run king in the pre-Ruth era.

His record of 24 home runs in a year, set with the Phillies in 1915, was broken by Ruth in 1919, and his career record of 119 round-trippers was broken by Ruth in 1921.

Via American Memory:

Batting stance

Follow through

* * *

Clip: "Cactus Set-up"


Friday, July 07, 2006  

In a referral log stat of which John Salmon will approve, this blog returns in the top five in a Google search on the phrase American League manager street clothes on the bench.

The Philadelphia A's Historical Society has much more on Connie Mack, including the words to a tribute in song penned by George M. Cohan:

The grand old man of the National game
And every fan of the National game
Has a feeling of pride for Connie
There are cheers far and wide for Connie
The U.S.A. all rooting for him
The big brass bands all tooting for him
Today in baseball’s Hall of Fame
Connie Mack is a grand old name

* * *

Clip: "Grandpa's Spells"



Benny Goodman – All the Cats Join In

Hop in the old jalop for my favorite Disney short this side of the Reluctant Dragon.



Cab Calloway – Jitterbug Party

The white-guy host in this soundie appears to be John Kerry in another life. Sen. Zelig, D-Mass?


Tuesday, July 04, 2006  

Hurrah for the flag of the free!

May it wave as our standard forever,
The gem of the land and the sea,
The banner of the right.
Let despots remember the day
When our fathers with mighty endeavor
Proclaimed as they marched to the fray
That by their might and by their right
It waves forever.


Saturday, July 01, 2006  

Wells Beach in the fog

Nubble Light

Wishing Frog, Ogunquit

Back from Maine

Notes & comments on returning from Vacationland:

* It really is worth it to go even a couple days without paying attention to the news or the blogosphere.

* Here's to saltwater taffy.

Dan Pallotta writes of the Goldenrod in York Beach, with its taffy machine:

It's one of my favorite summer spots and summer memories in the world. In the window next to the machine, there's another machine that has these huge turning arms that sort of knead and twist the taffy, and then they load it in here and it gets squeezed down to a small roll, chopped into little pieces, and these two mechanical hands pop out about three times a second to twist the wrapper around the taffy and dump it into the bin for boxing and selling at the counter top right behind. I could sit there and watch it for an hour. It's like a meditation. In my mind, heaven can't be much better than watching the taffy machine at Goldenrod kisses and then going inside for a lobster roll and a raspberry lime rickey.

* Flickr has the shots I missed: Fun-O-Rama * Fun House * Monster * Wells Beach

* Newsstand musing: Hope no jinxes are in the offing now that two house icons have been featured on the covers of national magazines: TR in Time and Big Papi in Sports Illustrated.

* Did you catch that catch by Coco?


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