"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
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.
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.
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 OldCityHall, 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.”
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
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.
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.
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."