"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
New England baseball fans who reveled in the glory days of Jim Lonborg and Tony C, and who can still sing from memory "Carl Yastrzemski, the Man We Call Yaz," will want to tune in at 8:30 tonight when NESN airs "Impossible to Forget," a documentary tribute to the Impossible Dream Red Sox of 1967.
The cable network plans throughout the coming season to run "Impossible Flashback" clips of highlights from that memorable season of 40 years ago. And on July 11, the day after the All-Star Game, NESN plans to broadcast in its entirety the Red Sox-Twins game from Sept. 30, 1967, which was a must-win game for Boston in its epic final series with Minnesota that year. The tape is billed as the oldest complete game broadcast in color in existence today, and hasn't been shown on television since its original airing.
The Irish Elk, for one, will have Gansett and VCR at the ready.
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The Nike Red Sox commercial from the 2004 World Series: Just Do It
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The Red Sox Nation website did a very interesting interview last year with Tim Gay, author of a biography of Tris Speaker, pictured above, one of the biggest stars of the Deadball Era and centerfielder in one of the greatest outfield combinations in history.
The interview touches on Speaker's Klan membership, on his part in the Protestant-Catholic tensions in the Red Sox clubhouse of the time, and on allegations of game-fixing in the World Series. Some excerpts:
RSN: Why do you think Speaker has become baseball’s forgotten superstar, even with Boston fans?
TG: There are, I believe, a lot of reasons. Part of it has to do with his prickly personality. When Speaker was in Boston from part of 1907 through to the spring of 1916, he was a tough customer and a fish-out-of-water. He was a Southern Protestant who wore his allegiance to the Confederate cause on his sleeve. He was in a town, to put it charitably, that was hostile to those ideas and to people with his background. The irony of it was that the working class of Boston just loved the way he played -- how he ran the bases and played centerfield. He, however, never reciprocated that feeling. He and Smoky Joe Wood developed a pretty tough attitude towards Boston, and he probably was not unhappy to leave.
RSN: Was the Protestant/Catholic rivalry that existed on the Red Sox during this period typical in baseball, or was it unique to the Sox?
TG: I think it was unique. I am sure that that kind of sectarian tension existed in every major American city at the time, but it was particularly pronounced in Boston because of the large number of Catholic Irish immigrants and how they had taken control of the city’s political machinery. In Honey Fitz, the mayor during the Sox great run in the teens, there was an Irish Catholic who metaphorically liked to bloody Brahmin noses. He was not shy about letting people know who was boss and did not hesitate to remind people of the political power that the immigrants held. So I think it was particularly tense in Boston and I think the Red Sox clubhouse did the community one better. “Rough” Carrigan never backed down from a fight and was the head of the KC (Knights of Columbus) faction. Duffy Lewis was another KC and also one never to take any guff. On the other side of the aisle, heading up the Masons were Speaker and Wood who also never backed down. In 1911, Speaker and Carrigan were in the clubhouse brawl to end all clubhouse brawls, and their teammates just let them go. According to most accounts, Carrigan laid a beating on Speaker which was something, as Speaker was exceptional with his fists. It is, I believe, the only fight he ever lost. #
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Cad with a broken heart
George Sanders won an Oscar for his portrayal of waspish theater critic Addison De Witt in All About Eve; was married to not one but two of the Gabor sisters; and killed himself, according to the suicide note he left behind, out of boredom.
His acolyte Mr Seal will appreciate this profile from the Salon archives, and especially this sound clip from the album "The George Sanders Touch: Songs for the Lovely Lady."
The choice of colors in this divide is counter-intuitive to many international observers, as throughout the world red is commonly the designated color for parties representing labor and/or liberal interests, which in the United States would be more closely correlated with the Democratic Party. Similarly, blue is used in these countries to depict conservative parties which in the case of the United States would be a color more suitable for the Republicans. For example, in Canada party colors are deeply ingrained and historic and have been unchanged during the Twentieth Century. The Liberal Party of Canada has long used red and the Conservative Party of Canada has long used blue, and in fact the phrases Liberal red and Tory blue are a part of the national lexicon, as is Red Tory, denoting Conservative members who are social moderates. Similarly, the symbol of Britain's Labour Party is a red rose (and the socialist song 'The Red Flag' is still sung at party conferences), while the British Conservatives are traditionally associated with the color blue…
In the 1880s, the color scheme was the opposite of the current one. In 1888, a Chicago publisher released a 'Red Hot Democratic' and a 'True Blue Republican' song book in preparation for the upcoming election.
Know an ardent "Blue Stater"? Give 'em one of these. #
Ralph Luker at Cliopatria has compiled a list of history-minded blogs on the conservative side of the spectrum. (He has been kind enough to include this site, which is much appreciated.) Some of his suggested blogs look interesting indeed. Tolle, legge! #
Some animal rights activists say the cub should be killed. Because the cub, rejected by his mother, has been raised on a bottle, he will develop a complex and won't grow up to be a "real" polar bear, argue those who want to put him down for his own good. But the Berlin Zoo has pledged no harm will come to Knut.
Six Degrees of Pope Benedict &c
The York Daily Record reinterprets the famous Kevin Bacon parlor game to connect a Spring Garden Township, Pa., accountant with the Pontiff.
Can you connect yourself to the pope in six people or less?
Writer Piers Paul Read describes BXVI's recently-published Apostolic Exhortation on the Eucharist as a "theological tour de force":
Sacramentum Caritatis opens with a lucid exposition of the Catholic belief on the Eucharist. The priest’s words of consecration during the Mass turn bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ - a transformation Pope Benedict describes as ‘a sort of “nuclear fission” which penetrates to the heart of all being, a change meant to set off a process which transforms reality, a process leading ultimately to the transfiguration of the entire world’.
This belief, with its connotations of cannibalism and human sacrifice, has always been hard to take. Even in Christ’s lifetime, many of his disciples, according to Saint John, regarded the idea as ‘intolerable ...and stopped going with him’. It was a defining bone of contention between Catholics at the time of the Reformation. Luther downgraded the change from transubstantiation (the bread and wine become the flesh and blood of Christ) to consubstantiation (bread and wine remain bread and wine but co-exist with the flesh and blood of Christ), and Calvin disbelieved it altogether.
Thus the first of the threefold challenges posed by the Eucharist, Pope Benedict writes, is belief in this mystery of faith. The second is to celebrate the sacrament with the dignity and beauty it merits: ‘everything related to the Eucharist should be marked by beauty’. And finally, the Eucharist must be an inspiration to those who partake in it to a commitment to the betterment of mankind.
Read the piece soon before the article disappears into the paid archives.
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The pope has been warned of a green Antichrist, who will be “a pacifist, ecologist and ecumenist."
In the Spectator, Read writes:
At the retreat preached before the Pope and top Vatican officials shortly before the publication of Sacramentum Caritatis, Cardinal Biffi, the former Archbishop of Bologna, repeated the apocalyptic prophecies of the Russian Orthodox theologian Vladimir Sergeevich Soloviev at the end of the 19th century. When the Antichrist appears, he warned, it would be as a pacifist, ecologist and ecumenist promoting the shared ethical values of all the world’s religions at the expense of the person and sacrifice of Christ.
The impulse is to scoff. But Earth Worship indeed has become all the thing in the trendier precincts. Consider the pretentious hybrid-limousine-liberals Charles Krauthammer skewers for literally trading in ecological indulgences.
The dishwasher is off, along with the microwave, the coffee machine and the food processor. Planes, trains, automobiles and that elevator are out, but the family is still doing laundry in the washing machines in the basement of the building. (Consider the ramifications of no-elevator living in a vertical city: one day recently, when Frankie the dog had digestive problems, Mr. Beavan, who takes Isabella to day care - six flights of stairs in a building six blocks away - and writes at the Writers Room on Astor Place - 12 flights of stairs, also six blocks away - estimated that by nightfall he had climbed 115 flights of stairs.) And they have not had the heart to take away the vacuum from their cleaning lady, who comes weekly (this week they took away her paper towels).
They are fastidious in their efforts to "tread lightly on the planet," yet they relegate their toddler daughter to daycare while Dad goes off to his Writers Room; giving up the Fifth Avenue high rise with the cleaning lady to live someplace where one of them might stay home and give as close attention to their growing child as to worm-composting, might be one sacrifice too many.
Granted I am no one's idea of an earthy-crunchy, yet I am sympathetic to the agrarian or distributist ideal of living in harmony with one's surroundings and with Creation, and what these showy Earth-worshipers are doing doesn't seem to be it. Their intentions may be well-meaning, but their priorities seem quite skewed.
"What do you think the Devil is going to look like if he's around?" Albert Brooks' character says in Broadcast News.
"Nobody is going to be taken in if he has a long, red, pointy tail. No. I'm semi-serious here. He will look attractive and he will be nice and helpful and he will get a job where he influences a great God-fearing nation and he will never do an evil thing... he will just bit by little bit lower standards where they are important. Just coax along flash over substance."
A Waugh vignette inspires this site to lift its ban on mentioning Dorothy Day:
Wrote Waugh in a letter home: "To the slums to see Dorothy Day, an autocratic ascetic who wants us all to be poor, and her young men who are poor already and have a paper called The Catholic Worker." Waugh wanted to take the simple-living Worker volunteers to lunch at Le Chambord, which, he told Laura, was the "best restaurant in the world."
Day demurred. So "I gave a great party of them luncheon in an Italian restaurant in the district & Mrs. Day didn't at all approve of their having cocktails or wine but they had them and we talked till four o'clock."
Day's version is that she received a telegram from Life magazine at the Catholic Worker house on Mott Street with a request to meet Waugh at the Chambord that week. Jack English, a Catholic Worker member, laughed heartily at this, she wrote, and told her: "People like the Duke and Duchess of Windsor eat there. The place is famous for its wines. If you go there Life might very well carry a picture of the breadline next to one of you and Evelyn Waugh feasting, with the caption 'No soup for her.'"
Said Day, "We would impute no such malice to Life magazine, but Jack's devilish imagination had painted a picture that caused me concern. Out of politeness I telegraphed hastily: 'Forgive my class consciousness but the Chambord appalls me as Mott Street does you.'"
The crack about Mott Street "evoked an immediate response from Mr. Waugh, who telephoned personally. He would meet me anywhere I suggested. So he came first to Mott Street, and then we went on to an Italian restaurant on Mulberry Street, where I am afraid the prices were way too high and the food not too good.
"But Mr. Waugh was kind," wrote Day, and said to her, "'It's the austerity regime in England. I just wanted a good meal, which was why I suggested the Chambord.'"
Day wrote that since that dinner "he sends us checks every now and then, always made out to 'Dorothy Day's Soup Kitchen.'" Mr. Waugh, she said, "does not recognize the anarchist-pacifist Catholic Worker as anything other than a movement that has to do with feeding people. And perhaps he is right. Food and the land, and the work which coordinates them, are indeed fundamental."
Waugh was determined to overlook the anarchist-pacifist element in favor of the soup kitchen. In a postcard to Ammon Hennacy at the Catholic Worker he wrote: "Many thanks for your card. I shall explain that I am an old fashioned Tory without any sympathy for your political views. I greatly admire the corporal works of charity you do among the destitute of New York. E.W."
Feeling feverish recently and in need of an invigorating splash of something or other I reached for the old bay rum. If you could distill the essence of those clove oranges you make for Christmas and put it in a bottle, this stuff would be the result. I've felt like a walking pomander.
In the locker room of the Union Boat Club they used to have wall dispensers brimming with bay rum, which you could splash from head to toe and comb through your hair and, I suppose, even gargle with if you were so inclined. If any of Mrs P's Boston young men had an aura of mulled rum punch even in mid-summer this might have been the cause.
Jean Arthur, on-screen the picture of streetwise self-sufficience, off-screen suffered debilitating stage fright:
[Frank] Capra claimed she vomited before and after every scene, and hid crying in her dressing room between takes. When called for the next scene, she would drum up every sort of excuse for not being ready. 'And it wasn't an act,' [Capra] said. 'Those weren't butterflies in her stomach. They were wasps. But put that neurotic girl forcibly, but gently, in front of the camera and turn out the lights - and the whining mop would magically blossom into a warm, lovely, poised and confident actress.' Despite all this, Capra often said that of all the actresses he directed, she was his favorite."
Arthur was an intensely private person, once remarking on Hollywood "I hated the place - not the work, but the lack of privacy, those terrible prying fan magazine writers and all the surrounding exploitation." When asked if she would do an interview, she replied, "Quite frankly, I'd rather have my throat slit."
She got her start in the silents and was pushing 40 when she played Clarissa Saunders; later, in her 50s, she preceded Mary Martin playing Peter Pan on Broadway. But her chronic insecurities eventually brought her acting career to a close.
Even in repose, the face was thought-provoking. People admired it in the same way they would a well-traveled trunk or a piece of distressed furniture...Jimmy Cannon wrote, "The old man has the face of an eagle who has flown into sleet storms. The lines in Casey Stengel's face are gullies. The left eye winks in the hook-nosed face as he discusses baseball, like a ferocious old bird sitting on the top branch of the highest tree in the world, watching all the ballgames ever played going on beneath him at the same time."
Only when Stengel spoke was the image completed...Sportswriter Jim Murray wrote, "Casey Stengel is a white American male with a speech pattern that ranges somewhere between the sounds a porpoise makes underwater and an Abyssinian rug merchant chant." Another, on first meeting with the manager, exclaimed, "My God, he talks the way James Joyce writes!"...Stengel was both an autodidactic baseball historian and Zelig-like witness to history, and he liked to illustrate a point with examples from the past. There is an oft-repeated story wherein a reporter goes looking for Stengel to find out who the next day's starting pitcher is. The reporter is gone for several hours. When he finally returns, one of his colleagues asks him, "Did Casey tell you who's going to pitch tomorrow?" "No," the beleaguered reporter replies. "He started to, but he got to talking about McGraw and the time he managed in Toledo and the Pacific Coast League and God knows what else. I think tomorrow's pitcher is Christy Mathewson."
Of all comedians he worked most deeply and most shrewdly within a realization of what a human being is, and is up against...
At the end of City Lights the blind girl who has regained her sight, thanks to the Tramp, sees him for the first time. She has imagined and anticipated him as princely, to say the least; and it has never seriously occurred to him that he is inadequate. She recognizes who he must be by his shy, confident, shining joy as he comes silently toward her. And he recognizes himself, for the first time, through the terrible changes in her face. The camera just exchanges a few quiet close-ups of the emotions which shift and intensify in each face. It is enough to shrivel the heart to see, and it is the greatest piece of acting and the highest moment in movies. #
Saturday, March 10, 2007
Louis Jordan: "Saturday Night Fish Fry"
Tonight, Central Mass. public radio station WICN (90.5 FM) airs the Saturday Night Fish Fry, a show devoted to jump blues and boogie that has plenty of Louis Jordan on the playlist. If you're at your computer this evening, and in the mood for such classics as "What's the Use of Getting Sober (If You're Gonna Get Drunk Again)," you can listen online between 7 and 11.
[Pepe] Ruiz, legendary bartender at Chasen's in Beverly Hills (with an assist from Dean Martin) invented this hot concoction in the 1960s.
The method: "Swirl a few drops of La Ina sherry in a chilled stem glass and pour it out. Squeeze a strip of orange peel into the glass and flambé it with a match. Throw away the peel. Fill glass with ice to chill again, then throw that out. Add vodka. Flambé another orange peel around the rim. Discard second burnt peel. Stir gently. Drink."
At a party at Chasen's, Sinatra once had Pepe make 65 Flames for his friends.
Pepe: "Frank, why do you do this to me?"
Frank: "I want to see if you can do it without burning down this joint."
I knew [W.C.] Fields well. He used to sit in the bushes in front of his house with a BB gun and shoot at people. Today he'd probably be arrested. He invited me over to his house. He had a girlfriend there. I think her name was Carlotta Monti. Car-lot-ta MON-ti! That's the kind of a name a girl of Fields would have. He had a ladder leading up to his attic. Without exaggeration, there was $50,000 in liquor up there. Crated up like a wharf. I'm standing there and Fields is standing there, and nobody says anything. The silence is oppressive. Finally he speaks: "This will carry me 25 years."
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Someone has spiked the cocoanut milk in this clip from Tales of Manhattan in which Fields' Mr Postlewhistle lectures on the evils of liquid Saturnalia. The scene might have been taken whole from Mr Seal & Co.'s recent sojourn in Gotham. (With subtitles!)
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The title quote at top was attributed to Fields after someone on the set doctored the martini-filled thermos he referred to as his "pineapple juice."
Most important was his dog, Igloo, a wire fox terrier who accompanied Byrd on his first explorations and was always at his side. Byrd was so devoted to him that Igloo's burial in 1931, at an animal cemetery in Dedham, was delayed for nearly two months until the admiral could return from a lecture tour.
The funeral was widely covered in news accounts at the time, and in one Byrd describes Igloo as "fearless," who "got the idea he could lick" any dog in the polar mush team. However, Igloo "didn't care" for whales when they "poked their heads above the ice." The dog, he said, "stayed back a little way barking."
Local legend has it that he also kept a penguin, a souvenir from one of his adventures, in the upstairs bathtub. #
Wasn't Schlesinger the very embodiment of the "court historian" -- hungering to be near the centers of power and willing to be their spokesperson, as needed? It seems to me that he's of no help to us at all when it comes to issues like executive power, because he was all for its expansion when the executive was one he favored and who favored him and he was all hyper-critical of it when the executive was one he opposed and who didn't favor him.
Doesn't Schlesinger's career represent exactly why scholarship and public service aren't a good mixture? Correct me if I'm wrong, but surely the only role he played at Camelot was as an elegant but ultimately ephemeral piece of the decor (and later its house apologist).