"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
Jumanji goes to the American Museum of Natural History
A Tyrannosaurus playing fetch like a golden retriever, a woolly mammoth running rampant in Central Park, and Robin Williams as Theodore Roosevelt: Of course, Irish Elk wanted to see Night at the Museum as soon as the trailer came out, and now having done so, can recommend the movie as good escapist fun. It's not Citizen Kane, but what a great idea for a movie. And now sleepovers are big in real life at the AMNH.
The main thing I recall about the Ford presidency...was how normal the guy was. Richard Nixon was an admirable chief executive in many ways (and not, in other), but you could never shake off the feeling that there was something slightly odd about him. Carter was, and is, a USA Grade A freak, out of Aimee Semple McPherson by Noam Chomsky. Ford was an interim of sheer ordinariness -- uncomplicated, likeable, competent, and patriotic. You can't even imagine him "struggling with inner demons," nor even having any. He was, as we used to say back in 1975, "together." He gave the impression of having been born that way. A great American.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was made nothing that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men: and the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness to give testimony of the light, that all men might believe through him. He was not the light, but was to give testimony of the light. That was the true light which enlighteneth every man that cometh into this world. He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not.
He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them He gave great power to become the sons of God: to them that believe in His name: who are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. -- The beginning of the holy Gospel, according to St. John.
Wishing all who visit here a very Merry Christmas!
Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.
You tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.
But there is one thing about him that is the same everywhere so this must be the truest part: he is a gift-giver. He gives from his heart with love, joy and delight. When we do the same, we are part of the spirit of Christmas.
Whatever name you give it, that spirit is real. As real as the gifts under our tree – whenever they appear. As real as my love for you.
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Hear Louis Armstrong read Clement Moore's "Night Before Christmas" as part of a holiday Feast of Songs for the Season from Riverwalk Jazz. (Registration is free)
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Above: "Merry Old Santa Claus," by Thomas Nast, Harper's Weekly, January 1, 1881. (Via the St Nicholas Center)
The Telegraph pays tribute to Frank Johnson, reporter, columnist and foreign correspondent, noted for his parliamentary sketches.
Johnson, who grew up in London's East End, began as a messenger boy at the Sunday Express, and eventually became deputy editor of the Sunday Telegraph and editor of The Spectator.
He had a great love of opera, and recalled having appeared, as a 14-year-old schoolboy, on the stage at Covent Garden alongside the diva Maria Callas:
Of the performance, Johnson went on: “I could not forget that when Callas bore down on us with the knife, her nostrils flared; that when, dropping the knife, she repentantly clasped us to her bosom, her perfume smelt like that of an aunt who was always kissing me; and that at the first performance on February 2 there penetrated, into my left eye, the tip of the diva’s right breast, which partnership remained throughout the subsequent duet with [Ebe] Stignani… there are few men who can truthfully say that their eye made contact with the right nipple of Maria Callas.”
The piece closes with this vignette:
Johnson endured cancer with exemplary courage for seven years. Last Sunday, just before he went into hospital for the final time, he attended the performance of Aida at La Scala in which the tenor Roberto Alagna (as Radames) walked off the stage in a fit of pique after being booed; Johnson immediately filed the story to The Daily Telegraph.
Friday, December 15, 2006
Edw Gorey's Christmas Dragon
Go here for all your Edward Gorey holiday card needs.
In honor of the day, here is a piece by Peggy Noonan on the miraculous appearance of the Blessed Virgin to Juan Diego in Mexico in 1531.
She asked him to go to the top of the hill and gather the Castillian roses he would find there. He climbed, knowing he would not find roses in the December frost. But when he got to the top, he saw flowers spread over the hilltop--hundreds of roses that gave off a sweet fragrance. He cut as many as he could and put them in his tilma, the rough woven blanket Indians wore tied behind their necks. When he showed the roses to the Virgin, she rearranged them in his tunic.
Juan Diego returned to the bishop's palace. But the doorkeeper and the servants, warned that he was trouble, pretended not to understand him and ignored him. Juan Diego remained outside at the gate, standing there for hours, motionless, head bowed. At daybreak the next day, the servants saw he was still there. And for the first time they noticed he was hiding something in his tilma. Now they surrounded him and told him they'd beat him if he didn't show what he was hiding. As they drew close, they smelled the perfume of the flowers. They tried to snatch them, but each time they took a rose, it would seem to disappear, or seem somehow to be painted on the cloth of the tilma.
They ran to the bishop. He listened to them, realized this might be the proof he had asked for, and went to Juan Diego, who was now surrounded by the entire household. As Juan Diego opened his tilma to show the bishop the roses, an amazing thing happened. At the moment the rough material unfurled the image of the woman on the hill suddenly appeared on it. The bishop and all present fell to their knees. The bishop cried out and asked the lady to forgive him for not having carried out her will. Then he stood, untied the tilma from Juan Diego's neck, and carried it to his chapel.
The whole city was shaken by the event. It took Indians and Spaniards working together only 14 days to build a small adobe shrine on the hill where Juan Diego saw the lady. The tilma itself was put in the main church, and then carried to one larger still.
In the 1950s, the Dartmouth Indian Chiefs band was part of an Ivy League Jazz revival. Though none of the Indian Chiefs' recordings from that time appear to be online, a couple of the group's veterans today play with the New Black Eagle Jazz Band, which does have a number of sound clips from which to choose.
So tune down the culture wars, and listen to a bit of "That Rhythm Man" or "Under the Double Eagle."
Perhaps the best comment on the situation was given to Power Line by 1999 Dartmouth alum Zach Hafer:
He writes that he is not surprised "that the football team just capped another 2-8 season, given that the AD is spending her time meeting with 'aggrieved' students,' 'develop[ing] a specific and continuing plan to address issues of respect and tolerance within the athletic department,' and writing letters of profuse apology."
If the Dartmouth Indian Chiefs were still around they could play a rendition of "Crazy Blues." #
Mel Gibson vents about Jews during a drunken traffic-stop. Rachel Corrie's friends blow up Jews on buses. But Alan Rickman's play romanticizing the latter is a hit in London and New York.
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I've enjoyed the Harry Potter books, but the last two movies, not so much. The casting of the upcoming installment won't improve matters, from my point of view. From now on when I see Snape I'll think terrorist-enabling moonbat.
Meantime, in my mind's eye Dolores Umbridge is a sort of toad woman, like a creatures from Spirited Away. On the screen she'll be portrayed by Imelda Staunton, who previously won critical acclaim for her portrayal of a saintly martyr of a 1950s abortionist. Now when I see Dolores Umbridge I'll think monster of a different sort.
They're actors, I know, I know. But it can be hard these days to separate the performers from their (often-hackle-raising) politics.
By Rev. Franz Kellerhoven (1814-1872), Belgium
The Latin inscription on the scroll above Mary’s head reads, “You are all fair, my beloved, and there is no stain in you.”
Erik Keilholtz posts this great clip and lots more in a 96th birthday tribute to the singer John Salmon describes as a "southern-fried Dean Martin," and whose voice will be recognizable to Jungle Book orangutan fans everywhere.
A piece in The Telegraph makes a plea for modesty in calendars for a good cause.
In the name of faith, hope and especially charity, will the people of Great Britain please put their clothes back on? This instant. Right now. Without delay. What we mean is, what has got into you all?
As we've been on a Sopranos-viewing kick lately, working our way through the seasons on DVD, the headline news about the arrest of a New England mob underboss nicknamed named "Big Cheese" was like an episode come to life.
Carrying a wad of 100s and 50s as fat as a ball of mozzarella, Carmen Salvatore DiNunzio was busted by state police yesterday in the North End near the spot where the alleged Boston Mafia kingpin runs a cheese shop, authorities said.
This Herald has started a gallery of coverage. This pic gives you an idea how he got the nickname "Big Cheese."
The French dominion is a memory of the past; and when we evoke its departed shades, they rise upon us from their graves in strange romantic guise. Again their ghostly camp-fires seem to burn, and the fitful light is cast about on lord and vassal and black robed priest; mingled with wild forms of savage warriors knit in close fellowship on the same stern errand. A boundless vision grows upon us; an untamed continent; vast wastes of forest verdure; mountains silent in primeval sleep; river, lake and glimmering pool; wilderness oceans mingling with the sky. Such was the domain which France conquered for civilization. Plumed helmets gleamed in the shade of its forest, priestly vestments in the dens and fastnesses of ancient barbarism. Men steeped in antique learning, pale with the close breath of the cloister, here spent the noon and evening of their lives, ruled savage hordes with a mild paternal sway, and stood serene before the direst shapes of death. Men of courtly nature, heirs to the polish of a far-reaching ancestry, here, with their dauntless hardihood, put to shame the boldest sons of toil.
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According to Google Trends, the top cities for searches on the phrase Latin Mass are Boston, followed by Cambridge.
Rome indeed has not only preserved the original poetry of Christianity; it has also made capital additions to that poetry -- for example, the poetry of the saints, of Mary, and of the liturgy itself. A solemn high mass is a thousand times as impressive, to a man with any genuine religious sense in him, as the most powerful sermon ever roared under the big top by Presbyterian auctioneer of God. In the face of such overwhelming beauty it is not necessary to belabor the faithful with logic; they are better convinced by letting them alone.
A bishop in his robes, playing his part in the solemn ceremonial of the mass, is a dignified spectacle; the same bishop, bawling against Darwin half an hour later, is seen to be simply an elderly Irishman with a bald head, the son of a respectable police sergeant in South Bend, Ind. Let the reverend fathers go back to Bach. If they keep on spoiling poetry and spouting ideas, the day will come when some extra-bombastic deacon will astound humanity and insult God by proposing to translate the liturgy into American, that all the faithful may be convinced by it.