"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
The Red Auerbach folklore is extensive: The seven basic plays, plus options. The victory cigar. The Chinese food. The legendarily bad driving. The way he protected the owner du jour's money even better than he did his own. The love of Asian art and furniture. The letter opener collection. The image of him with the rolled-up program battling such referee foils as Sid Borgia and Mendy Rudolph. The love of tennis and racquetball. The chutzpah to draft the NBA's first black player, Chuck Cooper, in 1950; the further chutzpah to start five black players in the 1964-65 season; and even more chutzpah to name Bill Russell his successor when he retired from coaching in 1966.
And more: The fact that during the Bird Era he was not to be disturbed between 4 and 5 in his office because that's when he watched "Hawaii 5-0."
I always thought the piratical old SOB would outlive me and everything else except the cockroaches.
Hero, liar, racial pioneer, cheapskate, a man I hated in youth and am weeping as I write his obit. Sports and the world are duller and poorer places this morning.
* * *
Hub Blog picks its all-time greatest Celtics teams from the Auerbach era:
First team: Head coach, Red Auerbach. Center, Bill Russell. Guards, Dennis Johnson and Jo Jo White. Forwards, Larry Bird and Kevin McHale.
Second team: Head coach, Tom Heinsohn. Center, Robert Parish. Guards, Bob Cousy and Sam Jones. Forwards, John Havlicek and Paul Silas.
Backups for any of those teams: K.C. Jones, Dave Cowens, Bill Sharman, Don Nelson, Cedric Maxwell, Frank Ramsey and Satch Sanders.
Wouldn't it have been great to see the two above teams go at it?... I'd certainly take either team today and watch them pound the current NBA crop.
* * *
Readers of the Celtics board at Boston.com were asked how the team might best honor Red Auerbach's memory. These two respondents hit the nail on the parquet:
Message #6730.3 The Celtics should honor Red by: 1) terminating the Celtics dance team, 2) offering pastrami on rye sandwiches and cigars in the arena (I refuse to call it the Garden) 3) buying back the naming rights of the arena and naming it after Red 4) and putting a winner on the court
Message #6730.36 Get rid of the idiotic Dance Team NOW!! And get rid of the entire Bimbo Brigade the Celtics trot out every game. Enough of the Dallas Mavericks-ization of what WAS the proudest franchise in sports.
Boston fans at the old Garden once booed an organist who tried to innovate by introducing the Mexican Hat Dance. Today, the Cs have their own dancers, whose charms, while considerable, do not exactly represent an organic addition to the legacy of the Cooz, black high-tops and Johnny Most.
Mr. Seal, though, may appreciate Danielle, who embodies the new Celtic Mystique as filtered through Albert Vargas.
Come, Come, Come and make eyes with me, Under the Anheuser Bush Come, Come, drink some “Budwise” with me Under the Anheuser Bush, Hear the old German band, Just let me hold your hand Yah! Do, Do, Come and have a stein or two, Under the Anheuser Bush. Bush.
As the week began, the loosest player in the National Hockey League's tightest playoff race ever was Derek Sanderson, 23, center of the Boston Bruins. He awoke in a mod, round bed undreamed of in his street-fighting, high school-dropout days, picked up a phone from the white sheepskin rug and dialed his answering service. Little Joe, as Sanderson is sometimes called, had received no messages in the night from his idol, Big Joe Namath. Sanderson ran a brush over his razor-cut hair, put on a pair of flowered bell-bottoms and a shirt the color of orange sherbet and walked outside to his gold 1970 Continental Mark 111. The plates read Bruins 16 "They're welded on," said the Bruins' No. 16. "They'd be stolen every day if they weren't."
Before there was Bill Buckner there was Ralph Branca. The Dodger pitcher, above right, gave up the pennant-winning home run to the Giants' Bobby Thomson in 1951 in what is still remembered as the most dramatic moment in baseball history.
Except that wasn't all there was to it. It turns out the Giants had been cheating: they had someone stationed in the far reaches of the ballpark with a telescope and a buzzer who was relaying the catcher's signs. Giant batters were tipped off to what pitches were coming. Had it been known at the time it would have been a scandal.
Through the grapevine, Branca later learned about the Giants' sign-stealing. But he kept it to himself. For a half-century, he bore the stigma of being the goat's goat – and said nothing.
The Wall Street Journal's Joshua Prager has written a book, The Echoing Green, on the untold story behind the Shot Heard 'Round the World and the secret carried by Branca and Thomson. The website is magnificent.
The American frigate United States defeated the British frigate Macedonian on this day in 1812. The painting above by Thomas Chambers is included in a striking book, America's Art, from the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
"October 23, 1956, is a day that will live forever in the annals of free men and nations. It was a day of courage, conscience and triumph. No other day since history began has shown more clearly the eternal unquenchability of man's desire to be free, whatever the odds against success, whatever the sacrifice required."
-- John F. Kennedy, on the first anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution.
Monday, October 23, 2006
Taking art by the horns
This is too good: Irish Elk-inspired performance artist Beth Collar's project for the Deviant Art show is featured on Swedish television.
She compares the elk's growing great antlers to attract a mate to a girl's putting on makeup or getting a breast enlargement.
All I know is the Swedish description of her navigating with the big horns cries out for subtitles:
Most underrated guitarist: If steel guitarists count, then I'll say Leon McAuliffe, because you may not have heard of him. He played for Bob Wills (whose exclamation, "Take it away, Leon!" became a trademark) and his signature song was "Steel Guitar Rag."
Dick Dale is not underrated, but my wife can say she was kissed by him.
Most unusual lead instrument in a piece of music: Lead accordion isn't really that unusual, I suppose, if you're from Wisconsin or Minnesota, but I can't pass up the opportunity to link to the Big Joe Polka Show online.
Coolest name ever for a Rock 'N Roll band: Fine Young Cannibals. Honorable mention: the Specials, the B-52s, the Stray Cats, Los Straitjackets
Worst genre of music ever: Gangsta rap. (Or the St. Louis Jesuits.)
On the same day the American population reaches 300 million, Irish Elk records its 300,000th visit.
The landmark visitor arrived from Nashville via the Llamas, but surfed away before collecting a tip of the antlers and valuable door prize.
It took four-and-a-half years to reach what Instapundit gets in two-and-a-half days, but like all the most discerning little magazines, we measure our visitors in quality not quantity.
So a toast to all who have graced this site with their presence, and many happy returns!
Pseudonymous Chronicle of Higher Ed columnist "Thomas H. Benton" describes the wonders of the Victorian natural history museum:
One of my most powerful early memories is of visiting the great hall of Philadelphia's Academy of Natural Sciences: an enormous 19th-century gallery decorated, as I recall, with wrought iron, entablatures, oak, and marble. I remember my footsteps echoing as I walked toward the polished railing behind which stood the Hadrosaurus, more than 20 feet tall and impossibly ancient. The mounted skeleton -- brown, lacquered, and crackled, like a Rembrandt painting -- revealed itself gradually as my eyes adjusted to the light.
Wreckovators since have intervened, in the cause of up-to-datedness and kid-friendliness:
Now the towering Hadrosaurus is hunched over -- in deference to current theory -- and banished to an inconspicuous corner to make room for a gathering of fossil replicas designed as photo-ops. Instead of gazing up at a relic of the heroic era of Victorian science, people ignore the Hadrosaurus and get their picture taken with their head beneath the jaws of the scary Giganotosaurus, a sort of Tyrannosaurus Rex on steroids, before going to the gift shop to buy a "sharp toothed" plush toy. See, kids, science can be fun!
But programmed "fun" is not necessarily pleasure, nor is entertainment the only means of sparking an interest in science. The people who run museums these days seem to think that children cannot enjoy quiet reflection. I suppose they think that would be elitist. As a result, decorum -- once one of the key lessons of the museum for children -- is replaced by the rules of schoolyard, the serious is usurped by the cute, and thought is banished by the chatter of last decade's high-tech gizmos.
Preservationists of all sorts of cathedrals will agree: Touches a chord, no?
Fr Nicholas Schofield recalls how celebrating a Mass for Britain's last Catholic king ran him afoul of Ian Paisley.
Fr Nicholas also has scanned some images from the diocesan archives showing the Archbishop of Westminster visiting the Dublin Fusiliers on the Western Front during WWI. They have the look of "Fr Brown Goes to War."
Thursday, October 12, 2006
We paid a visit to the USS Constitution over Columbus Day weekend. It was the first time I'd been there since I was a grade-schooler doing the Freedom Trail during the Bicentennial, and it was much more impressive than I remembered.
I'm currently in nautical fiction withdrawal, having listened my way through the Aubreyad, and would welcome suggestions for future audio fare. Has anyone read Julian Stockwin's Kydd series?
Monday, October 09, 2006
From the editor's desk
It's possible the genteel Boston Evening Transcript city editor above, in a fit of abandon, might have taken to digging the Panama Canal in the basement or charging upstairs blowing a trumpet and yelling "Bully!"
But it's a good bet he never found himself facing this caption conundrum involving tug-of-war contests and quaint Pennsylvania Dutch place names.
The oak tree is not a bad symbol for the Tories' new logo. One of the truly great Tory thinkers, Edmund Burke, compared the state to a tree. It boasted deep, firm roots, yet it also spread its branches and grew. It could abound in new life while being comfortably rooted in the past. A week is a long time in politics, and the oak, although an immigrant to these islands, has been with us at least since the last ice age ended some 10,000 years ago. So, it's less foreign than, for example, the Norman families who came over with William in 1066. And, it tends, like a proper Tory prime minister, to go on and on.
Except that today's "thrusting young Tory modernisers" of "Cycling Dave" Cameron's Notting Hill set would be better served symbolically, he writes, by a potted bay tree.
Biggles: Look. (she types) Don't put that down. Just put down - wait a mo - wait a too. (puts on antlers) Now, when I've got these antlers on - when I've got these antlers on I am dictating and when I take them off (takes them off) I am not dictating.
Secretary: (types) I am not dictating.
Biggles: What? (she types; puts the antlers on) Read that back.
Secretary: Dear King Haakon, I am not dictating what?
Biggles: No, no, no, you loopy brothel inmate.
Secretary: I've had enough of this. I am not a courtesan. (moves round to front of the desk, sits on it and crosses her legs provocatively)
Biggles: Oh, oh, 'courtesan', oh aren't we grand. Harlot's not good enough for us eh? Paramour, concubine, fille de joie. That's what we are not. Well listen to me my fine fellow, you are a bit of tail, that's what you are.
Secretary: I am not, you demented fictional character.
(Enter Biggles. He wears flying boots, jacket and helmet us for First World War. He meats a notice round his neck: 'Biggles'.)
Biggles: Hands off, you filthy bally froggie! (kneels by the bed)
Vera: Oh Ken, Ken Biggles!
Biggles: Yes, Algy's here as well.
Vera: Algy Braithwaite?
(Into the light comes Algy. Team streaming down his face. He wears a notice round his neck which reads: Algy's here as well'.)
Algy: That's right... Vera ... (he chokes back the tears) Oh God you know we both still bally love you.
Vera: Oh Biggles! Algy. Oh, but how wonderful!
* * *
Capt. W.E. Johns apparently was Britain's answer to Franklin W. Dixon, only with Sopwith Camels and Spads. At this Internet Biggles shrine you can find jolly good cover art and story illustrations from such books at Biggles in Borneo and Biggles Defies the Swastika.
Meantime, this gallery of children's pocket libraries will strike a nostalgic chord with Mrs P and Messrs Seal and Cusack through such titles as Circus Girl at School and Nipper at St. Frank's.
And Dismuke has some fine aeronautical tunes, including "Wait Till You Get Them Up In The Air, Boys."